Minnesota Twins: With the season circling the drain, what comes next?

Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli celebrates their win over the Kansas City Royals. (Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports)
Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli celebrates their win over the Kansas City Royals. (Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Minnesota Twins
Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Emilio Pagan throws a pitch against the Kansas City Royals (Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) /

Minnesota Twins End of Season Checklist Item No. 2: Start cleaning out the trash on the Roster.

If the team is going to make some noise next season, they have a lot to do as the season winds down. The Twins have a very solid base roster for 2023, but that doesn’t mean there’s a lot that’s got to go.

The rotation will be lead by a healthy quartet of Tyler Mahle, Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda, and Joe Ryan. Those are two high-end No. 2 starters (Mahle and Gray), a very good No. 3 (Maeda), and a good No. 4 (Ryan). They’re followed up by Bailey Ober, Louie Varland, Josh Winder, and eventually Chris Paddack.

That’s great depth, and despite not having a true ace, that’s a rotation that could get you to at least 90 wins next year. If you add an ace like Carlos Rodon, that’s an untouchable staff, but first, you need to clear out some junk.

Aaron Sanchez, Dylan Bundy, Devin Smeltzer, and Chris Archer will all need to be released or DFA’d as soon as possible. While Bundy, Smeltzer, and Archer have been decent in stretches, no team that’s in contention should see these players pitch as much as they have or even be on the roster. They have to go.

In the bullpen, Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax, and Caleb Thielbar are three high-quality arms that need to be built around. Jorge Lopez and Jorge Alcala will be back, so hopefully both look good to go next season. That’s five relievers, and assuming two of Ober, Varland, and Winder are your long relievers, there’s not a lot of room left for others.

Jovani Moran and Cole Sands have looked good in stints, so before any other additions, that clears up who needs to be gone by next season. Danny Coulombe, Cody Stashak, Austin Davis, Trevor Megill, and most importantly Emilio Pagan gave to go.

Megill looked good in spurts, but the Twins can upgrade. He’s not a good reliever. Austin Davis should never have been in a Twins uniform anyway. I like both Coulombe and Stashak, but both can’t stay healthy or produce consistently. If they can find a way to remain in AAA, that would be ideal. That leaves Pagan.

I’ve already talked ad nauseum about Pagan, but he clearly has to be gone from this team. He has great stuff, but if he can’t locate it, it’s not worth it to continually forcing the issue. He should be designated for assignment the second the season ends. That would clear up the arms after this season ends.