Hello and welcome to another Friday! As yet another week draws to a close, here’s what I have to occupy your mind today: If the Twins could only retain one of their pending free agents, who would you pick?
There’s a catch, though: you can’t pick Nelson Cruz. I get the feeling that he would be the runaway favorite, and for good reason (although there may be some validity to argue they shouldn’t). So that leaves us with these choices: Trevor May, Tyler Clippard, Alex Avila, Marwin Gonzalez, Jake Odorizzi, Rich Hill, Homer Bailey, Ehire Adrianza, and Sergio Romo (team option). You can find Ben Beecken’s opinion on the matter here.
I would consider Trevor May to be the top of the class, as he’s developed into an absolute stud in the bullpen. I would be thrilled if the Twins brought May back, although he’s likely to come with a heftier price tag than most of the others.
Rich Hill and Homer Bailey acquitted themselves quite will as rotation back-fill this year, but they are definitely on the back nine of their careers. Hill, in particular, also provided some valuable leadership for our young pitchers. If we could get Hill back on a cheap 1-year deal, I’d be all for it.
Clippard and Romo trended in opposite directions as the season went on, as Clippard remained rock-solid all year, putting up excellent numbers, while Romo struggled with inherited runners and had a few bad outings towards the end of the season.
After a solid 2019, utility-man Gonzalez struggled at the plate in 2020, and no longer possesses the defensive chops to fill in at shortstop. Adrianza, on the other hand, was also abysmal in 2020 after a career-year in 2019, but does provide some valuable defense all around the infield. I would not anticipate either of them returning, as there are some better options available on the market, as well as a former top prospect (Nick Gordon) who is waiting for his shot.
That leaves veterans Jake Odorizzi and Alex Avila. Odorizzi had somewhat of a lost season in 2020, struggling with injuries, after an All-Star showing in 2019. I am hopeful the Twins will be able to bring him back in 2021 due to a likely depressed market for him following his injury-riddled season. Avila, on the other hand, is likely out the door. While he acquitted himself fine as a left-handed backup catcher, Ryan Jeffers pounded down the door to more playing time in 2021, and even after a season lost to injuries and struggles, I don’t see Mitch Garver going anywhere this off-season.
If I could only choose one to bring back next season, it’s between Odorizzi and Clippard for me. May is the best of the bunch, but he’s likely going to be awfully pricey for a reliever. The Twins could likely bring back Clippard on another very cheap deal, and he continued his excellent pitching and desirable splits in 2020. He’d be a great pitcher to retain in the bullpen. On the other hand, if we could get Odorizzi back on another team-friendly deal, he would provide some valuable stability in the middle of the rotation and is a definite bounce-back candidate for 2021. Depending on the price tag, Odorizzi is probably my pick.
What do you think? Who would you like to see the Twins bring back in 2021? Let us know in the comments below!
Which free agent should the Twins retain?
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