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  1. The Twins have been relatively busy early in the offseason, with a couple of trades reshaping their infield outlook and an embattled reliever receiving a controversial contract tender. Read on to catch up on what the front office has done so far and where the roster currently stands. Image courtesy of Brad Rempel and Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports Since we last checked in, the Twins have made news with a number of noteworthy moves: trading third baseman Gio Urshela, acquiring shortstop Kyle Farmer, tendering reliever Emilio Pagan. Let's take a quick look at the details behind each of these decisions, and where they leave the state of the roster as the Winter Meetings fast approach on December 4th. Twins Trade Urshela to Angels Just ahead of the arbitration contract tender deadline on November 18th, the Twins shipped one of their eligible players – the most difficult decision among them – to the Angels in exchange for minor-league pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo. A 19-year-old right-hander who hasn't yet advanced past Low-A ball, Hidalgo is a modestly intriguing young arm, but the return for Urshela was expectedly small. He's a valuable player, but at his projected arbitration cost in the $9 million range, a bit less appealing – especially for a Twins team that hopes to usher Jose Miranda in as regular third baseman next year. For the Angels, Urshela is an odd fit. Like the Twins, they seem to view him as strictly a corner infielder ... but they already have Anthony Rendon and Jared Walsh entrenched at third and first, with Shohei Ohtani typically occupying DH. It is very difficult to understand LA's motivation in making this move from the current view. Hidalgo's your usual big-stuff/bad-control lotto ticket. Certainly a preferable outcome to non-tendering Urshela for nothing in return. Pagan Is Coming Back for Another Year With Urshela shipped out, the Twins tendered contracts to all of their remaining arbitration-eligible players – including, controversially, the embattled Pagan. He'll earn a projected $3.7 million in his final year of team control, coming off a season where he earned the ire of fans with numerous lapses in crucial moments. He was the poster child for a bullpen that helped derail a promising Twins season. Now we'll see if he can become the figurehead for its triumphant turnaround. Amidst all the backlash this decision understandably provoked, I tried to explore the team's reasoning, noting that Pagan saw improved results down the stretch with a pitch mix change under pitching coaches Pete Maki and Colby Suggs. It's hard to give up on stuff of that caliber, and the upside it entails. While many fans struggle to make sense of it, Pagan does seem to be viewed much more highly in baseball circles than from the outside. Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported that the reliever "drew much more interest" than Urshela ahead of the non-tender deadline. Farmer Enters the Fold Not long after parting with some veteran depth in Urshela, the Twins quickly backfilled with the addition of Farmer, acquired from the Reds in exchange for minor-league righty Casey Legumina. This deal was, in many ways, the reverse of the Urshela trade: Farmer is a valuable enough player, but wasn't that valuable to Cincinnati at his arbitration price point, so they sent him to a team that could use the depth in exchange for a pitching flier. In this case, it's much easier to see the fit for Farmer, who could fill a number of different roles depending on what the Twins do elsewhere. For now, he's slotted in as their starting shortstop, and an adequate interim fill-in for Royce Lewis if that is the front office's leaning. In addition to his defensive flexibility, one aspect of Farmer's profile that surely attracted the Twins is his excellence against left-handed pitching. This looks like an effort to offset one of the offense's key weaknesses in 2021, when they slashed .240/.310/.391 against southpaws. Twins Showing Interest in Rodon Hayes wrote in a roster projection column over the weekend that the team has "definite interest" in Carlos Rodon, which comes as no surprise. However, Hayes adds, "his contract is likely to soar to areas it might not feel comfortable paying, perhaps as high as $160 million over five years." In a column unpacking the troubling realities of buying high on free agent pitching, I examined this very conundrum: Rodon is exactly the kind of proven ace that the Twins should be looking to land this offseason. He's a dominant force coming off an excellent season, and his addition would energize the fanbase while fortifying the rotation. But, he's also entering the market at peak value, have pressed a career-high workload upon a shoulder that has endlessly tormented him. With Rodon, you're going to be paying purely for the upside we just saw, and hoping it sustains. And the price tag will be quite high, with the free-spending Dodgers already in the mix as suitors. One Current Opening on the 40-Man Roster As a sum result of all this moving and shaking, along with the additions of prospects Edouard Julien, Brent Headrick, and Matt Canterino to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, Minnesota's 40-man roster currently stands at 39: Should the Twins need to be make room for more additions, the most vulnerable 40-man spots likely belong to Mark Contreras, Cole Sands, and Trevor Megill. Roster and Payroll Projection: v2 In looking at the projected 2023 roster in its current form, you can see how the Twins are setting a floor. They've basically got all they need to field a competent ballclub next year: a rotation with five proven big-league starters, a fairly deep bullpen with back-end power, and a credible – albeit somewhat underwhelming on whole – stable of position players. The only openings are a backup catcher and utility infielder for the bench, easily filled. That is not to say going forward with this group would be acceptable in anyone's eyes. But the point is that the Twins aren't backed into any corners, needing to allocate their funds in any specific way – just how they like it. With nearly $50 million in spending room just to get back to the 2022 payroll baseline, we'll see how opportunistic this front office can be, free from any kind of restraint. If you want to read up on all of the team's many options available at positions across the board, the Offseason Handbook is now available in full to download, with 39 pages covering the Hot Stove landscape from every angle. It's free to all Caretakers! Grab a copy and build your own 2023 blueprint. View full article
  2. Since we last checked in, the Twins have made news with a number of noteworthy moves: trading third baseman Gio Urshela, acquiring shortstop Kyle Farmer, tendering reliever Emilio Pagan. Let's take a quick look at the details behind each of these decisions, and where they leave the state of the roster as the Winter Meetings fast approach on December 4th. Twins Trade Urshela to Angels Just ahead of the arbitration contract tender deadline on November 18th, the Twins shipped one of their eligible players – the most difficult decision among them – to the Angels in exchange for minor-league pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo. A 19-year-old right-hander who hasn't yet advanced past Low-A ball, Hidalgo is a modestly intriguing young arm, but the return for Urshela was expectedly small. He's a valuable player, but at his projected arbitration cost in the $9 million range, a bit less appealing – especially for a Twins team that hopes to usher Jose Miranda in as regular third baseman next year. For the Angels, Urshela is an odd fit. Like the Twins, they seem to view him as strictly a corner infielder ... but they already have Anthony Rendon and Jared Walsh entrenched at third and first, with Shohei Ohtani typically occupying DH. It is very difficult to understand LA's motivation in making this move from the current view. Hidalgo's your usual big-stuff/bad-control lotto ticket. Certainly a preferable outcome to non-tendering Urshela for nothing in return. Pagan Is Coming Back for Another Year With Urshela shipped out, the Twins tendered contracts to all of their remaining arbitration-eligible players – including, controversially, the embattled Pagan. He'll earn a projected $3.7 million in his final year of team control, coming off a season where he earned the ire of fans with numerous lapses in crucial moments. He was the poster child for a bullpen that helped derail a promising Twins season. Now we'll see if he can become the figurehead for its triumphant turnaround. Amidst all the backlash this decision understandably provoked, I tried to explore the team's reasoning, noting that Pagan saw improved results down the stretch with a pitch mix change under pitching coaches Pete Maki and Colby Suggs. It's hard to give up on stuff of that caliber, and the upside it entails. While many fans struggle to make sense of it, Pagan does seem to be viewed much more highly in baseball circles than from the outside. Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported that the reliever "drew much more interest" than Urshela ahead of the non-tender deadline. Farmer Enters the Fold Not long after parting with some veteran depth in Urshela, the Twins quickly backfilled with the addition of Farmer, acquired from the Reds in exchange for minor-league righty Casey Legumina. This deal was, in many ways, the reverse of the Urshela trade: Farmer is a valuable enough player, but wasn't that valuable to Cincinnati at his arbitration price point, so they sent him to a team that could use the depth in exchange for a pitching flier. In this case, it's much easier to see the fit for Farmer, who could fill a number of different roles depending on what the Twins do elsewhere. For now, he's slotted in as their starting shortstop, and an adequate interim fill-in for Royce Lewis if that is the front office's leaning. In addition to his defensive flexibility, one aspect of Farmer's profile that surely attracted the Twins is his excellence against left-handed pitching. This looks like an effort to offset one of the offense's key weaknesses in 2021, when they slashed .240/.310/.391 against southpaws. Twins Showing Interest in Rodon Hayes wrote in a roster projection column over the weekend that the team has "definite interest" in Carlos Rodon, which comes as no surprise. However, Hayes adds, "his contract is likely to soar to areas it might not feel comfortable paying, perhaps as high as $160 million over five years." In a column unpacking the troubling realities of buying high on free agent pitching, I examined this very conundrum: Rodon is exactly the kind of proven ace that the Twins should be looking to land this offseason. He's a dominant force coming off an excellent season, and his addition would energize the fanbase while fortifying the rotation. But, he's also entering the market at peak value, have pressed a career-high workload upon a shoulder that has endlessly tormented him. With Rodon, you're going to be paying purely for the upside we just saw, and hoping it sustains. And the price tag will be quite high, with the free-spending Dodgers already in the mix as suitors. One Current Opening on the 40-Man Roster As a sum result of all this moving and shaking, along with the additions of prospects Edouard Julien, Brent Headrick, and Matt Canterino to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, Minnesota's 40-man roster currently stands at 39: Should the Twins need to be make room for more additions, the most vulnerable 40-man spots likely belong to Mark Contreras, Cole Sands, and Trevor Megill. Roster and Payroll Projection: v2 In looking at the projected 2023 roster in its current form, you can see how the Twins are setting a floor. They've basically got all they need to field a competent ballclub next year: a rotation with five proven big-league starters, a fairly deep bullpen with back-end power, and a credible – albeit somewhat underwhelming on whole – stable of position players. The only openings are a backup catcher and utility infielder for the bench, easily filled. That is not to say going forward with this group would be acceptable in anyone's eyes. But the point is that the Twins aren't backed into any corners, needing to allocate their funds in any specific way – just how they like it. With nearly $50 million in spending room just to get back to the 2022 payroll baseline, we'll see how opportunistic this front office can be, free from any kind of restraint. If you want to read up on all of the team's many options available at positions across the board, the Offseason Handbook is now available in full to download, with 39 pages covering the Hot Stove landscape from every angle. It's free to all Caretakers! Grab a copy and build your own 2023 blueprint.
  3. In 2022 the Minnesota Twins showed off a handful of their young talent. Some were by way of design, while others were out of necessity in response to injury. Arguably no one forced their way into action more than infielder Jose Miranda. In 2023, he’s a lock for the roster and now a prominent fixture. Are the Twins right in sticking him at the third base? Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports Throughout the majority of his minor league career, Minnesota prospect Jose Miranda has played at third base. When he was eventually promoted to the big leagues in early 2022, it came with the caveat that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had acquired veteran Gio Urshela to be Rocco Baldelli’s third basemen. When Alex Kirilloff got hurt and Miguel Sano went down, there was some thought that Urshela could slide across the diamond, but instead it was Miranda who saw the bulk of his playing time there. Although the Twins utilized both Miranda and Luis Arraez plenty at first base in 2022, the dealing of Urshela to the Los Angeles Angels suggests that the young Puerto Rican is destined to lock down the hot corner in 2023. How much should fans be worried about that reality? The unfortunate truth for Minnesota is that their infield defense has not been good the past couple of seasons. In 2022, it was particularly bad. Minnesota fared fine as a whole defensively thanks to a strong outfield. They were held together on the dirt by superstar Carlos Correa, but the likes of Urshela, Arraez, Miranda, and Jorge Polanco were often culprits holding the club back. Specifically looking at Miranda, he was what one may call a butcher at first base. Playing nearly 600 innings at first last season, Miranda posted an awful -6 defensive runs saved and Statcast agreed, attributing him a -4 outs above average number. Among 29 players to record at least 550 innings at first base last season, only the Rangers Nathaniel Lowe posted a lower DRS number. OAA had Miranda a bit better, but 20th still placed him in the bottom third of the league. At third base, in a much smaller sample size, Miranda fared better. He recorded just under 250 innings at the hot corner and was neutral by both DRS and OAA on the season. That could be a positive thing, but small samples are also extremely difficult to read into when considering defensive metrics. Now shifting across the diamond, Miranda will look to settle back into a role he grew familiar with on the farm. One caveat to that is he’ll be doing so alongside someone other than Correa (more than likely). Needing to acclimate to a new teammate, and their range, he’ll also be working in a season where the shift is banned for the first time. Positioning as a whole will be an entirely new exercise for Minnesota. The Statcast data for Miranda is largely unhelpful at third base. He never reached the minimum threshold for arm strength calculations, and while he was credited with the greatest negative OAA value going towards third base, it was miniscule at best. We won’t know what Miranda is at third until he has more time to settle in there, but we can hope that the missteps at first base were largely related to learning a new position on the fly. It would be disappointing to see a 24-year-old locked into first base so soon, and seeing him produce defensively at third base would help to calm those notions. Minnesota has options at first, and they are now counting on Miranda to be the guy at third. Here’s to hoping he can rise to the occasion. View full article
  4. Throughout the majority of his minor league career, Minnesota prospect Jose Miranda has played at third base. When he was eventually promoted to the big leagues in early 2022, it came with the caveat that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had acquired veteran Gio Urshela to be Rocco Baldelli’s third basemen. When Alex Kirilloff got hurt and Miguel Sano went down, there was some thought that Urshela could slide across the diamond, but instead it was Miranda who saw the bulk of his playing time there. Although the Twins utilized both Miranda and Luis Arraez plenty at first base in 2022, the dealing of Urshela to the Los Angeles Angels suggests that the young Puerto Rican is destined to lock down the hot corner in 2023. How much should fans be worried about that reality? The unfortunate truth for Minnesota is that their infield defense has not been good the past couple of seasons. In 2022, it was particularly bad. Minnesota fared fine as a whole defensively thanks to a strong outfield. They were held together on the dirt by superstar Carlos Correa, but the likes of Urshela, Arraez, Miranda, and Jorge Polanco were often culprits holding the club back. Specifically looking at Miranda, he was what one may call a butcher at first base. Playing nearly 600 innings at first last season, Miranda posted an awful -6 defensive runs saved and Statcast agreed, attributing him a -4 outs above average number. Among 29 players to record at least 550 innings at first base last season, only the Rangers Nathaniel Lowe posted a lower DRS number. OAA had Miranda a bit better, but 20th still placed him in the bottom third of the league. At third base, in a much smaller sample size, Miranda fared better. He recorded just under 250 innings at the hot corner and was neutral by both DRS and OAA on the season. That could be a positive thing, but small samples are also extremely difficult to read into when considering defensive metrics. Now shifting across the diamond, Miranda will look to settle back into a role he grew familiar with on the farm. One caveat to that is he’ll be doing so alongside someone other than Correa (more than likely). Needing to acclimate to a new teammate, and their range, he’ll also be working in a season where the shift is banned for the first time. Positioning as a whole will be an entirely new exercise for Minnesota. The Statcast data for Miranda is largely unhelpful at third base. He never reached the minimum threshold for arm strength calculations, and while he was credited with the greatest negative OAA value going towards third base, it was miniscule at best. We won’t know what Miranda is at third until he has more time to settle in there, but we can hope that the missteps at first base were largely related to learning a new position on the fly. It would be disappointing to see a 24-year-old locked into first base so soon, and seeing him produce defensively at third base would help to calm those notions. Minnesota has options at first, and they are now counting on Miranda to be the guy at third. Here’s to hoping he can rise to the occasion.
  5. The Minnesota Twins faced a decision on their eight arbitration eligible candidates. While some were plenty straightforward, others were more difficult. Count Gio Urshela among the latter, and now we know his fate: Urshela was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports Derek Falvey and Thad Levine went into Friday with a full 40-man roster. Eight of those players needed to be tendered a contract for the 2023 season or be sent to waivers prior to being determined free agents. Among them was Gio Urshela, who was acquired along with Gary Sanchez last offseason from the New York Yankees for Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Sanchez is now a free agent, while Urshela had one more season of team control. His fate was in question because it would be false to suggest that Urshela wasn’t valuable for the Twins. In his first season with Minnesota, Urshela posted a 2.4 fWAR, which ranked fourth among Minnesota hitters. It was also only slightly behind his 2.8 fWAR from the 2019 season in which he broke out for New York. Offensively, Urshela’s 121 OPS+ was well above the mediocre 96 OPS+ he posted a season ago. Although there were low points, his 13 homer runs and gap power came in handy. Defensively, Urshela was somewhat of a mixed bag. Twins fans saw plenty of highlight reel plays from the hot corner, but it was some of the more straightforward plays that weren’t made which dragged him down. Fangraphs own Defensive Runs Saved metric viewed Urshela favorably at +4, while MLB’s Statcast had him at -5 per their Outs Above Average metric. For Minnesota, the determination largely came down to how they wanted to spend their capital, while also figuring out what Urshela’s role would be. In talking to a few sources, they seem content with internal options at third base. Jose Miranda, Luis Arraez, and eventually Royce Lewis can all play the position. It remains to be seen which of them are adequate defensively, but none of them carry the $9.2 million price tag MLB Trade Rumors projected Urshela to receive in arbitration. In knowing they would ultimately decide to move on from Urshela, it became important to find any sort of return for him. Just hours before Friday night's 7pm deadline, the team came to an agreement with the Los Angeles Angels. ESPN Insider Jeff Passan reported that Minnesota sent their starting third basemen to Los Angeles for Single-A pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo . Hidalgo is a Venezuelan native that spent 2022 at Single-A Inland Empire for just his second season of professional baseball. He posted a 4.62 ERA across 39 innings, all of them coming as a starter. He tallied an impressive 58/19 K/BB and is the exact kind of lottery ticket you'd hope to get as opposed to non-tendering a player for nothing. Recently Twins Daily’s Nick Nelson called Urshela the Twins toughest arbitration decision and considering all of the factors, it’s hard to dispute that. As things stand presently, and with Carlos Correa unsigned, Minnesota’s entire left side of the infield remains up in the air. It will be on the front office to sort that out over the coming months before Spring Training. View full article
  6. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine went into Friday with a full 40-man roster. Eight of those players needed to be tendered a contract for the 2023 season or be sent to waivers prior to being determined free agents. Among them was Gio Urshela, who was acquired along with Gary Sanchez last offseason from the New York Yankees for Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Sanchez is now a free agent, while Urshela had one more season of team control. His fate was in question because it would be false to suggest that Urshela wasn’t valuable for the Twins. In his first season with Minnesota, Urshela posted a 2.4 fWAR, which ranked fourth among Minnesota hitters. It was also only slightly behind his 2.8 fWAR from the 2019 season in which he broke out for New York. Offensively, Urshela’s 121 OPS+ was well above the mediocre 96 OPS+ he posted a season ago. Although there were low points, his 13 homer runs and gap power came in handy. Defensively, Urshela was somewhat of a mixed bag. Twins fans saw plenty of highlight reel plays from the hot corner, but it was some of the more straightforward plays that weren’t made which dragged him down. Fangraphs own Defensive Runs Saved metric viewed Urshela favorably at +4, while MLB’s Statcast had him at -5 per their Outs Above Average metric. For Minnesota, the determination largely came down to how they wanted to spend their capital, while also figuring out what Urshela’s role would be. In talking to a few sources, they seem content with internal options at third base. Jose Miranda, Luis Arraez, and eventually Royce Lewis can all play the position. It remains to be seen which of them are adequate defensively, but none of them carry the $9.2 million price tag MLB Trade Rumors projected Urshela to receive in arbitration. In knowing they would ultimately decide to move on from Urshela, it became important to find any sort of return for him. Just hours before Friday night's 7pm deadline, the team came to an agreement with the Los Angeles Angels. ESPN Insider Jeff Passan reported that Minnesota sent their starting third basemen to Los Angeles for Single-A pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo . Hidalgo is a Venezuelan native that spent 2022 at Single-A Inland Empire for just his second season of professional baseball. He posted a 4.62 ERA across 39 innings, all of them coming as a starter. He tallied an impressive 58/19 K/BB and is the exact kind of lottery ticket you'd hope to get as opposed to non-tendering a player for nothing. Recently Twins Daily’s Nick Nelson called Urshela the Twins toughest arbitration decision and considering all of the factors, it’s hard to dispute that. As things stand presently, and with Carlos Correa unsigned, Minnesota’s entire left side of the infield remains up in the air. It will be on the front office to sort that out over the coming months before Spring Training.
  7. Friday marks the deadline for MLB teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. The Minnesota Twins have a number of decisions to make, ranging from no-brainer to head-scratcher. Let's review each arbitration tender candidate case by case, in order from easiest to most difficult stay-or-go calls. Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports Minnesota's front office got a few of these decisions out of the way early by waiving Jake Cave (claimed by Baltimore), Danny Coulombe, and Cody Stashak. All would have been eligible for arbitration, albeit with fairly modest projected salaries. They also took care of business already with Kyle Garlick, agreeing on a one-year, $750,000 contract. It's barely above the league minimum, but the move to strike an early deal does signal at least some level of intent for the Twins to stick with Garlick as a right-handed complement to their LH-heavy corner outfield mix. Eight players remain who are in the designated service-time range – between three and six years – where they can start to negotiate their own salary. On Friday the Twins will need to commit to tendering a contract and keeping them for 2023 (barring a trade) or letting them go. Here's a case-by-case breakdown, starting with the easiest of easy decisions. (Salary projections courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.) 8. Luis Arraez, 1B Year 2 of 4 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $5 million The reigning All-Star and batting champ is a lovely bargain in the $5 million range. He still has three years of team control remaining so the Twins do have some leverage for extension talks, but there's not a ton of incentive to pursue one for a 25-year-old with bad knees. 7. Jorge Alcalá, RHP Year 1 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $800K The right-hander technically accrued a year of service in 2022 while making only two appearances due to an elbow issue that never got right. He didn't need surgery and is expected back at full strength next spring, so there's no reason to think twice about bringing back Alcalá, owner of a career 3.39 ERA and 1.06 WHIP through 87 ⅔ MLB innings, at essentially the league minimum. 6. Caleb Thielbar, LHP Year 2 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $2.4 million You don't see many guys entering their second year of arbitration at the age of 35. But then, you don't see many stories like Caleb Thielbar. His mildly escalating cost is the only reason you'd have slight pause in extending a contract, but $2.4 million is a paltry sum for the kind of performance Thielbar provided last year. He'll be a cost-efficient centerpiece of bullpen planning. 5. Jorge López, RHP Year 2 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $3.7 million Here's where the decisions start to get a little thornier. I'm not going to say keeping López is a tough call, because they'll do it without hesitation, but nearly $4 million could be viewed as a hefty price tag based on what he did for the Twins (4.37 ERA) and in his career prior to 2022 (6.04 ERA). Alas, his first spectacular four months in Baltimore compelled the Twins to part with three prospects for him at the deadline, and will compel them to tender a contract – especially since he has another year of team control in 2024. 4. Tyler Mahle, RHP Year 3 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $7.2 million It's hard to imagine how Mahle's post-trade time with the Twins could've gone worse in 2022. If he merely performed badly, you'd chalk it up as a rough second half or adjustment to new scenery, and hope for a rebound to previous form. If he tore a labrum in his shoulder or elbow ligament, you'd non-tender without a second thought. Instead, his mysterious recurring shoulder fatigue kept him from being able to pitch at all, leaving the front office with no choice but to gamble $7 million on this issue disappearing in the offseason. They'll do it, especially because of what they gave up to get him, but it's really hard to plan confidently around him at this point. 3. Emilio Pagán, RHP Year 3 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $3.7 million I'm not saying this decision should be remotely difficult. But ... there's a reason the Twins kept Pagán around all year despite having ample reason to jettison him. The guy has legitimately excellent stuff. He averaged 12 K/9 with a 14% swinging strike rate. But he also got crushed, for a third straight season, because he has shown no ability to consistently execute. With such a long-running sample of failure, the choice to move on at almost $4 million should be obvious. But I don't get the sense it's viewed that way. 2. Chris Paddack, RHP Year 2 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $2.4 million The righty's past standing as one of the game's better young pitchers, and his three remaining seasons of team control, were key reasons the Twins pulled the trigger on a deal that brought him over alongside Pagan in exchange for Taylor Rogers just ahead of Opening Day. Paddack only lasted five starts before his partially torn UCL gave way, requiring a second Tommy John surgery that will knock him out for almost all of next year. Essentially, the Twins would be paying about $2.5 million for the opportunity to try and get one more season out of Paddack, in 2024 when he'll be in his final year of arbitration. That's probably worth it, but hardly a lock, especially when you consider the opportunity cost of needing to dedicate a 40-man roster spot all winter before you can move him to the 60-day IL next spring. While the upside was once easy to see, you now really have to squint: he's got a 97 career ERA+ and in 2024 he'll be a 28-year-old coming off his second TJ surgery. The track record for pitchers who've undergone it twice is not promising. 1. Gio Urshela, 3B Year 3 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $9.2 million A funny story: In mid-September I tweeted a 2023 roster projection that didn't include Urshela, and Athletic beat writer Dan Hayes challenged me by saying the veteran third baseman should be considered a lock for at least a tender. Dan tends to be pretty plugged into what's going on and instinctually sound, so I started to adjust my thinking. I even came around on the idea as Urshela finished strong with a .333/.404/.425 slash line in the final month while Jose Miranda failed to impress much at third base. Then, after the season ended, Dan informed me he'd softened his stance and was no longer so sure Urshela would be tendered. (He expressed this view on a recent Gleeman and the Geek appearance.) It seems the consensus on Urshela is that while he's a good and desirable player, that price tag is a tad more than you'd like to pay when you've already got some options. For the Twins, this decision hinges on a few factors. Are they confident enough in Miranda and his defense (or the depth behind him) to commit as a full-time third baseman? Do they have other offseason plans, like signing Brandon Drury or Jose Abreu, that would negate any need for Urshela on the roster? Does the front office believe they could tender and trade him, to keep their options open? I lean toward the last one, so I do think he'll be tendered. But it's far from a lock. View full article
  8. Today is MLB’s non-tender deadline. A couple of possible non-tender candidates are Gio Urshela and Emilio Pagán. Here is some general arbitration talk and discussion on what the Twins may decide to move on from those two players.
  9. Today is MLB’s non-tender deadline. A couple of possible non-tender candidates are Gio Urshela and Emilio Pagán. Here is some general arbitration talk and discussion on what the Twins may decide to move on from those two players. View full video
  10. Minnesota's front office got a few of these decisions out of the way early by waiving Jake Cave (claimed by Baltimore), Danny Coulombe, and Cody Stashak. All would have been eligible for arbitration, albeit with fairly modest projected salaries. They also took care of business already with Kyle Garlick, agreeing on a one-year, $750,000 contract. It's barely above the league minimum, but the move to strike an early deal does signal at least some level of intent for the Twins to stick with Garlick as a right-handed complement to their LH-heavy corner outfield mix. Eight players remain who are in the designated service-time range – between three and six years – where they can start to negotiate their own salary. On Friday the Twins will need to commit to tendering a contract and keeping them for 2023 (barring a trade) or letting them go. Here's a case-by-case breakdown, starting with the easiest of easy decisions. (Salary projections courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.) 8. Luis Arraez, 1B Year 2 of 4 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $5 million The reigning All-Star and batting champ is a lovely bargain in the $5 million range. He still has three years of team control remaining so the Twins do have some leverage for extension talks, but there's not a ton of incentive to pursue one for a 25-year-old with bad knees. 7. Jorge Alcalá, RHP Year 1 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $800K The right-hander technically accrued a year of service in 2022 while making only two appearances due to an elbow issue that never got right. He didn't need surgery and is expected back at full strength next spring, so there's no reason to think twice about bringing back Alcalá, owner of a career 3.39 ERA and 1.06 WHIP through 87 ⅔ MLB innings, at essentially the league minimum. 6. Caleb Thielbar, LHP Year 2 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $2.4 million You don't see many guys entering their second year of arbitration at the age of 35. But then, you don't see many stories like Caleb Thielbar. His mildly escalating cost is the only reason you'd have slight pause in extending a contract, but $2.4 million is a paltry sum for the kind of performance Thielbar provided last year. He'll be a cost-efficient centerpiece of bullpen planning. 5. Jorge López, RHP Year 2 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $3.7 million Here's where the decisions start to get a little thornier. I'm not going to say keeping López is a tough call, because they'll do it without hesitation, but nearly $4 million could be viewed as a hefty price tag based on what he did for the Twins (4.37 ERA) and in his career prior to 2022 (6.04 ERA). Alas, his first spectacular four months in Baltimore compelled the Twins to part with three prospects for him at the deadline, and will compel them to tender a contract – especially since he has another year of team control in 2024. 4. Tyler Mahle, RHP Year 3 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $7.2 million It's hard to imagine how Mahle's post-trade time with the Twins could've gone worse in 2022. If he merely performed badly, you'd chalk it up as a rough second half or adjustment to new scenery, and hope for a rebound to previous form. If he tore a labrum in his shoulder or elbow ligament, you'd non-tender without a second thought. Instead, his mysterious recurring shoulder fatigue kept him from being able to pitch at all, leaving the front office with no choice but to gamble $7 million on this issue disappearing in the offseason. They'll do it, especially because of what they gave up to get him, but it's really hard to plan confidently around him at this point. 3. Emilio Pagán, RHP Year 3 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $3.7 million I'm not saying this decision should be remotely difficult. But ... there's a reason the Twins kept Pagán around all year despite having ample reason to jettison him. The guy has legitimately excellent stuff. He averaged 12 K/9 with a 14% swinging strike rate. But he also got crushed, for a third straight season, because he has shown no ability to consistently execute. With such a long-running sample of failure, the choice to move on at almost $4 million should be obvious. But I don't get the sense it's viewed that way. 2. Chris Paddack, RHP Year 2 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $2.4 million The righty's past standing as one of the game's better young pitchers, and his three remaining seasons of team control, were key reasons the Twins pulled the trigger on a deal that brought him over alongside Pagan in exchange for Taylor Rogers just ahead of Opening Day. Paddack only lasted five starts before his partially torn UCL gave way, requiring a second Tommy John surgery that will knock him out for almost all of next year. Essentially, the Twins would be paying about $2.5 million for the opportunity to try and get one more season out of Paddack, in 2024 when he'll be in his final year of arbitration. That's probably worth it, but hardly a lock, especially when you consider the opportunity cost of needing to dedicate a 40-man roster spot all winter before you can move him to the 60-day IL next spring. While the upside was once easy to see, you now really have to squint: he's got a 97 career ERA+ and in 2024 he'll be a 28-year-old coming off his second TJ surgery. The track record for pitchers who've undergone it twice is not promising. 1. Gio Urshela, 3B Year 3 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $9.2 million A funny story: In mid-September I tweeted a 2023 roster projection that didn't include Urshela, and Athletic beat writer Dan Hayes challenged me by saying the veteran third baseman should be considered a lock for at least a tender. Dan tends to be pretty plugged into what's going on and instinctually sound, so I started to adjust my thinking. I even came around on the idea as Urshela finished strong with a .333/.404/.425 slash line in the final month while Jose Miranda failed to impress much at third base. Then, after the season ended, Dan informed me he'd softened his stance and was no longer so sure Urshela would be tendered. (He expressed this view on a recent Gleeman and the Geek appearance.) It seems the consensus on Urshela is that while he's a good and desirable player, that price tag is a tad more than you'd like to pay when you've already got some options. For the Twins, this decision hinges on a few factors. Are they confident enough in Miranda and his defense (or the depth behind him) to commit as a full-time third baseman? Do they have other offseason plans, like signing Brandon Drury or Jose Abreu, that would negate any need for Urshela on the roster? Does the front office believe they could tender and trade him, to keep their options open? I lean toward the last one, so I do think he'll be tendered. But it's far from a lock.
  11. The Twins must make multiple moves if they want to contend in 2023. Here is the blueprint I would follow for the perfect offseason that sets up a rebound to contention. Image courtesy of Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports Minnesota's front office has a clear shopping list to improve the Twins for 2023. Shortstop is the team's most significant need, especially with Royce Lewis out until the season's second half. Luckily, there is a strong crop of free-agent options, but plenty of other teams could be looking for an upgrade at shortstop. Also, there is always room to add more frontline starting pitching and to supplement other spots on the roster (catcher, right-handed power bat). Here is how the Twins can address all of those needs. Lineup: Correa Returns to Supplement Youth Movement There have been a few times in Twins history when the club had the flexibility to sign one of baseball's best players. Carlos Correa was tremendous during his first season in Minnesota, and the Twins should spend big to have him return. It will likely take a nine or ten-year deal for over $300 million. The Twins can be creative with their contract offer to Correa and frontload the deal, so the end of the contract is more palatable. To create more financial flexibility, I have the team trading Gio Urshela and Max Kepler for prospects. Minnesota will turn third base over to Jose Miranda, and a trio of young outfielders is waiting to take over in the corner spots. Omar Narvaez is the other essential addition, as he offers a natural platoon with current catcher Ryan Jeffers. Bench: Adding Right-Handed Power Trey Mancini is the most significant addition to Minnesota's bench as he offers an upgrade compared to Kyle Garlick. The Twins lineup is loaded with left-handed hitters, and Mancini adds a corner outfield option that is right-handed. Nick Gordon and Gilberto Celestino proved their value during the 2022 season, and Jeffers can switch to a platoon role. Rotation: Adding an Ace Minnesota has many starting pitching options for next season, but there is no true ace at the top of the rotation. The Twins' front office needs to go out of their comfort zone to sign Carlos Rodon to a similar contract that Robbie Ray signed last winter (5-years, $115 million). There have been concerns about Rodon's health in the past, but he's been one of baseball's best pitchers over the last two seasons. His addition also adds more depth to the rotation for when injuries eventually strike. Bullpen: Internal Options Spending money on the lineup left little room for changes to the bullpen. Kepler or Urshela could be used to acquire a package that includes a potential bullpen arm. However, the Twins are getting back Jorge Alcala, and there are other young options to add to the mix. Bailey Ober and Cole Sands will be needed in the rotation sometime next season, but they can be used to piggyback Kenta Maeda and Tyler Mahle to start the year as they return from injury. Minnesota will trust Jorge Lopez to return to form and can be relied on in critical late-inning situations. Other players will shuffle between St. Paul and Minneapolis, but getting rid of Pagan will help the club from the season's start. Final Payroll Minnesota's 2022 payroll was around $142 million, depending on the source. The team will see a slight bump in payroll next year, especially if the front office can justify signing Correa and Rodon to long-term deals. Some of the dead money mentioned below will also be tied to last year's payroll, giving the team more flexibility. Is this the best possible outcome leading into the 2023 season? Twins Daily also allows you to make your own offseason blueprint. Feel free to create your own roster and share it in the forums with an explanation. View full article
  12. Minnesota failed to win any Gold Gloves this season, but there were plenty of improved defensive performances. A respected fielding metric from SABR helps illustrate the team's surprising proficiency with the glove. Image courtesy of Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports Defensive metrics have come a long way over the last decade. With Statcast tracking every batted ball, the amount of information available to fans is at an all-time high. One metric developed by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is called the SABR Defensive Index (SDI). According to SABR's website, the SDI "draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts." Since 2013, MLB has used SDI as part of the process for selecting Gold Glove winners. The rankings below are the final rankings for the 2022 campaign. Pitcher (AL Ranking): No Twins Pitchers Qualify Minnesota needed pitchers to throw more innings to qualify for the SDI leaderboard. Former Twin Jose Berrios has been known for his athletic ability, which helps him to field his position. He finished tied for fifth in the AL. According to SDI, Cleveland's Shane Bieber ranked as the best fielder, and he won the Gold Glove. Catcher (AL Ranking): Gary Sanchez 0.6 SDI (12th) Sanchez took over the full-time catching duties after Ryan Jeffers broke his thumb. Minnesota worked hard with Sanchez to improve his receiving this year. Last season, he ranked as the AL's worst catcher with a -8.2 SDI, and there are four players worse than him in 2022. Jeffers' last posted SDI total was 2.0, but his injury meant he didn't have enough innings to be on the leaderboard. First Base (AL Ranking): Luis Arraez 2.1 SDI (1st) Arraez was a Gold Glove finalist at first base and led the league in SDI. However, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.was awarded the Gold Glove even though his SDI total was 1.9 points lower than Arraez. In the second half, Arraez moved from a -0.5 SDI to the league's best total while also playing through injury. It was a terrific defensive season for a player with limited first-base experience entering the 2022 campaign. Second Base (AL Ranking): Jorge Polanco -2.7 SDI (13th) Polanco gained rave reviews during his first season at second base in 2021, but the 2022 season was a different story. Only three qualified second basemen finished with a lower SDI. Polanco dealt with injuries during the season, which likely hindered his defensive performance. Minnesota can hope that Polanco is healthier in 2023 and can move back up the SDI leaderboard. Third Base (AL Ranking): Gio Urshela 0.8 SDI (T-5th) Urshela's defense was one of the most significant in-season improvements for the Twins. At the season's midway point, only one AL third baseman ranked lower than Urshela. He shot up the rankings in the second half and finished tied for fifth with Houston's Alex Bregman. Former Twin Josh Donaldson finished second among the AL's third basemen with a 7.3 SDI. Shortstop (AL Ranking): Carlos Correa 1.6 SDI (9th) Correa was a Gold Glove finalist, but his SDI ranking was a roller coaster throughout the season. His early season defensive numbers were disappointing, but he slowly climbed the SDI leaderboard and ranked in the AL's top-five shortstops at the end of August. His bat was terrific in September, but he posted a negative SDI and dropped four spots in the rankings. Houston's Jeremy Pena, Correa's replacement, became the first rookie shortstop to win the Gold Glove. Left Field (AL Ranking): Nick Gordon 0.1 SDI (5th) Gordon surprised the Twins in multiple ways this season on his way to becoming the team's most-improved player. He'd played infield for most of his professional career, but Minnesota needed him as an outfielder. According to SDI, he finished the year in the top 5 among AL left fielders, which is a testament to his athletic ability. Center Field (AL Ranking): No Twins Players Qualified Byron Buxton missed time at the season's end and started nearly 37% of his games as a designated hitter. When healthy, he is among baseball's best defensive outfielders. The AL Central had arguably the league's best centerfield defenders, with Cleveland's Myles Straw and Kansas City's Michael A. Taylor finishing 1-2 in the SDI rankings. Right Field (AL Ranking): Max Kepler 6.3 SDI (2nd) Like Correa and Arreaz, Kepler was a Gold Glove finalist. Kepler slowly increased his SDI rankings throughout the season but needed more to catch Houston's Kyle Tucker. In the final rankings, Kepler was 0.8 SDI points behind Tucker, who was awarded the Gold Glove. Kepler's defense has become his calling card. Will the Twins look to trade him this winter? Which rankings above surprise you the most? Did Arraez get robbed of a Gold Glove? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  13. Minnesota's front office has a clear shopping list to improve the Twins for 2023. Shortstop is the team's most significant need, especially with Royce Lewis out until the season's second half. Luckily, there is a strong crop of free-agent options, but plenty of other teams could be looking for an upgrade at shortstop. Also, there is always room to add more frontline starting pitching and to supplement other spots on the roster (catcher, right-handed power bat). Here is how the Twins can address all of those needs. Lineup: Correa Returns to Supplement Youth Movement There have been a few times in Twins history when the club had the flexibility to sign one of baseball's best players. Carlos Correa was tremendous during his first season in Minnesota, and the Twins should spend big to have him return. It will likely take a nine or ten-year deal for over $300 million. The Twins can be creative with their contract offer to Correa and frontload the deal, so the end of the contract is more palatable. To create more financial flexibility, I have the team trading Gio Urshela and Max Kepler for prospects. Minnesota will turn third base over to Jose Miranda, and a trio of young outfielders is waiting to take over in the corner spots. Omar Narvaez is the other essential addition, as he offers a natural platoon with current catcher Ryan Jeffers. Bench: Adding Right-Handed Power Trey Mancini is the most significant addition to Minnesota's bench as he offers an upgrade compared to Kyle Garlick. The Twins lineup is loaded with left-handed hitters, and Mancini adds a corner outfield option that is right-handed. Nick Gordon and Gilberto Celestino proved their value during the 2022 season, and Jeffers can switch to a platoon role. Rotation: Adding an Ace Minnesota has many starting pitching options for next season, but there is no true ace at the top of the rotation. The Twins' front office needs to go out of their comfort zone to sign Carlos Rodon to a similar contract that Robbie Ray signed last winter (5-years, $115 million). There have been concerns about Rodon's health in the past, but he's been one of baseball's best pitchers over the last two seasons. His addition also adds more depth to the rotation for when injuries eventually strike. Bullpen: Internal Options Spending money on the lineup left little room for changes to the bullpen. Kepler or Urshela could be used to acquire a package that includes a potential bullpen arm. However, the Twins are getting back Jorge Alcala, and there are other young options to add to the mix. Bailey Ober and Cole Sands will be needed in the rotation sometime next season, but they can be used to piggyback Kenta Maeda and Tyler Mahle to start the year as they return from injury. Minnesota will trust Jorge Lopez to return to form and can be relied on in critical late-inning situations. Other players will shuffle between St. Paul and Minneapolis, but getting rid of Pagan will help the club from the season's start. Final Payroll Minnesota's 2022 payroll was around $142 million, depending on the source. The team will see a slight bump in payroll next year, especially if the front office can justify signing Correa and Rodon to long-term deals. Some of the dead money mentioned below will also be tied to last year's payroll, giving the team more flexibility. Is this the best possible outcome leading into the 2023 season? Twins Daily also allows you to make your own offseason blueprint. Feel free to create your own roster and share it in the forums with an explanation.
  14. Defensive metrics have come a long way over the last decade. With Statcast tracking every batted ball, the amount of information available to fans is at an all-time high. One metric developed by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is called the SABR Defensive Index (SDI). According to SABR's website, the SDI "draws on and aggregates two types of existing defensive metrics: those derived from batted ball location-based data and those collected from play-by-play accounts." Since 2013, MLB has used SDI as part of the process for selecting Gold Glove winners. The rankings below are the final rankings for the 2022 campaign. Pitcher (AL Ranking): No Twins Pitchers Qualify Minnesota needed pitchers to throw more innings to qualify for the SDI leaderboard. Former Twin Jose Berrios has been known for his athletic ability, which helps him to field his position. He finished tied for fifth in the AL. According to SDI, Cleveland's Shane Bieber ranked as the best fielder, and he won the Gold Glove. Catcher (AL Ranking): Gary Sanchez 0.6 SDI (12th) Sanchez took over the full-time catching duties after Ryan Jeffers broke his thumb. Minnesota worked hard with Sanchez to improve his receiving this year. Last season, he ranked as the AL's worst catcher with a -8.2 SDI, and there are four players worse than him in 2022. Jeffers' last posted SDI total was 2.0, but his injury meant he didn't have enough innings to be on the leaderboard. First Base (AL Ranking): Luis Arraez 2.1 SDI (1st) Arraez was a Gold Glove finalist at first base and led the league in SDI. However, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.was awarded the Gold Glove even though his SDI total was 1.9 points lower than Arraez. In the second half, Arraez moved from a -0.5 SDI to the league's best total while also playing through injury. It was a terrific defensive season for a player with limited first-base experience entering the 2022 campaign. Second Base (AL Ranking): Jorge Polanco -2.7 SDI (13th) Polanco gained rave reviews during his first season at second base in 2021, but the 2022 season was a different story. Only three qualified second basemen finished with a lower SDI. Polanco dealt with injuries during the season, which likely hindered his defensive performance. Minnesota can hope that Polanco is healthier in 2023 and can move back up the SDI leaderboard. Third Base (AL Ranking): Gio Urshela 0.8 SDI (T-5th) Urshela's defense was one of the most significant in-season improvements for the Twins. At the season's midway point, only one AL third baseman ranked lower than Urshela. He shot up the rankings in the second half and finished tied for fifth with Houston's Alex Bregman. Former Twin Josh Donaldson finished second among the AL's third basemen with a 7.3 SDI. Shortstop (AL Ranking): Carlos Correa 1.6 SDI (9th) Correa was a Gold Glove finalist, but his SDI ranking was a roller coaster throughout the season. His early season defensive numbers were disappointing, but he slowly climbed the SDI leaderboard and ranked in the AL's top-five shortstops at the end of August. His bat was terrific in September, but he posted a negative SDI and dropped four spots in the rankings. Houston's Jeremy Pena, Correa's replacement, became the first rookie shortstop to win the Gold Glove. Left Field (AL Ranking): Nick Gordon 0.1 SDI (5th) Gordon surprised the Twins in multiple ways this season on his way to becoming the team's most-improved player. He'd played infield for most of his professional career, but Minnesota needed him as an outfielder. According to SDI, he finished the year in the top 5 among AL left fielders, which is a testament to his athletic ability. Center Field (AL Ranking): No Twins Players Qualified Byron Buxton missed time at the season's end and started nearly 37% of his games as a designated hitter. When healthy, he is among baseball's best defensive outfielders. The AL Central had arguably the league's best centerfield defenders, with Cleveland's Myles Straw and Kansas City's Michael A. Taylor finishing 1-2 in the SDI rankings. Right Field (AL Ranking): Max Kepler 6.3 SDI (2nd) Like Correa and Arreaz, Kepler was a Gold Glove finalist. Kepler slowly increased his SDI rankings throughout the season but needed more to catch Houston's Kyle Tucker. In the final rankings, Kepler was 0.8 SDI points behind Tucker, who was awarded the Gold Glove. Kepler's defense has become his calling card. Will the Twins look to trade him this winter? Which rankings above surprise you the most? Did Arraez get robbed of a Gold Glove? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  15. MLBTR released their arbitration estimations for the 2023 season,which are normally very accurate. Which Twins are extension candidates? Which are locks to be tendered a contract? Should any be welcomed to test their luck on free agency? View full video
  16. MLBTR released their arbitration estimations for the 2023 season,which are normally very accurate. Which Twins are extension candidates? Which are locks to be tendered a contract? Should any be welcomed to test their luck on free agency?
  17. Last offseason the Twins made a shocking trade with the Yankees, parting with one of their highest paid players and their assumed future shortstop for a couple of pieces back. Now that we have a full season of data, it’s time to revisit. Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports The Twins previous offseason was a flurry of surprising moves. A team that was typically pretty quiet and tame in terms of their acquisitions made several big trades in an attempt to return to relevance in the standings. Unfortunately, this didn’t come to fruition, but is it possible that parting with their starting third baseman and new shortstop actually better positioned them? The Twins Trade Away Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa Despite the remaining 2 years and $42m remaining on his contract, the Twins traded Donaldson to the Bronx last winter with whispers swirling that he had worn out his welcome. The former MVP played in 135 games in 2021, his most since his fantastic 2019, but still had modest results. Seeking to cleanse the clubhouse and avoid a potential drop off in production, this side of the Twins gamble worked. Donaldson continued causing issues in New York and he had his worst offensive year since 2012. He slashed .222/.308/.374, 3% below league average despite the harsh offensive environment. His defense did rebound and he stayed healthy for 132 games, but it’s safe to say the Twins are happy with this decision. Isiah Kiner-Falefa wasn’t on the Twins long enough to even have jerseys made, having been acquired shortly before in the Mitch Garver deal. The assumed starting shortstop, IKF had a reputation as a gamer even though he lacked any standout skills. He had the kind of season you’d expect from the light-hitting infielder, slashing .261/.314/.327. As usual, his defense was good or bad depending on the metric. This pair being shipped out allowed the Twins to sign Correa, who undeniably provided significantly more value than their initial plan at shortstop. IKF wasn’t even the starting shortstop more often than not come playoff time for the Yankees, a testament to how this trade just did not work out for New York at all. The Twins Receive Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela Gary Sanchez had a strange year. The Yankees just didn’t want him behind the plate anymore regardless of his bat, so naturally he came to Minnesota and his skills behind the plate became his carrying tool. His .205/.282/.377 line was surprisingly bad, as his standout bat completely cratered but his framing and general defense was his boon. In other circumstances it’s possible Sanchez would have either lost significant playing time or not finish the season on the team. Injuries, however, had him starting near everyday. His struggles will likely cost him this winter, as it’s doubtful a team will suddenly see him as a plus-defender and it seems the Twins were left holding the bag on his offensive dropoff. Gio Urshela was the prize of this deal. Similar to Kiner-Falefa, defensive metrics conflict on his value, but he routinely makes some eye-popping plays at the hot corner. His .285/.338/.429 slash line was a trip back to his 2019 and 2020 peak offensive seasons, both of which looked to be a product of the juiced ball and a shortened schedule. Sure enough however, Urshela was one of the Twins few bright spots down the stretch, and surely played himself into being tendered a contract for 2023. “Winning a trade” is all about opinion. Some argue the aggregate value tells the story, others like to be receiving the best player in the deal. In the Twins case, they won on both measures. Donaldson (1.6) and Kiner-Falefa (1.3) combined for 2.9 fWAR in comparison to Sanchez (1.3) and Urshela (2.4) equaling 3.7. If that wasn’t convincing enough, consider that Donaldson has another year remaining for $21m plus another $8M guaranteed in the form of a 2024 buyout. No longer a middle of the order bat and at increased risk for another injury, possible disaster looms for whatever team he’s on in 2023. IKF also has one remaining arbitration year, which is likely to either get non-tendered or traded after failing to nail down the shortstop job with several prospects on the horizon for the Yankees. On the Twins end, they certainly could’ve done better than Gary Sanchez with the $9m he was paid, but that was the cost of doing business and he’s off their books moving forward. Urshela’s arbitration value will likely settle around $9-10m, a reasonable price if he approaches anything near his 2022 output. In both the 2022 season and moving forward, this deal has created headaches on the Yankees side while the Twins undoubtedly became a better team as a result. This is without even mentioning the door to the Correa signing that was opened. Biases aside, it’s hard not to call this trade a win for the Twins. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that even Yankee fans would agree. There’s a chance this deal evens back out based on Donaldson’s or Kiner-Falefa’s performances in 2023, but there’s a better chance it gets even worse. Do you agree that this was a massive win for the Twins? Is it too early to make a determination? Let us know below! View full article
  18. The Twins previous offseason was a flurry of surprising moves. A team that was typically pretty quiet and tame in terms of their acquisitions made several big trades in an attempt to return to relevance in the standings. Unfortunately, this didn’t come to fruition, but is it possible that parting with their starting third baseman and new shortstop actually better positioned them? The Twins Trade Away Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa Despite the remaining 2 years and $42m remaining on his contract, the Twins traded Donaldson to the Bronx last winter with whispers swirling that he had worn out his welcome. The former MVP played in 135 games in 2021, his most since his fantastic 2019, but still had modest results. Seeking to cleanse the clubhouse and avoid a potential drop off in production, this side of the Twins gamble worked. Donaldson continued causing issues in New York and he had his worst offensive year since 2012. He slashed .222/.308/.374, 3% below league average despite the harsh offensive environment. His defense did rebound and he stayed healthy for 132 games, but it’s safe to say the Twins are happy with this decision. Isiah Kiner-Falefa wasn’t on the Twins long enough to even have jerseys made, having been acquired shortly before in the Mitch Garver deal. The assumed starting shortstop, IKF had a reputation as a gamer even though he lacked any standout skills. He had the kind of season you’d expect from the light-hitting infielder, slashing .261/.314/.327. As usual, his defense was good or bad depending on the metric. This pair being shipped out allowed the Twins to sign Correa, who undeniably provided significantly more value than their initial plan at shortstop. IKF wasn’t even the starting shortstop more often than not come playoff time for the Yankees, a testament to how this trade just did not work out for New York at all. The Twins Receive Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela Gary Sanchez had a strange year. The Yankees just didn’t want him behind the plate anymore regardless of his bat, so naturally he came to Minnesota and his skills behind the plate became his carrying tool. His .205/.282/.377 line was surprisingly bad, as his standout bat completely cratered but his framing and general defense was his boon. In other circumstances it’s possible Sanchez would have either lost significant playing time or not finish the season on the team. Injuries, however, had him starting near everyday. His struggles will likely cost him this winter, as it’s doubtful a team will suddenly see him as a plus-defender and it seems the Twins were left holding the bag on his offensive dropoff. Gio Urshela was the prize of this deal. Similar to Kiner-Falefa, defensive metrics conflict on his value, but he routinely makes some eye-popping plays at the hot corner. His .285/.338/.429 slash line was a trip back to his 2019 and 2020 peak offensive seasons, both of which looked to be a product of the juiced ball and a shortened schedule. Sure enough however, Urshela was one of the Twins few bright spots down the stretch, and surely played himself into being tendered a contract for 2023. “Winning a trade” is all about opinion. Some argue the aggregate value tells the story, others like to be receiving the best player in the deal. In the Twins case, they won on both measures. Donaldson (1.6) and Kiner-Falefa (1.3) combined for 2.9 fWAR in comparison to Sanchez (1.3) and Urshela (2.4) equaling 3.7. If that wasn’t convincing enough, consider that Donaldson has another year remaining for $21m plus another $8M guaranteed in the form of a 2024 buyout. No longer a middle of the order bat and at increased risk for another injury, possible disaster looms for whatever team he’s on in 2023. IKF also has one remaining arbitration year, which is likely to either get non-tendered or traded after failing to nail down the shortstop job with several prospects on the horizon for the Yankees. On the Twins end, they certainly could’ve done better than Gary Sanchez with the $9m he was paid, but that was the cost of doing business and he’s off their books moving forward. Urshela’s arbitration value will likely settle around $9-10m, a reasonable price if he approaches anything near his 2022 output. In both the 2022 season and moving forward, this deal has created headaches on the Yankees side while the Twins undoubtedly became a better team as a result. This is without even mentioning the door to the Correa signing that was opened. Biases aside, it’s hard not to call this trade a win for the Twins. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that even Yankee fans would agree. There’s a chance this deal evens back out based on Donaldson’s or Kiner-Falefa’s performances in 2023, but there’s a better chance it gets even worse. Do you agree that this was a massive win for the Twins? Is it too early to make a determination? Let us know below!
  19. Gio Urshela was one of Minnesota's most reliable players in 2022, but Jose Miranda's emergence might make him expendable. Will the Twins trade Urshela? Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports Minnesota's roster has depth at multiple big-league positions, allowing the front office to exercise creativity this offseason. The current regime hasn't been afraid of making trades to solidify the roster and keep the team's winning window open as long as possible. As the offseason begins, it's essential to identify some of the team's possible trade candidates. What Did He Do in 2022? Gio Urshela's first season in a Twins uniform went about as good as one could expect. He hit .285/.338/.429 (.767) with a 119 wRC+ and a 121 OPS+. He ranked in the 60th percentile or higher in max exit velocity, xBA, xSLG, and K%. Carlos Correa, Luis Arraez, and Byron Buxton were the only Twins players to accumulate more WAR. His defense was below average as he ranked 8th among AL third baseman in SDI while also being in the 11th percentile for Outs Above Average. Overall, Urshela is an above-average big-leaguer, proving that again in 2022. Many will compare Urshela to Josh Donaldson since they played the same position and were included in the same trade. Urshela's OPS+ was 27 points higher than Donaldson's while accumulating 0.7 more WAR. Donaldson continues to be a superior defender to Urshela, but he was a below-average hitter in 2022. They are unique players at different points in their careers, but Urshela had the stronger 2022 season. Why is He a Trade Candidate? Jose Miranda's emergence over the last two seasons points to him becoming the team's long-term third baseman. In his rookie season, Miranda hit .268/.325/.426 (.751) with a 117 wRC+. He finished second in the TD Rookie of the Year voting, which came on the heels of a breakout 2021 season in the minors. Miranda plans to make improvements this winter by training with Carlos Correa. Derek Falvey also spoke highly of Miranda in his year-end press conference, which can signify that the team is ready for him to have a full-time role. Urshela's presence on the roster may be superfluous with Miranda's accolades. What is His Trade Value? Urshela will enter his final arbitration year and projects to get more than $9 million. FanGraphs pegs his value last season at $18.9 million, so his salary is below his production level. There will likely be a variety of teams interested in adding a solid regular to their line-up. However, Urshela is in his final year of team control, which impacts how much teams will be willing to surrender. It doesn't seem likely for Urshela to be worth a king's ransom, but he is worth multiple mid-tier prospects with upside. The Twins aren't forced to trade Urshela this winter because he showed the team the value he can provide in 2022. But injuries can impact the big-league roster, and Urshela might be needed as depth if there are injuries to other parts of the roster. Urshela will be the lone player remaining from the Josh Donaldson trade, so it will be interesting to see if the Twins can continue to get value from what looked like a salary dump trade. Do you think the Twins will try and trade Urshela? What kind of value do you think he has? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  20. Minnesota's roster has depth at multiple big-league positions, allowing the front office to exercise creativity this offseason. The current regime hasn't been afraid of making trades to solidify the roster and keep the team's winning window open as long as possible. As the offseason begins, it's essential to identify some of the team's possible trade candidates. What Did He Do in 2022? Gio Urshela's first season in a Twins uniform went about as good as one could expect. He hit .285/.338/.429 (.767) with a 119 wRC+ and a 121 OPS+. He ranked in the 60th percentile or higher in max exit velocity, xBA, xSLG, and K%. Carlos Correa, Luis Arraez, and Byron Buxton were the only Twins players to accumulate more WAR. His defense was below average as he ranked 8th among AL third baseman in SDI while also being in the 11th percentile for Outs Above Average. Overall, Urshela is an above-average big-leaguer, proving that again in 2022. Many will compare Urshela to Josh Donaldson since they played the same position and were included in the same trade. Urshela's OPS+ was 27 points higher than Donaldson's while accumulating 0.7 more WAR. Donaldson continues to be a superior defender to Urshela, but he was a below-average hitter in 2022. They are unique players at different points in their careers, but Urshela had the stronger 2022 season. Why is He a Trade Candidate? Jose Miranda's emergence over the last two seasons points to him becoming the team's long-term third baseman. In his rookie season, Miranda hit .268/.325/.426 (.751) with a 117 wRC+. He finished second in the TD Rookie of the Year voting, which came on the heels of a breakout 2021 season in the minors. Miranda plans to make improvements this winter by training with Carlos Correa. Derek Falvey also spoke highly of Miranda in his year-end press conference, which can signify that the team is ready for him to have a full-time role. Urshela's presence on the roster may be superfluous with Miranda's accolades. What is His Trade Value? Urshela will enter his final arbitration year and projects to get more than $9 million. FanGraphs pegs his value last season at $18.9 million, so his salary is below his production level. There will likely be a variety of teams interested in adding a solid regular to their line-up. However, Urshela is in his final year of team control, which impacts how much teams will be willing to surrender. It doesn't seem likely for Urshela to be worth a king's ransom, but he is worth multiple mid-tier prospects with upside. The Twins aren't forced to trade Urshela this winter because he showed the team the value he can provide in 2022. But injuries can impact the big-league roster, and Urshela might be needed as depth if there are injuries to other parts of the roster. Urshela will be the lone player remaining from the Josh Donaldson trade, so it will be interesting to see if the Twins can continue to get value from what looked like a salary dump trade. Do you think the Twins will try and trade Urshela? What kind of value do you think he has? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  21. Minnesota’s front office has focused on payroll flexibility, which means the team’s books are relatively clear for years into the future. Even with this flexibility, the 2023 season is shaping to be a make-it-or-break-it for the Twins. Image courtesy of Lindsey Wasson-USA TODAY Sports Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have stressed the importance of keeping the Twins’ winning window open as long as possible. To do this, the club has restrained from giving out long-term contracts, which gives the team payroll flexibility for multiple years. Minnesota has traded for multiple players to supplement the roster, and many contracts are up at the end of 2023. That makes next year a make-it-or-break-it season. Possible Free Agent Pitchers Following 2023 Sonny Gray: It will be a no-brainer for the Twins to pick up Gray’s $12 million team option for 2023, but that means he is heading to free agency after next season. Minnesota surrendered their 2021 first-round pick to acquire Gray for multiple seasons. He performed well in his first season with the Twins as he posted a 3.08 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP in 24 starts. Injuries impacted multiple Twins starters, and Gray pitched under 120 innings for the first time since 2016 due to multiple IL stints. Kenta Maeda: Maeda signed a unique contract when he came from Japan. The Dodgers saw some abnormalities in his physical, so he signed a very incentive-laden contract. He pitched over 760 big-league innings before needing Tommy John surgery. Some thought he could pitch out of the bullpen in 2022, but Minnesota fell out of the race, and there wasn’t a reason to rush him back. Now, Maeda will spend the winter preparing to rejoin the Twins’ rotation in the final year of his contract. Tyler Mahle: Fans were excited when the Twins made an aggressive trade deadline acquisition of Mahle. His Twins tenure started poorly as he dealt with shoulder issues that ended his season early. Minnesota hopes rest and recovery this offseason will help Mahle to return to his previous performance level. If Mahle can’t return to health, it will be a tough pill to swallow for the current front office. This regime has a history of acquiring potentially injured pitchers, and Mahle is another name on that list. Possible Free Agent Position Players Following 2023 Max Kepler: Kepler’s future with the Twins is up in the air, with one guaranteed year remaining on his contract. Outside of 2019, his offensive numbers have been below average, but he continues to be one of baseball’s best defenders in right field. He has a team option for $10 million for the 2024 season, and FanGraphs pegs his average value at over $16.1 million for 2022. The Twins also have three young outfielders that need time in corner outfield positions, so this might make Kepler more expendable over the next two seasons. Gio Urshela: Urshela was one of Minnesota’s best performers throughout the 2022 season. He posted a 121 OPS+ and ranked fourth on the team in WAR. Many will compare him to Josh Donaldson, and Urshela ranked better than Donaldson in many offensive categories. Urshela’s big-league development hasn’t followed a linear path, but he has carved out a niche as an above-average regular over the last four seasons. He will be 31 years old for all of next season, and the Twins will have younger options to plug in at third base in the years ahead. Minnesota has some decisions to make, with many vital players heading toward free agency. Will the club try to sign any of the above names to extensions? Will some be made qualifying offers? If Minnesota stumbles, can they be traded before next year’s deadline? All signs point to the 2023 season being a critical year for the office as they need the club to take a step in the right direction. View full article
  22. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have stressed the importance of keeping the Twins’ winning window open as long as possible. To do this, the club has restrained from giving out long-term contracts, which gives the team payroll flexibility for multiple years. Minnesota has traded for multiple players to supplement the roster, and many contracts are up at the end of 2023. That makes next year a make-it-or-break-it season. Possible Free Agent Pitchers Following 2023 Sonny Gray: It will be a no-brainer for the Twins to pick up Gray’s $12 million team option for 2023, but that means he is heading to free agency after next season. Minnesota surrendered their 2021 first-round pick to acquire Gray for multiple seasons. He performed well in his first season with the Twins as he posted a 3.08 ERA with a 1.13 WHIP in 24 starts. Injuries impacted multiple Twins starters, and Gray pitched under 120 innings for the first time since 2016 due to multiple IL stints. Kenta Maeda: Maeda signed a unique contract when he came from Japan. The Dodgers saw some abnormalities in his physical, so he signed a very incentive-laden contract. He pitched over 760 big-league innings before needing Tommy John surgery. Some thought he could pitch out of the bullpen in 2022, but Minnesota fell out of the race, and there wasn’t a reason to rush him back. Now, Maeda will spend the winter preparing to rejoin the Twins’ rotation in the final year of his contract. Tyler Mahle: Fans were excited when the Twins made an aggressive trade deadline acquisition of Mahle. His Twins tenure started poorly as he dealt with shoulder issues that ended his season early. Minnesota hopes rest and recovery this offseason will help Mahle to return to his previous performance level. If Mahle can’t return to health, it will be a tough pill to swallow for the current front office. This regime has a history of acquiring potentially injured pitchers, and Mahle is another name on that list. Possible Free Agent Position Players Following 2023 Max Kepler: Kepler’s future with the Twins is up in the air, with one guaranteed year remaining on his contract. Outside of 2019, his offensive numbers have been below average, but he continues to be one of baseball’s best defenders in right field. He has a team option for $10 million for the 2024 season, and FanGraphs pegs his average value at over $16.1 million for 2022. The Twins also have three young outfielders that need time in corner outfield positions, so this might make Kepler more expendable over the next two seasons. Gio Urshela: Urshela was one of Minnesota’s best performers throughout the 2022 season. He posted a 121 OPS+ and ranked fourth on the team in WAR. Many will compare him to Josh Donaldson, and Urshela ranked better than Donaldson in many offensive categories. Urshela’s big-league development hasn’t followed a linear path, but he has carved out a niche as an above-average regular over the last four seasons. He will be 31 years old for all of next season, and the Twins will have younger options to plug in at third base in the years ahead. Minnesota has some decisions to make, with many vital players heading toward free agency. Will the club try to sign any of the above names to extensions? Will some be made qualifying offers? If Minnesota stumbles, can they be traded before next year’s deadline? All signs point to the 2023 season being a critical year for the office as they need the club to take a step in the right direction.
  23. The Minnesota Twins were able to watch Bailey Ober have a good outing. Gio Urshela and Carlos Correa also provided some offense. It ultimately wasn't enough as the White Sox took the first game in season's final series. Image courtesy of © Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports Box Score SP: Bailey Ober: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (82 pitches, 54 strikes (65.8%)) Home Runs: Gio Urshela (13) Bottom 3 WPA: Griffin Jax (-.168), Nick Gordon (-.103), Mark Contreras (-.093) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Minnesota Twins entered into their final series for the 2022 season Monday night. A series with the division foe Chicago White Sox that was circled at the beginning of the season as a series that should have had the two heavyweights of the division duking it out for first place. That isn’t the case, with both teams licking wounds and looking towards the offseason. The Twins and us fans do have one thing to keep an eye on tonight, Bailey Ober. Last time out against this same White Sox lineup Ober struck out 10 batters. Since returning from the IL, Ober has thrown 17 ⅓ IP, collected 18 strikeouts, and walked only three batters on his way to a 1.56 ERA. With nothing to play for, the storyline for the Twins will be to see how Ober can follow up his ten strikeout game against that same lineup. A task that usually leans in favor of the offense. Urshela hits career mark in the first inning The Twins offense got an early jump by spotting Ober a 2-0 lead. It could have been larger if Carlos Correa hadn’t been thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. Instead, with Nick Gordon on base after his own double, Gio Urshela hit his 13th home run of the 2022 season. It also happened to be his 140th hit for the Twins this season, setting a career-high for the third baseman. With Urshela also flashing his leather in the third inning, he is doing his best to make a case that he is well worth what his arbitration number will be this offseason. It will undoubtedly be one of the many off-season decisions we will all keep our eyes on. Ober solid in five innings While it was not dominant like his last outing, Ober still put together a solid five innings against the White Sox. Josh Harrison got to Ober with a two-run home run which tied the game up 2-2. It was a great way to see Ober finish out the season. Especially after missing so much time on the IL. The Twins will certainly be looking for him to fill a role next season, and this stretch to close the season should only add to Ober’s confidence as he does so. Cueto hits a groove, works fast Something that was obvious and commented on during the broadcast was that Johnny Cueto was working fast. Every good dad would have likely asked him if he was late for a date as fast as he was moving. Whether he was getting ready for the new pitch clock rules or something else, Cueto found a groove and kept the Twins off the scoreboard beyond the first inning. Even after Cueto's exit, the White Sox bullpen kept the Twins off the scoreboard, leading to eight scoreless innings. All it took was Griffin Jax allowing a run to cross the plate in the seventh inning to give the White Sox the 3-2 win to start the series. The Twins did show up in the ninth inning to make things interesting against White Sox closer Liam Hendriks. The Twins loaded the bases with two outs and sent Mark Contreras to the plate. Even though Hendriks seemed to be struggling to command some of his pitches, he was able to strike out Contreras to close out the win for Chicago. What’s Next? The Minnesota Twins will send Josh Winder to the mound for Tuesday’s game. He will face off against Lucas Giolito, who overall has had a disappointing season and would love nothing other than to shut down the Twins one last time. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Jax 14 0 0 12 21 47 Henriquez 0 0 40 0 0 40 Pagan 0 30 0 0 5 35 Thielbar 18 0 0 0 15 33 Lopez 14 0 0 18 0 32 Fulmer 5 0 0 26 0 31 Moran 0 23 0 0 0 23 Megill 17 0 0 0 0 17 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0 View full article
  24. Box Score SP: Bailey Ober: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K (82 pitches, 54 strikes (65.8%)) Home Runs: Gio Urshela (13) Bottom 3 WPA: Griffin Jax (-.168), Nick Gordon (-.103), Mark Contreras (-.093) Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs) The Minnesota Twins entered into their final series for the 2022 season Monday night. A series with the division foe Chicago White Sox that was circled at the beginning of the season as a series that should have had the two heavyweights of the division duking it out for first place. That isn’t the case, with both teams licking wounds and looking towards the offseason. The Twins and us fans do have one thing to keep an eye on tonight, Bailey Ober. Last time out against this same White Sox lineup Ober struck out 10 batters. Since returning from the IL, Ober has thrown 17 ⅓ IP, collected 18 strikeouts, and walked only three batters on his way to a 1.56 ERA. With nothing to play for, the storyline for the Twins will be to see how Ober can follow up his ten strikeout game against that same lineup. A task that usually leans in favor of the offense. Urshela hits career mark in the first inning The Twins offense got an early jump by spotting Ober a 2-0 lead. It could have been larger if Carlos Correa hadn’t been thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double. Instead, with Nick Gordon on base after his own double, Gio Urshela hit his 13th home run of the 2022 season. It also happened to be his 140th hit for the Twins this season, setting a career-high for the third baseman. With Urshela also flashing his leather in the third inning, he is doing his best to make a case that he is well worth what his arbitration number will be this offseason. It will undoubtedly be one of the many off-season decisions we will all keep our eyes on. Ober solid in five innings While it was not dominant like his last outing, Ober still put together a solid five innings against the White Sox. Josh Harrison got to Ober with a two-run home run which tied the game up 2-2. It was a great way to see Ober finish out the season. Especially after missing so much time on the IL. The Twins will certainly be looking for him to fill a role next season, and this stretch to close the season should only add to Ober’s confidence as he does so. Cueto hits a groove, works fast Something that was obvious and commented on during the broadcast was that Johnny Cueto was working fast. Every good dad would have likely asked him if he was late for a date as fast as he was moving. Whether he was getting ready for the new pitch clock rules or something else, Cueto found a groove and kept the Twins off the scoreboard beyond the first inning. Even after Cueto's exit, the White Sox bullpen kept the Twins off the scoreboard, leading to eight scoreless innings. All it took was Griffin Jax allowing a run to cross the plate in the seventh inning to give the White Sox the 3-2 win to start the series. The Twins did show up in the ninth inning to make things interesting against White Sox closer Liam Hendriks. The Twins loaded the bases with two outs and sent Mark Contreras to the plate. Even though Hendriks seemed to be struggling to command some of his pitches, he was able to strike out Contreras to close out the win for Chicago. What’s Next? The Minnesota Twins will send Josh Winder to the mound for Tuesday’s game. He will face off against Lucas Giolito, who overall has had a disappointing season and would love nothing other than to shut down the Twins one last time. Postgame Interview Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet THU FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Jax 14 0 0 12 21 47 Henriquez 0 0 40 0 0 40 Pagan 0 30 0 0 5 35 Thielbar 18 0 0 0 15 33 Lopez 14 0 0 18 0 32 Fulmer 5 0 0 26 0 31 Moran 0 23 0 0 0 23 Megill 17 0 0 0 0 17 Duran 0 0 0 0 0 0
  25. Gio Urshela has certainly been serviceable with the Twins this season but enters an uncertain offseason. With one more year of arbitration to run through, will the Twins bring him back in 2023? Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports The Twins front office has some decisions to make for 2023 with time likely running out on their job security. With so many players set to return, there are some tough decisions to be made in order to shake this roster up and try to build a winner following two massively disappointing seasons. Gio Urshela is one of those many decisions. Having made $6.55 million in 2022 and being a decent supporting piece, Urshela has likely set himself up for something like a $10m payday for 2023 if they run through the arbitration process. He’s done his part in making the team want to bring him back with a bounce-back season of being over 15% above league average. His Wins Above Replacement of over 2.0 would make a $10m salary a worthwhile investment. That being said, there are several independent factors that will determine how the Twins proceed with their current starting third baseman. First Base Jose Miranda was a third baseman throughout most of his minor league career. It was only after losing Miguel Sano and Alex Kirilloff that he made the switch to playing first for most of the season. As someone who had rarely played the position in his career, he was a bit rough around the edges and established himself as a terrible fielder in the eyes of fans. That being said, his numbers at third base were predictably better. Miranda was a neutral 0 Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average at the hot corner. It's possible the Twins don’t see him as a long-term third baseman, but if they have any hope at all of him holding down that position it’s easy to see them paying him the league minimum and spreading Urshela’s money around elsewhere. A lot has to do with health and other moves as well. Kirilloff in theory has the kind of bat you don’t platoon, and if he’s finally healthy in 2023, the goal is likely for him to play first every day. The Twins have also lacked some offensive thump against left-handed pitching for years. They could bring in several established options who play a legit first base such as Josh Bell or Trey Mancini to replace Urshela’s spot in the lineup while turning third base over to their star rookie. Their options are wide open. Free Agency In terms of sure-fire free agents, the best third baseman on the market this winter may be Matt Carpenter. It’s one of the worst free agent third base markets in recent history and could be an opportunity for Urshela to cash in if he’s cut loose. Instead, the Twins could play it smart and tender him a contract regardless of their plans. Teams are certain to be in need of third base help and the Twins could shop him around on the trade market to teams who are too competitive to pencil in Marwin Gonzalez as their everyday third baseman. Would Urshela bring some enormous haul back? Certainly not. Even something like a decent middle reliever or prospect facing a 40-man crunch would be a nice alternative to letting Urshela just walk away for free, however. They could still dump the $10ish million to spend elsewhere and get just a little something in return if that’s the route they choose to take. Gio Urshela is a likable player and has single-handedly made the Donaldson trade an inarguable win. That being said the Twins face a tricky offseason with the need to shake things up while having so many returning players in place. You don’t want him playing over Miranda, Polanco, or a healthy Kirilloff. It’ll be a difficult decision, but it’s just one of the many considerations this front office will have to take into account as they ponder how to restore the faith of the fanbase and ownership. How should the Twins handle Gio Urshela in 2023? Should he be the starting third baseman? Platoon/utility player? Should he perhaps be playing for another team entirely? View full article
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