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  1. "The rush of acquiring and sending away assets is unbeatable. We’re hooked, baby,” said a manic Falvey. The pace of the Twins offseason went from zero to 100 once the lockout ended, with a flurry of moves by Minnesota’s management duo (President of Baseball Ops Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine) leading to a radically different opening day lineup. And the pace has not slowed down. Shortly after moving closer Taylor Rogers and prospect Brent Rooker to the Padres for pitchers Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan, the team announced that they traded team mascot TC Bear to the Jacksonville (FL) Zoo and Gardens. In return, they’re receiving a significant number of snakes, reptiles, and other creatures. “I’m just going to come right out and say that I don’t know what we’re going to do with a half-dozen Burmese pythons,” said Falvey. “But we hadn’t made a trade in a good 2-3 hours, and the rush of acquiring and sending away assets is unbeatable. We’re hooked, baby!” Levine, who said he hasn’t slept since Monday afternoon, was equally enthused if unclear about the trade. “Do you know if a monitor lizard is cool with letting relievers ride him out of the bullpen,” said Levine. “I don’t want to get on PETA’s radar, but I’ll be honest, I don’t know where we’re going to put him otherwise. GOD I LOVE TRADING, CAN’T BEAT IT.” Neither Falvey nor Levine would comment on the fact that TC Bear is not a real bear, but in fact a person in a pretend bear costume who is being sent to a zoo to live among real bears that will likely visit mind-bending violence upon him. “He’s dealing with it as best he can,” said a source close to the man who wears the costume. “Is it as bad as when (former Twin) Andrelton Simmons demanded to speak to the mayor of the talking bear village where TC Bear lives about repealing their mask mandate? No. Still, the threat of mauling is one he takes seriously.” The team says there are no further moves in the offing, and rumors that Minnesota is trading an old Metrodome urinal trough for a shoebox of expired prescription drugs are unfounded but they're very open to it and would throw in a gently-used Mike Maksudian. View full article
  2. The pace of the Twins offseason went from zero to 100 once the lockout ended, with a flurry of moves by Minnesota’s management duo (President of Baseball Ops Derek Falvey and GM Thad Levine) leading to a radically different opening day lineup. And the pace has not slowed down. Shortly after moving closer Taylor Rogers and prospect Brent Rooker to the Padres for pitchers Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan, the team announced that they traded team mascot TC Bear to the Jacksonville (FL) Zoo and Gardens. In return, they’re receiving a significant number of snakes, reptiles, and other creatures. “I’m just going to come right out and say that I don’t know what we’re going to do with a half-dozen Burmese pythons,” said Falvey. “But we hadn’t made a trade in a good 2-3 hours, and the rush of acquiring and sending away assets is unbeatable. We’re hooked, baby!” Levine, who said he hasn’t slept since Monday afternoon, was equally enthused if unclear about the trade. “Do you know if a monitor lizard is cool with letting relievers ride him out of the bullpen,” said Levine. “I don’t want to get on PETA’s radar, but I’ll be honest, I don’t know where we’re going to put him otherwise. GOD I LOVE TRADING, CAN’T BEAT IT.” Neither Falvey nor Levine would comment on the fact that TC Bear is not a real bear, but in fact a person in a pretend bear costume who is being sent to a zoo to live among real bears that will likely visit mind-bending violence upon him. “He’s dealing with it as best he can,” said a source close to the man who wears the costume. “Is it as bad as when (former Twin) Andrelton Simmons demanded to speak to the mayor of the talking bear village where TC Bear lives about repealing their mask mandate? No. Still, the threat of mauling is one he takes seriously.” The team says there are no further moves in the offing, and rumors that Minnesota is trading an old Metrodome urinal trough for a shoebox of expired prescription drugs are unfounded but they're very open to it and would throw in a gently-used Mike Maksudian.
  3. On March 19th, the Twins officially announced the signing of reliever Joe Smith to a one-year deal. It was the quintessential Derek Falvey acquisition. The team ignored declining velocity, instead choosing to bank on Smith’s historic consistency—a consistency that stems from his unique traits that fly in the face of the modern velocity obsession—to carry him for one more season. It may be only one move, but the signing, on top of a handful of other moves by the front office, signals a divergence away from the general baseball consensus and may define the team’s future. In the fanfare and celebration of signing Carlos Correa, you'd be forgiven if you missed the Twins inking 38-year-old Joe Smith to a one-year pact. Smith, an MLB pitcher since the Bush administration, is precisely the style of reliever favored by Falvey and company. His average fastball hasn’t tickled 90 MPH in years, and much of his effectiveness is rooted in “funkiness,” a pitching trait in the Potter Stewart philosophy of “I know it when I see it.” In the case of Smith, his unique, low arm slot is his special calling card. Smith now joins the likes of Matt Belisle, Fernando Rodney, Zach Duke, Sergio Romo, and Tyler Clippard as an “unusual Twins reliever” acquired during the Falvey regime. That is to say, these bullpeners are (or were) atypical in their archetype—age or poor fastball velocity lowered the industry opinion of them, whether fair or not. But the Twins, perhaps believing in a philosophical blind spot, decided to trust in their past effectiveness and were rewarded with mixed but generally positive results. Belisle caught fire in the second half of 2017 to help lead the team to their first playoff appearance in seven years, Rodney and Duke both performed just well enough to net prospects in 2018, Romo was crucial in cementing a shaky Twins bullpen in 2019, and Clippard was a quality reliever for the Twins during the truncated 2020 season. Of course, the Twins haven’t solely focused on cast-offs from the island of misfit toys; they have signed or acquired more prototypical relievers like Addison Reed, Sam Dyson, and Alex Colomé on top of their usual assortment of unique funkmasters. Funny enough, it seems like they have had better fortune with odd relievers than with your more standard ones, but that isn’t quite the point of this article. Why ignore velocity? The Twins, as pointed out by Tom Froemming, had a velocity problem in May 2021 and had not fixed that issue by October 2021. It is March 2022, and the symptoms still persist. None of the four assumed starters possess an average fastball velocity that tops 93 MPH—a fact entirely at odds with the front office’s implications that velocity would be a top priority when they took over command of decision-making in 2016. Both newly-acquired starters, Sonny Gray and Dylan Bundy, are more masters of breaking balls than fireballers. Taylor Rogers and Jorge Alcala are the only true flamethrowers established in the bullpen. When diagnosing the malady, we must remember that there is nuance in team building; teams like the Twins count all their chips to the last penny as their room for error is smaller than other franchises. The team could quickly cash in and deal their top prospects for high-octane arms or sign the fastest-tossing relievers with little care for the long-term implications of those decisions. Still, such moves would not only likely hurt the franchise, but it would also open them up to being dunked on by randoms on Twitter years in the future, and that’s a risk no one wants to take. Why ignore velocity? Velocity is expensive, perhaps too much so. Corey Knebel (96.5 MPH) signed for $10 million, Joe Kelly (98.1 MPH) signed for $17 million over two years, and Kendall Graveman (96.5 MPH), signed for $24 million over three years. With no disrespect, none of those three players have been particularly consistent in their performance (or with health), but teams see their “stuff” and can’t help but imagine a perfect world where it all comes together for such a player. Trading for velocity can also be expensive. The White Sox parted with two young, talented players in Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer to acquire Craig Kimbrel, the Padres gave up their 9th best prospect, Mason Thompson, for half a season of Daniel Hudson, and the fact that the Twins received anyone for Hansel Robles showed that teams are willing to ignore performance in favor of the allure of stuff. The same can be said for prospects. Arms that can sit in the high-90s are valued highly because the upside of that player is tantalizing. We’ve seen the natural sheen of “stuff” blind teams into ignoring risk because they see the next Roger Clemens in an arm that will likely flame out in high-A. The Twins have recognized this and seem to tap their higher-velo arms in deals; Huascar Ynoa, Luis Gil, Brusdar Graterol, and Chase Petty all own big fastballs, but now pitch for other organizations. The guess is that the team is leveraging industry opinions on fastball velocity to acquire major-league talent they otherwise could not have if the pitcher were your average 93-95 MPH Joe. Or, to simplify, they think other teams over-value fastballs and are trying to find value in overlooked arms. Consider the Smith signing; $2.5 million for Joe Smith’s consistency is a bargain if you choose to look at his performance absent velocity implications. The Gray trade looks exquisite as well. Acquiring a great starting pitcher for a pitcher four or so years away from debuting is a masterclass in fleecing. Has it worked? The results are iffy. Twins pitching was undeniably elite in 2019 and 2020 when their team average fastball velocity sat in the bottom five of the league but fell off entirely in 2021. We shall see how 2022 plays out, but the prospects so far do not look good. Shoot, 43-year-old Johan Santana might be an upgrade to the starting rotation. That isn’t to say the team is completely ignoring velocity. Jordan Balazovic is capable of sitting 94-95, Jhoan Duran hits 100 daily, Josh Winder can sit in the mid-90s, and Matt Canterino can do the same. The team is still focusing on velocity, but more on developing said heat, not paying for it upfront. If a pitching prospect can throw hard, great, but their velocity isn’t as prioritized as other aspects of their game. If another team overvalues a prospect’s velocity? Ship him off and receive a more bountiful return than expected. Again, it is unclear if the plan has been successful or not, but the Twins unquestionably believe in their process. View full article
  4. In the fanfare and celebration of signing Carlos Correa, you'd be forgiven if you missed the Twins inking 38-year-old Joe Smith to a one-year pact. Smith, an MLB pitcher since the Bush administration, is precisely the style of reliever favored by Falvey and company. His average fastball hasn’t tickled 90 MPH in years, and much of his effectiveness is rooted in “funkiness,” a pitching trait in the Potter Stewart philosophy of “I know it when I see it.” In the case of Smith, his unique, low arm slot is his special calling card. Smith now joins the likes of Matt Belisle, Fernando Rodney, Zach Duke, Sergio Romo, and Tyler Clippard as an “unusual Twins reliever” acquired during the Falvey regime. That is to say, these bullpeners are (or were) atypical in their archetype—age or poor fastball velocity lowered the industry opinion of them, whether fair or not. But the Twins, perhaps believing in a philosophical blind spot, decided to trust in their past effectiveness and were rewarded with mixed but generally positive results. Belisle caught fire in the second half of 2017 to help lead the team to their first playoff appearance in seven years, Rodney and Duke both performed just well enough to net prospects in 2018, Romo was crucial in cementing a shaky Twins bullpen in 2019, and Clippard was a quality reliever for the Twins during the truncated 2020 season. Of course, the Twins haven’t solely focused on cast-offs from the island of misfit toys; they have signed or acquired more prototypical relievers like Addison Reed, Sam Dyson, and Alex Colomé on top of their usual assortment of unique funkmasters. Funny enough, it seems like they have had better fortune with odd relievers than with your more standard ones, but that isn’t quite the point of this article. Why ignore velocity? The Twins, as pointed out by Tom Froemming, had a velocity problem in May 2021 and had not fixed that issue by October 2021. It is March 2022, and the symptoms still persist. None of the four assumed starters possess an average fastball velocity that tops 93 MPH—a fact entirely at odds with the front office’s implications that velocity would be a top priority when they took over command of decision-making in 2016. Both newly-acquired starters, Sonny Gray and Dylan Bundy, are more masters of breaking balls than fireballers. Taylor Rogers and Jorge Alcala are the only true flamethrowers established in the bullpen. When diagnosing the malady, we must remember that there is nuance in team building; teams like the Twins count all their chips to the last penny as their room for error is smaller than other franchises. The team could quickly cash in and deal their top prospects for high-octane arms or sign the fastest-tossing relievers with little care for the long-term implications of those decisions. Still, such moves would not only likely hurt the franchise, but it would also open them up to being dunked on by randoms on Twitter years in the future, and that’s a risk no one wants to take. Why ignore velocity? Velocity is expensive, perhaps too much so. Corey Knebel (96.5 MPH) signed for $10 million, Joe Kelly (98.1 MPH) signed for $17 million over two years, and Kendall Graveman (96.5 MPH), signed for $24 million over three years. With no disrespect, none of those three players have been particularly consistent in their performance (or with health), but teams see their “stuff” and can’t help but imagine a perfect world where it all comes together for such a player. Trading for velocity can also be expensive. The White Sox parted with two young, talented players in Nick Madrigal and Codi Heuer to acquire Craig Kimbrel, the Padres gave up their 9th best prospect, Mason Thompson, for half a season of Daniel Hudson, and the fact that the Twins received anyone for Hansel Robles showed that teams are willing to ignore performance in favor of the allure of stuff. The same can be said for prospects. Arms that can sit in the high-90s are valued highly because the upside of that player is tantalizing. We’ve seen the natural sheen of “stuff” blind teams into ignoring risk because they see the next Roger Clemens in an arm that will likely flame out in high-A. The Twins have recognized this and seem to tap their higher-velo arms in deals; Huascar Ynoa, Luis Gil, Brusdar Graterol, and Chase Petty all own big fastballs, but now pitch for other organizations. The guess is that the team is leveraging industry opinions on fastball velocity to acquire major-league talent they otherwise could not have if the pitcher were your average 93-95 MPH Joe. Or, to simplify, they think other teams over-value fastballs and are trying to find value in overlooked arms. Consider the Smith signing; $2.5 million for Joe Smith’s consistency is a bargain if you choose to look at his performance absent velocity implications. The Gray trade looks exquisite as well. Acquiring a great starting pitcher for a pitcher four or so years away from debuting is a masterclass in fleecing. Has it worked? The results are iffy. Twins pitching was undeniably elite in 2019 and 2020 when their team average fastball velocity sat in the bottom five of the league but fell off entirely in 2021. We shall see how 2022 plays out, but the prospects so far do not look good. Shoot, 43-year-old Johan Santana might be an upgrade to the starting rotation. That isn’t to say the team is completely ignoring velocity. Jordan Balazovic is capable of sitting 94-95, Jhoan Duran hits 100 daily, Josh Winder can sit in the mid-90s, and Matt Canterino can do the same. The team is still focusing on velocity, but more on developing said heat, not paying for it upfront. If a pitching prospect can throw hard, great, but their velocity isn’t as prioritized as other aspects of their game. If another team overvalues a prospect’s velocity? Ship him off and receive a more bountiful return than expected. Again, it is unclear if the plan has been successful or not, but the Twins unquestionably believe in their process.
  5. Fort Myers, FL - The Minnesota Twins started their morning in Fort Myers by settling into an auditorium in the Academy. LaTroy Hawkins, Rod Carew, Royce Lewis, and a host of media were present. Scott Boras entered, then did Minnesota’s front office and other dignitaries. Everyone was there for the man of the hour, Carlos Correa. As he put on that #4 jersey, it became official; he’s a Minnesota Twin. If there were two takeaways from this morning’s press conference, Carlos Correa was impressed with Twins leadership and that he’s here to win. Derek Falvey noted his appreciation of the support from ownership in saying, “A momentous day like this, a significant contract like this with a player of Carlos’s stature only happens with the partnership and support of ownership.” Leadership starts at the top, and Correa noted the warmth he felt in an initial Zoom call with Falvey and new manager Rocco Baldelli. “I talked to Rocco, I talked to Derek and Thad, and they made me feel like this was the place for me to be. They made me feel like this was going to be my next home. And when I got off the Zoom call, I told Scott, let’s make it happen. And I told my wife to start packing.” Communication is a big thing for Correa, and in talking through his desires to be in Minnesota, he continued to communicate a desire for winning. Going to a place where he could win was necessary, and there’s no ambiguity as to whether he feels the Twins are a team capable. “I told Rocco, and I told Derek, we’re not seeing this like a one-year thing, we’re seeing this as I want to build a championship culture in this organization, I want to show you guys what I can do, what I can bring to the table, so we can have a long-term relationship at some point.” While there is an opt-out following the first year, Correa’s agent Scott Boras sees this as an opportunity for Carlos to do damage in a place he’s been very successful. “He had told me, 'these are some of the places I see the ball really well.' When he mentioned Minnesota and I went and looked up, and I said, wow, he just has a very small 1.200 OPS over there… I know this, all the AL Central, the Twins have a new explosion weapon, C4.” Correa has played for some great managers in A.J. Hinch and Dusty Baker. Knowing that communication is so vital between the leader of the team and a leader in the clubhouse, it was exciting to hear how glowingly the new shortstop talked of his skipper. “For me, it was just the vibes I got and how they made me feel, especially talking to Rocco and hearing so many great things about him from all the players that played for him. I want to be in a place where I want to feel like I can communicate with my manager, and my manager's going to have my back all the time. That's exactly what I got from Rocco, and he's the guy I'm going to be working closest with. When I feel like I have a manager that I can trust, and I can communicate with, for me, that's a game-changer." A critical focal point remained as the conversation drew on for Correa and the Twins. This was going to be a partnership about winning. Correa has been in situations where the results have taken time, but he’s also experienced the pinnacle of a World Series ring. He said, “The conversations we had were about two and a half hours…it was all about winning. When I get that from them, that makes me excited because I want to take up that challenge. It was not long ago that I was playing for an organization that was last in the big leagues the year before I got there—losing 100-plus games. I know what it takes to build a championship culture within the clubhouse. It starts within the clubhouse and all the way up to the front office. I see that here with the talent that we have, and I see that we can get so much better in order for us to accomplish that goal to ultimately win a championship." Correa was taken the pick before Minnesota Twins Byron Buxton in the 2012 draft. He’s excited to play up the middle with him and has a history of playing alongside him in showcases as they were growing up. He fondly remembers the pre-draft process in Minnesota, “A 17-year-old hitting tanks in Target Field felt pretty cool.” It may be surprising that the Twins are landing such a supreme talent, but Boras thinks that will become more part of the norm. Taking over Correa’s free agency in January after his previous representation went through changes, Boras noted that Minnesota is a place he has young guys like Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, and Austin Martin. Also, in talking about the vast revenues clubs see before the season even starts, he shared a belief talent acquisition will change, saying, “The truth of it is, you’re going to see franchises sign a franchise player, maybe the top franchises will sign two or three. That kind of thing. You’re going to see that with regularity in the game because frankly, it’s a component that is necessary for winning.” At the end of the day, it’s more than apparent that Carlos Correa is extremely excited to be in Minnesota and believes in the ability to lead this organization to a championship and have the leadership in place to supplement him getting there. After a few days focused on public relations, it was back to business for the talented shortstop. He took live at-bats for the first time since the World Series, and he said he hopes to see game action for Minnesota by this weekend. While we may still be pinching ourselves, this is now very much real life. The Twins hauled in a big fish, and it seems like he wants to be here to stay. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  6. If there were two takeaways from this morning’s press conference, Carlos Correa was impressed with Twins leadership and that he’s here to win. Derek Falvey noted his appreciation of the support from ownership in saying, “A momentous day like this, a significant contract like this with a player of Carlos’s stature only happens with the partnership and support of ownership.” Leadership starts at the top, and Correa noted the warmth he felt in an initial Zoom call with Falvey and new manager Rocco Baldelli. “I talked to Rocco, I talked to Derek and Thad, and they made me feel like this was the place for me to be. They made me feel like this was going to be my next home. And when I got off the Zoom call, I told Scott, let’s make it happen. And I told my wife to start packing.” Communication is a big thing for Correa, and in talking through his desires to be in Minnesota, he continued to communicate a desire for winning. Going to a place where he could win was necessary, and there’s no ambiguity as to whether he feels the Twins are a team capable. “I told Rocco, and I told Derek, we’re not seeing this like a one-year thing, we’re seeing this as I want to build a championship culture in this organization, I want to show you guys what I can do, what I can bring to the table, so we can have a long-term relationship at some point.” While there is an opt-out following the first year, Correa’s agent Scott Boras sees this as an opportunity for Carlos to do damage in a place he’s been very successful. “He had told me, 'these are some of the places I see the ball really well.' When he mentioned Minnesota and I went and looked up, and I said, wow, he just has a very small 1.200 OPS over there… I know this, all the AL Central, the Twins have a new explosion weapon, C4.” Correa has played for some great managers in A.J. Hinch and Dusty Baker. Knowing that communication is so vital between the leader of the team and a leader in the clubhouse, it was exciting to hear how glowingly the new shortstop talked of his skipper. “For me, it was just the vibes I got and how they made me feel, especially talking to Rocco and hearing so many great things about him from all the players that played for him. I want to be in a place where I want to feel like I can communicate with my manager, and my manager's going to have my back all the time. That's exactly what I got from Rocco, and he's the guy I'm going to be working closest with. When I feel like I have a manager that I can trust, and I can communicate with, for me, that's a game-changer." A critical focal point remained as the conversation drew on for Correa and the Twins. This was going to be a partnership about winning. Correa has been in situations where the results have taken time, but he’s also experienced the pinnacle of a World Series ring. He said, “The conversations we had were about two and a half hours…it was all about winning. When I get that from them, that makes me excited because I want to take up that challenge. It was not long ago that I was playing for an organization that was last in the big leagues the year before I got there—losing 100-plus games. I know what it takes to build a championship culture within the clubhouse. It starts within the clubhouse and all the way up to the front office. I see that here with the talent that we have, and I see that we can get so much better in order for us to accomplish that goal to ultimately win a championship." Correa was taken the pick before Minnesota Twins Byron Buxton in the 2012 draft. He’s excited to play up the middle with him and has a history of playing alongside him in showcases as they were growing up. He fondly remembers the pre-draft process in Minnesota, “A 17-year-old hitting tanks in Target Field felt pretty cool.” It may be surprising that the Twins are landing such a supreme talent, but Boras thinks that will become more part of the norm. Taking over Correa’s free agency in January after his previous representation went through changes, Boras noted that Minnesota is a place he has young guys like Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, and Austin Martin. Also, in talking about the vast revenues clubs see before the season even starts, he shared a belief talent acquisition will change, saying, “The truth of it is, you’re going to see franchises sign a franchise player, maybe the top franchises will sign two or three. That kind of thing. You’re going to see that with regularity in the game because frankly, it’s a component that is necessary for winning.” At the end of the day, it’s more than apparent that Carlos Correa is extremely excited to be in Minnesota and believes in the ability to lead this organization to a championship and have the leadership in place to supplement him getting there. After a few days focused on public relations, it was back to business for the talented shortstop. He took live at-bats for the first time since the World Series, and he said he hopes to see game action for Minnesota by this weekend. While we may still be pinching ourselves, this is now very much real life. The Twins hauled in a big fish, and it seems like he wants to be here to stay. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. Last week may have been the craziest in organization history for the Minnesota Twins. There was expected pandemonium coming out of the lockout, and Derek Falvey delivered. In his past and present moves, he continues to display flexibility in roster construction. It bodes well for the Twins' chances. When the deal for Carlos Correa became official, the Twins went from having no shortstop to arguably the best in baseball. Inked to a three-year contract worth $105.3 million, Correa gives Minnesota a strong option at a position of need. However, what immediately became apparent in the deal is that there’s an opportunity for everyone to shift things in the future. Correa’s contract includes a limited no-trade clause for 2022, presumably only being open to contenders. Then there are opt-outs for both 2023 and 2024, with full no-trade clauses should he stay with the Twins. Making $35 million this season, Correa has the opportunity to bet on himself should he desire a long-term deal next offseason. Minnesota can pivot from a star talent if things go belly up, and they could really be on the hook for just $35 million should the former Astros star go elsewhere. Before acquiring Correa, Minnesota moved on from Josh Donaldson and the $50 million remaining on his contract. Spending just two seasons in Minnesota, one of which was truncated due to Covid, Donaldson earned just $30 million of his near $100 million contract after becoming the largest free-agent signing in Twins history. Despite a productive 2021 season, in which his legs remained relatively healthy, Falvey chose to pivot from Donaldson and turn the roster over. We’ve seen this shake out as the front office sent Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays rather than being the ones to pay him. Instead of inking their frontline starter to a long-term deal, Minnesota picked up top prospects and then swung a trade for another arm that looks very similar to Berrios. A few seasons ago, we watched Minnesota swing a deal for Jaime Garcia, then with the Atlanta Braves, only to make one start before sending him to the New York Yankees. The 2017 club went on to make the American League Wild Card game, but it was buying and selling at the deadline that helped them go from three games below .500 to seven games above. I’ve been adamant that Minnesota didn’t need to dump Donaldson’s contract to sign Trevor Story (or, as we found out, Carlos Correa). The front office apparently agrees with that sentiment as well, and the greater plan was to shift the roster around. Having acquired a new third baseman, catcher, and now shortstop, there’s plenty of talent to challenge the American League Central and beyond. There are more additions coming for this roster, and ultimately it comes down to who Falvey sees as the best combination of talents and personalities. Over the years, we’ve heard plenty about the Twins being reluctant to sign a free agent pitcher to a long-term deal. That’s generally what the market trends have suggested needs to happen, but we are being shown Minnesota’s willingness to get creative for top talent in ways that don’t hamstring future flexibility. Maybe Sonny Gray isn’t with the Twins past the 2023 season, and maybe Carlos Correa decides to go elsewhere after 2022, but there’s no denying that this front office continues to find a way to give themselves flexibility. Adding talent isn’t a straightforward practice, and having dollars doesn’t necessarily mean spending them on the first long-term deal to be accepted is the best get. Patience is hard to practice while holes need to be filled and options fly off the board. You have to give it to this regime, though; they know what they’re doing even if they march to the beat of their own drum. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  8. When the deal for Carlos Correa became official, the Twins went from having no shortstop to arguably the best in baseball. Inked to a three-year contract worth $105.3 million, Correa gives Minnesota a strong option at a position of need. However, what immediately became apparent in the deal is that there’s an opportunity for everyone to shift things in the future. Correa’s contract includes a limited no-trade clause for 2022, presumably only being open to contenders. Then there are opt-outs for both 2023 and 2024, with full no-trade clauses should he stay with the Twins. Making $35 million this season, Correa has the opportunity to bet on himself should he desire a long-term deal next offseason. Minnesota can pivot from a star talent if things go belly up, and they could really be on the hook for just $35 million should the former Astros star go elsewhere. Before acquiring Correa, Minnesota moved on from Josh Donaldson and the $50 million remaining on his contract. Spending just two seasons in Minnesota, one of which was truncated due to Covid, Donaldson earned just $30 million of his near $100 million contract after becoming the largest free-agent signing in Twins history. Despite a productive 2021 season, in which his legs remained relatively healthy, Falvey chose to pivot from Donaldson and turn the roster over. We’ve seen this shake out as the front office sent Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays rather than being the ones to pay him. Instead of inking their frontline starter to a long-term deal, Minnesota picked up top prospects and then swung a trade for another arm that looks very similar to Berrios. A few seasons ago, we watched Minnesota swing a deal for Jaime Garcia, then with the Atlanta Braves, only to make one start before sending him to the New York Yankees. The 2017 club went on to make the American League Wild Card game, but it was buying and selling at the deadline that helped them go from three games below .500 to seven games above. I’ve been adamant that Minnesota didn’t need to dump Donaldson’s contract to sign Trevor Story (or, as we found out, Carlos Correa). The front office apparently agrees with that sentiment as well, and the greater plan was to shift the roster around. Having acquired a new third baseman, catcher, and now shortstop, there’s plenty of talent to challenge the American League Central and beyond. There are more additions coming for this roster, and ultimately it comes down to who Falvey sees as the best combination of talents and personalities. Over the years, we’ve heard plenty about the Twins being reluctant to sign a free agent pitcher to a long-term deal. That’s generally what the market trends have suggested needs to happen, but we are being shown Minnesota’s willingness to get creative for top talent in ways that don’t hamstring future flexibility. Maybe Sonny Gray isn’t with the Twins past the 2023 season, and maybe Carlos Correa decides to go elsewhere after 2022, but there’s no denying that this front office continues to find a way to give themselves flexibility. Adding talent isn’t a straightforward practice, and having dollars doesn’t necessarily mean spending them on the first long-term deal to be accepted is the best get. Patience is hard to practice while holes need to be filled and options fly off the board. You have to give it to this regime, though; they know what they’re doing even if they march to the beat of their own drum. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  9. Fans and journalists alike learned a valuable lesson early Saturday morning — namely that sleep is for the weak of will — as many awoke to the one good piece of news going on at the moment: Carlos Correa is a Minnesota Twin. Correa, who had only been linked to the Twins in the most daydreamy of scenarios (if that), put pen to paper on a 3-year, $105.3 million contract, making him the highest-paid infielder in MLB history. He will immediately slot in as the team’s starting shortstop and help form one of the league’s most dynamic up-the-middle trios alongside Jorge Polanco and Byron Buxton. The 2012 No. 1 overall pick lived up to the hype during his seven seasons with the Houston Astros, slashing .277/.356/.481 and slugging 133 home runs, culminating in a 5.8 fWAR performance last summer that netted him a top five finish in MVP voting. But his excellence isn’t secluded to the plate. He’s also pretty proficient with the glove, registering 12 outs above average in 2021 and 27 since Statcast was implemented in 2016. (He won the American League’s Platinum Glove last summer, joining Buxton as the only Twins to have brought home the award.) To put it bluntly: In a league replete with shortstop talent, Correa is without question among the best, if not the best all around. Baseball is not like other sports in that a supreme individual talent can single-handedly carry a team into World Series contention. One need not look any further than the Los Angeles Angels for proof. However, the signing of Correa lends even further credence to the Twins’ belief that they can compete not only for an American League Central title, but perhaps more this season. Correa’s signing coupled with the trades for Sonny Gray, Gio Urshela, and Gary Sanchez has transformed the Twins from a team with two starting pitchers and no clear plan for the future to one that is perhaps a single piece away from being a true threat in the A.L. And with rumors swirling that they have significant interest in Oakland A’s pitchers Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea — both of whom figure to be very gettable at the moment — that single piece may soon arrive. The Twins now boast a lineup consisting of three players — the aforementioned Buxton, Correa, and Polanco — who registered at least 3.9 fWAR last season, with Sanchez, Urshela, and Max Kepler having accomplished the feat in the past as well. Add in promising youngsters Alex Kirilloff, Ryan Jeffers, and Trevor Larnach as well as the ever-steady Luis Arraez and the Twins could have a lineup on par or greater than 2019’s much-beloved Bomba Squad. However, their offseason remains incomplete. The Twins still need to add at least one more starting pitcher as well as a bullpen arm or two. They could also use another veteran catcher to supplement Jeffers and Sanchez, neither of whom is considered a sure thing at the moment. At this point, there is little reason why the Twins shouldn't open the gates to their farm system to usher in a Montas-caliber pitcher. While they lack elite truly elite prospects — though many have made the argument that Austin Martin is — the overall depth of the Twins' system is undoubtedly enticing to other teams. They could part with multiple of their top 10 prospects and still be full of talent. As such, this is the exact moment in which they should be aggressively shopping their minor league prospects and it would come as a bit of a shock if they weren't. But despite the prolonged nature of the offseason and the periods of wondering what the heck they were up to, the patience of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine once again paid off. The Twins have their shortstop (albeit perhaps for only one season). The Twins have their top-end starting pitcher (and perhaps another on the way). The Twins have had a great offseason. Now all that can be done is to wait to see how they tie a bow on it all. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here View full article
  10. Rumors swirled for days that the Minnesota Twins were in on signing former Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. With less than three weeks until Opening Day, things came to a head. In a plot twist, it’s Carlos Correa coming to Twins Territory, and Rocco Baldelli may now have the best shortstop in baseball. Since the beginning of the offseason, it’s been apparent that the Twins needed a shortstop. Andrelton Simmons wasn’t likely to be welcomed back, and Royce Lewis hadn’t played in a game since 2020. Watching options fall off the board, it looked like Story or bust, but mainly because the assumption has always been Correa would return to the Astros. In signing with Minnesota, there’s no denying he immediately becomes the best to play the position in franchise history. Just how good is Correa, though? It’s fair to argue he may be the best in baseball. Recently running down their “Top 10 Right Now” lists, MLB Network slated Correa as the third-best shortstop in baseball. They’ve got him placed behind the oft-injured Fernando Tatis Jr. and the versatile Trea Turner. It’s fair to argue for either of those two as being better, but what exactly does Correa bring to the table? Last season the former Astro won his first Gold Glove. That award can often be scrutinized through the lens of an offensive producer that gets additional consideration defensively for their bat. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth when considering Correa in 2021. His 20 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in 2021 was a career-high, and he’s never posted lower than 4 DRS in a single season. To contextualize that performance, 20 DRS is something like former Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons in his prime. The caveat for Correa is that it comes with a strong .837 OPS. No matter where you look for metrics, they view Correa in the same vein. Major League Baseball’s Statcast has Correa worth 12 outs above average (OAA) in 2021, which ranked 6th among shortstops across the league. He was also credited with preventing nine runs. The beauty of Correa is that he’s a true five-tool player. For everything noted defensively, it only scratches the surface of his actual impact on the game. Correa’s Statcast percentile rankings from 2021 are basically just the fire emoji. Drafted one pick higher than new teammate Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa is an absolute menace in the box. Under this new regime, the Twins have long been fans of exit velocity and hard-hit rates. Last season Correa’s max exit velocity ranked in the 97th percentile across MLB. His expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA) was a robust .373, and his 41.6% ground ball rate was near a career-low. In the box, it basically boils down to Correa hunting to do damage every time he swings the bat. In a lineup that has some swing and miss, it’s worth noting that Correa’s plate discipline will also be welcomed. Last season a 27% chase rate was a career-low, and his 8.2% whiff rate checked in with the same designation. Swinging at pitches in the zone, Correa makes contact nearly 90% of the time. Considering the approach to doing damage, putting the bat on the ball with pitches that can be handled is about the ideal outcome you can hope for. There’s just no way to summarize any of this other than in the middle of the night Derek Falvey signed the best free agent in organization history and very possibly the best at his position across the sport. Structuring his contract with opt-outs gives both sides future flexibility, and there’s still no hampering any future impact top prospect Royce Lewis could have at the position. Right now, I’d bet Lewis is excited to learn from one of the games best, and Baldelli’s lineup just got infused with an otherworldly talent. Is there a shortstop you’re taking over Correa? The best part of it is that any answer is hypothetical, and this one is now Minnesota’s. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  11. Correa, who had only been linked to the Twins in the most daydreamy of scenarios (if that), put pen to paper on a 3-year, $105.3 million contract, making him the highest-paid infielder in MLB history. He will immediately slot in as the team’s starting shortstop and help form one of the league’s most dynamic up-the-middle trios alongside Jorge Polanco and Byron Buxton. The 2012 No. 1 overall pick lived up to the hype during his seven seasons with the Houston Astros, slashing .277/.356/.481 and slugging 133 home runs, culminating in a 5.8 fWAR performance last summer that netted him a top five finish in MVP voting. But his excellence isn’t secluded to the plate. He’s also pretty proficient with the glove, registering 12 outs above average in 2021 and 27 since Statcast was implemented in 2016. (He won the American League’s Platinum Glove last summer, joining Buxton as the only Twins to have brought home the award.) To put it bluntly: In a league replete with shortstop talent, Correa is without question among the best, if not the best all around. Baseball is not like other sports in that a supreme individual talent can single-handedly carry a team into World Series contention. One need not look any further than the Los Angeles Angels for proof. However, the signing of Correa lends even further credence to the Twins’ belief that they can compete not only for an American League Central title, but perhaps more this season. Correa’s signing coupled with the trades for Sonny Gray, Gio Urshela, and Gary Sanchez has transformed the Twins from a team with two starting pitchers and no clear plan for the future to one that is perhaps a single piece away from being a true threat in the A.L. And with rumors swirling that they have significant interest in Oakland A’s pitchers Frankie Montas and Sean Manaea — both of whom figure to be very gettable at the moment — that single piece may soon arrive. The Twins now boast a lineup consisting of three players — the aforementioned Buxton, Correa, and Polanco — who registered at least 3.9 fWAR last season, with Sanchez, Urshela, and Max Kepler having accomplished the feat in the past as well. Add in promising youngsters Alex Kirilloff, Ryan Jeffers, and Trevor Larnach as well as the ever-steady Luis Arraez and the Twins could have a lineup on par or greater than 2019’s much-beloved Bomba Squad. However, their offseason remains incomplete. The Twins still need to add at least one more starting pitcher as well as a bullpen arm or two. They could also use another veteran catcher to supplement Jeffers and Sanchez, neither of whom is considered a sure thing at the moment. At this point, there is little reason why the Twins shouldn't open the gates to their farm system to usher in a Montas-caliber pitcher. While they lack elite truly elite prospects — though many have made the argument that Austin Martin is — the overall depth of the Twins' system is undoubtedly enticing to other teams. They could part with multiple of their top 10 prospects and still be full of talent. As such, this is the exact moment in which they should be aggressively shopping their minor league prospects and it would come as a bit of a shock if they weren't. But despite the prolonged nature of the offseason and the periods of wondering what the heck they were up to, the patience of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine once again paid off. The Twins have their shortstop (albeit perhaps for only one season). The Twins have their top-end starting pitcher (and perhaps another on the way). The Twins have had a great offseason. Now all that can be done is to wait to see how they tie a bow on it all. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here
  12. Since the beginning of the offseason, it’s been apparent that the Twins needed a shortstop. Andrelton Simmons wasn’t likely to be welcomed back, and Royce Lewis hadn’t played in a game since 2020. Watching options fall off the board, it looked like Story or bust, but mainly because the assumption has always been Correa would return to the Astros. In signing with Minnesota, there’s no denying he immediately becomes the best to play the position in franchise history. Just how good is Correa, though? It’s fair to argue he may be the best in baseball. Recently running down their “Top 10 Right Now” lists, MLB Network slated Correa as the third-best shortstop in baseball. They’ve got him placed behind the oft-injured Fernando Tatis Jr. and the versatile Trea Turner. It’s fair to argue for either of those two as being better, but what exactly does Correa bring to the table? Last season the former Astro won his first Gold Glove. That award can often be scrutinized through the lens of an offensive producer that gets additional consideration defensively for their bat. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth when considering Correa in 2021. His 20 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in 2021 was a career-high, and he’s never posted lower than 4 DRS in a single season. To contextualize that performance, 20 DRS is something like former Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons in his prime. The caveat for Correa is that it comes with a strong .837 OPS. No matter where you look for metrics, they view Correa in the same vein. Major League Baseball’s Statcast has Correa worth 12 outs above average (OAA) in 2021, which ranked 6th among shortstops across the league. He was also credited with preventing nine runs. The beauty of Correa is that he’s a true five-tool player. For everything noted defensively, it only scratches the surface of his actual impact on the game. Correa’s Statcast percentile rankings from 2021 are basically just the fire emoji. Drafted one pick higher than new teammate Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa is an absolute menace in the box. Under this new regime, the Twins have long been fans of exit velocity and hard-hit rates. Last season Correa’s max exit velocity ranked in the 97th percentile across MLB. His expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA) was a robust .373, and his 41.6% ground ball rate was near a career-low. In the box, it basically boils down to Correa hunting to do damage every time he swings the bat. In a lineup that has some swing and miss, it’s worth noting that Correa’s plate discipline will also be welcomed. Last season a 27% chase rate was a career-low, and his 8.2% whiff rate checked in with the same designation. Swinging at pitches in the zone, Correa makes contact nearly 90% of the time. Considering the approach to doing damage, putting the bat on the ball with pitches that can be handled is about the ideal outcome you can hope for. There’s just no way to summarize any of this other than in the middle of the night Derek Falvey signed the best free agent in organization history and very possibly the best at his position across the sport. Structuring his contract with opt-outs gives both sides future flexibility, and there’s still no hampering any future impact top prospect Royce Lewis could have at the position. Right now, I’d bet Lewis is excited to learn from one of the games best, and Baldelli’s lineup just got infused with an otherworldly talent. Is there a shortstop you’re taking over Correa? The best part of it is that any answer is hypothetical, and this one is now Minnesota’s. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  13. With recent reports of a playoff expansion all but assured, the Twins have more reason to compete in 2022. Maybe the idea that the Twins had little chance in a five-team American League playoff field was accurate. But if it was, it wasn’t a slam dunk proclamation, and with an extra team (or two) added, there are no excuses left for this front office. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have preached a desire for “sustained success” during their tenure running the Twins. They felt the breeze from a wide-open contention window following a two-year run where the Twins led the American League in regular-season wins. Many believe the team shouldn’t even try to get better one offseason later. It’s an understandable viewpoint. The American League is ratcheting up, even more so than what we’re accustomed to. The East has four legitimate World Series contenders, with the Mariners in the West looking to knock off the powerhouse Astros. In the Central, the White Sox sit at the peak of their powers, with the Tigers and Royals hoping to take steps forward. It won’t be easy. The belief that the Twins, coming off a horrifically disappointing 73-win season *can’t* improve enough to win is giving too much slack to this front office. Ownership hired them to build a sustainable winner, a team that would compete every year. They failed in 2021. Does that mean a “punt” in 2022 should be easily forgiven and understood? I’m not convinced. Listen, I understand there's a pitching pipeline coming. I cover the Minor League system on a daily basis, and I'm equally excited. Why does investing in the 2022 team automatically take away from the future? There's a happy medium here. The Twins signed Josh Donaldson to a four-year, $92 million contract to compete for the duration. They traded Brusdar Graterol for Kenta Maeda to solidify a rotation needing assistance. They extended Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, and Miguel Sanó to build around. Did they really extend Byron Buxton just to waste his age-28 season? Deciding to throw away an entire season by not making impactful additions is not acceptable, especially with an expanded postseason. Why build all of that financial flexibility? For nothing? The Boston Red Sox won 24 out of 60 games in the shortened 2020 season. That followed an incredibly disappointing follow-up to a dominant World Series run, one that looked to set the tone for years to come. Instead of folding for 2021, the team invested by signing Kiké Hernández and Hunter Renfroe and trading for Adam Ottavino. Those moves weren’t earth-shattering, as the Red Sox had the offensive pieces in place to score runs in bunches. The rotation looked bleak, with Eduardo Rodríguez still recovering from myocarditis, Nick Pivetta struggling mightily in 2020, and Nathan Eovaldi throwing just 116 combined innings over the prior two seasons. Boston didn’t throw in the towel. They gave themselves a fighting chance, relied on a potent offense, and eventually appeared in the ALCS. I agree the Twins shouldn’t trade away the entire future, but they can give themselves a chance in a six or seven-team field with the right moves. This current Twins roster has little upside, but the floor is high enough offensively that the team could surprise this summer with substantial additions. It’s disheartening that the pain of the 2021 season eliminated this reality from so many minds. We shouldn’t let it. Don’t let this front office off the hook. They were brought in to build a consistent winner. The jury is out whether they'll stick to their word. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook , or email View full article
  14. Early in December, Major League Baseball’s owners locked out the players. Nearly 100 days later, the two sides agreed to a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A ton of work has been done by both players and owners over the past two weeks (after owners didn’t make any attempt for the first 45 days). And now, the offseason and spring training are upon us, and it will be crazy. Most important, we know we will have baseball. Over the past three months, Derek Falvey’s staff in Twins Baseball Operations has remained busy. They’ve been crunching numbers, reading and inputting scouting reports, signing minor league free agents, and all the while planning for this day, the day baseball would be back, and the offseason could continue. The only thing is… it is beginning as spring training is about to start. Sunday is the mandatory report date for 40-man roster players. Next Friday is, at least tentatively, the first scheduled spring training game. And, Opening Day (April 7) is less than a month away. As soon as the owners ratified the new CBA, baseball was back in business. Thankfully, Falvey was willing to take some time to answer questions for Twins media. He notes that they have been following the negotiations closely, especially the past few days. Falvey said, “Obviously, over the last couple of days, following closely with the information and the news that was coming out and feeling like things were getting closer, it’s just great for our group. We’re all here. We’re in the office. Once we knew everything was good, we ordered in food and said, ‘We might be here awhile.’” We haven’t seen free agency like this in baseball before, except to some degree right before the lockout. With about 300 free agents still unsigned, this has the potential to look a lot like NFL and NBA free agency over the coming days. It’s not something any of the front offices have navigated before, but Falvey and his team are ready for it. “A lot of groundwork was laid before the lockout with players, with agents, with front offices around trades, so I would just tell you we’re picking up really where we left off. Now I recognize during that period of time, things may have changed for individual players, for teams, and their plans, so we’ve already done our dividing up of clubs among a bunch of us and making sure that we’re checking back in tonight to know where things stand with those teams. It’s going to be difficult. I’m not going to sugarcoat that.” Falvey said that his first call after news broke of an agreement went to Twins player representative Taylor Rogers. “He and I talked a ton going up and into the lockout and all the COVID protocols and everything else we had to navigate over the last couple of years. We had an awesome conversation. He’s excited to get here. He said he’s talked to a bunch of guys that feel the same.” While Rogers appears to be fully recovered from his finger injury that cost him the final two months of the 2021 season, he is just one pitcher. Last year, the Twins used 35 pitchers. So there is work to be done. Regarding pitching, Falvey said, "I think we made no secret that's a focus and an area we need to spend some time and we're going to. We've talked about trade market and free-agent market. We're excited about some of the young guys that are coming. I think we look at our stable of young pitchers who have been in our camp. I've been watching Simeon Woods Richardson the last week, the way he's throwing the ball. Matt Canterino is healthy and throwing the ball as well as anybody. We're excited about the young guys on our roster that we haven't yet seen, the Josh Winders and Jhoan Durans and Jordan Balazovics, guys we think are going to be another part to join the Joe Ryans and Bailey Obers and that group. But we know we need some veteran presence too so that's going to be a focus of us here. We're going to contact as many teams and agents as possible to work that market." The other "area of focus" for the front office is shortstop. Falvey said that Jorge Polanco could play there, and that Luis Arraez can play around the infield. He also mentioned some younger players. "Some of our young players who aren't quite at the major league level yet but could be really interesting fits for us along the way. And whether that's the Nick Gordons of the world who haven't had as much experience. [Jermaine] Palacios has been in camp here and watching him go. We're excited to see Royce [Lewis] come in, though we recognize he's had a lot of downtime here with his injury. So I can't answer that today perfectly that we're going to seek to see what the market might bear in that space." The players will start reporting this morning (Friday, March 10), at least the players who live nearby Ft. Myers. They will have physicals and a short workout in the late morning. The mandatory report date will be Sunday, March 13. It will not be an easy task in some cases, especially for players from other countries. But, the Twins have been preparing for this day for a while. Falvey noted, “We did all we could before the lockout, knowing that could become an issue at some point during the winter so that agents, players knew what their status was, what the situation was. Certainly players under control with us. We got ahead of that as much as we could. We’re hoping now that we can accelerate that process. Amanda Daley does a great job for us, making sure that all the details are taken care of in that space. I would anticipate that with 30 clubs trying to navigate some of these travel visas and work visas in the Dominican or Venezuela, places where a lot of our players come from, it can be a challenge.” Tentatively, the first spring training games will be played next Friday, March 18th. That will be after just four full-team practices. To help with that, the team will soon be announcing a group of non-roster invitations to big-league spring training. And, as they have always done, they can pull guys over from the minor league side to play in games. Because teams have been able to have zero contact with any of the 40-man roster players, there was some anxiety, hoping players such as Royce Lewis and Blayne Enlow were rehabbing appropriately. Falvey said, “We want to get those guys going. Obviously, in Royce’s case, losing the minor-league season was difficult because that’s just lost development time. He was at the alternate site (in 2020). He used that time really productively. He’s been in the Fall League (2019). Had some of those experiences. But ultimately losing last season due to his ACL reconstruction, it’s difficult.” Regarding Lewis and right-handed pitcher Blayne Enlow, working his way back from Tommy John surgery last June. The Twins prepared them before the lockout began for this time away. Falvey said, “our medical people did a really good job, and so did our folks in strength and conditioning and rehab side of things, and position coaches talked to him about how they would want to navigate his offseasons, whether this happened or not.” He noted that Enlow would be a little bit behind the timeline. That was known. As for Royce, they know he works with his agency (Scott Boras) to “prep and get himself ready. He’s a tremendous worker, and he’s going to put in his time and efforts, so I’m confident in guys like that have put themselves in good positions.” Opening Day will be at Target Field on April 7th. It will likely be a sprint for these next four weeks. Twins President Dave St. Peter said that the fans have been great. “They want to see games. The volume of concern went up exponentially when you started to cancel regular-season games. So the last ten days, I will tell you, we heard from a lot of fans. We’ve been trying to actively engage with them and try to assure them that there was still a path to play a full 162 games, and I’m just absolutely thrilled today that that vision ultimately is going to be possible. I wasn’t always sure it would be.” Ultimately, the Twins will miss a couple of weeks of spring training, and the season will start one week late, but there will be a 162-game season and a lot of the Ultimate this deal will hopefully help grow the game, and there can be extended peace again between the owners and the players as there had been for nearly 30 years. St. Peter thinks that it’s time to heal and move forward. “It’s paramount that we as an industry do a better job of building trust with our players. There are so many exciting things happening in baseball. For those things to ultimately transcend the game, for us to ultimately move the game forward to where it’s incrementally more relevant amongst young people, where it’s more relevant around the globe — for us to really achieve those goals, we’re going to need incremental alignment with our players. And I hope this agreement allows us to move forward in a way to where we can be better aligned and in partnership. That’s ultimately in the best interests of the players, and it’s certainly in the best interests of the industry.” A challenge for Twins fans will be to move forward too. Ultimately, we will get a 162 game schedule, more playoffs, and more. It will be an interesting and exciting time over the next few days, and the Twins should be active, not only through the weekend but right up to the season. Twins Daily has provided anywhere from three to seven articles every day since the lockout began (and obviously before that). We sure hope that we have kept you entertained, enlightened, and updated. Thank you all so much for sticking by the site, and we sure hope that we will celebrate a winning season in 2022. Oh, by the way, Friday is the first day that teams can place players on the 60-Day Injured List. It’s also the first day that players can be placed on waivers. We should get a list of non-roster players soon too. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email View full article
  15. Over the past three months, Derek Falvey’s staff in Twins Baseball Operations has remained busy. They’ve been crunching numbers, reading and inputting scouting reports, signing minor league free agents, and all the while planning for this day, the day baseball would be back, and the offseason could continue. The only thing is… it is beginning as spring training is about to start. Sunday is the mandatory report date for 40-man roster players. Next Friday is, at least tentatively, the first scheduled spring training game. And, Opening Day (April 7) is less than a month away. As soon as the owners ratified the new CBA, baseball was back in business. Thankfully, Falvey was willing to take some time to answer questions for Twins media. He notes that they have been following the negotiations closely, especially the past few days. Falvey said, “Obviously, over the last couple of days, following closely with the information and the news that was coming out and feeling like things were getting closer, it’s just great for our group. We’re all here. We’re in the office. Once we knew everything was good, we ordered in food and said, ‘We might be here awhile.’” We haven’t seen free agency like this in baseball before, except to some degree right before the lockout. With about 300 free agents still unsigned, this has the potential to look a lot like NFL and NBA free agency over the coming days. It’s not something any of the front offices have navigated before, but Falvey and his team are ready for it. “A lot of groundwork was laid before the lockout with players, with agents, with front offices around trades, so I would just tell you we’re picking up really where we left off. Now I recognize during that period of time, things may have changed for individual players, for teams, and their plans, so we’ve already done our dividing up of clubs among a bunch of us and making sure that we’re checking back in tonight to know where things stand with those teams. It’s going to be difficult. I’m not going to sugarcoat that.” Falvey said that his first call after news broke of an agreement went to Twins player representative Taylor Rogers. “He and I talked a ton going up and into the lockout and all the COVID protocols and everything else we had to navigate over the last couple of years. We had an awesome conversation. He’s excited to get here. He said he’s talked to a bunch of guys that feel the same.” While Rogers appears to be fully recovered from his finger injury that cost him the final two months of the 2021 season, he is just one pitcher. Last year, the Twins used 35 pitchers. So there is work to be done. Regarding pitching, Falvey said, "I think we made no secret that's a focus and an area we need to spend some time and we're going to. We've talked about trade market and free-agent market. We're excited about some of the young guys that are coming. I think we look at our stable of young pitchers who have been in our camp. I've been watching Simeon Woods Richardson the last week, the way he's throwing the ball. Matt Canterino is healthy and throwing the ball as well as anybody. We're excited about the young guys on our roster that we haven't yet seen, the Josh Winders and Jhoan Durans and Jordan Balazovics, guys we think are going to be another part to join the Joe Ryans and Bailey Obers and that group. But we know we need some veteran presence too so that's going to be a focus of us here. We're going to contact as many teams and agents as possible to work that market." The other "area of focus" for the front office is shortstop. Falvey said that Jorge Polanco could play there, and that Luis Arraez can play around the infield. He also mentioned some younger players. "Some of our young players who aren't quite at the major league level yet but could be really interesting fits for us along the way. And whether that's the Nick Gordons of the world who haven't had as much experience. [Jermaine] Palacios has been in camp here and watching him go. We're excited to see Royce [Lewis] come in, though we recognize he's had a lot of downtime here with his injury. So I can't answer that today perfectly that we're going to seek to see what the market might bear in that space." The players will start reporting this morning (Friday, March 10), at least the players who live nearby Ft. Myers. They will have physicals and a short workout in the late morning. The mandatory report date will be Sunday, March 13. It will not be an easy task in some cases, especially for players from other countries. But, the Twins have been preparing for this day for a while. Falvey noted, “We did all we could before the lockout, knowing that could become an issue at some point during the winter so that agents, players knew what their status was, what the situation was. Certainly players under control with us. We got ahead of that as much as we could. We’re hoping now that we can accelerate that process. Amanda Daley does a great job for us, making sure that all the details are taken care of in that space. I would anticipate that with 30 clubs trying to navigate some of these travel visas and work visas in the Dominican or Venezuela, places where a lot of our players come from, it can be a challenge.” Tentatively, the first spring training games will be played next Friday, March 18th. That will be after just four full-team practices. To help with that, the team will soon be announcing a group of non-roster invitations to big-league spring training. And, as they have always done, they can pull guys over from the minor league side to play in games. Because teams have been able to have zero contact with any of the 40-man roster players, there was some anxiety, hoping players such as Royce Lewis and Blayne Enlow were rehabbing appropriately. Falvey said, “We want to get those guys going. Obviously, in Royce’s case, losing the minor-league season was difficult because that’s just lost development time. He was at the alternate site (in 2020). He used that time really productively. He’s been in the Fall League (2019). Had some of those experiences. But ultimately losing last season due to his ACL reconstruction, it’s difficult.” Regarding Lewis and right-handed pitcher Blayne Enlow, working his way back from Tommy John surgery last June. The Twins prepared them before the lockout began for this time away. Falvey said, “our medical people did a really good job, and so did our folks in strength and conditioning and rehab side of things, and position coaches talked to him about how they would want to navigate his offseasons, whether this happened or not.” He noted that Enlow would be a little bit behind the timeline. That was known. As for Royce, they know he works with his agency (Scott Boras) to “prep and get himself ready. He’s a tremendous worker, and he’s going to put in his time and efforts, so I’m confident in guys like that have put themselves in good positions.” Opening Day will be at Target Field on April 7th. It will likely be a sprint for these next four weeks. Twins President Dave St. Peter said that the fans have been great. “They want to see games. The volume of concern went up exponentially when you started to cancel regular-season games. So the last ten days, I will tell you, we heard from a lot of fans. We’ve been trying to actively engage with them and try to assure them that there was still a path to play a full 162 games, and I’m just absolutely thrilled today that that vision ultimately is going to be possible. I wasn’t always sure it would be.” Ultimately, the Twins will miss a couple of weeks of spring training, and the season will start one week late, but there will be a 162-game season and a lot of the Ultimate this deal will hopefully help grow the game, and there can be extended peace again between the owners and the players as there had been for nearly 30 years. St. Peter thinks that it’s time to heal and move forward. “It’s paramount that we as an industry do a better job of building trust with our players. There are so many exciting things happening in baseball. For those things to ultimately transcend the game, for us to ultimately move the game forward to where it’s incrementally more relevant amongst young people, where it’s more relevant around the globe — for us to really achieve those goals, we’re going to need incremental alignment with our players. And I hope this agreement allows us to move forward in a way to where we can be better aligned and in partnership. That’s ultimately in the best interests of the players, and it’s certainly in the best interests of the industry.” A challenge for Twins fans will be to move forward too. Ultimately, we will get a 162 game schedule, more playoffs, and more. It will be an interesting and exciting time over the next few days, and the Twins should be active, not only through the weekend but right up to the season. Twins Daily has provided anywhere from three to seven articles every day since the lockout began (and obviously before that). We sure hope that we have kept you entertained, enlightened, and updated. Thank you all so much for sticking by the site, and we sure hope that we will celebrate a winning season in 2022. Oh, by the way, Friday is the first day that teams can place players on the 60-Day Injured List. It’s also the first day that players can be placed on waivers. We should get a list of non-roster players soon too. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
  16. It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the 10 year anniversary of the Twins selecting Byron Buxton with the #2 overall pick in the 2012 draft. But, at the same time, considering the journey of Buxton’s career and the crazy times we’ve lived through recently, it also seems like it was forever ago. With the draft season just starting to get going, we’re going to take a week to look back to 2012 (and before) and pull back the covers on what all went into making Byron Buxton a Minnesota Twin. Twins Daily had a chance to talk recently with Jack Powell, the area scout responsible for signing Buxton. Powell gives us a front-row seat to everything that happened. “I first saw Byron at East Cobb during the summer going into his junior year of high school and didn’t know who he was,” Powell explained. “But I noticed his body and the way he threw the ball in long toss. Then warming up and running sprints. The way he swung a bat and got out of the box. I knew this kid was going to be special.” That first look put Buxton on the Twins' radar, but due to the lack of draftable talent in his area, Powell didn’t get to see Buxton at all during his junior baseball season. It was also known that Buxton was being recruited to play football and baseball at the University of Georgia and, at the time, it wasn't clear that Buxton would choose the diamond. “Then I saw him again at East Cobb Pro with (Twins scout Tim) O’Neill going into his senior year. For as good as he looked the year before, this time he looked even better. Byron could just dial it up.” “We went back to watch him play football that fall, and he switched between playing quarterback and wide receiver. I think his first three catches went for touchdowns,” Powell chuckled, “Who knows, he would probably have made the NFL if he wanted to.” A contingent of Twins personnel, including Powell, O’Neill, and former scouting director Deron Johnson, met with Buxton and his parents and Powell left that meeting impressed. “There was just something different about him. He had great parents, very supportive. He was so quiet and unassuming. It definitely took him a while to get to know people and open it. But I’ll never forget during that first meeting, I watched him out on the driveway playing pickup basketball with a big group of neighborhood kids. They were probably 8-12 years old. He was so great with them. He’d let them score and then tell them, ‘I’ll remember that.’ He made those kids feel great.” Unlike the previous year, Powell spent “all spring” watching Buxton play. “I’ll never forget at one of his games, I was taking video and Byron hit an absolute missile. I sent it to DJ and he called me right away and said, ‘Are you trying to kill me!?’ I didn’t know what he meant and he says, ‘I watched that video and almost wrecked.’” The excitement of potentially adding Buxton had spread throughout the organization. “We saw him at least a half dozen times. We were sold. (General Manager) Terry (Ryan) was sold.” The last day of Buxton’s high school career came as a doubleheader in the state championship. “Byron pitched the first game. He was 94-98 mph off the mound and am pretty sure he hit a home run. In the second game, he was in centerfield, catching everything and making highlight plays. He hit a line drive so hard past the second baseman, the kid didn’t even have time to put his glove up. He absolutely dominated that day.” But there was still time to go before the draft and, of course, the Twins were drafting second and didn’t know if Buxton would still be available. “We knew the Astros were considering Byron and Carlos Correa. We didn’t know who they would take. We knew that we would take Byron if he was available. We, the Twins, have a good working relationship with Byron’s agent, Al Goetz, and felt that we could get the deal done if he got to us. Al has been so great for Byron and his family.” The Twins got their wish. The Astros took Correa. “It’s been fun watching Byron now and seeing how much he’s improved his game. Injuries and luck are part of baseball and Byron hasn’t had great luck, but we’re going to see peak Byron Buxton this year. As guys mature they learn their limits. Rocco has done a great job helping Byron understand that he doesn’t always have to try to move the outfield wall. As Byron ages, his game may change, but he’s going to be better from this point forward.” When asked about Buxton’s names being in trade rumors over the past year, Powell said, “I never had the first feeling we’d trade him…unless someone was offering the ‘27 Yankees. Everyone understands how impactful Byron is.” And not only did the Twins hold onto Buxton, but they also wrapped him up for the next seven years with a $100 million contract. Buxton invited Powell to Target Field to celebrate that moment with him. “I’m so grateful that Byron and Derek (Falvey) and Thad (Levine) made that happen. He’s come so far since being the best high school player I’ve scouted since Josh Hamilton.” There were a few players that Powell mentioned as comparisons for the then-high school phenom: Eric Davis, Andruw Jones, and Hamilton. “They were all players with phenomenal tools who could carry teams. Davis took the Reds to the World Series. We saw Hamilton do it in Texas and Cincinnati. And it’s a shame that Jones isn’t in the Hall of Fame.” Speaking of Andruw Jones, Powell mentions his son, Druw as one of the “impactful players” that he hopes to see available when the Twins are on the clock, picking 8th in the 2022 draft. There are other prep players that he has seen in his area. “Druw reminds me of Buxton. Elijah Green has a little more swing-and-miss in his game right now than Buxton did in high school. Termarr Johnson is another one. They’re all going to be impactful players.” Like with Buxton, it’s going to be a wait-and-see when it comes to who’s available when the draft eventually happens. “I’ll see a couple hundred games between March 1 and July 1. Practices. Workouts. I’m not sure any of those three (mentioned above) will be available, but anything can happen between now and the draft.” And a lot of things will. For now, though, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that we get to see Byron Buxton patrolling Target Field again soon… and a lot over the next seven years. View full article
  17. With the draft season just starting to get going, we’re going to take a week to look back to 2012 (and before) and pull back the covers on what all went into making Byron Buxton a Minnesota Twin. Twins Daily had a chance to talk recently with Jack Powell, the area scout responsible for signing Buxton. Powell gives us a front-row seat to everything that happened. “I first saw Byron at East Cobb during the summer going into his junior year of high school and didn’t know who he was,” Powell explained. “But I noticed his body and the way he threw the ball in long toss. Then warming up and running sprints. The way he swung a bat and got out of the box. I knew this kid was going to be special.” That first look put Buxton on the Twins' radar, but due to the lack of draftable talent in his area, Powell didn’t get to see Buxton at all during his junior baseball season. It was also known that Buxton was being recruited to play football and baseball at the University of Georgia and, at the time, it wasn't clear that Buxton would choose the diamond. “Then I saw him again at East Cobb Pro with (Twins scout Tim) O’Neill going into his senior year. For as good as he looked the year before, this time he looked even better. Byron could just dial it up.” “We went back to watch him play football that fall, and he switched between playing quarterback and wide receiver. I think his first three catches went for touchdowns,” Powell chuckled, “Who knows, he would probably have made the NFL if he wanted to.” A contingent of Twins personnel, including Powell, O’Neill, and former scouting director Deron Johnson, met with Buxton and his parents and Powell left that meeting impressed. “There was just something different about him. He had great parents, very supportive. He was so quiet and unassuming. It definitely took him a while to get to know people and open it. But I’ll never forget during that first meeting, I watched him out on the driveway playing pickup basketball with a big group of neighborhood kids. They were probably 8-12 years old. He was so great with them. He’d let them score and then tell them, ‘I’ll remember that.’ He made those kids feel great.” Unlike the previous year, Powell spent “all spring” watching Buxton play. “I’ll never forget at one of his games, I was taking video and Byron hit an absolute missile. I sent it to DJ and he called me right away and said, ‘Are you trying to kill me!?’ I didn’t know what he meant and he says, ‘I watched that video and almost wrecked.’” The excitement of potentially adding Buxton had spread throughout the organization. “We saw him at least a half dozen times. We were sold. (General Manager) Terry (Ryan) was sold.” The last day of Buxton’s high school career came as a doubleheader in the state championship. “Byron pitched the first game. He was 94-98 mph off the mound and am pretty sure he hit a home run. In the second game, he was in centerfield, catching everything and making highlight plays. He hit a line drive so hard past the second baseman, the kid didn’t even have time to put his glove up. He absolutely dominated that day.” But there was still time to go before the draft and, of course, the Twins were drafting second and didn’t know if Buxton would still be available. “We knew the Astros were considering Byron and Carlos Correa. We didn’t know who they would take. We knew that we would take Byron if he was available. We, the Twins, have a good working relationship with Byron’s agent, Al Goetz, and felt that we could get the deal done if he got to us. Al has been so great for Byron and his family.” The Twins got their wish. The Astros took Correa. “It’s been fun watching Byron now and seeing how much he’s improved his game. Injuries and luck are part of baseball and Byron hasn’t had great luck, but we’re going to see peak Byron Buxton this year. As guys mature they learn their limits. Rocco has done a great job helping Byron understand that he doesn’t always have to try to move the outfield wall. As Byron ages, his game may change, but he’s going to be better from this point forward.” When asked about Buxton’s names being in trade rumors over the past year, Powell said, “I never had the first feeling we’d trade him…unless someone was offering the ‘27 Yankees. Everyone understands how impactful Byron is.” And not only did the Twins hold onto Buxton, but they also wrapped him up for the next seven years with a $100 million contract. Buxton invited Powell to Target Field to celebrate that moment with him. “I’m so grateful that Byron and Derek (Falvey) and Thad (Levine) made that happen. He’s come so far since being the best high school player I’ve scouted since Josh Hamilton.” There were a few players that Powell mentioned as comparisons for the then-high school phenom: Eric Davis, Andruw Jones, and Hamilton. “They were all players with phenomenal tools who could carry teams. Davis took the Reds to the World Series. We saw Hamilton do it in Texas and Cincinnati. And it’s a shame that Jones isn’t in the Hall of Fame.” Speaking of Andruw Jones, Powell mentions his son, Druw as one of the “impactful players” that he hopes to see available when the Twins are on the clock, picking 8th in the 2022 draft. There are other prep players that he has seen in his area. “Druw reminds me of Buxton. Elijah Green has a little more swing-and-miss in his game right now than Buxton did in high school. Termarr Johnson is another one. They’re all going to be impactful players.” Like with Buxton, it’s going to be a wait-and-see when it comes to who’s available when the draft eventually happens. “I’ll see a couple hundred games between March 1 and July 1. Practices. Workouts. I’m not sure any of those three (mentioned above) will be available, but anything can happen between now and the draft.” And a lot of things will. For now, though, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that we get to see Byron Buxton patrolling Target Field again soon… and a lot over the next seven years.
  18. Maybe the idea that the Twins had little chance in a five-team American League playoff field was accurate. But if it was, it wasn’t a slam dunk proclamation, and with an extra team (or two) added, there are no excuses left for this front office. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have preached a desire for “sustained success” during their tenure running the Twins. They felt the breeze from a wide-open contention window following a two-year run where the Twins led the American League in regular-season wins. Many believe the team shouldn’t even try to get better one offseason later. It’s an understandable viewpoint. The American League is ratcheting up, even more so than what we’re accustomed to. The East has four legitimate World Series contenders, with the Mariners in the West looking to knock off the powerhouse Astros. In the Central, the White Sox sit at the peak of their powers, with the Tigers and Royals hoping to take steps forward. It won’t be easy. The belief that the Twins, coming off a horrifically disappointing 73-win season *can’t* improve enough to win is giving too much slack to this front office. Ownership hired them to build a sustainable winner, a team that would compete every year. They failed in 2021. Does that mean a “punt” in 2022 should be easily forgiven and understood? I’m not convinced. Listen, I understand there's a pitching pipeline coming. I cover the Minor League system on a daily basis, and I'm equally excited. Why does investing in the 2022 team automatically take away from the future? There's a happy medium here. The Twins signed Josh Donaldson to a four-year, $92 million contract to compete for the duration. They traded Brusdar Graterol for Kenta Maeda to solidify a rotation needing assistance. They extended Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, and Miguel Sanó to build around. Did they really extend Byron Buxton just to waste his age-28 season? Deciding to throw away an entire season by not making impactful additions is not acceptable, especially with an expanded postseason. Why build all of that financial flexibility? For nothing? The Boston Red Sox won 24 out of 60 games in the shortened 2020 season. That followed an incredibly disappointing follow-up to a dominant World Series run, one that looked to set the tone for years to come. Instead of folding for 2021, the team invested by signing Kiké Hernández and Hunter Renfroe and trading for Adam Ottavino. Those moves weren’t earth-shattering, as the Red Sox had the offensive pieces in place to score runs in bunches. The rotation looked bleak, with Eduardo Rodríguez still recovering from myocarditis, Nick Pivetta struggling mightily in 2020, and Nathan Eovaldi throwing just 116 combined innings over the prior two seasons. Boston didn’t throw in the towel. They gave themselves a fighting chance, relied on a potent offense, and eventually appeared in the ALCS. I agree the Twins shouldn’t trade away the entire future, but they can give themselves a chance in a six or seven-team field with the right moves. This current Twins roster has little upside, but the floor is high enough offensively that the team could surprise this summer with substantial additions. It’s disheartening that the pain of the 2021 season eliminated this reality from so many minds. We shouldn’t let it. Don’t let this front office off the hook. They were brought in to build a consistent winner. The jury is out whether they'll stick to their word. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook , or email
  19. When Derek Falvey was brought into the Twins organization, it was with a belief he would develop a pitching pipeline similar to what he did in Cleveland. While we haven’t yet seen that bear fruit, this front office has seen success on the trade market. A perfect storm post-lockout could be brewing, knowing what the organization needs, and seeing where we’re at this offseason. The Minnesota Twins' starting rotation is in shambles at this point. Dylan Bundy is the only starter signed before the lockout, and Carlos Rodon is the only realistic upper-tier target that still seems plausible. With those parameters, it seems a good bet that the Twins turn to the trade market, a place they’ve been expected to dabble all along. For Falvey, this is probably the optimal outcome. While free agency has been a malady of misses, the trade front has actually worked out well for this front office. I’m still baffled how an aging Nelson Cruz was parlayed for two legitimate arms, and that was after the Jake Odorizzi trade had already tipped the scales against the Rays for Minnesota. Throw in getting a haul for Jose Berrios when the organization had decided against extending him, and you have to be happy with the results. Looking at the prospect rankings and, more importantly, the organizational location for Minnesota, it’s clear they need external help. The Twins farm system shows up consistently at the bottom of the teens, and outside of Jordan Balazovic, there isn’t an arm on the farm that’s a top 100 talent and ready to immediately contribute. An explanation for much of the feelings regarding the Twins system relates to the missed time the past few seasons. The depth is there, while the floor currently trumps many of the ceilings. Parlaying a few arms into one big one could be the ideal action plan. Oakland has plenty of arms on the block, and stud Frankie Montas is among the best of them. Cincinnati could be a willing partner with either Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, or Tyler Mahle. Houston might be willing to flip Odorizzi back to Minnesota. There is any number of possibilities for the front office to explore. It would be wise to assume that frameworks have been discussed before the lockout, and things should come together quickly when we get a resumption. If and when Minnesota swings a deal, there should be a level of trust built from how Falvey has constructed previous swaps. There’s going to be hurt in prospect capital, especially for a top-level arm, but betting on the Twins knowing their talents and the warts they may have is an earned belief. An ideal trade has both sides winning when the deal is struck, but Minnesota continuing to come out on top, in the long run, is something every fan can get on board with. Derek Falvey needs to keep stacking the positive results in that category. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  20. The Minnesota Twins' starting rotation is in shambles at this point. Dylan Bundy is the only starter signed before the lockout, and Carlos Rodon is the only realistic upper-tier target that still seems plausible. With those parameters, it seems a good bet that the Twins turn to the trade market, a place they’ve been expected to dabble all along. For Falvey, this is probably the optimal outcome. While free agency has been a malady of misses, the trade front has actually worked out well for this front office. I’m still baffled how an aging Nelson Cruz was parlayed for two legitimate arms, and that was after the Jake Odorizzi trade had already tipped the scales against the Rays for Minnesota. Throw in getting a haul for Jose Berrios when the organization had decided against extending him, and you have to be happy with the results. Looking at the prospect rankings and, more importantly, the organizational location for Minnesota, it’s clear they need external help. The Twins farm system shows up consistently at the bottom of the teens, and outside of Jordan Balazovic, there isn’t an arm on the farm that’s a top 100 talent and ready to immediately contribute. An explanation for much of the feelings regarding the Twins system relates to the missed time the past few seasons. The depth is there, while the floor currently trumps many of the ceilings. Parlaying a few arms into one big one could be the ideal action plan. Oakland has plenty of arms on the block, and stud Frankie Montas is among the best of them. Cincinnati could be a willing partner with either Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, or Tyler Mahle. Houston might be willing to flip Odorizzi back to Minnesota. There is any number of possibilities for the front office to explore. It would be wise to assume that frameworks have been discussed before the lockout, and things should come together quickly when we get a resumption. If and when Minnesota swings a deal, there should be a level of trust built from how Falvey has constructed previous swaps. There’s going to be hurt in prospect capital, especially for a top-level arm, but betting on the Twins knowing their talents and the warts they may have is an earned belief. An ideal trade has both sides winning when the deal is struck, but Minnesota continuing to come out on top, in the long run, is something every fan can get on board with. Derek Falvey needs to keep stacking the positive results in that category. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  21. Before the 2019 Major League Baseball season, Derek Falvey handed out contract extensions to Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler. 24 and 25-years-old respectively, both looked the part of key organizational pieces. Now a few years into those deals, where do they both stand? Through 2018, Jorge Polanco had played 288 games for the Twins. He owned a career .272/.329/.420 slash line and was still trying to find himself as a hitter. Polanco has never played in more than 133 games during a season and topped 80 just once. He wasn’t a big strikeout problem, but his on-base prowess wasn’t exactly pronounced either. Having come through the system as a shortstop, Polanco played three infield positions for Minnesota in 2016 before assuming shortstop full-time each of the next two years. His .773 OPS in 2018 seemed to indicate a breakout may be coming, and while there were concerns of his ability to stick at short, the bat was where hope resided. We all remember how 2019 went as the Bomba Squad came on the scene, and Polanco was right in the center of that. His career-best .841 OPS was the offensive explosion Falvey banked on, and his 22 home runs were nearly double his previous career-high. Arguably one of the best offensive teams in Twins history, Polanco helped bolster a lineup with much bigger bats around him. We’ve seen Polanco move off shortstop and deal with some ankle issues in the two years since. After a second surgery in 2020, his 2021 season re-established his place as one of baseball's best up-the-middle hitting infielders. The rebound to an .826 OPS with 33 big flies was truly a remarkable performance. Polanco has played more than 150 games in two of the past three seasons. He experienced his first All-Star game and picked up MVP votes. Signed for $25.75 million over five years, with two vesting/team options in 2024 and 2025, there was very little way for the deal to go pear-shaped on Minnesota. Despite coming off another impressive season, Polanco will make just $5.5 million in 2022 and $7.5 million in 2023. Fangraphs estimates Polanco’s value has been worth $32.7 million in 2019 alone and $70.3 million through just the first three years of his extension. He’s nearly tripled the value paid to him, and there are still two years left on the deal. Tied to Polanco in terms of timing was Kepler. Before doing his deal, Kepler had played in 419 games for Minnesota. He owned a .233/.313/.417 slash line and had recorded 56 homers. With just a 96 OPS+, Kepler was a solid defender that looked to have more in his bat. Like Polanco, the return on investment immediately was realized in 2019 as Kepler posted a career-best .855 OPS backed by 36 dingers for the Bomba Squad. He was a middle-of-the-lineup bat that commanded the zone and generated solid contact. From there, though, the approach has fallen off. The past two seasons, Kepler has posted .760 and .719 OPS marks with a combined 28 homers in 169 games. A guy with good hard hit numbers, he finds himself too often driving the ball into the ground rather than elevating it. Kepler walks a relatively fine line between a productive contract and unfortunate placement. His hard-hit rate in 2021 (35.6%) wasn’t where it was in 2019 (42.4%), but the flyball rate has also decreased in each of the past two seasons. Kepler is among the best defensive right-fielders in the game, and getting the most out of his bat would be the last segment of his game for the Twins to unlock. Even without the complete package that Polanco has become, Falvey doing Kepler’s deal at $32.13 million over five years with a 2024 team option was never going to get the organization burned either. Fangraphs has Kepler’s 2019 alone being worth $35.6 million, and the total production over his first three years adds up to $58.4 million in value. He’ll likely double the contract value in 2022, and a great season or two could line him up for the payday Minnesota would no doubt love to consider. At the time both deals were struck, neither seemed outlandish. Both players had come up through the system with plenty of projection, and the dollar value was Minnesota’s front office capitalizing on timing before production. These are two of the best contracts in baseball, and there’s only room for each to rise in the returned value. Where do you think we see Polanco and Kepler go from here? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  22. Through 2018, Jorge Polanco had played 288 games for the Twins. He owned a career .272/.329/.420 slash line and was still trying to find himself as a hitter. Polanco has never played in more than 133 games during a season and topped 80 just once. He wasn’t a big strikeout problem, but his on-base prowess wasn’t exactly pronounced either. Having come through the system as a shortstop, Polanco played three infield positions for Minnesota in 2016 before assuming shortstop full-time each of the next two years. His .773 OPS in 2018 seemed to indicate a breakout may be coming, and while there were concerns of his ability to stick at short, the bat was where hope resided. We all remember how 2019 went as the Bomba Squad came on the scene, and Polanco was right in the center of that. His career-best .841 OPS was the offensive explosion Falvey banked on, and his 22 home runs were nearly double his previous career-high. Arguably one of the best offensive teams in Twins history, Polanco helped bolster a lineup with much bigger bats around him. We’ve seen Polanco move off shortstop and deal with some ankle issues in the two years since. After a second surgery in 2020, his 2021 season re-established his place as one of baseball's best up-the-middle hitting infielders. The rebound to an .826 OPS with 33 big flies was truly a remarkable performance. Polanco has played more than 150 games in two of the past three seasons. He experienced his first All-Star game and picked up MVP votes. Signed for $25.75 million over five years, with two vesting/team options in 2024 and 2025, there was very little way for the deal to go pear-shaped on Minnesota. Despite coming off another impressive season, Polanco will make just $5.5 million in 2022 and $7.5 million in 2023. Fangraphs estimates Polanco’s value has been worth $32.7 million in 2019 alone and $70.3 million through just the first three years of his extension. He’s nearly tripled the value paid to him, and there are still two years left on the deal. Tied to Polanco in terms of timing was Kepler. Before doing his deal, Kepler had played in 419 games for Minnesota. He owned a .233/.313/.417 slash line and had recorded 56 homers. With just a 96 OPS+, Kepler was a solid defender that looked to have more in his bat. Like Polanco, the return on investment immediately was realized in 2019 as Kepler posted a career-best .855 OPS backed by 36 dingers for the Bomba Squad. He was a middle-of-the-lineup bat that commanded the zone and generated solid contact. From there, though, the approach has fallen off. The past two seasons, Kepler has posted .760 and .719 OPS marks with a combined 28 homers in 169 games. A guy with good hard hit numbers, he finds himself too often driving the ball into the ground rather than elevating it. Kepler walks a relatively fine line between a productive contract and unfortunate placement. His hard-hit rate in 2021 (35.6%) wasn’t where it was in 2019 (42.4%), but the flyball rate has also decreased in each of the past two seasons. Kepler is among the best defensive right-fielders in the game, and getting the most out of his bat would be the last segment of his game for the Twins to unlock. Even without the complete package that Polanco has become, Falvey doing Kepler’s deal at $32.13 million over five years with a 2024 team option was never going to get the organization burned either. Fangraphs has Kepler’s 2019 alone being worth $35.6 million, and the total production over his first three years adds up to $58.4 million in value. He’ll likely double the contract value in 2022, and a great season or two could line him up for the payday Minnesota would no doubt love to consider. At the time both deals were struck, neither seemed outlandish. Both players had come up through the system with plenty of projection, and the dollar value was Minnesota’s front office capitalizing on timing before production. These are two of the best contracts in baseball, and there’s only room for each to rise in the returned value. Where do you think we see Polanco and Kepler go from here? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  23. The Chicago White Sox have been the talk of the AL Central for each of the past two years now. Despite the Minnesota Twins winning the division in 2020, the up and comers drew excitement. Now needing someone to knock them off, the first ZiPS projections suggest a competitive group. Last season, the AL Central was a case of the haves and have nots. Both Chicago and Minnesota were expected to contend while Cleveland sat in no man's land, and Detroit and Kansas City floundered. It was easy to see that the Tigers were building something under A.J. Hinch, and the Royals have a glut of exciting talent ready to help at the big-league level. Because baseball is locked out and transactions are frozen, we don’t know how rosters will finalize, but there’s plenty to draw off now. ZiPS sees the White Sox as the cream of the crop again, which should be expected. The 88 win total is a good spot, given the projection system. With room to fluctuate on both sides, it’s fair to assess the AL Central Division winner will again come in with a win total in the low-90s. From there, every other team is within four games of each other, and no one has a win total of fewer than 74 games. How these clubs are constructed currently is what makes this interesting. Chicago might have already spent on most of their additions in adding Kendall Graveman and re-signing Leury Garcia. They will actively look to shop Craig Kimbrel, but the return doesn’t likely make them a better team. It’s anyone’s guess what the Guardians do as they haven’t spent money and are going the wrong way. Detroit made their big splash in paying for Javier Baez, and the Royals will probably rely more internally than anything. That leads us to the Twins. Minnesota is currently projected for 75 wins, and that’s with at least two openings in the rotation and a shortstop needing to be addressed. I think it’s a good bet to plan on Derek Falvey acquiring a starter via trade, and then signing someone like Michael Pineda, Zack Greinke, or another veteran presence is a good step forward. Minnesota still has $50 million or more to spend, and being valued as such with the present roster is a testament to the lineup. There’s no denying that the Twins should hit. They have one of the better lineups in baseball when things are clicking, and adding a healthy Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach should only help cement that reality. Rocco Baldelli’s club will go as far as the pitching staff allows it to, and that group will be as capable as the dollars or acquisition cost is stretched towards. A year ago, the AL Central might have been the weakest division in baseball, but in 2022 it may wind up being the group with the most parity. Some of those teams on the bottom have strong farm systems ready to bear fruit, and that’s only going to ratchet up their overall competitiveness. Right now, the Twins are in a good place that allows them to put 2021 in the rearview mirror, but they must be committed to making that season little more than a blip on the radar. Transactions will come quickly once the lockout is lifted, but how many wins the Twins can add from them will directly correlate to the quality of each move. View full article
  24. Last season, the AL Central was a case of the haves and have nots. Both Chicago and Minnesota were expected to contend while Cleveland sat in no man's land, and Detroit and Kansas City floundered. It was easy to see that the Tigers were building something under A.J. Hinch, and the Royals have a glut of exciting talent ready to help at the big-league level. Because baseball is locked out and transactions are frozen, we don’t know how rosters will finalize, but there’s plenty to draw off now. ZiPS sees the White Sox as the cream of the crop again, which should be expected. The 88 win total is a good spot, given the projection system. With room to fluctuate on both sides, it’s fair to assess the AL Central Division winner will again come in with a win total in the low-90s. From there, every other team is within four games of each other, and no one has a win total of fewer than 74 games. How these clubs are constructed currently is what makes this interesting. Chicago might have already spent on most of their additions in adding Kendall Graveman and re-signing Leury Garcia. They will actively look to shop Craig Kimbrel, but the return doesn’t likely make them a better team. It’s anyone’s guess what the Guardians do as they haven’t spent money and are going the wrong way. Detroit made their big splash in paying for Javier Baez, and the Royals will probably rely more internally than anything. That leads us to the Twins. Minnesota is currently projected for 75 wins, and that’s with at least two openings in the rotation and a shortstop needing to be addressed. I think it’s a good bet to plan on Derek Falvey acquiring a starter via trade, and then signing someone like Michael Pineda, Zack Greinke, or another veteran presence is a good step forward. Minnesota still has $50 million or more to spend, and being valued as such with the present roster is a testament to the lineup. There’s no denying that the Twins should hit. They have one of the better lineups in baseball when things are clicking, and adding a healthy Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach should only help cement that reality. Rocco Baldelli’s club will go as far as the pitching staff allows it to, and that group will be as capable as the dollars or acquisition cost is stretched towards. A year ago, the AL Central might have been the weakest division in baseball, but in 2022 it may wind up being the group with the most parity. Some of those teams on the bottom have strong farm systems ready to bear fruit, and that’s only going to ratchet up their overall competitiveness. Right now, the Twins are in a good place that allows them to put 2021 in the rearview mirror, but they must be committed to making that season little more than a blip on the radar. Transactions will come quickly once the lockout is lifted, but how many wins the Twins can add from them will directly correlate to the quality of each move.
  25. On July 27, 2018, the Minnesota Twins made a move that many found frustrating when valuing Derek Falvey’s return. The team was mediocre, and Ryan Pressly was one of their best relievers. He was sent to Houston in exchange for Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino. In 2022, it may be time for Falvey to cash both those checks. There was never any question that losing Pressly would hurt the Twins in the short term. He went on to post a 0.77 ERA with Houston over the final half of 2018. In 139 1/3 innings since Pressly has tallied a 2.45 ERA to go with an 11.8 K/9. He had become one of baseball’s best relievers with the Twins and has only ratcheted that up with the Astros. After making 60 appearances in 2021, Pressly’s team option vested into a fully guaranteed $10 million deal for 2022. He’ll hit the open market again before 2023 for his age 34 season. On the Twins side of things, they’ve seen a bit of what both Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino can do, but 2022 should represent an opportunity for both to establish themselves completely. Let’s start in the bullpen with Alcala, as he’s a much more integral piece of the immediate puzzle. Pitching 59 2/3 innings last year for the Twins, Alcala owned a 3.92 ERA to go with a 9.2 K/9. Despite the 0.97 WHIP, his bugaboo was a 1.5 HR/9, pushing his FIP to 4.06. However, what’s worth noting is that it was a tale of two seasons for the Minnesota reliever. Through 40 appearances, he posted a 5.73 ERA and had allowed nine home runs in just 37 2/3 innings. A stretch of 22 innings pitched from that point forward, Alcala owned a 0.82 ERA, keeping opposing batters to a .420 OPS. His 27/3 K/BB was incredible, and only one ball left the yard. That’s what we must hope for coming into 2022. Derek Falvey didn’t flip Ryan Pressly for what Jorge Alcala was at the time, but he did make that move for what he could be now. At just 26-years-old, Alcala is still pre-arbitration and won’t hit free agency until 2026. Getting an elite level of production out of him for pennies on the dollar over the next four seasons would be a massive victory. He looks the part of a late-inning arm and could undoubtedly eat up closer opportunities should they present themselves. That alone would make the deal worth it, and we’ve yet to discuss Celestino. Forced into action early from Double-A after a run on outfield injuries last season, Celestino appeared in 23 games for the Twins. It went as to be expected, and he posted just a .466 OPS. Defensively the skills looked very close, but the bat needed more time to mature. Going to Triple-A St. Paul the rest of the way, Celestino made his case. Over 49 games with the Saints, he slashed .290/.384/.443 with 18 extra-base hits included five home runs. It was unquestionably his best offensive showing in the minors and should help re-establish his confidence in the future. Minnesota is always going to need a solid fourth outfielder behind Byron Buxton. I have some feelings about who they should look at outside of the organization, but Celestino could easily play himself into a better option for that role. Without needing to be an impact player immediately on Opening Day, it’s more than fair to suggest Celestino could parlay his strong finish at Triple-A into a forced promotion early on in 2022. Hitting on both inclusions in the Ryan Pressly trade would be the type of result Falvey had undoubtedly envisioned. It’s never easy to evaluate a baseball trade when it is made with an indication of how it will pan out. You can draw conclusions based on the level of prospect returned, but the real evaluation always takes place once players have had an opportunity to develop. Minnesota has pushed both talents through their system and is now ready to cash them in. It could soon become time to call this swap a victory. View full article
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