Let’s forget for a second about WAR, launch angle, and exit velocity. Push your thoughts of FIP, xFIP, and BABIP to the side, and remember why we all got into baseball in the first place. It’s fun. So, I’ve compiled a short list of potential future Twins, and rated how fun they’d be in Minnesota from Boring to Very Fun. Enjoy.
Javier Báez – Very Fun
The Twins are in the market for a new shortstop and the Cubs seem to be in fire sale mode, so a move that sends Báez to Minnesota might be in both clubs’ best interests. And, simply put, Báez maxes out the fun meter. He’s a still relatively young, swagger-filled middle infielder that does amazing things in the field and sports a good amount of pop in his bat. Forget about his mediocre 2020 stats for a second – watching Báez play is fun because he has the look and the confidence of the best player on the field even if he really isn’t anymore. He’s been on the cover of The Show, something nobody else on this list can claim. And, I’ve kind of buried the lede here – the coolest part about El Mago (cool nickname too) are his tags.
Trevor Story – Kinda Fun
Trevor Story, another shortstop trade possibility, gets a Kinda Fun designation because, though he may be the best available option at short, he doesn’t boast the star power and flair of Báez and others. Don’t get me wrong – Story is a star; he’s great in the field and at the plate, but looking at his stats on baseball reference is almost more exciting that watching him play. It doesn’t help that he’s been marooned off in Colorado, but Story just doesn’t have that “it factor” or special skill that sets him above the other great shortstops in the league, at least in terms of fun-ness. He does have a pretty mean bat flip, but there’s no crazy tag compilation out there on YouTube, for example. He’ll be a very welcome addition to the Twins if he comes, but a middle-of-the-road rating on the fun meter feels right.
Marcus Semien – Boring
Marcus Semien is probably the best shortstop available on the free agency market, but there’s a reason a lot of Twins fans would rather give up young talent in a Báez or Story trade than simply sign the former Oakland shortstop. Signing Semien would just give off the feeling that they needed a shortstop and signed a shortstop, not the shortstop that anybody really wants. Semien has been a top-tier player in the past, but a pretty dismal 2020 makes him feel like a more expensive Jorge Polanco rather than a Polanco replacement, and spending on a player that does little to change the status quo is the opposite of fun. Perhaps if I allowed myself to make a joke about his last name, I could bump him up a few levels, but I’m not going to do that so he’s stays at Boring.
Nelson Cruz – Fun
Perhaps the Twins’ biggest question of the offseason is whether to bring Nelson Cruz back or not and, while our opinions may vary widely on whether it’s wise to spend on a 40-year-old DH, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Nelson Cruz is fun. With Cruz, there’s no “shiny new car” feeling because he’s been in Minnesota for two years, but there’s a reason he’s been your dad’s favorite Twins player those two years. He’s been a star in the league for the better part of a decade and we love when stars come to Minnesota, especially when they lead the team to an MLB record for home runs. Even better, Cruz’s locker room personality is the driving force behind the “Bomba Squad” moniker and the team identity that’s the Twins last few years on of the most fun teams in the league.
Marcell Ozuna – Fun
Should the Twins decide against bringing back Cruz, Marcell Ozuna could serve as a long-term high-end option at DH. Though losing Cruz might be sad for many Twins fans, they’d be getting no downgrade in the fun department with Ozuna. He’s a big, muscular dude who wears a bright chartreuse arm sleeve and hits bombs. Massive bombs. In large quantities. Last year, Ozuna led the league in home runs and runs batted in and, though there are certainly more intelligent stats, big homer and RBI guys are very fun to have in the lineup. Advanced stats fans should like him too, as his exit velocity numbers and hard hit percentage were among the best in the league last year. The only thing keeping Ozuna from rising into the Very Fun tier is the possibility of a regression that could make him a Sanó-esque strikeout frustration.
Trevor Bauer – Very Fun
Now, the Twins odds acquiring the free agent ace and reigning NL Cy Young winner aren’t that great, but he falls into the Very Fun category, so it’s fun to imagine. Bauer is and always has been controversial, so he may not be every Twins fan’s cup of tea, but that’s exactly why I would love to have him so much. The guy who talks the most and angers the most people is exactly the type of guy you want on your team, as long as he’s playing well. And fresh off a Cy Young year, he’s certainly doing that. Above all else though, Bauer has a curious and innovative baseball mind that, as a fan, is fun to see on your favorite team. His appreciation for the craft of pitching is something that every Twins fan ought to be able to appreciate, even if some don’t like his attitude. Also – He’s a fun follow on YouTube.
Sonny Gray – Not That Fun
Gray, who was Bauer’s teammate last year in Cincinnati, would also be a good addition to the Twins rotation, but he’s not nearly as exciting. With a career ERA in the threes and a WHIP in the 1.2 range, Minnesota fans would probably be happy to have him, but we also managed to make Carl Pavano seem exciting. The fact is that, since he burst into the bigs as a rookie, nobody has ever called you excitedly to say “Hey, did you see what Sonny Gray did last night?!?!” unless they were a Yankees fan complaining about his poor performance in pinstripes. Gray seems like a fun guy to know and have in the locker room, but that doesn’t make him a fun player to watch. If he signs with Minnesota, he’ll be a mid-rotation out-getter more than a jersey-seller.
Trevor Rosenthal – Kinda Fun
The Twins haven’t had a true flamethrower in the bullpen (other than Brusdar Graterol’s 10 games) in a long while, but that’s what they would get by bringing in free agent reliever Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal looked on the brink of exiting the league not too long ago but was dominant down the stretch for the Padres last year, and he regularly touched triple-digit velocity. A dominant hard-throwing reliever is one of most exciting players to watch and have on your team, so Rosenthal, should he sign, would be a very entertaining player to have around. However, he’s only a year removed from being an out of control