With the release of Twins Daily’s 2014 Offseason handbook in recent days — a steal at $6.95 — it sure seemed like a good time to prepare and release my version of an offseason blueprint.
Basically, the idea is to lay out the offseason as you’d handle it if you were Twins GM Terry Ryan.
To not belabor the point too much longer, here’s mine:
C- Josmil Pinto – $0.5mm
1B- Joe Mauer – $23mm
2B- Brian Dozier – $0.5mm
3B- Trevor Plouffe – $2.0mm (est.)
SS- Pedro Florimon – $0.5mm
LF- Josh Willingham – $7mm
CF- Alex Presley – $0.5mm
RF- Oswaldo Arcia – $0.5mm
DH- Open (see below)** – $5mm
$39.5mm committed to nine hitters
Breakdown: I’m of the belief that it’s time to move Mauer off catcher to mitigate further injury risk. Similarly, I think moving him now saves his legs and prolongs the utility of his bat towards the back end of the contract. That’ll surely seem risky, but I do have a plan at catcher. The rest of the infield is holdover from 2013, with Plouffe eventually giving way to Miguel Sano within the first half of the season. From that point, I think Plouffe moves into a lefty-mashing, corner infield and outfield utility option.
I’m half tempted to move Willingham to DH, and with the DH list I’m about to unveil, it might make sense. Presley will get the keys to centerfield, with Aaron Hicks going to Triple-A to prove that he can overcome his abhorrent 2013. That leaves Arcia pretty much the last man standing for right field.
As for DH, I’m going with the “pick your own $5mm option.” My list contains the following players (with brief notes):
IF Kevin Youkilis (Plouffe insurance at third, should be cheap due to missing 2013, can still *probably* hit)
1B-OF Mike Morse (definite buy-low candidate who has mashed in pitcher’s parks before)
OF David Murphy (coming off a down year, otherwise solid corner outfielder could provide valuable insurance)
Hitter Mark Reynolds (insane raw power, and probably could be had on the low side of $5mm)
CF Franklin Gutierrez (insanely good fielder — can hit at times, as well — whose health woes have quite frankly become quite sad)
UTIL Jeff Baker (oddly good hitter who can play everywhere; might actually be free to sign right now after Rangers DFA’d him)
C- A.J. Pierzynski – $4mm
IF- Eduardo Escobar – $0.5mm
1B-OF Chris Parmelee – $0.5mm
OF- Darin Mastroianni – $0.5mm
$5.5mm committed to four bench bats
Breakdown: That’s right; bring back the bad guy. Pierzynski provides wonderful insurance on Pinto being the next Parmelee (September scorcher), and has shown remarkable durability behind the dish in his career. Starting in 2001, the fewest games Pierzynski has played in a season is 114. The fewest plate appearances he’s taken in that time frame is 407, and both of those marks occurred in that first season. And if there really is a culture crisis in the Twins’ clubhouse, make no mistake Pierzynski would be a good guy to turn that around.
The rest of the bench is pretty unremarkable. Escobar can play all three infield positions west of first, with Parmelee filling in at first and the corner outfield spots and Mastroianni standing in as the backup centerfielder. It’s also easy enough to move these guys around should Hicks or Sano emerge — or re-emerge, as it were — onto the scene.
You’ll also note there’s no Ryan Doumit; I’ve traded him for the best offer. Ostensibly, a C+ prospect.
Cheaper fliers (bench bat-types): OF Tyler Colvin, OF Casper Wells, OF Grady Sizemore, OF Nate McLouth, IF Juan Uribe, IF Brent Lillibridge, IF Casey McGehee.
1. Homer Bailey ($8mm as part of new, five-year deal)
2. Phil Hughes ($8mm)
3. Kevin Correia ($5.5mm)
4. Kyle Gibson ($0.5mm)
5. Colby Lewis ($5mm)
Lewis Insurance (if he isn’t ready): Vance Worley/Samuel Deduno/Scott Diamond ($0.5mm apiece)
$27mm committed to top five starters/$28.5 with big league deals to three contingency pieces
Breakdown: Where did Homer Bailey come from? Well, I’ve traded Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, and additional parts for him (assuming one more decent prospect). Before consummating the trade, I’ve agreed to a five-year, $68mm deal with Bailey which will buy out his last year of arbitration eligibility as well as the next four years ($8-$12-$16-$16-$16). Behind Bailey is Hughes, whom we’ve inked to a two-year, $16mm deal ($8-$8). We’ve also taken a flier on Lewis, who didn’t pitch in 2013 but has a 3.93 ERA, 8.2 K/9, and a 1.18 WHIP in 506.1 innings since he returned from overseas. If he isn’t ready, Worley/Deduno/Diamond are all fine contingency plans. Deduno is supposed to be ready to start the season, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he isn’t.
RHRP: Jared Burton, Casey Fien, Anthony Swarzak, Michael Tonkin, Duke Welker ($6.05mm combined)
LHRP: Caleb Thielbar ($0.5mm)
CL: Glen Perkins ($3.75mm)
$10.3mm committed to seven relievers
Breakdown: There’s plenty of holdover on this unit, which was probably the best thing the Twins had going in 2013. I would non-tender Brian Duensing, which I suspect will be an unpopular move. I think Welker and Tonkin at the very back of the bullpen make for a good mix of high-ceiling guys who can start low on the totem pole and possibly work their way up. I also wouldn’t be opposed to trading any of the three of Burton/Fien/Swarzak.
Starting Lineup – $39.5mm
Bench – $5.5mm
Starting Rotation – $27mm
$82.3mm committed to 25-man Opening Day roster