Minnesota Twins Step No. 4: Hitters to Sign
We’ll make this one quicker because the Twins really don’t have that many positions in the field they need to address. Provided Buxton is re-signed and Larnach is recalled, the outfield is set with Buxton, Kepler, and Larnach being backed up by Brent Rooker, Luis Arraez, Nick Gordon, and Jake Cave.
The infield is also mostly set in stone. If the Twins don’t trade away their key players, a lineup consisting of a combination of Garver, Jeffers, Sano, Kirilloff, Polanco, Arraez, Donaldson, and Miranda will mash. The only issue is the group needs a shortstop.
As we already mentioned, Simmons was a disaster and will be gone. The question for the Twins isn’t an easy one: sign a one-year stopgap to hold the position for Royce Lewis/Austin Martin or sign a big name to a big deal. I’m a strong supporter of the second option.
There’s no guarantee that Lewis OR Martin can stay at shortstop long term. Defensive questions have been raised about both players sticking at the position and they have offensive question marks as well. If you add an elite shortstop, you’re setting yourself up for more surefire success.
If Lewis and/or Martin become the players we thought they could be, then we have a star shortstop and two other great talents. The Twins could easily drop about $45 million on Buxton and a shortstop and have one of baseball’s best lineups and still spend $50 million on pitching.
They’d be roughly at a payroll of $150 million at that point, $30 million more than now. That’s not a huge jump considering the fact that the Pohlads have shown a willingness to spend if contending (ranked 10th, 9th, 11th in Payroll from 2010-2012). It would also put the Twins in the 9th-12th range league-wide, which is a doable number.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, who to add? Carlos Correa is at the top of the market, and despite reported interest, he’s likely going to fetch upwards of $30 million a year. Instead, Marcus Semien has earned himself a $20 million payday and seems to be a shade behind Correa, Corey Seager, and Trevor Story. Bringing him in after interest last year would solidify the offense and make this lineup a true threat.