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Twins Hinting at a Huge Month


Jan. 14 is perhaps the most significant day in recent Minnesota sports history. In 2018 it was the date of the Minneapolis Miracle, and two years later it would host the signing of Josh Donaldson. That was the end to a busy offseason. Now, it’s just the beginning.When Derek Falvey and Thad Levine inked Donaldson to a four-year deal that will pay out a franchise free agent record $100 million, he was the 41-player tied to the Minnesota 40-man roster. With minor league additions and veterans brought in before him, a move would need to be made in order to accommodate his presence. It was ultimately Ryne Harper that was DFA’d in order to clear room and the roster would then be set.

 

Although 2020 would not commence on schedule as planned, Spring Training got underway without a hitch and the 2019 Bomba Squad knew what they were bringing to the table. In 2021 we’re a month away from the slated Spring Training report date, and despite not yet having concrete rules, Minnesota couldn’t be less in order from a roster standpoint.

 

As things stand today the Twins have just 36 players on their 40-man roster. There are a few spots that could probably be finagled with if need be, but four openings is a massive amount for a team with legitimate Major League holes to fill. Maybe the incomplete nature of the roster is bad news, but then the good news is that roughly 80% of free agents are still unsigned and available. In other words, buckle up.

 

We have seen a certain process play out for this front office over the course of their time in charge. They have been patient, calculated, and methodical. It’s a processed based approach that looks for the fit to happen within their developmental process rather than fitting how Minnesota now does things around a specific player. With that being said, there’s any number of logical trade fits that could make sense based on roster construction. On top of that, it remains a matter of when they’ll dip their toes into the waters of free agency as well.

 

Earlier this week I considered the process of future financial flexibility being a possible workaround to monetary constraints in the season ahead. It doesn’t necessarily decrease payroll from a bottom-line perspective but acquiring players on one-year contracts in an unprecedented situation feels much more workable than the grudgingly accepted scenarios both Logan Morrison and Lance Lynn found themselves in a couple of years ago. Rounding out a team of heigh ceiling reinforcements could make a lot of sense if there’s a hesitancy due to money or an expiring CBA in 2022.

 

We’re still going to be in a wait and see pattern for the Twins right now, but every indication suggests a flurry of moves are being loaded up for. Exactly one month ago Jeff Passan suggested Minnesota was seen as a team to watch. Although it’s still hard to fathom a seamless and traditional Spring Training in just four weeks, time for player acquisition is coming to a head. Falvey will begin to utilize those open roster spots if for no other reason because logic says that’s how it must play out. Given the glacial pace of the offseason, an average of an acquisition per week would be a breakneck pace.

 

This winter Major League Baseball has done itself no favors when it comes to staying in an otherwise stale sports news cycle. With the ability to dominate the headlines through player movement, there’s been just a handful of teams that have made any sort of noise. It’s easy to crown teams’ champions of the offseason, but that holds even less weight when so many have yet to fie any of their ammo. We’re about to see what the Twins have been waiting for, and that along should be quite the appetizer for a season that will reintroduce a chief rival and look for a much-needed Postseason victory.

 

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There are still alot of players out there. All the former Twins position players, for a start. It is a lot of economics right now, players still jockeying for the best contracts available in an environment where few teams wish to overpay.

 

The Twins have four spots. They need a starter, a bullpen arm (preferably a closer), a possible DH who can also play in the field, and it would be nice to have someone who could punch at 3rd base and play elsewhere in case you wish to DH Donaldson. 

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We are good. The White Sox have had a nice offseason but there are still 80% of the FA still needing homes. We have great internal options so throwing money around would be stupid at this point. 

Lots of options for relief pitching ... we will snag a few ... 

Starters are a bit more of an issue... I would guess we make a trade for a quality SP or find a nice retread to fill the 4/5 spot. We have 2 top of the rotation type pitchers right around the corner... one will make his debut for sure. 

 

Don't panic. We are STILL the team to beat. White Sox are right there but still are on the outside looking in. 

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Time for them to put their money where their mouth is. We are in danger of being lapped by the Sox if we stand pat. The window is about as open as can be. Jump through it.

 

The more I go down the White Sox roster position by position vs. our guys, the Sox look more and more tough.

 

C: Y. Grandal/Collins vs. Garver/Jeffers - Grandal/Jeffers/Garver at their best is a draw, slight upper hand to Garver & Jeffers though.  TWINS

1B: J. Abreu vs. Sano - Abreu all day. WHITE SOX

2B: N. Madrigal vs. Arraez - Straight draw.  Both 23 and uber talented. DRAW

3B: Y. Moncada vs. Donaldson - Moncada entering his prime, Donaldson can't stay on the field.  Moncada here.  Prove me wrong Donaldson. WHITE SOX

SS: T. Anderson vs. ??? - Trevor Story would give him a good run, but Anderson is incredible at getting on base. WHITE SOX

LF: E. Jimenez vs. ??? - Jimenez for now.  However, Kirilloff is going to be a phenomenal OF or 1B.  Larnach will be Cuddyer 2.0 when he gets a shot. WHITE SOX

CF: L. Robert vs. Buxton - Robert is everything that Always Broke Buxton was supposed to be.  Sorry for calling you always broke. WHITE SOX

RF: A. Eaton vs. Kepler - Kepler because he's more durable, but a healthy Eaton is still potent.  TWINS

 

SP: Giolito/Lynn/Keuchel/Cease/Kopech vs. Maeda/Berrios/Pineda/Dobnak/Smeltzer - Wow.  Top 3 are pretty solid.  Prospect clout would win over the 4 and 5 spots for the White Sox even though I love Dobnak.  WHITE SOX

 

Bullpen: I'd go Twins here.  Even with Hendriks. TWINS.

 

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The more I go down the White Sox roster position by position vs. our guys, the Sox look more and more tough.

 

C: Y. Grandal/Collins vs. Garver/Jeffers - Grandal/Jeffers/Garver at their best is a draw, slight upper hand to Garver & Jeffers though.  TWINS

1B: J. Abreu vs. Sano - Abreu all day. WHITE SOX

2B: N. Madrigal vs. Arraez - Straight draw.  Both 23 and uber talented. DRAW

3B: Y. Moncada vs. Donaldson - Moncada entering his prime, Donaldson can't stay on the field.  Moncada here.  Prove me wrong Donaldson. WHITE SOX

SS: T. Anderson vs. ??? - Trevor Story would give him a good run, but Anderson is incredible at getting on base. WHITE SOX

LF: E. Jimenez vs. ??? - Jimenez for now.  However, Kirilloff is going to be a phenomenal OF or 1B.  Larnach will be Cuddyer 2.0 when he gets a shot. WHITE SOX

CF: L. Robert vs. Buxton - Robert is everything that Always Broke Buxton was supposed to be.  Sorry for calling you always broke. WHITE SOX

RF: A. Eaton vs. Kepler - Kepler because he's more durable, but a healthy Eaton is still potent.  TWINS

 

SP: Giolito/Lynn/Keuchel/Cease/Kopech vs. Maeda/Berrios/Pineda/Dobnak/Smeltzer - Wow.  Top 3 are pretty solid.  Prospect clout would win over the 4 and 5 spots for the White Sox even though I love Dobnak.  WHITE SOX

 

Bullpen: I'd go Twins here.  Even with Hendriks. TWINS.

I really don't know if the aberration that was 2020 projects to anything useful. The differences in any of the composite player indexes for the most part seem rather small

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The rules are very concrete. If you have some notion of a NL DH happening, keep in mind that what was proposed was expanding playoffs for the DH . That was rejected by the player's union. DH is dead until the next CBA  That was in something by the writing God of the players Jeff Passan, not made up by some false news reporter.

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The more I go down the White Sox roster position by position vs. our guys, the Sox look more and more tough.

 

C: Y. Grandal/Collins vs. Garver/Jeffers - Grandal/Jeffers/Garver at their best is a draw, slight upper hand to Garver & Jeffers though.  TWINS

1B: J. Abreu vs. Sano - Abreu all day. WHITE SOX

2B: N. Madrigal vs. Arraez - Straight draw.  Both 23 and uber talented. DRAW

3B: Y. Moncada vs. Donaldson - Moncada entering his prime, Donaldson can't stay on the field.  Moncada here.  Prove me wrong Donaldson. WHITE SOX

SS: T. Anderson vs. ??? - Trevor Story would give him a good run, but Anderson is incredible at getting on base. WHITE SOX

LF: E. Jimenez vs. ??? - Jimenez for now.  However, Kirilloff is going to be a phenomenal OF or 1B.  Larnach will be Cuddyer 2.0 when he gets a shot. WHITE SOX

CF: L. Robert vs. Buxton - Robert is everything that Always Broke Buxton was supposed to be.  Sorry for calling you always broke. WHITE SOX

RF: A. Eaton vs. Kepler - Kepler because he's more durable, but a healthy Eaton is still potent.  TWINS

 

SP: Giolito/Lynn/Keuchel/Cease/Kopech vs. Maeda/Berrios/Pineda/Dobnak/Smeltzer - Wow.  Top 3 are pretty solid.  Prospect clout would win over the 4 and 5 spots for the White Sox even though I love Dobnak.  WHITE SOX

 

Bullpen: I'd go Twins here.  Even with Hendriks. TWINS.

 

They're a good team, but the only thing Moncado has on Donaldson is health. Moncado has had exactly one good year as a hitter, and if he doesn't repeat it this year it'll be a classic fluke year. He's not a significant defensive player, either.

 

Tim Anderson has a flashy BA, but Polanco has just as much ability in getting on base, so if he's our starting SS he can compete. in 2019, when Anderson was grabbing praise and a batting title, Polanco was the better player. Yes, on D too.

 

Luis Robert has a great future...but Buxton is still more talented, and despite the injuries last season was more productive.

 

Basically the only thing the ChiSox lineup in the field really has on the Twins as currently constituted is health...and it's really hard to project health.

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Ted, your headline is promising but where's the beef?  Yes, they have 4 roster spots open, but where does that point to significant moves this month or next.  As a daily reader of MLBTR and The Athletic, I have seen absolutely nothing to indicate this FO is planning on any major moves, i.e., ones that move the needle in increasing our playoff chances, except the one totally unsubstantiated rumor from Passan and allusions by Rosenthal that Twins looking at bringing in another SS.  This FO is great at looking, not so hot at doing! 

 

The  Donaldson signing was the first and only significant move in Falvine's 4 years in office.  They should be applauded for that one, as well as some under-the-radar moves like trading for Maeda and Odo, that paid off bigtime.  This offseason seems to revolve around whether they will resign Cruz.  No matter what your opinion of this is, do you think a Cruz signing  makes us an improved WS contender in 2021?

 

Until I see something more impactful than signing a middling RP like Robles,  color me very sceptical of this FO's ability to make a significant offseason move.  It's nice to engage in wishful thinking, but realistically(until shown differently) that's all this offseason has been for Twins fans.

 

 

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I hope they're thinking trades because there's not much on the free agent front I'd be overly excited about. 

 

Not that they shouldn't get some of those unexciting guys, but Passan saying things like they're 'a team to watch' I don't see how this boring group of free agents could match the expectations generated by that kind of comment.

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in a short season Roberts was exposed as a flawed hitter and he is headed into his sophomore jinx season.  Buxton is due for a healthy season where his natural talent takes over.

 

Moncado is a long long way from producing like Donaldson.

 

Almost anyone would choose Twins catching over WS catching.

 

Eaton is a forgetable player wheras Kepler has carried the Twins for weeks at a time

 

Your analysis is as flawed in the WS direction as mine is for the Twins. :)

 

Last year Abreau was better than Sano, but 2021 is a new year.

 

Madrigal cannot compete with Arraez at bat, although he does appear to be the superior in the field.

 

 

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in a short season Roberts was exposed as a flawed hitter and he is headed into his sophomore jinx season.  Buxton is due for a healthy season where his natural talent takes over.

 

Moncado is a long long way from producing like Donaldson.

 

Almost anyone would choose Twins catching over WS catching.

 

Eaton is a forgetable player wheras Kepler has carried the Twins for weeks at a time

 

Your analysis is as flawed in the WS direction as mine is for the Twins. :)

 

Last year Abreau was better than Sano, but 2021 is a new year.

 

Madrigal cannot compete with Arraez at bat, although he does appear to be the superior in the field.

 

Abreau was awesome last year but Sano's OPS was almost 100 points higher than Abreau in 2019. Sano is heading into his prime and Abreau is leaving his behind. It's funny, I caught heat early on for criticizing Sano. Then, he really improved his approach and discipline in 2019. Subsequently, he was a beast. Now I find myself rooting for the guy to repeat or improve that 2019 season.

 

I have always admired Donaldson and he killed us often. I sure would to see some of his best stuff now that he is in Twins uniform. Those two guys going strong at the same time would be something especially if the 2019 version of Kepler was batting between them.

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I said before last year that some of the people on here were overlooking the White Sox and I was soundly ridiculed - including by someone that said Giolito would barely crack the Twins' rotation.

 

The FO better have a big month or two planned because the Sox young players gained more experience and they've added more solid veterans. 

 

When a season - even a short, weird one like 2020 - has a difference of 1 game between 3 teams and one of those teams adds pretty significant talent to its roster while the other two lose pretty big pieces (one, obviously, bigger pieces than the other), the balance of power can shift quickly. 

 

The fans were patient for nearly a decade waiting for this window to open and now we're expected to remain patient while other teams are closing the "gap" faster than expected.

 

 

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Ted, I always love your posts. I'm not hearing the hints from the Twins, so we all keep hinting for them.

I'm hinting Cory Kluber, Trevor Rosenthal, Nelson Cruz, and Ehire Adrianza.

I would love to see Simmons come aboard or a trade to bring in Sonny Gray too.

Any move that substantially improves the Twins is fine with me.

However, the silence from the Twins makes me think they are pretty staunch in their belief of the current roster with 2-3 additions from the vast array of players still out there.

My main concern, above all else, is MLB's total incompetence in setting the rules for this coming season. It's total negligence and GM's are waiting to see if they only need to build a team that wins 80 games in a full season because every team qualifies for the playoffs. This is the main hangup in my view.

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...The  Donaldson signing was the first and only significant move in Falvine's 4 years in office.  They should be applauded for that one, as well as some under-the-radar moves like trading for Maeda and Odo, that paid off bigtime...

 

Are you equating "significant" with "splashy"? Because the Maeda and Odo moves qualify as pretty significant to me. I think the strength of this FO is their ability to make under-the-radar moves. Pineda, Cruz, building up solid bullpens out of nothing, etc.

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I said before last year that some of the people on here were overlooking the White Sox and I was soundly ridiculed - including by someone that said Giolito would barely crack the Twins' rotation.

 

The FO better have a big month or two planned because the Sox young players gained more experience and they've added more solid veterans. 

 

When a season - even a short, weird one like 2020 - has a difference of 1 game between 3 teams and one of those teams adds pretty significant talent to its roster while the other two lose pretty big pieces (one, obviously, bigger pieces than the other), the balance of power can shift quickly. 

 

The fans were patient for nearly a decade waiting for this window to open and now we're expected to remain patient while other teams are closing the "gap" faster than expected.

 

I hear you loud and clear.  I've been sending warning signals out since 2016 when they starting making moves to improve the farm system.

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