Let’s punt -or- We really don’t need starting pitchers, do we?

I’m going to start from a different place than my sage predecessors. I think we’ve seen what the Twins are thinking of the present, and essentially it’s the future. Let’s face it, if the Twins wanted to play for 2022 Mr. Berrios would still be on the roster. So I won’t be starting with a salary limit on the high end, such as 135 million. Nope, I think we’re going to try to stick to about 110, max. Further, I think the days of viewing a team as a 25 man entity with a starting lineup and a bench are just about over. Today’s game uses the entire 40 man roster as a pool, plus anything that falls out of the trees on the waiver wire. With that in mind I choose to put together a full 40 man roster, including the entire 40 man roster under my 110 million limit. Believe it or not, those league minimum salaries can add up and make a difference. I’m also not going to categorize by salary, instead I will indicate arbitration players (all of whom receive exactly what they were projected to get) by a A and contract players by a C. Everyone else gets league minimum. Welcome to the bigs, rookie, your pay day will have to wait.

OK then, let’s start with the position players, because that’s easier to project and justify.

C – Garver A 3.1 Rortvedt 570k

1B – Sano C 10.583 Astudillo A 1.1

2B – Polanco C 5.0

3B – Donaldson C 21.75 Miranda 570k

SS – Lewis 570k

LF – Kirilloff 570k

CF – Buxton A 7.3 Celestino 570k

RF – Kepler C 6.75

DH – Larnach 570k Rooker 570k

Bench – Jeffers 570k (C), Gordon 570k (IF/CF), Arraez A 2.0 (everywhere else)

62.713 million

12 on the 26 man roster, 6 additional on the 40 man roster, 18 total

Notes: Not much changes here, but this wasn’t really the major problem last year. Buxton remains via arbitration, but I don’t care enough for his future prospects to try for a long term deal that he would be highly unlikely to sign. I also haven’t gone after a long term deal for Arraez, at least not yet. Also very conspicuous is the SS position, which I have intentionally left blank until I figure out how we’re set financially.

So how about that pitching. Again, I’m going to take a different route, I’m going to do away with our starters. Mostly anyway. Basically, I need 54 innings a week of pitching, and I’m going to ask two guys (Ryan and Ober) to provide about 10-12 of those via a traditional starter role. Another 30-40 innings are going to come from what I am referring to as swing pitchers, often called openers, or perhaps bullpen games. These are pitchers who will be asked to pitch 3-4 innings twice a week, because nearly all of them have shown flaws or dramatic decreases in performance levels with increases in trips through the lineup. You might hate it, but barring rules changes this is the direction I think MLB is headed. The remainder of the innings will be for traditional relievers, who are available to pitch every day. In addition, all of our swing pitchers are available on a limited basis on their off-throwing days.

Starters – Ryan 570k, Ober 570k

Maeda C 3.125 (TJ)

4.265 million

2 on the 26 man roster, 2 total (Maeda spends the season on the 60 day DL)

Swing – Dobnak C 800k (R), Jax 570k (R), Barnes 570k (L), Balazovic 570k (R), Smeltzer 570k (L), Thorpe 570k (L), Duran 570k (R), Enlow 570k, Winder 570k, Sands 570k

5.93 million

7 on the 26 man roster, 3 additional on the 40 man roster, 10 total

Notes: I fully anticipate that all of these gentlemen will be shuttling back and forth to St. Paul fairly regularly, depending on use and effectiveness. This is essentially a large casting call. Who among you will step up and be the future, when everything starts to come together in 2025 or so?

RP – Rogers A 6.7 (L), Duffey A 3.7 (R), Alcala 570k (R), Coulombe A 800k (L), Thielbar A 1.2 (L)

Cotton 570k (R), Moran (L) 570k, Minaya A (R) 1.1, Stashak (R) 570k, Strotman (R) 570k

Colome 1.25 (buyout)

16.35 million

5 on the 25 man roster, 5 additional on the 40 man roster, 10 total

Notes: I fully expect there to be some movement back and forth to St. Paul in this crowd as well.

So where do we stand after all that? I’ve spent $89.258 million with one glaring hole in my lineup. It’s time to pick up a shortstop. I don’t want to lock into a long term deal here, I have a couple of viable prospects that represent the future of this position. I can spend just over 20 million on a one year contract, but I would rather keep some of that back to give another piece of our future a raise, namely Luis Arraez. I’m going to buy him out of arbitration, starting at 5 million in 2022 (something along the lines of 5 years, 35 million). So now I have 17 million to spend on a SS. What can we get for that? Not a ton really, I think we would have to jack it up above 20 million to get a higher end product such as Javy Baez or Trevor Story (we’re not getting Correa or Corey Seager, sorry). So at this point I would go back and beg for a slight increase, and make offers to all of the mid tier SS to see who might bite (can Eduardo Escobar still play SS?). Alternatively, we go after Freddy Galvis, who solves the problem and leaves money in our pocket.

There you go, something different. Will this team win? I wouldn't bet on it. But then again, I don't think the real lifer version of the Twins are counting on it either.