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What should be done with the Twins outfield?


The Twins have a very interesting outfield core. On paper, they probably have one of the deepest groups of outfielders in the league. But, looking at this season the Twins used 11 different outfielders to combine for 0.1 bWAR combined. That ranked 13th in the entire league. Obviously a disappointing season all around, but especially when it comes to outfield production that was supposed to be so good. Now there's a lot of questions to be answered this offseason when it comes to who should be starting in the outfield, contract extensions, and prospects. 

The number one question that needs to be answered in the outfield is Max Kepler. He had an outstanding 2019 season in which he slashed .252/.336/.519(!!) and hit 36 home runs. But was that season just an outlier because of the juiced balls? Kepler's next highest SLG% compared to 2019 was .439, his next highest home run total is 20, and next highest OPS to his .855 in 2019 was .760 in the shortened 2020 season. Now we wouldn't be fairly taking about Max without talking about his elite defense in right field. Kepler ranked 2nd amongst all right fielder's in OAA in since 2016. The underlying question is: what should be done with Kepler? Trade? Hope that he'll come back to 2019 Max? Let's not forget about the six year extension that the Twins signed him to before the 2019 season worth $7 million AAV. This is why I don't think the Twins should trade him. Even if he hits to a roughly league average 98 OPS+ like he did in 2021, he still has that top tier defense that is well worth the money that the Twins are giving him. I do think that he is a better hitter than what he showed this year, and should be the Twins starting right fielder for years to come. 

There's been a lot of excellent articles written on Byron Buxton and I will refer you to Mahlk's article if you want to get into contract specifics. In short, the Twins should pay whatever to lock him up for the next 5-7 years. There is no player in baseball like Buxton, and when healthy he is a MVP candidate. 

This really just leaves open the left field position. This is tough because there are so many candidates for the position. Arraez was the primary left fielder in 2021, Brent Rooker was also used out there while Arraez spent time at third base, Nick Gordon played there, Kirilloff also rotated in his very short 2021 season. There's also the potential of Trevor Larnach, and even top prospects that have been spending more time in the outfield like Royce Lewis and newly acquired Austin Martin. Even thought the Twins have all of these options, there is also the possibility of free agency for that left field spot. That's where I think the Twins should go. 

Chris Taylor should be the Twins primary left fielder in the 2022 season. Taylor has hit at an above league average rate every year since 2017, according to OPS+. He is an extremely durable player, which the Twins could certainly use, and can play anywhere in the field. He would be an incredible utility player that can fill in anywhere when needed. This would work perfectly for the Twins because we saw many injuries last year, and depth is always necessary for a team to be successful over a 162 game stretch. Taylor would be perfect for a one to two year bridge until Royce Lewis and Austin Martin are ready to take the league by storm. I think the Twins would be able to get him somewhere in the $12-14 million AAV range. 

As always, let me know what you think the Twins outfield situation should look like for the 2022 season. Thank you for reading! 

Follow me on twitter @zach_hartford if you want to talk anything Twins, or baseball in general.

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The first order of business for the Twins involves an outfielder - figure out the plan for Byron Buxton. Sign him to a long term deal, decide to just go into the next season with Byron on a $8 million contract, or look around for the best trade return for Buxton. After a Buxton decision, the Twins can rotate to examining their other outfield options.  

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20 minutes ago, Zach Hartford said:

 

Chris Taylor should be the Twins primary left fielder in the 2022 season. Taylor has hit at an above league average rate every year since 2017, according to OPS+. He is an extremely durable player, which the Twins could certainly use, and can play anywhere in the field. He would be an incredible utility player that can fill in anywhere when needed. This would work perfectly for the Twins because we saw many injuries last year, and depth is always necessary for a team to be successful over a 162 game stretch. Taylor would be perfect for a one to two year bridge until Royce Lewis and Austin Martin are ready to take the league by storm. I think the Twins would be able to get him somewhere in the $12-14 million AAV range. 

 

 

If they sign Taylor he would be at SS most of the time, with Arraez getting time in LF.

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26 minutes ago, lecroy24fan said:

If they sign Taylor he would be at SS most of the time, with Arraez getting time in LF.

Taylor is better in the outfield than he is in the infield according to UZR, OAA, and DRS. But he would serve a super utility role when injuries happen. I also think Arraez will be at 3B often to keep Donaldson healthy, and we will see Donaldon DH much more often.

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You forgot Cave. The Twins ok 4th OF that in 2021, Twins  decided before the season he was going to be the starting LF and Buxton replacement, even though he would have a horrific ST. Where's the Twins evaluation standards? We have tons of OFs, the problem is they are good bats but their gloves suck. Twins criteria is if they have a good bat they can plug them in anywhere in the OF. The only MLB ready Buxton replacement and LF were Baddoo (whom they let go) and Broxton (whom they abandoned). 

I've been a Taylor advocate for years, hoping in our past dealings with LA that our trades would include him. I believe at least in the past he was a better SS and might even be pretty good now if given more opportunity there. But now his price tag could be more than what we can afford. 

Again, Celestino & Martin are a good options but they're not ready, Larnach will be a good 4th OF eventually. Kiriloff is better served at 1B. Where are all those Rosario's inhouse replacements? Buxton and Kepler are the only decent OFs we have and the loud minority are advocating to trade both of them. That would put us in the  toilet which we won't recover from for many years.

The Twins have to abandon their mindset and go find a real Buxton sub/ LF and stick w/ him. 

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The Twins have to take care of centerfield and go from there.

 

  • Then, they seriously have to evaluate Trevor Larnach and Max Kepler. There is something about baseball - playing the game, or working at playing the game. Natural ability only carries so far (see Delmon Young and, in many ways, Sano). Kepler has always been a hard worker, but something just isn't working at the plate that makes him above the standard journeyman outfielder right now.

Larnach had his eyes opened. You may be hot stuff going into a draft. Like Jose Miranda, you may be the #1 hitter in the minors. But once you hit the majors you suddenly discover that there are 8-12 players on very roster equal to your ability or possibly better. The only lesser players are those that play specific roles (back up catcher, extra outfielder, spare infielder).  A great job, being a role player, if you can get it.

 

But baseball is work. You see it in Sano, who starts to lay off that outside low corner pitch, but then...right back into the swing and miss groove. Constantly have to come to the park and WORK! It is a job, folks. But once you hit the Big Leagues, the desire to win far outweighs, for most teams the majority of the time, the art of just playing ball as an entertainment.

 

Who plays the outfield in 2022? Well, we don't want Arraez out there. Lewis and Martin are in the wings. Matt Wallner is, too. The minor league corps of Kerrigan, Contreras, Whitefield, and others aren't getting me anymore excited that Rooker or Celestino at this point. Does Mirada need a fulltime spot - left field, perhaps?

 

Used to be that decisions on offense, the question we asked was "what about Sano." Now we ask "what about Buxton." 

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Because of his utility Chris Taylor will be more expensive then say Rosario.  Signing Chris to be a SS then super utility when Lewis is ready makes more sense.  

The outfield should line up as follows:

CF Buxton with 100 to 130 starts backed up by Kepler. With 20 to 50 then Gordon with 10 to 15 starts

RF Kepler with 100 to 130 starts followed by others see LF

There should be 200 to 230 starts in LF and RF to be divied up by everyone else.  Projecting who will get how many starts is anyones guess. But here is mine....

LF will be a free for all.  Killeroff when not at 1B or DH, Larnarch, Martin, Miranda who also backs up 3B 30percent of the time.  Areaz, Gordon both as super utility and Rooker who will also DH. .  

Not all will be on the roster at the same time several LFers will get time at other positions including RF when Kepler is in CF.  

Arraez and Gordon will spend time all over the diamond so I have Arraez for around 20 -30 starts between LF and RF and Gordon around 10 between the 2.  Martin will spend most of the season in the minors.  

Miranda could start 60 games at 3rd and 40 to 50 games in LF and maybe 10 between DH and 1B with a month or so in the minors....

Larnarch and Rooker are the Wild Cards as one of these two are supposed to be the LF but neither has claimed it yet.  

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With how Kiki Hernandez eased into the everyday CF spot in Boston, I would be very open to signing Taylor as they are very similar players. I do agree that he would be starting at SS for the first month or so and I don't know if that would be a good thing.  That being said, I don't know if 2 years $14M will get it done though, his 3 HR playoff game is fresher in teams minds than Hernandez's was when he hit FA and middle defense fielders get paid more $$$. His signing however makes Arraez, Astudillo, and Cave expendable, so maybe the team pulls the trigger and signs him, 

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Starling Marte would be "just what the Dr. ordered" tony&rodney !!  He would be our LF'er and leadoff hitter and play CF when Buxton needs a day off (or, hopefully not, but when Byron gets injured).  However, I see teams easily outbidding us and Marte probably looking to go to a big market team.  HOWEVER, Canha could be just the "value signing" the Twins could use.  He's decent in LF and he's got some "pop."  He's kind of like SS Paul DeJong.  He would improve our defense and give us a RH bat in LF.  I like the potential of Celestino, but think he could use most of 2022 in St. Paul.  Maybe Canha takes a one-year "prove it" deal while the Twins figure out what they have with Martin, Celestino, Lewis, Gordon, Larnach and Rooker.  (maybe Kiriloff as well, but I see him more at 1B and Sano more at DH).  I want the Twins to be competitive next year.  I'd like to show a little more patience with many of our young guys.  Players like Mondesi, DeJong, and Canha could and should be considered.   

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11 minutes ago, TopGunn#22 said:

However, I see teams easily outbidding us and Marte probably looking to go to a big market team. 

Yes, this is likely. I have Marte on one version of a roster at 4/$17.0, but replaced him with Seager (7/$25) in another attempt at building a team for about $130 million total. My first team had Canha at 1/$10 million. Due to the confusion surrounding Buxton, I prefer Marte but have no idea what money he expects or should receive as a FA. Marte is athletic and plays decent defense, qualities we need in an outfielder and these are also reasons to like Canha.

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6 hours ago, Zach Hartford said:

Taylor is better in the outfield than he is in the infield according to UZR, OAA, and DRS. But he would serve a super utility role when injuries happen. I also think Arraez will be at 3B often to keep Donaldson healthy, and we will see Donaldon DH much more often.

There is a much greater need at SS.

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To me this is fairly easy to answer assuming the FO doesn't start moving several pieces of the established roster.

CF is Buxton and shoukd remain Buxton for the next 5-7yrs with an extension that works for both sides. PERIOD!

RF should be Kepler. I think he has more trade value than a lot of people give him credit for. He's outstanding defensively there and more than solid in CF as long as his hamstrings are OK going forward. And his offense is obviously proven in the past to be much better thzn what we saw in 2021. And right now, the Twins don't have a direct replacement for him that is anything close to being PROVEN. I don't think the Twins, or any of us, want questionable defense in BOTH corners for 2022.

LF will be a mix in 2022 unless someone runs with the spot, and I'm OK with that. Again, someone might be gone via trade, but right now you have Larnach waiting to take the next step forward. AK can play there effectively when not at 1B. Arraez can get a few games there to keep his bat in the lineup without embarrassing anyone, (my opinion). Rooker will get a shot if the bat comes around, and it always has previously at every level he's played at before. Celestino has a njce future as at least a versatile and quality 4th OF, and a ceiling as a quality starter in LF or CF but he needs time and experience.

My HOPE is Larnach, not traded, will take over LF at some point if not immediately. He's also got the arm for RF...which also has less ground to cover...and can give Kepler days off and MIGHT succeed him in a year or so. You continue to mix in Arraez here and there to keep his bat in the lineup. And while I just can't give you a name right now...too much to sort through at this point...my HOPE is when the dust settles and the smoke clears, and SS and the front of the rotation has been addressed, and ONE GOOD ARM has been added to the BP, the FO will drop a couple $M for a RH Cave-like 4th OF.

Martin is PROBABLY destined for a starting job in the OF, while still being able to fill in across most of the infield. A TREMDOUS prospect with a world of ability and potential, but he's gone from college to a missed year and straight to AA. I think he's going to need AT LEAST a half season if not a full one to be ready for MLB.

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On 10/13/2021 at 1:19 PM, RpR said:

WHAT? -- We have such great out fielders as Booker,  Celestino, Larnach and Gordon 😭

 

On 10/16/2021 at 8:12 PM, Brock Beauchamp said:

No one is forgetting those players, they're just considering the $8m difference between Rosario and all of them combined.

 

On 10/17/2021 at 8:38 PM, D.C Twins said:

0% chance Buxton signs and extension. If an extension were to have happened it would have only made sense from his side 1-2 years ago.

0% chance of filling all of the holes in the starting rotation AND the bullpen.

Poor chance of being meaningfully competitive next year..

SO.....

Trade Buxton for great prospects. Call up Celelstino and let him learn on the job. Go with the kids in the starting rotation and see what we have in 2022 before signing FA in 2023. Ditto for our internal bullpen arms.

Trade Donaldson for the best salary relief/prospect package available and let Miranda join Celestino. Let Sano try to be relevant one more time (nobody will trade anything for him anyway). Trade Garver (on borrowed time as 30 y/o catcher) and let Jeffers/Ro combo learn. Trade Kepler if there is a good offer (which there won't be so he stays). Sign one of the top 5 shortstops (good defense behind young pitchers while transitioning team into contenders....Also, Lewis is waaaaay far away and may never make it)

2022 for internal scouting and development.....2023 add what you learn that you need through FA/trades after 2022 information gathering.

Regular season competitive with 1st round defeat in 2023 developing into playoff competitive in 2024 with potential for deep playoff run...

That is the most realistic scenario to me.

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

On 10/17/2021 at 10:42 PM, Crackedfungo said:

Which is exactly what we have lacked in the playoffs......Go figure.  On a team that doesn't gag once the postseason begins, he seems to be flourishing (sans the power we have seen in the past).  I also loved seeing Graterol.  He can REALLY bring it.  Regret may set in for our 'braintrust' as some point in the next year or so....

 

On 10/18/2021 at 9:19 PM, h2oface said:

Call it what you want. The Braves and Eddie did all the things the stat guys would say not to do last night, AND IT WORKED! That is what counts. Spirit wins over bookworming. I loved it. That was some exciting baseball. 

 

On 10/20/2021 at 11:20 PM, lecroy24fan said:

Well when the actual backup plan was Luis Arraez, who was pressed into duty at 3B when Donaldson got hurt it isn't unreasonable to have ;et Eddie go. When injuries pile up you can't really control having to go to your third, fourth, fifth options.

 

And Eddie was terrible in Cleveland. I'd guess his WAR was even less there.

 

Edit: .6 in CLE and .5 with ATL.

 

9 hours ago, lecroy24fan said:

If they sign Taylor he would be at SS most of the time, with Arraez getting time in LF.

Haven't we had enough of infielders who can't play the infield defensively playing the outfield?

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Being completely realistic, the Twins don't have the money to sign a good LF if they also need a SS, 2 SPs, and bullpen help, which everyone agrees are priorities. If they re-sign Buxton long-term (which they should), there's no reason to spend more than $5 mil on a LF when other options exist internally.

If they sign Taylor, it should be to play SS for 2022 to bridge the gap to Royce. I am dubious that Taylor would be willing to sign with an 89-loss Twins team however.

LF then has Larnach, Rooker, and Arraez mostly cycling through. Sure the defense would be bad, but it gives you time to evaluate Rooker & Larnach completely and keep Arraez's bat in the lineup on some days.

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19 hours ago, Doctor Gast said:

Buxton and Kepler are the only decent OFs we have and the loud minority are advocating to trade both of them. That would put us in the  toilet which we won't recover from for many years.

I don't think anyone is advocating trading Buxton, I think the "loud minority" see it coming.  Kepler is okay I guess but I don't think the doors will be knocked down for a trade so I think he is safe where he is but that being said when he goes into his slumps or doesn't improve he should spend time on the bench.  Basically make him work harder for his playing time. 

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What should be done with the Twins OF? Sign Buxton and be patient. I have zero interest in spending FA money on a LF at this point, let alone big money.

I'm perfectly happy starting the season with Kirilloff in LF and I like the option of Celestino as a 4th OF (he can defend all three OF positions and hit really well after being sent to AAA, which is where he should have been in the first place). Not ready to give up on Larnach, and Martin isn't far from being ready to hit in MLB either.

What should be done with the Twins OF? It should be filled with internal options and the money should be used on starting pitching and SS. I'd much rather drop that $$ on Trevor Story and not have to worry about SS for the next 4 years then drop any of that cash on LF.

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Sign Buxton, play Kirilloff in left. Either find a way to fix Kepler's absurd BABIP problem, even at the expense of some power, or try to ship him off to another team. I'm kinda over his .200 batting average. He's too damned talented to post the numbers he posts.

By mid-season, hopefully Celestino will be ready to play a role in Minnesota.

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I hate to be the proverbial turd in the punchbowl but I think we need to be realistic. Premium free agents like Taylor aren't going to leave a World Series contender to come to an 89 loss team with no pitching unless there is a substantial overpay. I just don't see that happening from the Twins given all of the other needs. Also, if Taylor came he would be playing SS most days.  

I think we know who the LF is next year. It's Alex Kirilloff with an occasional Arraez day out there unless they trade one of Sano,  Donaldson or Kepler. Think about the roster. Sano and Donaldson can play one position each - IB or 3B - and DH. That's it. We learned last year that the the way to get 130 plus games a year out of Donaldson is to DH him at least 40% pf the time and that will increase as he gets older. Sano has to play 1B or sit on those days Donaldson is the DH and Arraez has no place to play with Polanco at 2B as our best player. We aren't moving Polanco back to SS because of his poor defense there so he will get 140 games at 2B next year with another 10-15 at DH to keep him fresh. I could see Kirilloff in RF if they trade Kepler and only then is LF open. 

So I think the OF for next year is already set barring injury or trade with the only competition for that 4th OF spot. We start out with Buxton in CF unless he's traded,  Kirilloff in LF, and Kepler in RF. Sano plays 1B most days and Donaldson and Arraez alternate at 3B and DH. I think Celestino will win the 4th OF spot since he can play CF and they don't like Kepler there for some reason that I don't understand. If they won't play Kepler in CF much then we have to have a CF as the 4th OF with Buxton's history. That means no Rosario (much as I would like that), no Taylor, no pick your free agent. There's just no place to play someone like that unless they trade Sano to give Kirilloff an opening at 1B, trade Donaldson so Sano can move to the DH spot, or trade Kepler for pitching to open up RF. And frankly if they open up RF it will be for Arraez to play every day, with Gordon becoming the super utility guy, and Miranda up to get 300 ABs at 3B and/or DH. 

Let's not worry about a new OF. Let's spend all of the money available on pitching and a better SS. that's how this team gets better.  

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20 hours ago, Doctor Gast said:

You forgot Cave. The Twins ok 4th OF that in 2021, Twins  decided before the season he was going to be the starting LF and Buxton replacement, even though he would have a horrific ST. Where's the Twins evaluation standards? We have tons of OFs, the problem is they are good bats but their gloves suck. Twins criteria is if they have a good bat they can plug them in anywhere in the OF. The only MLB ready Buxton replacement and LF were Baddoo (whom they let go) and Broxton (whom they abandoned). 

I've been a Taylor advocate for years, hoping in our past dealings with LA that our trades would include him. I believe at least in the past he was a better SS and might even be pretty good now if given more opportunity there. But now his price tag could be more than what we can afford. 

Again, Celestino & Martin are a good options but they're not ready, Larnach will be a good 4th OF eventually. Kiriloff is better served at 1B. Where are all those Rosario's inhouse replacements? Buxton and Kepler are the only decent OFs we have and the loud minority are advocating to trade both of them. That would put us in the  toilet which we won't recover from for many years.

The Twins have to abandon their mindset and go find a real Buxton sub/ LF and stick w/ him. 

Jake Cave was probably the second worst hitter on the team in 2021. He should be non-tendered this offseason. Buxton and Kepler are two of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. Plugging someone in left field with not great fielding wouldn't be the worst thing because of the other two we have in the outfield. There are plenty of Rosario in-house replacements: Rooker, Larnach, Kirilloff, Gordon, Celestino, Martin, Lewis. 

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20 hours ago, Brandon said:

Because of his utility Chris Taylor will be more expensive then say Rosario.  Signing Chris to be a SS then super utility when Lewis is ready makes more sense.  

The outfield should line up as follows:

CF Buxton with 100 to 130 starts backed up by Kepler. With 20 to 50 then Gordon with 10 to 15 starts

RF Kepler with 100 to 130 starts followed by others see LF

There should be 200 to 230 starts in LF and RF to be divied up by everyone else.  Projecting who will get how many starts is anyones guess. But here is mine....

LF will be a free for all.  Killeroff when not at 1B or DH, Larnarch, Martin, Miranda who also backs up 3B 30percent of the time.  Areaz, Gordon both as super utility and Rooker who will also DH. .  

Not all will be on the roster at the same time several LFers will get time at other positions including RF when Kepler is in CF.  

Arraez and Gordon will spend time all over the diamond so I have Arraez for around 20 -30 starts between LF and RF and Gordon around 10 between the 2.  Martin will spend most of the season in the minors.  

Miranda could start 60 games at 3rd and 40 to 50 games in LF and maybe 10 between DH and 1B with a month or so in the minors....

Larnarch and Rooker are the Wild Cards as one of these two are supposed to be the LF but neither has claimed it yet.  

I would love to see Buxton being able to play 130 games. It is a very good conversation, but the only thing I'm worried about is it ending up like this year. I think if we have a solidified LF option than whoever that is would be able to get into a rhythm and make a real contribution to the team, rather than being a liability like the position was in 2021.

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19 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

Starling Marte and Mark Canha are outfielders. Any interest?

I like Mark Canha a lot, but I don't see the Twins going after him. I see him as a more developed Brent Rooker. The only problem with him is his defense. I would assume he'll be getting paid in the $10 million range which I don't think would be worth the price for the Twins.

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17 hours ago, mnfireman said:

With how Kiki Hernandez eased into the everyday CF spot in Boston, I would be very open to signing Taylor as they are very similar players. I do agree that he would be starting at SS for the first month or so and I don't know if that would be a good thing.  That being said, I don't know if 2 years $14M will get it done though, his 3 HR playoff game is fresher in teams minds than Hernandez's was when he hit FA and middle defense fielders get paid more $$$. His signing however makes Arraez, Astudillo, and Cave expendable, so maybe the team pulls the trigger and signs him, 

I think Taylor would be getting paid $12-14 million per year. Yes, I'm sure he would be starting out as the SS for Opening Day, but he would be playing all over the place like he has been for the Dodgers. I think he would be a great investment to solidify a real bat in the lineup instead of an Astudillo, Cave, Celestino. 

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17 hours ago, TopGunn#22 said:

Starling Marte would be "just what the Dr. ordered" tony&rodney !!  He would be our LF'er and leadoff hitter and play CF when Buxton needs a day off (or, hopefully not, but when Byron gets injured).  However, I see teams easily outbidding us and Marte probably looking to go to a big market team.  HOWEVER, Canha could be just the "value signing" the Twins could use.  He's decent in LF and he's got some "pop."  He's kind of like SS Paul DeJong.  He would improve our defense and give us a RH bat in LF.  I like the potential of Celestino, but think he could use most of 2022 in St. Paul.  Maybe Canha takes a one-year "prove it" deal while the Twins figure out what they have with Martin, Celestino, Lewis, Gordon, Larnach and Rooker.  (maybe Kiriloff as well, but I see him more at 1B and Sano more at DH).  I want the Twins to be competitive next year.  I'd like to show a little more patience with many of our young guys.  Players like Mondesi, DeJong, and Canha could and should be considered.   

I've seen Mark Canha comments a few times now! I would be a really big fan of that. I think he is a more developed Brent Rooker. I think he would go somewhere in the $8-10 million range, which I don't know if the Twins would be willing to pay him that but I think it would be worth it. He would thrive hating home runs into the second and third deck.

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16 hours ago, bronald3030 said:

I view an outfield upgrade very low on my off season needs. Use the money and resources on pitching and then on more pitching . Then if any space is left in the budget get a ss.

I think there is room in the budget to address both pitching and an outfield/utility spot.

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52 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Sign Buxton, play Kirilloff in left. Either find a way to fix Kepler's absurd BABIP problem, even at the expense of some power, or try to ship him off to another team. I'm kinda over his .200 batting average. He's too damned talented to post the numbers he posts.

By mid-season, hopefully Celestino will be ready to play a role in Minnesota.

I think there's more value in Kepler's bat than a .200 batting average. In the shortened 2020 season he posted a 109 OPS+ and in 2021 had a 98 OPS+. Although those aren't anything special, I think his defense is worth it and we don't really have another option for right field anyway. If the right trade comes around then I wouldn't be opposed to getting rid of him.

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The first thing they should do with their OF is sign Buxton.  The next thing should be to set-up a winter program for Kepler to learn how to bunt.  To continue to allow teams to shift him so dramatically is absurd.  Carew would have hit 900 against the Kepler shift.  That BABIP would go up considerably if he forced them out of the shift.  Finally, put Kirilloff in LF, at least for this year.  

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48 minutes ago, Zach Hartford said:

I think Taylor would be getting paid $12-14 million per year. Yes, I'm sure he would be starting out as the SS for Opening Day, but he would be playing all over the place like he has been for the Dodgers. I think he would be a great investment to solidify a real bat in the lineup instead of an Astudillo, Cave, Celestino. 

I would expect Astudillo or Cave to be on the roster at all next season, let alone in the lineup on a regular basis. Taylor's a solid player, but let's not recency bias to overrate him. He's certainly going to want a multi-year deal and at a significant raise over his current rates based on the idea that he can stick as a super-utility guy for at least 1-2 more seasons, but as we saw with Marwin Gonzalez that ability to stick in the middle of the field can drop off pretty rapidly. Sorry, I can't say I want to add Chris Taylor for 3+ years at $10-12M AAV when there's a real chance he won't be a functional SS in a year. Can he hit well enough to be passable in the corners? Sure, but that's not where we have a need in the lineup. We have options internally at 3B, 1B, RF & LF, including young players pushing for opportunity. 

Celestino is the only one of the 3 mentioned that might make the opening day roster, and that would be as a 4th OF who would be the primary backup in CF. Taylor would almost certainly be more reliable from the jump in that role...but that's not a great allocation of resources, dropping an 8-figure salary on a 4th OF/emergency SS/backup backup 3B/2B/1B. And I don't know that Taylor is going to more effective from the jump than Kirilloff (who was really showing it at the plate before the injury).

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1 hour ago, Zach Hartford said:

I think there's more value in Kepler's bat than a .200 batting average. In the shortened 2020 season he posted a 109 OPS+ and in 2021 had a 98 OPS+. Although those aren't anything special, I think his defense is worth it and we don't really have another option for right field anyway. If the right trade comes around then I wouldn't be opposed to getting rid of him.

Oh there's a ton more value than just the .200 batting average but he should be so much better than he has been the past two seasons if he could find a way to increase that BABIP from abysmally low to merely kinda bad.

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