The Minnesota Twins set a single-season record for home runs in 2019, but could they add even more power to the lineup for this year?
On their way to a 101-win season in 2019, the Minnesota Twins set a single-season major league record with 307 home runs. Five players hit more than 30 home runs, led by Nelson Cruz’s 41, and eight guys topped 20 home runs.
If that wasn’t enough power to fit the “Bomba Squad” moniker, the Twins signed third baseman Josh Donaldson in their most significant move of the offseason. Donaldson rebounded from an injury-riddled 2018 campaign to hit 37 home runs and drive in 94 for the Atlanta Braves last year. The power-rich indeed got richer, somehow.
As optimism there will be some form of a 2020 MLB season seems to be growing, is there anyone the Twins could add to hit even more home runs this year?
The top remaining free agent when spring training shut down was outfielder Yasiel Puig. He hit 24 home runs over 555 at-bats with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians last year, so he would provide a solid power boost to any lineup. But this week Puig has been linked with a move to the San Francisco Giants and anyway the Twins are pretty well set in the outfield, with Max Kepler, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario in right, center and left. Among extra outfielder types, even on a minor league deal, Melky Cabrera could be an option.
Catcher Mitch Garver hit 31 home runs in 93 games last year, and he’s in line for a stronger percentage of the playing time this year. Alex Avila was signed to replace Jason Castro as Garver’s backup, but he’s not an offensive threat. The Twins don’t really need another backup catcher, but name-brand veterans Brian McCann and Russell Martin are available.
Miguel Sano is moving across the diamond to first base to accommodate Donaldson, and both guys will get occasional time at DH when Cruz gets a rest. Marwin Gonzalez (15 home runs in 2019) will fill in at multiple positions, and he’ll surely play first or third when Rocco Baldelli shapes his lineup that way.
Second baseman Luis Arraez has shown he can be a fine major league hitter, but he’s not a power hitter (four home runs in 326 at-bats last year). Among available middle infielders, former Cub Addison Russell is still just 26 and could be worth taking a flier on.
The Twins would be looking at very narrow margins to add power to an already powerful lineup. Beyond churning the depth of the 40-man roster at this point, any addition at all is unlikely.