Squinting is no longer necessary when looking for the MLB offseason — it’s right in front of us and almost here.
With arbitration and Rule 5 protections getting checked off the To Do list, teams are buckling up for what should be a rush of action after Thanksgiving as Hot Stove SZN truly heats up. For the Minnesota Twins, the trade market seems to be where most of the action will take place, but there’s still some intriguing free agent options worth discussing.
After all, what fun is the rumor mill if you don’t let its breeze flow through your hair?
One area the Twins will focus on is pitching. Last year pitching was a strength for the first time in what feels like forever, but the Twins are set to lose a Cy Young finalists this winter. Sonny Gray is expected to leave in free agency, and Minnesota will have its work cut out in trying to replace his innings and production.
Twins predicted to land Marcus Stroman to replace Sonny Gray
In a recent piece looking at the starting pitching market this winter, Bleacher Report predicts the Twins will land Marcus Stroman on a pretty affordable deal. While a few different figures were tossed out, the prediction settled on the Twins giving Stroman a three-year, $60 million deal.
“Given the combination of injuries and poor performance in the second half of 2023, it's a little surprising that Stroman didn't just take the $21 million player option to stay with the Cubs. At 32 years old, though, he might feel like it's now or never for a long-term contract. And given how impressive he was in the first half of this past season, he just might get a repeat of the three-year, $71 million deal he signed two years ago,” Miller wrote.
It might seem like a lot for a team that just slashed its payroll, but a few things about this line up.
First off, Stroman makes sense as a target. He was plagued by injuries in the second half of the season, finished the year with a 3.95 ERA and logged just under 140 innings with the Cubs. He seems primed to be he type of bounce back candidate the Twins like to gamble on, and would slot nicely behind either Pablo Lopez or Joe Ryan in the rotation.
The money makes sense, too. Minnesota is going to lose Sonny Gray, but those hoping he comes back have thrown out three years and $60 million as something that would make sense for the Twins. Gray is probably going to get a lot more than that, but if there’s already comfort in spending that sort of money then using it on Stroman is logical.
Stroman will have other suitors in free agency, but he’s beyond the point in his career where he can go to a bad team and wait out things getting better. Coming to Minnesota would give him a nice long-term deal, a chance to compete for a World Series, and a place where he could follow in the footsteps of Gray by rediscovering what made him special in the first place.