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  1. The Twins acquired centerfielder Michael A. Taylor from the Kansas City Royals Monday evening. The trade sets him up to be the primary backup to Byron Buxton in centerfield. Does Taylor's defensive skill give the Twins their best centerfield depth in years? Image courtesy of Wendell Cruz, USA TODAY Sports The Twins didn’t make this trade to get Michael A. Taylor for his bat. He’s here to play defense, and some very good defense in ccenter field Taylor won a Gold Glove in 2021 and joining the Twins alleviates the pressure for Byron Buxton pushing his physical limits to play every day in center field. Taylor has also played the corner outfield positions in his career, but in the last two seasons, he's played exclusively in center. The acquisition of Taylor puts nine outfielders on the Twins' 40-man roster, as the Twins designated pitcher A.J. Alexy for assignment following the trade. As the roster currently stands, a Twins everyday outfield could consist of Joey Gallo in left, a Buxton/Taylor platoon in center, and Max Kepler in right. This off-season, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have worked hard to address each of the Twins' issues and added depth at each position, and brining in Taylor solidifies a commitment to put the best possible team out there and ensure more playing time for Buxton when healthy. For a Twins team needing strong outfield depth after two chaotic seasons with centerfielder after centerfielder going down with injuries, Taylor provides hope that they can avoid having a player like Rob Refsnyder playing in center field because no one else is available due to injuries. The line of duty for center field behind Buxton and Taylor is likely to fall onto Gordon if either cannot play. The Twins have also said that Gallo can be an option in center if push comes to shove. Of course there is also the option of Celestino, who is now likely to start his season in St. Paul to hone in on his hitting skills that have not translated well in the Majors. Again, Taylor’s hitting numbers don’t jump off the back of his baseball card as he hit .254/.313/.357 (.670) in 2022. However, his fielding numbers per Statcast tell a different story. His percentile for arm strength ranks one percent higher than Buxton, two percent more than Gallo and 19 percent higher than Kepler. The only outfielder on the Twins 40-man who was in a higher percentile than Taylor for the 2022 season was Gilberto Celestino, in the 93rd percentile. One area where Taylor may shine for the Twins in 2023 is stolen bases. Taylor had just four steals in 2022, but he had 14 stolen bases in 2021. With Taylor in the outfield, Twins fans can take a sigh of relief that Buxton has a great chance to hit the 100 games played threshold for the first time since 2017. Plus if injuries are down in 2023 from how high they were in 2022. Many players will enjoy more playing time and needed rest days with the Twins depth in the outfield only growing stronger. View full article
  2. The Minnesota Twins dealt Luis Arraez last week and, in doing so, created a hole at both first base and atop the lineup. While Pablo Lopez is a nice get in return, he’s not going to bat leadoff, and a new alternative must be found. Image courtesy of © Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK As manager for the Minnesota Twins, Rocco Baldelli has tried to remain relatively consistent with his lineups. Although shuffling has been necessary due to injury or ineffectiveness, nothing was more certain than Luis Arraez's batting leadoff last year. In 92 of the 144 games he appeared, it was Arraez stepping into the box first. We know that Alex Kirilloff is all but ticketed to start at first base now, but we have yet to see who will replace Arraez in the lineup. A potential candidate could be slugger Byron Buxton, which may be where Baldelli starts. Although Buxton doesn’t have the on-base prowess of a prototypical leadoff man, checking in at just .316 over the past four seasons, an additional 30 at-bats should be valuable for one of the team's best hitters. There is something left to be desired from Buxton atop the lineup if he’s going to hit for power, however. In a breakout of long balls, Buxton blasted 28 a year ago. Leading off, plenty of those will wind up being solo shots and limit run production potential. He also has significantly dialed back stolen base attempts in recent seasons, creating less noise on the base paths. While not attempting to take Buxton out of the equation entirely, a recent acquisition could be the best bet. Enter Joey Gallo. The former Texas Rangers star would love to throw away his 2022. From flopping in New York to only a mild production boost with the Dodgers, there is nothing pretty about his career low 79 OPS+. It shouldn’t be controversial to suggest that Gallo may find it again with Minnesota, and despite being known for his power production, he will rely upon plenty in the field. Baldelli could also peg him as his leadoff hitter, and a greater swing in styles seems unfathomable. In 2021 with the Rangers, Gallo led the league in strikeouts. His 111 walks also led the league, and to quantify how little batting average matters, his .199 was coupled with a .351 on-base percentage. As a first-time All-Star in 2019, Gallo posted a .389 OBP, which Arraez only surpassed during his rookie season that same year. Along the same lines as Buxton, it may seem counterproductive to put Gallo’s home run prowess in the leadoff spot. Ideally, you’d like him to hit with runners on base and drive them in, but he could provide those opportunities for the likes of Buxton, Carlos Correa, and Alex Kirilloff. By leading off Gallo, Minnesota would have one of its best on-base threats stepping in early, and combining that with the threat of a home run immediately puts pressure on an opposing pitcher. Last season Gallo never hit at the top of the lineup for the Yankees or Los Angeles. In fact, across his 752 career games, he has never made a start while batting leadoff. Conventional wisdom says to hit someone like Gallo in the heart of the order or down near the seven-spot. Minnesota has been progressively managed and worked with new initiatives under this regime, however, and a change like this could make some sense. If I were betting on it right now, I’d still lean towards Buxton being the first batter for the Twins on Opening Day. I don’t think it should be a shock to see Gallo get his first start there this season. However, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if it became something of a trend. View full article
  3. Minnesota's 2023 roster has started to come into focus after the front office completed multiple trades in the last week. Here is how the team projects to start Opening Day. Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports Last season, the lockout forced MLB to allow teams to begin the year with 28-man rosters. The lockout forced a shortened spring training, and baseball was worried about an increased chance of player injuries. For 2023, teams must narrow their final roster to 26 players. Players listed below with the ** are on the bubble for the final roster spots. Catchers (2): Christian Vazquez, Ryan Jeffers Minnesota's catching duo has been set since the club signed Vazquez to a multi-year deal. It was clear from the onset of the off-season that the Twins targeted Vazquez and paid a premium to sign him. The Twins have six catchers among their non-roster invitees to spring training, including veterans Tony Wolters, Grayson Greiner, and Chance Sisco. Teams rarely rely on just two catchers for an entire season, so the Twins will likely need help from these veterans to play at some point during the 2023 campaign. Infielders (5): Carlos Correa, Kyle Farmer, Alex Kirilloff**, Jose Miranda, Jorge Polanco Adding Correa to this group pushed Farmer to a utility role, which might be a better fit for his skill set. Miranda is getting the full-time job at third base after the team traded Gio Urshela earlier this winter. Polanco figures to get most of the playing time at second base, but it will be interesting to see if he feels any pressure from the team's top prospects. Kirilloff will get time at first base, but the team might have another option (see below) if the team wants him to get regular rest at the season's start. Top prospects like Royce Lewis, Brooks Lee, Edouard Julien, and Austin Martin can add depth to this group in the second half. Outfielders (6): Byron Buxton, Gilberto Celestino**, Joey Gallo, Nick Gordon**, Max Kepler, Michael A. Taylor By adding Taylor, the Twins have three former Gold Glove winners in the outfield and another Gold Glove finalist. Minnesota's outfield defense has the potential to be one of baseball's best, but all four players can't fit in the outfield at the same time. Gallo has logged over 746 innings at first base, so the team might be comfortable moving him to the infield so Kirilloff can slowly work his way back. Gilberto Celestino can start the year at Triple-A, a level where he has played fewer than 25 games. Nick Gordon is out of minor-league options, so the Twins will keep him based on his breakout performance in 2022. Trevor Larnach and Matt Wallner add depth to the organization's outfield, but they will have to power their way from St. Paul to Minneapolis. Rotation (5): Sonny Gray, Pablo Lopez, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan Some Twins fans were disappointed the Twins traded Arraez, but Lopez lengthened the Twins' starting rotation. Depth was needed because there are injury concerns surrounding numerous players in the rotation. Since the last projection, Bailey Ober got bumped to Triple-A because of the Lopez addition. Other young pitchers like Louie Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson, and Jordan Balazovic will be waiting for an opportunity. It is one of the deepest rotations the Twins have had in recent memory, and the club will have to rely on that depth if/when the injury bug strikes again. Bullpen (8): Jhoan Duran, Jorge Lopez, Griffin Jax, Caleb Thielbar, Emilio Pagan, Jorge Alcala**, Jovani Moran**, Trevor Megill** Minnesota has done little to address the bullpen this winter, but that has been a common theme for a front office that relies on veterans and internal options. Since Twins Daily's initial roster projection, all of the above names have stayed the same. Duran and Lopez should get the bulk of the high-leverage opportunities. Jax and Thielbar will combine to be a bridge to the late-inning arms. Pagan is a wild card, but the Twins are hoping for a better performance from a player with good stuff. ZiPS projects feel like the Twins' bullpen is top-heavy, which makes sense considering the recent track record of players expected to be on the roster. Minnesota will have some decisions at the bullpen's backend with other 40-man roster options like Ronny Henriquez, Cole Sands, and Josh Winder. How do you feel about the team's depth at multiple positions? What changes will happen to the team's roster before Opening Day? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. The Twins didn’t make this trade to get Michael A. Taylor for his bat. He’s here to play defense, and some very good defense in ccenter field Taylor won a Gold Glove in 2021 and joining the Twins alleviates the pressure for Byron Buxton pushing his physical limits to play every day in center field. Taylor has also played the corner outfield positions in his career, but in the last two seasons, he's played exclusively in center. The acquisition of Taylor puts nine outfielders on the Twins' 40-man roster, as the Twins designated pitcher A.J. Alexy for assignment following the trade. As the roster currently stands, a Twins everyday outfield could consist of Joey Gallo in left, a Buxton/Taylor platoon in center, and Max Kepler in right. This off-season, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have worked hard to address each of the Twins' issues and added depth at each position, and brining in Taylor solidifies a commitment to put the best possible team out there and ensure more playing time for Buxton when healthy. For a Twins team needing strong outfield depth after two chaotic seasons with centerfielder after centerfielder going down with injuries, Taylor provides hope that they can avoid having a player like Rob Refsnyder playing in center field because no one else is available due to injuries. The line of duty for center field behind Buxton and Taylor is likely to fall onto Gordon if either cannot play. The Twins have also said that Gallo can be an option in center if push comes to shove. Of course there is also the option of Celestino, who is now likely to start his season in St. Paul to hone in on his hitting skills that have not translated well in the Majors. Again, Taylor’s hitting numbers don’t jump off the back of his baseball card as he hit .254/.313/.357 (.670) in 2022. However, his fielding numbers per Statcast tell a different story. His percentile for arm strength ranks one percent higher than Buxton, two percent more than Gallo and 19 percent higher than Kepler. The only outfielder on the Twins 40-man who was in a higher percentile than Taylor for the 2022 season was Gilberto Celestino, in the 93rd percentile. One area where Taylor may shine for the Twins in 2023 is stolen bases. Taylor had just four steals in 2022, but he had 14 stolen bases in 2021. With Taylor in the outfield, Twins fans can take a sigh of relief that Buxton has a great chance to hit the 100 games played threshold for the first time since 2017. Plus if injuries are down in 2023 from how high they were in 2022. Many players will enjoy more playing time and needed rest days with the Twins depth in the outfield only growing stronger.
  5. As manager for the Minnesota Twins, Rocco Baldelli has tried to remain relatively consistent with his lineups. Although shuffling has been necessary due to injury or ineffectiveness, nothing was more certain than Luis Arraez's batting leadoff last year. In 92 of the 144 games he appeared, it was Arraez stepping into the box first. We know that Alex Kirilloff is all but ticketed to start at first base now, but we have yet to see who will replace Arraez in the lineup. A potential candidate could be slugger Byron Buxton, which may be where Baldelli starts. Although Buxton doesn’t have the on-base prowess of a prototypical leadoff man, checking in at just .316 over the past four seasons, an additional 30 at-bats should be valuable for one of the team's best hitters. There is something left to be desired from Buxton atop the lineup if he’s going to hit for power, however. In a breakout of long balls, Buxton blasted 28 a year ago. Leading off, plenty of those will wind up being solo shots and limit run production potential. He also has significantly dialed back stolen base attempts in recent seasons, creating less noise on the base paths. While not attempting to take Buxton out of the equation entirely, a recent acquisition could be the best bet. Enter Joey Gallo. The former Texas Rangers star would love to throw away his 2022. From flopping in New York to only a mild production boost with the Dodgers, there is nothing pretty about his career low 79 OPS+. It shouldn’t be controversial to suggest that Gallo may find it again with Minnesota, and despite being known for his power production, he will rely upon plenty in the field. Baldelli could also peg him as his leadoff hitter, and a greater swing in styles seems unfathomable. In 2021 with the Rangers, Gallo led the league in strikeouts. His 111 walks also led the league, and to quantify how little batting average matters, his .199 was coupled with a .351 on-base percentage. As a first-time All-Star in 2019, Gallo posted a .389 OBP, which Arraez only surpassed during his rookie season that same year. Along the same lines as Buxton, it may seem counterproductive to put Gallo’s home run prowess in the leadoff spot. Ideally, you’d like him to hit with runners on base and drive them in, but he could provide those opportunities for the likes of Buxton, Carlos Correa, and Alex Kirilloff. By leading off Gallo, Minnesota would have one of its best on-base threats stepping in early, and combining that with the threat of a home run immediately puts pressure on an opposing pitcher. Last season Gallo never hit at the top of the lineup for the Yankees or Los Angeles. In fact, across his 752 career games, he has never made a start while batting leadoff. Conventional wisdom says to hit someone like Gallo in the heart of the order or down near the seven-spot. Minnesota has been progressively managed and worked with new initiatives under this regime, however, and a change like this could make some sense. If I were betting on it right now, I’d still lean towards Buxton being the first batter for the Twins on Opening Day. I don’t think it should be a shock to see Gallo get his first start there this season. However, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if it became something of a trend.
  6. Last season, the lockout forced MLB to allow teams to begin the year with 28-man rosters. The lockout forced a shortened spring training, and baseball was worried about an increased chance of player injuries. For 2023, teams must narrow their final roster to 26 players. Players listed below with the ** are on the bubble for the final roster spots. Catchers (2): Christian Vazquez, Ryan Jeffers Minnesota's catching duo has been set since the club signed Vazquez to a multi-year deal. It was clear from the onset of the off-season that the Twins targeted Vazquez and paid a premium to sign him. The Twins have six catchers among their non-roster invitees to spring training, including veterans Tony Wolters, Grayson Greiner, and Chance Sisco. Teams rarely rely on just two catchers for an entire season, so the Twins will likely need help from these veterans to play at some point during the 2023 campaign. Infielders (5): Carlos Correa, Kyle Farmer, Alex Kirilloff**, Jose Miranda, Jorge Polanco Adding Correa to this group pushed Farmer to a utility role, which might be a better fit for his skill set. Miranda is getting the full-time job at third base after the team traded Gio Urshela earlier this winter. Polanco figures to get most of the playing time at second base, but it will be interesting to see if he feels any pressure from the team's top prospects. Kirilloff will get time at first base, but the team might have another option (see below) if the team wants him to get regular rest at the season's start. Top prospects like Royce Lewis, Brooks Lee, Edouard Julien, and Austin Martin can add depth to this group in the second half. Outfielders (6): Byron Buxton, Gilberto Celestino**, Joey Gallo, Nick Gordon**, Max Kepler, Michael A. Taylor By adding Taylor, the Twins have three former Gold Glove winners in the outfield and another Gold Glove finalist. Minnesota's outfield defense has the potential to be one of baseball's best, but all four players can't fit in the outfield at the same time. Gallo has logged over 746 innings at first base, so the team might be comfortable moving him to the infield so Kirilloff can slowly work his way back. Gilberto Celestino can start the year at Triple-A, a level where he has played fewer than 25 games. Nick Gordon is out of minor-league options, so the Twins will keep him based on his breakout performance in 2022. Trevor Larnach and Matt Wallner add depth to the organization's outfield, but they will have to power their way from St. Paul to Minneapolis. Rotation (5): Sonny Gray, Pablo Lopez, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan Some Twins fans were disappointed the Twins traded Arraez, but Lopez lengthened the Twins' starting rotation. Depth was needed because there are injury concerns surrounding numerous players in the rotation. Since the last projection, Bailey Ober got bumped to Triple-A because of the Lopez addition. Other young pitchers like Louie Varland, Simeon Woods Richardson, and Jordan Balazovic will be waiting for an opportunity. It is one of the deepest rotations the Twins have had in recent memory, and the club will have to rely on that depth if/when the injury bug strikes again. Bullpen (8): Jhoan Duran, Jorge Lopez, Griffin Jax, Caleb Thielbar, Emilio Pagan, Jorge Alcala**, Jovani Moran**, Trevor Megill** Minnesota has done little to address the bullpen this winter, but that has been a common theme for a front office that relies on veterans and internal options. Since Twins Daily's initial roster projection, all of the above names have stayed the same. Duran and Lopez should get the bulk of the high-leverage opportunities. Jax and Thielbar will combine to be a bridge to the late-inning arms. Pagan is a wild card, but the Twins are hoping for a better performance from a player with good stuff. ZiPS projects feel like the Twins' bullpen is top-heavy, which makes sense considering the recent track record of players expected to be on the roster. Minnesota will have some decisions at the bullpen's backend with other 40-man roster options like Ronny Henriquez, Cole Sands, and Josh Winder. How do you feel about the team's depth at multiple positions? What changes will happen to the team's roster before Opening Day? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. Over the past handful of years we have seen front offices re-evaluate how they go about paying sluggers. While the designated hitter has become universal, and there are some players truly not fit to play in the field, most boppers must now possess more than just power potential. This trend is working against two ex-Twins who provided explosive power for the Twins' 2019 Bomba Squad. Image courtesy of © Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports We rarely see players like Chris Davis, Khris Davis, or Chris Carter on the baseball diamond anymore. The Baltimore Orioles immediately looked questionable when giving Chris Davis a bloated deal as analytics began to weigh on-base percentages differently. Both Miguel Sano and Nelson Cruz have shown a better approach than some of the aforementioned names, but as each heads elsewhere you have to wonder what either have left. Recently the San Diego Padres signed Cruz for just $1 million. That is his lowest yearly salary since he was 29-years-old back in 2010. Expected to get plenty of designated hitter at bats for the Padres, there was very little evidence that the aging process had not have caught up to Cruz a season ago. Playing 124 games with the Washington Nationals, Cruz posted a paltry .651 OPS and 90 OPS+. His 148 OPS+ with the Twins in 2021 was all but gone, and he began a steep decline with the Tampa Bay Rays after he was traded midseason. Cruz still hit ten homers last year, but his .313 OBP was a far-cry from the .344 mark he has put up over the course of his career. Cruz rebounded from the .283 OBP he posted with the Rays in 55 games last year, but his slugging percentage dropping to .337 really limits what the potential upside is. Of course, the Padres aren’t making a significant financial commitment by any means, but Steamer projections have him tabbed for just 0.2 fWAR a .714 OPS and nine home runs. It’s hard to see how that type of output lasts in the lineup all year. Then there is Sano. Playing in only 20 games for Minnesota last year, he posted an unfathomably bad -0.9 fWAR. By the end of the season he was all but asked to leave the team, and there doesn’t appear to be a reunion tour coming. While Jeremy Nygaard wrote a great piece on Sano, it would be shocking to see Minnesota reopen that door. What I do think remains possible is that Sano finds himself still being a productive slugger. A season ago Sano was hurt. Injuring his meniscus and then having rehab go both slowly and poorly, he never worked himself back into shape. That has been part of the bugaboo his whole career, and tapping into a newfound work ethic probably isn’t something that a new team be able to rely upon. Sano at his baseline though can still get it done in stretches. During 2021, the Twins saw Sano post a 112 OPS+ and blast 30 home runs. His .819 OPS and 119 OPS+ excluding last year is a better offensive profile than Joey Gallo, and Sano has always shown a solid ability to draw walks and command the strike zone. He has rarely been a free-swinger, struggling more with whiffs on velocity than anything, and there has never been a doubt about his immense power. What should be notable here is that perception of personality matters. A 42-year-old Nelson Cruz is getting a chance because he brings a great clubhouse presence. The Padres can afford to jettison him if he is truly cooked. Miguel Sano is still looking for his next gig, and while it most likely will need to be a minor league deal, his suitors are not as plentiful given the track record he has accumulated. There is probably a path for Sano to have a better season than Cruz, and even by a substantial margin. The question is who will bite the bullet on allowing it to play out? View full article
  8. We rarely see players like Chris Davis, Khris Davis, or Chris Carter on the baseball diamond anymore. The Baltimore Orioles immediately looked questionable when giving Chris Davis a bloated deal as analytics began to weigh on-base percentages differently. Both Miguel Sano and Nelson Cruz have shown a better approach than some of the aforementioned names, but as each heads elsewhere you have to wonder what either have left. Recently the San Diego Padres signed Cruz for just $1 million. That is his lowest yearly salary since he was 29-years-old back in 2010. Expected to get plenty of designated hitter at bats for the Padres, there was very little evidence that the aging process had not have caught up to Cruz a season ago. Playing 124 games with the Washington Nationals, Cruz posted a paltry .651 OPS and 90 OPS+. His 148 OPS+ with the Twins in 2021 was all but gone, and he began a steep decline with the Tampa Bay Rays after he was traded midseason. Cruz still hit ten homers last year, but his .313 OBP was a far-cry from the .344 mark he has put up over the course of his career. Cruz rebounded from the .283 OBP he posted with the Rays in 55 games last year, but his slugging percentage dropping to .337 really limits what the potential upside is. Of course, the Padres aren’t making a significant financial commitment by any means, but Steamer projections have him tabbed for just 0.2 fWAR a .714 OPS and nine home runs. It’s hard to see how that type of output lasts in the lineup all year. Then there is Sano. Playing in only 20 games for Minnesota last year, he posted an unfathomably bad -0.9 fWAR. By the end of the season he was all but asked to leave the team, and there doesn’t appear to be a reunion tour coming. While Jeremy Nygaard wrote a great piece on Sano, it would be shocking to see Minnesota reopen that door. What I do think remains possible is that Sano finds himself still being a productive slugger. A season ago Sano was hurt. Injuring his meniscus and then having rehab go both slowly and poorly, he never worked himself back into shape. That has been part of the bugaboo his whole career, and tapping into a newfound work ethic probably isn’t something that a new team be able to rely upon. Sano at his baseline though can still get it done in stretches. During 2021, the Twins saw Sano post a 112 OPS+ and blast 30 home runs. His .819 OPS and 119 OPS+ excluding last year is a better offensive profile than Joey Gallo, and Sano has always shown a solid ability to draw walks and command the strike zone. He has rarely been a free-swinger, struggling more with whiffs on velocity than anything, and there has never been a doubt about his immense power. What should be notable here is that perception of personality matters. A 42-year-old Nelson Cruz is getting a chance because he brings a great clubhouse presence. The Padres can afford to jettison him if he is truly cooked. Miguel Sano is still looking for his next gig, and while it most likely will need to be a minor league deal, his suitors are not as plentiful given the track record he has accumulated. There is probably a path for Sano to have a better season than Cruz, and even by a substantial margin. The question is who will bite the bullet on allowing it to play out?
  9. The offseason is quickly nearing its close and we are something like a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting for Spring Training. Although the offseason is not done for the Minnesota Twins, and Derek Falvey still has work to do, can the argument be made that the roster is already better? Image courtesy of © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Coming into the winter, it was beyond evident that Carlos Correa was the chief focus for the front office. We saw them come up short on initial dollars, and then things came full circle when his re-signing saved the offseason. Save may need to be used loosely as we still have plenty of areas to see Minnesota improve, but through three major signings, it’s worth wondering if they have already accomplished that goal over 2022. Christian Vazquez over Gary Sanchez Minnesota gambled on Sanchez being better in a new situation. His greatest asset may have been helping the Twins dump Josh Donaldson, and while that was beneficial, his play was not so much. His 89 OPS+ tied a full-season career low, and although his framing skills took a step forward, he was still relatively atrocious defensively. The Twins hoped that Sanchez could regain his 2019 All-Star form, but that was not meant to be. There is no certainty that Vazquez is a better player offensively, but there should also be no question about who has a safer floor. Vazquez was coming off winning a World Series with the Houston Astros and posted a 99 OPS+. Minnesota hopes to avoid his 77 OPS+ in 2021, but the 95 OPS+ dating back to 2019 makes him virtually league average. He’s a solid defender and a great clubhouse presence. Even if marginally, the Twins should stand to benefit here. Joey Gallo over Max Kepler Presumably, the Twins will eventually whittle down their outfield. At the moment, they are extremely left-hand-heavy, and there are probably too many mouths to feed when it comes to playing time. With Gallo being signed for a one-year deal, he could start in left field or at first base, but the assumption would be that Minnesota makes a move to deal Kepler. Gallo had a down 2022 but has extreme athleticism, and his 117 OPS+ from 2017-2021 is much more productive than Kepler’s 101 OPS+. The problem for Kepler has never been on defense. He’s a similar Gold Glove-caliber talent in right field, but he has only ever put it together with the bat once. Outside of his Bomba Squad breakout year, Kepler has insisted on hitting the ball with less-than-ideal trajectories. He continues to give himself little room for opportunity at the dish, and his time in Minnesota trying to work through it has run its course. This may be a wash if Gallo bottoms out again, but Minnesota stands to gain on this move big time. Carlos Correa over Everyone Initially, this could have been argued as Correa over Kyle Farmer. You could have even included internal options such as Jorge Polanco and Nick Gordon, but Minnesota would never entertain those. Correa being brought back isn’t a gain, as he manned the position a season ago, but there is no denying that anyone playing this role instead would have been a lesser option. The Twins have a shortstop on a Hall of Fame trajectory for his second year with the Twins. He’s now acclimated to a new team and city while being able to further expand on a leadership process he took alongside Byron Buxton. It wasn’t the most likely of ways to bring him back, but Minnesota got it done. Rocco Baldelli’s team has not yet added the starting pitcher they covet, but Kenta Maeda being back for 2023 is a win. The bullpen has yet to be filled out, and Michael Fulmer has departed, but both Jorge Lopez and Emilio Pagan were retained as acquired holdovers. As a whole, and even having made just three key moves, you should be able to argue that Minnesota is better than they were a year ago. Health will remain important again, and finishing this offseason by continuing to add is a must, but the Twins will be relevant in the Central again. View full article
  10. At this point in the offseason, the Minnesota Twins may employ as many outfielders as possible. While there are three positions on the grass, nearly 25% of the 40-man roster is dedicated solely to players listed as outfielders. With so many, changes are coming. Image courtesy of © Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports For the past year or so, the Twins' outfield has remained in flux behind the starters. Last year left field was a question mark more often than it wasn’t, and Byron Buxton’s latest injury left him out of centerfield more often than not. Plenty of guys were given chances, and while some are now gone (thanks for the memories, Tim Beckham), the group still has too many mouths to feed. I’d expect the Opening Day roster to have five outfielders, but a few have positional flexibility. Looking at the nine names currently categorized by the 40-man roster, here is a probable path for them in 2023. Byron Buxton This one should be straightforward. If he’s healthy, he plays. Last season the Twins got nearly 100 games out of Buxton despite him battling a significant knee injury early on. Many of his injuries in the past have been fluky, but let’s dream of a world where Nick Paparesta and a new training staff focus on giving us what we’ve all been waiting for. He’s among the best in the game, and Rocco Baldelli’s team is much better when he takes the field. Gilberto Celestino Right now, I’m not sure what to think about Celestino. He has been called on in trade discussions and is a guy I’d prefer not to see the front office move. Last year was a good year of development, and still young; there is plenty of room for him to grow. As a right-handed bat, he has that going for him, and defensively he’s an ideal backup option behind Buxton. Joey Gallo Signed to a one-year deal, there is no doubt that Gallo is making the 26-man roster. He’ll play plenty of corner outfield and can play center as well. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Minnesota have him ready at first base, and despite the bat being his calling card, his athleticism and glove are equally as impressive. Nick Gordon Listed as an outfielder by the Twins roster designation, Gordon filled into a utility role well last year. The bat played more, and although he’s limited on the infield, he played outfield well. Gordon looked the part of a centerfielder at times, and more reps could make that even more fluid. He should be a relative lock for the Opening Day roster and will again play all over the field. Max Kepler If there is a guy to bet on being traded this offseason, Kepler is it. He bats left-handed as too many of his counterparts do, and Gallo wasn’t signed to be a redundant form of what the German brings to the table. There has been plenty of interest in the strong defensive right fielder, and it should be a matter of when and not if he goes. Alex Kirilloff The Twins need this to be the year that Kirilloff’s wrist is right. After undergoing a more intense procedure to shave down his bone, there aren't many other surgical options. All reports thus far have been positive, and Kirilloff is a talent Minnesota has been waiting on at the big-league level for some time. He should factor in most as a left fielder, but he can also potentially be a star at first base. He’ll get time at both spots this year, and the only thing holding him back has been health. Trevor Larnach We started seeing what a rolling Larnach looked like at points last season, but the core muscle injury killed the momentum. He’s a power bat with a substantial amount of plate discipline, and he, too, should be expected to contribute from left field. There is no reason he can’t be a middle-of-the-order bat, and we saw the arm play plenty when opposing runners tried to test him a season ago. Like Kirilloff, health is all Minnesota needs here. Matt Wallner Making his debut after such a solid 2022 in the minors, Wallner looked the part in a very small major league sample size. His 105 OPS+ was above league average; he made substantial strides last year when controlling the zone and taking walks. There is probably no room for him on Opening Day, but Wallner didn’t slow down last year at Triple-A St. Paul and could quickly force Minnesota’s hand if he comes out of the gates hot. The Twins have more than a few decisions to make on the grass this season, and right now, things are a bit lefty-heavy. We’ll see how this turns out before the club shows up in Fort Myers. View full article
  11. Coming into the winter, it was beyond evident that Carlos Correa was the chief focus for the front office. We saw them come up short on initial dollars, and then things came full circle when his re-signing saved the offseason. Save may need to be used loosely as we still have plenty of areas to see Minnesota improve, but through three major signings, it’s worth wondering if they have already accomplished that goal over 2022. Christian Vazquez over Gary Sanchez Minnesota gambled on Sanchez being better in a new situation. His greatest asset may have been helping the Twins dump Josh Donaldson, and while that was beneficial, his play was not so much. His 89 OPS+ tied a full-season career low, and although his framing skills took a step forward, he was still relatively atrocious defensively. The Twins hoped that Sanchez could regain his 2019 All-Star form, but that was not meant to be. There is no certainty that Vazquez is a better player offensively, but there should also be no question about who has a safer floor. Vazquez was coming off winning a World Series with the Houston Astros and posted a 99 OPS+. Minnesota hopes to avoid his 77 OPS+ in 2021, but the 95 OPS+ dating back to 2019 makes him virtually league average. He’s a solid defender and a great clubhouse presence. Even if marginally, the Twins should stand to benefit here. Joey Gallo over Max Kepler Presumably, the Twins will eventually whittle down their outfield. At the moment, they are extremely left-hand-heavy, and there are probably too many mouths to feed when it comes to playing time. With Gallo being signed for a one-year deal, he could start in left field or at first base, but the assumption would be that Minnesota makes a move to deal Kepler. Gallo had a down 2022 but has extreme athleticism, and his 117 OPS+ from 2017-2021 is much more productive than Kepler’s 101 OPS+. The problem for Kepler has never been on defense. He’s a similar Gold Glove-caliber talent in right field, but he has only ever put it together with the bat once. Outside of his Bomba Squad breakout year, Kepler has insisted on hitting the ball with less-than-ideal trajectories. He continues to give himself little room for opportunity at the dish, and his time in Minnesota trying to work through it has run its course. This may be a wash if Gallo bottoms out again, but Minnesota stands to gain on this move big time. Carlos Correa over Everyone Initially, this could have been argued as Correa over Kyle Farmer. You could have even included internal options such as Jorge Polanco and Nick Gordon, but Minnesota would never entertain those. Correa being brought back isn’t a gain, as he manned the position a season ago, but there is no denying that anyone playing this role instead would have been a lesser option. The Twins have a shortstop on a Hall of Fame trajectory for his second year with the Twins. He’s now acclimated to a new team and city while being able to further expand on a leadership process he took alongside Byron Buxton. It wasn’t the most likely of ways to bring him back, but Minnesota got it done. Rocco Baldelli’s team has not yet added the starting pitcher they covet, but Kenta Maeda being back for 2023 is a win. The bullpen has yet to be filled out, and Michael Fulmer has departed, but both Jorge Lopez and Emilio Pagan were retained as acquired holdovers. As a whole, and even having made just three key moves, you should be able to argue that Minnesota is better than they were a year ago. Health will remain important again, and finishing this offseason by continuing to add is a must, but the Twins will be relevant in the Central again.
  12. For the past year or so, the Twins' outfield has remained in flux behind the starters. Last year left field was a question mark more often than it wasn’t, and Byron Buxton’s latest injury left him out of centerfield more often than not. Plenty of guys were given chances, and while some are now gone (thanks for the memories, Tim Beckham), the group still has too many mouths to feed. I’d expect the Opening Day roster to have five outfielders, but a few have positional flexibility. Looking at the nine names currently categorized by the 40-man roster, here is a probable path for them in 2023. Byron Buxton This one should be straightforward. If he’s healthy, he plays. Last season the Twins got nearly 100 games out of Buxton despite him battling a significant knee injury early on. Many of his injuries in the past have been fluky, but let’s dream of a world where Nick Paparesta and a new training staff focus on giving us what we’ve all been waiting for. He’s among the best in the game, and Rocco Baldelli’s team is much better when he takes the field. Gilberto Celestino Right now, I’m not sure what to think about Celestino. He has been called on in trade discussions and is a guy I’d prefer not to see the front office move. Last year was a good year of development, and still young; there is plenty of room for him to grow. As a right-handed bat, he has that going for him, and defensively he’s an ideal backup option behind Buxton. Joey Gallo Signed to a one-year deal, there is no doubt that Gallo is making the 26-man roster. He’ll play plenty of corner outfield and can play center as well. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Minnesota have him ready at first base, and despite the bat being his calling card, his athleticism and glove are equally as impressive. Nick Gordon Listed as an outfielder by the Twins roster designation, Gordon filled into a utility role well last year. The bat played more, and although he’s limited on the infield, he played outfield well. Gordon looked the part of a centerfielder at times, and more reps could make that even more fluid. He should be a relative lock for the Opening Day roster and will again play all over the field. Max Kepler If there is a guy to bet on being traded this offseason, Kepler is it. He bats left-handed as too many of his counterparts do, and Gallo wasn’t signed to be a redundant form of what the German brings to the table. There has been plenty of interest in the strong defensive right fielder, and it should be a matter of when and not if he goes. Alex Kirilloff The Twins need this to be the year that Kirilloff’s wrist is right. After undergoing a more intense procedure to shave down his bone, there aren't many other surgical options. All reports thus far have been positive, and Kirilloff is a talent Minnesota has been waiting on at the big-league level for some time. He should factor in most as a left fielder, but he can also potentially be a star at first base. He’ll get time at both spots this year, and the only thing holding him back has been health. Trevor Larnach We started seeing what a rolling Larnach looked like at points last season, but the core muscle injury killed the momentum. He’s a power bat with a substantial amount of plate discipline, and he, too, should be expected to contribute from left field. There is no reason he can’t be a middle-of-the-order bat, and we saw the arm play plenty when opposing runners tried to test him a season ago. Like Kirilloff, health is all Minnesota needs here. Matt Wallner Making his debut after such a solid 2022 in the minors, Wallner looked the part in a very small major league sample size. His 105 OPS+ was above league average; he made substantial strides last year when controlling the zone and taking walks. There is probably no room for him on Opening Day, but Wallner didn’t slow down last year at Triple-A St. Paul and could quickly force Minnesota’s hand if he comes out of the gates hot. The Twins have more than a few decisions to make on the grass this season, and right now, things are a bit lefty-heavy. We’ll see how this turns out before the club shows up in Fort Myers.
  13. The Minnesota Twins did the unthinkable when they swayed Carlos Correa from the New York Mets and brought him back for the 2023 season and beyond. The fact that a potential Hall of Fame talent has been added to the roster is nothing short of exceptional. If there is a problem, it’s that had he not been added, the offseason would have been a disaster. Image courtesy of © Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports Despite what we experienced following the lockout prior to the 2022 Major League Baseball season, there is typically not a set window for free agents to sign. Although plenty are off the board at this point, it’s not as though the offseason was over for the Minnesota Twins. The problem is that their entire offseason hinged solely on Carlos Correa returning. It was clear from the jump that Minnesota prioritized Correa, as they should have. Their initial 10-year deal for $285 million left plenty to be desired, but could have been reflective of their comfort with his long-term aging process. At any rate, that number was never initially going to get it done. Sure, it took both the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets backing out of their deals to bring him in, but that doesn’t matter. No one in the Twins front office cares how it happened, and fans shouldn’t either. For the front office, there was little way to explain themselves out of it not getting done, however. Early on this winter the Twins dealt for former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer. He was seen as a baseline in order to give Minnesota a fallback option. They acted similarly a season ago when they swapped Mitch Garver for Isiah Kiner-Falefa. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with that type of move. The problem is that Minnesota wasn’t good enough with Correa last year, and they almost certainly would not have been without him going forward. Yes, injuries ravaged the 2022 Twins. There is plenty of reason to believe in a healthy Trevor Larnach, Alex Kirilloff, Royce Lewis, and Byron Buxton being a substantial upgrade to Rocco Baldelli’s lineup. That line of thinking assumes that future injury won’t occur however, and barring Nick Paparesta being some kind of witch doctor, there will still be situations to deal with. In waiting on Correa, and ultimately missing when he was originally out there, the Twins were left out on their only other shortstop target Dansby Swanson. They never made a strong play for Xander Bogaerts (which wound up working out as the Padres spent crazy money) and they didn’t seriously pursue Trea Turner either. With plenty of bats gone, options at shortstop having dwindled, and even more arms off the board there was little place to pivot. There is no denying that Correa being back with the Twins is a great thing, but that only gives Minnesota an opportunity to advance things further. They must figure out a way to move the outfield pieces around. Max Kepler has drawn significant trade interest, and Joey Gallo should be assumed to produce at a similar or better clip. Finding another quality pitcher is a must, and that has never looked likely to come from the free agent market. Correa’s acquisition means the Twins are roughly where they were a season ago. Christian Vazquez is an upgrade on Gary Sanchez, but there have been no other moves that finish the job. The bullpen still needs a piece, and the front office has money to spend. With Correa now on board, the rest of the offseason plan can continue to roll in motion. Starting the season with Farmer at shortstop, questionable dollars spent to reach a realistic payroll threshold, and an offseason of watching talent sign elsewhere would have been nothing short of a nightmare. At points it was suggested a logical pivot to piecing out parts may have been necessary. That level of uncertainty should have never been a potential thought, and while the front office probably wouldn’t have agreed, their lack of options made it a legitimate question. We haven’t yet reached the point of this being a slam dunk offseason, but it certainly has the potential to be all because the Twins got one guy back. View full article
  14. Despite what we experienced following the lockout prior to the 2022 Major League Baseball season, there is typically not a set window for free agents to sign. Although plenty are off the board at this point, it’s not as though the offseason was over for the Minnesota Twins. The problem is that their entire offseason hinged solely on Carlos Correa returning. It was clear from the jump that Minnesota prioritized Correa, as they should have. Their initial 10-year deal for $285 million left plenty to be desired, but could have been reflective of their comfort with his long-term aging process. At any rate, that number was never initially going to get it done. Sure, it took both the San Francisco Giants and New York Mets backing out of their deals to bring him in, but that doesn’t matter. No one in the Twins front office cares how it happened, and fans shouldn’t either. For the front office, there was little way to explain themselves out of it not getting done, however. Early on this winter the Twins dealt for former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Kyle Farmer. He was seen as a baseline in order to give Minnesota a fallback option. They acted similarly a season ago when they swapped Mitch Garver for Isiah Kiner-Falefa. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with that type of move. The problem is that Minnesota wasn’t good enough with Correa last year, and they almost certainly would not have been without him going forward. Yes, injuries ravaged the 2022 Twins. There is plenty of reason to believe in a healthy Trevor Larnach, Alex Kirilloff, Royce Lewis, and Byron Buxton being a substantial upgrade to Rocco Baldelli’s lineup. That line of thinking assumes that future injury won’t occur however, and barring Nick Paparesta being some kind of witch doctor, there will still be situations to deal with. In waiting on Correa, and ultimately missing when he was originally out there, the Twins were left out on their only other shortstop target Dansby Swanson. They never made a strong play for Xander Bogaerts (which wound up working out as the Padres spent crazy money) and they didn’t seriously pursue Trea Turner either. With plenty of bats gone, options at shortstop having dwindled, and even more arms off the board there was little place to pivot. There is no denying that Correa being back with the Twins is a great thing, but that only gives Minnesota an opportunity to advance things further. They must figure out a way to move the outfield pieces around. Max Kepler has drawn significant trade interest, and Joey Gallo should be assumed to produce at a similar or better clip. Finding another quality pitcher is a must, and that has never looked likely to come from the free agent market. Correa’s acquisition means the Twins are roughly where they were a season ago. Christian Vazquez is an upgrade on Gary Sanchez, but there have been no other moves that finish the job. The bullpen still needs a piece, and the front office has money to spend. With Correa now on board, the rest of the offseason plan can continue to roll in motion. Starting the season with Farmer at shortstop, questionable dollars spent to reach a realistic payroll threshold, and an offseason of watching talent sign elsewhere would have been nothing short of a nightmare. At points it was suggested a logical pivot to piecing out parts may have been necessary. That level of uncertainty should have never been a potential thought, and while the front office probably wouldn’t have agreed, their lack of options made it a legitimate question. We haven’t yet reached the point of this being a slam dunk offseason, but it certainly has the potential to be all because the Twins got one guy back.
  15. The Twins continue to follow a path leading to nothing. Image courtesy of Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports One-year deals are an admission of fault. Either the market lacked quality, all trade routes fell through, or the internal options were so hideous that the team felt it necessary to promise a player pay for just a single year of their time. For the athlete, a one-year-deal represents one of two things: an opportunity to bounce back from a dreadful season, perhaps re-inflating one’s value before hitting the free market with a prettier sheen, or an acceptance of age, an understanding that father time’s inevitable march will render your talents useless. No team wants to lose out in a nebulous contract musical chairs, so the player Nelson Cruz’s it and agrees to one-year pacts before slithering away into retirement. Or he’ll sign with Pittsburgh. Teams love diving into these waters. If the contract busts, they don’t have to be the poor souls legally stuck to an albatross, and their job security only takes the slightest hit. It was a good bet, after all. If the deal works, they look like genius, clairvoyant decision-makers who can reap the benefits of a productive player while raking in compliments. In a land where Xander Bogaerts signs for 11 years, that’s a reasonable pool to visit. There’s an emptiness to these deals, though. While professional sports is a business, we like to create connections with players, perhaps fooling ourselves into ignoring the massive amounts of money that exchange hands to allow their athletic ability to shine. When Max Kepler mans right field for the millionth time in a Twins uniform, our shared experience builds a connection, one that draws people closer to their romantic idea of a hometown sports team. What relationship will we have with Joey Gallo? How can we fully love a player destined to leave? The player’s intentions become evident in this scenario. While Carlos Correa may become hands-on—which may not reflect well on him given the 2022 Twins’ record—other athletes may embody their hitman spirit, poisoning the clubhouse spirit with a selfish demeanor. The Twins, oddly, acknowledged this issue. Following the disappointing 2018 season, Derek Falvey admitted that their clubhouse grew a funky stink stemming from grouchy veterans on short-term deals. Logan Morrison and Lance Lynn were whiny and bad—that was what he wanted to say. In response to their problem, the Twins turned around and acted like they didn’t hear their own words. Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop, and Martín Pérez signed up for a ride on the 2019 Twins bus—a booming home run tour of the United States—but that season appears fluky. A hyper-juiced ball? Two full seasons of below .500 play afterward? The only thing right about that year was the Yankees immediately spanking them the second October entered the equation. Once COVID neutered the 2020 season, the Twins hopped back onto the ball, signing a litany of average talent to one-year deals, setting themselves up for a disastrous season the team is still reeling from. J.A. Happ almost threw 100 innings for the team. He made Dylan Bundy sound like a good idea. The ultimate question is this: what’s the end goal? One-year contracts are supposed to plug holes, not dominate the team's structure; imagine a dam constructed out of duct tape. The guess is that the team is saving for some future move, but few long-term deals of that nature have come to fruition, and the only significant splash players—Josh Donaldson and Carlos Correa—are no longer Twins. Ehire Adrianza entered the batter’s box donning a Minnesota jersey more times than either of those players. They were able to nail down a Byron Buxton contract, although they seemed disappointed that they couldn’t trade him to Philadelphia for scraps beforehand. The Twins deserve credit for that signing, but his deal pays him $15 million a season—far less than the market rate for superstar talent. If anything, the agreement should fuel a spending spree: they have their star locked down for relatively little, add as many great players as you can. Even with little tied down in their books, the Twins remained hesitant to drop enough money to coax Correa back home. There’s no purpose to their choices. They’re saving money for a future in which they save more money. Maybe they’re looking even further forward, but there’s no guarantee that free agents down the road—enjoy all that money, Rafael Devers—actually become available. Until that big, non-opt-outable deal occurs, they’ll remain in this loop, always saving for a someday that never comes. View full article
  16. One-year deals are an admission of fault. Either the market lacked quality, all trade routes fell through, or the internal options were so hideous that the team felt it necessary to promise a player pay for just a single year of their time. For the athlete, a one-year-deal represents one of two things: an opportunity to bounce back from a dreadful season, perhaps re-inflating one’s value before hitting the free market with a prettier sheen, or an acceptance of age, an understanding that father time’s inevitable march will render your talents useless. No team wants to lose out in a nebulous contract musical chairs, so the player Nelson Cruz’s it and agrees to one-year pacts before slithering away into retirement. Or he’ll sign with Pittsburgh. Teams love diving into these waters. If the contract busts, they don’t have to be the poor souls legally stuck to an albatross, and their job security only takes the slightest hit. It was a good bet, after all. If the deal works, they look like genius, clairvoyant decision-makers who can reap the benefits of a productive player while raking in compliments. In a land where Xander Bogaerts signs for 11 years, that’s a reasonable pool to visit. There’s an emptiness to these deals, though. While professional sports is a business, we like to create connections with players, perhaps fooling ourselves into ignoring the massive amounts of money that exchange hands to allow their athletic ability to shine. When Max Kepler mans right field for the millionth time in a Twins uniform, our shared experience builds a connection, one that draws people closer to their romantic idea of a hometown sports team. What relationship will we have with Joey Gallo? How can we fully love a player destined to leave? The player’s intentions become evident in this scenario. While Carlos Correa may become hands-on—which may not reflect well on him given the 2022 Twins’ record—other athletes may embody their hitman spirit, poisoning the clubhouse spirit with a selfish demeanor. The Twins, oddly, acknowledged this issue. Following the disappointing 2018 season, Derek Falvey admitted that their clubhouse grew a funky stink stemming from grouchy veterans on short-term deals. Logan Morrison and Lance Lynn were whiny and bad—that was what he wanted to say. In response to their problem, the Twins turned around and acted like they didn’t hear their own words. Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop, and Martín Pérez signed up for a ride on the 2019 Twins bus—a booming home run tour of the United States—but that season appears fluky. A hyper-juiced ball? Two full seasons of below .500 play afterward? The only thing right about that year was the Yankees immediately spanking them the second October entered the equation. Once COVID neutered the 2020 season, the Twins hopped back onto the ball, signing a litany of average talent to one-year deals, setting themselves up for a disastrous season the team is still reeling from. J.A. Happ almost threw 100 innings for the team. He made Dylan Bundy sound like a good idea. The ultimate question is this: what’s the end goal? One-year contracts are supposed to plug holes, not dominate the team's structure; imagine a dam constructed out of duct tape. The guess is that the team is saving for some future move, but few long-term deals of that nature have come to fruition, and the only significant splash players—Josh Donaldson and Carlos Correa—are no longer Twins. Ehire Adrianza entered the batter’s box donning a Minnesota jersey more times than either of those players. They were able to nail down a Byron Buxton contract, although they seemed disappointed that they couldn’t trade him to Philadelphia for scraps beforehand. The Twins deserve credit for that signing, but his deal pays him $15 million a season—far less than the market rate for superstar talent. If anything, the agreement should fuel a spending spree: they have their star locked down for relatively little, add as many great players as you can. Even with little tied down in their books, the Twins remained hesitant to drop enough money to coax Correa back home. There’s no purpose to their choices. They’re saving money for a future in which they save more money. Maybe they’re looking even further forward, but there’s no guarantee that free agents down the road—enjoy all that money, Rafael Devers—actually become available. Until that big, non-opt-outable deal occurs, they’ll remain in this loop, always saving for a someday that never comes.
  17. At this point of the Minnesota Twins offseason, it could be argued that Max Kepler being traded is more a matter of “when” than “if.” As Derek Falvey and Thad Levine put together the 2023 roster, they’ll need to figure out the glut of players in their outfield. What exactly is the German’s trade value though? Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports Even before the Twins decided to spend $11 million on one season of Joey Gallo, there was reasonable expectation that Max Kepler’s days with Minnesota may be done. He is basically a known commodity at this point in his career, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, the front office likely isn’t worried about being burned by future development. In 2019, when Rocco Baldelli’s club went Bomba Squad on the season, Kepler posted a career year. His 123 OPS+ was easily a high water mark, and well above the 101 OPS+ he owns as a current career average. He had blasted 20 home runs just once previously during a season in his career, and he nearly doubled that with 36 in 2019. Kepler’s bugaboo offensively over the course of his career has been the way in which he contacts the ball. He makes solid contact and drives the ball, but his launch angle and swing path routinely generate the least desirable outcome. He gets very little lift on the baseball, and so even with the banning of the shift, he doesn’t stand to benefit a substantial amount. Generating a greater slugging percentage would require a change in approach, and Kepler has previously stated a desire to drive the ball towards the ground. Obviously his offensive profile limits his overall value, but defensively he’s nothing short of a Gold Glove caliber defender. Despite never having won the award, he fares well by both Outs Above Average and Defensive Runs Saved standards. He’s somewhat stretched in centerfield, at least at Target Field, but he’s exceptional as a corner outfielder. In and of itself, that should have value. When considering trading Kepler, Minnesota is likely doing so to create room and opportunity. In line to make just $8.5 million in 2023 however, dumping him for nothing is probably not a desired path to take. In seeing how the Arizona Diamondbacks benefitted from moving talented outfielder Daulton Varsho, there’s reason to believe Kepler’s return may be misstated. Yes, Varsho is five years younger than Kepler and has already posted a better fWAR than the Twins outfielder ever has, but their game is not all that separate. Results are truly what divides the two, but Kepler has equal or better inputs at the plate. Defensively, Varsho is an exceptional outfielder while also having the ability to catch, but as stated Kepler is no slouch with his glove either. The New York Yankees have been tied to the Twins as a potential trade partner for Kepler, and that has made sense from the time it was reported they wouldn’t go to great lengths for Andrew Benintendi. Gallo didn’t work for Aaron Boone’s club last year, and while Aaron Judge returns, the outfield remains largely in flux. Aaron Hicks is a consistent injury concern, and Giancarlo Stanton isn’t an ideal defender. Harrison Bader is a great defensive talent, but has never shown a consistent offensive ability. There’s certainly a need that could be filled. Even if it isn’t the Yankees, reports have suggested Minnesota will have no shortage of suitors when it comes to Kepler. That doesn’t mean the return is necessarily going to be earth-shattering. Likely, the front office is targeting prospects in return for their current starter. What Kepler’s desirability could do though, is create an opportunity for the Twins to choose the best package from any number of teams that come calling. Don’t expect Minnesota to net a top 10 prospect as the Diamondbacks did in Gabriel Moreno, but moving Kepler certainly isn’t just a way to clear salary or open a position. It may have been fair to suggest that going into the offseason, but the right fielder’s market doesn’t seem to be shaping up that way. View full article
  18. Coming into the 2023 Minnesota Twins season it couldn’t be more apparent that the success of this team will largely rely on the development and production generated from internal talents. As Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have waited out free agency, only small tweaks have been made to the expected lineup. One of the biggest boosts could be the long-awaited emergence of Trevor Larnach. Image courtesy of © Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports Seeing plenty of other talents fly off the market, Minnesota opted to bet on the bounceback from outfielder Joey Gallo. His addition likely cements the future for Max Kepler, and removes him from the organization. But that would place plenty of focus on youngsters Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach. For much of their major league careers thus far, neither Kirilloff or Larnach have been healthy. They have each flashed an ability to contribute, but the next key development is a consistency to remain on the field. For Larnach, the starting left field role could be his, and the bat may very well carry him to levels we haven’t seen from a corner outfielder in Twins Territory in some time. Having played just 130 games over the past two seasons, Larnach has posted a career 94 OPS+. However, during a 20-game stretch from late April through the end of May, Larnach caught fire. His .333/.419/.619 slash line was a glimpse into the expected future of a player that the front office selected based on the prowess of his bat. Coming out of Oregeon State, Falvey noted that Larnach's exit velocity was drool-worthy and he didn’t possess a substantial swing and miss downside to his game. Fast forward to June and Larnach had dealt with a core muscle injury that had sapped his production. He was eventually put on the injured list by the end of the month, and then ultimately underwent surgery. It was expected he would miss only six weeks, but that timeline continued to be extended and then eventually wound up keeping him out of action the rest of the way. Minnesota is hoping this is the season that Larnach can put together both his ability and availability. Last year his 1.1 fWAR across just 51 games was relatively impressive. He shut down the running game with a strong throwing arm from left field, and he looked like an above-average defender posting six defensive runs saved in limited action. Steamer projections don’t view Larnach entirely favorably for 2023, projecting a dip in his slugging percentage. Then again, the system only has him playing 63 games during the upcoming year, and that’s not something anyone involved would sign up for. ZiPS has Larnach’s slash line projected at .234/.315/.374 with a 93 OPS+ and only 10 home runs. In any world where he’s actually healthy, it would seem logical that he’d blow by that level of production. For a guy who has always had a strong approach at the dish, and shown a good ability to be selective, it’s exciting to dream of what him putting it together could look like. Outside of the Bomba Squad outlier, Twins fans have wished Kepler would be substantially better offensively than we’ve seen. Larnach could be that type of player, and for a guy who showed such a high level of ability in college, betting against him doesn’t seem fruitful. We saw everything that could go wrong in 2022 with regards to injury. A clean bill of health may be the best thing afforded to the Twins in 2023, and giving that to a talent ready to break out like Larnach would be a sight to behold. View full article
  19. Seeing plenty of other talents fly off the market, Minnesota opted to bet on the bounceback from outfielder Joey Gallo. His addition likely cements the future for Max Kepler, and removes him from the organization. But that would place plenty of focus on youngsters Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach. For much of their major league careers thus far, neither Kirilloff or Larnach have been healthy. They have each flashed an ability to contribute, but the next key development is a consistency to remain on the field. For Larnach, the starting left field role could be his, and the bat may very well carry him to levels we haven’t seen from a corner outfielder in Twins Territory in some time. Having played just 130 games over the past two seasons, Larnach has posted a career 94 OPS+. However, during a 20-game stretch from late April through the end of May, Larnach caught fire. His .333/.419/.619 slash line was a glimpse into the expected future of a player that the front office selected based on the prowess of his bat. Coming out of Oregeon State, Falvey noted that Larnach's exit velocity was drool-worthy and he didn’t possess a substantial swing and miss downside to his game. Fast forward to June and Larnach had dealt with a core muscle injury that had sapped his production. He was eventually put on the injured list by the end of the month, and then ultimately underwent surgery. It was expected he would miss only six weeks, but that timeline continued to be extended and then eventually wound up keeping him out of action the rest of the way. Minnesota is hoping this is the season that Larnach can put together both his ability and availability. Last year his 1.1 fWAR across just 51 games was relatively impressive. He shut down the running game with a strong throwing arm from left field, and he looked like an above-average defender posting six defensive runs saved in limited action. Steamer projections don’t view Larnach entirely favorably for 2023, projecting a dip in his slugging percentage. Then again, the system only has him playing 63 games during the upcoming year, and that’s not something anyone involved would sign up for. ZiPS has Larnach’s slash line projected at .234/.315/.374 with a 93 OPS+ and only 10 home runs. In any world where he’s actually healthy, it would seem logical that he’d blow by that level of production. For a guy who has always had a strong approach at the dish, and shown a good ability to be selective, it’s exciting to dream of what him putting it together could look like. Outside of the Bomba Squad outlier, Twins fans have wished Kepler would be substantially better offensively than we’ve seen. Larnach could be that type of player, and for a guy who showed such a high level of ability in college, betting against him doesn’t seem fruitful. We saw everything that could go wrong in 2022 with regards to injury. A clean bill of health may be the best thing afforded to the Twins in 2023, and giving that to a talent ready to break out like Larnach would be a sight to behold.
  20. Even before the Twins decided to spend $11 million on one season of Joey Gallo, there was reasonable expectation that Max Kepler’s days with Minnesota may be done. He is basically a known commodity at this point in his career, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, the front office likely isn’t worried about being burned by future development. In 2019, when Rocco Baldelli’s club went Bomba Squad on the season, Kepler posted a career year. His 123 OPS+ was easily a high water mark, and well above the 101 OPS+ he owns as a current career average. He had blasted 20 home runs just once previously during a season in his career, and he nearly doubled that with 36 in 2019. Kepler’s bugaboo offensively over the course of his career has been the way in which he contacts the ball. He makes solid contact and drives the ball, but his launch angle and swing path routinely generate the least desirable outcome. He gets very little lift on the baseball, and so even with the banning of the shift, he doesn’t stand to benefit a substantial amount. Generating a greater slugging percentage would require a change in approach, and Kepler has previously stated a desire to drive the ball towards the ground. Obviously his offensive profile limits his overall value, but defensively he’s nothing short of a Gold Glove caliber defender. Despite never having won the award, he fares well by both Outs Above Average and Defensive Runs Saved standards. He’s somewhat stretched in centerfield, at least at Target Field, but he’s exceptional as a corner outfielder. In and of itself, that should have value. When considering trading Kepler, Minnesota is likely doing so to create room and opportunity. In line to make just $8.5 million in 2023 however, dumping him for nothing is probably not a desired path to take. In seeing how the Arizona Diamondbacks benefitted from moving talented outfielder Daulton Varsho, there’s reason to believe Kepler’s return may be misstated. Yes, Varsho is five years younger than Kepler and has already posted a better fWAR than the Twins outfielder ever has, but their game is not all that separate. Results are truly what divides the two, but Kepler has equal or better inputs at the plate. Defensively, Varsho is an exceptional outfielder while also having the ability to catch, but as stated Kepler is no slouch with his glove either. The New York Yankees have been tied to the Twins as a potential trade partner for Kepler, and that has made sense from the time it was reported they wouldn’t go to great lengths for Andrew Benintendi. Gallo didn’t work for Aaron Boone’s club last year, and while Aaron Judge returns, the outfield remains largely in flux. Aaron Hicks is a consistent injury concern, and Giancarlo Stanton isn’t an ideal defender. Harrison Bader is a great defensive talent, but has never shown a consistent offensive ability. There’s certainly a need that could be filled. Even if it isn’t the Yankees, reports have suggested Minnesota will have no shortage of suitors when it comes to Kepler. That doesn’t mean the return is necessarily going to be earth-shattering. Likely, the front office is targeting prospects in return for their current starter. What Kepler’s desirability could do though, is create an opportunity for the Twins to choose the best package from any number of teams that come calling. Don’t expect Minnesota to net a top 10 prospect as the Diamondbacks did in Gabriel Moreno, but moving Kepler certainly isn’t just a way to clear salary or open a position. It may have been fair to suggest that going into the offseason, but the right fielder’s market doesn’t seem to be shaping up that way.
  21. One theme from this grouping of lead stories from 2022 is power, home runs, and a lot of strikeouts. Again, we are counting down the Top 20 Twins Daily articles of 2022 by page views. The stories certainly created a lot of conversation, some good, some maybe less productive. Let's jump to the articles ranked #11 through #16.Jo #15 Minnesota Twins Sign Joey Gallo December 16 Theodore Tollefson Coming off news that the Twins had been outbid on Carlos Correa by the Giants, the Twins ended the week by agreeing to terms with former All Star outfielder Joey Gallo. Many, if not most, Twins fans were not happy about the decision to give Gallo $11 million after he hit just .163 in 2022. However, Gallo was an All Star as recently as 2021 with the Rangers, and he’s won multiple Gold Gloves as well. For a one-year, make-good type of deal, this makes a ton of sense. Where many fans question the decision is because the team already has several left-handed hitting outfielders at or near the big leagues. That includes Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Nick Gordon, recently-DFAd Mark Contreras, and Max Kepler, who could soon be traded. However, with injuries, adding a guy with the type of potential that Gallo has might pay off. Or, it might not. #14 Hunter Renfroe Trade Target November 17 Cody Pirkl Twins Daily takes a lot of pride in being a great place for Twins content throughout the year, but especially during the offseason. Shortly after the conclusion of the World Series, the offseason begins and we all get a little excited about what our favorite team could do, or might do, or what we think they should do. That’s why an article like this can do well. It was known that the Brewers were likely to trade the slugging Hunter Renfroe, and the Twins were believed to be looking for a right-handed hitting corner outfielder to team with the young lefties. Logical, to be sure, but by Thanksgiving, Milwaukee traded him to the Angels for three pitchers. #13 Looking to Find a Diamond in the Rough, the Twins Have Claimed Jewell August 17 Seth Stohs What was your favorite Jake Jewell Twins memory? Well, he posted an ERA well over five in his nine games with the St. Paul Saints. That was it. The Twins were still in first place, but Cleveland and Chicago had cut their lead. The Twins needed pitching, so when the Cleveland Guardians DFAd Jewell, the Twins claimed the 29-year-old with 31 games pitched in the big leagues. Were Twins fans excited about this waiver claim, or did people just really like my creative, if not obvious, article title. #12 3 Twins Trade Targets to Watch May 22 Nash Walker Twins fans, ok, all fans, not only enjoy the offseason, but we really love the trade deadline. Before the end of May, Nash wrote an article looking at what the Twins' needs were at the deadline. What did he say that the Twins could use? Frontline Starter (they did trade for one of the top available starters, Tyler Mahle) High-Leverage Reliever (the Twins acquired Jorge Lopez who was probably the best reliever in baseball for the first half of the season.) Big Bat (the Twins traded Ian Hamilton to Cleveland for Sandy Leon, not exactly a big bat, but a big dude who was able to catch every other game while Ryan Jeffers was on the injured list. Now consider how this list compares to what the Twins needed to acquire going into the offseason. In fact, think about what the Twins still need as we approach the New Year. #11 Miguel Sano’s Looming Return July 2 Cody Christie It might be fair to say that Miguel Sano’s baseball career and his time with the Twins has been a roller coaster. Immensely talented, Sano’s career can be defined by home runs, strikeouts, an All Star appearance, and off-field issues. Despite some injuries, Sano did provide a lot of power to the Twins lineup at times, posting impressive hard-hit rates. Within a season, he could be streaky, and the streaks were extreme. He could carry a team for two months, and then he could look like he had never hit a baseball in his life for a month. His 2022 season began with a rough streak, and then he got injured and needed knee surgery. By July when he was approaching a return, Luis Arraez had taken over at first base, and Jose Miranda was coming off of a rookie of the month. How would Sano fit back into the lineup or even the roster? Stop by tomorrow as we look at at some of the Top 10 articles at Twins Daily in 2022. Previous Part 1: 16-20
  22. Miguel Sano. Joey Gallo. Hunter Renfroe. The big, powerful, home-run-hitting players who strike out a ton, but what do all three have in common as it relates to this article? Well, you'll just have to keep reading. Image courtesy of Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports One theme from this grouping of lead stories from 2022 is power, home runs, and a lot of strikeouts. Again, we are counting down the Top 20 Twins Daily articles of 2022 by page views. The stories certainly created a lot of conversation, some good, some maybe less productive. Let's jump to the articles ranked #11 through #16.Jo #15 Minnesota Twins Sign Joey Gallo December 16 Theodore Tollefson Coming off news that the Twins had been outbid on Carlos Correa by the Giants, the Twins ended the week by agreeing to terms with former All Star outfielder Joey Gallo. Many, if not most, Twins fans were not happy about the decision to give Gallo $11 million after he hit just .163 in 2022. However, Gallo was an All Star as recently as 2021 with the Rangers, and he’s won multiple Gold Gloves as well. For a one-year, make-good type of deal, this makes a ton of sense. Where many fans question the decision is because the team already has several left-handed hitting outfielders at or near the big leagues. That includes Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Nick Gordon, recently-DFAd Mark Contreras, and Max Kepler, who could soon be traded. However, with injuries, adding a guy with the type of potential that Gallo has might pay off. Or, it might not. #14 Hunter Renfroe Trade Target November 17 Cody Pirkl Twins Daily takes a lot of pride in being a great place for Twins content throughout the year, but especially during the offseason. Shortly after the conclusion of the World Series, the offseason begins and we all get a little excited about what our favorite team could do, or might do, or what we think they should do. That’s why an article like this can do well. It was known that the Brewers were likely to trade the slugging Hunter Renfroe, and the Twins were believed to be looking for a right-handed hitting corner outfielder to team with the young lefties. Logical, to be sure, but by Thanksgiving, Milwaukee traded him to the Angels for three pitchers. #13 Looking to Find a Diamond in the Rough, the Twins Have Claimed Jewell August 17 Seth Stohs What was your favorite Jake Jewell Twins memory? Well, he posted an ERA well over five in his nine games with the St. Paul Saints. That was it. The Twins were still in first place, but Cleveland and Chicago had cut their lead. The Twins needed pitching, so when the Cleveland Guardians DFAd Jewell, the Twins claimed the 29-year-old with 31 games pitched in the big leagues. Were Twins fans excited about this waiver claim, or did people just really like my creative, if not obvious, article title. #12 3 Twins Trade Targets to Watch May 22 Nash Walker Twins fans, ok, all fans, not only enjoy the offseason, but we really love the trade deadline. Before the end of May, Nash wrote an article looking at what the Twins' needs were at the deadline. What did he say that the Twins could use? Frontline Starter (they did trade for one of the top available starters, Tyler Mahle) High-Leverage Reliever (the Twins acquired Jorge Lopez who was probably the best reliever in baseball for the first half of the season.) Big Bat (the Twins traded Ian Hamilton to Cleveland for Sandy Leon, not exactly a big bat, but a big dude who was able to catch every other game while Ryan Jeffers was on the injured list. Now consider how this list compares to what the Twins needed to acquire going into the offseason. In fact, think about what the Twins still need as we approach the New Year. #11 Miguel Sano’s Looming Return July 2 Cody Christie It might be fair to say that Miguel Sano’s baseball career and his time with the Twins has been a roller coaster. Immensely talented, Sano’s career can be defined by home runs, strikeouts, an All Star appearance, and off-field issues. Despite some injuries, Sano did provide a lot of power to the Twins lineup at times, posting impressive hard-hit rates. Within a season, he could be streaky, and the streaks were extreme. He could carry a team for two months, and then he could look like he had never hit a baseball in his life for a month. His 2022 season began with a rough streak, and then he got injured and needed knee surgery. By July when he was approaching a return, Luis Arraez had taken over at first base, and Jose Miranda was coming off of a rookie of the month. How would Sano fit back into the lineup or even the roster? Stop by tomorrow as we look at at some of the Top 10 articles at Twins Daily in 2022. Previous Part 1: 16-20 View full article
  23. As we approach the end of 2022 and look forward to what 2023 will bring, let's take a look back at 2022 and remember what some of the biggest topics were for Twins fans. To do so, we will look at the top 20 most viewed articles this year. 2022 was many things for a baseball fan and specifically fans of the Minnesota Twins. The year began with the players locked out by the owners. They reached an agreement in early March and spring training soon began. The Twins were incredibly busy after the lockout ended, signing players left and right. No one could have anticipated the Twins signing Carlos Correa to a record contract. The season began with some optimism, hoping that the 2022 season was the anomaly. Things started well. The team was fairly healthy and found themselves in first place. They remained in that spot until late August when things went downhill in a hurry and injuries caught up. But, we did starting seeing some quality pitching prospects emerge in 2022. Griffin Jax adjusted very well to the bullpen while Jhoan Duran and Josh Winder made the opening day squad. As the season progressed, we saw more and more pitchers debut. In addition, Luis Arraez got some notoriety. He was the AL Batting Average champion, went to his first All-Star game, was a nominee for a Gold Glove, and won his first Silver Slugger Award. Byron Buxton went to his first All Star Game, started and homered. And finally, the offseason has clearly been frustrating for many Twins fan so far. Fortunately, it can still be salvaged. Things went well for Twins Daily as well. After a few years of Covid, and then a lockout, it was difficult to drum up interest in the club. However, our fantastic writing staff put out a ton of excellent content all year and Twins fans found their way here. We had some nice numbers throughout the summer, but December has been a very good month. So, let's take a look back at the Twins 2022 season by looking at which articles were viewed by the most people. It's not an exact representation, but it does take a look at some hot-button topics, some intriguing questions, lots of transactions and analysis and much more that intrigued us all year long. With that, in part 1 we will look back at the articles ranked 16-20 according to Page Views. Share your thoughts and memories on them below. #20 Louie Varland will Make his MLB Debut for Twins on Wednesday September 5 Seth Stohs Louie Varland was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2021 when he put up great numbers in Low-A Ft. Myers and High-A Cedar Rapids. He began the 2022 season at Double-A Wichita. In early August, he was promoted to Triple-A and had the opportunity to pitch in his hometown, for the St. Paul Saints. He made a handful of starts for the Saints when the Twins had a need for a spot starter. We learned a couple of days ahead of time that Varland would be making his MLB debut for the Twins in Yankees Stadium. We were excited with the news. Twins fans were excited. And Varland came through with a fantastic debut against the Yankees. His first big-league strikeout victim was MVP Aaron Judge. His first big-league home run allowed was to MVP Aaron Judge. All things considered, it was a fantastic debut for Varland. He went 5 1/3 innings and was charged with two runs on three hits. He walked two and struck out seven batters. He left the game with a runner on and one out in the sixth inning. Griffin Jax came on and got Judge to pop out, but Gleyber Torres homered to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. The Twins came back to tie the game and sent it to extra games. Unfortunately, the Yankees won 5-4 in 12 innings. #19 Minnesota’s Return for Berrios Continues to Look Better June 30 Ted Schwerzler As the trade deadline was approaching, Ted took a look back one year to when the Twins traded All Star right-hander Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays for shortstop Austin Martin and right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson. While Martin hasn’t raced to the big leagues as quickly as many thought he might when he was the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft, but the talent and athleticism is certainly still there. He missed time with injury but made up for it with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. Woods Richardson had a strange 2021 season, but after a normal offseason and spring training, he got off to a fast start in 2022. He didn’t give up an earned run for the first month of the season. He missed about a month due to Covid, but he came back strong. Late in the year, he was promoted to Triple-A, and he made one start for the Twins in the season’s final week. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on three hits and two walks over five innings. However, he gave up two runs in a rough first inning and settled in well. On the other side of the spectrum, it was a tough season for Jose Berrios. He went 12-7 despite an ERA of 5.23 and a WHIP of 1.46. He made all 32 starts and worked 172 innings. He led the league in both hits allowed (199) and in earned runs allowed (100). That came after signing a seven-year, $131 million extension with the Blue Jays. He will be the team’s #4 starter heading into the 2023 season, but it is likely he will be much better as well. #18 Too Many Outfielders, Another Perplexing Acquisition for the Twins December 8 Sherry Cerny Sherry was writing for herself, expressing her frustrations with a few of the Twins offseason moves so far. Certainly the article resonated with a large quantity of Twins fans who are equally frustrated. First there was the trade of one of the team’s more consistent, productive and healthy players in Gio Urshela. Then they signed strikeout-prone outfielder Joey Gallo for a similar contract while they already have several left-handed hitting corner outfielders. Thankfully the offseason is not complete. It will be interesting to see how the roster looks in early March. But for now, it’s been difficult to see the direction. #17 What’s Next for Twins Manager Rocco Baldelli September 14 Ted Schwerzler It’s one of those questions that some fans feel the need to ask when their favorite team is not winning ballgames? Should the manager be fired? Forget the injuries? Forget the slumps and struggles? The reality is managers probably get too much credit when their team wins, and they certainly take too much blame when the team loses. The Twins were in first place into late August, but at that point their pitching staff was decimated. Max Kepler missed the final month. Byron Buxton was out. Ryan Jeffers was out, replaced by Sandy Leon. Along with Kenta Maeda and Chris Paddack, Sonny Gray and Tyler Mahle also ended the season on the Injured List. The Twins lineup often included Nick Gordon hitting cleanup. Gordon had a nice year, but that tells you a lot. Again, when things go bad, it’s obviously a question that has to be asked. #16 The Minnesota Twins Front Office Played Themselves December 15 Matthew Taylor No question, the Twins clear top priority this offseason was bringing back Carlos Correa. It sure appeared to be Plan A, Plan B and maybe Plan C. Sure, they were able to sign Christian Vazquez to a three-year contract, but while waiting for the Correa situation to play out, several quality pitchers signed elsewhere. You can question whether or not Scott Boras and Carlos Correa played the Twins, using them as leverage to get a bigger contract. Matthew also thinks that the Twins front office played itself this offseason. Judge for yourself. Hopefully you have enjoyed this look back at 2022. Be sure to check back tomorrow for articles that ranked 11-14th. View full article
  24. 2022 was many things for a baseball fan and specifically fans of the Minnesota Twins. The year began with the players locked out by the owners. They reached an agreement in early March and spring training soon began. The Twins were incredibly busy after the lockout ended, signing players left and right. No one could have anticipated the Twins signing Carlos Correa to a record contract. The season began with some optimism, hoping that the 2022 season was the anomaly. Things started well. The team was fairly healthy and found themselves in first place. They remained in that spot until late August when things went downhill in a hurry and injuries caught up. But, we did starting seeing some quality pitching prospects emerge in 2022. Griffin Jax adjusted very well to the bullpen while Jhoan Duran and Josh Winder made the opening day squad. As the season progressed, we saw more and more pitchers debut. In addition, Luis Arraez got some notoriety. He was the AL Batting Average champion, went to his first All-Star game, was a nominee for a Gold Glove, and won his first Silver Slugger Award. Byron Buxton went to his first All Star Game, started and homered. And finally, the offseason has clearly been frustrating for many Twins fan so far. Fortunately, it can still be salvaged. Things went well for Twins Daily as well. After a few years of Covid, and then a lockout, it was difficult to drum up interest in the club. However, our fantastic writing staff put out a ton of excellent content all year and Twins fans found their way here. We had some nice numbers throughout the summer, but December has been a very good month. So, let's take a look back at the Twins 2022 season by looking at which articles were viewed by the most people. It's not an exact representation, but it does take a look at some hot-button topics, some intriguing questions, lots of transactions and analysis and much more that intrigued us all year long. With that, in part 1 we will look back at the articles ranked 16-20 according to Page Views. Share your thoughts and memories on them below. #20 Louie Varland will Make his MLB Debut for Twins on Wednesday September 5 Seth Stohs Louie Varland was the Twins Daily Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year in 2021 when he put up great numbers in Low-A Ft. Myers and High-A Cedar Rapids. He began the 2022 season at Double-A Wichita. In early August, he was promoted to Triple-A and had the opportunity to pitch in his hometown, for the St. Paul Saints. He made a handful of starts for the Saints when the Twins had a need for a spot starter. We learned a couple of days ahead of time that Varland would be making his MLB debut for the Twins in Yankees Stadium. We were excited with the news. Twins fans were excited. And Varland came through with a fantastic debut against the Yankees. His first big-league strikeout victim was MVP Aaron Judge. His first big-league home run allowed was to MVP Aaron Judge. All things considered, it was a fantastic debut for Varland. He went 5 1/3 innings and was charged with two runs on three hits. He walked two and struck out seven batters. He left the game with a runner on and one out in the sixth inning. Griffin Jax came on and got Judge to pop out, but Gleyber Torres homered to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. The Twins came back to tie the game and sent it to extra games. Unfortunately, the Yankees won 5-4 in 12 innings. #19 Minnesota’s Return for Berrios Continues to Look Better June 30 Ted Schwerzler As the trade deadline was approaching, Ted took a look back one year to when the Twins traded All Star right-hander Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays for shortstop Austin Martin and right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson. While Martin hasn’t raced to the big leagues as quickly as many thought he might when he was the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft, but the talent and athleticism is certainly still there. He missed time with injury but made up for it with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League. Woods Richardson had a strange 2021 season, but after a normal offseason and spring training, he got off to a fast start in 2022. He didn’t give up an earned run for the first month of the season. He missed about a month due to Covid, but he came back strong. Late in the year, he was promoted to Triple-A, and he made one start for the Twins in the season’s final week. He gave up three runs (2 earned) on three hits and two walks over five innings. However, he gave up two runs in a rough first inning and settled in well. On the other side of the spectrum, it was a tough season for Jose Berrios. He went 12-7 despite an ERA of 5.23 and a WHIP of 1.46. He made all 32 starts and worked 172 innings. He led the league in both hits allowed (199) and in earned runs allowed (100). That came after signing a seven-year, $131 million extension with the Blue Jays. He will be the team’s #4 starter heading into the 2023 season, but it is likely he will be much better as well. #18 Too Many Outfielders, Another Perplexing Acquisition for the Twins December 8 Sherry Cerny Sherry was writing for herself, expressing her frustrations with a few of the Twins offseason moves so far. Certainly the article resonated with a large quantity of Twins fans who are equally frustrated. First there was the trade of one of the team’s more consistent, productive and healthy players in Gio Urshela. Then they signed strikeout-prone outfielder Joey Gallo for a similar contract while they already have several left-handed hitting corner outfielders. Thankfully the offseason is not complete. It will be interesting to see how the roster looks in early March. But for now, it’s been difficult to see the direction. #17 What’s Next for Twins Manager Rocco Baldelli September 14 Ted Schwerzler It’s one of those questions that some fans feel the need to ask when their favorite team is not winning ballgames? Should the manager be fired? Forget the injuries? Forget the slumps and struggles? The reality is managers probably get too much credit when their team wins, and they certainly take too much blame when the team loses. The Twins were in first place into late August, but at that point their pitching staff was decimated. Max Kepler missed the final month. Byron Buxton was out. Ryan Jeffers was out, replaced by Sandy Leon. Along with Kenta Maeda and Chris Paddack, Sonny Gray and Tyler Mahle also ended the season on the Injured List. The Twins lineup often included Nick Gordon hitting cleanup. Gordon had a nice year, but that tells you a lot. Again, when things go bad, it’s obviously a question that has to be asked. #16 The Minnesota Twins Front Office Played Themselves December 15 Matthew Taylor No question, the Twins clear top priority this offseason was bringing back Carlos Correa. It sure appeared to be Plan A, Plan B and maybe Plan C. Sure, they were able to sign Christian Vazquez to a three-year contract, but while waiting for the Correa situation to play out, several quality pitchers signed elsewhere. You can question whether or not Scott Boras and Carlos Correa played the Twins, using them as leverage to get a bigger contract. Matthew also thinks that the Twins front office played itself this offseason. Judge for yourself. Hopefully you have enjoyed this look back at 2022. Be sure to check back tomorrow for articles that ranked 11-14th.
  25. Earlier this offseason, the Minnesota Twins traded third basemen Gio Urshela to the Los Angeles Angels largely due to the fact that he would make roughly $9 million through arbitration. In signing left-handed slugger Joey Gallo, they’ve committed to an $11 million deal. There are a few different things they could be thinking. Image courtesy of Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports First and foremost, time has passed since the Twins opted to trade Gio Urshela to the Angels. When they made that move, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine were squarely focused on their pursuit of Carlos Correa. While they ultimately fell short as he went to the San Francisco Giants, $9 million for a guy that didn’t project to be in the starting lineup seems substantial. From there, we can also presume that the Minnesota Twins do, in fact, intend to have Joey Gallo start most of their games in 2023. With Urshela vacating third base, talented youngster Jose Miranda will be expected to take most of the hot corner reps. He performed below average defensively last year at first, and Minnesota has maintained that third base is still his long term home. That means Gallo will find most of his starts on the corners for the Twins. His most traditional position has been in right field. As much as Gallo is known as a slugger, he also is a plus defender with a big arm. Rocco Baldelli’s lineup currently has Max Kepler penciled into the right field spot, but it has been consistently reported that the longtime fixture has drawn plenty of trade interest. Although Kepler wouldn’t net a ton for Minnesota, moving him has seemed like the plan all offseason. In doing so, Gallo would draw most of his starts in right field. That would keep Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff as the main left fielders, while also allowing Kirilloff to rotate at first base with Luis Arraez. Gallo has played first in his career previously as well, and certainly can take at-bats as a designated hitter for Minnesota. In the same vein of his contract, Gallo compares to the White Sox Andrew Benintendi and the San Francisco Giants Mitch Haniger. He may have a bit more upside than both, however, and a return to 2021 form would do the trick. One would think it easy to assume that Gallo benefits from the shift being banned in 2023. That’s probably a fair assessment given that he’s been outspoken against it personally, and we started to see four man outfields in large part due to his batted ball profile. Eno Sarris wrote a great piece for The Athletic back in September, and Gallo (alongside Kepler) was among the names touched on. In the piece, MLB writer Mike Petriello notes that while Gallo may not see the same shift, he’ll almost certainly still be defended differently. For a considerable rise in batting average, he’d need to drive the ball the other way, and that would be counterproductive to his batted ball profile. Gallo stands to benefit from a strong hard hit rate, and while things may rise slightly for him, his 121 OPS+ despite a .199 batting average in 2021 suggests success even in a non-traditional way. Ultimately there’s a few things Minnesota likely sees in Gallo that made him a worthy acquisition. First and foremost, they now have money to spend. That wasn’t the case (at least not in the straightforward sense) when dealing Urshela, and Gallo is certainly going to start. Minnesota may still very well be operating with a plan to trade Kepler, and that opens up even more opportunity. Then there’s the positional flexibility, Gallo can play all three outfield spots, and that helps to create a more fluid lineup as well. There’s no denying that Gallo was a train wreck in New York last season. He isn’t just a rehashing of Chris Carter or Miguel Sano however. Minnesota is looking at an opportunity to benefit on a bounce back, and even if he doesn’t offensively, there’s arguably little downside out in the field. View full article
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