What kind of plan is this?
All indications point to the Twins reluctant to enter a rebuild. So I propose Minnesota retools, hopes for better luck this coming year, and keeps most of the lineup intact. In this offseason plan, I’ll highlight the team’s needs, realistic options, and the route the Twins should take (in my opinion) as well as a final assessment on the roster and payroll.
What payroll limit did you set?
$130MM seems like the general consensus so I’ll keep that as my target number.
What are the needs of the team?
The Twins need a starting SS, a solution at LF, and a bevy of help with the pitching staff. Below are my proposals for each position:
SS: I believe the Twins should sign Freddy Galvis (one year, $3MM) and trade Trevor Larnach to Tampa Bay for Taylor Walls as a long term solution.
Review my previous explanation of the Twins SS options here: And the starting shortstop for the 2022 Minnesota Twins is…
LF: It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Twins tender Cave a contract and split time with Larnach, Kirilloff, Gordon, Rooker, and Arraez (similar to last year’s plan). Alternatively, they could reconsider and bring back Rosario ($7MM) or aim higher for Mark Canha ($12MM).
I’d like to see the Twins add to my hypothetical trade and bring in Kevin Kiermaier ($12MM) or, as a more intriguing option, bring in Seiya Suzuki ($10MM) from Japan’s Hiroshima Carp.
SP: There’s an abundance of options here and I expect the Twins to be flexible with the starting rotation. My plan:
#1 → Resign Pineda ($9MM)
We know what we’re getting and he seems to enjoy Minnesota.
#2 → Sign Johnny Cueto ($9MM)
While I’d love to pursue Greinke, I’m sure he’ll be looking for more of a sure playoff contender. So my fallback option is Cueto. Similar pitcher as Pineda: reliable and consistent. Seems to be well-liked.
#3 → Add Ryan Yarbrough to my hypothetical trade ($2.3MM)
Believe it or not, Baseball Trade Values accepts Larnach for Walls, Kiermaier, AND Yarbrough. I am almost positive Tampa Bay would not. With some flier prospect additions, it’s a very appealing trade opportunity. Other lower tier, higher upside options include Kwang Hyun Kim, Danny Duffy, and Rich Hill.
#4 → Piggyback Dobnak with Vince Velasquez ($2MM)
I expect Dobnak to rebound from a disastrous 2021. Velasquez is in a similar situation. Could the two combine to form a competent tandem? Other injury-prone, project, spot-starter/reliever types that could fill this role include Collin McHugh, Jose Quintana, James Paxton, Chris Archer.
#5 → Ober
As the only pitcher we’re sure will return next year, here’s to hoping the success from this past year continues.
This rotation looks like a bunch of 3s with potential, especially with Ryan waiting in the wings. It may be the best we can do barring a major trade. (I’m not opposed to starting Ryan in the rotation, especially with all the holes the Twins will be monitoring his innings closely, which adds to the need to be flexible with pitchers.)
RP: Rogers, Duffey, Alcala, Thielbar, and Minaya return with Garza Jr. as the first option in AAA. That leaves two spots.
First, I sign a veteran with a consistent track record. Brad Boxberger, Archie Bradley, or Tyler Clippard would work for $3MM.
Second, I sign someone who can provide multiple innings or start when needed. Griffin Jax could fill that role. I’d aim higher: Carlos Martinez, Michael Lorenzen, Michael Wacha, Yusmeiro Petit would look good at $2MM.
Lineup (13): ($74.283)
C: Mitch Garver ($3.1MM)
1B: Alex Kirilloff ($600K)
2B: Jorge Polanco ($5.0MM)
3B: Josh Donaldson ($21.75MM)
SS: Freddy Galvis (Free Agent: $3MM)
LF: Kevin Kiermaier (Trade: $12MM)
CF: Byron Buxton ($7.3MM)
RF: Max Kepler ($6.75MM)
DH: Miguel Sanó ($10.583MM)
Backup C: Ryan Jeffers ($600K)
Utility: Nick Gordon ($600K)
OF: Jake Cave ($1MM)
IF: Luis Arraez ($2.0MM)
Pitching Staff (13): ($46.375)
SP1: Michael Pineda (Free Agent: $9MM)
SP2: Johnny Cueto (Free Agent: $9MM)
SP3: Ryan Yarbrough (Trade: $2.3MM)
SP4: Randy Dobnak ($800K)
SP5: Bailey Ober ($600K)
Kenta Maeda ($3.125MM)
RP: Taylor Rogers ($6.7MM)
RP: Tyler Duffey ($3.7MM)
RP: Jorge Alcala ($600K)
RP: Caleb Thielbar ($1.2MM)
RP: Juan Minaya ($1.1MM)
RP: Tyler Clippard ($3MM)
RP: Yusmeiro Petit ($2MM)
RP: Vince Velasquez ($2MM)
Alex Colomé (Buyout: $1.25MM)
Total Payroll = $120.658*
*I intentionally left room in the payroll because I believe many of these free agent predictions are low. Add $1MM for each contract and we get much closer to the $130MM mark.
With this roster, I believe there’s enough to compete. I’m banking on a healthier, more consistent lineup with minor changes and a revamped pitching staff.
Galvis’ offensive abilities should make up for his lack of defensive prowess, when compared to Simmons. Adding Kiermaier to the outfield gives us an elite fielder with playoff experience.
While the starting rotation doesn’t have the ceiling of last year’s, if it is utilized correctly (openers, piggybacking, matchups, rest, etc.) and the younger pitchers reach their potential (Ober, Ryan, Dobnak, Velasquez), the floor is quite high. Additionally, if the bullpen continues how they ended the season and with the addition of strong, experienced veterans, this unit should be much more stable than what we dealt with this past year.
Optimistically, this roster will recover from a poor 2021 and show that 2020 was not a mirage. However, if things turn south, we have the pieces to sell and can aim higher in 2023.
Let me know below what you think of my additions and the chances of competing next season.