After another early postseason exit, here are three offseason moves the Minnesota Twins have to make.
The Minnesota Twins won the AL Central for the second straight year this year, and they were easily pointed to as just the team to beat the much-derided Houston Astros in Wild Card Round.
The Twins got the kind of starting pitching they’ve been longing for in the postseason, as Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios combined to allow one run and four hits in 11 innings in Game 1 and Game 2 of the series. But manager Rocco Baldelli had too quick a hook with both guys, and then the bullpen let him down in late innings. At least it wasn’t the New York Yankees that beat the Twins in the postseason this time.
With the two-game sweep at the hands of the Astros, the Twins’ postseason losing steak is now at 18. “The Bomba Squad” offense disappeared in the series against Houston, with a total of two runs on seven hits. Take out Nelson Cruz, and it’s even worse.
The 2021 Minnesota Twins may look a lot different than this year’s crew, with some notable names not coming back one way or another. On that note, here at three moves the Twins must make this offseason.
3 offseason moves the Minnesota Twins must make
3. Let Nelson Cruz Go, If the Price Isn’t Right
Yep, I’m going there. Cruz was the Twins’ best hitter this year (.303/.397/.595 slash-line, 16 home runs in 214 plate appearances). But he’s also 40 years old, and despite his commitment to stay in great shape and be well-prepared/rested the wall will come at some point. His intangible value as a leader also has to be noted.
The Twins made the easy decision to pick up Cruz’s $12 million option for 2020 last offseason. But the decision to keep him around this offseason will not be nearly as clear-cut, with Cruz sure to seek a deal with multiple guaranteed years and the price surely higher. If the National League adopts the DH going forward, Cruz will also have more options upon surveying the market.
The Twins will not be the only team looking to cut some payroll this offseason, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and lost revenue this year. But I prefer to call what they’ll do more likely akin to a reallocation of payroll. Paying a DH who’ll be 41 next year $15 million (or more) per year, over a deal that will likely be at least two full guaranteed years, is simply not a good allocation of reduced resources.