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How do you build the 2018 Twins? What formula works for you?

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#1 DocBauer

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 07:17 PM

This is not an attempt at a blueprint, per say. Rather, it's more of an approach idea, and what approach you would take if you were in charge. Think of it as an overview.

To state the very obvious:

The Twins have a fine nucleus in place, overall. The OF of Rosario, Buxton and Kepler is good, with the potential to be outstanding. These guys are all just beginning to reach their potential. Dozier is a fine player. Mauer has seen a resurgence. Polanco has great skills and also shows real potential. Sano needs to just stay healthy, really. Castro is solid to good, depending on your perspective. And there are a couple nice role players in Escobar and Adrianza.

The options on the mound are less impressive, but not without talent and hope. Santana is still quality. Berrios has flashed and has vast room. Gibson re-invented himself physically and mentally and a half season of being a very sold ML SP can't be ignored. Mejia showed some stuff and some potential. There ARE some arms in the pen, from Rogers, to Hildenberger, Busentiz, Duffey (How much better could he end up being fully adjusted to relieving again?), to Pressly's stuff if he could find more consistency.

To state what is less obvious:

Payroll and prospects. Based on past payroll numbers, rumors and innuendo, general inflation and the cost of doing business, it's hard to pin down expectations for payroll moving forward. Its easy for skepticism to see the Twins holding to a $110-115M budget, but not far fetched to see changes taking place, money still coming off the books in future years, and see a jump to the $120-130 range.

Prospect rankings could change very quickly by mid-season 2018, but as of now, the Twins seem to lack the top 100 type prospects that teams covet and make rankings look tantalizing. But a review of depth in the system by our own Seth and rankings by neutral parties seem to indicate the Twins have a very deep system overall.

To state obvious needs:

Pitching. At least one top flight starter and a couple proven, quality arms. Followed by maybe a useful, quality RH bat who could actually play in the field once in a while, if not a true full time DH.

The far less obvious:

How do you accomplish filling these needs?

It's terribly simplistic to simply say you will build the deepest and most talented and most well balanced team you can, though that is the ultimate goal, of course. But in any sport, there are various ways to build a contending team. You can become a dominant offensive or defensive team. And we've all seen examples of this in various sports.

The Twins have a fine offensive and defensive team with the potential to be even better in both areas going forward, based not just in coaching and fundamentals, but pure progression of the talented young players on the roster.

Pitching is still a key element, and the one area where the Twins would seem to be lacking. But aren't a lot of teams? There is only one true #1 SP on the FA market, plus one tantalizing international "FA" on the market, and everyone would like to have one of them. So what do YOU DO if you're in charge?

Do you:

A] Go all in with whatever dollars are needed, trying to be realistic to your budget to some degree, and still have some room to add a couple of pieces?

B] Trade away pieces of your talented young roster, with a few prospects added to add a big arm? (Our current FO has done that before). And then try add a couple viable pieces.

C] Try to target a really nice young arm before he bas reached his full potential and move some of the best and brightest prospects in your system? (Something our current FO has also done before). And then add a couple viable pieces.

D] Keep your system intact...at least for now...and look to add a few nice pieces to deepen your roster? Say a good SP, a couple pen arms, maybe a useful bat, and rely on depth and continued development of your roster and prospects to improve, and then maybe make a big move.


Being honest, I'm torn. But I tend to lean toward option "D" and keeping all my roster and best young prospects and adding a solid SP for depth, 2 good pen arms, and a useful bat and looking for development and possible trade from my deep system as the year goes on. Does it move the needle? I think enough to make the rotation better overall, deepen and strengthen the pen, and give me room for a big move later.

What plan would you follow?
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#2 Thrylos

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 07:35 PM

I am currently working on my blueprint.And those A-D options are not mutually exclusive.Good teams do all of the above and are opportunistic. 

 

The Twins need to trade both prospects and established players (with Dozier and E. Santana being the 2 best chips here) as well as hit the free agent market for value.

 

They will need 2 starters better than Berrios, a closer, a lefty set up guy and another reliever better than what they have now. Fortunately, the free agent market on relievers is good.I think that the Twins should go after 3 of them. Still working on the starter pieces, but I think that there is good trade opportunity there as well.

 

If Otani falls in their lap, let it be.But not plan on it.

 

Can Burdi, Jay, Romero etc take a step up next season?Can May return to be a stud?Maybe.All of those are bonuses.Teams who are looking to compete deep in the post-season do not count on bonuses, but just welcome them as nice to have problems...

 

About time for the Twins to adapt this attitude.

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#3 jorgenswest

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 08:01 PM

The biggest risk is signing a pitcher to a 4 or 5 year contract with mediocre or worse results. Look at the free agent pitching class of 2015. This was a class that was supposed to be very strong. Here are the top 10 starters from MLBTR. I plan to look more at this group in a different post.

Price
Greinke
Zimmerman
Cueto
Samardzija
Leake
Chen
Kazmir
Kennedy
Gallardo

I did not include international free agent Maeda.

How many of these deals look good just two years later?

Kennedy got a 5 year deal. Gallardo was coming off a 4.1 bWAR season. The bottom half of this group parallel Cobb and Lynn. I would stay away.

I would make an attempt at Darvish thinking his decline would be towards league average rather than number 4-5 starter or worse. I would try to trade for a pitcher like Cole.

Failing that, I would go take a chance on older or injured pitchers on a 1-2 year contract. I’d rather take a chance on a Lackey for 1 or Sabathia for 2 than a 4-5 year decline phase deal.

Failing that, I would wait until trade deadline.
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#4 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 08:19 PM

I would lean toward option C, and a trade.

A nine-figure contract to Darvish or Arrieta feels like a question mark even now, to say nothing of two years from now. Peering into next offseason, I doubt Kershaw leaves LA, and Keuchel will have every team bidding on him. Our next big pitcher contract might be Berrios, and I'm ok with that.

But they need to get pitching.
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#5 dbminn

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 08:53 PM

I'm optimistic about the young core. That being said, the approach all depends on when you want to win.

 

IMO, D is the least productive route if Dozier isn't signed to an extension. Makes no sense to keep him around if the approach isn't to contend next year. Same goes for Santana. Next year will be his age-35 season. If Dozier is moved, Santana should follow. This is a modified Option C, with Dozier and Santana as the trade pieces. Look to get high-upside SP in return, even if they are at lower levels. Grab a fill-in SP from the "hope to prove themselves" pile. Makes no sense to sign a 30+ high-end SP if you're moving the veterans. Sign a RP.

 

Signing Dozier opens up B as an option (although there is never a guarantee a trade can be made). I want the SP to be controlled for at least a couple of years. Otherwise, fall back to option D and add a good SP, like Cobb, and 2 very good to excellent FA RP.Try to acquire a RHB as a 4th OF/DH under either option. Keep Santana. These are my preferred #1 and #2 approaches.

 

In either case, try to sign Tyler Chatwood.  

 

 

 

 

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#6 Thrylos

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 09:39 PM

 


IMO, D is the least productive route if Dozier isn't signed to an extension. Makes no sense to keep him around if the approach isn't to contend next year. Same goes for Santana. Next year will be his age-35 season. If Dozier is moved, Santana should follow. This is a modified Option C, with Dozier and Santana as the trade pieces. Look to get high-upside SP in return, even if they are at lower levels.

 

 

Interestingly enough, I finished the second part of my blueprint with a trade based on Dozier and Santana (and a few more pieces) that lands the Twins a legitimate Ace.

 

Here.

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#7 kab21

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 03:52 AM

 

Interestingly enough, I finished the second part of my blueprint with a trade based on Dozier and Santana (and a few more pieces) that lands the Twins a legitimate Ace.

 

Here.

I will give you credit for finding something halfway plausible. Even then though MLB for MLB trades are really rare and I can't see the Mets trading for 2 players a year from FA (Ervin does have an option). I could see them looking for some younger MLB players like Polanco though.

Is 2016 2017 2018 the year that a good pitching prospect is truly blocked by 5 good pitchers in the starting rotation? 

Offseason (noun) - a time to propose trades assuming opposing GM's can't do the same basic analysis


#8 kab21

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 04:04 AM

I go for option A and B and mostly target starting pitching. If things work out and they add two of Darvish/Otani/Cole/Cobb/Lynn/Metstrade/Archer/etc then that is a great thing. Even Arrieta becomes interesting if the # of years drops to 3 or fewer.

I disagree with jorgens on Cobb/Lynn. The Twins should only avoid either of them if the deal ends up in the 60-90M range. If you shop in that tier of FA SP then it is fair value to sign them in the 40-50M range. Once you start paying 60+M for a similar pitcher then things look really ugly.

 

In addition to that I look for 1-2 moderately priced bullpen arms even if they are only at the Kintzler level. I don't spend big money here but expect that the bullpen gets better due to Option A and/or B pitching deeper into games. 

I also look for a bat with the right skillset (can play a defensive position) but hits well enough to DH. This is the last priority and isn't completely necessary.

Is 2016 2017 2018 the year that a good pitching prospect is truly blocked by 5 good pitchers in the starting rotation? 

Offseason (noun) - a time to propose trades assuming opposing GM's can't do the same basic analysis


#9 Doctor Wu

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 06:47 AM

I think the front office needs to decide --- or perhaps they have done so already --- whether or not the Twins can realistically compete again for a playoff spot in 2018. Like many out there, I was totally surprised by the Twins' strong showing in 2017. But that may have been somewhat of a false positive, at least in terms of lifting our expectations for this comingseason. Do we really think we can compete at the same level at Cleveland and New York? Are we better off not gambling on expensive free agent signings and/or big trades, and allowing our young core of players and prospects to continue to develop, or do we decide to go for it now? Frankly, I think I'd rather be cautious and let the youngsters develop more this year and then REALLY go all out the following season.

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#10 jorgenswest

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:34 AM

I go for option A and B and mostly target starting pitching. If things work out and they add two of Darvish/Otani/Cole/Cobb/Lynn/Metstrade/Archer/etc then that is a great thing. Even Arrieta becomes interesting if the # of years drops to 3 or fewer.
I disagree with jorgens on Cobb/Lynn. The Twins should only avoid either of them if the deal ends up in the 60-90M range. If you shop in that tier of FA SP then it is fair value to sign them in the 40-50M range. Once you start paying 60+M for a similar pitcher then things look really ugly.
 
In addition to that I look for 1-2 moderately priced bullpen arms even if they are only at the Kintzler level. I don't spend big money here but expect that the bullpen gets better due to Option A and/or B pitching deeper into games. 
I also look for a bat with the right skillset (can play a defensive position) but hits well enough to DH. This is the last priority and isn't completely necessary.


I can go with a ceiling of 50 million for Cobb or Lynn. With two exceptions, the burden of the 15-16 class were above that ceiling. A contract like Gallardo’s that was 4/48 with the possibility of buying out the 4th year for 2 million would be ideal.

#11 Roaddog

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 08:59 AM

I would probably go c or d. Although, I think it hinges on whether u feel Dozier is a part of your long term plan. If he's not, do you see what he can bring in a trade? I personally would not trade any of Rosario or Kepler. Buxton is pretty much untouchable in my eyes.

#12 Doomtints

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 09:18 AM

I don't envy their task to try to build up pitching during the offseason. 

Best of luck to them ... let's see how this lands in a couple of months.

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#13 CiabanItReal

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 11:17 AM

If the team is looking to upgrade and is willing to spend some money but not go long term on guys, it sounds like the Dodgers are willing to make Yasmani Grandal available, he has one year of arb left (exp. @ 7.5-8 mill) and even in a down year where his walk% dropped, he was still better than what the twins have. I don't think he'll cost a ton in terms of prospects either because while there are very few good catchers around the league, there are fewer contenders looking for one, other than the DBacks, Rockies, and Nats (and I don't see the Dodgers trying to make their competition better).

 

They could also ask about Brandon McCarthy, who's been good when healthy, they could probably just get him for like half his contract. 


#14 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 12 November 2017 - 11:58 AM

This one is easier than most years. I go out and get Darvish or Lynn, make a run at Otani, and pick up 2 shut down relievers on the FA side of things. If for some reason we cannot get our target in FA, that's when I start thinking of trades. My target would be Archer or Cole.

 

Internally, I get extensions signed on the young core.

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#15 howieramone2

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 01:10 PM

 

I am currently working on my blueprint.And those A-D options are not mutually exclusive.Good teams do all of the above and are opportunistic. 

 

The Twins need to trade both prospects and established players (with Dozier and E. Santana being the 2 best chips here) as well as hit the free agent market for value.

 

They will need 2 starters better than Berrios, a closer, a lefty set up guy and another reliever better than what they have now. Fortunately, the free agent market on relievers is good.I think that the Twins should go after 3 of them. Still working on the starter pieces, but I think that there is good trade opportunity there as well.

 

If Otani falls in their lap, let it be.But not plan on it.

 

Can Burdi, Jay, Romero etc take a step up next season?Can May return to be a stud?Maybe.All of those are bonuses.Teams who are looking to compete deep in the post-season do not count on bonuses, but just welcome them as nice to have problems...

 

About time for the Twins to adapt this attitude.

You don't break up a winning team, and Buxton and Sano are actually better chips. I like our favorite team's attitude just fine, it's yours that scares me. You can fantasize about building the '27 Yankees if you so choose, but good enough now is better than perfect later.

 

It's hard to forget, you wanted to throw in the towel early in the season when we were still in first place.

Edited by howieramone2, 15 November 2017 - 01:37 PM.

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#16 BuxtonBandwagon

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 02:30 PM

Plan A and C-ish is the choice for me. Go out and pay Darvish 28 mill a year for 4-5 years with a 5th or 6th year option. Obviously a 4 year deal would be best but you need to 5-6 to get him. Sign a solid reliever like Neshak, Kintzler, Nicasio, Shaw, or another mid level reliever.

 

Then trade for Gerritt Cole and Filipe Rivero for a package of Mejia, Gordon, Duffey, Stewart, Jorge, Wade, and Palacios. Maybe this isn't enough and we have to take a couple out and add Gonsalves or Romero. But I would add just about any of our minor leaguers not named Gonsalves or Romero. Another trade combo like is Marcus Stroman and Roberto Osuna. The asking price would obviously be really high for that tho.

 

But I don't want the twins to trade away any current major league talent. This is a team that won so don't break it up and keep this young group together. Don't trade Dozier or Santana unless for some odd reason we're blown away.


#17 gunnarthor

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Posted 15 November 2017 - 03:36 PM

An offer of Gordon, Romero/Gonsalves and, say, Thorpe is similar to the Sonny Gray deal.So look for pitchers that might be in that bucket. Would Pitt like to rebuild and move Cole, for instance? Mets move Degrom? Gausman from Baltimore?Any Oakland pitcher? Would Seattle do a small make over and trade an aging good pitcher for a small group of prospects? 

 

Anyhow, I think the Twins could make a deal out of those prospects and get a solid, not ace, starter. 


#18 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 12:25 AM

In free agency, I don't play the middle ground. I go hard at Otani and Darvish or I go for reclamation starters and good relievers. I believe the right pickup in the rotation and a couple of good relievers drastically change the outlook of this team in 2018.

 

I leave the offense alone. Your power RH bat is Sano or this team struggles. Like Buxton, the young players carry the day.

 

If trades are available, I explore my options but I don't loot the farm for a two year guy. I don't think the Twins' window is 2018. Maybe 2019 is the first time they go deep in the postseason but I think 2019-2021 is the real window. Looting the farm today for a guy who only gets you to 2019 isn't my first choice.

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#19 Rosterman

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 01:10 AM

You need a workhorse pitcher who will keep you in the game. A better Ervin Santana. A guy who does slot as a true #1 starter.

 

You need a long relief specialist. You also need someone like Kintzler, who can get a ground ball. And then you need power relief.

 

You have to address Mauer and Dozier now. And you have to figure out if Sano will play more games at third than in the DL or at DH. If he can play third, you get a right-handed guy who can hit and also DH and also play the field.

 

You start positioning your minor leagues guys to make a splash in 2018 and be ready for the majors in 2019.

 

You hope your three outfielders improve even more, and wonder if Granite is the better choice as a bench guy.

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#20 Darius

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Posted 18 November 2017 - 07:35 PM

Interestingly enough, I finished the second part of my blueprint with a trade based on Dozier and Santana (and a few more pieces) that lands the Twins a legitimate Ace.

Here.


No chance the Mets give up Syndergaard for two 30+ year olds on expiring contracts, and Nick Gordon. But, that would be pretty epic if possible.