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Re-Load vs. Re-Tool vs. Re-Build for 2021

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#1 Vanimal46

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 07:50 AM

The Twins certainly have options this winter now that the core has been here long enough to make some tough calls. Which is the best route to take?

Re-Load: 

 

This is certainly a route to take, and given how weird this whole season was, maybe this is the best route. It's hard to blow it all up after a 60 game season with 2 abbreviated spring trainings and no minor league ball. This option keeps the status quo with 1 or 2 changes. In all of these plans, my assumption is that Gonzalez, Adrianza, and Rosario have played their last games with the Twins. So for this particular plan, they bring back Cruz to be DH, Kirilloff fills in for Rosario, and they find either an internal or external utility player. For pitching, much of it stays the same, give or take bringing back Odorizzi. 

Not the most exciting option, but given the team's success over the last 2 years, maybe it's not time to do drastic things to the roster. 

 

Re-Tool:

I can see this route being more accepted this offseason. As I said, the core has been around here enough to make some tough calls. Is the current core good enough to get over the hump? With this option, I assume the same players previously mentioned are not re-signed. On top of that, 1 or 2 of the current core team members are traded for different players. Perhaps one or more of Kepler, Arraez, Polanco, Berrios, Sano, or Buxton. 

This may result in a step back for 2021, but it would open up payroll to make future bold moves. And frankly, rids the organization of players that they no longer believe should be a part of the core. 

 

Re-Build:

This will be the most difficult route to get buy in. After losing for so many years, it's hard to blow it all up and go back to being a 90 loss team. But to finish out the scenario, the previously mentioned players are no longer here (Odo, Adrianza, Gonzalez, Rosario) plus trading away multiple core players in their arbitration years for young prospects. Cashing in on their best players and trying again in 2022+. 

Which route do you want the Twins to take?
 

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#2 Number3

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 08:27 AM

The irony is that all of a sudden pitching seems to be the strength of the team. The real quandary, in my unprofessional view, is will the real Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton please stand up? It seems that the entire regular lineup is either very unreliable or injury prone or both. Arraez maybe even has already seen his best days as a major league player.The Broom Stick can't be expected to last forever. All of a sudden a good young team has many question marks.I see no choice but to reload, play out 2021 with modest expectations and go from there.


#3 gunnarthor

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 08:33 AM

I think they have to re-tool but they also have to re-examine this bullpen idea. Bad pitchers can put up decent numbers in SSS but I'm not sure any of our bullpen arms are really better than average at best. Most are relievers for a reason. Duffey might be the only one that is above average. We need starters to eat more innings. Berrios is capable but not permitted. I think Maeda can. And the Twins should throw money at Bauer (but they won't).

 

The Twins offense struggled this year, being more or less middle of the road on everything and low on OBP. I would listen on anything involving Kepler or Polanco. Both have nice contracts that might make them more attractive to other teams but both had their career year last year and aren't really elite players. I agree that Rosario is gone. I think the Twins can make some sort of OF with Buxton, Kiriloff, Rooker, Larnich, Wade, Cave work. A couple of those hitters could be pretty good and raise the team's OBP. I don't think the 'hit for the moon' while making tons of outs is a great offensive strategy. We might want to consider making fewer outs.

 

I'm still a believer in Sano so make the IF Sano/Arreaz/?/Donaldson. If the Twins move Polanco, I'm not sure if Lewis is ready but that would be the hope. Jeffers/Garver platoon should be serviceable. Twins IF depth seems a bit weak right now - Gordon, Blankenhorn, Lewis are probably all close but only Lewis has that big upside. 

 

The Twins also need to stay healthy. 

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#4 Chachi

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 08:43 AM

If we trust the analytics as much as we say we do - the discrepancy between regular season performance and playoff performance needs to be addressed!

 

It would be similar to pulling one of your top pitchers after 5 innings regardless...well...cause analytics. We don't need a re-load, re-tool or re-build...

 

I propose we have a 'regular season manager' (Rocco) and pull him for a 'post-season manager' with better analytics in games and series that count extra with a different brand of pressure to perform.

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#5 Battle ur tail off

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 08:51 AM

It's hard to know what to do. This team hit the ball extremely well last year. Now, this season, they didn't. Granted it was shortened so some of it might be that. 

 

I wouldn't get too happy about a full rebuild when you still have quite a few young players on cheap deals. Trading some of them might be worth it, but who do you target to bring in?

 

My guess also, is that Cruz is gone. He wants a title and these last 2 postseason performances shows him what kind of help he is gonna get in these big postseason games. 

 

 

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#6 milldaddy35

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 09:06 AM

There is no chance that the FO just blows this thing up. I think re-tooling is the most likely scenario. I think you will see Rosario gone, Cruz is a toss up who I would like to see gone (Plenty of in-house DH options, his body is slowing down, that money can go elsewhere), and Odorizzi likely gone unless he's taking a prove it deal. I think May, Clippard, and Ehire all have shots at being back, unless Ehire thinks he can start for a poor team like the Tigers or Pirates. Marwin has to be gone unless he is taking a 1 year, 4M deal. I wouldn't be shocked to see one of Polanco, Kepler, or Sano to be traded, but I think it is probably unlikely unless they're getting MLB talent back in return. 

 

I think I would push hard for Trevor Bauer, and add Michael Brantley. He adds the ability to grind through an at bat, which is something that we are really missing. I need to dig more in to potential trade candidates on other squads before my off-season blueprint.

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#7 wsnydes

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 09:39 AM

The core of this team has proven that they really don't have enough to win in the postseason, that's troubling to me. At the very least, breaking up the core is probably what needs to happen. I would imagine that Rosario gets traded (a year late in my opinion) and maybe at least one other of the Polanco, Kepler, Buxton, Sano camp. I don't think they really need to tear it down completely, that's overkill, but something needs to be done with the core group of players because they certainly aren't getting it done come October. Beyond that, Marwin and Cruz probably end up elsewhere. I've seen enough of Polanco at SS too. Donaldson is always a liability to stay on the field, so I don't really entrust him to help out with Polanco's lack of range and arm on a constant basis.

 

I think there will be holes left in the pitching staff by May and Odo leaving. I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to bringing both back, but I don't think that'll happen. Surprisingly enough, I'm less concerned with the pitching that I have been in the past, but there's still room for improvement. 

 

This team relies too much on the home run offensively. That's not a recipe for success come October. If that wasn't known prior to last season, it certainly should be clear now. They simply have to be able to manufacture runs more consistently. Good pitching in the playoffs simply doesn't lend to winning games consistently.

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#8 cshoward8

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 09:51 AM

I don't see a World Series with Rosario, Polanco, Kepler, Buxton, and Sano as the core. It appears Rosario is gone next year for Kiriloff. The rest are on team friendly deals so I would see what you could get for them, including Buxton. I would prioritize trading Sano since he is a righty, does not help defensively and hits .200 with 44% strikeout rate. Ironically, he should have some trade value. Polanco would be second since he is a below average fielder and, watching all the games this year, never found his swing and looked like a double-A player. Ironically, he might have trade value due to his team friendly deal. 

 

I would make a run for LeMahieu (3-4 year and move him to 1B) and Gregorius (two years then bring up Royce). Bauer if you can (obviously). Also, re-sign Cruz or sign Ozuna as your DH. If you get rid of Sano and Polanco then resign Cruz or get Ozuna this would be the lineup:

 

LeMahieu (1B)

Gregorius (SS)

Donaldson (3B)

Cruz/Ozuna (DH)

Kiriloff (LF)

Buxton (CF)

Kepler (RF)

Garver/Jeffers ©

Arraez (2b)

 

Pitching is relatively the same: Maeda, Berrios, Pineda are your 1-2-3. Bullpen is led by Duffey, Rogers, Alcala Stahak, Thielbar, Wisler. I think we lose May and Clippard.

 

Overall, this leaves a couple holes:

 

1. a #4 and #5 SP (let odorizzi and hill walk unless they come back on a very team friendly deal)

2. a utility player or 2 (let marwin or adrianza walk unless they come on a very team friendly deal)

3. Lefty catcher (if needed)

 

I think you see if Sano, Rosario, Polonco can get you any of the missing pieces. If not, we have a good farm system and bring up some young guys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#9 4twinsJA

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 09:54 AM

I am in the reload camp. Give some young players opportunities and see how they develop. Jeffers, Rooker, Kiriloff, Blankenhorn, Gordon to replace Adrianza, Marwin, Avila, Austidillo, Cave, Wade. Lewis and Larnach probably a year away. Agree Rosario probably gone, with Cruz's dropoff at end of year not as high on him, maybe one more year.

Everything should be evaluated-players, coaches, training. Hitting drop off this year, not saying fire hitting coach but may need to evaluate how he is doing things.

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#10 ashbury

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 10:07 AM

I can't imagine a full re-build happening. FalVine have good job security, but even they won't spend their "goodwill capital" with C-level management by saying "you remember that four-year commitment we came to you to approve for Josh Donaldson a year ago? Because we saw our window of contention being at least that long? Well, never mind."

 

I don't know how to term what I would do, between re-tool and re-load. I'll say Gear Up, for contending again in 2021.

 

A top to bottom evaluation of the 40-man and major-league ready prospects needs to occur. My vast experience running teams in Out Of The Park says to trade off the injury prone players, hopefully for talent of value to us (but in some cases just for salary relief), accepting that they may give the receiving team a good season or two, but you clear room for other guys (ones you obtain, or prospects) you can count on better. Also trade off anyone who brings a questionable ethic to the clubhouse - OOTP gives you a lot of insight on that, while obviously the real team won't share that info with me so I can't suggest names, if any. Also look at the cost/benefit ratio for guys making more money than the minimum, and make trade/non-tender decisions rather heartlessly (*cough*Rosario*cough*).

 

Maybe more succinctly, identify your core, which may be smaller than you think, and also your supplementary players that can be counted on, and finally your good prospects who aren't yet Rule-5 eligible. These are your untouchables.

 

After this evaluation, trade what you can among those not untouchable, next non-tender those to whom there is not a commitment and no trade value, then eat some salary if it's not too high, and finally re-evaluate the remainder who you can't cut bait with - maybe keeping them seems more palatable now that you find it would actually cost you to get rid of them. Guys like Hill and Odo and Bailey are easily gone by this methodology - each was more trouble than they were worth in 2020, sad to say.

 

But, that's a computer game approach - there is a lot more to it, involving fan reaction for instance, that could make my plan unrealistic.

 

All in all, I see a few "useful parts" like Kepler and Polanco (the latter I think played hurt this year), several question marks among veterans, several prospects who could be ready, but not that big of an actual core of known difference-makers to build upon besides Maeda and Berrios and Pineda.

 

Our front office needs to make accurate talent evaluations on what we have (including guys who need to be added to the 40-man in advance of the Rule 5 draft), and aggressively go get what we don't have. That's a pretty empty statement, but still has to be the guiding principle. Guessing wrong, or just hoping, will not lead to success.

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#11 SpicyGarvSauce

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 10:08 AM

 

I am in the reload camp. Give some young players opportunities and see how they develop. Jeffers, Rooker, Kiriloff, Blankenhorn, Gordon to replace Adrianza, Marwin, Avila, Austidillo, Cave, Wade. Lewis and Larnach probably a year away. Agree Rosario probably gone, with Cruz's dropoff at end of year not as high on him, maybe one more year.

Everything should be evaluated-players, coaches, training. Hitting drop off this year, not saying fire hitting coach but may need to evaluate how he is doing things.

You also need to evaluate how Rocco is doing things.

 

He coddles these guys, and acts like they're children. He believes in rest, load management, whatever he wants to call it...yet somehow, these guys are dinged up more often than not, even after a 60 game season. Obviously the whole rest thing isn't exactly paying dividends for keeping these guys more healthy than not.

 

This team absolutely flopped - just a disappointing and sad display of baseball over the last two days. Can you imagine if there were actually paying fans in the stands the last two days to watch that shameless display of baseball??

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#12 SpicyGarvSauce

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 10:11 AM

The starting pitching should also be a question - the clock is ticking on Berrios's time here, Maeda isn't exactly young, Odo is what he is and his durability is a huge issue, and the rest of the rotation was filled with guys like Hill, Bailey, and Pineda; not exactly world beaters.

 

Who is next in the pipeline that is a legitimate option to be in the rotation in 2021? Balazovic? Duran? Come on. And we know the Twins won't go out and spend actual money on SP via FA unless it is a deal like Hill, Bailey, etc.


#13 4twinsJA

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 10:41 AM

Yes with Rocco. I feel sometimes he is too loyal to the veterans, sticking with them too long. Hard to judge this year, a normal year things would have played out differently, prospects would have had more opportunities.


#14 Rosterman

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 10:55 AM

Once again, Miguel Sano is still the BIG ELEPHANT in the room, so to speak. Is he a keeper. You have him signed for a decent salary. You can also use Garver as a backup (or maybe Kirilloff)/

 

Catching. Twins are okay. Jeffers is the future. You still got another prospect coming up for part-time play. Garver needs another chance to shine and can play first. You got the Turtle.

 

Infield. Who is the back up, replacing Adrianza and Gonzalez. You have Blankenhorn and you got Gordon. You also have Royce Lewis in the wings. Internally, I think the Twins are okay for the moment. They can supplement any in-season needs with some minor league free agent depth.

 

Outfield. Well, what can they get for Eddie. Not that you want him gone, but we do have Alex and Trevor and Rooker Both Alex and Rooker should make the team in 2021. You have to decide between Cave or Wade. Remember that we still have Celestino on the 40-man.

 

The Twins have three solid starters. Do they bring back Rich Hill on a very friendly contract? You still have Dobnak and Thorpe. There are a couple of other arms that need a hard look, but probably not at the beginning of the season. Do you splurge and get another A-starter? What can you get for Rosario if you also include a prospect or three for a guaranteed salary arm. And, can the starters start to go a minimum of six innings. 60 games, 10 starts, few did that in 2020.

 

Do you sign Trevor May in the Bullpen to a longterm deal. We do have a pretty solid bullpen, and remember there are arms on the farm itching to come to the majors and show that they can still produce. I would like to say Littell is still in the mix. Do you pick-up Romo for $5m. Do you bring back Clippard. The biggest thing to remember about pitching in 2021, if things are normal, you will have only a 26 man roster ... not a 28. No 10 arms in the bullpen.

 

Coaching. Any changes needed in the coaching department? Do the hitters miss Rowson?

 

And Cruz. If he wants to come back to the Twins, you sign him. Especially if he can work with Sano in any way possible.

 

No one except Maeda had an outstanding season that may not be replicated. And Maeda should've had three more wins, as well as one in the playoffs.

 

All players on the team should be better in 2021 than they were in 2020.

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#15 Vanimal46

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 10:58 AM

@Ashbury

Didn’t want to clog up the thread by quoting your entire post. There are lots of things I love about your methodology and I would approach it in a similar fashion. Whether it’s OOTP or real life :)

#16 nicksaviking

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 11:01 AM

 

Yes with Rocco. I feel sometimes he is too loyal to the veterans, sticking with them too long. Hard to judge this year, a normal year things would have played out differently, prospects would have had more opportunities.

 

This is a pet peeve of mine as well, particularly with the bullpen. Relievers by nature are inconsistent, if there is one area that the team should run with the "hot hand" it's in the bullpen.

 

But deference too the vets seems to be a universal flaw with managers, probably because if Rogers or Romo screw up they assume everyone will just shrug their shoulders and say, "Dang, we didn't expect that to happen from a vet!" Whereas if Matt Wisler or Cody Stashak screw up the manager assumes everyone will blame him for putting a less experienced guy out there.

 

I'm not asking for Baldelli to get canned, but if someone can show me a manager or would-be manager who doesn't automatically fall back on the vets, I'd be interested in that person.


#17 spycake

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 11:26 AM

 

After this evaluation, trade what you can among those not untouchable, next non-tender those to whom there is not a commitment and no trade value, then eat some salary if it's not too high, and finally re-evaluate the remainder who you can't cut bait with - maybe keeping them seems more palatable now that you find it would actually cost you to get rid of them. Guys like Hill and Odo and Bailey are easily gone by this methodology - each was more trouble than they were worth in 2020, sad to say.

Hill and his incentive-laden deal doesn't seem like it was too much trouble in 2020, and could be even less trouble in 2021 if he's not coming off surgery.

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#18 SpicyGarvSauce

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 11:32 AM

 

Hill and his incentive-laden deal doesn't seem like it was too much trouble in 2020, and could be even less trouble in 2021 if he's not coming off surgery.

Right - but at Hill's age and his history of injury, you have to wonder how much he thinks he has left in the proverbial tank.


#19 spycake

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 11:33 AM

 

This is a pet peeve of mine as well, particularly with the bullpen. Relievers by nature are inconsistent, if there is one area that the team should run with the "hot hand" it's in the bullpen.

 

But deference too the vets seems to be a universal flaw with managers, probably because if Rogers or Romo screw up they assume everyone will just shrug their shoulders and say, "Dang, we didn't expect that to happen from a vet!" Whereas if Matt Wisler or Cody Stashak screw up the manager assumes everyone will blame him for putting a less experienced guy out there.

 

I'm not asking for Baldelli to get canned, but if someone can show me a manager or would-be manager who doesn't automatically fall back on the vets, I'd be interested in that person.

Baldelli brought in Littell first out of the pen in the 2019 postseason, then Duffey and Stashak. Didn't touch Rogers or Romo until late in game 3.

 

Baldelli seemed to over-compensate this year by using Rogers in both games (as well as Duffey and May). He also used Stashak first out of the pen in our elimination game, for 2 innings. And Clippard (definitely a vet) was not used at all.

 

I don't know if there will ever be an ideal bullpen usage pattern that everyone will agree with, so I'm not sure how much to blame Baldelli for these moves. Ultimately the team needs to wake up its bats in the postseason somehow.

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#20 heresthething

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Posted 01 October 2020 - 11:48 AM

Follow the Twins closely and it's the first time in the last few years that I've ever really seriously thought it's time to clean house, I've seen enough.

 

Keep Maeda, Berrios, Jeffers and Arreaz and bring up the next wave for good.The rest of the 40 man are all expendable.

 

And please get a bench coach that can balance out Rocco's ongoing stupid moves.