We did it! We made it to the offseason, and the hot stove is already warming up. There have been a handful of free agent signings, and two trades, including Drew Smyly being shipped to Texas, and a 5 player extravaganza between the Rays and Mariners. The Twins, expected to be active in the market this winter, have been mentioned in a few rumors themselves.
I’ve put a couple of names in front of readers that I thought would be good fits for the Twins. MLBTR has the Twins tied to a few names on the free agent market. Brandon Warne has a bunch of thoughts on the Twins potential maneuverings this winter, and Twins Daily has a trio of scenarios for the Twins this offseason. All of them involve the Twins making some big decisions, one way or another. Seth Stohs’ most conservative outlook even has the Twins splashing some cash.
Now, just a couple of weeks into the season, the Twins have been tied to a couple of players who sort of fit what the team needs, but not in a terribly exciting fashion. Reports have tied the team to pitcher J.A. Happ and recently released catcher Robinson Chirinos, both in reports from John Morosi.While they are talented players, the Twins’ interest suggests a strategy that doesn’t really align with expectations.
Happ would certainly be an improvement over the current pitching rotation, especially if his 2018 season, and his trends for the last few years weren’t an aberration. But at age 36, how long would he be an effective piece to the rotation? Are the Twins expecting to be competitive this year, or are they willing to bank on Happ to be effective not only this year, but perhaps for a few years into the future? We just saw Ervin Santana flame out one season after the best of his career. The cliff that most pitchers (Bartolo Colon excluded) fall off of is coming soon for Happ.
There are a lot of people who believe the Twins should be in the market for a catcher, some high profile name to take over in a starting capacity. Yasmani Grandal, Wilson Ramos or even JT Realmuto have been thrown around as someone to take over the spot. Jason Castro seems to be out of many prognosticator’s vision of the future, with Mitch Garver and Willlians Astudillo remaining merely as catching depth. Robinson Chirinos is not a high profile player, akin to the dream targets of many fans. So would acquiring Chirinos mean that the Twins see Garver or Astudillo as the catcher of the future? Or conversely, that Garver and Astudillo aren’t in the future plans, and that Chirinos would take over the role of back up?
After a long range view at the trade deadline, these two rumors make the Twins seem narrowly focused on the future. The Twins have a lot of money available and the division looks soft, but they seemed to be preparing for a longer term play during the season. It’s still early, but it seems like this offseason might not take the course most of us were expecting.