That's all fine and good in a vacuum, but the FO has to deal in reality. Most proven, starting quality players aren't going to sign somewhere if they don't see a job opening. So what are we talking about here?
A manager problem who kept going to the well with a vet like Morrison who sucked? That manager got fired.
You're not going to have a roster with 25 starters on it. And you're going to have a problem if every guy on the roster thinks they should be starting and isn't willing to fill a role. You have to have guys on your roster that fill roles, not just for pitching but for the lineup, especially when you only get 12-13 spots for the guys in the field. Adrianza fills a role: positional flexibility with at least adequate defense and hitting that's respectable for middle infield.
You bring up Jake Cave and suggest he competed for Kepler's playing time, but the reality is, with Buxton hurt/ineffective there was an opening for a guy to get some OF playing time. He didn't take away any time from Kepler, who had a career high in games played and plate appearances. Cave's a useful player, but he also had a BABIP of .363 which probably isn't sustainable. He's still a useful player because he can't be an effective CF for you if Buxton repeats last year and be a nice defensive replacement in the corners. but he's not pushing Kepler out of RF. The problem the Twins have right now in the OF is they don't know if Kepler can hit enough to be an every day RF or Buxton can hit enough to be an every day CF.
Paragraph one: If you have to promise a free agent that the team will faithfully tank along with him if he tanks and his playing time won't ever be questioned... we shouldn't sign a free agent ever again. When you sign a free agent... you pay the money it takes to sign him. You outbid the other teams and no team is going to outbid other teams for limited playing time. Simply outbidding other teams is expressed expectation that he won't be benched IF and I mean IF he is performing. If you are trading to acquire the acquisition... you have his rights.You have all the leverage you need to demand results. If you want to extend your own player to a new deal... he is performing and therefore playing... If he isn't... you don't want to sign him to an extension anyway.
If I'm a player... and I have competition for my services... I am strongly considering the talent next to me. I'm not signing with the Twins because they have players hitting .160 playing every day in the same lineup. If I don't have confidence in my talent that I need an assurance of playing time. Yeah... Sign me up Twins. I'd love a sweet deal like that. Get paid millions and produce whatever you like.
Paragraph Two: Yep... and do it again if you have to.
Paragraph Three: The only role they need to fill is the role of performing when given a spot in the lineup. If you are in the lineup as a 2B, you are in the lineup as a 2B. That is your role. The backup role will take care of itself by who isn't getting the job done. It will happen naturally by letting the players decide who gets that role based on who is less deserving. Don't go into the season... "Hey... You are my backup". That's all the expectation I have of you and then give him a million dollars for his willingness to put the uniform on and watch others play.
Paragraph Four: I used Cave as an example and I used Kepler as an example. Don't get lost making the examples specific. They were "For example" but go ahead and insert any names you want for the example. Let's just take your final sentence. "The problem the Twins have right now in the OF is they don't know if Kepler can hit enough to be an every day RF or Buxton can hit enough to be an every day CF".
I agree with that last sentence 1000%... So if you don't know... and I don't know (I don't)... the front office doesn't know... Even Chief doesn't know... Why on earth would you sign a back up who isn't good enough to deserve a starting job and say... he won't play much even if you don't know what is going to happen with Kepler and Buxton. Are we afraid that if Kepler and Buxton figure it out and actually perform, that a 4th outfielder who is also performing is going to be a problem?
Same point for the middle infield... We got Polanco and now we got Schoop. Schoop has major question marks based on last year... just like the question marks we have Kepler, Buxton and Sano... does the team punt the 2B position if Schoop doesn't right the ship. Was he was promised an every day job no matter what to get him here and the season ticket holders are just going to have to take it, if it happens or does Schoop play every day because Adrianza was only signed as a back up to play on getaway days and not signed with the intention of him being needed to play full time?
Just get a player who can compete with Polanco and Schoop. Trade, Waivers, IFA, FA... I don't care. We got money, we got trade chips and we got a weak AL Central. This isn't hard... and it's necessary.
All the front office has to do is not sign a player with the attitude that he isn't going to play much.
I don't hate Adrianza... He's got some value. I take issue with any comment that states "He's fine for a backup".
I don't believe in backups.