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  1. Nearly all of the top free agents have been signed this offseason, none of them having landed with the Twins. But it’s not for a lack of good contracts. Let’s look at the five best contracts that the Twins missed out on this offseason. Image courtesy of © Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports There have been some contracts this offseason that the Twins have wisely passed on because of the economics. Many times, free agent contracts are inherent overpays and for a team like the Minnesota Twins, they don’t all make sense. Players like Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, and Aaron Judge are great players but weren’t fits for the Twins. On the other hand, there were plenty of free agent signings this offseason that made me go, “The Twins should’ve definitely made that deal.” Here are my top 5, with the necessary caveat that the Twins might not have gotten these players by matching the exact contract that they signed for. The Twins may have needed to go 5% above what they were signed for in order to seal the deal, but either way these were contracts that the Twins missed out on (in no particular order). 1. Carlos Rodón - 6 years, $162M Heading into the offseason, many Twins fans put Rodón at the top of their free agency wish lists. Rodón represented the ace pitcher that the Twins have been searching for since Johan Santana, and because of previous health trouble, he might sign for a reasonable contract that even the Twins could afford. Sure enough, Rodón signed for a more-than-reasonable 6 year, $162M with an AAV of $27M. Certainly a fair price for an ace the caliber of Rodón who provided $49.6M in value for the White Sox in 2022. 2. Dansby Swanson - 7 years, $177M Following the opt-out of Carlos Correa, finding a replacement shortstop was the top priority for the Twins coming into the offseason. In addition, this was one of the deepest free agent shortstop classes that we had ever seen. With the high caliber of shortstops, though, came some extravagant contracts. For my money the best shortstop contract handed this offseason was the 7 year, $177M deal handed out to Dansby Swanson. While Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa signed for double digit years, Swanson signed for a modest seven years at an AAV of just $25M. 3. Chris Bassitt - 3 years, $63M While Carlos Rodón represented an ace that the Twins could have signed in free agency, we do know that the Falvey/Levine regime doesn’t like to give long contracts to starting pitchers. Enter Chris Bassitt. Bassitt is a solid number two pitcher who has drastically improved in his age 32 and age 33 seasons the past two years. Bassitt signed for a reasonable $63M on a short-term deal of just three years. Something the Twins definitely should have been in on. 4. Willson Contreras - 5 years, $87.5M The biggest free agent signing that the Twins have made this offseason was for catcher Christian Vázquez on a three-year, $30M deal. While a reasonable signing, the deal that Willson Contreras signed with the St. Louis Cardinals was the best contract signed this offseason for a catcher. A $17.5M AAV for a 30-year-old catcher who is top-three at his position is more than reasonable. Contreras definitely was interested in signing with St. Louis, but with how low the payroll is, the Twins certainly could have gone above St. Louis’s offer and it still would have been a sound signing. 5. Noah Syndergaard - 1 year, $13M As the old adage goes, you can never have too many starting pitchers, and another solid signing for the Twins this offseason would have been a one year deal for Noah Syndergaard. Since his injuries, Syndergaard hasn’t been his dominant self, but he’s still just 30-years-old and he was an above-average pitcher last offseason. Syndergaard feels like a guy that the Twins could tweak and bring him back closer to his pre-injury status. And if not? It’s a one year deal and no harm done. Which of the above deals do you think the Twins most missed out on? Were there any other deals that weren’t mentioned? Leave a comment and start the conversation. View full article
  2. There have been some contracts this offseason that the Twins have wisely passed on because of the economics. Many times, free agent contracts are inherent overpays and for a team like the Minnesota Twins, they don’t all make sense. Players like Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander, and Aaron Judge are great players but weren’t fits for the Twins. On the other hand, there were plenty of free agent signings this offseason that made me go, “The Twins should’ve definitely made that deal.” Here are my top 5, with the necessary caveat that the Twins might not have gotten these players by matching the exact contract that they signed for. The Twins may have needed to go 5% above what they were signed for in order to seal the deal, but either way these were contracts that the Twins missed out on (in no particular order). 1. Carlos Rodón - 6 years, $162M Heading into the offseason, many Twins fans put Rodón at the top of their free agency wish lists. Rodón represented the ace pitcher that the Twins have been searching for since Johan Santana, and because of previous health trouble, he might sign for a reasonable contract that even the Twins could afford. Sure enough, Rodón signed for a more-than-reasonable 6 year, $162M with an AAV of $27M. Certainly a fair price for an ace the caliber of Rodón who provided $49.6M in value for the White Sox in 2022. 2. Dansby Swanson - 7 years, $177M Following the opt-out of Carlos Correa, finding a replacement shortstop was the top priority for the Twins coming into the offseason. In addition, this was one of the deepest free agent shortstop classes that we had ever seen. With the high caliber of shortstops, though, came some extravagant contracts. For my money the best shortstop contract handed this offseason was the 7 year, $177M deal handed out to Dansby Swanson. While Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts and Carlos Correa signed for double digit years, Swanson signed for a modest seven years at an AAV of just $25M. 3. Chris Bassitt - 3 years, $63M While Carlos Rodón represented an ace that the Twins could have signed in free agency, we do know that the Falvey/Levine regime doesn’t like to give long contracts to starting pitchers. Enter Chris Bassitt. Bassitt is a solid number two pitcher who has drastically improved in his age 32 and age 33 seasons the past two years. Bassitt signed for a reasonable $63M on a short-term deal of just three years. Something the Twins definitely should have been in on. 4. Willson Contreras - 5 years, $87.5M The biggest free agent signing that the Twins have made this offseason was for catcher Christian Vázquez on a three-year, $30M deal. While a reasonable signing, the deal that Willson Contreras signed with the St. Louis Cardinals was the best contract signed this offseason for a catcher. A $17.5M AAV for a 30-year-old catcher who is top-three at his position is more than reasonable. Contreras definitely was interested in signing with St. Louis, but with how low the payroll is, the Twins certainly could have gone above St. Louis’s offer and it still would have been a sound signing. 5. Noah Syndergaard - 1 year, $13M As the old adage goes, you can never have too many starting pitchers, and another solid signing for the Twins this offseason would have been a one year deal for Noah Syndergaard. Since his injuries, Syndergaard hasn’t been his dominant self, but he’s still just 30-years-old and he was an above-average pitcher last offseason. Syndergaard feels like a guy that the Twins could tweak and bring him back closer to his pre-injury status. And if not? It’s a one year deal and no harm done. Which of the above deals do you think the Twins most missed out on? Were there any other deals that weren’t mentioned? Leave a comment and start the conversation.
  3. The Twins got their catcher, but that development was overshadowed days later when they missed out on their shortstop and top offseason target. The front office has a sizable cash reserve but few remaining paths to spend it. They've buoyed their floor but failed to raise their ceiling in any way. Where do we go from here? Image courtesy of Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Carlos Correa Signs Mega-Deal with San Francisco Giants Sadly, the biggest headline of the Minnesota Twins offseason thus far has been their heartbreak: Correa, whom the team pursued with a level of intention and aggressiveness that far surpasses any free agent target in franchise history, opted for the San Francisco Giants. Thirteen years, $350 million. Whew. In the end, despite pushing themselves to (or past) their limit, the Twins ultimately fell vastly short of the big-market Giants, who made Correa the second highest-paid free agent in MLB history. It was a level the Twins were never going to realistically reach. Although they made an adamant effort and were, by all accounts, the runner-up for Correa, they came nowhere near matching the giant offer. Now the front office must regroup and figure out what's next. High-end options have dwindled and impact trade options are limited. On the bright side, they do have the luxury of aiming basically wherever they please in terms of making upgrades, because the Twins checked off their last essential need from the shopping the list earlier in the week by signing a new catcher. Twins Sign Christian Vazquez to Three-Year Deal The front office was able to confidently address its top non-Correa priority of the offseason: signing a catcher who can not only share time with Ryan Jeffers at catcher, but take over as the lead dog if needed. On Monday we learned that the Twins agreed to terms with Vazquez on a three-year deal worth $30 million. While it barely registers in comparison to the mammoth $285 million offer to Correa, Vazquez's new contract amazingly ranks as the third-largest signed by any free agent under this front office. While certainly not to be confused with a viable "big splash of the offseason," the Vazquez signing is a bold and assertive one from the front office. He's no star, but he's a respected, reliable, experienced backstop who offers tremendous stability at a position that had little, and adds credibility to Minnesota's position player unit. That's all well and good, but a downtrodden fan base needs more than a solid catcher who fills a need. The Twins need a signature move or two to salvage this wayward offseason. Unfortunately, one of the few remaining star-caliber assets on the market was snatched up on Thursday night. Yankees Reel in Carlos Rodon on Six-Year Contract It's unclear how hard they tried, but Minnesota's hopes of acquiring a frontline starter from free agency have officially gone kaput. The last ace-caliber arm is now off the board after Rodon agreed to a six-year, $162 million contract with the Yankees. I'll be honest: I'd want no part of that deal. As great as he's been over the past couple seasons, Rodon is an extremely volatile property and the idea of entering a six-year guaranteed pact with those kinds of AAVs makes me all kinda nervous. If they're gonna spend that kind of money on a starting pitcher it shouldn't be out of leveraged desperation. Still, it would've been a major statement move, and now there aren't many such opportunities for one. In fact, on the free agent market, there's only one. Twins Turn Their Attention to Dansby Swanson. Then What? The Twins have been connected via rumors to Swanson but I always suspected it to be a negotiating ploy to gain leverage in Correa talks. My skepticism mainly stems from the fact that he seems like the type of high-risk long-term investment this front office avidly avoids. However, from talking to a few trusted people, I do get the sense the Twins are legitimate in their pursuit, contradicting a Jon Heyman report that they "appear to be regrouping after losing out on Carlos Correa, so Swanson’s likely out." I can't say I'm at all confident they'll sign the former Braves shortstop, but I do believe they're going to give a real shot. They'll face stiff competition because they're not the only club that missed out on numerous top targets and has money left to burn. Should they miss out on Swanson, it'll be interesting to see if the Twins can find a way to spend their way back to the 2022 threshold. Or if they even care to do so. Roster and Payroll Projection: v3 The specific breakdown of Vazquez's $30 million deal haven't been revealed yet, to my knowledge. But assuming it's split evenly at $10 million/year, his addition pushes the projected 2023 payroll up above 100 mil by just a hair. Unless the Twins can pull a stunner and sign Swanson, or pull a rabbit out of their hat with a big trade, it's going be a dreary and bleak holiday for baseball fans in Minnesota, who've had to sit idly by while watching everyone else open up their awesome presents. New uniforms and Christian Vazquez ain't gonna cut it. The front office needs to step up and take action unless they want a large portion of their followers to simply check out. View full article
  4. Carlos Correa Signs Mega-Deal with San Francisco Giants Sadly, the biggest headline of the Minnesota Twins offseason thus far has been their heartbreak: Correa, whom the team pursued with a level of intention and aggressiveness that far surpasses any free agent target in franchise history, opted for the San Francisco Giants. Thirteen years, $350 million. Whew. In the end, despite pushing themselves to (or past) their limit, the Twins ultimately fell vastly short of the big-market Giants, who made Correa the second highest-paid free agent in MLB history. It was a level the Twins were never going to realistically reach. Although they made an adamant effort and were, by all accounts, the runner-up for Correa, they came nowhere near matching the giant offer. Now the front office must regroup and figure out what's next. High-end options have dwindled and impact trade options are limited. On the bright side, they do have the luxury of aiming basically wherever they please in terms of making upgrades, because the Twins checked off their last essential need from the shopping the list earlier in the week by signing a new catcher. Twins Sign Christian Vazquez to Three-Year Deal The front office was able to confidently address its top non-Correa priority of the offseason: signing a catcher who can not only share time with Ryan Jeffers at catcher, but take over as the lead dog if needed. On Monday we learned that the Twins agreed to terms with Vazquez on a three-year deal worth $30 million. While it barely registers in comparison to the mammoth $285 million offer to Correa, Vazquez's new contract amazingly ranks as the third-largest signed by any free agent under this front office. While certainly not to be confused with a viable "big splash of the offseason," the Vazquez signing is a bold and assertive one from the front office. He's no star, but he's a respected, reliable, experienced backstop who offers tremendous stability at a position that had little, and adds credibility to Minnesota's position player unit. That's all well and good, but a downtrodden fan base needs more than a solid catcher who fills a need. The Twins need a signature move or two to salvage this wayward offseason. Unfortunately, one of the few remaining star-caliber assets on the market was snatched up on Thursday night. Yankees Reel in Carlos Rodon on Six-Year Contract It's unclear how hard they tried, but Minnesota's hopes of acquiring a frontline starter from free agency have officially gone kaput. The last ace-caliber arm is now off the board after Rodon agreed to a six-year, $162 million contract with the Yankees. I'll be honest: I'd want no part of that deal. As great as he's been over the past couple seasons, Rodon is an extremely volatile property and the idea of entering a six-year guaranteed pact with those kinds of AAVs makes me all kinda nervous. If they're gonna spend that kind of money on a starting pitcher it shouldn't be out of leveraged desperation. Still, it would've been a major statement move, and now there aren't many such opportunities for one. In fact, on the free agent market, there's only one. Twins Turn Their Attention to Dansby Swanson. Then What? The Twins have been connected via rumors to Swanson but I always suspected it to be a negotiating ploy to gain leverage in Correa talks. My skepticism mainly stems from the fact that he seems like the type of high-risk long-term investment this front office avidly avoids. However, from talking to a few trusted people, I do get the sense the Twins are legitimate in their pursuit, contradicting a Jon Heyman report that they "appear to be regrouping after losing out on Carlos Correa, so Swanson’s likely out." I can't say I'm at all confident they'll sign the former Braves shortstop, but I do believe they're going to give a real shot. They'll face stiff competition because they're not the only club that missed out on numerous top targets and has money left to burn. Should they miss out on Swanson, it'll be interesting to see if the Twins can find a way to spend their way back to the 2022 threshold. Or if they even care to do so. Roster and Payroll Projection: v3 The specific breakdown of Vazquez's $30 million deal haven't been revealed yet, to my knowledge. But assuming it's split evenly at $10 million/year, his addition pushes the projected 2023 payroll up above 100 mil by just a hair. Unless the Twins can pull a stunner and sign Swanson, or pull a rabbit out of their hat with a big trade, it's going be a dreary and bleak holiday for baseball fans in Minnesota, who've had to sit idly by while watching everyone else open up their awesome presents. New uniforms and Christian Vazquez ain't gonna cut it. The front office needs to step up and take action unless they want a large portion of their followers to simply check out.
  5. The Twins lost out on Carlos Correa, so the club needs a backup plan to complete the 2023 roster. Here are four pivots the team can make following Correa's departure. Image courtesy of Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports Minnesota made contract offers to Carlos Correa that were well above anything the club had previously offered a free agent. Correa signed for 13 years and $350 million, an average annual value of $27 million. For Correa and his agent Scott Boras, it was important for Correa to sign the largest contract for a shortstop in baseball history. Reports had the Twins with a higher AAV but fewer years and a lower total amount. Fans can be upset about the team not going higher, but the team needs to have a contingency plan, and here are four pivots for the Twins. Pivot 1: Sign Dansby Swanson When the offseason started, there were four All-Star caliber shortstops on the market. Correa became the third player to sign, leaving Dansby Swanson as the last man standing. Unfortunately, many teams are looking for an upgrade at shortstop, so the demand for Swanson has increased. Out of the other shortstops, Xander Bogaerts signed the smallest deal at 11 years and $280 million. Minnesota offered Correa more than that amount, so the team could pivot and offer Swanson a similar deal to Bogaerts. There have already been meetings between Swanson and the Twins, which can help with the initial negotiations. Swanson and Correa are very different players, and the Twins might want to pivot to one of the other options below. Pivot 2: Trade for a Shortstop The Twins already traded for one shortstop this winter when the club acquired Kyle Farmer from the Cincinnati Reds. Farmer has served as the Reds' shortstop over the last two seasons while hitting .259/.316/.400 (.716) with an 89 OPS+. There are plenty of other trade targets that could be available this winter. Cleveland's Ahmed Rosario is one year away from free agency and can provide the Twins a bridge to Royce Lewis. The Yankees may be willing to part with Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who was with the Twins shortly last spring. Milwaukee has tough decisions with their core players, so the club might be willing to deal with someone like Willy Adames. At the trade deadline, the Twins made multiple moves that took pieces away from the farm system. Because of this, the team might not be as willing to part with prospects to acquire a shortstop. Pivot 3: Spend on Starting Pitching Minnesota has question marks in the starting rotation, so adding a playoff-caliber starter can help the team. Carlos Rodon was considered the top free-agent starting pitcher, and he is still available. However, reports are that he is looking for at least six years, which is a significant amount for a player with his injury history. It also seems unlikely for the Twins' front office to sign any pitcher to that contract length. They had the opportunity with Jose Berrios and decided it was better to trade him than sign him long-term. Behind Rodon, Nathan Eovaldi is the next-best free-agent starter, as he had a 3.87 ERA in 109 1/3 innings last season. Michael Wacha is another free-agent option after pitching more than 124 innings in the past three full seasons. Those secondary names aren't as intriguing, so the Twins should stick with internal options. Pivot 4: Trade for Starting Pitching Multiple Minnesota players have heard their names swirling in the rumor mill, including Max Kepler and Luis Arraez. One trade target is Pablo Lopez from the Miami Marlins. In 2022, he pitched 180 innings with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. He posted a 174 to 53 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 108 ERA+. Lopez was arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2022, so his earliest free agency is 2025. Other possible trade targets include Cleveland's Shane Bieber, San Diego's Blake Snell, Tampa Bay's Tyler Glasnow, and Milwaukee's Corbin Burnes. Some players would require a hefty prospect package, including some of the team's top prospects. The Twins need to move quickly now that Correa has made his decision. Which pivot do you feel is the best move for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  6. Dansby Swanson might turn into the Twins’ backup option if Carlos Correa signs with another club. Here’s the latest on Minnesota’s pursuit of Swanson. Image courtesy of Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports Minnesota’s offseason focus has been re-signing Carlos Correa to a long-term contract. However, the team has kept other options open, including pivoting to other free-agent shortstops, including Dansby Swanson. Swanson is time to multiple teams, so let’s review what the Twins have done recently. Aaron Gleeman of the Athletic reported that the Twins met with Swanson over video conference during the recently completed MLB Winter Meetings. Swanson could not attend the meetings in person because he married US Women’s Soccer player Mallory Pugh on Saturday. It’s clear that Minnesota is trying to keep as many options as possible open as they pursue a shortstop. Besides the Twins, four other clubs have shown interest in Swanson, including the Cubs, Cardinals, Red Sox, and Braves. The Cubs are in an interesting spot as a rebuilding team but can use a player of Swanson’s caliber. Boston missed out on re-signing Xander Bogaerts as he was offered a significantly higher contract from the Padres. Swanson would upgrade the current shortstop options in St. Louis, but signing Willson Contreras might limit their spending. The Braves would like to keep Swanson if the deal makes sense for the team and the player. Swanson is coming off his best MLB season, as he posted a 5.7 WAR. In 162 games, he hit .277/.329/.447 (.776) with a 115 OPS+ to go along with 32 doubles and 25 home runs. He was a first-time All-Star, won the NL Gold Glove at shortstop, and finished 12th in the MVP voting. Swanson’s 2022 numbers boosted his career totals as he entered last season with a 90 OPS+. However, he has averaged over 32 doubles and 25 home runs in the last two seasons. Free agent deals have been massive this winter, and there is no guarantee the Twins will want to pay Swanson what he is expected to earn. Philadelphia signed Trea Turner to a $300 million deal, while Xander Bogaerts received $280 million even though he is older than Swanson. Would the Twins be willing to go that high to acquire Swanson? Correa and Swanson will be compared because they are the top free agents left on the market. Swanson is seven months older than Correa. Over the last three seasons, he has hit more home runs and stolen 32 more bases than Correa. Swanson has been healthier recently, as he has only missed 39 games over the last four seasons. That includes just two missed games over the last three seasons. Both Correa and Swanson provide significant positive value on the defensive side of the ball. Swanson won the National League Gold Glove and finished third among NL shortstops in SABR’s SDI. Correa won the Platinum Glove in 2021, but his defensive numbers took a hit last season as he ranked 9th among AL shortstops in SDI. His Outs Above Average ranked in the 97th percentile in 2021 and dropped to the 18th percentile with the Twins. Could that be a sign that Swanson sticks at shortstop longer than Correa? The Twins remain focused on Correa, but Swanson is also an All-Star caliber player that has put it all together over the last few seasons. Do you believe the Twins are interested in Swanson? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  7. Minnesota made contract offers to Carlos Correa that were well above anything the club had previously offered a free agent. Correa signed for 13 years and $350 million, an average annual value of $27 million. For Correa and his agent Scott Boras, it was important for Correa to sign the largest contract for a shortstop in baseball history. Reports had the Twins with a higher AAV but fewer years and a lower total amount. Fans can be upset about the team not going higher, but the team needs to have a contingency plan, and here are four pivots for the Twins. Pivot 1: Sign Dansby Swanson When the offseason started, there were four All-Star caliber shortstops on the market. Correa became the third player to sign, leaving Dansby Swanson as the last man standing. Unfortunately, many teams are looking for an upgrade at shortstop, so the demand for Swanson has increased. Out of the other shortstops, Xander Bogaerts signed the smallest deal at 11 years and $280 million. Minnesota offered Correa more than that amount, so the team could pivot and offer Swanson a similar deal to Bogaerts. There have already been meetings between Swanson and the Twins, which can help with the initial negotiations. Swanson and Correa are very different players, and the Twins might want to pivot to one of the other options below. Pivot 2: Trade for a Shortstop The Twins already traded for one shortstop this winter when the club acquired Kyle Farmer from the Cincinnati Reds. Farmer has served as the Reds' shortstop over the last two seasons while hitting .259/.316/.400 (.716) with an 89 OPS+. There are plenty of other trade targets that could be available this winter. Cleveland's Ahmed Rosario is one year away from free agency and can provide the Twins a bridge to Royce Lewis. The Yankees may be willing to part with Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who was with the Twins shortly last spring. Milwaukee has tough decisions with their core players, so the club might be willing to deal with someone like Willy Adames. At the trade deadline, the Twins made multiple moves that took pieces away from the farm system. Because of this, the team might not be as willing to part with prospects to acquire a shortstop. Pivot 3: Spend on Starting Pitching Minnesota has question marks in the starting rotation, so adding a playoff-caliber starter can help the team. Carlos Rodon was considered the top free-agent starting pitcher, and he is still available. However, reports are that he is looking for at least six years, which is a significant amount for a player with his injury history. It also seems unlikely for the Twins' front office to sign any pitcher to that contract length. They had the opportunity with Jose Berrios and decided it was better to trade him than sign him long-term. Behind Rodon, Nathan Eovaldi is the next-best free-agent starter, as he had a 3.87 ERA in 109 1/3 innings last season. Michael Wacha is another free-agent option after pitching more than 124 innings in the past three full seasons. Those secondary names aren't as intriguing, so the Twins should stick with internal options. Pivot 4: Trade for Starting Pitching Multiple Minnesota players have heard their names swirling in the rumor mill, including Max Kepler and Luis Arraez. One trade target is Pablo Lopez from the Miami Marlins. In 2022, he pitched 180 innings with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. He posted a 174 to 53 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 108 ERA+. Lopez was arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2022, so his earliest free agency is 2025. Other possible trade targets include Cleveland's Shane Bieber, San Diego's Blake Snell, Tampa Bay's Tyler Glasnow, and Milwaukee's Corbin Burnes. Some players would require a hefty prospect package, including some of the team's top prospects. The Twins need to move quickly now that Correa has made his decision. Which pivot do you feel is the best move for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  8. If the Twins miss out on Carlos Correa, they can pivot to the other top free agent still on the market. However, Dansby Swanson lacks some traits the Twins have already seen in Correa. Image courtesy of Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports Carlos Correa has clearly been the team's focus throughout the offseason. However, as the team awaits Correa's decision, other free-agent players have signed contracts with other clubs. This situation would leave the Twins with limited options if Correa picked another club like the Giants or the Cubs. There were four top-tier shortstops when the offseason began, and now two names remain. Minnesota can pivot to Dansby Swanson, but he is a different type of player than Swanson. Swanson's Lack of Track Record Like Correa, Swanson was the number one overall pick, but the D-Backs took him out of college. He spent his first seven big-league seasons in the Braves infield and combined to post a .738 OPS with a 95 OPS+. During the 2022 season, Swanson put it all together on both sides of the plate. He hit .277/.329/.447 (.776) with 32 doubles and 25 home runs. Defensively, he ranked third among NL shortstops according to SABR's Defensive Index and won his first Gold Glove. Unfortunately, his lack of offensive track record should make teams leery of how he will age. Clubs must decide if last season was an outlier or if Swanson has put it all together at age 28. Correa's Familiarity with the Team's Core Minnesota got the opportunity to take Correa for a test drive last season, which helped the club see what he means to the team's core. He provides leadership on and off the field, with many of the team's young players viewing him as a mentor. Correa is close to Byron Buxton, Jose Miranda, and other key players who will impact the organization over the next decade. Swanson might be able to build those relationships, but Correa already has an advantage in this area. Correa's baseball IQ is off the charts, which will help him age well and impact future prospects entering the Twins' core. Face of the Franchise Potential Swanson is only seven months older than Correa, but their baseball careers have taken remarkably different paths. Swanson has been a role player on some strong Braves teams over the last decade, but it took him time to put it all together. Correa's career WAR is over 2.7 times higher than Swanson's. Both players have been starting shortstops for a World Series champion, but Correa has played over 40 more postseason games with an OPS that is 128 points higher. For the bulk of the next decade, the Twins and their fans would be able to look to Correa as the best player on the roster. He is the type of player to build a franchise around. Swanson is clearly on Minnesota's radar, but it might be the team doing its due diligence. It will take a significant financial commitment to sign either player, but Correa is a different caliber player than Swanson. If the Twins miss out on Correa, the front office should only turn to Swanson if his market significantly declines in the weeks ahead. Does it make sense for the Twins to pivot to Swanson? How much should the team be willing to pay Swanson? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  9. Carlos Correa has clearly been the team's focus throughout the offseason. However, as the team awaits Correa's decision, other free-agent players have signed contracts with other clubs. This situation would leave the Twins with limited options if Correa picked another club like the Giants or the Cubs. There were four top-tier shortstops when the offseason began, and now two names remain. Minnesota can pivot to Dansby Swanson, but he is a different type of player than Swanson. Swanson's Lack of Track Record Like Correa, Swanson was the number one overall pick, but the D-Backs took him out of college. He spent his first seven big-league seasons in the Braves infield and combined to post a .738 OPS with a 95 OPS+. During the 2022 season, Swanson put it all together on both sides of the plate. He hit .277/.329/.447 (.776) with 32 doubles and 25 home runs. Defensively, he ranked third among NL shortstops according to SABR's Defensive Index and won his first Gold Glove. Unfortunately, his lack of offensive track record should make teams leery of how he will age. Clubs must decide if last season was an outlier or if Swanson has put it all together at age 28. Correa's Familiarity with the Team's Core Minnesota got the opportunity to take Correa for a test drive last season, which helped the club see what he means to the team's core. He provides leadership on and off the field, with many of the team's young players viewing him as a mentor. Correa is close to Byron Buxton, Jose Miranda, and other key players who will impact the organization over the next decade. Swanson might be able to build those relationships, but Correa already has an advantage in this area. Correa's baseball IQ is off the charts, which will help him age well and impact future prospects entering the Twins' core. Face of the Franchise Potential Swanson is only seven months older than Correa, but their baseball careers have taken remarkably different paths. Swanson has been a role player on some strong Braves teams over the last decade, but it took him time to put it all together. Correa's career WAR is over 2.7 times higher than Swanson's. Both players have been starting shortstops for a World Series champion, but Correa has played over 40 more postseason games with an OPS that is 128 points higher. For the bulk of the next decade, the Twins and their fans would be able to look to Correa as the best player on the roster. He is the type of player to build a franchise around. Swanson is clearly on Minnesota's radar, but it might be the team doing its due diligence. It will take a significant financial commitment to sign either player, but Correa is a different caliber player than Swanson. If the Twins miss out on Correa, the front office should only turn to Swanson if his market significantly declines in the weeks ahead. Does it make sense for the Twins to pivot to Swanson? How much should the team be willing to pay Swanson? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  10. Minnesota’s offseason focus has been re-signing Carlos Correa to a long-term contract. However, the team has kept other options open, including pivoting to other free-agent shortstops, including Dansby Swanson. Swanson is time to multiple teams, so let’s review what the Twins have done recently. Aaron Gleeman of the Athletic reported that the Twins met with Swanson over video conference during the recently completed MLB Winter Meetings. Swanson could not attend the meetings in person because he married US Women’s Soccer player Mallory Pugh on Saturday. It’s clear that Minnesota is trying to keep as many options as possible open as they pursue a shortstop. Besides the Twins, four other clubs have shown interest in Swanson, including the Cubs, Cardinals, Red Sox, and Braves. The Cubs are in an interesting spot as a rebuilding team but can use a player of Swanson’s caliber. Boston missed out on re-signing Xander Bogaerts as he was offered a significantly higher contract from the Padres. Swanson would upgrade the current shortstop options in St. Louis, but signing Willson Contreras might limit their spending. The Braves would like to keep Swanson if the deal makes sense for the team and the player. Swanson is coming off his best MLB season, as he posted a 5.7 WAR. In 162 games, he hit .277/.329/.447 (.776) with a 115 OPS+ to go along with 32 doubles and 25 home runs. He was a first-time All-Star, won the NL Gold Glove at shortstop, and finished 12th in the MVP voting. Swanson’s 2022 numbers boosted his career totals as he entered last season with a 90 OPS+. However, he has averaged over 32 doubles and 25 home runs in the last two seasons. Free agent deals have been massive this winter, and there is no guarantee the Twins will want to pay Swanson what he is expected to earn. Philadelphia signed Trea Turner to a $300 million deal, while Xander Bogaerts received $280 million even though he is older than Swanson. Would the Twins be willing to go that high to acquire Swanson? Correa and Swanson will be compared because they are the top free agents left on the market. Swanson is seven months older than Correa. Over the last three seasons, he has hit more home runs and stolen 32 more bases than Correa. Swanson has been healthier recently, as he has only missed 39 games over the last four seasons. That includes just two missed games over the last three seasons. Both Correa and Swanson provide significant positive value on the defensive side of the ball. Swanson won the National League Gold Glove and finished third among NL shortstops in SABR’s SDI. Correa won the Platinum Glove in 2021, but his defensive numbers took a hit last season as he ranked 9th among AL shortstops in SDI. His Outs Above Average ranked in the 97th percentile in 2021 and dropped to the 18th percentile with the Twins. Could that be a sign that Swanson sticks at shortstop longer than Correa? The Twins remain focused on Correa, but Swanson is also an All-Star caliber player that has put it all together over the last few seasons. Do you believe the Twins are interested in Swanson? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  11. From the moment he signed with the Minnesota Twins, Carlos Correa was going to opt-out of his contract. Now with that having officially happened, the front office must decide whether they can bring him back, or if there’s an alternative that’s more plausible. Enter Xander Bogaerts. Image courtesy of Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports Carlos Correa accomplished his goal of securing the most lucrative average annual value among infielders in major-league history. His $35.1 million last season topped Scott Boras client Anthony Rendon’s guarantee with the Angels. Although the deal was for technically three years, the opt-outs assured us that Correa was always going to hit the market again in hopes of securing a long-term payday. Minnesota certainly could opt to bring Correa back, and they should put a strong foot forward to do so. If he can be had for less than 10 years or under $300 million, it may be a possibility. If he can’t, and that does seem likely, then pivoting to another option makes sense. Despite strong shortstop prospects in the form of Royce Lewis, Brooks Lee, and Austin Martin, it would be preferable to see Minnesota avoid a stopgap shortstop option. A Jose Iglesias type could certainly hold down the position, but that would do little to reinvigorate an offense that needs to replace production. Dansby Swanson is coming off arguably the best year of his career, and Trea Turner is going to land somewhere in the same realm as Correa. That begs the question of whether Xander Bogaerts can be a middle ground, and if he represents enough of a replacement for Minnesota. At 30, Bogaerts is a bit older than Correa. His 117 career OPS+ doesn’t reflect just how good he’s been of late. He owns a 133 OPS+ since 2018 and has three All-Star game appearances along with three Silver Slugger awards. Bogaerts has been a pillar of health as well. He’s never played less than 136 games in a full season and is as reliable as it gets to be on the field. Correa is the superior defender, and that’s noteworthy for a Twins team lacking defense. Rocco Baldelli’s infield was not good a season ago, and removing arguably the best person with the glove doesn’t help change things. The Twins almost certainly won’t have a shortstop that can throw like Correa ever again, but replacing his offensive production could be equally key. Although Bogaerts has hit 30 homers in a season once during his career, you can more realistically bank on him to be in the 15-25 range. He’ll pile up doubles and brings a very good approach to the plate. Boston not being able to get a long-term deal done with him allows the open market to share their feelings, and the Twins should be having conversations with him as well. Like Correa, Bogaerts is represented by Boras Corp. The Twins front office should be seeing where they can place themselves in discussions regarding both players by feeling out the individual markets and expectations. If they determine an inability to play at the higher level, finding out how a match can be created with the Aruba native makes too much sense. I’d imagine the Twins would prefer continuity in the form of Correa. He’s been here, is a known asset, and is already a fan favorite. That said, spending less to get a superstar with similar talent has value too, and the package Bogaerts brings is hardly something to scoff at. What do you think? Is Bogaerts enough of an option to replace Correa on both sides of the ball? View full article
  12. Carlos Correa accomplished his goal of securing the most lucrative average annual value among infielders in major-league history. His $35.1 million last season topped Scott Boras client Anthony Rendon’s guarantee with the Angels. Although the deal was for technically three years, the opt-outs assured us that Correa was always going to hit the market again in hopes of securing a long-term payday. Minnesota certainly could opt to bring Correa back, and they should put a strong foot forward to do so. If he can be had for less than 10 years or under $300 million, it may be a possibility. If he can’t, and that does seem likely, then pivoting to another option makes sense. Despite strong shortstop prospects in the form of Royce Lewis, Brooks Lee, and Austin Martin, it would be preferable to see Minnesota avoid a stopgap shortstop option. A Jose Iglesias type could certainly hold down the position, but that would do little to reinvigorate an offense that needs to replace production. Dansby Swanson is coming off arguably the best year of his career, and Trea Turner is going to land somewhere in the same realm as Correa. That begs the question of whether Xander Bogaerts can be a middle ground, and if he represents enough of a replacement for Minnesota. At 30, Bogaerts is a bit older than Correa. His 117 career OPS+ doesn’t reflect just how good he’s been of late. He owns a 133 OPS+ since 2018 and has three All-Star game appearances along with three Silver Slugger awards. Bogaerts has been a pillar of health as well. He’s never played less than 136 games in a full season and is as reliable as it gets to be on the field. Correa is the superior defender, and that’s noteworthy for a Twins team lacking defense. Rocco Baldelli’s infield was not good a season ago, and removing arguably the best person with the glove doesn’t help change things. The Twins almost certainly won’t have a shortstop that can throw like Correa ever again, but replacing his offensive production could be equally key. Although Bogaerts has hit 30 homers in a season once during his career, you can more realistically bank on him to be in the 15-25 range. He’ll pile up doubles and brings a very good approach to the plate. Boston not being able to get a long-term deal done with him allows the open market to share their feelings, and the Twins should be having conversations with him as well. Like Correa, Bogaerts is represented by Boras Corp. The Twins front office should be seeing where they can place themselves in discussions regarding both players by feeling out the individual markets and expectations. If they determine an inability to play at the higher level, finding out how a match can be created with the Aruba native makes too much sense. I’d imagine the Twins would prefer continuity in the form of Correa. He’s been here, is a known asset, and is already a fan favorite. That said, spending less to get a superstar with similar talent has value too, and the package Bogaerts brings is hardly something to scoff at. What do you think? Is Bogaerts enough of an option to replace Correa on both sides of the ball?
  13. The Minnesota Twins are entering an offseason of extreme uncertainty when it comes to the shortstop position. After watching Carlos Correa fall into their laps this past spring, the Twins will need to decide where they go from here. Will any of the other top options be available to them? Image courtesy of Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports Late in spring training, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine were able to acquire Carlos Correa following a trade of Josh Donaldson and his contract to the New York Yankees. While the deal was technically for three years, it was always seen as a one-year pact given the sequential player options. Minnesota would be best positioned to pay Correa over a long-term agreement, but if that doesn’t work out, they’ll need to explore other options. Jermaine Palacios was probably the most veteran-ready internal candidate to hold the position for Minnesota until the return of Royce Lewis next summer. He was jettisoned off of the 40-man roster and claimed by the Detroit Tigers. That leaves Minnesota in limbo, and there’s a good bet the Opening Day shortstop isn’t currently employed by the organization. After flashing his talent in his brief time with the Twins, there are plenty of reasons to understand why the Twins may opt to wait for Lewis’ return. He’ll be coming off his second ACL surgery, and there were already questions about him sticking at the position, but he definitely looked the part in a limited sample. If the Twins want to sign a long-term answer at the position, and that they can’t find common ground with Correa, is there any reason to believe either Trea Turner or Dansby Swanson would even make it to them? Why wouldn’t their current clubs bring them back? Los Angeles allowed Corey Seager to leave a year ago. He got $325 million from the Texas Rangers after Turner was acquired at the 2021 deadline from the Washington Nationals. Turner has already been invested in when it comes to prospect capital, and paying him to stay for the long haul makes a good deal of sense. He’s much less of a sell to the fan base than a former Houston Astros talent in Correa, and there’s already been an acclimation process. Yes, the Dodgers have an elite farm system, but they don’t have a ready-made shortstop. Allowing Turner to continue manning the position, for an organization that already prints money, seems all too straightforward. There’s an easier argument to make for a team moving on in Swanson. He’s still young, but this is truly his first breakout season. His 115 OPS+ is not otherworldly, and he’s going to command a premium that could very well outweigh his production. Braden Shewmake and his .715 OPS at Triple-A is hardly a lock to replace production, but a top prospect looms for the Braves. Like Turner, if Atlanta wants to pay someone to play shortstop, the guy they already know makes sense. In both scenarios, things benefit the Twins in terms of retaining Correa. If both teams losing star shortstops bring them back, that’s two fewer teams willing to look at the open market. Correa seems unlikely to go to either organization, and both the Cubs and Giants continue to look like possible destinations. No matter what though, if Minnesota isn’t spending on Correa, then spending on anyone else at short makes little sense. Do you agree? View full article
  14. Late in spring training, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine were able to acquire Carlos Correa following a trade of Josh Donaldson and his contract to the New York Yankees. While the deal was technically for three years, it was always seen as a one-year pact given the sequential player options. Minnesota would be best positioned to pay Correa over a long-term agreement, but if that doesn’t work out, they’ll need to explore other options. Jermaine Palacios was probably the most veteran-ready internal candidate to hold the position for Minnesota until the return of Royce Lewis next summer. He was jettisoned off of the 40-man roster and claimed by the Detroit Tigers. That leaves Minnesota in limbo, and there’s a good bet the Opening Day shortstop isn’t currently employed by the organization. After flashing his talent in his brief time with the Twins, there are plenty of reasons to understand why the Twins may opt to wait for Lewis’ return. He’ll be coming off his second ACL surgery, and there were already questions about him sticking at the position, but he definitely looked the part in a limited sample. If the Twins want to sign a long-term answer at the position, and that they can’t find common ground with Correa, is there any reason to believe either Trea Turner or Dansby Swanson would even make it to them? Why wouldn’t their current clubs bring them back? Los Angeles allowed Corey Seager to leave a year ago. He got $325 million from the Texas Rangers after Turner was acquired at the 2021 deadline from the Washington Nationals. Turner has already been invested in when it comes to prospect capital, and paying him to stay for the long haul makes a good deal of sense. He’s much less of a sell to the fan base than a former Houston Astros talent in Correa, and there’s already been an acclimation process. Yes, the Dodgers have an elite farm system, but they don’t have a ready-made shortstop. Allowing Turner to continue manning the position, for an organization that already prints money, seems all too straightforward. There’s an easier argument to make for a team moving on in Swanson. He’s still young, but this is truly his first breakout season. His 115 OPS+ is not otherworldly, and he’s going to command a premium that could very well outweigh his production. Braden Shewmake and his .715 OPS at Triple-A is hardly a lock to replace production, but a top prospect looms for the Braves. Like Turner, if Atlanta wants to pay someone to play shortstop, the guy they already know makes sense. In both scenarios, things benefit the Twins in terms of retaining Correa. If both teams losing star shortstops bring them back, that’s two fewer teams willing to look at the open market. Correa seems unlikely to go to either organization, and both the Cubs and Giants continue to look like possible destinations. No matter what though, if Minnesota isn’t spending on Correa, then spending on anyone else at short makes little sense. Do you agree?
  15. The Minnesota Twins enter the offseason prior to 2023 with a massive question mark at shortstop. Carlos Correa is going to opt out of his three-year deal, as was the expectation from the moment he signed it. Why would the club pay big for anyone but him? Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports Last offseason, as spring training was already underway, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine found themselves with an opportunity to land superstar Carlos Correa. With the New York Yankees willing to take on Josh Donaldson’s albatross of a contract, the Twins had a hole and money to spend. No longer was this club going to start Isiah Kiner-Falefa at shortstop, and Correa remained on the market. Overlord, err agent Scott Boras, was angling for his client to land the highest average annual value for a Major League infielder. Guaranteeing Correa $100,000 more than Los Angeles Angels third basemen Anthony Rendon, Minnesota accomplished that. The contract was a three-year pact for $105.3 million, but each of the additional years were simply player options. Correa gave himself an opportunity to get paid should he not perform, but his goal has always remained the same, a long-term, big-dollar deal. Prior to the 2021 season, former Cleveland Guardians shortstop Francisco Lindor inked a 10-year, $341 million extension with the New York Mets. Yes, Steve Cohen is a filthy rich owner, but there’s little argument that the shortstop wasn’t worth it. Correa checks in at roughly the same age, and while his health has been a bit more questionable, he’s been the same or better on the field. Looking for his payday this winter, that’s probably the number he’ll target to get above. If you need another comparable when considering Correa, the Texas Rangers also entered the land of crazy spending when they inked former Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager to a ten-year, $325 million deal this winter. That was consummate alongside Marcus Semien’s seven-year, $175 million pact they agree to following a third-place finish in the American League MVP voting. What it boils down to, is that Carlos Correa is going to get paid. Where does this leave the Twins? Probably in no man’s land. I’ve been told from sources that Minnesota will make an offer somewhere in the upper-$200 millions. Whatever that means remains up for discussion, but it’s a far cry from where both Seager and Semien ended up last season. It’s also well below what Lindor got from the Mets. This offseason, both Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson will be available on the open market alongside Correa. I’m not sure you can make an argument that the latter is better than the Twins shortstop, and the former has his warts too. Regardless, Minnesota would seem silly to pay another top shortstop a similar amount of money when one they already know is available. If Falvey and Levine want to create long-term continuity at one of the most impactful positions on the diamond, why would they not stick with the guy they already know? Correa’s 4.4 fWAR was the third highest of his career, and that was achieved despite acclimating to a new club and missing time following a hit by pitch. Of course, Correa has said all of the right things on his own. He loves Minnesota, and his wife does as well. He’s suggested he would be open to staying here, but that decision gets substantially more clouded should the returning employer come up with something like $70 million short of other suitors. At the end of the day it’s as simple as this; how difficult do the Twins want to make the decision? If the offer isn’t competitive, they only have themselves to blame. Either you’re entirely betting on Royce Lewis, Austin Martin, Brooks Lee, and your own youth, or you want to lock up a needed position for the next decade and do what’s necessary to make that happen. View full article
  16. Last offseason, as spring training was already underway, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine found themselves with an opportunity to land superstar Carlos Correa. With the New York Yankees willing to take on Josh Donaldson’s albatross of a contract, the Twins had a hole and money to spend. No longer was this club going to start Isiah Kiner-Falefa at shortstop, and Correa remained on the market. Overlord, err agent Scott Boras, was angling for his client to land the highest average annual value for a Major League infielder. Guaranteeing Correa $100,000 more than Los Angeles Angels third basemen Anthony Rendon, Minnesota accomplished that. The contract was a three-year pact for $105.3 million, but each of the additional years were simply player options. Correa gave himself an opportunity to get paid should he not perform, but his goal has always remained the same, a long-term, big-dollar deal. Prior to the 2021 season, former Cleveland Guardians shortstop Francisco Lindor inked a 10-year, $341 million extension with the New York Mets. Yes, Steve Cohen is a filthy rich owner, but there’s little argument that the shortstop wasn’t worth it. Correa checks in at roughly the same age, and while his health has been a bit more questionable, he’s been the same or better on the field. Looking for his payday this winter, that’s probably the number he’ll target to get above. If you need another comparable when considering Correa, the Texas Rangers also entered the land of crazy spending when they inked former Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager to a ten-year, $325 million deal this winter. That was consummate alongside Marcus Semien’s seven-year, $175 million pact they agree to following a third-place finish in the American League MVP voting. What it boils down to, is that Carlos Correa is going to get paid. Where does this leave the Twins? Probably in no man’s land. I’ve been told from sources that Minnesota will make an offer somewhere in the upper-$200 millions. Whatever that means remains up for discussion, but it’s a far cry from where both Seager and Semien ended up last season. It’s also well below what Lindor got from the Mets. This offseason, both Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson will be available on the open market alongside Correa. I’m not sure you can make an argument that the latter is better than the Twins shortstop, and the former has his warts too. Regardless, Minnesota would seem silly to pay another top shortstop a similar amount of money when one they already know is available. If Falvey and Levine want to create long-term continuity at one of the most impactful positions on the diamond, why would they not stick with the guy they already know? Correa’s 4.4 fWAR was the third highest of his career, and that was achieved despite acclimating to a new club and missing time following a hit by pitch. Of course, Correa has said all of the right things on his own. He loves Minnesota, and his wife does as well. He’s suggested he would be open to staying here, but that decision gets substantially more clouded should the returning employer come up with something like $70 million short of other suitors. At the end of the day it’s as simple as this; how difficult do the Twins want to make the decision? If the offer isn’t competitive, they only have themselves to blame. Either you’re entirely betting on Royce Lewis, Austin Martin, Brooks Lee, and your own youth, or you want to lock up a needed position for the next decade and do what’s necessary to make that happen.
  17. Going into this offseason, the Minnesota Twins are going to face a serious decision at the shortstop position. Carlos Correa can, and will, opt out of his contract following the World Series. It is then on the organization to decide their next move, and they’ve provided some context as to what we should expect from there. Image courtesy of Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports Derek Falvey and Thad Levine made arguably the biggest splash of their tenure leading the Twins when they inked Carlos Correa to a deal last offseason. Ultimately, after pawning Josh Donaldson off on the New York Yankees, Correa fell in their laps. Minnesota had substantial money to spend, and a need that he could fill. This offseason, that same reality remains true, but Correa should have suitors willing to pay him Francisco Lindor money. It’s probably unlikely that the Twins are one of them. So, where does that leave a team waiting on Royce Lewis’ eventual return? It’s a big gamble to believe Lewis, coming off a second ACL surgery, will be the same player. However, his debut provided enough excitement to suggest he can hold down the position. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was who this front office targeted initially, before Correa, and that would have been a defense-only option that ultimately filled the void. Now facing a similar scenario, the front office will need to navigate a path forward. Despite the position being arguably one of the most important on the diamond, there are not a ton of options this winter. That is unless you want to play in the deep end of the pool. Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, and Correa are going to be the top tier, but from there it’s quite a drop-off. Minnesota would seem an unlikely landing spot for Chicago White Sox Tim Anderson. He’s not a good defender, and a long-term deal there doesn’t make much sense. They could opt for an Ehire Adrianza reunion, but Jermaine Palacios would probably have been a better option before he was DFA’d and claimed by the Tigers. Both Elvis Andrus and Aledmys Diaz check the veteran box with some offensive upside, but it’s hard to envision either being an ideal fit for the Twins. Andrus provided production in just a limited sample, and Diaz hasn’t held down a single position in years. With external options waning and one name still yet to be discussed, things keep coming back to Jose Iglesias. The well-traveled veteran is coming off a one-year deal with the Colorado Rockies. He’s never been more than a league-average hitter, outside of the 2020 outlier with the Baltimore Orioles, but he does hit for a solid average. Defensively Iglesias has rated poorly from a Defensive Runs Saved standpoint, but has been roughly even when it comes to outs above average. As a whole, he’s the ideal type of player to operate in a stopgap role. There should be little reason Minnesota would need to pay handsomely for Iglesias. He made just $5 million last season in Colorado, and likely could be had for a similar amount in his age-33 season. Iglesias has been a reliably healthy option for years now, and could certainly hold down the fort until Lewis is ready to make his return. There’s no reason to suggest that Iglesias would be a big move for Minnesota, and if anything, it’d likely be received somewhat poorly. Coming off Correa though, the only way to lessen the blow is by re-upping on a new deal or swinging big on one of the other top two options. Going the stopgap route at shortstop could allow the Twins more funds to hand out elsewhere, however. Ultimately, there are not a ton of options on the free agent market. It doesn’t make much sense for Minnesota to swing a trade for a shortstop, and if they aren’t paying Correa, it’s odd to think they’d spend on someone else. Iglesias is where I’d put the highest odds at this point, especially considering the lack of internal options. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- See where Jose Iglesias ranks among free-agent shortstops according to Cody's article from yesterday. View full article
  18. The Twins expect Carlos Correa to opt out of his contract, which leaves the team searching for a replacement. Here are the top available shortstops expected to be on the free-agent market. Image courtesy of Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Minnesota is in an interesting situation looking at the 2023 roster. How should the team approach the shortstop position? The Twins expect Royce Lewis to return in the middle of next season, and there’s hope he can be the team’s long-term answer at shortstop. Lewis’ presence leaves the Twins with two options. The team can sign one of the top available shortstops or look for a stop-gap player until Lewis is ready. 5. Elvis Andrus, SS Age: 34 2022 Stats: .249/.303/.404 (.707), 103 OPS+, 32 2B, 17 HR, 18 SB, 3.0 WAR Andrus has a $15 million option that he can exercise since he had more than 550 plate appearances this season, so there is no guarantee that he will hit the open market. He seems like a solid stop-gap option for the Twins if he is available. His OPS improved by 100 points after leaving Oakland last season, and he finished with an above-average OPS+. He may have lost a step defensively, but that’s expected as someone heads into their mid-30s. SABR’s Defensive Index had Andrus ranked as the ninth-best shortstop in the American League. Andrus and his representatives need to gauge the market to decide if he can get more than $15 million in guaranteed money. 4. Dansby Swanson, SS Age: 29 2022 Stats: .277/.329/.447 (.776), 115 OPS+, 32 2B, 25 HR, 18 SB, 5.7 WAR Swanson is hitting the free-agent market at the perfect time. He was a first-time All-Star in 2022 and has a World Series title on his resume. Some of the other players on this list will get more significant deals, but Swanson will be able to cash in on a tremendous 2022 season. Even with his breakout season, Swanson has a career OPS+ (95) that is below average. He makes up for his offensive flaws with tremendous defense, with only two NL shortstops ranking higher than him in SDI. Teams need to decide if the 2022 version of Swanson is real before handing him a blank check. 3. Xander Bogaerts, SS Age: 30 2022 Stats: .307/.377/.456 (.833), 131 OPS+, 38 2B, 15 HR, 8 SB, 5.7 WAR Bogaerts has the resume every team wants from a free agent. He plays a premium position, is a four-time All-Star, has two World Series titles, and has four Silver Sluggers. He does have three years remaining on his current contract, but many expect him to opt-out. The one knock against Bogaerts is that he is older than the other top players on this list. Only two AL shortstops ranked higher than him, according to SDI. He will get paid like a top-tier player by one of the teams in the free-agent shortstop market. 2. Carlos Correa, SS Age: 28 2022 Stats: .291/.366/.467 (.834), 140 OPS+, 24 2B, 22 HR, 0 SB, 5.4 WAR Correa made his opt-out decision clear as the season ended. He is heading back to the free agent market for the second straight offseason in an attempt to sign a long-term deal. Last winter, Corey Seager received the largest free agent shortstop contract at ten years and $325 million. Correa is likely searching for a similar amount. Twins fans may feel underwhelmed by Correa’s performance this season with the Twins, but his season totals were similar to other years in his career. He was a tremendous hitter with plus defense. However, he failed to produce in some clutch situations and his best offensive months were near the season’s end when the team fell out of the race. Minnesota has payroll flexibility to sign Correa, but it would be out of character for the front office to make that type of commitment. 1. Trea Turner, SS Age: 29 2022 Stats: .298/.343/.466 (.809), 121 OPS+, 39 2B, 21 HR, 27 SB, 4.9 WAR Outside of Aaron Judge, Turner is likely to get the biggest free-agent contract. He is a true five-tool talent with skills on both sides of the ball and elite speed. He’s stolen 30 or more bases in five seasons, even in an era when teams are less inclined to run. Plenty of front offices will be willing to throw piles of money at Turner to a top-of-the-order hitter that takes their team to the next level. He’s won a batting title, he’s won a World Series, and he’s a multi-time All-Star. Minnesota isn’t going to sign Turner, but his contract will likely point to how much it will cost to sign Correa long-term. Do you see any of these shortstops as fits for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  19. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine made arguably the biggest splash of their tenure leading the Twins when they inked Carlos Correa to a deal last offseason. Ultimately, after pawning Josh Donaldson off on the New York Yankees, Correa fell in their laps. Minnesota had substantial money to spend, and a need that he could fill. This offseason, that same reality remains true, but Correa should have suitors willing to pay him Francisco Lindor money. It’s probably unlikely that the Twins are one of them. So, where does that leave a team waiting on Royce Lewis’ eventual return? It’s a big gamble to believe Lewis, coming off a second ACL surgery, will be the same player. However, his debut provided enough excitement to suggest he can hold down the position. Isiah Kiner-Falefa was who this front office targeted initially, before Correa, and that would have been a defense-only option that ultimately filled the void. Now facing a similar scenario, the front office will need to navigate a path forward. Despite the position being arguably one of the most important on the diamond, there are not a ton of options this winter. That is unless you want to play in the deep end of the pool. Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, and Correa are going to be the top tier, but from there it’s quite a drop-off. Minnesota would seem an unlikely landing spot for Chicago White Sox Tim Anderson. He’s not a good defender, and a long-term deal there doesn’t make much sense. They could opt for an Ehire Adrianza reunion, but Jermaine Palacios would probably have been a better option before he was DFA’d and claimed by the Tigers. Both Elvis Andrus and Aledmys Diaz check the veteran box with some offensive upside, but it’s hard to envision either being an ideal fit for the Twins. Andrus provided production in just a limited sample, and Diaz hasn’t held down a single position in years. With external options waning and one name still yet to be discussed, things keep coming back to Jose Iglesias. The well-traveled veteran is coming off a one-year deal with the Colorado Rockies. He’s never been more than a league-average hitter, outside of the 2020 outlier with the Baltimore Orioles, but he does hit for a solid average. Defensively Iglesias has rated poorly from a Defensive Runs Saved standpoint, but has been roughly even when it comes to outs above average. As a whole, he’s the ideal type of player to operate in a stopgap role. There should be little reason Minnesota would need to pay handsomely for Iglesias. He made just $5 million last season in Colorado, and likely could be had for a similar amount in his age-33 season. Iglesias has been a reliably healthy option for years now, and could certainly hold down the fort until Lewis is ready to make his return. There’s no reason to suggest that Iglesias would be a big move for Minnesota, and if anything, it’d likely be received somewhat poorly. Coming off Correa though, the only way to lessen the blow is by re-upping on a new deal or swinging big on one of the other top two options. Going the stopgap route at shortstop could allow the Twins more funds to hand out elsewhere, however. Ultimately, there are not a ton of options on the free agent market. It doesn’t make much sense for Minnesota to swing a trade for a shortstop, and if they aren’t paying Correa, it’s odd to think they’d spend on someone else. Iglesias is where I’d put the highest odds at this point, especially considering the lack of internal options. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- See where Jose Iglesias ranks among free-agent shortstops according to Cody's article from yesterday.
  20. Minnesota is in an interesting situation looking at the 2023 roster. How should the team approach the shortstop position? The Twins expect Royce Lewis to return in the middle of next season, and there’s hope he can be the team’s long-term answer at shortstop. Lewis’ presence leaves the Twins with two options. The team can sign one of the top available shortstops or look for a stop-gap player until Lewis is ready. 5. Elvis Andrus, SS Age: 34 2022 Stats: .249/.303/.404 (.707), 103 OPS+, 32 2B, 17 HR, 18 SB, 3.0 WAR Andrus has a $15 million option that he can exercise since he had more than 550 plate appearances this season, so there is no guarantee that he will hit the open market. He seems like a solid stop-gap option for the Twins if he is available. His OPS improved by 100 points after leaving Oakland last season, and he finished with an above-average OPS+. He may have lost a step defensively, but that’s expected as someone heads into their mid-30s. SABR’s Defensive Index had Andrus ranked as the ninth-best shortstop in the American League. Andrus and his representatives need to gauge the market to decide if he can get more than $15 million in guaranteed money. 4. Dansby Swanson, SS Age: 29 2022 Stats: .277/.329/.447 (.776), 115 OPS+, 32 2B, 25 HR, 18 SB, 5.7 WAR Swanson is hitting the free-agent market at the perfect time. He was a first-time All-Star in 2022 and has a World Series title on his resume. Some of the other players on this list will get more significant deals, but Swanson will be able to cash in on a tremendous 2022 season. Even with his breakout season, Swanson has a career OPS+ (95) that is below average. He makes up for his offensive flaws with tremendous defense, with only two NL shortstops ranking higher than him in SDI. Teams need to decide if the 2022 version of Swanson is real before handing him a blank check. 3. Xander Bogaerts, SS Age: 30 2022 Stats: .307/.377/.456 (.833), 131 OPS+, 38 2B, 15 HR, 8 SB, 5.7 WAR Bogaerts has the resume every team wants from a free agent. He plays a premium position, is a four-time All-Star, has two World Series titles, and has four Silver Sluggers. He does have three years remaining on his current contract, but many expect him to opt-out. The one knock against Bogaerts is that he is older than the other top players on this list. Only two AL shortstops ranked higher than him, according to SDI. He will get paid like a top-tier player by one of the teams in the free-agent shortstop market. 2. Carlos Correa, SS Age: 28 2022 Stats: .291/.366/.467 (.834), 140 OPS+, 24 2B, 22 HR, 0 SB, 5.4 WAR Correa made his opt-out decision clear as the season ended. He is heading back to the free agent market for the second straight offseason in an attempt to sign a long-term deal. Last winter, Corey Seager received the largest free agent shortstop contract at ten years and $325 million. Correa is likely searching for a similar amount. Twins fans may feel underwhelmed by Correa’s performance this season with the Twins, but his season totals were similar to other years in his career. He was a tremendous hitter with plus defense. However, he failed to produce in some clutch situations and his best offensive months were near the season’s end when the team fell out of the race. Minnesota has payroll flexibility to sign Correa, but it would be out of character for the front office to make that type of commitment. 1. Trea Turner, SS Age: 29 2022 Stats: .298/.343/.466 (.809), 121 OPS+, 39 2B, 21 HR, 27 SB, 4.9 WAR Outside of Aaron Judge, Turner is likely to get the biggest free-agent contract. He is a true five-tool talent with skills on both sides of the ball and elite speed. He’s stolen 30 or more bases in five seasons, even in an era when teams are less inclined to run. Plenty of front offices will be willing to throw piles of money at Turner to a top-of-the-order hitter that takes their team to the next level. He’s won a batting title, he’s won a World Series, and he’s a multi-time All-Star. Minnesota isn’t going to sign Turner, but his contract will likely point to how much it will cost to sign Correa long-term. Do you see any of these shortstops as fits for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  21. Carlos Correa was always expected to opt out of his contract with the Twins. Now, the focus turns to if the Twins can re-sign their superstar shortstop. Here are six teams that Minnesota might need to outbid for Correa’s services. Image courtesy of Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Last week, Carlos Correa made it clear that he plans to opt-out of his contract with the Twins. This wasn’t a surprise as he and his representation feel that he is deserving of a long-term deal similar to other top-tier shortstops. Last winter, Corey Seager signed a 10-year, $325 million contract as one of the best shortstops on the market. Seager and Correa are similar ages, so it makes sense for Correa to want a similar contract. Not every team will be looking for a shortstop this winter, but some of baseball’s biggest spenders have a shortstop need. Here are six teams that can potentially be in a bidding war for Correa. Atlanta Braves The Braves surprised many by getting hot last October and going on a World Series run. One of the key cogs in their line-up has been Dansby Swanson, who is heading to free agency this winter. Swanson is having a career year as he has a 116 OPS+ and was a first-time All-Star. Correa is seven months younger than Swanson and has a better track record at the big-league level. If the Braves fail to repeat, will they want to make a change at shortstop? Chicago White Sox Not much went right for the White Sox this season, and now the team will have a new manager for the 2023 campaign. Experts widely projected Chicago to win the AL Central, but injuries and poor play impacted the team throughout the year. Tim Anderson has been one of the team’s regulars in recent seasons, so the team would need to move him to another position to sign Correa. Will the White Sox want to make a big splash for their new manager? Boston Red Sox Boston will be looking to fill a hole at shortstop as Xander Bogaerts will be a free agent this winter. The four-time All-Star is two years older than Swanson and Correa, so his cost will be significantly less. They added Trevor Story on a six-year contract in the spring, so they could just move him back to the position. The Red Sox expected to contend this season, but they finished in last place in a very competitive AL East. Is it time for a rebuild in Boston, or will the front office try to prop open the club’s winning window? Philadelphia Phillies The Phillies backed into the playoffs as the NL’s third Wild Card team without playing very well down the stretch. Bryson Stott has played most of the team’s games at shortstop and has an 80 OPS+ for the season. Considering what Bryce Harper and Correa could do in the middle of Philadelphia’s line-up must be intriguing. Will the Phillies be willing to hand out another monster contract? Los Angeles Dodgers Dodgers fans might implode if Correa signs with the club after the Astros used an elaborate cheating scandal in previous playoff appearances. That being said, LA needs a shortstop for next season as Trea Turner will join Correa on the free agent market. The Dodgers seem more likely to re-sign Turner, especially with how high the club’s payroll has been in recent years. Can the Dodgers look past the cheating scandal from Correa and the Astros? New York Yankees The Yankees dominated the AL for a large portion of the 2022 season, but struggles in the second half might point to some flaws with the team. Isiah Kiner Falefa was the team’s primary shortstop and posted an 85 OPS+ for the season. The Yankees top two prospects are shortstops as well. New York also has to worry about resigning Aaron Judge this winter. If the Yankees fall short of their World Series goal, will the club be willing to hand out two giant contracts to free agents? Will the Twins be able to outbid any of these teams for Correa? Where do you think he signs? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  22. Last week, Carlos Correa made it clear that he plans to opt-out of his contract with the Twins. This wasn’t a surprise as he and his representation feel that he is deserving of a long-term deal similar to other top-tier shortstops. Last winter, Corey Seager signed a 10-year, $325 million contract as one of the best shortstops on the market. Seager and Correa are similar ages, so it makes sense for Correa to want a similar contract. Not every team will be looking for a shortstop this winter, but some of baseball’s biggest spenders have a shortstop need. Here are six teams that can potentially be in a bidding war for Correa. Atlanta Braves The Braves surprised many by getting hot last October and going on a World Series run. One of the key cogs in their line-up has been Dansby Swanson, who is heading to free agency this winter. Swanson is having a career year as he has a 116 OPS+ and was a first-time All-Star. Correa is seven months younger than Swanson and has a better track record at the big-league level. If the Braves fail to repeat, will they want to make a change at shortstop? Chicago White Sox Not much went right for the White Sox this season, and now the team will have a new manager for the 2023 campaign. Experts widely projected Chicago to win the AL Central, but injuries and poor play impacted the team throughout the year. Tim Anderson has been one of the team’s regulars in recent seasons, so the team would need to move him to another position to sign Correa. Will the White Sox want to make a big splash for their new manager? Boston Red Sox Boston will be looking to fill a hole at shortstop as Xander Bogaerts will be a free agent this winter. The four-time All-Star is two years older than Swanson and Correa, so his cost will be significantly less. They added Trevor Story on a six-year contract in the spring, so they could just move him back to the position. The Red Sox expected to contend this season, but they finished in last place in a very competitive AL East. Is it time for a rebuild in Boston, or will the front office try to prop open the club’s winning window? Philadelphia Phillies The Phillies backed into the playoffs as the NL’s third Wild Card team without playing very well down the stretch. Bryson Stott has played most of the team’s games at shortstop and has an 80 OPS+ for the season. Considering what Bryce Harper and Correa could do in the middle of Philadelphia’s line-up must be intriguing. Will the Phillies be willing to hand out another monster contract? Los Angeles Dodgers Dodgers fans might implode if Correa signs with the club after the Astros used an elaborate cheating scandal in previous playoff appearances. That being said, LA needs a shortstop for next season as Trea Turner will join Correa on the free agent market. The Dodgers seem more likely to re-sign Turner, especially with how high the club’s payroll has been in recent years. Can the Dodgers look past the cheating scandal from Correa and the Astros? New York Yankees The Yankees dominated the AL for a large portion of the 2022 season, but struggles in the second half might point to some flaws with the team. Isiah Kiner Falefa was the team’s primary shortstop and posted an 85 OPS+ for the season. The Yankees top two prospects are shortstops as well. New York also has to worry about resigning Aaron Judge this winter. If the Yankees fall short of their World Series goal, will the club be willing to hand out two giant contracts to free agents? Will the Twins be able to outbid any of these teams for Correa? Where do you think he signs? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  23. The Minnesota Twins are all but expecting Carlos Correa to opt out, and that should be seen as a near certainty, but is the big payday really there? With another loaded free agent class, the answer isn’t as certain. An immediate note on Carlos Correa opting out should be that it does not mean his time with the Minnesota Twins is done. He’s going to opt out because it makes sense for him to do so from a longevity standpoint. Soon-to-be 28-years-old, Correa would be better off landing a long-term deal as opposed to playing next season at $35.1 million. If he kept this current contract, he’d hit the market again at 30-years-old, making the long-term expectation that much more contentious. This offseason Correa had Scott Boras angle for $35.1 million. That extra $100,000 landed Correa the highest paying deal for a Major League infielder by average annual value. It came in ahead of another Boras client in Anthony Rendon. To a certain extent, Correa has already earned a record deal. Now, what does he want to do from here? Looking at things as they stand currently, Correa would be no better than the 4th best option in terms of 2022 fWAR among 2023 free agents. Dansby Swanson (5.2) leads the position, with Trea Turner (4.7) just behind him and Xander Bogaerts (4.2) coming in third. Correa’s 2.2 fWAR checks in 13th among qualified shortstops. Age wise, Turner is a bit older at 29 while Swanson is less than a year separated from Minnesota’s shortstop. Bogaerts paces the group at nearly 30-years-old, which could provide an interesting case study for Correa should he surprisingly choose to play out the string on his deal now. Making just $20 million through 2024, Bogaerts is all but certain to opt out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox, and it seems there’s been little dialogue regarding an extension. I think you can make the case that Turner is a superior player to Correa, while Swanson’s emergence has been more recent. Bogaerts is probably ahead of the Puerto Rican as well, but again, has a bit of age constraints going against him. Then there’s the understanding that the market would need to shift substantially. Last year Correa was looking for that big $300 million deal. He never found it, and instead signed with the Twins. Sure, the Los Angeles Dodgers could be in play needing to replace Turner, but that’d be pretty awkward given the reality that he’s the fanbase's favorite player to boo. It’s tough to see the New York Yankees getting in after opting for Isiah Kiner-Falefa instead, and having Anthony Volpe as their top prospect near ready to go. With that, you’ve immediately taken out two of the top spenders. Oh, and Steve Cohen already has Francisco Lindor with the New York Mets. So, where does that leave Correa? If last winter was a cold shoulder, maybe this one is even moreso. There’s no denying he’s an elite talent, and he’s going to get paid, but maybe not to the extent he hopes. A five or six year deal may happen, but it will come at a substantially lesser average annual value. A six-year deal at $200 million isn’t much of a drop, still $33.3 million. I don’t know that $150 million gets it done, but over five years that’s still $30 million per season. The decision probably lands on what level of future security is desired, and how much the average annual value matters. Anything close to either of those scenarios would be a record spend for Minnesota, but given the current financial obligations, it’s a pool they could certainly play in. Not having to fight against the biggest markets, Correa opting-out could ultimately result in him choosing to return to a place he’s stated feeling comfortable. Noted as a homebody, maybe weight is placed on not moving again, and this is certainly a fanbase that would embrace him for the long term. Having a left side of the infield that includes Royce Lewis and Correa for something like the next handful of years would be quite the stabilizing force for a team looking to take another step forward. View full article
  24. An immediate note on Carlos Correa opting out should be that it does not mean his time with the Minnesota Twins is done. He’s going to opt out because it makes sense for him to do so from a longevity standpoint. Soon-to-be 28-years-old, Correa would be better off landing a long-term deal as opposed to playing next season at $35.1 million. If he kept this current contract, he’d hit the market again at 30-years-old, making the long-term expectation that much more contentious. This offseason Correa had Scott Boras angle for $35.1 million. That extra $100,000 landed Correa the highest paying deal for a Major League infielder by average annual value. It came in ahead of another Boras client in Anthony Rendon. To a certain extent, Correa has already earned a record deal. Now, what does he want to do from here? Looking at things as they stand currently, Correa would be no better than the 4th best option in terms of 2022 fWAR among 2023 free agents. Dansby Swanson (5.2) leads the position, with Trea Turner (4.7) just behind him and Xander Bogaerts (4.2) coming in third. Correa’s 2.2 fWAR checks in 13th among qualified shortstops. Age wise, Turner is a bit older at 29 while Swanson is less than a year separated from Minnesota’s shortstop. Bogaerts paces the group at nearly 30-years-old, which could provide an interesting case study for Correa should he surprisingly choose to play out the string on his deal now. Making just $20 million through 2024, Bogaerts is all but certain to opt out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox, and it seems there’s been little dialogue regarding an extension. I think you can make the case that Turner is a superior player to Correa, while Swanson’s emergence has been more recent. Bogaerts is probably ahead of the Puerto Rican as well, but again, has a bit of age constraints going against him. Then there’s the understanding that the market would need to shift substantially. Last year Correa was looking for that big $300 million deal. He never found it, and instead signed with the Twins. Sure, the Los Angeles Dodgers could be in play needing to replace Turner, but that’d be pretty awkward given the reality that he’s the fanbase's favorite player to boo. It’s tough to see the New York Yankees getting in after opting for Isiah Kiner-Falefa instead, and having Anthony Volpe as their top prospect near ready to go. With that, you’ve immediately taken out two of the top spenders. Oh, and Steve Cohen already has Francisco Lindor with the New York Mets. So, where does that leave Correa? If last winter was a cold shoulder, maybe this one is even moreso. There’s no denying he’s an elite talent, and he’s going to get paid, but maybe not to the extent he hopes. A five or six year deal may happen, but it will come at a substantially lesser average annual value. A six-year deal at $200 million isn’t much of a drop, still $33.3 million. I don’t know that $150 million gets it done, but over five years that’s still $30 million per season. The decision probably lands on what level of future security is desired, and how much the average annual value matters. Anything close to either of those scenarios would be a record spend for Minnesota, but given the current financial obligations, it’s a pool they could certainly play in. Not having to fight against the biggest markets, Correa opting-out could ultimately result in him choosing to return to a place he’s stated feeling comfortable. Noted as a homebody, maybe weight is placed on not moving again, and this is certainly a fanbase that would embrace him for the long term. Having a left side of the infield that includes Royce Lewis and Correa for something like the next handful of years would be quite the stabilizing force for a team looking to take another step forward.
  25. WHO IS HE? McKay is a left-handed pitcher and first baseman from the University of Louisville. He was originally drafted in the 34th round of the 2014 draft by the San Diego Padres. His commitment to Louisville was strong and that decision seems to have paid off. McKay is 6-2, 220 pounds and was born on December 18, 1995. WHY THE TWINS WILL DRAFT HIM McKay has been a legitimate two-way threat during his collegiate career. As a freshman, he hit .308/.418/.431. He followed that up by hitting .333/.415/.513 as a sophomore. On the mound, he was even more impressive. Over 97 innings during his first year, he posted a 1.77 ERA with a 117 to 34 strikeout to walk ratio. He avoided a sophomore slump with a 2.30 ERA and a 128 to 42 strikeout to walk ratio over 110 innings. During his junior campaign, McKay has made huge strides at the plate. He's combined for a 1.159 OPS and 17 home runs which is more homers than his first two seasons combined. On the mound, he ranks in the NCAA's top-10 for strikeouts despite having pitched fewer innings than all but one the other pitchers in the top-10. MLB.com columnist Jim Callis told USA Today that he doesn't believe there has been a prospect who was equally highly regarded as both a pitcher and a hitter as McKay since Dave Winfield out of the University of Minnesota in 1973. Winfield, a Minnesota native, went on to a Hall of Fame career as a hitter and that comparison could make the Twins want to pull the trigger on McKay. WHY THE TWINS WON'T DRAFT HIM As the season has stretched on, McKay has seen some wear and tear from playing on both sides of the ball. His fastball has dropped to 88-91 mph but he has also been working on adding a cut fastball. He hasn't been able to refine pitching or hitting since he has been spending time doing both. His velocity isn't overwhelming and it's not hard for big league teams to find a first baseman/DH who can hit for power. McKay's stock has definitely dropped as the spring has progressed. He doesn't have the athletic ability of some other top college picks from recent years like Kris Bryant or Dansby Swanson. If McKay's future is on the mound, there are better pitchers the Twins will look at before taking McKay. Baseball America also thinks McKay would be better suited to be part of a National League organization. This would allow him to continue to pitch and hit on a regular basis. Even with a slow end to his spring, McKay is still one of the first names Commissioner Manfred will announce on June 12. Will he be trading in a Cardinals jersey for new Twins digs? Other draft-related articles: Twins Daily Draft Preview Royce Lewis Pavin Smith 10-Round Mock Draft
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