It's been a better offseason in Minnesota than most Twins fans expected, but there's more work that needs to be done with the roster before Opening Day arrives.
Minnesota needs to replace Arraez in the lineup, the only question is how will that happen? The default is to look at the remaining free agents and see who might be able to replace some of what Arraez brought to the table, but that's fool's gold. The Twins are simply not going to be able to replace an All-Star batting champ this late in free agency, and the shallow pool of talent reflects that.
The top two options Minnesota could entertain are Luke Voit and Yuri Gurriel -- two players with some upside but a lot of risk. Voit is a burly slugger with 30-plus home run potential but is two years removed from above average production and can't hit lefties to save his life; Gurriel puts the ball in play and is a vibes guy but is unplayable against righties and lost over 100 points off his slugging percentage last season.
Gamble doesn't even begin to describe what the Twins would be taking by betting on either of those two to come in and help at first base.
The topic of what the Twins might do at first base was touched upon by Aaron Gleeman in his weekly mailbag over at The Athletic. While free agent options exist, the solution to Minnesota's problem might already exist within its own clubhouse.
Specifically, Joey Gallo could see his value to the lineup increased:
"Expect to see lots of Joey Gallo at first base, especially if Alex Kirilloff struggles to get back on track following season-ending wrist surgeries in 2021 and 2022. Gallo is a two-time Gold Glove-winning corner outfielder, and that’s where the Twins would prefer to deploy him, but he also played some first base early in his career with the Rangers and is considered very good there as well."- Aaron Gleeman, The Athletic
Gallo could technically be categorized as free agent help since he was signed in late December, but he's already here and we're not going to split hairs. Using Gallo in an increased role at first base would mean not having to use funds to gamble on a Luke Voit or Yuri Gurriel, and could help make his addition to the roster even more impactful.
Gleeman also mentions Jose Miranda as someone who could help platoon at first if needed, since he spent a bulk of his rookie season there. But if part of keeping the move in-house is to increase the value of guys who are already here, Max Kepler needs to be mentioned.
It seemed a matter of when -- not if -- Kepler was going to be traded this offseason, but he remains on the roster with Spring Training right around the corner. He might still get moved, depending on what the trade market looks like as the season approaches, but it's looking like he'll be on the Opening Day roster and in a position to bounce back from some offensive lulls.
Using guys like Gallo, Kepler, Miranda or others also allows the Twins to not turn over anymore of the roster. If a free agent bat is added to help at first would mean needing to cut into some of the Twins depth and potentially put guys like Nick Gordon and Ryan Jeffers at risk.