This site is mostly circling around Alex Kirilloff and Randy Dobnak now, but I suppose in spring, you are left to look to the future, even as the present is very bright.
In an unexpected move, the Twins secured the services of Dobnak for at least the next three years, with team options that could keep Dobnak with the Twins through 2028. The deal is reasonable through the next few years because it buys out his arbitration eligibility. After that, the team has three options that could make the deal more expensive for the team, but would keep Dobnak with the team if the options are exercised.
By unexpected, though, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was a poor move. There was simply no smoke around this deal before it came to pass. Part of the reason was because there were more eyes on Jose Berrios, and speculation as to whether he would sign an extension before the season started. Additionally, the Twins would later announce the opening day roster, which did not include Dobnak in the rotation.
The long term commitment does prove that the Twins view him as an important piece to the future. Dobnak does have a long track record of stepping up when there was an opening in the rotation, and even this year, it seems likely openings will arise. The back of the rotation features veterans with spotty health histories in J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker, while Kenta Maeda has never worked a full season since coming stateside either.
In the unlikely event that Dobnak can’t sustain his development as a starter, his path would more likely follow that of someone like Tyler Duffey or Trevor May. Starters with a good repertoire that became excellent in shorter exposure. The longterm contract isn’t bad for a super reliever either, at least from the Twins’ perspective.
This has been entirely complimentary of the Twins end of the deal, but it’s not hard to see why Dobnak would jump at it either. As everyone has heard by now, his path is not one that would suggest a guaranteed baseball career. His baseball career, and more specifically the decisions of the organization that employs him, has taught him that nothing is guaranteed either.
Still, he was patient, and his faith in the Twins has paid off. Even though he may prefer the stability and regular schedule of a spot in the rotation, he has the stability and regular pay check of a long term contract. The team will give him his chance, and now he can be a little more sure of that.