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Nash Walker last won the day on March 6 2020

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  1. The Twins priotized top-level talent coming out of the lockout in 2022, signing star shortstop Carlos Correa and trading for standout starter Sonny Gray. My offseason blueprint includes a similar model. Image courtesy of © Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports The Twins are in prime position to add high-level players. The rotation, while not a clear strength, is deeper than its been in Derek Falvey’s entire tenure. There is no reason to add a Dylan Bundy, Chris Archer or J.A. Happ type this offseason. It’s time to make it count on both sides of the ball. MOVE ONE: Sign Carlos Correa for eight years, $256M ($32 million per) with a player opt-out after year four. This move may be the simplest but also the most difficult to pull off. Correa, 28, is a two-way star in the midst of his prime. The Twins have a gaping hole at shortstop with no clear healthy solution in the organization. Correa’s 5.4 r-Wins Above Replacement in 2022 were the most by a Twin since Brian Dozier ’s magical 2016. Correa has hit .281/.360/.481 (130 OPS+) while saving the most runs among shortstops over the last four seasons. This contract structure keeps the Twins well away from the dreaded 10-year, $300 million pricetag. Correa sacrifices some assured money for the opt-out after year four, which also increases the risk for the Twins. They get four guaranteed years through Correa’s age-31 season. For Correa, he gets the opportunity to re-enter the market if he stays healthy and impactful. If not, he can opt-in to the rest of the deal for another $128 million. MOVE TWO: Sign José Abreu for two years, $41 million with a third year $20 million team option ($5 million buyout) Once you make the long-term move for Correa, it’s an organizational commitment to further supplementation. The Twins don’t *need* a first baseman but this is simply a move for top-level talent. Abreu, 35, isn’t expected to return to the White Sox after hitting .304/.378/.446 (133 OPS+) in his best full season since 2017. Abreu’s power numbers dipped but he ranked in the top 10% in hard-hit rate, average exit velocity and expected weighted on-base average. Abreu would make $18 million per year in 2022 and 2023 with the Twins holding an option on year three. The total guarantee is $41 million, a pretty hefty commitment to a soon-to-be 36-year-old first baseman. Abreu is worth it and would add another dangerous right-handed bat alongside Correa, Byron Buxton and José Miranda . Plus, taking him from the White Sox would be sweet with a capital S. MOVE THREE: Trade SS Brooks Lee, LHP Jovani Moran to Milwaukee Brewers for RHP Brandon Woodruff In one swift trade, the Twins finally acquire the ace they’ve been searching for. Since 2020, Woodruff ranks 16th in ERA (2.84), eighth in strikeouts (492) and eighth in b-Wins Above Replacement (10.4). Woodruff has been more valuable, by bWAR, than Gerrit Cole, Luis Castillo and Yu Darvish over the last three seasons. Woodruff is a bonafide No. 1 starter and is a luxury as the No. 2 in Milwaukee’s rotation. I think they’ll move Woodruff (or Corbin Burnes ) this winter as they’re both set for free agency following 2023. Losing Lee would be a major blow to the Twins’ already average farm system. Moran’s departure wouldn’t be easy either, as the lefty posted a 1.78 FIP in 40 ⅔ innings at the Major League level in 2022. It takes money to make money, as they say. Woodruff is under team control at modest salaries for the next two seasons. It’s a high-risk, win-now type of move. MOVE FOUR: Find new homes for 3B Gio Urshela, OF Max Kepler If the Twins add the salary above, they’ll likely shed in other areas. Gio Urshela had a nice season, posting up 144 times with a .338 on-base percentage and solid defense at third. He’s also due for $9 million in arbitration with Miranda waiting to take his spot. If you add Abreu, you have to deal away from the glut at first and third. Urshela is the clear odd man out. Kepler’s time as a Twin seems to be running out. Matt Wallner, Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff could be the future of the corners in the outfield, leaving Kepler and his $8.5 million salary expendable. It remains to be seen whether any team will desire Kepler more after the institution of the shift ban. These two moves are to transfer funds and free up space elsewhere. This is a self-imposed payroll, of course. MOVE FIVE: Sign C Omar Narváez for two years, $14M The Twins are in need of a quality backstop to pair with Ryan Jeffers . Narváez provides the coveted left-handed bat they could use. Narváez, 30, is coming off a poor offensive season, hitting only .206/.292/.305 with a career-low 71 OPS+ (not counting the shortened Covid season). It was unlike him, as his career OPS is right at the league average (.728) and 30 points higher than catchers during that span (.698). Narváez is a quality pitch framer with below-average pop times behind the plate. At the plate, he owns a career 106 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching. With Jeffers at a career 125 wRC+ versus left-handed pitching, this feels like a platoon duo made in sabermetric heaven. MOVE SIX: Sign RP Kenley Jansen for two years, $28M The Twins loved using Jhoan Durán in the highest leverage spots in 2022, relying on their electric young arm to get them out of jams at any time. By signing Jansen, the Twins can continue to float Durán throughout the late innings while designating the ninth for one of the best closers of this generation. Jansen, 35, continues to be one of the most consistently reliable relievers in baseball. Opponents hit just .192/.265/.346 off Jansen in 2022, with his underlying numbers - notably a 2.34 expected ERA - showing he's just as good as ever. Jansen's cutter is one of the best pitches of all time, regularly producing swings and misses or very weak contact. Jansen owns a career 36% strikeout rate and has never had an ERA over 3.71 in 13 seasons. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more experienced reliever. RESULT: Serious playoff contenders The Twins would boast a lineup centered around Luis Arraez, Correa, Abreu and Byron Buxton with a host of exciting young bats. In the rotation, Woodruff leads a deep and potentially very good group. The bullpen’s upside would be massive. Where the team lacks defensively it makes up for with a star-studded lineup. The Twins would likely be the favorite to win the American League Central and maybe more. The total cost would be about $154 million, a considerable bump and the highest payroll in team history. A man can dream, right? What do you think of this blueprint? Comment below! View full article
  2. The Twins are in prime position to add high-level players. The rotation, while not a clear strength, is deeper than its been in Derek Falvey’s entire tenure. There is no reason to add a Dylan Bundy, Chris Archer or J.A. Happ type this offseason. It’s time to make it count on both sides of the ball. MOVE ONE: Sign Carlos Correa for eight years, $256M ($32 million per) with a player opt-out after year four. This move may be the simplest but also the most difficult to pull off. Correa, 28, is a two-way star in the midst of his prime. The Twins have a gaping hole at shortstop with no clear healthy solution in the organization. Correa’s 5.4 r-Wins Above Replacement in 2022 were the most by a Twin since Brian Dozier ’s magical 2016. Correa has hit .281/.360/.481 (130 OPS+) while saving the most runs among shortstops over the last four seasons. This contract structure keeps the Twins well away from the dreaded 10-year, $300 million pricetag. Correa sacrifices some assured money for the opt-out after year four, which also increases the risk for the Twins. They get four guaranteed years through Correa’s age-31 season. For Correa, he gets the opportunity to re-enter the market if he stays healthy and impactful. If not, he can opt-in to the rest of the deal for another $128 million. MOVE TWO: Sign José Abreu for two years, $41 million with a third year $20 million team option ($5 million buyout) Once you make the long-term move for Correa, it’s an organizational commitment to further supplementation. The Twins don’t *need* a first baseman but this is simply a move for top-level talent. Abreu, 35, isn’t expected to return to the White Sox after hitting .304/.378/.446 (133 OPS+) in his best full season since 2017. Abreu’s power numbers dipped but he ranked in the top 10% in hard-hit rate, average exit velocity and expected weighted on-base average. Abreu would make $18 million per year in 2022 and 2023 with the Twins holding an option on year three. The total guarantee is $41 million, a pretty hefty commitment to a soon-to-be 36-year-old first baseman. Abreu is worth it and would add another dangerous right-handed bat alongside Correa, Byron Buxton and José Miranda . Plus, taking him from the White Sox would be sweet with a capital S. MOVE THREE: Trade SS Brooks Lee, LHP Jovani Moran to Milwaukee Brewers for RHP Brandon Woodruff In one swift trade, the Twins finally acquire the ace they’ve been searching for. Since 2020, Woodruff ranks 16th in ERA (2.84), eighth in strikeouts (492) and eighth in b-Wins Above Replacement (10.4). Woodruff has been more valuable, by bWAR, than Gerrit Cole, Luis Castillo and Yu Darvish over the last three seasons. Woodruff is a bonafide No. 1 starter and is a luxury as the No. 2 in Milwaukee’s rotation. I think they’ll move Woodruff (or Corbin Burnes ) this winter as they’re both set for free agency following 2023. Losing Lee would be a major blow to the Twins’ already average farm system. Moran’s departure wouldn’t be easy either, as the lefty posted a 1.78 FIP in 40 ⅔ innings at the Major League level in 2022. It takes money to make money, as they say. Woodruff is under team control at modest salaries for the next two seasons. It’s a high-risk, win-now type of move. MOVE FOUR: Find new homes for 3B Gio Urshela, OF Max Kepler If the Twins add the salary above, they’ll likely shed in other areas. Gio Urshela had a nice season, posting up 144 times with a .338 on-base percentage and solid defense at third. He’s also due for $9 million in arbitration with Miranda waiting to take his spot. If you add Abreu, you have to deal away from the glut at first and third. Urshela is the clear odd man out. Kepler’s time as a Twin seems to be running out. Matt Wallner, Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff could be the future of the corners in the outfield, leaving Kepler and his $8.5 million salary expendable. It remains to be seen whether any team will desire Kepler more after the institution of the shift ban. These two moves are to transfer funds and free up space elsewhere. This is a self-imposed payroll, of course. MOVE FIVE: Sign C Omar Narváez for two years, $14M The Twins are in need of a quality backstop to pair with Ryan Jeffers . Narváez provides the coveted left-handed bat they could use. Narváez, 30, is coming off a poor offensive season, hitting only .206/.292/.305 with a career-low 71 OPS+ (not counting the shortened Covid season). It was unlike him, as his career OPS is right at the league average (.728) and 30 points higher than catchers during that span (.698). Narváez is a quality pitch framer with below-average pop times behind the plate. At the plate, he owns a career 106 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching. With Jeffers at a career 125 wRC+ versus left-handed pitching, this feels like a platoon duo made in sabermetric heaven. MOVE SIX: Sign RP Kenley Jansen for two years, $28M The Twins loved using Jhoan Durán in the highest leverage spots in 2022, relying on their electric young arm to get them out of jams at any time. By signing Jansen, the Twins can continue to float Durán throughout the late innings while designating the ninth for one of the best closers of this generation. Jansen, 35, continues to be one of the most consistently reliable relievers in baseball. Opponents hit just .192/.265/.346 off Jansen in 2022, with his underlying numbers - notably a 2.34 expected ERA - showing he's just as good as ever. Jansen's cutter is one of the best pitches of all time, regularly producing swings and misses or very weak contact. Jansen owns a career 36% strikeout rate and has never had an ERA over 3.71 in 13 seasons. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more experienced reliever. RESULT: Serious playoff contenders The Twins would boast a lineup centered around Luis Arraez, Correa, Abreu and Byron Buxton with a host of exciting young bats. In the rotation, Woodruff leads a deep and potentially very good group. The bullpen’s upside would be massive. Where the team lacks defensively it makes up for with a star-studded lineup. The Twins would likely be the favorite to win the American League Central and maybe more. The total cost would be about $154 million, a considerable bump and the highest payroll in team history. A man can dream, right? What do you think of this blueprint? Comment below!
  3. It’s true that the Twins may have a bevy of choices for their rotation in 2023. Gray, Mahle, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Kenta Maeda, Josh Winder, Louie Varland and more figure to pitch meaningful innings. Gray and Mahle can be viewed as frontline starters with durability concerns, while Ryan and Ober are reasonable third and fourth options. Even with this depth, the Twins still lack an ace. The addition of a true No. 1 would propel this rotation from fairly solid to potentially very good. Carlos Rodón is the most logical target in free agency, although his list of suitors will be long and motivated. Beyond Rodón, the Twins could hope for a miracle signing of Jacob deGrom or Justin Verlander. The trade market should be active for the Twins, with Max Kepler, Gio Urshela, Emilio Pagán and others potentially on the block. They’ve shown a propensity to deal for starters and should be looking to do so again. A sneaky target resides in Milwaukee, where the Brewers have key decisions to make this winter. Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes have formed one of the best duos in baseball for the last two-plus years. Both are dominant right-handed workhorses with upper-90s fastballs and wipeout breaking stuff. The Brewers made the playoffs for four consecutive seasons before 2022, with their terrifying one-two punch being a key reason why. Those days could be coming to an end. 2022 was a step back for Milwaukee, culminating in a trade of their star closer Josh Hader at the deadline. Both Woodruff and Burnes are free agents following the 2024 season with increasing prices in arbitration. With a below-average market and payroll, they’re extremely unlikely to extend both. The Brewers have Freddy Peralta and Aaron Ashby, two promising young pitchers, under contract long term. A viable path would be to extend their Cy Young winner in Burnes while trading Woodruff for a significant package. Woodruff, 29, is exactly the type of player the Twins should target. Since 2018, the 6-foot-4, 243 pound righty has posted a 3.06 ERA (137 ERA+) with an identical 3.06 FIP. Woodruff has notched three seasons in a row with an ERA at 3.05 or below. He’s one of the best, most consistent starters in the league. Over the last five seasons, Woodruff ranks 15th among qualified starters in ERA+, ahead of the likes of Shane Bieber, Sandy Alcantara and Rodón. Woodruff’s 3.06 FIP is tied for the eighth best in the league and just behind Gerrit Cole (3.01) and Shohei Ohtani (3.04). Woodruff has struck out 10.8 batters per nine in that span, tied for the 11th best rate in baseball. The Twins lack a starter with upper-90s velocity. Woodruff’s fastball averaged 96 mph with excellent carry in 2022. Among pitchers who faced at least 250 batters this year, Woodruff’s four-seamer ranked first in strikeout rate (35.6%) and third in whiff rate (28.5%). It’s an elite heater. Often valuing fastball-centric pitchers, the Twins and Woodruff are a clear match. He also threw 150 or more innings in each of the past two seasons, filling another key workhorse hole in the Twins’ banged-up rotation. Woodruff makes all the sense in the world… ...for a hefty price. Just how much in prospect capital would Woodruff cost? Well, a lot. Per Baseball Trade Values, Woodruff is graded at a median of 34.1 while Burnes is valued at 78.3. For perspective, these three differing packages satisfy the tool in a Woodruff trade. PACKAGE 1: SS Brooks Lee PACKAGE 2: OF Emmanuel Rodríguez, RHP Josh Winder, INF Austin Martin PACKAGE 3: 2B Edouard Julien, SS Royce Lewis, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Ouch, right? Beyond the prospect capital, Woodruff is expected to earn $11 million in his second-to-last year in arbitration. One can expect a reasonable raise to about $16 million in 2024, his final year before free agency. It’s essentially a two-year, $27 million deal. Woodruff’s addition would leave plenty of room to sign Carlos Correa or Xander Bogaerts. What do you think? Is Brandon Woodruff as much of a slam dunk as I think he is? Comment below!
  4. The Twins swung two deals for starters over the last nine months: first for Sonny Gray and then for Tyler Mahle. Is a third on the horizon? Image courtesy of © Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK It’s true that the Twins may have a bevy of choices for their rotation in 2023. Gray, Mahle, Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, Kenta Maeda, Josh Winder, Louie Varland and more figure to pitch meaningful innings. Gray and Mahle can be viewed as frontline starters with durability concerns, while Ryan and Ober are reasonable third and fourth options. Even with this depth, the Twins still lack an ace. The addition of a true No. 1 would propel this rotation from fairly solid to potentially very good. Carlos Rodón is the most logical target in free agency, although his list of suitors will be long and motivated. Beyond Rodón, the Twins could hope for a miracle signing of Jacob deGrom or Justin Verlander. The trade market should be active for the Twins, with Max Kepler, Gio Urshela, Emilio Pagán and others potentially on the block. They’ve shown a propensity to deal for starters and should be looking to do so again. A sneaky target resides in Milwaukee, where the Brewers have key decisions to make this winter. Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes have formed one of the best duos in baseball for the last two-plus years. Both are dominant right-handed workhorses with upper-90s fastballs and wipeout breaking stuff. The Brewers made the playoffs for four consecutive seasons before 2022, with their terrifying one-two punch being a key reason why. Those days could be coming to an end. 2022 was a step back for Milwaukee, culminating in a trade of their star closer Josh Hader at the deadline. Both Woodruff and Burnes are free agents following the 2024 season with increasing prices in arbitration. With a below-average market and payroll, they’re extremely unlikely to extend both. The Brewers have Freddy Peralta and Aaron Ashby, two promising young pitchers, under contract long term. A viable path would be to extend their Cy Young winner in Burnes while trading Woodruff for a significant package. Woodruff, 29, is exactly the type of player the Twins should target. Since 2018, the 6-foot-4, 243 pound righty has posted a 3.06 ERA (137 ERA+) with an identical 3.06 FIP. Woodruff has notched three seasons in a row with an ERA at 3.05 or below. He’s one of the best, most consistent starters in the league. Over the last five seasons, Woodruff ranks 15th among qualified starters in ERA+, ahead of the likes of Shane Bieber, Sandy Alcantara and Rodón. Woodruff’s 3.06 FIP is tied for the eighth best in the league and just behind Gerrit Cole (3.01) and Shohei Ohtani (3.04). Woodruff has struck out 10.8 batters per nine in that span, tied for the 11th best rate in baseball. The Twins lack a starter with upper-90s velocity. Woodruff’s fastball averaged 96 mph with excellent carry in 2022. Among pitchers who faced at least 250 batters this year, Woodruff’s four-seamer ranked first in strikeout rate (35.6%) and third in whiff rate (28.5%). It’s an elite heater. Often valuing fastball-centric pitchers, the Twins and Woodruff are a clear match. He also threw 150 or more innings in each of the past two seasons, filling another key workhorse hole in the Twins’ banged-up rotation. Woodruff makes all the sense in the world… ...for a hefty price. Just how much in prospect capital would Woodruff cost? Well, a lot. Per Baseball Trade Values, Woodruff is graded at a median of 34.1 while Burnes is valued at 78.3. For perspective, these three differing packages satisfy the tool in a Woodruff trade. PACKAGE 1: SS Brooks Lee PACKAGE 2: OF Emmanuel Rodríguez, RHP Josh Winder, INF Austin Martin PACKAGE 3: 2B Edouard Julien, SS Royce Lewis, RHP Simeon Woods Richardson Ouch, right? Beyond the prospect capital, Woodruff is expected to earn $11 million in his second-to-last year in arbitration. One can expect a reasonable raise to about $16 million in 2024, his final year before free agency. It’s essentially a two-year, $27 million deal. Woodruff’s addition would leave plenty of room to sign Carlos Correa or Xander Bogaerts. What do you think? Is Brandon Woodruff as much of a slam dunk as I think he is? Comment below! View full article
  5. Corey Seager and Scott Boras secured a massive 10-year, $330 million contract with the Rangers just before the lockout started in 2021. Few were surprised, as Seager was just 27 years old and coming off two seasons where he hit .306/.381/.545 in 147 games for the Dodgers. Seager was expected to earn a boatload, and he did. Boras, after negotiating Carlos Correa’s unique three-year, two opt-outs deal with the Twins, is seeking another huge payday. Correa is surely looking for a very similar contract to what Seager inked with Texas. Correa is a better defender, more durable and through his age-27 season, much more valuable than Seager. Seager’s bat is the draw but even there, Correa stands toe-to-toe. Seager posted a 131 OPS+ through his age-27 season, while Correa sits at 129. Defensively, Seager has posted negative-8 Defense Runs Saved at short, while Correa has saved a positive-70. Add in Correa’s incredible postseason pedigree and he’s worth every penny (and probably more) of the $330 million Seager received. The largest contract the Twins have ever handed out was to their homegrown future Hall-of-Famer Joe Mauer. Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million extension is worth 56% of what Seager signed for. The Twins have never signed a free agent for even $100 million and their largest spree (Josh Donaldson ) resulted in a salary dump halfway through the deal. The Twins are likely to make Correa a considerable offer but it’s almost certain to fall well short of the final price. Is there a world where you see the Twins handing out a $300 million contract? Correa’s return feels futile. Enter a much more affordable and viable happy medium: Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts, 30, is the oldest of the four premier shortstops on the market. Because of his age and defensive questions, Bogaerts is unlikely to receive a contract on the level of Seager and Correa. The Twins may not be willing to splurge for $330 million, but would they do $100 million less? Among the four top shortstops on the market, Bogaerts has been the best hitter over the last five seasons. He leads Correa, Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson in on-base percentage (.373), slugging percentage (.508), home runs (105) and RBI (400). Adjusting for league and ballpark, Bogaerts’ 133 OPS+ is the best of the bunch. Bogaerts has posted an OPS at 28% or better than the league average for five straight years while appearing in 641 of 708 games (90%). Bogaerts hits for a high average, doesn’t really strike out and has hit 20 or more homers in three of the last five seasons. He's been the face of the Red Sox, already logging over 1,000 games in a Boston uniform. So why won’t he get as big of a payday as Correa? Well, Bogaerts is now into his 30s and isn’t hitting for as much power as he once did. Bogaerts’ slugging percentage has slowly declined since its high-mark in 2019 (.555), with 2022 marking his lowest slug and barrel rate since 2017. Bogaerts hit only 15 homers in 150 games while ranking in just the 35th percentile in average exit velocity. Defensively, Bogaerts has the lowest dWAR of the four since 2018 (1.6). While he saved a career high four runs in 2022, Bogaerts has been a shaky defensive shortstop in his career. Did he turn a corner in 2022? Or was it a true outlier on an otherwise shoddy track record with a weaker-than-average arm? Those questions shouldn’t concern the Twins as much as other clubs. Bogaerts is a perfect segue to Royce Lewis or Brooks Lee , the Twins’ hopeful shortstop(s) of the future. Bogaerts could man short for a year or two before moving to second or third base. Teams shouldn’t sign Bogaerts expecting him to play short for the next decade and in the Twins’ case, that’s OK. Even in a down power year, Bogaerts posted 5.7 b-Wins Above Replacement, tied for seventh most in the American League. Bogaerts hit .307/.377/.456 in arguably the best division in baseball. The 1-2 punch of Luis Arraez and Bogaerts would be a major headache for pitchers at the top of a lineup, with the thump of Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and José Miranda lurking. It’s difficult to pinpoint just how much Bogaerts will receive in free agency and whether his incumbent Red Sox will work hard to keep him. Boston just signed Trevor Story to a $140 million contract, presumably expecting him to play short upon Bogaerts’ departure. Boston was unable to lock Bogaerts up before the season and now it feels more real than ever that this long-standing relationship is coming to an end. The most interesting (and encouraging) aspect of this free agent class is the questionable involvement of the top markets. The Yankees clearly believe top prospect Anthony Volpe is close, while the Dodgers could just re-sign Turner. The Mets have Francisco Lindor on a $341 million deal and the Red Sox may move Story back to his position. The Cubs, Phillies, Braves, and Cardinals are among the likeliest suitors for the top four. A decent contract comp for Bogaerts could be Marcus Semien, who signed a 7-year, $175 million deal with the Texas Rangers last winter. The Twins have clean books and a desire to avoid long contracts, so could they woo Bogaerts with a five-year, $175 million deal ($35 million per year)? It feels more viable than Correa, at least. Bogaerts, like Correa, is represented by Boras. It should be fascinating to see how this winter plays out for both of them, with the Twins a viable suitor for each. What do you think? Is Bogaerts a happy medium for the Twins, in both price and position projection? Comment below!
  6. Carlos Correa is likely to require a long, historically expensive contract in free agency. He's a premier defensive shortstop, sure to stick there for years to come. Xander Bogaerts won't come at the same price tag and isn't likely to stick at short into his 30s, making him a terrific happy medium for the highly future-conscious Twins. Image courtesy of © James A. Pittman-USA TODAY Sports Corey Seager and Scott Boras secured a massive 10-year, $330 million contract with the Rangers just before the lockout started in 2021. Few were surprised, as Seager was just 27 years old and coming off two seasons where he hit .306/.381/.545 in 147 games for the Dodgers. Seager was expected to earn a boatload, and he did. Boras, after negotiating Carlos Correa’s unique three-year, two opt-outs deal with the Twins, is seeking another huge payday. Correa is surely looking for a very similar contract to what Seager inked with Texas. Correa is a better defender, more durable and through his age-27 season, much more valuable than Seager. Seager’s bat is the draw but even there, Correa stands toe-to-toe. Seager posted a 131 OPS+ through his age-27 season, while Correa sits at 129. Defensively, Seager has posted negative-8 Defense Runs Saved at short, while Correa has saved a positive-70. Add in Correa’s incredible postseason pedigree and he’s worth every penny (and probably more) of the $330 million Seager received. The largest contract the Twins have ever handed out was to their homegrown future Hall-of-Famer Joe Mauer. Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million extension is worth 56% of what Seager signed for. The Twins have never signed a free agent for even $100 million and their largest spree (Josh Donaldson ) resulted in a salary dump halfway through the deal. The Twins are likely to make Correa a considerable offer but it’s almost certain to fall well short of the final price. Is there a world where you see the Twins handing out a $300 million contract? Correa’s return feels futile. Enter a much more affordable and viable happy medium: Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts, 30, is the oldest of the four premier shortstops on the market. Because of his age and defensive questions, Bogaerts is unlikely to receive a contract on the level of Seager and Correa. The Twins may not be willing to splurge for $330 million, but would they do $100 million less? Among the four top shortstops on the market, Bogaerts has been the best hitter over the last five seasons. He leads Correa, Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson in on-base percentage (.373), slugging percentage (.508), home runs (105) and RBI (400). Adjusting for league and ballpark, Bogaerts’ 133 OPS+ is the best of the bunch. Bogaerts has posted an OPS at 28% or better than the league average for five straight years while appearing in 641 of 708 games (90%). Bogaerts hits for a high average, doesn’t really strike out and has hit 20 or more homers in three of the last five seasons. He's been the face of the Red Sox, already logging over 1,000 games in a Boston uniform. So why won’t he get as big of a payday as Correa? Well, Bogaerts is now into his 30s and isn’t hitting for as much power as he once did. Bogaerts’ slugging percentage has slowly declined since its high-mark in 2019 (.555), with 2022 marking his lowest slug and barrel rate since 2017. Bogaerts hit only 15 homers in 150 games while ranking in just the 35th percentile in average exit velocity. Defensively, Bogaerts has the lowest dWAR of the four since 2018 (1.6). While he saved a career high four runs in 2022, Bogaerts has been a shaky defensive shortstop in his career. Did he turn a corner in 2022? Or was it a true outlier on an otherwise shoddy track record with a weaker-than-average arm? Those questions shouldn’t concern the Twins as much as other clubs. Bogaerts is a perfect segue to Royce Lewis or Brooks Lee , the Twins’ hopeful shortstop(s) of the future. Bogaerts could man short for a year or two before moving to second or third base. Teams shouldn’t sign Bogaerts expecting him to play short for the next decade and in the Twins’ case, that’s OK. Even in a down power year, Bogaerts posted 5.7 b-Wins Above Replacement, tied for seventh most in the American League. Bogaerts hit .307/.377/.456 in arguably the best division in baseball. The 1-2 punch of Luis Arraez and Bogaerts would be a major headache for pitchers at the top of a lineup, with the thump of Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and José Miranda lurking. It’s difficult to pinpoint just how much Bogaerts will receive in free agency and whether his incumbent Red Sox will work hard to keep him. Boston just signed Trevor Story to a $140 million contract, presumably expecting him to play short upon Bogaerts’ departure. Boston was unable to lock Bogaerts up before the season and now it feels more real than ever that this long-standing relationship is coming to an end. The most interesting (and encouraging) aspect of this free agent class is the questionable involvement of the top markets. The Yankees clearly believe top prospect Anthony Volpe is close, while the Dodgers could just re-sign Turner. The Mets have Francisco Lindor on a $341 million deal and the Red Sox may move Story back to his position. The Cubs, Phillies, Braves, and Cardinals are among the likeliest suitors for the top four. A decent contract comp for Bogaerts could be Marcus Semien, who signed a 7-year, $175 million deal with the Texas Rangers last winter. The Twins have clean books and a desire to avoid long contracts, so could they woo Bogaerts with a five-year, $175 million deal ($35 million per year)? It feels more viable than Correa, at least. Bogaerts, like Correa, is represented by Boras. It should be fascinating to see how this winter plays out for both of them, with the Twins a viable suitor for each. What do you think? Is Bogaerts a happy medium for the Twins, in both price and position projection? Comment below! View full article
  7. Luis Arraez set career-highs in games played, hits, and RBI while winning the batting title in 2022. Arraez was the catalyst for the lineup and made his first All-Star Game after a stellar first half. It was a special year for the man deemed “La Regadera” (The Sprinkler). View full video
  8. Luis Arraez set career-highs in games played, hits, and RBI while winning the batting title in 2022. Arraez was the catalyst for the lineup and made his first All-Star Game after a stellar first half. It was a special year for the man deemed “La Regadera” (The Sprinkler).
  9. Jhoan Durán beat out other strong candidates in Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan and Griffin Jax to secure this title. Durán was incredible in his rookie season, progressively improving as the year went on and breaking out as a true shutdown reliever. View full video
  10. Jhoan Durán beat out other strong candidates in Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan and Griffin Jax to secure this title. Durán was incredible in his rookie season, progressively improving as the year went on and breaking out as a true shutdown reliever.
  11. Imagine a pitcher who can touch 104 mph, throws strikes and combines it with elite offspeed stuff. The Twins have never had such an arm… until now. Twins Daily’s 2022 pick for Pitcher of the Year is rookie sensation Jhoan Duran. While the majority of the Twins’ bullpen struggled to close games, Duran was invaluable all season long. He led American League relievers in Win Probability Added (4.59), frequently facing the opponent’s best hitters in the highest leverage spots. Duran’s “clutch” score registered at 1.26, also the highest in the AL. If you looked only at Duran on the surface, you’d crown him as one of the best relievers in baseball. His incredible season was impressive without context. The context, however, is where the magic lies. Duran was a rookie thrust into the tightest spots for a team fighting for the playoffs. He had never pitched in relief before 2022, save for a couple games at Triple-A in 2019 and 2021. After working at the Twins' alternate site in 2020, Duran threw only 16 innings a season ago in St. Paul. He had a 5.06 ERA before an elbow injury shut down his season, putting his future in question. Duran dazzled in spring training and earned a spot on the Opening Day roster. Even the most optimistic believers in Duran’s incredible stuff couldn’t have predicted what came next. Among pitchers who threw at least 250 offerings in 2022, Duran’s four-seamer ranked first in average velocity (100.8). His splitter also paced the league at a ridiculous 96.4 mph. Duran unquestionably has the best raw stuff in Twins history and one of the most electrifying repertoires the game has ever seen. There have been plenty of young pitchers with electric arms but Duran’s command is the separator. His 27.4% strikeout-to-walk rate was tied for 10th among qualified relievers, ahead of Cleveland phenom Emmanuel Clase. Duran throws extremely hard and he throws strikes. That combo led to nearly three Wins Above Replacement at Baseball Reference. Duran worked through early pitch-selection pains and got better as the season went on. Only two AL relievers had a lower ERA than Duran in the second half (1.05), minimum of 25 innings. The rookie was also lights-out in front of the home crowd, posting a 0.83 ERA at Target Field, the lowest in a season in the park’s history. Handing your most pivotal bullpen spot to a rookie can be a risky proposition, given the pressure of that role. Duran was unfazed. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Duran held opponents to a 1-for-25 mark, with the lone hit a single. In high-leverage situations, opponents hit .180 with a .489 OPS. Duran’s pulse is impossible to see. Twins fans were understandably sad to see the team trade Eduardo Escobar at the 2018 deadline. The reward, however, looks to be potentially game-changing. Duran has instantly become one of the game’s best relievers and he’s under contract with the Twins through at least 2027. He’s a joy to watch. HONORABLE MENTIONS Sonny Gray The Twins traded their first-round pick from a year ago for Sonny Gray, who was very good when healthy in his first season as a Twin. Gray had trouble staying healthy and pitching deep into games, but his 3.08 ERA and 3.41 FIP show he’s still a frontline starter. Griffin Jax Also in his first season as a full-time reliever, Griffin Jax enjoyed a massive spike in velocity and effectiveness. Jax posted a solid 3.36 ERA in 65 games, regularly setting up Duran as the second-best reliever in the bullpen. Jax averaged over 95 mph with his four-seamer and produced a 37% whiff rate on his elite, high-spin slider. Caleb Thielbar Caleb Thielbar is another example of why we should trust the expected statistics. A ballooned ERA was backed by much better metrics early in 2022. Thielbar was outstanding in the second half with a 1.50 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 24 innings. The lefty filled in more than admirably for Taylor Rogers. Joe Ryan Joe Ryan set the Twins’ single-season rookie record for strikeouts, backed by a 3.55 ERA in a team-leading 147 innings. Ryan was exceptional down the stretch with a 2.81 ERA over his last nine starts. Still just a rookie, Ryan has been impressive for many of his now 32 starts in the big leagues. View full article
  12. While the majority of the Twins’ bullpen struggled to close games, Duran was invaluable all season long. He led American League relievers in Win Probability Added (4.59), frequently facing the opponent’s best hitters in the highest leverage spots. Duran’s “clutch” score registered at 1.26, also the highest in the AL. If you looked only at Duran on the surface, you’d crown him as one of the best relievers in baseball. His incredible season was impressive without context. The context, however, is where the magic lies. Duran was a rookie thrust into the tightest spots for a team fighting for the playoffs. He had never pitched in relief before 2022, save for a couple games at Triple-A in 2019 and 2021. After working at the Twins' alternate site in 2020, Duran threw only 16 innings a season ago in St. Paul. He had a 5.06 ERA before an elbow injury shut down his season, putting his future in question. Duran dazzled in spring training and earned a spot on the Opening Day roster. Even the most optimistic believers in Duran’s incredible stuff couldn’t have predicted what came next. Among pitchers who threw at least 250 offerings in 2022, Duran’s four-seamer ranked first in average velocity (100.8). His splitter also paced the league at a ridiculous 96.4 mph. Duran unquestionably has the best raw stuff in Twins history and one of the most electrifying repertoires the game has ever seen. There have been plenty of young pitchers with electric arms but Duran’s command is the separator. His 27.4% strikeout-to-walk rate was tied for 10th among qualified relievers, ahead of Cleveland phenom Emmanuel Clase. Duran throws extremely hard and he throws strikes. That combo led to nearly three Wins Above Replacement at Baseball Reference. Duran worked through early pitch-selection pains and got better as the season went on. Only two AL relievers had a lower ERA than Duran in the second half (1.05), minimum of 25 innings. The rookie was also lights-out in front of the home crowd, posting a 0.83 ERA at Target Field, the lowest in a season in the park’s history. Handing your most pivotal bullpen spot to a rookie can be a risky proposition, given the pressure of that role. Duran was unfazed. With two outs and runners in scoring position, Duran held opponents to a 1-for-25 mark, with the lone hit a single. In high-leverage situations, opponents hit .180 with a .489 OPS. Duran’s pulse is impossible to see. Twins fans were understandably sad to see the team trade Eduardo Escobar at the 2018 deadline. The reward, however, looks to be potentially game-changing. Duran has instantly become one of the game’s best relievers and he’s under contract with the Twins through at least 2027. He’s a joy to watch. HONORABLE MENTIONS Sonny Gray The Twins traded their first-round pick from a year ago for Sonny Gray, who was very good when healthy in his first season as a Twin. Gray had trouble staying healthy and pitching deep into games, but his 3.08 ERA and 3.41 FIP show he’s still a frontline starter. Griffin Jax Also in his first season as a full-time reliever, Griffin Jax enjoyed a massive spike in velocity and effectiveness. Jax posted a solid 3.36 ERA in 65 games, regularly setting up Duran as the second-best reliever in the bullpen. Jax averaged over 95 mph with his four-seamer and produced a 37% whiff rate on his elite, high-spin slider. Caleb Thielbar Caleb Thielbar is another example of why we should trust the expected statistics. A ballooned ERA was backed by much better metrics early in 2022. Thielbar was outstanding in the second half with a 1.50 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 24 innings. The lefty filled in more than admirably for Taylor Rogers. Joe Ryan Joe Ryan set the Twins’ single-season rookie record for strikeouts, backed by a 3.55 ERA in a team-leading 147 innings. Ryan was exceptional down the stretch with a 2.81 ERA over his last nine starts. Still just a rookie, Ryan has been impressive for many of his now 32 starts in the big leagues.
  13. After a brief stint in the majors in 2021, Nick Gordon broke out completely in 2022. His OPS increased by nearly 100 points, thanks to an emergence of some impressive raw power. Once a question to remain on the 40-man, Gordon should have a prominent role in 2023 and beyond. View full video
  14. After a brief stint in the majors in 2021, Nick Gordon broke out completely in 2022. His OPS increased by nearly 100 points, thanks to an emergence of some impressive raw power. Once a question to remain on the 40-man, Gordon should have a prominent role in 2023 and beyond.
  15. Jhoan Duran's 2022 season is incredible on the surface; a 1.86 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 57 appearances. What makes it even more magical is the context. Duran was a rookie and worked almost exclusively in high-leverage spots right out of the gate. He's a staple in the Twins' bullpen for many years to come. View full video
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