Now that the first shoe has dropped in the Twin's trade season, what should the Twins do next? The Cruz trade impact clearly affects both the pitching and offense of this team, both now and next year. The additions of Ryan and to a lesser extent, Strotman, can be expected to bolster the Twin's staff, even as soon as next year. Their addition improves the odds that ("trumpets blaring"), this team might have doubled their chances to internally develop an ace(prior to this trade, Balozavic seemed the only minor leaguer who has a reasonable chance to achieve this status). Furthermore, their addition can allow guys like Duran and Winder more time in the minors to develop better secondary pitches, rather than being rushed to the ML club.
Of course, losing your most consistent hitter in a very inconsistent lineup will have a negative impact on the offense. There is no one ready to step in to the DH role and replace Cruz, either this year or next. So one fallout of this trade should be that the FO holds onto its remaining offensive talent, starting with Donaldson and Buxton. Josh has shown his ability this year, both to stay relatively healthy and be a middle-of-the-lineup threat. Buxton, despite his injury history, is the catalyst this offense needs and must be resigned at all costs. Happy to see the FO making an offer now rather than let the issue linger into next season. Get it done, Falvey.
The loss of Cruz should squash any thoughts of trading guys like Sano, Kepler, Garvey, Polanco, or Arraez if there is any hope of having a competitive lineup next year. While each of these guys have their drawbacks, there is simply no one in the minors who looks ready to replace any of these guys. Yes, Kirillof looks like a better long term 1B than Sano, but the latter should be retained to serve as DH, with Garver and Astudillo as backups. Arraez should have a permanent position at 2B. Ditto for Polanco at SS, at least until Lewis or someone else is ready. Miranda is having a great season, but should not be rushed to the majors before he shows he can step into Donaldson's shoes in 2023/4. Even with an improved staff in 2022, this lineup does not inspire great hope of an immediate rebound.
Hopefully, the FO is not finished dealing this month. At the top of their list of tradable assets should be Berrios. He is what he is - an above average, dependable #3 starter who can help put a contender in a better position to win it all these next two years. You never know what other clubs would offer in trade, but certainly we could expect another major-league-ready pitcher at least as good, and likely better than Ryan. Reading all the reports, Berrios seems very unlikely to resign with the Twins, and that's not a bad thing. He is not the type of ace you can build a staff around and certainly shouldn't be paid like one. Assuming the demand for his talents is quite strong now, the FO should capitalize on a bidding war to procure two top prospects by the July 30 the deadline. One can hope that teams like the Dodgers, Padres, or Jays, loaded with excellent prospects, would be bidding for Berrios' services now - to the point of maybe even overpaying. Trading Berrios should coincide with retaining Maeda and Pineda. Though neither can be counted on as an ace, they are perfectly suitable for #2-3 slots in most rotations, especially a Twins team who has little hope of being serious contenders in 2022. The one FA starter who the Twins should pursue this offseason is Syndergaard. Yes, we don't know how much he can contribute in 2022 after a serious injury, but it's a risk worth taking. He could be much more likely to be a true ace than anyone since Santana. Maybe the FO could make it easier on the Mets by trading Berrios to them, thereby lessening their need to resign Thor. I can get very excited by a rotation of Thor, Maeda, Pineda, Balozavic, and Ryan in 2023!
As for the bullpen, yes, reinforcements are badly needed. I would keep Rogers unless getting a trade offer too good to refuse. Ditto with Duffey, but the Twins must have a proven closer in place by a year from now. I've liked what I've seen of Coulombe and Ferrell, albeit very small sample size. I can only hope Alcala progresses(though I think he's rapidly losing credibility this year in a late-inning role).. Duran looks like a potential closer-type but that remains to be seen. One proven closer must be signed in the offseason to bolster this group. This will not be a playoff-ready bullpen next year but it has the potential of no longer being the trash fire it was this year, especially after getting rid of guys like Colome, Robles, and other ill-conceived 2021 FA pickups.
And finally, since this is my wish list, I have one more request. Please get rid of Rocky. He is too laid back for a contender and doesn't have the necessary baseball smarts to pull the proper levers. This team's lack of fundamentals and fire have been agonizing to watch and while blame can be shared equally among under-performing players, Rocco and the FO, if this team is going to rebound in the next couple of years, replacing Rocco with a veteran manager is a necessity. It's worked for the Sox, why not the Twins?