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  1. Spending big on free agent pitchers is a high-wire act by nature, as it involves making exorbitant commitments to aging arms that are often amid temporary peaks in value. It is, needless to say, a pursuit the Minnesota Twins have largely opted to avoid – much to the lament of many fans. This offseason, they may have little choice but to set their scruples aside and overspend on the boom-or-bust frontline starter they need. Exciting, but precarious. Image courtesy of Image courtesy of Stan Szeto, USA Today When you look at data around aging curves for major-league pitchers, it matches up to what you'd expect: as a group, they are most effective between the ages of roughly 24 to 28 before inevitably experiencing decline at varying scales. This makes sense, of course. As pitchers get older, their innings mount, their bodies wear down, and the league gets wise to all of their tricks. We see the cycle play out time and time again. Sure, there are some pitchers who manage to evade the ravages of age, but they are rare and beyond prized. For every Jacob deGrom, who keeps chugging along into his mid-30s, or even every Justin Verlander, who's on top of his game at age 40, there are many examples of fleeting greatness. Sometimes the drop-off is quite sudden. Madison Bumgarner was one of the game's greats throughout his 20s as a Giant but completely unraveled at age 30 after signing with Arizona. Hyun-Jin Ryu had a brief run of pure excellence for the Dodgers but has wilted in his mid-30s in Toronto. The Twins have been thankful to avoid free agent landmines like these – pitchers who entered the market with relatively high stocks and cashed in, only to fall victim to the curve, leaving their new clubs in a tough spot with lingering implications. (The D-backs owe Bumgarner $23 million next year coming off a 4.88 ERA; the Blue Jays owe Ryu $20 million after he posted a 5.67 ERA in 27 innings.) Slam-dunk pitchers like deGrom and Verlander do pop up in free agency, but because of their rarity they have their pick of big-market titans who can outflex the field. These guys are simply out of range for the Twins, and most other teams. The more common and accessible free agents are those like Bumgarner and Ryu types: pitchers in the early stage of the aging curve's declining trendline, looking to get paid off what they did in their prime. Robbie Ray is a perfectly good example from one year ago. He was the definition of a buy-high candidate, coming off a breakout age-29 season where he won the Cy Young while leading the league in ERA and strikeouts. The Mariners bought high with a $115 million contract that was eclipsed only Max Scherzer's $130 million deal with the Mets. During his first year in Seattle, Ray was ... meh. Certainly not a disaster, but a shining example of the dangers in overpaying for assets that are likely to depreciate quickly. Ray posted a 3.71 ERA, 4.16 FIP, and 1.8 fWAR in 189 innings. He was an average-ish mid-rotation starter making $21 million, and slated to make $44 million over the next two years. What's more, Ray's player-friendly contract includes an opt-out after 2024, meaning that if his performance continues to trend this way, Seattle will owe him another $50 million for his age 33 and 34 seasons. But if he returns to form, he can re-enter the market after two more years. Seattle's already been robbed of much of this deal's upside due to Ray's mediocre first season. The fact that Ray procured such a favorable contract coming off his only great season speaks to the leverage higher-end free agent pitchers enjoy during Hot Stove negotiations. Which brings our attention to the focus of today's discussion: Carlos Rodón. The parallels between Ray's situation last year and Rodón's this year are unmissable. Both are left-handers entering the market at age 30, coming off career seasons. Both had extremely suspect track records prior to their star turns, which came during short-term deals for that reason. The uncertainties shrouding these two players weren't of the same exact ilk – Ray's more performance-based, Rodón's more health-related – but both players carried obvious and notable risk. Last offseason, Ray wasn't the best free agent starter. Not in a class that featured future Hall of Famers like Scherzer, Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw. But he was the arguably the best starter who felt realistically available to mid-market teams like Seattle or Minnesota. And this year Rodón is in a similar position, albeit with sparser competition at the top tier. (Chris Bassitt is a far cry from Kevin Gausman.) Rodón has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball over the past two seasons, a true ace in every sense of the word. He's been mostly healthy, with the exception of a shoulder scare in late 2021. There's much to like. But the magnitude of risk in handing out a mega-deal to Rodón weighs very heavily on a team with spending constraints (self-imposed as they might be). The shoulder woes have surfaced time and again, wiping out most of his ostensible prime years. He's coming off a career-high workload and heading into his 30s. As Twins fans know all too well, shoulder injuries are pernicious. The downside with Rodón isn't that he'll follow Ray's route and revert to middling performance levels, but that he won't be able to pitch at all. Or he'll become entangled in lengthy cycles of starts, stops, and setbacks, all while accounting for about one-fifth of the payroll year after year. That's undeniably a scary specter, and knowing what we know about the Twins front office and their particular aversion to these kinds of flexibility-inhibiting scenarios, it's easy to see why they've tended to stay away. But this offseason is different. If the Twins miss out on Carlos Correa, it almost feels like they HAVE to find a way to sign Rodón in order for the winter to be considered a resounding success, and to build widespread excitement for the 2023 product. Most other big-splash type moves that are within their range would be somewhat underwhelming as marquee headliner, at a time where they just lost a premier superstar, and had unprecedented spending power as a result. This is not just a matter of optics and PR. It's hard to imagine any singular move, outside of signing one of the top four shortstops, capable of making such a massive impact on the team's quality and upside. Adding Rodón atop the rotation would transform the outlook for that unit and the pitching staff as a whole. Coming off back-to-back Cy Young-caliber seasons, Rodón would be a worthy centerpiece of the offseason from any vantage. So how much would this gamble cost? If we suppose that Rodón is open-minded and simply looking for the best deal, it becomes a straightforward bidding war – albeit one with high stakes and some imposing competition. The left-hander is reportedly receiving early interest from the Dodgers, Mets, and Rangers, among others. The Rangers are said to be one of his most serious suitors, and they exemplify the type of uphill battle Minnesota's front office faces in this pursuit. Texas spent more than half a billion in free agency last offseason alone. With such a free-wheeling mindset, made possible by operating in a top-five market, they can more easily sink big money into shaky investments – like, say, signing Corey Seager for $32 million annually through age 37 – and worry about the repercussions later. For the Twins, it's a different ballgame. The stakes are graver, the downside greater. And depending on Rodón's personal preferences, it might take a significant outbid to woo him from more attractive destinations. It's hard to know exactly where the southpaw's contract figure might land, when you factor in all the risk and all the reward. One article in The Athletic projected five years and $160 million, which is higher than I've seen elsewhere but certainly within reason. For the Twins to make it happen, they might need to get creative with a contract framework that leans strongly in the player's favor – a Scott Boras specialty. Again, you can make a good case to say "screw it, just make the deal happen, whatever it takes." But then, I come back to this front office and what we know about them. As much as they might like Rodón and the fit, it would be very uncharacteristic to outslug a bunch of heavy-hitters in an all-out auction for a peaking asset. What seems much more likely is that they'll turn to other pitchers near the top of the remaining free agent starter pool in search of real upside without the extreme "buy-high" dynamic. One name that really stands out in this group is Nathan Eovaldi. He's got the credentials, the big stage experience, the power fastball. In 2021 he finished fourth in the Cy Young voting with 5.7 fWAR, placing him at the premier class of MLB starters. In 2022 he took a step back, with production that was more or less Robbie Ray-esque. Unlike Rodón and Ray, Eovaldi is not a buy-high target. Unfortunately for him, the right-hander's date with free agency came a year too late for that. He'll still get paid handsomely but the proposition should be much less daunting for a team like the Twins. How much less realistic upside does Eovaldi bring to the table compared to Rodón and Ray, relative to the chasmic difference in cost? If you look at 2022 in isolation, far less, but results aren't that dependably consistent from year to year. To prove that, look no further than all of the dudes we're talking about here. Signing Rodón feels, in some ways, like a move the Twins need to make, should they miss out on Correa. But turning away from the feeding frenzy and focusing on an arm like Eovaldi would be much more on-brand, while still showing a touch of boldness. He would very likely be the most expensive free agent pitcher signing in franchise history, and a plausible upgrade from Sonny Gray in the #1 rotation spot. This course would also allow the Twins to save some coin and spread more of it to other needs, while still addressing the rotation in a meaningful, emphatic way. View full article
  2. The Twins have been relatively busy early in the offseason, with a couple of trades reshaping their infield outlook and an embattled reliever receiving a controversial contract tender. Read on to catch up on what the front office has done so far and where the roster currently stands. Image courtesy of Brad Rempel and Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports Since we last checked in, the Twins have made news with a number of noteworthy moves: trading third baseman Gio Urshela, acquiring shortstop Kyle Farmer, tendering reliever Emilio Pagan. Let's take a quick look at the details behind each of these decisions, and where they leave the state of the roster as the Winter Meetings fast approach on December 4th. Twins Trade Urshela to Angels Just ahead of the arbitration contract tender deadline on November 18th, the Twins shipped one of their eligible players – the most difficult decision among them – to the Angels in exchange for minor-league pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo. A 19-year-old right-hander who hasn't yet advanced past Low-A ball, Hidalgo is a modestly intriguing young arm, but the return for Urshela was expectedly small. He's a valuable player, but at his projected arbitration cost in the $9 million range, a bit less appealing – especially for a Twins team that hopes to usher Jose Miranda in as regular third baseman next year. For the Angels, Urshela is an odd fit. Like the Twins, they seem to view him as strictly a corner infielder ... but they already have Anthony Rendon and Jared Walsh entrenched at third and first, with Shohei Ohtani typically occupying DH. It is very difficult to understand LA's motivation in making this move from the current view. Hidalgo's your usual big-stuff/bad-control lotto ticket. Certainly a preferable outcome to non-tendering Urshela for nothing in return. Pagan Is Coming Back for Another Year With Urshela shipped out, the Twins tendered contracts to all of their remaining arbitration-eligible players – including, controversially, the embattled Pagan. He'll earn a projected $3.7 million in his final year of team control, coming off a season where he earned the ire of fans with numerous lapses in crucial moments. He was the poster child for a bullpen that helped derail a promising Twins season. Now we'll see if he can become the figurehead for its triumphant turnaround. Amidst all the backlash this decision understandably provoked, I tried to explore the team's reasoning, noting that Pagan saw improved results down the stretch with a pitch mix change under pitching coaches Pete Maki and Colby Suggs. It's hard to give up on stuff of that caliber, and the upside it entails. While many fans struggle to make sense of it, Pagan does seem to be viewed much more highly in baseball circles than from the outside. Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported that the reliever "drew much more interest" than Urshela ahead of the non-tender deadline. Farmer Enters the Fold Not long after parting with some veteran depth in Urshela, the Twins quickly backfilled with the addition of Farmer, acquired from the Reds in exchange for minor-league righty Casey Legumina. This deal was, in many ways, the reverse of the Urshela trade: Farmer is a valuable enough player, but wasn't that valuable to Cincinnati at his arbitration price point, so they sent him to a team that could use the depth in exchange for a pitching flier. In this case, it's much easier to see the fit for Farmer, who could fill a number of different roles depending on what the Twins do elsewhere. For now, he's slotted in as their starting shortstop, and an adequate interim fill-in for Royce Lewis if that is the front office's leaning. In addition to his defensive flexibility, one aspect of Farmer's profile that surely attracted the Twins is his excellence against left-handed pitching. This looks like an effort to offset one of the offense's key weaknesses in 2021, when they slashed .240/.310/.391 against southpaws. Twins Showing Interest in Rodon Hayes wrote in a roster projection column over the weekend that the team has "definite interest" in Carlos Rodon, which comes as no surprise. However, Hayes adds, "his contract is likely to soar to areas it might not feel comfortable paying, perhaps as high as $160 million over five years." In a column unpacking the troubling realities of buying high on free agent pitching, I examined this very conundrum: Rodon is exactly the kind of proven ace that the Twins should be looking to land this offseason. He's a dominant force coming off an excellent season, and his addition would energize the fanbase while fortifying the rotation. But, he's also entering the market at peak value, have pressed a career-high workload upon a shoulder that has endlessly tormented him. With Rodon, you're going to be paying purely for the upside we just saw, and hoping it sustains. And the price tag will be quite high, with the free-spending Dodgers already in the mix as suitors. One Current Opening on the 40-Man Roster As a sum result of all this moving and shaking, along with the additions of prospects Edouard Julien, Brent Headrick, and Matt Canterino to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, Minnesota's 40-man roster currently stands at 39: Should the Twins need to be make room for more additions, the most vulnerable 40-man spots likely belong to Mark Contreras, Cole Sands, and Trevor Megill. Roster and Payroll Projection: v2 In looking at the projected 2023 roster in its current form, you can see how the Twins are setting a floor. They've basically got all they need to field a competent ballclub next year: a rotation with five proven big-league starters, a fairly deep bullpen with back-end power, and a credible – albeit somewhat underwhelming on whole – stable of position players. The only openings are a backup catcher and utility infielder for the bench, easily filled. That is not to say going forward with this group would be acceptable in anyone's eyes. But the point is that the Twins aren't backed into any corners, needing to allocate their funds in any specific way – just how they like it. With nearly $50 million in spending room just to get back to the 2022 payroll baseline, we'll see how opportunistic this front office can be, free from any kind of restraint. If you want to read up on all of the team's many options available at positions across the board, the Offseason Handbook is now available in full to download, with 39 pages covering the Hot Stove landscape from every angle. It's free to all Caretakers! Grab a copy and build your own 2023 blueprint. View full article
  3. Since we last checked in, the Twins have made news with a number of noteworthy moves: trading third baseman Gio Urshela, acquiring shortstop Kyle Farmer, tendering reliever Emilio Pagan. Let's take a quick look at the details behind each of these decisions, and where they leave the state of the roster as the Winter Meetings fast approach on December 4th. Twins Trade Urshela to Angels Just ahead of the arbitration contract tender deadline on November 18th, the Twins shipped one of their eligible players – the most difficult decision among them – to the Angels in exchange for minor-league pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo. A 19-year-old right-hander who hasn't yet advanced past Low-A ball, Hidalgo is a modestly intriguing young arm, but the return for Urshela was expectedly small. He's a valuable player, but at his projected arbitration cost in the $9 million range, a bit less appealing – especially for a Twins team that hopes to usher Jose Miranda in as regular third baseman next year. For the Angels, Urshela is an odd fit. Like the Twins, they seem to view him as strictly a corner infielder ... but they already have Anthony Rendon and Jared Walsh entrenched at third and first, with Shohei Ohtani typically occupying DH. It is very difficult to understand LA's motivation in making this move from the current view. Hidalgo's your usual big-stuff/bad-control lotto ticket. Certainly a preferable outcome to non-tendering Urshela for nothing in return. Pagan Is Coming Back for Another Year With Urshela shipped out, the Twins tendered contracts to all of their remaining arbitration-eligible players – including, controversially, the embattled Pagan. He'll earn a projected $3.7 million in his final year of team control, coming off a season where he earned the ire of fans with numerous lapses in crucial moments. He was the poster child for a bullpen that helped derail a promising Twins season. Now we'll see if he can become the figurehead for its triumphant turnaround. Amidst all the backlash this decision understandably provoked, I tried to explore the team's reasoning, noting that Pagan saw improved results down the stretch with a pitch mix change under pitching coaches Pete Maki and Colby Suggs. It's hard to give up on stuff of that caliber, and the upside it entails. While many fans struggle to make sense of it, Pagan does seem to be viewed much more highly in baseball circles than from the outside. Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported that the reliever "drew much more interest" than Urshela ahead of the non-tender deadline. Farmer Enters the Fold Not long after parting with some veteran depth in Urshela, the Twins quickly backfilled with the addition of Farmer, acquired from the Reds in exchange for minor-league righty Casey Legumina. This deal was, in many ways, the reverse of the Urshela trade: Farmer is a valuable enough player, but wasn't that valuable to Cincinnati at his arbitration price point, so they sent him to a team that could use the depth in exchange for a pitching flier. In this case, it's much easier to see the fit for Farmer, who could fill a number of different roles depending on what the Twins do elsewhere. For now, he's slotted in as their starting shortstop, and an adequate interim fill-in for Royce Lewis if that is the front office's leaning. In addition to his defensive flexibility, one aspect of Farmer's profile that surely attracted the Twins is his excellence against left-handed pitching. This looks like an effort to offset one of the offense's key weaknesses in 2021, when they slashed .240/.310/.391 against southpaws. Twins Showing Interest in Rodon Hayes wrote in a roster projection column over the weekend that the team has "definite interest" in Carlos Rodon, which comes as no surprise. However, Hayes adds, "his contract is likely to soar to areas it might not feel comfortable paying, perhaps as high as $160 million over five years." In a column unpacking the troubling realities of buying high on free agent pitching, I examined this very conundrum: Rodon is exactly the kind of proven ace that the Twins should be looking to land this offseason. He's a dominant force coming off an excellent season, and his addition would energize the fanbase while fortifying the rotation. But, he's also entering the market at peak value, have pressed a career-high workload upon a shoulder that has endlessly tormented him. With Rodon, you're going to be paying purely for the upside we just saw, and hoping it sustains. And the price tag will be quite high, with the free-spending Dodgers already in the mix as suitors. One Current Opening on the 40-Man Roster As a sum result of all this moving and shaking, along with the additions of prospects Edouard Julien, Brent Headrick, and Matt Canterino to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, Minnesota's 40-man roster currently stands at 39: Should the Twins need to be make room for more additions, the most vulnerable 40-man spots likely belong to Mark Contreras, Cole Sands, and Trevor Megill. Roster and Payroll Projection: v2 In looking at the projected 2023 roster in its current form, you can see how the Twins are setting a floor. They've basically got all they need to field a competent ballclub next year: a rotation with five proven big-league starters, a fairly deep bullpen with back-end power, and a credible – albeit somewhat underwhelming on whole – stable of position players. The only openings are a backup catcher and utility infielder for the bench, easily filled. That is not to say going forward with this group would be acceptable in anyone's eyes. But the point is that the Twins aren't backed into any corners, needing to allocate their funds in any specific way – just how they like it. With nearly $50 million in spending room just to get back to the 2022 payroll baseline, we'll see how opportunistic this front office can be, free from any kind of restraint. If you want to read up on all of the team's many options available at positions across the board, the Offseason Handbook is now available in full to download, with 39 pages covering the Hot Stove landscape from every angle. It's free to all Caretakers! Grab a copy and build your own 2023 blueprint.
  4. When you look at data around aging curves for major-league pitchers, it matches up to what you'd expect: as a group, they are most effective between the ages of roughly 24 to 28 before inevitably experiencing decline at varying scales. This makes sense, of course. As pitchers get older, their innings mount, their bodies wear down, and the league gets wise to all of their tricks. We see the cycle play out time and time again. Sure, there are some pitchers who manage to evade the ravages of age, but they are rare and beyond prized. For every Jacob deGrom, who keeps chugging along into his mid-30s, or even every Justin Verlander, who's on top of his game at age 40, there are many examples of fleeting greatness. Sometimes the drop-off is quite sudden. Madison Bumgarner was one of the game's greats throughout his 20s as a Giant but completely unraveled at age 30 after signing with Arizona. Hyun-Jin Ryu had a brief run of pure excellence for the Dodgers but has wilted in his mid-30s in Toronto. The Twins have been thankful to avoid free agent landmines like these – pitchers who entered the market with relatively high stocks and cashed in, only to fall victim to the curve, leaving their new clubs in a tough spot with lingering implications. (The D-backs owe Bumgarner $23 million next year coming off a 4.88 ERA; the Blue Jays owe Ryu $20 million after he posted a 5.67 ERA in 27 innings.) Slam-dunk pitchers like deGrom and Verlander do pop up in free agency, but because of their rarity they have their pick of big-market titans who can outflex the field. These guys are simply out of range for the Twins, and most other teams. The more common and accessible free agents are those like Bumgarner and Ryu types: pitchers in the early stage of the aging curve's declining trendline, looking to get paid off what they did in their prime. Robbie Ray is a perfectly good example from one year ago. He was the definition of a buy-high candidate, coming off a breakout age-29 season where he won the Cy Young while leading the league in ERA and strikeouts. The Mariners bought high with a $115 million contract that was eclipsed only Max Scherzer's $130 million deal with the Mets. During his first year in Seattle, Ray was ... meh. Certainly not a disaster, but a shining example of the dangers in overpaying for assets that are likely to depreciate quickly. Ray posted a 3.71 ERA, 4.16 FIP, and 1.8 fWAR in 189 innings. He was an average-ish mid-rotation starter making $21 million, and slated to make $44 million over the next two years. What's more, Ray's player-friendly contract includes an opt-out after 2024, meaning that if his performance continues to trend this way, Seattle will owe him another $50 million for his age 33 and 34 seasons. But if he returns to form, he can re-enter the market after two more years. Seattle's already been robbed of much of this deal's upside due to Ray's mediocre first season. The fact that Ray procured such a favorable contract coming off his only great season speaks to the leverage higher-end free agent pitchers enjoy during Hot Stove negotiations. Which brings our attention to the focus of today's discussion: Carlos Rodón. The parallels between Ray's situation last year and Rodón's this year are unmissable. Both are left-handers entering the market at age 30, coming off career seasons. Both had extremely suspect track records prior to their star turns, which came during short-term deals for that reason. The uncertainties shrouding these two players weren't of the same exact ilk – Ray's more performance-based, Rodón's more health-related – but both players carried obvious and notable risk. Last offseason, Ray wasn't the best free agent starter. Not in a class that featured future Hall of Famers like Scherzer, Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw. But he was the arguably the best starter who felt realistically available to mid-market teams like Seattle or Minnesota. And this year Rodón is in a similar position, albeit with sparser competition at the top tier. (Chris Bassitt is a far cry from Kevin Gausman.) Rodón has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball over the past two seasons, a true ace in every sense of the word. He's been mostly healthy, with the exception of a shoulder scare in late 2021. There's much to like. But the magnitude of risk in handing out a mega-deal to Rodón weighs very heavily on a team with spending constraints (self-imposed as they might be). The shoulder woes have surfaced time and again, wiping out most of his ostensible prime years. He's coming off a career-high workload and heading into his 30s. As Twins fans know all too well, shoulder injuries are pernicious. The downside with Rodón isn't that he'll follow Ray's route and revert to middling performance levels, but that he won't be able to pitch at all. Or he'll become entangled in lengthy cycles of starts, stops, and setbacks, all while accounting for about one-fifth of the payroll year after year. That's undeniably a scary specter, and knowing what we know about the Twins front office and their particular aversion to these kinds of flexibility-inhibiting scenarios, it's easy to see why they've tended to stay away. But this offseason is different. If the Twins miss out on Carlos Correa, it almost feels like they HAVE to find a way to sign Rodón in order for the winter to be considered a resounding success, and to build widespread excitement for the 2023 product. Most other big-splash type moves that are within their range would be somewhat underwhelming as marquee headliner, at a time where they just lost a premier superstar, and had unprecedented spending power as a result. This is not just a matter of optics and PR. It's hard to imagine any singular move, outside of signing one of the top four shortstops, capable of making such a massive impact on the team's quality and upside. Adding Rodón atop the rotation would transform the outlook for that unit and the pitching staff as a whole. Coming off back-to-back Cy Young-caliber seasons, Rodón would be a worthy centerpiece of the offseason from any vantage. So how much would this gamble cost? If we suppose that Rodón is open-minded and simply looking for the best deal, it becomes a straightforward bidding war – albeit one with high stakes and some imposing competition. The left-hander is reportedly receiving early interest from the Dodgers, Mets, and Rangers, among others. The Rangers are said to be one of his most serious suitors, and they exemplify the type of uphill battle Minnesota's front office faces in this pursuit. Texas spent more than half a billion in free agency last offseason alone. With such a free-wheeling mindset, made possible by operating in a top-five market, they can more easily sink big money into shaky investments – like, say, signing Corey Seager for $32 million annually through age 37 – and worry about the repercussions later. For the Twins, it's a different ballgame. The stakes are graver, the downside greater. And depending on Rodón's personal preferences, it might take a significant outbid to woo him from more attractive destinations. It's hard to know exactly where the southpaw's contract figure might land, when you factor in all the risk and all the reward. One article in The Athletic projected five years and $160 million, which is higher than I've seen elsewhere but certainly within reason. For the Twins to make it happen, they might need to get creative with a contract framework that leans strongly in the player's favor – a Scott Boras specialty. Again, you can make a good case to say "screw it, just make the deal happen, whatever it takes." But then, I come back to this front office and what we know about them. As much as they might like Rodón and the fit, it would be very uncharacteristic to outslug a bunch of heavy-hitters in an all-out auction for a peaking asset. What seems much more likely is that they'll turn to other pitchers near the top of the remaining free agent starter pool in search of real upside without the extreme "buy-high" dynamic. One name that really stands out in this group is Nathan Eovaldi. He's got the credentials, the big stage experience, the power fastball. In 2021 he finished fourth in the Cy Young voting with 5.7 fWAR, placing him at the premier class of MLB starters. In 2022 he took a step back, with production that was more or less Robbie Ray-esque. Unlike Rodón and Ray, Eovaldi is not a buy-high target. Unfortunately for him, the right-hander's date with free agency came a year too late for that. He'll still get paid handsomely but the proposition should be much less daunting for a team like the Twins. How much less realistic upside does Eovaldi bring to the table compared to Rodón and Ray, relative to the chasmic difference in cost? If you look at 2022 in isolation, far less, but results aren't that dependably consistent from year to year. To prove that, look no further than all of the dudes we're talking about here. Signing Rodón feels, in some ways, like a move the Twins need to make, should they miss out on Correa. But turning away from the feeding frenzy and focusing on an arm like Eovaldi would be much more on-brand, while still showing a touch of boldness. He would very likely be the most expensive free agent pitcher signing in franchise history, and a plausible upgrade from Sonny Gray in the #1 rotation spot. This course would also allow the Twins to save some coin and spread more of it to other needs, while still addressing the rotation in a meaningful, emphatic way.
  5. The Minnesota Twins are entering the 2022 Major League Baseball offseason with somewhere between $45-65 million at their disposal just to reach last year’s payroll. With plenty of the roster penciled, how much of that can be ticketed for pitching, and who makes the most sense? Image courtesy of Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports Last season, there was hand-wringing virtually every time Rocco Baldelli took a stroll out to the mound. No matter the circumstance, it was often seen as a quick hook and undeserving for the starting pitcher to be lifted. At the end of the summer, I took a look at why short starts aren’t really just a Minnesota thing, and the greatest difference maker being the acquisition of better starters. You can expect Kenta Maeda, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, and Joe Ryan all to be in Pete Maki’s Opening Day rotation for 2023. What they do from there though is where this discussion begins. After opting for the likes of Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer last season, there was very little upside to the back of Minnesota’s rotation. Ryan was named the Opening Day starter despite having made just five turns in the big leagues. Bailey Ober looked the part but had been an injury concern previously, and it didn’t take long for that to manifest again in 2022. Realistically speaking, Minnesota has no room for another middling type. It’s necessary for them to go get a top-of-the-rotation arm and use the likes of Josh Winder, Louie Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson, and others as depth. So, where could that lead them? Starting with the free agent market, there are more than a few names to rule out. I don’t foresee Minnesota as a landing spot for Jacob deGrom and Clayton Kershaw probably doesn’t ever want a new uniform. Justin Verlander has a player option, and Chris Sale continues to be unhealthy. The most logical option is probably Carlos Rodon, who the Twins were in on before he signed with the San Francisco Giants. Coming off another dominant season, and one of health, he’s in line for a payday and will have plenty of suitors. Both Noah Syndergaard and Nathan Eovaldi could fit the bill as well, though their effectiveness is questionable to varying degrees. Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt, Tyler Anderson, and Mike Clevinger could all also be of intrigue. Looking at the trade landscape, a team Minnesota seems to matchup well with is the Miami Marlins. If they are open to moving Pablo Lopez, it’s hard to argue that Max Kepler wouldn’t be a fit there. Maybe the Diamondbacks are willing to part with Zac Gallen (who the Marlins once traded), or the Padres could be amenable to finding someone willing to take on Blake Snell’s contract. Merrill Kelly is another Arizona arm that should draw intrigue, and if Derek Falvey wants to gamble on an aging friend, Corey Kluber may be worth a shot. Realistically, the names above all provide differing levels of expected production. What the Twins will be tasked with is deciding who they think can surpass the bar set by Sonny Gray. Maeda is a question mark coming off of Tommy John surgery, but we’ve seen him throw at a very high level previously. Mahle looks the part of a breakout star waiting to happen, and it’s no doubt part of the reason he was targeted from the Reds. Ryan has been fine, but the numbers against quality opponents are reason for concern. If he’s the 5th starter though, the quality of the rotation goes up substantially. An overhaul at the back of the bullpen can help to supplement what the Twins want to do in 2023, but the more they can rely on their starters, the better the staff as a whole will be. Even if the Twins find a way to bring Carlos Correa back on a big-time contract, they’ll have money to spend on pitching, and doing so while so much of the nucleus is in a cost-controlled situation makes plenty of sense. Falvey was brought in to develop pitching, and while we haven’t seen it in droves, there are success stories. Paying for top starters is tough, so is acquiring them, but it may be more straightforward than waiting for the next breakout to come. View full article
  6. The Twins must make multiple moves if they want to contend in 2023. Here is the blueprint I would follow for the perfect offseason that sets up a rebound to contention. Image courtesy of Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports Minnesota's front office has a clear shopping list to improve the Twins for 2023. Shortstop is the team's most significant need, especially with Royce Lewis out until the season's second half. Luckily, there is a strong crop of free-agent options, but plenty of other teams could be looking for an upgrade at shortstop. Also, there is always room to add more frontline starting pitching and to supplement other spots on the roster (catcher, right-handed power bat). Here is how the Twins can address all of those needs. Lineup: Correa Returns to Supplement Youth Movement There have been a few times in Twins history when the club had the flexibility to sign one of baseball's best players. Carlos Correa was tremendous during his first season in Minnesota, and the Twins should spend big to have him return. It will likely take a nine or ten-year deal for over $300 million. The Twins can be creative with their contract offer to Correa and frontload the deal, so the end of the contract is more palatable. To create more financial flexibility, I have the team trading Gio Urshela and Max Kepler for prospects. Minnesota will turn third base over to Jose Miranda, and a trio of young outfielders is waiting to take over in the corner spots. Omar Narvaez is the other essential addition, as he offers a natural platoon with current catcher Ryan Jeffers. Bench: Adding Right-Handed Power Trey Mancini is the most significant addition to Minnesota's bench as he offers an upgrade compared to Kyle Garlick. The Twins lineup is loaded with left-handed hitters, and Mancini adds a corner outfield option that is right-handed. Nick Gordon and Gilberto Celestino proved their value during the 2022 season, and Jeffers can switch to a platoon role. Rotation: Adding an Ace Minnesota has many starting pitching options for next season, but there is no true ace at the top of the rotation. The Twins' front office needs to go out of their comfort zone to sign Carlos Rodon to a similar contract that Robbie Ray signed last winter (5-years, $115 million). There have been concerns about Rodon's health in the past, but he's been one of baseball's best pitchers over the last two seasons. His addition also adds more depth to the rotation for when injuries eventually strike. Bullpen: Internal Options Spending money on the lineup left little room for changes to the bullpen. Kepler or Urshela could be used to acquire a package that includes a potential bullpen arm. However, the Twins are getting back Jorge Alcala, and there are other young options to add to the mix. Bailey Ober and Cole Sands will be needed in the rotation sometime next season, but they can be used to piggyback Kenta Maeda and Tyler Mahle to start the year as they return from injury. Minnesota will trust Jorge Lopez to return to form and can be relied on in critical late-inning situations. Other players will shuffle between St. Paul and Minneapolis, but getting rid of Pagan will help the club from the season's start. Final Payroll Minnesota's 2022 payroll was around $142 million, depending on the source. The team will see a slight bump in payroll next year, especially if the front office can justify signing Correa and Rodon to long-term deals. Some of the dead money mentioned below will also be tied to last year's payroll, giving the team more flexibility. Is this the best possible outcome leading into the 2023 season? Twins Daily also allows you to make your own offseason blueprint. Feel free to create your own roster and share it in the forums with an explanation. View full article
  7. Minnesota's front office has a clear shopping list to improve the Twins for 2023. Shortstop is the team's most significant need, especially with Royce Lewis out until the season's second half. Luckily, there is a strong crop of free-agent options, but plenty of other teams could be looking for an upgrade at shortstop. Also, there is always room to add more frontline starting pitching and to supplement other spots on the roster (catcher, right-handed power bat). Here is how the Twins can address all of those needs. Lineup: Correa Returns to Supplement Youth Movement There have been a few times in Twins history when the club had the flexibility to sign one of baseball's best players. Carlos Correa was tremendous during his first season in Minnesota, and the Twins should spend big to have him return. It will likely take a nine or ten-year deal for over $300 million. The Twins can be creative with their contract offer to Correa and frontload the deal, so the end of the contract is more palatable. To create more financial flexibility, I have the team trading Gio Urshela and Max Kepler for prospects. Minnesota will turn third base over to Jose Miranda, and a trio of young outfielders is waiting to take over in the corner spots. Omar Narvaez is the other essential addition, as he offers a natural platoon with current catcher Ryan Jeffers. Bench: Adding Right-Handed Power Trey Mancini is the most significant addition to Minnesota's bench as he offers an upgrade compared to Kyle Garlick. The Twins lineup is loaded with left-handed hitters, and Mancini adds a corner outfield option that is right-handed. Nick Gordon and Gilberto Celestino proved their value during the 2022 season, and Jeffers can switch to a platoon role. Rotation: Adding an Ace Minnesota has many starting pitching options for next season, but there is no true ace at the top of the rotation. The Twins' front office needs to go out of their comfort zone to sign Carlos Rodon to a similar contract that Robbie Ray signed last winter (5-years, $115 million). There have been concerns about Rodon's health in the past, but he's been one of baseball's best pitchers over the last two seasons. His addition also adds more depth to the rotation for when injuries eventually strike. Bullpen: Internal Options Spending money on the lineup left little room for changes to the bullpen. Kepler or Urshela could be used to acquire a package that includes a potential bullpen arm. However, the Twins are getting back Jorge Alcala, and there are other young options to add to the mix. Bailey Ober and Cole Sands will be needed in the rotation sometime next season, but they can be used to piggyback Kenta Maeda and Tyler Mahle to start the year as they return from injury. Minnesota will trust Jorge Lopez to return to form and can be relied on in critical late-inning situations. Other players will shuffle between St. Paul and Minneapolis, but getting rid of Pagan will help the club from the season's start. Final Payroll Minnesota's 2022 payroll was around $142 million, depending on the source. The team will see a slight bump in payroll next year, especially if the front office can justify signing Correa and Rodon to long-term deals. Some of the dead money mentioned below will also be tied to last year's payroll, giving the team more flexibility. Is this the best possible outcome leading into the 2023 season? Twins Daily also allows you to make your own offseason blueprint. Feel free to create your own roster and share it in the forums with an explanation.
  8. Last season, there was hand-wringing virtually every time Rocco Baldelli took a stroll out to the mound. No matter the circumstance, it was often seen as a quick hook and undeserving for the starting pitcher to be lifted. At the end of the summer, I took a look at why short starts aren’t really just a Minnesota thing, and the greatest difference maker being the acquisition of better starters. You can expect Kenta Maeda, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, and Joe Ryan all to be in Pete Maki’s Opening Day rotation for 2023. What they do from there though is where this discussion begins. After opting for the likes of Dylan Bundy and Chris Archer last season, there was very little upside to the back of Minnesota’s rotation. Ryan was named the Opening Day starter despite having made just five turns in the big leagues. Bailey Ober looked the part but had been an injury concern previously, and it didn’t take long for that to manifest again in 2022. Realistically speaking, Minnesota has no room for another middling type. It’s necessary for them to go get a top-of-the-rotation arm and use the likes of Josh Winder, Louie Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson, and others as depth. So, where could that lead them? Starting with the free agent market, there are more than a few names to rule out. I don’t foresee Minnesota as a landing spot for Jacob deGrom and Clayton Kershaw probably doesn’t ever want a new uniform. Justin Verlander has a player option, and Chris Sale continues to be unhealthy. The most logical option is probably Carlos Rodon, who the Twins were in on before he signed with the San Francisco Giants. Coming off another dominant season, and one of health, he’s in line for a payday and will have plenty of suitors. Both Noah Syndergaard and Nathan Eovaldi could fit the bill as well, though their effectiveness is questionable to varying degrees. Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt, Tyler Anderson, and Mike Clevinger could all also be of intrigue. Looking at the trade landscape, a team Minnesota seems to matchup well with is the Miami Marlins. If they are open to moving Pablo Lopez, it’s hard to argue that Max Kepler wouldn’t be a fit there. Maybe the Diamondbacks are willing to part with Zac Gallen (who the Marlins once traded), or the Padres could be amenable to finding someone willing to take on Blake Snell’s contract. Merrill Kelly is another Arizona arm that should draw intrigue, and if Derek Falvey wants to gamble on an aging friend, Corey Kluber may be worth a shot. Realistically, the names above all provide differing levels of expected production. What the Twins will be tasked with is deciding who they think can surpass the bar set by Sonny Gray. Maeda is a question mark coming off of Tommy John surgery, but we’ve seen him throw at a very high level previously. Mahle looks the part of a breakout star waiting to happen, and it’s no doubt part of the reason he was targeted from the Reds. Ryan has been fine, but the numbers against quality opponents are reason for concern. If he’s the 5th starter though, the quality of the rotation goes up substantially. An overhaul at the back of the bullpen can help to supplement what the Twins want to do in 2023, but the more they can rely on their starters, the better the staff as a whole will be. Even if the Twins find a way to bring Carlos Correa back on a big-time contract, they’ll have money to spend on pitching, and doing so while so much of the nucleus is in a cost-controlled situation makes plenty of sense. Falvey was brought in to develop pitching, and while we haven’t seen it in droves, there are success stories. Paying for top starters is tough, so is acquiring them, but it may be more straightforward than waiting for the next breakout to come.
  9. There’s no denying that Derek Falvey has a ton of work to do when filling out Rocco Baldelli’s pitching staff. Jose Berrios has been traded. Kenta Maeda is on the shelf. Michael Pineda is gone. Bundy joins holdovers Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan as the only arms currently penciled into the big league rotation. Minnesota needs someone to own the designation of staff ace. The Twins also currently have a projected payroll of just $91 million. Put those two realities together, and you get an equation that results in needing to spend something like $40 million and find a top-tier arm. Come on down Carlos Rodon. The former Chicago White Sox lefty has been through quite the past few seasons. After pitching just seven and ⅔ innings in 2020, the White Sox non-tendered their former third overall pick. His season-best innings total came way back in 2016 when he threw 165. Often injured, Rodon has thrown just an average of 58 innings per season from 2017-2020. Then came 2021, and Rodon responded by putting up a breakout campaign. Named to his first All-Star Game, Rodon also finished 5th in the Cy Young voting. His 2.37 ERA was bolstered by a 2.65 FIP and a 0.957 WHIP. Dropping a full walk per nine off his career average and jumping his strikeouts per nine by more than three, it was every bit the dominant performance you’d hope to see. Rodon got there by allowing the lowest hard-hit rate of his career and gave up his second-lowest home run rate. Looking through his peripherals, there’s plenty to be excited about as well. Rodon generated a career-best 34% chase rate and another career-best 14.9% whiff rate. He’d never generated a CSW% (called and swinging strikes) better than 29.3% until he hit 30.3% last season. Those realities coincide with a velocity boost that Rodon saw an average fastball sitting at 95.4 mph, nearly a mile and a half bump on his career average. That’s where things also get sticky for Rodon. Dealing with a shoulder injury defined simply as “fatigue” in August, his velocities saw a decline down the stretch. Following a return from the IL, Rodon worked five games for Chicago, going 23 total innings, or an average of roughly four and ⅔ per start. The results were promising in that he posted a 2.35 ERA and held opposing batters to a .536 OPS with a 25/6 K/BB. An average fastball velocity that sat at 96-97 mph from June 8 through July 18 got back above 95 mph just once the rest of the way and averaged just 93.3 mph once he returned from the Injured List. Therein lies the rub and why Rodon is both available and a perfect fit for the Twins. This front office has avoided being locked into long-term pacts, especially with pitchers. They wanted no part of a seven-year deal with Jose Berrios, and even Kevin Gausman’s five-year contract may have been too much. There’s no denying they should’ve been a big player for Marcus Stroman on a three-year deal, but this is a spot to right that. Because Rodon has been hurt and Minnesota likes to keep risk relatively low, the two should be made for each other. Rather than getting the $20+ million annually or five-year deal Rodon may have earned in a normal situation, he likely should be available for something around $30 million on a two-year deal. The contention has remained that if the Twins want to avoid the market trends of length, they must be willing to spend above value on shorter-term opportunities. This is a perfect spot for Minnesota to strike, whether a one or two-year deal. Rodon gives the club an ace, and if the injuries persist, there’s no real setback with the short agreement. We won’t know how things work out for Rodon or Minnesota until the lockout is lifted. The landscape could change for players and ownership going forward, but it’s hard to see these two sides fitting any less perfect than they appear at this moment. Leaving just one option on the table gives Derek Falvey little room for error, but this is a situation where he needs to put his best foot forward and not miss. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. Right now, the Minnesota Twins have failed to do much of anything on the free-agent market. Despite the feeding frenzy leading up to the lockout, the only player they brought in was pitcher Dylan Bundy. It’s now slim pickings out there, but there’s one guy they have no excuse not to sign. There’s no denying that Derek Falvey has a ton of work to do when filling out Rocco Baldelli’s pitching staff. Jose Berrios has been traded. Kenta Maeda is on the shelf. Michael Pineda is gone. Bundy joins holdovers Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan as the only arms currently penciled into the big league rotation. Minnesota needs someone to own the designation of staff ace. The Twins also currently have a projected payroll of just $91 million. Put those two realities together, and you get an equation that results in needing to spend something like $40 million and find a top-tier arm. Come on down Carlos Rodon. The former Chicago White Sox lefty has been through quite the past few seasons. After pitching just seven and ⅔ innings in 2020, the White Sox non-tendered their former third overall pick. His season-best innings total came way back in 2016 when he threw 165. Often injured, Rodon has thrown just an average of 58 innings per season from 2017-2020. Then came 2021, and Rodon responded by putting up a breakout campaign. Named to his first All-Star Game, Rodon also finished 5th in the Cy Young voting. His 2.37 ERA was bolstered by a 2.65 FIP and a 0.957 WHIP. Dropping a full walk per nine off his career average and jumping his strikeouts per nine by more than three, it was every bit the dominant performance you’d hope to see. Rodon got there by allowing the lowest hard-hit rate of his career and gave up his second-lowest home run rate. Looking through his peripherals, there’s plenty to be excited about as well. Rodon generated a career-best 34% chase rate and another career-best 14.9% whiff rate. He’d never generated a CSW% (called and swinging strikes) better than 29.3% until he hit 30.3% last season. Those realities coincide with a velocity boost that Rodon saw an average fastball sitting at 95.4 mph, nearly a mile and a half bump on his career average. That’s where things also get sticky for Rodon. Dealing with a shoulder injury defined simply as “fatigue” in August, his velocities saw a decline down the stretch. Following a return from the IL, Rodon worked five games for Chicago, going 23 total innings, or an average of roughly four and ⅔ per start. The results were promising in that he posted a 2.35 ERA and held opposing batters to a .536 OPS with a 25/6 K/BB. An average fastball velocity that sat at 96-97 mph from June 8 through July 18 got back above 95 mph just once the rest of the way and averaged just 93.3 mph once he returned from the Injured List. Therein lies the rub and why Rodon is both available and a perfect fit for the Twins. This front office has avoided being locked into long-term pacts, especially with pitchers. They wanted no part of a seven-year deal with Jose Berrios, and even Kevin Gausman’s five-year contract may have been too much. There’s no denying they should’ve been a big player for Marcus Stroman on a three-year deal, but this is a spot to right that. Because Rodon has been hurt and Minnesota likes to keep risk relatively low, the two should be made for each other. Rather than getting the $20+ million annually or five-year deal Rodon may have earned in a normal situation, he likely should be available for something around $30 million on a two-year deal. The contention has remained that if the Twins want to avoid the market trends of length, they must be willing to spend above value on shorter-term opportunities. This is a perfect spot for Minnesota to strike, whether a one or two-year deal. Rodon gives the club an ace, and if the injuries persist, there’s no real setback with the short agreement. We won’t know how things work out for Rodon or Minnesota until the lockout is lifted. The landscape could change for players and ownership going forward, but it’s hard to see these two sides fitting any less perfect than they appear at this moment. Leaving just one option on the table gives Derek Falvey little room for error, but this is a situation where he needs to put his best foot forward and not miss. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  11. After signing Dylan Bundy to a one-year deal with a 2023 option, Minnesota effectively has three of the five spots filled in their rotation. Kenta Maeda will be out for the season due to Tommy John surgery, and Jose Berrios is long gone. This group includes Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan, but it was intended to be more flush with homegrown talent. The 2020 Minor League Baseball season being non-existent was always going to hurt the development of prospects, but the ripple effect that lacking game action had on injuries was crippling. All of the Twins top arms dealt with time on the shelf last season, which halted any of them being options for the 2022 Opening Day roster. Derek Falvey is supposed to be a pitching guru, and developing arms was his calling card with the Cleveland Guardians. That’s yet to bear any fruit in Minnesota, but there’s a group very close to bursting through. Take your pick from this lot: Jhoan Duran, Jordan Balazovic, Matt Canterino, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, and Blayne Enlow. All of them are expected to provide varying degrees of rotational talent. Each of them has also been on the injured list during the past year, and whatever projection for a debut is further away than it once seemed. This is where opportunity presented itself for the Twins. In 2021 the big league roster was intended to again compete for an AL Central Division title. That fell flat because the pitching wasn’t good. With essentially the same roster intact, a re-do on the rotation is a quick way for Rocco Baldelli’s club to regain its status among the best in the sport. Bundy isn’t enough to do that on his own, and the options left available are now bare. Carlos Rodon is essentially a must for Minnesota. His shoulder issues are concerning, but there’s no denying he’s the ace-level pitching that could anchor the rotation. If the front office wants to play in those waters, they have to be willing to outspend the competition, especially when they shy away from duration. Trades also make sense for this club and worrying about how all the arms fit shouldn’t be part of the equation. As we just established, there’s been a run on injuries throughout the system and last year's depth was hardly the asset it once seemed. Much like position prospect Royce Lewis, the pitchers being shelved for long enough to delay debuts changed the plans for Minnesota. However, that’s been established for months, and the club did little to play in the free-agent waters. It’s now time that a substantial step forward is taken on pitching, spending and dealing, to establish a group capable of supporting what should be a strong lineup. It’s too bad that Falvey’s farm system hasn’t yet developed from the top group, but there are plenty of names that could stick. In the meantime, giving the big league club the additional firepower should be of the utmost importance. MORE TWINS CONTENT — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. If the Minnesota Twins should have been doing something before the lockout, it was paying for pitching. Dealing with a plethora of pitching injuries, building a rotation of short-term deals made a ton of sense. Now the club will have to decide how the group is built. After signing Dylan Bundy to a one-year deal with a 2023 option, Minnesota effectively has three of the five spots filled in their rotation. Kenta Maeda will be out for the season due to Tommy John surgery, and Jose Berrios is long gone. This group includes Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan, but it was intended to be more flush with homegrown talent. The 2020 Minor League Baseball season being non-existent was always going to hurt the development of prospects, but the ripple effect that lacking game action had on injuries was crippling. All of the Twins top arms dealt with time on the shelf last season, which halted any of them being options for the 2022 Opening Day roster. Derek Falvey is supposed to be a pitching guru, and developing arms was his calling card with the Cleveland Guardians. That’s yet to bear any fruit in Minnesota, but there’s a group very close to bursting through. Take your pick from this lot: Jhoan Duran, Jordan Balazovic, Matt Canterino, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, and Blayne Enlow. All of them are expected to provide varying degrees of rotational talent. Each of them has also been on the injured list during the past year, and whatever projection for a debut is further away than it once seemed. This is where opportunity presented itself for the Twins. In 2021 the big league roster was intended to again compete for an AL Central Division title. That fell flat because the pitching wasn’t good. With essentially the same roster intact, a re-do on the rotation is a quick way for Rocco Baldelli’s club to regain its status among the best in the sport. Bundy isn’t enough to do that on his own, and the options left available are now bare. Carlos Rodon is essentially a must for Minnesota. His shoulder issues are concerning, but there’s no denying he’s the ace-level pitching that could anchor the rotation. If the front office wants to play in those waters, they have to be willing to outspend the competition, especially when they shy away from duration. Trades also make sense for this club and worrying about how all the arms fit shouldn’t be part of the equation. As we just established, there’s been a run on injuries throughout the system and last year's depth was hardly the asset it once seemed. Much like position prospect Royce Lewis, the pitchers being shelved for long enough to delay debuts changed the plans for Minnesota. However, that’s been established for months, and the club did little to play in the free-agent waters. It’s now time that a substantial step forward is taken on pitching, spending and dealing, to establish a group capable of supporting what should be a strong lineup. It’s too bad that Falvey’s farm system hasn’t yet developed from the top group, but there are plenty of names that could stick. In the meantime, giving the big league club the additional firepower should be of the utmost importance. MORE TWINS CONTENT — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  13. Whenever a team signs a star in their prime, the pressure automatically mounts. Not just the stress of success, but the heat on how the team will build around that star. Will the Angels ever give Mike Trout enough pitching to win? Can the Phillies build enough strength around Bryce Harper? There’s a constant clock tick, tick, ticking. Trout, 30, has nine years remaining on his deal. How many more years can the Angels expect healthy, MVP-level production? Harper, 29, just won MVP for a Philadelphia team that missed the playoffs once again. $300+ million contracts considerably impact spending, even for teams like the Phillies, Angels, and Yankees. For one, that’s a lot of money on the books for a long time. Additionally, teams must supplement the stars they sign with other All-Star level players. For the Twins, a club that just handed out the second-largest contract in team history, the situation is the same. On a per-game basis, Byron Buxton is in the same tier as his $300 million counterparts. The only thing keeping him from that status is his injury history. Now that Minnesota decided Buxton is the building block, the front office must work to avoid wasting his prime. Buxton, 27, will never combine his elite speed and power more than now. In other words, this is likely the best version of Buxton we’ll ever see. Consider this scenario. The Twins continue to sit around in free agency and on the trade market and fail to muster enough pitching to compete in 2022. Let’s say, on top of that, Buxton plays 140 games and wins MVP. This situation is plausible. While Buxton is one of the most impactful players in MLB, he is only one player. See Harper, Bryce and Trout, Mike. By signing this deal, Buxton commits to a team coming off a last-place finish with an unknown road ahead. If he’s healthy, a gamble the Twins have already decided to make; they have to make it matter. Here’s how they can: 1. SIGN CARLOS RODÓN Rumored to be involved in his sweepstakes, the Twins have an opportunity to add an ace for a cheaper-than-usual price tag. Rodón’s injury history is enough to scare off even the riskiest of teams. He barely got through the 2021 season with dwindling velocity and more arm problems. The healthy version of Rodón was the best pitcher in the league, posting a 2.37 ERA and 35% strikeout rate in 132 2/3 innings. He’s the exact type of gamble a team like the Twins should make. 2. TRADE FOR CHRIS BASSITT Bassitt has the American League’s lowest ERA over the last two seasons (min. 200 innings) and is reportedly available. He works with a deep repertoire of pitches with clear room for improvement. He’d immediately join Rodón as a duo rivaling Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito as the best in the division. 3. RE-SIGN MICHAEL PINEDA Pineda had some hiccups over his three years with the Twins, but he was rock-solid and often gave them a chance to win. Pineda’s 3.80 ERA since 2019 is enough to run back for more. A top three of Rodón, Bassitt, and Pineda would enter the season as one of the best the Twins have ever had. (at least since the season they had Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda atop their rotation) What do you think? Does the Byron Buxton extension put more pressure on 2022? Do you like these moves? Comment below! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  14. Byron Buxton’s health will once again play a huge role for the Twins in 2022. Of equal importance, though, is whether it will matter if he does stay healthy. It has to count. Whenever a team signs a star in their prime, the pressure automatically mounts. Not just the stress of success, but the heat on how the team will build around that star. Will the Angels ever give Mike Trout enough pitching to win? Can the Phillies build enough strength around Bryce Harper? There’s a constant clock tick, tick, ticking. Trout, 30, has nine years remaining on his deal. How many more years can the Angels expect healthy, MVP-level production? Harper, 29, just won MVP for a Philadelphia team that missed the playoffs once again. $300+ million contracts considerably impact spending, even for teams like the Phillies, Angels, and Yankees. For one, that’s a lot of money on the books for a long time. Additionally, teams must supplement the stars they sign with other All-Star level players. For the Twins, a club that just handed out the second-largest contract in team history, the situation is the same. On a per-game basis, Byron Buxton is in the same tier as his $300 million counterparts. The only thing keeping him from that status is his injury history. Now that Minnesota decided Buxton is the building block, the front office must work to avoid wasting his prime. Buxton, 27, will never combine his elite speed and power more than now. In other words, this is likely the best version of Buxton we’ll ever see. Consider this scenario. The Twins continue to sit around in free agency and on the trade market and fail to muster enough pitching to compete in 2022. Let’s say, on top of that, Buxton plays 140 games and wins MVP. This situation is plausible. While Buxton is one of the most impactful players in MLB, he is only one player. See Harper, Bryce and Trout, Mike. By signing this deal, Buxton commits to a team coming off a last-place finish with an unknown road ahead. If he’s healthy, a gamble the Twins have already decided to make; they have to make it matter. Here’s how they can: 1. SIGN CARLOS RODÓN Rumored to be involved in his sweepstakes, the Twins have an opportunity to add an ace for a cheaper-than-usual price tag. Rodón’s injury history is enough to scare off even the riskiest of teams. He barely got through the 2021 season with dwindling velocity and more arm problems. The healthy version of Rodón was the best pitcher in the league, posting a 2.37 ERA and 35% strikeout rate in 132 2/3 innings. He’s the exact type of gamble a team like the Twins should make. 2. TRADE FOR CHRIS BASSITT Bassitt has the American League’s lowest ERA over the last two seasons (min. 200 innings) and is reportedly available. He works with a deep repertoire of pitches with clear room for improvement. He’d immediately join Rodón as a duo rivaling Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito as the best in the division. 3. RE-SIGN MICHAEL PINEDA Pineda had some hiccups over his three years with the Twins, but he was rock-solid and often gave them a chance to win. Pineda’s 3.80 ERA since 2019 is enough to run back for more. A top three of Rodón, Bassitt, and Pineda would enter the season as one of the best the Twins have ever had. (at least since the season they had Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda atop their rotation) What do you think? Does the Byron Buxton extension put more pressure on 2022? Do you like these moves? Comment below! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  15. There has been a flurry of free-agent signings with the looming lockout. Let’s revisit the top-five remaining free-agent starting pitcher options for the Twins. Minnesota’s current rotation is expected to include Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan. Other rotational options include Randy Dobnak, Griffin Jax, and Lewis Thorpe. Some of the team’s top prospects are also on the 40-man roster, including Jordan Balazovic, Cole Sands, Drew Strotman, Chis Vallimont, and Josh Winder. Each of the players below is still available with the looming lockout on the horizon. Included with each player is his projected salary, according to the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook. 5. RHP Michael Pineda TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $8 million/season Twins fans are well familiar with Pineda, and he likely won’t get the fanbase excited about what he can bring to the rotation. He seems like an excellent candidate to be the team’s number three starter, but that would mean the Twins need to acquire two other arms to put ahead of him in the rotation. Pineda is a known quantity, and he has been a strong veteran presence during his time in Minnesota. He can add rotational depth, but he can’t be the team’s only offseason move. 4. LHP Yusei Kikuchi TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $15 million/season Kikuchi was an All-Star last season, but he struggled mightily in the second half with an ERA close to 6.00. He surrendered the hardest average exit velocity in baseball last season because he leaves too many pitches over the middle of the plate. He will be a project for any team that signs him, but he’s left-handed and has a three-pitch mix, so that’s intriguing. 3. LHP Clayton Kershaw TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $18 million/season Kershaw is a future inner-circle Hall of Fame member, so it seems unlikely for him to sign with a Twins team coming off a last-place finish. In the twilight of his career, Kershaw can pick the right destination for him and his family. That destination won’t be in Minnesota. 2. LHP Carlos Rodon TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $18 million/season Earlier this week, KSTP reported that the Twins were taking a serious run at Carlos Rodon, an intriguing name. He was one of the American League’s best starters last season, but shoulder issues kept him out near the season’s end. Another item to consider is the White Sox didn’t make him a qualifying offer. Chicago knows Rodon’s health better than anyone, and they may believe his injury will continue to linger. 1. RHP Marcus Stroman TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $20 million/season Stroman is one of the last men standing out of the tier one starting pitchers. Twins fans may be suspicious of another pitch-to-contact arm at the top of the team’s rotation. He doesn’t have some of the injury question marks surrounding some of the other top names on this list. Also, his market is likely more extensive than the beginning of the offseason because the supply of top-tier pitchers is running low. Stroman seems like an excellent fit for the Twins, but will they outbid other teams to get an ace. There isn’t much left on the shelf for the Twins to spend money on this winter. Likely, this points to the team needing to make multiple trades to fill numerous rotation spots. Do you think the Twins will be able to add any of these starters? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  16. Minnesota’s current rotation is expected to include Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan. Other rotational options include Randy Dobnak, Griffin Jax, and Lewis Thorpe. Some of the team’s top prospects are also on the 40-man roster, including Jordan Balazovic, Cole Sands, Drew Strotman, Chis Vallimont, and Josh Winder. Each of the players below is still available with the looming lockout on the horizon. Included with each player is his projected salary, according to the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook. 5. RHP Michael Pineda TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $8 million/season Twins fans are well familiar with Pineda, and he likely won’t get the fanbase excited about what he can bring to the rotation. He seems like an excellent candidate to be the team’s number three starter, but that would mean the Twins need to acquire two other arms to put ahead of him in the rotation. Pineda is a known quantity, and he has been a strong veteran presence during his time in Minnesota. He can add rotational depth, but he can’t be the team’s only offseason move. 4. LHP Yusei Kikuchi TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $15 million/season Kikuchi was an All-Star last season, but he struggled mightily in the second half with an ERA close to 6.00. He surrendered the hardest average exit velocity in baseball last season because he leaves too many pitches over the middle of the plate. He will be a project for any team that signs him, but he’s left-handed and has a three-pitch mix, so that’s intriguing. 3. LHP Clayton Kershaw TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $18 million/season Kershaw is a future inner-circle Hall of Fame member, so it seems unlikely for him to sign with a Twins team coming off a last-place finish. In the twilight of his career, Kershaw can pick the right destination for him and his family. That destination won’t be in Minnesota. 2. LHP Carlos Rodon TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $18 million/season Earlier this week, KSTP reported that the Twins were taking a serious run at Carlos Rodon, an intriguing name. He was one of the American League’s best starters last season, but shoulder issues kept him out near the season’s end. Another item to consider is the White Sox didn’t make him a qualifying offer. Chicago knows Rodon’s health better than anyone, and they may believe his injury will continue to linger. 1. RHP Marcus Stroman TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $20 million/season Stroman is one of the last men standing out of the tier one starting pitchers. Twins fans may be suspicious of another pitch-to-contact arm at the top of the team’s rotation. He doesn’t have some of the injury question marks surrounding some of the other top names on this list. Also, his market is likely more extensive than the beginning of the offseason because the supply of top-tier pitchers is running low. Stroman seems like an excellent fit for the Twins, but will they outbid other teams to get an ace. There isn’t much left on the shelf for the Twins to spend money on this winter. Likely, this points to the team needing to make multiple trades to fill numerous rotation spots. Do you think the Twins will be able to add any of these starters? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. By Sunday afternoon, teams had to decide whether or not to submit qualifying offers to eligible free agents. Minnesota has its eyes on multiple free agent players, so how does the qualifying offer impact their spending options? According to MLB.com, here is a reminder of the qualifying offer process. “When an eligible player reaches free agency, his former team has the option to extend a one-year offer worth the average salary of the highest-paid 125 players in baseball, which this year is $18.4 million. Players have 10 days to accept or decline; if they accept, they return for 2022 for that $18.4 million; if they decline, they head off into the market as a free agent, with his former team receiving compensation in the form of a Draft pick if they sign elsewhere." Last winter, Kevin Gausman and Marcus Stroman were the only two players to accept the qualifying offer. Both Gausman and Stroman will enter free agency in a much better position than last winter. However, in the previous nine offseasons, only 10 out of 96 players have accepted the deal. For the Twins, their penalty for signing a player is in a group that faces the smallest draft pick penalty. Minnesota is one of 13 teams that receive revenue sharing, so that means they would forfeit their third-highest pick in next year’s draft if they sign a player that received a qualifying offer. If Minnesota signed two qualified free agents, they would forfeit their next highest available draft pick. Some players the Twins might be interested in are not eligible for a qualifying offer because they were traded last season or have previously received a qualifying offer. SS Javier Baez and DH Nelson Cruz were both traded last year, so they are ineligible. Starting pitchers Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman, Zack Greinke, and Alex Cobb previously received a qualifying offer. With no qualifying offer attached to these players, more teams will likely be interested in their services since draft pick compensation is not tied to their signing. Many of this year’s top free agents had their teams submit a qualifying offer, including names at positions of need for the Twins. Shortstops Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, and Corey Seager all received an offer and are expected to decline. Starting pitchers in that same category include Robbie Ray, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Justin Verlander. Ray will decline the offer as he is headed for a big payday, while Verlander and Rodriguez may consider accepting. Last week, I wrote about how the Twins might be interested in gambling on signing two pitchers coming off of injuries. Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Rodón are both entering this winter in different positions. Syndergaard is just making his way back from Tommy John surgery, which might mean he is interested in a one-year deal to prove he is healthy. Rodón is coming off a career year, but shoulder injuries limited him in the second half. It seems likely for Syndergaard to accept a qualifying offer while Rodón was not issued a qualifying offer. It also sounds like the White Sox are ready to move on from Rodón. Besides Rodon, two other starting pitchers might be surprised that they didn’t receive qualifying offers. Colorado’s Jon Gray and San Francisco’s Anthony DeSclafani are in the second free agent tier that the Twins front office will likely focus on to fill out the rotation. It sounds like Gray was open to accepting a qualifying offer, and that may have persuaded the Rockies from issuing it. DeSclafani is coming off a tremendous season, but some of his StatCast numbers show that he may regress. Many of the qualifying offers mentioned above were likely expected, so nothing should be surprising for Minnesota’s front office. Now the teams will wait to see what players accept or decline the offers. From there, teams can start making their offseason spending plan. Will MLB’s qualifying offer system impact the Twins this winter? Will MLB change their qualifying offer rules? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  18. According to MLB.com, here is a reminder of the qualifying offer process. “When an eligible player reaches free agency, his former team has the option to extend a one-year offer worth the average salary of the highest-paid 125 players in baseball, which this year is $18.4 million. Players have 10 days to accept or decline; if they accept, they return for 2022 for that $18.4 million; if they decline, they head off into the market as a free agent, with his former team receiving compensation in the form of a Draft pick if they sign elsewhere." Last winter, Kevin Gausman and Marcus Stroman were the only two players to accept the qualifying offer. Both Gausman and Stroman will enter free agency in a much better position than last winter. However, in the previous nine offseasons, only 10 out of 96 players have accepted the deal. For the Twins, their penalty for signing a player is in a group that faces the smallest draft pick penalty. Minnesota is one of 13 teams that receive revenue sharing, so that means they would forfeit their third-highest pick in next year’s draft if they sign a player that received a qualifying offer. If Minnesota signed two qualified free agents, they would forfeit their next highest available draft pick. Some players the Twins might be interested in are not eligible for a qualifying offer because they were traded last season or have previously received a qualifying offer. SS Javier Baez and DH Nelson Cruz were both traded last year, so they are ineligible. Starting pitchers Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman, Zack Greinke, and Alex Cobb previously received a qualifying offer. With no qualifying offer attached to these players, more teams will likely be interested in their services since draft pick compensation is not tied to their signing. Many of this year’s top free agents had their teams submit a qualifying offer, including names at positions of need for the Twins. Shortstops Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, and Corey Seager all received an offer and are expected to decline. Starting pitchers in that same category include Robbie Ray, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Justin Verlander. Ray will decline the offer as he is headed for a big payday, while Verlander and Rodriguez may consider accepting. Last week, I wrote about how the Twins might be interested in gambling on signing two pitchers coming off of injuries. Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Rodón are both entering this winter in different positions. Syndergaard is just making his way back from Tommy John surgery, which might mean he is interested in a one-year deal to prove he is healthy. Rodón is coming off a career year, but shoulder injuries limited him in the second half. It seems likely for Syndergaard to accept a qualifying offer while Rodón was not issued a qualifying offer. It also sounds like the White Sox are ready to move on from Rodón. Besides Rodon, two other starting pitchers might be surprised that they didn’t receive qualifying offers. Colorado’s Jon Gray and San Francisco’s Anthony DeSclafani are in the second free agent tier that the Twins front office will likely focus on to fill out the rotation. It sounds like Gray was open to accepting a qualifying offer, and that may have persuaded the Rockies from issuing it. DeSclafani is coming off a tremendous season, but some of his StatCast numbers show that he may regress. Many of the qualifying offers mentioned above were likely expected, so nothing should be surprising for Minnesota’s front office. Now the teams will wait to see what players accept or decline the offers. From there, teams can start making their offseason spending plan. Will MLB’s qualifying offer system impact the Twins this winter? Will MLB change their qualifying offer rules? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. Injuries are certainly part of baseball’s landscape, and pitchers seem more prone to injuries. That being said, teams can find players looking to rebuild value because of their previous injury history. In recent Twins history, Michael Pineda comes to mind as a player the team signed, knowing he would miss an entire season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Flash forward a couple of seasons, and some key free-agent pitchers are looking to return from injury. Noah Syndergaard has spent his entire career in the Mets organization, and he has been on the injured list multiple times throughout his career. Back in 2017, he missed time with a torn lateral muscle. In 2018, he had a torn ligament in his finger, and he contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease. In May 2020, Syndergaard underwent Tommy John surgery, and he had setbacks along the way. He was finally able to make two appearances as a reliever at the end of the 2021 campaign. For his career, Syndergaard has posted a 3.32 ERA with 1.16 WHIP and a 119 ERA+. He gets some of the highest velocity of any starting pitcher since the implementation of StatCast. In each of his first three seasons, he averaged over 10 strikeouts per nine innings, and he has struck out more than 150 batters in four different seasons. When healthy, he is among baseball’s best pitchers. Carlos Rodón is in a slightly different position than Syndergaard. He was non-tendered last winter by the White Sox after dealing with various injuries throughout his career. Some of those injuries included shoulder surgery in 2017 and Tommy John surgery in 2019. Chicago re-signed him last winter, and he earned his first All-Star selection after a tremendous start to the year. However, shoulder soreness knocked him out of the rotation near the season’s end. The 2021 season marked only the third time Rodón has pitched more than 125 innings in a season, and it was his fourth season where he made more than 20 starts. For his career, he has posted a 3.79 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP and a 110 ERA+. His 5.1 WAR from 2021 nearly doubled his career WAR entering last season. Injuries have impacted his entire career, but he has provided value when healthy. Besides their current health, there are other unknowns with both of these players entering the offseason. MLB and the Player’s Union are working on a new collective bargaining agreement. Under the old CBA, teams can make a qualifying offer to players for a one-year contract worth north of $18 million. Players like Syndergaard or Rodón may be willing to accept a deal like that in hopes that they can receive an even bigger free-agent contract following the 2022 season. If Syndergaard wants to sign a multi-year deal this winter, he will likely be getting more than $100 million. In the 2022 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook, he is projected to make $20 million per season. Rodon is projected to earn slightly less per year at $18 million. Syndergaard seems like the safer bet when comparing the two players, but he may also want to sign a one-year deal so he can hit the open market next winter in search of a $200 million contract. Which player do you think the Twins are more likely to target, or do you think the Twins should shy away from the risk? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  20. For the Minnesota Twins to rebuild its starting rotation, the team may have to take a chance on a pitcher returning from injury. So, should the Twins gamble on Carlos Rodón or Noah Syndergaard? Injuries are certainly part of baseball’s landscape, and pitchers seem more prone to injuries. That being said, teams can find players looking to rebuild value because of their previous injury history. In recent Twins history, Michael Pineda comes to mind as a player the team signed, knowing he would miss an entire season as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. Flash forward a couple of seasons, and some key free-agent pitchers are looking to return from injury. Noah Syndergaard has spent his entire career in the Mets organization, and he has been on the injured list multiple times throughout his career. Back in 2017, he missed time with a torn lateral muscle. In 2018, he had a torn ligament in his finger, and he contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease. In May 2020, Syndergaard underwent Tommy John surgery, and he had setbacks along the way. He was finally able to make two appearances as a reliever at the end of the 2021 campaign. For his career, Syndergaard has posted a 3.32 ERA with 1.16 WHIP and a 119 ERA+. He gets some of the highest velocity of any starting pitcher since the implementation of StatCast. In each of his first three seasons, he averaged over 10 strikeouts per nine innings, and he has struck out more than 150 batters in four different seasons. When healthy, he is among baseball’s best pitchers. Carlos Rodón is in a slightly different position than Syndergaard. He was non-tendered last winter by the White Sox after dealing with various injuries throughout his career. Some of those injuries included shoulder surgery in 2017 and Tommy John surgery in 2019. Chicago re-signed him last winter, and he earned his first All-Star selection after a tremendous start to the year. However, shoulder soreness knocked him out of the rotation near the season’s end. The 2021 season marked only the third time Rodón has pitched more than 125 innings in a season, and it was his fourth season where he made more than 20 starts. For his career, he has posted a 3.79 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP and a 110 ERA+. His 5.1 WAR from 2021 nearly doubled his career WAR entering last season. Injuries have impacted his entire career, but he has provided value when healthy. Besides their current health, there are other unknowns with both of these players entering the offseason. MLB and the Player’s Union are working on a new collective bargaining agreement. Under the old CBA, teams can make a qualifying offer to players for a one-year contract worth north of $18 million. Players like Syndergaard or Rodón may be willing to accept a deal like that in hopes that they can receive an even bigger free-agent contract following the 2022 season. If Syndergaard wants to sign a multi-year deal this winter, he will likely be getting more than $100 million. In the 2022 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook, he is projected to make $20 million per season. Rodon is projected to earn slightly less per year at $18 million. Syndergaard seems like the safer bet when comparing the two players, but he may also want to sign a one-year deal so he can hit the open market next winter in search of a $200 million contract. Which player do you think the Twins are more likely to target, or do you think the Twins should shy away from the risk? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  21. This offseason, the Minnesota Twins made six free agent signings and all of them (save for Nelson Cruz) blew up in their faces. The Minnesota Twins front office misfired badly and the losing season they are going through is the result. But what if things played out differently? In a “hindsight is 20/20” thought exercise, let’s play out what the ideal version of the 2021 offseason would have looked like for the Minnesota Twins and see how the Twins front office could have best spent their offseason dollars. In this thought exercise I am giving the Minnesota Twins the same budget as they spent in their actual offseason, which was approximately $41.75M. Additionally in this exercise, the Twins’ “ideal” offseason signings will need to be signed at a 20% increase over what they actually signed for in the offseason. This 20% increase would account for the the Twins prying away the players from the teams they actually signed with, making this a more realistic scenario of what could have been. Are “what if” games pointless as they have no bearing in reality? Probably. Are they fun? You bet they are! So let’s run through these... Designated Hitter Actual Offseason signing: Nelson Cruz - 1 year, $13MM Ideal Offseason signing: Nelson Cruz - 1 year, $13MM The only of the six offseason signings from the Twins’ offseason that they would redo in our ideal version would be bringing back Nelson Cruz on a 1 year, $13MM deal. In his 214 plate appearances with the Minnesota Twins this season, Cruz posted a .907 OPS, which led the team and was third-best in baseball after Shohei Ohtani and J.D. Martinez. The Twins had a clear need at designated hitter and opted to fill that slot with Cruz which was the right choice, which is why the Twins would make that same move again, if they knew then what they know now. Middle Infield Actual offseason signing: Andrelton Simmons - 1 year, $10.5MM Ideal Offseason signing: Kolten Wong - 2 year, $21.6MM After Nelson Cruz, the Andrelton Simmons signing was the largest investment that the Minnesota Twins made last offseason. The thought was that Simmons’ bat would play well enough and that his glove would completely transform the team. While his glove has been solid (though not spectacular), Simmons is having one of the worst offensive seasons in team history, with his OPS of .565. In our ideal offseason, the Minnesota Twins would have signed Kolten Wong for a 2 year, $21.6MM contract. Wong has been excellent with the Milwaukee Brewers this year and owns a .810 OPS. Wong is only 30-years-old and would be under contract again for the Twins next season. Wong plays second base, which means the Twins would’ve needed to keep Jorge Polanco at shortstop under these circumstances, but at 2.7 fWAR compared to Simmons’s -0.3, signing Wong over Andrelton would’ve made a big difference for the Twins. Starting Pitcher Actual offseason signing: J.A. Happ - 1 year, $8MM Ideal Offseason signing: Robbie Ray - 1 year, $9.6MM The Minnesota Twins signed J.A. Happ last offseason hoping that he could fill the fourth starter role for the Twins in 2022. Instead, Happ completely imploded for Minnesota, posting a 6.77 ERA in 19 starts. What makes the Happ signing hurt even more for the Twins is that southpaw Robbie Ray signed with the Toronto Blue Jays for the identical 1 year, $8MM deal that J.A. Happ signed for. Under this exercise, the Twins would’ve needed to pay a 20% premium to guarantee Ray’s services, but for a 1 year, $9.6MM the Twins could have signed Ray who has a 2.71 ERA on the season and just became the all-time leader in K/9 in MLB history. Starting Pitcher Actual offseason signing: Matt Shoemaker - 1 year, $2MM Ideal Offseason signing: Carlos Rodón - 1 year, $3.6MM While J.A. Happ pitched terribly for the Minnesota Twins during his tenure here, Matt Shoemaker was even worse. In 16 appearances with the Twins, Shoemaker posted a 8.06 ERA and was worth -0.7 fWAR before getting DFA’d and ultimately released. At a 20% premium, the Minnesota Twins could have signed Carlos Rodón for just $3.6MM and gotten a pitcher who has been a revolution for the White Sox this year, with a 2.43 ERA and a 12.8 K/9. Relief Pitcher Actual offseason signing: Alexander Colomé - 1 year, $6.25MM Ideal Offseason signing: Sergio Romo - 1 year, $3MM Moving to the bullpen, Alexander Colomé was yet another disastrous signing for the Minnesota Twins this offseason, as he has a 4.26 ERA, six blown saves and the worst win probability added on the team. In their ideal offseason, the Minnesota Twins would have simply brought back Sergio Romo, who they let walk last offseason, for half of the price of Colomé. Romo has put together a 3.18 ERA in 54 appearances with the Oakland Athletics and has thrived there in a high-leverage role. Relief Pitcher Actual offseason signing: Hansel Robles - 1 year, $2MM Ideal Offseason signing: Collin McCugh - 1 year, $2.16MM Finally, in their ideal offseason the Minnesota Twins would have avoided Hansel Robles and his 4.91 ERA in Minnesota in favor of Collin McHugh for nearly the same price tag. McHugh signed with Tampa Bay this offseason and has been spectacular, featuring a 1.40 ERA and 11.6 K/9. Overall let’s compare the actual offseason for the Minnesota Twins to what the ideal offseason would have looked like: Actual offseason $ spent: $41.75MM Ideal offseason $ spent: $42.16MM Actual offseason fWAR acquired (with Twins): 0.2 fWAR Ideal offseason fWAR acquired: 14.4 fWAR Again, hindsight is always 20/20 and ideal history is always going to be an unfair game to play, but laying out what the ideal offseason for the Twins would have looked like is not only fun, but interesting to look at the types of players that succeeded as we try to find free agent options for the 2022 season. What trends stick out to you from the list of “ideal” free agents above? Which of the above names were you clamoring for the Twins to sign at the time? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!
  22. There is no denying that the 2021 offseason for the Minnesota Twins went about as poorly as possible. Knowing what we know now, though, what would the ideal offseason have looked like for the Twins? This offseason, the Minnesota Twins made six free agent signings and all of them (save for Nelson Cruz) blew up in their faces. The Minnesota Twins front office misfired badly and the losing season they are going through is the result. But what if things played out differently? In a “hindsight is 20/20” thought exercise, let’s play out what the ideal version of the 2021 offseason would have looked like for the Minnesota Twins and see how the Twins front office could have best spent their offseason dollars. In this thought exercise I am giving the Minnesota Twins the same budget as they spent in their actual offseason, which was approximately $41.75M. Additionally in this exercise, the Twins’ “ideal” offseason signings will need to be signed at a 20% increase over what they actually signed for in the offseason. This 20% increase would account for the the Twins prying away the players from the teams they actually signed with, making this a more realistic scenario of what could have been. Are “what if” games pointless as they have no bearing in reality? Probably. Are they fun? You bet they are! So let’s run through these... Designated Hitter Actual Offseason signing: Nelson Cruz - 1 year, $13MM Ideal Offseason signing: Nelson Cruz - 1 year, $13MM The only of the six offseason signings from the Twins’ offseason that they would redo in our ideal version would be bringing back Nelson Cruz on a 1 year, $13MM deal. In his 214 plate appearances with the Minnesota Twins this season, Cruz posted a .907 OPS, which led the team and was third-best in baseball after Shohei Ohtani and J.D. Martinez. The Twins had a clear need at designated hitter and opted to fill that slot with Cruz which was the right choice, which is why the Twins would make that same move again, if they knew then what they know now. Middle Infield Actual offseason signing: Andrelton Simmons - 1 year, $10.5MM Ideal Offseason signing: Kolten Wong - 2 year, $21.6MM After Nelson Cruz, the Andrelton Simmons signing was the largest investment that the Minnesota Twins made last offseason. The thought was that Simmons’ bat would play well enough and that his glove would completely transform the team. While his glove has been solid (though not spectacular), Simmons is having one of the worst offensive seasons in team history, with his OPS of .565. In our ideal offseason, the Minnesota Twins would have signed Kolten Wong for a 2 year, $21.6MM contract. Wong has been excellent with the Milwaukee Brewers this year and owns a .810 OPS. Wong is only 30-years-old and would be under contract again for the Twins next season. Wong plays second base, which means the Twins would’ve needed to keep Jorge Polanco at shortstop under these circumstances, but at 2.7 fWAR compared to Simmons’s -0.3, signing Wong over Andrelton would’ve made a big difference for the Twins. Starting Pitcher Actual offseason signing: J.A. Happ - 1 year, $8MM Ideal Offseason signing: Robbie Ray - 1 year, $9.6MM The Minnesota Twins signed J.A. Happ last offseason hoping that he could fill the fourth starter role for the Twins in 2022. Instead, Happ completely imploded for Minnesota, posting a 6.77 ERA in 19 starts. What makes the Happ signing hurt even more for the Twins is that southpaw Robbie Ray signed with the Toronto Blue Jays for the identical 1 year, $8MM deal that J.A. Happ signed for. Under this exercise, the Twins would’ve needed to pay a 20% premium to guarantee Ray’s services, but for a 1 year, $9.6MM the Twins could have signed Ray who has a 2.71 ERA on the season and just became the all-time leader in K/9 in MLB history. Starting Pitcher Actual offseason signing: Matt Shoemaker - 1 year, $2MM Ideal Offseason signing: Carlos Rodón - 1 year, $3.6MM While J.A. Happ pitched terribly for the Minnesota Twins during his tenure here, Matt Shoemaker was even worse. In 16 appearances with the Twins, Shoemaker posted a 8.06 ERA and was worth -0.7 fWAR before getting DFA’d and ultimately released. At a 20% premium, the Minnesota Twins could have signed Carlos Rodón for just $3.6MM and gotten a pitcher who has been a revolution for the White Sox this year, with a 2.43 ERA and a 12.8 K/9. Relief Pitcher Actual offseason signing: Alexander Colomé - 1 year, $6.25MM Ideal Offseason signing: Sergio Romo - 1 year, $3MM Moving to the bullpen, Alexander Colomé was yet another disastrous signing for the Minnesota Twins this offseason, as he has a 4.26 ERA, six blown saves and the worst win probability added on the team. In their ideal offseason, the Minnesota Twins would have simply brought back Sergio Romo, who they let walk last offseason, for half of the price of Colomé. Romo has put together a 3.18 ERA in 54 appearances with the Oakland Athletics and has thrived there in a high-leverage role. Relief Pitcher Actual offseason signing: Hansel Robles - 1 year, $2MM Ideal Offseason signing: Collin McCugh - 1 year, $2.16MM Finally, in their ideal offseason the Minnesota Twins would have avoided Hansel Robles and his 4.91 ERA in Minnesota in favor of Collin McHugh for nearly the same price tag. McHugh signed with Tampa Bay this offseason and has been spectacular, featuring a 1.40 ERA and 11.6 K/9. Overall let’s compare the actual offseason for the Minnesota Twins to what the ideal offseason would have looked like: Actual offseason $ spent: $41.75MM Ideal offseason $ spent: $42.16MM Actual offseason fWAR acquired (with Twins): 0.2 fWAR Ideal offseason fWAR acquired: 14.4 fWAR Again, hindsight is always 20/20 and ideal history is always going to be an unfair game to play, but laying out what the ideal offseason for the Twins would have looked like is not only fun, but interesting to look at the types of players that succeeded as we try to find free agent options for the 2022 season. What trends stick out to you from the list of “ideal” free agents above? Which of the above names were you clamoring for the Twins to sign at the time? Leave a comment below and start the conversation! View full article
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