Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Reasons for hope in 2023


 Share

As we tick off the last few meaningless games of the 2022 season, attention turns to 2023.  With a little bit of Falvinelli self-reflection, I think a very successful 2023 is well within the realm of possibility.  Here are 6 reasons why.

  1. The starting rotation should (hopefully) be at worst solid, if not a strength.  With Gray and Ryan returning, the Twins have 2 starters with sub 4 ERAs--while advanced stats are a little more cautious, both are still seen as solid options.  Add in the expected return of Maeda, who when last healthy pitched like a borderline ace, reasonable progression from Varland, Winder, and Ober, the potential emergence of SWR, and a potential return from injury for Mahle and Paddack, and the Twins have 9 options who profile as legitimate MLB starters.  That is more depth than the Twins have had in the rotation in a long time; are there still questions, particularly around health?  Absolutely.  But there is also hope.
  2. The starting lineup should (hopefully) be filled with above average hitters from just about top to bottom. Jeffers at C, Kiriloff at 1B, Polanco at 2B, Lewis at SS, Miranda at 3B, Buxton at CF, Wallner/Larnach at the corners, and Arraez at DH; that's a very solid lineup that should be able to put up some runs.  Add in Gordon as depth, and the top 10 for the Twins, on paper, looks like a first division outfit.  Everyone will need to stay healthy, which is a very big ask, but if that happens, the Twins should score runs in bunches.
  3. The bullpen has (hopefully) a very solid foundation.  Duran is all-world; 1st in velo, 13th in ERA, 3rd in xFIP.  Theilbar and Jax have been very solid contributors, and Alcala should hopefully be back, bringing yet more velo to the pen, Moran has shown some flashes, and if he can get the walks under control, he'll be a real weapon.  Lopez is unfortunately a major question mark, and potential liability, but there is reason to hope that the Twins already have 4-5 solid options in the pen, 3 of whom have average velo above 95.  That's the best talent base for a pen the Twins have had in quite some time.
  4. Falvine should (hopefully) avoid some of the bad decisions that have plagued the last 2 seasons.  For two years in a row, Falvine have acquired a bullpen arm, installed that arm as closer, and watched said pitcher absolutely torpedo the season.  If they didn't know before, they should know now; the bullpen cannot be allowed to sink the season through lack of options, especially if starters are going to be inning restricted.  I think Falvey and Levine are both intelligent, and if they're humble enough to admit mistakes, I have every confidence they will avoid repeating them.
  5. The injury luck should (hopefully) be better.  I mean, it can't be worse, right?  Right?
  6. The payroll should (hopefully) allow the Twins to make one, or maybe even two big moves in FA.  According to Spotrac, the Twins have $118M on the books for next year; however, that includes Correa, Bundy, Archer, and Sano.  If none of those players return, that $118M drops precipitously, to $48M; if the Twins are also able to move Kepler's contract, that drops below $40M.  Between arb raises and rookie-scale deals, the Twins should easily be able to keep the payroll below $100M (this all changes if Correa opts in, of course).  That's plenty of room to make a big move.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

Agree with you on points 1, 5 and 6. I'm more concerned with their offensive output. Still feels like there are a lot of unknowns there. In addition, the bullpen will need to be upgraded in a big way.

Oh, by the way, let's get a new trainer or leader in the strength and conditioning department.

Oh, by the way, let's get an instructional coach to teach base running. Paul Molitor was considered a base running genius. Get him to spring training early and let him sit on the bench during the season too.

I also suspect we will see a new pitching coach and hitting coach. Nelson Cruz might make a great hitting coach.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is hope for next season for the reasons you have outlined. Somehow the Injury issues need to be addressed. It makes me wonder about the medical/training staff, but perhaps it was just a run of bad luck. Also Rocco’s inability to trust his starting pitchers to go more than five innings is a head scratcher and irritates me to no end, especially with a poor bullpen. Maeda will certainly be limited in his comeback from TJ surgery.  Who knows about Mahle and whether the rookie starters can stay healthy and make a jump. And they don’t have a legit # 1 or 2 starter. Finally Rocco needs to accept responsibility for the poor base running, especially this late in the season. A team with a AAA lineup that has minimal power should try to steal a base, hit and run, etc. Baldelli clings to advanced metrics when they don’t work, and that’s on him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with the general idea of there being some real reason for hope moving forward. My hope is that the FO doesn't sit on their hands and not do something to significantly improve their chances for success. I think the young guys (Miranda, Lewis, Kirilloff, Larnach, Duran, Ryan, Winder, Ober, Arraez, Wallner, Jeffers, etc.) all have real potential to be solid to above average to stars in MLB. But very few of them have earned an unquestioned spot on the team, let alone a starting spot that shouldn't be looked at to be upgraded. Duran has earned a late inning role until he fails. Ryan has earned a rotation spot, but not unquestioned top 3 spot. Arraez has earned the leadoff spot in the lineup. Miranda has earned a starting cIF spot. Jeffers has earned a backup C spot. But to me that's it. 5 guys who should be penned into the opening day roster in various roles amongst the young guys. 

As you noted, the Twins should have real money to spend. If they're not going to bring in a Rodon type (and I don't expect them to) I actually hope they leave the rotation alone. No more Bundy or Archer types. Have to live or die with the young guns behind Gray, Mahle, and Maeda. Unless Mahle actually has some structural damage in his shoulder we haven't heard about. Then you need to sign a veteran #2 or 3 type (still no Bundy or Archer types, though!). So if they can leave the rotation alone they should poor money into the pen and lineup. No big, long-term relief pitcher deals, but a high AAV, short-term deal for a couple big time arms is more than doable with the money they have to spend. Build an on paper elite pen. 

As for the position players I'd do what I could to bring Correa back on a 7 year deal. That and the pen spending likely leaves very little for the rest of the roster, but I'd look to bring in more outfield depth. Primarily cOF as between Buxton's 70 games and a Gordon/Celestino platoon I think they can cover CF decently well. Although I'd like Celestino back in AAA to start next year. But, assuming they have money left after Correa and pen signings (in my hypothetical, perfect world, I don't need to hear how there's no chance they sign Correa) they shouldn't go into 2023 relying on full, healthy and productive years from Larnach, Kirilloff, or Kepler. They need a right handed cOF bat to pair with them anyways. Preferably not Garlick. 

But overall I think they're in the best spot they've been heading into an offseason in quite some time. Now just don't screw it up by planning for the best. Plan for the worst and get more talent than you think you need. And, for all that is good and holy in this world, get a new training staff and medical team! Or just change whatever is wrong with your health and conditioning strategy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few counterpoints:

1) Gray and Ryan are #3-caliber starters. Every other starter you list here is unproven, injury-prone or both. It would take a miracle to keep 5 of these guys healthy for a season, and even in peak health there isn't a single dominant starter in the bunch.

2) Lewis will only play a half season at best, as he'll need a 12 month recovery - and he'll be coming back from a second torn ACL. Buxton's injuries now include chronic hip and knee issues, which will likely limit his playing time even further in 2023. Kirilloff may never come back at this point, since experimental bone shaving procedures in the wrist are about as uncertain in terms of impact as procedures can get. Jeffers, Larnach, Polanco and Arraez are also hobbling from what are now multi-season injuries.

3) Can Thielbar keep pitching with this kind of success? Even so, that's only 3-4 potentially-strong relievers and no established closer.

4) There's no evidence that this FO is learning from past mistakes. See the Bundy and Archer signings and the Paddack and Mahle trades as proof.

5) It's maybe more than luck at this point. It's maybe a pattern of not understanding what's happening with players, or how to avoid repeated injuries, or even how to draft, trade for and sign players that are more durable. If there's no learning happening, and no changes in approach, there's no reason to think the injury trends for this team won't continue. If anything, this year's injuries to players like Lewis and Buxton make next year's injuries even more likely.

6) This team needs a lot more than a big move in free agency. We got a big move in 2022 and it ultimately led nowhere. I don't see any reason to trust this FO's ability to spend $40M, and honestly, what holes could this team realistically patch with that money?

Sorry, I wish I could see what you're seeing for 2023. I just can't at this point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, baul0010 said:

We are rolling out the same injured players as 2022.  Until proven otherwise....it could be just as bad.

I'm excited about 2023 as well but I agree here where I didn't think injuries would be this bad again. Just sucks with Buxton as he's an MVP caliber player when healthy. I'm less confident on the starting pitching rotation as the guys don't have Wes Johnson to work with during Spring Training and I think he was our best coach on the team. Hope the young guys keep getting better

Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

But overall I think they're in the best spot they've been heading into an offseason in quite some time.

I agree on the pitching side for the most part (They did have Berrios, Maeda, Pineda, Dobs, Happ), but they went into 21 with Garver, Sano, Polanco, Simmons, Donaldson, Buxton, Kepler, Arraez, and Cruz (With Larnach, AK and Lewis waiting in the wings). Not sure next years projected lineup is better than that projected lineup, I sure hope it ends up better but going into 21 that felt like a pretty good lineup and a fairly decent starting 5.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Might as well predict 162-0 for 2023. I've heard of making lemonade out of lemons or glass half full as opposed to empty but this is end all world poverty level. Funny thing about the off season; it eliminates that nasty obstacle called competition. I tried to be optimistic when they were 5 games out and big series against Cleveland ahead. Unfortunately for the Twins, those "awful" Guardians had other ideas. I don't want to hear the term "injury" and Minnesota Twins again in the same sentence. Buxton, Lewis, Sano and Correa (for other reasons) had better all be gone in 2023. Enough is enough and forget 2023.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

40 minutes ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

As we tick off the last few meaningless games of the 2022 season, attention turns to 2023.  With a little bit of Falvinelli self-reflection, I think a very successful 2023 is well within the realm of possibility.  Here are 6 reasons why.

  1. The starting rotation should (hopefully) be at worst solid, if not a strength.  With Gray and Ryan returning, the Twins have 2 starters with sub 4 ERAs--while advanced stats are a little more cautious, both are still seen as solid options.  Add in the expected return of Maeda, who when last healthy pitched like a borderline ace, reasonable progression from Varland, Winder, and Ober, the potential emergence of SWR, and a potential return from injury for Mahle and Paddack, and the Twins have 9 options who profile as legitimate MLB starters.  That is more depth than the Twins have had in the rotation in a long time; are there still questions, particularly around health?  Absolutely.  But there is also hope.
  2. The starting lineup should (hopefully) be filled with above average hitters from just about top to bottom. Jeffers at C, Kiriloff at 1B, Polanco at 2B, Lewis at SS, Miranda at 3B, Buxton at CF, Wallner/Larnach at the corners, and Arraez at DH; that's a very solid lineup that should be able to put up some runs.  Add in Gordon as depth, and the top 10 for the Twins, on paper, looks like a first division outfit.  Everyone will need to stay healthy, which is a very big ask, but if that happens, the Twins should score runs in bunches.
  3. The bullpen has (hopefully) a very solid foundation.  Duran is all-world; 1st in velo, 13th in ERA, 3rd in xFIP.  Theilbar and Jax have been very solid contributors, and Alcala should hopefully be back, bringing yet more velo to the pen, Moran has shown some flashes, and if he can get the walks under control, he'll be a real weapon.  Lopez is unfortunately a major question mark, and potential liability, but there is reason to hope that the Twins already have 4-5 solid options in the pen, 3 of whom have average velo above 95.  That's the best talent base for a pen the Twins have had in quite some time.
  4. Falvine should (hopefully) avoid some of the bad decisions that have plagued the last 2 seasons.  For two years in a row, Falvine have acquired a bullpen arm, installed that arm as closer, and watched said pitcher absolutely torpedo the season.  If they didn't know before, they should know now; the bullpen cannot be allowed to sink the season through lack of options, especially if starters are going to be inning restricted.  I think Falvey and Levine are both intelligent, and if they're humble enough to admit mistakes, I have every confidence they will avoid repeating them.
  5. The injury luck should (hopefully) be better.  I mean, it can't be worse, right?  Right?
  6. The payroll should (hopefully) allow the Twins to make one, or maybe even two big moves in FA.  According to Spotrac, the Twins have $118M on the books for next year; however, that includes Correa, Bundy, Archer, and Sano.  If none of those players return, that $118M drops precipitously, to $48M; if the Twins are also able to move Kepler's contract, that drops below $40M.  Between arb raises and rookie-scale deals, the Twins should easily be able to keep the payroll below $100M (this all changes if Correa opts in, of course).  That's plenty of room to make a big move.

1. I'm not nearly as high on the rotation as you are. I can see Gray being solid. Ryan is a backend SP, and that's a W for the Twins. He isn't always talked about, or treated as a 4-5 but expecting more than that is asking for disappointment. Vanimal posted this in another thread, but Ryan has a 1.08 ERA in 7 starts vs. KC/Det and a 4.72 ERA in 18 starts vs. everybody else. Maeda didn't pitch like an ace at all last year. He went down in August, but he struggled prior to being injured. He's gonna be a 35 year old pitcher attempting to regain form post TJ next season. I have zero faith in Ober's ability to stay on the field. Winder is inching into that territory with his shoulder issues, and even if he's healthy, he's not a lock in terms of performance. Varland is.....idk. Of the nine listed starters, I count 4 (Ober, Winder, Paddack, and Mahle) major health question marks, 2 (Maeda and Varland) major performance question marks, and 2 reliable arms. To me, this looks a lot like the rotation setup coming into this season minus the supposed glut of young arms ready to fill in. That doesn't mean some things can't break right, and maybe the Twins get lucky with some health, but I'm not overly optimistic. 

2. Jeffers offensively is middle of the pack at best. I have no idea what to expect with Kirilloff. That said I definitely think it'll be the offense that has to come through if the Twins are actually going to be competitive. 

3. Duran is an anchor. We'll see with Jax, and maybe Thielbar. I don't get the Alcala love on this site. The guy had a good September last year, but it's like nobody wants to acknowledge the face he was borderline unusable into August of that same year. Maybe he turned a corner, or maybe, as with a lot of relief arms, he was effective for a short while. He'll get his shot I guess. Lopez has been an absolute disaster. Maybe that changes but he looks a lot like the guy Baltimore gave up on as a starter. The emergence of Duran by itself puts the Twins in a better spot to begin next season; add Jax possibly being a solid reliever and yeah, I agree the pen should be easier to build on, but that's still an awfully low bar. 

4. The big one. I don't think their approach to the pen or rotation changes. 

5. Agreed, but it can be roughly the same. 

6. Their positional needs aren't really that great, but this FO flat out refuses to spend on pitching. It'll be interesting to say the least. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

25 minutes ago, FlyingFinn said:
1 hour ago, LastOnePicked said:

 

I would take Duran over anyone in 2023 as a closer.

From the options on the Twins roster .... I agree. Duran has been a terrific find.

Not anyone though. Clase has really proven himself in all situations and he is actually younger than Duran.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I have questions and concerns about 2023, I'm in the optimistic camp. HEALTH remains the #1 thing this team needs in order to be better. Are there a lot of "IF's" involved there? Absolutely! But isn't it true that every team has "if's" going in to the next season? Every team wonders if someone is going to be healthy again, if someone rebounds, if a young player develops, if a prospect is going to be ready, etc, etc. Unfortunately, the Twins have a number of those if's and they are primarily health related. But when I look at the rotation, bullpen, and lineup options/depth/possibilities i feel the 2023 Twins have a chance to be pretty good. Shortstop is the only real hole that has to be figured out. So yes, I'm optimistic.

However, they can't use better health as a cure all for 2023. They still need to make some smart additions to improve the overall team and to insure that they CAN be good/better especially if some of those if's don't turn out.

They still need a catcher to team with Jeffers, and I think they need to look higher than Leon. I think Leon is a great backstop, but I'd rather have him back on a milb deal if possible, and bring in a solid catcher who can hit a little bit. He doesn't have to be LH, just a solid, experienced catcher who can hit a little bit.

I still think another solid RP, which might be Fulmer. But even then, how about another quality arm in case someone is hurt or implodes? And I'm not talking about a $10M signing, just a solid, experienced arm. I'd rather have too many arms, too many options than be scrambling yet again.

They simply can't ignore bringing in a solid, RH hitting OF to split time with all of their LH bats. And he doesn't have to be an All Star. But Celestino is still developing and while Garlick is OK and has done relatively well the past 2yrs when healthy, is that the best you can do? Is that what you're going to settle for? With Gordon and Celestino able to help cover CF...Kepler as well if he's back...said RH hitting OF doesn't have to be able to play CF. It would be a bonus, but not needed.

My biggest question mark is the rotation. Again, if you just go down the list, it's easy to be optimistic by the names and the depth of options between veterans and young guys. I can see a rotation, rather easily, that is a collection of #2 and #3 arms with some nice looking young #4 and #5 guys with potential. And that's before Paddack hopefully comes back around mid year. But do you stand pat when you should have a good $50M or more to spend? I think you still add if you're smart and want to properly hedge your bets. Can you move bats to someone like Miami for a promising arm? Would the Rockies finally begin a rebuild and move Marquez who has a live arm and is young enoug to grow with a change of scenery? Can you do so without either opening holes at the ML level or dig even deeper in to your milb system? The FA market is not going to look like this past offseason where you had a plethora of choices. And this is just me spit balling a little bit.

The one guy I'm curious about is Rodon, who's been targeted twice by the Twins this past year. He might be the one FA arm that might make a difference and he only costs $, not player capital. He might be an injury waiting to happen despite coming off the 2 best seasons of his career. But the risk might be worth the reward on a 3yr deal. 

Yes, I'm optimistic for 2023, as long as the FO isn't complacent and only trust in better health and just rewind 2022 back again. But if they do add another rotation arm, it's got to be someone at least as good, if not better, than what they already have. No more Happ, Shoemaker, Bundy or Archer types. If they are even remotely tempted to do something like that, then just roll with the young arms all the way and build them up instead of another re-tread.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I honestly don't see how people think the pitching is going to be good. Playing in a pitcher's park might be hiding just how bad this unit has been the last couple years. We have a bottom third pitching staff and we aren't a young pitching staff. Next year, Gray will be 33, Ryan, Ober, Smeltzer will be 27, Maeta 35, Mahle 28. The minor leagues don't look likely to give us anything better than back of the rotation types. We don't have any horses coming up. We need multiple starters and multiple strong bullpen arms.

And that doesn't even cover the horrific philosophy that we are using of limiting starters to twice through a batting order. That calls into question whether or not minor league arms are being encouraged or taught to use a third or fourth pitch or does our philosophy think that is a waste of time? I have no idea but I'm worried about it.

Right now, unless Pohlad is willing to spend our way out of this hole, or Levine starts making some insanely lopsided trades, we're a sub-.500 team for several years.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, howeda7 said:

I'm not optimistic. This feels like the 2020/2021 Vikings. Clinging to the old regime and running it back one more time before cleaning house. I'd much rather clean house now instead of kicking the can down the road. Falvey is not up to the job. Neither is Rocco, but that's secondary. 

I agree.   I don’t honestly feel positive about 2023.   

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great comments on this thread - both pro and con re optimism for next season. Here’s another two cents if the Pohlads truly want to contend next season: 

1. The starting staff will need at least one solid (i.e. reliable #3 type - sorry we don’t get #1’s or #2’s) FA addition. Not sure who that will be, but there are too many ifs among the nine players mentioned to be comfortable. Mahle and/or Maeda were/was supposed to be that guy, but both should only be looked at as pleasant upside at this point until proven otherwise. FA Budget: $15MM if they go with one addition, $20-25MM if two additions.

2. Same essentially with the relief staff, where I expect at least two, hopefully three, additions to the core of Duran, Jax and Thielbar. Lopez was supposed to be in that group, but obviously cannot be included. This is the most important area for additions: a deep shutdown pen given the way the starting staff is built is a must. FA Budget: $15-20MM. No reason to layup here.

3. Re position players, expect Correa, Sanchez, Urshela, Kepler, and Sano not to be back, leaving us with three holes: SS, C, and RH OF.  Don’t expect big bucks to be spent on any of the three as SS is a one year hole at most with Lewis and Lee in the wings and Polacios a cheap stopgap option, C is viewed, rightly or wrongly, as a 40-50% job, and the overall OF depth (even with Kepler gone) is solid. Of the three, the biggest need, and where the most money could be spent, is probably C and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Sanchez is brought back. FA Budget: $10MM - $25MM depending on the SS approach and the depth of the C market.

4. With the lineup described above and a mid-market budget of $125MM give or take, significant improvement in four areas will be required to contend: playing consistent strong fundamental baseball, young players continuing to improve, health, and above average in-game coaching (i.e. managerial decisions lead to net more wins than losses). Any objective assessment of our current coaching staff would lead to the conclusion that substantive, wholesale changes need to be made. Of all the moves ownership could make, this is the most important - if the current staff starting with Rocco is left in place, expectations should be tempered significantly. 

So, in sum, there is certainly reason for optimism given our current core players and available FA budget. A handful of key additions and a new coaching staff could make this team fun to watch into October next season.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 hours ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

As we tick off the last few meaningless games of the 2022 season, attention turns to 2023.  With a little bit of Falvinelli self-reflection, I think a very successful 2023 is well within the realm of possibility.  Here are 6 reasons why.

  1. The starting rotation should (hopefully) be at worst solid, if not a strength.  With Gray and Ryan returning, the Twins have 2 starters with sub 4 ERAs--while advanced stats are a little more cautious, both are still seen as solid options.  Add in the expected return of Maeda, who when last healthy pitched like a borderline ace, reasonable progression from Varland, Winder, and Ober, the potential emergence of SWR, and a potential return from injury for Mahle and Paddack, and the Twins have 9 options who profile as legitimate MLB starters.  That is more depth than the Twins have had in the rotation in a long time; are there still questions, particularly around health?  Absolutely.  But there is also hope.
  2. The starting lineup should (hopefully) be filled with above average hitters from just about top to bottom. Jeffers at C, Kiriloff at 1B, Polanco at 2B, Lewis at SS, Miranda at 3B, Buxton at CF, Wallner/Larnach at the corners, and Arraez at DH; that's a very solid lineup that should be able to put up some runs.  Add in Gordon as depth, and the top 10 for the Twins, on paper, looks like a first division outfit.  Everyone will need to stay healthy, which is a very big ask, but if that happens, the Twins should score runs in bunches.
  3. The bullpen has (hopefully) a very solid foundation.  Duran is all-world; 1st in velo, 13th in ERA, 3rd in xFIP.  Theilbar and Jax have been very solid contributors, and Alcala should hopefully be back, bringing yet more velo to the pen, Moran has shown some flashes, and if he can get the walks under control, he'll be a real weapon.  Lopez is unfortunately a major question mark, and potential liability, but there is reason to hope that the Twins already have 4-5 solid options in the pen, 3 of whom have average velo above 95.  That's the best talent base for a pen the Twins have had in quite some time.
  4. Falvine should (hopefully) avoid some of the bad decisions that have plagued the last 2 seasons.  For two years in a row, Falvine have acquired a bullpen arm, installed that arm as closer, and watched said pitcher absolutely torpedo the season.  If they didn't know before, they should know now; the bullpen cannot be allowed to sink the season through lack of options, especially if starters are going to be inning restricted.  I think Falvey and Levine are both intelligent, and if they're humble enough to admit mistakes, I have every confidence they will avoid repeating them.
  5. The injury luck should (hopefully) be better.  I mean, it can't be worse, right?  Right?
  6. The payroll should (hopefully) allow the Twins to make one, or maybe even two big moves in FA.  According to Spotrac, the Twins have $118M on the books for next year; however, that includes Correa, Bundy, Archer, and Sano.  If none of those players return, that $118M drops precipitously, to $48M; if the Twins are also able to move Kepler's contract, that drops below $40M.  Between arb raises and rookie-scale deals, the Twins should easily be able to keep the payroll below $100M (this all changes if Correa opts in, of course).  That's plenty of room to make a big move.

No Miranda at third.   His defense is atrocious.     You can try to hide him at first but even that is a gamble.   Re-sign Urshela and DH Miranda.    I may be alone in this feeling, but I have deep concerns about Arraezs' current slump.   It's beginning to look as though teams have figured him out.   Kepler and Polanco could be gone as the Twins have younger players who could step in at those positions with little or no drop off.    Agree with you on the pitching, it should be a strength next year.    I am for moving on from Correa and letting Royce Lewis handle shortstop.    Take the savings from that move and the departure of the other contracts and get a front-line catcher (Wilson Contreas, etc).    Jeffers would make a nice backup.   Bullpen will be better just by addition by subtraction.    Lopez, Pagan and Fullmer hopefully will all be gone with Alcala, Stashak, and others back in good health.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with you on most of your points. I'm probably in the minority here but I'm much more optimistic about 2023 at this point then I was last year at the same time. If the FO could go into uncharted territory and sign a quality SP to a multi year deal, add a couple of good BP arms and the Twins have an average amount of injuries (the Twins have 18 on the IL. The rest of the division combined: 22...)  I think 2023 will be better then the last couple season. Now I'm not saying they'll set a club record for wins...like the last series of the season will be important for the Twins..I'd call that a better season.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rocco is young, intelligent, and able to change, and I think he will be a very good major league manager over time; maybe not with the Twins as he will have to evolve more quickly than he has shown so far.  He should have benched Celestino a month or so ago when there was a no-hustle out at second.  I commented at the time that a guy like Celestino has to show a play by play desire and appreciation for being in the big leagues, like Jake Cave does.  On that front, a measurement of success is whether the Twins have to resort to playing Cave in the major league lineup; as much as I like his passion, he has kept himself in the bigs beyond his time already.  I think Correa on this team is a huge positive for the development and culture for the young team and he is worth his pay as a SS and as a mentor for winning.  I love the support he brings to what was a first year in Minnesota and the positives he has for beginners like Miranda.  Buxton is a dilemma, could be the best, but maybe really can't stay on the field for a season.  If he can't run the bases or hustle for a fly ball without injury and continues to hit like  Sano on the low, outside breaking ball, maybe accepting that he isn't going to reach greatness is the way to go.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nick Gordon putting up 2 fwar is reason for hope. He should play nearly every day next year.

I don't love the front of the rotation, but it is incredibly deep with 3-5 guys, and they don't need to spend any money on backend types.

They will have money to sign a legit hitter and acquire a pitcher. I don't know which good pitcher will be available, but if there is one, they should get him. 

I think there is reason for hope, but I understand those with doubts.

Buxton has to play over 100 games, or they need a lot more good players to cover his loss.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Nashvilletwin said:

Great comments on this thread - both pro and con re optimism for next season. Here’s another two cents if the Pohlads truly want to contend next season: 

1. The starting staff will need at least one solid (i.e. reliable #3 type - sorry we don’t get #1’s or #2’s) FA addition. Not sure who that will be, but there are too many ifs among the nine players mentioned to be comfortable. Mahle and/or Maeda were/was supposed to be that guy, but both should only be looked at as pleasant upside at this point until proven otherwise. FA Budget: $15MM if they go with one addition, $20-25MM if two additions.

2. Same essentially with the relief staff, where I expect at least two, hopefully three, additions to the core of Duran, Jax and Thielbar. Lopez was supposed to be in that group, but obviously cannot be included. This is the most important area for additions: a deep shutdown pen given the way the starting staff is built is a must. FA Budget: $15-20MM. No reason to layup here.

3. Re position players, expect Correa, Sanchez, Urshela, Kepler, and Sano not to be back, leaving us with three holes: SS, C, and RH OF.  Don’t expect big bucks to be spent on any of the three as SS is a one year hole at most with Lewis and Lee in the wings and Polacios a cheap stopgap option, C is viewed, rightly or wrongly, as a 40-50% job, and the overall OF depth (even with Kepler gone) is solid. Of the three, the biggest need, and where the most money could be spent, is probably C and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Sanchez is brought back. FA Budget: $10MM - $25MM depending on the SS approach and the depth of the C market.

4. With the lineup described above and a mid-market budget of $125MM give or take, significant improvement in four areas will be required to contend: playing consistent strong fundamental baseball, young players continuing to improve, health, and above average in-game coaching (i.e. managerial decisions lead to net more wins than losses). Any objective assessment of our current coaching staff would lead to the conclusion that substantive, wholesale changes need to be made. Of all the moves ownership could make, this is the most important - if the current staff starting with Rocco is left in place, expectations should be tempered significantly. 

So, in sum, there is certainly reason for optimism given our current core players and available FA budget. A handful of key additions and a new coaching staff could make this team fun to watch into October next season.

 

I agree with a lot of this but would allocate the $$ differently. I think we really need an impact bat. The lineup jus isn't good enough even with good health. Andrew Benintendi and Josh Bell are available FAs, We'll find out if there are available trade partners for a bat. But we need one to hit every day in the #3 or #4 hole. Our pitching simply isn't good enough to carry a middling lineup and that's what we have - a middling lineup WITH Correa. Without him, it's a below average lineup. I am open to any solid bat to hit in the middle of the lineup who plays anywhere. We do not have anybody who can't be moved to accommodate a very good hitter.  

I would spend the rest of the money either on 2 quality bullpen arms or a 1 solid #2 type starter. I'm leery of Rondon; he's pitched like a #1 the last 2 seasons but before that was injured and unusable when not injured. He is not a #1 starter and is going to get #1 starter money. Since I don't really see anyone else available i would spend the money on 2 quality relief pitchers like our former friends Trevor May and Taylor Rogers. I think the rotation could be good enough IF we have a deep bullpen.  This year's experiment of a short start rotation with a shallow bullpen cannot be repeated. 

And for the final issue- what do we do about Baldelli? This complete collapse in September is very concerning even with all of the injuries. This team seems to have given up and that's on the manager.  Still, there have been a boatload of injuries. I question if he's the right guy. It might be and probably is time to kick him upstairs and try someone else if only to give this team a new voice to listen to and shake things up a little. I don't think Baldelli is a bad manager- I think he's pretty average but he just hasn't worked for the last 2 years. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

49 minutes ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

I agree with a lot of this but would allocate the $$ differently. I think we really need an impact bat. The lineup jus isn't good enough even with good health. Andrew Benintendi and Josh Bell are available FAs, We'll find out if there are available trade partners for a bat. But we need one to hit every day in the #3 or #4 hole. Our pitching simply isn't good enough to carry a middling lineup and that's what we have - a middling lineup WITH Correa. Without him, it's a below average lineup. I am open to any solid bat to hit in the middle of the lineup who plays anywhere. We do not have anybody who can't be moved to accommodate a very good hitter.  

I would spend the rest of the money either on 2 quality bullpen arms or a 1 solid #2 type starter. I'm leery of Rondon; he's pitched like a #1 the last 2 seasons but before that was injured and unusable when not injured. He is not a #1 starter and is going to get #1 starter money. Since I don't really see anyone else available i would spend the money on 2 quality relief pitchers like our former friends Trevor May and Taylor Rogers. I think the rotation could be good enough IF we have a deep bullpen.  This year's experiment of a short start rotation with a shallow bullpen cannot be repeated. 

And for the final issue- what do we do about Baldelli? This complete collapse in September is very concerning even with all of the injuries. This team seems to have given up and that's on the manager.  Still, there have been a boatload of injuries. I question if he's the right guy. It might be and probably is time to kick him upstairs and try someone else if only to give this team a new voice to listen to and shake things up a little. I don't think Baldelli is a bad manager- I think he's pretty average but he just hasn't worked for the last 2 years. 

Excellent point re acquiring a “big bat”.  I wrestled with that in crafting my comment and agree with you that such a bat is missing. It actually becomes more important given the lack of speed in the lineup and the inability of this team to move runners over. If we could keep Correa on a 5 yr/$150MM, I’d probably go for it and add one starter, two relievers, and a cheaper backup C.  So your plan is a good alternative as well and very possible.

Re Rocco (and his staff) it could be that he is (they are) pretty “average”.  However, Rocco and staff have clearly underperformed in the four key areas I mentioned.  Again, for a mid-market team comprised of mostly younger, developing players to compete, an “average” coaching staff will never cut it.  Can Rocco and crew improve? Maybe, but where is the evidence to support that? The focus of the post was hope for 2023 and it’s a big ask to think Rocco et al will improve enough to turn that hope into reality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Nashvilletwin said:

Excellent point re acquiring a “big bat”.  I wrestled with that in crafting my comment and agree with you that such a bat is missing. It actually becomes more important given the lack of speed in the lineup and the inability of this team to move runners over. If we could keep Correa on a 5 yr/$150MM, I’d probably go for it and add one starter, two relievers, and a cheaper backup C.  So your plan is a good alternative as well and very possible.

Re Rocco (and his staff) it could be that he is (they are) pretty “average”.  However, Rocco and staff have clearly underperformed in the four key areas I mentioned.  Again, for a mid-market team comprised of mostly younger, developing players to compete, an “average” coaching staff will never cut it.  Can Rocco and crew improve? Maybe, but where is the evidence to support that? The focus of the post was hope for 2023 and it’s a big ask to think Rocco et al will improve enough to turn that hope into reality.

I've been an apologist for Rocco this season but I now tend to agree with you. I think the coaching staff needs a significant overhaul starting with a new manager and including a new pitching coach and new hitting coach. I think the FO has to show some resolve in changing things after this collapse in September.

By the way, I think we need an impact bat even if Correa stays. Maybe we can go a little farther down the list to an AJ Pollack, JD Martinez, or Trey Mancini type but we need a consistent veteran bat. Otherwise, we are counting on Miranda and Gordon continuing to be at least as good as this year, Laranch being a solid bat, Kirilloff being able to even play again, Jeffers being the 2021 version not the 2022 version, Arraez hitting .315 not .285, etc.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was holding out hope that Correa might stay, but now I’m convinced he’ll be leaving. I don’t think Lewis will be ready until mid May. I would consider putting Urshela at short temporarily, Miranda at third, Kirilloff at first, Polanco at second. The bat we are missing is Buxton. I assume Kepler will be traded with Wallner taking over in right and Larnach in left. We have lots of spare pieces in Arraez and Gordon. We could use an upgrade as a backup centerfielder to Buxton because he will probably DH a lot. Hard to find a replacement for Sanchez as second catcher. The good news is that we will have at least $45M to play with (Correa and Sanchez salaries). Maybe the bat we are looking for might be Willson Contreras. The pitching staff has some good possibilities, including the bullpen. Alcala’s return will help. Maybe someone will take Pagan off our hands. No Paddack until mid to late August. But hopefully a rotation with Ryan, Gray, Mahle, Ober and Maeda, with Winder and Varland in the wings. Bullpen will include Lopez, Duran, Alcala, Moran, Megill, Jax and Theilbar and room for upgrades. I wouldn’t mind bringing Fullmer back as well.  We’d still have a huge chunk of money to play with.

Above all we need good health.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, ScottyB said:

We’d still have a huge chunk of money to play with.

I'm guessing $120 million is the maximum for next season and the Pohlads may take a look at what Cleveland did and understandably believe that $90 million should be enough to field a decent team. At the very least the owners must be taking a hard look at the financial side due to the declining attendance this year and an expected fall in 2023.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund
The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premiere Twins community on the internet.

×
×
  • Create New...