1. Extend Buxton. If we could get the base done (13 -15 million range), I would urge Jim Pohlad to step and and ok the incentives to make it work. I am guessing this may be up to 10 million a year. With Buxton's WAR return, this should be done. Second issue is that most articles I have read from links on other sites, want Buxton for decent but underwhelming returns, That would be a major mistake.
2. Donaldson will not bring enough back in a trade, and the Twins would have to eat a fair amount of money (10 - 15 million) to bring back much of anything or package him with another asset we would probably not like to lose. I see him staying here.
3. Much as I dislike it, we need pitching. That means sending either Garver or Jeffers with another asset or two, to acquire a mid level starter from either Oakland or Miami. There may be another club to deal with, I know Oakland does not need a catcher, but several clubs do.
4. As stated elsewhere Kepler has little value at this time, he will be here unless needed as a sweetner to make a deal for pitching happen.
5. I seem to value Arraez more than most, so will run with him for another year, unless bowled over with an offer.
Probably Garver (Jeffers goes in the Miami deal) Rortvedt Possibly a pickup if FA for backup
2B Polonco/ Arreaz
SS FA/ Gordon
3B Donaldson, Miranda
OF Buxton, Kepler, Laurach, Celstino or Rooker (other one in St. Paul to start)
Pickup in deal for a catcher(Hopefully one from Miami)
Ober, Ryan, Pineda (resign), Winder (might as well use his bullets here)
Rodgers, Alcala, Duffey, Minaya, Thielbar, Moran, Garza Jr. (maybe Cano, this group will change as the year goes on)
Rest of 40 man
one of Celstino or rooker, Balazovich, Duran, Jax or Garza, Jr, Strotman, may Dobnak (if not traded), Maeda, possibly Gant (but not sold on him as I believe he has to make the 26 or be lost).
enlow, Sands, Palacios, Severino
That comes to 37 - 38 by my count and leaves several openings and possible room for other moves or a more major trade.
If nothing changes there will be 2 more adds before the rule 5 and a lot of shuffling after. Feel this gives us our best chance for next year without sacrificing the future. Expect Duran or Balazovich to be up next year (possibly Cano or other relievers).
This team should be competitive but would need a major starting pitching upgrade to take on the White Sox. I would look at Rodon as a possibility to sign as an FA (might not be as expensive and could be 2 - 4 year term. with fade in second half, might not be issued a QO from Chicago. Stroman of the Mets would be another candidate, but would be more money.
Do not want any over 30 filler as this will just block spots from youngsters we need to look at next year.
Several of you might disagree with the drops, I have decided to give Jax or Garza Jr. or Gant, to be a bulk pitcher in the long relief/mop role, with the chance it could become something bigger. They probably have 1/2 season to prove they belong before Duran, Balazovich, Sands and others start arriving. Maybe even Varland. I am not a great fan of using pitchers bullets in the minors when they could help the major league club.
Let the fun begin.