Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • Back in the Saddle: My Twins Offseason Blueprint


    Nick Nelson

    What would it take for the Twins to vault back into contention in 2022, while maintaining a standard budget and navigating the realities of this year's offseason market?

    Our roster-building tool challenges users to do just that. Below, you'll find my blueprint for a return to relevance.

    Image courtesy of Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

    First, let's go over the ground rules. In my plan, I'm aiming to be relatively realistic. This means trying to incorporate limitations and constraints that the Twins front office will actually face in its quest. Two implications:

    • Payroll: In the roster tool, you can choose from a variety of preset payroll thresholds, or enter your own custom number. You could select a 10% increase from 2021 ($143M), or even punch in a number like $160M if you want to give yourself some bigtime money to play with. Personally, I think it's optimistic (but plausible) to project payroll remaining steady at $130M, so that's the self-imposed limit I'm working with.
    • Free Agent Choices: Even if you can find the money in your budget to bring in a guy like, say, Max Scherzer, the reality is that he and other top-tier stars will have preferences pulling them away from Minnesota as a destination. It's a smallish market coming off a last-place finish, and these players will be in demand. We've seen in the past with targets like Zack Wheeler that money isn't everything and it takes two to tango. 

    With that out of the way, here's a look at my roster, and how I built it.

    blueprintfullroster.png

    Starting with the Starters

    The rotation is naturally where our journey begins, because it is far-and-away the biggest need on the roster. With both of the rotation carryovers being inexperienced young pitchers who offer nothing close to certainty, I knew I'd have to bring in some legitimate names to give this unit contention cred.

    Atop the list, my boldest offseason move: signing free agent RHP Justin Verlander to a one-year, $20 million contract. Verlander looks very much like a gun for hire, coming off Tommy John surgery at age 39. Given those factors, he carries considerable downside, but also massive upside: we're talking about a ready-made ace who finished first and second in the Cy Young voting his last two full seasons (2019 and 2018). Will $20 million be enough to outbid the competition for Verlander? It should be in the ballpark.

    I've already used up a huge portion of my available funds on Verlander, so for my next free agent target, I set my gaze on the middle class of starters. There are a number of guys available here in the $10 million range – including Michael Pineda – but instead I decided to go with RHP Jon Gray on a three-year, $30 million contract.

    Like most at this level, Gray's a good pitcher with flaws and shortcomings, but he brings the qualities I'm looking for in a secondary rotation signing behind Verlander: decent track record of durability, reasonably high floor, and a touch of real upside. If Gray merely pitches up to his Pineda-esque career 3.91 FIP and 107 ERA+, I'm fine with that, but it feels like there's another level for the former No. 3 overall pick to unlock outside of Coors. He turns 30 next month.

    For my third rotation edition, I'm turning away from the free agent market and toward the trade market. In a deal inspired by J.D. Cameron's feature in the Offseason Handbook, I'm trading OF Max Kepler to the Oakland Athletics for LHP Sean Manaea. This hypothetical swap was put forth by J.D. in his story, and to me it makes a lot of sense: The cost-conscious A's need outfield help, and are likely to value Kepler's contract (owed about $16M over the next two seasons with a team option in 2024) over Manaea's (projected by MLBTR to make $10.2M in his final year of arbitration). It's a bit of a lopsided exchange in that regard, and maybe the Twins can get Oakland to tack on a bit more, but quality starting pitching is at a premium. 

    Manaea was worth 3.3 fWAR in 2021, posting a career-high 9.7 K/9 to go along with a 3.66 FIP and 3.91 ERA in 180 innings.

    blueprintrotation.png

    Turning Back to the Lineup

    Admittedly, my efforts to bolster the rotation come at the expense of the position player group. With so many dollars committed to our three new starting pitchers, there wasn't much left in the bank for impact hitters. So I went instead with a transitional approach here.

    First: signing Freddy Galvis to a one-year, $3 million deal. Galvis is no one's idea of a long-term solution at shortstop, but he can play the position capably, and he brings enough power at the plate to be useful offensively. I'm looking at him as nothing more than a stopgap to fill in until Royce Lewis is deemed ready (maybe midway through the season?). This move is as much a vote of confidence in Lewis as anything. 

    I'm sliding Miguel Sanó to designated hitter and Alex Kirilloff to first base. These aren't static assignments – I foresee Sanó playing plenty of first, and Kirilloff plenty of outfield – but they'll be their prime positions, since it's where I think they're best suited. Luis Arraez reprises his role as a roving utility regular, seeing a health dose of action at third base with Josh Donaldson spending two days per week at DH. 

    Our corner outfield depth has clearly taken a hit since I've traded Kepler, non-tendered Jake Cave, and moved Kirilloff to regular first base duty. To offset this, I'm signing Corey Dickerson to a one-year, $5 million contract. There's nothing especially appealing about Dickerson, who has slashed a mediocre .266/.321/.406 in 161 games over the past two seasons, but he strikes me as a solid buy-low candidate that will be available on a one-year deal. 

    I've filled Kepler's vacancy in right field with Trevor Larnach, which might be a hazardous gamble after Larnach unraveled in his rookie campaign. But I'm a believer in his talent. I'm confident he'll get back on track, and quickly. That said, I'm for sure bringing in a few Kyle Garlick/Rob Refsnyder types to compete in camp, and leveraging the presence of Brent Rooker to protect Larnach from lefty pitchers. But at the end of the day, I'm inclined to let him run at age 25. 

    blueprintposplayers.png

    One other detail in the position players section might catch your eye: Byron Buxton's salary. I've got him slated to make $14M instead of the $8M he's projected to get in his last year of arbitration. That's because I'm electing to channel some of my limited spending flexibility toward taking care of my utmost priority.

    A Long-Term Contract for Byron Buxton

    This is the last chance to keep Buxton in Minnesota long-term. Leverage is running low with only one year remaining until he can hit the open market, but Buxton's history of serious injuries should at least keep him open-minded about long-term security. So too should his aforementioned arbitration salary projection.

    Injuries have hampered Buxton's earning potential in arbitration. Getting the center field for around $8M next year – at age 28 and fresh off flashing his full potential – is an absolute bargain that the Twins (or any trade partner) will be happy to take. Since extension talks fell short over the summer, I'm trying to figure out a framework that will be attractive to his side. The first step is nearly doubling his 2022 salary, in the first leg of a five-year, $84 million contract for Buxton (technically a four-year extension):

    • 2022: $14M (plus incentives)
    • 2023: $16M (plus incentives)
    • 2024: $18M (plus incentives)
    • 2025: $18M (plus incentives)
    • 2026: $18M (plus incentives)

    The "plus incentives" aspect of this should be accentuated, given that it's where the last round of talks apparently fizzled. I don't have specifics in mind but I'm pretty open to whatever Buxton's side wants. As long as he's doing the things necessary to trigger those bonuses, I'm happy to pay significantly more than the above for this historic player, and I'm not sure why the Twins wouldn't be. 

    In any case, this deal protects the Twins' financial interests with relatively low annual guarantees. It locks Buxton up throughout his remaining peak athletic years, and gives him a chance to hit the open market once again at age 33. 

    And Finally, the Bullpen

    My additions to the rotation and lineup, along with Buxton's salary boost, have mostly depleted my spending flexibility under the $130M threshold. With incumbents Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Caleb Thielbar, and Jorge Alcalá all returning, I'm left with about $6 million to spend on filling the final four bullpen spots. Here's how I'm divvying that up:

    • Randy Dobnak ($800K) is the long reliever. He's making that guaranteed money as part of his contract so we might as well try to get some value from it. I'm hopeful an offseason of recovery for his problematic finger gets Dobnak back on track. In his proper form, he's a good fit for this role as an efficient, strike-throwing ground ball pitcher.
    • Héctor Neris ($3M) is a setup man. He spent a few years as Philadelphia's closer – which will be handy, given Rogers' uncertainty – but lost the job this season due to first-half struggles. He rebounded in the second half, but Neris has never quite had the results to match his stuff, and that figures to keep him in an affordable range as a free agent. I'm taking my chances on that nasty splitter.
    • Juan Minaya ($1M) is a middle reliever. As we wrote in Arbitration Decisions section of the Handbook, "His FIP (3.97 in 2021) is more representative than his ERA (2.48); nonetheless, Minaya’s probably as dependable of an option as you’ll find for twice the price in free agency." He brings experience and a 95 MPH fastball. I'm fine with letting him keep a seat warm for one of the upcoming arms in the system. 
    • Kirby Yates ($1M plus incentives) is a gamble. The Twins were in advanced talks with him last winter before he ultimately signed with Toronto, and then underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He might not be ready for the start of the season but the upside and track record are good enough to be worth the wait on a low-risk deal. 

    In short, my view of the bullpen is that 2021 was an outlier, and this organization still has what it takes to identify and unleash overlooked relief arms in a cost-efficient manner. We saw them do that over the past couple seasons, building high-quality bullpens at low costs for division winners, and in fact we saw them pull it off on a smaller scale this year (Minaya, Danny Coulombe, Ralph Garza Jr.) following a series of misfires. 

    To me, this is the only model for building a bullpen when you're a team with Minnesota's resource constraints and competing needs. We've seen time and time again how easy it is to completely whiff on free agent relievers – even those with seemingly safe track records (paging Addison Reed and Alex Colomé). Give me one proven commodity in Neris, a wild card in Yates, and then build the depth with minors signings, waiver claims, and internal arms like Jovani Moran .

    The Final Product

    Ultimately, my intent with this blueprint was to create something that aligns philosophically with what the Twins front office might actually do. For the most part, it's a series of short-term commitments – one year for Verlander, Manaea, Galvis, and Neris – thus keeping the ability to build from within intact. I am bringing some longer-term stability to the rotation with Gray's three-year contract, and most importantly, cementing Buxton as a franchise centerpiece for the next half-decade. 

    What would your 2022 roster look like if you held yourself to a $130M payroll limit? Grab a copy of the Offseason Handbook, use it with our Roster Creator tool and share your own blueprint to share in our forums!

     Share

     Share


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    Featured Comments

    I’m going to sound like a broken record over the next few months. I don’t believe the Twins will pay big money for pitching. I think about the organization’s philosophy to build from within… Falvey and Levine weren’t hired to hand out massive contracts to pitchers. Not even a 1 year pact to someone like Verlander. I need to see it first. 

    Besides that, there’s a lot to like about your plan. And of course, things I don’t like. Jon Gray is a solid target. He’ll certainly be in my plan as well. 3 years is no issue at all. If there’s a bidding war, my walk away price is $15 million AAV. 

    I can see us making a trade to fill a slot in the rotation. Kepler, Larnach, Garver, and Arraez are all in consideration to make that happen. 

    Ending up with Galvis when there are 5 great to elite SS free agents will be a tough pill to swallow. I really hope we make a run at one of Story, Correa, Baez, Semien, or Seager. Unless the new CBA revamps everything we know about baseball contracts and control, I doubt we’ll see a talented position group like this hit free agency in the same year. 

    I like that you didn’t allocate a ton of money to the bullpen. I’m in agreement with you being skeptical about spending a bunch of money at this position. Nerris is a fine addition. Philly has a knack for ruining bullpen arms. Maybe the change of scenery does wonders for him. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    That's so cute.  Thinking that Verlander's gonna sign here.  Counting on neither Kiriloff or Larnach to flame out.  Thinking that Buxton's gonna settle for 5 years $84 million.  (Up  that $84 by 50% to $126 and he MIGHT answer the phone.  Don't know if he'd sign but at least he'd take the call.) Guess I shouldn't be surprised.  considering we're talking about a team whose Pitcher of the Year plays for another team.  P.S.  That's the pitcher we should be throwing $20 million a year at but if we want to go with the 39 year old guy who am I to object.  At least we might get Kate Upton in the stands.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Nick, I really like your realistic "Dream Team for 2022".  I really like Gray a lot. I'd rather have him for 3 years than almost any other pitcher who is worth similar dollars.. Three  questions: 1) If not Verlander, who? 2)  If not Galvis, who?  I especially like 3 of your 4 bench players. But I must ask,  3) "Where is Miranda?" Why not save $4.4 million and put Miranda in the OF instead of Dickerson ( a lefthanded hitter).and let him mature. I think Miranda can do it. It is time to find out. Let Miranda also play some 3B.  If Miranda can cut the mustard, trade Rooker. Too many strikeouts for me and we already have Sano striking out every third AB. I predict we may have seen the last semi- healthy season from Donaldson. If the DH is adopted in the NL, I would do everything possible to trade Donaldson, although it may have to wait until the 2022 trade deadline.  Donaldson may have played a lot of games in 2021, but he jogged to 1B too many times for me.  Bad example for the highest paid player on the team to set for the young players.  Pineda could be signed for less than Maeda and  keep Kepler to  alternate some with Miranda. in RF and for defensive purposes. Kep would be a great 4th OF.  Defense, some speed and some pop.  Promote the fastest relievers in AA or AAA and see who can consistently get the ball over the plate. What more does a reliever have to know. Just throw the funky-fast  pitch where the catcher tells him.  I know Dobnak is signed long term, but I'd rather have a  young flame thrower. SIGN BUXTON for 6 more years. ! Period.  Thanks Nick,  It is fun to be a dreamer. "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one".  "Imagine". by John Lennon.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 minute ago, tarheeltwinsfan said:

    Nick, I really like your realistic "Dream Team for 2022".  I really like Gray a lot. I'd rather have him for 3 years than almost any other pitcher who is worth similar dollars.. Three  questions: 1) If not Verlander, who? 2)  If not Galvis, who?  I especially like 3 of your 4 bench players. But I must ask,  3) "Where is Miranda?" Why not save $4.4 million and put Miranda in the OF instead of Dickerson ( a lefthanded hitter).and let him mature. I think Miranda can do it. It is time to find out. Let Miranda also play some 3B.  If Miranda can cut the mustard, trade Rooker. Too many strikeouts for me and we already have Sano striking out every third AB. I predict we may have seen the last semi- healthy season from Donaldson. If the DH is adopted in the NL, I would do everything possible to trade Donaldson, although it may have to wait until the 2022 trade deadline.  Donaldson may have played a lot of games in 2021, but he jogged to 1B too many times for me.  Bad example for the highest paid player on the team to set for the young players.  Pineda could be signed for less than Maeda and  keep Kepler to  alternate some with Miranda. in RF and for defensive purposes. Kep would be a great 4th OF.  Defense, some speed and some pop.  Promote the fastest relievers in AA or AAA and see who can consistently get the ball over the plate. What more does a reliever have to know. Just throw the funky-fast  pitch where the catcher tells him.  I know Dobnak is signed long term, but I'd rather have a  young flame thrower. SIGN BUXTON for 6 more years. ! Period.  Thanks Nick,  It is fun to be a dreamer. "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one".  "Imagine". by John Lennon.

    I meant Manaea, not Maeda in my response. Sorry.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I agree with vanimal that the twins haven't spent on pitching in past years but we could be in for a surprise ,, if the twins do spend on pitching maybe pohlad does care and wants a winning team .... if they don't spend on pitching all he cares about is pocketing the profits ...

    Pitching wins and most teams in post season play have alot better rotations and bullpens than the twins , twins pitching has lost 18 post season for a reason ,,, most are just average ( berrios above average and Santana last to win a post season game an ace ) ...

    I won't comment on the pitching side of the roster ...

    But the regular roster is fine that needs some tweaks from the FO and manager ...

    First the manager tweaks  ,,, bat Buxton and arreaz followed by Polanco  and leave them there all season , garver and Donaldson ,,, the rest just get a decent hitting coach and teach them some situational hitting  ( it is pathetic that they can't change their approach when runners are in scoring position with no outs ) ..

    The rest are the players that finished the season on the 2021 roster ...

    I have no idea who will temain or be traded but larnach will start in the minors...

    There also will be a few additions,  who ? A possible shortstop and an outfielder ..

    Twins front office really messed up the season by thinking they had a replacement in left field , that was a start to misery , second ,  they let a good utility player go and didn't replace him and had so many of the remaining players playing out of positions  ...

    Third , let's not even talk about pitching ...

     

    Fourth , I just hope they have a plan this year and learned about themselves  ,,, I did not see a plan at all with management and manage this past season ..

    The last 2 months did show optimism for next year 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I don't think Verlander will agree to come here after the Twins finished in last place. Gray & Manaea intrigue me, although the word is that Gray wants a 4-year deal, and he'll likely get that, so you'd need to add an extra guaranteed year or bump the salary to entice him.

    I strongly disagree about Dobnak being in the bullpen. I'm not saying you pencil him in for a rotation spot, but I just don't think his stuff plays up in the bullpen, and the new regime totally threw him off this year. I'm not sure if he has an option year remaining, but to me he profiles as a great #5 starter who can efficiently soak up 5-6 innings every 5th day without getting completely shellacked. He's not gonna be dominant, but he'll keep you in games for the most part. If he's out of options I might roll with a 6-man rotation just to give him a month under ideal conditions to evaluate his future here long-term.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    10 hours ago, Blyleven2011 said:

    I agree with vanimal that the twins haven't spent on pitching in past years but we could be in for a

     

     

    First the manager tweaks  ,,, bat Buxton and arreaz followed by Polanco  and leave them there all season , garver and Donaldson ,,, the rest just get a decent hitting coach and teach them some situational hitting  ( it is pathetic that they can't change their approach when runners are in scoring position with no outs ) ..

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I agree . Situational hitting. YES !

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Pretty realistic offseason plan I think. I think Verlander coming here is by far the biggest question mark. Not sure this is the type of situation he'd want to use a year at the end of his career in. I don't think it's impossible, but I think it's unlikely. 

    I'm not a big fan of trading Kepler. I think the biggest problem with him is that the Twins have done everything they can to force a 6-9 hole hitter into the 1-5 slots in the lineup. If you have a gold glove type RFer with some decent pop, but ends up around league average for hitters every year you have a winning player. Just stop hitting him leadoff or 4th or 5th. Put him where belongs in the order and fans will quit complaining about him so much and your lineup will be lengthened. It's a fly ball league now as everyone tries to lift the ball for power. I want as many big time gloves in the outfield as I can get. Part of the Twins run prevention problems early were defensive mistakes that the pitchers then didn't overcome and things snowballed. Kepler played a role in Milwaukee and Rooker had the worst fielding series I've ever seen in Oakland. 

    Sano doesn't have the trade value of Kepler (I'd guess), but he'd be the first person I try to move. He's another one I think would help by being dropped in the order, but he also has the weight of being Org Savior #2 after they told fans to wait for him and Buxton and watch the magic once they arrived. At this point a change in scenery is probably best for both sides as he can go hit in the bottom of somebody's order and mash 40 bombs and strike out 36% of the time without the fan base demanding he be a savior. That allows Larnach more time at the DH spot (as I said earlier I don't want negative defenders in the OF) and Kirilloff can just take over at 1B with Miranda being able to start getting his feet wet, too.

    I love the bullpen plan and would be quite happy if that's what they went into the season with. Spending big money on relief arms is just too risky for a team with the Twins financial restraints (self inflicted restraints or not). I'd honestly be ok with 3 new arms in the 10M range if they can't get a Verlander type rental. I'd even give Dobnak a spot, but only if it meant they took the money saved there and the money you have ticketed for Galvis and Dickerson and went and got one of the big SSs. I've said on TD before, but locking up Buxton, Polanco, and one of those big SSs would be my priority. Lock in the middle of the field for the next 5, 6, 7 years and attack the corners after. Especially since we have so many corner pieces already. I'd be good with a big name SS and 2 or 3 Gray type signings for the rotation while we let the young guys get their shots.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I find most of these moves to be incredibly optimistic and Twins friendly. Verlander isn't coming to Minnesota if they don't significantly outbid the competition. Gray will get more than 30 million over 3 years. Kepler will absolutely not net Manaea in return. 

    I would like this offseason plan, it's just not happening. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 minutes ago, raindog said:

    I find most of these moves to be incredibly optimistic and Twins friendly. Verlander isn't coming to Minnesota if they don't significantly outbid the competition. Gray will get more than 30 million over 3 years. Kepler will absolutely not net Manaea in return. 

    I would like this offseason plan, it's just not happening. 

    I feel like Kepler for Manaea is exactly the type of move the A's like to make. Last year of control on a pitcher they aren't going to pay for 3 controllable years of a player at a position of need for them. That's Oakland 101. Manaea hasn't been some sort of world beater. He's basically the same talent level of pitcher as Kepler is an outfielder. I think it's one of the more realistic trades you'll see around here.

    I do agree it's very unlikely Verlander would come here, though. And Gray certainly has a chance to beat those numbers, but he's not getting 20M a year or anything crazy.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    13 hours ago, dxpavelka said:

    Thinking that Buxton's gonna settle for 5 years $84 million.  (Up  that $84 by 50% to $126 and he MIGHT answer the phone.  Don't know if he'd sign but at least he'd take the call.)

    From what was said about the last offer it wasn't the base garmented salary that Buxton balked at. It was the incentive package, Base of 14/y with a total of 35-40 with incentives would get the job done. 

     

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Nice Job Nick!

    Verlander likely would not come here and frankly I'm OK with that. I don't see us contending next year, so I'd rather put that 20 mil into a 3-ish year contract for an above average pitcher who would still be around after we (hopefully) build another window to open up (and the hubcaps could certainly come off Verlander this year).

    I think the planning strategy for Lewis should be somewhere in between the doubters (like me who are concerned he may never be a high impact MLB player because of his poor hitting against MiLB) and rainbow/skittles optimists who think he could be up mid-year. Maybe, 'unlikely to have an MLB impact this year but optimistic for next year'?

    I've been much more snarky in previous posts. But, being more collegial, it would be shocking to me if Buck bet on himself all the way to 1 year out from free agency and then elected to 'sell low' on himself after another injury plagued season. I believe that he has his management are willing to bet on him being healthier and more productive this year to put him in a very nice position as he hits the open market. Again, when  team waits to extend just one year out of FA, they have to come VERY close to what a player and their management believe that they can get on the open market. (which for Buck I believe will be A LOT more than 84 mil).

    I want Buck, but it will likely take a significant amount of guaranteed money (120mil min), for him to bypass an opportunity on the free market at this point. (That swing is so sweet and compact now....I am very bullish on his future as I suspect other teams will be as well)

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I really like your rotation selection, Nick. We really need a top pitcher like Verlander but doubt we'll find one via FA. I'd prefer trading for one of MIA available pitchers like Lopez.  Also I see them bringing back Pineda.

    As far as your positional players selection, we take a big hit defensively. This last season we had a bad OF because we didn't have a decent LF and decent Buxton sub. Kepler was the only dependable OF we had and you want to trade him? Kepler is under valued and much needed glove for this team. I don't expect him to hit as many HRs as in '19 but I do expect to him to adapt, be a very good glove and even possibly reinvent himself as a hitter. There are more redundant and some over valued players that makes lot more sense to trade than Kepler. Cave should have been traded last year, DFA him this season does not weaken our team but makes it better because it opens up a spot for someone else that can get it done, which you failed to do.

    If you want to compete, you just don't throw anyone at SS. You need some one who can get it done defensively and be around avg. offensively.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    3 hours ago, raindog said:

    Gray will get more than 30 million over 3 years.

    Curious to know what you (or others) think is a realistic figure for a guy with a career 4.59 ERA and 3.91 FIP (including 4.59 and 4.22 in the most recent season) who's never thrown 175 innings. 

    Gray strikes me as being in a fairly similar situation as Phil Hughes when he signed with the Twins for 3/24 back in 2014. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    10 hours ago, Twinfan603 said:

    I don't think Verlander will agree to come here after the Twins finished in last place.

    Lots of people expressing this sentiment, and I get it. My thought process is that: 

    1) Top contenders who are looking to spend $20M+ on a SP will be favoring more of a "sure thing" (Scherzer, Syndergaard, Gausman, Stroman ... even Kershaw?). That's not to say they won't be interested in Verlander, but maybe not rushing toward him.

    2) The Twins can convince JV that last year was a blip and they're capable of contending. Is he really going to look at a team led by Buxton, Donaldson, Polanco, etc etc and feel like they can't win with him taking the lead in the rotation? Plus there's a level of familiarity here with his history in the AL Central.

    I'm not saying it's likely Verlander signs in MN by any means. All of the pessimism being projected toward that idea is valid. But I will say that to me he is the most realistic and viable Twins target of any Tier One free agent SP in the Handbook.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The two assumptions:  1.) return to contention in 2022 and 2.) a $130 MM budget limit are incompatible.  Your projected roster is proof of that, IMO.  Yes, you have filled the rotation with 3 veteran starters, but none are front-of-rotation types, except possibly Verlander and he is 39, coming off a serious injury and is a one year signing.  Why not spend that money(or slightly more) on a longer term starter, like Rodon, Ray or Stroman?  Jon Gray might be a solid #3, but I'd prefer a more known quantity like Pineda who would probably cost less and for two rather than 3 years.  And why give up Kepler for one year of Manaea, a pitcher probably no better than Pineda(at least for next year)?  Would much rather put together a package for Alcantara or Lopez, two young, promising pitchers who could anchor this staff for 3-5 years.  Marlins are desperate for a catcher and OF help.  We have "excess" in both areas, together with some expendable top pitching prospects, Jeffers, Arraez/Kepler, plus a top prospect not named Ryan or Ober seems fair.  I would give up Kepler reluctantly, as two holes in the OF would handicap the rebound, but for of either of these 2 would be worth it.

    The pen needs more help than you show.  Yates could be a great turnaround bargain, but certainly can't be counted on to return to his former closer level.  Neris is no bargain if he continues his falloff from his earlier success.  We can and should do better.  Certainly think two shutdown types are required on a contending team - one that might even advance a round in the playoffs.  Rogers and Duffey are good but their recent decline(as noted by their % Inherited Runners Scored) necessitates addition of at least one shutdown reliever.  My preferences : Ryan Tepera and Corey Knebel, two FAs who shouldn't break the bank, that is, if Kimbrel is unavailable.

    And, yes, Buxton must be resigned if talk of returning to relevance in 2022 is really the goal.  You list his compensation package at $14MM, but since the two sides reportedly agreed to base of 7 years@$80MM, chances are you're looking in the $20-25MM range for 2022, depending on GP.  So it looks like payroll should be a minimum of $140MM - and that would be tight.

    Nick, your plan for 2022 could work if 2 or 3 of our pitching prospects were contributing above league averages in 2022/23 and beyond.  I just think with this org's history of pitching development failures, that would be like pulling an inside straight.   Maybe 1 or 2 of the current crop could mature into  dependable starters, but I'd rather hedge my bets by having at least two outside acquisitions that have a higher probability of being an elite pitcher than Ober, Ryan, et. al.

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    I like it. It'll take some long shots coming through (like a season of 2019 Verlander) and some gambles paying off (Galvis/Lewis at SS, Larnach in RF) for the Twins to contend in 2022. These are chances/gambles with some realistic possibilities.

    However, I can't imagine Kepler nets you Manaea.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, D.C Twins said:

     

    I've been much more snarky in previous posts. But, being more collegial, it would be shocking to me if Buck bet on himself all the way to 1 year out from free agency and then elected to 'sell low' on himself after another injury plagued season. I believe that he has his management are willing to bet on him being healthier and more productive this year to put him in a very nice position as he hits the open market. Again, when  team waits to extend just one year out of FA, they have to come VERY close to what a player and their management believe that they can get on the open market. (which for Buck I believe will be A LOT more than 84 mil).

    I want Buck, but it will likely take a significant amount of guaranteed money (120mil min), for him to bypass an opportunity on the free market at this point. (That swing is so sweet and compact now....I am very bullish on his future as I suspect other teams will be as well)

    Yeah, I don't see why Buxton would be motivated to accept such a team-friendly contract, coming off a season when he got off to such a blazing start but then missed most of the year because of (another) injury, knowing that he should get top dollar on the open market if he can just put together a big breakout in 2022. He's already a rich man, anyway; he'll have made close to $25M (counting his draft bonus) after next season, even if he accepts arbitration. He's not in a desperate position.

    Unless the Twins now proceed as if his breakout has already happened, like his big April is enough proof that he is a top player, and make him an offer that would interest a marquee free agent, I'd expect Buxton to bet on himself next season--and sign with the team that makes him the top offer, then.

    Regarding the pitching, I generally don't have much faith in pitchers coming back in their first year after Tommy John surgery, and particularly not if the guy turns 39 shortly after reporting for spring training. I'd rather the Twins did not spend $20M to help Verlander try to get back into shape at the end of his career. Trading Kepler for Manaea, and bringing in Gray, seems fine if they can swing it, though.  

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    30 minutes ago, frightwig said:

    Yeah, I don't see why Buxton would be motivated to accept such a team-friendly contract

    It was reported during the season that Buxton's side was amenable to a framework that included around $80M in base guarantees -- likely over a longer term. My proposal condenses that guaranteed money into a smaller period (thus enabling him to hit free agency again and score another potentially big deal), and I said I'm open-minded to what he's looking for in terms of incentives. I'm not sure how anyone can say it's implausible he'd accept it, based on the evidence we have?

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    From Rotoworld.com: 

    Astros owner Jim Crane said Thursday that the team will "probably" extend a qualifying offer to impending free agent Justin Verlander.

    Verlander is said to be looking for a multi-year contract, but the qualifying offer -- which was one year, $18.9 million last winter -- could be rather enticing after he missed all of the 2021 season following Tommy John surgery. The veteran right-hander will turn 39 years old just before the start of spring training in 2022. He posted a stellar 2.56 ERA and 12.1 K/9 in 443 innings (69 starts) for Houston between 2018-2020.

    Oct 7, 2021, 2:49 PM ET
     
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    From IT: 
    That insight is worth what I paid for it, and Rotoworld is a free site, but in the midst of CBA negotiation, etc., it seems like quite a risk for Verlander to turn down a QO if it comes, particularly from a World Series team. 
     
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    26 minutes ago, Nick Nelson said:

    It was reported during the season that Buxton's side was amenable to a framework that included around $80M in base guarantees -- likely over a longer term. My proposal condenses that guaranteed money into a smaller period (thus enabling him to hit free agency again and score another potentially big deal), and I said I'm open-minded to what he's looking for in terms of incentives. I'm not sure how anyone can say it's implausible he'd accept it, based on the evidence we have?

    I don't trust anything that his agents or the club have to say about it, publicly; they all want to spin their efforts as, "we're doing the best we can to keep him in a Twins uniform." The fact that it didn't get done may be a sign that Buxton really would like a bigger deal, as well as an indication of the Twins' interest. But even if Buxton really was interested in signing a team-friendly deal, in exchange for "security" (which he already has), during the past season, I would say that's in the past. Every day this off-season, every day that he gets closer to free agency, just strengthens his bargaining position.

    If he's just willing to bet on himself through one more 1-year deal, he'll get whatever rewards he deserves after next season. And if it turns out that he just has another great half-season, shadowed by another injury, he still could talk to the Twins or any other club about an $80M framework next year. Even if he has to settle then for some kind of $50M deal, because of injury, it would be a really nice consolation prize. There's hardly any downside for him in waiting. Why would he not do that?

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, Nick Nelson said:

    Curious to know what you (or others) think is a realistic figure for a guy with a career 4.59 ERA and 3.91 FIP (including 4.59 and 4.22 in the most recent season) who's never thrown 175 innings. 

    Gray strikes me as being in a fairly similar situation as Phil Hughes when he signed with the Twins for 3/24 back in 2014. 

    Assuming he rejects the QO from Colorado, I'd guess 4/40? He should get more guaranteed $ than Kyle Gibson did. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Btw, I wonder if Buxton spends much time thinking about how he might like to play in one of the big markets, or maybe even go back to Georgia and play with Acuña and Albies, and possibly Rosario again. And it's not like the Braves are already set in Centerfield. Atlanta might be a dream come true for him. If I'm in his position, I'd like to wait and find out if that possibility is open to me. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, frightwig said:

    Btw, I wonder if Buxton spends much time thinking about how he might like to play in one of the big markets, or maybe even go back to Georgia and play with Acuña and Albies, and possibly Rosario again. And it's not like the Braves are already set in Centerfield. Atlanta might be a dream come true for him. If I'm in his position, I'd like to wait and find out if that possibility is open to me. 

    Me too, I wondered about that possibility. In that event, .....sadness ..... trade opportunity. Ian Anderson and Drew Waters or something along those lines? Hopefully we keep Buxton.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    12 hours ago, 21bdp21 said:

    From what was said about the last offer it wasn't the base garmented salary that Buxton balked at. It was the incentive package, Base of 14/y with a total of 35-40 with incentives would get the job done. 

     

     

    You keep thinking that and dreaming of duckies and bunnies and beautifully unique sparkleponies.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    This was a good exercise Nick.  Especially with you using the framework of a $130 budget.  Of course, I have some "differences" but that's what makes this site so fun.

    I'm not spending $20 for Verlander even if he was outstanding before suffering the injury.  Logically, I see him getting a QO from Houston and ending up back there.  I'll spend that $20 per year for 4-years on Robbie Ray.  I'll consider it for Gausman and Stroman.  Either way, I want a guy who I can go to battle with for 3-4 years. At 39 years old, Verlander is not that guy. 

    I'm trading for at least ONE top of the rotation starter.  I'm not trading Kepler.  His value is too low and I need his defense and will work on his approach this off season.  I'd have him watch hours of Freddie Freeman video.  I'm considering  trading Larnach, Jeffers, Arraez and probably one of my younger arms not ready for the majors yet (but not Balazovic).  By leveraging those players I think I can come up with two pretty solid SP's.  So I'm building a staff that starts with my $20 million guy, followed by one or two SP's acquired in a trade, followed by Ryan, Ober and then a mid-tier FA signing like Jon Gray or Eduardo Rodriguez and a bargain signing like Andrew Heaney.  The Twins need more than 5 SP's with a couple of rookies on innings/pitch limits at the bottom of the rotation.  I love the Yates signing.  At $1 million it's a worthy gamble.  I think Heaney is a better option than Neris because his stuff is better and he could start or be converted to the bullpen.

    I'd go for Canha instead of Dickerson.  They need a RH bat in LF.  I like a Galvis/Iglesias type of signing but I'd also talk to the Royals about Adelberto Mondesi and see what it would take to pry him away.  He's kind of like Buxton.  All sorts of talent and athleticism but always hurt.  With Lopez playing so well at SS last year and Bobby Witt jr on the way soon, the Royals may be ready to move on from Mondesi.  I'd find out what it would take.  I have no idea if my "plan" would be in the ballpark of your $130 budget.  But spending $10 million more next year to field a contender is worth it to the Twins. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    2 hours ago, TopGunn#22 said:

    I'd go for Canha instead of Dickerson.  They need a RH bat in LF. 

    I actually had Canha instead of Dickerson in my original version, but ran out of money. I think Canha's a great fit for MN and would not be at all surprised to see them pursue him.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    19 hours ago, TheLeviathan said:

    I can't imagine Kepler is going to get Maenea.  That seems really imbalanced.

    In favor of Oakland? It's three cost-controlled years of a good outfielder for one year of a fairly expensive pitcher, and as usual the A's have a ton of pitching depth to offset his loss. 

    Based on the responses here I think a ton of Twins fans are vastly underestimating Kepler's trade value.

    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
    Add a comment...

    ×   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...

×
×
  • Create New...