Will the club extend team MVP Nelson Cruz?
Cruz will turn 40 at the beginning of July, but he certainly hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down in recent years. Last season, the team named him the Twins MVP and he earned his third career Silver Slugger after he posted a career high 1.031 OPS with 41 home runs. Over the last six seasons, he has averaged more than 40 home runs with a 148 OPS+.
Thad Levine told fans at TwinsFest that the club has already contacted Cruz’s agent about an extension. “We are having ongoing conversations with his agent to discuss mutual interest in the future,” Levine said. “The reality is he’s one of those unique players right now who seems to be giving Father Time the business. Most of us aren’t blessed with that ability.”
Is the Twins starting rotation set?
Pitching, pitching, and more pitching was supposed to be the Twins off-season story and the narrative quickly shifted after signing a former MVP third baseman. Minnesota has added Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda, Homer Bailey and Rich Hill so far, but Hill and Pineda won’t be in the rotation to start the season. There are also questions about what type of performance the Twins could get from Bailey, who ended the year strong, and Odorizzi, who had some second half struggles.
Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak and Lewis Thorpe will all enter spring with a chance to make the rotation. However, the Twins would likely be more comfortable if only one of those pitchers must be relied on to start the season in the big leagues. Luckily, the early season schedule and weather-related cancellations allow for a fifth starter to be only occasionally needed before Pineda can come back from suspension.
Names swirling on the trade market this off-season have included Boston’s David Price, Colorado’s Jon Gray and Arizona’s Robbie Ray. Can a deal still be struck with one of these clubs or will Minnesota wait until closer to the trade deadline to work out a trade?
Will Jose Berrios agree to a long-term deal?
Over the last two off-seasons, the Twins have been able to lock-up multiple pieces of their young core to long-term deals. Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco signed at the beginning of last spring training and now Miguel Sano has signed this off-season. Jose Berrios is the most likely extension candidate left on the roster, but there are pros and cons to any long-term deal.
Berrios was approached last off-season about an extension, but he decided to have confidence in himself and that looks to be the right decision. Free agent pitching contracts continue to rise and Berrios isn’t going to get paid handsomely. As a first-year arbitration eligible player, he is under team control for the next three seasons. This still doesn’t mean the club won’t want to approach their ace about a contract to keep him in a Twins uniform beyond the 2022 season.
Will any of these questions be answered before spring training? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums