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  1. For better or worse, the Twins moved on from multiple players this past off-season. How have those players done for their new organizations? Let's check in. Minnesota made multiple roster-altering trades over the last year, and those moves are a little easier to analyze because the team received something in return. For the players below, it was easy to see how any of them might fit into the team's plans moving forward. However, each moved on to a different organization, and their production levels have varied considerably. Michael Pineda, SP Michael Pineda made five starts for the Detroit Tigers so far in 2022. In 22 1/3 innings, he posted a 3.22 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and a 12-to-4 strikeout to walk ratio. Currently, Pineda has been on the injured list since mid-May after getting hit by a comebacker to the mound. He suffered a broken finger but was able to avoid surgery. He threw a bullpen session last week, which points to him being closer to returning. Much like his time in Minnesota, Pineda has been relatively effective when healthy. Detroit sits 11 games under .500 to start the season, so Pineda can provide a boost to the rotation when he can return. Andrelton Simmons, SS There is no question that Andrelton Simmons struggled during his Twins tenure, but his career-track record pointed to him being able to bounce back. His 58 OPS+ was nearly 30 points lower than his career mark, even if his defense continued to be strong. Simmons signed with Chicago this winter, and right shoulder inflammation has limited him to 19 games. Since returning from the IL, Simmons has been gone 8-for-49 (.163 BA) with no extra-base hits. He has a -2 OPS+ and nearly as many strikeouts (7) as hits (8). Now in his age-32 season, one must wonder if Simmons will be able to get back to the player he was earlier in his career. Willian Astudillo, UTL Fans fell in love with Willians Astudillo during his Twins tenure, but his value to the team declined as he couldn't play consistently behind the plate. Astudillo settled for a minor league deal with the Marlins, but the team has already needed to call him up during the 2022 campaign. In 12 games, he has gone 8-for-26 (.308 BA) with a home run. Like the Twins, the Marlins have used him at multiple infield positions and even as a reliever in one game. Astudillo will be a fan favorite wherever he plays, and Miami offered a better chance for him to get regular playing time in 2022. Rob Refsnyder, OF Rob Refsnyder burst onto the scene with the Twins last year as he hit .321/.371/.500 (.871) in his first 18 games with the club. Over his last 33 games, his OPS dropped to .524, and he posted a -1.34 Win Probability Added. His hot start may have convinced some fans that he could fill a fourth outfielder role, but his full-season numbers were closer to his career totals. He signed a minor-league deal with the Boston Red Sox, and they recently called him up. In his first five games, he has gone 3-for-11 (.273 BA), with two of his three hits being doubles. Refsnyder also made a highlight-reel catch that might have Boston fans feeling similar to what Twins fans felt at the beginning of last season. At this point, it seems like the Twins were correct in their assessment of moving on from all of these players. Do you think the team should have kept any of the abovementioned players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  2. Minnesota made multiple roster-altering trades over the last year, and those moves are a little easier to analyze because the team received something in return. For the players below, it was easy to see how any of them might fit into the team's plans moving forward. However, each moved on to a different organization, and their production levels have varied considerably. Michael Pineda, SP Michael Pineda made five starts for the Detroit Tigers so far in 2022. In 22 1/3 innings, he posted a 3.22 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and a 12-to-4 strikeout to walk ratio. Currently, Pineda has been on the injured list since mid-May after getting hit by a comebacker to the mound. He suffered a broken finger but was able to avoid surgery. He threw a bullpen session last week, which points to him being closer to returning. Much like his time in Minnesota, Pineda has been relatively effective when healthy. Detroit sits 11 games under .500 to start the season, so Pineda can provide a boost to the rotation when he can return. Andrelton Simmons, SS There is no question that Andrelton Simmons struggled during his Twins tenure, but his career-track record pointed to him being able to bounce back. His 58 OPS+ was nearly 30 points lower than his career mark, even if his defense continued to be strong. Simmons signed with Chicago this winter, and right shoulder inflammation has limited him to 19 games. Since returning from the IL, Simmons has been gone 8-for-49 (.163 BA) with no extra-base hits. He has a -2 OPS+ and nearly as many strikeouts (7) as hits (8). Now in his age-32 season, one must wonder if Simmons will be able to get back to the player he was earlier in his career. Willian Astudillo, UTL Fans fell in love with Willians Astudillo during his Twins tenure, but his value to the team declined as he couldn't play consistently behind the plate. Astudillo settled for a minor league deal with the Marlins, but the team has already needed to call him up during the 2022 campaign. In 12 games, he has gone 8-for-26 (.308 BA) with a home run. Like the Twins, the Marlins have used him at multiple infield positions and even as a reliever in one game. Astudillo will be a fan favorite wherever he plays, and Miami offered a better chance for him to get regular playing time in 2022. Rob Refsnyder, OF Rob Refsnyder burst onto the scene with the Twins last year as he hit .321/.371/.500 (.871) in his first 18 games with the club. Over his last 33 games, his OPS dropped to .524, and he posted a -1.34 Win Probability Added. His hot start may have convinced some fans that he could fill a fourth outfielder role, but his full-season numbers were closer to his career totals. He signed a minor-league deal with the Boston Red Sox, and they recently called him up. In his first five games, he has gone 3-for-11 (.273 BA), with two of his three hits being doubles. Refsnyder also made a highlight-reel catch that might have Boston fans feeling similar to what Twins fans felt at the beginning of last season. At this point, it seems like the Twins were correct in their assessment of moving on from all of these players. Do you think the team should have kept any of the abovementioned players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  3. Rumors swirled for days that the Minnesota Twins were in on signing former Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. With less than three weeks until Opening Day, things came to a head. In a plot twist, it’s Carlos Correa coming to Twins Territory, and Rocco Baldelli may now have the best shortstop in baseball. Since the beginning of the offseason, it’s been apparent that the Twins needed a shortstop. Andrelton Simmons wasn’t likely to be welcomed back, and Royce Lewis hadn’t played in a game since 2020. Watching options fall off the board, it looked like Story or bust, but mainly because the assumption has always been Correa would return to the Astros. In signing with Minnesota, there’s no denying he immediately becomes the best to play the position in franchise history. Just how good is Correa, though? It’s fair to argue he may be the best in baseball. Recently running down their “Top 10 Right Now” lists, MLB Network slated Correa as the third-best shortstop in baseball. They’ve got him placed behind the oft-injured Fernando Tatis Jr. and the versatile Trea Turner. It’s fair to argue for either of those two as being better, but what exactly does Correa bring to the table? Last season the former Astro won his first Gold Glove. That award can often be scrutinized through the lens of an offensive producer that gets additional consideration defensively for their bat. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth when considering Correa in 2021. His 20 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in 2021 was a career-high, and he’s never posted lower than 4 DRS in a single season. To contextualize that performance, 20 DRS is something like former Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons in his prime. The caveat for Correa is that it comes with a strong .837 OPS. No matter where you look for metrics, they view Correa in the same vein. Major League Baseball’s Statcast has Correa worth 12 outs above average (OAA) in 2021, which ranked 6th among shortstops across the league. He was also credited with preventing nine runs. The beauty of Correa is that he’s a true five-tool player. For everything noted defensively, it only scratches the surface of his actual impact on the game. Correa’s Statcast percentile rankings from 2021 are basically just the fire emoji. Drafted one pick higher than new teammate Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa is an absolute menace in the box. Under this new regime, the Twins have long been fans of exit velocity and hard-hit rates. Last season Correa’s max exit velocity ranked in the 97th percentile across MLB. His expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA) was a robust .373, and his 41.6% ground ball rate was near a career-low. In the box, it basically boils down to Correa hunting to do damage every time he swings the bat. In a lineup that has some swing and miss, it’s worth noting that Correa’s plate discipline will also be welcomed. Last season a 27% chase rate was a career-low, and his 8.2% whiff rate checked in with the same designation. Swinging at pitches in the zone, Correa makes contact nearly 90% of the time. Considering the approach to doing damage, putting the bat on the ball with pitches that can be handled is about the ideal outcome you can hope for. There’s just no way to summarize any of this other than in the middle of the night Derek Falvey signed the best free agent in organization history and very possibly the best at his position across the sport. Structuring his contract with opt-outs gives both sides future flexibility, and there’s still no hampering any future impact top prospect Royce Lewis could have at the position. Right now, I’d bet Lewis is excited to learn from one of the games best, and Baldelli’s lineup just got infused with an otherworldly talent. Is there a shortstop you’re taking over Correa? The best part of it is that any answer is hypothetical, and this one is now Minnesota’s. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  4. Since the beginning of the offseason, it’s been apparent that the Twins needed a shortstop. Andrelton Simmons wasn’t likely to be welcomed back, and Royce Lewis hadn’t played in a game since 2020. Watching options fall off the board, it looked like Story or bust, but mainly because the assumption has always been Correa would return to the Astros. In signing with Minnesota, there’s no denying he immediately becomes the best to play the position in franchise history. Just how good is Correa, though? It’s fair to argue he may be the best in baseball. Recently running down their “Top 10 Right Now” lists, MLB Network slated Correa as the third-best shortstop in baseball. They’ve got him placed behind the oft-injured Fernando Tatis Jr. and the versatile Trea Turner. It’s fair to argue for either of those two as being better, but what exactly does Correa bring to the table? Last season the former Astro won his first Gold Glove. That award can often be scrutinized through the lens of an offensive producer that gets additional consideration defensively for their bat. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth when considering Correa in 2021. His 20 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in 2021 was a career-high, and he’s never posted lower than 4 DRS in a single season. To contextualize that performance, 20 DRS is something like former Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons in his prime. The caveat for Correa is that it comes with a strong .837 OPS. No matter where you look for metrics, they view Correa in the same vein. Major League Baseball’s Statcast has Correa worth 12 outs above average (OAA) in 2021, which ranked 6th among shortstops across the league. He was also credited with preventing nine runs. The beauty of Correa is that he’s a true five-tool player. For everything noted defensively, it only scratches the surface of his actual impact on the game. Correa’s Statcast percentile rankings from 2021 are basically just the fire emoji. Drafted one pick higher than new teammate Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa is an absolute menace in the box. Under this new regime, the Twins have long been fans of exit velocity and hard-hit rates. Last season Correa’s max exit velocity ranked in the 97th percentile across MLB. His expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA) was a robust .373, and his 41.6% ground ball rate was near a career-low. In the box, it basically boils down to Correa hunting to do damage every time he swings the bat. In a lineup that has some swing and miss, it’s worth noting that Correa’s plate discipline will also be welcomed. Last season a 27% chase rate was a career-low, and his 8.2% whiff rate checked in with the same designation. Swinging at pitches in the zone, Correa makes contact nearly 90% of the time. Considering the approach to doing damage, putting the bat on the ball with pitches that can be handled is about the ideal outcome you can hope for. There’s just no way to summarize any of this other than in the middle of the night Derek Falvey signed the best free agent in organization history and very possibly the best at his position across the sport. Structuring his contract with opt-outs gives both sides future flexibility, and there’s still no hampering any future impact top prospect Royce Lewis could have at the position. Right now, I’d bet Lewis is excited to learn from one of the games best, and Baldelli’s lineup just got infused with an otherworldly talent. Is there a shortstop you’re taking over Correa? The best part of it is that any answer is hypothetical, and this one is now Minnesota’s. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  5. Many teams have focused on their defensive alignment in recent years, and this has increased calls to ban the shift. So, how will Minnesota’s shifting strategy change in 2022? During the 2021 season, the Twins shifted 33.8% of the time, which ranked 11th in baseball. Only four AL teams shifted more than the Twins, with the Tigers being the lone AL Central team with a higher percentage of shifts. This compares very similarly to the last full season (2019), when Minnesota shifted 35.5% of the time, corresponding with Rocco Baldelli’s first year as manager. Compared to 2020, Minnesota shifted less often (down 7.5%) as they shifted the seventh-most of any team. These changes in shifts are likely tied to the regular defensive players. Andrelton Simmons is a significantly better defensive shortstop than Jorge Polanco, so the Twins needed to move infielders around more regularly in 2020. There were also changes in statistical data, with a shortened schedule due to the pandemic. Last season, only two teams ranked higher than Minnesota (68.2%) when it came to shifting against left-handed batters. The Astros shifted an eye-popping 81.5% of the time versus lefties, while the Dodgers (68.6%) were just fractions ahead of the Twins. Minnesota ranked 19th when it came to shifting against righties which was down over 23% compared to 2019. The Twins shifted the second most of any team during that season against right-handed hitters. Shift rates across baseball have dropped when facing right-handed hitters while shifts against lefties continue to rise. Minnesota had the second-largest shifting decline when facing right-handed hitters, but the team’s defensive players likely played a role in this downturn. Offensively, right-handed hitting Miguel Sano pulls the ball over 75% of the time, and teams shift against him close to 69% of the time. This was the highest shift rate for a right-handed hitter in 2021 with over 400 pitches. If teams feel like they are gaining an advantage, shifting will continue to happen no matter the handedness of the batter. Moving forward, Minnesota’s shifting tendencies in 2022 will be dictated by who the team adds at shortstop and who is in the starting rotation. Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are the two biggest free-agent shortstops available, but there is no indication Minnesota is in the market for either of those players. However, a Simmons reunion may provide the best defensive alignment to help the team’s pitching staff. Royce Lewis and Austin Martin, the team’s top two prospects, also fit into the defensive discussion for 2022. Lewis is coming back from a knee injury, and there’s hope he can at least begin his big-league career as a shortstop. Few believe Martin can stick at short, and his eventual defensive position will likely be second base or in the outfield. Both players can debut during the 2022 campaign, and Minnesota may shift more regularly to put them in the best defensive position. Major League Baseball is also discussing banning the defensive shift in some capacity, which will have long-term ramifications on offensive and defensive numbers. As recently as this summer, baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke on why the shift could be banned. “Let’s just say you regulated the shift by requiring two infielders on each side of second base. What does that do? It makes the game look like what it looked like when I was 12 years old,” he said. “It’s not change. It’s kind of restoration, right? That’s why people are in favor of it. And they do believe, I think front offices, in general, believe it would have a positive effect on the play of the game.” Not everyone will agree, but the Twins may have to shift their strategy if there are rule changes for the coming season. Do you think MLB needs to ban shifts? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  6. During the 2021 season, the Twins shifted 33.8% of the time, which ranked 11th in baseball. Only four AL teams shifted more than the Twins, with the Tigers being the lone AL Central team with a higher percentage of shifts. This compares very similarly to the last full season (2019), when Minnesota shifted 35.5% of the time, corresponding with Rocco Baldelli’s first year as manager. Compared to 2020, Minnesota shifted less often (down 7.5%) as they shifted the seventh-most of any team. These changes in shifts are likely tied to the regular defensive players. Andrelton Simmons is a significantly better defensive shortstop than Jorge Polanco, so the Twins needed to move infielders around more regularly in 2020. There were also changes in statistical data, with a shortened schedule due to the pandemic. Last season, only two teams ranked higher than Minnesota (68.2%) when it came to shifting against left-handed batters. The Astros shifted an eye-popping 81.5% of the time versus lefties, while the Dodgers (68.6%) were just fractions ahead of the Twins. Minnesota ranked 19th when it came to shifting against righties which was down over 23% compared to 2019. The Twins shifted the second most of any team during that season against right-handed hitters. Shift rates across baseball have dropped when facing right-handed hitters while shifts against lefties continue to rise. Minnesota had the second-largest shifting decline when facing right-handed hitters, but the team’s defensive players likely played a role in this downturn. Offensively, right-handed hitting Miguel Sano pulls the ball over 75% of the time, and teams shift against him close to 69% of the time. This was the highest shift rate for a right-handed hitter in 2021 with over 400 pitches. If teams feel like they are gaining an advantage, shifting will continue to happen no matter the handedness of the batter. Moving forward, Minnesota’s shifting tendencies in 2022 will be dictated by who the team adds at shortstop and who is in the starting rotation. Carlos Correa and Trevor Story are the two biggest free-agent shortstops available, but there is no indication Minnesota is in the market for either of those players. However, a Simmons reunion may provide the best defensive alignment to help the team’s pitching staff. Royce Lewis and Austin Martin, the team’s top two prospects, also fit into the defensive discussion for 2022. Lewis is coming back from a knee injury, and there’s hope he can at least begin his big-league career as a shortstop. Few believe Martin can stick at short, and his eventual defensive position will likely be second base or in the outfield. Both players can debut during the 2022 campaign, and Minnesota may shift more regularly to put them in the best defensive position. Major League Baseball is also discussing banning the defensive shift in some capacity, which will have long-term ramifications on offensive and defensive numbers. As recently as this summer, baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke on why the shift could be banned. “Let’s just say you regulated the shift by requiring two infielders on each side of second base. What does that do? It makes the game look like what it looked like when I was 12 years old,” he said. “It’s not change. It’s kind of restoration, right? That’s why people are in favor of it. And they do believe, I think front offices, in general, believe it would have a positive effect on the play of the game.” Not everyone will agree, but the Twins may have to shift their strategy if there are rule changes for the coming season. Do you think MLB needs to ban shifts? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. The Twins season is over, but change to the roster is just starting. There are three things that the Twins are able to do to start the off season out right. (Editor's Note: Before we get started, join me in welcoming Sherry to the front page. This is her first promoted article. You have likely seen some of her writing on the Twins Daily blog pages. In her first front page article, she's got some ideas for the Twins front office.) After an arduous baseball season from the Twins, the fans are left with one question: “what’s next?”. We have all been asking ourselves that question since the Twins took a nosedive in May. Plagued with injury and ailment, the Twins limped through the summer trying to find their stride while also bringing up and sending down player after player. There seemed to be no relief. As players such as Josh Donaldson, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Luis Arraez, Mitch Garver, and Jorge Polanco healed and made their comeback so did the overall growth, demeanor and mindset of the team to finish out the season strong. While the Twins were nowhere near a run for the playoffs, let alone the Wild Card, they played as if they were and left the fans with a hopeful taste in their mouth as the season closed. So, what is next? There are a few things I can think of that will instantly make a difference. #1 No More Andrelton First things first, Andrelton Simmons' contract is officially up as soon as the World Series is complete! Let’s be honest, this was one of the worst Twins acquisitions, maybe not of all time, but for sure in the amount of time that I have been a fan, which is a fairly long time. I recall when the Twins gave him the contract, I was irate. I got blown to bits on Twitter for my “bad take” and he was a “gold glove winner”. (blah, blah, blah.) I am not an elite baseball mind, but I do have a serious appreciation for usable talent. Simmons was not that. Sure, on paper he looked good. His baseball-reference stats show that from 2016 through 2020 Simmons had a solid batting average. He was hitting .283 on average over those seasons, basically his tenure with the Angels. During those years he stayed above .250. As much as I didn't want to, I did count 2020 in the stats, but it was a shorter season, fewer games, so his batting average is going to look/be a little better. What caught my eye was his errors, he had 49 errors over four years. This year, Simmons was tied for sixth out of 22 shortstops in errors. I know that shortstops tend to make the most errors on the team, but I am not sure what made the Twins think that he was going to be anything but a train wreck. What made this even more frustrating was the fact that the Twins have players who could have played shortstop and got paid less. I am not advocating for Billy Beane baseball, but with assets like Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez and Nick Gordon, it was really disappointing to have someone like Simmons in the line up, especially in the second half. It's a collective sigh of relief that Simmons is becoming a free agent. #2 Rebuild the Rotation Next... to the mound. The pitching (or lack thereof) has been the biggest thorn in the Twins' side. Thanks to trades and bold moves the Twins acquired some young arms that are going to be around for quite awhile if the front office plays their cards right. Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, John Gant, Ralph Garza Jr, and Griffin Jax have breathed new life into the rotation, providing solid innings, more strikeouts and confidence that the front office may be actually understanding the assignment. The one thing that teams in the playoffs have is solid pitching. Having a good starting rotation and bullpen is important. There is less stress, leaving the line up to have enough energy to do their job and hit dingers. While there was a lot of anger due to trading Nelson Cruz, there has been less frustration with the pitching which came as a result of the trade. If there are going to be any changes in the rotation, acquiring at least two or three starters that they will leave in through the sixth inning would be beneficial. I am not sure what Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson thinks they are doing pulling guys in the sixth inning. This isn’t college baseball with a lot of depth. This is the big leagues, where guys are conditioned for longevity. The new guys that were brought in learned in a different system, potentially with different techniques and philosophies. Wes Johnson has not had a chance to them yet. The class of Free Agents looks like a platter for the next season and there is some amazing talent could be acquired, such as Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, and Max Scherzer. While we all have differing opinions on who is less effective, any of these pitchers would be a good buy in a 2 or 3 starter spot while we look in house for our #1 starter. #3 Bring Back the Boomstick The third thing would be bringing back Nelson Cruz to finish beefing up the batting line up. Cruz will be a free agent after his playoff run with Tampa Bay. That was a trade that sucker-punch to the fan base. While I personally was sad to see him go, the trade was one that the front office could not pass up. The return is exactly what this team needed. I can’t imagine that bringing back Cruz was not brought up in the clubhouse prior to the trade, but the tears, hugs and words spoken by the team surrounding the trade mean his teammates would love for him to come back. He, like the rest of the squad, definitely struggled a bit in the beginning of the season. The 41-year-old has shown few signs of slowing down or falling apart outside a thumb sprain early in the season. Since being in Tampa Bay, he has continued to soar and could help get the Rays to the World Series. His presence with the bat and in the clubhouse are something you rarely find, and it may be a fight to get him back. We saw this with Miguel Sano. Nelson Cruz was a guiding force into Sano's performance with the bat, and it's one relationship that has created a life-long bond. In reality, Cruz’s numbers are too good to ignore, as well as his ability to bring a smile and cohesion to the clubhouse. His impact on Sano was so great that the day Cruz was traded, Sano honored him by wearing his pants in that night's game. “The pants brought Sano a little bit of luck. He went 1-for-3 with a walk, double and run scored in his Minnesota Twins’ 3-2 loss to the Angels” writes Jesse Johnson of USA Today Sports. One thing is for sure, Nelson Cruz has always been and will always be a class act, even going out of the way to meet the pitcher that took his place in the clubhouse. You can’t replace a person like that. These are just a few of the things that would help the team see not only a higher finish in the standings, but also the potential to return to the playoffs. I love the old adage - “Offense wins games, Defense wins championships." I believe it’s true. If the Twins would be able to get a solid pitching staff, a defense that was less messy, and consider bringing back Nelson Cruz, that would be a start to creating a winning team for the 2022 season. View full article
  8. This winter, Minnesota's most significant need is pitching, which might push other needs to the backburner. Does that make a reunion with Andrelton Simmons more likely? Last winter, the Twins were focused on making improvements to their infield. Adding a shortstop allowed the team to move Jorge Polanco to second base, where there could be less physical wear and tear on his body. Minnesota was interested in players like Marcus Siemen, Didi Gregorius, and Andrelton Simmons. Siemen agreed to terms with Toronto, and Gregorious resigned with the Phillies. This left Minnesota focused on Simmons. At the time of the signing, the Twins were saying all the right things about Simmons. "There are so many ways that he fits into what we do and what we are trying to accomplish," said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. "We have one of the best, I think, pitching staffs as a whole in the American League, and for us to be able to complement that group with basically one of the greatest defenders of our generation, and to be able to put Andrelton at the shortstop position, which also allows us to really solidify everything going on in the rest of our infield as well." Unfortunately, everything didn't work out perfectly with the Simmons signing. Besides his strong defensive skills, he was known for his elite contact ability. He had the worst offensive season of his career as he hit .223/.283/.274 (.558) with a 57 OPS+. All of those totals were career lows, and he struck out over 60 times for only the third time in his 10-year career. His defense was still strong, but the offense was tough to swallow. Besides his offensive flaws, Simmons was also at the center of some off-field distractions this season. He declined to get the COVID vaccine, and then he tested positive for coronavirus in April. He also made comments about his anti-vax opinions on social media. Leading into spring training, he dealt with visa issues, and he couldn't go with the team to Toronto later in the season because of visa and immigration issues. His season couldn't have gone much worse across the board. By season's end, fans were frustrated to see Simmons in the line-up regularly when he didn't have a long-term obligation to the club. Playing someone like Nick Gordon at shortstop would allow the club to evaluate him for the long term. However, the club has seen Gordon play shortstop throughout his minor league career, and they may have already decided that he won't play the position regularly at the big-league level. This winter is a prime offseason to be looking for a free-agent shortstop. One of the best free-agent shortstop classes in MLB history is available, with names like Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Javier Baez, and Trevor Story headlining the list. Other potential options include Chris Taylor, Freddy Galvis, Jose Iglesias, and old friend Simmons. There are multiple intriguing names, but why would the Twins consider circling back to Simmons? Minnesota has many needs this winter, and spending money on a top-tier shortstop can be expensive. Simmons signed for $10.5 million last winter, and his cost is estimated to be significantly less in 2022. In the 2022 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook, his contract is estimated to be $3 million, which is not much in the grand scheme of an MLB roster. MLB.com also identified him as a prime bounce-back candidate after his horrible offensive season. Signing Simmons to a one-year deal can also keep shortstop open for one of the team's top prospects. Both Royce Lewis and Austin Martin have played shortstop during their professional careers, but neither may play the position long-term. Signing one of the top-tier shortstops likely pushes both of these players off the position moving forward. Fans will be disappointed if Simmons returns next season, but there's a real possibility of a reunion, at least for the 2022 campaign. Do you think Simmons will return to Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  9. Last winter, the Twins were focused on making improvements to their infield. Adding a shortstop allowed the team to move Jorge Polanco to second base, where there could be less physical wear and tear on his body. Minnesota was interested in players like Marcus Siemen, Didi Gregorius, and Andrelton Simmons. Siemen agreed to terms with Toronto, and Gregorious resigned with the Phillies. This left Minnesota focused on Simmons. At the time of the signing, the Twins were saying all the right things about Simmons. "There are so many ways that he fits into what we do and what we are trying to accomplish," said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. "We have one of the best, I think, pitching staffs as a whole in the American League, and for us to be able to complement that group with basically one of the greatest defenders of our generation, and to be able to put Andrelton at the shortstop position, which also allows us to really solidify everything going on in the rest of our infield as well." Unfortunately, everything didn't work out perfectly with the Simmons signing. Besides his strong defensive skills, he was known for his elite contact ability. He had the worst offensive season of his career as he hit .223/.283/.274 (.558) with a 57 OPS+. All of those totals were career lows, and he struck out over 60 times for only the third time in his 10-year career. His defense was still strong, but the offense was tough to swallow. Besides his offensive flaws, Simmons was also at the center of some off-field distractions this season. He declined to get the COVID vaccine, and then he tested positive for coronavirus in April. He also made comments about his anti-vax opinions on social media. Leading into spring training, he dealt with visa issues, and he couldn't go with the team to Toronto later in the season because of visa and immigration issues. His season couldn't have gone much worse across the board. By season's end, fans were frustrated to see Simmons in the line-up regularly when he didn't have a long-term obligation to the club. Playing someone like Nick Gordon at shortstop would allow the club to evaluate him for the long term. However, the club has seen Gordon play shortstop throughout his minor league career, and they may have already decided that he won't play the position regularly at the big-league level. This winter is a prime offseason to be looking for a free-agent shortstop. One of the best free-agent shortstop classes in MLB history is available, with names like Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Javier Baez, and Trevor Story headlining the list. Other potential options include Chris Taylor, Freddy Galvis, Jose Iglesias, and old friend Simmons. There are multiple intriguing names, but why would the Twins consider circling back to Simmons? Minnesota has many needs this winter, and spending money on a top-tier shortstop can be expensive. Simmons signed for $10.5 million last winter, and his cost is estimated to be significantly less in 2022. In the 2022 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook, his contract is estimated to be $3 million, which is not much in the grand scheme of an MLB roster. MLB.com also identified him as a prime bounce-back candidate after his horrible offensive season. Signing Simmons to a one-year deal can also keep shortstop open for one of the team's top prospects. Both Royce Lewis and Austin Martin have played shortstop during their professional careers, but neither may play the position long-term. Signing one of the top-tier shortstops likely pushes both of these players off the position moving forward. Fans will be disappointed if Simmons returns next season, but there's a real possibility of a reunion, at least for the 2022 campaign. Do you think Simmons will return to Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. Happy Halloween Twins fans! To “celebrate” the culmination of Spooky Season, I’ve chosen to creep you all out with the scariest scenarios for the Twins’ near future. Beware! Falvine Strike Out on Starting Pitchers With José Berríos in Toronto and Kenta Maeda out for at least the first half of 2022, Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan are the only likely 2022 rotation pieces that are actually on the roster right now. Michael Pineda seems somewhat likely to come back into the fold but that’s no guarantee, and even then, the Twins would need a top-end arm to get the rotation even close to competitive. Cody Christie wrote a compelling argument last week that Falvey and Levine need to cut a big check for a starter, and I tend to agree that without one of the big-money guys, this rotation could look pretty gory, and not in a good way. I guess this is only really scary if you believe the Twins offense can be competitive—as I believe they can—because a young, learning-on-the-job rotation isn’t a bad thing if the team wouldn’t be good anyway. But this team can be good with a solid rotation, so it’d be best not to miss out. Miguel Sanó Never “Figures It Out” Of all the scenarios in this article, this is perhaps the most likely. Miguel Sanó isn’t a bad player. He’s a beast with exit velocity and hard-hit percentage numbers. However, as Twins fans, we seem to struggle to accept that those benefits are always going to come with one of the worst strikeout rates in the league. We seem to think that, someday, something will click and the strikeouts will stop, his average will creep up towards .250, and his OPS will rise to .900+. What if that never happens? What if this is who he always is? Again, he’s not bad, but if who he is now is what he’ll always be, then we have a bad defensive first baseman who strikes out a lot out of the six hole in the lineup, and is borderline unplayable when he’s in a slump. Are the 30 homers a year worth that trouble? That’s a question for more analytical minds than mine to figure out, but I think that type of reality is one we have to come to terms with as the expectation for Sanó’s career, as scary as that may be. Andrelton Simmons Being on the 2022 Roster The Twins signed Simmons last January after reportedly missing out late on Marcus Semien. Then, Semien hit 45 bombs, and Simmons was one of the least impressive hitters in all of baseball, so we’ve already lived this nightmare. Simmons is a free agent again this winter, and he’ll be available for a lot less money than the front office spent for him last winter. And, given how committed the team was to putting his useless bat in the lineup almost every night last season, it doesn’t take much imagination to see them bringing him back in. The Twins certainly can’t trot him out as the Opening Day shortstop (talk about nightmare), but I don’t want the stink of his 2021 campaign anywhere close to the 2022 squad, even if it’s just as a backup utility infielder. The Next Wave of Prospects Falls Short About a year ago, the Twins’ plan seemed clear: the current core was fresh off two straight division titles and was poised to transition perfectly into the years of Alex Kirilloff, Royce Lewis, Ryan Jeffers, and Trevor Larnach. However, 2021 didn’t go well for either the current stars of the team or for those pegged to be next up. The current Twins fell well short of their playoff expectations, Lewis lost his season, Kirilloff was good-not-great and had surgery, and Larnach and Jeffers couldn’t stay up in the big leagues. Now, Kirilloff and Larnach gave us signs that there is real reason for optimism for the next wave of talent, but it often seems that, with prospects, blind optimism is the norm. And I’m not saying it’s worth a whole lot of concern, but there is a scary scenario out there where these guys just don’t live up to the lofty expectations we’ve given them. Byron Buxton Leaves Okay, so I saved the scariest scenario surrounding this team for last. The Byron Buxton extension talks have been well-documented because he’s the most-talented Twin since Joe Mauer and when healthy, plays something like pre-steroid-era Barry Bonds. Obviously, the concern is his constant injury problems, as he hasn’t played 100 games in a season since 2017. But, though it’s hard to commit a $17 million-a-year extension to a guy who may not be in the lineup half the time, the alternative is worse. Think of what Eddie Rosario is doing right now for Atlanta, except that happens all the time and it’s for the Yankees or some other crazy rich club. That’s the nightmare scenario we’re trying to avoid. And, based on the Twins’ history with former players popping off after leaving the club, Buxton may never get injured again if Derek and Thad let him walk. Did I scare you enough? Let me know in the comments! View full article
  11. Falvine Strike Out on Starting Pitchers With José Berríos in Toronto and Kenta Maeda out for at least the first half of 2022, Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan are the only likely 2022 rotation pieces that are actually on the roster right now. Michael Pineda seems somewhat likely to come back into the fold but that’s no guarantee, and even then, the Twins would need a top-end arm to get the rotation even close to competitive. Cody Christie wrote a compelling argument last week that Falvey and Levine need to cut a big check for a starter, and I tend to agree that without one of the big-money guys, this rotation could look pretty gory, and not in a good way. I guess this is only really scary if you believe the Twins offense can be competitive—as I believe they can—because a young, learning-on-the-job rotation isn’t a bad thing if the team wouldn’t be good anyway. But this team can be good with a solid rotation, so it’d be best not to miss out. Miguel Sanó Never “Figures It Out” Of all the scenarios in this article, this is perhaps the most likely. Miguel Sanó isn’t a bad player. He’s a beast with exit velocity and hard-hit percentage numbers. However, as Twins fans, we seem to struggle to accept that those benefits are always going to come with one of the worst strikeout rates in the league. We seem to think that, someday, something will click and the strikeouts will stop, his average will creep up towards .250, and his OPS will rise to .900+. What if that never happens? What if this is who he always is? Again, he’s not bad, but if who he is now is what he’ll always be, then we have a bad defensive first baseman who strikes out a lot out of the six hole in the lineup, and is borderline unplayable when he’s in a slump. Are the 30 homers a year worth that trouble? That’s a question for more analytical minds than mine to figure out, but I think that type of reality is one we have to come to terms with as the expectation for Sanó’s career, as scary as that may be. Andrelton Simmons Being on the 2022 Roster The Twins signed Simmons last January after reportedly missing out late on Marcus Semien. Then, Semien hit 45 bombs, and Simmons was one of the least impressive hitters in all of baseball, so we’ve already lived this nightmare. Simmons is a free agent again this winter, and he’ll be available for a lot less money than the front office spent for him last winter. And, given how committed the team was to putting his useless bat in the lineup almost every night last season, it doesn’t take much imagination to see them bringing him back in. The Twins certainly can’t trot him out as the Opening Day shortstop (talk about nightmare), but I don’t want the stink of his 2021 campaign anywhere close to the 2022 squad, even if it’s just as a backup utility infielder. The Next Wave of Prospects Falls Short About a year ago, the Twins’ plan seemed clear: the current core was fresh off two straight division titles and was poised to transition perfectly into the years of Alex Kirilloff, Royce Lewis, Ryan Jeffers, and Trevor Larnach. However, 2021 didn’t go well for either the current stars of the team or for those pegged to be next up. The current Twins fell well short of their playoff expectations, Lewis lost his season, Kirilloff was good-not-great and had surgery, and Larnach and Jeffers couldn’t stay up in the big leagues. Now, Kirilloff and Larnach gave us signs that there is real reason for optimism for the next wave of talent, but it often seems that, with prospects, blind optimism is the norm. And I’m not saying it’s worth a whole lot of concern, but there is a scary scenario out there where these guys just don’t live up to the lofty expectations we’ve given them. Byron Buxton Leaves Okay, so I saved the scariest scenario surrounding this team for last. The Byron Buxton extension talks have been well-documented because he’s the most-talented Twin since Joe Mauer and when healthy, plays something like pre-steroid-era Barry Bonds. Obviously, the concern is his constant injury problems, as he hasn’t played 100 games in a season since 2017. But, though it’s hard to commit a $17 million-a-year extension to a guy who may not be in the lineup half the time, the alternative is worse. Think of what Eddie Rosario is doing right now for Atlanta, except that happens all the time and it’s for the Yankees or some other crazy rich club. That’s the nightmare scenario we’re trying to avoid. And, based on the Twins’ history with former players popping off after leaving the club, Buxton may never get injured again if Derek and Thad let him walk. Did I scare you enough? Let me know in the comments!
  12. Jorge Polanco was the Twins’ MVP in 2021 with sterling numbers across the board. How would you grade him and the rest of the infield? Do you agree with these grades?
  13. Jorge Polanco was the Twins’ MVP in 2021 with sterling numbers across the board. How would you grade him and the rest of the infield? Do you agree with these grades? View full video
  14. The World Series kicks off on Tuesday night, and following its completion (which could be as early as Saturday), Minnesota will experience an exodus of players hitting free agency. How will the roster look different a week or so from now? Before taking a look at the upcoming Rule 5 draft, and the players Minnesota will need to protect, it’s worth getting the lay of the land for guys headed onto the open market. Minnesota has a handful of 40 man players that will be on their way out, and some minor leaguers will also be worth keeping tabs on once they exit the organization. First, let’s take a look at the guys currently on the 40 man roster: Michael Pineda, Alexander Colome*, Andrelton Simmons Both Pineda and Simmons are sure to be jettisoned this week. The former is a strong candidate to re-sign with the Twins, while the latter should be expected to wind up elsewhere. Given Minnesota’s 2022 pitching outlook, bringing Pineda back to bolster the starting rotation would be an excellent decision. The one uncertain candidate here is closer Alexander Colome. He fell flat for Minnesota but did rebound somewhat down the stretch. His career numbers have been better than in 2021, and free agency isn’t a straightforward process for him. Both parties have a mutual option for 2022, and the value checks in at $5.5 million. His $1.25 million buyout is forfeited if Minnesota exercises their option but Colome declines (which would seem the least likely scenario). Notable Minor Leaguers: Melvi Acosta, Adam Bray, Trey Cabbage, Wander Javier, Hector Lujan, Carlos Suniaga, Aaron Whitefield, B.J. Boyd The three most prominent names in this group are sandwiched in the middle. Trey Cabbage was a 4th round pick in the 2015 draft. He reached Double-A Wichita this season and posted an .882 OPS over 68 games. It was a solid season for the 24-year-old. Minnesota could consider a 40 man roster addition, but if not, he’ll reach the open market for the first time. Once a top prospect, Wander Javier finds himself at a critical juncture in his career. He’ll be 23-years-old next season and has played in just 226 professional games. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, things just have never followed the tools that have impressed through evaluations. Javier was at Cedar Rapids last season, although it did represent High-A this time around. He posted a sub-.700 OPS but did show flashes after a very slow start. He may find a better path forward in a different organization. Lujan represents a definite grinder when it comes to prospects. He was a 35th round pick back in 2015 but reached Double-A during the 2019 season. Pitching all of 2021 for Wichita, the numbers looked good enough for Triple-A or big-league consideration. Nothing is extremely flashy for the reliever, but there are solid numbers across the board, and he could factor as a depth middle-reliever. The other pitchers noted above have shown flashes of capability that could be useful at the big league level. Acosta, Bray, and Suniaga are more unknown names but have made a presence for themselves through performance. In the box, Whitefield has previously debuted with the Twins while Boyd put up strong numbers at Double-A in 2021. A whole host of veteran or non-prospect types will also hit free agency as Minnesota needs to decide who will be offered deals for the upcoming year. Free agency could also look slightly different this offseason, with the CBA negotiations likely dictating the ultimate timeline for players. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  15. Before taking a look at the upcoming Rule 5 draft, and the players Minnesota will need to protect, it’s worth getting the lay of the land for guys headed onto the open market. Minnesota has a handful of 40 man players that will be on their way out, and some minor leaguers will also be worth keeping tabs on once they exit the organization. First, let’s take a look at the guys currently on the 40 man roster: Michael Pineda, Alexander Colome*, Andrelton Simmons Both Pineda and Simmons are sure to be jettisoned this week. The former is a strong candidate to re-sign with the Twins, while the latter should be expected to wind up elsewhere. Given Minnesota’s 2022 pitching outlook, bringing Pineda back to bolster the starting rotation would be an excellent decision. The one uncertain candidate here is closer Alexander Colome. He fell flat for Minnesota but did rebound somewhat down the stretch. His career numbers have been better than in 2021, and free agency isn’t a straightforward process for him. Both parties have a mutual option for 2022, and the value checks in at $5.5 million. His $1.25 million buyout is forfeited if Minnesota exercises their option but Colome declines (which would seem the least likely scenario). Notable Minor Leaguers: Melvi Acosta, Adam Bray, Trey Cabbage, Wander Javier, Hector Lujan, Carlos Suniaga, Aaron Whitefield, B.J. Boyd The three most prominent names in this group are sandwiched in the middle. Trey Cabbage was a 4th round pick in the 2015 draft. He reached Double-A Wichita this season and posted an .882 OPS over 68 games. It was a solid season for the 24-year-old. Minnesota could consider a 40 man roster addition, but if not, he’ll reach the open market for the first time. Once a top prospect, Wander Javier finds himself at a critical juncture in his career. He’ll be 23-years-old next season and has played in just 226 professional games. Between injuries and ineffectiveness, things just have never followed the tools that have impressed through evaluations. Javier was at Cedar Rapids last season, although it did represent High-A this time around. He posted a sub-.700 OPS but did show flashes after a very slow start. He may find a better path forward in a different organization. Lujan represents a definite grinder when it comes to prospects. He was a 35th round pick back in 2015 but reached Double-A during the 2019 season. Pitching all of 2021 for Wichita, the numbers looked good enough for Triple-A or big-league consideration. Nothing is extremely flashy for the reliever, but there are solid numbers across the board, and he could factor as a depth middle-reliever. The other pitchers noted above have shown flashes of capability that could be useful at the big league level. Acosta, Bray, and Suniaga are more unknown names but have made a presence for themselves through performance. In the box, Whitefield has previously debuted with the Twins while Boyd put up strong numbers at Double-A in 2021. A whole host of veteran or non-prospect types will also hit free agency as Minnesota needs to decide who will be offered deals for the upcoming year. Free agency could also look slightly different this offseason, with the CBA negotiations likely dictating the ultimate timeline for players. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. If I had to use one word to describe the 2021 Minnesota Twins it would be embarrassing. The team was expected to win the division, and they finished last and narrowly avoided 90 losses. That’s, in a word, embarrassing. Let’s relive some of the most shameful moments in hopes that, now that it’s all over, we can laugh about it. Maybe. Blankenhorn and Arraez Make Back-to-Back Errors to Lose to Oakland Everyone remembers this game in Oakland. In fact, it was such an important inflection point in the season that Nick Nelson chose it as the most important moment of April. As season-defining as it was, the bottom of the tenth of that game was equally embarrassing. After a tough start, the Twins battled back to take a 10-7 lead in the game, and then promptly blew about three different chances to win the game and it went to (the dreaded) tenth inning. Byron Buxton bent the universe to his will (as he does) with a two-run homer in the top of the tenth, but it only set the stage for a meltdown in the bottom of the inning. Alex Colome, who had already blown a save, had loaded the bases, but there were two outs and the Twins still led by two, so any ball in the infield would surely end the game, right? Wrong. Travis Blankenhorn basically farted on a grounder to second that scored one run. Then Luis Arraez fielded a bouncer to third, but missed first base by a good six feet on his throw, and just like that, the Twins blew their fourth and fifth chances to win the game and Oakland was dogpiling. Pathetic. Rob Refsnyder Introduces Himself to the Camden Yards Wall Remember when Rob Refsnyder was a thing? The 30-year-old journeyman was filling in at the center field spot for Buxton and for a second there, you couldn’t tell the difference between the two. Refsnyder was swinging a scorching bat and had some timely hits that helped the Twins to a 10-6 record in his first sixteen games in the lineup. However, in that sixteenth game, Rob took his Buxton impression a little too far and freight-trained himself into the center field wall, injuring himself and ruining the Refsnyder-as-cult-hero vibe the Twins had going on. Also, no image encapsulates the 2021 Twins better than this: ...and getting clowned on by one of the worst teams in baseball didn’t help. Yermin Mercedes Tees Off on Astudillo Okay, this one isn’t even really about the Twins, as it has more to do with infighting between Tony La Russa and his players. But the only issue the White Sox had all year was played out over the backdrop of them consistently brutalizing the Twins on the field, and that’s a tough look. As a reminder, the Twins were getting shellacked by Chicago and sent Willians Astudillo out to the mound while they limped through the final innings. Yermin Mercedes came up with two outs and on a 3-0 count, he deposited Astudillo’s 47-mile-per-hour offering into the shrubs in center. La Russa, Roy Smalley, and basically nobody else got mad about it, but it became a sports news cycle topic for a few days, reminding the national audience that the Twins stank and the White Sox, even with their (invented) issues, didn’t. Also, all that stuff aside, you can’t watch this as a Twins fan and not be a little embarrassed: Almost Getting No-Hit at Home Against Angels On July 24th, Patrick Sandoval took a no-hitter into the ninth against the Twins that was broken up by a Brent Rooker double with two outs left to get. I was at the game that night, so maybe that’s why this sticks with me, but the offense almost could not have looked worse. They struck out thirteen times against Sandoval and the mental gymnastics I was doing to justify buying a ten dollar beer was more entertaining than watching the at-bats the Twins were putting up on the field. It was a clown show. Then, Rooker and Donaldson turned two doubles into one run to make it 2-1, but they couldn’t complete the comeback and somehow that was even worse than getting no-hit. The Ones That Got Away Okay, these next two aren't really moments, but it’s my article, so who’s going to stop me from breaking my own rules? (Editor's Note: Ahem...) Anyway, Whether it’s star players traded away or cut-bait guys who find a huge role elsewhere, perhaps nothing haunts us as Twins fans more than former Twins finding success elsewhere. And there was plenty more of that again this year. Nelson Cruz is hitting homers in the playoffs for the Rays. José Berríos was dicing guys in meaningful games down the stretch for Toronto. Freaking Lamonte Wade Jr. just can’t stop getting big hits in big spots for the 107-win Giants. Even guys like Matt Wisler and Hansel Robles are giving playoff teams important innings this postseason. Also Eddie Rosario is on the Braves, but that one honestly doesn't feel so bad. Seeing the pieces of what should have been your contending team make a difference for real contenders throughout the league is especially humiliating. Signing Andrelton Simmons and Alex Colomé When Derek Falvey and Thad Levine brought Colomé and Simmons to the club, I, along with many others, was pumped. Here was our big late-inning guy and the shortstop upgrade we needed; let’s go win a division. Uh huh. Colomé was sneakily not bad over the second half of the year, but he blew enough games early in the year that his success later in the year (when the games didn’t really matter) will be forgotten. It turns out the the secondary numbers and, you know, every other team in the league was right: he’s not that good. Meanwhile, Andrelton Simmons wasn’t just not that good, he was a dumpster fire. Expected to be at least capable at the plate and excellent at shortstop, Simmons slashed a putrid .223/.283/.274 and was nearly special enough in the field to make up for it. He was completely and entirely awful. Falvey and Levine were roundly praised for bringing these guys in, but now they’re facing unfamiliar criticism partially due to these guys’ falling well short of their expectations. Were you able to laugh a little about it? What moments did I miss? Let me know in the comments! View full article
  17. Blankenhorn and Arraez Make Back-to-Back Errors to Lose to Oakland Everyone remembers this game in Oakland. In fact, it was such an important inflection point in the season that Nick Nelson chose it as the most important moment of April. As season-defining as it was, the bottom of the tenth of that game was equally embarrassing. After a tough start, the Twins battled back to take a 10-7 lead in the game, and then promptly blew about three different chances to win the game and it went to (the dreaded) tenth inning. Byron Buxton bent the universe to his will (as he does) with a two-run homer in the top of the tenth, but it only set the stage for a meltdown in the bottom of the inning. Alex Colome, who had already blown a save, had loaded the bases, but there were two outs and the Twins still led by two, so any ball in the infield would surely end the game, right? Wrong. Travis Blankenhorn basically farted on a grounder to second that scored one run. Then Luis Arraez fielded a bouncer to third, but missed first base by a good six feet on his throw, and just like that, the Twins blew their fourth and fifth chances to win the game and Oakland was dogpiling. Pathetic. Rob Refsnyder Introduces Himself to the Camden Yards Wall Remember when Rob Refsnyder was a thing? The 30-year-old journeyman was filling in at the center field spot for Buxton and for a second there, you couldn’t tell the difference between the two. Refsnyder was swinging a scorching bat and had some timely hits that helped the Twins to a 10-6 record in his first sixteen games in the lineup. However, in that sixteenth game, Rob took his Buxton impression a little too far and freight-trained himself into the center field wall, injuring himself and ruining the Refsnyder-as-cult-hero vibe the Twins had going on. Also, no image encapsulates the 2021 Twins better than this: ...and getting clowned on by one of the worst teams in baseball didn’t help. Yermin Mercedes Tees Off on Astudillo Okay, this one isn’t even really about the Twins, as it has more to do with infighting between Tony La Russa and his players. But the only issue the White Sox had all year was played out over the backdrop of them consistently brutalizing the Twins on the field, and that’s a tough look. As a reminder, the Twins were getting shellacked by Chicago and sent Willians Astudillo out to the mound while they limped through the final innings. Yermin Mercedes came up with two outs and on a 3-0 count, he deposited Astudillo’s 47-mile-per-hour offering into the shrubs in center. La Russa, Roy Smalley, and basically nobody else got mad about it, but it became a sports news cycle topic for a few days, reminding the national audience that the Twins stank and the White Sox, even with their (invented) issues, didn’t. Also, all that stuff aside, you can’t watch this as a Twins fan and not be a little embarrassed: Almost Getting No-Hit at Home Against Angels On July 24th, Patrick Sandoval took a no-hitter into the ninth against the Twins that was broken up by a Brent Rooker double with two outs left to get. I was at the game that night, so maybe that’s why this sticks with me, but the offense almost could not have looked worse. They struck out thirteen times against Sandoval and the mental gymnastics I was doing to justify buying a ten dollar beer was more entertaining than watching the at-bats the Twins were putting up on the field. It was a clown show. Then, Rooker and Donaldson turned two doubles into one run to make it 2-1, but they couldn’t complete the comeback and somehow that was even worse than getting no-hit. The Ones That Got Away Okay, these next two aren't really moments, but it’s my article, so who’s going to stop me from breaking my own rules? (Editor's Note: Ahem...) Anyway, Whether it’s star players traded away or cut-bait guys who find a huge role elsewhere, perhaps nothing haunts us as Twins fans more than former Twins finding success elsewhere. And there was plenty more of that again this year. Nelson Cruz is hitting homers in the playoffs for the Rays. José Berríos was dicing guys in meaningful games down the stretch for Toronto. Freaking Lamonte Wade Jr. just can’t stop getting big hits in big spots for the 107-win Giants. Even guys like Matt Wisler and Hansel Robles are giving playoff teams important innings this postseason. Also Eddie Rosario is on the Braves, but that one honestly doesn't feel so bad. Seeing the pieces of what should have been your contending team make a difference for real contenders throughout the league is especially humiliating. Signing Andrelton Simmons and Alex Colomé When Derek Falvey and Thad Levine brought Colomé and Simmons to the club, I, along with many others, was pumped. Here was our big late-inning guy and the shortstop upgrade we needed; let’s go win a division. Uh huh. Colomé was sneakily not bad over the second half of the year, but he blew enough games early in the year that his success later in the year (when the games didn’t really matter) will be forgotten. It turns out the the secondary numbers and, you know, every other team in the league was right: he’s not that good. Meanwhile, Andrelton Simmons wasn’t just not that good, he was a dumpster fire. Expected to be at least capable at the plate and excellent at shortstop, Simmons slashed a putrid .223/.283/.274 and was nearly special enough in the field to make up for it. He was completely and entirely awful. Falvey and Levine were roundly praised for bringing these guys in, but now they’re facing unfamiliar criticism partially due to these guys’ falling well short of their expectations. Were you able to laugh a little about it? What moments did I miss? Let me know in the comments!
  18. (Editor's Note: Before we get started, join me in welcoming Sherry to the front page. This is her first promoted article. You have likely seen some of her writing on the Twins Daily blog pages. In her first front page article, she's got some ideas for the Twins front office.) After an arduous baseball season from the Twins, the fans are left with one question: “what’s next?”. We have all been asking ourselves that question since the Twins took a nosedive in May. Plagued with injury and ailment, the Twins limped through the summer trying to find their stride while also bringing up and sending down player after player. There seemed to be no relief. As players such as Josh Donaldson, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Luis Arraez, Mitch Garver, and Jorge Polanco healed and made their comeback so did the overall growth, demeanor and mindset of the team to finish out the season strong. While the Twins were nowhere near a run for the playoffs, let alone the Wild Card, they played as if they were and left the fans with a hopeful taste in their mouth as the season closed. So, what is next? There are a few things I can think of that will instantly make a difference. #1 No More Andrelton First things first, Andrelton Simmons' contract is officially up as soon as the World Series is complete! Let’s be honest, this was one of the worst Twins acquisitions, maybe not of all time, but for sure in the amount of time that I have been a fan, which is a fairly long time. I recall when the Twins gave him the contract, I was irate. I got blown to bits on Twitter for my “bad take” and he was a “gold glove winner”. (blah, blah, blah.) I am not an elite baseball mind, but I do have a serious appreciation for usable talent. Simmons was not that. Sure, on paper he looked good. His baseball-reference stats show that from 2016 through 2020 Simmons had a solid batting average. He was hitting .283 on average over those seasons, basically his tenure with the Angels. During those years he stayed above .250. As much as I didn't want to, I did count 2020 in the stats, but it was a shorter season, fewer games, so his batting average is going to look/be a little better. What caught my eye was his errors, he had 49 errors over four years. This year, Simmons was tied for sixth out of 22 shortstops in errors. I know that shortstops tend to make the most errors on the team, but I am not sure what made the Twins think that he was going to be anything but a train wreck. What made this even more frustrating was the fact that the Twins have players who could have played shortstop and got paid less. I am not advocating for Billy Beane baseball, but with assets like Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez and Nick Gordon, it was really disappointing to have someone like Simmons in the line up, especially in the second half. It's a collective sigh of relief that Simmons is becoming a free agent. #2 Rebuild the Rotation Next... to the mound. The pitching (or lack thereof) has been the biggest thorn in the Twins' side. Thanks to trades and bold moves the Twins acquired some young arms that are going to be around for quite awhile if the front office plays their cards right. Joe Ryan, Bailey Ober, John Gant, Ralph Garza Jr, and Griffin Jax have breathed new life into the rotation, providing solid innings, more strikeouts and confidence that the front office may be actually understanding the assignment. The one thing that teams in the playoffs have is solid pitching. Having a good starting rotation and bullpen is important. There is less stress, leaving the line up to have enough energy to do their job and hit dingers. While there was a lot of anger due to trading Nelson Cruz, there has been less frustration with the pitching which came as a result of the trade. If there are going to be any changes in the rotation, acquiring at least two or three starters that they will leave in through the sixth inning would be beneficial. I am not sure what Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson thinks they are doing pulling guys in the sixth inning. This isn’t college baseball with a lot of depth. This is the big leagues, where guys are conditioned for longevity. The new guys that were brought in learned in a different system, potentially with different techniques and philosophies. Wes Johnson has not had a chance to them yet. The class of Free Agents looks like a platter for the next season and there is some amazing talent could be acquired, such as Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw Marcus Stroman, Noah Syndergaard, and Max Scherzer. While we all have differing opinions on who is less effective, any of these pitchers would be a good buy in a 2 or 3 starter spot while we look in house for our #1 starter. #3 Bring Back the Boomstick The third thing would be bringing back Nelson Cruz to finish beefing up the batting line up. Cruz will be a free agent after his playoff run with Tampa Bay. That was a trade that sucker-punch to the fan base. While I personally was sad to see him go, the trade was one that the front office could not pass up. The return is exactly what this team needed. I can’t imagine that bringing back Cruz was not brought up in the clubhouse prior to the trade, but the tears, hugs and words spoken by the team surrounding the trade mean his teammates would love for him to come back. He, like the rest of the squad, definitely struggled a bit in the beginning of the season. The 41-year-old has shown few signs of slowing down or falling apart outside a thumb sprain early in the season. Since being in Tampa Bay, he has continued to soar and could help get the Rays to the World Series. His presence with the bat and in the clubhouse are something you rarely find, and it may be a fight to get him back. We saw this with Miguel Sano. Nelson Cruz was a guiding force into Sano's performance with the bat, and it's one relationship that has created a life-long bond. In reality, Cruz’s numbers are too good to ignore, as well as his ability to bring a smile and cohesion to the clubhouse. His impact on Sano was so great that the day Cruz was traded, Sano honored him by wearing his pants in that night's game. “The pants brought Sano a little bit of luck. He went 1-for-3 with a walk, double and run scored in his Minnesota Twins’ 3-2 loss to the Angels” writes Jesse Johnson of USA Today Sports. One thing is for sure, Nelson Cruz has always been and will always be a class act, even going out of the way to meet the pitcher that took his place in the clubhouse. You can’t replace a person like that. These are just a few of the things that would help the team see not only a higher finish in the standings, but also the potential to return to the playoffs. I love the old adage - “Offense wins games, Defense wins championships." I believe it’s true. If the Twins would be able to get a solid pitching staff, a defense that was less messy, and consider bringing back Nelson Cruz, that would be a start to creating a winning team for the 2022 season.
  19. The Twins shortstop is skeptical of the official narrative behind Devin Williams’ injury. When Milwaukee’s ace setup man Devin Williams fractured his pitching hand after celebrating the team’s playoff clinching victory, reactions were pretty much uniform: that’s some real bad luck for the Brewers and/or worse decision making by Williams. For one shortstop, it only led to more questions. “What is Anthony Fauci hiding,” asked Andrelton Simmons of the Minnesota Twins, referencing the doctor who leads the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “He hasn’t said a word about this. His silence says more than any public statement.” Simmons, a public vaccine skeptic, had harsh words for those who believed the accounts of Williams, the Brewers, media outlets, the Commissioner’s office, and objective reality. “The Brewers are a legitimate title contender and you people actually believe that one of their best players, after they lock up a playoff berth, would punch a wall with his pitching hand,” said Simmons. “I’m literally laughing out loud. Sure he did, sheeple. Sure he did.” When pressed on what he thinks really happened, Simmons looked to the past. “The Brewers were already 85% vaccinated in May, and now one of their best players has a broken hand,” said Simmons. “Not one Brewer pitcher broke his pitching hand before last year’s playoffs. You know what else didn’t happen before last year’s playoffs? Vaccinations. Connect the dots, my friend.” Simmons also claimed that while there’s no proof that the FDA trapped former Twin Marty Cordova in a tanning bed and caused him to miss multiple day games, “they’ve never denied it, either. Funny how that works.” View full article
  20. When Milwaukee’s ace setup man Devin Williams fractured his pitching hand after celebrating the team’s playoff clinching victory, reactions were pretty much uniform: that’s some real bad luck for the Brewers and/or worse decision making by Williams. For one shortstop, it only led to more questions. “What is Anthony Fauci hiding,” asked Andrelton Simmons of the Minnesota Twins, referencing the doctor who leads the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “He hasn’t said a word about this. His silence says more than any public statement.” Simmons, a public vaccine skeptic, had harsh words for those who believed the accounts of Williams, the Brewers, media outlets, the Commissioner’s office, and objective reality. “The Brewers are a legitimate title contender and you people actually believe that one of their best players, after they lock up a playoff berth, would punch a wall with his pitching hand,” said Simmons. “I’m literally laughing out loud. Sure he did, sheeple. Sure he did.” When pressed on what he thinks really happened, Simmons looked to the past. “The Brewers were already 85% vaccinated in May, and now one of their best players has a broken hand,” said Simmons. “Not one Brewer pitcher broke his pitching hand before last year’s playoffs. You know what else didn’t happen before last year’s playoffs? Vaccinations. Connect the dots, my friend.” Simmons also claimed that while there’s no proof that the FDA trapped former Twin Marty Cordova in a tanning bed and caused him to miss multiple day games, “they’ve never denied it, either. Funny how that works.”
  21. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have not had a good experience on the free-agent market during their tenure at the top of Minnesota’s front office. Many organizations find landmines, but did this season include the worst signing in franchise history? After Jorge Polanco limped through 2020 with an ankle injury that required a second surgery, it became more than apparent that Rocco Baldelli needed a different option at shortstop. Before Royce Lewis was shelved with a torn ACL, the big league club needed a stabilizing presence at the most critical position on the infield. Casting a wide net made the most sense for the Twins. Marcus Semien was arguably the best option, and despite finishing a close runner-up for his services, the former Athletics infielder has posted an otherworldly season for the Blue Jays. Many players would qualify as fringe options, having one or more holes in their games. Falvey opted for a pact with Gold Glove-winning fielder Andrelton Simmons. The former Angels shortstop always carried a light bat, but his defense got the job done. Welcome to 2021. It’s not as though Simmons’ defense has fallen off a cliff; he’s still been a valuable commodity in the field for Minnesota. His 11 defensive runs saved rank third in baseball at the position, and he’s behind only Nick Ahmed and Francisco Lindor when it comes to outs above average at shortstop. Simmons has induced many highlight-reel plays this season behind Twins pitching, but his blunders have always been highly noticeable. Simmons has been miscast for a guy who needs to make an impact defensively to hide his bat, given the results Minnesota has generated on the season as a whole. He carries value for a good team that can afford to have a complete non-factor in the lineup. Given the Twins inability to pitch and often hit, the marginal defensive upgrade he has been only amplified the awful season of production. At -0.4 fWAR, Simmons has been Minnesota’s third-worst position player behind Willians Astudillo and Gilberto Celestino. Without finding a trade partner for him at the deadline, the Twins have allowed Simmons to play in 116 games despite being a free agent at year’s end. He’s being paid $10.5 million in 2021 and has been worse than a non-factor offensively. His .561 OPS is dead last in baseball among 154 hitters with at least 400 plate appearances. He has a .286 OBP and has a whopping 14 extra-base hits. The most divisive contribution Simmons has made to the Twins clubhouse may have been a medical one. Just days after being outspoken regarding his stance on vaccines, the shortstop tested positive, and Minnesota soon experienced an outbreak. Without attributing fault to any one person, Simmons' brash nature and desire to publicly share his opinions on Twitter were undoubtedly met with backlash given how the season began to spiral. Over the years, plenty of front offices have missed when it comes to spending money on players leaving other organizations. Sometimes those players move on for the sake of a big contract. Other times it happens because the club is moving on before getting caught holding the bag. This may be more of the latter when considering the Angels situation, and Minnesota felt the wrath of a decision gone wrong. You could make a case for Tsuyoshi Nishioka or Ricky Nolasco when considering previous Twins missteps. Still, nothing about how Andrelton Simmons has fared in Minnesota is good, and it’s a shock he’ll survive the year without a DFA. Back to the drawing board at shortstop for 2022. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  22. Following the 2020 Major League Baseball season, we would get a year in which normalcy returned to ballparks. The Minnesota Twins had won two straight AL Central titles, and their offseason set up a three-peat opportunity. Then the games started. If there’s a takeaway for 2021, it’s that nothing is won in the offseason. Take it from a guy that hung a banner over the winter, and it will be worth taking a significant lap when the dust settles on spending before Opening Day 2022. Going into this season, the Twins needed to do little more than hold serve. This team was no longer the Bomba Squad, but they didn’t need to be. Rocco Baldelli had to have a well-rounded group and one that took a step forward with a well-established core. There was plenty of promise after adding more pitching options, a defensive wizard at shortstop, and bringing back the Boomstick. Depth looked to be in a great place, and the talent at the top should’ve been comparable to anyone. After getting out to a 5-2 start, the Twins went on a 1-9 run. They never recovered and didn’t see a .500 record the rest of the way. That depth was depleted through injury, but it was also worn down through ineffectiveness. Miguel Sano looked lost to start, and Max Kepler may never have been found. The free-agent signings, save for the returning Cruz, all flopped. Kenta Maeda wasn’t the arm that dominated in 2020. The bullpen imploded all over the place. "Unfortunate" would be selling the situation short. Minnesota didn’t perform for any consistent stretch, at any consistent level, and it cost them well beyond the injury concerns they dealt with. Following his extension, Jorge Polanco took the reigns on his career, but Kepler and Sano floundered when expected to contribute. No matter how the offseason acquisitions turned out, the core failed to uphold their end of the bargain. In the future, especially when heading into a season of uncertainty, being reminded the season isn’t won in the offseason is a must. Being able to celebrate moves made is a fair practice. How they gel together and ultimately perform on the field is immeasurable until the games get played. As Derek Falvey reconstructs the future for a Twins team with a drastically different outlook, evaluating the offseason will need to be done individually. How players and contracts fit and money is spent should be a focus. Where the results will end up isn’t worth tying to specific pacts. In the year ahead, Minnesota won’t be able to claim an opportunity for a three-peat, and more than anything else, they’ll be looking to distance from the year that was. As the front office embarks on their first opportunity for significant year-over-year growth, the idea that they had a “freaking offseason” will need some pause in hopes that a well-designed process drives more acceptable results. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  23. If there’s a takeaway for 2021, it’s that nothing is won in the offseason. Take it from a guy that hung a banner over the winter, and it will be worth taking a significant lap when the dust settles on spending before Opening Day 2022. Going into this season, the Twins needed to do little more than hold serve. This team was no longer the Bomba Squad, but they didn’t need to be. Rocco Baldelli had to have a well-rounded group and one that took a step forward with a well-established core. There was plenty of promise after adding more pitching options, a defensive wizard at shortstop, and bringing back the Boomstick. Depth looked to be in a great place, and the talent at the top should’ve been comparable to anyone. After getting out to a 5-2 start, the Twins went on a 1-9 run. They never recovered and didn’t see a .500 record the rest of the way. That depth was depleted through injury, but it was also worn down through ineffectiveness. Miguel Sano looked lost to start, and Max Kepler may never have been found. The free-agent signings, save for the returning Cruz, all flopped. Kenta Maeda wasn’t the arm that dominated in 2020. The bullpen imploded all over the place. "Unfortunate" would be selling the situation short. Minnesota didn’t perform for any consistent stretch, at any consistent level, and it cost them well beyond the injury concerns they dealt with. Following his extension, Jorge Polanco took the reigns on his career, but Kepler and Sano floundered when expected to contribute. No matter how the offseason acquisitions turned out, the core failed to uphold their end of the bargain. In the future, especially when heading into a season of uncertainty, being reminded the season isn’t won in the offseason is a must. Being able to celebrate moves made is a fair practice. How they gel together and ultimately perform on the field is immeasurable until the games get played. As Derek Falvey reconstructs the future for a Twins team with a drastically different outlook, evaluating the offseason will need to be done individually. How players and contracts fit and money is spent should be a focus. Where the results will end up isn’t worth tying to specific pacts. In the year ahead, Minnesota won’t be able to claim an opportunity for a three-peat, and more than anything else, they’ll be looking to distance from the year that was. As the front office embarks on their first opportunity for significant year-over-year growth, the idea that they had a “freaking offseason” will need some pause in hopes that a well-designed process drives more acceptable results. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  24. Plenty has gone wrong for the Twins during the 2021 season, and these players have been adding to the trouble. Which Twins have been the least valuable so far in 2021? WAR According to FanGraphs, the Twins have four players that have accumulated a negative WAR total in 2021. Gilberto Celestino ranks lowest with a -0.7 WAR, but that was expected for a player forced into the big leagues before he had significant time in the high minors. Brent Rooker is just slightly negative at -0.1 WAR, with most of his negative value coming on the defensive side of the ball. The other two players with negative WAR are polarizing for Twins fans. Willians Astudillo and Andrelton Simmons are tied with -0.5 WAR, but their path to those totals is entirely different. Simmons posts strong defensive numbers, and his offense has been atrocious. His -23.0 OFF ranking is the lowest on the team, and it’s more than double the next closest player. Astudillo doesn’t have a perfect defensive home, and his offensive skills are limited. He even has a negative WAR as a relief pitcher. On the mound, Matt Shoemaker accumulated a negative WAR in his time as a starter (-0.2 WAR) and as a reliever (-0.5 WAR). Griffin Jax, Beau Burrows, and Andrew Albers are all tied with a -0.3 WAR among players classified as starters. Minnesota’s bullpen has been a mess as 12 players have a negative WAR total. Randy Dobnak, Brandon Waddell, Hansel Robles, and Edgar Garcia all have a -0.3 WAR as relievers. WPA Four Twins players have accumulated a Win Probability Added of more than -0.75. Andrelton Simmons has been worth -3.03 WPA, which is the team’s lowest total. Trevor Larnach ranks the second lowest (-1.78 WPA), with all his negative value coming on the defensive side. Miguel Sano (-1.44), Willians Astudillo (-1.48), and Ryan Jeffers (-1.59) round out the bottom five when it comes to WPA among position players. Among pitchers, J.A. Happ was worth -1.87 WPA during his Twins tenure, and the Twins were still able to get something for him at the trade deadline. Randy Dobnak is in the middle of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad season. His -1.42 WPA is the second-worst and ranks just below Griffin Jax (-1.23 WPA) and Alex Colome (-1.26 WPA). Surprisingly, Matt Shoemaker only has the tenth worst WPA among Twins pitchers. Ranking the Top-5 Least Valuable Twins 5. Willians Astudillo: He can certainly be entertaining, and his relief appearances have added some fun to a disappointing season. Overall, his lack of defensive home and low offensive ceiling put him on this list. 4. J.A. Happ: In 19 starts for the Twins, he accumulated a 6.20 ERA with a 1.53 WHIP and 100 strikeouts in 127 2/3 innings. Minnesota’s lack of pitching depth meant they had to keep trotting him out there. 3. Alex Colome: Colome would have topped this list in the early part of the season. However, he has been better lately (Editor's Note: For instance, he has recorded saves in four straight games), but it doesn’t take away from his disastrous start to the season. 2. Matt Shoemaker: Shoemaker didn’t cut it as a starter or a reliever. He claimed the Twins tried to make some adjustments during spring training that hurt his performance. 1. Andrelton Simmons: He ranks among baseball’s best defensive shortstops, which shows how inept his offense has been this year. His 57 OPS+ is 18 points lower than his previous career low. How would you rank these players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  25. After Jorge Polanco limped through 2020 with an ankle injury that required a second surgery, it became more than apparent that Rocco Baldelli needed a different option at shortstop. Before Royce Lewis was shelved with a torn ACL, the big league club needed a stabilizing presence at the most critical position on the infield. Casting a wide net made the most sense for the Twins. Marcus Semien was arguably the best option, and despite finishing a close runner-up for his services, the former Athletics infielder has posted an otherworldly season for the Blue Jays. Many players would qualify as fringe options, having one or more holes in their games. Falvey opted for a pact with Gold Glove-winning fielder Andrelton Simmons. The former Angels shortstop always carried a light bat, but his defense got the job done. Welcome to 2021. It’s not as though Simmons’ defense has fallen off a cliff; he’s still been a valuable commodity in the field for Minnesota. His 11 defensive runs saved rank third in baseball at the position, and he’s behind only Nick Ahmed and Francisco Lindor when it comes to outs above average at shortstop. Simmons has induced many highlight-reel plays this season behind Twins pitching, but his blunders have always been highly noticeable. Simmons has been miscast for a guy who needs to make an impact defensively to hide his bat, given the results Minnesota has generated on the season as a whole. He carries value for a good team that can afford to have a complete non-factor in the lineup. Given the Twins inability to pitch and often hit, the marginal defensive upgrade he has been only amplified the awful season of production. At -0.4 fWAR, Simmons has been Minnesota’s third-worst position player behind Willians Astudillo and Gilberto Celestino. Without finding a trade partner for him at the deadline, the Twins have allowed Simmons to play in 116 games despite being a free agent at year’s end. He’s being paid $10.5 million in 2021 and has been worse than a non-factor offensively. His .561 OPS is dead last in baseball among 154 hitters with at least 400 plate appearances. He has a .286 OBP and has a whopping 14 extra-base hits. The most divisive contribution Simmons has made to the Twins clubhouse may have been a medical one. Just days after being outspoken regarding his stance on vaccines, the shortstop tested positive, and Minnesota soon experienced an outbreak. Without attributing fault to any one person, Simmons' brash nature and desire to publicly share his opinions on Twitter were undoubtedly met with backlash given how the season began to spiral. Over the years, plenty of front offices have missed when it comes to spending money on players leaving other organizations. Sometimes those players move on for the sake of a big contract. Other times it happens because the club is moving on before getting caught holding the bag. This may be more of the latter when considering the Angels situation, and Minnesota felt the wrath of a decision gone wrong. You could make a case for Tsuyoshi Nishioka or Ricky Nolasco when considering previous Twins missteps. Still, nothing about how Andrelton Simmons has fared in Minnesota is good, and it’s a shock he’ll survive the year without a DFA. Back to the drawing board at shortstop for 2022. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
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