Minnesota Twins: Ranking the Twins Four Biggest Needs for 2023
The Minnesota Twins path to contention in 2023 isn’t as hard to achieve as some fans may think. Yes, the team epically collapsed in the final two months of the season, but for most of the season, the Twins were dominating their division. There is no reason that with a little help, they can’t return to that level.
For that to happen though, two things have to happen:
- The Twins need to spend their available cash
- They have to clear out the bottom of the roster trash
The roster has a lot of really good pieces on it. Byron Buxton and Trevor Larnach have All-Star abilities when healthy. Matt Wallner, Luis Arraez, and Alex Kirilloff can nail left field and first base very well. Those five guys have four positions (left field, center field, right field, and first base locked down).
Shortstop is a clear current hole, but Ryan Jeffers, Jorge Polanco, Nick Gordon, Jose Miranda, Gio Urshela, and Max Kepler can fill in as needed at the other spots. On the pitching side of things, Tyler Mahle, Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober make up a strong rotation. The bullpen is a mess, but with Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Alcala, and Jhoan Duran, there are excellent pieces.
The Minnesota Twins have some really good pieces in place, but the team has to fill four key holes before the year begins.
With a solid foundation, the Minnesota Twins need to add in free agency or via trade to help make this team a contender. There’s a lot of good talent, and if everyone stays healthy and plays like they can, this group can win 90+ games with the roster constructed as is.
Unfortunately, as we saw this year, the team can’t rely on health and luck to win. They need depth, and they need it badly. The team simply is not built to contend with the New York Yankees and Houston Astros.
That can be fixed though, starting right now. The team needs to fix their needs, and we’ve got the order with which they must do it. First though, we’ll take a look at two honorable mentions that should be set to go but might use a boost.
Minnesota Twins Needs that Aren’t really Needs
Corner Outfielder: It’s obvious to see that Max Kepler isn’t the answer in right field, as his inability to adjust makes his 2019 seem like even more of a fluke. With that said, the 2023 starter may already be on the roster.
Buxton is going to start again in center again, and after Larnach showed monstrous potential, he should be the starter in left as well. As far as right field goes though, allowing Matt Wallner and Alex Kirilloff to platoon there until one permanently seizes the job is a very good plan. The group could use a boost, but isn’t a NEED.
First Base: Luis Arraez just finished off his first batting title and was named a finalist for a Gold Glove while being forced to play a position he had never played before. Even with his nomination, Arraez shouldn’t be the only first baseman on the roster.
Alex Kirilloff and Jose Miranda are also around, but both have question marks, joining Luis Arraez as first baseman whose ideal positions are elsewhere. This group is a strong one when completely healthy, but the question really is: can they stay that way? We’ll count this one as a luxury, not a need.
Rotation: Minnesota Twins fans often call this one a need, but simply put, it’s a luxury, not a need. Sure, it would be nice to have an ace like a Justin Verlander or Carlos Rodon atop the rotation, but when it comes to the playoffs, an ace isn’t half as important as having a deep bullpen. Ask the Mets. Or the Yankees. Or just about any other team.
Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober are a Top 10 rotation if everyone stays healthy, and now they have Josh Winder, Louie Varland, and potentially Chris Paddack and Jordan Balazovic as depth.
An ace would be a luxury, but the rotation really doesn’t need as much help as it did this past season. Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy are gone, and unless the team can convince an ace to come here, the team doesn’t need another starter.