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  1. Going into this offseason the Minnesota Twins have some very clear needs. Deciding what to do in the infield, and adding a few relief arms are chief among them. If there's a position that isn't immediately on the radar it's adding a body in the outfield. That being said, we don't know what the offseason will bring, and there's a free agent of intrigue on the market. After being the 11th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2005 Major League Baseball draft, Andrew McCutchen spent the first nine years of his big league career with the same organization. Traded to the Giants prior to 2018, he was then shipped to the New York Yankees down the stretch. This isn't the same perennial MVP candidate that Pennsylvania natives came to love from 2012-2015, but there's something left in the 32 year-old's tank. At 29 in 2016, there was a real fear that McCutchen was hitting the skids and looking at the downside of his career. A .766 OPS and awful centerfield defense brought plenty of questions heading into the 2017 season. He responded by moving to right field and putting up an .849 OPS which was bolstered by a near-career high home run total. 2018 saw Cutch post a .792 OPS that was buoyed by a strong .368 OBP and a very nice 25 game stretch for the Yankees. Coming off a $14.75 million salary in 2018, and a long term deal with the Pirates, McCutchen gets to test the waters for the first time in his career. His market will be interesting, but I'd think that logic suggests years may be the greater focus than a high AAV. If he could be had for something like three years and $30 million you'd certainly find teams willing to play the role of suitor. With Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, and Eddie Rosario in tow for the Minnesota Twins there isn't an immediate opening. However if I'm Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, two of those players should absolutely be made available on the trading block. Max Kepler likely has the lower value at the moment given his statistical output, but I'm fine in believing he could end up being the superior player. In 2018 Eddie Rosario was deserving of being Minnesota's representative at the All Star game. He was on fire in the first half and finished with an .803 OPS. Playing in 138 games, he displayed power and production at the plate. From where I sit however, I think we're seeing the absolute peak of what Rosario can bring to the table. If there's a partner out there willing to match the Twins asset with real value, that's a guy to move with certainty. Never mind that despite the All Star caliber start, Rosario put up lower numbers in 2018 than he did the year prior. His plan at the plate has always been to work as a bad ball hitter, and that didn't change last season. He chased 43% of the pitches he swung at, and he whiffed nearly 13% of the time. On top of that, his walk rate remained at an ugly 5%. When the lumber connects things go well, but that's a trio of numbers just begging for a chance to fall off the table. Since his debut, Rosario's outfield defense has also taken a dip. As a rookie the outfield assists piled up and were a number to recognize. While his arm strength is a known commodity at this point, he sees himself tested less. Although he did perform positively in 2018, there's still more than a handful of blunders due to routes and decision making that have negative impacts on the scenarios at play. Make no mistake, there should never be a suggestion to move a 27 year-old Rosario for a 32 year-old McCutchen. Looking at how this could play out however, we aren't operating in a vacuum. If another team wants to bring Rosario on board in exchange for pitching help or something of equal value to the Twins, it's a swap that needs to be heavily considered. At 27 Rosario isn't a kid anymore, and his approach doesn't lend itself to production heights much higher than what we've seen. If the Twins can cash in before things go belly up, it'd be a move you'd need to applaud. The front office needs to inject this current roster with a bit of leadership, some significant on-base prowess, and talent that can challenge the Cleveland Indians in the very weak AL Central. There's more than one way for them to get that done this winter, and it will be interesting to see how it all takes place. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  2. Reports are that Morneau will officially retire and become a special assistant in the Twins. The team has yet to make the announcement official but that could come as Twins Fest approaches. Under the Twins new front office, the club has added former players like Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and LaTroy Hawkins as special assistants. Morneau became a star in the Twin Cities on his way to being elected to four All-Star Games. From 2006-2010, he hit .298/.372/.528 (.900) while averaging 27 home runs and over 100 RBI per season. On his way to the 2016 AL MVP, he compiled many of the numbers voters like to see with 34 home runs, 130 RBI and a .934 OPS. In 2010 with the Twins leading the AL Central, Morneau looked well on his way to another MVP. He posted an eye-popping 1.055 OPS with 44 extra-base hits in 81 games. A slide into second base in Toronto resulted in a concussion that ended his season. Over the next two years, multiple concussions limited his playing time. Morneau had plenty of other memorable moments throughout his career. Josh Hamilton’s performance in the 2008 Home Run Derby was legendary but it was actually Morneau who took home the title that year. He returned to Target Field for the 2014 Home Run Derby and received a standing ovation from Twins fans. His 2014 season was also memorable for the fact that he won the National League batting crown. Over 135 games, he hit .319 and outlasted Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen. During his time in Minnesota, he also took home two Silver Slugger awards (2006, 2008) as the top hitting first baseman in the American League. Morneau ranks very highly in multiple categories on the Twins all-time lists. His 221 home runs are third behind Harmon Killebrew and Kent Hrbek and one ahead of Tony Oliva. He ranks sixth in RBI, ninth in runs and third in slugging. What was your favorite Justin Morneau moment? Leave a COMMENT and join the discussion.
  3. Justin Morneau hasn’t appeared in a big league game since 2016 and it sounds like he is officially ready to hang up his cleats. His 14-year MLB career seemed destined for greatness before multiple concussions limited near the end of his career. There was some talk of Morneau joining a club last season but that never came to fruition. Now it appears, the Canadian slugger is ready to move on to his next chapter in the baseball.Reports are that Morneau will officially retire and become a special assistant in the Twins. The team has yet to make the announcement official but that could come as Twins Fest approaches. Under the Twins new front office, the club has added former players like Torii Hunter, Michael Cuddyer and LaTroy Hawkins as special assistants. Morneau became a star in the Twin Cities on his way to being elected to four All-Star Games. From 2006-2010, he hit .298/.372/.528 (.900) while averaging 27 home runs and over 100 RBI per season. On his way to the 2016 AL MVP, he compiled many of the numbers voters like to see with 34 home runs, 130 RBI and a .934 OPS. In 2010 with the Twins leading the AL Central, Morneau looked well on his way to another MVP. He posted an eye-popping 1.055 OPS with 44 extra-base hits in 81 games. A slide into second base in Toronto resulted in a concussion that ended his season. Over the next two years, multiple concussions limited his playing time. Morneau had plenty of other memorable moments throughout his career. Josh Hamilton’s performance in the 2008 Home Run Derby was legendary but it was actually Morneau who took home the title that year. He returned to Target Field for the 2014 Home Run Derby and received a standing ovation from Twins fans. His 2014 season was also memorable for the fact that he won the National League batting crown. Over 135 games, he hit .319 and outlasted Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen. During his time in Minnesota, he also took home two Silver Slugger awards (2006, 2008) as the top hitting first baseman in the American League. Morneau ranks very highly in multiple categories on the Twins all-time lists. His 221 home runs are third behind Harmon Killebrew and Kent Hrbek and one ahead of Tony Oliva. He ranks sixth in RBI, ninth in runs and third in slugging. What was your favorite Justin Morneau moment? Leave a COMMENT and join the discussion. Click here to view the article
  4. Right away this morning, we had the following tweet from USA Today's Bob Nightengale: Now as you know, the Dodgers are in major debt from MLB, but that may actually make Dozier make more sense. As Nightengale followed up: So, let the rumors begin... Julio Urias? We can wish. Jose Deleon? Should be the minimum as a starting point. Cody Bellinger is their top prospect, a left-handed hitting outfielder who can also play first base. But the Twins need pitching, so names like Yadier Alvarez, Walker Buehler and Jordan Sheffield should be in discussions as well. And maybe a shortstop too, like Gavin Lux. Mike Berardino wrote yesterday that Thad LeVine is saying that the team would have to be "inspired" to deal Dozier. In my mind, that means at least two of the names mentioned above, and one of them being Urias or DeLeon. Dozier is obviously the big talker, but the Twins have far more to do than just consider dealing the second baseman. Adding pitching will be the key. Derek Falvey and Thad LeVine, along with a full contingent of Twins front office types, will make the trek to DC today. In case you missed it, LaVelle Neal wrote a really nice piece on Falvey that you should read. In Case You Missed It: Brian Duensing signed a one-year deal with the Cubs. Casey Fien signed a one-year, split contract with the Mariners. In the big leagues, he would make $1.1 million with more available in incentives. Since he has an option remaining, he would make a different amount in AAA. Is Andrew McCutchen going to the Nationals and teaming with Bryce Harper in the outfield? Will Mark Melancon go to the Giants or Nationals? Houston has been very active early. Will that continue? Again, keep tabs of rumors here, and if there is a Twins transaction, we'll soon have an article ready to discuss that too. If you hear a rumor, come back here and post it in the comments!
  5. The Winter Meetings are set to begin later today in Washington D.C. No time during the year, with the exception (maybe) of the July trade deadline, are there more rumors. Some are real. Some are baseless. But it is a fun time of the year for baseball fans. Each day, we'll have an official thread for the day. Use this as an area to discuss any rumors you hear or read, or a place to mention transactions as they happen. Obviously if (or when) the Twins make any transactions, we'll have a full article on it, but this is a good place to discuss moves and rumors from around the league. Be sure to check back frequently. Let's get to the rumors:Right away this morning, we had the following tweet from USA Today's Bob Nightengale: So, let the rumors begin... Julio Urias? We can wish. Jose Deleon? Should be the minimum as a starting point. Cody Bellinger is their top prospect, a left-handed hitting outfielder who can also play first base. But the Twins need pitching, so names like Yadier Alvarez, Walker Buehler and Jordan Sheffield should be in discussions as well. And maybe a shortstop too, like Gavin Lux. Mike Berardino wrote yesterday that Thad LeVine is saying that the team would have to be "inspired" to deal Dozier. In my mind, that means at least two of the names mentioned above, and one of them being Urias or DeLeon. Dozier is obviously the big talker, but the Twins have far more to do than just consider dealing the second baseman. Adding pitching will be the key. Derek Falvey and Thad LeVine, along with a full contingent of Twins front office types, will make the trek to DC today. In case you missed it, LaVelle Neal wrote a really nice piece on Falvey that you should read. In Case You Missed It: Brian Duensing signed a one-year deal with the Cubs.Casey Fien signed a one-year, split contract with the Mariners. In the big leagues, he would make $1.1 million with more available in incentives. Since he has an option remaining, he would make a different amount in AAA.Is Andrew McCutchen going to the Nationals and teaming with Bryce Harper in the outfield?Will Mark Melancon go to the Giants or Nationals?Houston has been very active early. Will that continue?Again, keep tabs of rumors here, and if there is a Twins transaction, we'll soon have an article ready to discuss that too. If you hear a rumor, come back here and post it in the comments! Click here to view the article
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