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The Twins have many more potential extension candidates

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After signing Polanco and Kepler, the Twins say they are done with extensions for now — but what if they aren’t?

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Late last week, the Minnesota Twins inked club-friendly extensions with Jorge Polanco and Tawny’s boyfriend Max Kepler. Polanco signed for five years, $25.75 million with club options for 2024 and 2025, while Kepler signed for five years and $35 million and a club option for 2024. LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune says that all is quiet for now with any additional extensions that the Twins may make this spring (Twitter link), but with definitive payroll on the books for the Twins after this season and the way that free agency is shaping up, should the Twins look to take advantage and sign extensions with more of their young core players?

(all stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com)

Eddie Rosario

Rosario has been at the forefront of many minds as a candidate worthy of an extension. He’s been to the plate almost 600 times, hit over 20 homers, and has been very close to hitting .300 each of the past two seasons. His defense is great for the most part although he committed nine errors in the outfield last year, tied for first in the majors. Rosario has only landed on the injured list once in his young career so far, brings energy to the clubhouse, and the Twins see him as a core part of the Twins for years to come.

The Twins and Rosario agreed upon a salary of $4.19 million for his first year of arbitration. To compare to other outfielders on the team, Kepler and the Twins agreed to $3.125 million in arbitration this year (and then signed his extension, making his salary $6 million this year), and Byron Buxton is receiving $1.75 million this year. The unexperienced amateur writer in me would say that Rosario would be worth an extension of five years, $45 million with club options for two more years.

Jose Berrios

La MaKina is another name that has been tossed around the extension talk by fans, and deservedly so. His age 23 and 24 seasons proved that he is nearing major-league material: 26-19 overall, ERA in the 3.80s, and combined 341 punchouts between both years while breaking the 200 K barrier last year. He neared 200 innings pitched and helped lead the league in complete games and shutouts last year. His K/9 was 8.6 in 2017 and rose to 9.5 in 2018, while his WHIP decreased from 1.229 to 1.144 between the two years. Berrios got his first nod to the All-Star Game last year.

Although Berrios could easily be seen as a player to be offered an extension, he is young and is coming off only one great year of pitching (with a good year of 2017, no doubt), and is eligible for arbitration next offseason. If Berrios can continue to show his worth this season, the Twins could look to sign an extension with him next offseason. If he does put pen to paper with the Twins, it could be comparable to Aaron Nola’s extension with the Phillies signed this offseason (4 yrs, $45 million, 1 club option).

Kyle Gibson

After a disappointing 2016 campaign and a “meh” 2017 season, Gibson has a great bounce-back season in 2018. He posted the most strikeouts (176), ERA (3.62), and innings pitched (196.2) of his career last year. His K/9 was also career-best at 8.2 and his ERA+ stood tall at 121.

Although his 2018 season was great, it is a roll-of-the-dice to sign Gibson to an extension. His inconsistency is probably a big factor as well as the fact that he hits free agency next offseason. Additionally, Gibson and the Twins have not seen eye-to-eye on this salary as they went to arbitration last off-season (with the Twins winning). This year, they agreed upon $9.5 million. Gibson has expressed interest in talks of extension with the Twins, but how Gibson performs in his age-31 season will be most important to determine if he has a future with the Twins or will step into the new-age free agent market. If he does sign, it would be towards the end of the season and could be for 3 years, $35-$40 million with a club option or two.

Jake Odorizzi

Odorizzi did not turn in the best season last year for the Twins, although he did post his best K/9 since his rookie-eligible season in 2014 (if you were looking for a bright spot). His past season show him as a decent starter in the third or fourth spot in the rotation as he averages about an ERA of 4.00 and around 160 innings pitched.

He can redeem himself this season but is honestly not too much of an extension candidate. Like Gibson, Odorizzi hits free agency after the 2019 campaign, so if any extension talks are possible, it would hinge on his performance this year and would develop towards the end of the season. With young Twins pitchers looking to make the big-leagues in the impending years, Odorizzi is more than likely diving into the free agent market after this year.

Taylor Rogers

The Twins agreed to pay Rogers $1.525 million this upcoming season in his first year of arbitration. Although he has three more years of arbitration left, I felt adding Rogers’ name to this list wouldn’t hurt, especially as a lefty out of the bullpen. His 2018 campaign saw him bring his season ERA below 3.00 for the first time in his young career, his K/9 almost touched 10, and he was used in 72 games – one less than Trevor Hildenberger for the most game appearances by a Twins pitcher. He also pitched the most innings in a season during his career last year.

Rogers will be entering his age-28 season this year and as a lefty in the bullpen, the Twins may think about giving Rogers an extension after this season to solidify that spot for years to come, although it could pan out to where he might receive an extension before this season starts, although that is unlikely. The Twins may want to see how the bullpen pans out this year before making any decisions.

Byron Buxton

Everyone knows about Buxton’s season last year, but I felt the need to include him (and the next player on the list) as they fit into the “young core” portion of the Twins game. I’m not going to get into stats because we are aware of his skills and where he needs improvement (plus I typed “Byron Buston” in the search field of Baseball-Reference…. stay away trolls). Buxton is certainly not a candidate for extension talks this Spring Training – or even next offseason, for that matter – until the Twins can be fully aware of his production versus what he’s capable of.

Miguel Sano

Sano sits in the same boat as Buxton – a disappointing (to say the least) 2018 campaign after an All-Star 2017 does not need re-hashing. Sano is also not an immediate candidate to be extended, but if reporting to camp in shape and with a positive attitude translates into a bounce-back 2019 season, the Twins and Sano may engage in extension talks next offseason. However, it would not be a surprise if an extension is inked after the 2020 season.

Who would you sign an extension with and for how long? How much would you pay them? Talk it out in the comments!

Poll

Who do you believe the Twins should sign an extension with before camp breaks?

This poll is closed

  • 45%
    Eddie Rosario
    (339 votes)
  • 43%
    Jose Berrios
    (321 votes)
  • 3%
    Kyle Gibson
    (25 votes)
  • 0%
    Jake Odorizzi
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    Taylor Rogers
    (18 votes)
  • 2%
    Byron Buxton
    (20 votes)
  • 0%
    Miguel Sano
    (7 votes)
  • 0%
    Someone else (tell us in the comments)
    (3 votes)
738 votes total Vote Now