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Who’s left? Remaining Free Agent Possibilities

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Hot Stove Season

Wild Card Round - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Two Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

It took awhile, but over the past week, the stove has officially grown hot. Players, perhaps feeling the pressure of a slow off-season nearing its end, have started to sign left and right. The Twins, for their part, made one earth-shaking signing of J.A. Happ; the consensus is that they still have work to do before spring training rolls around.

So who’s even left for the Twins to pursue? Let’s take a look at some possible targets that still remain on the market.

Infield/Utility Options

Marcus Semien- The Athletics starting shortstop has been a mostly league-average bat with spurts (including all of 2019) of star production. A good defender, he could be a solid choice to hold down the shortstop spot until Royce Lewis’ arrival, with Jorge Polanco sliding into more of a utility role. However, he may be looking for a long-term deal at age 30.

Didi Gregorius- Noted Twins-killer Gregorius, the former Yankee and Red, Gregorius is basically the same as Semien as far as production, role, age, and price. The one thing that might make him cheaper than Semien is Semien’s near-MVP-level 2019.

Enrique Hernandez- Hernandez was tabbed by many as a good fit to take over Marwin Gonzalez’s role on the team in the past couple years at the beginning of the off-season. Hernandez is capable of playing all of Marwin’s positions, and even has some experience at shortstop and centerfield in the past couple years. He’s not quite as good of a hitter as the other two options, but could come at a cheaper price. [editor’s note: Hernandez signed with the Red Sox after this was written, but before it was published]

Pitching Help

Relievers

Shane Greene- The right-handed former Tiger and Brave was an All-Star in 2019 and typically has pretty good strikeout numbers. These crashed in 2020, but he still produced a 2.60 ERA. His upside could make him worth looking at for the right price.

Tyler Clippard- I’m honestly surprised that this reunion hasn’t happened yet. Clippard was excellent for the Twins in 2020, and would probably come for a pretty cheap price again. It’s a no-brainer, in my opinion.

Alex Colome- The White Sox closer gave them 90% of Liam Hendriks’ production last year and could come for 30% of what Chicago just paid Hendriks. He’s been great for pretty much his entire career. If the Twins want another back-of-the-pen option, the righty would be a great choice.

Starters

Jake Odorizzi- Another reunion that could make sense, Odorizzi had an injury-riddled 2020. However, he seems to like it in Minnesota, and the Twins could certainly use him in the rotation still. It seems he may have a stronger market than anticipated, but the Twins will have to do something to address their rotation sooner or later.

James Paxton- The injury-prone Canadian has #2 starter upside, but rarely produces to his potential due to frequent nagging injuries. Most teams will likely not be willing to commit to a long-term contract with him, which could possibly bring him into the Twins’ price range.

Nelson Cruz

I don’t really see the Twins bringing in any other big bats on the free agent market besides Cruz. I think I speak for most of Twins Territory when I see we’d love to bring him back. However, it’s rumored he is fighting for a two-year deal, and I’m not sure that makes a lot of baseball sense for the Twins, unless they can get him to agree to a very incentive-heavy deal.

Whether it’s one of these guys, another free agent, or a trade, the hot stove is cookin’ and the Twins better make a couple moves sometime soon. As is, they should still compete with Chicago, but filling a couple holes with outside help would make us the logical favorites again (even if big media wouldn’t ever admit it).