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  1. With the Winter Meetings now less than a week away, the Twins appear fully invested for the moment in their pursuit of top free agent target Carlos Correa. As they vie for his services against big-market titans with bottomless coffers, there's been much talk of the front office's efforts to 'get creative' in frameworks for a deal. What might a contract look like that Correa would actually accept? Image courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports The mutual affinity between Carlos Correa and the Twins does seem genuine. He appears very open to returning, and is at the very least giving Minnesota the time of day by entertaining offers, which is something we've rarely been able to say about top-tier free agents in past years. There have been reports of the Twins submitting multiple different proposals to Correa's camp, as the front office gets creative in trying to put forth a framework that entices him away from other monster offers he's sure to receive – while also not being so risk-filled and player-friendly as to defy their sensibilities. That's a very difficult line to walk. Signing Correa would obviously be a precedent-shattering move for this franchise, at any level, and by all accounts they are ready to take that step. But it doesn't mean they'll hand Scott Boras a blank check. Is there a way the Twins could win the bidding for Correa without actually having the largest guaranteed offer? Is there are practical structure for a deal that doesn't force Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to abandon their regard for long-term planning? I think maybe I've got something. But you tell me if it works for both sides. Hypothetical Twins/Correa contract: 10 years, $325 million with two player opt-outs. Here's how it breaks down, year by year: Year 1: $40M Year 2: $40M Year 3: $40M Year 4: $40M *opt-out* Year 5: $30M Year 6: $30M Year 7: $30M *opt-out* Year 8: $25M Year 9: $25M Year 10: $25M It's a frontloaded contract that is essentially broken down into three parts. After earning $160 million in the first four years, Correa can opt out of six years and $165 million at age 32, or three years and $75 million at age 35. The reason this feels like a realistic concept is that I can look at it from both sides and talk myself into it, even while accounting for the front office's known tendencies and preferences. Why the Twins Like It In trying to come up with this theoretical contract, I presupposed two things from the team's point of view: They're willing to dish out huge salaries in the short term (they'd have happily paid out Correa's full three-year, $105 million contract), but they're deathly afraid of being burdened by gargantuan commitments for aging mid-30s players down the line. They recognize that player opt-outs are an effective mechanism for making contracts more appealing to players and their agents, but don't want to include them in a way that robs all of the team's upside from a deal. I believe the above framework satisfies their preferences on both fronts. The highest salaries are concentrated at the front of the contract, during Correa's prime years, so they'd be ostensibly paying most for his peak production. The diminishing salaries in the latter part of the deal reduce team downside to some extent should things go awry. Meanwhile, the opt-outs probably aren't too inhibiting. If Correa chooses to re-enter the market after four or six great years the Twins will have been happy to have gotten them. Why Correa and Boras Like It Well, for one thing, it's a legitimate all-time MLB free agent contract. Correa would tie Giancarlo Stanton and Corey Seager for the sixth-biggest guaranteed sum ever. His salary next year would be the highest for any position player in history, and second overall only to Max Scherzer ($43.3M). These things matter to Correa and Boras – not sheerly out of greed, as some would proclaim, but to pave the way for future players and contracts. It's no coincidence the past contract made Correa the highest-paid infielder ever, just by a hair. I also could see the frontloaded makeup of this framework having appeal to Correa, if he wants to be on himself an truly maximize his earnings. Should he tear it up while earning $160 million over the next four years, he could easily re-enter the market at 32 and seek another deal approaching $200 million. Could It Really Happen? Let's be clear: this contract would not only shatter precedence for the Twins, but for baseball at large. Of the 10 contracts that have ever been signed for $300 million or more, none came from teams outside of the major markets in Southern California, New York, Texas and Philadelphia. For Minnesota to be the first flyover mid-market club to break that barrier would be almost hilariously surreal, and yet, if ever there was a time I could see it happening, it's now. The Twins are ushering in a new era with a comprehensive rebrand and ownership shift. Out of sheer circumstance, they stumbled into getting acquainted with Correa and now have a verifiable IN with one of the most talented players in the world. They also have tremendously clear books going forward. Do I think it will happen? No, I still don't. But I've talked myself into there being a path. What say you all? View full article
  2. The mutual affinity between Carlos Correa and the Twins does seem genuine. He appears very open to returning, and is at the very least giving Minnesota the time of day by entertaining offers, which is something we've rarely been able to say about top-tier free agents in past years. There have been reports of the Twins submitting multiple different proposals to Correa's camp, as the front office gets creative in trying to put forth a framework that entices him away from other monster offers he's sure to receive – while also not being so risk-filled and player-friendly as to defy their sensibilities. That's a very difficult line to walk. Signing Correa would obviously be a precedent-shattering move for this franchise, at any level, and by all accounts they are ready to take that step. But it doesn't mean they'll hand Scott Boras a blank check. Is there a way the Twins could win the bidding for Correa without actually having the largest guaranteed offer? Is there are practical structure for a deal that doesn't force Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to abandon their regard for long-term planning? I think maybe I've got something. But you tell me if it works for both sides. Hypothetical Twins/Correa contract: 10 years, $325 million with two player opt-outs. Here's how it breaks down, year by year: Year 1: $40M Year 2: $40M Year 3: $40M Year 4: $40M *opt-out* Year 5: $30M Year 6: $30M Year 7: $30M *opt-out* Year 8: $25M Year 9: $25M Year 10: $25M It's a frontloaded contract that is essentially broken down into three parts. After earning $160 million in the first four years, Correa can opt out of six years and $165 million at age 32, or three years and $75 million at age 35. The reason this feels like a realistic concept is that I can look at it from both sides and talk myself into it, even while accounting for the front office's known tendencies and preferences. Why the Twins Like It In trying to come up with this theoretical contract, I presupposed two things from the team's point of view: They're willing to dish out huge salaries in the short term (they'd have happily paid out Correa's full three-year, $105 million contract), but they're deathly afraid of being burdened by gargantuan commitments for aging mid-30s players down the line. They recognize that player opt-outs are an effective mechanism for making contracts more appealing to players and their agents, but don't want to include them in a way that robs all of the team's upside from a deal. I believe the above framework satisfies their preferences on both fronts. The highest salaries are concentrated at the front of the contract, during Correa's prime years, so they'd be ostensibly paying most for his peak production. The diminishing salaries in the latter part of the deal reduce team downside to some extent should things go awry. Meanwhile, the opt-outs probably aren't too inhibiting. If Correa chooses to re-enter the market after four or six great years the Twins will have been happy to have gotten them. Why Correa and Boras Like It Well, for one thing, it's a legitimate all-time MLB free agent contract. Correa would tie Giancarlo Stanton and Corey Seager for the sixth-biggest guaranteed sum ever. His salary next year would be the highest for any position player in history, and second overall only to Max Scherzer ($43.3M). These things matter to Correa and Boras – not sheerly out of greed, as some would proclaim, but to pave the way for future players and contracts. It's no coincidence the past contract made Correa the highest-paid infielder ever, just by a hair. I also could see the frontloaded makeup of this framework having appeal to Correa, if he wants to be on himself an truly maximize his earnings. Should he tear it up while earning $160 million over the next four years, he could easily re-enter the market at 32 and seek another deal approaching $200 million. Could It Really Happen? Let's be clear: this contract would not only shatter precedence for the Twins, but for baseball at large. Of the 10 contracts that have ever been signed for $300 million or more, none came from teams outside of the major markets in Southern California, New York, Texas and Philadelphia. For Minnesota to be the first flyover mid-market club to break that barrier would be almost hilariously surreal, and yet, if ever there was a time I could see it happening, it's now. The Twins are ushering in a new era with a comprehensive rebrand and ownership shift. Out of sheer circumstance, they stumbled into getting acquainted with Correa and now have a verifiable IN with one of the most talented players in the world. They also have tremendously clear books going forward. Do I think it will happen? No, I still don't. But I've talked myself into there being a path. What say you all?
  3. Every offseason seems to have the same blueprint in Twins Territory: find some pitching. While far from well off on arms, for once it can be argued that the Twins should be a bit more worried about the lineup. Image courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports Talks of coaxing a high end starting pitcher to Minnesota are swirling as should always be the case when premier pitching is available, but the Twins don’t have an entire rotation to overhaul as they have in recent years. Adding an ace to the group of Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Joe Ryan, Kenta Maeda, and Bailey Ober would be a massively positive move, but with a fair amount of pitching talent and depth in Minnesota, perhaps we should be turning more attention towards getting lineup help. As things stand, Carlos Correa is not currently a Minnesota Twin. Though inept in clutch spots for much of the season, a massive chunk of the Twins offense will be missing should Correa find another home. The Twins set a floor at shortstop with a savvy addition of Kyle Farmer, but the dropoff from a player who was 40% above league average offensively to one that was 9% below in Farmer would be felt on a daily basis. Farmer being the Opening Day shortstop would be far from a disaster, but in order to compete, the Twins would need to massively supplement their position player group elsewhere. Headed into 2023, the Twins have a fun group of young, high upside hitters that have some questions to answer including Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Matt Wallner, and eventually Royce Lewis. It’s a similar position to the one they were in last winter with the pitching staff. Having filled out 40% of the rotation with Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer and another 40% of the rotation with two rookies in Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober, the Twins gambled on contributions from their young pitching which had proven nothing yet. It was an unmitigated disaster aside from Ryan. Top prospects such as Jordan Balazovic cratered in AAA. Josh Winder was ineffective and had recurring shoulder issues. Having done so in just about every season of his career aside from 2021, Bailey Ober once again missed massive amounts of time. They didn’t have the floor they thought they did. The Twins need to avoid gambling on their player development in 2023 as much as possible. They’ve drastically overestimated their ability to produce quality regulars in recent years. And while the most recent bursted bubble was on the pitching side, gambling on unproven, often injured players such as Larnach, Kirilloff, and Lewis to keep an MLB roster afloat simply cannot be the game plan at this point. They also had to trade away several up-and-coming possible impact hitters as a result of their recent miscalculations. Also consider the health of the team. Beyond the young players having missed time in 2022, players such as Jorge Polanco no longer appear to be locks to play 150+ games. Byron Buxton’s injury risk will always be a consideration. They also no longer have Gio Urshela to add production to the fringes of the roster, and unfortunately at this point anyone expecting any kind of offensive competence from players like Max Kepler are likely going to be very disappointed. In short, the Twins lineup isn't a force to be reckoned with. It does appear to have some upside and depth, but the trick is getting said lineup to the threshold of “quality” which likely requires multiple more additions. Perhaps it is adding Correa or one of his fellow free agents such as Xander Boegarts . The heavily left-handed outfield could also use another right-handed option such as Mitch Haniger. Perhaps they’ve even liked what they’ve seen from Jose Abreu across the division enough to bring him in as a veteran RBI machine that can DH and cycle into first base. While several creative moves are certainly on tap for the winter, it may be time to recognize that the current rotation has the possibility of helping a team to a playoff run. It’s hard to say the same about the position player group. For once perhaps fans should pivot off of the “Can he pitch?” replies to every acquisition the Twins make. It’s time to worry about the bats. View full article
  4. Talks of coaxing a high end starting pitcher to Minnesota are swirling as should always be the case when premier pitching is available, but the Twins don’t have an entire rotation to overhaul as they have in recent years. Adding an ace to the group of Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Joe Ryan, Kenta Maeda, and Bailey Ober would be a massively positive move, but with a fair amount of pitching talent and depth in Minnesota, perhaps we should be turning more attention towards getting lineup help. As things stand, Carlos Correa is not currently a Minnesota Twin. Though inept in clutch spots for much of the season, a massive chunk of the Twins offense will be missing should Correa find another home. The Twins set a floor at shortstop with a savvy addition of Kyle Farmer, but the dropoff from a player who was 40% above league average offensively to one that was 9% below in Farmer would be felt on a daily basis. Farmer being the Opening Day shortstop would be far from a disaster, but in order to compete, the Twins would need to massively supplement their position player group elsewhere. Headed into 2023, the Twins have a fun group of young, high upside hitters that have some questions to answer including Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Matt Wallner, and eventually Royce Lewis. It’s a similar position to the one they were in last winter with the pitching staff. Having filled out 40% of the rotation with Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer and another 40% of the rotation with two rookies in Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober, the Twins gambled on contributions from their young pitching which had proven nothing yet. It was an unmitigated disaster aside from Ryan. Top prospects such as Jordan Balazovic cratered in AAA. Josh Winder was ineffective and had recurring shoulder issues. Having done so in just about every season of his career aside from 2021, Bailey Ober once again missed massive amounts of time. They didn’t have the floor they thought they did. The Twins need to avoid gambling on their player development in 2023 as much as possible. They’ve drastically overestimated their ability to produce quality regulars in recent years. And while the most recent bursted bubble was on the pitching side, gambling on unproven, often injured players such as Larnach, Kirilloff, and Lewis to keep an MLB roster afloat simply cannot be the game plan at this point. They also had to trade away several up-and-coming possible impact hitters as a result of their recent miscalculations. Also consider the health of the team. Beyond the young players having missed time in 2022, players such as Jorge Polanco no longer appear to be locks to play 150+ games. Byron Buxton’s injury risk will always be a consideration. They also no longer have Gio Urshela to add production to the fringes of the roster, and unfortunately at this point anyone expecting any kind of offensive competence from players like Max Kepler are likely going to be very disappointed. In short, the Twins lineup isn't a force to be reckoned with. It does appear to have some upside and depth, but the trick is getting said lineup to the threshold of “quality” which likely requires multiple more additions. Perhaps it is adding Correa or one of his fellow free agents such as Xander Boegarts . The heavily left-handed outfield could also use another right-handed option such as Mitch Haniger. Perhaps they’ve even liked what they’ve seen from Jose Abreu across the division enough to bring him in as a veteran RBI machine that can DH and cycle into first base. While several creative moves are certainly on tap for the winter, it may be time to recognize that the current rotation has the possibility of helping a team to a playoff run. It’s hard to say the same about the position player group. For once perhaps fans should pivot off of the “Can he pitch?” replies to every acquisition the Twins make. It’s time to worry about the bats.
  5. In 2022 the Minnesota Twins showed off a handful of their young talent. Some were by way of design, while others were out of necessity in response to injury. Arguably no one forced their way into action more than infielder Jose Miranda. In 2023, he’s a lock for the roster and now a prominent fixture. Are the Twins right in sticking him at the third base? Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports Throughout the majority of his minor league career, Minnesota prospect Jose Miranda has played at third base. When he was eventually promoted to the big leagues in early 2022, it came with the caveat that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had acquired veteran Gio Urshela to be Rocco Baldelli’s third basemen. When Alex Kirilloff got hurt and Miguel Sano went down, there was some thought that Urshela could slide across the diamond, but instead it was Miranda who saw the bulk of his playing time there. Although the Twins utilized both Miranda and Luis Arraez plenty at first base in 2022, the dealing of Urshela to the Los Angeles Angels suggests that the young Puerto Rican is destined to lock down the hot corner in 2023. How much should fans be worried about that reality? The unfortunate truth for Minnesota is that their infield defense has not been good the past couple of seasons. In 2022, it was particularly bad. Minnesota fared fine as a whole defensively thanks to a strong outfield. They were held together on the dirt by superstar Carlos Correa, but the likes of Urshela, Arraez, Miranda, and Jorge Polanco were often culprits holding the club back. Specifically looking at Miranda, he was what one may call a butcher at first base. Playing nearly 600 innings at first last season, Miranda posted an awful -6 defensive runs saved and Statcast agreed, attributing him a -4 outs above average number. Among 29 players to record at least 550 innings at first base last season, only the Rangers Nathaniel Lowe posted a lower DRS number. OAA had Miranda a bit better, but 20th still placed him in the bottom third of the league. At third base, in a much smaller sample size, Miranda fared better. He recorded just under 250 innings at the hot corner and was neutral by both DRS and OAA on the season. That could be a positive thing, but small samples are also extremely difficult to read into when considering defensive metrics. Now shifting across the diamond, Miranda will look to settle back into a role he grew familiar with on the farm. One caveat to that is he’ll be doing so alongside someone other than Correa (more than likely). Needing to acclimate to a new teammate, and their range, he’ll also be working in a season where the shift is banned for the first time. Positioning as a whole will be an entirely new exercise for Minnesota. The Statcast data for Miranda is largely unhelpful at third base. He never reached the minimum threshold for arm strength calculations, and while he was credited with the greatest negative OAA value going towards third base, it was miniscule at best. We won’t know what Miranda is at third until he has more time to settle in there, but we can hope that the missteps at first base were largely related to learning a new position on the fly. It would be disappointing to see a 24-year-old locked into first base so soon, and seeing him produce defensively at third base would help to calm those notions. Minnesota has options at first, and they are now counting on Miranda to be the guy at third. Here’s to hoping he can rise to the occasion. View full article
  6. Throughout the majority of his minor league career, Minnesota prospect Jose Miranda has played at third base. When he was eventually promoted to the big leagues in early 2022, it came with the caveat that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had acquired veteran Gio Urshela to be Rocco Baldelli’s third basemen. When Alex Kirilloff got hurt and Miguel Sano went down, there was some thought that Urshela could slide across the diamond, but instead it was Miranda who saw the bulk of his playing time there. Although the Twins utilized both Miranda and Luis Arraez plenty at first base in 2022, the dealing of Urshela to the Los Angeles Angels suggests that the young Puerto Rican is destined to lock down the hot corner in 2023. How much should fans be worried about that reality? The unfortunate truth for Minnesota is that their infield defense has not been good the past couple of seasons. In 2022, it was particularly bad. Minnesota fared fine as a whole defensively thanks to a strong outfield. They were held together on the dirt by superstar Carlos Correa, but the likes of Urshela, Arraez, Miranda, and Jorge Polanco were often culprits holding the club back. Specifically looking at Miranda, he was what one may call a butcher at first base. Playing nearly 600 innings at first last season, Miranda posted an awful -6 defensive runs saved and Statcast agreed, attributing him a -4 outs above average number. Among 29 players to record at least 550 innings at first base last season, only the Rangers Nathaniel Lowe posted a lower DRS number. OAA had Miranda a bit better, but 20th still placed him in the bottom third of the league. At third base, in a much smaller sample size, Miranda fared better. He recorded just under 250 innings at the hot corner and was neutral by both DRS and OAA on the season. That could be a positive thing, but small samples are also extremely difficult to read into when considering defensive metrics. Now shifting across the diamond, Miranda will look to settle back into a role he grew familiar with on the farm. One caveat to that is he’ll be doing so alongside someone other than Correa (more than likely). Needing to acclimate to a new teammate, and their range, he’ll also be working in a season where the shift is banned for the first time. Positioning as a whole will be an entirely new exercise for Minnesota. The Statcast data for Miranda is largely unhelpful at third base. He never reached the minimum threshold for arm strength calculations, and while he was credited with the greatest negative OAA value going towards third base, it was miniscule at best. We won’t know what Miranda is at third until he has more time to settle in there, but we can hope that the missteps at first base were largely related to learning a new position on the fly. It would be disappointing to see a 24-year-old locked into first base so soon, and seeing him produce defensively at third base would help to calm those notions. Minnesota has options at first, and they are now counting on Miranda to be the guy at third. Here’s to hoping he can rise to the occasion.
  7. As we go into the final days of November, and soon turn the page on 2022, it’s time to look back over the past season and give thanks. While the 2022 Minnesota Twins season didn’t go the way anyone would have hoped, there was plenty to be thankful for during a season of Thanksgiving. Image courtesy of © Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports Coming off such an uncompetitive 2021 Major League Baseball season, there’s no doubt that Rocco Baldelli and the Twins front office hoped to turn the page in 2022. For a matter of months it looked like they would be the darling of a bad division, but ultimately, injury and poor performance caught up to them. When looking back at the year that was, there was still plenty of things to be excited and thankful for. In no particular order, here’s five things that Twins fans can give thanks for as they cut into their turkey this week: Byron Buxton Got Paid Despite an offseason of uncertainty, and lockout uncertainty, the Minnesota Twins did what they had to and paid Byron Buxton. Sure, he’s injured a whole lot. Sure, you never know when he’s going to miss a boatload of games. There’s also the reality that when he’s on the field he’s among the best players in the entire sport. His 92 games in 2022 were the most he’s played in a season since 2017, and despite injuring his knee early on and having to play through what ultimately required surgery, he was an MVP candidate for much of the campaign. Buxton proved his worth again, and though all parties are hoping he can be on the field more, the front office absolutely did the right thing in getting a dynamic talent at a discount. Carlos Correa Was Fun Knowing that Minnesota had money to spend and replacing Andrelton Simmons at shortstop was a must, there was plenty of late spring excitement regarding Trevor Story. Then in the middle of the night Derek Falvey and Thad Levine struck a deal with Scott Boras client Carlos Correa. It was a three-year deal that was never going to matter beyond year one. Sure, it would be great if the parties came together for a long term pact this offseason, but even if they don’t, we’ll always remember the time that the Twins signed the best free agent available in a given season. Royce Lewis Appeared From the moment that Royce Lewis was the Minnesota Twins number one overall draft pick, there was hope he would become a superstar. He dealt with injuries and a pandemic that set him back while in the minors, but he returned from a torn ACL to light the farm system on fire. When Correa went down, he forced the organization’s hand. He was so good in fact, that the Twins needed to reposition him to keep him in the lineup. A second flukey ACL injury was certainly suboptimal, but we saw the talent that has been anticipated all along. He’ll be back at some point in 2023, and if the rehab goes smoothly, Minnesota certainly has a star in the making. Jose Miranda Cemented His Performance There hasn’t been a minor league season as good as Miranda had in 2021 for Minnesota in quite some time. His .973 OPS between Double and Triple-A was something to behold. Even with that, he didn’t crack the Opening Day roster. Once he was given an opportunity at the big leagues, Miranda was determined not to go back. His 116 OPS+ wasn’t otherworldly in 2022, but the slash line was even gaudier before a late season swoon. The rookie still managed to blast 15 homers in his first 125 Major League games, and he’ll be an integral part of the 2023 roster. Jhoan Duran Lights It Up, Literally You can go back as far as you’d like in Minnesota Twins history, and you won’t find a pitcher throwing triple-digits consistently. Not expected to make the Opening Day roster, Duran not only did that, but also emerged as the best arm in Minnesota’s pen and one of the best across baseball. He certainly could’ve been voted an All-Star as a rookie, and should expect to see more than a few of those games during his career. While the abnormal sprinkler is a pitch that drew plenty of discussion, his ridiculous fastball is what you show up for. He earned his own entrance music at Target Field, and is must-watch baseball every time he steps on the mound. What else would you include in your list? What are you most thankful for as a Twins fan over the past year? View full article
  8. Coming off such an uncompetitive 2021 Major League Baseball season, there’s no doubt that Rocco Baldelli and the Twins front office hoped to turn the page in 2022. For a matter of months it looked like they would be the darling of a bad division, but ultimately, injury and poor performance caught up to them. When looking back at the year that was, there was still plenty of things to be excited and thankful for. In no particular order, here’s five things that Twins fans can give thanks for as they cut into their turkey this week: Byron Buxton Got Paid Despite an offseason of uncertainty, and lockout uncertainty, the Minnesota Twins did what they had to and paid Byron Buxton. Sure, he’s injured a whole lot. Sure, you never know when he’s going to miss a boatload of games. There’s also the reality that when he’s on the field he’s among the best players in the entire sport. His 92 games in 2022 were the most he’s played in a season since 2017, and despite injuring his knee early on and having to play through what ultimately required surgery, he was an MVP candidate for much of the campaign. Buxton proved his worth again, and though all parties are hoping he can be on the field more, the front office absolutely did the right thing in getting a dynamic talent at a discount. Carlos Correa Was Fun Knowing that Minnesota had money to spend and replacing Andrelton Simmons at shortstop was a must, there was plenty of late spring excitement regarding Trevor Story. Then in the middle of the night Derek Falvey and Thad Levine struck a deal with Scott Boras client Carlos Correa. It was a three-year deal that was never going to matter beyond year one. Sure, it would be great if the parties came together for a long term pact this offseason, but even if they don’t, we’ll always remember the time that the Twins signed the best free agent available in a given season. Royce Lewis Appeared From the moment that Royce Lewis was the Minnesota Twins number one overall draft pick, there was hope he would become a superstar. He dealt with injuries and a pandemic that set him back while in the minors, but he returned from a torn ACL to light the farm system on fire. When Correa went down, he forced the organization’s hand. He was so good in fact, that the Twins needed to reposition him to keep him in the lineup. A second flukey ACL injury was certainly suboptimal, but we saw the talent that has been anticipated all along. He’ll be back at some point in 2023, and if the rehab goes smoothly, Minnesota certainly has a star in the making. Jose Miranda Cemented His Performance There hasn’t been a minor league season as good as Miranda had in 2021 for Minnesota in quite some time. His .973 OPS between Double and Triple-A was something to behold. Even with that, he didn’t crack the Opening Day roster. Once he was given an opportunity at the big leagues, Miranda was determined not to go back. His 116 OPS+ wasn’t otherworldly in 2022, but the slash line was even gaudier before a late season swoon. The rookie still managed to blast 15 homers in his first 125 Major League games, and he’ll be an integral part of the 2023 roster. Jhoan Duran Lights It Up, Literally You can go back as far as you’d like in Minnesota Twins history, and you won’t find a pitcher throwing triple-digits consistently. Not expected to make the Opening Day roster, Duran not only did that, but also emerged as the best arm in Minnesota’s pen and one of the best across baseball. He certainly could’ve been voted an All-Star as a rookie, and should expect to see more than a few of those games during his career. While the abnormal sprinkler is a pitch that drew plenty of discussion, his ridiculous fastball is what you show up for. He earned his own entrance music at Target Field, and is must-watch baseball every time he steps on the mound. What else would you include in your list? What are you most thankful for as a Twins fan over the past year?
  9. The Minnesota Twins are currently working towards filling out their Opening Day roster for 2023, and while there’s plenty of question as to who the players will be, a focus must be in addressing defensive woes. A few seasons ago this club had one of the better fielding teams in baseball. That identity was all but lost in 2022, and injuries or otherwise, it must be found again. Image courtesy of © Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports There’s no denying that Minnesota’s front office is currently navigating a way forward without Gio Urshela, and they’ve yet to bring back star shortstop Carlos Correa. That leaves plenty of questions on the dirt, and it’s there that Rocco Baldelli’s team struggled the most a season ago. As much as Jorge Polanco or Luis Arraez may contribute offensively, neither have been particularly valuable on defense. A season ago the Twins ranked 13th in baseball in terms of defensive runs saved (23). That’s misleading however, as the outfield alone contributed 24 DRS (4th best), meaning the infield was responsible for a -1 tally. Minnesota was also worth 16 outs above average (4th best) in the outfield, but Statcast’s metric had them at -11 OAA overall, meaning the infield was worth a horrid -27 OAA. It’s not a surprise that the Twins would have a strong outfield defense. Byron Buxton is arguably the best center fielder in baseball, and Max Kepler can lay a similar claim in right field defensively. Left field has been somewhat of a revolving door for Minnesota, especially with injuries to Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff, but the group together is a very solid one. It is imperative that the Twins figure out a way to match that on the infield. We’ll see somewhat of a different look for Baldelli’s team this season. With Urshela being dealt to the Los Angeles Angels, Jose Miranda is set to be the starter at the hot corner. He was worth -6 DRS and -4 OAA in just shy of 600 innings at first base, but was exactly average in roughly 250 innings at third base. The eye test suggested that Miranda has his deficiencies across the diamond, but it’s clear he has good instincts and the arm can play. Getting full trust their in his second season will give us a better indication of what is to come. There’s not going to be a change at second base as Polanco is entrenched there. After a solid showing in his new position during 2021, Polanco regressed by advanced metrics standards in 2022. His -1 DRS was down from 3 the year prior, and his -9 OAA was a far cry from the near-neutral -1 OAA in 2021. There had been hope that Polanco could emerge as a strong defender moving away from shortstop, but we’ve yet to see that. With the shift banning infielders from playing deep in the grass, it may help that Polanco’s throw distance is dramatically reduced. We haven’t seen enough of Kirilloff at first base to make a judgment as to what he’ll be there, and we know that Arraez has his own deficiencies. The latter racked up all of the offensive awards in 2022, but recently told me at the Twins uniform unveiling that his next goal is to win a Gold Glove. Minnesota will continue to make Arraez a utility contributor, but he could be the most consistent first basemen in 2023 without having clarity on the status of Kirilloff’s wrist. The front office has yet to acquire a starting shortstop, and if it’s not going to be Correa, a strong defender could wind up being the linchpin for the infield. Andrelton Simmons was supposed to represent that two seasons ago, and did provide significant defensive value. Limiting range without a shift is going to require individual contributors to provide the utmost ability. Knowing Polanco’s limitations on the opposite side of second base, Minnesota can’t afford to miss on shortstop. The goal for the Twins would certainly be to score more runs in 2023, but they also must do a substantially better job at limiting them. Everyone will be tested without the shift, but having a cleaner and more crisp set of fielders on the dirt is imperative. The Twins outfield may be one of envy defensively, but no one has desired what they’ve put out immediately behind the mound in recent seasons. It’s time to fix that. View full article
  10. There’s no denying that Minnesota’s front office is currently navigating a way forward without Gio Urshela, and they’ve yet to bring back star shortstop Carlos Correa. That leaves plenty of questions on the dirt, and it’s there that Rocco Baldelli’s team struggled the most a season ago. As much as Jorge Polanco or Luis Arraez may contribute offensively, neither have been particularly valuable on defense. A season ago the Twins ranked 13th in baseball in terms of defensive runs saved (23). That’s misleading however, as the outfield alone contributed 24 DRS (4th best), meaning the infield was responsible for a -1 tally. Minnesota was also worth 16 outs above average (4th best) in the outfield, but Statcast’s metric had them at -11 OAA overall, meaning the infield was worth a horrid -27 OAA. It’s not a surprise that the Twins would have a strong outfield defense. Byron Buxton is arguably the best center fielder in baseball, and Max Kepler can lay a similar claim in right field defensively. Left field has been somewhat of a revolving door for Minnesota, especially with injuries to Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff, but the group together is a very solid one. It is imperative that the Twins figure out a way to match that on the infield. We’ll see somewhat of a different look for Baldelli’s team this season. With Urshela being dealt to the Los Angeles Angels, Jose Miranda is set to be the starter at the hot corner. He was worth -6 DRS and -4 OAA in just shy of 600 innings at first base, but was exactly average in roughly 250 innings at third base. The eye test suggested that Miranda has his deficiencies across the diamond, but it’s clear he has good instincts and the arm can play. Getting full trust their in his second season will give us a better indication of what is to come. There’s not going to be a change at second base as Polanco is entrenched there. After a solid showing in his new position during 2021, Polanco regressed by advanced metrics standards in 2022. His -1 DRS was down from 3 the year prior, and his -9 OAA was a far cry from the near-neutral -1 OAA in 2021. There had been hope that Polanco could emerge as a strong defender moving away from shortstop, but we’ve yet to see that. With the shift banning infielders from playing deep in the grass, it may help that Polanco’s throw distance is dramatically reduced. We haven’t seen enough of Kirilloff at first base to make a judgment as to what he’ll be there, and we know that Arraez has his own deficiencies. The latter racked up all of the offensive awards in 2022, but recently told me at the Twins uniform unveiling that his next goal is to win a Gold Glove. Minnesota will continue to make Arraez a utility contributor, but he could be the most consistent first basemen in 2023 without having clarity on the status of Kirilloff’s wrist. The front office has yet to acquire a starting shortstop, and if it’s not going to be Correa, a strong defender could wind up being the linchpin for the infield. Andrelton Simmons was supposed to represent that two seasons ago, and did provide significant defensive value. Limiting range without a shift is going to require individual contributors to provide the utmost ability. Knowing Polanco’s limitations on the opposite side of second base, Minnesota can’t afford to miss on shortstop. The goal for the Twins would certainly be to score more runs in 2023, but they also must do a substantially better job at limiting them. Everyone will be tested without the shift, but having a cleaner and more crisp set of fielders on the dirt is imperative. The Twins outfield may be one of envy defensively, but no one has desired what they’ve put out immediately behind the mound in recent seasons. It’s time to fix that.
  11. The Minnesota Twins would love to bring back free agent shortstop Carlos Correa and have made a serious offer. What does the contract look like? We don't have the exact specifics, but John Bonnes of Twins Daily relayed that the offer is in excess of eight years, $250 million on the most recent podcast episode of Gleeman and the Geek. Will that be enough to get it done?
  12. The Minnesota Twins would love to bring back free agent shortstop Carlos Correa and have made a serious offer. What does the contract look like? We don't have the exact specifics, but John Bonnes of Twins Daily relayed that the offer is in excess of eight years, $250 million on the most recent podcast episode of Gleeman and the Geek. Will that be enough to get it done? View full video
  13. Trey Mancini has been an all-star caliber hitter, but has had his highs and lows since. Last year, those highs made him a big target at the trade deadline, but the lows make him an affordable free agent. That’s just one reason why Mancini could be a perfect fit for the Twins' roster. Image courtesy of Jerome Miron, USA TODAY Sports Trey Mancini is just coming off the best feeling in the world of baseball: a World Series championship. At the beginning of the season, Mancini was with the Baltimore Orioles, the organization he had played for since they drafted him in 2013. The Orioles were just getting hot as Mancini's bat cooled off, but the Astros still saw something. The 30-year-old was part of a three-team trade that sent him from Baltimore to Houston. Mancini was hitting .268/.347/.404 with ten homers before the trade and was a "high-value" hitter, which would undoubtedly have helped in the postseason. Mancini came in as a veteran player at first base and helped alleviate some pressure from struggling first baseman Yuli Gurriel. He could also serve as a DH, and played 31 games in the corner outfield positions, but his bat was most attractive to the Astros. However, Mancini slumped in Houston, hitting .176/.258/.364, and struggled in the postseason. One could easily blame that on a major trade late in the season and after being with a club for six seasons, but he certainly did not produce like the Astros’ thought he would at the plate. However, he did play great defense, which helped secure game five of the World Series. He snagged a hit off Kyle Schwarber and got his first postseason hit in game six, which resulted in a run. He did both of these coming off the bench. He shared his frame of mind with Michael Shapiro of Chron in a post-game interview. “In a series of this magnitude, you can’t reflect on what’s going on. You have to look forward,” Mancini explained. “You gotta wash [your mistakes], go to the next day and be ready for your team.” The Twins can relate to late-season and postseason struggles. They started hot last season but faltered after the All-Star break, mainly due to injuries. Those injuries forced the organization to bring up many Triple-A players pushed to the big leagues potentially before they were ready, and those injuries leave a lot of question marks in exactly the positions where Mancini played. Twins players cycled through first base and designated hitter last year after Miguel Sano was injured. Luis Arraez will certainly play one of those spots after earning himself the American League batting title and contributing heavily to many of the Twins' wins. But even Arraez's time was limited due to injuries and pain, but still earned his first Silver Slugger Award. Meanwhile, the Twins' corner outfield positions are mostly manned by unproven younger players, many of whom have injury concerns, and almost all of whom hit left-handed. Mancini's veteran right-handed bat is a great compliment to those spots, too. So there are a lot of places where he would be a benefit to the squad. Plus, with Mancini's late-season fade, the Twins could likely offer him a short-term deal. Mancini would be a better overall player than the Twins' Kyle Garlick, who the Twins signed on November 15 to a one-year $750,000 deal to avoid arbitration. Garlick managed to have good numbers in 2022 despite being hurt throughout the season. Garlick has worked out well for the team, particularly his ability to get clutch hits off lefties, but his role has been limited, and he's had trouble staying healthy, too. Mancini's health is also a significant part of his story. After his breakthrough 2019 season, he missed the 2020 season with stage III colon cancer. His return earned him the 2021 AL Comeback Player of the Year award. 2022 was another step forward, and ended in a World Championship. Perhaps 2023 can, too? That would also be a good fit for Mancini and the Twins. What do you think? Do you like Mancini as a pickup for the Twins this offseason? Tell us in the comments below. View full article
  14. The Minnesota Twins faced a decision on their eight arbitration eligible candidates. While some were plenty straightforward, others were more difficult. Count Gio Urshela among the latter, and now we know his fate: Urshela was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports Derek Falvey and Thad Levine went into Friday with a full 40-man roster. Eight of those players needed to be tendered a contract for the 2023 season or be sent to waivers prior to being determined free agents. Among them was Gio Urshela, who was acquired along with Gary Sanchez last offseason from the New York Yankees for Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Sanchez is now a free agent, while Urshela had one more season of team control. His fate was in question because it would be false to suggest that Urshela wasn’t valuable for the Twins. In his first season with Minnesota, Urshela posted a 2.4 fWAR, which ranked fourth among Minnesota hitters. It was also only slightly behind his 2.8 fWAR from the 2019 season in which he broke out for New York. Offensively, Urshela’s 121 OPS+ was well above the mediocre 96 OPS+ he posted a season ago. Although there were low points, his 13 homer runs and gap power came in handy. Defensively, Urshela was somewhat of a mixed bag. Twins fans saw plenty of highlight reel plays from the hot corner, but it was some of the more straightforward plays that weren’t made which dragged him down. Fangraphs own Defensive Runs Saved metric viewed Urshela favorably at +4, while MLB’s Statcast had him at -5 per their Outs Above Average metric. For Minnesota, the determination largely came down to how they wanted to spend their capital, while also figuring out what Urshela’s role would be. In talking to a few sources, they seem content with internal options at third base. Jose Miranda, Luis Arraez, and eventually Royce Lewis can all play the position. It remains to be seen which of them are adequate defensively, but none of them carry the $9.2 million price tag MLB Trade Rumors projected Urshela to receive in arbitration. In knowing they would ultimately decide to move on from Urshela, it became important to find any sort of return for him. Just hours before Friday night's 7pm deadline, the team came to an agreement with the Los Angeles Angels. ESPN Insider Jeff Passan reported that Minnesota sent their starting third basemen to Los Angeles for Single-A pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo . Hidalgo is a Venezuelan native that spent 2022 at Single-A Inland Empire for just his second season of professional baseball. He posted a 4.62 ERA across 39 innings, all of them coming as a starter. He tallied an impressive 58/19 K/BB and is the exact kind of lottery ticket you'd hope to get as opposed to non-tendering a player for nothing. Recently Twins Daily’s Nick Nelson called Urshela the Twins toughest arbitration decision and considering all of the factors, it’s hard to dispute that. As things stand presently, and with Carlos Correa unsigned, Minnesota’s entire left side of the infield remains up in the air. It will be on the front office to sort that out over the coming months before Spring Training. View full article
  15. From the moment he signed with the Minnesota Twins, Carlos Correa was going to opt-out of his contract. Now with that having officially happened, the front office must decide whether they can bring him back, or if there’s an alternative that’s more plausible. Enter Xander Bogaerts. Image courtesy of Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports Carlos Correa accomplished his goal of securing the most lucrative average annual value among infielders in major-league history. His $35.1 million last season topped Scott Boras client Anthony Rendon’s guarantee with the Angels. Although the deal was for technically three years, the opt-outs assured us that Correa was always going to hit the market again in hopes of securing a long-term payday. Minnesota certainly could opt to bring Correa back, and they should put a strong foot forward to do so. If he can be had for less than 10 years or under $300 million, it may be a possibility. If he can’t, and that does seem likely, then pivoting to another option makes sense. Despite strong shortstop prospects in the form of Royce Lewis, Brooks Lee, and Austin Martin, it would be preferable to see Minnesota avoid a stopgap shortstop option. A Jose Iglesias type could certainly hold down the position, but that would do little to reinvigorate an offense that needs to replace production. Dansby Swanson is coming off arguably the best year of his career, and Trea Turner is going to land somewhere in the same realm as Correa. That begs the question of whether Xander Bogaerts can be a middle ground, and if he represents enough of a replacement for Minnesota. At 30, Bogaerts is a bit older than Correa. His 117 career OPS+ doesn’t reflect just how good he’s been of late. He owns a 133 OPS+ since 2018 and has three All-Star game appearances along with three Silver Slugger awards. Bogaerts has been a pillar of health as well. He’s never played less than 136 games in a full season and is as reliable as it gets to be on the field. Correa is the superior defender, and that’s noteworthy for a Twins team lacking defense. Rocco Baldelli’s infield was not good a season ago, and removing arguably the best person with the glove doesn’t help change things. The Twins almost certainly won’t have a shortstop that can throw like Correa ever again, but replacing his offensive production could be equally key. Although Bogaerts has hit 30 homers in a season once during his career, you can more realistically bank on him to be in the 15-25 range. He’ll pile up doubles and brings a very good approach to the plate. Boston not being able to get a long-term deal done with him allows the open market to share their feelings, and the Twins should be having conversations with him as well. Like Correa, Bogaerts is represented by Boras Corp. The Twins front office should be seeing where they can place themselves in discussions regarding both players by feeling out the individual markets and expectations. If they determine an inability to play at the higher level, finding out how a match can be created with the Aruba native makes too much sense. I’d imagine the Twins would prefer continuity in the form of Correa. He’s been here, is a known asset, and is already a fan favorite. That said, spending less to get a superstar with similar talent has value too, and the package Bogaerts brings is hardly something to scoff at. What do you think? Is Bogaerts enough of an option to replace Correa on both sides of the ball? View full article
  16. Trey Mancini is just coming off the best feeling in the world of baseball: a World Series championship. At the beginning of the season, Mancini was with the Baltimore Orioles, the organization he had played for since they drafted him in 2013. The Orioles were just getting hot as Mancini's bat cooled off, but the Astros still saw something. The 30-year-old was part of a three-team trade that sent him from Baltimore to Houston. Mancini was hitting .268/.347/.404 with ten homers before the trade and was a "high-value" hitter, which would undoubtedly have helped in the postseason. Mancini came in as a veteran player at first base and helped alleviate some pressure from struggling first baseman Yuli Gurriel. He could also serve as a DH, and played 31 games in the corner outfield positions, but his bat was most attractive to the Astros. However, Mancini slumped in Houston, hitting .176/.258/.364, and struggled in the postseason. One could easily blame that on a major trade late in the season and after being with a club for six seasons, but he certainly did not produce like the Astros’ thought he would at the plate. However, he did play great defense, which helped secure game five of the World Series. He snagged a hit off Kyle Schwarber and got his first postseason hit in game six, which resulted in a run. He did both of these coming off the bench. He shared his frame of mind with Michael Shapiro of Chron in a post-game interview. “In a series of this magnitude, you can’t reflect on what’s going on. You have to look forward,” Mancini explained. “You gotta wash [your mistakes], go to the next day and be ready for your team.” The Twins can relate to late-season and postseason struggles. They started hot last season but faltered after the All-Star break, mainly due to injuries. Those injuries forced the organization to bring up many Triple-A players pushed to the big leagues potentially before they were ready, and those injuries leave a lot of question marks in exactly the positions where Mancini played. Twins players cycled through first base and designated hitter last year after Miguel Sano was injured. Luis Arraez will certainly play one of those spots after earning himself the American League batting title and contributing heavily to many of the Twins' wins. But even Arraez's time was limited due to injuries and pain, but still earned his first Silver Slugger Award. Meanwhile, the Twins' corner outfield positions are mostly manned by unproven younger players, many of whom have injury concerns, and almost all of whom hit left-handed. Mancini's veteran right-handed bat is a great compliment to those spots, too. So there are a lot of places where he would be a benefit to the squad. Plus, with Mancini's late-season fade, the Twins could likely offer him a short-term deal. Mancini would be a better overall player than the Twins' Kyle Garlick, who the Twins signed on November 15 to a one-year $750,000 deal to avoid arbitration. Garlick managed to have good numbers in 2022 despite being hurt throughout the season. Garlick has worked out well for the team, particularly his ability to get clutch hits off lefties, but his role has been limited, and he's had trouble staying healthy, too. Mancini's health is also a significant part of his story. After his breakthrough 2019 season, he missed the 2020 season with stage III colon cancer. His return earned him the 2021 AL Comeback Player of the Year award. 2022 was another step forward, and ended in a World Championship. Perhaps 2023 can, too? That would also be a good fit for Mancini and the Twins. What do you think? Do you like Mancini as a pickup for the Twins this offseason? Tell us in the comments below.
  17. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine went into Friday with a full 40-man roster. Eight of those players needed to be tendered a contract for the 2023 season or be sent to waivers prior to being determined free agents. Among them was Gio Urshela, who was acquired along with Gary Sanchez last offseason from the New York Yankees for Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Sanchez is now a free agent, while Urshela had one more season of team control. His fate was in question because it would be false to suggest that Urshela wasn’t valuable for the Twins. In his first season with Minnesota, Urshela posted a 2.4 fWAR, which ranked fourth among Minnesota hitters. It was also only slightly behind his 2.8 fWAR from the 2019 season in which he broke out for New York. Offensively, Urshela’s 121 OPS+ was well above the mediocre 96 OPS+ he posted a season ago. Although there were low points, his 13 homer runs and gap power came in handy. Defensively, Urshela was somewhat of a mixed bag. Twins fans saw plenty of highlight reel plays from the hot corner, but it was some of the more straightforward plays that weren’t made which dragged him down. Fangraphs own Defensive Runs Saved metric viewed Urshela favorably at +4, while MLB’s Statcast had him at -5 per their Outs Above Average metric. For Minnesota, the determination largely came down to how they wanted to spend their capital, while also figuring out what Urshela’s role would be. In talking to a few sources, they seem content with internal options at third base. Jose Miranda, Luis Arraez, and eventually Royce Lewis can all play the position. It remains to be seen which of them are adequate defensively, but none of them carry the $9.2 million price tag MLB Trade Rumors projected Urshela to receive in arbitration. In knowing they would ultimately decide to move on from Urshela, it became important to find any sort of return for him. Just hours before Friday night's 7pm deadline, the team came to an agreement with the Los Angeles Angels. ESPN Insider Jeff Passan reported that Minnesota sent their starting third basemen to Los Angeles for Single-A pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo . Hidalgo is a Venezuelan native that spent 2022 at Single-A Inland Empire for just his second season of professional baseball. He posted a 4.62 ERA across 39 innings, all of them coming as a starter. He tallied an impressive 58/19 K/BB and is the exact kind of lottery ticket you'd hope to get as opposed to non-tendering a player for nothing. Recently Twins Daily’s Nick Nelson called Urshela the Twins toughest arbitration decision and considering all of the factors, it’s hard to dispute that. As things stand presently, and with Carlos Correa unsigned, Minnesota’s entire left side of the infield remains up in the air. It will be on the front office to sort that out over the coming months before Spring Training.
  18. Carlos Correa accomplished his goal of securing the most lucrative average annual value among infielders in major-league history. His $35.1 million last season topped Scott Boras client Anthony Rendon’s guarantee with the Angels. Although the deal was for technically three years, the opt-outs assured us that Correa was always going to hit the market again in hopes of securing a long-term payday. Minnesota certainly could opt to bring Correa back, and they should put a strong foot forward to do so. If he can be had for less than 10 years or under $300 million, it may be a possibility. If he can’t, and that does seem likely, then pivoting to another option makes sense. Despite strong shortstop prospects in the form of Royce Lewis, Brooks Lee, and Austin Martin, it would be preferable to see Minnesota avoid a stopgap shortstop option. A Jose Iglesias type could certainly hold down the position, but that would do little to reinvigorate an offense that needs to replace production. Dansby Swanson is coming off arguably the best year of his career, and Trea Turner is going to land somewhere in the same realm as Correa. That begs the question of whether Xander Bogaerts can be a middle ground, and if he represents enough of a replacement for Minnesota. At 30, Bogaerts is a bit older than Correa. His 117 career OPS+ doesn’t reflect just how good he’s been of late. He owns a 133 OPS+ since 2018 and has three All-Star game appearances along with three Silver Slugger awards. Bogaerts has been a pillar of health as well. He’s never played less than 136 games in a full season and is as reliable as it gets to be on the field. Correa is the superior defender, and that’s noteworthy for a Twins team lacking defense. Rocco Baldelli’s infield was not good a season ago, and removing arguably the best person with the glove doesn’t help change things. The Twins almost certainly won’t have a shortstop that can throw like Correa ever again, but replacing his offensive production could be equally key. Although Bogaerts has hit 30 homers in a season once during his career, you can more realistically bank on him to be in the 15-25 range. He’ll pile up doubles and brings a very good approach to the plate. Boston not being able to get a long-term deal done with him allows the open market to share their feelings, and the Twins should be having conversations with him as well. Like Correa, Bogaerts is represented by Boras Corp. The Twins front office should be seeing where they can place themselves in discussions regarding both players by feeling out the individual markets and expectations. If they determine an inability to play at the higher level, finding out how a match can be created with the Aruba native makes too much sense. I’d imagine the Twins would prefer continuity in the form of Correa. He’s been here, is a known asset, and is already a fan favorite. That said, spending less to get a superstar with similar talent has value too, and the package Bogaerts brings is hardly something to scoff at. What do you think? Is Bogaerts enough of an option to replace Correa on both sides of the ball?
  19. As crazy as the season was, the off-season seems even crazier and filled with more drama. While fans want the front office to land Carlos (Correa), bringing in the other Carlos (Rodón) would make the most sense for the club and could solidify the Twins starting rotation. Image courtesy of Stan Szeto, USA Today The jury is still out on the starting rotation for the Twins, but it looks like Sonny Gray is the anchor, with Joe Ryan, Kenta Maeda, Bailey Ober, and Tyler Mahle penciled into spots with question marks. If the team experiences anything like they did last season, injuries always loom heavily with this club. Taking on one more starter would benefit the club immensely, especially with uncertainty about Kenta Maeda's health and how he might pitch following surgery. Even with Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan at the top of the rotation, Carlos Rodon would easily be the team's ace, something that the Twins have not had of late. Jose Berrios was the closest the Twins have come to an ace in a long time, and the fans and club need more at the top of their rotation if they want to compete. With the Giants in 2022, Rodón had a 2.88 ERA and led the majors with a 2.25 FIP. He finished second in the National League with 237 strikeouts and hit double-digits 11 times, a franchise record. Rodón made a career-high 31 starts, putting aside (at least for now) the concerns about his shoulder that limited his market a year ago. 2022 was his best season since entering the majors. At 29 years old, his market this offseason should include a lot of teams. Watching pitchers like Jacob de Grom, Justin Verlander, and C.C. Sabathia, Rodón has the potential to continue for several seasons, provided he can stay healthy. His contract last offseason was a two-year $44 million deal with the Giants, but it included an opt-out clause that he took advantage of after the season. Since 2015, he has outperformed his contract and is worth more than what he made. The team that signs him this offseason will give up a draft pick as San Francisco made him a qualifying offer, which he declined. However, that should not stop him from getting at least four years with an average annual value of over $25 million. He pitched for a long time with the White Sox and knows the AL Central Division. However, it can be assumed that Rodon will be courted by nearly every team that intends to contend for a playoff spot in 2023 and beyond. As the non-tender deadline creeps up, additional players will become available. Several pitchers could potentially fill the Twins need, but Rodón would be a good fit in the league, division, and clubhouse. View full article
  20. It’s big bat week at Twins Daily, and there’s undoubtedly no bigger bat than Joey Gallo when it comes to power potential. He had a poor 2022 season, but at just 29 years old, does a deal with the Minnesota Twins make sense? Image courtesy of Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports Realistically the Twins are inundated with left-handed bats in the outfield. Alex Kirilloff, Max Kepler, and Trevor Larnach all hit from that side of the plate. With Byron Buxton as the lone right-handed hitter, manager Rocco Baldelli could use more from the right side of the dish. Given what Gallo’s market could be, and the banning of the shift, it may make sense to bring him in. There’s been more than a few instances in which the hulking slugger has had fun at Target Field. During his All-Star Futures Game experience in Minnesota, Gallo blasted a home run through a truck window beyond the right field wall. Since then, he has hit some tape measure shots to nearly the same part of the park, including one for the New York Yankees this season. Primarily Gallo has played in the corner outfield, but despite his immense power, his athletic ability has been shown in centerfield as well. Gallo won Gold Gloves in both 2020 and 2021 while rating out well defensively. He may not be Buxton in center, but few people are. He can also play the designated hitter role and has handled first base plenty. Despite 2022 going so poorly with the Yankees, and not much better with the Dodgers, he’s only a year removed from a 121 OPS+. Despite the goofy statistics we saw during the pandemic-shortened 2020, Gallo actually performed much better in 2019. His 145 OPS+ was a career-high and marked a run of three straight seasons in which he was above league average. There were more than a few times last year when Baldelli’s lineup stalled out. Despite boasting plenty of internally developed hitters, and names such as Carlos Correa and Gary Sanchez, far too often runs were hard to come by. Manufacturing runs wasn’t something Minnesota was good at a year ago, and they doubled down on the poor showing by failing to hit many home runs either. For the first time in his career, Gallo will face defenses that are unable to shift him as they have. He may see all three outfielders play on the right side of center field, but the infielders will need to remain in their given positions. For a guy with a strong launch angle and hard-hit rate, he could see additional hits dropping in, and raise his overall numbers to places we haven’t yet seen. What Gallo’s market looks like will be interesting. He made just over $10 million last season, and despite coming off the down year, someone will certainly see an opportunity for a fresh start. The massive power potential is there, and the plate discipline isn’t bad either. What do you think? Would you take a shot on the former All-Star? View full article
  21. The jury is still out on the starting rotation for the Twins, but it looks like Sonny Gray is the anchor, with Joe Ryan, Kenta Maeda, Bailey Ober, and Tyler Mahle penciled into spots with question marks. If the team experiences anything like they did last season, injuries always loom heavily with this club. Taking on one more starter would benefit the club immensely, especially with uncertainty about Kenta Maeda's health and how he might pitch following surgery. Even with Sonny Gray and Joe Ryan at the top of the rotation, Carlos Rodon would easily be the team's ace, something that the Twins have not had of late. Jose Berrios was the closest the Twins have come to an ace in a long time, and the fans and club need more at the top of their rotation if they want to compete. With the Giants in 2022, Rodón had a 2.88 ERA and led the majors with a 2.25 FIP. He finished second in the National League with 237 strikeouts and hit double-digits 11 times, a franchise record. Rodón made a career-high 31 starts, putting aside (at least for now) the concerns about his shoulder that limited his market a year ago. 2022 was his best season since entering the majors. At 29 years old, his market this offseason should include a lot of teams. Watching pitchers like Jacob de Grom, Justin Verlander, and C.C. Sabathia, Rodón has the potential to continue for several seasons, provided he can stay healthy. His contract last offseason was a two-year $44 million deal with the Giants, but it included an opt-out clause that he took advantage of after the season. Since 2015, he has outperformed his contract and is worth more than what he made. The team that signs him this offseason will give up a draft pick as San Francisco made him a qualifying offer, which he declined. However, that should not stop him from getting at least four years with an average annual value of over $25 million. He pitched for a long time with the White Sox and knows the AL Central Division. However, it can be assumed that Rodon will be courted by nearly every team that intends to contend for a playoff spot in 2023 and beyond. As the non-tender deadline creeps up, additional players will become available. Several pitchers could potentially fill the Twins need, but Rodón would be a good fit in the league, division, and clubhouse.
  22. The Minnesota Twins have plenty of money to spend this offseason, and there’s some great fits that will cost a lot. How does this front office work to ensure they can land the big fish, and is there a way for them to get creative in hoping it helps? Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports Over the years we’ve heard Derek Falvey and Thad Levine use plenty of buzzwords when describing their process as heads of the Twins' front office. One comment that has been made was a willingness to “get creative” in signing new contracts. Creativity leaves plenty to the imagination, but we certainly saw a new way of negotiating when Carlos Correa was signed last spring. Prolific agent Scott Boras negotiated a $105.3 million deal that was tied to a three-year term. Except, as we knew from the moment Correa agreed to put on a Twins uniform, he was only going to be with Minnesota on this deal for a single year. The Twins allowed Correa to have opt-outs after each of the first two seasons in this deal. He was always going to exercise that following a successful year one, and would’ve had a safety blanket in year two had he needed to opt back in. So, do opt-outs allow Minnesota a way to put contracts a bit more in favor of the player? Maybe someone will offer Correa a $350 million contract over the course of ten years. It’s hard to see Minnesota coming close to that, in terms of duration or money. What they could do, however, is to put a shorter deal together with a bit less money, but allow Correa to opt out in year two or three. The ability to again rip up a deal and continue working towards more money is certainly an advantage for a player. Revenues continue to increase in baseball, and year over year, it’s understandable that yearly valuations would also rise. We haven’t seen an extensive track record for contracts with opt-outs included in them; they are somewhat of a new negotiating tactic. That means it’s hard to pin just how much players or agents value them, and while they aren’t specifically a monetary gain, there’s a value they theoretically should carry as well. This isn’t just a Correa discussion either. Six other prolific free agents opted out of their contracts to enter free agency this offseason. Regardless if it was Xander Bogaerts or Jacob deGrom, each of those decisions was made based on the ability to secure a larger payday on the next contract. Some of those players did so at a similar age to Correa, while others are much older and looking for a short-term deal that will pay substantially more than their previous guarantee. As the Twins try to angle their way toward acquiring talent, they’ll need to find opportunities to differentiate their offers. It really doesn’t matter what level of financial security the Pohlad family has, as dollars are going to be handsome across organizations as a whole. If the Twins can make lucrative financial deals a bit more player-friendly in terms of an opt-out or full no-trade clause, they should certainly be willing to do so. It’s hard to see a talent like Correa walk after just a season because he had the ability to opt-out, but it was that opportunity that provided a way for him to sign here in the first place. Is utilizing opt-outs something you’d like to see the Twins do more of even if it relates to a lesser commitment from a given player? View full article
  23. Realistically the Twins are inundated with left-handed bats in the outfield. Alex Kirilloff, Max Kepler, and Trevor Larnach all hit from that side of the plate. With Byron Buxton as the lone right-handed hitter, manager Rocco Baldelli could use more from the right side of the dish. Given what Gallo’s market could be, and the banning of the shift, it may make sense to bring him in. There’s been more than a few instances in which the hulking slugger has had fun at Target Field. During his All-Star Futures Game experience in Minnesota, Gallo blasted a home run through a truck window beyond the right field wall. Since then, he has hit some tape measure shots to nearly the same part of the park, including one for the New York Yankees this season. Primarily Gallo has played in the corner outfield, but despite his immense power, his athletic ability has been shown in centerfield as well. Gallo won Gold Gloves in both 2020 and 2021 while rating out well defensively. He may not be Buxton in center, but few people are. He can also play the designated hitter role and has handled first base plenty. Despite 2022 going so poorly with the Yankees, and not much better with the Dodgers, he’s only a year removed from a 121 OPS+. Despite the goofy statistics we saw during the pandemic-shortened 2020, Gallo actually performed much better in 2019. His 145 OPS+ was a career-high and marked a run of three straight seasons in which he was above league average. There were more than a few times last year when Baldelli’s lineup stalled out. Despite boasting plenty of internally developed hitters, and names such as Carlos Correa and Gary Sanchez, far too often runs were hard to come by. Manufacturing runs wasn’t something Minnesota was good at a year ago, and they doubled down on the poor showing by failing to hit many home runs either. For the first time in his career, Gallo will face defenses that are unable to shift him as they have. He may see all three outfielders play on the right side of center field, but the infielders will need to remain in their given positions. For a guy with a strong launch angle and hard-hit rate, he could see additional hits dropping in, and raise his overall numbers to places we haven’t yet seen. What Gallo’s market looks like will be interesting. He made just over $10 million last season, and despite coming off the down year, someone will certainly see an opportunity for a fresh start. The massive power potential is there, and the plate discipline isn’t bad either. What do you think? Would you take a shot on the former All-Star?
  24. Over the years we’ve heard Derek Falvey and Thad Levine use plenty of buzzwords when describing their process as heads of the Twins' front office. One comment that has been made was a willingness to “get creative” in signing new contracts. Creativity leaves plenty to the imagination, but we certainly saw a new way of negotiating when Carlos Correa was signed last spring. Prolific agent Scott Boras negotiated a $105.3 million deal that was tied to a three-year term. Except, as we knew from the moment Correa agreed to put on a Twins uniform, he was only going to be with Minnesota on this deal for a single year. The Twins allowed Correa to have opt-outs after each of the first two seasons in this deal. He was always going to exercise that following a successful year one, and would’ve had a safety blanket in year two had he needed to opt back in. So, do opt-outs allow Minnesota a way to put contracts a bit more in favor of the player? Maybe someone will offer Correa a $350 million contract over the course of ten years. It’s hard to see Minnesota coming close to that, in terms of duration or money. What they could do, however, is to put a shorter deal together with a bit less money, but allow Correa to opt out in year two or three. The ability to again rip up a deal and continue working towards more money is certainly an advantage for a player. Revenues continue to increase in baseball, and year over year, it’s understandable that yearly valuations would also rise. We haven’t seen an extensive track record for contracts with opt-outs included in them; they are somewhat of a new negotiating tactic. That means it’s hard to pin just how much players or agents value them, and while they aren’t specifically a monetary gain, there’s a value they theoretically should carry as well. This isn’t just a Correa discussion either. Six other prolific free agents opted out of their contracts to enter free agency this offseason. Regardless if it was Xander Bogaerts or Jacob deGrom, each of those decisions was made based on the ability to secure a larger payday on the next contract. Some of those players did so at a similar age to Correa, while others are much older and looking for a short-term deal that will pay substantially more than their previous guarantee. As the Twins try to angle their way toward acquiring talent, they’ll need to find opportunities to differentiate their offers. It really doesn’t matter what level of financial security the Pohlad family has, as dollars are going to be handsome across organizations as a whole. If the Twins can make lucrative financial deals a bit more player-friendly in terms of an opt-out or full no-trade clause, they should certainly be willing to do so. It’s hard to see a talent like Correa walk after just a season because he had the ability to opt-out, but it was that opportunity that provided a way for him to sign here in the first place. Is utilizing opt-outs something you’d like to see the Twins do more of even if it relates to a lesser commitment from a given player?
  25. The Twins parted ways with free agents, cleared space on the 40-man roster, and set the stage for an offseason primed with ample flexibility and a wide range of possibilities. Here's where things stand as we get started. Eight Twins Players Become Free Agents The end of the World Series triggered the official commencement of the offseason, meaning that the following players automatically entered the free agent market: Michael Fulmer, RHP Gary Sánchez, C Sandy León, C Billy Hamilton, OF Aaron Sanchez, RHP Aside from Fulmer, a solid deadline pickup for the bullpen, and Sánchez, who ended up being the team's primary catcher, these are all random midseason veteran pickups who played roles for the team out of sheer desperation. No big losses, although Fulmer will be an interesting target to pursue. Elsewhere, Carlos Correa opted out of his contract as expected. He'll hit free agency once again in search of a monster deal eclipsing $300 million. I wrote about what it will take to re-sign him as part of a three-part "Future of Shortstop" chapter of the Offseason Handbook. Anyone with a Twins Daily account can download that chapter for free. Finally, there were three players whose team options the club elected to decline, all as expected: Miguel Sanó, 1B ($2.75M buyout) Dylan Bundy, RHP ($1M buyout) Chris Archer, RHP ($750K buyout) Bundy and Archer were underwhelming bargain-bin free agent signings for the back of the rotation. Sanó's legacy with the Twins is, of course, much more lengthy and complicated. Probably worthy of a deeper examination in time. But for now, what matters for now is the way it ended: with the Twins paying $2.75 million to be done with him. Twins Pick Up Sonny Gray's Option There was one team option that the Twins were more than happy to pick up: Gray will be back next year at a $12.7 million salary. This was a no-brainer and a big part of the reason Minnesota was willing to give up Chase Petty for the veteran right-hander. Gray currently projects as the standalone #1 starter on the 2023 staff. Improving upon that situation should be a top priority for the front office this winter. Will they make an offseason addition who surpasses the Sonny Gray Threshold? We explored free agents and trade targets who could provide a legitimate top-of-rotation upgrade in the Starting Pitchers chapter of the Offseason Handbook, available to Caretakers. 40-Man Roster Shuffling Clears Room In addition to letting several players loose into free agency, the Twins also cleared up some 40-man roster room through waivers and outrights. Here's a quick rundown to catch you up: LHP Danny Coulombe was outrighted from the 40-man roster and assigned to the Saints. So were LHP Devin Smeltzer and RHP Jhon Romero. C Caleb Hamilton was claimed off waivers by Boston. SS Jermaine Palacios was claimed off waivers by Detroit. OF Jake Cave was claimed off waivers by Baltimore. All of these many removals from the 40-man were offset by a litany of players being removed from the injured list at year's end, so the Twins end up with 37 players currently rostered as illustrated in the grid below. Highlighted in red are eight clear candidates for removal, via non-tender or waiving, so the Twins will have no trouble finding room for new additions. The deadline to make contract tender decisions on arbitration-eligible players falls on November 18th – next Thursday. On that date we'll learn whether we can lock in or remove a few of those red-shaded names above, including Gio Urshela, Kyle Garlick, Emilio Pagan and Cody Stashak. Internal Promotions Impact MLB Coaching Staff As a result of a series of internal personnel shifts announced by the team this past week, a new member has been added to the major-league coaching staff for 2023: Derek Shohon, who served as the hitting coach for Class-AA Wichita last year – overseeing the breakouts of prospects Matt Wallner and Edouard Julien, among others – will join the Twins as an assistant hitting coach alongside incumbents David Popkins and Rudy Hernandez. Some other moves of note: Drew MacPhail, son of former Twins GM Andy MacPhail, takes over as farm director. Alex Hassan, previously in that role, is now vice president of hitting development and procurement. Former run creation coordinator Frankie Padulo transitions into the assistant director of player development role formerly held by MacPhail. Brian Maloney was promoted to director of minor league and high performance operations, and Amanda Daley was promoted to director of player education. Roster and Payroll Projection: v1 Here's an overview of where the projected roster and payroll currently stand, under the assumption that Urshela and Garlick are tendered, and Pagan is not. (Far from guaranteed on any count.) The biggest existential priorities, as you can see, are finding a starting shortstop (and his backup), filling the catcher vacancy, and adding impact arms. They've got nearly $50 million to spend merely to get back to the 2022 payroll level, so needless to say there's a world of possibilities ahead. As a reminder, you can explore options at these key positions of need by downloading available chapters of the Offseason Handbook, and you can use our roster-building tool to forge your own Twins blueprint. View full article
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