Despite being less than a month from Spring Training (or at
least as it’s presently scheduled) there’s still something like 75% of eligible
free agents unsigned across baseball. Huge names like Bauer and Springer are
homeless, and the Minnesota Twins specifically have four empty spots on their 40-man
roster. Moves are coming, but who and when?
I’ve thrown out a handful of names in this space as well as
on Twitter this offseason, and now I’ll put some pen to paper. Using the Twins
Daily created TwinsPayroll.com I plugged in names to a roster matrix. This
would probably be a mix of what I’d like to see happen, and what I think is
Ultimately, I believe Nelson Cruz is back as the Twins designated
hitter. That worries me as time is undefeated and he struggled down the stretch
against fastballs in 2020. However, the fit is there, and I don’t know that we
see a universal DH in 2021 (which is too bad). I’m hoping Minnesota avoids a
two-year deal, and maybe an option for 2022 is enough to get that done. If it’s
not Cruz, I’d prefer a two- or three-year pact with Marcel Ozuna or Michael
Brantley. Both of them have positional flexibility, and a bit more long-term
It should be a no-brainer that Alex Kirilloff will take over
for Eddie Rosario in left field. Sure, the Twins could play the service time
game, but that would be short-sighted given their window of contention right
now. Allow him to make his $600k and roll with your best option out there.
There’s still plenty of reason to believe that Trevor Story
could be a very good fit for this club through trade, and someone from the pool
of Gregorious, Semien, or Simmons makes sense as well. I like the idea of one-year deals with the current roster construction, and there’s no reason why
moving Jorge Polanco off of shortstop is a bad thing.
Ryan Jeffers is about the only player I’m confident in from
this group. He and Mitch Garver should create a very solid backstop tandem,
even if they’re both right-handed hitters. Jake Cave would make sense as the
fourth outfielder, although I’d like to see Brent Rooker’s bat somewhere.
Minnesota needs a utility player and signing either Kike Hernandez or Tommy La
Stella is a good get there. I like Jurickson Profar the most of that group, but
think he’ll get paid more than he’s ultimately worth. If you’re filling out the
roster with an additional utility type, Travis Blankenhorn makes a lot of sense
internally. I have no idea how this front office views former first-round pick
Nick Gordon, but it would make sense for him to be in the conversation as well
after a solid second season at Triple-A. The missed time in 2020 did him no favors,
There should be no pushback on Minnesota needing to acquire
a fourth starter. The top three are solid and set, but another arm is a must.
From the jump Jake Odorizzi looked like the second-best starter behind Trevor
Bauer on the free agent market. He’s still out there, and there’s been buzz
from other organizations having interest, but it would be nice to see him
return healthy to the Twins. I still wonder if there’s not a good bit of reason
to believe this arm could be acquired via trade, and anyone from Jon Gray to Sonny
Gray could be exciting.
Randy Dobnak has pitched himself into the conversation for
earned starts, and whether that begins 2021 in the big-league rotation or as a
first man up type, he should see plenty of work. Minnesota will likely unveil
one or both of Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran this season but pushing all of those
arms back a bit with starting depth seems necessary.
Although he’s the hometown guy, I’m not necessarily
particular to Brad Hand. I do think someone of that ilk is a must though, and
Trevor Rosenthal fits the bill. There are probably just three spots left to
fill out the relief corps, and Cody Stashak should absolutely claim one of
them. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have targeted a few waiver claims in the
form of Ian Gibault and Brandon Waddell but there may only be room for one. Looking for this year’s Matt Wisler, the spring slate should sort