The Winter Meetings came and went without the typical frenzy of activity we’re used to seeing.
It wasn’t completely quiet on the Nashville front, with Juan Soto finally getting dealt to the Yankees, but it was surprisingly dull. For everything that was made about potential moves the Minnesota Twins could make, the only moves the team made were in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft.
Max Kepler wasn’t traded, Jorge Polanco wasn’t flipped, and the team still hasn’t added anyone in free agency or replenished its starting pitching.
The offseason is longer than the Winter Meetings, though, and the Twins usually aren’t at the front of the line anyway. Work still needs to be done, and there are some key decisions that must be made now that we’re deep into winter and the Hot Stove is starting to heat up.
3 overs Twins need to make now that Winter Meetings are over
Acquire a starting pitcher
This is by far the biggest and clearest offseason need for the Twins, one that everyone has known for a while must be addressed.
For the first time in what felt like forever, pitching was a strength for Minnesota last year but meat is already getting picked off that bone. Kenta Maeda left to sign with the Detroit Tigers while Sonny Gray parlayed his Cy Young runner-up season into a three-year, $75 million deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. Even the coaching staff is getting poached, as the Boston Red Sox hired minor league pitching coordinator Justin Willard to a high-level role with the team.
All of that is an endorsement of the system Minnesota has, but it also heightens the importance of properly replacing the things have been working. Gray leaves the biggest hole, and it sounds like the Twins aren’t afraid to chase a ‘front-line’ starter to replace him. Only one big name pitcher ended up signing a deal during the Winter Meetings, with Eduardo Rodriguez signing a four-year, $80 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. There were rumblings about a Tyler Glasnow trade, but only the Cubs and Reds were mentioned as suitors at the time.
If the Reds are a top team trying to land Glasnow, there’s no reason the Twins can’t get involved. He checks so many boxes, from his 1.083 WHIP to a 2.91 FIP and 2.0 WAR, he feels like the kind of starter who can form a tandem with Pablo Lopez at the front of the rotation.
Miami also might be a trade partner — again. There were rumors that the Marlins are looking to offload their top pitching, which could bring two teams that worked together so great last year back together for another deal. Max Kepler was a name tossed out last year as a potential piece of a trade package and it might be worth revisiting those talks.
It’s frustrating that the Twins didn’t get involved in anything after being hyped up as players in the trade market, but it’s not surprising. Historically the front office has let the market settle before jumping in, and things overall were pretty boring and slow at the Winter Meetings. There’s pressure to replace Gray and Maeda, and to ensure that pitching remains a strength, and these next few weeks will be key to setting something up.