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  • 3 Questions That Remain For the Twins Before Spring Training

    Cody Christie

    Twins pitchers and catchers report in roughly two weeks, but there are still things left on the Twins off-season checklist. None of these questions have a hard-set deadline so all three could carry over into the spring or early into the season. My guess is fans would feel a lot better about the club’s future if all three of the items below were taken care of in the coming weeks.

    Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    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.


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    #1- I believe Cruz will play here as long as he can, doesn`t matter when they decide to do it. 

    #2- Someone like J. Gray, I doubt it (Price, I hope not). Someone like Archer ,yes I hope so & that doesn`t mean we can`t seek someone like Gray nearer to the dead line.

    #3- Berrios, I hope so but doubt it

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    What is the pressure to sign Cruz to an extension prior to.....July?  Let's see how things go for him and then decide.  Similar to when the Twins originally signed Cruz, other teams will again think he is too old and not offer much (deservedly so?)

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    I, too, think it's up to Cruz to tell the Twins how long he wants to play and we will get him signed. Hopefully we get Berrios signed to at least a four-year deal.


    I don't understand many readers' affection for Archer. He has not had a good year since 2015. Sure he gets K's but he doesn't get wins and his ERA and WHIP show why. If we make a trade--and I'm praying we do--it has to make us better. We need much better than Archer. Maybe by waiting until May we find out what teams know they are not going to win this year and are willing to trade.

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    What is the pressure to sign Cruz to an extension prior to.....July?  Let's see how things go for him and then decide.  Similar to when the Twins originally signed Cruz, other teams will again think he is too old and not offer much (deservedly so?)

    I feel like this would be a situation where the Twins offer a bump of $1-2 million on his 2020 salary now to secure a team option for 2021 with a little more guaranteed money for Mr. Cruz via a buyout if the option isn't to be exercised.  

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    I think if Cruz has a year reasonably close to last year....like 80% or more then signing him to a contract like his current one or slightly lower would be good. I certainly hope the Twins have something else in mind for an additional starter. Whether it be trade or signing someone like Walker. I think the Thorpe, Smeltzer and Dobnak can hold it down until Pineda returns but what happened if one of those 3 or the top 3bgo down or are ineffective? I also think Berrios continues to bet on himself and doesn't sign an extension. Unless he receives a really good offer.

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