How Dodgers signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto impacts Twins offseason plans

Things might finally start moving for the Minnesota Twins.

World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan
World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Mexico v Japan / Eric Espada/GettyImages

Another massive offseason domino fell on Thursday night, as Japanese sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto finally agreed to a deal.

It was the Los Angeles Dodgers who reeled him in, handing Yamamoto a 12-year, $325 million contract. That was an offer that bested both the Mets and Yankees, and means the Dodgers have now sunk $1 billion into two free agents. Between Shohei Ohtani and Yamamoto, Los Angeles is on the hook for more than the total franchise value of the Arizona Coyotes, and more than the payroll of the entire AL Central combined.

Yamamoto signing with the Dodgers also has an impact on the Minnesota Twins.

We’ve been waiting all winter for the Twins do something — anything — to help improve a talented roster. Rather than chasing the most successful postseason since 2002 by making offseason moves, the Twins slashed their payroll and promptly bowed out of their place in line for free agency.

By comparison, the Kansas City Royals are having the type of offseason the Twins were expected to have, but instead the front office’s hands are going numb from sitting on them for so long.

That might change now that another massive domino has fallen.

Dodgers signing Yoshinobu Yamamoto means the Twins might finally see some action

There’s a big picture impact of Yamamoto signing with the Dodgers that sees it impact the Twins as a potential World Series matchup. To get there, though, Minnesota has to find ways to replenish a roster that has been sliced up so far this winter.

With Yamamoto off the market, things might finally start moving.

Minnesota’s payroll situation remains unpleasant, but free agency isn’t the only way the team can made meaningful additions to the roster. Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler have both been routinely mentioned in trade rumors, and are valuable currency the Twins can use to acquire starting pitching help.

That’s seemingly been the plan from the start, as Kepler and Polanco have been mentioned by MLB insiders as players teams will value due to the shallow depth of the free agency pool of second baseman and corner outfielders. The New York Yankees trading for both Juan Soto and Alex Verdugo further moved the market in the Twins favor, and Yamamoto signing means the starting pitching market might start moving as well.

Blake Snell remains a pipe dream’s pipe dream for the Twins, but now that Yamamoto is in Los Angeles it seems likely that the NL Cy Young winner will be the next hottest commodity. Tyler Glasnow also being off the market increases the chances that Snell is the next big domino to fall, and behind him the rest of the market should follow. Mid-tier starters have already started to sign, but the Twins might be able to sneak into the trade market while everyone else is preoccupied with the likes of Jordan Montgomery and Marcus Stroman.

Don’t count out the possibility that either of them ends up in Minnesota.

It’s unclear what the Twins next move will be, but the need to replace Sonny Gray is abundantly clear. It first felt like everyone was waiting for Ohtani to sign before making a move, and then it was waiting for Yamamoto. Now that both of them are off the market, thigns should start moving and the timing couldn’t be more perfect for the Twins.

Minnesota has waited until after the New Year to make its big moves the last few seasons. Sonny Bray was acquired in March, Pablo Lopez was acquired in Janruary, and Carlos Correa signed a few weeks after the calendar turned over. We see t o be approaching the Twins sweet spot of the offseason, and the market is primed to move in their favor.

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