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Twins extension candidates, part 3: Long-shots and various thoughts

Let’s take a look at candidates who aren’t as likely to get an extension, but might garner some interest.

Minnesota Twins v Atlanta Braves
Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

This is the third of a four-part series highlighting Minnesota Twins players that could be deserving of a contract extension. In the previous two episodes, we touched on two players that are high-priority extension candidates as well as a few additional candidates, including an outfielder and a couple bullpen arms. The links to those are below for your viewing pleasure. Today we’ll take a look at some long-shot candidates and some odds-and-ends candidates.

In the first part of this series, Jose Berrios and Byron Buxton were brought up as two players that stand out as almost-perfect contract extension candidates. In the second part, another outfielder - Eddie Rosario - and two bullpen arms in Trevor May and Taylor Rogers were put under the microscope to see if they are worthy of an extension. Now we’ll take a look at some players that are long-shots for various reasons as well as put together a few thoughts about some veterans that may be in the boat as well.

Mitch Garver

Garver undoubtedly had a breakout year last season. Batting .273/.365/.630 with a 156 OPS+ in his second full season was enough to earn a Silver Slugger Award. To add to that, albeit with a juiced ball, he joined the 30-bomba club and tallied 67 RBI. There’s no solid defensive catching metrics, but many have said that GarvSauce also improved behind the plate by using a different catching stance. As great as that is for the pitcher, it also hurt his caught stealing percentage, which ended at 16% (6-for37) in 2019. League average was 27%.

If Garver were younger and/or closer to free agency, it could be that Garver would get more consideration for a contract extension. But seeing as he’s entering his age-29 season as a catcher with three full years of arbitration in front of him, the Bomba Squad member isn’t a fit for a prime extension candidate. Considering he would hit free agency after the 2023 season is completed, he would be entering his age-33 season for 2024. By that time, both Ben Rortvedt and Ryan Jeffers are most likely seeing playing time in the majors with Garver on the bench or at a different position. Additionally, the question begs: Will Garver keep up his production at the plate for the next few years?


Would you sign an extension with Mitch Garver right now?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    (79 votes)
  • 65%
    (147 votes)
226 votes total Vote Now

Luis Arraez

Arraez arrived on the scene in 2019, effectively supplanting Jonathan Schoop from his second base position most of the time in the second half. The Venezuelan saw action in 92 games and batted to a .334/.399/.439 slash line with a 123 OPS+ and even received enough votes to earn sixth place in Rookie of the Year voting. The lefty batsman is also quite versatile, seeing time at third base, shortstop, and left field in addition to the right side of the diamond.

Similar to Garver, two things come to mind when thinking extension talks with Arraez. First, he does not have much service time, therefore he’s under team control for six years, including 2020, putting him in free agency prior to the 2026 season. He’ll be entering his age-29 season at that time, so enough years under his belt as a major-league player (considering he sticks) and still some years left ahead of him. Secondly, will Arraez continue to play well enough in the field and at the plate to become a full-time player, or is he a flash in the pan, becoming a bench utility player for his career?


Would you sign an extension with Luis Arraez right now?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    (64 votes)
  • 71%
    (162 votes)
226 votes total Vote Now

Nelson Cruz

Ah, Boomstick. What’s not to like about him since he joined with the Twins? He’s a great veteran presence, and he’s still mashing at the plate (.311/.392/.639, 166 OPS+, 41 HR, 108 RBI) while knocking at the door of becoming 40 years old. He, too, earned a Silver Slugger Award for his heroics at the plate last season while earning some MVP votes.

Cruz has been noted as saying that that 2020 will not be his last season and will be taking it on a year-by-year basis. Levine even said at TwinsFest that they are in continuous talks with Cruz and his agent about putting something together to keep him in the Twin Cities beyond this season. If Boomstick can continue to live up to his name, there would be no doubt that him and the Twins can reach an agreement to keep in at Target Field for another year (or maybe two).


Would you extend Nelson Cruz now, or offer him a one-year deal after 2020 is finished?

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Extend him now!
    (119 votes)
  • 48%
    Wait it out until after 2020.
    (119 votes)
  • 2%
    Don’t extend him whatsoever.
    (6 votes)
244 votes total Vote Now

Marwin Gonzalez

The super-utility man is a free agent after 2020, in which he will be going into his age-32 season. Gonzalez was part of the Houston Astros scandal that came out this winter, and he’s since apologized for his role, even though it may not have benefited him either way. He played in 114 games and saw some time on the injured list in mid-June and also battled an oblique injury towards the end of the year. The switch-hitter batted his way to a .264/.322/.414 line, a 94 OPS+, and 15 homers and 55 RBI to go along with it.

Does Gonzalez have a future with the Twins? Most likely not. As mentioned above, Arraez is under team control through 2025. The outfield has a logjam of talent while the corner infield will be manned by Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano. Jorge Polanco has the shortstop position for now, while Travis Blankenhorn and Nick Gordon will be arriving at Target Field in no time.


Would you sign an extension with Marwin Gonzalez right now?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    (35 votes)
  • 84%
    (193 votes)
228 votes total Vote Now

Jake Odorizzi

Compared to 2018, Odo put together a great 2019, especially in the first half. His splits between the first and second half were fairly similar, but he held batters to a .214/.285/.335 slash and was striking out batters at an 11.0 K/9 clip in the first few months of the year. The second half was respectable: .258/.318/.413 with a 9.0 K/9. He received All-Star honors but was unable to pitch due to a blister injury right before the break.

His season performance, and probably lack of solid starting pitching at the time, pushed the Minnesota front office to extend a qualifying offer to the righty. He accepted, and if he continues his performance from last season into 2020, there’s a possibility that he could earn an extension during the summer. However, it’s pertinent to consider that the Twins - barring any injuries, knock on wood - have Berrios, Michael Pineda, and Kenta Maeda locked up for 2021 as well. Randy Dobnak, Lewis Thorpe, Devin Smeltzer, and others are waiting in the wings for a rotation spot as well.


Would you extend Jake Odorizzi now, during the season, or not extend him at all?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Yes, extend him now.
    (62 votes)
  • 60%
    Yes, extend him during the season, depending on performance.
    (143 votes)
  • 13%
    No, don’t extend him.
    (31 votes)
236 votes total Vote Now