A slow MLB offseason lingered into spring training, but the Minnesota Twins have played things perfectly virtually from the start.
With more data at their disposal than ever, or with an eye on a loaded free agent class next winter, a lot of MLB teams sat on the sidelines this offseason and well into spring training. But the Minnesota Twins have been incredibly active by comparison, pouncing on opportunities when they’ve come.
The Twins jumped from 103 losses in 2016 to the American League Wild Card game last year, amid some clear concerns with their pitching. They had 36 guys make an appearance on the mound for them last year, and 16 of them made starts. To that end, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took steps to stabilize things.
Left-handed reliever Zack Duke was signed way back around Christmas, with Fernando Rodney (one year, $45 million with an option for 2019) and Addison Reed (two years, $16.75 million) to follow in January. The Twins now have two guys with significant closing experience in the back end of their bullpen, following a model that has become common.
Talk of making a big trade for Chris Archer yielded a solid consolation prize, as the Twins dealt from their minor league middle infield depth to get Jake Odorizzi from the Tampa Bay Rays. Jermaine Palacios was not one of Minnesota’s top prospects, and that’s all it took to get Odorizzi for two years before he’ll be a free agent.
The Twins took a flier on Anibal Sanchez, as they continued to look for another starting pitcher. Reports of a rejected “low-ball” two-year, $20 million offer to free agent Lance Lynn surfaced last week, but by the weekend the two sides agreed to a one-year deal worth $12 million.
As Miguel Sano works his way back from offseason leg surgery, while possibly facing a suspension for an off-field incident, the Twins signed Logan Morrison to help fill that power void and add an option to be a designated hitter or play some first base.
Elsewhere, the Twins are taking it slow on long-term contract talks with second baseman Brian Dozier. It’s the right move, with how slow the free agent market was this offseason and as Dozier approaches an age where decline can come quickly.
While other teams have been paralyzed by asking prices and fearful of usurping financial thresholds, the Twins have kept their eyes open and been ready to move when it fit their timeline. The AL Central is there for the taking, with only the Cleveland Indians looking like real competition right now.
Fans may still lament not getting Yu Darvish. But with a methodical, well thought-out approach, the Twins won the MLB offseason when no one was looking.