Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email
Photo

Article: 5 Things the Twins Absolutely Must Accomplish This Offseason

byron buxton jose berrios
  • Please log in to reply
82 replies to this topic

#21 Mike Sixel

Mike Sixel

    Now living in Oregon

  • Members
  • 27,565 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 09:53 AM

 

1) Maybe a deal with the Rockies for Jon Gray and Ryan Mcmahon (3B/1B) ?

2) I'd also love the extensions you mention, as well as potentially a strong glove/defensive shortstop. I'll say Jose Iglesias would look great here.

3) Sign a reliever to a 2 year deal (like Reed's contract) and some 1 year minor league contracts for the bullpen and see what plays out.

4) Get everyone healthy and ready to roll. Let's go!

 

The Rockies are not trading Gray. Why would they? I had that dream this year, when they sent him down, but it isn't happening. But I wish it would!

  • Cory Engelhardt, tarheeltwinsfan, Tomj14 and 1 other like this

I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#22 Mike Sixel

Mike Sixel

    Now living in Oregon

  • Members
  • 27,565 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 09:54 AM

Very well written and probably mostly correct article. Nicely done.

  • Nick Nelson, TheLeviathan, dbminn and 1 other like this

I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#23 JLease

JLease

    Ft Myers

  • Members
  • 322 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 10:01 AM

 

Rosario actually had his best season defensively by most accounts. UZR liked his range and I believe he's among the MLB leaders in OF assists. This matches the eye test for me — I think he's mostly been terrific out there. Kepler's solid but not as much of a difference-maker from my view.

 

Rosario seems to have gone back more to the OF we were hoping he'd be in 2015 and rebounded nicely from an awful defensive year in 2017. If he can continue to be the kind of hitter he's been the last two season and the defender he's been in every year other than 2017, he's a very nice corner OF and someone to build with.

 

Kepler had a disappointing season, there's no way around it. He simply did not take a significant step forward on offense, which leaves him in a bad spot. He's an excellent defender in the corners and an acceptable one in center, but without more offense he's profiling as a nice 4th OF, not a starter. 

 

What to do about RF is a little bit of a problem for the Twins. Kirilloff looks like the real deal, but is he 1 year away or 2? And while he's destroyed A-ball, the jump to AA can be a tough one. Betting on him to be the RF of the future in a year is a definite gamble. So do you keep rolling with Kepler as a starter or do you go looking for FA in what should be one of the easier positions fill to protect yourself from having to rush Kirilloff or as insurance in case he actually isn't the sure thing? Lord knows, i don't want to run with Robbie Grossman as a starting RF!

 

Is lamonte wade ready to contribute next year? He didn't hit enough at AAA this year to give you a lot of confidence there.

 

Figuring out RF is something the twins need to do, and I think it's one of the harder decisions.

 

I generally agree with Nick's priorities, but #6 is RF to me.

  • 70charger likes this

#24 Mike Sixel

Mike Sixel

    Now living in Oregon

  • Members
  • 27,565 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 10:15 AM

Kepler was league median in RF among all teams.....I don't understand why people don't like him as an OF.......Of course, that was largely driven by very good defense, so I understand why people want more hitting......but I'm not sure replacing him with a bad fielder who hits more is a better idea. I'd rather they just let him try to keep hitting.....and he can play CF, just in case Buxton can't hit at all again....

  • birdwatcher, Twins33, 70charger and 9 others like this

I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#25 mlhouse

mlhouse

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 583 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 10:22 AM

Five things the Twins must do this offseason.

 

1.While I like Paul Molitor, and can even be convinced he is a good manager, I don't think he is a good manager for this rebuilding team.The team needs to find a manager that is adept at developing young talent and has the patience to work on their mistakes and lose games, this offseason.

 

2.Instead of fantasies of acquiring, in any manner, a top level starter this team needs to commit to its young core group that isn't even close to the majors today.Kiriloff, Lewis, Rooker, Gordon amongst others need to get full commitments from the team at the major league level.These guys need to work in with the other younger players we have on the roster and we need to find the bulk of a lineup and staff we can move forward with AND compete.Even though this will cost us losses in 2019, doing so sooner rather than later will save losses in the future.

 

3.THey need to move on from Joe Mauer.While Mauer is the only semblence to an identity that the Twins have and he is still a serviceable player, he can only play a position that the Twins need to work defensive limited players like Sano and Austin through the lineup.With Mauer entrenched at first it severely limits what the team can do.

 

4.Again, with respect to Berrios, the team needs to do the opposite of what the orginal poster suggests.While I agree that Berrios is a solid player, there is no sense in extending him while the team still has control.In professional sports, four years is the long run, and many of the variables can change in that time, and the leverage still remains if they want to lock him up next season.But there are also downside risks.WHy lock up a guy at a contract value significanly higher than what he would get under team control and then have him encounter an injury.Instead, the team should maintain their financial flexibility and then HOPE that Berrios deserves a huge contract when the period of team control expires. 

 

5.WIth respect to Buxton, again, the proper course is just the opposite suggested by the OP.His performance as a major league baseball player does not warrant anything beyond the minimum contract offer, and an aribitrator is going to see it that way too.Give him the minimum.Make him hungry.Make him inspired.Push him to EARN more.If Buxton gets back on the field committed then he can easily earn everything that is due.

  • Mike Sixel and Battle ur tail off like this

#26 jtkoupal

jtkoupal

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 269 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 11:09 AM

I prefer the idea of acquiring a legitimate #2 or #3 starter, but another idea has gotten my attention lately. What if the Twins went with a 4.5 man rotation, and used the "Fifth Starter" days to piggyback with the likes of Romero, Gonsalves, Stewart, De Jong, & Littell?

 

The Twins could skip the 5th starter when off days allow (at least some of the time) and then, when the 5th Starter does need to pitch, use two pitchers to piggyback.

There are plenty of options, so they can be sent up and down as team needs dictate. One pitcher can pitch 3-4 innings, and the other can pitch another 3-4. 

 

It's wonky and unconventional, but it could negate the need to spend big on a free agent, which is always a risk. I prefer to sign an established pitcher, but if you can get similar production from a bunch of guys making league-minimum, you might want to think long and hard.

 

 

 

 

  • Mike Sixel and Minny505 like this

#27 USAFChief

USAFChief

    Anyone got a smoke?

  • Twins Mods
  • 22,140 posts
  • LocationTucson

Posted 21 September 2018 - 11:18 AM

 

I prefer the idea of acquiring a legitimate #2 or #3 starter, but another idea has gotten my attention lately. What if the Twins went with a 4.5 man rotation, and used the "Fifth Starter" days to piggyback with the likes of Romero, Gonsalves, Stewart, De Jong, & Littell?

 

The Twins could skip the 5th starter when off days allow (at least some of the time) and then, when the 5th Starter does need to pitch, use two pitchers to piggyback.

There are plenty of options, so they can be sent up and down as team needs dictate. One pitcher can pitch 3-4 innings, and the other can pitch another 3-4. 

 

It's wonky and unconventional, but it could negate the need to spend big on a free agent, which is always a risk. I prefer to sign an established pitcher, but if you can get similar production from a bunch of guys making league-minimum, you might want to think long and hard.

So, then, what...a 14 man staff??

  • Mike Sixel, Danchat and wsnydes like this

Cutting my carbs...with a pizza slicer.


#28 Vanimal46

Vanimal46

    Opener Poster

  • Members
  • 10,956 posts
  • LocationAustin, TX

Posted 21 September 2018 - 11:21 AM

I don't want to piggy back starters or deal with openers next season. Find 5 good starting pitchers. That should always be the goal. Always.
  • DocBauer, wsnydes, Tomj14 and 1 other like this

#29 ChrisKnutson

ChrisKnutson

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 308 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 11:24 AM

1) Maybe a deal with the Rockies for Jon Gray and Ryan Mcmahon (3B/1B) ?
2) I'd also love the extensions you mention, as well as potentially a strong glove/defensive shortstop. I'll say Jose Iglesias would look great here.
3) Sign a reliever to a 2 year deal (like Reed's contract) and some 1 year minor league contracts for the bullpen and see what plays out.
4) Get everyone healthy and ready to roll. Let's go!


Instead of McMahon, how about Wilmer Flores? He’s got some playoff experience, positional flexibility (1st/3rd/SS/2nd), and is a decent bat who’s capable of taking a walk.
  • Cory Engelhardt likes this

#30 mike8791

mike8791

    Elizabethton

  • Members
  • 41 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 11:37 AM

Nick, I always look forward yo your postings.They are well written, to the point, and lack the "Minnesota nice" slant that too many other posters seem hung up on.But(there's always a but I'm afraid), in this case I have to strenuously disagree with your conclusions.

 

First of all, the FO has to look at this current roster under the magnifying glass and realistically determine if there is a core worth building upon in the offseason to legitimately compete with Cleveland next year'If the answer is yes, then Plan A should be implemented. In order of importance, here are the five things they must do:

 

1. Trade for a potential #1 starter who gives the team a legitimate shot at winning the first game of a playoff series.Berrios is not there yet and from what I've seen in big games, is very unlikely to morph into the ace needed for such competition.Hope I'm wrong but his dominant performances have been largely against sub-.500 teams.Potential trade targets: one of the Mets big three, Baumgartner, Greinke, or perhaps even Snell.We have some depth in our system and could put together a nice package of top prospects, including anyone not named Lewis or Kirillof(and for Snell or DeGrom, yes, I would include either).Forget FA for an ace - none are available and the Twins don't have it in their DNA to win a bidding war, which is not a bad thing.

 

2.Second, find a cleanup hitter probably thru FA who can rotate between DH/1B.This means finding someone who can fill the void left by Sano.No, I'm not giving up completely on Sano but to count on him to be the cleanup hitter would count as dereliction of duty by the FO.The Twins lack of a middle of the lineup hitter is a glaring hole and must be filled if they are going to contend next year.Nelson Cruz could be available, but there are a number of good hit/no field thumpers who are alsways available in the offseason.All it takes is money, which in the post-Mauer years, the Twins will have in abundance, should they choose to spend it.

 

3. Find two shutdown relievers who can handle the 8th and 9th innings.With the possible exception of Rogers who has shown some signs of being more than just a LOOGY, the other bullpen holdovers have shown nothing to indicate they can be counted on in critical game-saving situations.Lots of middle inning fillers, but a clear lack of closers.This is one of the most disappointing results of 2018, but it is the reality of the Twins' relief staff this year.Free agency is the only way to fix this mess and the Twins have to be prepared to be agressive if they are serious about contention.

 

4.As many have mentioned, finding a slick fielding SS should be on the FO's list.This would allow them to fill 2B with Polanco whose bat deserves inclusion in the lineup, but whose gl;ove is far too shaky to be the everyday shortstop.Aside from Iglesias, there should be other contenders so long as fielding, not hitting is the main criteria.Addison Russell on the Cubs might be available in trade and he would top my wish list if the Twins' minor league depth in pitching would be of interest.

 

5. Addition of a super sub/starting infielder(yes, Escobar would fill the bill nicely so long as his price is reasonable).There are too many questions in this infield, mainly at 3B, to go into next season without some reinforcement.It doesn't have to be an all star, but instead a solid veteran like Murphy for example would be a welcome addition.To rely on Sano to man any position full time is a fool's errand in my opinion(if he surprises with a comeback season, that's a bonus, but the FO should not assume anything).If they do, shame on them!!

 

If all these needs are addressed in the right way, the Twins could contend again without changes in the OF or behind the plate.But if the FO feels there are just too many holes on the 25 man roster and cannot see a path to filling the five needs listed above, Plan B would be to go with a youth movement, as follows:

 

1.Put Buxton in CF and let him sink or swim(see #2 below).

2. Bring up Kiriloff, assuming he has a good spring training, and let him battle it out with Kepler or Buxton for starting outfielder.May the best man win!

3.Bring up Royce Lewis or Gordon at midseason(whoever is doing better) and give them the SS or 2B position for the rest of the year.

4.Give Romero a starting rotation spot out of spring training.He is the only Twins' minor leaguer who showed some potential as belonging on the major league staff.At midseason, promote the best minor league starter in the system to the major league rotation.

5. Bring Rooker up (at beginning or within first two months of season) and place him in the DH/1B rotation - assuming he continues to show progress in ST or in AAA.

 

I am sceptical that Falvey and company could accomplish all five needs in Plan A(and let's be clear, all 5 scenarios are needed to adequately fill the holes that appeared in 2018).From what I have read about this FO, they do not seem inclined to accelerate development of young low minor leaguers, either, so Plan B is unlikely to be implemented and thus, we are probably looking at them to muddle through with half-hearted attempts to plug the glaring holes now present with better players than now on the roster, but by no means - difference-makers.The one bright spot with this middling approach is that Mollie would be gone some time in 2019 and a full-time rebuild could commence.In that case, assuming player development has improved, we might look forward to 2021 or 2022 as first years of real contention.

 

In conclusion, as many TDers have said, this offseason is the true test of the FO's acumen and mettle.To land in the middle here is the worst of the three scenarios but this seems most likely to this observer, thereby dooming this organization to the dreaded middle of the road - neither total rebuild nor go for the brass ring.Hope I'm wrong, but this current ownership has shown no appetite to shoot any higher.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Mike Sixel, DocBauer and Tomj14 like this

#31 ashburyjohn

ashburyjohn

    Haighters gonna Haight

  • Twins Mods
  • 19,973 posts
  • LocationNatick, MA

Posted 21 September 2018 - 12:01 PM

2.Instead of fantasies of acquiring, in any manner, a top level starter this team needs to commit to its young core group that isn't even close to the majors today.Kiriloff, Lewis, Rooker, Gordon amongst others need to get full commitments from the team at the major league level.These guys need to work in with the other younger players we have on the roster and we need to find the bulk of a lineup and staff we can move forward with AND compete.Even though this will cost us losses in 2019, doing so sooner rather than later will save losses in the future.

I don't take issue with much of the rest you said, but I don't like accepting major league losses at this stage of the rebuild that started way back in 2012. If AA or AAA isn't preparing the near-ready players for life in the majors, then address THAT. The minors are where players belong until they prove ready. If the competition there isn't quite stiff enough, it's the duty of the coaching staff to gently (or not so gently) point out to the stud prospect the ways he's sliding by and not doing what's necessary to succeed at the next level.

 

Other teams seem to have players come up and perform. I've been bothered a long time by the need for our youngsters to suffer through rookie jitters like May, Berrios and now Gonsalves demonstrated. Maybe Gonsalves has been stubborn and didn't listen when his AAA coach tried to tell him - if so, that's partly on the player but partly on the coach. I'm guilty of making assumptions and extrapolations here, but I don't think I'm way off base in this. Kohl Stewart expressed surprise at coming out from way out in the bullpen to make his second-inning start the other day - they've been doing the Opener in Rochester too - so where is the preparation, for all the quotidian little things that make up a major-leaguer's experience? It's more of a stretch to guess that Gonsalves is shocked to discover that major league hitters are less likely to go fishing at mediocre breaking pitches way down in the dirt, but all the evidence seems to point that way.

  • Mike Sixel, brvama, beckmt and 5 others like this

A painter should not paint what he sees, but what will be seen.-- Paul Valery


#32 Thrylos

Thrylos

    Twins World Champions in 2019

  • Members
  • 9,767 posts
  • LocationLehigh Valley, PA, USA
  • Twitter: thrylos98

Posted 21 September 2018 - 12:19 PM

 


1. Overpay Byron Buxton in arbitration
2. Sign or trade for a top three starter in the rotation
3. Extend Jose Berrios
4. Build corner infield depth
5. Clear 40-man flotsam

 

1.No reason to do that.  Cave is just a year older, and even though he is not as good as Buxton is with the glove, he has been better with the bat.Even if you like small sample sizes and account Buxton's 2016 second half (.300/.347/.546) Cave bettered it in his first half this season (.312/.346/.558). The best case scenario for the Twins will be for Buxton to come with a chip on his shoulder in spring training and then:

 

2. Used as the centerpoint for a trade for an Ace.Not a top 3 pitcher.They need an Ace.A real one.And they can use Buxton (and the likes of Gonsalves. Gordon etc) to get him.Maybe even 2 top of the rotation pitchers, because:

 

3. I am not convinced that Berrios is better than a number 3 in a championship team.His 2018 was improved over his 2017 but if one looks at his splits, he/she will see the same difference between home and road games and the same drop off in the second half.I would love to see the Twins going to a team that screams for rebuilding, like the Mets and go after both of their top starters (DeJong and Syndergaard) and their star outfielder (Cespedes) with a packaged centered on Buxton and Berrios, with players like Gonsalves, Gordon, Kepler etc as add ons.

 

4. Bring back Eduardo Escobar will go long ways here.Arraez (.310/.361/.397 between A+ and AA) is back.These two can rotate at second and back up Sano at third if necessary.Rooker (.254/.333/.465, 22 HR in AA) and Luke Raley (.275/.350/.471, 20 HR in AA) will fight with Austin for the starting position and DH roles, with the loser at AAA.Enough depth there, esp if you add another utility type like Astrudillo.

 

5.That eventually will happen if they go hard after top of rotation starters...

Edited by Thrylos, 21 September 2018 - 12:19 PM.

-----
Blogging Twins since 2007 at The Tenth Inning Stretch
http://tenthinningst...h.blogspot.com/
twitter: @thrylos98

#33 jimbo92107

jimbo92107

    Señor Member

  • Members
  • 3,886 posts
  • LocationSan Diego

Posted 21 September 2018 - 01:11 PM

Fernando Romero, Stephen Gonsalves, Kohl Stewart, Zack Littell, Lewis Thorpe, Adalberto Mejia. Those are the main internal candidates for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. 

 

We all saw Romero flash stuff that could dominate. We have seen Mejia look like a good mid rotation starter. Meanwhile, Gonsalves and Stewart appear to be shaking off their rookie nerves, and both look like viable future starters. I haven't seen Thorpe pitch, and Littell didn't impress me, but I guess the team likes him. 

 

I don't see a problem here. Four guys look ready to fill spots 1 through 4, and at least six guys are lined up to fill the fifth spot. This seems like enough pitching depth to eschew expensive free-agent deals, at least before the mid-season deadline in 2019. 

  • DocBauer and Dozier's Glorious Hair like this

The door opened. A woman screamed. Someday, my mom would learn to knock.


#34 Winston Smith

Winston Smith

    2 + 2 = 5

  • Members
  • 2,918 posts
  • LocationOceania

Posted 21 September 2018 - 01:22 PM

Trade for an ace easy, most teams that have one can't wait to trade them away....

  • birdwatcher, Mike Sixel, brvama and 6 others like this

If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.

 

Yogi Berra


#35 mlhouse

mlhouse

    Senior Member

  • Members
  • 583 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 02:16 PM

 

I don't take issue with much of the rest you said, but I don't like accepting major league losses at this stage of the rebuild that started way back in 2012. If AA or AAA isn't preparing the near-ready players for life in the majors, then address THAT. The minors are where players belong until they prove ready. If the competition there isn't quite stiff enough, it's the duty of the coaching staff to gently (or not so gently) point out to the stud prospect the ways he's sliding by and not doing what's necessary to succeed at the next level.

 

Other teams seem to have players come up and perform. I've been bothered a long time by the need for our youngsters to suffer through rookie jitters like May, Berrios and now Gonsalves demonstrated. Maybe Gonsalves has been stubborn and didn't listen when his AAA coach tried to tell him - if so, that's partly on the player but partly on the coach. I'm guilty of making assumptions and extrapolations here, but I don't think I'm way off base in this. Kohl Stewart expressed surprise at coming out from way out in the bullpen to make his second-inning start the other day - they've been doing the Opener in Rochester too - so where is the preparation, for all the quotidian little things that make up a major-leaguer's experience? It's more of a stretch to guess that Gonsalves is shocked to discover that major league hitters are less likely to go fishing at mediocre breaking pitches way down in the dirt, but all the evidence seems to point that way.

 

The problem is that is what you have to accept.Way back in 2012 the team should have made the commitment I am speaking of.Instead, they trotted guys like Jamey Carroll and Clete Thomas out there in a desperate attempt to be mediocre. ANd the team still lost while delaying the inevitable transition of their prospects that have been, for the most part, brought in piecemeal.  

 

Instead, COMMIT for the first time to rebuilding.Find out who can play and who cannot play.Think about that.THis far into "rebuild" do we really have answers on a lot of players?

 

Take your lumps.If the talent of our prospects is there, it will take some time and some losses but they will eventually become competitive and the rebuild and losses will more quickly go away.

 

 


#36 twinfan

twinfan

    Cedar Rapids

  • Members
  • 53 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 02:47 PM

The infield a mess? Are you kidding? That's the best part of this team. We need starters (2) that we can count on. We need relievers (2) that we can count on. We need an outfielder or two who can hit the damn ball. If anything, we have too many infielders but most of them are decent. Not great (but who is) but decent. I expect Sano to bounce back with 25-30 homers. I think Buxton can catch anything near him and throw anyone out. But can he hit- even with all that speed. The other outfielders are mediocre at best and you need offense from your outfielders. We need a DH (unless Mauer comes back). I think they should try Moya as the closer. Or maybe even Mejia. Gonsalves? Not for me- and I'm a lefty. 


#37 twinfan

twinfan

    Cedar Rapids

  • Members
  • 53 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 02:52 PM

Addison Russell on the Cubs might be available in trade and he would top my wish list if the Twins' minor league depth in pitching would be of interest.

 

Russell is suspended pending wife beating charges. I don't think anyone will touch him.


#38 TheLeviathan

TheLeviathan

    Twins News Team

  • Members
  • 15,610 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 03:05 PM

I agree with the ideas, executing them will be tough.


#39 jtkoupal

jtkoupal

    Junior Member

  • Members
  • 269 posts

Posted 21 September 2018 - 03:09 PM

 

So, then, what...a 14 man staff??

No. 4 regular starters. Skip the #5 starter spot (at least some of the time). When there needs to be a 5th starter, use two guys (i.e. Gonsalves and De Jong) and have one pitch 3-4 innings, then the next guy pitches 3-4 innings. 

 

One of the guys can get optioned after the game and the other can serve as the long man until his spot in the rotation is needed again. 

 

As I said, it's wonky, and I like the idea of signing an established starter more, but the Twins have enough depth to possibly make it work as well as an abundance of pitching prospects that could use some innings.


#40 Vanimal46

Vanimal46

    Opener Poster

  • Members
  • 10,956 posts
  • LocationAustin, TX

Posted 21 September 2018 - 03:23 PM

Addison Russell on the Cubs might be available in trade and he would top my wish list if the Twins' minor league depth in pitching would be of interest.

Russell is suspended pending wife beating charges. I don't think anyone will touch him.


Way too early to say that definitively in this case...



Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: byron buxton, jose berrios