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What Would a Dramatic Roster Upheaval Look Like for the Twins?


Nick Nelson
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A nice thought provoking proposal.  I am a little concerned with the hit to the defense by losing Donaldson and Buxton and Baez is probably not that good either.  I might take the Baez money and sign a cheaper better defensive SS and flow the rest of the dollars to the bullpen and OF.  I don't want to count on Larnach and Rooker as OF options next year - let them get some more AAA time.   Also want to sit Kepler against lefties as well so need to roster an outfielder that can play CF and hit lefties - like Buxton - lol!  I would keep him.    In the bullpen maybe keep Rogers and add Iglesias

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My concern about trading Sano is that we would be dealing him after a down year. Not a good way to get comparable value in return.

Also, remember letting David Ortiz walk? 
That one is still nightmare worthy.  What if someone gets through to Sano and he adjusts his approach at the plate?

I agree with those who want to retain Buxton. Players with that kind of transcendent talent are rare. 

 

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Whoa Nelly!  Actually, I just wanted to write that. Probably never heard that, huh.
 

Love the creativity behind the plan. Like others have stated I’d be concerned about trading out known contributors for prospects. If we are going to kinda rebuild, I’d go in a different direction.
 

But the heart of your plan is to swap out some salary and add a true #1SP, a #3SP, a top line SS, and a top RP. Those are excellent aspirations. All of those are needs. 
 

Thinking along your lines, but not going quite as far and assuming 2022 is bit of a transition, I think we stick with Buxton and use the capital from #1SP in your plan to pay for him. I’m thinking we still trade Josh and use that cash to get a long-term solution at SS. Martin and Lewis do not project as strong enough defensively at SS. Still add the #3SP and build the pen using Kepler. Then add the #1 or #2 SP in 2023 after you see what you’ve got in the up and comers.
 

Here’s what I’m building toward in ‘23.

1B Kiriloff

2B Polanco

SS New player added this off season

3B Miranda

LF Martin

CF Buxton

RF Lewis

C Rortvedt 

DH Sano

Bench - Arraez, Celestino, Larnach, Gordon, Jeffers 

SPs - Ober, Ryan, #3 signed this year, one or two of the young guys coming up, #1 or #2 signed next off season based on need.

RPs - Build a killer pen. In the 5 inning SP world of modern MLB, it’s all about pen quality and depth. Don’t skimp here.

This is a good mix of vets and youngsters, solid up the middle on D, plenty of power with good OBA, built for a multi year window, and, importantly, affordable. 
 

 

 

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If we are cleaning house, might as well add Garver into the mix and pick up some bodies from Florida.

 

The flaw is twosome. First, if the Twins are jettisoning proven major league talent for prospects, what would motivate someone to come here, unless they have a really good idea of whom will be abcking them up at first base, third bse, centerfield and, for all intents and purposes, shortsop. Not to mention a bullpen with no lights out stopper of late jettisoning blankly, at least, a strong setup guy. If I would be signing a multi-year contract, I would want to see a lot of guys doing the same. But that doesn't happen these days as a group effort. Who would be the signing leader (and for how much).

 

Second is, again, back to roster construction. Right now, looking at the Twins current and intended 40-man roster for the season, you have a tough time seeing 26 standout guys who will hold their places on the roster. You see a lot of filler or potential. Plus, suddenly, you are expecting betters from Kepler and Jeffers, potential from Kirilloff and Larnach, and that Arraez can play third. The rotation is still a mess, and if you sign a lot of guys (or trade for other top arms), you pretty much are passing over the next potential cropy of arms in the Twins system. How mych faith do you put into Balazovic, Duran, Winder, Sands, Enlow, Ryan, Ober, Woods-Richardson, even Strotman and Barnes, to be a part of Twins destiny. Are they not worthy? If not, then why keep them!

 

I have oft admired Billy Beane how he manages to shuffle playes, dealing them out and about, like with a whim, but still always fielding a decent team. In Minnesota, we want more than to be contenders in the Central and get wiped in the playoffs. It ain't happening with any masive free agent signings. The team has to position thru traes or development to be in a position where one or two free agents, even in beaking the bank one-year style, can come in and give the team that boose. 

 

How rich can you make a farm system of unprovens? We have that, right now, if we can keep them healthy. If scouting is correct, we can trade vets and or prospects for real pieces.

 

 

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Great ideas Nick. I had a laugh about how careful we all are to stay close to around $130 million.

The exchange of ideas is good and may be silly but there are opportunities, for sure.

I am adding to the pile making changes, although I still like Donaldson.

  1. Keeping Sano to use as DH, 1B, & 3B.
  2. Nick's trade of JD loosens up a little cash. Agree to pay $7 million.
  3. If Buxton goes, I add Starling Marte at 4/$68 ($17 a yr.). In fact I want both at $17 each.
  4. Trade Larnach, Jeffers, Arraez, Lewis, and Celestino for Sandy Alcantara and Max Meyer.
  5. Trade Ryan, Strotman, Rooker, Duffey, and Canterino for Frankie Montas.
  6. Sign Eduardo Rodriguez 3/$36 ($12 per yr.).
  7. Sign Ehire Adrianza 2/$4 (2 per yr.).
  8. Sign Mark Canha 2/$20 ($10 per yr.).
  9. Sign Raisel Iglesias 3/$33 (11 per yr.).
  10. Sign Kirby Yates to 1/$2.
  11. Find a way to pick up Mondesi from KC (???)

Total = @$135 million, but this is a ton of change ... however, it is the post.

What would our $145 million budgets look like? Nahhhh.

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I endorse this for the same reasons @chpettit19 did - this is an offseason to be bold, not complacent.  I don't love non-tendering Rogers or the OF defense this team would have, but I appreciate going the bold direction.

This team needs to be aggressive as hell at shortstop, reliever, and starting pitching.  And if they move Donaldson and another couple chunks of change they have more than enough money to do them all.  This plan, and mine which has many similarities, demonstrate just how aggressive that could be.  It'd be fun to see.

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4 hours ago, Yargwin said:

I like everything except Kepler in CF. I don't think the powers that be want to play him there. (even though he's fine there defensively). Do you see him as more of a placeholder until one of the kids is ready? 

That's exactly how I see him. A stopgap until Lewis or Martin or Celestino can emerge. They're not far off at all.

I definitely share your perception on the team's stance, but if Buxton leaves, the Twins should rethink their view on Kepler, holding him less as a top-of-order RF and more as a bottom-of-order CF, or even 4th OF. The great glove/sub-mediocre offense from right might work when you've got Buxton playing center and slugging like Bambino. Less so when you have to find a Buxton replacement, and you've got Kepler right there, with an adequate glove for CF. As far as the health thing goes, he wasn't that healthy this year while barely playing center so -- shrug --

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I guess I give an A for the creativity, but an F- on the logic (although 90% of my own moves do not follow logic.  LOL)  so we finally go "all in" and a potential true Ace, right when we gut our entire offense and rely on young unproven everyday players???  I would say if we are rebuilding, lets rebuild around speed, speed, speed!!  Keep Buxton and pay him,  you hope Lewis is MLB ready by the end of the year.  In one of your proposed low ball fliers you target Jordyn Adams from the Angels.  an dshoot for the moon and try and land either Padres CJ Abrams, or Trea Turner.  BUT if we are to move Buxton we need significantly more than teh #76 overall prospect, Id work with the Evil Empire and look to get Jasson Dominguez.

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$12 million seems to be the level of the water right now for Ed. Rod.  Chances are it could go as high as $15 million per but I'd like the Twins to stretch for him if need be.  I like Nick's plan although I'd have some subtle differences.  Everyone agrees that Buxton is the key and that's why we're all putting signing him to an extension at the top of our off season list.  The Twins WITH Buxton look a lot better than WITHOUT Buxton.

I like Tony and Rodney's approach to getting Starling Marte for $17 million per season (and having BOTH him and Buxton).  That however would mean putting more money toward an OF'er than SS and that $17 million could get a pretty solid SP to slot somewhere in #1, #2 or #3.  I also like the idea of signing BOTH Rasiel Iglesias and Kirby Yates.  Especially if the decision is to move on from Taylor Rogers (I think the Twins should keep him, but that's dependent on how he's recovering from his injury.  

I think what tony&rodney is giving up for Frankie Montas is a little too high (is there ANY way we could keep Joe Ryan out of that deal??) but to eye Montas as a potential starter is good.  Bassitt and Manaea may be more affordable if we simply don't want to give up Joe Ryan.  We need FOUR starting pitchers because Ryan and Ober are like having only one guy with their certain innings/pitch limits.  I'd also love to somehow pry Adelberto Mondesi away from the Royals rather than spend big bucks on a FA SS.  They have Nicky Lopez and Bobby Witt Jr.  Call 'em up and work out a deal.  He would be an excellent buy low candidate that could pay off nicely.  Maybe include one of our up and coming minor league pitchers to swing a deal.

 

Nice job Nick !  Keep the speculation/prognostication coming !!!

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19 hours ago, Nick Nelson said:

My thought is that Garver is more likely to stay healthy this way, and IF he can stay relatively healthy he's a decent replacement for Cruz. (Cruz the last 3 years: 936 OPS / Garver: 894.) I actually think it's a wise approach regardless of what else the Twins do. It gives Jeffers more of a chance to play regularly and find his stride, plus I guess I'm not as down on others on Rortvedt as a backup C.

 

Not sure why so many are bullish on Jeffers. Among catchers with 250 plate appearances in 2021, Jeffers ranked 38th in BA (.199) and 28th in OPS (.670). He did come in first in one category: #1 in K% - that's right, his 36.9% strikeout rate was the worst in baseball at the catcher position.

With so many stats out there, we often like to jump to our desired conclusion first (ie: Jeffers is a solid starting catcher) and then work our way backwards, cherry picking stats to backup our positions. As you can guess, that's not really the correct way to assess a player.

Even if we give Jeffers the benefit of the doubt that catcher is a weak-hitting position, he still ranks at the bottom of almost every category among fellow backstops. I anticipate the whole "but he's young" (25 next season) argument or "His BABIP is .269" but neither of those change his BA, OPS, or K%.

I know cheering for our boys is just part of being a fan, and I'll look forward to Jeffers proving me wrong. But let's all do our best to stop lying to ourselves about players like Larnach and Jeffers. Yes, they deserve a chance, but we need to see them for who they are right now: below-average 25 year-olds who - unless we see drastic improvement - will not make an impact in 2022.

 

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Thanks Nick for showing what a retooling might look like and appropriately near Halloween. It scared the **** out of me! Getting rid of Buxton and putting Kepler in CF is a nightmare. Kepler is a huge down grade from Buxton and putting Kepler in CF fulltime is creating another Polanco effect. Over extending Kepler at CF will more than likely create increase injuries and keep Kepler from breaking out with his hitting and even continue to spiral down. CF isn't his natural position keep him in RF.

Focusing on FA and trading Buxton, tells me that you don't trust FO to be able to initiate big trades or negotiate a fair deal with Buxton. I tend to agree with you but I'm hoping that they will surprise me, since they are coming back. Also I doubt that Ray  or Baez (especially now w/o Berrios) would come here as they'd prefer a larger market and a team what they see as a contender.

The only avenue I see is trading for top players to plug our biggest holes. This takes away the players preference of not coming here, minimize payroll, reduces redundancy and the 40 man crunch. I hate to see us lose needed undeveloped prospect potential for nothing while hording potential DH types.

I don't see the need to shake up the core, we have a very good core. Many times we come back from a losing seasons w/o shaking up the core instead filling appropriate holes, change coaching or management. My hope is that the new hitting coach will help  facilitate our hitters coming out of their ruts. My trades would not be core for prospects but upgrading our crucial positions & depth of those positions. With packages that would include mainly non essential and redundant players at less crucial positions which we have in abundance. Which would also help give us more flexibility on our 40 man roster.

I would not trade Donaldson because I wouldn't want to put a lot of pressure on Miranda to step up and produce right away (we saw how that worked out) that should happen very quickly if Arraez is full time 3B. Miranda is very close but still I'd like him ease in there. He'll have a lot of opportunities even with Donaldson and I like Donaldson mentoring him. At trade deadline there should be more opportunities to trade Donaldson and Sano if need be.

It's a gutsy move to try to slide Rogers through waivers. Although I applaud the attempt, still I flinch because we haven't had that much luck doing that with good players. Oops you aren't expecting him to pass waivers, sorry. 

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If there is a good deal to be had dealing Buxton I am all for it.  I like him when he is on the field, but that is rare to see.  I doubt we will sign him long term and getting some value for him is needed.  I would be fine with Donaldson going too.  His legs just seem to be gone, he cannot run and his defense if falling off too.  To me those are not a "rebuild" they are Rays type moves that keep you stocked. 

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33 minutes ago, bighat said:

Not sure why so many are bullish on Jeffers. Among catchers with 250 plate appearances in 2021, Jeffers ranked 38th in BA (.199) and 28th in OPS (.670). He did come in first in one category: #1 in K% - that's right, his 36.9% strikeout rate was the worst in baseball at the catcher position.

With so many stats out there, we often like to jump to our desired conclusion first (ie: Jeffers is a solid starting catcher) and then work our way backwards, cherry picking stats to backup our positions. As you can guess, that's not really the correct way to assess a player. Instead we should be looking at statistics that indicate a hitter is good and compare Jeffers to those stats.

Even if we give Jeffers the benefit of the doubt that catcher is a weak-hitting position, he still ranks at the bottom of almost every category among fellow backstops. I anticipate the whole "but he's young" (25 next season) argument or "His BABIP is .269" but neither of those change his BA, OPS, or K%.

I know cheering for our boys is just part of being a fan, and I'll look forward to Jeffers proving me wrong. But let's all do our best to stop lying to ourselves about players like Larnach and Jeffers. Yes, they deserve a chance, but we need to see them for who they are right now: below-average 25 year-olds who - unless we see drastic improvement - will not make an impact in 2022.

 

But do you love Sano who is an older version of Jeffers:  Avg, 23 out of 24, OBP 23 out of 24, OPS 17 out of 24 and amount of K's dead last. So he basically last in everything if you look at the top 24 guys listed.  Sano had just over 200 more at bats than Jeffers.  So ouch to both.  Jeffers as a catcher vs 1B play is a little more taxing for him than Sano.  I like Jeffers a lot and think a full season of MLB play was a sophomore slump so to speak. Sano is just Sano, big hit, bigger whiff type of player

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1 hour ago, TopGunn#22 said:

I'd also love to somehow pry Adelberto Mondesi away from the Royals rather than spend big bucks on a FA SS.  They have Nicky Lopez and Bobby Witt Jr.  Call 'em up and work out a deal.  He would be an excellent buy low candidate that could pay off nicely.  Maybe include one of our up and coming minor league pitchers to swing a deal.

I see the Mondesi idea thrown around here a lot and I'm curious why people aren't scared off by his injury history and below average offense. I agree he's a good buy low candidate with upside, but the reports I've seen say the Royals don't plan to trade him unless they get a pretty darn good package, and the Royals have proven to be quite stubborn (haven't traded Merrifield despite everyone saying they should) and they feel they're ready to compete now. I'd think Mondesi and/or Witt could move to CF and be a stud defender there as well.

But my real question is do you think it's wise to have Buxton who's only played more than 100 games once in his career and Mondesi who's really struggled to stay healthy the last few years as 2 of your 3 up the middle guys? That's a lot of faith in 2 incredibly injury prone players. And I'm all for bringing Buxton back with the injury risk because of the ceiling he's shown. Mondesi's best OPS+ season was 115 (wrc+ was 113) in 2018 in 75 games. He's definitely got a ton of potential, but I wouldn't give up any of our young pitchers for the hope he can become an above average bat and stay healthy. Add Arraez, Donaldson, Kirilloff and his wrist, and even Polanco and his ankles to the mix and you're looking at a top of the order with way more real health questions than I'd like.

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1 hour ago, bighat said:

Not sure why so many are bullish on Jeffers. Among catchers with 250 plate appearances in 2021, Jeffers ranked 38th in BA (.199) and 28th in OPS (.670). He did come in first in one category: #1 in K% - that's right, his 36.9% strikeout rate was the worst in baseball at the catcher position.

 

He also hit 14 HR as a good defensive catcher, and essentially a 24-year-old rookie. More uncommon than you imply. How many players at his age and experience level were in that sample of catchers with 250-PA this year? 

Yes, his plate discipline needs a lot of work. IMO the best way to help him develop that is to provide more regular ABs instead of having him split time with one of the team's best hitters in Garver. Keep in mind Jeffers has less than 50 total games worth of experience above Single-A in the minors. You can't evaluate him as some sort of finished product right now.

If the Twins were all-in on a championship next year I might agree that Jeffers is best relegated to the bench, but that's not the case. The Twins need to get a clear read on what they have in him, because Garver is only under control for two more seasons...

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Do not let go of Buxton---you cannot replace his skillset without paying more than he will get.  Maybe he has finally figured out the wall is an immovable object thing.

I don't see a catcher anywhere on the rebuild list.  Look at the playoff teams. They all have very solid defensive catchers who are DEPENDABLE WORKHORSES.  Most have also been leaders/field generals.  Up the middle defense is only satisfied with CF when Buxton is healthy.  IMO, we have to obtain a solid catcher that does not have injury history.  There are not too many Joe Mauers who are batting champs and top rate catchers (batting champ is not top criteria).  Would love to contract him to assist in a search for another catcher, but Garvin is too injury riddled to be dependable now and Jeffers is not a high level defensive presence.  

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, umterp23 said:

But do you love Sano who is an older version of Jeffers:  Avg, 23 out of 24, OBP 23 out of 24, OPS 17 out of 24 and amount of K's dead last. So he basically last in everything if you look at the top 24 guys listed.  Sano had just over 200 more at bats than Jeffers.  So ouch to both.  Jeffers as a catcher vs 1B play is a little more taxing for him than Sano.  I like Jeffers a lot and think a full season of MLB play was a sophomore slump so to speak. Sano is just Sano, big hit, bigger whiff type of player

Right, I mean at this point all we can do is just hope that Jeffers gets better. But we'd need him to get lots better to be the next Mitch Garver. If he gets a little better, he'll still be bad. So that's the issue I have right now with Ryan.

As for Sano, I'm not really in the mood to get into a Sano debate - my post was about Jeffers so I'd like to stick to him if you don't mind.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, tony&rodney said:

Good question - so sign Starling Marte and Ehire Adrianza as insurance, with Marte in LF initially.

I think Marte is an interesting player for the Twins. I'm a big advocate for outfield defense and hate the Twins continually running out below average defenders who can't run in a league slanted more and more to fly balls and extra base hits. A defense of Marte-Buxton-Kepler would be great for run prevention and with Marte and Buxton at the top and Kepler hitting where he should in the 7-9 holes I like it offensively, too. Interesting plan and would be happy with it even if I think they should focus on a SS in FA instead.

Not an Ehire fan. Solid glove and doesn't kill you with the bat as a utility guy, but him having to cover 70+ games at short doesn't sound like a winning formula to me. I just think Mondesi isn't someone I'd go after as I think the Twins can compete in 2022 and he's too big of a question mark to add to the question marks they have with health and prospects getting chances. I'd prefer a big name SS and some trades for arms which may open up the chance of Marte being the other big money FA signing over a FA arm. He's a real interesting piece, but I'd prefer to lock SS down with a more certain thing than Mondesi. Unless they can get KC to give him up for some of our excess corner talent. I wouldn't be mad with Mondesi, but he wouldn't be my plan A through D.

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12 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

I think they should focus on a SS in FA instead.

Yes, I agree theoretically. My thinking is that the top shortstops are out of reach for the Twins, although i do have a plan with either Correa or Seager. Mondesi is a stretch and I would not give up too much for him. Galvis or a similar defensive-minded shortstop are more likely possible. Marte allows for a much tighter outfield defense, which I believe to be increasingly important, and this is a reason to also pick up Mark Canha. Buxton is the key and then some trades, but defense and athleticism needs to be improved in my opinion. We are also trying to keep close to $130 million as a budget.

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1 hour ago, bighat said:

Right, I mean at this point all we can do is just hope that Jeffers gets better. But we'd need him to get lots better to be the next Mitch Garver. If he gets a little better, he'll still be bad. So that's the issue I have right now with Ryan.

I don't think this is quite fair. The average AL catcher had a .694 OPS this year. Jeffers has a .691 career OPS and was at .670 this season. If he gets slightly better he'll be average, and if he returns simply to his 2020 level he'll be very good. (Is it a coincidence he was more successful while playing more regularly in 2020 with Garver down?)

Catchers, by and large, don't hit. If they're good at defense and you have bats elsewhere in the lineup, they don't need to. Houston got a .614 OPS from catcher this year. Atlanta got a .588 OPS from theirs. 

An offensive catcher like Garver is a luxury, but not that much of one when his playing time is so limited. Garver hasn't started more than 75 games in a season at catcher. I'm simply proposing we lower that planned number, and give him more PAs at DH to maximize his impact. 

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On 11/2/2021 at 12:18 PM, bighat said:

Right, I mean at this point all we can do is just hope that Jeffers gets better. But we'd need him to get lots better to be the next Mitch Garver. If he gets a little better, he'll still be bad. So that's the issue I have right now with Ryan.

As for Sano, I'm not really in the mood to get into a Sano debate - my post was about Jeffers so I'd like to stick to him if you don't mind.

 

 

I'm not trying to debate you bight on Sano, was trying to find a similar comparison to Ryan and if Sano is deemed acceptable in a different position.  All good on my end and your comments.  If Ryan was to improve to say .240 avg, 20+ homers, K% less than 30% would we be happy?  I think so.  That easily replaces Garver at everyday type of catcher and allows him to move to DH at bats.  The player movement on the team gets interesting at that point.  

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