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  1. Thus far this offseason the Minnesota Twins have largely operated in a Carlos Correa or bust vacuum, at least from what we’ve seen. There’s still plenty of work to be done, and one of the most important aspects remains finding a capable pitching addition. Image courtesy of Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports Carlos Correa was the focal point of the Minnesota Twins offseason thus far, and while they may have pivoted to Dansby Swanson, both are now gone and heavy lifting needs to be done. Joey Gallo is a fine addition to the offense, but it’s on the mound that we’ve yet to see anything of substance. There was never a reason to believe that Jacob deGrom or Justin Verlander were going to come pitch for the Twins. You could make an argument that Chris Bassitt or Noah Syndergaard made a good deal of sense, however. Derek Falvey has now provided the system with a decent amount of depth, to the point that a Jameson Taillon or Taijuan Walker contract may have been unnecessary, but top of the rotation help is still needed. With Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda, and Joe Ryan firmly entrenched in the Opening Day rotation, finding someone to join the highest level of that group is a must. Earlier this month I reported that the Twins were in talks with the Miami Marlins regarding Pablo Lopez. Sandy Alcantara is certainly not on the table, and although the Marlins are open to moving Edward Cabrera and Jesus Luzardo, it’s the already established pitcher that caught Minnesota’s eye. You can certainly debate whether Lopez is as good as Gray, but the two are much closer than one may think. Lopez has largely flown under the radar playing for an organization stuck in mediocrity, and he brings multiple years of team control to an acquiring team as well. Getting in the fold with a more progressive-thinking Twins organization could help him to unlock another gear, and considering the current state of performance, that’s a pretty exciting reality. Like it or not, the Marlins discussions with regards to Lopez largely hinged on the acquisition of Luis Arraez. Miami needs bats, and although Max Kepler could also fit there, he’s not enough to move the needle. From what I’ve now been told, much of this trade has been scrapped. The two sides haven’t had recent discussions, and although they could resume at any time, the Twins have since begun looking elsewhere. For the front office, elsewhere could mean plenty of things. What it likely doesn’t mean is the free agent market. Only former Boston Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi would seem to push the ceiling for Minnesota, and there’s been little reported that either side is moving in a positive direction toward one another. Zack Greinke and Corey Kluber remain available as veteran types, but again it’s hard to consider either a guaranteed lift to Minnesota’s group. The biggest trade chip possessed by the Twins is probably that of Arraez. His value across the league is not at all that of what is presumed by most Twins fans, but he could still be packaged to acquire a talented arm. That probably is not true of Kepler, and I don’t get the sense that Minnesota wants to dangle someone such as Jorge Polanco at this time. Maybe the depth pieces like Simeon Woods Richardson, Bailey Ober, or Josh Winder could be turned into someone with a Major League track record, but that seems unlikely as well. Given the state of free agency, it still seems most likely that Minnesota will flip pieces to get their pitching acquisition. How they go about that, given the recent moves sending guys like Chase Petty, Spencer Steer, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand all out, will be interesting in and of itself. Having spent most of the winter watching from the sidelines as they awaited a Correa decision, the Twins now have their work cut out for them, and we’ll need to be patient seeing what they can pull off. View full article
  2. Carlos Correa was the focal point of the Minnesota Twins offseason thus far, and while they may have pivoted to Dansby Swanson, both are now gone and heavy lifting needs to be done. Joey Gallo is a fine addition to the offense, but it’s on the mound that we’ve yet to see anything of substance. There was never a reason to believe that Jacob deGrom or Justin Verlander were going to come pitch for the Twins. You could make an argument that Chris Bassitt or Noah Syndergaard made a good deal of sense, however. Derek Falvey has now provided the system with a decent amount of depth, to the point that a Jameson Taillon or Taijuan Walker contract may have been unnecessary, but top of the rotation help is still needed. With Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda, and Joe Ryan firmly entrenched in the Opening Day rotation, finding someone to join the highest level of that group is a must. Earlier this month I reported that the Twins were in talks with the Miami Marlins regarding Pablo Lopez. Sandy Alcantara is certainly not on the table, and although the Marlins are open to moving Edward Cabrera and Jesus Luzardo, it’s the already established pitcher that caught Minnesota’s eye. You can certainly debate whether Lopez is as good as Gray, but the two are much closer than one may think. Lopez has largely flown under the radar playing for an organization stuck in mediocrity, and he brings multiple years of team control to an acquiring team as well. Getting in the fold with a more progressive-thinking Twins organization could help him to unlock another gear, and considering the current state of performance, that’s a pretty exciting reality. Like it or not, the Marlins discussions with regards to Lopez largely hinged on the acquisition of Luis Arraez. Miami needs bats, and although Max Kepler could also fit there, he’s not enough to move the needle. From what I’ve now been told, much of this trade has been scrapped. The two sides haven’t had recent discussions, and although they could resume at any time, the Twins have since begun looking elsewhere. For the front office, elsewhere could mean plenty of things. What it likely doesn’t mean is the free agent market. Only former Boston Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi would seem to push the ceiling for Minnesota, and there’s been little reported that either side is moving in a positive direction toward one another. Zack Greinke and Corey Kluber remain available as veteran types, but again it’s hard to consider either a guaranteed lift to Minnesota’s group. The biggest trade chip possessed by the Twins is probably that of Arraez. His value across the league is not at all that of what is presumed by most Twins fans, but he could still be packaged to acquire a talented arm. That probably is not true of Kepler, and I don’t get the sense that Minnesota wants to dangle someone such as Jorge Polanco at this time. Maybe the depth pieces like Simeon Woods Richardson, Bailey Ober, or Josh Winder could be turned into someone with a Major League track record, but that seems unlikely as well. Given the state of free agency, it still seems most likely that Minnesota will flip pieces to get their pitching acquisition. How they go about that, given the recent moves sending guys like Chase Petty, Spencer Steer, and Christian Encarnacion-Strand all out, will be interesting in and of itself. Having spent most of the winter watching from the sidelines as they awaited a Correa decision, the Twins now have their work cut out for them, and we’ll need to be patient seeing what they can pull off.
  3. The Minnesota Twins have plenty of money to spend this offseason, and there’s some great fits that will cost a lot. How does this front office work to ensure they can land the big fish, and is there a way for them to get creative in hoping it helps? Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports Over the years we’ve heard Derek Falvey and Thad Levine use plenty of buzzwords when describing their process as heads of the Twins' front office. One comment that has been made was a willingness to “get creative” in signing new contracts. Creativity leaves plenty to the imagination, but we certainly saw a new way of negotiating when Carlos Correa was signed last spring. Prolific agent Scott Boras negotiated a $105.3 million deal that was tied to a three-year term. Except, as we knew from the moment Correa agreed to put on a Twins uniform, he was only going to be with Minnesota on this deal for a single year. The Twins allowed Correa to have opt-outs after each of the first two seasons in this deal. He was always going to exercise that following a successful year one, and would’ve had a safety blanket in year two had he needed to opt back in. So, do opt-outs allow Minnesota a way to put contracts a bit more in favor of the player? Maybe someone will offer Correa a $350 million contract over the course of ten years. It’s hard to see Minnesota coming close to that, in terms of duration or money. What they could do, however, is to put a shorter deal together with a bit less money, but allow Correa to opt out in year two or three. The ability to again rip up a deal and continue working towards more money is certainly an advantage for a player. Revenues continue to increase in baseball, and year over year, it’s understandable that yearly valuations would also rise. We haven’t seen an extensive track record for contracts with opt-outs included in them; they are somewhat of a new negotiating tactic. That means it’s hard to pin just how much players or agents value them, and while they aren’t specifically a monetary gain, there’s a value they theoretically should carry as well. This isn’t just a Correa discussion either. Six other prolific free agents opted out of their contracts to enter free agency this offseason. Regardless if it was Xander Bogaerts or Jacob deGrom, each of those decisions was made based on the ability to secure a larger payday on the next contract. Some of those players did so at a similar age to Correa, while others are much older and looking for a short-term deal that will pay substantially more than their previous guarantee. As the Twins try to angle their way toward acquiring talent, they’ll need to find opportunities to differentiate their offers. It really doesn’t matter what level of financial security the Pohlad family has, as dollars are going to be handsome across organizations as a whole. If the Twins can make lucrative financial deals a bit more player-friendly in terms of an opt-out or full no-trade clause, they should certainly be willing to do so. It’s hard to see a talent like Correa walk after just a season because he had the ability to opt-out, but it was that opportunity that provided a way for him to sign here in the first place. Is utilizing opt-outs something you’d like to see the Twins do more of even if it relates to a lesser commitment from a given player? View full article
  4. Over the years we’ve heard Derek Falvey and Thad Levine use plenty of buzzwords when describing their process as heads of the Twins' front office. One comment that has been made was a willingness to “get creative” in signing new contracts. Creativity leaves plenty to the imagination, but we certainly saw a new way of negotiating when Carlos Correa was signed last spring. Prolific agent Scott Boras negotiated a $105.3 million deal that was tied to a three-year term. Except, as we knew from the moment Correa agreed to put on a Twins uniform, he was only going to be with Minnesota on this deal for a single year. The Twins allowed Correa to have opt-outs after each of the first two seasons in this deal. He was always going to exercise that following a successful year one, and would’ve had a safety blanket in year two had he needed to opt back in. So, do opt-outs allow Minnesota a way to put contracts a bit more in favor of the player? Maybe someone will offer Correa a $350 million contract over the course of ten years. It’s hard to see Minnesota coming close to that, in terms of duration or money. What they could do, however, is to put a shorter deal together with a bit less money, but allow Correa to opt out in year two or three. The ability to again rip up a deal and continue working towards more money is certainly an advantage for a player. Revenues continue to increase in baseball, and year over year, it’s understandable that yearly valuations would also rise. We haven’t seen an extensive track record for contracts with opt-outs included in them; they are somewhat of a new negotiating tactic. That means it’s hard to pin just how much players or agents value them, and while they aren’t specifically a monetary gain, there’s a value they theoretically should carry as well. This isn’t just a Correa discussion either. Six other prolific free agents opted out of their contracts to enter free agency this offseason. Regardless if it was Xander Bogaerts or Jacob deGrom, each of those decisions was made based on the ability to secure a larger payday on the next contract. Some of those players did so at a similar age to Correa, while others are much older and looking for a short-term deal that will pay substantially more than their previous guarantee. As the Twins try to angle their way toward acquiring talent, they’ll need to find opportunities to differentiate their offers. It really doesn’t matter what level of financial security the Pohlad family has, as dollars are going to be handsome across organizations as a whole. If the Twins can make lucrative financial deals a bit more player-friendly in terms of an opt-out or full no-trade clause, they should certainly be willing to do so. It’s hard to see a talent like Correa walk after just a season because he had the ability to opt-out, but it was that opportunity that provided a way for him to sign here in the first place. Is utilizing opt-outs something you’d like to see the Twins do more of even if it relates to a lesser commitment from a given player?
  5. No one in baseball spent more money this season than the New York Mets. It wasn’t enough to win Steve Cohen’s organization a division title, and they bowed out early in the postseason. Now a rotation exodus begins and the Minnesota Twins could be intrigued by a few names. Image courtesy of Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports Only the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros won more games than the 101 victories recorded by the New York Mets this season. By fWAR, the Mets starters compiled the fifth-highest total across baseball. Their 3.61 ERA was also fifth while the 9.4 K/9 topped all of baseball. Facing plenty of change in 2023, Jacob deGrom is able to opt out of the final two years of his contract, and he could be joined by both Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker. To be fair, deGrom doesn’t seem like the type of pitcher Minnesota will target. He’s a true ace, that will get something over $35 million per year on a multi-year deal despite being 34 years old. The two-time Cy Young winner has not been healthy either of the past two seasons and spending big on an aging question mark doesn’t seem up the Twins' alley. It’s also fair to note that the likelihood of interest from the career Mets pitcher will probably be non-existent. The alternatives could certainly provide a bit more promise, however. Chris Bassitt will be 34 next season and has flown under the radar as one of baseball’s best pitchers since 2018. Drafted by the White Sox way back in 2011, Bassitt announced his presence in a limited 2015, before missing 2017 due to injury. Since 2018, Bassitt has posted a 3.29 ERA across nearly 600 innings. He gets punch outs, he avoids walks, and he keeps the ball in the yard. Individual accolades haven’t added up for Bassitt, with just a single All-Star appearance and twice generating Cy Young votes, but he’s been as consistent as they come. Health could be a concern, but Bassitt has largely remained available since returning to the mound in 2018. With a $19 million mutual option, he’ll obviously turn that down with the qualifying offer being north of that for 2023. Draft pick compensation could stymie his market some, but he shouldn’t have trouble finding a two-to-four-year deal making something north of $20 million in each of them. Walker is interesting in that he should be affordable, which benefits the Twins, but his addition may not raise the bar all that much. I’m not sure Derek Falvey or Thad Levine would be able to sell Walker surpassing the bar of Tyler Mahle, Sonny Gray, or Kenta Maeda. A former top prospect, he’s been solid when healthy, but rarely that, and never great. Since 2018 Walker has pitched for four organizations and even with a 3.78 ERA, he hasn’t topped 400 total innings and his 4.16 FIP is more reflective of his effectiveness. Walker at his best is lightyears ahead of either Dylan Bundy or Chris Archer, but at his worst, or even what could be projected, he may not represent much more than either of them at their best for the Twins in 2022. The trio of former Mets definitely represent options for Minnesota to consider, and they range in desirability and likelihood. There should probably only be a single option to pursue here, but it remains to be seen how the front office will act. Do you have any interest in adding any of these pitchers from the Mets? View full article
  6. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros won more games than the 101 victories recorded by the New York Mets this season. By fWAR, the Mets starters compiled the fifth-highest total across baseball. Their 3.61 ERA was also fifth while the 9.4 K/9 topped all of baseball. Facing plenty of change in 2023, Jacob deGrom is able to opt out of the final two years of his contract, and he could be joined by both Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker. To be fair, deGrom doesn’t seem like the type of pitcher Minnesota will target. He’s a true ace, that will get something over $35 million per year on a multi-year deal despite being 34 years old. The two-time Cy Young winner has not been healthy either of the past two seasons and spending big on an aging question mark doesn’t seem up the Twins' alley. It’s also fair to note that the likelihood of interest from the career Mets pitcher will probably be non-existent. The alternatives could certainly provide a bit more promise, however. Chris Bassitt will be 34 next season and has flown under the radar as one of baseball’s best pitchers since 2018. Drafted by the White Sox way back in 2011, Bassitt announced his presence in a limited 2015, before missing 2017 due to injury. Since 2018, Bassitt has posted a 3.29 ERA across nearly 600 innings. He gets punch outs, he avoids walks, and he keeps the ball in the yard. Individual accolades haven’t added up for Bassitt, with just a single All-Star appearance and twice generating Cy Young votes, but he’s been as consistent as they come. Health could be a concern, but Bassitt has largely remained available since returning to the mound in 2018. With a $19 million mutual option, he’ll obviously turn that down with the qualifying offer being north of that for 2023. Draft pick compensation could stymie his market some, but he shouldn’t have trouble finding a two-to-four-year deal making something north of $20 million in each of them. Walker is interesting in that he should be affordable, which benefits the Twins, but his addition may not raise the bar all that much. I’m not sure Derek Falvey or Thad Levine would be able to sell Walker surpassing the bar of Tyler Mahle, Sonny Gray, or Kenta Maeda. A former top prospect, he’s been solid when healthy, but rarely that, and never great. Since 2018 Walker has pitched for four organizations and even with a 3.78 ERA, he hasn’t topped 400 total innings and his 4.16 FIP is more reflective of his effectiveness. Walker at his best is lightyears ahead of either Dylan Bundy or Chris Archer, but at his worst, or even what could be projected, he may not represent much more than either of them at their best for the Twins in 2022. The trio of former Mets definitely represent options for Minnesota to consider, and they range in desirability and likelihood. There should probably only be a single option to pursue here, but it remains to be seen how the front office will act. Do you have any interest in adding any of these pitchers from the Mets?
  7. The Minnesota Twins have needed starting pitching virtually since the beginning of time. It’s been a refrain muttered by fans at least since Target Field opened its doors, and the Pohlad family opening up the pocketbook to make it happen has been a desire. With other free agent records having fallen, is this the time for the next one? Image courtesy of Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over as the heads of Minnesota’s front office back in the fall of 2016. During their tenure, the two most notable free agent signings have been hitters. Josh Donaldson’s $100 million deal was the largest given to a free agent in franchise history, and Carlos Correa’s $35.1 million average annual value was the highest ever paid in a season to an infielder. On the Donaldson deal, Minnesota opted to part ways with the brash veteran just halfway through the deal. On the Correa pact, the Twins gave out a contract where the star shortstop could leave after just one season looking for the payday that never came a year ago. To date, the club has never truly spent substantially on a starting pitcher. There's a good reason that a deal hasn’t been reached, and it’s probably not for lack of trying. This front office targeted Zack Wheeler, Yu Darvish, and Charlie Morton in recent seasons. Anything offered to them would’ve been in rarified air for this franchise. In those scenarios though, the Twins were fighting against the lack of market or weather, and probably were not the highest offer. Finding an ace in free agency is a crapshoot. You’re dealing with an arm that was ultimately passed on by their former club, and they’ve probably been through a previous extension to this point. Realistically, 28-year-old pitchers that could be an ace for any team in baseball simply don’t show up in free agency. It’s a dice roll to decide if the caution flags are worth ignoring to bring in the new star. This offseason represents a familiar landscape. Justin Verlander is an aging superstar that probably wants continuity. Jacob deGrom has had injuries and is 34. Clayton Kershaw has a declining back and is also the same age as the Mets star. The cream of the most likely crop is probably limited to Chris Sale, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Rodon, and Mike Clevinger. The former White Sox ace (Sale) has thrown just 48 1/3 innings since 2019. He’s great, but hasn’t been healthy, wore out his welcome in Boston, and isn’t young. Rodon put up a healthy season with the Giants, but injuries have plagued him in the past. Clevinger wasn’t good in 2022 and hasn’t been healthy for years either. That leaves Bassitt, who may lack the top tier to be worthy of a substantial price tag. No matter what though, available pitching with this ceiling is going to get paid. Terry Ryan spent more handsomely on starting pitching than Falvey and Levine have to this point. The $54 million Minnesota gave to Ervin Santana back in 2014 still is significantly more than anything we’ve seen handed out in recent seasons. Knowing they need to add at the top of the rotation, it will be interesting to see how Minnesota’s front office opts for a step forward at a position they’ve yet to take one. With the landscape at starting pitcher being what it is, are you ready for the Twins to spend big now? If so, what name are you wanting them all in on? View full article
  8. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over as the heads of Minnesota’s front office back in the fall of 2016. During their tenure, the two most notable free agent signings have been hitters. Josh Donaldson’s $100 million deal was the largest given to a free agent in franchise history, and Carlos Correa’s $35.1 million average annual value was the highest ever paid in a season to an infielder. On the Donaldson deal, Minnesota opted to part ways with the brash veteran just halfway through the deal. On the Correa pact, the Twins gave out a contract where the star shortstop could leave after just one season looking for the payday that never came a year ago. To date, the club has never truly spent substantially on a starting pitcher. There's a good reason that a deal hasn’t been reached, and it’s probably not for lack of trying. This front office targeted Zack Wheeler, Yu Darvish, and Charlie Morton in recent seasons. Anything offered to them would’ve been in rarified air for this franchise. In those scenarios though, the Twins were fighting against the lack of market or weather, and probably were not the highest offer. Finding an ace in free agency is a crapshoot. You’re dealing with an arm that was ultimately passed on by their former club, and they’ve probably been through a previous extension to this point. Realistically, 28-year-old pitchers that could be an ace for any team in baseball simply don’t show up in free agency. It’s a dice roll to decide if the caution flags are worth ignoring to bring in the new star. This offseason represents a familiar landscape. Justin Verlander is an aging superstar that probably wants continuity. Jacob deGrom has had injuries and is 34. Clayton Kershaw has a declining back and is also the same age as the Mets star. The cream of the most likely crop is probably limited to Chris Sale, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Rodon, and Mike Clevinger. The former White Sox ace (Sale) has thrown just 48 1/3 innings since 2019. He’s great, but hasn’t been healthy, wore out his welcome in Boston, and isn’t young. Rodon put up a healthy season with the Giants, but injuries have plagued him in the past. Clevinger wasn’t good in 2022 and hasn’t been healthy for years either. That leaves Bassitt, who may lack the top tier to be worthy of a substantial price tag. No matter what though, available pitching with this ceiling is going to get paid. Terry Ryan spent more handsomely on starting pitching than Falvey and Levine have to this point. The $54 million Minnesota gave to Ervin Santana back in 2014 still is significantly more than anything we’ve seen handed out in recent seasons. Knowing they need to add at the top of the rotation, it will be interesting to see how Minnesota’s front office opts for a step forward at a position they’ve yet to take one. With the landscape at starting pitcher being what it is, are you ready for the Twins to spend big now? If so, what name are you wanting them all in on?
  9. Thus far Derek Falvey has cycled through more than a handful of minor league relief options while trying to sort out Rocco Baldelli’s bullpen. A few wild cards were drawn to start the year, and while some have stuck, others have flopped. The lineup is a monster from top to bottom, so it remains on the mound that this team can get better. With roughly a month to the trade deadline, not only is the belief that they will, but with no hesitations they absolutely should. Timing Coming into 2019 the AL Central was never going to be more winnable for the Twins than it is right now. Cleveland had clearly peaked, and without having an influx of talent, their only opportunity was to go backwards. Only the White Sox are trending toward a mature state in their rebuild, and even they are going to experience growing pains over the next year or so. Taking advantage of virtually a free pass to the postseason was an absolute must as the Twins' window opened. Performance As noted above, Baldelli’s lineup is arguably the best in baseball. Without being made up of names like Judge and Stanton, a collection of homegrown talent and scrap heap pickups have come together in an effort to pound a baseball more juiced than it has ever been. Wes Johnson and the Twins entire infrastructure on the pitching side of the game has allowed the staff to take steps forward, and though they may not receive the same praise, the group has certainly been among the game’s best. Deficiency Because of how good Minnesota has been there’s also not a significant amount of need to take the club to the next level. While the bullpen certainly needs to be addressed and the rotation could use a boost, we aren’t talking about an overhaul here. Minnesota’s active roster is legitimately a few players away from being a sustainable and serious threat in October. This isn’t the NBA where one guy can transform a team, but the Twins are so close that one or two additions can be what puts them over the top. Landscape Never in the history of major league baseball have fewer organizations been trying at any giving time. There’s a handful of clubs tanking in an effort to supplement their lagging systems and move out of the dreaded middle ground. Because of this reality it’s a wonderful time to be a buyer. Clubs are parting with big league assets and there are only so many places for those players to land. In a trade market that will be influenced by an earlier and single transaction date, competing offers aren’t solely in the form of dollars as is the case in the offseason. Capital If there’s one thing Minnesota fans consistently ride the organization for, it is its payroll. Without touching on that subject, the only other capital in the game is in the form of players. Given the front office’s decision to hold onto dollars this winter, and the impending 40-man crunch coming up, there’s an abundance of prospect capital to be doled out. Not only are the Twins loaded at the top with some of the game’s best prospects, but the system's depth is also impressive and backs their organizational prospect ranking. By no means should the suggestion be that Minnesota attempt to throw away their long-term window for one run at the World Series. That said the opportunity to make bold acquisitions that will impact this team and those of the future lies ahead. The cost will be substantial, but the reward is also tangible through these same means. I don’t know if Minnesota will ever be in position to sign a free agent like Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, but right now they’re certainly positioned to trade for one. As the organization bides its time and collects more depth in the form of big league vets such as Cody Allen and Carlos Torres, the time to pounce looms large. It’s a bonus if any of those guys work out to be serviceable arms down the stretch. In the month ahead engaging teams on the outs and swapping future assets for current ones is where Falvey finds himself, and given all of the factors, it should be the most comfortable storm he’s ever stood in.
  10. In case you haven’t been paying attention the Minnesota Twins are the best team in the American League. They trail only the Los Angeles Dodgers' record across all of baseball, and they’ve run way out in front of the Cleveland Indians for the AL Central Division lead. While all of those things are factual, the club still has some glaring warts to be addressed. Fortunately for the front office, timing for all things going forward has never been better.Thus far Derek Falvey has cycled through more than a handful of minor league relief options while trying to sort out Rocco Baldelli’s bullpen. A few wild cards were drawn to start the year, and while some have stuck, others have flopped. The lineup is a monster from top to bottom, so it remains on the mound that this team can get better. With roughly a month to the trade deadline, not only is the belief that they will, but with no hesitations they absolutely should. Timing Coming into 2019 the AL Central was never going to be more winnable for the Twins than it is right now. Cleveland had clearly peaked, and without having an influx of talent, their only opportunity was to go backwards. Only the White Sox are trending toward a mature state in their rebuild, and even they are going to experience growing pains over the next year or so. Taking advantage of virtually a free pass to the postseason was an absolute must as the Twins' window opened. Performance As noted above, Baldelli’s lineup is arguably the best in baseball. Without being made up of names like Judge and Stanton, a collection of homegrown talent and scrap heap pickups have come together in an effort to pound a baseball more juiced than it has ever been. Wes Johnson and the Twins entire infrastructure on the pitching side of the game has allowed the staff to take steps forward, and though they may not receive the same praise, the group has certainly been among the game’s best. Deficiency Because of how good Minnesota has been there’s also not a significant amount of need to take the club to the next level. While the bullpen certainly needs to be addressed and the rotation could use a boost, we aren’t talking about an overhaul here. Minnesota’s active roster is legitimately a few players away from being a sustainable and serious threat in October. This isn’t the NBA where one guy can transform a team, but the Twins are so close that one or two additions can be what puts them over the top. Landscape Never in the history of major league baseball have fewer organizations been trying at any giving time. There’s a handful of clubs tanking in an effort to supplement their lagging systems and move out of the dreaded middle ground. Because of this reality it’s a wonderful time to be a buyer. Clubs are parting with big league assets and there are only so many places for those players to land. In a trade market that will be influenced by an earlier and single transaction date, competing offers aren’t solely in the form of dollars as is the case in the offseason. Capital If there’s one thing Minnesota fans consistently ride the organization for, it is its payroll. Without touching on that subject, the only other capital in the game is in the form of players. Given the front office’s decision to hold onto dollars this winter, and the impending 40-man crunch coming up, there’s an abundance of prospect capital to be doled out. Not only are the Twins loaded at the top with some of the game’s best prospects, but the system's depth is also impressive and backs their organizational prospect ranking. By no means should the suggestion be that Minnesota attempt to throw away their long-term window for one run at the World Series. That said the opportunity to make bold acquisitions that will impact this team and those of the future lies ahead. The cost will be substantial, but the reward is also tangible through these same means. I don’t know if Minnesota will ever be in position to sign a free agent like Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, but right now they’re certainly positioned to trade for one. As the organization bides its time and collects more depth in the form of big league vets such as Cody Allen and Carlos Torres, the time to pounce looms large. It’s a bonus if any of those guys work out to be serviceable arms down the stretch. In the month ahead engaging teams on the outs and swapping future assets for current ones is where Falvey finds himself, and given all of the factors, it should be the most comfortable storm he’s ever stood in. Click here to view the article
  11. A day after posting a Q&A with Twins top 2017 draft pick, Royce Lewis, we get the opportunity to learn a little more about right-handed pitcher Blayne Enlow who the Twins signed as their third-round pick. As the Minnesota Twins closed out the first day of their 2017 major league baseball draft, some heads were left scratching. There was talk of below-slot deals and pool money being saved. It came full circle at pick 76, however, when the organization was able to grab (and ultimately sign) high school hurler Blayne Enlow.Committed to LSU, Enlow decided the over-slot deal (reportedly $2 million) would be enticing enough to take his talents to the pro ranks. Highly regarded as a prep pitcher, Enlow was said to have the best curveball in the entire 2017 draft. Minnesota gets a kid that could end up being a rotation stalwart a few years from now, and the Louisiana native begins his journey to the ultimate dream. I caught up with Enlow to talk about the draft, and his game. Here's what he had to say: Off The Baggy: Going into the draft, you were among the top prep arms in the nation. What was your draft day experience like? Did you have any idea where you might go? Blayne Enlow: I had no idea where I would go. I was waiting for the best offer I could get and the first day nobody got to my number so I turned down a few offers, and then the second day the Twins came up to two million, and I knew that's what I wanted to do, so I took it!! OTB: The Twins ended up taking you 76th overall knowing they got a first-round talent. When did you start hearing from them and thinking that may actually be where you land? BE: I was on a golf course with a couple of my buddies, and then I got a call from my agent saying the Twins are putting 2 ($2 million) on the table and I agreed. OTB: Velocity is what gets noted first, but MLB.com called your curveball the best in the draft. What does your repertoire consist of, and how do you like to attack hitters? BE: I like to pound the strike zone and get batters out quick and my finisher is my curve ball. I can throw it first pitch for strike too, and I would say it's my best pitch. OTB: Making the jump to pro ball from high school, what do you feel like may be the biggest challenge? What sets you apart? BE: The biggest challenge will probably be being away from home and meeting the new players, but what sets me apart is that I will work harder than anyone on the field, and I always give it my all. OTB: When looking at your pitching style, is there a big leaguer, past or present, that you emulate or look to build yourself off of? BE: I would say Jacob deGrom would be who I feed off the most. I see a lot of the same mechanics and same pitch work. OTB: Prior to the draft, what did you know of the Twins organization? Have you been to Minnesota or Target Field previously? BE: I've actually never been, and to be honest, I never knew much, being Louisiana grown. OTB: What's the one thing you want Twins fans to make sure they know about Blayne Enlow? BE: That when I make it I will give it my all for the city, and I will continue to work harder than everyone to try to be the best Blayne Enlow I can be! For an organization that is always looking for pitching help, Enlow sure seems like he can give the Twins that lift. He'll be a name to watch for years to come, and one that Twins fans will hope to cheer on at Target Field in the future. Click here to view the article
  12. Committed to LSU, Enlow decided the over-slot deal (reportedly $2 million) would be enticing enough to take his talents to the pro ranks. Highly regarded as a prep pitcher, Enlow was said to have the best curveball in the entire 2017 draft. Minnesota gets a kid that could end up being a rotation stalwart a few years from now, and the Louisiana native begins his journey to the ultimate dream. I caught up with Enlow to talk about the draft, and his game. Here's what he had to say: Off The Baggy: Going into the draft, you were among the top prep arms in the nation. What was your draft day experience like? Did you have any idea where you might go? Blayne Enlow: I had no idea where I would go. I was waiting for the best offer I could get and the first day nobody got to my number so I turned down a few offers, and then the second day the Twins came up to two million, and I knew that's what I wanted to do, so I took it!! OTB: The Twins ended up taking you 76th overall knowing they got a first-round talent. When did you start hearing from them and thinking that may actually be where you land? BE: I was on a golf course with a couple of my buddies, and then I got a call from my agent saying the Twins are putting 2 ($2 million) on the table and I agreed. OTB: Velocity is what gets noted first, but MLB.com called your curveball the best in the draft. What does your repertoire consist of, and how do you like to attack hitters? BE: I like to pound the strike zone and get batters out quick and my finisher is my curve ball. I can throw it first pitch for strike too, and I would say it's my best pitch. OTB: Making the jump to pro ball from high school, what do you feel like may be the biggest challenge? What sets you apart? BE: The biggest challenge will probably be being away from home and meeting the new players, but what sets me apart is that I will work harder than anyone on the field, and I always give it my all. OTB: When looking at your pitching style, is there a big leaguer, past or present, that you emulate or look to build yourself off of? BE: I would say Jacob deGrom would be who I feed off the most. I see a lot of the same mechanics and same pitch work. OTB: Prior to the draft, what did you know of the Twins organization? Have you been to Minnesota or Target Field previously? BE: I've actually never been, and to be honest, I never knew much, being Louisiana grown. OTB: What's the one thing you want Twins fans to make sure they know about Blayne Enlow? BE: That when I make it I will give it my all for the city, and I will continue to work harder than everyone to try to be the best Blayne Enlow I can be! For an organization that is always looking for pitching help, Enlow sure seems like he can give the Twins that lift. He'll be a name to watch for years to come, and one that Twins fans will hope to cheer on at Target Field in the future.
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