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Article: Where Are We Now?

eddie rosario nelson cruz byron buxton miguel sano jose berrios
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 10:45 PM

On Monday, the Twins Winter Caravan began. Twins broadcasters and some players will travel the Upper Midwest this week and next week. Late next week is the Diamond Awards, Twins Fest and the Twins Daily Winter Meltdown. And at that point, we will be two weeks from the start of spring training. What do the Twins roster and payroll look like today? And what does that mean for the team’s 2019 chances? What moves remain?Let's look around the diamond and see what the Twins roster may look like if the season was to start today. Check it out and then discuss Rocco Baldelli’s chances in his first year as manager. What would you do yet in the final month before spring training begins?

Catcher (2) - Jason Castro ($8.0 million), Mitch Garver (est $575,000)

The Twins appear to be set behind the plate. Jason Castro should be at 100% when spring training begins. Mitch Garver made huge improvements behind the plate over the course of 2018. And Willians Astudillo is ready when needed.


Infield/DH (6) - Nelson Cruz ($14.0 million), CJ Cron ($4.8 million), Jonathan Schoop ($7.5 million), Jorge Polanco (est $600,000), Miguel Sano ($2.65 million), Ehire Adrianza ($1.3 million).

The Twins added one of the top bats available in free agency this offseason in Nelson Cruz. CJ Cron and Tyler Austin will likely compete for the first base job in spring training. Austin is out of options and Cron’s deal isn’t 100% guaranteed. Presumably they won’t both remain on the team and in the organization. Jonathan Schoop and his upside take over at second base on a one-year deal. The left side of the infield is expected to remain manned by Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano. Ehire Adrianza, assuming his shoulder is fully recovered, will be the utility infielder. Ronald Torreyes is the next in line for that role, and Nick Gordon could be called up by mid-season if a job opens up in the middle infield.


Outfield (4) - Eddie Rosario ($4.19 million), Byron Buxton ($1.75 million), Max Kepler ($3.125 million), Jake Cave (est. $575,000)

Pending injuries, this is pretty well set as well. Eddie Rosario will be in left with Byron Buxton in center and Max Kepler in right. Jake Cave will the the fourth outfielder. Zack Granite and Michael Reed provide the team with other options in the outfield, along with recent 40-man add LaMonte Wade.


Starting Pitchers (5) - Jose Berrios (est $700,000), Kyle Gibson ($8.125 million), Jake Odorizzi ($9.4 million), Michael Pineda ($8.0 million), Adalberto Mejia (est $565,000)

The first four of the rotation appear to be set. The question really comes with the fifth starter. Who will it be? I included Mejia just because he is out of options. But Fernando Romero, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves, Zack Littell, Chase De Jong and Lewis Thorpe fit into that discussion as well. Each of these options would come in at about league minimum. Romero and De Jong will be in their final option seasons. Gonsalves, Littell and Thorpe each have two options remaining. Stewart has three option years available.

The other option, of course, would be signing a free agent such as Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez, Wade Miley or any number of pitchers on minor league contracts.


The Bullpen (8): Trevor May ($900,000), Addison Reed ($8.5 million), Taylor Rogers ($1.525 million), Blake Parker ($1.8 million), Trevor Hildenberger (est $600,000), Gabriel Moya (est $565,000), Matt Magill (est $565,000), Tyler Duffey (est. $575,000)

Even with the addition of Blake Parker, I would guess that the Twins will still add another arm or two. From the left side, the Twins have Taylor Rogers. If they want a second lefty reliever, Gabriel Moya and Andrew Vasquez are options. Tyler Duffey and Matt Magill are out of options, so if they’re on the 40-man roster, they have to be favorites at this time.

The new bullpen roles and how Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson utilize the bullpen will be interesting. Will they go with an Opener/Primary in the fifth spot? Could there be opportunities for piggybacking a couple of starters? In that case, the fifth starter candidates are certainly possibilities for one of these spots. Will the team go with a traditional closer? And, what will the Twins decide (or have they already decided) on the role of Fernando Romero?


Payroll

Hitters: $49.065 million
Starters: $26.89 million
Relievers: $14.435 million
Phil Hughes: $5.93 million
Total 2019 payroll (as of right now): $96.32 million


What Questions Remain?
  • Will the Twins add another bullpen arm, or two?
  • Will the Twins add another starting pitcher? Free agent, or a possible trade option?
  • What is the role for Fernando Romero?
  • CJ Cron or Tyler Austin?
  • Long-term contracts? Jose Berrios would be at the top of the list of me, but are there others?
That's where the Twins roster is right this moment, as well as some areas of need.

What do you consider the Twins areas of strength, and how would you prioritize their areas of need this offseason?

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#2 nater79a

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 11:18 PM

If the Twins did sign a free agent starter or trade for one on a major league contract it will be interesting to see what they do with Mejia.Will they try to deal him before the end of spring training or utilize him out of the 'pen in some capacity.  

 

On the other hand, we only need to look back to last spring and the Ervin Santana saga to realize nothing is etched in stone at this point in the offseason.Plans can change in a hurry as we get closer to opening day.

 

As the saying goes...can never have enough pitching.

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#3 BoofBonser

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 11:21 PM

The payroll is too low not to grab another arm or two. Given that injuries happen and Pineda is likely to get hurt some time this season, I think the Twins should heavily consider adding Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez, or even Clay Bucholz as well as Ottavino to round out the bullpen.

 

The lineup looks very solid on paper. Sano and Buxton can get this team to 90 wins alone by each having a 2017-like year. The powerful additions of Schoop, Cron, and Cruz will make the middle of the lineup very dangerous. There's very good potential for this team to have 6-7 20 HR hitters. Add in improvements from Kepler and Castro and you've got a rock solid lineup top to bottom. 

The only thing that will hold this team back is most likely that 5th starter spot (if no additions are made), and the back of the bullpen, which is relatively unproven. That's why getting Ottavino would be huge. 

 

 

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#4 Seth Stohs

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Posted 14 January 2019 - 11:31 PM

 

The payroll is too low not to grab another arm or two. Given that injuries happen and Pineda is likely to get hurt some time this season, I think the Twins should heavily consider adding Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez, or even Clay Bucholz as well as Ottavino to round out the bullpen.

 

The lineup looks very solid on paper. Sano and Buxton can get this team to 90 wins alone by each having a 2017-like year. The powerful additions of Schoop, Cron, and Cruz will make the middle of the lineup very dangerous. There's very good potential for this team to have 6-7 20 HR hitters. Add in improvements from Kepler and Castro and you've got a rock solid lineup top to bottom. 

The only thing that will hold this team back is most likely that 5th starter spot (if no additions are made), and the back of the bullpen, which is relatively unproven. That's why getting Ottavino would be huge. 

 

Keuchel would and Gonzalez probably would be a better option than the Twins current starting pitcher depth. Buchholz is a maybe at best. Ottovino would be nice in the bullpen. The other options are in the hit or miss category. 

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#5 ND-Fan

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 03:07 AM

I would say we will either acquire a pitcher through a trade like last year or we will pick up player released during spring training. My guess we sign a reliever before spring training from free agent market. These are moves i expect us to make before season starts unless we have major injury then we could make a move.

I was pessimistic about coming season but i can see possible path where we could make a run this season. I also could se where we just post another bad season again and wait for the prospects to arrive here.

I also wonder what are long term plan is when we haven't locked up any players for the future. I look at where we stand even if we have decent year what is the plan for the 2020 year when we will be loosing three of projected starters for this year to free agency. Pitching has improved for the Twins but not if we loose all three of these starters because following year we will be looking for starting pitching and we don't have that kind of depth in minors to just fill these openings and pitching on free agent market is always expensive and risky. The chances of resigning our pitchers could become expensive and not lock to get them back on the pitchers we would want back to pitch.


#6 nytwinsfan

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 06:03 AM

Agree that Berrios should be the top choice for an extended contract.Yes, pitchers have more injury risk as a general matter, but Berrios' excellent injury history and obvious attention to offseason fitness and strenghtening lessen that risk somewhat.

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#7 beckmt

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 06:04 AM

I feel they need to sign another reliever as the bottom end looks weak.I also favor Vasquez over Moya.Maybe a better utility player than Moya and one less pitcher and have Astudillo up.Would like to have seen what Austin can bring for a full season, but the front office does not seem very sold on him, so I guess barring Cron having a very bad spring, he is gone.  

Worried about the lack of OBP type players, as this club looks like it could have problems scoring if the ball does not leave the park.  

Pitching rates to be better, but would like one more stabilizer in the pen.At least this club has hope if at least one of Buxton and Sano rebound to be upper 80's to low 90's in the win column. 

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#8 EA19SPORTS

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 07:08 AM

Definitely need to add another proven arm at the back end of the bullpen. They may be waiting for Cody Allen's price to drop a little bit. I believe they will let the young guys fill the 5th starter slot throughout the year. Kohl Stewart looked pretty good down the stretch and Gonsalves figured it out in his last few starts

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#9 ashbury

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 07:27 AM

At catcher we have two guys coming off injuries that can have long-lasting consequences. In my thinking, either guy could come down with a recurrence, or a related malady, that suddenly leaves us short. Injuries are part of the game, and many are unforeseeable, but this situation seems higher risk than average. Who do we have stashed at AAA on a make-good contract, in case Willians suddenly is our starter and we have no backup?

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#10 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 07:58 AM

I think you're selling Tyler Austin a bit short here by not including him. I suspect if no more changes are made, he'd make the team over Duffy. 

 

Heck, even if they sigend another arm, I could see him making the team over one of the other arms listed in your pen... especially since some have options. 

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#11 Seth Stohs

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 08:30 AM

 

I think you're selling Tyler Austin a bit short here by not including him. I suspect if no more changes are made, he'd make the team over Duffy. 

 

Heck, even if they sigend another arm, I could see him making the team over one of the other arms listed in your pen... especially since some have options. 

 

That's fair, and that depends on whether they go with 12 or 13 pitchers. Duffey and Austin are both out of options. They could start the season with 12 pitchers and keep Austin, but at some point within the first month, it's likely they'd go to 13 pitchers and then what? (of course, by then any number of things could happen) 

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#12 Riverbrian

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 08:40 AM

Could Austin play OF?

Cave has options.
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#13 jorgenswest

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 08:59 AM

The roster resource has Duffey with 1 option.

If that is the case the Twins must not have used an option in 2015 or 2016.
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#14 gunnarthor

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 09:00 AM

Man, the Twins could add Machado and still have a payroll lower than last year.

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#15 killertwinfan

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 09:00 AM

Curiously absent from this discussion is the word "closer". Maybe that is too old school, but, this team will regret not having one.The guys on our roster are fill-in level not stopper level.This team had and AL leading 30 blown saves last year with the best team being 14 and the league average being 21.There is a potential for 9 wins if we just become average.Get a stopper if possible. 

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#16 ToddlerHarmon

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 09:02 AM

Am I correct that the Twins have ZERO dollars guaranteed to anyone next year (notwithstanding buyouts)? Talk about playing for their jobs.

 

That colors whether we "should" add anyone. This looks like Falvine are ready to see whether the team competes in the first half. If so, add some oomph at the deadline, and expect to pick up options and start signing extensions next year. If not, they can clean out a lot of roster spots, and still keep enough talent to jump-start a rebuild.

 

The roster guess sounds reasonable. I think it's possible for Vasquez, Astudillo, and/or Austin to break camp with the team, with Duffey being the most likely to drop on performance alone.

 

I would like to see Astudillo get a chance, and not just for entertainment. He seems the easiest way to add consistent OBP, which is the missing element in this lineup.

 

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#17 MN_ExPat

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 09:44 AM

1.Will the Twins add another bullpen arm, or two?  

Very possible. For some reason my hindbrain keeps coming back to Cody Allen being announced here before too long... but then I may have eaten too many paint chips as a kid.

 

2.Will the Twins add another starting pitcher? Free agent, or a possible trade option?

Also for some reason I don't see this happening other than a possible bullpen piece (I.E. Allen), but we shall see I suppose.

 

3.  What is the role for Fernando Romero?

This one really intrigues me. Romero just has too much potential to leave in the wings waiting. I like the Adam Wainwright comparison to this one (just hear me out).When Adam broke into the league he pitched out of the pen mostly during his rookie year. The comparison? His stuff was too good not to use and the team had a need that he could fill.  

 

Yes, he was and had been a starter his whole career, but he was happy to fill the role to help the team. My feeling is that the pen is not the "death sentence" that some make it out to be. I feel that Romero's stuff could play well there and if he is needed to move back to the rotation, then he is slotted back there.

 

4.CJ Cron or Tyler Austin?

Honestly, I don't prefer one over the other. I think they both have a lot of talent and potential (whether that is fully realized and maximized we shall see), and I for one am more than happy to let people far more intelligent than I in baseball matters make that decision.

 

 

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#18 RatherBeGolfing

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 10:01 AM

I'll admit, I read the title as "Where are THEY now" and got very confused as to why our current roster was in an article with that title.

 

That's all, carry on

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#19 nasu1970

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 10:50 AM

Tyler Austin will probably hit 30+ homers this year ............................................... for Kansas City, Detroit or Baltimore.

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#20 Seth Stohs

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Posted 15 January 2019 - 10:55 AM

 

The roster resource has Duffey with 1 option.

If that is the case the Twins must not have used an option in 2015 or 2016.

 

He was called up in 2015 and then optioned, but he was called up pretty quickly again, probably didn't use an option that year.

 

Was optioned in 2016 and 2018, but he was not optioned in 2017. So, you are correct that it appears that Duffey has one option remaining. 

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