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  1. When a team is successful, it’s only natural for other organizations to want to try and steal some of that success. That can come from hiring away other team’s front office personnel and coaches. The Twins have seen multiple coaches be snagged by other teams over the last handful of years, but the Derek Falvey and Thad Levine combo have stayed together at the top of the organization. However, they may not stay together forever. After just 21 games, the Colorado Rockies are looking for a new person to take over their general manager role. This is the first time since 2014 that Colorado is looking for a new general manager. Jeff Bridich resigned earlier in the week and it sounds like the club will wait until this winter to hire a permanent replacement. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Levine is “the leading candidate to become only the fourth Rockies’ GM in history.” Levine has ties to the Rockies organization as he served in a variety of roles with the club from 1999-2005 including senior director of baseball operations. He left for Texas after that and joined the Twins back in 2016. Colorado isn’t exactly an easy place to be a general manager. Just this winter, the former GM was forced to trade All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado in a deal that included the Rockies paying $51 million of his remaining $199 million salary. Trevor Story, now the team’s best player, will be a free agent at season’s end. They also have one of the worst ranked farm systems in baseball, so there isn’t a lot of reason for optimism moving forward. Next season will be Colorado’s 30th and the team has never won a division title. Things aren’t looking that great for 2021 either as the team currently sits at 8-14, the lowest winning percentage in the National League. The Twins were coming off some rough seasons when Levine joined the organization, but they weren’t nearly as big of a mess as the current state of the Rockies. Other organizations have shown interest in Levine over the last three years. Back in 2018, the Mets were interested in interviewing Levine for their GM spot. This past offseason he was one of the top contenders for the President of Baseball Operations position in Philadelphia. He took his name out of the running for that job, because he was committed to his role with the Twins. In fact, he is signed with Minnesota through 2024. It seems likely for Levine to have a chance to take over his own front office at some point in the future. His name is going to continue to be floated out there for nearly every opening. There are clearly some connections to his time in Colorado, but the Rockies are a mess of a franchise. It doesn’t seem like the right opportunity, but that doesn’t mean Levine will be a Twin for life. Do you think Levine will seriously consider the Rockies job? Leave a COMMENT and join the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. What would it take to get Chapman? Chapman was an All-Star in 2019 while hitting 36 home runs and 36 doubles with an .848 OPS. He won his second Gold Glove Award at third base and it might not have been close. Chapman is in a close conversation with Nolan Arenado as the best defensive third baseman in all of baseball and Chapman could be in the discussion as one of the league’s best overall defenders. Minnesota also has one of the league’s best defenders, but he has been injured over the last couple seasons. Byron Buxton won the Platinum Glove back in 2017, but injuries have kept him off the field over parts of the last two seasons. Could the giant Oakland outfield be a better home for the budding superstar? He has more service time than Chapman and he can be a free agent in 2023. Chapman is nearly a year older than Buxton, but they have nearly the same amount of games played at the big-league level thanks to Buxton’s DL stints. Chapman might fit with the Twins, but it will take more than Buxton to land Chapman in a Twins uniform. Minnesota would likely need to add a prospect or two to the equation to get Oakland to consider a deal. Minnesota’s Line-Up Ramifications Adding Chapman to the line-up would mean Miguel Sano would no longer be needed at third base. This would allow the Twins to shift him to first base and designated hitter on a more permanent rotation. Nelson Cruz and Marwin Gonzalez would continue to get at-bats at those positions next season, but this would allow for some positional depth at all those spots, especially since none of those players played a full-season last year. If Buxton was out of the equation, Max Kepler would continue to play center field during the 2020 campaign. Then in 2021, Royce Lewis would be given the opportunity to play there and Kepler could slide back to a corner outfield role. Lewis’ defensive future has been in question over the last couple offseasons and this year’s Arizona Fall League only brought that more to the forefront. One of Minnesota’s biggest defensive weaknesses this offseason might be third base. Adding Chapman would take away from an area of strength and add to an area of weakness. The cost of adding Chapman might be steep, but the Twins would have him for multiple years with the opportunity to offer him an extension. What do you think Chapman would be worth in a trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  3. As the 2019 Major League Baseball season quickly approaches, I find myself running out of time to get out ahead of the yearly prediction game. Looking at the key individual awards, as well as how the Postseason will shake out, there’s plenty of excitement to come in the year ahead. I am of the belief there’s a significant number of teams not currently trying, but there’s a good cluster that will battle against each other in both leagues this year. Before we get to how I see the year going for teams, it’s worth looking at what the cream of the crop may look like individually. We don’t have the obvious Shohei Ohtani out of the gate, and we’ll need to see the emergence of the next Ronald Acuna or Juan Soto. Pitching awards are littered with favorites of guys that have done it all before, but there’s also some new names right on the cusp. Here’s who I see capturing individual recognition. MVP: American League – Mike Trout (Dark Horse Carlos Correa) National League – Nolan Arenado (Dark Horse Cody Bellinger) One guy is looking for his third MVP award while another is looking to get over the hump and capture his first. Mookie Betts jumped up and nabbed the title out from under Mike Trout last year, but the greatest player in the game is ready to take back his throne in 2019. On the flip side, Arenado came ever so close to his first MVP a season ago but fell just short. With the ink still drying on his newly signed contract extension, he should find the hardware as a nice reward for his efforts. I’m not all in on either dark horse candidate here but think they both have some nice post-hype appeal. Correa hasn’t played a full season in two years, but flashed MVP caliber abilities at multiple points throughout his career. Bellinger ran away with the Rookie of the Year vote in 2017, and then slide backwards a bit in 2018. I’d think his true ability lies somewhere in between, but at just 23-years-old, there’s no reason to think that the ceiling may not be even higher. Cy Young: American League – Justin Verlander (Dark Horse Jose Berrios) National League – Walker Buehler (Dark Horse German Marquez) Outside of Verlander, this may be my favorite prediction of the offseason. I love how many new names are popping up on the elite pitching scene, and as baseball fans, we all stand to benefit from them. Verlander was right there a season ago and could be looking at his second victory (and first with the Astros). For the Dodgers it’s obviously disheartening seeing the decline of the great Clayton Kershaw, but what better way to mitigate that than to have Walker Buehler in tow. This kid is the real deal, and I wouldn’t be shocked if we’re talking about multiple victories a handful of years from now. The dark horse candidates for the Cy Young are so fun. Jose Berrios is already a staff ace for the Minnesota Twins, and looks like a bit more refinement could have him making a significant leap forward. The breaking pitches are ridiculous and commanding them a bit better should do the trick. German Marquez may be the best under-the-radar hurler in the game right now, and he’s working to dispel the notion that pitchers can’t be great in Colorado (with teammate Kyle Freeland doing the same). Rookie of the Year: American League – Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Dark Horse Forrest Whitley) National League – Victor Robles (Dark Horse Nick Senzel) There’s no prospect that has been talked up more in baseball than Vlad Jr. Son of the recently inducted Hall of Famer, Guerrero Jr. wields a bat that is otherworldly. The Blue Jays have suppressed his service time all they can, and while he’ll need to wait a few more weeks before breaking into the big leagues, there’s no reason why the bat shouldn’t play. He’s not going to last at third base long, but if the OPS is north of .900 in his debut campaign, he’ll run away with this. Now that Bryce Harper is gone for the Nationals, Victor Robles finally has a clear path to playing time. Previously the best overall prospect in baseball, his breakout following teammate Juan Soto of a year ago would be a nice development for Washington. It almost seems unfair that the Astros would be able to add another ace to their pitching staff, but Forrest Whitley could prove to be just that. The best pitching prospect in the game has looked great this spring, and he’d be a mid-season addition any team would love to have. He may not be up long enough to catch Vlad, but he should make this interesting. The Reds are going to give Nick Senzel a shot to stick in the outfield after coming through the system as an infielder. His bat should play for both average and power, while all early indications suggest he’s made a seamless position change. Postseason: American League - Yankees, Twins, Astros Wild Card – Red Sox, Angels National League – Nationals, Brewers, Dodgers Wild Card – Phillies, Rockies ALDS – Astros over Yankees NLDS – Nationals over Dodgers World Series – Astros over Nationals A big believer in what the Nationals did this offseason, despite losing Bryce Harper, they’re going to be a tough team to beat. That rotation should be one of the best in baseball, and is Robles breaks out as expected, their outfield could challenge that title as well. Depth could be a concern in multiple places here, but I like what Dave Martinez must work with. Houston came up just short last season losing to the Red Sox in five games. Boston has taken a step backwards, and the Astros are ready to make it two World Series victories in three years. This lineup is loaded, the pitching staff is for real, and A.J. Hinch has a group that knows how to win. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  4. Major League Baseball and the Baseball Writers Association of America released the top three finalists for their major awards earlier this week. For fans, it can be fun to look at the credentials of the top candidates. What should be considered when naming the league’s top player? Should it be the player with the highest WAR? How important is defense in the overall equation? Does the player have to be playing on a contending team? Here’s a look at the finalists and how my ballot would look for the AL and NL MVP.The American League Finalists for MVP Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox Betts was a key cog in Boston’s dominant regular season run in the American League. He led the American League in batting average with an outstanding .346 mark. He wasn’t just about the average though as he led the big leagues in slugging percentage (.640) and runs scored (129). He was a record-setter this year as well. He became the first batting champion to have 30 or more steals and home runs. Betts is also one of the best defenders in the league and this helped him to have the top WAR total according to both versions of WAR (FanGraphs and Baseball Reference) Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians Ramirez joined an elite club during the 2018 campaign. He became just the fifth third baseman to join the 30-30 club. He also compiled a lot of other statistics the voters like to see, with 100 runs scored and 100 RBIs. Only 25 players have been members of the 30-30 club while scoring over 100 runs and driving in over 100 runs. Ramirez and the Indians beat up on the AL Central and he played a large role in the club winning their third straight division title. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels Trout has been the game’s best player for most of the last decade. That being said, he has only been awarded two AL MVP awards during that time (2014, 2016). The Angels have struggled during his career and this has likely cost him the opportunity to win other MVP awards. Even with the Angels posting an under .500 record, Trout notched career highs in OPS (1.088) and on-base percentage (.460). It seems like the award will be handed to Betts and Trout will be the runner-up for the fourth time in the last seven seasons. Cody’s American League MVP Ballot 10. Whit Merrifield, Royals 9. Gerrit Cole, Astros 8. J.D. Martinez, Red Sox 7. Justin Verlander, Astros 6. Matt Chapman, Athletics 5. Francisco Lindor, Indians 4. Alex Bregman, Astros 3. Jose Ramirez, Indians 2. Mike Trout, Angels 1. Mookie Betts, Red Sox The National League Finalist for MVP Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies Arenado has been a rock for the Rockies over the course of his career and he is headed for his highest MVP finish. He’s arguably the best defensive third baseman in the National League. However, defense isn’t the only story with Arenado. He led the league in home runs and he had an OPS over .900. Colorado was a surprise team this season and Arenado is the face of the franchise. It seems likely that he will win an MVP at some point in his career, but this doesn’t seem like the year. Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs Baez logged over 20 games at three different defensive positions this season as Joe Maddon took advantage of his versatility. He seemed to fill up almost every part of the stat sheet. His 111 RBIs lead the National League and he finished second in extra-base hits. Overall, he finished with 40 doubles, over 30 home runs, and over 20 steals. He was a fantasy owner’s dream with all of those stats. Chicago ultimate fell short of their goal, but Baez helped them to stay neck and neck with Milwaukee. Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers Much like Betts in the American League, Yelich led the National League in both versions of WAR. Also, he won the batting title (.326) and finished first in OPS (1.000) and total bases (343). During the middle of the season, there was some talk about Jacob deGrom being the front-runner for this award. Yelich put most of those whispers to rest as he dominated in September and pushed the Brewers to the NL Central title. During that final month, he posted a 1.312 OPS, so he can probably start preparing his acceptance speech. Cody’s National League MVP Ballot 10. Trevor Story, Rockies 9. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks 8. Lorenzo Cain, Brewers 7. Max Scherzer, Nationals 6. Freddie Freeman, Braves 5. Anthony Rendon, Nationals 4. Jacob deGrom, Mets 3. Javier Baez, Cubs 2. Nolan Arenado, Rockies 1. Christian Yelich, Brewers Who would be on your ballot? Should deGrom have been a finalist for the MVP? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  5. The American League Finalists for MVP Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox Betts was a key cog in Boston’s dominant regular season run in the American League. He led the American League in batting average with an outstanding .346 mark. He wasn’t just about the average though as he led the big leagues in slugging percentage (.640) and runs scored (129). He was a record-setter this year as well. He became the first batting champion to have 30 or more steals and home runs. Betts is also one of the best defenders in the league and this helped him to have the top WAR total according to both versions of WAR (FanGraphs and Baseball Reference) Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians Ramirez joined an elite club during the 2018 campaign. He became just the fifth third baseman to join the 30-30 club. He also compiled a lot of other statistics the voters like to see, with 100 runs scored and 100 RBIs. Only 25 players have been members of the 30-30 club while scoring over 100 runs and driving in over 100 runs. Ramirez and the Indians beat up on the AL Central and he played a large role in the club winning their third straight division title. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels Trout has been the game’s best player for most of the last decade. That being said, he has only been awarded two AL MVP awards during that time (2014, 2016). The Angels have struggled during his career and this has likely cost him the opportunity to win other MVP awards. Even with the Angels posting an under .500 record, Trout notched career highs in OPS (1.088) and on-base percentage (.460). It seems like the award will be handed to Betts and Trout will be the runner-up for the fourth time in the last seven seasons. Cody’s American League MVP Ballot 10. Whit Merrifield, Royals 9. Gerrit Cole, Astros 8. J.D. Martinez, Red Sox 7. Justin Verlander, Astros 6. Matt Chapman, Athletics 5. Francisco Lindor, Indians 4. Alex Bregman, Astros 3. Jose Ramirez, Indians 2. Mike Trout, Angels 1. Mookie Betts, Red Sox The National League Finalist for MVP Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies Arenado has been a rock for the Rockies over the course of his career and he is headed for his highest MVP finish. He’s arguably the best defensive third baseman in the National League. However, defense isn’t the only story with Arenado. He led the league in home runs and he had an OPS over .900. Colorado was a surprise team this season and Arenado is the face of the franchise. It seems likely that he will win an MVP at some point in his career, but this doesn’t seem like the year. Javier Baez, Chicago Cubs Baez logged over 20 games at three different defensive positions this season as Joe Maddon took advantage of his versatility. He seemed to fill up almost every part of the stat sheet. His 111 RBIs lead the National League and he finished second in extra-base hits. Overall, he finished with 40 doubles, over 30 home runs, and over 20 steals. He was a fantasy owner’s dream with all of those stats. Chicago ultimate fell short of their goal, but Baez helped them to stay neck and neck with Milwaukee. Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers Much like Betts in the American League, Yelich led the National League in both versions of WAR. Also, he won the batting title (.326) and finished first in OPS (1.000) and total bases (343). During the middle of the season, there was some talk about Jacob deGrom being the front-runner for this award. Yelich put most of those whispers to rest as he dominated in September and pushed the Brewers to the NL Central title. During that final month, he posted a 1.312 OPS, so he can probably start preparing his acceptance speech. Cody’s National League MVP Ballot 10. Trevor Story, Rockies 9. Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks 8. Lorenzo Cain, Brewers 7. Max Scherzer, Nationals 6. Freddie Freeman, Braves 5. Anthony Rendon, Nationals 4. Jacob deGrom, Mets 3. Javier Baez, Cubs 2. Nolan Arenado, Rockies 1. Christian Yelich, Brewers Who would be on your ballot? Should deGrom have been a finalist for the MVP? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
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