Now that the Minnesota Twins season is officially over, the work to start building back better in 2024 begins.
The bar has officially been set higher than it ever has before, with the Twins snapping the miserable 18-game losing streak this October. Simply winning a playoff game, or even a series, isn't enough and success is going to be defined much differently next year.
Minnesota has some top-line decisions to make, like how seriously it pursues bringing back Sonny Gray and adding to the pitching staff. There's also the increasingly important question of how to replace an injured Alex Kirilloff that must be answered, as well as making a call on how to use what could end up being roughly $50M in payroll.
Small ball has always been the way of life in Minnesota, but moving to sign Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa to a combined $300M over the last year has moved the needle a bit. There's drama with Sinclair and Bally Sports North that could impact revenue -- and therefor the payroll -- which is something to keep an eye on.
Even if the Twins end up with new stream of TV revenue, they'll likely still have to make some tough payroll decisions as the team figures out how to best spend in free agency this winter. That probably means, like the Ely radio station, it's the end of the road for a few guys.
3 Twins who who could be payroll casualties this offseason
This would be a tough one for Twins fans, but it might be that Nick Gordon's time with the team has come to an end.
Gordon fractured his leg back in May and missed the entire season after being moved to the 60-day IL shortly after. He won over the hearts of Twins fans for his dugout antics while cheering on the team in the playoffs and riling up the crowd, but that's the biggest impact he had all season.
To be fair, that injury didn't help but in the meantime, the Twins might have found other guys to plug into his utility role. Willi Castro essentially became what Gordon was in the lineup and he's likely going to be back in 2024. There's also a potential influx of young talent coming up from the minors that might spell the end of Gordan by way of needing his roster spot. Brooks Lee will be a hot name tossed out among fans, but Austin Martin, Simeon Woods Richardson, and Matt Canterino all make logical sense as guys who could start the year in the Majors. Jose Salas has an ETA of 2024 according to MLB.com's prospect rankings -- which seems a bit quick -- but he's another guy who could fill Gordon's shoes.
What might work in his favor is the fact that he's only due $1M, and that might be enough for the Twins to bring him back. He might not be a key piece of the future core, but he has value and it's a matter of whether Minnesota sees enough in that versus what the team has coming in the prospect pipeline.