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Front Page: With Twins Likely Out on Donaldson, So What's the Plan Now?

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#1 John Bonnes

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 10:09 PM

Star-Tribune Twins beat writer Phil Miller is reporting that the Minnesota Twins are “pessimistic” about their chances of signing free agent third baseman Josh Donaldson. It was reported Friday night that Donaldson, a former American League MVP, had given his price to the remaining suitors, believed to be around $110M over four years. The Twins are either unwilling to take that shot, or believe that even if they did, he would end up with another team. So what now?The cost of the Twins current roster is approximately $117-120M, with a projected payroll ceiling of $135M or so. (It’s worth noting that had they been able to sign Donaldson to an estimated $25M/year contract, they would have had a payroll level of $142-145M, above that projection.) So they still have plenty of money to spend.

What they’re short of are options. The Twins say their focus is on adding an infielder, but Donaldson represents the last impact infielder available on the free agent market. Rena looked at some less impactful free agent infield options a couple of weeks ago, and Cooper detailed four names the Twins could now consider and a couple of other wild card options. The team could also explore trading for an infielder, such as Pirates first baseman Josh Bell.

Or they could pivot back to looking for impact pitching. There are several starting pitchers that could make an impact, provided the Twins are willing to pay the price. There are also some salary dump pitchers available, like David Price. And the Twins have plenty of pieces they can trade, even without dipping into their farm system.

The question is whether they will be more willing to spend prospects than they have been to spend money. They weren’t at last year's trade deadline. So the most likely scenario is that they essentially keep their powder dry; sign a mid-level infielder and enter spring training with a payroll of $120-$125M, which would be a lower payroll than they carried into the season two years ago.

If so, that is a failed offseason. Given an unprecedented opportunity to make a division contender a world championship contender - an opportunity so ripe they themselves proclaimed their intentions to add impact players - they will end the offseason with exactly zero new impact players.

Proponents might suggest that at least they didn’t make any mistakes, and that seems true. But that is also the problem. This management team was unable to chance the big signing, the big trade, the potential mistake. The most likely path forward is that same one.

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#2 bobs

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 10:29 PM

This would be.....highly disappointing, but also highly expected.  

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#3 davidc3915

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 10:30 PM

Signing Donaldson may very well have been a disastrous mistake. Yet I feel so defeated by this. Short of some sort of blockbuster trade, this treading of water is frustrating. Happy New Year to everyone at Twins Daily, and to all who rely on it for all of its wonderful Twins content!
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#4 Rusty Shackleford

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 10:41 PM

Even after missing out on the top starting pitchers, they could have followed the 2015 Royals model and solidified the bullpen. Treinen and Betances were available. Both were hurt last year and there would be some risk. They took the cheaper and less risky route by signing Romo and Clippard. The front office is too conservative and is afraid to take chances.
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#5 bobs

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 10:43 PM

Here's what.Blockbuster....Arenado and Jon Gray come to Minnesota for whatever the heck the Rockies want....

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#6 bobs

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 10:46 PM

 

Even after missing out on the top starting pitchers, they could have followed the 2015 Royals model and solidified the bullpen. Treinen and Betances were available. Both were hurt last year and there would be some risk. They took the cheaper and less risky route by signing Romo and Clippard. The front office is too conservative and is afraid to take chances.

I think they've taken solid "swings" on guys like Wheeler, MadBum, Donaldson.What they aren't is willing to move prospects to build a team that can compete for a World Series

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#7 kdag23

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 10:49 PM

The problem is, if the Twins try to trade for a SP the cost will be high in terms of prospects they would need to give up. My guess is they don't make a significant trade based on their penchant for hanging on to their coveted prospects.
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#8 Cody Pirkl

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 10:49 PM

What we've seen now since the front offices promise to strike when the window is open is two opportunities that they've failed on. We saw them get Romo and Dyson at the trade deadline. Both solid moves to try and moderately help the team despite Dysons injury, but they ignored the biggest issue which was starting pitching.


Now we're looking at this offseason which looks eerily similar. Plenty of moves that marginally help us, but not really addressing our biggest needs in an exciting or aggressive way. Meanwhile we've seen the White Sox push their rebuild by being aggressive, challenging us to respond.


Last years trade deadline cost us greatly when we essentially has 3 starters for the playoffs, one totaling under 30 innings in the majors. Will this bland and disappointing offseason cost us again? We're due for regression in 2020 and haven't done much to combat it other than run out a similar team. In fact, we're currently looking at Marwin Gonzalez as our 1B which would be about as sad as we could have expected coming into the offseason. The front office is due for every bit of criticism they'll get at this point.


It's become a situation where Falvey and Levine need to earn the good will of the fanbase back. They've done a good job of putting this team together to be a contender, but at some point they have to stop settling for scraps and do something to significantly improve. The minors are stacked with future logjams of tradeable talent. The payroll is embarassing as it stands for a team coming off 101 wins. Do something.
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#9 Diesel

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 11:21 PM

As a fan of the Vikings and the Twins, at least the Wilfs (and other owners) have actively spent money to improve the team and stadium. and have been competitive throughout their history. The Twins on the other hand......
I know a lot of this was Carl Pohlad, but the team is still owned by the family.
1. After 1991, the Twins did not make the playoffs again until 2002.
2. The Twins were nearly moved to North Carolina, which was only stopped after voters there did not approve a deal.
3. Carl Pohlad offered to sell the team to MLB in a contraction plan (Montreal still deserves a team by the way).
4. Torii Hunter was offered an embarrassing $45 million contract, but instead got $90 million from the Angels. Eventually, Torii was brought back to the team, but merely as a “feel-good” mentorship role.
5. Johan Santana was traded to the Mets after having one of the most dominant stretches ever by a pitcher. (This isn’t as bad as people say, as it was after a losing 2007 season for the Twins).
6. Pitching has been an issue on playoff teams in this era as well as the 2000s teams. The most significant mid season trade acquisition may be Matt Capps.
7. The Twins forced taxpayers to pay for the majority of Target Field. (Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I think the Vikings deal was 50/50).

The criticism for the Pohlads is definitely valid. The lack of a fan base is due to long stretches of mediocrity. The “Pohlads are cheap” argument is definitely worn out, but still factual. I’m sick of the “this player doesn’t want to move to Minnesota” argument. This team has the money or prospects to field a World Series contending team, and they are expected to field an equal team or worse on paper this year, despite the front office’s claims of wanting more. Look what happened to the Astros’ value after they won a title! Couldn’t the same thing happen here too?
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#10 Danchat

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 12:03 AM

Yeah... this has been a very disappointing offseason. I do wonder if they'll sign a 1B/3B because that looks like an obvious need at the moment. There's not much outside of Donaldson for 3B, but at 1B, you could pick up Mitch Moreland (.835 OPS in 2019)... and I couldn't find any other appealing options. *sighs*

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Check out my work at Purple Pain, a Vikings forum: 

Analyzing the Past Decade of Vikings Offseasons


#11 Brandon

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 02:17 AM

Maybe they circle back and get Price for the rotation. Not much else you can do.

#12 Reider

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 02:30 AM

The Twins are out on Josh Donaldson because they don't want to increase their offer by another $20-30 Million to meet his demands. Donaldson is a good player, but the Twins need to draw the line somewhere. I'd rather see that money invested in an ace starting pitcher, if the Twins are ever able to acquire or sign one.

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#13 dgwills

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 05:09 AM

As far as we know the Twins gave Donaldson the highest offer. 4 years at 100 million is more than fair. He's rebuilt his value, but there was a reason it was down in the first place. They may have failed at signing any of the impact free agents, but they did try. It's more than the Twins ever did under previous management. 

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#14 Doctor Wu

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 06:58 AM

Yeah, what is the plan now? Was there ever a plan? You would think that the front office would target a player (like Cruz last year) who is willing to sign with the club. If not Player A, then settle for Player B. But why is this process taking so long? I think this waiting game only offers us less choices and mediocre ones at that.


#15 Sconnie

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:07 AM

None of the free agent infielders are very appealing. Moreland or Thames seem to be the best bets, but .830 OPS.... not a huge upgrade over what you might get out of Rooker, just more reliable.

From here on out, I’d look to swing a trade for a 3B and SP and plan on internal options as fallback options.

Edit to add: could get creative and look at Rosario at 1b as well.
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#16 shimrod

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:20 AM

If I recall correctly the Twins were headed for contraction until a judge made opening the books to public scrutiny a condition for breaking their Metrodome lease. That brought the contraction move to a screeching halt. 

 

I expect a look at the books would have revealed that ownership was raking in a fat profit and the payroll limitations were completely self-inflicted. That was before the taxpayers built Target field. There is no excuse, none, for not spending to improve this team. The "impact" FAs are gone. It's time to trade for a salary dump starting pitcher. 

 

I'm all on board with hoarding prospects and internal development. If we take on enough salary we may even get prospects back. The Twins owe the fanbase an "impact" move and it doesn't have to cost anything in prospects or prohibit future growth. 

 

I don't begrudge ownership a return on their investment. I expect ownership receives a solid return on investment even if payroll spending goes substantially higher than current levels. And considering the taxpayer money provided to this franchise a substantial profit should be enough. 

 

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#17 CharlieDee

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:22 AM

Are we more willing to spend money or prospects?Neither. We all know how important it is for this team to keep all our prospects. They are cheap and under control for many years, so we always keep those precious prospects. And as far as spending the cash, we always do our shopping at the bargain bin. Looking for the low cost option or the special discount price. We always want to keep our precious cash...IMO between last seasons deadline and this off season,our FO has completely failed. But we still have our prospects and cash!!!

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#18 Doctor Gast

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:33 AM

 

None of the free agent infielders are very appealing. Moreland or Thames seem to be the best bets, but .830 OPS.... not a huge upgrade over what you might get out of Rooker, just more reliable.

From here on out, I’d look to swing a trade for a 3B and SP and plan on internal options as fallback options.

Edit to add: could get creative and look at Rosario at 1b as well.

 


#19 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:35 AM

Prospects are the competitive advantage in baseball. This has been proven over and over again, so smart management always keep their prospects. It's the only way you can win as a mid-market team: catch a wave of talent and ride it as long as you can.

 

Twins are a good team, maybe a very good team, in a league with some juggernaut franchises that can spend, literally, twice what the Twins can.

 

So, we the underdogs. We need to embrace that, play like that, build like that, and hope, one day, we will get our shot and win it all.

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#20 Linus

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Posted 05 January 2020 - 07:51 AM

There is more than one way to improve. Sign José Iglesias to a cheap 2 year deal and take on Price and his entire contract along with another prospect. With Polanco at second Arreaz at third and Sano at first your infield defense improves substantially. Plus you’ve possibly improved the pitching and added a prospect all for a 3 year overpay that ends right when you need to pay Buxton / Sano
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