As much as we enjoyed the exploits of the record-breaking Bomba Squad, the 2020 Minnesota Twins will not sport the exact same list of players as the 2019 Minnesota Twins. (Obviously.)
Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will be looking to improve the team throughout the offseason, from free agency, trades, and rising minor leaguers. Part of bringing one player up or in is letting another player go. There are several players from this year’s incarnation of the Twins who, no matter how much we enjoyed or shook our fists at their play, appear to be on the verge of departing from the confines of Target Field. Here are the five who stand out most to me.
While Schoop was a welcome veteran addition to the clubhouse and provided power from the bottom of the lineup, socking 23 bombas, he put up just a .256/.309/.473 slash line and saw his role supplanted by Luis Arraez during the summer. Schoop spent 2019 on a one-year contract and is entering free agency, so it’s likely the Twins will simply elect to let him walk back to the market.
The longest-tenured Twin, Gibson’s 2019 was marked by such inconsistency (and a team-low minus-1.98 WPA) that he was dropped to a bullpen role, in which he still struggled during the end of the regular season and postseason. Gibson too will be entering free agency and considering it seems the Twins view young starters such as Devin Smeltzer and Randy Dobnak as potential upgrades, a split appears imminent.
Pérez suffered a similar in-season drop to Gibson, though the start to the ex-Ranger’s year was stronger. From June 1 to the end of the year, Pérez posted a 5.93 ERA, 5.17 FIP, and minus-1.54 WPA, though he never fell out of the starting rotation. As Kyle pointed out earlier this week, Pérez has a $500,000 buyout for the $7 million option year of his contract, and the Twins making that buyout is a move that should be expected.
Appearing in just nine games in 2019, Stewart finished the year with a 6.39 ERA and 6.06 FIP, allowing five home runs and walking eight while striking out 10. Despite the Twins cycling the back of their rotation throughout the summer, Stewart never started a game after May, and the organization moved him into a relief role where he continued to struggle. Although he pitched adequately in 2018, Stewart does not appear to be a player who has a role on the Twins moving forward; and even though he is just 25, it’s not implausible at all that the team moves on from the former fourth-overall pick.
Harper’s excellent spring was a wonderful story, his earning a spot on the 25-man roster was even better, and the start to his season appeared the capstone. But as more teams saw Harper’s curveballs, opponents began to hit them, and Harper was eventually dropped from the active roster, before being brought back as part of September call-ups. As Harper has been reassigned to the minors and was 30 years old during his rookie season, it’s arguable that the Twins will move on from him in an attempt to go younger at the bullpen. However, it’s also possible that the team hopes he returns to his spring form. If nothing else, it only costs a 40-man roster spot at this point to see. (Harper is the player on the list I’m least sure about.)