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Time to start thinking about next season...


Like a well baked ham, this season is over.  It's time to start thinking about the future of this ball team.  Starting with the front office on down, some difficult decisions will have to be made.  There's time enough to make some positional trades before the season is over.  Time enough to shed some dead weight and heavy salaries.  In terms of the talent gap, I'd start with the pitching.  Bullpen in particular.  Sure a couple of our starters have struggled at times.  And the offensive numbers are down from last year.  But it's our bullpen that has let the team down this season in a major way.  I won't name names.

The unpredictable nature of baseball is, well... predictable.  Perhaps some bad luck is involved.  But it's clear the way things are, is not the way things should be. So let's go ownership.  Get crack'n and get us ready for next season.  You've got a solid 10 months to prepare!

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There’s still plenty to do this season, but I’ll bite. Starting with the FO, I will guess it’s less than 5% chance either of Falvey or Levine is fired. Levine will eventually take a job with control over an organization since he’s already had interviews for them. Terry Ryan remained with this organization forever with a bleak future. The Pohlads aren’t going to make a knee jerk decision without significant cause. Rocco Baldelli is also unlikely to get fired after 1 bad season. 

 

What are we supposed to do besides flip the expiring contracts at the deadline? Which Falvey and Levine have done every year we’re not in contention. It will be hard to replace Berrios’ value in 2022 in-house or trade. Double the money to find someone of his equivalence in FA. I can see us giving up on Sano this year and clearing some future payroll. Besides that, we’re trading people at their low point. That’s not the best asset management strategy. 

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43 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

There’s still plenty to do this season, but I’ll bite. Starting with the FO, I will guess it’s less than 5% chance either of Falvey or Levine is fired. Levine will eventually take a job with control over an organization since he’s already had interviews for them. Terry Ryan remained with this organization forever with a bleak future. The Pohlads aren’t going to make a knee jerk decision without significant cause. Rocco Baldelli is also unlikely to get fired after 1 bad season. 

 

What are we supposed to do besides flip the expiring contracts at the deadline? Which Falvey and Levine have done every year we’re not in contention. It will be hard to replace Berrios’ value in 2022 in-house or trade. Double the money to find someone of his equivalence in FA. I can see us giving up on Sano this year and clearing some future payroll. Besides that, we’re trading people at their low point. That’s not the best asset management strategy. 

White Sox are only getting better over the next few years, plus they have more resources they are willing to use.  Unless you see the Twins payroll going to $150 - $170 range, change and getting cheaper for the next wave of talent is mandatory.  White Sox still lack pitching , so like Cleveland building much better pitching than Chicago is a must.

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It would be criminal to give up on 2021. This team has the talent to win at least 81 games and compete for a playoff spot. I will still stand firm in the belief until it is no longer possible to qualify for the playoffs. The odds decrease daily and a sweep in Chicago is almost a deal breaker. I'd like to split the difference and play Kirilloff, Larnach, Arraez, maybe even Tortuga as much as possible. See what you have with Gordon. Stay with the core of Donaldson, Buxton, Kepler. Decision time on Garver and Sano. Polanco has heated up lately. Is he the future, though?  I wouldn't mind if they isolated Sano elsewhere like they did a few years back. You have to keep rolling the bullpen out there as there are no other alternatives and no immediate help in the minors. Keep trotting out Alcala in higher leverage situations. There are no apparent solutions other than keep playing the games and the hope things will flip in the Twins favor at some point.  

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29 minutes ago, beckmt said:

White Sox are only getting better over the next few years, plus they have more resources they are willing to use.  Unless you see the Twins payroll going to $150 - $170 range, change and getting cheaper for the next wave of talent is mandatory.  White Sox still lack pitching , so like Cleveland building much better pitching than Chicago is a must.

Of course. It’s no surprise the White Sox are better now that their prospects are ready from being terrible and paying up in FA. 
 

As far as a youth movement, Kirilloff, Rortvedt, Larnach, Jeffers, and Gordon have gotten their feet wet so far this year. Arraez is still on a renewable contract heading into 2022, Garver is arb 1 (?), Polanco and Kepler are on reasonable deals even if they don’t break out to perennial all stars. What are you suggesting they do differently?

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46 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

Of course. It’s no surprise the White Sox are better now that their prospects are ready from being terrible and paying up in FA. 
 

As far as a youth movement, Kirilloff, Rortvedt, Larnach, Jeffers, and Gordon have gotten their feet wet so far this year. Arraez is still on a renewable contract heading into 2022, Garver is arb 1 (?), Polanco and Kepler are on reasonable deals even if they don’t break out to perennial all stars. What are you suggesting they do differently?

Problem is, unless a lot of their young pitchers turn out to be above average major leaguers, you are still behind.  That is like hitting a major lottery ticket.

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I thought it was telling yesterday that late in the game, still close, Baldelli let both Larnach and Astudillo hit while Sano was available. I approve; but that seemed a strong statement that the manager has no confidence in Miguel. It's May 13 and he has FIVE RBI. On a pace to drive in 25! The only plausible replacement starters as AAA are Thorpe and Dobnak, and the relievers there are even worse than the big league crew. In short, no help is coming and time is running out.

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13 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

There’s still plenty to do this season, but I’ll bite. Starting with the FO, I will guess it’s less than 5% chance either of Falvey or Levine is fired. Levine will eventually take a job with control over an organization since he’s already had interviews for them. Terry Ryan remained with this organization forever with a bleak future. The Pohlads aren’t going to make a knee jerk decision without significant cause. Rocco Baldelli is also unlikely to get fired after 1 bad season. 

 

What are we supposed to do besides flip the expiring contracts at the deadline? Which Falvey and Levine have done every year we’re not in contention. It will be hard to replace Berrios’ value in 2022 in-house or trade. Double the money to find someone of his equivalence in FA. I can see us giving up on Sano this year and clearing some future payroll. Besides that, we’re trading people at their low point. That’s not the best asset management strategy. 

I agree that timing will be part of the equation for change.  But the contenders (unlike the Twins) will be very anxious to scope up needed players at needed positions as we near the trade deadlines.  That would be the optimal time to think about what direction this team can/will take, and who we're willing to (should?) let go (or acquire?).  Yes, money is king.  But, like I said, the way we're going right now, it's hard to believe we'll stand pat on the current line up and not make some major changes.

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12 hours ago, theBOMisthebomb said:

It would be criminal to give up on 2021. This team has the talent to win at least 81 games and compete for a playoff spot. I will still stand firm in the belief until it is no longer possible to qualify for the playoffs. The odds decrease daily and a sweep in Chicago is almost a deal breaker. I'd like to split the difference and play Kirilloff, Larnach, Arraez, maybe even Tortuga as much as possible. See what you have with Gordon. Stay with the core of Donaldson, Buxton, Kepler. Decision time on Garver and Sano. Polanco has heated up lately. Is he the future, though?  I wouldn't mind if they isolated Sano elsewhere like they did a few years back. You have to keep rolling the bullpen out there as there are no other alternatives and no immediate help in the minors. Keep trotting out Alcala in higher leverage situations. There are no apparent solutions other than keep playing the games and the hope things will flip in the Twins favor at some point.  

What's the saying?  "Hope springs eternal."   I admire your loyalty.  I wish I had the same "hope".  I don't.  They have zero chance of making the playoffs.  And more like 71 (not 81) games is the likely target for them at this point.  Cheers.

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There's still a lot to do this season...

First, the FO needs to move the expiring contracts, which should net a very nice return: Cruz, Simmons, Pineda are all playing quite well and should bring back nice pieces.

Second, then you need to determine if you can move the Donaldson contract. That's a big challenge but if he keeps playing the way he has played, it may not be impossible. The Twins will probably have to eat some of the contract but if they can pay $20m to offload that deal and bring back some prospects, they kinda have to do it.

Then they need to figure out what they're going to do with Buxton and Berrios. I lean toward moving Buxton if possible and trying as hard as possible to extend Berrios.

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I feel Twins key to future is developing some MLB pitchers. Twins either can't afford top FA pitchers and/or they won't sign with Twins. Picking up pitchers toward end of their careers hoping for one last good year hasn't worked that well. Can't count on Wes to turn others cast offs into Wislers every year.

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I think you have the right approach Brock, although I differ on some of the details. I would try to re-sign Pineda, not move him. I would move Simmons and Cruz for sure. If possible trade Donaldson but we have to get a strong return. Happ will be moved (and should be) to make room for Thorpe to get at least 10-12 more starts this season. Shoemaker should be put in the bullpen to see if he can reinvent himself and become a trade chip; Dobnak back in the rotation. I would try to extend Berrios and Buxton using the money that would come off from trading Simmons and Cruz. Getting the money to re-sign those two is the best argument for moving Donaldson so I so I wonder about eating part of his contract. I don't know if extending those two is possible but we need to find out so we can make a trade in the offseason or even this July if we can't extend them. 

On a daily basis, Kirilloff and Larnach need to play every day and easily can if we move Cruz. I would like to see Gordon get a shot but that depends on moving Simmons and/or Donaldson. Move one and Gordon becomes the UTL, move both and Gordon plays 2B with Polanco at SS and Arraez at 3B. A little scary on defense, so I would lean towards keeping Donaldson unless there's a real strong return in the offing. Give Vasquez a shot in the Bullpen; otherwise, I think we're stuck with what we have.     

The elephant in the room is Sano; Kepler can play RF in a platoon with Garlick and Larnach in LF every day if we make room for Arraez in the IF either by trading Simmons and moving Polanco back to SS or making Arraez the super utility.  If not, Kepler is the 4th OF so Larnach can play RF every day with Arraez in LF. Polanco is starting to hit so he needs to play every day.  There si no place for Sano unless we move Cruz so he can get DH ABs or play 1B/Dh in a movable group with Larnach, Arraez, Kirilloff, etc, switching around between OF/1B/DH/UTL.  I'm not ready to release Sano but might if he won't agree to an assignment where he can find himself at a lower level (it's my understanding that he has an option but has to consent because of his MLB service time).   

The key thing is a mindset shift from a "contending team" to a "developing/reloading team".  The latter trades guys who are really only here so we can contend this year. That's Simmons, Happ and Cruz at a minimum and could include Pineda and even Donaldson. Time to make that shift in thinking. 

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45 minutes ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

I think you have the right approach Brock, although I differ on some of the details. I would try to re-sign Pineda, not move him. I would move Simmons and Cruz for sure. If possible trade Donaldson but we have to get a strong return. Happ will be moved (and should be) to make room for Thorpe to get at least 10-12 more starts this season. Shoemaker should be put in the bullpen to see if he can reinvent himself and become a trade chip; Dobnak back in the rotation. I would try to extend Berrios and Buxton using the money that would come off from trading Simmons and Cruz. Getting the money to re-sign those two is the best argument for moving Donaldson so I so I wonder about eating part of his contract. I don't know if extending those two is possible but we need to find out so we can make a trade in the offseason or even this July if we can't extend them. 

On a daily basis, Kirilloff and Larnach need to play every day and easily can if we move Cruz. I would like to see Gordon get a shot but that depends on moving Simmons and/or Donaldson. Move one and Gordon becomes the UTL, move both and Gordon plays 2B with Polanco at SS and Arraez at 3B. A little scary on defense, so I would lean towards keeping Donaldson unless there's a real strong return in the offing. Give Vasquez a shot in the Bullpen; otherwise, I think we're stuck with what we have.     

The elephant in the room is Sano; Kepler can play RF in a platoon with Garlick and Larnach in LF every day if we make room for Arraez in the IF either by trading Simmons and moving Polanco back to SS or making Arraez the super utility.  If not, Kepler is the 4th OF so Larnach can play RF every day with Arraez in LF. Polanco is starting to hit so he needs to play every day.  There si no place for Sano unless we move Cruz so he can get DH ABs or play 1B/Dh in a movable group with Larnach, Arraez, Kirilloff, etc, switching around between OF/1B/DH/UTL.  I'm not ready to release Sano but might if he won't agree to an assignment where he can find himself at a lower level (it's my understanding that he has an option but has to consent because of his MLB service time).   

The key thing is a mindset shift from a "contending team" to a "developing/reloading team".  The latter trades guys who are really only here so we can contend this year. That's Simmons, Happ and Cruz at a minimum and could include Pineda and even Donaldson. Time to make that shift in thinking. 

I think trading Donaldson for a strong return will be very difficult.  In order to do so, they'd have to eat most of his salary and that almost defeats the purpose of trading him.  

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2 hours ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

There's still a lot to do this season...

First, the FO needs to move the expiring contracts, which should net a very nice return: Cruz, Simmons, Pineda are all playing quite well and should bring back nice pieces.

Second, then you need to determine if you can move the Donaldson contract. That's a big challenge but if he keeps playing the way he has played, it may not be impossible. The Twins will probably have to eat some of the contract but if they can pay $20m to offload that deal and bring back some prospects, they kinda have to do it.

Then they need to figure out what they're going to do with Buxton and Berrios. I lean toward moving Buxton if possible and trying as hard as possible to extend Berrios.

Hoping either Kepler or Lewis can play CF long term......I agree with all of this.....They'll never sign a big name starting pitcher, so they better keep the ONE they've actually developed in the last 15 years........

Short term, Kepler should start in CF every day. Every single day.

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51 minutes ago, wsnydes said:

I think trading Donaldson for a strong return will be very difficult.  In order to do so, they'd have to eat most of his salary and that almost defeats the purpose of trading him.  

I think you're probably right and to me trading Donaldson and eating part of his contract makes little sense. There's no real reason to trade Donaldson UNLESS you move his contract and that money is immediately used to extend Berrios and/or Buxton. Then, moving Donaldson could make some sense. Otherwise, keep him. Who knows, maybe we can contend next year and he can be part of that. 

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9 minutes ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

I think you're probably right and to me trading Donaldson and eating part of his contract makes little sense. There's no real reason to trade Donaldson UNLESS you move his contract and that money is immediately used to extend Berrios and/or Buxton. Then, moving Donaldson could make some sense. Otherwise, keep him. Who knows, maybe we can contend next year and he can be part of that. 

It *might* be possible to move Donaldson's contract if the Twins are willing to eat part, but not that much, of the contract.

Josh is having a relatively nice season despite a recent cold streak. If he continues on this pace, he should have a 4-ish win season, which would make him appealing to some contenders.

At the very least, I'd explore the option of moving him and be open to eating roughly 33% of his remaining contract if it brings back decent prospects.

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Wouldn't surprise me to see Donaldson as the DH next year.  Maybe you can squeeze another season or more out of Cruz.  But when the NL adopts the DH, the Twins won't be able to afford Cruz, and he'll probably retire rather  than take a pay cut.

Once the prize prospect, Sano is nothing more than a burden.  When he's healthy, he's good for a few monumental homeruns.  Despite the homerun ability, he's not a run producer.  So  a scenario comes to mind.  3b+Arraez,

ss=Simmons, 2nd b= Polanco  1st b= Kiriloff.  LF=Larnach, CF= Buxton, RF=Keppler/Garlick  C= Jeffers, DH=Donaldson.

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1 hour ago, RickOShea said:

Wouldn't surprise me to see Donaldson as the DH next year.  Maybe you can squeeze another season or more out of Cruz.  But when the NL adopts the DH, the Twins won't be able to afford Cruz, and he'll probably retire rather  than take a pay cut.

Once the prize prospect, Sano is nothing more than a burden.  When he's healthy, he's good for a few monumental homeruns.  Despite the homerun ability, he's not a run producer.  So  a scenario comes to mind.  3b+Arraez,

ss=Simmons, 2nd b= Polanco  1st b= Kiriloff.  LF=Larnach, CF= Buxton, RF=Keppler/Garlick  C= Jeffers, DH=Donaldson.

Donaldson is getting paid just as much for his glove as he is for his bat, so I don't see him DH'ing on the regular.  Plus, that's a massive drop off in defensive ability to go from Donaldson to Arraez at 3B.  It would be easier to find a DH than a quality 3B.  

If the point is to keep Arraez's bat in the lineup, DH him and keep the better defender in the field.

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Yeah, I don't think moving Donaldson is a) very feasible, considering his salary and injury history, or b) very strategic, given that the Twins (presumably) still want to contend in 2022, and he's still a big part of that. It wouldn't be a good look to unload your most prized free agent signing in team history less than halfway through his contract.

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This thread should be abandoned. The season is young. Nothing that is happening means the terminal demise of Twins baseball as we know it.  Who knows what fun we will be having as the the weather gets warmer and the muscles start remembering.  I watch every game (even though it is hard) and in every game I see something that gives me hope. GO SANO! CRUISE CRUZ!  WIN TWINS!

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I think the window on this core has closed. The White Sox are better and have key younger players. We have one more year of Berrios in the rotation and then little to count on beyond.
 

They need to look beyond 2022. If they can’t extend Berrios or Buxton they need to move them this year. Donaldson is a sunk cost with an anchor of a contract similar to Mauer. Move him. Pay whatever salary is necessary to get something of value in return. Anyone that isn’t a part of 2023 I would be willing to move.
 

This winter they need to go low on the payroll. One year commitments that they can trade off will work but they shouldn’t anchor themselves to anyone. They need to see what develops within. 

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4 hours ago, wsnydes said:

Donaldson is getting paid just as much for his glove as he is for his bat, so I don't see him DH'ing on the regular.  Plus, that's a massive drop off in defensive ability to go from Donaldson to Arraez at 3B.  It would be easier to find a DH than a quality 3B.  

If the point is to keep Arraez's bat in the lineup, DH him and keep the better defender in the field.

That's alot of money just for defense.  I think it would be easier to find a defensive option  versus the type of offensive player, Donaldson can be.  Also, Donaldson has a terrible recent history with his leg injuries.  You may only be able to squeeze 4 at bats out of him, and keep him off the field.

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9 hours ago, RickOShea said:

That's alot of money just for defense.  I think it would be easier to find a defensive option  versus the type of offensive player, Donaldson can be.  Also, Donaldson has a terrible recent history with his leg injuries.  You may only be able to squeeze 4 at bats out of him, and keep him off the field.

I didn't say that it was just for defense, I said that he's getting paid for his offense AND defense.  Run prevention is just as important as run production.  He's getting paid for the whole package.  He's a plus defensive third baseman, they don't hit the market often because they're hard to find.  That's what made him such a prize get for this squad.  His leg injuries have come while running the bases, if I recall correctly.  So, DHing him doesn't solve that problem.  

Filling the DH spot can be done effectively many ways, filling a defensive hole at 3B with a guy that can hit cannot.

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On 5/14/2021 at 8:01 PM, jorgenswest said:

This winter they need to go low on the payroll. One year commitments that they can trade off will work but they shouldn’t anchor themselves to anyone. They need to see what develops within. 

Does ownership sign off on all this? What you propose sounds like what a fresh new FO might plan. I don't see how a FO brought in as recently as 2016 could survive this outcome though. So a) I don't see Falvey committing career suicide by proposing this, and b) I don't see Pohlad firing him this soon.

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