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Article: Twins Daily Roundtable: Biggest Off-Season Need

bryon buxton miguel sano jose berrios max kepler jorge polanco
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#1 Cody Christie

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 10:30 AM

Twins Daily Roundtable is a weekly series. As part of this series, a question will be posed to the site’s writers and they will respond in 200 words or less (Some writers don’t like to stick to this limit). This will give readers an opportunity to see multiple points of view and then add their own point of view in the comments section.

With the regular season quickly coming to a close, Twins fans might be starting to think about next season. Minnesota has a lot of money coming off the books and very few contracts signed for next season. With this shift, comes the opportunity to reshape a roster.

This week’s Roundtable discussion is: “What’s Minnesota’s biggest need this off-season?John Bonnes
Can I be so vague as to say "a middle-of-the-order bat?" The lineup's strength this year was supposed to be its depth, and that still might be the case with anticipated growth from Jorge Polanco, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Miguel Sano. But when the middle-of-the-order bats fail to live up to their expectations, the team is left with an average offense. And a few injuries and it quickly becomes below average.

This offseason shouldn't be about filling in pieces. It should be about finding some foundational cornerstones upon whom the Twins can rely for the next four seasons at least.

Tom Froemming
How many times have I got to say this? Willians Astudillo lifetime contract. That's item No. 1.

Once that's worked out, the Twins are going to need to focus on quality. They already have quantity, but not a ton of players you can truly count on. I'd say the biggest need would be to find a threat to put into the middle of the lineup. I'm not confident Miguel Sano ever gets back to what he was, and as much as I love Eddie Rosario, if he's the best slugger in your 2019 lineup, you've got issues.

The pitching staff has its share of needs to address as well, but it's really difficult to win without a lineup that's able to produce on a consistent basis.

Ted Schwerzler
To a certain extent, the answer probably always needs to be pitching. It's great that the Twins have given Gonsalves, De Jong, Littell, and Stewart some run here down the stretch. It has been equally beneficial to see Andrew Vasquez coming out of the pen. The reality however, is that none of them look like anything close to a certainty opening the 2019 season.

Minnesota should have Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi, and Jose Berrios penned into the rotation, but things are less certain behind them. Fernando Romero is likely a near lock to start in the big leagues, but another mid-to-upper level arm would be a big plus. The bullpen will need some retooling as well with the departures 2018 has seen take place. Although you can make arguments for bats around the diamond, lots depends on how the Twins want to configure their in-house options.

Cody Christie
To me, one of the biggest issues with 2018 was the underperformance of key pieces in the line-up. That being said, players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jose Berrios need to take the next step. If the Twins are going to contend, their young players need to turn into the team’s most valuable pieces.
Sano has already been discussing his weight and he hopes to come into next season after a strong off-season spent between Fort Myers and the Dominican Republic. Buxton needs to prove he can stay healthy and handle the rigors of a full big-league season. Berrios was an All-Star but there is certainly some room for improvement after some up and down moments this year. Kepler might never be a middle of the order bat, but he could certainly become more consistent.

There are obviously plenty of holes to fill in the roster but the Twins need their young core to take the next step.

Steve Lein
With the Twins underachieving this year they sent off several veteran contributors and newcomers at the trade deadline, opening plenty of holes or questions for the 2019 season. Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Ryan Pressly, Lance Lynn, Fernando Rodney, and Zach Duke all found themselves in new places. That was nearly a quarter of their opening day roster.

You had an All Star second baseman, an extra-base-hitting-machine, shutdown set-up man, mid-rotation starter, and a closer in that group. You might lose Joe Mauer to retirement as well. Point is there are a lot of needs for this team.

When you ask me for the biggest need I’ll always point to starting pitching, however. Jose Berrios has had a great season and made the first of hopefully many All-Star teams, but he still has some development to turn into that “ace” we all covet. Thankfully the Twins lost out on Yu Darvish last year, but every team must spend money on pitchers at some point if they want to contend. With the payroll space they will have this offseason, they should shoot as high as they can to help their rotation.

If you missed any of the most recent roundtable discussions, here are the links:

Shifting Service Time

The Looming Mauer Decision

Grading the Front Office

Grading Molitor

Closing Time

Click here to view the article
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#2 mlhouse

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 10:38 AM

The Twins are a rebuilding team and rebuilding teams do not have "needs" unless "talent" can be listed as a need.

 

Of their 25 man roster, they have perhaps 3-4 answered questions:

 

1.starting pitcherJ.J. Berrios(and even his upside level unanswered)

2.3rd-4th starting pitcher Kyle Gibson

3.3rd-4th stating pitcherJake Odorizzi

4.quality corner outfielder Eddie Rosario

 

Beyond that everything is unknown and the Twins did not do much to answer those questions.  

 

Now, the real question is how will management respond.Will they plug in a bunch of mediocre players they can sign on the cheap and give us more of the same?Or will they tear it apart and enter serious rebuilding?

 

I say they will do the former and 2019 figures to be another lsot season..

 

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#3 SF Twins Fan

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 10:48 AM

It's always going to come down to pitching. The Twins could use another pitcher to pair with Berrios at the top of the order and a legit closer to go with Rogers, Hildenberger and May.

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#4 gunnarthor

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 11:17 AM

They need talent. Only three guys -Buxton, Sano and Rosario - have all-star or better ceilings right now and Buxton and Sano have big question marks. Kepler and Polanco can be serviceable starters in the MI and RF but they're just complementary pieces right now. After that, the Twins have some big holes.

 

C- Garver/Castro - ugh, but probably passable in today's MLB

1B - Sano

2B - ?

SS - Polanco

3B - ?

LF - Rosario

CF - Buxton 

RF - Kepler

DH - ?

 

If we're dreaming, Manny Machado is the perfect fit for us (and every other team). But realistically, the FO is going to have to fix the line-up substantially. I like Cave as a 4th OFer but I'd be ok if we moved Kepler and plugged him into RF until Kiriloff was up. But the Twins can't have a bunch of black holes in the lineup again. They need some professional hitters. I'm not sure what's out there though.

 

https://www.mlbtrade...ree-agents.html

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#5 gunnarthor

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 11:19 AM

I think pitching is a smaller concern, which is a bit shocking. But Gibson, Berrios and Odorizzi are all solid enough and we have Romero coming up and a bunch of arms behind that. I'd be ok adding another top arm, of course, but I'd rather the FO focus on improving the lineup.

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#6 Vanimal46

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 11:25 AM

Gunnarthor hit the nail on the head. Their biggest need is talent all over the field.

1B, 2B, SS, 3B, CF, and DH are all question marks.

They also need talent in the bullpen. At least 3 acquisitions are needed there too.
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#7 Battle ur tail off

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 11:29 AM

I'd try to go after Nelson Cruz on a 1 or 2 year deal. He's a bopper, Twins had a chance on him a few years back and didn't get him when they should've. Bring him in and let him DH. 

 

Find someone to play either one of the infield spots besides 1B. If you can find someone to play 3B, move Sano to 1. If you find a SS, move Polanco to 2B and if you find a 2B, leave everyone where they are at. 

 

Bullpen. Have to find at least 2 very solid guys of this will be a huge problem for them next year. We have money, spend it on the 2 best guys available. 

 

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#8 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 11:30 AM

Lots and lots more talent......

 

1B, 2B, SS, CF, DH, and at least one more SP they can count on....oh, and 2-3 RPs.

 

So, ya, lots of things.....

 

but if I have to pick one thing to add, it would be a SP that is a 2/3 for the next 4 years.....give or take. That would be huge for this team. Kiriloff and Lewis are coming, as are Rooker and Weil and Gordon. What they really need is a really good starting pitcher (or 2 very good RPs).

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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#9 EddieMatthews

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 11:31 AM

The Twins have really gone downhill in 2018, evidenced by many comments that say their starting pitching is now their strength.  Of the 25 roster spots, we have three known starting pitchers and maybe 2-3 position players.  A year ago, all the positions had solid names after them and the questions were on the mound.  

 

Perhaps the biggest need for the Twins is in the front office.

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#10 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 11:40 AM

 

The Twins are a rebuilding team and rebuilding teams do not have "needs" unless "talent" can be listed as a need.

 

Of their 25 man roster, they have perhaps 3-4 answered questions:

 

1.starting pitcherJ.J. Berrios(and even his upside level unanswered)

2.3rd-4th starting pitcher Kyle Gibson

3.3rd-4th stating pitcherJake Odorizzi

4.quality corner outfielder Eddie Rosario

 

Beyond that everything is unknown and the Twins did not do much to answer those questions.  

 

Now, the real question is how will management respond.Will they plug in a bunch of mediocre players they can sign on the cheap and give us more of the same?Or will they tear it apart and enter serious rebuilding?

 

I say they will do the former and 2019 figures to be another lsot season..

I think this is a little pessimistic. Using the "players who would be solid contibuting starters on a contending team" standard, I think We have:

 

a) 2-4 OFs (Rosario and Cave, jury out on Kepler (can't hit) and Buxton (ditto)), but enough to leave the OF alone or supplement with a Michael Brantley type and move Kepler to 1B on a time share with Austin,

 

2)A 2B (Polanco),

 

c) 2 reasonable catchers and even possibly a third (Castro, Garver and Astudillo),

 

d) a solid UTL (Adrianza),

 

e) 3, maybe 4 starters (Berrios # 2, Gibson #3 and Odorizzi #4, with Mejia and Pineda as psosible #5s),

 

f)5 BP pieces (Hildengerger, Rogers, May, Mejia/Pineda and Moya), and

 

g)Maaaaybe a 3B (Sano, jury is still waaaay out) and maaaaybe a 1B (Austin, but he strikes out waaaay too much).

 

The big problem is that what we need includes the hardest things to find because it's the top end. We have the complimentary players, just not guys who can carry a team except for Rosario. We Need:

 

1) A true top of the rotation starter - my vote is for Patrick Corbin;

 

2) A real, reliable closer because nothing kills a baseball team faster than losing leads/games in the late innings - I say Kelvim Herrera;

 

3) A dependable defensive SS who can hit a little - Igelsias is the closest thing I see out there or trade for Starlin Castro and hope Polanco actually can play SS; and

 

4) A real middle of the order bat who can play 3B, DH, SS, 2B, or OF. There isn't a FA to fill that role; Escobar is the closest and we should absolutely try to get him.

 

My solutions:

 

1).SIgn Patrick Corbin, Kelvim Herrera, Eduardo Escobar and Michael Brantley.

 

2).Trade with the Marlins for Starlin Castro to play 2B and/or Realmuto to catch. Offer any MILB pitcher we have except Romero, 2 if need be, and include Romero if we can get Realmuto.  

 

3).Pray that at least one of Sano, Buxton, Kepler or Polanco becomes a true middle of the order bat/ competent MLB player in the case of Buxton, pray that Austin and Cave are actually at least as good as they've shown since we got them and actually could be better, and pray that one of the AAA guys actually becomes a middle of the rotation starter. 

 

 

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#11 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 11:58 AM

No one else may agree with this, but I would put Lewis at SS and leave him there.

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#12 gunnarthor

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 12:08 PM

 

No one else may agree with this, but I would put Lewis at SS and leave him there.

He's not ready yet. No reason to burn away three years of control while his bat waits to catch up.

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#13 drbob524

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 12:13 PM

new medical staff? 

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#14 nicksaviking

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 12:17 PM

Tangibly, I think they need to identify a reliable big RH bat. I'm not giving up on Sano or Buxton, but they need someone else they can be reasonably confident won't falter. And go crazy on free agent relievers, but unlike last year, get the high velocity variety this time.

 

Intangibly, they need new energy. This team never looked like a confident contender at any point of this season. They need to get someone or do something to kick-start the enthusiasm again. Not with the fans, just with the players. Winning is all you need to breed enthusiasm with the fans.

 

 

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#15 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 12:26 PM

 

They need talent. Only three guys -Buxton, Sano and Rosario - have all-star or better ceilings right now and Buxton and Sano have big question marks. Kepler and Polanco can be serviceable starters in the MI and RF but they're just complementary pieces right now. After that, the Twins have some big holes.

 

C- Garver/Castro - ugh, but probably passable in today's MLB

1B - Sano

2B - ?

SS - Polanco

3B - ?

LF - Rosario

CF - Buxton 

RF - Kepler

DH - ?

 

If we're dreaming, Manny Machado is the perfect fit for us (and every other team). But realistically, the FO is going to have to fix the line-up substantially. I like Cave as a 4th OFer but I'd be ok if we moved Kepler and plugged him into RF until Kiriloff was up. But the Twins can't have a bunch of black holes in the lineup again. They need some professional hitters. I'm not sure what's out there though.

 

https://www.mlbtrade...ree-agents.html

I pretty much agree... except the part of penciling in Buxton there. I'm not sure I'm comfortable going north with Buxton at this point. Way too many seasons of not being able to hit. I'd like (if there is one) a 1 year make good deal from a CF with upside and plan on Buxton spending 2019 in the minors. 

 

I agree though on the rest of it. We need a DH, and as John mentioned, a middle of the order type. We need a 2B. I'm not ready to hand that to Gordon. One would hope we could bring Escobar in to fill that role till Gordon is ready and then move to a flex role at that point. 

 

As for pitching, yeah, I'm not too worried about that. Maybe an arm in the pen, but pitching wasn't our problem this year. 

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#16 Riverbrian

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 12:47 PM

Position Flexibility and Depth are the biggest off-season needs. 

 

 

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#17 Shaitan

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 12:56 PM

Medical staff, fundamentals coaches, and (I'll get torn apart for this one) veteran leadership.

 

After that, somebody capable of providing Ervin-or-better innings and another 25+ HR bat.


#18 TheLeviathan

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 01:26 PM

Go get Grienke.

 

I'd try and bring back Escobar and then here are just a few guys I'd target: McCutcheon (CF insurance, right handed OF, DH) or Leonys Martin, Escobar, Nelson Cruz, and any bullpen guy with a pulse.

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#19 Tomj14

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 02:10 PM

 

Go get Grienke.

 

I'd try and bring back Escobar and then here are just a few guys I'd target: McCutcheon (CF insurance, right handed OF, DH) or Leonys Martin, Escobar, Nelson Cruz, and any bullpen guy with a pulse.

Love the Grienke Idea and some of the others. But the more I look into Escobar's (I love his flexibility) numbers is he really the guy the twins want to give starter money to?

 

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#20 USAFChief

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 02:14 PM

They need to add talent (not just potential, but actual MLB talent), lots of it, and get Sano and Buxton to magically turn into the 1.000 OPS beasts we were hoping for.
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