All Things 2022-2023 Minnesota Twins Off-Season Thread

BleedGopher

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Sigh, the time has come. Frustrating season and interesting off-season ahead with likely no change at the top.

Win Twins!!
 

BleedGopher

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Shama chimes in:

Twins Plan ‘Deep Dive’ on 2022 Season


The Twins (77-83) end their 2022 schedule tomorrow with a meaningless game in Chicago against the White Sox. It’s an ending to the season many in the fanbase will prefer not to remember, but the Pohlad ownership and club president Dave St. Peter don’t have that option.

The Twins were tied with the Guardians for first place in the AL Central Division on September 4. By September 25 the local boys of summer were 12 games behind. The Guardians, with the youngest team in baseball, will win the division about 13 games ahead of Minnesota.

The Twins held first place for 108 days in a division referred to as the weakest in MLB. They had an impressive spring, particularly in May with an 18-12 record that month and a five-game lead in the division. It looked like the franchise that had been last in the Central in 2021 (73-89 record) might be headed toward a finish at the top.

But a stunning number of injuries and missed games, and underwhelming performances by players including poor fundamentals at times, collapsed those championship and playoff hopes. Sports Headliners asked St. Peter what he and ownership are feeling during the last days of the season.

“The word I’d use is disappointing,” he said. “Largely because of the start we got off to and the work we had done, because we think our club—the opening day lineup and how we opened the season—we were poised to have not just a good season but potentially a great season.”

St. Peter and others in the organization accept their responsibilities to learn from this season. “…I can assure you there’s (going to be) a level of self-examination, self-reflection. No aspect of our operation is immune from being reviewed in terms of how we can get better. We’ve done that every year here, whether we had a good year or bad year but particularly when you have a year like we’ve had.

“We have an obligation to our fan base and to our ownership to do deep dives into (things) organizationally. Are there things that we can do to be better? I’m not ready to identify really what those things are yet but I’m optimistic there will be learnings from this, and we’ll get better and we’ll move forward.”

The club will enter the offseason with the same baseball department leadership (front office executives Derek Falvey and Thad Levine) but changes deeper in the organization could be in play. “Derek Falvey is coming back as our president of baseball operations. Thad Levine is coming back as our general manager,” St. Peter said. “We believe in those guys. When you look at the entirety of their body of work, I think they’ve done a great job here.

“They certainly are well respected across our game. I know that based on the conversations I have with other people, other owners, club presidents—and just the sheer number of people that have been plucked from our organization the last five to six years suggests that we’re doing a lot of things right.

“So, I’m optimistic that we have the right leadership in place. But yeah, to answer your question, there will be some changes. I suspect there will be every year…and some of those things are going to be visible to the public; others won’t be, but ultimately…it’s kind of TBD and what those changes will be.”

Falvey announced awhile ago that manager Rocco Baldelli will return next season. St. Peter is also supportive of Baldelli (2019 AL Manager of the Year) but he added that evaluation of the manager’s staff is ongoing.

The Twins’ lost pitching coach Wes Johnson during the season when he decided to return to college coaching. Bullpen pitching coach Pete Maki was elevated to Johnson’s spot. “I think Pete Maki has done a really good job in a really difficult circumstance being thrust into that role midseason,” St. Peter said.

With the season all but over, Spotrac.com reports the Twins have placed an American League-high 32 players on the injured list and have a AL-high 2,344 days missed. How can the Twins be more fortunate in the future? “Yeah, I’ve spent a lot of time in church praying,” St. Peter joked.

No doubt bad luck played a role in sidelining pitchers and position players for short and long durations. But scrutiny will come this offseason with input sought from not only the baseball department but also medical, strength and conditioning experts.

“So, you know that’s something you take a look at,” St. Peter said. “Some of that’s (bad) luck but I don’t think anybody here is suggesting that there aren’t some things we can figure out a way to do better, and ultimately I am confident that will happen.”

The Twins have studied how to keep their players healthy in the past, too. St. Peter points out the 2019 Central Division champion Twins were in large part a healthy group that rolled through the season. Still, he wants to know if in late 2022 management can take even more of a holistic approach to identify ways to prevent injuries, treat ailments more effectively and shorten recovery time while recognizing that every player and circumstance is different.

St. Peter also discussed under performance by the team while declining to identify specific players. He acknowledged the often-maligned bullpen woes fans know cost the team too many wins. Then he talked about the dry spells in scoring runs. For the season the Twins have outscored opponents by eight runs.

“I think offensively we underperformed a lot of the year, and clearly not having your core lineup on the field, particularly over the second half (of the season) had a huge impact on that,” St. Peter said. “Offensively, we need to find ways to generate more runs, and I think that will be a focus of the offseason, whether it’s the incumbent guys coming back, or changes made to our roster aimed at delivering more offense.”

The core that St. Peter refers to includes three rookies who made outstanding MLB debuts. Starting pitcher Joe Ryan, closer Jhoan Duran and first baseman-third baseman-DH Jose Miranda. “I think those three guys have helped us immensely. I can’t imagine where we would be without them.”

Those three are under Twins control for next season, as are other important players such as position players Luis Arraez, Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and starting pitcher Kenta Maeda, but a contract decision looms with star shortstop Carlos Correa who can choose this fall to opt for free agency. St. Peter believes Correa, who the Twins acquired last March, likes the organization and community.

The Twins value how gifted a talent Correa is in the field, at the plate and as a leader in the clubhouse. “He knows how we feel about him, and we’ll see where it goes,” St. Peter said.

St. Peter mentioned three players who could see time at shortstop next season if the opportunity is there. Royce Lewis, Austin Martin and Brooks Lee are high on potential but collectively only Lewis has limited MLB experience.

“Those would be the three guys after Correa,” St. Peter said. “Now it’s also possible we would choose to go to the free agent market and sign somebody. The hope here is that Carlos Correa is playing shortstop for the Twins.”

While Correa is special, Buxton, 28, is the heart and soul of a relatively young team that could become a playoff contender if a lot of things break right next year. Buxton, the often-injured slugger (led the team in home runs with 28) and a superb center fielder, played in only 92 games this season and just once in his eight-year career has he topped that total.

St. Peter is hopeful, though, Buxton can play in 30 or so more games in 2023. St. Peter’s optimistic outlook for next year is also buoyed by the depth he sees among position players and starting pitching. Collectively he calls it deeper than the Twins have had in a long time.

St. Peter foresees an ongoing commitment from ownership to win. He said the payroll of $140 million this year was the biggest in franchise history and he doesn’t see the Pohlads backing off their willingness to spend money.

Win Twins!!
 


BleedGopher

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Five moves the Twins need to make before Opening Day 2023​

1. Make changes to the medical and performance staff. This department already has been restructured since Derek Falvey and Thad Levine joined the organization, including the hiring of Dr. Chris Camp as director of medical high performance. The Twins entered Tuesday leading the American League with 32 players on the injured list and 2,344 days lost because of injuries. Many needed more time than originally believed to recover.

Bailey Ober suffered a groin strain in late April, returned May 21, suffered a setback and didn't return until mid-September. Sonny Gray suffered two hamstring strains and a pectoral muscle strain during the season. Miguel Sano had knee surgery in May then returned to the injured list on July 30 because of left knee inflammation and was never seen again.

Alex Kirilloff has needed two surgeries on his right wrist, and we aren't sure if the second one will work. Randy Dobnak's right middle finger strain goes back more than a calendar year. This looks like more than just a fluke season, injury-wise.

2. Restructure the bullpen. Jhoan Duran had a tremendous rookie season and will be a force in the bullpen for years to come. Make him the closer. Jorge Lopez, who was lights out with Baltimore but scuffled after being traded to the Twins, should be closer 1A, available when Duran needs a break. There are pieces in the bullpen that work. Griffin Jax has been effective. Trevor Megill throws hard and shows promise. Caleb Thielbar is a crafty lefty. And Jorge Alcala should return from his elbow problems.

The way bullpens are managed today — manager Rocco Baldelli isn't the only one pulling starters after five innings — teams such as the Twins need a deep relief corps.

Adding another quality bullpen arm through trade or free agency is paramount. Dropping another high-end arm into the mix would give Baldelli more options to cover the final 12 outs of games. Maybe it's time to bring former Chaska High School star Brad Hand into the fold.

Emilio Pagan should be traded. He's a symbol of the lost 2022 season — especially his June, which featured an 11.43 ERA, two blown saves and playing a role in four losses to Cleveland and one to Detroit.

3. Find another Wes Johnson. The Twins went all-in on analytics when they hired Johnson as pitching coach before the start of the 2019 season. He has a master's in kinesiology, knows biomechanics and the Twins pitching staff embraced his teachings. When Johnson left for LSU at the end of June, the staff ERA zoomed to 5.30 in July. The Twins addressed pitching before the deadline to plug the leak, and bullpen coach Pete Maki filled in for Johnson for the rest of the season.

Now the Twins have a chance to hold a thorough search to fill one of the most important roles on a coaching staff. It would not be a surprise if they find their pitching leader in the college ranks once again.

4. Lock up Luis Arraez. Buy out the final two arbitration years and sign Arraez to a long-term deal. He played in his first All-Star Game this season, is in the hunt for his first batting title, is a great fit in the clubhouse and puts in the work to stay in shape.

5. Continue the never-ending quest for an ace. I count 12 pitchers in the organization who could start a game for the Twins next season. But if they can deal for someone better than all of them — I'm doubting they will offer Jacob deGrom $40 million a year — they should put all their trade chips on the table.


Win Twins!!
 

JimmyJamesMD

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#1 - Realize Falvey rode on someone else's coat tails in Cleveland and fire him
 








forever a gopher

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Translation: "Please don't boo me when I run out of the Visitor's dugout at Target Field next time I am in Minneapolis."
I certainly wouldn't boo him. By all accounts, he was a good teammate and leader on the team. He played an extremely good SS. He was extremely durable. But he was so grossly overpaid for what his offensive production was, I'm not going to cry if he decides to move on, assuming the Twins use that money for a SP.

About a month ago (when they were still in the race), listening to the radio broadcast, Correa was up in a clutch situation. Provus basically said, "This would be a great spot for Correa to get his signature hit as a Twin". He proceeded to pop out. You're paying a guy $35mil, and he had yet to get that clutch hit with a month left in the season.
 


Ope3

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I certainly wouldn't boo him. By all accounts, he was a good teammate and leader on the team. He played an extremely good SS. He was extremely durable. But he was so grossly overpaid for what his offensive production was, I'm not going to cry if he decides to move on, assuming the Twins use that money for a SP.

About a month ago (when they were still in the race), listening to the radio broadcast, Correa was up in a clutch situation. Provus basically said, "This would be a great spot for Correa to get his signature hit as a Twin". He proceeded to pop out. You're paying a guy $35mil, and he had yet to get that clutch hit with a month left in the season.
I wouldn't boo him either, but think it's likely, depending on where he goes.

Also has the Astros/trash can stuff on his resume.
 

Gopher_In_NYC

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Translation: "Please don't boo me when I run out of the Visitor's dugout at Target Field next time I am in Minneapolis."

They should make that a trash can giveaway game
 



Breakin' The Plane

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If Pagan or the third base coach are back next year, just shut the entire organization down. It's obvious at that point they've just given up.
In a season where so much went wrong, the performance of Pagan on the mound and Tommy Watkins in the 3rd base coach's box stood out as particularly awful.
 

short ornery norwegian

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I'm torn on this.

If - and that's a big if - the Twins had a choice between paying $35-million to Correa or $35-million to a really good starting pitcher, I might pick the pitcher.

I base that on this reasoning:

Royce Lewis looked really good in his first taste of MLB-level play. IF his knee is healthy, he has to be in the lineup (and not in the outfield). If Correa comes back, Lewis either has to play 2B or 3B.
That bumps either Polanco or Urshela out of the lineup, and they are both solid players.

So, IF Lewis is healthy, I would rather have him at SS and use the money on the best pitcher they can sign.

Adding a good pitcher strengthens the entire rotation by pushing everyone down a slot - Gray, Mahle, Ryan, Varland. then, you can put Ober and Winder in the bullpen as guys who can come in and throw 2-3 innings if needed. Maeda could also be a bullpen option - he's coming off Tommy John so being in the bullpen would keep his innings down, and if a starter is injured, Maeda can slide into the rotation. close out the pen with Thielbar, Jax, Lopez and Duran. Alcala if healthy is another possible power arm for the pen and Moran could be a second lefty.

the key is this - if Correa does not come back, the Twins have to spend that money to help the team. getting the best starter available might be the best move for the team.
 

tmvander

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Think I'd almost rather spend the money on Correa. I don't think Lewis can be relied upon to be healthy and even if he is he's still super young with not a lot of experience. He might be very good but he might be below average.

Spending $35 mil on a pitcher is what we've always wanted but with this front office the guy will probably only pitch 5 innings a week. I'd rather put the money into someone who is going to play solid defense 5 games a week as well as give you 20-25 solid AB's a week. If that isn't an option I'd take the $35 mil and sign the two or three best available bullpen guys.
 

forever a gopher

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I stopped paying attention because Boston didn't do much this year, but Trevor Story didn't do much this year, other than one crazy few week stretch where he went bonkers. Ended up batting .238/.434/.737 with 16hr/66rbi and a WAR of 2.5. He got 9hr and 32rbi in May alone. So the remaining 5 months, he accumulated 7hr/34rbi. Correa ended up with .291/.467/.834 with 22hr/64rbi and a WAR of 5.4. Story was cheaper, but they're also tied to him for 6 seasons.
 

TruthSeeker

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Think I'd almost rather spend the money on Correa. I don't think Lewis can be relied upon to be healthy and even if he is he's still super young with not a lot of experience. He might be very good but he might be below average.

Spending $35 mil on a pitcher is what we've always wanted but with this front office the guy will probably only pitch 5 innings a week. I'd rather put the money into someone who is going to play solid defense 5 games a week as well as give you 20-25 solid AB's a week. If that isn't an option I'd take the $35 mil and sign the two or three best available bullpen guys.
I think the answer is based upon how many innings they let the ace pitcher throw. If the answer is less than 200, then spend it on Correa because we're clearly not serious about utilizing an ace's ability.
 

GophersInIowa

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If Pagan or the third base coach are back next year, just shut the entire organization down. It's obvious at that point they've just given up.
Crazy thing is Pagan ended up with better numbers than Rogers did. I bet he'll be back, but should be a back of the bullpen guy.
 

GophersInIowa

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I'm torn on this.

If - and that's a big if - the Twins had a choice between paying $35-million to Correa or $35-million to a really good starting pitcher, I might pick the pitcher.

I base that on this reasoning:

Royce Lewis looked really good in his first taste of MLB-level play. IF his knee is healthy, he has to be in the lineup (and not in the outfield). If Correa comes back, Lewis either has to play 2B or 3B.
That bumps either Polanco or Urshela out of the lineup, and they are both solid players.

So, IF Lewis is healthy, I would rather have him at SS and use the money on the best pitcher they can sign.

Adding a good pitcher strengthens the entire rotation by pushing everyone down a slot - Gray, Mahle, Ryan, Varland. then, you can put Ober and Winder in the bullpen as guys who can come in and throw 2-3 innings if needed. Maeda could also be a bullpen option - he's coming off Tommy John so being in the bullpen would keep his innings down, and if a starter is injured, Maeda can slide into the rotation. close out the pen with Thielbar, Jax, Lopez and Duran. Alcala if healthy is another possible power arm for the pen and Moran could be a second lefty.

the key is this - if Correa does not come back, the Twins have to spend that money to help the team. getting the best starter available might be the best move for the team.
Maeda will definitely be a starter if he's healthy.

I believe the only two big name SP free agents we know of for sure are Syndergaard and Kershaw. Multiple other guys like Verlander, deGrom and Rodon can be free agents if they opt out. The more that opt out the better chances teams like the Twins have to land a top end starter.

Lewis won't be ready until mid-season at the earliest next year. Urshela would probably be gone after this next season. No matter what, there should be an opening at 3B or SS in 2024 for Lewis. It'll be interesting to see where they see Lee playing long term.
 

howeda7

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Think I'd almost rather spend the money on Correa. I don't think Lewis can be relied upon to be healthy and even if he is he's still super young with not a lot of experience. He might be very good but he might be below average.

Spending $35 mil on a pitcher is what we've always wanted but with this front office the guy will probably only pitch 5 innings a week. I'd rather put the money into someone who is going to play solid defense 5 games a week as well as give you 20-25 solid AB's a week. If that isn't an option I'd take the $35 mil and sign the two or three best available bullpen guys.
No $35 million/year starter is going to sign with the Twins under this regime. That said, it still might be better to deploy the $35 million over multiple other needs.
 

howeda7

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Crazy thing is Pagan ended up with better numbers than Rogers did. I bet he'll be back, but should be a back of the bullpen guy.
If they tender him, he's going to get $4-5 million in arbitration. If they non-tender him, he's going to get a minor league deal some place with a shot to make the team. Tendering him would be moronic, but I fully expect them to do it.
 

howeda7

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Maeda will definitely be a starter if he's healthy.

I believe the only two big name SP free agents we know of for sure are Syndergaard and Kershaw. Multiple other guys like Verlander, deGrom and Rodon can be free agents if they opt out. The more that opt out the better chances teams like the Twins have to land a top end starter.

Lewis won't be ready until mid-season at the earliest next year. Urshela would probably be gone after this next season. No matter what, there should be an opening at 3B or SS in 2024 for Lewis. It'll be interesting to see where they see Lee playing long term.
Maeda and Ober are locks for the rotation if healthy. That's why I don't see adding a starter as a huge need. Gray, Mahle, Ryan, Ober and Maeda is fine to start with. And Winder, Varland and Woods Richardson in reserve at AAA is good depth. I'm not convinced the Twins can contend in 2023, but if they do, add a starter at the deadline again, just not one that's damaged goods.
 

GophersInIowa

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If they tender him, he's going to get $4-5 million in arbitration. If they non-tender him, he's going to get a minor league deal some place with a shot to make the team. Tendering him would be moronic, but I fully expect them to do it.
Correct. I'm thinking they would non-tender him and try to bring him back for much cheaper. But yeah, we'll see. They seem to have this thinking that they can fix pitchers. I think he just is what he is.
 

GophersInIowa

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Maeda and Ober are locks for the rotation if healthy. That's why I don't see adding a starter as a huge need. Gray, Mahle, Ryan, Ober and Maeda is fine to start with. And Winder, Varland and Woods Richardson in reserve at AAA is good depth. I'm not convinced the Twins can contend in 2023, but if they do, add a starter at the deadline again, just not one that's damaged goods.
Agreed. Obviously if they are healthy, they have a good rotation.

I would really like to see them use a long reliever next year. So they have someone available to go 3-4 innings if the starter is pulled early.

I'm also wondering if they try any of those younger guys in the bullpen as a true reliever.
 
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howeda7

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Agreed. Obviously if they are healthy, they have a good rotation.

I would really like to see them use a long reliever next year. So they have someone available to go 3-4 innings if the starter is pulled early.

I'm also wondering if they try any of those younger guys in the bullpen as a true reliever.
Moving to the bullpen worked for Griffin Jax. I think they might have intended him to be a long man but the rest of the bullpen was such trash he ended up being the 7th/8th inning guy. Sands or Smeltzer would be decent long relief options IMO. Though I think Smelzer might take any chance to get out of town.
 

#2Gopher

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Seems to be more injuries with the Twins than the Vikings and the Wild put together and those are physical sports. I would hope that the Twin's brass sign players with better health records in the future. Some of these guys clearly had a resume with various doctors and hospitals.
 

BleedGopher

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After injuries affected season, Twins aren't planning many offseason changes​


The Twins were tied for first place in the American League Central on Sept. 4, and 14 games behind Cleveland when the season ended four weeks later. As you would expect after witnessing such a meltdown, the team's front office is basing its winter-alterations strategy on that September experience.

The tied-for-first part, they mean. The crash-and-burn-with-fill-ins finish, eh, that wasn't the team they had planned to field anyway.


"I recognize we still want to find a way to get better. But by and large, looking at the roster as is, if you just said, 'Poof, everyone is healthy at the beginning of next year,' I feel like the base is good," Derek Falvey, president of baseball operations, said during a 90-minute season-ending media session Monday. "Now, how do we find ways to add to it? How do we build a little bit more depth in our pitching staff?"

The Twins will still make significant changes, he said — Carlos Correa's likely departure into free agency is the most disruptive potential move, and the 53 players on the roster at season's end must be pared to no more than 40 within the next couple of weeks — but the underlying collection of talent, after a season of handing opportunities to young prospects, is more competitive than a 78-84 record and third-place finish suggests, Falvey said.

"Superficially, sometimes people want personnel changes just because if you make a change, therefore you're trying," Falvey said. "We had to assess whether or not change was needed. But this whole group, we feel like, is the right group to help lead us in the direction we need to go."


Go Gophers!!
 






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