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Ted Schwerzler

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  1. Going into the offseason the Minnesota Twins have just one catcher on their 40-man roster. With little other help immediately seen throughout the system, it’s a position needing to be addressed this winter. The question for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine may be just how dire is the issue? Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports Last offseason the Twins traded Silver Slugger Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers. Injury had been his bugaboo in recent seasons, and he was ultimately shut down with Texas to undergo an arm procedure. In trading Josh Donaldson and Ben Rortvedt to the New York Yankees, Minnesota opted to pair Ryan Jeffers with former standout Gary Sanchez. It did not go well. While a timeshare was probably somewhat expected, Jeffers ultimately could’ve been given the keys to the kingdom. Unfortunately, he dealt with injury and ineffectiveness, playing only 67 games and posting an 86 OPS+. Looking ahead to 2023, it’s basically Jeffers or bust until Minnesota’s front office decides otherwise. The 2018 2nd-round pick has to show he’s capable of that 119 OPS+ he posted across his first 26 games in the majors. It’s hard to make much of 2022 for Jeffers given how truncated the action was. He bottomed out with a .550 OPS through his first 39 games, but then on June 8 started a little turnaround. In his next 21 games, through July 14, Jeffers slashed .286/.342/.529 (.871) with nine extra-base hits, including four home runs. In a year in which his power had looked nonexistent, it finally arrived at that point. Then the injury happened. Returning to a fading team in late September, Jeffers followed up a successful rehab in St. Paul by playing in just seven more games. It wasn't enough to settle in, and nothing about his production provided answers for the year ahead. Gone are Sanchez and Sandy Leon, leaving only Jeffers to assume time. Another talent will be brought in to work alongside him, but the level of that player should say plenty as to where Minnesota’s front office believes their backstop situation is. It was this front office that took a risk on Jeffers in the draft. Despite some reports and evaluations by other organizations that he may never have the defensive chops behind the plate, Minnesota took him on as a bat-first prospect. We have now seen a strong defender emerge, and it’s largely been the bat that has lagged behind. That alone should give hope to an organization relying on analysis from when Jeffers was originally drafted. For this pitching staff to be successful, Jeffers is the type of catcher they’d prefer working with. More often than not Sanchez had them working against a stacked deck, and Leon was leaned on heavily down the stretch. The front office could opt for a veteran backup in the form of Omar Narvaez, or they could make a big splash and land a starting type akin to Sean Murphy or Danny Jansen. There are ways for the roster to work with either path, but plenty will be said about the current prognosis of Jeffers in relation to whatever option they choose. There was a time that Jeffers and Garver held down the position almost as well as peak Joe Mauer did. Minnesota hasn’t had that consistency since the future Hall of Famer moved to first base, however, and they’ll be looking for a much better outcome from behind the dish in 2023. View full article
  2. Last offseason the Twins traded Silver Slugger Mitch Garver to the Texas Rangers. Injury had been his bugaboo in recent seasons, and he was ultimately shut down with Texas to undergo an arm procedure. In trading Josh Donaldson and Ben Rortvedt to the New York Yankees, Minnesota opted to pair Ryan Jeffers with former standout Gary Sanchez. It did not go well. While a timeshare was probably somewhat expected, Jeffers ultimately could’ve been given the keys to the kingdom. Unfortunately, he dealt with injury and ineffectiveness, playing only 67 games and posting an 86 OPS+. Looking ahead to 2023, it’s basically Jeffers or bust until Minnesota’s front office decides otherwise. The 2018 2nd-round pick has to show he’s capable of that 119 OPS+ he posted across his first 26 games in the majors. It’s hard to make much of 2022 for Jeffers given how truncated the action was. He bottomed out with a .550 OPS through his first 39 games, but then on June 8 started a little turnaround. In his next 21 games, through July 14, Jeffers slashed .286/.342/.529 (.871) with nine extra-base hits, including four home runs. In a year in which his power had looked nonexistent, it finally arrived at that point. Then the injury happened. Returning to a fading team in late September, Jeffers followed up a successful rehab in St. Paul by playing in just seven more games. It wasn't enough to settle in, and nothing about his production provided answers for the year ahead. Gone are Sanchez and Sandy Leon, leaving only Jeffers to assume time. Another talent will be brought in to work alongside him, but the level of that player should say plenty as to where Minnesota’s front office believes their backstop situation is. It was this front office that took a risk on Jeffers in the draft. Despite some reports and evaluations by other organizations that he may never have the defensive chops behind the plate, Minnesota took him on as a bat-first prospect. We have now seen a strong defender emerge, and it’s largely been the bat that has lagged behind. That alone should give hope to an organization relying on analysis from when Jeffers was originally drafted. For this pitching staff to be successful, Jeffers is the type of catcher they’d prefer working with. More often than not Sanchez had them working against a stacked deck, and Leon was leaned on heavily down the stretch. The front office could opt for a veteran backup in the form of Omar Narvaez, or they could make a big splash and land a starting type akin to Sean Murphy or Danny Jansen. There are ways for the roster to work with either path, but plenty will be said about the current prognosis of Jeffers in relation to whatever option they choose. There was a time that Jeffers and Garver held down the position almost as well as peak Joe Mauer did. Minnesota hasn’t had that consistency since the future Hall of Famer moved to first base, however, and they’ll be looking for a much better outcome from behind the dish in 2023.
  3. To be fair, he "dragged" himself from early May last year and was an MVP player while out there.
  4. Last November, prior to the MLB owners locking out their players and ultimately delaying the 2022 season, the Minnesota Twins paid Byron Buxton. It was a necessary move that would always come with additional questions. Now coming off an up-and-down 2022 season, what defines his success in 2023? Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports There was truly never a point in which the Minnesota Twins could afford not to pay Byron Buxton. The only reason they had an opportunity to get a superstar talent for only $100 million is because of his injuries. The organization was given the opportunity to cash in on a steep discount, and they were able to do so without having to bid against anyone else. Signed to the seven-year extension, Buxton and his family were able to settle in knowing that Minnesota would remain home. On the field that produced an outcome totaling 92 games played and an .833 OPS. His 135 OPS+ made it the fourth straight season in which he’s been above league average offensively. Add in his continued otherworldly defense and Minnesota has to be happy with what they got in year one. Ultimately though, as has been the case throughout his career, Buxton’s 2022 campaign was marred by a single injury. After going down on the bases in Fenway Park, his knee never recovered from the early-season incident. He routinely needed fluid drained from his knee, and while there was concern regarding a possible infection, a shutdown wound up coming near the tail end of the season. Now with surgery behind him, what does a successful 2023 look like? Talking with him during the Twins unveiling of their new uniforms, Buxton was upbeat regarding his 2022 season. While he would have liked to play more, he knows how competitive he was when available, and did point to his 92 games being the most he’s played in years (since 2017 to be exact). Asking someone like Buxton to dial back intensity would be effectively robbing part of their competitive advantage, and it’s certainly not an exercise the Twins appear set on exploring. Bringing in new head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta, Minnesota is hoping that there are ways to keep more guys on the field. After dealing with such a rash of injuries last season, a goal of prevention and strength training will certainly be implemented during the offseason. For Buxton though, it’s about getting back out there. Knowing how important his presence is on the field, Buxton is looking forward to an offseason that has him continuing to progress through the necessary steps toward a return. Confidence has never been something the Twins star has lacked and playing at an MVP level early on last season, even while hurt, should continue to drive his performance in 2023 and beyond. At this point in his career, Minnesota fans have seen the production. There’s no question as to whether Buxton is a star anymore, that’s a given. Success may come in the form of availability, and while that’s not something he can control entirely, seeing that 140 game total from 2017 again should result in a whole host of MVP votes when the dust settles. For the Twins, that type of availability may be enough for the first postseason victory in decades as well. View full article
  5. There was truly never a point in which the Minnesota Twins could afford not to pay Byron Buxton. The only reason they had an opportunity to get a superstar talent for only $100 million is because of his injuries. The organization was given the opportunity to cash in on a steep discount, and they were able to do so without having to bid against anyone else. Signed to the seven-year extension, Buxton and his family were able to settle in knowing that Minnesota would remain home. On the field that produced an outcome totaling 92 games played and an .833 OPS. His 135 OPS+ made it the fourth straight season in which he’s been above league average offensively. Add in his continued otherworldly defense and Minnesota has to be happy with what they got in year one. Ultimately though, as has been the case throughout his career, Buxton’s 2022 campaign was marred by a single injury. After going down on the bases in Fenway Park, his knee never recovered from the early-season incident. He routinely needed fluid drained from his knee, and while there was concern regarding a possible infection, a shutdown wound up coming near the tail end of the season. Now with surgery behind him, what does a successful 2023 look like? Talking with him during the Twins unveiling of their new uniforms, Buxton was upbeat regarding his 2022 season. While he would have liked to play more, he knows how competitive he was when available, and did point to his 92 games being the most he’s played in years (since 2017 to be exact). Asking someone like Buxton to dial back intensity would be effectively robbing part of their competitive advantage, and it’s certainly not an exercise the Twins appear set on exploring. Bringing in new head athletic trainer Nick Paparesta, Minnesota is hoping that there are ways to keep more guys on the field. After dealing with such a rash of injuries last season, a goal of prevention and strength training will certainly be implemented during the offseason. For Buxton though, it’s about getting back out there. Knowing how important his presence is on the field, Buxton is looking forward to an offseason that has him continuing to progress through the necessary steps toward a return. Confidence has never been something the Twins star has lacked and playing at an MVP level early on last season, even while hurt, should continue to drive his performance in 2023 and beyond. At this point in his career, Minnesota fans have seen the production. There’s no question as to whether Buxton is a star anymore, that’s a given. Success may come in the form of availability, and while that’s not something he can control entirely, seeing that 140 game total from 2017 again should result in a whole host of MVP votes when the dust settles. For the Twins, that type of availability may be enough for the first postseason victory in decades as well.
  6. In 2023 the Minnesota Twins will be largely reliant on a handful of former top prospects that have graduated to positions of weight on the major league roster. Maybe no one in that group will be more important than the expected first basemen, Alex Kirilloff. Is this the year it finally comes together? Image courtesy of © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Over the past few seasons we have heard plenty about Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach, Jose Miranda, and Alex Kirilloff. High-round picks and gaudy draft grades, each of them has developed plenty of fanfare while producing on the farm. Kirilloff was the first of the bunch to reach the big leagues, making his debut in 2020 during the postseason when Josh Donaldson left a void in Rocco Baldelli’s lineup. In the two full seasons since, Kirilloff has done, little playing just 104 games with a career .694 OPS. Is this the season that finally sees it come together? Last year Kirilloff began the season as Minnesota’s Opening Day left fielder. Miguel Sano was still on the roster and had yet to go through his handful of completely ineffective games. Kirilloff was going to figure prominently into the plans at first base, but there was no reason to limit his athleticism until absolutely necessary. We know now that Sano didn’t last long for the Twins in 2022, and Kirilloff spent almost half of his time in the big leagues last year playing first base. Like Sano however, Kirilloff saw his production tail off in dealing with a wrist injury and it was ultimately a combination of Miranda and Luis Arraez that needed to man an abandoned position. With the hope of health in the year ahead, Minnesota is counting on Kirilloff to be who he showed he was on the farm. After a nagging wrist injury sapped Kirilloff’s power in 2021 and caused him to play just 59 games for Minnesota, he underwent offseason surgery to address the problem. The slow start in 2022 eventually led to a demotion to Triple-A St. Paul in hopes of figuring out a way to play through the injury effectively. The former first round pick noted that he had to shut down his offseason program due to discomfort, and he truly never worked his way back to 100% coming into the year. That was a gut-punch knowing what Minnesota needed from him, and led to an entirely unsurprising result when he managed just 45 games in 2022. This offseason Kirilloff will again be coming back from surgery, but this time he’s had a bone in his wrist shaved down in hopes of alleviating pain and providing a more realistic path forward. In over 316 minor league games the former top prospect posted an .895 OPS. While that doesn’t directly correlate to Major League success, the hope has always been that the true production would be somewhat similar. Kirilloff was shut down earlier in 2022 and wound up having surgery in August. With more of a runway to work himself back into baseball activities, the hope would be that Minnesota returns 100% of the player that they counted on when calling him up for the 2020 postseason. Kirilloff too has to be hoping for an ability to regain the form that saw him as the darling of so many prospect lists. A year ago the Minnesota Twins experienced some of the most substantial stays on the injured list across all of baseball. With a new head athletic trainer in the fold, there has to have been some level of communication with expected producers even in the early stages of Nick Paparesta’s time with the club. Connecting with Kirilloff and making sure the plan for the offseason is going smoothly is a must. The Twins can’t get to Spring Training and have uncertainty, and it would be catastrophic to hear initial reports of a shutdown or lack of healing come the regular season for the second year in a row. Now 25-years-old, it’s not as though Kirilloff’s injury history is a death sentence, but it’s becoming increasingly necessary to see a substantial level of performance at the highest level. The Twins are counting on him in the season ahead, and you can bet he’s itching to prove he belongs as well. View full article
  7. Over the past few seasons we have heard plenty about Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach, Jose Miranda, and Alex Kirilloff. High-round picks and gaudy draft grades, each of them has developed plenty of fanfare while producing on the farm. Kirilloff was the first of the bunch to reach the big leagues, making his debut in 2020 during the postseason when Josh Donaldson left a void in Rocco Baldelli’s lineup. In the two full seasons since, Kirilloff has done, little playing just 104 games with a career .694 OPS. Is this the season that finally sees it come together? Last year Kirilloff began the season as Minnesota’s Opening Day left fielder. Miguel Sano was still on the roster and had yet to go through his handful of completely ineffective games. Kirilloff was going to figure prominently into the plans at first base, but there was no reason to limit his athleticism until absolutely necessary. We know now that Sano didn’t last long for the Twins in 2022, and Kirilloff spent almost half of his time in the big leagues last year playing first base. Like Sano however, Kirilloff saw his production tail off in dealing with a wrist injury and it was ultimately a combination of Miranda and Luis Arraez that needed to man an abandoned position. With the hope of health in the year ahead, Minnesota is counting on Kirilloff to be who he showed he was on the farm. After a nagging wrist injury sapped Kirilloff’s power in 2021 and caused him to play just 59 games for Minnesota, he underwent offseason surgery to address the problem. The slow start in 2022 eventually led to a demotion to Triple-A St. Paul in hopes of figuring out a way to play through the injury effectively. The former first round pick noted that he had to shut down his offseason program due to discomfort, and he truly never worked his way back to 100% coming into the year. That was a gut-punch knowing what Minnesota needed from him, and led to an entirely unsurprising result when he managed just 45 games in 2022. This offseason Kirilloff will again be coming back from surgery, but this time he’s had a bone in his wrist shaved down in hopes of alleviating pain and providing a more realistic path forward. In over 316 minor league games the former top prospect posted an .895 OPS. While that doesn’t directly correlate to Major League success, the hope has always been that the true production would be somewhat similar. Kirilloff was shut down earlier in 2022 and wound up having surgery in August. With more of a runway to work himself back into baseball activities, the hope would be that Minnesota returns 100% of the player that they counted on when calling him up for the 2020 postseason. Kirilloff too has to be hoping for an ability to regain the form that saw him as the darling of so many prospect lists. A year ago the Minnesota Twins experienced some of the most substantial stays on the injured list across all of baseball. With a new head athletic trainer in the fold, there has to have been some level of communication with expected producers even in the early stages of Nick Paparesta’s time with the club. Connecting with Kirilloff and making sure the plan for the offseason is going smoothly is a must. The Twins can’t get to Spring Training and have uncertainty, and it would be catastrophic to hear initial reports of a shutdown or lack of healing come the regular season for the second year in a row. Now 25-years-old, it’s not as though Kirilloff’s injury history is a death sentence, but it’s becoming increasingly necessary to see a substantial level of performance at the highest level. The Twins are counting on him in the season ahead, and you can bet he’s itching to prove he belongs as well.
  8. In 2022 the Minnesota Twins showed off a handful of their young talent. Some were by way of design, while others were out of necessity in response to injury. Arguably no one forced their way into action more than infielder Jose Miranda. In 2023, he’s a lock for the roster and now a prominent fixture. Are the Twins right in sticking him at the third base? Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports Throughout the majority of his minor league career, Minnesota prospect Jose Miranda has played at third base. When he was eventually promoted to the big leagues in early 2022, it came with the caveat that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had acquired veteran Gio Urshela to be Rocco Baldelli’s third basemen. When Alex Kirilloff got hurt and Miguel Sano went down, there was some thought that Urshela could slide across the diamond, but instead it was Miranda who saw the bulk of his playing time there. Although the Twins utilized both Miranda and Luis Arraez plenty at first base in 2022, the dealing of Urshela to the Los Angeles Angels suggests that the young Puerto Rican is destined to lock down the hot corner in 2023. How much should fans be worried about that reality? The unfortunate truth for Minnesota is that their infield defense has not been good the past couple of seasons. In 2022, it was particularly bad. Minnesota fared fine as a whole defensively thanks to a strong outfield. They were held together on the dirt by superstar Carlos Correa, but the likes of Urshela, Arraez, Miranda, and Jorge Polanco were often culprits holding the club back. Specifically looking at Miranda, he was what one may call a butcher at first base. Playing nearly 600 innings at first last season, Miranda posted an awful -6 defensive runs saved and Statcast agreed, attributing him a -4 outs above average number. Among 29 players to record at least 550 innings at first base last season, only the Rangers Nathaniel Lowe posted a lower DRS number. OAA had Miranda a bit better, but 20th still placed him in the bottom third of the league. At third base, in a much smaller sample size, Miranda fared better. He recorded just under 250 innings at the hot corner and was neutral by both DRS and OAA on the season. That could be a positive thing, but small samples are also extremely difficult to read into when considering defensive metrics. Now shifting across the diamond, Miranda will look to settle back into a role he grew familiar with on the farm. One caveat to that is he’ll be doing so alongside someone other than Correa (more than likely). Needing to acclimate to a new teammate, and their range, he’ll also be working in a season where the shift is banned for the first time. Positioning as a whole will be an entirely new exercise for Minnesota. The Statcast data for Miranda is largely unhelpful at third base. He never reached the minimum threshold for arm strength calculations, and while he was credited with the greatest negative OAA value going towards third base, it was miniscule at best. We won’t know what Miranda is at third until he has more time to settle in there, but we can hope that the missteps at first base were largely related to learning a new position on the fly. It would be disappointing to see a 24-year-old locked into first base so soon, and seeing him produce defensively at third base would help to calm those notions. Minnesota has options at first, and they are now counting on Miranda to be the guy at third. Here’s to hoping he can rise to the occasion. View full article
  9. Throughout the majority of his minor league career, Minnesota prospect Jose Miranda has played at third base. When he was eventually promoted to the big leagues in early 2022, it came with the caveat that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had acquired veteran Gio Urshela to be Rocco Baldelli’s third basemen. When Alex Kirilloff got hurt and Miguel Sano went down, there was some thought that Urshela could slide across the diamond, but instead it was Miranda who saw the bulk of his playing time there. Although the Twins utilized both Miranda and Luis Arraez plenty at first base in 2022, the dealing of Urshela to the Los Angeles Angels suggests that the young Puerto Rican is destined to lock down the hot corner in 2023. How much should fans be worried about that reality? The unfortunate truth for Minnesota is that their infield defense has not been good the past couple of seasons. In 2022, it was particularly bad. Minnesota fared fine as a whole defensively thanks to a strong outfield. They were held together on the dirt by superstar Carlos Correa, but the likes of Urshela, Arraez, Miranda, and Jorge Polanco were often culprits holding the club back. Specifically looking at Miranda, he was what one may call a butcher at first base. Playing nearly 600 innings at first last season, Miranda posted an awful -6 defensive runs saved and Statcast agreed, attributing him a -4 outs above average number. Among 29 players to record at least 550 innings at first base last season, only the Rangers Nathaniel Lowe posted a lower DRS number. OAA had Miranda a bit better, but 20th still placed him in the bottom third of the league. At third base, in a much smaller sample size, Miranda fared better. He recorded just under 250 innings at the hot corner and was neutral by both DRS and OAA on the season. That could be a positive thing, but small samples are also extremely difficult to read into when considering defensive metrics. Now shifting across the diamond, Miranda will look to settle back into a role he grew familiar with on the farm. One caveat to that is he’ll be doing so alongside someone other than Correa (more than likely). Needing to acclimate to a new teammate, and their range, he’ll also be working in a season where the shift is banned for the first time. Positioning as a whole will be an entirely new exercise for Minnesota. The Statcast data for Miranda is largely unhelpful at third base. He never reached the minimum threshold for arm strength calculations, and while he was credited with the greatest negative OAA value going towards third base, it was miniscule at best. We won’t know what Miranda is at third until he has more time to settle in there, but we can hope that the missteps at first base were largely related to learning a new position on the fly. It would be disappointing to see a 24-year-old locked into first base so soon, and seeing him produce defensively at third base would help to calm those notions. Minnesota has options at first, and they are now counting on Miranda to be the guy at third. Here’s to hoping he can rise to the occasion.
  10. As we go into the final days of November, and soon turn the page on 2022, it’s time to look back over the past season and give thanks. While the 2022 Minnesota Twins season didn’t go the way anyone would have hoped, there was plenty to be thankful for during a season of Thanksgiving. Image courtesy of © Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports Coming off such an uncompetitive 2021 Major League Baseball season, there’s no doubt that Rocco Baldelli and the Twins front office hoped to turn the page in 2022. For a matter of months it looked like they would be the darling of a bad division, but ultimately, injury and poor performance caught up to them. When looking back at the year that was, there was still plenty of things to be excited and thankful for. In no particular order, here’s five things that Twins fans can give thanks for as they cut into their turkey this week: Byron Buxton Got Paid Despite an offseason of uncertainty, and lockout uncertainty, the Minnesota Twins did what they had to and paid Byron Buxton. Sure, he’s injured a whole lot. Sure, you never know when he’s going to miss a boatload of games. There’s also the reality that when he’s on the field he’s among the best players in the entire sport. His 92 games in 2022 were the most he’s played in a season since 2017, and despite injuring his knee early on and having to play through what ultimately required surgery, he was an MVP candidate for much of the campaign. Buxton proved his worth again, and though all parties are hoping he can be on the field more, the front office absolutely did the right thing in getting a dynamic talent at a discount. Carlos Correa Was Fun Knowing that Minnesota had money to spend and replacing Andrelton Simmons at shortstop was a must, there was plenty of late spring excitement regarding Trevor Story. Then in the middle of the night Derek Falvey and Thad Levine struck a deal with Scott Boras client Carlos Correa. It was a three-year deal that was never going to matter beyond year one. Sure, it would be great if the parties came together for a long term pact this offseason, but even if they don’t, we’ll always remember the time that the Twins signed the best free agent available in a given season. Royce Lewis Appeared From the moment that Royce Lewis was the Minnesota Twins number one overall draft pick, there was hope he would become a superstar. He dealt with injuries and a pandemic that set him back while in the minors, but he returned from a torn ACL to light the farm system on fire. When Correa went down, he forced the organization’s hand. He was so good in fact, that the Twins needed to reposition him to keep him in the lineup. A second flukey ACL injury was certainly suboptimal, but we saw the talent that has been anticipated all along. He’ll be back at some point in 2023, and if the rehab goes smoothly, Minnesota certainly has a star in the making. Jose Miranda Cemented His Performance There hasn’t been a minor league season as good as Miranda had in 2021 for Minnesota in quite some time. His .973 OPS between Double and Triple-A was something to behold. Even with that, he didn’t crack the Opening Day roster. Once he was given an opportunity at the big leagues, Miranda was determined not to go back. His 116 OPS+ wasn’t otherworldly in 2022, but the slash line was even gaudier before a late season swoon. The rookie still managed to blast 15 homers in his first 125 Major League games, and he’ll be an integral part of the 2023 roster. Jhoan Duran Lights It Up, Literally You can go back as far as you’d like in Minnesota Twins history, and you won’t find a pitcher throwing triple-digits consistently. Not expected to make the Opening Day roster, Duran not only did that, but also emerged as the best arm in Minnesota’s pen and one of the best across baseball. He certainly could’ve been voted an All-Star as a rookie, and should expect to see more than a few of those games during his career. While the abnormal sprinkler is a pitch that drew plenty of discussion, his ridiculous fastball is what you show up for. He earned his own entrance music at Target Field, and is must-watch baseball every time he steps on the mound. What else would you include in your list? What are you most thankful for as a Twins fan over the past year? View full article
  11. Coming off such an uncompetitive 2021 Major League Baseball season, there’s no doubt that Rocco Baldelli and the Twins front office hoped to turn the page in 2022. For a matter of months it looked like they would be the darling of a bad division, but ultimately, injury and poor performance caught up to them. When looking back at the year that was, there was still plenty of things to be excited and thankful for. In no particular order, here’s five things that Twins fans can give thanks for as they cut into their turkey this week: Byron Buxton Got Paid Despite an offseason of uncertainty, and lockout uncertainty, the Minnesota Twins did what they had to and paid Byron Buxton. Sure, he’s injured a whole lot. Sure, you never know when he’s going to miss a boatload of games. There’s also the reality that when he’s on the field he’s among the best players in the entire sport. His 92 games in 2022 were the most he’s played in a season since 2017, and despite injuring his knee early on and having to play through what ultimately required surgery, he was an MVP candidate for much of the campaign. Buxton proved his worth again, and though all parties are hoping he can be on the field more, the front office absolutely did the right thing in getting a dynamic talent at a discount. Carlos Correa Was Fun Knowing that Minnesota had money to spend and replacing Andrelton Simmons at shortstop was a must, there was plenty of late spring excitement regarding Trevor Story. Then in the middle of the night Derek Falvey and Thad Levine struck a deal with Scott Boras client Carlos Correa. It was a three-year deal that was never going to matter beyond year one. Sure, it would be great if the parties came together for a long term pact this offseason, but even if they don’t, we’ll always remember the time that the Twins signed the best free agent available in a given season. Royce Lewis Appeared From the moment that Royce Lewis was the Minnesota Twins number one overall draft pick, there was hope he would become a superstar. He dealt with injuries and a pandemic that set him back while in the minors, but he returned from a torn ACL to light the farm system on fire. When Correa went down, he forced the organization’s hand. He was so good in fact, that the Twins needed to reposition him to keep him in the lineup. A second flukey ACL injury was certainly suboptimal, but we saw the talent that has been anticipated all along. He’ll be back at some point in 2023, and if the rehab goes smoothly, Minnesota certainly has a star in the making. Jose Miranda Cemented His Performance There hasn’t been a minor league season as good as Miranda had in 2021 for Minnesota in quite some time. His .973 OPS between Double and Triple-A was something to behold. Even with that, he didn’t crack the Opening Day roster. Once he was given an opportunity at the big leagues, Miranda was determined not to go back. His 116 OPS+ wasn’t otherworldly in 2022, but the slash line was even gaudier before a late season swoon. The rookie still managed to blast 15 homers in his first 125 Major League games, and he’ll be an integral part of the 2023 roster. Jhoan Duran Lights It Up, Literally You can go back as far as you’d like in Minnesota Twins history, and you won’t find a pitcher throwing triple-digits consistently. Not expected to make the Opening Day roster, Duran not only did that, but also emerged as the best arm in Minnesota’s pen and one of the best across baseball. He certainly could’ve been voted an All-Star as a rookie, and should expect to see more than a few of those games during his career. While the abnormal sprinkler is a pitch that drew plenty of discussion, his ridiculous fastball is what you show up for. He earned his own entrance music at Target Field, and is must-watch baseball every time he steps on the mound. What else would you include in your list? What are you most thankful for as a Twins fan over the past year?
  12. Realistically the Minnesota Twins have enough starters to fill out their starting rotation in 2023. That’s something they haven’t been able to say in recent seasons. While they could use another top-tier arm, the reality is they may need to count on depth much more than you’d like behind the top five. Image courtesy of © Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports Rocco Baldelli has to be feeling good about having some starting pitchers put down in ink. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine haven’t stocked the Minnesota rotation with a high-level of talent in recent years, largely opting for upside plays. Now the Twins have at least a few arms that should be seen as high-level talent, but to what extent can any of the arms Minnesota employs be counted on? Sonny Gray It’s become a trend for starting pitchers to contribute less innings in recent seasons. Bullpens have emerged as a force late in games, and that’s going to limit the length for any starting arm. That said, Gray threw just 119 2/3 innings during his first year with the Twins, his lowest total of his career. He dealt with hamstring problems throughout the year, and while he did look like a staff ace at times, he was also unavailable in key moments. Tyler Mahle Acquired at the trade deadline from the Cincinnati Reds, Mahle has the makings of a true ace. His underlying metrics are eye-popping, and seeing him take a step forward is hardly a lofty expectation. He did deal with shoulder issues earlier in the summer however, and they then popped up again with Minnesota. The Twins got just 16 1/3 innings from their newly acquired talent, and he couldn’t make it through more than two innings in his final outing of the season. He’d been relatively healthy prior to 2022, but shoulder issues are never good for a pitcher. Kenta Maeda The Twins got a near-Cy Young winner in 2020 when Maeda posted a 2.70 ERA during the truncated season. He then threw just over 100 innings in 2021 and posted a 4.66 ERA. Having undergone Tommy John surgery and not making it back for 2022, it will have been nearly two years since Maeda last pitched in a big league game. Sure, there’s lots to like here and the track record on UCL surgeries isn’t what it once was, but Maeda will be 35 next season and the question marks couldn’t be larger. Joe Ryan You can certainly make the argument that there’s questions as to whether Ryan can handle good lineups as he struggled against stiff competition for most of 2022. What is much more certain is that the former Tampa Bay Rays prospect appears to be a pillar of health. He has remained a constant on the field since becoming a big leaguer, and while he’s probably more a number three starter than anything else, you can count on him to take the ball every fifth day. Bailey Ober Minnesota came up with some found money in developing Ober as a strong starter despite being a 12th round draft pick. He’s never pitched more than 92 1/3 innings during any pro season however, and has consistently been able to give much less. Injuries have been a consistent theme during the course of his career, and while effective, he’s largely been unavailable. Josh Winder Similar to Ober, Winder has only sparingly shown an ability to be available. He threw 125 2/3 innings during his first full professional season in 2019, and then failed to top 90 innings in either of the two seasons since. Winder is a good depth arm that can back up the end of a good rotation, but he’s certainly a question mark to remain healthy. Chris Paddack Acquired from the San Diego Padres in the Taylor Rogers trade, it was Paddack that drew Minnesota’s attention more than Emilio Pagan. Unfortunately he was available for a depressed price because of his injury concern. He’s now undergone a second Tommy John surgery, and won’t be back until mid-summer at the earliest. He looked sharp in his limited exposure for Minnesota, but counting on him in any real capacity is tough. Beyond those names there’s the group including Simeon Woods Richardson and Louie Varland. The Twins hope to have some of their pipeline produce in 2023 and beyond. Maybe Jordan Balazovic can find whatever he lost a season ago, and maybe there’s another guy or two that pop up to become relevant. The reality is, while Minnesota needs a top-tier arm to start a playoff game, they probably need one simply because of the uncertainty that surrounds who will be available, and for how long, in 2023. View full article
  13. Rocco Baldelli has to be feeling good about having some starting pitchers put down in ink. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine haven’t stocked the Minnesota rotation with a high-level of talent in recent years, largely opting for upside plays. Now the Twins have at least a few arms that should be seen as high-level talent, but to what extent can any of the arms Minnesota employs be counted on? Sonny Gray It’s become a trend for starting pitchers to contribute less innings in recent seasons. Bullpens have emerged as a force late in games, and that’s going to limit the length for any starting arm. That said, Gray threw just 119 2/3 innings during his first year with the Twins, his lowest total of his career. He dealt with hamstring problems throughout the year, and while he did look like a staff ace at times, he was also unavailable in key moments. Tyler Mahle Acquired at the trade deadline from the Cincinnati Reds, Mahle has the makings of a true ace. His underlying metrics are eye-popping, and seeing him take a step forward is hardly a lofty expectation. He did deal with shoulder issues earlier in the summer however, and they then popped up again with Minnesota. The Twins got just 16 1/3 innings from their newly acquired talent, and he couldn’t make it through more than two innings in his final outing of the season. He’d been relatively healthy prior to 2022, but shoulder issues are never good for a pitcher. Kenta Maeda The Twins got a near-Cy Young winner in 2020 when Maeda posted a 2.70 ERA during the truncated season. He then threw just over 100 innings in 2021 and posted a 4.66 ERA. Having undergone Tommy John surgery and not making it back for 2022, it will have been nearly two years since Maeda last pitched in a big league game. Sure, there’s lots to like here and the track record on UCL surgeries isn’t what it once was, but Maeda will be 35 next season and the question marks couldn’t be larger. Joe Ryan You can certainly make the argument that there’s questions as to whether Ryan can handle good lineups as he struggled against stiff competition for most of 2022. What is much more certain is that the former Tampa Bay Rays prospect appears to be a pillar of health. He has remained a constant on the field since becoming a big leaguer, and while he’s probably more a number three starter than anything else, you can count on him to take the ball every fifth day. Bailey Ober Minnesota came up with some found money in developing Ober as a strong starter despite being a 12th round draft pick. He’s never pitched more than 92 1/3 innings during any pro season however, and has consistently been able to give much less. Injuries have been a consistent theme during the course of his career, and while effective, he’s largely been unavailable. Josh Winder Similar to Ober, Winder has only sparingly shown an ability to be available. He threw 125 2/3 innings during his first full professional season in 2019, and then failed to top 90 innings in either of the two seasons since. Winder is a good depth arm that can back up the end of a good rotation, but he’s certainly a question mark to remain healthy. Chris Paddack Acquired from the San Diego Padres in the Taylor Rogers trade, it was Paddack that drew Minnesota’s attention more than Emilio Pagan. Unfortunately he was available for a depressed price because of his injury concern. He’s now undergone a second Tommy John surgery, and won’t be back until mid-summer at the earliest. He looked sharp in his limited exposure for Minnesota, but counting on him in any real capacity is tough. Beyond those names there’s the group including Simeon Woods Richardson and Louie Varland. The Twins hope to have some of their pipeline produce in 2023 and beyond. Maybe Jordan Balazovic can find whatever he lost a season ago, and maybe there’s another guy or two that pop up to become relevant. The reality is, while Minnesota needs a top-tier arm to start a playoff game, they probably need one simply because of the uncertainty that surrounds who will be available, and for how long, in 2023.
  14. The Minnesota Twins are currently working towards filling out their Opening Day roster for 2023, and while there’s plenty of question as to who the players will be, a focus must be in addressing defensive woes. A few seasons ago this club had one of the better fielding teams in baseball. That identity was all but lost in 2022, and injuries or otherwise, it must be found again. Image courtesy of © Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports There’s no denying that Minnesota’s front office is currently navigating a way forward without Gio Urshela, and they’ve yet to bring back star shortstop Carlos Correa. That leaves plenty of questions on the dirt, and it’s there that Rocco Baldelli’s team struggled the most a season ago. As much as Jorge Polanco or Luis Arraez may contribute offensively, neither have been particularly valuable on defense. A season ago the Twins ranked 13th in baseball in terms of defensive runs saved (23). That’s misleading however, as the outfield alone contributed 24 DRS (4th best), meaning the infield was responsible for a -1 tally. Minnesota was also worth 16 outs above average (4th best) in the outfield, but Statcast’s metric had them at -11 OAA overall, meaning the infield was worth a horrid -27 OAA. It’s not a surprise that the Twins would have a strong outfield defense. Byron Buxton is arguably the best center fielder in baseball, and Max Kepler can lay a similar claim in right field defensively. Left field has been somewhat of a revolving door for Minnesota, especially with injuries to Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff, but the group together is a very solid one. It is imperative that the Twins figure out a way to match that on the infield. We’ll see somewhat of a different look for Baldelli’s team this season. With Urshela being dealt to the Los Angeles Angels, Jose Miranda is set to be the starter at the hot corner. He was worth -6 DRS and -4 OAA in just shy of 600 innings at first base, but was exactly average in roughly 250 innings at third base. The eye test suggested that Miranda has his deficiencies across the diamond, but it’s clear he has good instincts and the arm can play. Getting full trust their in his second season will give us a better indication of what is to come. There’s not going to be a change at second base as Polanco is entrenched there. After a solid showing in his new position during 2021, Polanco regressed by advanced metrics standards in 2022. His -1 DRS was down from 3 the year prior, and his -9 OAA was a far cry from the near-neutral -1 OAA in 2021. There had been hope that Polanco could emerge as a strong defender moving away from shortstop, but we’ve yet to see that. With the shift banning infielders from playing deep in the grass, it may help that Polanco’s throw distance is dramatically reduced. We haven’t seen enough of Kirilloff at first base to make a judgment as to what he’ll be there, and we know that Arraez has his own deficiencies. The latter racked up all of the offensive awards in 2022, but recently told me at the Twins uniform unveiling that his next goal is to win a Gold Glove. Minnesota will continue to make Arraez a utility contributor, but he could be the most consistent first basemen in 2023 without having clarity on the status of Kirilloff’s wrist. The front office has yet to acquire a starting shortstop, and if it’s not going to be Correa, a strong defender could wind up being the linchpin for the infield. Andrelton Simmons was supposed to represent that two seasons ago, and did provide significant defensive value. Limiting range without a shift is going to require individual contributors to provide the utmost ability. Knowing Polanco’s limitations on the opposite side of second base, Minnesota can’t afford to miss on shortstop. The goal for the Twins would certainly be to score more runs in 2023, but they also must do a substantially better job at limiting them. Everyone will be tested without the shift, but having a cleaner and more crisp set of fielders on the dirt is imperative. The Twins outfield may be one of envy defensively, but no one has desired what they’ve put out immediately behind the mound in recent seasons. It’s time to fix that. View full article
  15. There’s no denying that Minnesota’s front office is currently navigating a way forward without Gio Urshela, and they’ve yet to bring back star shortstop Carlos Correa. That leaves plenty of questions on the dirt, and it’s there that Rocco Baldelli’s team struggled the most a season ago. As much as Jorge Polanco or Luis Arraez may contribute offensively, neither have been particularly valuable on defense. A season ago the Twins ranked 13th in baseball in terms of defensive runs saved (23). That’s misleading however, as the outfield alone contributed 24 DRS (4th best), meaning the infield was responsible for a -1 tally. Minnesota was also worth 16 outs above average (4th best) in the outfield, but Statcast’s metric had them at -11 OAA overall, meaning the infield was worth a horrid -27 OAA. It’s not a surprise that the Twins would have a strong outfield defense. Byron Buxton is arguably the best center fielder in baseball, and Max Kepler can lay a similar claim in right field defensively. Left field has been somewhat of a revolving door for Minnesota, especially with injuries to Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff, but the group together is a very solid one. It is imperative that the Twins figure out a way to match that on the infield. We’ll see somewhat of a different look for Baldelli’s team this season. With Urshela being dealt to the Los Angeles Angels, Jose Miranda is set to be the starter at the hot corner. He was worth -6 DRS and -4 OAA in just shy of 600 innings at first base, but was exactly average in roughly 250 innings at third base. The eye test suggested that Miranda has his deficiencies across the diamond, but it’s clear he has good instincts and the arm can play. Getting full trust their in his second season will give us a better indication of what is to come. There’s not going to be a change at second base as Polanco is entrenched there. After a solid showing in his new position during 2021, Polanco regressed by advanced metrics standards in 2022. His -1 DRS was down from 3 the year prior, and his -9 OAA was a far cry from the near-neutral -1 OAA in 2021. There had been hope that Polanco could emerge as a strong defender moving away from shortstop, but we’ve yet to see that. With the shift banning infielders from playing deep in the grass, it may help that Polanco’s throw distance is dramatically reduced. We haven’t seen enough of Kirilloff at first base to make a judgment as to what he’ll be there, and we know that Arraez has his own deficiencies. The latter racked up all of the offensive awards in 2022, but recently told me at the Twins uniform unveiling that his next goal is to win a Gold Glove. Minnesota will continue to make Arraez a utility contributor, but he could be the most consistent first basemen in 2023 without having clarity on the status of Kirilloff’s wrist. The front office has yet to acquire a starting shortstop, and if it’s not going to be Correa, a strong defender could wind up being the linchpin for the infield. Andrelton Simmons was supposed to represent that two seasons ago, and did provide significant defensive value. Limiting range without a shift is going to require individual contributors to provide the utmost ability. Knowing Polanco’s limitations on the opposite side of second base, Minnesota can’t afford to miss on shortstop. The goal for the Twins would certainly be to score more runs in 2023, but they also must do a substantially better job at limiting them. Everyone will be tested without the shift, but having a cleaner and more crisp set of fielders on the dirt is imperative. The Twins outfield may be one of envy defensively, but no one has desired what they’ve put out immediately behind the mound in recent seasons. It’s time to fix that.
  16. At the beginning of this offseason, the Minnesota Twins paid Miguel Sano $2.75 million to simply go away. His career here ended with a whimper, and his knee injury allowed him to play just 20 games in 2022. When 2023 rolls around, where is the former top prospect going to be playing? Image courtesy of Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports Derek Falvey and Thad Levine signed Miguel Sano to a three-year extension worth $30 million right before the 2020 season. Sano was coming off a year as a key contributor to the Bomba Squad. He blasted a career-best 34 homers while playing 105 games. His .923 OPS was easily a career-high, and at 26 years old, he looked the part of a premier power hitter. From that point forward, Sano was basically league-average offensively. In 208 games with the Twins from 2020 on, he slashed .207/.295/.441 with 44 homers. Health was an issue, and there were plenty of periods where it looked unnecessary to have him on a big-league roster at all. The 20 games he played in 2022 accounted for a team-worst -0.9 fWAR, and only 20 players made appearances in the majors last season while being worse. Now a free agent for the first time in his career, a once highly-regarded prospect will see an expected amount of scrutiny on the open market. Not only does Sano need to prove he can still be an asset at the major-league level, but he’ll need to also show he’s healthy and worthy of a presence in a major-league clubhouse. The adoption of the designated hitter in the National League is a welcomed reality, and that gives Sano another 15 teams that realistically could use his services. He’s still relatively young, even if it shouldn’t be expected that he ages well. Sano can handle first base, although he’s a bit below average there. I don’t think any team will get Terry Ryan crazy and put him in the outfield, so his roster flexibility is largely limited. (That said, maybe at this stage in his career, Sano might actually try to become a decent outfielder...) Having been paid through his buyout and having made a decent amount on the extension, it would stand to reason that Sano could probably be had for peanuts. If he’s going to get a guaranteed major-league deal, which seems like somewhat of a longshot, a couple of million bucks should do the trick. He could also very likely be headed toward a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training. A team with nothing to lose and low expectations could be a good fit for Sano. Maybe Derek Shelton would welcome him to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Miami Marlins could be a team to make use of him as a designated hitter, and he’d certainly feel at home in Florida. The Royals and Tigers have taken fliers on worse, but I’d bet they’ve seen enough over the years. Maybe Oakland tried to get something out of him, or the Rockies could be determined that the ball would fly at Coors Field. Seeing him go anywhere with real aspirations seems difficult. This is and never was going to be another David Ortiz scenario, no matter how many times it has been mentioned. Sano is not young, and there isn’t some key to unlocking a superstar. He’s a fine slugger that’s a known commodity, and the upside isn’t immense. It will be weird seeing him in another uniform for 2023, but here’s to hoping he makes the most of it. View full article
  17. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine signed Miguel Sano to a three-year extension worth $30 million right before the 2020 season. Sano was coming off a year as a key contributor to the Bomba Squad. He blasted a career-best 34 homers while playing 105 games. His .923 OPS was easily a career-high, and at 26 years old, he looked the part of a premier power hitter. From that point forward, Sano was basically league-average offensively. In 208 games with the Twins from 2020 on, he slashed .207/.295/.441 with 44 homers. Health was an issue, and there were plenty of periods where it looked unnecessary to have him on a big-league roster at all. The 20 games he played in 2022 accounted for a team-worst -0.9 fWAR, and only 20 players made appearances in the majors last season while being worse. Now a free agent for the first time in his career, a once highly-regarded prospect will see an expected amount of scrutiny on the open market. Not only does Sano need to prove he can still be an asset at the major-league level, but he’ll need to also show he’s healthy and worthy of a presence in a major-league clubhouse. The adoption of the designated hitter in the National League is a welcomed reality, and that gives Sano another 15 teams that realistically could use his services. He’s still relatively young, even if it shouldn’t be expected that he ages well. Sano can handle first base, although he’s a bit below average there. I don’t think any team will get Terry Ryan crazy and put him in the outfield, so his roster flexibility is largely limited. (That said, maybe at this stage in his career, Sano might actually try to become a decent outfielder...) Having been paid through his buyout and having made a decent amount on the extension, it would stand to reason that Sano could probably be had for peanuts. If he’s going to get a guaranteed major-league deal, which seems like somewhat of a longshot, a couple of million bucks should do the trick. He could also very likely be headed toward a minor-league deal with an invite to Spring Training. A team with nothing to lose and low expectations could be a good fit for Sano. Maybe Derek Shelton would welcome him to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Miami Marlins could be a team to make use of him as a designated hitter, and he’d certainly feel at home in Florida. The Royals and Tigers have taken fliers on worse, but I’d bet they’ve seen enough over the years. Maybe Oakland tried to get something out of him, or the Rockies could be determined that the ball would fly at Coors Field. Seeing him go anywhere with real aspirations seems difficult. This is and never was going to be another David Ortiz scenario, no matter how many times it has been mentioned. Sano is not young, and there isn’t some key to unlocking a superstar. He’s a fine slugger that’s a known commodity, and the upside isn’t immense. It will be weird seeing him in another uniform for 2023, but here’s to hoping he makes the most of it.
  18. Friday was the next key moment of the offseason as Major League teams needed to make decisions on their arbitration eligible candidates. Minnesota had already handled some of these situations, but the front office handed out contracts to seven players prior to the 7pm deadline. Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports Although the morning on Friday was spent unveiling the Minnesota Twins new uniforms, the evening was about exactly who would be playing in them. With a full 40-man roster, the Twins had seven arbitration-eligible candidates left to make decisions on. Earlier in the afternoon, they avoided a decision (or, very clearly made their decision) on third baseman Gio Urshela when they sent him to the Los Angeles Angels for Single-A right-handed pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo. Urshela was set to make nearly $10 million this year, and with Jose Miranda looking like the Opening Day third basemen, there simply was not enough playing time to be had for that kind of investment. Before Friday’s deadline, Danny Coulombe, Jake Cave, and Cody Stashak were all dealt with. Each was arbitration-eligible, currently have been left out of the Twins plans in 2023. Emilio Pagan’s outcome was left until the last minute, and although there was talk of a team-friendly extension, nothing ultimately came to fruition. That left Tyler Mahle, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Lopez, Luis Arraez, Jorge Alcala, and Chris Paddack, and Emilio Pagan as the only players yet outstanding. Earlier this week Nick Nelson went through the looming decisions for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, ranking them in order. Urshela checked in at the top and ultimately was the choice for someone else. Of those remaining, only Paddack found himself with a bit of hand-wringing. As Nick pointed out, it’s a wait-and-see scenario for the former San Diego Padres starter. When dealing Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker to the Padres prior to Opening Day, Pagan was likely seen as more of a throw-in for the bullpen. Paddack, and his additional year of control, was the prize. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, a second one at that, it remains to be seen what type of pitcher returns, and when. MLB Trade Rumors has Paddack projected at just under a $2.5 million deal for 2023, hardly a substantial amount of a good starter. The problem is that Minnesota will have a dead spot on their 40-man roster until spring training. They can and will place Paddack on the 60-day injured list at that point, but are limited in their construction by one roster spot until then. Coming over from the Reds, Mahle was the Twins prize at the trade deadline and should be expected to be relied upon heavily in the rotation this season. New head trainer Nick Paparesta will look to get and keep him healthy, but Mahle has the makings of a breakout ace if he can get there. Like Mahle, Lopez was acquired at the deadline and left a Baltimore team that he represented as an All-Star closer during the Midsummer Classic. Since returning to professional baseball, Thielbar has been among the most overlooked yet dominant lefties in the game. He’s not exciting, but it doesn’t matter when he’s getting the job done. Rocco Baldelli will hope to have Alcala be the arm he was undoubtedly counting on in the bullpen last season, but a full year off makes that a game of wait-and-see. There was certainly questions as to whether Pagan would be retained after a tumultuous start to his Minnesota tenure. After working with Twins coaching a bit more as the season went on, Pagan was able to find success to the tune of a 2.16 ERA in his final 16 2/3 innings. The Twins front office did work to hammer out a multi-year deal but ultimately just agreed on avoiding a non-tender. The stuff has always profiled well as evidenced by a strong K/9. Presumably, the sides will stick it out for a few months into 2023 to see if there's a turnaround. Rounding out the group was the easiest one of the bunch to call. Arraez is fresh off his first batting title, won a Silver Slugger award, was named an All-Star, and has his sights set on a Gold Glove next. As a reminder, the arbitration deadline is one in which Minnesota had to decide if they would tender a player a contract or not. The sides will then exchange numbers. If the number is agreed to, that will be reported and updated below. If the sides remain apart on their valuations, a hearing could take place at a later date. View full article
  19. Although the morning on Friday was spent unveiling the Minnesota Twins new uniforms, the evening was about exactly who would be playing in them. With a full 40-man roster, the Twins had seven arbitration-eligible candidates left to make decisions on. Earlier in the afternoon, they avoided a decision (or, very clearly made their decision) on third baseman Gio Urshela when they sent him to the Los Angeles Angels for Single-A right-handed pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo. Urshela was set to make nearly $10 million this year, and with Jose Miranda looking like the Opening Day third basemen, there simply was not enough playing time to be had for that kind of investment. Before Friday’s deadline, Danny Coulombe, Jake Cave, and Cody Stashak were all dealt with. Each was arbitration-eligible, currently have been left out of the Twins plans in 2023. Emilio Pagan’s outcome was left until the last minute, and although there was talk of a team-friendly extension, nothing ultimately came to fruition. That left Tyler Mahle, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Lopez, Luis Arraez, Jorge Alcala, and Chris Paddack, and Emilio Pagan as the only players yet outstanding. Earlier this week Nick Nelson went through the looming decisions for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, ranking them in order. Urshela checked in at the top and ultimately was the choice for someone else. Of those remaining, only Paddack found himself with a bit of hand-wringing. As Nick pointed out, it’s a wait-and-see scenario for the former San Diego Padres starter. When dealing Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker to the Padres prior to Opening Day, Pagan was likely seen as more of a throw-in for the bullpen. Paddack, and his additional year of control, was the prize. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, a second one at that, it remains to be seen what type of pitcher returns, and when. MLB Trade Rumors has Paddack projected at just under a $2.5 million deal for 2023, hardly a substantial amount of a good starter. The problem is that Minnesota will have a dead spot on their 40-man roster until spring training. They can and will place Paddack on the 60-day injured list at that point, but are limited in their construction by one roster spot until then. Coming over from the Reds, Mahle was the Twins prize at the trade deadline and should be expected to be relied upon heavily in the rotation this season. New head trainer Nick Paparesta will look to get and keep him healthy, but Mahle has the makings of a breakout ace if he can get there. Like Mahle, Lopez was acquired at the deadline and left a Baltimore team that he represented as an All-Star closer during the Midsummer Classic. Since returning to professional baseball, Thielbar has been among the most overlooked yet dominant lefties in the game. He’s not exciting, but it doesn’t matter when he’s getting the job done. Rocco Baldelli will hope to have Alcala be the arm he was undoubtedly counting on in the bullpen last season, but a full year off makes that a game of wait-and-see. There was certainly questions as to whether Pagan would be retained after a tumultuous start to his Minnesota tenure. After working with Twins coaching a bit more as the season went on, Pagan was able to find success to the tune of a 2.16 ERA in his final 16 2/3 innings. The Twins front office did work to hammer out a multi-year deal but ultimately just agreed on avoiding a non-tender. The stuff has always profiled well as evidenced by a strong K/9. Presumably, the sides will stick it out for a few months into 2023 to see if there's a turnaround. Rounding out the group was the easiest one of the bunch to call. Arraez is fresh off his first batting title, won a Silver Slugger award, was named an All-Star, and has his sights set on a Gold Glove next. As a reminder, the arbitration deadline is one in which Minnesota had to decide if they would tender a player a contract or not. The sides will then exchange numbers. If the number is agreed to, that will be reported and updated below. If the sides remain apart on their valuations, a hearing could take place at a later date.
  20. The Minnesota Twins faced a decision on their eight arbitration eligible candidates. While some were plenty straightforward, others were more difficult. Count Gio Urshela among the latter, and now we know his fate: Urshela was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports Derek Falvey and Thad Levine went into Friday with a full 40-man roster. Eight of those players needed to be tendered a contract for the 2023 season or be sent to waivers prior to being determined free agents. Among them was Gio Urshela, who was acquired along with Gary Sanchez last offseason from the New York Yankees for Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Sanchez is now a free agent, while Urshela had one more season of team control. His fate was in question because it would be false to suggest that Urshela wasn’t valuable for the Twins. In his first season with Minnesota, Urshela posted a 2.4 fWAR, which ranked fourth among Minnesota hitters. It was also only slightly behind his 2.8 fWAR from the 2019 season in which he broke out for New York. Offensively, Urshela’s 121 OPS+ was well above the mediocre 96 OPS+ he posted a season ago. Although there were low points, his 13 homer runs and gap power came in handy. Defensively, Urshela was somewhat of a mixed bag. Twins fans saw plenty of highlight reel plays from the hot corner, but it was some of the more straightforward plays that weren’t made which dragged him down. Fangraphs own Defensive Runs Saved metric viewed Urshela favorably at +4, while MLB’s Statcast had him at -5 per their Outs Above Average metric. For Minnesota, the determination largely came down to how they wanted to spend their capital, while also figuring out what Urshela’s role would be. In talking to a few sources, they seem content with internal options at third base. Jose Miranda, Luis Arraez, and eventually Royce Lewis can all play the position. It remains to be seen which of them are adequate defensively, but none of them carry the $9.2 million price tag MLB Trade Rumors projected Urshela to receive in arbitration. In knowing they would ultimately decide to move on from Urshela, it became important to find any sort of return for him. Just hours before Friday night's 7pm deadline, the team came to an agreement with the Los Angeles Angels. ESPN Insider Jeff Passan reported that Minnesota sent their starting third basemen to Los Angeles for Single-A pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo . Hidalgo is a Venezuelan native that spent 2022 at Single-A Inland Empire for just his second season of professional baseball. He posted a 4.62 ERA across 39 innings, all of them coming as a starter. He tallied an impressive 58/19 K/BB and is the exact kind of lottery ticket you'd hope to get as opposed to non-tendering a player for nothing. Recently Twins Daily’s Nick Nelson called Urshela the Twins toughest arbitration decision and considering all of the factors, it’s hard to dispute that. As things stand presently, and with Carlos Correa unsigned, Minnesota’s entire left side of the infield remains up in the air. It will be on the front office to sort that out over the coming months before Spring Training. View full article
  21. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine went into Friday with a full 40-man roster. Eight of those players needed to be tendered a contract for the 2023 season or be sent to waivers prior to being determined free agents. Among them was Gio Urshela, who was acquired along with Gary Sanchez last offseason from the New York Yankees for Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Sanchez is now a free agent, while Urshela had one more season of team control. His fate was in question because it would be false to suggest that Urshela wasn’t valuable for the Twins. In his first season with Minnesota, Urshela posted a 2.4 fWAR, which ranked fourth among Minnesota hitters. It was also only slightly behind his 2.8 fWAR from the 2019 season in which he broke out for New York. Offensively, Urshela’s 121 OPS+ was well above the mediocre 96 OPS+ he posted a season ago. Although there were low points, his 13 homer runs and gap power came in handy. Defensively, Urshela was somewhat of a mixed bag. Twins fans saw plenty of highlight reel plays from the hot corner, but it was some of the more straightforward plays that weren’t made which dragged him down. Fangraphs own Defensive Runs Saved metric viewed Urshela favorably at +4, while MLB’s Statcast had him at -5 per their Outs Above Average metric. For Minnesota, the determination largely came down to how they wanted to spend their capital, while also figuring out what Urshela’s role would be. In talking to a few sources, they seem content with internal options at third base. Jose Miranda, Luis Arraez, and eventually Royce Lewis can all play the position. It remains to be seen which of them are adequate defensively, but none of them carry the $9.2 million price tag MLB Trade Rumors projected Urshela to receive in arbitration. In knowing they would ultimately decide to move on from Urshela, it became important to find any sort of return for him. Just hours before Friday night's 7pm deadline, the team came to an agreement with the Los Angeles Angels. ESPN Insider Jeff Passan reported that Minnesota sent their starting third basemen to Los Angeles for Single-A pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo . Hidalgo is a Venezuelan native that spent 2022 at Single-A Inland Empire for just his second season of professional baseball. He posted a 4.62 ERA across 39 innings, all of them coming as a starter. He tallied an impressive 58/19 K/BB and is the exact kind of lottery ticket you'd hope to get as opposed to non-tendering a player for nothing. Recently Twins Daily’s Nick Nelson called Urshela the Twins toughest arbitration decision and considering all of the factors, it’s hard to dispute that. As things stand presently, and with Carlos Correa unsigned, Minnesota’s entire left side of the infield remains up in the air. It will be on the front office to sort that out over the coming months before Spring Training.
  22. On a cold Friday November morning the Minnesota Twins took over the Mall of America rotunda, complete with a baseball-diamond-shaped stage, and ushered in a new era. Changing the marks, branding, and uniforms for 2023 and beyond, the baseball club was ready to turn over a new leaf. With a tagline of, "Inspired by the past, built for the future," the Twins are ready for a change. Image courtesy of Ted Schwerzler, Twins Daily Going away from the baseball-shaped Minnesota Twins Baseball Club logo that has been in use since 2010, the Twins are ushering in their 5th rebrand since becoming a franchise in Minnesota for the 1961 season. Having taken over for the Washington Senators, who existed from 1901-1960, Minnesota has developed a rich history of its own. Dubbed the Twins as a nod to the state’s largest cities in Minneapolis and St. Paul, a Minnie & Paul shaking hands logo was used from inception through 1986. Just prior to winning their first of two World Series championships, the franchise went with the Minnesota Twins ball-inspired logo and adopted a new script. It was changed slightly when the franchise opened its doors at Target Field, and has remained unchanged since. The franchise is one rooted in its past, and that is evident with images of the previous logos spread throughout Target Field. Minnie & Paul have been and will remain, a fixture in centerfield at the gorgeous downtown stadium. As a new scoreboard and video boards are installed this offseason, an overhaul of the new insignia and branding will be present. On Friday, Minnesota unveiled their home, away, and alternate uniforms for the 2023 Major League Baseball season. A fourth uniform, their Nike City Connect offering, will also be worn and unveiled at a different time. The new uniforms feature a more rich and bold color design. Gone is the vibrant red, and no longer are there hints of the highly-controversial Kasota Gold. The navy blue uniforms feature a block lettering similar to that seen on the downtown neighbor Minnesota Timberwolves uniforms. Slight tweaks to the traditional Twins script have been made, and the interlocking “TC” logo has also been altered ever so slightly. The "Twin Cities" moniker appears on the cream colorway, and is the first time it has been used on a uniform. It’s hard to define these new uniforms as much more than a minimalist design. It’s a simplistic look that looks very clean in the white, and the blue offers a much more bold take. Piping on the pants is present. It remains to be seen who these uniforms will appeal to most. They aren’t as progressive as futuristic fans may like, but they also aren’t the throwbacks that a more traditional fan may desire either. It seems like a good middle ground, and a defining word may be little more than “safe.” For the players, pitcher Joe Ryan was a big fan of the red alternates as was Jorge Polanco. Ryan is a fan of the navy tops, while Polanco and Luis Arraez both love the grey pinstripe look. Bryon Buxton was last on the stage, but is a big fan that the club has brought back a cream alternate. Immediately following the unveiling, the Twins made merchandise exclusively available to purchase at the Mall of America. The team store at Target Field will have the collection available to purchase in the coming days. It will be on both Thad Levine and Derek Falvey to make sure the new digs are stocked with fresh talent for the 2023 season. If you'd like to watch the unveiling of the uniforms and seeing the uniforms modeled by Jose Miranda, Luis Arraez, Joe Ryan, Jorge Polanco, and Byron Buxton (and some other Twins attire modeled by some Twins employees, Elvis Martinez and even Lindsey Buxton), check out the Twins Daily Instagram Live link below. Share your thoughts below. What are your impressions? Do you like the new uniforms? View full article
  23. Going away from the baseball-shaped Minnesota Twins Baseball Club logo that has been in use since 2010, the Twins are ushering in their 5th rebrand since becoming a franchise in Minnesota for the 1961 season. Having taken over for the Washington Senators, who existed from 1901-1960, Minnesota has developed a rich history of its own. Dubbed the Twins as a nod to the state’s largest cities in Minneapolis and St. Paul, a Minnie & Paul shaking hands logo was used from inception through 1986. Just prior to winning their first of two World Series championships, the franchise went with the Minnesota Twins ball-inspired logo and adopted a new script. It was changed slightly when the franchise opened its doors at Target Field, and has remained unchanged since. The franchise is one rooted in its past, and that is evident with images of the previous logos spread throughout Target Field. Minnie & Paul have been and will remain, a fixture in centerfield at the gorgeous downtown stadium. As a new scoreboard and video boards are installed this offseason, an overhaul of the new insignia and branding will be present. On Friday, Minnesota unveiled their home, away, and alternate uniforms for the 2023 Major League Baseball season. A fourth uniform, their Nike City Connect offering, will also be worn and unveiled at a different time. The new uniforms feature a more rich and bold color design. Gone is the vibrant red, and no longer are there hints of the highly-controversial Kasota Gold. The navy blue uniforms feature a block lettering similar to that seen on the downtown neighbor Minnesota Timberwolves uniforms. Slight tweaks to the traditional Twins script have been made, and the interlocking “TC” logo has also been altered ever so slightly. The "Twin Cities" moniker appears on the cream colorway, and is the first time it has been used on a uniform. It’s hard to define these new uniforms as much more than a minimalist design. It’s a simplistic look that looks very clean in the white, and the blue offers a much more bold take. Piping on the pants is present. It remains to be seen who these uniforms will appeal to most. They aren’t as progressive as futuristic fans may like, but they also aren’t the throwbacks that a more traditional fan may desire either. It seems like a good middle ground, and a defining word may be little more than “safe.” For the players, pitcher Joe Ryan was a big fan of the red alternates as was Jorge Polanco. Ryan is a fan of the navy tops, while Polanco and Luis Arraez both love the grey pinstripe look. Bryon Buxton was last on the stage, but is a big fan that the club has brought back a cream alternate. Immediately following the unveiling, the Twins made merchandise exclusively available to purchase at the Mall of America. The team store at Target Field will have the collection available to purchase in the coming days. It will be on both Thad Levine and Derek Falvey to make sure the new digs are stocked with fresh talent for the 2023 season. If you'd like to watch the unveiling of the uniforms and seeing the uniforms modeled by Jose Miranda, Luis Arraez, Joe Ryan, Jorge Polanco, and Byron Buxton (and some other Twins attire modeled by some Twins employees, Elvis Martinez and even Lindsey Buxton), check out the Twins Daily Instagram Live link below. Share your thoughts below. What are your impressions? Do you like the new uniforms?
  24. From the moment he signed with the Minnesota Twins, Carlos Correa was going to opt-out of his contract. Now with that having officially happened, the front office must decide whether they can bring him back, or if there’s an alternative that’s more plausible. Enter Xander Bogaerts. Image courtesy of Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports Carlos Correa accomplished his goal of securing the most lucrative average annual value among infielders in major-league history. His $35.1 million last season topped Scott Boras client Anthony Rendon’s guarantee with the Angels. Although the deal was for technically three years, the opt-outs assured us that Correa was always going to hit the market again in hopes of securing a long-term payday. Minnesota certainly could opt to bring Correa back, and they should put a strong foot forward to do so. If he can be had for less than 10 years or under $300 million, it may be a possibility. If he can’t, and that does seem likely, then pivoting to another option makes sense. Despite strong shortstop prospects in the form of Royce Lewis, Brooks Lee, and Austin Martin, it would be preferable to see Minnesota avoid a stopgap shortstop option. A Jose Iglesias type could certainly hold down the position, but that would do little to reinvigorate an offense that needs to replace production. Dansby Swanson is coming off arguably the best year of his career, and Trea Turner is going to land somewhere in the same realm as Correa. That begs the question of whether Xander Bogaerts can be a middle ground, and if he represents enough of a replacement for Minnesota. At 30, Bogaerts is a bit older than Correa. His 117 career OPS+ doesn’t reflect just how good he’s been of late. He owns a 133 OPS+ since 2018 and has three All-Star game appearances along with three Silver Slugger awards. Bogaerts has been a pillar of health as well. He’s never played less than 136 games in a full season and is as reliable as it gets to be on the field. Correa is the superior defender, and that’s noteworthy for a Twins team lacking defense. Rocco Baldelli’s infield was not good a season ago, and removing arguably the best person with the glove doesn’t help change things. The Twins almost certainly won’t have a shortstop that can throw like Correa ever again, but replacing his offensive production could be equally key. Although Bogaerts has hit 30 homers in a season once during his career, you can more realistically bank on him to be in the 15-25 range. He’ll pile up doubles and brings a very good approach to the plate. Boston not being able to get a long-term deal done with him allows the open market to share their feelings, and the Twins should be having conversations with him as well. Like Correa, Bogaerts is represented by Boras Corp. The Twins front office should be seeing where they can place themselves in discussions regarding both players by feeling out the individual markets and expectations. If they determine an inability to play at the higher level, finding out how a match can be created with the Aruba native makes too much sense. I’d imagine the Twins would prefer continuity in the form of Correa. He’s been here, is a known asset, and is already a fan favorite. That said, spending less to get a superstar with similar talent has value too, and the package Bogaerts brings is hardly something to scoff at. What do you think? Is Bogaerts enough of an option to replace Correa on both sides of the ball? View full article
  25. Carlos Correa accomplished his goal of securing the most lucrative average annual value among infielders in major-league history. His $35.1 million last season topped Scott Boras client Anthony Rendon’s guarantee with the Angels. Although the deal was for technically three years, the opt-outs assured us that Correa was always going to hit the market again in hopes of securing a long-term payday. Minnesota certainly could opt to bring Correa back, and they should put a strong foot forward to do so. If he can be had for less than 10 years or under $300 million, it may be a possibility. If he can’t, and that does seem likely, then pivoting to another option makes sense. Despite strong shortstop prospects in the form of Royce Lewis, Brooks Lee, and Austin Martin, it would be preferable to see Minnesota avoid a stopgap shortstop option. A Jose Iglesias type could certainly hold down the position, but that would do little to reinvigorate an offense that needs to replace production. Dansby Swanson is coming off arguably the best year of his career, and Trea Turner is going to land somewhere in the same realm as Correa. That begs the question of whether Xander Bogaerts can be a middle ground, and if he represents enough of a replacement for Minnesota. At 30, Bogaerts is a bit older than Correa. His 117 career OPS+ doesn’t reflect just how good he’s been of late. He owns a 133 OPS+ since 2018 and has three All-Star game appearances along with three Silver Slugger awards. Bogaerts has been a pillar of health as well. He’s never played less than 136 games in a full season and is as reliable as it gets to be on the field. Correa is the superior defender, and that’s noteworthy for a Twins team lacking defense. Rocco Baldelli’s infield was not good a season ago, and removing arguably the best person with the glove doesn’t help change things. The Twins almost certainly won’t have a shortstop that can throw like Correa ever again, but replacing his offensive production could be equally key. Although Bogaerts has hit 30 homers in a season once during his career, you can more realistically bank on him to be in the 15-25 range. He’ll pile up doubles and brings a very good approach to the plate. Boston not being able to get a long-term deal done with him allows the open market to share their feelings, and the Twins should be having conversations with him as well. Like Correa, Bogaerts is represented by Boras Corp. The Twins front office should be seeing where they can place themselves in discussions regarding both players by feeling out the individual markets and expectations. If they determine an inability to play at the higher level, finding out how a match can be created with the Aruba native makes too much sense. I’d imagine the Twins would prefer continuity in the form of Correa. He’s been here, is a known asset, and is already a fan favorite. That said, spending less to get a superstar with similar talent has value too, and the package Bogaerts brings is hardly something to scoff at. What do you think? Is Bogaerts enough of an option to replace Correa on both sides of the ball?
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