My optimistic semi-realistic plan
Odorizzi (3/45, 4th-year team option for 18)
Pineda (1/10, 2nd year vesting option for 12 - suspended for ~40 games means we'll pay 7.5)
Gibson (1/10, 2nd year vesting option for 12)
I'm in the camp of making Cole the #1 priority of this offseason, so I'd be willing to pay more for him if necessary. Meanwhile, both Pineda and Gibson are be good buy-low candidates with vesting options. Pineda's absence won't be felt badly since teams rarely really need a 5th starter until late April. The downfall here is that it puts a lot of faith in two fairly big question marks - if Gibson keeps laying eggs or if Pineda regresses, we may be heavily dependent on Smelzer, Dobnak, Thorpe, Gonsalves, or Graterol sooner than we'd like. Either way, I'd assume that by the end of the year, at least one of those five will be in the permanent starting rotation.
CL: Rogers (arb)
SU: Tyler Clippard (2/12)
SU: Will Harris (2/14)
SU: Romo (1/5)
MI: Duffy (arb)
MI: May (arb)
MI/Long: Littell (pre-arb)
26th man: AAA pitcher of the week
The immediate flaw here is the lack of a second lefty. Obviously Will Smith would be Option A for that, but I strongly doubt this front office would be willing to do a 3+ year deal for a reliever, and I think Smith will be looking for at least that. Jerry Blevens is an option too, and Sean Doolittle may be an option, and may be a possible candidate for a one-year-make good contract, but I don't like where either of their numbers are trending and they are as likely or not to be a bust. Plus, Washington would need to decline Doolittle's option for him to even be available. Francisco Liriano wouldn't be a bad option, and it would be worth checking in on him if we must get another lefty, but I'm not not convinced he'll be as nearly effective this as he was last year (that 4.53 FIP doesn't encourage me). Plus, there's that three-batter minimum rule going into effect next year too, which reduces the need of a lefty specialist. So that leaves resigning Romo and getting Clippard and Harris. Clippard is about as consistent as relievers come, and he's arguably been his most effective the past two years. Plus, while he wasn't at Cleveland while Falvey was, the Cleveland tie doesn't hurt. As for Harris, I may be undershooting a bit at 2/14, but I'd be willing to go up to 2/20. Plus, if we get Cole, and already having Gonzalez, maybe Harris can be recruited by his old teammates (or, if we sign him first, he could help recruit Cole). If Harris is too big of an ask, I sure wouldn't mind bringing back Brandon Kintzler on either a one-or-two year deal.
C: Garver (pre-arb)
2B: Polacno (3.8)
3B: Sano (arb)
SS: Didi Gergorius (4/60, opt-out after year 1)
If getting Cole is priority 1 for me, then priority 2 is getting Didi Gregorius. Coming off an injury and his least-effective season, he'll be affordable even with getting Cole. Giving him a four-year deal provides him security, while providing an opt-out will allow him flexibility if he wants an even bigger payday after next year (and may free up the SS spot for Lewis). He's better defensively than Polanco, and would provide great leadership and a winning attitude. This allows Polanco to move to 2nd where he has probably been destined all along. Gregorius will almost certainly be offered a QO from the Yankees, so signing him will resulting in losing a first-round pick. Take that for what it's worth.
As for Cron, I'm letting him go and not signing a direct replacement, and doing so opens up a number of fascinating options. I have Sano listed at 3rd, but I figure that he can probably split time between 3rd and 1st all season long, prepping him for a probably-inevitable move to 1st. On days when he's at 1st, Gonzalez or Arraez can take 3rd. When he's at 3rd, Gonzalez, Kepler, or Rooker (or Arraez? can he play 1st?) plays 1st. This will allow the team flexibility to potentially shuffle some of their top AAA bats (Kiriloff, Larnach, Rooker, maybe someone else who emerges, Jaylen Davis-esque) and get them some experience with a legitimate MLB playoff team. With the emphasis on flexibility increasing, and judging on some of the things I saw the Twins do with their lineup last year, I feel like this is a real possibility.
(note: if Gregorius for some reason accepts the QO that the Yankees will inevitably offer him, then just resign Cron, or maybe make a 3-year offer to Jose Abreu)
CF: Buxton (arb)
RF: Kepler (6.3)
LF: Rosario (arb)
Tried and true. I'm not on the "trade Rosie" bandwagon, and I think that his presence on the team is both helpful and important. He's the one responsible for the "Bomba Squad" after all.
C: Astudillo (pre-arb)
SUPER-UT: Gonzalez (9)
SUPER-UT: Arraez (pre-arb)
IF-UT: Adrianza (arb)
OF: Cave (pre-arb) (I figure this can be a revolving door with Wade, Rooker, Kiriloff, and Larnach, but mostly Cave)
If there is one thing that I don't like about this plan, it is the lack of a regular, full-time position for Arraez. But based on what the team did last year with resting and moving players around, I'm sure he'll have at-bats aplenty. Plus, in the days he's on the bench, there is no player I would rather have pinch-hit than Arraez.
EST Payroll - 160mil