The Minnesota Twins front office has made additions in a way this offseason that positions them to be able to make a splash before the 2019 season.
The Minnesota Twins had rumors surrounding them all this offseason that made it sound as if they were ready to make a big free agent addition before this coming 2018 season. Now that spring training is upon us it seems clear that the Twins had their eyes set on Yu Darvish and Yu Darvish alone. When Darvish chose the Cubs it left the Twins without that big free agent splash.
Not landing Darvish caused the Twins to pivot to some other signings that are still great signings, and the nature of the deals gives the Twins financial flexibility to make some moves this upcoming offseason. The 2018-2019 offseason features a free agent class that has been touted as a historical great class based on the high end talent potentially available. Since 2019 has always been a perceived window of competition for the Twins they might be ready to make some significant signings in advance of 2019.
Unless the Twins make a trade or signing yet this season that brings in additional payroll, according to spotrac.com the Twins only have 4 guaranteed contracts worth $37.7 million in 2019 and two options represented by Ervin Santana and Fernando Rodney. With the likes of Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer coming off of the books a lot of money is going to be available to be spent.
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There is a chance that through arbitration alone the Twins could begin adding a lot to payroll based on how some of their young players perform in 2018. Since many of the contracts this offseason came in the form of one-year deals outside of Addison Reed‘s two-year deal, the front office even with those increases through arbitration should still have plenty of money available to spend as they try to recruit free agents to come to Minnesota.
The Twins do clearly have to make decisions on their own free agents in Mauer and Dozier, but they are in a position where by the end of the season they could be able to let both walk depending on the development of some minor league players and the addition of Logan Morrison last week. Depending on how Miguel Sano continues to develop defensively Manny Machado could be an intriguing option for the Twins from a position player standpoint. If the Twins plan to splash next offseason, the position they need to do so at is starting pitching.
The Twins will be able to first look at the possibility of bringing back Santana. He may still be a solid pitcher, but he isn’t an ace now and as he ages will only fall further away from that threshold. Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros is the headline name in this upcoming free agent class that the Twins could try to lure their direction. Patrick Corbin could still be a trade target come July, but could also be a free agent target next offseason. David Price could opt out of his contract, while he has had injury concerns as of late he would still be a great addition as the Twins look to bolster their rotation.
Ultimately, the only way any of this is possible is by Twins proving in 2018 that Minnesota is a place that free agents should want to sign. That means the current club needs to build on their performance in 2017. The front office didn’t settle for some potentially mediocre and financially handcuffing moves this offseason, making a big free agent signing before 2019 still a possibility.