It's an important offseason for the Minnesota Twins, which feels like an understatement.
For the first time in nearly two decades, the Twins won a playoff game and did it in a way that suggests a new chapter is about to be written for the franchise. Demons were exorcised and the Twins purged the dark cloud that has been hanging over everyone since 2002.
While Minnesota ultimately lost in the ALDS, the general feeling around the team is that the future is now.
Royce Lewis was a revelation, Carlos Correa showed why the Twins gave him the richest contract in team history, and Pablo Lopez blossomed as the ace Minnesota has been searching for since his idol Johan Santana left.
It was as thrilling a postseason run as Twins fans have seen in decades, but the work is only just beginning. If Minnesota wants to build on the success of this year, moves will need to be made this offseason to reinforce the roster in a number of key spots.
The front office will remain diligent in being smart about how it builds a potential World Series roster, but all indications seem to be that the Twins will be buyers this winter and signing big name free agents are not off the table.
Twins named a top landing spot for Cody Bellinger
One name already being linked to the Twins is former NL MVP Cody Bellinger.
In a piece looking at the Top 10 landing spots for Bellinger, Bleacher Report's Zachary D. Rymer mentioned the Twins as a potential fit.
"The plan, for now, is to have Byron Buxton back in center field in 2024 after persistent knee issues limited him to designated hitter duty throughout 2023. But if the Twins lose faith in that idea, they might just have the payroll flexibility to mount a pursuit of Bellinger," Rymer wrote.
This is a feeling that will fade as the offseason progresses, but it's very much alright to bask in the glory of the Twins popping up on a list like this. Minnesota was trolled over the idea the front office thought it could re-sign Carlos Correa, and less than a calendar year later a big-name free agent is being linked to the team.
It's not the first time Bellinger has been mentioned with the Twins, as he was a potential target back at the trade deadline. Nothing ended up happening but it makes as much sense now as it did then in terms of how Bellinger can help fill out the roster.
He'd be a natural fit in center, and would be a pricey evolution of the plan Minnesota rolled out last season with Michael A. Taylor. If Buxton needs to miss time in the field again, replacing him with Bellinger is a pretty nice option to have.
Perhaps most impactful would be how Bellinger can help the Twins depth at first base. Alex Kirilloff got some fantastic news about his recovery time from shoulder surgery, but there are legitmate questions about his health. Minnesota signed Donovan Solano to massage a similar situation last season, and Bellinger would do the same next year.
He won't come cheap, which is the main hangup with considering the Twins as a landing spot. He has a $25M option with the Cubs that he's expected to decline, which means he's going to parlay an excellent season in Chicago into a fat long-term deal this winter.
Minnesota already has $300M tied up between Buxton and Correa, and there's going to be an extension at some point over the next few years for Royce Lewis if all keeps going well. Add in the $73.5M Pablo Lopez is being paid over the next four seasons and the payroll starts to look unlike it has in the past.
Bellinger is projected to earn $300M on his next deal, which would balloon the Twins payroll like we haven't seen before.
He makes sense on paper and fills multiple roles the Twins are seeking to address this offseason, but the price tag might be a bit out of range.