Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Cody's 2016 Twins Offseason Blueprint

Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray, USA Today Sports
Breaking news... The Twins aren't going to win the World Series in 2017. It's going to take time to turn this organization around. Derek Falvey might have packed up some of Cleveland's magical roster dust but even Theo Epstein didn't turn the Cubs around in a year.

Each offseason starts with a plan. Here's my blueprint to get the organization moving in the right direction.

Arbitration Decisions
Trevor Plouffe might be the toughest decision in the group but it makes sense to keep him around. Sano hasn't proven he can be an everyday third baseman. Plouffe provides some Sano insurance and he can be used at other places in the line-up. His name has been part of the hot stove discussion over the last couple years. It wouldn't be a surprise if Plouffe ended up on another team by the middle of the season.

The Twins Daily blueprint included non-tendering Hector Santiago and Brandon Kintzler. I think it makes sense to keep both of them. Minnesota's roster doesn't have an overload of pitching. It would be easy to get rid of both of them and some of it will depend on the other members traded away in the coming months.

Here's the arbitration player rundown:
-3B Trevor Plouffe – $9 million
-SP Hector Santiago – $9 million
-IF Eduardo Escobar – $3.5 million
-SP Kyle Gibson – $2.5 million
-RP Brandon Kintzler – $2.5 million
-RP Ryan Pressly – $1.5 million
Total: $28 million

Dealing Dozier
Brian Dozier's value is never going to be higher. He is the leader of the team on and off the field but the Twins need pitching. Also, Dozier's not likely going to be part of the next winning team in Minnesota so it makes sense to trade him. The Twins Daily offseason handbook names the Mets as a potential trade partner because of their surplus of young pitching. This is where I deal Dozier.

If the Mets come calling with the right package, the Twins will have to listen. Left-handed pitcher Steven Matz has posted a 3.16 ERA through 28 career starts and he's the main piece of the puzzle. There would likely be other prospect pieces involved but Matz is the center of a Dozier swap.

Free Agent Frenzy... Well Not Really
This might be one of the worst free agent classes of all-time. There's not a lot of talent and the second-tier of players is quite a drop-off.  Teams are going to spend money but it doesn't mean it is going to be wisely spent. 

With the Twins deciding to part ways with Kurt Suzuki, there's need to add a new backstop. Former Twins catcher Wilson Ramos will likely get the biggest free agent deal. The Twins Daily plan and Brandon Warne's plan included signing Jason Castro. He's a cheaper option and could help bridge the gap to some younger catchers in the Twins farm system. 

There are no great options and Falvey will have to decide how close Mitch Garver is to being an everyday catcher. With little depth in the catching market, I think Castro finds a bigger deal with a team that is closer to winning. Minnesota will be left with some of the scraps. I give Alex Avila a one-year deal to platoon with John Ryan Murphy. I think Garver should be getting regular at-bats by mid-season. 

The bullpen also needs an upgrade. Names like Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen are going to sign huge contracts. I offer Scott Feldman a two-year deal with some incentives as he has shown some positive signs since joining the bullpen. Who knows? Maybe he turns into a valuable asset that the Twins can trade in the future.

With Dozier gone, I look to add a veteran infield option to help pick up some of the slack. Stephen Drew has played both shortstop and second base and he showed a little upside in 2016. He'd be cheap and would be easily expendable if other in-house options show they are MLB ready.

Here's the rundown of my 25-man roster. Feel free discuss my plan in the comments section.

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