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Just Dreamin'




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Woke up in a sweat last nite.  Dreamt that Jim Pohlad called and offered me the Twins GM job the day after the 2021 season ended.  While I was overcome with excitement, before accepting the position, I had 3 demands:

1.  I would be able to fire Rocco and his staff.  Would look for a veteran, old school manager like Buck Showalter or Bruce Boche. Maybe even James Rowson or (gasp!!) Ozzie Guillen??

2. JP had to agree to resign BB to the 7 year/$80MM contract agreed on plus whatever game-played incentives Bux's agent wanted(within reason of course)

3.  JP reiterated to return team to relevancy in 2022 and thus, would expand next year's payroll budget to $150MM.

We agreed on all of the above with one caveat : I had to provide him with a specific action plan for the offseason.  Here's my outline:

1. Sign a potential #1 starter.  First choice - Noah  Syndergaard.  Backup : Carlos Rodon(this add would not only likely fill our #1 spot, but also weaken our chief competitor)

2. Trade with Miami for a potential #2 starter, e.g., Sandy Alcantara or Pablo Lopez.  The Marlins in desperate need for offensive help could pick 2 out of Arraez, Jeffers/Garver, Kepler, Larnach. 

3. If Maeda was healthy, he would slot in as #3.  If not, resign Pineda or a comparable veteran pitcher with a successful track record.

4.  The #4/5 spots in the rotation would be open competition among Ober/Ryan/ Strotman/ Balozavic/ Winder/Dobnak .  Two of these should be no worse than Happ/Shoe with the likelihood that one or two would at least be league average.

5.  I would sign a real closer.  First choice - Craig Kimbrel.  He has arguably been one of the three best relievers this year with a nice bonus that his absence would weaken the Sox.

6.  A second proven late-inning pen arm would be signed, mainly one of the following:  Rosenthal/Hand/ Yates,  If not feasible then Taylor Rogers, followed by one of Duffy/Thielbar/ Alcala, would round out the top 3.  I think guys like Gant, Albers, Minaya, and Garza might do well in lower pressure situations.

7. Recognizing we have a big hole at SS, I would try to resign Simmons for less money.  If he signs elsewhere, then Polanco would be shifted, with one of Arraez/Miranda/ Martin taking his place at 2B.  Sorry, no money for one of the top FA SSs.  Let's cross our fingers Lewis is ready in 2023.

8.  Not sure yet of all my  deletions from the 40 man, but I would begin with Rooker, Thorpe, Smeltzer, Cave, Colome, Gordon.  My bench would include Turtle(assuming Garver or Jeffers moved) Rorvedt,, Refsnyder, Celestino and Miranda.

Assuming we've started with an $85-90MM payroll,  we have added #20MM for Thor or Rodon, $10MM for Pineda of #3 veteran, approx. $10MM in extra incentives for Buxton, $15MM for Kimbrel, and $10MM for a second bullpen arm,  Tight but doable thanks to the open wallet of Mr. P.

So is this plan realistic?  Would this revised team be expected to compete as soon as next year?  Help me out here, guys!!  I'm new to all this.



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2. Trade with Miami for a potential #2 starter, e.g., Sandy Alcantara or Pablo Lopez.  The Marlins in desperate need for offensive help could pick 2 out of Arraez, Jeffers/Garver, Kepler, Larnach. 

Holy overpay, Batman. While either pitcher would be great and I'd love to have them, according to rWAR, Arraez has been more valuable than either in 2021 (and Luis would only be 50% of your package) and Arraez has more team control than either pitcher.

I'm all in favor of slightly overpaying for a good young pitcher but I'm not going to hand away $100m in future value in return for $40m in future value.

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You lost me when you said move Polanco back to short. I'm glad it was only a dream, because what I read was a bit more like a nightmare. lol. I agree with some but I think you're giving up way too much in your trade, would need more back in return. Also, I think we can find another shortstop that wont break the bank out there since there will be so many high priced guys flooding the market. I do like your plan for the back end of the rotation and the bullpen. A good bullpen can cover a mediocre rotation with a good lineup. Look no further than 1987.

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Acquiring truly good pitching is going to be an "overpay" situation, whether free agency or trade or anything else. That's the fallacy of loading up with sure-thing bats - you have to bundle too much of that to translate it into pitching, but that is the fault of the metrics we're using to evaluate pitching versus batting. Package up Larnach and Arraez and low-minor-league corner bats and see how much of Miami's pitching you can get! (If they're foolish enough to answer your phone call.) Don't trade away catching, though.

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Brock, can understand your comments on "holy overpay" to Miami but as Ashbury said, you are going to have to overpay for a "top" ML pitcher.  Lacking in offense, but loaded with pitching, Miami is an obvious partner.  Reportedly, their biggest need is catching, followed closely by offense.  I listed Arraez because his offense is apparent, yet on Twins he really has no obvious position.  Next, I think Miami would prefer a young catcher like Jeffers and that's fine with me if Twins can accept Garver's defense and think Rortvedt is a decent backup.  In any case, I'm trying to trade from Twins "strength", i.e., corner OF/2B/C .  Getting Alcantara might be a pipe dream but he's the type of young, cost-controlled pitcher this team should be looking at..  The only chance to land him, IMO, is to give up a couple of major leaguers.  Throw in one of our top prospects and perhaps we could add another Miami pitcher like Edward Cabrera, Sixto Sanchez or Max Meyer - all of whom are currently rated in the top 50 MLB prospect list.

I view SS as primarily a defense-first position, which is why Simmons would be a decent, albeit less than ideal, solution for the 2022 position.  I do not want Polanco as our full-time SS.  He fits much better at 2B.  My hope is that out of the multiple prospects( Lewis, Miranda, Palacios, or Martin) , Twins can find a starting SS in 2023.  Sure I'd like to see one of the FAs on board, but even with a stretched $150MM budget, with all our pitching needs, there is no money left for a premium SS.

This "plan" could only happen if the Twins really intended to at least attempt to contend in 2022.  Pohlad needs to open up the checkbook and Falvine would have to shed their severe risk-aversion and swing for the fences.  It's unlikely, I know, but not impossible.


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GREAT topic mike8791 !  Sorry I'm finally seeing this on a Saturday (as opposed to Wednesday when you posted it ).  

Your plan is also my plan with of course some subtle differences.  My plan is also contingent on the idea that Jim Pohlad actually WANTS a competitive team and is willing to pay for it in 2022.

My #1:  Sign Buxton to an extension.  Tie lucrative bonuses to "games played.'  If Buxton PLAYS he will be productive.  Take care of HIM and protect the Twins in case of injury.  This is not a difficult concept and should already have been done.

#2  Sign a #1 SP.  I'm cooling on Thor.  Him not being able to throw breaking pitching for the rest of this year has me a little nervous.  I've targeted Rodon in previous posts.  Watching him this season it looks to me like he's figured things out.  Kind of like when Johan Santana started to figure things out.  The Twins FO had their behind's battered by the White Sox last season.  Just steal him away from the CWS.  Strengthen the Twins rotation while weakening the primary division competitors.  PLUS, I think Rodon would be cheaper than Thor and a better option.  Failing that, a Robbie Ray/Kevin Gausman option is an absolute necessity.  Especially with Maeda a possible question mark.  a "Pineda" type is also necessary to slot in behind Rodon and Alcantara while Ryan/Ober/Dobnak and others fill out out #4 & #5.  If Maeda is O.K. then you have a potential:  Rodon, Alcantara, Maeda, "Pineda type" and Ober/Dobnak/Ryan/etc... for #5.  Compare THAT starting staff to the junk we fielded this season. 

I had already posted a trade with Miami for Sandy Alcantara that was a slight overpay for the Twins.  Alcantara for Jeffers and Kepler.  Miami has LOTS of young pitching.  They're already playing Jorge Alfaro in LF.  He's not their answer at catcher.  Jeffers gives Miami a solid defense catcher (which they desperately need) who will eventually be a decent hitter.  Kepler gives the Marlins a solid defensive OF'er who with a change of scenery and instruction, may just return to the promise he showed just 2-seasons ago.  As I said, it's a slight overpay for the Twins but something they should certainly pursue.   I'm willing to give up a solid young catcher like Jeffers because we NEED a SP like Alcantara, and I'm fine with Garver, Rortvedt and even a journeyman like Tomas Tellis to be more than adequate behind the plate.

Having a bona fide CLOSER is a MUST.  Maybe the Twins would be in a little better position in the Central standings if they (Colome) hadn't blown so many darn games to start the season.  The whole "vibe' of the season was damaged by that miserable start that the Twins never recovered from.  And our bullpen went from a team strength to an albatross that dragged us down all season.  This needs to be corrected.  I've mentioned signing a Rosenthal/Yates type but your suggestion of Kimbrell caught my eye.  He's healthy.  He's a proven closer.  And he's been unbelievably GOOD this year.  My fear is that he would regress.  But we're talking about an elite closer throughout his career.  He's a gamble worth taking.

But your suggestion of signing ANOTHER high-leverage BP arm is something I agree with.  Who it is, and how much it costs is something that should become clearer this winter.  But a BP that has Kimbrel, Taylor Rogers, "mystery addition," Tyler Duffey, and Jorge Alcala has some juice and goes 5 guys deep.  A couple of other arms could come from Jhoan Duran or some other young, promising arms that could be brought along slowly in low leverage situations.  The potential is there for the Twins to once again have a dominant BP.  Is the will and the strategy in place to address this ??

One area I agree but disagree is SS.  I'd rather invest in PITCHING, PITCHING, PITCHING, than Trevor Story, Javier Baez, Cory Seager or Carlos Correa.  However, I'd bring in an affordable vet with a solid glove and acceptable  offensive skills so I could leave Polanco at 2B and Arraez as my leadoff hitter and super utility guy.  I would sign either Jose Iglesias or Freddy Galvis.  Each is a defensive upgrade from Polanco and they are NOT  Simmons.  Iglesias/Galvis is my 1-2 year bridge to finding out if Lewis is my SS of the future or not.    

I believe Kiriloff will hit.  He could be in RF (probably, with Kepler in a package for Alcantara) or possibly 1B (although that's where Sano would be if Kepler is traded).  Donaldson and Mirada/Arraez man 3B (Josh also DH's a lot).  Larnach his potential but he doesn't just get handed LF.  A RH option is needed.  I've been impressed with Refsnyder's hustle and production this season, but I'm willing to concede a better option is needed. 

Garver  C  Sano 1B  Polanco 2B  Iglesias SS  Donaldson 3B  Kiriloff RF  Buxton CF  ?? LF and  Arraez DH is not a bad lineup.  especially when you field the possible starting rotation and bullpen listed above.  That team could CONTEND.  And a BIG SPLASH at the trade deadline at a position of need could be VERY intriguing.  Last off-season while the White Sox were building a winner, we sat on our behinds.  The failure of this FO was simply EPIC.  What's it gonna be in 2022 Jimmy Pohlad ???   

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Top Gun:  Can't quibble with your changes - we're both on same wavelength here.  It really all boils down to Pohlad.  Not only does he have to open the wallet a bit more, but he has to exert leadership in making it clear to the Wonder Boys that 2021 was completely unacceptable and a quick return to contention is a criteria for their job security past 2022.  And while he's at it,,  an announcement to Twins ticket holders and the entire fan base that he is embarrassed about 2021, he is committed to another championship and will do whatever it takes to get there.  Or, better yet, he could sell the team to an owner who will get this done.  Without JP cracking the whip, I have little faith in Falvey turning things around.

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AMEN Mike !  AMEN !!  Can I get an AMEN for mike8791 !!!  That is really "it" in a nutshell.  If the Pohlad's (lookin' at YOU Jimbo) are "content" with this season and these massive front office failures,  NOTHING is going to change.  And 2022 is a crucial year.  Sign Buxton to something that works for him AND the Twins and then get serious about adding quality pitching.  They have a LOT of potentially GOOD pitchers in the pipeline.  Health is the #1 concern for each of them.  But the Twins have the resources to rebuild their pitching staff, albeit at a COST.   Some of those young pitchers are 2-3 years away.  We need a year or two to bridge the gap.  If the Twins signed a "Rodon: and traded for someone like "Alcantara" and then some of those young pitchers blossom at the right time, the Twins would have built themselves a solid foundation.  Coinciding with the young pitching would be the development of Kiriloff, larnach, Martin and Lewis.   But after 2021 (and zero playoff wins in FOREVER) it's time to make a commitment.  Or sell the team and spend your days counting your money.  

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I am finally feeling comfortable being in the room with so many others who are speaking out against Polanco moving back to ss. It felt like I was alone. His bat plays. But he is not what we need at ss. Simmons makes us better. Not perfect, but better. Glove first.

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Let’s see! $150M player salary payroll - $79M already committed (YMMV) = $71M available

 $10M      Buxton incentives

 $20M      Rodon (seems light as Ray is projected at $22.5M)

  $4M      Alcantara arbitration (you may have forgotten this)

 $10M      Pineda

 $15M      Kimbrel

 $10M      proven reliever

  $2M      shortstop (stopgap)

 $71M      planned

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I think Falvine could have taken names and kicked butt if you would have given them $10M more to spend in 2021 (with Berrios, Maeda, and Pineda in place).

I love the Rodon signing, but I suspect your salary is low.

I would sign Alex Wood instead of Pineda. 

Have you noticed how much Kimbrel inhales for the ChiSox. My point is: You have too much tied up in a closer not name Liam Hendrick. Sign Andrew Chafin and save $6M+. Use the money for a real shortstop, like Freddie Galvis. And a real MIF like Endire Adrianza.

Hand, Rosenthal, and Yates are past their Use By dates. Rosenthal will still  belong to the .Athletics and is coming of TJS. Yates is also coming off TJS.  For the same or less money, sign 2 semi-proven relievers like Tepera and McHugh.

The question is: Does all of this put the Twins in position to justify Jeffers and Larnach for 3 years of Alcantara?

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Good points Lonestar.  I had traded Kepler and Jeffers for Alcantara but if it's Larnach MLB trade Values would have that being an even bigger over-pay, and result in $10-$11 million more in salary for the Twins (Kepler's salary vs. Larnach's MLB minimum).  Maybe Miami throws something else in for us.  But I would still make a trade like this for 3-years of Alcantara.  He gives the Twins a solid major league arm while the Balazovic, Ryan, Canterino, Winder, Woods-Richardson, Duran, Strotman etc...arms sort themselves out.  Heck, if Alcantara becomes what we'd hoped Berrios would be, then the Twins should sign him to another 4-5 years (he would only be 25-26 when we would be acquiring him).  Your suggestions on relief pitchers names are excellent and by not going for a big name (but guys who are younger, more effective and have a higher and longer possible upside,  you're on the right track.  Maybe more of those names will surface as the season ends, winter comes and "Hot Stove" talk heats up.  But your points are good and you're spot on regarding has-been RP names who are too expensive and too risky.  Find the Andrew Chafin types.  That's what Falvey and Levine are SUPPOSED to be good at.

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Lots of great responses! Thank you all!!.  Let me add a few more comments:

1.  One of the major points here is to show (if ownership is really committed to contending in 2022) that a minimum payroll of $150MM is needed.  As Lonestar noted, even that figure would be a tight fit if a return to relevancy next year was realistic.  Loss of Maeda is huge!  We need to find a #1, #2, and #3.  No one on the roster now looks close to filling those spots in the rotation.

2.  As others have noted, it takes value to get value.  Good pitching is at a premium, as always.  We would have to overpay to get a guy like Alcantara or Lopez.  Makes sense to trade from surplus - catching, 2B/3B, corner OF.  Jeffers and Kepler or Larnach would be a nice haul for any rebuilding club who needs help at those positions.   FO shouldn't hesitate to use a seeming surplus of good minor league pitching prospects to complete a deal, if necessary.  Sure, it's a risk, but where have past GMs' passsive trade policies gotten us?

3. In terms of a top FA starter, this will be most difficult.  Those of you who say $20MM/year is light are probably right.  Not sure if the Sox will pony up for Rodon but they probably will to please the fan base(and keep owner happy).  This is why I think they might pass on Kimbrel next year.  Ray will cost a small fortune(Toronto has money to top other offers),  Ditto Gausman with Giants.  Thor is high risk, high reward.  Possibility if Mets provide him a QO, Stroman might be another option here.  No doubt finding an ace thru FA will be toughest task, especially for a tight-fisted owner and risk-averse FO.

4.  SS is biggest position hole.  Just not realistic, budget-wise, to expect Twins to be a player for top tier, but perhaps Baez's value has dropped with his troubles in NY, so he might be available for a short-term deal.  Otherwise, I'd either try resigning Simmons or go with a slick-fielding/ mediocre offensive SS like Galvis or Iglesias.  Compared to our pitching holes, this SS issue ranks well below.

5. As for the pen, little doubt that season-long struggles there sealed this team's fate early on, so solid additions must be made.  I still think Kimbrel is best fit for a stopper but again, his signing greatly dependent on budget constraints.  As for another late-inning reliever, your guess is as good as mine.  I threw out some old names, but am sure there are some I haven't thought of.  Just have lost faith in guys like Rogers, Duffey, Alcala - all of whom were thought to form the core of a solid pen.  I want to see a closer who is primarily a K stud.  Perhaps Duran Canterino will emerge but not next year.

Bottom line - given past history of this ownership and FO, I don't think it realistic to expect the 2022 team to be a contender.  Their is no will at the top(unlike Reinsdorf in Chicago) to win.  Until that changes, I'm afraid we will have a long wait before becoming a threat to advance beyond first playoff round.  Hope I'm dead wrong !!


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