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Mid-Offseason Reflection and Grade


alexthegreat

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While we are undergoing the lockout, nothing can be done by any team. So I think this would be an appropriate time to look over what has been done this offseason and discuss what to expect after the end of the lockout, and what the Twins still need to do.

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Buxton extended

When we were all down on the Twins’ FO and thinking that a trade was inevitable, the Twins got it done. The Twins and Buxton agreed on a 7-year, $100M extension with incentives. That’s $14.29M per year base salary. So essentially Buxton needs to put up at least 12.5 WAR over 7 years for this contract to be worth it. Is that a reasonable expectation?

Well, unless he has a major injury, (that would take him out for multiple consecutive seasons) yes, as he put up 4.2 in 61 games this past year. And that never looked like a fluke, as the guy has been a generational talent since he was drafted. As I said, there are also incentives in this contract (I think he makes an extra $8M per MVP award?) which of course make sense.

All in all, I cannot sing enough praise for this extension.

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Dylan Bundy signed to one-year deal

The Twins went into this offseason needing major upgrades at SP. They needed a big time addition, and that addition is…

 

 

Dylan Bundy.

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Yeah, I wasn’t too excited about this signing. It looked like another dumpster dive by a FO who has a reputation of doing that with pitchers. That being said, this FO has had success with this strategy in the past (ok, not in 2021, but in other years) so I’m willing to give Bundy a chance. Unlike Happ or Shoemaker, Bundy is in his late 20’s, so he’s significantly younger and therefore probably has more upside.

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As I look at these numbers, Bundy’s best pitch over his career according to run value has been his slider. That was probably the main thing about Bundy that Falvey and Levine were interested in.

However, he was bad in 2021. Very. bad…

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The Twins will be counting on a bounce back year from Bundy. His ceiling IMO is what he was in 2020, where he put up 2.0 WAR in 90 IP.

Further needs after the end of the lockout

Well, I don’t think I need to say it. Do I?

Actually?

Of course the Twins need top of the rotation help. Bundy, Ryan, and Ober can be a very solid back of the rotation, where you could be pleasantly surprised if Ryan ends up being much more.

But the Twins still need 2 starters and about 4-6 bullpen arms. Many on this site have called for the Twins to sign former Chicago White Sock Carlos Rodon, who was a Cy Young Candidate in 2021. This would definitely be a target for me. I would also look to acquire a young, top-end starter with team control via trade. I would then add quality arms on the cheap in the bullpen, and address the need of a shortstop (not with Simmons, thank you very much).

What should expectations be for the Twins in 2022?

This is the million $$$ question. Of course, there’s no guarantee the Twins are going to do any of the 4 things I suggested. In fact, it’s very likely they’re not going to do all four things I suggested. If they want to contend in 2022, they should, IMO, look to do these 4 things (and maybe more). If they want to go all in on ‘23 or ‘24, IMO they should look to find long term solutions to these four needs. If they want to rebuild, well, Falvey and Levine should walk. Rebuilding after 5 years is inexcusable.

Mid-Offseason Grade: Incomplete

So that’s what I think on this subject. I now want to hear what you think. Share your thoughts down below!

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35 minutes ago, ashbury said:

Grade: D.  Buxton contract being the only positive to bring it up from an F..  They are apparently "betting on themselves" in the sense of relying on a pipeline of pitching prospects, but one that can't seem to stay healthy for even a minor league season.

Yeah I was going to say D/D- if not Incomplete.

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5 hours ago, Karbo said:

They may have been tarred a feathered if they didn't sign Buxton and only signed Bundy.

The fact that they signed Buxton is a big plus. With that contract, what took them so long, which casts doubt on their competency. Bundy could be fine if they use him right. We still have a few big holes, #1 SP, #2 SS, #3 CF back up and #4 closer. All these holes I see to be obtained out of house. Not to say some one in house could make that step some time later in the season.

So it's a big incomplete. With hopes that they finally put together their 1st big trade while being with us. That they don't wait too long before all the best fits are gone and they have to scramble again to scrape the bottom of the barrel.

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10 hours ago, Doctor Gast said:

The fact that they signed Buxton is a big plus. With that contract, what took them so long, which casts doubt on their competency.

I don't see it as a lack of competency at all. They got a contract done agreeable to both sides before free agency. I think the deal got done now because it was the sweet spot so to speak of his career so far; a huge asset with MVP potential but injury prone. We've witnessed both and the new contract looks like a good mix of team friendliness and the potential to reward Mr. Buxton nicely as he performs well and stays on the field. 

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I'd give a C so far.

They have done the thing that they absolutely needed to do (extending Buxton), and they did it in a way that is unlikely to badly damage the team's current and future competitive positions.

They brought in one pitcher in Bundy without blowing up future competitiveness, which is okay, and they got rid of the black hole that is Jake Cave's roster spot. I'd like to see Pineda back, and I'd further like to see them bring in a pitcher of the Montas or Castillo caliber.

I'm looking at 2022 as the year that they start to see solid contributions from Winder, Duran, Balazovic, Miranda, and at least one of Martin or Lewis. If we can get at least a couple of those guys integrated and manage to finish somewhere between second and fourth in the division, I'm totally fine with that this upcoming season.

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13 hours ago, RonCoomersOPS said:

I'd give a C so far.

They have done the thing that they absolutely needed to do (extending Buxton), and they did it in a way that is unlikely to badly damage the team's current and future competitive positions.

They brought in one pitcher in Bundy without blowing up future competitiveness, which is okay, and they got rid of the black hole that is Jake Cave's roster spot. I'd like to see Pineda back, and I'd further like to see them bring in a pitcher of the Montas or Castillo caliber.

I'm looking at 2022 as the year that they start to see solid contributions from Winder, Duran, Balazovic, Miranda, and at least one of Martin or Lewis. If we can get at least a couple of those guys integrated and manage to finish somewhere between second and fourth in the division, I'm totally fine with that this upcoming season.

We see things pretty much the same.  Unless the FO blows me away with some major trades for starting pitching I see things playing out pretty much as you described.  If things go their way they could be a 500 club maybe slightly better but given what it takes to be a playoff team these days it doesn't look like we have what we need.  

I would have given them a C to C- for the offseason so far and like you it is because of the structure of the Buxton contract.  They got a potential super star player signed to a deal that covers for injury.  When does that ever happen in baseball?  I think that was a pretty major accomplishment and picks up their grade from D range.  

The rest of their moves mainly non moves are nothing to write home about.  They took a flyer on a pitcher and snuck another pitcher they wanted through to the minor's.  

There are still moves to be made but I think this lockout will last until close to spring training so will interesting to see how things ultimately shake out.

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There are only 4 medians of currency in baseball (1) cash, (2) trading active mlb player (3) prospects, (4) any combination of above three for new players. Where the buyer and seller agree on a price is the pure market. If the buyer’s offer isn’t acceptable to the seller then no market is established.  Two things seem to happen to the Twins (1) they under value the players they try to obtain, (2) they overvalue as sellers the player there trying to trade to. This seems to indicate that ownership or management isn’t currently aware of the market current values. Ownership is involved in the final decision. Mr. St. Peter is married into Pohlad family. I view him as being on both sides of ownership & management teams. Therefore, Falvey & Lavine being 2nd & 3rd in command on the management team really serve at the wills of ownership including Mr. St. Peter. In bank jargon the F O has “credit Limits” of certain value. Anything over the “credit limit” must be acted on by ownership before the transaction can become official.  Apparently doesn’t want to increase the credit limits of Falvey & Lavine.

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At this point I give them an F+.  Sure they signed Buxton.  That doesn't improve the team as he was already on the roster.  If this winds up being what we are left with it's going to be an aweful summer of baseball.

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I'm not a fan of this FO but I will say both the Buxton and Bundy signings made me pleasantly surprised. They have more work to do in getting a pitching staff together but for now I'll give them an incomplete. 

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I hope the "incomplete" grade is accurate.  Assuming it is, what should the Twins do to turn that grade into an A?  Are there any options left to make that an attainable grade?  If they signed Pineda (probably the most likely scenario) they still need one more starting pitcher, and preferably a front line pitcher.  They will probably need to trade for that, which makes sense since we are loaded with prospects and are running out of room on the 40 man roster for them.  Lets say they swing a trade for a pitcher that has that potential.  Now they have #1-Traded pitcher, #2-Pineda, #3/4/5 Bundy/Ryan/Ober/Dobnak/Thorpe.  While not an overwhelming lineup, it has some potential to be adequate.  We will still need to find some bullpen help, which seems to be a crap shoot, but the Twins have gotten that right more times then they have gotten it wrong over the last 5 years.  We still need a shortstop.  Does our lineup have the potential to be good enough to sign a +defender shortstop to help out our average pitching staff?  I think it does, as long as Buxton is healthy.  Is there a shortstop available that the Twins could sign to a 1 or 2 year contract (so he doesn't block one of our prospects) that fits that bill?  While I know it is not a popular choice on here, I think there is in Andrelton Simmons, who might be interested in an affordable, make good contract.  I think it is likely that he won't be as horrible with the bat next year as he was this past year.  There are other free agent options out there that may work as well.  Would making these moves upgrade the offseason grade to a B?  

 

I think these moves would give us a chance to compete this year.  Obviously we would need players to stay healthy and continue to improve, but I like our lineup, I think our defense could be outstanding, and so we would be relying on our pitching staff to "not suck".  

Please, front office, give us some hope for the upcoming season!  

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Adding a solid RP thru FA is fine, but 4-6 seems excessive. Deep, elite bullpens (sans mid-2010s Yankees) are built on failed, converted starters from within the org and trades, not FAs. 

It seems more often than not, that bullpens built on FAs are trainwrecks with the best being mediocre.

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