It's been a long and slow winter for the Minnesota Twins, but things are finally starting to cook on the hot stove. Not only that, but Spring Training is nearly here which means Opening Day is right around the corner.
Minnesota has been busy recently, trading Jorge Polanco and signing Carlos Santana but work on the roster should hardly be finished getting worked on. Before the Twins think about seriously contending for a World Series, the team needs to make sure the roster is in proper shape to win the AL Central -- something that the lack of movement this winter suggests might not be as easy as it seems.
The Twins are still the best team in the division heading into Spring Training, but we've seen how violatile the Central has been in the past. Minnesota has good pieces in place, but there are still a few things that need to happen to make sure everything is truly in order.
3 moves Twins still need to make before Opening Day
Add platoon depth behind Matt Wallner and Max Kepler
So much has been made about what the situation out in centerfield will be that the corners have been a little neglected. Max Kepler was regularly mentioned alongside Jorge Polanco in trade rumors, but after the market settled and the Twins didn't get involved in free agency, moving him felt a bit shortsighted.
Who plays right field if Kepler isn't there? Furthermore, even with Kepler on the roster who is platooning behind him? The same cane be said over in left field, where right now it's just Matt Wallner and a bunch of question marks behind him. Getting depth behind Byron Buxton is something the Twins need to figure out, but the same goes for making sure there's a good platoon behind Kepler and Wallner.
Minnesota can go about filling in those blanks a few different ways. The easiest and most logical might be to look at what the team has in-house before going shopping for any additions. Willi Castro and Nick Gordon were tendered by the Twins back in November, and they could combine to form a platoon. Having Kyle Farmer back takes some of the pressure off Castro and Gordon needing to factor into the infield situation, as is the expected arrival of Brooks Lee at some point this season.
Lee getting called up could complicate things, though, as he's not on the 40-man roster yet and a corresponding move would need to be made. Could that end up being Castro or Gordon?
Trevor Larnach is also a possibility, as he looked to be a potential everyday left fielder before Wallner edged him out. Larnach was on the roster bubble last spring and it appears he'll be there again but he presents another option to platoon without the Twins needing to add someone.
If free agency is the route the team decides to go, adding someone like Enrique Hernandez or Adam Duvall -- players who can play all outfield positions -- seems like a Twins-y move. The hangup there is that it would cost money the team might be unwilling to add to the payroll and would also mean DFA'ing someone to make room on the 40-man roster.
One way or another, though, the Twins need to figure out what the depth situation behind Kepler and Wallner is before Opening Day arrives.