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  1. The Minnesota Twins will be in the market for an answer at shortstop again in 2022. With Andrelton Simmons gone, they’ll inevitably have someone new covering the position. So, who will it be? Assuming Minnesota doesn’t decide to slide second basemen Jorge Polanco, back across the diamond, they’ll need an answer at shortstop for the upcoming season. Polanco going back to his old position would allow Luis Arraez to start and an avenue for consistent playing time geared towards Jose Miranda. That said, it’d also be a decision in reverse with Polanco having been moved off the position in an attempt to avoid his defensive deficiencies there. Having lost the 2021 season due to a torn ACL, Royce Lewis won’t be an option out of the gate, and Austin Martin looks more the part of an outfielder than an infielder. Fortunately for Derek Falvey, this free-agent crop is littered with good shortstop options. So, let’s rank them by considering a fit and potential contract. 5. Marcus Semien What a difference a year makes. Last offseason, the Twins were runner-up for Semien’s services before he chose the Toronto Blue Jays. At that time, the longtime Athletics infielder was coming off a .679 OPS in 2020. Fast-forward to where we are now, and he posted an .873 OPS with a career-high 45 home runs. Semien isn’t going to win the MVP, that’s ticketed for Shohei Ohtani, but he’ll be in the top five and could finish right behind teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. As a first-time All-Star, Semien just recently turned 31-years-old. He’s going to get paid and should be looking for no less than a four-year deal. Right now, that isn’t going to fit into the Twins plans given the uncertainty of Lewis’s future role. Coming off such a poor season, that type of commitment could pigeonhole Minnesota negatively in the immediate future. 4. Corey Seager If there’s a guy in this group that doesn’t change teams, I will bet on it being Seager. A second straight season with an OPS north of .900, the Dodgers shortstop has established himself as one of baseball’s best players. He’ll be 28-years-old next season and has spent his entire seven-year career with Los Angeles. Finding something in the range of six to eight years would seem suitable for him, and that’s not going to come cheap. After acquiring Trea Turner at the deadline this season, it would make sense for the Dodgers to run it back with their up-the-middle-duo. The Dodgers are also set to lose Chris Taylor to free agency this offseason, and some of that blow could be cushioned by retaining the services of Seager. He’s been so good for so long, and it’s plenty logical that his prime remains in front of him. 3. Carlos Correa Having just turned 27-years-old, Correa is the youngest option on this list, and he’s quite possibly the most talented. Injury concerns have been a part of his past, by the Astros shortstop did play in 148 games this season. His .850 OPS was not a career-high, but the 26 long balls were. Correa has the cheating scandal tied to him, but it’s clear that the talent is there with or without additional help. A serious on-base threat, Correa has posted a least a 124 OPS+ in five of his seven big-league seasons. He presents the combination of contact, power, and plus-defensive ability, which only enhances his premium at the position. I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets a bigger deal than Seager or Semien, but I think that could go either way, and I believe he’s the best bet for future success. 2. Trevor Story Once assumed to be ticketed out of Colorado at any point during the 2021 season, Story hung on and finished the year there. His .801 OPS was the second-lowest tally of his career, and his 24 dingers matched the lowest full-season totally of his career. Still posting a 103 OPS+, he was above league average, but there’s nothing about 2021 that substantially increased his earning potential. This is Story’s big chance for a long-term payday as well, which would seem counter-productive to the Twins plans. That said, if he’s open to a one-year deal in hopes of increasing his value, that’s where Minnesota should look to pounce. He, too, combines strong defense with contact and power, making the offensive addition equally as enticing. 1. Javier Baez This looked like a better fit when Minnesota still employed Baez’s brother-in-law, Jose Berrios. That said, the soon-to-be 29-year-old still fits wonderfully for the Twins. He’s an elite defender that should be looking to regain some positive momentum on a one-year deal, and Minnesota can afford to pay him handsomely over a single season. Baez posted a lackluster .775 OPS with the Chicago Cubs but turned it on to the tune of a .886 mark in 47 games with the New York Mets. His actual production is probably somewhere in the middle of that, but he should trend above the career .783 OPS as he enters his prime. Javy is an elite defender, can play on both sides of second base if needed and would be a great teacher for Minnesota’s blossoming infield talent. A fan and clubhouse favorite, this is where I’d throw my money if I held the Twins bankroll. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  2. Assuming Minnesota doesn’t decide to slide second basemen Jorge Polanco, back across the diamond, they’ll need an answer at shortstop for the upcoming season. Polanco going back to his old position would allow Luis Arraez to start and an avenue for consistent playing time geared towards Jose Miranda. That said, it’d also be a decision in reverse with Polanco having been moved off the position in an attempt to avoid his defensive deficiencies there. Having lost the 2021 season due to a torn ACL, Royce Lewis won’t be an option out of the gate, and Austin Martin looks more the part of an outfielder than an infielder. Fortunately for Derek Falvey, this free-agent crop is littered with good shortstop options. So, let’s rank them by considering a fit and potential contract. 5. Marcus Semien What a difference a year makes. Last offseason, the Twins were runner-up for Semien’s services before he chose the Toronto Blue Jays. At that time, the longtime Athletics infielder was coming off a .679 OPS in 2020. Fast-forward to where we are now, and he posted an .873 OPS with a career-high 45 home runs. Semien isn’t going to win the MVP, that’s ticketed for Shohei Ohtani, but he’ll be in the top five and could finish right behind teammate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. As a first-time All-Star, Semien just recently turned 31-years-old. He’s going to get paid and should be looking for no less than a four-year deal. Right now, that isn’t going to fit into the Twins plans given the uncertainty of Lewis’s future role. Coming off such a poor season, that type of commitment could pigeonhole Minnesota negatively in the immediate future. 4. Corey Seager If there’s a guy in this group that doesn’t change teams, I will bet on it being Seager. A second straight season with an OPS north of .900, the Dodgers shortstop has established himself as one of baseball’s best players. He’ll be 28-years-old next season and has spent his entire seven-year career with Los Angeles. Finding something in the range of six to eight years would seem suitable for him, and that’s not going to come cheap. After acquiring Trea Turner at the deadline this season, it would make sense for the Dodgers to run it back with their up-the-middle-duo. The Dodgers are also set to lose Chris Taylor to free agency this offseason, and some of that blow could be cushioned by retaining the services of Seager. He’s been so good for so long, and it’s plenty logical that his prime remains in front of him. 3. Carlos Correa Having just turned 27-years-old, Correa is the youngest option on this list, and he’s quite possibly the most talented. Injury concerns have been a part of his past, by the Astros shortstop did play in 148 games this season. His .850 OPS was not a career-high, but the 26 long balls were. Correa has the cheating scandal tied to him, but it’s clear that the talent is there with or without additional help. A serious on-base threat, Correa has posted a least a 124 OPS+ in five of his seven big-league seasons. He presents the combination of contact, power, and plus-defensive ability, which only enhances his premium at the position. I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets a bigger deal than Seager or Semien, but I think that could go either way, and I believe he’s the best bet for future success. 2. Trevor Story Once assumed to be ticketed out of Colorado at any point during the 2021 season, Story hung on and finished the year there. His .801 OPS was the second-lowest tally of his career, and his 24 dingers matched the lowest full-season totally of his career. Still posting a 103 OPS+, he was above league average, but there’s nothing about 2021 that substantially increased his earning potential. This is Story’s big chance for a long-term payday as well, which would seem counter-productive to the Twins plans. That said, if he’s open to a one-year deal in hopes of increasing his value, that’s where Minnesota should look to pounce. He, too, combines strong defense with contact and power, making the offensive addition equally as enticing. 1. Javier Baez This looked like a better fit when Minnesota still employed Baez’s brother-in-law, Jose Berrios. That said, the soon-to-be 29-year-old still fits wonderfully for the Twins. He’s an elite defender that should be looking to regain some positive momentum on a one-year deal, and Minnesota can afford to pay him handsomely over a single season. Baez posted a lackluster .775 OPS with the Chicago Cubs but turned it on to the tune of a .886 mark in 47 games with the New York Mets. His actual production is probably somewhere in the middle of that, but he should trend above the career .783 OPS as he enters his prime. Javy is an elite defender, can play on both sides of second base if needed and would be a great teacher for Minnesota’s blossoming infield talent. A fan and clubhouse favorite, this is where I’d throw my money if I held the Twins bankroll. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. For the second consecutive off-season, Minnesota is in the market for a starting shortstop. Fans may want the team to spend big, but all of the top-tier free agents have flaws. Minnesota has the opportunity to make a big splash this winter by jumping in on (arguably) the best free-agent shortstop class in baseball history. It will cost the team a lot of money to be in the mix for the top-tier players. To put that in perspective, Francisco Lindor was supposed to be part of this free agent group, but he signed a 10-year, $341 million deal with the Mets. Each of these players comes with some red flags that interested clubs will need to consider. Carlos Correa (2022 Age: 27) 2021 Stats: 7.2 WAR, .279/.366/.485 (.850), 26 HR, 34 2B, 131 OPS+ As a 27-year old, Correa is reaching free agency at the prime of his career, and he is the top free agent in this winter’s crop of available players. It’s likely going to take $30 million per season for six years or more to sign Correa. Injuries have been part of his professional career, but he has played 99 games or more in five of his seven big-league seasons. There’s also a good chance he will need to move off shortstop as he continues to age. Flaws: Injury history Corey Seager (2022 Age: 28) 2021 Stats: 3.7 WAR, .306/.394/.521 (.915), 16 HR, 22 2B, 145 OPS+ Like Correa, injuries have been part of Seager’s story, including missing a good chunk of 2021 with a hand fracture. He’s played over 130 games in three of his six full big-league seasons. His 2020 playoff run was outstanding as he won the World Series and NLCS MVP. Teams that miss out on Correa will likely turn to Seager, but he is a year older and has missed more time in his big-league career. Flaws: Injury history Marcus Semien (2022 Age: 31) 2021 Stats: 7.1 WAR, .265/.334/.538 (.873), 45 HR, 39 2B, 133 OPS+ Minnesota was interested in signing Semien last winter, but he decided to go to Toronto. His season north of the border was memorable as he will likely finish in the top-5 for the AL MVP. He is the oldest shortstop among the top-tier free agents, and he played all of last year at second base. Last winter, he signed a one-year deal for $18 million, and he will be getting a pay raise in the months ahead. Flaws: Age Javier Baez (2022 Age: 29) 2021 Stats: 4.5 WAR, .265/.319/.494 (.813), 31 HR, 18 2B, 117 OPS+ Baez is certainly an exciting player, but he swings and misses a lot. He led the National League with 184 strikeouts, and he has struck out 144 or more times in each of the last four full seasons. As far as contracts go, he is projected to get a lower average value than the names above because his personality can rub people the wrong way. Can Josh Donaldson and Baez coexist in the same clubhouse? That might not be an experiment a team wants to explore. Flaws: Strikeouts, Volatility Trevor Story (2022 Age: 29) 2021 Stats: 4.2 WAR, .251/.329/.471 (.801), 24 HR, 34 2B, 103 OPS+ Story has been a 20-20 player throughout his professional career. He is also hitting free agency at a tough time as he is coming off a poor campaign by his standards. There are also concerns about how he will fare outside of Coors Field. At home, he hit .303/.369/.603 (.972) while on the road, he was limited to a .752 OPS. Flaws: Home/Road Splits To read more about these shortstops and other off-season options, make sure to pre-order your copy of the 2022 Offseason Handbook. Designed to serve as an essential companion for the Twins offseason ahead, this digital Handbook places you in the shoes of the general manager, equipping you with all the information you need to construct your own team-building blueprint (or predict what the real front office will do). Which flaws worry you the most? Will the Twins make offers to any of these players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  4. Minnesota has the opportunity to make a big splash this winter by jumping in on (arguably) the best free-agent shortstop class in baseball history. It will cost the team a lot of money to be in the mix for the top-tier players. To put that in perspective, Francisco Lindor was supposed to be part of this free agent group, but he signed a 10-year, $341 million deal with the Mets. Each of these players comes with some red flags that interested clubs will need to consider. Carlos Correa (2022 Age: 27) 2021 Stats: 7.2 WAR, .279/.366/.485 (.850), 26 HR, 34 2B, 131 OPS+ As a 27-year old, Correa is reaching free agency at the prime of his career, and he is the top free agent in this winter’s crop of available players. It’s likely going to take $30 million per season for six years or more to sign Correa. Injuries have been part of his professional career, but he has played 99 games or more in five of his seven big-league seasons. There’s also a good chance he will need to move off shortstop as he continues to age. Flaws: Injury history Corey Seager (2022 Age: 28) 2021 Stats: 3.7 WAR, .306/.394/.521 (.915), 16 HR, 22 2B, 145 OPS+ Like Correa, injuries have been part of Seager’s story, including missing a good chunk of 2021 with a hand fracture. He’s played over 130 games in three of his six full big-league seasons. His 2020 playoff run was outstanding as he won the World Series and NLCS MVP. Teams that miss out on Correa will likely turn to Seager, but he is a year older and has missed more time in his big-league career. Flaws: Injury history Marcus Semien (2022 Age: 31) 2021 Stats: 7.1 WAR, .265/.334/.538 (.873), 45 HR, 39 2B, 133 OPS+ Minnesota was interested in signing Semien last winter, but he decided to go to Toronto. His season north of the border was memorable as he will likely finish in the top-5 for the AL MVP. He is the oldest shortstop among the top-tier free agents, and he played all of last year at second base. Last winter, he signed a one-year deal for $18 million, and he will be getting a pay raise in the months ahead. Flaws: Age Javier Baez (2022 Age: 29) 2021 Stats: 4.5 WAR, .265/.319/.494 (.813), 31 HR, 18 2B, 117 OPS+ Baez is certainly an exciting player, but he swings and misses a lot. He led the National League with 184 strikeouts, and he has struck out 144 or more times in each of the last four full seasons. As far as contracts go, he is projected to get a lower average value than the names above because his personality can rub people the wrong way. Can Josh Donaldson and Baez coexist in the same clubhouse? That might not be an experiment a team wants to explore. Flaws: Strikeouts, Volatility Trevor Story (2022 Age: 29) 2021 Stats: 4.2 WAR, .251/.329/.471 (.801), 24 HR, 34 2B, 103 OPS+ Story has been a 20-20 player throughout his professional career. He is also hitting free agency at a tough time as he is coming off a poor campaign by his standards. There are also concerns about how he will fare outside of Coors Field. At home, he hit .303/.369/.603 (.972) while on the road, he was limited to a .752 OPS. Flaws: Home/Road Splits To read more about these shortstops and other off-season options, make sure to pre-order your copy of the 2022 Offseason Handbook. Designed to serve as an essential companion for the Twins offseason ahead, this digital Handbook places you in the shoes of the general manager, equipping you with all the information you need to construct your own team-building blueprint (or predict what the real front office will do). Which flaws worry you the most? Will the Twins make offers to any of these players? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. Injuries to top prospects can be frustrating to a fan base, especially for a player as highly touted as Royce Lewis. He was supposed to be the team’s shortstop of the future with the chance to take over that role at some point in 2022. His injury might end up being a blessing in disguise, because the Twins can take advantage of a rare plethora of free agent shortstops. In some offseasons the free agent shortstop class can be almost non-existent. This past winter saw multiple above average shortstops hit the market including Marcus Siemen, Didi Gregorius, and Simmons. Only Gregorius signed a multi-year deal, so Siemen and Simmons will have to compete with other star players for free agent deals (Age for 2022 season in parentheses). Francisco Lindor (28): Lindor was dealt out of the AL Central this winter and will spend the 2021 campaign with the Mets. It seems most likely for the Mets and their new ownership to work out a contract extension to lock-up Lindor. He’s one of baseball’s most marketable superstars and he already seems like a natural fit in the Big Apple. It’s going to cost north of $300 million to sign him and that is more money than the Twins are going to be willing to spend. Javier Baez (29): Last season, Baez struggled to the tune of a .598 OPS in over 235 plate appearances. However, in the previous four seasons he averaged 25 home runs and 30 doubles per year with a .822 OPS. On top of that, he’s one of baseball’s best defensive shortstops. There’s also a connection between Jose Berrios and Baez as they are brother in-laws and both hale from Puerto Rico. Maybe bringing Baez into the fold will encourage Berrios to sign an extension with Minnesota. Carlos Correa (27): Correa is the youngest player on this list, but he’s also missed time throughout his big-league career. In fact, the 2016 campaign was his lone season with more than 110 games played. There’s no denying his on-field production when he is on the field. He’s averaged a 5.2 WAR in every season where he has played 99 games or more. Also, he’s a well-rounded infielder as he finished second in SABR’s SDI among AL shortstops last season. The injury history might scare some teams away, but it can also bring down his free agent price. Trevor Story (29): Story debuted in 2016 and he’s done nothing but mash since that point. Among shortstops, he has the most home runs during that time-period even though he has fewer at-bats than the next three players behind him in the standings. Story isn’t as strong defensively as some of the others on this list, but he can more than hold his own. He ranks as the seventh best shortstop according to Defensive Runs Above Average since making his debut. Story might be a sneaky good player for the Twins to target next winter. Corey Seager (28): Seager’s star power has dwindled during his time in LA, especially with MVP winners Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger anchoring the line-up. Unfortunately, he missed nearly all the 2018 season due to Tommy John surgery, but he came back strongly and led the NL in doubles the next season. Last year, he posted career highs in batting average and slugging percentage as the Dodgers claimed the World Series title. Will LA be willing to let one of their best players leave in free agency because of the team’s other stars? Which player do you think would be the best fit in Minnesota? Will the team spend big on a shortstop even with Lewis returning from injury? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  6. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have shown a patience during their tenure with the Twins, and whether picking a right spot for a swap, or jumping in late on a free agent, they’ve been extremely calculated. The market as a whole has really worked to feel players out, and Minnesota’s front office should be expected to continue a similar process. This duo has had success on the trade market though and finding a dance partner matches up in plenty of key areas heading into the 2021 season. Knowing there’s both offense and pitching needs to address, here’s the top five players the Twins could trade for in order of impact. 1. Colorado Rockies Trevor Story Francisco Lindor was going to appear in this space as well, but he's reportedly headed to the New York Mets. A trade within the division of that magnitude always seemed unlikely anyways. Story can come over from the National League however, and would give the Twins one of the best hitting infielders in baseball. He's no slouch with the glove, but it's the power bat that puts up gaudy numbers as well. There's always a slight concern leaving the elevation of Coors Field, but D.J. LeMahieu has certainly had no issues. 2. Cincinnati Reds Luis Castillo or Sonny Gray Both from the same team, but with substantially different ramifications. Luis Castillo looks the part of a Cy Young pitcher waiting to happen. He’s just 28 and should be entering his prime, while having already evolved into a strikeout machine with some of the best peripherals in baseball. He’s under team control through the 2023 season, and you can expect to break the prospect bank in an attempt to acquire him. It seemed likely that a resurgence was to be expected for Gray once he got out of the Cracker Jack box that is Yankee Stadium. He’s ratcheted up the strikeout tallies each of the past two years but has always danced around some free passes. 31 and with a team option in 2023, Gray has more of a monetary commitment but is a pitcher that would see at least an equal payday on the open market. With the Reds clearly motivated to move assets, either option would represent a substantial rotation upgrade for the Twins. 3. Pittsburgh Pirates Joe Musgrove Down in the middle of the list only because of what he’s done thus far, Musgrove looks like a pitcher waiting to be rescued from the Pirates keep. He just recently turned 28 and isn’t a free agent until 2023. The strikeouts took a huge leap in 2020 and his FIP has always outperformed what the defense behind him has allowed. Matched with a mastermind pitching coach in the form of Wes Johnson, I’d hardly be shocked if Musgrove didn’t end up being one of the best arms in baseball. He’s not going to turn into Gerrit Cole, but he may be the next best thing. 4. Chicago Cubs Javier Baez or Kris Bryant If the Twins are intent on dealing for infield help, there’s no reason not to call the Chicago Cubs. Javier Baez had a dreadful 2020, but he was coming off two seasons of a combined .865 OPS prior to that. He’s a premier shortstop with an incredibly high ceiling at the plate. He’s not cheap in that he’ll make somewhere around $11 million in 2021, and he’s set to become a free agent after the year. Still, as a brother-in-law to Jose Berrios, pairing those two together in Minnesota could be a nice bit of roster construction. The allure for Bryant is more based around assumption than present reality. You absolutely have to believe he’s not cooked and that the shoulder will hold up. If that’s true, there’s an offensive stud here and he acts as insurance for both Josh Donaldson at third base, and Alex Kirilloff in left field. Despite seeming to have drawn ire for quite some time, 2020 was his first down year, and his health has been the chief concern. The former Rookie of the Year is a free agent following the season, but the Cubs selloff could make him more available than expected. 5. Colorado Rockies Jon Gray There was some belief that the Rockies may simply non-tender Gray and allow him to be a free agent. That didn’t happen and the former first round pick is back after posting a 6.69 ERA last season. The 4.18 FIP dating back to 2018 isn’t going to open many eyes, but that number was 3.46 through his first 58 MLB starts. Gray has been a consistent strikeout pitcher with a heavy fastball and a change of scenery could be what is necessary to unlock his full potential. German Marquez has figured it out in Colorado while Gray has not, plucking him a year before he heads into free agency could be a nice move with him banking on building value. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. Let’s forget for a second about WAR, launch angle, and exit velocity. Push your thoughts of FIP, xFIP, and BABIP to the side, and remember why we all got into baseball in the first place. It’s fun. So, I’ve compiled a short list of potential future Twins, and rated how fun they’d be in Minnesota from Boring to Very Fun. Enjoy. Javier Báez – Very Fun The Twins are in the market for a new shortstop and the Cubs seem to be in fire sale mode, so a move that sends Báez to Minnesota might be in both clubs’ best interests. And, simply put, Báez maxes out the fun meter. He’s a still relatively young, swagger-filled middle infielder that does amazing things in the field and sports a good amount of pop in his bat. Forget about his mediocre 2020 stats for a second – watching Báez play is fun because he has the look and the confidence of the best player on the field even if he really isn’t anymore. He’s been on the cover of The Show, something nobody else on this list can claim. And, I’ve kind of buried the lede here – the coolest part about El Mago (cool nickname too) are his tags. Trevor Story – Kinda Fun Trevor Story, another shortstop trade possibility, gets a Kinda Fun designation because, though he may be the best available option at short, he doesn’t boast the star power and flair of Báez and others. Don’t get me wrong – Story is a star; he’s great in the field and at the plate, but looking at his stats on baseball reference is almost more exciting that watching him play. It doesn’t help that he’s been marooned off in Colorado, but Story just doesn’t have that “it factor” or special skill that sets him above the other great shortstops in the league, at least in terms of fun-ness. He does have a pretty mean bat flip, but there’s no crazy tag compilation out there on YouTube, for example. He’ll be a very welcome addition to the Twins if he comes, but a middle-of-the-road rating on the fun meter feels right. Marcus Semien – Boring Marcus Semien is probably the best shortstop available on the free agency market, but there’s a reason a lot of Twins fans would rather give up young talent in a Báez or Story trade than simply sign the former Oakland shortstop. Signing Semien would just give off the feeling that they needed a shortstop and signed a shortstop, not the shortstop that anybody really wants. Semien has been a top-tier player in the past, but a pretty dismal 2020 makes him feel like a more expensive Jorge Polanco rather than a Polanco replacement, and spending on a player that does little to change the status quo is the opposite of fun. Perhaps if I allowed myself to make a joke about his last name, I could bump him up a few levels, but I’m not going to do that so he’s stays at Boring. Nelson Cruz – Fun Perhaps the Twins’ biggest question of the offseason is whether to bring Nelson Cruz back or not and, while our opinions may vary widely on whether it’s wise to spend on a 40-year-old DH, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Nelson Cruz is fun. With Cruz, there’s no “shiny new car” feeling because he’s been in Minnesota for two years, but there’s a reason he’s been your dad’s favorite Twins player those two years. He’s been a star in the league for the better part of a decade and we love when stars come to Minnesota, especially when they lead the team to an MLB record for home runs. Even better, Cruz’s locker room personality is the driving force behind the “Bomba Squad” moniker and the team identity that’s the Twins last few years on of the most fun teams in the league. Marcell Ozuna – Fun Should the Twins decide against bringing back Cruz, Marcell Ozuna could serve as a long-term high-end option at DH. Though losing Cruz might be sad for many Twins fans, they’d be getting no downgrade in the fun department with Ozuna. He’s a big, muscular dude who wears a bright chartreuse arm sleeve and hits bombs. Massive bombs. In large quantities. Last year, Ozuna led the league in home runs and runs batted in and, though there are certainly more intelligent stats, big homer and RBI guys are very fun to have in the lineup. Advanced stats fans should like him too, as his exit velocity numbers and hard hit percentage were among the best in the league last year. The only thing keeping Ozuna from rising into the Very Fun tier is the possibility of a regression that could make him a Sanó-esque strikeout frustration. Trevor Bauer – Very Fun Now, the Twins odds acquiring the free agent ace and reigning NL Cy Young winner aren’t that great, but he falls into the Very Fun category, so it’s fun to imagine. Bauer is and always has been controversial, so he may not be every Twins fan’s cup of tea, but that’s exactly why I would love to have him so much. The guy who talks the most and angers the most people is exactly the type of guy you want on your team, as long as he’s playing well. And fresh off a Cy Young year, he’s certainly doing that. Above all else though, Bauer has a curious and innovative baseball mind that, as a fan, is fun to see on your favorite team. His appreciation for the craft of pitching is something that every Twins fan ought to be able to appreciate, even if some don’t like his attitude. Also – He’s a fun follow on YouTube. Sonny Gray – Not That Fun Gray, who was Bauer’s teammate last year in Cincinnati, would also be a good addition to the Twins rotation, but he’s not nearly as exciting. With a career ERA in the threes and a WHIP in the 1.2 range, Minnesota fans would probably be happy to have him, but we also managed to make Carl Pavano seem exciting. The fact is that, since he burst into the bigs as a rookie, nobody has ever called you excitedly to say “Hey, did you see what Sonny Gray did last night?!?!” unless they were a Yankees fan complaining about his poor performance in pinstripes. Gray seems like a fun guy to know and have in the locker room, but that doesn’t make him a fun player to watch. If he signs with Minnesota, he’ll be a mid-rotation out-getter more than a jersey-seller. Trevor Rosenthal – Kinda Fun The Twins haven’t had a true flamethrower in the bullpen (other than Brusdar Graterol’s 10 games) in a long while, but that’s what they would get by bringing in free agent reliever Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal looked on the brink of exiting the league not too long ago but was dominant down the stretch for the Padres last year, and he regularly touched triple-digit velocity. A dominant hard-throwing reliever is one of most exciting players to watch and have on your team, so Rosenthal, should he sign, would be a very entertaining player to have around. However, he’s only a year removed from being an out of control , and those guys are torturous to watch. I’ll hedge my bets and put him at Kinda Fun.
  8. 2015 was a big year for JO Berrios. He was the Twins Daily (and the Twins) Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year for the second straight season. However, like so many members of the Twins organization, Berrios also does a lot off the field to contribute to his community. He has organized a pretty neat event in his hometown of Bayamon, in Puerto Rico, for December.Last month on social media, Berrios sent out a challenge to fellow young Puerto Ricans Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez. The two young future stars accepted the challenge. On December 12th and 13th, there will be clinics for teenagers between 14 and 16 years old. On December 19th and 20th, there will be a series of games. According to Berrios, "The idea came out during a training session with my staff, brainstorming about what can we do to help keep teenagers away from the streets." Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor recently finished second in American League Rookie of the Year voting (behind fellow Puerto Rican Carlos Correa). He has a tremendous combination of great defense and offense. Javier Baez debuted with the Cubs in 2014 and came up late in the 2015 season again. When Addison Russell was hurt in the playoffs, Baez was thrown into the spotlight and into the lineup. Berrios said the trio has been close for a long time. “We played Little League since (we were) 5 to 6 years old. We are friends. We are family.” Berrios feels that it is important to use his celebrity to help others is important. He takes his role as a role model seriously, as seriously as his offseason workouts. He wanted to do something to help others. “Not only being role models, but we want to be able to help those in need.” Berrios set up a Go Fund Me account today and hopes to generate $30,000 for Fundacion Lake Makina. Asked what his foundation would use any raised money for, he said there were three things at this time. “The money will be distributed as follows: 1.) Hogar Foriadores de Esperanza, 2.) The Spina Bifida Association, and 3.) the Luis Rodriguez Olmo family. Luis was a famous catcher. He is now diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and his family has made public their financial situation in order to take care of him. We want to help them. And any special case we understand needs help, we will do our best.” The Hogar Foriadores de Esperanza is “a homeless kids home” in Bayamon. Spina Bifida I the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. It happens when a baby is in the womb and the spinal column does not close all the way. Every day, about eight babies born in the United States have Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine. It is a defect that is very personal to Javier Baez. In April, his 21-year-old sister Noely, passed away from Spina Bifida. Twins fans are very excited to see Berrios reach the big leagues. Most fans wanted to see him late in the 2015 season, but they will have to wait until 2016. Berrios said, “2016 will be my year.” But it is impressive that a 21-year-old with so much in front of him is willing to take a step back in an effort to help those less fortunate. “I’m praying to God to be able to help more kids through the years. That is one of my fuels to keep pushing the game. In the future, (I want to) do something in Minnesota too, with my teammates,” Berrios continued, “In addition to pursuing a World Series championship.” Again, if you are interested and able to contribute, you can go to the Go Fund Me account here. Click here to view the article
  9. Last month on social media, Berrios sent out a challenge to fellow young Puerto Ricans Francisco Lindor and Javier Baez. The two young future stars accepted the challenge. On December 12th and 13th, there will be clinics for teenagers between 14 and 16 years old. On December 19th and 20th, there will be a series of games. According to Berrios, "The idea came out during a training session with my staff, brainstorming about what can we do to help keep teenagers away from the streets." Cleveland shortstop Francisco Lindor recently finished second in American League Rookie of the Year voting (behind fellow Puerto Rican Carlos Correa). He has a tremendous combination of great defense and offense. Javier Baez debuted with the Cubs in 2014 and came up late in the 2015 season again. When Addison Russell was hurt in the playoffs, Baez was thrown into the spotlight and into the lineup. Berrios said the trio has been close for a long time. “We played Little League since (we were) 5 to 6 years old. We are friends. We are family.” Berrios feels that it is important to use his celebrity to help others is important. He takes his role as a role model seriously, as seriously as his offseason workouts. He wanted to do something to help others. “Not only being role models, but we want to be able to help those in need.” Berrios set up a Go Fund Me account today and hopes to generate $30,000 for Fundacion Lake Makina. Asked what his foundation would use any raised money for, he said there were three things at this time. “The money will be distributed as follows: 1.) Hogar Foriadores de Esperanza, 2.) The Spina Bifida Association, and 3.) the Luis Rodriguez Olmo family. Luis was a famous catcher. He is now diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and his family has made public their financial situation in order to take care of him. We want to help them. And any special case we understand needs help, we will do our best.” The Hogar Foriadores de Esperanza is “a homeless kids home” in Bayamon. Spina Bifida I the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. It happens when a baby is in the womb and the spinal column does not close all the way. Every day, about eight babies born in the United States have Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine. It is a defect that is very personal to Javier Baez. In April, his 21-year-old sister Noely, passed away from Spina Bifida. Twins fans are very excited to see Berrios reach the big leagues. Most fans wanted to see him late in the 2015 season, but they will have to wait until 2016. Berrios said, “2016 will be my year.” But it is impressive that a 21-year-old with so much in front of him is willing to take a step back in an effort to help those less fortunate. “I’m praying to God to be able to help more kids through the years. That is one of my fuels to keep pushing the game. In the future, (I want to) do something in Minnesota too, with my teammates,” Berrios continued, “In addition to pursuing a World Series championship.” Again, if you are interested and able to contribute, you can go to the Go Fund Me account here.
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