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  1. Thus far this offseason the Minnesota Twins have largely operated in a Carlos Correa or bust vacuum, at least from what we’ve seen. There’s still plenty of work to be done, and one of the most important aspects remains finding a capable pitching addition. Image courtesy of Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports Carlos Correa was the focal point of the Minnesota Twins offseason thus far, and while they may have pivoted to Dansby Swanson, both are now gone and heavy lifting needs to be done. Joey Gallo is a fine addition to the offense, but it’s on the mound that we’ve yet to see anything of substance. There was never a reason to believe that Jacob deGrom or Justin Verlander were going to come pitch for the Twins. You could make an argument that Chris Bassitt or Noah Syndergaard made a good deal of sense, however. Derek Falvey has now provided the system with a decent amount of depth, to the point that a Jameson Taillon or Taijuan Walker contract may have been unnecessary, but top of the rotation help is still needed. With Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda, and Joe Ryan firmly entrenched in the Opening Day rotation, finding someone to join the highest level of that group is a must. Earlier this month I reported that the Twins were in talks with the Miami Marlins regarding Pablo Lopez. Sandy Alcantara is certainly not on the table, and although the Marlins are open to moving Edward Cabrera and Jesus Luzardo, it’s the already established pitcher that caught Minnesota’s eye. You can certainly debate whether Lopez is as good as Gray, but the two are much closer than one may think. Lopez has largely flown under the radar playing for an organization stuck in mediocrity, and he brings multiple years of team control to an acquiring team as well. Getting in the fold with a more progressive-thinking Twins organization could help him to unlock another gear, and considering the current state of performance, that’s a pretty exciting reality. Like it or not, the Marlins discussions with regards to Lopez largely hinged on the acquisition of Luis Arraez. Miami needs bats, and although Max Kepler could also fit there, he’s not enough to move the needle. From what I’ve now been told, much of this trade has been scrapped. The two sides haven’t had recent discussions, and although they could resume at any time, the Twins have since begun looking elsewhere. For the front office, elsewhere could mean plenty of things. What it likely doesn’t mean is the free agent market. Only former Boston Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi would seem to push the ceiling for Minnesota, and there’s been little reported that either side is moving in a positive direction toward one another. Zack Greinke and Corey Kluber remain available as veteran types, but again it’s hard to consider either a guaranteed lift to Minnesota’s group. The biggest trade chip possessed by the Twins is probably that of Arraez. His value across the league is not at all that of what is presumed by most Twins fans, but he could still be packaged to acquire a talented arm. That probably is not true of Kepler, and I don’t get the sense that Minnesota wants to dangle someone such as Jorge Polanco at this time. Maybe the depth pieces like Simeon Woods Richardson, Bailey Ober, or Josh Winder could be turned into someone with a Major League track record, but that seems unlikely as well. Given the state of free agency, it still seems most likely that Minnesota will flip pieces to get their pitching acquisition. How they go about that, given the recent moves sending guys like Chase Petty, Spencer Steer, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand all out, will be interesting in and of itself. Having spent most of the winter watching from the sidelines as they awaited a Correa decision, the Twins now have their work cut out for them, and we’ll need to be patient seeing what they can pull off. View full article
  2. Carlos Correa was the focal point of the Minnesota Twins offseason thus far, and while they may have pivoted to Dansby Swanson, both are now gone and heavy lifting needs to be done. Joey Gallo is a fine addition to the offense, but it’s on the mound that we’ve yet to see anything of substance. There was never a reason to believe that Jacob deGrom or Justin Verlander were going to come pitch for the Twins. You could make an argument that Chris Bassitt or Noah Syndergaard made a good deal of sense, however. Derek Falvey has now provided the system with a decent amount of depth, to the point that a Jameson Taillon or Taijuan Walker contract may have been unnecessary, but top of the rotation help is still needed. With Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda, and Joe Ryan firmly entrenched in the Opening Day rotation, finding someone to join the highest level of that group is a must. Earlier this month I reported that the Twins were in talks with the Miami Marlins regarding Pablo Lopez. Sandy Alcantara is certainly not on the table, and although the Marlins are open to moving Edward Cabrera and Jesus Luzardo, it’s the already established pitcher that caught Minnesota’s eye. You can certainly debate whether Lopez is as good as Gray, but the two are much closer than one may think. Lopez has largely flown under the radar playing for an organization stuck in mediocrity, and he brings multiple years of team control to an acquiring team as well. Getting in the fold with a more progressive-thinking Twins organization could help him to unlock another gear, and considering the current state of performance, that’s a pretty exciting reality. Like it or not, the Marlins discussions with regards to Lopez largely hinged on the acquisition of Luis Arraez. Miami needs bats, and although Max Kepler could also fit there, he’s not enough to move the needle. From what I’ve now been told, much of this trade has been scrapped. The two sides haven’t had recent discussions, and although they could resume at any time, the Twins have since begun looking elsewhere. For the front office, elsewhere could mean plenty of things. What it likely doesn’t mean is the free agent market. Only former Boston Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi would seem to push the ceiling for Minnesota, and there’s been little reported that either side is moving in a positive direction toward one another. Zack Greinke and Corey Kluber remain available as veteran types, but again it’s hard to consider either a guaranteed lift to Minnesota’s group. The biggest trade chip possessed by the Twins is probably that of Arraez. His value across the league is not at all that of what is presumed by most Twins fans, but he could still be packaged to acquire a talented arm. That probably is not true of Kepler, and I don’t get the sense that Minnesota wants to dangle someone such as Jorge Polanco at this time. Maybe the depth pieces like Simeon Woods Richardson, Bailey Ober, or Josh Winder could be turned into someone with a Major League track record, but that seems unlikely as well. Given the state of free agency, it still seems most likely that Minnesota will flip pieces to get their pitching acquisition. How they go about that, given the recent moves sending guys like Chase Petty, Spencer Steer, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand all out, will be interesting in and of itself. Having spent most of the winter watching from the sidelines as they awaited a Correa decision, the Twins now have their work cut out for them, and we’ll need to be patient seeing what they can pull off.
  3. No free agents landed a splash contract with the Twins during the Winter Meetings. Is one of those contracts still to come soon for the Twins following the conclusion of the Winter Meetings? Image courtesy of Lon Horwedel, USA Today Sports The 2022 Winter Meetings have concluded in San Diego without any Major League transactions for the Minnesota Twins. While the Twins made little noise, their plans have remained intact because of other teams' free-agent acquisitions. Here are the best moves the Twins can make in free agency following the Winter Meetings. 1. Resign Carlos Correa At this point, it is practically beating a dead horse to stress how important for the Twins to bring back Carlos Correa. Fortunately for the Twins, he is still on the market and there are fewer teams to compete with the Philadelphia Phillies signing Trea Turner and the San Diego Padres signing Xander Bogaerts. Now the biggest challenge for the Twins is enticing Correa and super-agent Scott Boras with an offer, plus incentives, that could do better than the current favorites to sign him, the San Francisco Giants. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has reported the Giants have now emerged as the favorites to sign Correa following the Winter Meetings. Slusser writes that the Giants have the incentive to give out a deal to Correa that exceeds Trea Turner’s 11-year, $300 million deal with the Phillies. However, with the Padres signing Bogaerts, it makes their chances at the postseason harder within the NL West. Fellow Twins Daily writer Nash Walker pointed out in a tweet, that between the Twins, Giants, and even the Cubs. Correa’s best chances of making the postseason in 2023 may be back in Minnesota based on division strength. The urgency to return to October baseball for Correa could be a major selling factor for the Twins to resign him, but some other big moves may need to correspond with such an offer. 2. Pursuing Rodon and Bassitt The starting pitching market in free agency has shortened really quickly after the Winter Meetings. The best remaining starter is objectively Carlos Rodon and while the Twins have been linked as a team interested in signing him, there have been no reports of the team meeting with Rodon. With lower-end pitchers such as Kyle Gibson, Matthew Boyd, and Mike Clevinger receiving $10-12 million on one-year deals. Rodon came out asking for a contract worth $30-35 million per season over six or more seasons. The demand from Rodon surpasses those that the Twins were rumored to give to Yu Darvish and Zack Wheeler in recent years. However, the Twins are already willing to spend much, much more on Correa but likely over a longer period of time. Still, if they miss out on Correa, Rodon would be the best remaining free agent for the Twins to sign if he’s still there. In the case that Correa does resign with the Twins, Rodon is likely off the table for budgetary reasons. In that case, former Met Chris Bassitt may be the next best choice to help bolster the Twins rotation. Bassitt is seeking a four-year deal but has not had a set annual price for a contract. He did decline a $19 million mutual option for 2023. Given the amount of money ($72 million) his former teammate Taijuan Walker has received in his four-year deal, Bassitt will likely want at an equivalent four-year, $72 million deal. . Bassitt turns 34 in February and will be 37 by the end of any four-year deal. But his immediate value comes from what he can bring to an already deep group of rotation options would certainly make the Twins better come Opening Day. 3. Sign Christian Vazquez Conversations have happened between the Twins' front office and reigning World Series champ Christian Vazquez and as of this week, an offer has been extended to Vazquez from the Twins as reported by Darren Wolfson of KSTP. The full details of the offer are not currently known but Vazquez would certainly strengthen platoon options at catcher between him and Ryan Jeffers. With Wilson Contreras off to St. Louis and the availability of A's backstop Sean Murphy currently unknown, Vazquez is the best option to help behind the plate. Even if Vazquez declines an offer from Minnesota, a good backup option to sign at catching might be Omar Narvaez. While Narvaez’s defense is not as strong as Vazquez, he still swings a strong bat from the left side of the plate. The conclusion of the Winter Meetings has not slowed down signings as the Mets picked up two big names in Brandon Nimmo and David Robertson on Thursday night. The players the Twins want may not remain available in a week's time. Their best hope is to set new franchise records in contract length and spending with these remaining players they hope to acquire. View full article
  4. The 2022 Winter Meetings have concluded in San Diego without any Major League transactions for the Minnesota Twins. While the Twins made little noise, their plans have remained intact because of other teams' free-agent acquisitions. Here are the best moves the Twins can make in free agency following the Winter Meetings. 1. Resign Carlos Correa At this point, it is practically beating a dead horse to stress how important for the Twins to bring back Carlos Correa. Fortunately for the Twins, he is still on the market and there are fewer teams to compete with the Philadelphia Phillies signing Trea Turner and the San Diego Padres signing Xander Bogaerts. Now the biggest challenge for the Twins is enticing Correa and super-agent Scott Boras with an offer, plus incentives, that could do better than the current favorites to sign him, the San Francisco Giants. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle has reported the Giants have now emerged as the favorites to sign Correa following the Winter Meetings. Slusser writes that the Giants have the incentive to give out a deal to Correa that exceeds Trea Turner’s 11-year, $300 million deal with the Phillies. However, with the Padres signing Bogaerts, it makes their chances at the postseason harder within the NL West. Fellow Twins Daily writer Nash Walker pointed out in a tweet, that between the Twins, Giants, and even the Cubs. Correa’s best chances of making the postseason in 2023 may be back in Minnesota based on division strength. The urgency to return to October baseball for Correa could be a major selling factor for the Twins to resign him, but some other big moves may need to correspond with such an offer. 2. Pursuing Rodon and Bassitt The starting pitching market in free agency has shortened really quickly after the Winter Meetings. The best remaining starter is objectively Carlos Rodon and while the Twins have been linked as a team interested in signing him, there have been no reports of the team meeting with Rodon. With lower-end pitchers such as Kyle Gibson, Matthew Boyd, and Mike Clevinger receiving $10-12 million on one-year deals. Rodon came out asking for a contract worth $30-35 million per season over six or more seasons. The demand from Rodon surpasses those that the Twins were rumored to give to Yu Darvish and Zack Wheeler in recent years. However, the Twins are already willing to spend much, much more on Correa but likely over a longer period of time. Still, if they miss out on Correa, Rodon would be the best remaining free agent for the Twins to sign if he’s still there. In the case that Correa does resign with the Twins, Rodon is likely off the table for budgetary reasons. In that case, former Met Chris Bassitt may be the next best choice to help bolster the Twins rotation. Bassitt is seeking a four-year deal but has not had a set annual price for a contract. He did decline a $19 million mutual option for 2023. Given the amount of money ($72 million) his former teammate Taijuan Walker has received in his four-year deal, Bassitt will likely want at an equivalent four-year, $72 million deal. . Bassitt turns 34 in February and will be 37 by the end of any four-year deal. But his immediate value comes from what he can bring to an already deep group of rotation options would certainly make the Twins better come Opening Day. 3. Sign Christian Vazquez Conversations have happened between the Twins' front office and reigning World Series champ Christian Vazquez and as of this week, an offer has been extended to Vazquez from the Twins as reported by Darren Wolfson of KSTP. The full details of the offer are not currently known but Vazquez would certainly strengthen platoon options at catcher between him and Ryan Jeffers. With Wilson Contreras off to St. Louis and the availability of A's backstop Sean Murphy currently unknown, Vazquez is the best option to help behind the plate. Even if Vazquez declines an offer from Minnesota, a good backup option to sign at catching might be Omar Narvaez. While Narvaez’s defense is not as strong as Vazquez, he still swings a strong bat from the left side of the plate. The conclusion of the Winter Meetings has not slowed down signings as the Mets picked up two big names in Brandon Nimmo and David Robertson on Thursday night. The players the Twins want may not remain available in a week's time. Their best hope is to set new franchise records in contract length and spending with these remaining players they hope to acquire.
  5. No one in baseball spent more money this season than the New York Mets. It wasn’t enough to win Steve Cohen’s organization a division title, and they bowed out early in the postseason. Now a rotation exodus begins and the Minnesota Twins could be intrigued by a few names. Image courtesy of Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports Only the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros won more games than the 101 victories recorded by the New York Mets this season. By fWAR, the Mets starters compiled the fifth-highest total across baseball. Their 3.61 ERA was also fifth while the 9.4 K/9 topped all of baseball. Facing plenty of change in 2023, Jacob deGrom is able to opt out of the final two years of his contract, and he could be joined by both Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker. To be fair, deGrom doesn’t seem like the type of pitcher Minnesota will target. He’s a true ace, that will get something over $35 million per year on a multi-year deal despite being 34 years old. The two-time Cy Young winner has not been healthy either of the past two seasons and spending big on an aging question mark doesn’t seem up the Twins' alley. It’s also fair to note that the likelihood of interest from the career Mets pitcher will probably be non-existent. The alternatives could certainly provide a bit more promise, however. Chris Bassitt will be 34 next season and has flown under the radar as one of baseball’s best pitchers since 2018. Drafted by the White Sox way back in 2011, Bassitt announced his presence in a limited 2015, before missing 2017 due to injury. Since 2018, Bassitt has posted a 3.29 ERA across nearly 600 innings. He gets punch outs, he avoids walks, and he keeps the ball in the yard. Individual accolades haven’t added up for Bassitt, with just a single All-Star appearance and twice generating Cy Young votes, but he’s been as consistent as they come. Health could be a concern, but Bassitt has largely remained available since returning to the mound in 2018. With a $19 million mutual option, he’ll obviously turn that down with the qualifying offer being north of that for 2023. Draft pick compensation could stymie his market some, but he shouldn’t have trouble finding a two-to-four-year deal making something north of $20 million in each of them. Walker is interesting in that he should be affordable, which benefits the Twins, but his addition may not raise the bar all that much. I’m not sure Derek Falvey or Thad Levine would be able to sell Walker surpassing the bar of Tyler Mahle, Sonny Gray, or Kenta Maeda. A former top prospect, he’s been solid when healthy, but rarely that, and never great. Since 2018 Walker has pitched for four organizations and even with a 3.78 ERA, he hasn’t topped 400 total innings and his 4.16 FIP is more reflective of his effectiveness. Walker at his best is lightyears ahead of either Dylan Bundy or Chris Archer, but at his worst, or even what could be projected, he may not represent much more than either of them at their best for the Twins in 2022. The trio of former Mets definitely represent options for Minnesota to consider, and they range in desirability and likelihood. There should probably only be a single option to pursue here, but it remains to be seen how the front office will act. Do you have any interest in adding any of these pitchers from the Mets? View full article
  6. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros won more games than the 101 victories recorded by the New York Mets this season. By fWAR, the Mets starters compiled the fifth-highest total across baseball. Their 3.61 ERA was also fifth while the 9.4 K/9 topped all of baseball. Facing plenty of change in 2023, Jacob deGrom is able to opt out of the final two years of his contract, and he could be joined by both Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker. To be fair, deGrom doesn’t seem like the type of pitcher Minnesota will target. He’s a true ace, that will get something over $35 million per year on a multi-year deal despite being 34 years old. The two-time Cy Young winner has not been healthy either of the past two seasons and spending big on an aging question mark doesn’t seem up the Twins' alley. It’s also fair to note that the likelihood of interest from the career Mets pitcher will probably be non-existent. The alternatives could certainly provide a bit more promise, however. Chris Bassitt will be 34 next season and has flown under the radar as one of baseball’s best pitchers since 2018. Drafted by the White Sox way back in 2011, Bassitt announced his presence in a limited 2015, before missing 2017 due to injury. Since 2018, Bassitt has posted a 3.29 ERA across nearly 600 innings. He gets punch outs, he avoids walks, and he keeps the ball in the yard. Individual accolades haven’t added up for Bassitt, with just a single All-Star appearance and twice generating Cy Young votes, but he’s been as consistent as they come. Health could be a concern, but Bassitt has largely remained available since returning to the mound in 2018. With a $19 million mutual option, he’ll obviously turn that down with the qualifying offer being north of that for 2023. Draft pick compensation could stymie his market some, but he shouldn’t have trouble finding a two-to-four-year deal making something north of $20 million in each of them. Walker is interesting in that he should be affordable, which benefits the Twins, but his addition may not raise the bar all that much. I’m not sure Derek Falvey or Thad Levine would be able to sell Walker surpassing the bar of Tyler Mahle, Sonny Gray, or Kenta Maeda. A former top prospect, he’s been solid when healthy, but rarely that, and never great. Since 2018 Walker has pitched for four organizations and even with a 3.78 ERA, he hasn’t topped 400 total innings and his 4.16 FIP is more reflective of his effectiveness. Walker at his best is lightyears ahead of either Dylan Bundy or Chris Archer, but at his worst, or even what could be projected, he may not represent much more than either of them at their best for the Twins in 2022. The trio of former Mets definitely represent options for Minnesota to consider, and they range in desirability and likelihood. There should probably only be a single option to pursue here, but it remains to be seen how the front office will act. Do you have any interest in adding any of these pitchers from the Mets?
  7. The Minnesota Twins have needed starting pitching virtually since the beginning of time. It’s been a refrain muttered by fans at least since Target Field opened its doors, and the Pohlad family opening up the pocketbook to make it happen has been a desire. With other free agent records having fallen, is this the time for the next one? Image courtesy of Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over as the heads of Minnesota’s front office back in the fall of 2016. During their tenure, the two most notable free agent signings have been hitters. Josh Donaldson’s $100 million deal was the largest given to a free agent in franchise history, and Carlos Correa’s $35.1 million average annual value was the highest ever paid in a season to an infielder. On the Donaldson deal, Minnesota opted to part ways with the brash veteran just halfway through the deal. On the Correa pact, the Twins gave out a contract where the star shortstop could leave after just one season looking for the payday that never came a year ago. To date, the club has never truly spent substantially on a starting pitcher. There's a good reason that a deal hasn’t been reached, and it’s probably not for lack of trying. This front office targeted Zack Wheeler, Yu Darvish, and Charlie Morton in recent seasons. Anything offered to them would’ve been in rarified air for this franchise. In those scenarios though, the Twins were fighting against the lack of market or weather, and probably were not the highest offer. Finding an ace in free agency is a crapshoot. You’re dealing with an arm that was ultimately passed on by their former club, and they’ve probably been through a previous extension to this point. Realistically, 28-year-old pitchers that could be an ace for any team in baseball simply don’t show up in free agency. It’s a dice roll to decide if the caution flags are worth ignoring to bring in the new star. This offseason represents a familiar landscape. Justin Verlander is an aging superstar that probably wants continuity. Jacob deGrom has had injuries and is 34. Clayton Kershaw has a declining back and is also the same age as the Mets star. The cream of the most likely crop is probably limited to Chris Sale, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Rodon, and Mike Clevinger. The former White Sox ace (Sale) has thrown just 48 1/3 innings since 2019. He’s great, but hasn’t been healthy, wore out his welcome in Boston, and isn’t young. Rodon put up a healthy season with the Giants, but injuries have plagued him in the past. Clevinger wasn’t good in 2022 and hasn’t been healthy for years either. That leaves Bassitt, who may lack the top tier to be worthy of a substantial price tag. No matter what though, available pitching with this ceiling is going to get paid. Terry Ryan spent more handsomely on starting pitching than Falvey and Levine have to this point. The $54 million Minnesota gave to Ervin Santana back in 2014 still is significantly more than anything we’ve seen handed out in recent seasons. Knowing they need to add at the top of the rotation, it will be interesting to see how Minnesota’s front office opts for a step forward at a position they’ve yet to take one. With the landscape at starting pitcher being what it is, are you ready for the Twins to spend big now? If so, what name are you wanting them all in on? View full article
  8. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over as the heads of Minnesota’s front office back in the fall of 2016. During their tenure, the two most notable free agent signings have been hitters. Josh Donaldson’s $100 million deal was the largest given to a free agent in franchise history, and Carlos Correa’s $35.1 million average annual value was the highest ever paid in a season to an infielder. On the Donaldson deal, Minnesota opted to part ways with the brash veteran just halfway through the deal. On the Correa pact, the Twins gave out a contract where the star shortstop could leave after just one season looking for the payday that never came a year ago. To date, the club has never truly spent substantially on a starting pitcher. There's a good reason that a deal hasn’t been reached, and it’s probably not for lack of trying. This front office targeted Zack Wheeler, Yu Darvish, and Charlie Morton in recent seasons. Anything offered to them would’ve been in rarified air for this franchise. In those scenarios though, the Twins were fighting against the lack of market or weather, and probably were not the highest offer. Finding an ace in free agency is a crapshoot. You’re dealing with an arm that was ultimately passed on by their former club, and they’ve probably been through a previous extension to this point. Realistically, 28-year-old pitchers that could be an ace for any team in baseball simply don’t show up in free agency. It’s a dice roll to decide if the caution flags are worth ignoring to bring in the new star. This offseason represents a familiar landscape. Justin Verlander is an aging superstar that probably wants continuity. Jacob deGrom has had injuries and is 34. Clayton Kershaw has a declining back and is also the same age as the Mets star. The cream of the most likely crop is probably limited to Chris Sale, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Rodon, and Mike Clevinger. The former White Sox ace (Sale) has thrown just 48 1/3 innings since 2019. He’s great, but hasn’t been healthy, wore out his welcome in Boston, and isn’t young. Rodon put up a healthy season with the Giants, but injuries have plagued him in the past. Clevinger wasn’t good in 2022 and hasn’t been healthy for years either. That leaves Bassitt, who may lack the top tier to be worthy of a substantial price tag. No matter what though, available pitching with this ceiling is going to get paid. Terry Ryan spent more handsomely on starting pitching than Falvey and Levine have to this point. The $54 million Minnesota gave to Ervin Santana back in 2014 still is significantly more than anything we’ve seen handed out in recent seasons. Knowing they need to add at the top of the rotation, it will be interesting to see how Minnesota’s front office opts for a step forward at a position they’ve yet to take one. With the landscape at starting pitcher being what it is, are you ready for the Twins to spend big now? If so, what name are you wanting them all in on?
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. THE PLAYER The White Sox drafted Bassitt, 32, in the 16th round of the 2011 Draft out of the University of Akron. In what turned out to be a lopsided trade, the White Sox moved Bassitt and Marcus Semien for Jeff Samardzija in December of 2014. Semien and Bassitt combined for 29.7 Wins Above Replacement and counting, while Samardzija barely eclipsed replacement level in his lone season for Chicago. Billy Beane won again. Bassitt has quietly pitched very well for the last four seasons. Among 74 starters who’ve thrown at least 400 innings over that span, Bassitt is tied for 13th in ERA+ (130) and ranks 14th in OPS against (.656). 49 starters have thrown at least 200 innings over the last two seasons. Just six have a lower ERA than Bassitt: Corbin Burnes, Walker Buehler, Brandon Woodruff, Max Scherzer, Zack Wheeler, and Max Fried. Bassitt works with a deep arsenal of offerings and excels at missing barrels. He throws a sinker in the lower-to-mid 90s, an excellent four-seamer with similar velocity, a cutter, changeup, slider, and curveball. The lanky right-hander is an interesting case study. He’s already terrific, but there’s glaring room for improvement in his profile. Bassitt increased his slider usage from 0.1% in 2019 to 10.1% in 2021. My suggestion: bump that up even more. Bassitt’s slider grades as an excellent pitch, with an expected batting average of .127 and a 39% swing-and-miss rate in 2021. Perhaps fewer sinkers (.356 xWOBA) and cutters (.375), and more sliders would help Bassitt miss more bats. This change would significantly help against right-handed batters, who hit just .143 with a .209 wOBA against Bassitt’s slider in 2021. THE COST Bassitt is one year from free agency and will make about $9 million via arbitration in 2022. The Athletics aren’t afraid to trade away their expiring veterans, and there’ve been multiple reports indicating that Bassitt, Sean Manaea, Matt Chapman, and Matt Olson could all be available. According to MLB Trade Simulators, a deal for Bassitt would require quite a bit, but not nearly as much as Luis Castillo. If the Athletics wanted one young player in return, Trevor Larnach holds similar value, according to the simulator. If they seek a package, perhaps Alerick Soularie, Matt Wallner, Blayne Enlow and Drew Strotman could make sense. The Twins certainly value one-year commitments. Because Bassitt is making such a reasonable salary, it’s viable to trade for him and sign a high-priced free agent. The Twins have the depth to swing a deal like this. It’s possible they’d favor Manaea, the younger lefty who may require less in return. Manaea is objectively worse than Bassitt but throws an excellent changeup and costs a projected $10.2 million via arbitration in 2022. Frankie Montas, 28, could be the highest-upside target but also the most expensive with two years remaining on his contract. What do you think? Should the Twins trade for Chris Bassitt? FOR MORE TWINS CONTENT: — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. The Twins have an extreme need for starting pitching. Could they swing a deal for Athletics starter Chris Bassitt? THE PLAYER The White Sox drafted Bassitt, 32, in the 16th round of the 2011 Draft out of the University of Akron. In what turned out to be a lopsided trade, the White Sox moved Bassitt and Marcus Semien for Jeff Samardzija in December of 2014. Semien and Bassitt combined for 29.7 Wins Above Replacement and counting, while Samardzija barely eclipsed replacement level in his lone season for Chicago. Billy Beane won again. Bassitt has quietly pitched very well for the last four seasons. Among 74 starters who’ve thrown at least 400 innings over that span, Bassitt is tied for 13th in ERA+ (130) and ranks 14th in OPS against (.656). 49 starters have thrown at least 200 innings over the last two seasons. Just six have a lower ERA than Bassitt: Corbin Burnes, Walker Buehler, Brandon Woodruff, Max Scherzer, Zack Wheeler, and Max Fried. Bassitt works with a deep arsenal of offerings and excels at missing barrels. He throws a sinker in the lower-to-mid 90s, an excellent four-seamer with similar velocity, a cutter, changeup, slider, and curveball. The lanky right-hander is an interesting case study. He’s already terrific, but there’s glaring room for improvement in his profile. Bassitt increased his slider usage from 0.1% in 2019 to 10.1% in 2021. My suggestion: bump that up even more. Bassitt’s slider grades as an excellent pitch, with an expected batting average of .127 and a 39% swing-and-miss rate in 2021. Perhaps fewer sinkers (.356 xWOBA) and cutters (.375), and more sliders would help Bassitt miss more bats. This change would significantly help against right-handed batters, who hit just .143 with a .209 wOBA against Bassitt’s slider in 2021. THE COST Bassitt is one year from free agency and will make about $9 million via arbitration in 2022. The Athletics aren’t afraid to trade away their expiring veterans, and there’ve been multiple reports indicating that Bassitt, Sean Manaea, Matt Chapman, and Matt Olson could all be available. According to MLB Trade Simulators, a deal for Bassitt would require quite a bit, but not nearly as much as Luis Castillo. If the Athletics wanted one young player in return, Trevor Larnach holds similar value, according to the simulator. If they seek a package, perhaps Alerick Soularie, Matt Wallner, Blayne Enlow and Drew Strotman could make sense. The Twins certainly value one-year commitments. Because Bassitt is making such a reasonable salary, it’s viable to trade for him and sign a high-priced free agent. The Twins have the depth to swing a deal like this. It’s possible they’d favor Manaea, the younger lefty who may require less in return. Manaea is objectively worse than Bassitt but throws an excellent changeup and costs a projected $10.2 million via arbitration in 2022. Frankie Montas, 28, could be the highest-upside target but also the most expensive with two years remaining on his contract. What do you think? Should the Twins trade for Chris Bassitt? FOR 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
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