We've passed another checkpoint in the MLB offseason, as teams around the league had until Friday night to decide whether to tender players facing arbitration this winter.
The Minnesota Twins had a handful of arbitration-eligible players, and ended up tendering seven of them before the deadline passed. Two players weren't tendered, as both Jovani Moran and Ronny Henriquez will become free agents once that portion of the offseason begins.
As for the players the Twins did tender, the next phase in the process is trying to figure out how the seven players who were brought back fit on the books. Minnesota began its offseason by slashing the payroll, something that will put extra scrutiny on every move made while also making the front office's job a little harder than it otherwise could have been.
Money is going to very much be an object this winter, and the reduced payroll begs the question of how big of players the Twins will be in free agency. That's a question that begins to get answered by looking at how much the seven tendered contracts are expected to cost Minnesota unless other moves are made.
Projected salaries for tendered Twins players this winter
In total, the team is likely on the hook for about $18.8 million but that figure could change if players who aren't pre-arb take the Twins to a hearing.
Here's a look at the projected salaries for all seven of the players Minnesota tendered:
The biggest name on the list is Kyle Farmer. Not only is he the most expensive player the Twins tendered, but he someone who will continue to be a central part of the conversation due to his trade value.
It was expected that Minnesota would try to shop Farmer ahead of the deadline on Friday, but the best and most likely option always seemed to be tendering him and figuring things out later. Rushing a trade to fit in ahead of the deadline when the Twins could afford to wait never made a lot of sense and now the front office has time to proceed in one of two different ways.
The Twins could decide to work out a deal with Farmer that brings him back next season. He was a fantastic utility player who is a bit pricey at $6.6 million but would no doubt add value. All of that could also be used to argue why he makde a great trade chip, as the infield market isn't particularly strong this offseason and Farmer will be in demand.
It's a sweet spot for Minnesota to be in, as the team now has potentially three top trade chips to flip this winter. With the payroll reduced and a bleak outlook on free agency, the Twins could be major players in the trade market with Farmer, Jorge Polanco, and Max Kepler as currency.
Farmer is the only player the Twins tendered who is a loose end. Jeffers and Kirilloff were no-brainer tenders, and Nick Gordon and Willi Castro could combine to fill in the gap for Farmer for almost $3 million less. There weren't any surprises with the Twins non-tender/tender decisions, but now the work to start putting together a World Series-contending roster truly begins.