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  1. Derek Falvey and company put all of their eggs in the Carlos Correa basket this offseason. After Correa opted to join the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night, the Twins are now left scrambling with few options left to choose from. Image courtesy of © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports Since day one of the offseason, the Minnesota Twins made it abundantly clear that priorities one, two and three were bringing back Carlos Correa. With plenty of payroll room to spend, and a pre-existing relationship with Correa, this seemed like the unique situation where the Twins could spend with the big boys and sign a franchise cornerstone for a long time. Unfortunately for the Twins, it was reported late Tuesday night that Correa was signing with the San Francisco Giants for a 13-year, $350M contract. A contract that the Twins weren’t willing to match. According to our friend Dan Hayes, the Twins’ best offer for Correa was a 10-year, $285M offer. While missing out on Correa was a big bummer for everyone, it was also somewhat understandable. The San Francisco Giants play in one of the biggest markets in America and are used to routinely throwing around this kind of money. The issue for the Twins wasn’t missing out on Correa, it was that they put all of their eggs in the Carlos Correa basket. By zeroing in on Carlos Correa and waiting for him to make a decision, they missed out on nearly every other impact free agent. Shortstops like Xander Bogaerts and Trea Turner, impact pitchers like Chris Bassitt and Tyler Anderson, and big bats like Willson Contreras and José Abreu all signed elsewhere while the Twins were waiting on a decision from Correa. By waiting on Carlos Correa the Twins front office needed to be extremely confident in the power of the offer that they held. They needed to be so sure that the amount of money that they were willing to give to the Gold Glover was so great that he couldn’t possibly turn down his former team. Once Dan Hayes’s report came out that the Twins’ maximum offer was $285M, though, it made the front office’s handling of this offseason all the more troubling. $285M was never going to get a deal done for Carlos Correa. In 2021 Francisco Lindor signed for $341M. Being younger and more decorated than Lindor, and with Scott Boras as his agent, there was no way that Correa would be signing for any less than $300M and there was a good chance that he would exceed Lindor’s number. Then when Trea Turner signed for $300M (and being offered $342 by the Padres), that notion was only cemented more. Now that Carlos Correa has made his decision to sign with the Giants, the Twins are staring at a severely depleted free agency market with few impact players remaining. After Dansby Swanson and Carlos Rodón, no other free agents are projected to amass more than three wins above replacement in 2022. Outside of signing one of those two, the Twins can only acquire an impact player via trade. Dealing from a depleted farm system to improve a 78-win team that is worse than that 78-win team was on the last day of the 2022 season doesn't sound smart either. The Twins are now in an incredibly tough situation because of the front offices misreading of the Carlos Correa situation and they have nobody to blame but themselves. View full article
  2. Since day one of the offseason, the Minnesota Twins made it abundantly clear that priorities one, two and three were bringing back Carlos Correa. With plenty of payroll room to spend, and a pre-existing relationship with Correa, this seemed like the unique situation where the Twins could spend with the big boys and sign a franchise cornerstone for a long time. Unfortunately for the Twins, it was reported late Tuesday night that Correa was signing with the San Francisco Giants for a 13-year, $350M contract. A contract that the Twins weren’t willing to match. According to our friend Dan Hayes, the Twins’ best offer for Correa was a 10-year, $285M offer. While missing out on Correa was a big bummer for everyone, it was also somewhat understandable. The San Francisco Giants play in one of the biggest markets in America and are used to routinely throwing around this kind of money. The issue for the Twins wasn’t missing out on Correa, it was that they put all of their eggs in the Carlos Correa basket. By zeroing in on Carlos Correa and waiting for him to make a decision, they missed out on nearly every other impact free agent. Shortstops like Xander Bogaerts and Trea Turner, impact pitchers like Chris Bassitt and Tyler Anderson, and big bats like Willson Contreras and José Abreu all signed elsewhere while the Twins were waiting on a decision from Correa. By waiting on Carlos Correa the Twins front office needed to be extremely confident in the power of the offer that they held. They needed to be so sure that the amount of money that they were willing to give to the Gold Glover was so great that he couldn’t possibly turn down his former team. Once Dan Hayes’s report came out that the Twins’ maximum offer was $285M, though, it made the front office’s handling of this offseason all the more troubling. $285M was never going to get a deal done for Carlos Correa. In 2021 Francisco Lindor signed for $341M. Being younger and more decorated than Lindor, and with Scott Boras as his agent, there was no way that Correa would be signing for any less than $300M and there was a good chance that he would exceed Lindor’s number. Then when Trea Turner signed for $300M (and being offered $342 by the Padres), that notion was only cemented more. Now that Carlos Correa has made his decision to sign with the Giants, the Twins are staring at a severely depleted free agency market with few impact players remaining. After Dansby Swanson and Carlos Rodón, no other free agents are projected to amass more than three wins above replacement in 2022. Outside of signing one of those two, the Twins can only acquire an impact player via trade. Dealing from a depleted farm system to improve a 78-win team that is worse than that 78-win team was on the last day of the 2022 season doesn't sound smart either. The Twins are now in an incredibly tough situation because of the front offices misreading of the Carlos Correa situation and they have nobody to blame but themselves.
  3. The Padres made a splash on the final day of MLB's Winter Meetings by signing Xander Bogaerts. So, why can't the Twins spend like the Padres? The answer is complicated. Image courtesy of Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports Fans of every MLB team want their franchise to spend more money. It is one of the most straightforward solutions to improve a team because increasing payroll allows clubs to add the best free agents. However, spending more money is no guarantee of success. Plenty of small market teams are annual contenders because of their player development and smart front offices. The Twins and the Padres take different approaches to create their 26-man roster, so why are these clubs so different? Payroll Comparison Last season, the Padres had a payroll of $214 million, with three players making more than $16 million. Minnesota's payroll was $72 million less than the Padres, with Carlos Correa accounting for 24.7% of the team's $142 million payroll. San Diego has Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. signed to contracts worth over $300 million. Yu Darvish and Wil Myers are making $20 million or more in 2022. Currently, the Padres only trail the Mets and Yankees for the highest projected payroll for the 2023 campaign. Market Size Compared to other MLB teams, the Padres are a clear mid-market team, which is one reason San Diego is down to one professional sports team. MLB's three largest markets (New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago) all have multiple MLB franchises The San Diego metropolitan area, and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul markets are similar in population. It seems logical that both teams can spend similar amounts on payroll, but that isn't the case. TV Deals One of the club's most significant revenue sources is its TV deal. Minnesota is entering the final year of a 12-year, $480 million deal that pays the club around $40 million annually. In 2012, the Padres signed a 20-year deal for $1.2 to 1.5 billion, putting the average annual payments to the club in the $50-$75 million range. The Padres also have a 20% equity share in the network broadcasting their games, which means the club can earn more revenue as more fans watch games. Minnesota's expiring TV deal will be interesting to watch over the next year. Will the club be able to spend more in 2023 and beyond because of increased revenue from a new deal? AL Central Comparison Minnesota is in one of baseball's weakest divisions, and the club has a higher payroll than every team in the division besides Chicago. Last week, Ted Schwerzler discussed that the Twins' payroll should be closer to $160 million than $140 million. Cleveland easily won the AL Central last season with a payroll below $70 million. Some expect the Guardians' payroll to increase as a new ownership group gains more say in the team's spending. Detroit has also shown a willingness to spend when the club is in contention. There are similarities between San Diego and Minnesota regarding market size, but the Padres have continually outspent the Twins. Rosters are incomplete for the 2023 season, but it seems unlikely for the Twins to get anywhere near the $235 million projected for the Padres. Minnesota's TV deal is hampering some of its revenues, but they are spending more than enough to be competitive in the AL Central. Should the Twins spend similarly to the Padres? Will a new TV deal help the team's willingness to spend? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. Fans of every MLB team want their franchise to spend more money. It is one of the most straightforward solutions to improve a team because increasing payroll allows clubs to add the best free agents. However, spending more money is no guarantee of success. Plenty of small market teams are annual contenders because of their player development and smart front offices. The Twins and the Padres take different approaches to create their 26-man roster, so why are these clubs so different? Payroll Comparison Last season, the Padres had a payroll of $214 million, with three players making more than $16 million. Minnesota's payroll was $72 million less than the Padres, with Carlos Correa accounting for 24.7% of the team's $142 million payroll. San Diego has Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. signed to contracts worth over $300 million. Yu Darvish and Wil Myers are making $20 million or more in 2022. Currently, the Padres only trail the Mets and Yankees for the highest projected payroll for the 2023 campaign. Market Size Compared to other MLB teams, the Padres are a clear mid-market team, which is one reason San Diego is down to one professional sports team. MLB's three largest markets (New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago) all have multiple MLB franchises The San Diego metropolitan area, and the Minneapolis-Saint Paul markets are similar in population. It seems logical that both teams can spend similar amounts on payroll, but that isn't the case. TV Deals One of the club's most significant revenue sources is its TV deal. Minnesota is entering the final year of a 12-year, $480 million deal that pays the club around $40 million annually. In 2012, the Padres signed a 20-year deal for $1.2 to 1.5 billion, putting the average annual payments to the club in the $50-$75 million range. The Padres also have a 20% equity share in the network broadcasting their games, which means the club can earn more revenue as more fans watch games. Minnesota's expiring TV deal will be interesting to watch over the next year. Will the club be able to spend more in 2023 and beyond because of increased revenue from a new deal? AL Central Comparison Minnesota is in one of baseball's weakest divisions, and the club has a higher payroll than every team in the division besides Chicago. Last week, Ted Schwerzler discussed that the Twins' payroll should be closer to $160 million than $140 million. Cleveland easily won the AL Central last season with a payroll below $70 million. Some expect the Guardians' payroll to increase as a new ownership group gains more say in the team's spending. Detroit has also shown a willingness to spend when the club is in contention. There are similarities between San Diego and Minnesota regarding market size, but the Padres have continually outspent the Twins. Rosters are incomplete for the 2023 season, but it seems unlikely for the Twins to get anywhere near the $235 million projected for the Padres. Minnesota's TV deal is hampering some of its revenues, but they are spending more than enough to be competitive in the AL Central. Should the Twins spend similarly to the Padres? Will a new TV deal help the team's willingness to spend? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. Carlos Correa is one of the biggest keys to the Twins' offseason plan. So does the team need to set a deadline for whether they are in or out on Correa? Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports With the Winter Meetings starting this week, the hot stove might begin to heat up. Plenty of the biggest free agents and their representatives will be traveling the halls in San Diego. Scott Boras, who represents Carlos Correa, is usually one of the most active people at the annual event. Besides Correa, he represents other top free agents like Xander Bogaerts, Brandon Nimmo, and Carlos Rodon. Boras can see how the market plays out for his top clients, but the Twins might not have the time to wait on a Correa decision. Minnesota has payroll flexibility this winter, with around $50 million in payroll to spend. The Twins will likely get outbid for Correa's services, and the team will have to pivot to other options. However, the Twins might end up with no viable free-agent options if Correa's contract negotiations drag out over the next few months. Some top free agents like Jacob deGrom and Jose Abreu are already off the market, and other names may sign as more conversations occur at the Winter Meetings. Last winter, the market didn't play out in Correa's favor. He switched agents, and the lockout forced him to wait until spring training started to ink a deal. Correa can choose to be patient this winter to see what clubs miss on Aaron Judge before turning their attention to the other top names on the market. Correa likely wants a decision sooner rather than later, but he's expected to sign a contract covering the remainder of his career. It must be a good fit from the team and player's perspective. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have proven the ability to be patient and let the market play out in their favor. However, that strategy almost didn't play out in their favor last year as Correa fell into their laps as spring training began. In previous offseasons, they had made offers to some of the top free agent starters like Zack Wheeler before signing Josh Donaldson to a multi-year contract. Thankfully, the team was able to jettison the Donaldson contract, but this winter might be the time for the Twins to change their off-season strategy. Internally, the Twins should set a deadline to sign Correa so they have enough remaining time in the offseason to make moves that put themselves back in contention. The AL Central is one of baseball's worst divisions, and Minnesota has finished below .500 in two consecutive seasons. Things will be challenging for AL Central clubs, with MLB schedules becoming more balanced next season. According to the preliminary ZiPS projected standings, FanGraphs expects the Twins to finish 81-81, one game behind Cleveland for the division title. Obviously, a player of Correa's caliber can be worth enough WAR to push the Twins to another level. According to reports, the Twins have made multiple contract offers to Correa from six to ten years in length. It's certainly good that Minnesota's front office is engaging him in contract talks, but the team can only afford to see so many free agents sign with other clubs. Bogaerts seems like the player the Twins will turn to after Correa, and the team may need to pivot to him at some point in the coming weeks. If Correa returns to the Twins, it would be in the team's best interest to have a deal in place before the end of December, so the front office can continue to improve the roster around him. Otherwise, the team may be left without few moves to make. Do the Twins need to set a Correa contract deadline? How long can they wait for him to make a decision? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  6. With the Winter Meetings starting this week, the hot stove might begin to heat up. Plenty of the biggest free agents and their representatives will be traveling the halls in San Diego. Scott Boras, who represents Carlos Correa, is usually one of the most active people at the annual event. Besides Correa, he represents other top free agents like Xander Bogaerts, Brandon Nimmo, and Carlos Rodon. Boras can see how the market plays out for his top clients, but the Twins might not have the time to wait on a Correa decision. Minnesota has payroll flexibility this winter, with around $50 million in payroll to spend. The Twins will likely get outbid for Correa's services, and the team will have to pivot to other options. However, the Twins might end up with no viable free-agent options if Correa's contract negotiations drag out over the next few months. Some top free agents like Jacob deGrom and Jose Abreu are already off the market, and other names may sign as more conversations occur at the Winter Meetings. Last winter, the market didn't play out in Correa's favor. He switched agents, and the lockout forced him to wait until spring training started to ink a deal. Correa can choose to be patient this winter to see what clubs miss on Aaron Judge before turning their attention to the other top names on the market. Correa likely wants a decision sooner rather than later, but he's expected to sign a contract covering the remainder of his career. It must be a good fit from the team and player's perspective. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have proven the ability to be patient and let the market play out in their favor. However, that strategy almost didn't play out in their favor last year as Correa fell into their laps as spring training began. In previous offseasons, they had made offers to some of the top free agent starters like Zack Wheeler before signing Josh Donaldson to a multi-year contract. Thankfully, the team was able to jettison the Donaldson contract, but this winter might be the time for the Twins to change their off-season strategy. Internally, the Twins should set a deadline to sign Correa so they have enough remaining time in the offseason to make moves that put themselves back in contention. The AL Central is one of baseball's worst divisions, and Minnesota has finished below .500 in two consecutive seasons. Things will be challenging for AL Central clubs, with MLB schedules becoming more balanced next season. According to the preliminary ZiPS projected standings, FanGraphs expects the Twins to finish 81-81, one game behind Cleveland for the division title. Obviously, a player of Correa's caliber can be worth enough WAR to push the Twins to another level. According to reports, the Twins have made multiple contract offers to Correa from six to ten years in length. It's certainly good that Minnesota's front office is engaging him in contract talks, but the team can only afford to see so many free agents sign with other clubs. Bogaerts seems like the player the Twins will turn to after Correa, and the team may need to pivot to him at some point in the coming weeks. If Correa returns to the Twins, it would be in the team's best interest to have a deal in place before the end of December, so the front office can continue to improve the roster around him. Otherwise, the team may be left without few moves to make. Do the Twins need to set a Correa contract deadline? How long can they wait for him to make a decision? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. From the moment he signed with the Minnesota Twins, Carlos Correa was going to opt-out of his contract. Now with that having officially happened, the front office must decide whether they can bring him back, or if there’s an alternative that’s more plausible. Enter Xander Bogaerts. Image courtesy of Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports Carlos Correa accomplished his goal of securing the most lucrative average annual value among infielders in major-league history. His $35.1 million last season topped Scott Boras client Anthony Rendon’s guarantee with the Angels. Although the deal was for technically three years, the opt-outs assured us that Correa was always going to hit the market again in hopes of securing a long-term payday. Minnesota certainly could opt to bring Correa back, and they should put a strong foot forward to do so. If he can be had for less than 10 years or under $300 million, it may be a possibility. If he can’t, and that does seem likely, then pivoting to another option makes sense. Despite strong shortstop prospects in the form of Royce Lewis, Brooks Lee, and Austin Martin, it would be preferable to see Minnesota avoid a stopgap shortstop option. A Jose Iglesias type could certainly hold down the position, but that would do little to reinvigorate an offense that needs to replace production. Dansby Swanson is coming off arguably the best year of his career, and Trea Turner is going to land somewhere in the same realm as Correa. That begs the question of whether Xander Bogaerts can be a middle ground, and if he represents enough of a replacement for Minnesota. At 30, Bogaerts is a bit older than Correa. His 117 career OPS+ doesn’t reflect just how good he’s been of late. He owns a 133 OPS+ since 2018 and has three All-Star game appearances along with three Silver Slugger awards. Bogaerts has been a pillar of health as well. He’s never played less than 136 games in a full season and is as reliable as it gets to be on the field. Correa is the superior defender, and that’s noteworthy for a Twins team lacking defense. Rocco Baldelli’s infield was not good a season ago, and removing arguably the best person with the glove doesn’t help change things. The Twins almost certainly won’t have a shortstop that can throw like Correa ever again, but replacing his offensive production could be equally key. Although Bogaerts has hit 30 homers in a season once during his career, you can more realistically bank on him to be in the 15-25 range. He’ll pile up doubles and brings a very good approach to the plate. Boston not being able to get a long-term deal done with him allows the open market to share their feelings, and the Twins should be having conversations with him as well. Like Correa, Bogaerts is represented by Boras Corp. The Twins front office should be seeing where they can place themselves in discussions regarding both players by feeling out the individual markets and expectations. If they determine an inability to play at the higher level, finding out how a match can be created with the Aruba native makes too much sense. I’d imagine the Twins would prefer continuity in the form of Correa. He’s been here, is a known asset, and is already a fan favorite. That said, spending less to get a superstar with similar talent has value too, and the package Bogaerts brings is hardly something to scoff at. What do you think? Is Bogaerts enough of an option to replace Correa on both sides of the ball? View full article
  8. Carlos Correa accomplished his goal of securing the most lucrative average annual value among infielders in major-league history. His $35.1 million last season topped Scott Boras client Anthony Rendon’s guarantee with the Angels. Although the deal was for technically three years, the opt-outs assured us that Correa was always going to hit the market again in hopes of securing a long-term payday. Minnesota certainly could opt to bring Correa back, and they should put a strong foot forward to do so. If he can be had for less than 10 years or under $300 million, it may be a possibility. If he can’t, and that does seem likely, then pivoting to another option makes sense. Despite strong shortstop prospects in the form of Royce Lewis, Brooks Lee, and Austin Martin, it would be preferable to see Minnesota avoid a stopgap shortstop option. A Jose Iglesias type could certainly hold down the position, but that would do little to reinvigorate an offense that needs to replace production. Dansby Swanson is coming off arguably the best year of his career, and Trea Turner is going to land somewhere in the same realm as Correa. That begs the question of whether Xander Bogaerts can be a middle ground, and if he represents enough of a replacement for Minnesota. At 30, Bogaerts is a bit older than Correa. His 117 career OPS+ doesn’t reflect just how good he’s been of late. He owns a 133 OPS+ since 2018 and has three All-Star game appearances along with three Silver Slugger awards. Bogaerts has been a pillar of health as well. He’s never played less than 136 games in a full season and is as reliable as it gets to be on the field. Correa is the superior defender, and that’s noteworthy for a Twins team lacking defense. Rocco Baldelli’s infield was not good a season ago, and removing arguably the best person with the glove doesn’t help change things. The Twins almost certainly won’t have a shortstop that can throw like Correa ever again, but replacing his offensive production could be equally key. Although Bogaerts has hit 30 homers in a season once during his career, you can more realistically bank on him to be in the 15-25 range. He’ll pile up doubles and brings a very good approach to the plate. Boston not being able to get a long-term deal done with him allows the open market to share their feelings, and the Twins should be having conversations with him as well. Like Correa, Bogaerts is represented by Boras Corp. The Twins front office should be seeing where they can place themselves in discussions regarding both players by feeling out the individual markets and expectations. If they determine an inability to play at the higher level, finding out how a match can be created with the Aruba native makes too much sense. I’d imagine the Twins would prefer continuity in the form of Correa. He’s been here, is a known asset, and is already a fan favorite. That said, spending less to get a superstar with similar talent has value too, and the package Bogaerts brings is hardly something to scoff at. What do you think? Is Bogaerts enough of an option to replace Correa on both sides of the ball?
  9. Carlos Correa is likely to require a long, historically expensive contract in free agency. He's a premier defensive shortstop, sure to stick there for years to come. Xander Bogaerts won't come at the same price tag and isn't likely to stick at short into his 30s, making him a terrific happy medium for the highly future-conscious Twins. Image courtesy of © James A. Pittman-USA TODAY Sports Corey Seager and Scott Boras secured a massive 10-year, $330 million contract with the Rangers just before the lockout started in 2021. Few were surprised, as Seager was just 27 years old and coming off two seasons where he hit .306/.381/.545 in 147 games for the Dodgers. Seager was expected to earn a boatload, and he did. Boras, after negotiating Carlos Correa’s unique three-year, two opt-outs deal with the Twins, is seeking another huge payday. Correa is surely looking for a very similar contract to what Seager inked with Texas. Correa is a better defender, more durable and through his age-27 season, much more valuable than Seager. Seager’s bat is the draw but even there, Correa stands toe-to-toe. Seager posted a 131 OPS+ through his age-27 season, while Correa sits at 129. Defensively, Seager has posted negative-8 Defense Runs Saved at short, while Correa has saved a positive-70. Add in Correa’s incredible postseason pedigree and he’s worth every penny (and probably more) of the $330 million Seager received. The largest contract the Twins have ever handed out was to their homegrown future Hall-of-Famer Joe Mauer. Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million extension is worth 56% of what Seager signed for. The Twins have never signed a free agent for even $100 million and their largest spree (Josh Donaldson ) resulted in a salary dump halfway through the deal. The Twins are likely to make Correa a considerable offer but it’s almost certain to fall well short of the final price. Is there a world where you see the Twins handing out a $300 million contract? Correa’s return feels futile. Enter a much more affordable and viable happy medium: Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts, 30, is the oldest of the four premier shortstops on the market. Because of his age and defensive questions, Bogaerts is unlikely to receive a contract on the level of Seager and Correa. The Twins may not be willing to splurge for $330 million, but would they do $100 million less? Among the four top shortstops on the market, Bogaerts has been the best hitter over the last five seasons. He leads Correa, Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson in on-base percentage (.373), slugging percentage (.508), home runs (105) and RBI (400). Adjusting for league and ballpark, Bogaerts’ 133 OPS+ is the best of the bunch. Bogaerts has posted an OPS at 28% or better than the league average for five straight years while appearing in 641 of 708 games (90%). Bogaerts hits for a high average, doesn’t really strike out and has hit 20 or more homers in three of the last five seasons. He's been the face of the Red Sox, already logging over 1,000 games in a Boston uniform. So why won’t he get as big of a payday as Correa? Well, Bogaerts is now into his 30s and isn’t hitting for as much power as he once did. Bogaerts’ slugging percentage has slowly declined since its high-mark in 2019 (.555), with 2022 marking his lowest slug and barrel rate since 2017. Bogaerts hit only 15 homers in 150 games while ranking in just the 35th percentile in average exit velocity. Defensively, Bogaerts has the lowest dWAR of the four since 2018 (1.6). While he saved a career high four runs in 2022, Bogaerts has been a shaky defensive shortstop in his career. Did he turn a corner in 2022? Or was it a true outlier on an otherwise shoddy track record with a weaker-than-average arm? Those questions shouldn’t concern the Twins as much as other clubs. Bogaerts is a perfect segue to Royce Lewis or Brooks Lee , the Twins’ hopeful shortstop(s) of the future. Bogaerts could man short for a year or two before moving to second or third base. Teams shouldn’t sign Bogaerts expecting him to play short for the next decade and in the Twins’ case, that’s OK. Even in a down power year, Bogaerts posted 5.7 b-Wins Above Replacement, tied for seventh most in the American League. Bogaerts hit .307/.377/.456 in arguably the best division in baseball. The 1-2 punch of Luis Arraez and Bogaerts would be a major headache for pitchers at the top of a lineup, with the thump of Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and José Miranda lurking. It’s difficult to pinpoint just how much Bogaerts will receive in free agency and whether his incumbent Red Sox will work hard to keep him. Boston just signed Trevor Story to a $140 million contract, presumably expecting him to play short upon Bogaerts’ departure. Boston was unable to lock Bogaerts up before the season and now it feels more real than ever that this long-standing relationship is coming to an end. The most interesting (and encouraging) aspect of this free agent class is the questionable involvement of the top markets. The Yankees clearly believe top prospect Anthony Volpe is close, while the Dodgers could just re-sign Turner. The Mets have Francisco Lindor on a $341 million deal and the Red Sox may move Story back to his position. The Cubs, Phillies, Braves, and Cardinals are among the likeliest suitors for the top four. A decent contract comp for Bogaerts could be Marcus Semien, who signed a 7-year, $175 million deal with the Texas Rangers last winter. The Twins have clean books and a desire to avoid long contracts, so could they woo Bogaerts with a five-year, $175 million deal ($35 million per year)? It feels more viable than Correa, at least. Bogaerts, like Correa, is represented by Boras. It should be fascinating to see how this winter plays out for both of them, with the Twins a viable suitor for each. What do you think? Is Bogaerts a happy medium for the Twins, in both price and position projection? Comment below! View full article
  10. Corey Seager and Scott Boras secured a massive 10-year, $330 million contract with the Rangers just before the lockout started in 2021. Few were surprised, as Seager was just 27 years old and coming off two seasons where he hit .306/.381/.545 in 147 games for the Dodgers. Seager was expected to earn a boatload, and he did. Boras, after negotiating Carlos Correa’s unique three-year, two opt-outs deal with the Twins, is seeking another huge payday. Correa is surely looking for a very similar contract to what Seager inked with Texas. Correa is a better defender, more durable and through his age-27 season, much more valuable than Seager. Seager’s bat is the draw but even there, Correa stands toe-to-toe. Seager posted a 131 OPS+ through his age-27 season, while Correa sits at 129. Defensively, Seager has posted negative-8 Defense Runs Saved at short, while Correa has saved a positive-70. Add in Correa’s incredible postseason pedigree and he’s worth every penny (and probably more) of the $330 million Seager received. The largest contract the Twins have ever handed out was to their homegrown future Hall-of-Famer Joe Mauer. Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million extension is worth 56% of what Seager signed for. The Twins have never signed a free agent for even $100 million and their largest spree (Josh Donaldson ) resulted in a salary dump halfway through the deal. The Twins are likely to make Correa a considerable offer but it’s almost certain to fall well short of the final price. Is there a world where you see the Twins handing out a $300 million contract? Correa’s return feels futile. Enter a much more affordable and viable happy medium: Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts, 30, is the oldest of the four premier shortstops on the market. Because of his age and defensive questions, Bogaerts is unlikely to receive a contract on the level of Seager and Correa. The Twins may not be willing to splurge for $330 million, but would they do $100 million less? Among the four top shortstops on the market, Bogaerts has been the best hitter over the last five seasons. He leads Correa, Trea Turner and Dansby Swanson in on-base percentage (.373), slugging percentage (.508), home runs (105) and RBI (400). Adjusting for league and ballpark, Bogaerts’ 133 OPS+ is the best of the bunch. Bogaerts has posted an OPS at 28% or better than the league average for five straight years while appearing in 641 of 708 games (90%). Bogaerts hits for a high average, doesn’t really strike out and has hit 20 or more homers in three of the last five seasons. He's been the face of the Red Sox, already logging over 1,000 games in a Boston uniform. So why won’t he get as big of a payday as Correa? Well, Bogaerts is now into his 30s and isn’t hitting for as much power as he once did. Bogaerts’ slugging percentage has slowly declined since its high-mark in 2019 (.555), with 2022 marking his lowest slug and barrel rate since 2017. Bogaerts hit only 15 homers in 150 games while ranking in just the 35th percentile in average exit velocity. Defensively, Bogaerts has the lowest dWAR of the four since 2018 (1.6). While he saved a career high four runs in 2022, Bogaerts has been a shaky defensive shortstop in his career. Did he turn a corner in 2022? Or was it a true outlier on an otherwise shoddy track record with a weaker-than-average arm? Those questions shouldn’t concern the Twins as much as other clubs. Bogaerts is a perfect segue to Royce Lewis or Brooks Lee , the Twins’ hopeful shortstop(s) of the future. Bogaerts could man short for a year or two before moving to second or third base. Teams shouldn’t sign Bogaerts expecting him to play short for the next decade and in the Twins’ case, that’s OK. Even in a down power year, Bogaerts posted 5.7 b-Wins Above Replacement, tied for seventh most in the American League. Bogaerts hit .307/.377/.456 in arguably the best division in baseball. The 1-2 punch of Luis Arraez and Bogaerts would be a major headache for pitchers at the top of a lineup, with the thump of Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and José Miranda lurking. It’s difficult to pinpoint just how much Bogaerts will receive in free agency and whether his incumbent Red Sox will work hard to keep him. Boston just signed Trevor Story to a $140 million contract, presumably expecting him to play short upon Bogaerts’ departure. Boston was unable to lock Bogaerts up before the season and now it feels more real than ever that this long-standing relationship is coming to an end. The most interesting (and encouraging) aspect of this free agent class is the questionable involvement of the top markets. The Yankees clearly believe top prospect Anthony Volpe is close, while the Dodgers could just re-sign Turner. The Mets have Francisco Lindor on a $341 million deal and the Red Sox may move Story back to his position. The Cubs, Phillies, Braves, and Cardinals are among the likeliest suitors for the top four. A decent contract comp for Bogaerts could be Marcus Semien, who signed a 7-year, $175 million deal with the Texas Rangers last winter. The Twins have clean books and a desire to avoid long contracts, so could they woo Bogaerts with a five-year, $175 million deal ($35 million per year)? It feels more viable than Correa, at least. Bogaerts, like Correa, is represented by Boras. It should be fascinating to see how this winter plays out for both of them, with the Twins a viable suitor for each. What do you think? Is Bogaerts a happy medium for the Twins, in both price and position projection? Comment below!
  11. The Twins expect Carlos Correa to opt out of his contract, which leaves the team searching for a replacement. Here are the top available shortstops expected to be on the free-agent market. Image courtesy of Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Minnesota is in an interesting situation looking at the 2023 roster. How should the team approach the shortstop position? The Twins expect Royce Lewis to return in the middle of next season, and there’s hope he can be the team’s long-term answer at shortstop. Lewis’ presence leaves the Twins with two options. The team can sign one of the top available shortstops or look for a stop-gap player until Lewis is ready. 5. Elvis Andrus, SS Age: 34 2022 Stats: .249/.303/.404 (.707), 103 OPS+, 32 2B, 17 HR, 18 SB, 3.0 WAR Andrus has a $15 million option that he can exercise since he had more than 550 plate appearances this season, so there is no guarantee that he will hit the open market. He seems like a solid stop-gap option for the Twins if he is available. His OPS improved by 100 points after leaving Oakland last season, and he finished with an above-average OPS+. He may have lost a step defensively, but that’s expected as someone heads into their mid-30s. SABR’s Defensive Index had Andrus ranked as the ninth-best shortstop in the American League. Andrus and his representatives need to gauge the market to decide if he can get more than $15 million in guaranteed money. 4. Dansby Swanson, SS Age: 29 2022 Stats: .277/.329/.447 (.776), 115 OPS+, 32 2B, 25 HR, 18 SB, 5.7 WAR Swanson is hitting the free-agent market at the perfect time. He was a first-time All-Star in 2022 and has a World Series title on his resume. Some of the other players on this list will get more significant deals, but Swanson will be able to cash in on a tremendous 2022 season. Even with his breakout season, Swanson has a career OPS+ (95) that is below average. He makes up for his offensive flaws with tremendous defense, with only two NL shortstops ranking higher than him in SDI. Teams need to decide if the 2022 version of Swanson is real before handing him a blank check. 3. Xander Bogaerts, SS Age: 30 2022 Stats: .307/.377/.456 (.833), 131 OPS+, 38 2B, 15 HR, 8 SB, 5.7 WAR Bogaerts has the resume every team wants from a free agent. He plays a premium position, is a four-time All-Star, has two World Series titles, and has four Silver Sluggers. He does have three years remaining on his current contract, but many expect him to opt-out. The one knock against Bogaerts is that he is older than the other top players on this list. Only two AL shortstops ranked higher than him, according to SDI. He will get paid like a top-tier player by one of the teams in the free-agent shortstop market. 2. Carlos Correa, SS Age: 28 2022 Stats: .291/.366/.467 (.834), 140 OPS+, 24 2B, 22 HR, 0 SB, 5.4 WAR Correa made his opt-out decision clear as the season ended. He is heading back to the free agent market for the second straight offseason in an attempt to sign a long-term deal. Last winter, Corey Seager received the largest free agent shortstop contract at ten years and $325 million. Correa is likely searching for a similar amount. Twins fans may feel underwhelmed by Correa’s performance this season with the Twins, but his season totals were similar to other years in his career. He was a tremendous hitter with plus defense. However, he failed to produce in some clutch situations and his best offensive months were near the season’s end when the team fell out of the race. Minnesota has payroll flexibility to sign Correa, but it would be out of character for the front office to make that type of commitment. 1. Trea Turner, SS Age: 29 2022 Stats: .298/.343/.466 (.809), 121 OPS+, 39 2B, 21 HR, 27 SB, 4.9 WAR Outside of Aaron Judge, Turner is likely to get the biggest free-agent contract. He is a true five-tool talent with skills on both sides of the ball and elite speed. He’s stolen 30 or more bases in five seasons, even in an era when teams are less inclined to run. Plenty of front offices will be willing to throw piles of money at Turner to a top-of-the-order hitter that takes their team to the next level. He’s won a batting title, he’s won a World Series, and he’s a multi-time All-Star. Minnesota isn’t going to sign Turner, but his contract will likely point to how much it will cost to sign Correa long-term. Do you see any of these shortstops as fits for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  12. Minnesota is in an interesting situation looking at the 2023 roster. How should the team approach the shortstop position? The Twins expect Royce Lewis to return in the middle of next season, and there’s hope he can be the team’s long-term answer at shortstop. Lewis’ presence leaves the Twins with two options. The team can sign one of the top available shortstops or look for a stop-gap player until Lewis is ready. 5. Elvis Andrus, SS Age: 34 2022 Stats: .249/.303/.404 (.707), 103 OPS+, 32 2B, 17 HR, 18 SB, 3.0 WAR Andrus has a $15 million option that he can exercise since he had more than 550 plate appearances this season, so there is no guarantee that he will hit the open market. He seems like a solid stop-gap option for the Twins if he is available. His OPS improved by 100 points after leaving Oakland last season, and he finished with an above-average OPS+. He may have lost a step defensively, but that’s expected as someone heads into their mid-30s. SABR’s Defensive Index had Andrus ranked as the ninth-best shortstop in the American League. Andrus and his representatives need to gauge the market to decide if he can get more than $15 million in guaranteed money. 4. Dansby Swanson, SS Age: 29 2022 Stats: .277/.329/.447 (.776), 115 OPS+, 32 2B, 25 HR, 18 SB, 5.7 WAR Swanson is hitting the free-agent market at the perfect time. He was a first-time All-Star in 2022 and has a World Series title on his resume. Some of the other players on this list will get more significant deals, but Swanson will be able to cash in on a tremendous 2022 season. Even with his breakout season, Swanson has a career OPS+ (95) that is below average. He makes up for his offensive flaws with tremendous defense, with only two NL shortstops ranking higher than him in SDI. Teams need to decide if the 2022 version of Swanson is real before handing him a blank check. 3. Xander Bogaerts, SS Age: 30 2022 Stats: .307/.377/.456 (.833), 131 OPS+, 38 2B, 15 HR, 8 SB, 5.7 WAR Bogaerts has the resume every team wants from a free agent. He plays a premium position, is a four-time All-Star, has two World Series titles, and has four Silver Sluggers. He does have three years remaining on his current contract, but many expect him to opt-out. The one knock against Bogaerts is that he is older than the other top players on this list. Only two AL shortstops ranked higher than him, according to SDI. He will get paid like a top-tier player by one of the teams in the free-agent shortstop market. 2. Carlos Correa, SS Age: 28 2022 Stats: .291/.366/.467 (.834), 140 OPS+, 24 2B, 22 HR, 0 SB, 5.4 WAR Correa made his opt-out decision clear as the season ended. He is heading back to the free agent market for the second straight offseason in an attempt to sign a long-term deal. Last winter, Corey Seager received the largest free agent shortstop contract at ten years and $325 million. Correa is likely searching for a similar amount. Twins fans may feel underwhelmed by Correa’s performance this season with the Twins, but his season totals were similar to other years in his career. He was a tremendous hitter with plus defense. However, he failed to produce in some clutch situations and his best offensive months were near the season’s end when the team fell out of the race. Minnesota has payroll flexibility to sign Correa, but it would be out of character for the front office to make that type of commitment. 1. Trea Turner, SS Age: 29 2022 Stats: .298/.343/.466 (.809), 121 OPS+, 39 2B, 21 HR, 27 SB, 4.9 WAR Outside of Aaron Judge, Turner is likely to get the biggest free-agent contract. He is a true five-tool talent with skills on both sides of the ball and elite speed. He’s stolen 30 or more bases in five seasons, even in an era when teams are less inclined to run. Plenty of front offices will be willing to throw piles of money at Turner to a top-of-the-order hitter that takes their team to the next level. He’s won a batting title, he’s won a World Series, and he’s a multi-time All-Star. Minnesota isn’t going to sign Turner, but his contract will likely point to how much it will cost to sign Correa long-term. Do you see any of these shortstops as fits for the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  13. Carlos Correa was always expected to opt out of his contract with the Twins. Now, the focus turns to if the Twins can re-sign their superstar shortstop. Here are six teams that Minnesota might need to outbid for Correa’s services. Image courtesy of Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports Last week, Carlos Correa made it clear that he plans to opt-out of his contract with the Twins. This wasn’t a surprise as he and his representation feel that he is deserving of a long-term deal similar to other top-tier shortstops. Last winter, Corey Seager signed a 10-year, $325 million contract as one of the best shortstops on the market. Seager and Correa are similar ages, so it makes sense for Correa to want a similar contract. Not every team will be looking for a shortstop this winter, but some of baseball’s biggest spenders have a shortstop need. Here are six teams that can potentially be in a bidding war for Correa. Atlanta Braves The Braves surprised many by getting hot last October and going on a World Series run. One of the key cogs in their line-up has been Dansby Swanson, who is heading to free agency this winter. Swanson is having a career year as he has a 116 OPS+ and was a first-time All-Star. Correa is seven months younger than Swanson and has a better track record at the big-league level. If the Braves fail to repeat, will they want to make a change at shortstop? Chicago White Sox Not much went right for the White Sox this season, and now the team will have a new manager for the 2023 campaign. Experts widely projected Chicago to win the AL Central, but injuries and poor play impacted the team throughout the year. Tim Anderson has been one of the team’s regulars in recent seasons, so the team would need to move him to another position to sign Correa. Will the White Sox want to make a big splash for their new manager? Boston Red Sox Boston will be looking to fill a hole at shortstop as Xander Bogaerts will be a free agent this winter. The four-time All-Star is two years older than Swanson and Correa, so his cost will be significantly less. They added Trevor Story on a six-year contract in the spring, so they could just move him back to the position. The Red Sox expected to contend this season, but they finished in last place in a very competitive AL East. Is it time for a rebuild in Boston, or will the front office try to prop open the club’s winning window? Philadelphia Phillies The Phillies backed into the playoffs as the NL’s third Wild Card team without playing very well down the stretch. Bryson Stott has played most of the team’s games at shortstop and has an 80 OPS+ for the season. Considering what Bryce Harper and Correa could do in the middle of Philadelphia’s line-up must be intriguing. Will the Phillies be willing to hand out another monster contract? Los Angeles Dodgers Dodgers fans might implode if Correa signs with the club after the Astros used an elaborate cheating scandal in previous playoff appearances. That being said, LA needs a shortstop for next season as Trea Turner will join Correa on the free agent market. The Dodgers seem more likely to re-sign Turner, especially with how high the club’s payroll has been in recent years. Can the Dodgers look past the cheating scandal from Correa and the Astros? New York Yankees The Yankees dominated the AL for a large portion of the 2022 season, but struggles in the second half might point to some flaws with the team. Isiah Kiner Falefa was the team’s primary shortstop and posted an 85 OPS+ for the season. The Yankees top two prospects are shortstops as well. New York also has to worry about resigning Aaron Judge this winter. If the Yankees fall short of their World Series goal, will the club be willing to hand out two giant contracts to free agents? Will the Twins be able to outbid any of these teams for Correa? Where do you think he signs? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  14. Last week, Carlos Correa made it clear that he plans to opt-out of his contract with the Twins. This wasn’t a surprise as he and his representation feel that he is deserving of a long-term deal similar to other top-tier shortstops. Last winter, Corey Seager signed a 10-year, $325 million contract as one of the best shortstops on the market. Seager and Correa are similar ages, so it makes sense for Correa to want a similar contract. Not every team will be looking for a shortstop this winter, but some of baseball’s biggest spenders have a shortstop need. Here are six teams that can potentially be in a bidding war for Correa. Atlanta Braves The Braves surprised many by getting hot last October and going on a World Series run. One of the key cogs in their line-up has been Dansby Swanson, who is heading to free agency this winter. Swanson is having a career year as he has a 116 OPS+ and was a first-time All-Star. Correa is seven months younger than Swanson and has a better track record at the big-league level. If the Braves fail to repeat, will they want to make a change at shortstop? Chicago White Sox Not much went right for the White Sox this season, and now the team will have a new manager for the 2023 campaign. Experts widely projected Chicago to win the AL Central, but injuries and poor play impacted the team throughout the year. Tim Anderson has been one of the team’s regulars in recent seasons, so the team would need to move him to another position to sign Correa. Will the White Sox want to make a big splash for their new manager? Boston Red Sox Boston will be looking to fill a hole at shortstop as Xander Bogaerts will be a free agent this winter. The four-time All-Star is two years older than Swanson and Correa, so his cost will be significantly less. They added Trevor Story on a six-year contract in the spring, so they could just move him back to the position. The Red Sox expected to contend this season, but they finished in last place in a very competitive AL East. Is it time for a rebuild in Boston, or will the front office try to prop open the club’s winning window? Philadelphia Phillies The Phillies backed into the playoffs as the NL’s third Wild Card team without playing very well down the stretch. Bryson Stott has played most of the team’s games at shortstop and has an 80 OPS+ for the season. Considering what Bryce Harper and Correa could do in the middle of Philadelphia’s line-up must be intriguing. Will the Phillies be willing to hand out another monster contract? Los Angeles Dodgers Dodgers fans might implode if Correa signs with the club after the Astros used an elaborate cheating scandal in previous playoff appearances. That being said, LA needs a shortstop for next season as Trea Turner will join Correa on the free agent market. The Dodgers seem more likely to re-sign Turner, especially with how high the club’s payroll has been in recent years. Can the Dodgers look past the cheating scandal from Correa and the Astros? New York Yankees The Yankees dominated the AL for a large portion of the 2022 season, but struggles in the second half might point to some flaws with the team. Isiah Kiner Falefa was the team’s primary shortstop and posted an 85 OPS+ for the season. The Yankees top two prospects are shortstops as well. New York also has to worry about resigning Aaron Judge this winter. If the Yankees fall short of their World Series goal, will the club be willing to hand out two giant contracts to free agents? Will the Twins be able to outbid any of these teams for Correa? Where do you think he signs? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  15. The Minnesota Twins are all but expecting Carlos Correa to opt out, and that should be seen as a near certainty, but is the big payday really there? With another loaded free agent class, the answer isn’t as certain. An immediate note on Carlos Correa opting out should be that it does not mean his time with the Minnesota Twins is done. He’s going to opt out because it makes sense for him to do so from a longevity standpoint. Soon-to-be 28-years-old, Correa would be better off landing a long-term deal as opposed to playing next season at $35.1 million. If he kept this current contract, he’d hit the market again at 30-years-old, making the long-term expectation that much more contentious. This offseason Correa had Scott Boras angle for $35.1 million. That extra $100,000 landed Correa the highest paying deal for a Major League infielder by average annual value. It came in ahead of another Boras client in Anthony Rendon. To a certain extent, Correa has already earned a record deal. Now, what does he want to do from here? Looking at things as they stand currently, Correa would be no better than the 4th best option in terms of 2022 fWAR among 2023 free agents. Dansby Swanson (5.2) leads the position, with Trea Turner (4.7) just behind him and Xander Bogaerts (4.2) coming in third. Correa’s 2.2 fWAR checks in 13th among qualified shortstops. Age wise, Turner is a bit older at 29 while Swanson is less than a year separated from Minnesota’s shortstop. Bogaerts paces the group at nearly 30-years-old, which could provide an interesting case study for Correa should he surprisingly choose to play out the string on his deal now. Making just $20 million through 2024, Bogaerts is all but certain to opt out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox, and it seems there’s been little dialogue regarding an extension. I think you can make the case that Turner is a superior player to Correa, while Swanson’s emergence has been more recent. Bogaerts is probably ahead of the Puerto Rican as well, but again, has a bit of age constraints going against him. Then there’s the understanding that the market would need to shift substantially. Last year Correa was looking for that big $300 million deal. He never found it, and instead signed with the Twins. Sure, the Los Angeles Dodgers could be in play needing to replace Turner, but that’d be pretty awkward given the reality that he’s the fanbase's favorite player to boo. It’s tough to see the New York Yankees getting in after opting for Isiah Kiner-Falefa instead, and having Anthony Volpe as their top prospect near ready to go. With that, you’ve immediately taken out two of the top spenders. Oh, and Steve Cohen already has Francisco Lindor with the New York Mets. So, where does that leave Correa? If last winter was a cold shoulder, maybe this one is even moreso. There’s no denying he’s an elite talent, and he’s going to get paid, but maybe not to the extent he hopes. A five or six year deal may happen, but it will come at a substantially lesser average annual value. A six-year deal at $200 million isn’t much of a drop, still $33.3 million. I don’t know that $150 million gets it done, but over five years that’s still $30 million per season. The decision probably lands on what level of future security is desired, and how much the average annual value matters. Anything close to either of those scenarios would be a record spend for Minnesota, but given the current financial obligations, it’s a pool they could certainly play in. Not having to fight against the biggest markets, Correa opting-out could ultimately result in him choosing to return to a place he’s stated feeling comfortable. Noted as a homebody, maybe weight is placed on not moving again, and this is certainly a fanbase that would embrace him for the long term. Having a left side of the infield that includes Royce Lewis and Correa for something like the next handful of years would be quite the stabilizing force for a team looking to take another step forward. View full article
  16. An immediate note on Carlos Correa opting out should be that it does not mean his time with the Minnesota Twins is done. He’s going to opt out because it makes sense for him to do so from a longevity standpoint. Soon-to-be 28-years-old, Correa would be better off landing a long-term deal as opposed to playing next season at $35.1 million. If he kept this current contract, he’d hit the market again at 30-years-old, making the long-term expectation that much more contentious. This offseason Correa had Scott Boras angle for $35.1 million. That extra $100,000 landed Correa the highest paying deal for a Major League infielder by average annual value. It came in ahead of another Boras client in Anthony Rendon. To a certain extent, Correa has already earned a record deal. Now, what does he want to do from here? Looking at things as they stand currently, Correa would be no better than the 4th best option in terms of 2022 fWAR among 2023 free agents. Dansby Swanson (5.2) leads the position, with Trea Turner (4.7) just behind him and Xander Bogaerts (4.2) coming in third. Correa’s 2.2 fWAR checks in 13th among qualified shortstops. Age wise, Turner is a bit older at 29 while Swanson is less than a year separated from Minnesota’s shortstop. Bogaerts paces the group at nearly 30-years-old, which could provide an interesting case study for Correa should he surprisingly choose to play out the string on his deal now. Making just $20 million through 2024, Bogaerts is all but certain to opt out of his contract with the Boston Red Sox, and it seems there’s been little dialogue regarding an extension. I think you can make the case that Turner is a superior player to Correa, while Swanson’s emergence has been more recent. Bogaerts is probably ahead of the Puerto Rican as well, but again, has a bit of age constraints going against him. Then there’s the understanding that the market would need to shift substantially. Last year Correa was looking for that big $300 million deal. He never found it, and instead signed with the Twins. Sure, the Los Angeles Dodgers could be in play needing to replace Turner, but that’d be pretty awkward given the reality that he’s the fanbase's favorite player to boo. It’s tough to see the New York Yankees getting in after opting for Isiah Kiner-Falefa instead, and having Anthony Volpe as their top prospect near ready to go. With that, you’ve immediately taken out two of the top spenders. Oh, and Steve Cohen already has Francisco Lindor with the New York Mets. So, where does that leave Correa? If last winter was a cold shoulder, maybe this one is even moreso. There’s no denying he’s an elite talent, and he’s going to get paid, but maybe not to the extent he hopes. A five or six year deal may happen, but it will come at a substantially lesser average annual value. A six-year deal at $200 million isn’t much of a drop, still $33.3 million. I don’t know that $150 million gets it done, but over five years that’s still $30 million per season. The decision probably lands on what level of future security is desired, and how much the average annual value matters. Anything close to either of those scenarios would be a record spend for Minnesota, but given the current financial obligations, it’s a pool they could certainly play in. Not having to fight against the biggest markets, Correa opting-out could ultimately result in him choosing to return to a place he’s stated feeling comfortable. Noted as a homebody, maybe weight is placed on not moving again, and this is certainly a fanbase that would embrace him for the long term. Having a left side of the infield that includes Royce Lewis and Correa for something like the next handful of years would be quite the stabilizing force for a team looking to take another step forward.
  17. Minnesota's remaining schedule doesn't get easier after facing Kansas City and Texas over the last week. Here are the Twins' toughest remaining opponents on the schedule. The Twins will have to start playing better if the team wants a chance to make the postseason. The Twins have struggled to gain second-half momentum even after the club's trade deadline acquisitions. Can Minnesota start making a move with these opponents facing them in the weeks ahead? 5. Boston Red Sox Dates: August 29-31 (in Minnesota) Boston has scuffled this season after reaching the ALCS last season. The AL East has some surprise contending teams, which pushed Boston to the bottom of the division. Even with an under .500 record, the Red Sox were expected to be a better team than their record indicates. Boston has three players with a WAR above 3.0 this season, including Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Michael Wacha. So far this season, the Twins have gone 2-2 against the Red Sox, so this three-game set will decide who wins the season series. 4. Chicago White Sox Dates: September 2-4 (in Chicago), September 27-29 (in Minnesota), October 3-5 (in Chicago) Minnesota's playoff future will likely be decided by the team's games against Chicago. MLB's delayed start to the season means the Twins face the White Sox nine times in the final month, including six of the team's final nine games. Chicago was a mess in the season's first half, but they have slowly gained momentum to move above .500. The White Sox have outscored the Twins by four runs this season but have lost six out of ten games. 3. Cleveland Guardians Dates: September 9-11 (in Minnesota), September 16-19 (in Cleveland) Cleveland has been Minnesota's closest competitor at the top of the division for most of the season. If the Twins want to win the AL Central, the team will have to track down the Guardians over the next few weeks. Winning division games is one of the easiest ways to make up ground in the standings. The Twins have outscored the Guardians by 16 runs this season but have lost 6-of-11 games. 2. New York Yankees Dates: September 5-8 (in New York) The Yankees have been on a freefall in the second half as the team has a 5-14 record in August. New York had built such a significant division lead that they still sit atop the AL East by eight games. Clearly, the Yankees will want to play better heading into October, and a four-game home series with the Twins might be the cure to what ails them. Yankee Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Twins through multiple regimes and player changes. Minnesota won one of three games against New York at Target Field earlier this season. 1. Houston Astros Dates: August 23-25 (in Houston) Houston has been one of baseball's top squads during the 2022 season as the team is on pace to be the American League's top seed. The Astros came to Minnesota earlier this season and demolished the Twins in a three-game sweep where Houston outscored Minnesota 21-3. Now the Twins will head to Houston as a slumping team with Tyler Mahle on the injured list. It may be challenging for Minnesota to avoid a series sweep, especially with Houston's probable pitchers (Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Luis Garcia). Which opponent is going to be the biggest challenge? Which series is the most critical? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  18. The Twins will have to start playing better if the team wants a chance to make the postseason. The Twins have struggled to gain second-half momentum even after the club's trade deadline acquisitions. Can Minnesota start making a move with these opponents facing them in the weeks ahead? 5. Boston Red Sox Dates: August 29-31 (in Minnesota) Boston has scuffled this season after reaching the ALCS last season. The AL East has some surprise contending teams, which pushed Boston to the bottom of the division. Even with an under .500 record, the Red Sox were expected to be a better team than their record indicates. Boston has three players with a WAR above 3.0 this season, including Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, and Michael Wacha. So far this season, the Twins have gone 2-2 against the Red Sox, so this three-game set will decide who wins the season series. 4. Chicago White Sox Dates: September 2-4 (in Chicago), September 27-29 (in Minnesota), October 3-5 (in Chicago) Minnesota's playoff future will likely be decided by the team's games against Chicago. MLB's delayed start to the season means the Twins face the White Sox nine times in the final month, including six of the team's final nine games. Chicago was a mess in the season's first half, but they have slowly gained momentum to move above .500. The White Sox have outscored the Twins by four runs this season but have lost six out of ten games. 3. Cleveland Guardians Dates: September 9-11 (in Minnesota), September 16-19 (in Cleveland) Cleveland has been Minnesota's closest competitor at the top of the division for most of the season. If the Twins want to win the AL Central, the team will have to track down the Guardians over the next few weeks. Winning division games is one of the easiest ways to make up ground in the standings. The Twins have outscored the Guardians by 16 runs this season but have lost 6-of-11 games. 2. New York Yankees Dates: September 5-8 (in New York) The Yankees have been on a freefall in the second half as the team has a 5-14 record in August. New York had built such a significant division lead that they still sit atop the AL East by eight games. Clearly, the Yankees will want to play better heading into October, and a four-game home series with the Twins might be the cure to what ails them. Yankee Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Twins through multiple regimes and player changes. Minnesota won one of three games against New York at Target Field earlier this season. 1. Houston Astros Dates: August 23-25 (in Houston) Houston has been one of baseball's top squads during the 2022 season as the team is on pace to be the American League's top seed. The Astros came to Minnesota earlier this season and demolished the Twins in a three-game sweep where Houston outscored Minnesota 21-3. Now the Twins will head to Houston as a slumping team with Tyler Mahle on the injured list. It may be challenging for Minnesota to avoid a series sweep, especially with Houston's probable pitchers (Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Luis Garcia). Which opponent is going to be the biggest challenge? Which series is the most critical? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  19. Brief Overview: The Red Sox are nearing the point of the season in which a Hail Mary becomes the necessary tactic. They are well out of the AL East race and trail the second wild card spot by five games. After winning a World Series in 2018, Boston gambled on a bad bullpen and some questionable-at-best additions. Mookie Betts hasn’t been Mike Trout-esque and while still a formidable foe, this isn’t the same juggernaut the big leagues saw last season. What They Do Well: A team with as much talent as Alex Cora’s club has is likely going to hit. As you can imagine, the numbers agree with that notion as well. The Red Sox own the fourth best offensive fWAR in baseball (one spot behind the Twins), and are tied with the New York Yankees. A .317 BABIP is third in the sport and Boston is one of just four teams with a slugging percentage north of .480. Although the Red Sox are not a home run juggernaut (with just 216 to their credit thus far) this team picks up bases in bunches. With 308 doubles, they lead the majors by over twenty two-baggers. The 752 RBI is third in the big leagues and is indicative of a team that can assure those runners cross the plate. Boston is also ninth in fielding fWAR this season, keeping them just inside the top third of the sport. Being able to score runs, while avoiding additional opportunities for the competition, is a pretty good recipe for success. What They Do Not Do Well: Good teams rarely have glaring issues and the deficiencies are typically evident in more of a mediocre form. Case in point would be Alex Cora’s pitching staff. It’s not that the group is a dumpster fire, but they also are clearly not up to par. Despite the Red Sox pen owning the fourth best fWAR in baseball this year, there have been some shaky moments. The rotation has been the bigger issue, and dealing with injuries has not helped things either. Once again David Price has been shelved this season, Nathan Eovaldi has been both bad and hurt, and now Chris Sale has called his 2019 season quits. That’s a lot of firepower to try to make up, all while Rick Porcello has plodded his way to a career worst 5.42 ERA. Individuals Of Note: As is generally the case, Boston remains a who’s who of studs in the big names department. Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are still having nice years and Eduardo Rodriguez has broken out some to become the second best starter behind the injured Sale. It’s in the emergence of youth that the Red Sox have seen the two best 2019 stories come from however. Both Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers should be expected to garner MVP votes this season. Bogaerts is sitting at 6.4 fWAR with career highs across the board. The shortstop has blasted 31 dingers and has made up for abysmal fielding with a bat that won’t quit. Devers was a highly-touted prospect who came on slowly but certainly looks the part at this stage. He’s batting .321 with 28 longballs and an fWAR of 5.4 (1.8 total in two previous seasons). These two batters make the middle of the Boston lineup one of the toughest in the sport. Recent History: These two clubs met in Minnesota during mid-June with the Red Sox taking two of three. The Twins last won a series in Boston during 2016, but they haven’t taken a season series since 2015. Rocco Baldelli’s club would need a sweep to accomplish that feat in 2019. Recent Trajectories: Minnesota has won three straight series and is currently riding a 6-1 road trip. Boston is returning home from a West Coast swing that they won three series and went 6-2 on. Pitching Matchups: Tuesday: Dobnak vs Porcello Wednesday: Berrios vs Rodriguez Thursday: Perez vs Eovaldi Ending Thoughts: Although the Red Sox have generally been at the top of the AL East class, this team provides Minnesota with plenty of opportunity. There isn’t a game in this set that the Bomba Squad shouldn’t be licking their chops over the opposing pitcher, and there’s little denying the Twins are the better team. Going to Fenway and winning is never easy, so I’d call it a big boost if Minnesota can take two, and all circumstances appear to line up in their favor. Arguably the most intriguing game here is Wednesday’s tilt. Rodriguez is currently Boston’s ace, and Berrios starts on an extra day of rest. Does his velocity return and how sharp does he look. I think one win is guaranteed before returning home, but flying high right now, give me Minnesota getting the series victory as well.
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