Monday, October 10, 2016

Out With The Old

Photo Credit: Brad Rempel, USA Today Sports
Veteran players can be the key to a winning team. Their experience can be valuable during season's most imperative moments. However, the Twins are a long ways away from being relevant in the American League. This might mean it is time to clean house of veteran bats that are taking playing time away from younger players.

On Monday, Nick ran through some of his ideas about how to revamp the Twins pitching staff. One of those ways could be to jettison some veteran players that have been part of Minnesota's culture of losing. 

Derek Falvey, Minnesota's new chief baseball officer, will be at the helm for plenty of changes in the years to come. The following names might be just a few of the players he will be looking to deal as he takes the reigns this off-season.

Trevor Plouffe
Over the last couple of seasons, Miguel Sano's emergence has meant that Plouffe's name has swirled around the rumor mill. Plouffe is coming off one of his worst MLB seasons and he still has one more year of arbitration eligibility. He was limited to under 115 games for the first time since 2011 as he battled through a groin injury, a cracked rib, a strained intercostal, and a strained oblique. It might be best for Plouffe to prove he is healthy in the first half of 2017 and then he could be dealt closer to the trade deadline. This would mean Sano and Plouffe would have to split time at third base and designated hitter.

Brian Dozier
Dozier is coming off a record breaking season where he set the American League record for home runs by a second baseman. His trade value is the highest it will likely ever be in his career. Dozier will turn 30 next May and the Twins have him under contract for an average of $7.5 million per season. With multiple years of team control and a team friendly contract, there could be multiple suitors looking for a veteran bat. I've been critical of Dozier's defense in the past but other team's might be able to look past his flaws because of his monster power numbers from a middle infield position.

Joe Mauer
When Mauer signed his eight-year deal to stay in Minnesota, no one had any idea that he wouldn't play catcher after the 2013 season. There are now two years remaining on his contract and there have been few flashes of the Mauer of old. On August 16 of this season, Mauer was hitting .284/.384/.417 before injuring his right quadriceps in that game. While playing through the injury, he strained his other quad and ended up batting .146/.255/.244 the rest of the way. No team is going to willingly take Mauer unless the Twins eat most of the contract. He's not getting any younger as he turns 34-years old near the beginning of next season. Mauer probably can't be moved at this point but it might start coming to the point where he's taking at-bats away from younger players.

Ervin Santana 
Twins Daily recently named Santana as the Twins' "Pitcher of the Year." When the team has the worst pitching staff in the American League, this isn't a huge honor but there were flashes of brilliance from Santana in 2016. His best stretch of pitching was in the middle of the season and this lead to plenty of trade rumors. From June 19 through August 21 (11 starts), he posted a 1.79 ERA with two complte games and one complete game shutout. Minnesota's biggest weakness is starting pitching so it's tough to imagine the team dealing away Santana unless they are getting some young pitching in return. He is signed through the 2018 season and it seems likely that he won't finish his current contract in a Twins uniform.

There's a very good chance that none of the players mentioned above will be on the next winning team in Minnesota. Dozier and Santana seem like likely options to be traded while Plouffe and Mauer's value might be too low this winter. Even if all of these players are on the Opening Day roster, it's time to start moving out with the old and in with the new.

Who will be on the roster when spring rolls around next year? Could any of these players bring back a decent prospect or two in return? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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