The reality, though, is that we all know things are going to fall somewhere in the middle for both buyers and sellers. We know the Twins need help - definitely in the bullpen and possibly in the rotation - and the next couple of weeks are going to be full of rumors and speculation.
Over the next two weeks, I’m going to present a series to you that hopefully takes a different look at things.
Today’s part - Part 1 - will start by focusing on next year, but we’ll get more into that soon.
Part 2 will be a continuation of today’s article, but will look at the financial side of things. Especially who this regime has invested in. Part 3 will update an article I posted seven weeks ago looking at who might the Twins be most motivated to move? Part 4 (the teams) and Part 5 (the players) will narrow the focus as the deadline approaches. And, finally, Part 6 will be me revisiting something I’ve done in the past, playing GM for a Day.
The Twins leadership has banged the same drum repeatedly over time. They aren’t interested in committing future dollars, but they value control. Beyond Jorge Polanco's and Max Kepler's contract extensions, only Marwin Gonzalez is on the books for a guaranteed dollar amount next year. Nelson Cruz and Martin Perez have buyouts on team options.
Which is really just a fancy way of maybe telling us they overvalue prospects and pre-arbitration-eligible player. You could assume they value guys in arbitration too, but as price increases and control decreases, the value decreases quickly.
And then they hit free agency. The Twins will have five guys hitting the ranks of free agency after the season: Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Michael Pineda, Jason Castro and Jonathan Schoop.
Knowing how the organization values control, we need to look at next year before we can look at the moves for the next few weeks. (Seems backwards though.)
Assuming the free agent leave and the Twins add no other players, here’s a guess at how things could look on the 25-man and 40-man roster:
C: Mitch Garver
1B: C.J. Cron
2B: Luis Arraez
3B: Miguel Sano
SS: Jorge Polanco
LF: Eddie Rosario
CF: Byron Buxton
RF: Max Kepler
DH: Nelson Cruz
Bench: Marwin Gonzalez (UTIL)
Bench: Jake Cave (OF)
Bench: Willians Astudillo (C/3B)
Bench: Ehire Adrianza (SS)
SP: Jose Berrios
SP: Martin Perez
SP: Devin Smeltzer
SP: Lewis Thorpe
SP: Sean Poppen
RP: Taylor Rogers
RP: Ryne Harper
RP: Trevor May
RP: Blake Parker
RP: Fernando Romero
RP: Matt Magill
RP: Tyler Duffey
On assignment: LaMonte Wade
On assignment: Nick Gordon
On assignment: Kohl Stewart (P)
On assignment: Stephen Gonsalves (P)
On assignment: Zack Littell (P)
On assignment: Trevor Hildenberger (P)
On assignment: Ryan Eades (P)
To be added: Brusdar Graterol (P)
To be added: Jhoan Duran (P)
To be added: Wander Javier (SS)
To be added: Jorge Alcala (P)
To be added: Luis Rijo (P)
To be added: Griffin Jax (P)
To be added: Lewin Diaz (1B)
To be added: Travis Blankenhorn (2B/3B)
Not adding: Luke Raley (OF), Gilberto Celestino (OF), Jovani Moran (P)
No room: Mike Morin (P) (Edit: Morin was DFA'd yesterday before the game.)
Other top prospects: Royce Lewis (SS), Alex Kirilloff (OF), Trevor Larnach (OF), Jordan Balazovic (P), Brent Rooker (OF), Yunier Severino (2B), Blayne Enlow (P), Ben Rortvedt ©, Jose Miranda (3B), Edwar Colina (P), Akil Baddoo (OF), Ryan Jeffers ©
First thing, I’ve not actually adding eight guys to the roster, but for this exercise, I wanted to have a full 40-man just so that we can work backwards.
Let’s take a closer look. Mitch Garver, C.J. Cron, Luis Arraez, Miguel Sano, Jorge Polanco, Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Nelson Cruz, Marwin Gonzalez seem to fill out the top 10 position players pretty well. Garver has split duties with Castro, but has become the more regular catcher. Schoop departs and Arraez slides in nicely. This leaves spots for a backup catcher (Willians Astudillo), a backup shortstop (Ehire Adrianza) and a fourth outfielder (Jake Cave). Astudillo and Cave both have options left, if needed. Gonzalez could serve as the fourth outfielder and backup infielder too. Adrianza is a smooth fielder. But when your only concern is whether or not to upgrade your bench next year… that seems like a winter question, not the trade deadline.
The rotation - with 60% on expiring deals - is much more interesting. Jose Berrios will be the Opening Day starter in 2020 and beyond. Martin Perez is very likely to slot into one of the other four spots. The Twins will not go into next season slotting three rookies - Devin Smeltzer, Lewis Thorpe and Sean Poppen - in those spots. Could one break the rotation? Maybe. But that’s two starters, minimum, that need to be acquired between now and March.
If the rotation is interesting, the bullpen is downright messy. Taylor Rogers is the Ace. Ryne Harper has been fantastic and, at this point, probably is at least written in dark pencil for next year. Trevor May has the ability but hasn’t been consistent. There’s no doubt that he can be a part of a very good major league bullpen though. And then… questions. Blake Parker and Matt Magill are controllable, but replaceable. Fernando Romero has upside, but has been a disaster and out of options after his year. Tyler Duffey has been OK at times, but is also out of options. Zack Littell and Trevor Hildenberger could be solutions, but both can start the year in the minors. I also had to get rid of Mike Morin, who is out of options.
There are other options, like Kohl Stewart, if the Twins wanted to try him out in the bullpen. But as much depth as there is in the system, there are no great answers for next year to the bullpen question either.
What we have above is the sketchings of the 2020 team. Print it out, make changes, run your own projections. Because there is a 100% chance that it changes before the spring… and a lot of fans that hope it changes before August 1.