With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training today, and a host of other players there already, the ramp up to the regular season has officially begun. It also means we’ll start to hear updates from Minnesota Twins executives and coaches on injuries, offseason training, and who is showing up in the best, or sexiest, shape of their lives.
Here are all the updates we have from the Twins so far, mostly thanks to MLB.com’s Do-Hyoung Park.
- Alex Kirilloff appears on track to be fully healthy for the first time in two years, with Twins PBO Derek Falvey saying his troublesome right wrist is “in as good of a spot as they’ve seen coming into camp.” A healthy AK could be a major X-Factor for the Twins this season. The flashes he’s shown when healthy have all the makings of the middle-of-the-order bat the Twins desperately need. If Minnesota gets a full season out of Kirilloff, a top-heavy lineup becomes much more balanced, especially after the departure of Luis Arraez.
- After successfully converting Griffin Jax to a short reliever last Spring, it doesn’t appear as if the Twins will be doing that with any players this year. There was speculation that Josh Winder, Cole Sands, or Ronny Henriquez could see a move to the bullpen, but they will build up as starters. With few minor league relievers on the 40-man roster, there’s still a strong chance we’ll see this group, and others prospects, pitch out of the Twins’ bullpen in 2023, but they will proceed like starters for the time being.
- Another bullpen note: according to Phil Miller of the Star Tribune, the Twins were never in on free agent relievers Michael Fulmer or Andrew Chafin, who both recent signed major league deals. While fans and reporters alike have pegged the Twins as being an arm short in the ‘pen, Twins management has disagreed, instead banking on improvements and better health from Jorge López, Jorge Alcala, and *sighs* Emilio Pagán.
- According to The Athletic’s Dan Hayes, new owner Joe Pohlad could be open to significantly increasing the team’s payroll in future years. The Twins’ current payroll of $147 million is smack dab in the middle of the league and historically high for the Twins. Actions will speak louder than words, but with Buxton and Correa locked up long term, it’s encouraging to see Twins ownership seemingly willing to spend around their stars.
- Chris Paddack is currently throwing from 60 feet and is hoping to return to the Twins in August or September, similar to the plan with Kenta Maeda in 2022 before the Twins were knocked out of the playoff race.
- We’ll have to wait on a health update on Tyler Mahle, as he is late reporting to camp due to the birth of his child. Congrats, Tyler!