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Front Page: Where Are We Now? (New Years Edition)

rich hill homer bailey jose berrios max kepler byron buxton
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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 08:27 PM

Happy New Years Day! As the calendar changes from 2019 to 2020, let’s take a look at what the current Minnesota Twins roster might look like if the season started today. The Twins added two pitchers on Tuesday, likely completing their search for pitching. What is left to do?The Twins front office has been busy this offseason. To this point, they have signed Jake Odorizzi to the qualifying offer. They brought back Michael Pineda on a two-year contract. They brought back Sergio Romo and brought in another veteran bullpen arm in Tyler Clippard. They took care of the backup catcher spot by signing veteran Alex Avila. And on Tuesday, they signed veteran starters Homer Bailey and Rich Hill.

All that, along with the business-as-usual events such as minor league signings and bringing in new coaches throughout the organization. They have hired Mike Bell as bench coach, but they still need to hire an assistant pitching coach/bullpen coach.

While the core of 2019’s 101-win team is largely still intact, Rocco Baldelli will have plenty of new faces as well.

Let's take a look around the diamond and see what the Twins roster might look like if the season were to start today. Hopefully it gives Twins fans a glimpse at the work that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have ahead of them to fill out Rocco Baldelli's second Opening Day roster:

Catcher (3) - Mitch Garver, Alex Avila, Willians Astudillo

No question. Silver Slugger award winner Mitch Garver earned the Twins starting catcher gig. Alex Avila will be the #2 catcher, and yet we know that means he will likely catch a lot due to the team’s emphasis on rest. As the roster is currently comprised, Astudillo represents a good 26th roster option, at least until the team signs a first baseman or third baseman. Then he is an ideal 27th man for a 26-man roster.

Non 40-man options: Tomas Telis, Juan Graterol

Infielders (5) - Marwin Gonzalez (1B), Luis Arraez (2B), Jorge Polanco (SS), Miguel Sano (3B), Ehire Adrianza (UT)

Clearly the Twins are going hard after third baseman Josh Donaldson. If they sign him, Sano moves over to first base and the infield is set. Sano at first base. Luis Arraez at second base. Donaldson and third base. Jorge Polanco at shortstop. Adrianza backs up four spots. Gonzalez backs up two spots and two outfield spots too. If they don’t sign Donaldson, Sano probably stays at third base and they bring in a Mitch Moreland type to play first base for a year.

40-man Options: Travis Blankenhorn, Nick Gordon
Non 40-Man Options: Alex Kirilloff, Cody Asche, Jack Reinheimer, Wilfredo Tovar, Zander Wiel

Outfielders (4) - Eddie Rosario (LF), Byron Buxton (CF), Max Kepler (RF), Jake Cave (4th)

Rosario is still a Twin! He may not have had a great year, but when a guy hits .276 (.800) with 28 doubles, 32 homers and 109 RBI, he shouldn’t be traded for just anything. Hopefully Buxton and his shoulder will be ready by Opening Day. And hopefully Kepler can continue to grow upon the progress he made in 2019. Jake Cave and LaMonte Wade will likely battle it out for an outfield spot as Marwin Gonzalez can also play out there.

40-man Options: LaMonte Wade, Luke Raley, Gilberto Celestino
Non-40-man Options: Brent Rooker, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach

Designated Hitter (1) - Nelson Cruz

I feel pretty comfortable with this one.

Starting Pitchers (5) - Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda, Homer Bailey, Rich Hill (maybe in June)

As of now, the Opening Day rotation will consist of Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi and Homer Bailey. Michael Pineda will have to miss about six weeks due to his suspension, and Rich Hill will be out until sometime in June after having a modified Tommy John surgery.

The question becomes… who will make starts for the Twins until Pineda and Hill are ready to pitch?

Short-Term Starter Options - Lewis Thorpe, Randy Dobnak, Devin Smeltzer, Brusdar Graterol,

Last week, I wrote about the idea of Brusdar Graterol being a “primary” pitcher. Another option would be for him to get starts until Hill comes back in June. At that point, a decision could be made about how to proceed. Keep him starting, or move him to the bullpen to limit his innings. Thorpe, Dobnak and Smeltzer all made starts for the Twins in 2019 and had varying levels of success. All four should be a part of future Twins plans.


The Bullpen (8): Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard, Zack Littell, Cody Stashak, Matt Wisler.

Taylor Rogers became a top reliever in the league in 2019, and Duffey and May both took huge strides in the second half. So did Zack Littell and Cody Stashak who pitched well in their rookie seasons. Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard provide a veteran presence and know-how. Wisler is out of option, so he would have to make the team or be placed on waivers. He’s got impressive strikeout rates. The bullpen has a chance to be a strength and has plenty of good depth. It will be interesting to see how the pecking order changes over the course of the season.

Other Bullpen Options
40-man Roster: Ryne Harper, Fernando Romero, Sean Poppen, Jorge Alcala, (Graterol, Dobnak, Smeltzer, Thorpe)
Non 40-man Roster: Blaine Hardy, Ryan Garton, Mitch Horacek, Caleb Thielbar, Daniel Coulombe

So, what do the Twins need to do over the remainder of the offseason?

(There is likely no huge rush at this point. We have seen free agency trickle into spring training if not into the season. The trade market is always open..)
  • Corner Infielder - The Twins appear to be going after Josh Donaldson very strongly. Getting him would add a huge bat to an already potent lineup while improving the defense in the infield. If Donaldson signs elsewhere, it is likely that the Twins sign a first baseman in the Mitch Moreland mold.
  • Outfield - While it shouldn’t be a huge priority, a right-handed hitting outfielder might make sense as a platoon option with lefties Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler. It also makes sense for the guy to be able to play center field well when Byron Buxton is out of the lineup. Kevin Pillar makes a lot of sense.
  • Starting Pitching - I think the additions of Bailey and Hill on Tuesday likely signal the end of the Twins efforts in attracting starting pitchers. Unless teams drop their trade prices on possible ace-like pitchers (Jon Gray, German Marquez as examples), the Twins have improved their staff while giving themselves quality depth.
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 the rest of the offseason?

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#2 mikelink45

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 09:18 PM

The rotation will only improve if one or two of the rookies step up and force their way onto the starting rotation.Marwin Gonzalez is utility, he should stay at utility.As a starter Gonzalez is average - replacement level.We need a first baseman.The BP is not as solid as everyone wants to think - we need someone to rise to a level of dominance beside Rogers and Rogers cannot slip.If Buxton is down again the OF is poor.  

 

We are not close to a team that the Yankees will fear in the playoffs. 

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#3 jrod23

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 09:41 PM

The part w/Graterol starting until Hill is ready to go is exactly what I thought when I heard of the signing. Hill’s numbers are fantastic, but money invested in a guy who is 40 AND isn’t ready until mid-season for a forearm injury? $3 million ain’t what it used to be.
Also, sign Donaldson already or let him go back to the Braves.
I feel as if anyone showing interest in us and hasn’t signed yet is being that nice person who can’t just tell us no.
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#4 Linus

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 10:06 PM

Please sign a real SS and let Polanco play second. Arreaz can play third and suddenly we have some infield defense
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#5 RaoulDuke

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Posted 31 December 2019 - 11:04 PM

So far 7 mlb contracts in they have maintained the status quo plus a bullpen upgrade and a flyer on Hill.That should win them the division even with Sox improvements and Cle maybe selling.

 

I still don't feel there is a playoff series they are going to be favored in (maybe just contend in pretty please). 

 

-Sign Donaldson, overpay to get him here.The contract is not that long even if he declines poorly the upside for at least the first two years is immense.  

 

-Trade for a top of the rotation starter, someone to pitch game 1 or 2 of a playoff series.They failed to address this in free agency so now it costs prospects like Lewis/ Kirloff/ Larnach/ Balzovic.It can be done at the all star break but that is a major gamble. 

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#6 D.C Twins

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 02:28 AM

We are in no better position to be competitive in the playoffs (if we make it).

 

Ergo.....failed off season to date.

 

I remain impressed with the FO's ability to draft and develop players as well has hire coaches but....

 

Continue to think that their refusal to take needed risk with either FA signings or trading top prospects will ultimately prevent us from being anything more than above average-ish

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#7 etwink

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 04:43 AM

If the Twins sign Donaldson (other than making one wonder why they couldn’t open the check book for a SP), the lineup is going to be on par with having an arm that looks like Popeye’s after he eats spinach!

 

On the other hand their pitching arm.....will look something like mine....when I was 2 years old...

🇨🇮

#8 The Wise One

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 05:27 AM

Graterol can pitch until hill is healthy. That should get Graterol close to the 100-120 IP limit

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#9 Doctor Gast

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 07:58 AM

The start of last year I was very optimistic. We got some very good positional players. We had an awesome pitching & catching staff, the BP was good even Blake surprised me in the beginning.

 This year I was hoping that we`d be better but as I see it as of now we aren`t. Positional players we lost Skoop & Cron but gain Arraez. What gain in OBP we lost in defense & power. Pitching we lost Gibson & Perez, yeah they petered out at the end but they helped give us a commanding lead in the beginning . Catching we lost Castro so it`s hard to replace him as back up. BP is better. 

 But I was expecting to dominate the Central Division & win at least 1 game in the Post season not to just compete for the division

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#10 Platoon

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 08:51 AM

Am I the only one who thinks we have too many Taylor’s, Tyler’s, and Trevors in the pen? Probably. It looks like the Twins will yet again go offense first? I know it’s awfully hard to build an elite pitching staff, it generally has to start in house. Unfortunately I don’t think Berrios has turned out to be the "ace" many hoped for. The disconcerting thing about the yet again offensive bent to this team is that despite career or near career offensive years by a lot of players, the playoffs were remain nothing but a glorified exhibition series. That dynamic will not change until somehow they change the level of pitching and defense. I know bombas sell tickets, and win games during a long season. But we been dere, done dat. It’s time to up our game! 

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#11 SQUIRREL

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:16 AM

Where are we now? About where we always are ... in need of pitching and hoping a couple of the young ones step up. Albeit, I think some of the young ones are a bit more hopeful than in the past, but ... here we are. Where we pretty much always are.
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#12 jhoffman

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:18 AM

Sign Donaldson, trade Sano for Gray, sign Moreland for 1st base.

All we have is middle to back of the rotation starters compared to the Nats, Astros, and Yankees. Not sure Berrios would start a playoff game for any of these 3 teams and he's our number one.


#13 SQUIRREL

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:19 AM

If the Twins sign Donaldson (other than making one wonder why they couldn’t open the check book for a SP), the lineup is going to be on par with having an arm that looks like Popeye’s after he eats spinach!
 
On the other hand their pitching arm.....will look something like mine....when I was 2 years old...


If they do open the checkbook and sign Donaldson, wouldn’t that just give some credence to the stories that pitchers signed elsewhere because they wanted to be elsewhere? Something we can never know for sure. But ... that still leaves us where we always are, as I said in my post above ... still in need of pitching that has a chance of getting it done.
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#14 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:21 AM

Sign Donaldson, trade Sano for Gray, sign Moreland for 1st base.
All we have is middle to back of the rotation starters compared to the Nats, Astros, and Yankees. Not sure Berrios would start a playoff game for any of these 3 teams and he's our number one.


Why are the Rockies trading Gray for Sano?

If they don't think they can compete this year, they'll want guys with 6+ years of control.

If they think they can compete, they aren't trading Gray.
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#15 strumdatjaguar

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 09:59 AM

On the “T” reliever first-name issue - It looks like the Trevor Hildenberger era is coming to. an end.
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#16 rdehring

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 10:17 AM

First, Happy New Year Seth.

 

I think the signing of Hill/Bailey means the Twins don't have to complete a trade for a top starter at a cost beyond fair value.Should they find that opportunity, at a reasonable cost, I expect they will pull the trigger.What is more likely, is they find a deal similar to the Odorizzi deal and trade a mid-level prospect (or two) for a pitcher with some upside that isn't a name you are familiar with.In either case, they will then have one excess pitcher when Hill is healthy, plus all the young kids.

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#17 akmanak

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 10:23 AM

While I am not exactly thrilled with the acquisitions regarding the starting pitchers I don't exactly hate it.

The Twins are putting a lot of hope into their younger pitchers and that is pretty much the norm with this team. The rotation given that we play in a weak division looks just as promising as last year's which isnt saying much but we should still compete.

I think one of the huge additions would be Donaldson. If they won't spend on pitching, spend on people who can mash the ball.

Hopefully the pitching staff can buy us time and we can make a move for pitching in June or Julu.
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#18 specialiststeve

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 10:29 AM

Not mentioned anywhere but Wisler also has some starting experience. It did not go well but would be an option depending on how he is throwing... 


#19 Splash45

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 10:46 AM

We are in no better position to be competitive in the playoffs (if we make it).
 
Ergo.....failed off season to date.
 
I remain impressed with the FO's ability to draft and develop players as well has hire coaches but....
 
Continue to think that their refusal to take needed risk with either FA signings or trading top prospects will ultimately prevent us from being anything more than above average-ish


Assuming health next year we will have a playoff rotation of Berrios, Odo, Pineda, and Hill. That’s a lot better than Berrios, Odo, Dobnak, and a bullpen game. So i think at this point we are in a little better position to compete in the playoffs, and still have time to get even better.
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#20 FritzDahmus

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Posted 01 January 2020 - 10:58 AM

I would like it if they spent the "Donaldson money" on more veteran BP help. If that is possible [don't have anybody in mind]. Not that I would turn Donaldson away....but he isn't coming here.

 

Solve the 3B problem by signing a glove at SS [as has been suggested in this comment section]. Move Sano to 1B, Polanco to 2B [where he started his career], and Arraez to 3B [he is a rookie...he will embrace it].

 

The starting staff is now better than how we ended last year. Not saying much....but it is better.

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