It seemed like this year was going to be one of the best teams in their history. The playoffs were expected, and a run in those playoffs was anticipated. Now, though as our lives are entirely turned upside down, so too might the Twins’ future.
Even though the rest of this post is going to be bellyaching about the Twins’ misfortune, please understand that I know that there are much greater concerns than a baseball team’s attempts to win a pennant, and I fully support baseball’s decision to shut the game down to stave off this pandemic. But I am still going to bellyache.
According to Derek Wetmore at SKOR North, here is the list of players reaching free agency at the end of 2020: Nelson Cruz, Jake Odorizzi, Marwin Gonzalez, Trevor May, Homer Bailey, Alex Avila, Rich Hill, Ehire Adrianza and Tyler Clippard. That guts the rotation, certainly, and starts to erode the bullpen. Worse still, Michael Pineda would be forced to miss part of the 2021 season due to suspension. The starting rotation would confidently consist of only Jose Berrios to start the year.
Josh Donaldson would miss out on what would probably be his best year under contract, and likely becomes increasingly burdensome without being as helpful, and the Twins would not stand to benefit from their expenditure. Everyone would inch closer to free agency on offense, and long term contracts of all sorts would tick down without any baseball.
A team of close knit players may lose some of their chemistry. Loyalty may not be as strong when that free agency does kick in, all after baseball is missed for an entire season. Player development is put on hold, so the immediate backfills may not be as immediate. The momentum the Twins have built in the last couple of years slows down.
2020 was the year the Twins were going for it. Can they rebound if they need to?