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Article: Q&A: Offseason Plans, Molitor's Status and Much More

eduardo escobar eddie rosario jake odorizzi fernando romero matt belisle
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 12:21 PM

I asked the Twins Daily community for questions earlier this week, today I'm going to take a crack at answering them. I'd also love it to see your answers down in the comments. Let's get things rolling with a question about the offseason ...

“with no immediate heir apparent at 2nd base, first base, catcher, and the need to bolster the 8th inning setup man and if things went well, I’d imagine front of rotation, how do you think the FO will fill those roles? There’s maybe 50/60 mil in payroll to play with, and all those prospects to dangle. It’s a huge roster turn over, can they get it all done in one offseason/up to all star break?”

-Sconnie

An Eduardo Escobar reunion makes so much sense. He can fill your opening at second base as well as provide insurance at third. I’m of the mind you can stick pretty much anybody over a first base. There will be plenty of options out there in free agency, but I’m also interested in what Tyler Austin can do. Max Kepler has experience there, though he’s also a borderline Gold Glove right fielder, so it may be a waste to put him at first. I believe LaMonte Wade played there some in college. Either way, I don’t think the Twins should be falling over themselves to bring Joe Mauer back. Still, a reunion would make a lot of sense, so I would project Mauer to be the Opening Day first baseman in 2019.

I personally don’t see a huge need at catcher. I think a lot of teams would love to have a duo of Jason Castro and Mitch Garver, assuming Castro comes back healthy. Yasmani Grandal and Wilson Ramos would be significant upgrades, but I feel like other teams are going to be more desperate to get them.

I believe the front office made a strong effort to land Yu Darvish last year, but your big free agents just aren’t going to be jumping at the chance to come play in Minnesota. No matter how much money there is sitting around, guys aren’t coming here until this club has shown it’s a legit World Series contender. I think the front office can reload and put together a competitive roster over the offseason, but taking it to the next level would probably be delayed until the trade deadline.

“Why Belisle? Rosario for real?”

-USAFChief

I’ve been blowing off so much steam about Matt Belisle on Twitter that Seth threatened to unfollow me over it :) I don’t have an answer to that question. My best guess is that the front office is trying to secure a better draft pick next year and they know Paul Molitor can’t resist using him. Now that Fernando Rodney has been traded, it wouldn’t shock me at all if Belisle becomes the closer once he’s activated off the DL. Yuck. The only thing I'm certain about when it comes to Belisile is he truly must be a really awesome guy.

Eddie Rosario’s free-swinging tendencies are cause for concern, but I still have to say he’s absolutely for real. Since the start of last season, Rosie has hit .294/.333/.503 (.837 OPS) in 1,079 plate appearances. To put that into context, Justin Morneau had an .832 OPS in his time with the Twins. Eddie drives me nuts sometimes, but he’s also probably my favorite Twin now that Escobar is gone.

“Do you really believe that Molitor is the manager who can take us to the WS?

How big of a diffence do you think it will be between what the Twins could/should do and what they will actually do this off-season?

What do you really think went on behind-the-scenes and in the clubhouse regarding the rumors about a toxic clubhouse?”

-Carole Keller

I think a manager’s impact on wins and losses is generally overstated, but no, I don’t have a lot of confidence that Molitor is a manager who could lead a team to a World Series title. That being said, Ned Yost did it … so anything’s possible. I'll circle back to Molly in just a sec.

Taking a look at the free agents that are expected to be available, I’m not really sure what I think the Twins should do. I’m sure the expectation from the majority of the fan base will be that they go out and fill in the payroll to a level that’s similar to this year, but I don’t think they’re going to be able to attract any of the big names like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado and I don’t expect them to spend just for spending’s sake. I’d bet they have a savvy offseason, but get ripped to shreds for not bumping the payroll up higher.

It’s tough to speculate on anything regarding the clubhouse from the outside in, but I think it has more to do with losing than anything. Losing sucks. The roster turnover couldn’t have helped either, and I’m not just talking about the new guys. Ervin Santana, Jason Castro, Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco were all expected to be regulars. With those guys being out in combination with adding a crop of free agents who were mostly bitter about their lack of a market, it would be no surprise if there was some turbulence.

Now that, however, is something I think a manager should be able to have an impact on. It wouldn't be surprising to hear that some of the players are frustrated by the front office turning the page, but that should be an issue that's addressed internally.

I still don't think Molitor is going anywhere. It's clear ownership loves him, hard for me to see them moving on until maybe this time next season.

“Will Odorizzi be back next year? Will Fernando Romero make the starting rotation out of spring training next year?”

-FormerMinnasotan

Yes, I would expect Jake Odorizzi to be in the 2019 rotation. He should be expected to perform at about a league-average level. You don’t just let a starting pitcher like that walk unless you’re trying to slash payroll. A lot of what happens with Romero will depend on how the next couple months play out, but I would predict that he’ll start next year in Triple A.

At this point a year ago, it would have been really hard to envision a scenario in which Adalberto Mejia wasn’t going to be in the rotation for this year, but he’s only made four starts with the Twins. I could see something similar happening to Romero. I also wouldn’t be shocked if Romero was pushed into a multi-inning relief role, similar to how Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano got their feet wet in the bigs. But again, that’ll also depend on who they go out and add.

“What should TD be paying you per game recap?”

-TheLeviathan

Well, how much would you pay me per game recap as a reader? Probably nothing. It’s really hard to make money on the Internet. I’ve contributed to a lot of other places online and this is by far the best situation I’ve been in. TD could probably make some more money if the site was bombarded with ads, like some other places, but I like things the way they are.

“What's your favorite Target Field food?”

-scottz

I will often bring my own food into Target Field, but my go-to concession stand item is the Turkey to Go sandwich. I like how they have the seasonings and sauce at the stand so you can flavor it to your liking. A pretty simple item, but an old standby.

“How many five year olds could you take in a fight before they overpower you?

Be honest.”

-Mr. Brooks

Oh boy, probably not very many. I don’t think I’ve been in a fight since middle school and all five-year-olds do is fight. So even though I’m older, they’ve definitely got the upper hand in terms of experience. I’ve got the size and the strength, but the five-year-olds would have a considerable advantage in the stamina department.

This was a real brainteaser, so I did what any responsible human would do in 2018 and looked it up on the Internet. It says I could take on 21 five-year-olds, but that sounds like a really high number to me. Since you specifically asked me to be honest, I’d say 11. That’s assuming we’re talking about 11 five-year olds who are really gung-ho about scrappin’.

Alright, that's it from me. Thanks for reading, please add your two cents in the comments and let me know if you'd be interersted in similar Q&As becoming a regular feature here on the site.

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#2 mikelink45

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 12:58 PM

There are a lot of questions and I have one that is probably not popular because you can read into my answer.Is this FO as good as they think they are?Do they really have a plan for promotions and prospect growth?Why are they enamored with cast offs from every other team?Can they overcome their love affair with their own selections and drop players like Morrison when the answer is obvious?Do they like our own prospects?And if so why don't they give our players a sense of timing for their arrival.No I am not a fan of theirs. 

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#3 Platoon

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 01:12 PM

I am of the opinion the FO is going to go pretty deeply into a rebuild. They are a little short of a basis to just add some pieces, and sort of too talented to completely tear down and start over. I think to have a chance to be competitive they will need to move quite a bit of dead weight. And I doubt 2019 will be that great a year, since some of their better prospects seem another year away. I would think May is currently their best chance to have a legitimate closer style arm, if he holds up physically? Last but not least, I just do not see how they can go forward with Molitor. I simply cannot find one item that makes me believe in his ability to manage a MLB team. And what compounds that feeling is the timing of the future roster. It's going to take some patience and frankly losing some games to move forward. He has shown no inclination to do that in any year he has been here. No one like to lose, but there are times when it's the key to a winning future.
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#4 USAFChief

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 01:38 PM

Great work, Tom. Thanks.
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#5 ashburyjohn

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 02:33 PM

Eleven five-year olds would be too much for me, to say nothing of 21. I'm not ruthless enough. An average one weighs 40-50 pounds so 11 of them total about 500. Unless I cold-cock several of them within the first few seconds, they will swarm and overwhelm me. My mistake would be to try, "doesn't anyone want to pet this puppy?" And then down I go, Gulliver-style.

 

I have nothing to add to Tom's fine baseball answers.

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#6 MikeW

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 08:36 PM

I look for the Twins to take a shot at free agent Daniel Murphy currently in his final contract year with the Nats. Murphy is a perennial .300 BA hitter and single handedly won the World Series for the Mets by hitting home runs in each of 6 World Series games.
Murphy came off knee surgery this season but is performing at the same level he performed at pre-injury.
We now realize the Twins like free agents who have come off of major injuries.
Right now, the Twins farm system is not yielding a reliable 2B. Nick Gordon is hitting about .215 BA and commits a ton of errors.

#7 spycake

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 08:38 PM

Murphy is a perennial .300 BA hitter and single handedly won the World Series for the Mets by hitting home runs in each of 6 World Series games.


Mets fans will be thrilled to learn that! Royals fans, not so much.
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#8 MikeW

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 08:46 PM

Mets fans will be thrilled to learn that! Royals fans, not so much.


DYK? Murphy on record 6-game HR streak
With 7 homers this postseason, 1 shy of all-time mark

https://www.mlb.com/...eak/c-155222956

http://m.mlb.com/pla...7/daniel-murphy

#9 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 08:51 PM

DYK? Murphy on record 6-game HR streak
With 7 homers this postseason, 1 shy of all-time mark

https://www.mlb.com/...eak/c-155222956

http://m.mlb.com/pla...7/daniel-murphy


That was NLCS.
Mets lost the WS to the Royals.
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#10 MikeW

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Posted 11 August 2018 - 08:58 PM

Mr Brooks

You do agree that he was a huge reason for the Mets reaching the World Series, win or lose, no?

You do acknowledge that Murphy would be a terrific placeholder at 2B while we wait for the farm hands to develop, no?

We can pick nits, but the point is that the Twins will likely take a shot at getting Murphy, right?

#11 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 07:24 AM

Mr Brooks

You do agree that he was a huge reason for the Mets reaching the World Series, win or lose, no?

You do acknowledge that Murphy would be a terrific placeholder at 2B while we wait for the farm hands to develop, no?

We can pick nits, but the point is that the Twins will likely take a shot at getting Murphy, right?


He's a negative WAR player this year, and will be 34 next year.
I'd have no interest, and I doubt the FO will either.
I'd rather resign Escobar.
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#12 Riverbrian

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 07:50 AM

 

Murphy is a perennial .300 BA hitter and single handedly won the World Series for the Mets by hitting home runs in each of 6 World Series games.
 

 

I don't remember his contributions from the last Mets World championship.

 

I remember Bill Buckner helping a little.:)

 

 

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#13 bighat

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 08:21 AM

 

He's a negative WAR player this year, and will be 34 next year.
I'd have no interest, and I doubt the FO will either.
I'd rather resign Escobar.

Agreed. I have zero interest in a 34 year-old 2nd baseman whose stock is falling like a rock joining the Twins. I hope the front office feels the same.

 

Escobar would be a great fit but something tells me a reunion isn't as likely as we all hope.

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#14 ND-Fan

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 10:41 AM

I don't expect much in free agency signings for the coming year they may sign couple of relievers but no real money put out for number of years. I think there whole plan is on gamble that Sano and Buxton turn things around. Then hope Kepler finally puts everything together hitting this year proved he could hit left hand pitching but he couldn't hit right hand pitching. Also he has been unlucky getting better results with way he has hit the ball. Starting pitching looks to be about as good as the Twins have had in recent history. Still a lot of ifs on this front only time will tell. Everybody is talking about Escobar returning but I have feeling he's going to cost a lot more than Twins are willing to pay. I thinking he one the players all the metrics guys are falling in love with can play several positions he hits well for average and still has some pop in his bat. If Buxton can return and stay healthy and begin to hit again the out field will be above average. Sano coming back in shape will secure left side of the infield. Mauer if signed again will anchor 1 base. The big question will be who will play second base my guess will be Gordon until he proves he can't next year. This where they look for Escobar but like I say the cost may to high for the Twins. They will look for a cheaper version on shorter contract. This plan is all based on the big if for the Twins that Buxton and Sano become big pieces to the core of this team.If not the whole plan falls apart and they have no older core to fall back to carry this team like Dozier and Escobar. Every one thinks they are going to sign big name free agents its not going to happen. We will know by June of next year where we stand but I would hate to be on business side of Twins operation.How are you going to sell this team and get people to buy season tickets. I think the public will take same approach that Front Office has done see what they have adjust their plan by how this team does.  


#15 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 10:51 AM

I think you're a year early on Gordon. I think they'll try to re-sign Forsythe on a 2 year deal and if that doesn't work will get another vet on a 2 or 3 year deal. Gordon is more than a year away.

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#16 Doomtints

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Posted 12 August 2018 - 12:04 PM

Is this FO as good as they think they are? 

They thought they were a lot closer than they were when putting together the pieces for 2018. So, at this point, no. They did a nice job fielding a team that could beat Cleveland, but they have to be able to beat other teams too. This was their first crack at putting a team together, so they deserve more time to figure things out.

 

Do they really have a plan for promotions and prospect growth?

Yes.

 

Why are they enamored with cast offs from every other team?

I don't feel like they are.

 

Can they overcome their love affair with their own selections and drop players like Morrison when the answer is obvious?

Morrison and Rodney were weird pick-ups, but one of them worked out OK. The weirder part about Morrison is the caliber of players that he blocked. They had a lot of people who would have been better.

 

Do they like our own prospects?

Yes.

 

And if so why don't they give our players a sense of timing for their arrival.

They are not good at communicating with their employees. Dozier said the first time he talked to them was at the winter meetings last year. Sad. But I will say that as a manager, you don't want to make promises you can't keep. They would be lying if they say they ever truly know when a player will be called up.


#17 hybridbear

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 07:43 AM

Bring your own food to Target Field? I thought that wasn't allowed...


#18 Number3

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 07:57 AM

1) Murphy will never play for the Twins.

2) Over the course of a season, managers have a huge impact on the final results. Molitor is obviously just along for the ride and assumes no responsibility for anything. Obviously the players play the game but the manager must provide the glue, the team attitude and consistency from game to game to say nothing of decisions that do directly determine the outcome of enough games to make a huge difference.

3) The notion that the front office has any plan at all is comical.

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#19 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 11:14 AM

Bring your own food to Target Field? I thought that wasn't allowed...


It's allowed.

#20 spycake

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 11:21 AM

 

Bring your own food to Target Field? I thought that wasn't allowed...

Outside food is definitely allowed.

 

Generally no outside beverages, though: "Sealed, bottled water 32 oz. or less, and soft sided single juice or milk containers for children are the only outside beverages permitted into Target Field."

 

https://www.mlb.com/...formation/guide

 

I bring empty an empty water bottle and fill it up at a water fountain, and/or get a free soda coupon at the Designated Driver booths by sections 130 and 222.

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