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Offseason Blueprint: Depth, Flexibiltity and the Open Window

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#1 Riverbrian

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 10:07 PM

This blueprint won’t appear in the handbook but I’m adding mine in the same format because if anyone is going to come up with the Flexibility and Depth Blueprint… Umm… It would have to be me.

 

There are a couple of non-flexibility factors that make an aggressive approach reasonable in my mind.

 

The American League Central will probably be weak once again.

 

The window was open last year and we failed to take advantage and that window is still open. Kansas City and Detroit are just getting started with the rebuild and Chicago is still a couple of years away and Cleveland is going to lose considerable talent in the off-season and they have been draining that farm trying to stay in contention. I am not one of the people who believe we have to match the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros on paper to win it all. I am one of the people who believe that you have to get in and once you get in… anything can happen and I’m not changing my mind (you can try) so I’m going for it… within reason of course because keeping your farm stocked is critical to future success.

 

The core still has potential, talent and is still inexpensive (Think backup prices). 

 

There has been a lot of talk about scrapping this core and moving on to the next core. There is no doubt that the current core has been disappointing but I still believe they have the chance to become special. I believe they have enough MLB at-bats that the prospect designation is gone and when the prospect designation is gone, there is no longer a need to force feed them at-bats for development purposes. I believe they are at the point, where they are going to get it or they are not going to get it and it is up to them to get it and this puts the ball in their corner. Now I don’t believe in the concept of a backup, I only believe in a 25 man roster where everybody is capable of earning playing time. However, I know that most of you believe in backups so with that in mind, I simply ask you to view the core as back-ups. Back-ups that can become starters if they start figuring it out. With some of the core just entering arbitration and some of the core pre-arbitration, they are already being paid backup prices and that is a gift. If these guys are being paid backup prices… why would you spend 4 million on Grossman to be a back-up. It’s a gift that you can pay Buxton 1.3 Million to be the back-up. If you can take your core and pay them backup prices, that allows you the payroll space to go get players that will compete with them and this is an advantage that should not be wasted.

 

But don’t count on them without safety nets.

 

I simply can’t endorse any off-season blueprint that counts on Sano or Buxton as every day players without an acceptable proven alternative in case they fail and we saw why in 2018. 

 

Don’t sign a DH only.

 

I believe we will need 13 pitchers slots, that’s one less offensive slot and we can’t afford to burn a roster spot on a player who can’t play a defensive position somewhat capably.

With that -- Here is the Flexibility and Depth, still going for it off-season blueprint.

 

 

PITCHING:

 

I am purposely listing them as pitchers and not listing them as starters or relievers or closers or set-up men. I’m going to try to staff the team with the best 13 pitchers regardless of past designations and then I want the manager figure out how to deploy them unconventionally in the best possible manner with the goal of assigning the most innings to the guys who are getting the most outs.

 

I am making guesses obviously on the prices, could be more, could be less but these are three I’d like to see the Twins go after and I got to try to ballpark the price to put a final salary total on the finished product.

J.A. HAPP: ( 2 Years/28 Million)

 

I am not going after Corbin because of the QO, draft pick compensation thing and I assume he will be the most expensive pitcher, and we will have more shopping to do so I’m moving down a peg to JA Happ, who is still pretty good. For those of you that have been waiting for that “ACE”. We will trade for Verlander in July after the Astros are out of it. (I'M JOKING!!!) (Turns out I have to actually say that I'm joking here). (The point is... we can add players at the trade deadline if in contention.) 

 

ANDREW MILLER: (2 Years/22 Million)

 

I know he was hurt a bunch last year and that creates risk and doubt for next year and beyond. However, after watching Miller perform prior to last year, I realized (and have said often) that teams should be trading for or building their own Andrew Miller, just like Milwaukee did with Josh Hader. I still think we should do that but while we are in the process of building our own Andrew Miller… let’s just sign Andrew Miller as a placeholder. Until our Andrew Miller is ready.

 

ADAM OTTOVINO: (2 Years/22 Million)

 

He is my other choice because the guy has stuff coming out of his ears. I watched him pitch a couple of times last year and he blew me away as he was blowing the hitters away.

 

THE REST:

 

For those looking through the traditional lens. It totals 7 starters and 6 relievers. This is where a new age manager like I’m Rocco Baldelli can figure things out. Who starts, how long they pitch, how long they rest but with 7 starters on the staff, he will have options to choose from. He will not have to lock into anything with this staff. He can copy what Tampa did with their pitching staff last year or he can invent his own new thing that others will copy. Or he can… pick out 5 starters and rotate them like normal with the other two thrown into the bullpen for length. No closer named, no designated long man waiting for the wheels to come off to make an appearance. No traditional roles at all, just 13 guys who can get people out and a manager who will give the most innings to the best of them. Mejia is out of options he stays, he’s earned it. Romero, I think he is better than the experts say. I’m putting him on 25 man roster opening day. He gets as many innings as he earns.

 

Here are the 13 guys:

 

JOSE BERRIOS 0.6
KYLE GIBSON 7.9
JA HAPP 14.0
JAKE ODORIZZI9.4
MICHAEL PINADA8.0
ADALBERTO MEJIA0.6
FERNANDO ROMERO0.6
TAYLOR ROGERS0.6
TREVOR MAY 0.6
TREVERO HILDENBERGER 0.6
ADDISON REED 8.5
ADAM OTTOVINO11.0  
ANDREW MILLER11.0

 

40 Man Depth:

 

CHASE DEJONG0.6
KOHL STEWART0.6
LEWIS THORPE0.6
STEPHEN GONSALVES 0.6
ZACH LITTELL0.6
ALAN BUSENITZ0.6
GABRIEL MOYA0.6

 

CATCHER:
I will not overpay for catching… I will not overpay for catching. We already spent too much on Castro. Catcher’s historically do not hit as well as the players at the other positions and catchers require more rest then the other positions because… it gets hot in the summer with all that gear on?Yes Realmuto and Posey are mighty fine hitters but because of position scarcity the value and hitting ability is way out of whack. Take the money you would pay to acquire Realmuto and spend it on someone who can hit 40 home runs a year. They will be about the same price in terms of prospects. The only expectation, I will have out of my catchers offensively is that they hit the ball better than Bobby Wilson did. If they can hit .220 with a couple of bombs… I’m good, anything more is delicious gravy. Then let’s move on to the other positions to really move the offensive needle. I admit that I don’t know the status of Mitch Garver and his concussion issues and that is worrisome. For now I’m carrying on as if he will be back. Yes, I know he has defensive issues that can are easily noticed from my couch. I’m telling Mitch to work on it this winter… get better at it and shut everybody up. Willans Astudillo I am placing in Rochester for depth because he has options and this means we can stash him and depth is important. I was Astudillo’s biggest fan last year and I believe in him but I am a bigger fan of having depth in case of injury and Astudillo will get stashed as a result. If Garver can’t go… Astudillo moves up to the big club. 

 

JASON CASTROC 8.0
MITCH GARVERC/1B 0.6

 

40 MAN DEPTH:

 

WILLANS ASTUDILLO C/3B 0.6

 

 

CORNER INFIELD:

 

TYLER AUSTIN 1B 0.6
NICK CASTELLANOS 3B/OF 11.3
MIGUEL SANO1B/3B 3.1

 

Miguel Sano: This is where the genius of my plan starts coming into view. What to do with Miguel Sano? Do you trust him? Can he stay healthy? I’m saying yes… I’m betting that he can become the player we want him to be but I’m hedging that bet and I’m giving him a real hard push at the same time. I want Sano to get serious about his career and future earning potential so I’m bringing in a proven power hitter that Sano will have to outplay. There are no decent (In my opinion) 1B or 3B options on the free agent market so I’m trading for the guy I want.

 

Nick Castellanos has one year of control before becoming a free agent next year and the Tigers are in rebuild mode so we might be able to get him for a decent price and Tigers may be motivated to trade. I won’t assume to know what it will cost but I will assume that it won’t take Royce Lewis. The best thing about Nick is that he can also play OF… If Sano responds and wins his job back… Castellanos can move to RF to make room.

 

Tyler Austin… I have no idea what he is capable of but he looked good enough last year… that I feel it would be crazy to just let him go. He is out of options so it’s keep him or dump him. I’m keeping him but I am once again hedging my bets which you will see as we move on.

40 MAN DEPTH:

I don’t have any suggestions but I have a few 40 man roster spots to play with. I urge the front office to try real hard to locate the next Max Muncy or Luke Voit. Stash them in Rochester until needed. Go get two of them.

 

AAAA Diamond in the Rough 0.6
AAAA Diamond in the rough 0.6

 

 

MIDDLE INFIELD:

 

DANIEL MURPHY 2B/1B/3B 9.0 2 YEARS
JORGE POLANCOSS/2B0.6
MARWIN GONZALEZ 2B/SS/EVERYWHERE 14.0/4 YEARS

 

Obviously, Jorge Polanco will have to play the lion’s share of SS with this group and I know this will disappoint some people, however, while I love Iglesias defensively, his bat isn’t much better than Adrianaza and I’m not throwing 9 million at that when we could just keep Adrianaza who I am letting go of. The Twins will just have to get better at developing a SS as Polanco and Gonzalez show Baldelli who will be the better defensive SS between the two.

 

 

Daniel Murphy… I know he is perhaps a bigger defensive issue at 2B but I just love his bat and I’m getting it. I know we can move him to 1B if necessary and we have the DH position to play with.

 

 

Marwin Gonzalez ends up being my most expensive free agent and that is based on a hunch. Follow my logic if you can. The Twins and Blue Jays have hired managers from the Rays, The Rangers just hired from the Dodgers. The Nationals hired from the Cubs last year. This suggests a further shift into the new age and that the front offices have been watching the Rays, Dodgers, Cubs and Brewers. Those teams are the flexibility 4 and this means more teams will be bidding for Marwin’s skill set. Couple that with Escobar and Nunez already taken off the market and I think he will be expensive and I’m paying it. Besides with Murphy at 2B... We need him to play some 2B. 

 

40 MAN DEPTH:
Nick Gordon 0.6
AAAA Diamond in the rough 0.6

 

 

OUTFIELD:

 

TREY MANCINI OF/1B0.6
EDDIE ROSARIOOF/2B/3B 5.0
MAX KEPLEROF3.2
MICHAEL REEDOF0.6

 

I’m trading for Trey Mancini. The Orioles are going to go full rebuild and Mancini may be their top trade chip. He has 4 years of control so I’m going to assume he will cost a bit. Make our top 5 untouchable and combine as many players from the rest to get the deal done.

 

Eddie Rosario… I’m going to be stubborn here and insist that the club audition him for occasional infield work. We really need the backup at 2B in case we need to move Murphy to 1B. I have no idea if he can play IF but I will not assume that he can’t.

 

Max Kepler is out of options… he can’t be stashed so he will have to get better. It’s up to Max… however… I will make sure that Max knows that Nick Castellanos can play OF and so can Marwin Gonzalez so if we need to slow down our Kepler use… we can.

Michael Reed… I have no idea what to do with Reed but I know that he is out of options so he either makes the club or he will be most likely off the team. Basically… I’m not letting Michael Reed prevent me from acquiring Mancini and I assume he was signed because the front office likes him. This will force us to start Buxton and Cave in Rochester. They have options while Reed and Kepler don’t. If Reed doesn’t make the team then Buxton gets this last spot like I've been planning since he was sent down to preserve his service time and Buxton will have to win the bulk of the playing time back. It will not be handed to him like years past.

 

Now this is somewhat unfortunate for Jake Cave…I believe that Jake Cave earned a roster spot but… he has those options and 40 Man Depth is important to keep you from signing Motter’s. Regardless… Someone will get hurt (Buxton probably) and Jake will be back.

 

40 Man Depth:

Byron Buxton0.6

Jake Cave0.6

Lamonte Wade0.6

 

 

Potential Game 7 Starting Lineup:

 

JUSTIN VERLANDER ON THE MOUND. (Remember… We traded for him at the deadline)

 

Byron Buxton – CF
Eddie Rosario – RF
Nick Castellanos – 3B
Daniel Murphy - DH
Miguel Sano - 1B
Trey Mancini - LF
Jorge Polanco – SS
Marwin Gonzalez – 2B
Jason Castro – C

 

Bench:
Garver
Austin
Kepler
Gordon is called up in August.

 

Come play-off time we go from 13 to 12 pitchers.

 

Verlander, Happ, Berrios, Gibson, Miller, Ottovino, Reed, Rogers, May, Hildenberger, Odorizzi, Romero.

 

With the addition of the 5.95 Million owed to other teams and the loose change that is paid to the other members of the 40 man roster. The 2019 payroll will be:

 

147.05 Million.

 

I have kept in under 150 million.

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#2 Mike Sixel

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 11:15 PM

Good stuff. I hope they don't keep Reed over Buxton and Cave to start the year, but I get it......

 

If you think Marwin can play 3B well, I like the signing. But only if you think he can play 3B, 1B and DH at an average or better contribution. 

 

Your pitching plan is pretty good, I think. I'd like the Japanese pitcher, knowing so much about him.............

 

I am a fan of the flexibility plan. Does Astudillo have options? 

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


#3 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 06:08 AM

I stopped reading after you said trade for Verlander after the Astros are out of it in July.
Short of the team airplane crashing, and Verlander being the sole survivor, I can't picture a scenario where the Astros are out of it in July.
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#4 Riverbrian

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 07:00 AM

 

Good stuff. I hope they don't keep Reed over Buxton and Cave to start the year, but I get it......

 

If you think Marwin can play 3B well, I like the signing. But only if you think he can play 3B, 1B and DH at an average or better contribution. 

 

Your pitching plan is pretty good, I think. I'd like the Japanese pitcher, knowing so much about him.............

 

I am a fan of the flexibility plan. Does Astudillo have options? 

 

Marwin can and has played every position besides catcher and pitcher. 

 

He's more Zobrist than Zobrist ever was. 

 

His original position was 2B I believe but Altuve plays every day so this is how the Astros have deployed him over his career. 

 

SS2243 Innings

1B1260 Innings
OF1095 Innings (Mostly Left Field) 
2B661 Innings
3B567 Innings

 

He would immediately become our top defensive player at any of our infield positions in my opinion. 

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#5 Riverbrian

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 07:02 AM

 

I stopped reading after you said trade for Verlander after the Astros are out of it in July.
Short of the team airplane crashing, and Verlander being the sole survivor, I can't picture a scenario where the Astros are out of it in July.

 

Yeah and there was no chance that I was joking about that. 

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#6 ChrisKnutson

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 07:22 AM

I like Gonzalez, but to be realistic, I’m pretty sure most (if not all) of the league is going to pursue him. Think about it, if you were Marwin would you rather sign with MN or NYY?? Not trying to be negative, but assuming that we don’t sign Marwin, I’m actually curious about who the FO will turn to next because super utility players don’t exactly grow on trees.

#7 Riverbrian

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 07:36 AM

 

I like Gonzalez, but to be realistic, I’m pretty sure most (if not all) of the league is going to pursue him. Think about it, if you were Marwin would you rather sign with MN or NYY?? Not trying to be negative, but assuming that we don’t sign Marwin, I’m actually curious about who the FO will turn to next because super utility players don’t exactly grow on trees.

 

I believe that Marwin will sign with who offers him the most money and a clear path to playing time. He has been waiting for his turn behind a loaded Astro's lineup... I think the Yankees would be more of the same. 

 

If I'm Marwin... I'm looking at a team like the Rockies. Talented but about to lose it's 2B and questions marks in the OF. 

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#8 Lonestar

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 07:44 AM

With the exception of Gonzalez, it seems like you have totally punted defense.

 

Total pay for Happ and Ottavino seems low.

 

$147M seems high


#9 Vanimal46

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 07:56 AM

Looks good. Though one minor flaw is not naming the players it will take to acquire Castellanos and Mancini. I don't claim to know either, but it's possible they require a player you're naming as 40 man depth. Then some flexibility and depth is lost; either we have to sign another AAAA player or potentially move up someone who's not ready.

#10 Riverbrian

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 08:16 AM

Looks good. Though one minor flaw is not naming the players it will take to acquire Castellanos and Mancini. I don't claim to know either, but it's possible they require a player you're naming as 40 man depth. Then some flexibility and depth is lost; either we have to sign another AAAA player or potentially move up someone who's not ready.


I was hesitant to do so because based on last year the prices seem to be in a state of flux. It didn’t take as much as I thought it would to acquire Odorizzi for example.

You are right though. I was hoping to keep the current core on the roster and hang on to the next wave by saying the 5 prospects are untouchable.

Also you are right that it may require a 40 man trade inclusion to complete the deals. We could include Kepler in the Mancini trade. The identification of Jake Cave as viable does makes that a possibility.

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#11 Riverbrian

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 08:24 AM

With the exception of Gonzalez, it seems like you have totally punted defense.

Total pay for Happ and Ottavino seems low.

$147M seems high


Defensively, it’s the middle infield that is most concerning. However in total it isn’t that much of a step down from where we were in 2018. Marwin for Dozier might be a step up. Murphy forcAdrianaza is clearly a step down but the bat makes up the difference and Mauer is gone and he plays a position where we have to utilize Austin to see if he works out. If he doesn’t Murphy at first just might work out defensively.

On the prices... I’m just not sure at all because last year broke the mold. I used experts predictions for the ballpark and added some millions to be the highest bidder. I will not express any confidence on those guesses. Based on last year... I think too low is still being defined.

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#12 Carole Keller

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 09:05 AM

Bravo on not forgetting about Mejia as just about everyone else has. He’s out of options so he’s either on the team or traded. And I think he’s a solid pitcher and a lefty. The question would be is he a reliever or a starter or a stacker? (Yeah, don’t say ‘yes’ but that’s probably the answer.)

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#13 Riverbrian

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Posted 06 November 2018 - 09:45 AM

Bravo on not forgetting about Mejia as just about everyone else has. He’s out of options so he’s either on the team or traded. And I think he’s a solid pitcher and a lefty. The question would be is he a reliever or a starter or a stacker? (Yeah, don’t say ‘yes’ but that’s probably the answer.)


I think people forget about Mejia because he didn’t pitch a ton for us last year and also because people tend to stop at 5 starting pitchers and move on.

There are enough Peacock and Pomeranz examples of starters who bounce from starter to reliever to starter again.

If he can pitch... be creative and find spot for him.
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