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Twins Spring Training 2019: Five stories to watch

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Let’s take a look at what will be the most interesting potential developments for the Twins over the next few weeks

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

How do Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano look?

The two young stars the absolute key the this season for Minnesota. If Buxton and Sano get off to a hot start, the team will likely be competitive in the AL Central, and be looking at building a real contender for next season. Public comments by Falvine suggest that further development on the player side will lead to the team going “all-in” next offseason. Left unsaid, if Buxton and both falter again, the team will likely be looking to retool and build for the next crop of prospects, punting on a year or two.

The fifth starter competition

Sure, it looks like Martin Perez is written into the rotation, but its written in pencil, and pencil is erasable. Fernando Romero has been moved to the bullpen, at least for now, but the competition is still open. Adalberto Mejia has the best chance to sneak into the team’s plans, but Stephen Gonsalves, Kohl Stewart, Lewis Thorpe, and even Chase De Jong will be trying to earn a role with the team. As a further complication, Michael Pineda hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in quite awhile, so his health will play a role here too.

Do Romero and Mejia actually end up in the bullpen

Sure, the team has said that Fernando Romero is destined to pitch out of the pen, but what if he is lights-out one of the top five pitchers during Spring Training? It’s hard to see the team denying him a starting opportunity in that (unlikely) case. Mejia, currently, is competing for a starting role, but if he doesn’t make that cut, would the team move him to a relief option?

How is the team chemistry?

Last season, the Twins front office put a lot of the blame for the slow start on bad chemistry, mainly due to guys signing one year deals. Of course, they decided to sign a bunch of guys on one year deals this offseason anyway. Additionally, the Twins lost a locker-room anchor in Joe Mauer to retirement, and several others like Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar to trades and free agency. Will Eddie Rosario, or someone else, step up and fill that void? This is a young team without an established leader, how does that play out?

Do the Twins add any more players?

Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel, and Craig Kimbrel still haven’t found a team. It’s hard to argue that any of them wouldn’t make the Twins better. As unlikely as it is that the Twins would add a player of that caliber, there are many other free agents available still. The Twins could use a bit more depth in the pitching department, and perhaps could find an upgrade or two elsewhere as well. Will they be willing to make an offer as the free-agent music finally stops playing, or will they be satisfied watching things happen around them?