Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Twins Incoming Splash

After the season the Minnesota Twins just had, it's hard not to get excited about what's to come in 2016. For an organization that has lost 90 games each of the past four seasons, a winning year and Wild Card run was much needed. Now, the way in which Terry Ryan attacks the offseason will help to lay the blueprint for what's ahead.

Today, MLB Trade Rumors rolled out their offseason outlook for the Twins (go read it, it's very good). After author Steve Adams appeared way off base on the Twins going into the season, he couldn't have repeatedly hit the proverbial nail on the head more often than he did in his outlook. The Twins find themselves at an interesting crossroads. Somewhere in the middle of hoarding prospects and making monumental moves, the organization has some big decisions to make.

On the pitching side of things, the Twins have much more quantity than they have quality. That isn't to say the rotation isn't in a better place than it has been in years, but there is a solid group of three and four starter types. Lacking a clear ace, an upgrade would only make sense if it's of the top tier variety.

In the bullpen, that isn't the case at all. With relief pitching being a problem area throughout 2015, the Twins absolutely have to add some quality arms. Another year of Kevin Jepsen will help, and graduating some of the Nick Burdi, Zack Jones, and Jake Reed group will also, but Minnesota will need more. Bringing in at least one more reliever is going to be a must.

On the offensive side of things, the Twins have more logjams than anything. Trevor Plouffe hamstrung by a top prospect and a deteriorating first basemen. Oswaldo Arcia is out of options, and Torii Hunter may end up undeservedly stealing a roster spot. There's little arguing against that the Twins have more bodies than they have positions to fill.

That brings us to the crux of the offseason, the splash the Twins should be looking at making. After competing ahead of schedule, and before getting contributions from some top notch prospects, Minnesota is probably closer than many would have imagined. Banking in on that and running with the success would be a well placed plan for Molitor's squad.

A splash should come in the form of a very active offseason. Whether by way of trade or free agency acquisitions, the Twins need to push for quality, while taking hits in the quantity department. MLB Trade Rumors looked at Jose Reyes as a trade target at short (I don't love that), Jordan Zimmerman in the rotation (that would be a fit), and maybe a Matt Wieters, Austin Hedges, Mike Zunino, or A.J. Pierzynski addition behind the plate (I could get behind that). All of those moves would get the ball rolling for heightened expectations in the year ahead.

There's no denying the Twins have one of the best farm systems in baseball. With that, they have a handful of prospects that may be best served in getting the big league club where it needs to be. Nick Gordon, Jorge Polanco, Kohl Stewart, and maybe even a Stephen Gonsalves type are all players that could be best utilized by Minnesota in upgrading their current roster. While the talent for those players would be missed, waiting on them to contribute at the highest level may not be the best strategy.

As I noted prior to the end of the season, Terry Ryan has proved adept in the trade market over the past two seasons, and that bodes will for this winter. There's no denying that the Twins can't afford to stand pat though, and making bold moves should be something that the organization explores.

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