The 2021 baseball season has come and gone, and thankfully the Dodgers, Yankees, Astros, or White Sox did not win the world series. Eddie Rosario lit the baseball world on fire, the Cardinals had 5 players win a gold glove, and the Twins yet again did not win a playoff series. However, myself, Mill1634, is going to change that with this off-season blueprint. Last season, my off-season blueprint was much better than the actual Twins off-season simply by one player -- Robbie Ray, who I brought in on a hypothetical 1 year, 6 million dollar deal. In reality, Ray re-signed with the Jays for 8 million dollars, and is potentially the AL Cy Young winner. We'll look to see if I can recreate that magic this year.
40 Man Removals
The Twins have already taken care of the majority of the legwork for me, as there was a batch of removals at the start of the off-season. SP Michael Pineada, RP Alex Colome (option declined) and SS Andrelton Simmons had their contracts expire which made them free agents which obviously removes them from the 40 man roster. OF Kyle Garlick, OF Rob Refsnyder, and P John Gant were waived from the 40 man, went unclaimed, and elected free agency. They are no longer our worry, or taking up space on the 40 man. However, they claimed P Jharel Cotton off waivers from the Texas Rangers, so there is a spot taken again. They also activated P Lewis Thorpe, P Cody Stashak, P Kenta Maeda, OF Alex Kiriloff, P Devin Smeltzer, P Taylor Rogers, and P Randy Dobnak. As of writing this piece, the Twins have 37 names on the 40 man roster. This number needs to get a lot smaller, and that's exactly what we're going to do.
- Jharel Cotton
- Danny Coulombe
- Ralph Garza Jr.
- Devin Smeltzer
- Lewis Thorpe
I do not think any of these names are particularly surprising, and there are two more names that are on the fence, for me at least. Those two names are Cody Stashak and Juan Minaya, but they'll stay for now, but if we find ourselves making a big trade, or with leftover money late in the spring, we'll have no problem cutting bait. Cotton was just claimed, but he likely isn't a stud reliever, and I'll risk passing him through waivers once again. Coulombe was okay as a lefty reliever, but we have 3 stud lefties -- Taylor Rogers, Caleb Thielbar, and Jovani Moran. We can sign 5 more Danny Coulombe's to MiLB deals following the R5 draft if we're really missing him. Garza, a mid-year waiver claim, pitched okay out of the bullpen, but only struck out 7 per 9 innings. We saw how pitch to contact relievers can bite you, didn't we Alex? Smeltzer and Thorpe are both often injured, and not very good. They will be sandwhiched by off-season signings, and the next wave of Twins pitching prospects.
- Willians Astudillo
- Jake Cave
- Brent Rooker
Look, I love La Tortuga as much as anyone does, but he simply isn't a very good baseball player. The Twins certainly don't trust him at catcher anymore, and he doesn't have a natural position in the field. His bat, while exciting and maybe even much watch, are not good at-bats most of the time. Jake Cave is as frustrating of a player as I can remember, and I don't think I need to say anything more. Rooker is probably a controversial waive, and I would be somewhat surprised if the actual Twins front office decides to make this move, but the former 1st rounder had a rough 60 game stretch, and he doesn't have a spot on the field. You could rotate him through the DH position, but there are other Twins players I'd much rather give those at-bats to. Of course I would try to trade him first, but I am not going through the work to find a random A- reliever that I really love! Much like the pitching side of things, there is one other player who I was on the fence about, but for now we'll keep him. That player is Nick Gordon, but he may not be here through the (hypothetical) winter.
The 40 man roster now sits at 28 players.
- P Caleb Thielbar - 1.2M (Tender)
- OF Byron Buxton - 7.3M (Tender, work on a long-term extension)
- P Tyler Duffey - 3.7M (Tender)
- P Juan Minaya - 1.1M (Tender)
- P Taylor Rogers - 6.7M (Tender)
- C Mitch Garver - 3.1M (Tender)
- IF Luis Arraez - 2M (Tender)
That is that. We tender every single player who is eligible that is still on my 40 man. Of course, you may see the Twins non-tender a player like Jake Cave or Willians Astudillo, but we already took care of that by waving them from the 40-man roster. At the end of the day, it's the same difference.
Here in Mill1634's world, we try to avoid Akil Baddoo situations, and I'll attempt to take care of that again right now. There are a handful of players who need to be added to the 40 man roster, or you risk losing them to the rule 5 draft.
- SS Royce Lewis
- P Josh Winder
- IF Jose Miranda
- P Cole Sands
- P Blayne Enlow
These 5 names bring us to 33 names on the 40 man roster, which gives us room for 7 additions through trade or free agency, which should be enough, but as I previously mentioned, there are still some names that can be removed from the 40 man if needed. Royce Lewis is a no brianer protection, as are Josh Winder and Jose Miranda. Cole Sands is not a top pitching prospect, but he just posted fantastic numbers in the minors, and we'll protect him for now. Blayne Enlow is injured, so a team could nab him and place him on the injured list when eligible next year, but we can do that ourselves, and there is no reason to lose him for nothing.
- IF Yunior Severino
- P Chris Vallimont
- P Jordan Gore
- OF Mark Contreras
None of these names are top prospects, but they've been mentioned plenty of times on Twins Daily. Severino is coming off an okay year, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see a claim him in the R5 draft, but I'm not overly worried about that possibility. Vallimont, acquired in the Sergio Romo trade a few years ago, has fantastic stuff but doesn't have the control needed to make a difference right now. If someone wants to give him a shot in a major league bullpen, fine. I'd expect him to be returned if his BB/9 is above 6 again. Gore, a former hitting prospect, is intriguing but is 27 years old and only has 70 innings pitched in the minors. I don't think too many teams will be interested. Contreras, an outfielder, is in a similar situation to Gore. He is a great outfielder, and finally broke out at the plate, but is already 27 years old. Again, I'm not too worried about losing him.
And with that, part 1 of my off-season blueprint has come to an end. In the next few days, part 2 will come to fruition where we make some fun additions to the squad with the hope of competing in 2022.