Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account
  • Offseason Status Update: 40-Man Shuffling, Missed Opportunities


    Nick Nelson

    The Minnesota Twins have yet to make any significant additions this offseason, but that's not to say the league as a whole has been standing still. 

    As we await an impending lockout, let's get up to speed on the state of the Twins, recapping the latest roster moves, an unpopular retention decision, and key pitching targets coming off the board. 

    Image courtesy of Ken Blaze, USA Today

    Twins Protect Prospects, Fill 40-Man Roster

    Last Friday marked the deadline for teams to add players to their 40-man rosters in order to block them from being claimed in the Rule 5 draft. Minnesota elected to protect six prospects.

    IN:

    While the first four adds above were essentially considered locks, the Twins went the extra mile by adding Enlow (recovering from Tommy John surgery) and Vallimont (24-year-old with no success yet above Single-A). After getting burned on the loss of Akil Baddoo last year, it seems Minnesota wanted to take no undue risks this time around, especially when it comes to their critical minor-league pitching depth. 

    In order to facilitate this wave of additions, the team also cleared room by offloading four players.

    OUT:

    These moves leave the 40-man roster full, with 17 position players and 23 pitchers. Here's the makeup as it currently stands.

    40man112121.png

    From here on out, the Twins will need to remove a player and risk losing him for each new addition. Any of Danny Coulombe, Ralph Garza Jr., Juan Minaya, Cody Stashak, Drew Strotman, and Lewis Thorpe could be on the chopping block. It's hard to envision any more drops on the positional side (barring trades), after one clear candidate got himself a controversial new contract for 2022.

    Cave Lands Deal for 2022

    It was widely expected the Twins would move on from Jake Cave this offseason. He produced a total of 0.2 fWAR in 118 games over the past two seasons, his performance progressively worsening. Alas, the team agreed to terms with him Friday on a one-year, $800K contract. 

    It's a bit less than Cave was projected to earn in arbitration this winter, but still could hardly be considered much of a value, considering how awful his play has been. My read on this is that the Twins are simply trying to preserve some experienced outfield depth, with both Byron Buxton and Max Kepler ranking among their most likely players to be traded this offseason. Still, Jake Cave?

    It bears noting that arbitration contracts are not guaranteed. The Twins can still cut Cave before the next season starts while shedding most of his salary commitment. That rarely happens, but it may be somewhat more likely in this case given the circumstances.

    Here's a look at the updated 2022 roster and payroll projection, with Cave (for now) penciled in as fourth outfielder:

    rosterpayroll112121.png

    Rotation Options Fly Off the Free Agency Board

    Free agent starters Noah Syndergaard, Justin Verlander and Eduardo Rodriguez have all signed with aspiring 2022 contenders from the American League. None of those teams are the Twins.

    Detroit made an emphatic statement about its status as a reborn legit player in the AL Central, signing Rodriguez to a five-year, $77 million contract. Not only is E-Rod a quality arm added atop a talented young Tigers rotation, but he was also one of the more realistic high-end starter targets for the Twins. (Though they reportedly were not in on him.)

    Syndergaard got a one-year, $21.5 million contract from the Angels, while Verlander re-signed with Houston on a one-year deal worth $25 million, plus a 2023 player option. It's likely that neither of these ace-caliber hurlers had much interest in signing with the reigning last-place finishers in the Central, but those kinds of short-term commitments are in the wheelhouse of the flexibility-focused Twins. 

    With that trio off the board, here's what remains at the top end of the free agent starting pitching market (* denotes QO and draft pick compensation):

    • Max Scherzer, RHP
    • Kevin Gausman, RHP
    • Robbie Ray, LHP*
    • Marcus Stroman, RHP
    • Clayton Kershaw, LHP
    • Carlos Rodón, LHP
    • Anthony DeSclafani, RHP
    • Steven Matz, LHP
    • Zack Greinke, RHP
    • Alex Cobb, RHP
    • Yusei Kikuchi, LHP
    • Jon Gray, RHP
    • Alex Wood, LHP

    Still plenty of quantity out there, but if the Twins want to score a name from this list they might want to act quickly, because other clubs aren't wasting time. One lower-level name also came off the board on Sunday when José Quintana signed with the Pirates for $2 million.

    Winter of Discontent?

    We all knew this was likely to be an unusual offseason, given the looming labor strife. Plenty of organizations seem to be biding their time. The Twins front office, especially, has had a habit of waiting out the market and treating patience as an asset, so their general lack of activity comes as no big surprise. 

    With that said, the early events of this offseason have done nothing but fuel the sour vibes of frustrated fans who are eager for a turnaround, and a showing of intention. Since wrapping up one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history, here's what we've witnessed:

    None of these are necessarily unforgivable offenses on their own (the Buxton thing might be, if it plays out like it's trending). But they all feed into negative narratives around the Twins: a team that is unwilling to do what it takes to keep premier homegrown talent, or to sign high-end free agent pitching. A team that's overly committed to perceived "bargains," and maintaining the status quo rather than taking bold action. 

    There's time to turn the tides on these narratives yet, but if the Twins stand still until the CBA expires midway through next week, they're staring down the prospect of letting this sourness and discontent fester through an extended lockout, which will already be alienating enough for fans on its own.

    If that's the case, well... good luck with those season ticket sales.

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
    — Order the Offseason Handbook
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email

     Share


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    Featured Comments

    The message I'm getting is that the Twins are not "players."  1) The Twins aren't offering enough money, and 2) Nobody wants to come here.  

    It's Thanksgiving, and the Twins have done nothing.  NOBODY else is doing NOTHING.  Sad.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    51 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    I agree I don't think he's good enough and he shouldn't have been resigned, but I'm struggling to see what opportunity costs there are right now in having him on the 40-man. To this point in the off season the only thing it's cost them is their 7th best Rule 5 eligible prospect, right? Cave on the 40-man hasn't stopped them from doing anything to this point beyond protecting whoever they had as 7th on that list. That's not nothing, but let's not make it out to be more than it is. 

    My point is that Cave on a 1 yr 800k deal shouldn't stop the Twins from doing anything they want to do this off season. I don't get their comfort with him either, beyond him being somewhat capable in CF while most of their OFers are corner only. I don't like that they gave him the deal, and I wouldn't have done it, but I'm just saying people should pump the brakes as all it's done to this point is fill a 40-man spot that could've gone to their 7th best Rule 5 prospect. I'm a prospect lover, but even I realize if you have 7 guys capable of being picked in the Rule 5 and sticking on a ML roster you've got much bigger problems with how you're running your system. Maybe that's what people are mad about, but it's not what I'm seeing.

    There was no reason to sign Cave if they weren't pretty set on him being on the team that breaks camp next April. 

    They're not looking for an upgrade. He's it.

    You're missing the forest for the trees.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    14 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

    There was no reason to sign Cave if they weren't pretty set on him being on the team that breaks camp next April. 

    They're not looking for an upgrade. He's it.

    You're missing the forest for the trees.

    You may be correct. They may have no intention of bringing in anyone else and have no intention of even looking at other OF options on the trade or FA markets. Or maybe it's just Thanksgiving and they have 4 more months to make moves?

    Maybe they are like everyone else who pays attention to baseball and are quite certain there will be a lockout starting Dec 2 and they will have far less time to make moves after the lockout and before ST/the regular season so they locked someone up just so they know they have someone before the chaos ensues in case they aren't able to find an upgrade to their backup OF position.

    I'm not missing any forests or trees. I've said the entire time that I wouldn't have signed Cave, but him being on the roster hasn't cost them anything yet and he's far from guaranteed a spot on the opening day roster. It's a pretty reasonable stance. Suggesting there's no chance he's cut feels like a more unreasonable stance to me. I'm not saying anyone should be happy with the deal or having him still on the roster. I'm not happy with it. But the idea that a 1 year deal for less than $1 million makes him some sure thing, can't cut asset the Twins would never ever replace feels far more like just animus for the FO than an unbiased, reasonable take on the situation at the beginning of the off season.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    51 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    You may be correct. They may have no intention of bringing in anyone else and have no intention of even looking at other OF options on the trade or FA markets. Or maybe it's just Thanksgiving and they have 4 more months to make moves?

    Maybe they are like everyone else who pays attention to baseball and are quite certain there will be a lockout starting Dec 2 and they will have far less time to make moves after the lockout and before ST/the regular season so they locked someone up just so they know they have someone before the chaos ensues in case they aren't able to find an upgrade to their backup OF position.

    I'm not missing any forests or trees. I've said the entire time that I wouldn't have signed Cave, but him being on the roster hasn't cost them anything yet and he's far from guaranteed a spot on the opening day roster. It's a pretty reasonable stance. Suggesting there's no chance he's cut feels like a more unreasonable stance to me. I'm not saying anyone should be happy with the deal or having him still on the roster. I'm not happy with it. But the idea that a 1 year deal for less than $1 million makes him some sure thing, can't cut asset the Twins would never ever replace feels far more like just animus for the FO than an unbiased, reasonable take on the situation at the beginning of the off season.

    He was already "locked up." They had no need to "lock someone up just so they know they have someone before the chaos ensues." They saved a couple hundred K by signing him prior to arbitration, but they had no need to "lock him up." 

    If they were planning on finding an upgrade, why would they give him a contract now? They'd be wasting those couple hundred thousand dollars. Why not just wait it out and owe nothing to Cave until arbitration time? 

     

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 minute ago, USAFChief said:

    He was already "locked up." They had no need to "lock someone up just so they know they have someone before the chaos ensues." They saved a couple hundred K by signing him prior to arbitration, but they had no need to "lock him up." 

    If they were planning on finding an upgrade, why would they give him a contract now? They'd be wasting those couple hundred thousand dollars. Why not just wait it out and owe nothing to Cave until are time? 

     

    I think he answered that. The value of the certainty that he's there if they need him. Especially if the lockout lasts close to the beginning of the season.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    4 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    I think he answered that. The value of the certainty that he's there if they need him. Especially if the lockout lasts close to the beginning of the season.

    But he was already there. He was Twins property until they declined arbitration.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    6 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

    He was already "locked up." They had no need to "lock someone up just so they know they have someone before the chaos ensues." They saved a couple hundred K by signing him prior to arbitration, but they had no need to "lock him up." 

    If they were planning on finding an upgrade, why would they give him a contract now? They'd be wasting those couple hundred thousand dollars. Why not just wait it out and owe nothing to Cave until arbitration time? 

     

     

    2 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

    But he was already there. He was Twins property until they declined arbitration.

    If you're planning on looking into possibly buying a new car in the near future would you not do an oil change or get the brakes fixed on your current car before you actually get the new one? My stance is that it's reasonable to believe they signed Jake Cave to a barely above league minimum contract at this point in time as an insurance policy. They wanted him in their back pocket just in case. As I said in an earlier post here, I don't think any fan on here thinks the 40 guys on the 40-man roster right now are going to be the 40 guys on the roster at the start of the season. So why have any of them? Why not just cut everyone they plan to look for upgrades for?

    They weren't going to offer him arbitration. They weren't going to pay him over $1M like he would've gotten in arbitration. They likely went to him and said he wasn't getting arbitration and gave him the offer to sign for 800k. Why wait until Dec 1 to do all that? What's it matter? I'm not even saying you're wrong and that they don't plan to have him as their 4th OFer come game 1, but the suggestion that it's super obvious, and only explanation to things seems far fetched. 800K simply isn't going to stop them from cutting him. It isn't. There is no reason to believe they won't even consider upgrading their 4th OFer spot right now beyond animus (not even saying the ill will is undeserved) for the FO. 

    I don't like Cave. I don't want him on the roster. I'll be upset if they have such an awful offseason that he has a role on the 2022 Twins. But none of that means it's impossible, or even unrealistic, that the Twins cut him before ST even starts. Them signing him as an 800k insurance policy simply isn't the clear cut, he's on the opening day roster move you, and others, seem to be suggesting it is. There's 4 months and a new CBA between now and game 1. This (hopefully) is far from the final 40-man. That's all I'm saying. 

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Can someone explain how losing Buxton sets us back at all, assuming we get a good trade return?  Dude is NEVER healthy!  Wouldn't it be better to get some prospects, sign/trade for someone like Marte, and move on?  Is Buxton for 60 games better than a player with 70% of his talent for 150 games, plus using his salary to spend elsewhere?   I don't understand what I'm missing.  He's had 7 years to prove he's durable.  He is not.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    1 hour ago, chpettit19 said:

     

    If you're planning on looking into possibly buying a new car in the near future would you not do an oil change or get the brakes fixed on your current car before you actually get the new one? My stance is that it's reasonable to believe they signed Jake Cave to a barely above league minimum contract at this point in time as an insurance policy. They wanted him in their back pocket just in case. As I said in an earlier post here, I don't think any fan on here thinks the 40 guys on the 40-man roster right now are going to be the 40 guys on the roster at the start of the season. So why have any of them? Why not just cut everyone they plan to look for upgrades for?

    They weren't going to offer him arbitration. They weren't going to pay him over $1M like he would've gotten in arbitration. They likely went to him and said he wasn't getting arbitration and gave him the offer to sign for 800k. Why wait until Dec 1 to do all that? What's it matter? I'm not even saying you're wrong and that they don't plan to have him as their 4th OFer come game 1, but the suggestion that it's super obvious, and only explanation to things seems far fetched. 800K simply isn't going to stop them from cutting him. It isn't. There is no reason to believe they won't even consider upgrading their 4th OFer spot right now beyond animus (not even saying the ill will is undeserved) for the FO. 

    I don't like Cave. I don't want him on the roster. I'll be upset if they have such an awful offseason that he has a role on the 2022 Twins. But none of that means it's impossible, or even unrealistic, that the Twins cut him before ST even starts. Them signing him as an 800k insurance policy simply isn't the clear cut, he's on the opening day roster move you, and others, seem to be suggesting it is. There's 4 months and a new CBA between now and game 1. This (hopefully) is far from the final 40-man. That's all I'm saying. 

    If I can afford the new car at this moment, and I'm trading the old car in at the dealership, i.e. upgrading, then no, I'm not wasting money on the older vehicle when I know I won't recoup anything for it upon the trade. If the Twins wanted to upgrade, then they could've/should've just sought an upgrade. I mean end of the day it's not my money, so I don't really care about that aspect of the Cave situation, but the notion that he's just an insurance policy that enables the team to continue shopping pre and post lockout kinda flies in the face of the Twins seemingly endless commitment to the guy the last few years.

    I know you're defending the move and not the player here, and you're right, it's early, but they could've plucked a below average CFer who'll hit .200 out of the pile at any point in or out of season. I think they have to see something with Cave if they're willing to commit any amount of $$ to keep him.  

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    On 11/23/2021 at 8:32 PM, Nick Nelson said:

    Some would say their comfort level with him is exactly the problem. It led them to part ways with LaMonte Wade Jr. last offseason. It led them to give him 300 PAs the past two seasons while he hit like trash. It leads them to treat him as their primary backup CF even though he's not good there. Now it's leading them to give him a 40-man roster spot during the offseason, which has plenty of opportunity cost on its own, never mind the contract.

    Why are the Twins so "comfortable" with Jake Cave? That's what many of us have trouble understanding. 

    Listen, if you're unwilling to accept Jake Cave is a potential Hall of Famer, late bloomer... 🤣

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    9 hours ago, Charleo said:

    Can someone explain how losing Buxton sets us back at all, assuming we get a good trade return?  Dude is NEVER healthy!  Wouldn't it be better to get some prospects, sign/trade for someone like Marte, and move on?  Is Buxton for 60 games better than a player with 70% of his talent for 150 games, plus using his salary to spend elsewhere?   I don't understand what I'm missing.  He's had 7 years to prove he's durable.  He is not.

    Sure. The popular opinion on this board is Buxton is an MVP level talent. A guy who could put together an 8-10 WAR season if he was healthy. He's played 140 games twice (2016 split between MLB/AAA and 2017). 70% of Byron Buxton, based on popular opinon here is 5.6-7.0 WAR or so over a full season. So like, Mookie Betts or Bryce Harper. Those guys are a little spendy and the Twins are not going to do it. I think you could probably move Marcus Semien to center field. It sounds like he's going to get over $200MM any day now. The Twins hear $100MM or more and they panic.

    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...