Not much has happened for the Minnesota Twins this winter, but the team is finally -- slowly -- making some progress on addressing the roster. Chasing the most successful postseason run since 2002 by cutting the payroll wasn't exactly ideal, but that hasn't stopped the team from making some meaingful moves.
Granted, the moves are essentially forced deals. The arbitration deadline is this week and teams had until Thursday to reach settlements with eligible players to avoid going to a hearing. Minnesota had seven players to settle with, having tendered them back in November ahead of the deadline to do so.
Six of the seven players reached settlements. and almost all of them will return on cheaper deals than what was projected.
Full details on Minnesota Twins arbitration settlements
Here are the final figures on the settlements:
- Kyle Farmer - $6.05M
- Willi Castro - $3.3M
- Caleb Thielbar - $3.2M
- Ryan Jeffers - $2.4M
- Alex Kirilloff - $1.35M
- Jorge Alcala - $790k
Thielbar is the only player the Twins paid more than expected for, as he was initially projected at $3M and settled for an extra $200k. Ryan Jeffers offset that a bit, agreeing to a $2.4M settlement that was down from the $3.2M projection. Alex Kirilloff was expected to make $1.7M while Jorge Alcala was at $1M -- both came in under that figure.
Twins insider Betsy Helfand, confirmed that the team reached settlements with every arbitration-eligible player except Nick Gordon. That doesn't mean Gordon won't be on the team next year, rather he and the team will now go to a hearing in order to determine what his salary will be next season.
The biggest question was what would happen with Kyle Farmer, who was the most expensive of the Twins tendered players. He was projected to get $6.6M, but Minnesota was able to settle for less on a deal that comes with some strings attatched.
According to Dan Hayes, the Twins gave Farmer what amounts to a two-year deal as there's a $6.25M mutual option for next season. If the team doesn't pick up that option, Farmer will get a $250k buyout and then hit free agency next winter.
It's not the end of the story for Farmer, as trade rumors have surrounded him ever since the topic of tendering him came up back in November. There's really two ways the Twins can proceed: trade Farmer and use him as currency to improve the roster, or keep him and chalk it up to a free agent deal.
Given the structure of his settlement, the Twins basically used the cash it might have spent on a free agent. Farmer's a valuable utility player, so Minnesota can feel good about the deal while bringing back a familiar, productive player rather than spending on an outsider.