Now that the World Series is behind us (Congrats to Eddie Rosario, Ehire Adrianza, and the Atlanta Braves!), all the teams will quickly pivot into serious offseason planning and transaction mode. For fans, that means no more games to watch or listen to and instead hunkering down with the hot stove rumor mill to get through the long offseason. Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby is credited with one of the more famous quotes about that long baseball offseason:
People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring — Rogers Hornsby
Staring out the window and waiting is one way to kill the cold, baseball-less months before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in February. Another way is to play armchair front office decision maker.
Coming off a disappointing last place finish (73-89), the Twins are at a bit of a crossroads this offseason. Moving on from Eddie Rosario last winter and the trades of Nelson Cruz and José Berríos this past summer signified the closing of the contention window with this familiar core of players. The current roster is not losing much to free agency — just Michael Pineda and Andrelton Simmons — and the Twins don’t have an exorbitant amount of salary guaranteed to current players (about $48MM). There are a large number of arbitration decisions to make, which can add to that payroll total quickly. In addition, a decision about Byron Buxton’s future will need to be made this winter. In any event, if the payroll target from ownership is similar to the past few seasons (~$120-130MM), there should be money available to spend in free agency.
Against that backdrop, we are inviting all of you to tell us in a FanPost how you would handle this offseason if you were in charge of the Twins. Will you be aggressive and chase contention again in 2022? Will you continue trading away established veterans like Buxton, Josh Donaldson, or Max Kepler for prospects with more future value? Or, will you try a strategy that splits the difference and improves the team’s chances in 2022 while also focusing on opening up a new competitive window for 2023 and beyond when more of the young pitching prospects are expected to arrive?
Below is a guide to the offseason that includes instructions for writing your plan, an outline of all the key decisions that need to be made, and links to some useful resources to help with your decisions. And here are helpful resources for how to make a FanPost and the SB Nation FanPost help guide.
Just copy/paste below and start making some decisions!
[Update: all the completed offseason plans can be found here]
[Insert your username]’s Offseason Plan
What kind of plan is this?
Give us a sentence or two that let us know what we’re about to see. Are you going for it in 2022?
What payroll limit did you set?
Give us the number that ownership is holding you to.
(Reference: The 2021 payroll was estimated at ~$121MM. The 2020 full season payroll was estimated at ~$133MM by FanGraphs)
2022 Guaranteed Contracts
Josh Donaldson — $21.75MM
Miguel Sanó — $10.583MM
Max Kepler — $6.75MM
Jorge Polanco — $5.0MM
Kenta Maeda — $3.125MM
Randy Dobnak — $800K
**NEW** Byron Buxton — $9.143MM
Total Payroll = ~$57.15MM
2022 Contract Options
Decide if you will pick up or buyout the contract option for the following player. Briefly explain your reasons.
Alex Colomé — $5.5MM (or $1.25MM buyout if declined)
[Update: Colomé’s option was declined by the Twins. He is a free agent.]
Total Payroll = $58.4MM
Arbitration salaries are not automatic. The club holds the choice to tender a contract to these players and can choose not to offer a contract instead of going to arbitration (as they did last winter with Eddie Rosario and Matt Wisler).
Decide whether or not you will tender a contract to the players below and briefly explain your decisions. Estimates are from MLBTradeRumors’ Projected Arbitration Salaries.
Byron Buxton – $7.3MM [Update: Buxton agreed to a 7 year/$100MM extension]
Taylor Rogers – $6.7MM [Update: tendered a contract, pending arbitration]
Tyler Duffey – $3.8MM [Update: Duffey signed for $3.8MM for 2022]
Mitch Garver – $3.1MM [Update: tendered a contract, pending arbitration]
Luis Arraez – $2.0MM [Update: tendered a contract, pending arbitration]
Caleb Thielbar – $1.3MM [Update: Thielbar signed for $1.3MM for 2022]
Total Payroll = Estimated $76MM, pending arbitration outcomes
— — — — — — — — — —
John Gant – $3.7MM [Update: Gant was waived by the Twins and elected free agency]
Willians Astudillo – $1.2MM [Update: Astudillo was designated for assignment]
Juan Minaya – $1.1MM [Update: Minaya was not tendered a contract for 2022]
Rob Refsnyder – $800K [Update: Refsnyder was outrighted off the 40-man roster]
Danny Coulombe – $800K [Update: Coulombe was not tendered a contract for 2022]
Michael Pineda and Andrelton Simmons are the Twins’ only impending free agents. You can decide if you will try to re-sign them.
In addition, the resources below are available to identify the free agents you would try to sign. Briefly explain why you would pursue the player(s), the role you see them playing for the Twins, and the terms of your offer (years and total monetary value).
Major League Free Agents
**NEW** RHP Dylan Bundy signed with the Twins for 1 year, $4MM, with an option for 2023 valued at $11MM ($1MM buyout)
Notable Minor League Free Agents
LHP Danny Coulombe re-signed with the Twins
RHP Jake Faria signed with the Twins
Total Payroll = ?
What trades would you try to make? Which current Twins would you offer up in trades to other clubs? What players or prospects would you try to get back? Briefly explain your thinking for any deals that you want to pursue.
The trade simulator at BaseballTradeValues.com is a handy resource for estimating realistic trade values and coming up with plausible deals that might make sense for both sides.
Your 26-man (or 40-man) roster and final summary
Bring all the parts of your plan together and show us your final roster for 2022. The active roster is capped at 26 players and we encourage any over-achievers to sketch it out for the full 40-man roster. If you are playing along with the salary constraints, please be sure to include your totals. There is a handy spreadsheet tool available from the TwinsDaily crew at TwinsPayroll.com to help with the budget math.
(Note: If you do the full 40-man exercise, make sure that you factor in the addition of Rule 5 draft eligible prospects that you wish to protect. That could include players like Royce Lewis, Jose Miranda, Cole Sands, Josh Winder, and Blayne Enlow, among others. Here is a helpful breakdown on which Twins prospects might need to be protected.)
[Update: The Twins added six prospects to the 40 man roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft]
Here’s the depth chart for you to fill out with your players and salaries.
- Lineup (#, currently set for 13, but flexible for your plan):
- Pitching Staff (#, currently set for 13 but flexible for your plan):
Total Payroll = ?
- Rest of 40-man roster — Optional (14)
It’s not required, but we’d love to see a brief summary of your plans and the thinking behind them at the end. Explaining your decisions and how you think your team might fare next season creates good fodder for comments and discussion.
Happy roster building! We can’t wait to see what you come up with!