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The Minnesota Twins 2014 Wish List: Filling Holes at the Winter Meetings

It’s that time of year baseball fans. Starting on Monday, December 9th, GMs, baseball reps, armies of scouts and other personnel will meet in Orlando, Florida for the 2013 Winter Meetings. In addition to the Rule 5 Draft, the Winter Meetings are historically a very active time for Hot Stove rumors and deals since so many GMs are in the same place at the same time. There has already been an uncommon league-wide free agency and trade frenzy before the meetings, including the Twins efforts to shore up their starting rotation, but lots of the top free agents still remain available for hire.

Plain and simple, signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes doesn’t immediately send the Minnesota Twins to the 2014 playoffs. There are still lots of holes in this Twins team, especially from an offensive standpoint, and Terry Ryan remains adamant that he isn’t finished making moves. What’s on the Twins Wish List? What sort of deals help the Twins immediately become a better team? Going into the offseason, most reports agreed that the Twins had $30-40 million to spend for 2014 to return to normal payroll levels. With Nolasco and Hughes signed to $20 million of that number, $10-20 million remain to address additional needs of the team.

Who’s secure around the diamond? Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier have first and second base locked down. The Twins signed Jason Bartlett to a minor league deal to give some competition to Pedro Florimon at short, but hot hitting Eduardo Escobar (.299/.350/.493 in 39 Venezuelan Winter League games) should compete as well. The outfield isn’t too flashy but a rebound year for Aaron Hicks would settle some questions in center. Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham at the corner spots isn’t a great defensive pairing but they should make up for it with their offense and both can serve as DHs when they need rest time.

One of the biggest question marks is the hot corner. The Twins could be pretty conservative with promoting Miguel Sano, especially after seeing Hicks struggle skipping Triple A in 2013, but whoever is playing third is only a placeholder for him. Trevor Plouffe has played enough to prove that he isn’t a capable everyday MLB third baseman so bringing in a veteran 3B could be a logical move for the team if they want to better compete while they wait for Sano.

The other question mark is at catcher. The Twins swung and missed with A.J. Pierzynski and Jarrod Saltalamacchia and decided to fill the spot with their in house options. However, there are some rumors floating around that Ryan Doumit told the team that he doesn’t want to catch anymore, which could complicate the backstop situation. The Twins are still rumored to be talking to free agent catchers like John Buck, after saying they were going in house, so perhaps the Doumit report is true. The Twins might be doing their pitchers a disservice by giving the majority of starts to Josmil Pinto, who needs more time to develop as a game caller and defender.

The Bullpen is solid and the starting rotation finally has some desirable depth to it. Nolasco, Hughes and Kevin Correia have the first three rotation spots, with a healthy Sam Deduno likely earning the fourth spot from his performance last year. A bunch of guys who started games for the Twins in 2013 will battle for the fifth spot but almost all of them could be topped by an above average signing or trade (i.e. Brett Anderson).

Terry Ryan has some money to spend and some holes to fill during the Winter Meetings. What would you do if you were in his position?

What's the Best Way for the Twins to spend their remaining Money?

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Tags: Minnesota Twins Winter Meetings

  • Nick

    Aside from an Ace to anchor the staff, a long-term answer at SS is the biggest need.

  • Micheal Moy

    Get this done Terry Ryan!

    Potential Rotation:

      1.  GARZA           (90 million for 4 years) 18- Million Year One
      2.  NOLASCO      (49 Million for 4 Years)
      3.  P. HUGHES   (24 Million for 3 Yrs)
      4.  CORRIEA       (5 Million 1Year remaining)
      5.  PELFREY       (Resign 12 million for 2 years)
                        $49.25 Million Rotation

    As these 5 have contract that expire our young pitchers will be ready, don’t rush them!

    Versus last year’s rotation top 5 starters in OBA, Walks, and Strikeouts

      1.  Worley / Albers
      2.  Pelfrey
      3.  Correia
      4.  Diamond / Hendricks
      5.  Deduno / Gibson


    We need to spend and get Garza. Ryan loves him. He drafted him. He would improve the rotation to a possible playoff team. I think we can afford to offer Garza:

    We could afford a 4 year deal for 90 million.
    Year 1:        18 million   Year 2:        24million
    Year 3:        24 million   Year 4:        24 million

    Willingham and Correia contracts are gone in 2015. That 12 million will be used for bump in Garza contract in 2015.

    Gibson, May, or Meyer will replace Correia in 2015 rotation making league minimum.

    Hicks will replace Willingham in LF for less than his 7 Million contract. Plus Max Kepler may be ready for LF job by then also!

    DH can be used to rest everyday players in 2015.

    The Twins can be contenders in 2014.

    We have great Defense at 1st Base 2nd Base, and Shortstop with Mauer, Dozier, and Floriman.

    Maybe sign Eric Chavez for 2 years at  7 or 8 million and he platoons with Plouffe and later in the year hopefully with Miguel Sano!

    I hear the Twins are going after Kurt Suzuki to tutor Pinto and help C/DH Doumit. Like Redman was for Mauer.

    I hope the Twins realize this is the year to raise payroll and contend for a title, since we have the All Star Game. They will sellout all season due to everyone wanting All Star Game Tickets.

    So if they are a good team we will have the stadium full of fans. But if we suck again there will be lots of cheap tickets on Craigslist.

    They need to use this season to build the team back up since they will have the ticket sales to support it. Otherwise the All Star Game here is a waste.

    We have tons of number 4 or 5 starters to trade for prospects in A or AA with other teams that can help in next 1-3 years. Someone to supplement the (Grade A Farm system) we have right now!

    GREAT BALANCE of Right and Left in everyday batting order!

    1. Presley/Hicks(LF?)  CF              (L or S)
    2. Dozier                        2B               (R)
    3. Mauer                       1B               (L)
    4. Willingham                DH / LF      (R)
    5. Arcia                          RF              (L)
    6. Doumit                       DH / LF      (S or S)
    7. Plouffe                       3B               (R)
    8. Pinto / Suzuki           C                 (R or S)
    9. Floriman                    SS              (S)


    OF / C                  Herman               (L)

    OF / 1B / DH       Colabello             (R)

    IF                          Escobar              (S)

    IF                          Bartlett                 (R)

    OF                       Hicks                    (S)

    OF / IF                 Mastroianni         (R)

    16 Hitters            (1or 2 can be traded)

    By Trade deadline:

    Trade Plouffe or make him a reserve OF / IF

    Sano at 3B with Escobar as backup or platoon.

    Buxton in CF – We move Presley / Hicks to LF for better defense & Willingham is the full time DH.

    This can be a potent Offense!

    This lineup will find it easier to score runs when they’re not trailing 3 or 4 nothing in the 3rd inning of every game. Because our previous bad Starting pitching.

    These changes improve the Defense.

    1.     Albers (L) / Diamond (L) / Worley (R)  / Pressly (R) / Kris Johnson (L)  (Pirates  trade)
    2.     Thielbar (L) /  Duensing (L)
    3.     Swarzak (R) / Deduno (R) / Kyle Gibson (R) or AAA Rotation??
    4.     Tonkin (R) / Fien  (R) / Shairon Martis (R)
    5.     Burton (R)
    6.     Perkins (L)
    MAYBE:  Rule 5 Draft picks * Right-hander Kevin Thomas from the Cardinals’ Double-A affiliate, he posted a 3.00 ERA with 80 strikeouts and 18 walks in 63 innings between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis last season and Rule 5 Draft pick *  Left-hander Jim Fuller from the Mets’ Double-A affiliate had a 3.24 ERA with 58 strikeouts and 25 walks in 50 innings between Class A Advanced St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton

    (We only need 6 Relievers this year with the new improved rotation this bullpen will not be over used like last year!
    So some of these Pitchers can be sent to AAA for their rotation and / or traded for Left handed 3B to compliment Plouffe and Sano. Or to acquire another lefthander for bullpen.
    Nice job by the Twins grabbing to Guys in Rule 5 Draft that throw strikes and strike people out. What a great new philosophy!!

    Bullpen was all right last year just way over used due to starters pitching the fewest innings in American League