Some of you may have read my article I wrote about 3 weeks ago with my plans for the 2022 offseason. If you want to check it out, the link is here I had us signing Stroman, Story, trading for Luis Severino (Which I still think would be a great idea), and trading for Zac Gallen. Obviously that wasn't going to happen and surely won't happen now. I decided to come up with a bit more of a realistic offseason we could possibly have. With free agents now signing it affects who we can go after. As a matter of fact, Alex Cobb to the Giants came out as a was writing this article. The Twins future seems much more bright with the Buxton extension. It was looking like we would go into a full rebuild not more than 3 days ago. Without further ado, the blueprint.
Edit: Kirilloff salary should be $0.6 Million, bringing team total to $125.45 Million
There are a few new names in this blueprint, but there is a solid chunk of guys that will be returning. I made a few trades, and signed a few free agents. The free agents include one of the top starting pitchers, Marcus Stroman. I sign Marcus to a 4 year, $80 million contract. For the other free agents I sign a starting pitcher, 2 bullpen arms, and a shortstop. The other starting pitcher is one we are familiar with in Twins territory, Michael Pineda. He will eat quality innings for the team. He is not a top of the rotation starter, and has some injury issues, but it seems like you can always rely on Big Mike to keep you in the ballgame. It is not an exciting move, but one that could pay off. I sign him to a 2 year, $16 million deal. Next, I sign 2 bullpen arms. They are both low risk, moderate to high reward. The first one is Brad Hand, he is signed to a 1 year, $2.5 million deal. I then sign Corey Knebel to a 1 year, $5 million deal. They are 2 guys that are veterans and have had success, so it is pretty self explanatory. Lastly, at shortstop, I sign Jose Iglesias to a 1 year, $3 million deal. He is merely a stopgap for Royce Lewis, or whoever will take the reigns at shortstop in the near future. Now onto the trades.
For the trades I make a trade with the Yankees, and the Athletics. The Athletics have publicly said they are looking to reduce payroll drastically this offseason. They have 3 good starting pitchers many teams will be interested in. I choose Sean Manaea. He costs the least in terms of trade value, since he is a free agent next offseason and is the most expensive of the 3. During Manaea's career, he has posted a 107 ERA+, making him a decently above league average pitcher during that time. For the trade, I would make it a bit more interesting , taking more salary off of Oaklands hands. I am including Stephen Piscotty in the trade. He is under contract through this year as well with a club option next year. He is set to make $7.25 million this year, which could help with the trade package for Manaea. For Piscotty and Manaea, I am sending Oakland Emmanuel Rodriguez, an 18 year old outfielder, and Drew Strotman. You may be thinking screw Piscotty, we only want Manaea, but I have a reason of getting him due to another trade I will make. If Manaea plays well during the season, we would extend him for 2-3 more years, to gain certainty in the rotation. For my second and last trade, I trade with the dark side. I give up Max Kepler and Mitch Garver for top SS prospect, Oswald Peraza. The Yankees are looking for catching help and don't have a centerfielder. Mitch Garver provides a big upgrade to Gary Sanchez for the Yankees. The reason I am trading Garver is because he is getting to that age where he will likely not catch for much longer. 1B/DH and catchers values differ immensely. I also trade Kepler to man CF in the Bronx. As much as I hate to say it, I think Kepler could blossom playing for Yankees, with the short porch in right. In return, we get Oswald Peraza. The Yankees currently have 2 good shortstop prospects, Peraza and Anthony Volpe. The Yankees and all of baseball value Volpe way more, and rightfully so. I think Volpe is virtually untouchable, so I go after Peraza. Peraza is 10 months older than Volpe, but has posted good results in AAA, although it was a small sample size. Volpe hasn't been above A-ball yet.
The rest of the lineup is pretty straightforward. In the infield we have Jeffers at catcher, Kirilloff at 1B, Polanco at 2B, Iglesias at SS which I have explained above, and Donaldson at 3B. 3B could be shared by 3 different guys, the other two being Arraez and Miranda. There is a high chance that either Donaldson or Arraez spend time on the IL so that could be a chance for Miranda to claim his spot on the Twins for the long term. In the outfield I have Larnach in left. It may still be a bit premature but I think Larnach will figure something out and become a beast with his bat. I centerfield we have Byron Buxton. It is so nice to say that knowing we will also have him for the next 7 years, even if he is injury prone. In right we have the man we got from Oakland, Stephen Piscotty. That is not an exciting addition but if he can be at least average, I would be ok, especially since it is only 1 year. On the bench we have Celestino as the 4th OF. At the moment Jake Cave is slotted in as the 4th OF, which many fans don't like to see and I am sure they would agree with me putting Celestino there. For Utility we have Arraez, who as I mentioned could also be the 3B, and Nick Gordon. Gordon provides tons of defensive value, playing CF and SS, among other positions. He can be a 4th OF and also spend time at SS with Jose Iglesias. Since we traded Garver away, the backup catcher is defensive wizard, Ben Rortvedt.
On the pitching side of things, we have Marcus Stroman as the ace, Manaea as the 2, Pineda the 3rd starter, and Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober manning the 4 and 5 slots. It obviously isn't a world beating rotation, but it is a lot better than it looks at this moment. Is has moderate upside and not a lot of risk. In the bullpen we have some solid options. For more of the low leverage innings, we have guys like Hand, Moran, Thielbar, and Minaya. For some of the more high leverage innings we have Knebel, Rogers, Duffey, and Alcala. Obviously things could change with performance and injuries. Bullpens are far from a given, as they have some of the most drastic changes from year to year. But overall, this pitching staff will not wow you, but could impress you during the season.
Overall I believe this is a solid lineup that could win you 80 or so games depending on how you play your cards. Obviously the Twins are not World Series contenders in 2022, and are playing more for when some of our current top prospects graduate to re-enforce the team. This way makes us competitive, with a chance to possibly do something, without selling the farm. A lot of things could happen during the 2022 season with the Twins. In 2021, after Acuna got hurt for the Braves, their season looked like it was ending, but they ended up winning a world series. I am not saying to expect anything like that for the Twins in 2022, but don't completely rule them out.