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Article: Offseason Blueprint: Bargain Bin Shopping (Part 1)

brian dozier joe mauer freddy galvis tyler austin robbie grossman
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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 14 November 2018 - 09:44 PM

The last thing Twins fans want to hear is the benefit of moving forward with a frugal payroll. However, creating an offseason plan around a shoestring budget is at least valuable as a thought exercise. It’s foolish to do all these moves, but identifying a couple could free up money for a more expensive addition.

So let’s identify a few bargains to fill some of the holes in the Twins 25-man roster… You can create your own blueprint using Twins Daily's Offseason Handbook, which you can download immediately and name your own price.  

Middle Infield
Philosophy - This is the easiest position to fill. The Twins have a desperate need, but also have several middle infield prospects approaching the majors. The free agent market is deep, especially with second basemen. It makes sense to sign someone to a short contract, filling the need for the present and giving the future the time it needs to develop.

Targets - I’d look to the more competitive shortstop market initially, moving Jorge Polanco to second base. Put shortstop Freddy Galvis at the top of the list, who is 29 years old, cost $15M over two years (per the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook) and brings a solid glove to help out the left side of the infield along with a little (13 HR in 2018) pop. I’d also stay involved in the bidding for shortstops Jose Iglesias and Jordy Mercer.

If that doesn’t work, there are a ton of second basemen to consider even if the team is determined not to guarantee more than two years at a cost of $7M or so per year. Candidates include Ascrubal Cabrera, Ian Kinsler and even old friend Brian Dozier. (Hey, he and that left field porch were a good match.) This is the one area it’s almost impossible to screw up. The market will come to the Twins.

Corner Infield
Philosophy - In an ideal world, this is the area that the Twins will spend a lot of money. They need a middle-of-the-order hitter, and with spots open at first base and designated hitter, they should be thinking bat first and figure out where to play them later. Plus, this free agency has some bats, even beyond Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, that fit that bill. (Nelson Cruz seems like an ideal fit.)

But this is supposed to be a frugal list, so I’m going to focus on strategy that leads to a couple of budget options. And those options start in-house, because after a few big names, this free agency class falls off a cliff.

Targets - I expect the Twins will keep Tyler Austin in their plans for next year. Acquired from the Yankees, he is 27 years old and has posted a 937 OPS against southpaws over his career. Adding a left-handed bat to pair with him makes sense, even if it costs a bench spot.

At the top of my wish list is 30-year-old Matt Adams, who slugged 21 home runs in only 306 AB - and twenty of those came against right-handed pitching. ‘Nuff said. He costs about $8M. A backup plan is Lucas Duda (~$4M), who is 32 years old and posted a 813 OPS against right-handers last year.

I’ll tell you who I would’ve liked the second name to be: Joe Mauer. I wish him the best in his next career, but it’s a bummer that he is moving on when he was such a good fit for the Twins. He is cheap ($7M), gets on-base, good defensively, a veteran role model and hungry for the postseason. He would've been a nice fit.

Instead, I suspect the Twins could just hang onto Robbie Grossman who can be sort of a Joe Mauer Lite: he gets on base (.355 OBP over his career, .367 last year), is just 29 years old, can play outfield in a pinch, and most importantly for this list, is still relatively cheap (~$4M).

Those names likely will not generate any High Fives at your favorite watering hole, but such is the life of the bargain shopper. Tomorrow we'll look at two other markets that look promising as well: starting pitcher and relievers.

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#2 High heat

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Posted 14 November 2018 - 10:32 PM

I’m a fan of going after Jose Iglesias but if we miss out I would not mind them bringing back Brian dozier. I think a corner bat is needed I’m a Josh Donaldson fan on a one year deal or multiple years anyway to bring him in. Carlos Santana would be a decent vet and Phillies is likely to just give him away at this point.
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#3 DocBauer

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Posted 14 November 2018 - 10:43 PM

Agree 100% on the infield. No matter how much I like and believe in Polanco as a hitter, and an OK SS, his ultimate position is probably 2B. But in the short term, I feel he could play adequately at SS. The market is rich with infield options available on a 2-3 year deal. It's up to the FO to make the right choice. I hear your arguments for a LH 1B, but just can't quite motivate myself to completely buy-in. Can we afford a bench spot for a 1B/PH only player? With Austin at 1B, and other options available, I think I'd still look at the best and most dangerous bat I could find, probably an OF, and fit Kepler with a 1B mit against really tough RHP. There are enough options to fill out the middle infield with budget quality I wouldn't necessarily look at 1B/BAT as the place I would "budget".
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#4 TNTwinsFan

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Posted 14 November 2018 - 11:24 PM

Sign DJ Lemahieu. Sign Donaldson on a 1-3 year deal (maybe mutual options in years 2 and 3?) Infield would be just fine. Lots of pop. Gold Glove defense at 2B and 3B. Infield looks like this: 1B- Sano 2B- Lemahieu 3B- Donaldson SS- Polanco That's got great offensive potential. Add to that an OF of: LF- Rosario CF- Buxton RF- Kepler Then have a kid like Austin rotate between 1B and DH with Sano and Donaldson. Lineup looks nice: Lemahieu-2B Polanco-SS Rosario-LF Donaldson-3B Sano-1B Garver-C Kepler-RF Austin-DH Buxton-CF Signing both Lemahieu and Donaldson is probably a pipe dream due to the fact that a lot of clubs could use those guys on their rosters. One of the advantages the Twins have might be their supposed plethora of cash they have to spend this off season. Will more dollars and/or more years entice either or both of those guys to enjoy baseball in the snow in April? I dunno...I'm just some dude on a couch.
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#5 Aerodeliria

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 03:57 AM

I'm all in on picking up an infielder who can hit.

 

I like Polanco as a hitter but he made his share of rather poor plays in the field as a SS, so I would rather see him at 2nd as well.

 

I wish there were a good fielder and hitter available from the Japanese leagues. I am still hoping that Sakamoto will opt for playing in the MLB. He is an excellent hitter (with some power), has good speed and is as cool as a polar bear sipping mai tais in the field.

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#6 old nurse

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 05:10 AM

 

Sign DJ Lemahieu. Sign Donaldson on a 1-3 year deal (maybe mutual options in years 2 and 3?) Infield would be just fine. Lots of pop. Gold Glove defense at 2B and 3B. Infield looks like this: 1B- Sano 2B- Lemahieu 3B- Donaldson SS- Polanco That's got great offensive potential. Add to that an OF of: LF- Rosario CF- Buxton RF- Kepler Then have a kid like Austin rotate between 1B and DH with Sano and Donaldson. Lineup looks nice: Lemahieu-2B Polanco-SS Rosario-LF Donaldson-3B Sano-1B Garver-C Kepler-RF Austin-DH Buxton-CF Signing both Lemahieu and Donaldson is probably a pipe dream due to the fact that a lot of clubs could use those guys on their rosters. One of the advantages the Twins have might be their supposed plethora of cash they have to spend this off season. Will more dollars and/or more years entice either or both of those guys to enjoy baseball in the snow in April? I dunno...I'm just some dude on a couch.

LeMahuiehas a career ops of .673 away from Coors Field. He had one monster year then pedestrian numbers. I do not see him as a dumpster dive, nor is he going to be a top free agent, either.

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#7 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 06:59 AM

yeah, this is an area where I think they should spend big for at least one person. If the guy can play some 3rd, even better. I really think a guy like Donaldson makes a ton of sense here. He wont' be cheap though.

 

If they want to go cheaper, a 1 year stop gap at 2nd or CF makes a ton of sense. That's where I would bargain shop. They can revisit 2B next season depending on how Gordon, Arraez, Lewis, and Javier do. At CF, that would force Buxton to earn a role with the team.

 

I'm not sure if Marwin Gonazalez will qualify as cheap, but I'd probably go hard after him in addition to whatever else they do. He can play all over the diamond, making it easier to adjust when things (inevitably) go wrong. 

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#8 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 07:48 AM

Galvis profiles an awful lot like Greg Gagne at SS*, to me. I've overlooked him, but a good glove with a little pop in the bat could be worth bringing on board. For equal money I'd probably take him over Marwin**, and it's sounding like the money wouldn't even be equal.

 

* Which is a compliment

 

** For those interested in positional flexibility, Freddy has played some 2B, and has even logged some innings in the outfield, so he'd come up to speed quickly IMO and would do fine if you needed to plug him in somewhere. As the team's best SS, that wouldn't happen very often, until someone better comes along that is.

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#9 John Bonnes

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 07:58 AM

 

I wish there were a good fielder and hitter available from the Japanese leagues. I am still hoping that Sakamoto will opt for playing in the MLB. He is an excellent hitter (with some power), has good speed and is as cool as a polar bear sipping mai tais in the field.

 

I haven't heard any news on Sakamoto in a long time.Got any links to news?


#10 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 07:59 AM

 

Sign DJ Lemahieu. Sign Donaldson on a 1-3 year deal (maybe mutual options in years 2 and 3?) Infield would be just fine. Lots of pop. Gold Glove defense at 2B and 3B. Infield looks like this: 1B- Sano 2B- Lemahieu 3B- Donaldson SS- Polanco That's got great offensive potential. Add to that an OF of: LF- Rosario CF- Buxton RF- Kepler Then have a kid like Austin rotate between 1B and DH with Sano and Donaldson. Lineup looks nice: Lemahieu-2B Polanco-SS Rosario-LF Donaldson-3B Sano-1B Garver-C Kepler-RF Austin-DH Buxton-CF Signing both Lemahieu and Donaldson is probably a pipe dream due to the fact that a lot of clubs could use those guys on their rosters. One of the advantages the Twins have might be their supposed plethora of cash they have to spend this off season. Will more dollars and/or more years entice either or both of those guys to enjoy baseball in the snow in April? I dunno...I'm just some dude on a couch.

Yes, yes, yes to LeMahieu. Great D and good average (even away from Coors Field). No to Donaldson. He has had too may leg problems and was a catcher for 8 years in college and professional baseball, including the major leagues, before being converted to 3B, I assume to save what was left of his legs.


#11 lukeduke1980

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 08:22 AM

 

I’m a fan of going after Jose Iglesias but if we miss out I would not mind them bringing back Brian dozier. I think a corner bat is needed I’m a Josh Donaldson fan on a one year deal or multiple years anyway to bring him in. Carlos Santana would be a decent vet and Phillies is likely to just give him away at this point.

I think there's a higher likelihood of landing Machado than Dozier coming back, imo.

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#12 rdehring

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 08:51 AM

I think you are right on, John, about their philosophy this winter.After reading the post by Bollinger the other day on the Twins website, it appears the Twins remain convinced their young core will bring championship baseball to Minneapolis in the future and are going to be patient.Makes sense to me.

 

So I agree that we should see a two infielders and at least one bullpen guy.I can live with that. 


#13 Danchat

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 09:10 AM

I like Decalsco a lot and he might come cheap. I don’t like Galvis’ numbers. LeMahieu isn’t that great of a hitter for a 2B, signing him looks like a trap to me unless you get him cheap.
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#14 ashburyjohn

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 10:27 AM

I like Decalsco a lot and he might come cheap. I don’t like Galvis’ numbers. LeMahieu isn’t that great of a hitter for a 2B, signing him looks like a trap to me unless you get him cheap.

One thing I like about Galvis over these other two is that he's been able to be an ironman in the lineup for several seasons now. That can take a toll on the bat, so it's possible that if you gave him a slightly lower workload his bat would pick up - or, that ironman aspect is valuable in itself and maybe you roll with it.

 

Galvis's numbers were depressed by Petco in 2018 and his road numbers were a little more tolerable.

 

And to repeat myself, his glove is enough better IMO that he gives you more flexibility as your roster evolves. LeMahieu in particular will have to play at 2B or else nowhere.

 

Galvis is kind of "a better Ehire". Whether that floats your boat as an acquisition target... :)

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#15 Lee-The-Twins-Fan

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 11:02 AM

The biggest thing I will miss about Mauer's departure from 1B is his defense. He was a great defensive 1B, and should have snagged a gold glove in 2017.

 

That said, we need a great defensive 1B. 1B touches the ball more often than any other fielder besides the pitcher and catcher. We need a solid defensive 1B, who can hit. 

 

Do not move Sano from 3B to 1B. If his defense is shaky at 3B (And I don't think it is) it will be just as shaky at 1B, and any mistakes will only be multiplied and magnified. 

 

Leave Sano at 3B. Get a better 1B who bats left. I like Matt Adams. I think he would be good.

 

As for 2B and SS, I know I'm dreaming, but I wish Dozier would consider coming back.


#16 RatherBeGolfing

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 11:10 AM

 

The biggest thing I will miss about Mauer's departure from 1B is his defense. He was a great defensive 1B, and should have snagged a gold glove in 2017.

 

That said, we need a great defensive 1B. 1B touches the ball more often than any other fielder besides the pitcher and catcher. We need a solid defensive 1B, who can hit. 

 

Do not move Sano from 3B to 1B. If his defense is shaky at 3B (And I don't think it is) it will be just as shaky at 1B, and any mistakes will only be multiplied and magnified. 

 

Leave Sano at 3B. Get a better 1B who bats left. I like Matt Adams. I think he would be good.

 

As for 2B and SS, I know I'm dreaming, but I wish Dozier would consider coming back.

I'd like to hear more of your logic behind this

 

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#17 Rosterman

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 12:31 PM

The Twins have two issues.

 

(1) Miguel Sano. Where does he play.

 

(2) Are you going for the moment or longterm. The Twins do or don't have 40-man roster problems. They have too many people like Robbie Grossman, who is adequate in the shortterm, but if you add a Matt Adams, he does. If you add so-and-so, who they replace in the scheme of the 40-man roster? The Twins have an abundance of starter arms on the 40-man, equal to the amount of bullpen arms. These will have to be jettisoned and IF they is any trade value there, they need to make it, as well as make hardcore decisions on people like Odorizzi and Gibson (can you get someone you feel is more reliable for the same price or even less). If you add anyone, they take the place of a lesser player, or someone who will be passed by someone else in the system next season. Names? On the bubble have to be Busenitz, Duffey, Slegers, Granite. Secondary are Adrianza and Grossman. The Twins have to make a decision on Dodrizzi and Gibson. They would love to get rid of the contracts of Reed and Castro. AMongst starters you could part with Littell, Mejia, Gonsalves and perhaps Stewart in the right trade. 2-3 still have to be moved for 40-man adds. No one wants Reed or Castro. Are Gibson and Odorizzi worth $9-10 or should they be extended 2-3-4 years. 

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#18 Thrylos

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 12:45 PM

Freddy Galvin's career slash line:.246/.290/.374; 79 OPS+
Ehire Adrianza's career slash line:.242/.303/.355; 80 OPS+

 

If I were bargain shopping I'd take the guy who would cost the least, and that is the devil I knew, since neither is a difference maker with the stick.

 

That said, the Twins have two many production questions to afford yet another below average bat.Polanco is fine at SS and has been improving.His range is better than average but still makes too many errors.I hope that more playing time will help him there.  

As far as middle infield goes, I'd try to sign Daniel Murphy to an one year incentives ladder contract to play second base and PT DH.

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#19 Mike Sixel

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 12:47 PM

Wouldn't Wade or the dude they claimed this off season be cheaper than Grossman? OBP is not valuable if the rest of your roster is not good at OBP, btw......which is why teams are going all in on power right now.

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


#20 ChrisKnutson

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 01:21 PM

Honestly, I’d rather have Harrison, not only because he’s a better hitter than both Iglesias and Galvis, but that he’s also a hell of lot more versatile (3rd/2nd/OF/SS) than any FA not named Marwin Gonzalez, which in my eyes is a huge plus because of the questions surrounding the middle infield and 3rd base. He may not be a Gold Glover, but if healthy, Harrison is an overall better player than both Iglesias and Galvis, and might come at a bargain price due to his “down year” and the presence of Gonzalez, Machado, Donaldson, LeMahieu, and the two defensive studs I compared him to.
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