A few major offseason boxes have been checked: the Winter Meetings are behind us and Shohei Ohtani has signed a historic free agent contract. Even Juan Soto has been traded, which means the hot stove is about to heat up in a pretty big way.
For the Minnesota Twins that means finally embarking on their quest to fill some roster holes this winter.
Starting pitching is by far the biggest need area the Twins need to address. After losing Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda in free agency, Minnesota must find a way to ensure that pitching remains a strength like it was last season.
With a reduced payroll, it could be that the Twins look to the trade market to find a front-line starter. Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco are valuable trade chips, but it's unclear exactly what sort of return they'd net.
Somthing that is clear is that the Twins aren't alone in trying to add a top starter. In fact, they're not even the only AL Central team on the prowl now that the market is about to truly open up.
Twins Rumors: Surprise AL Central team interested in Marcus Stroman, Lucas Giolito
According to MLB insider Jon Heyman, the Kansas City Royals are looking at the starting pitching market and have guys like Marcus Stroman and Lucas Giolito on their radar.
It's a little annoying to hear that the Royals are in on the market because both of those pitchers make sense as targets for the Twins. They might not end up in Kansas City, but the fact that there's anther team getting involved to potentially drive the price up is less than ideal.
Of course, the Twins plans for starting pitching are a safely guarded secret. We have a general idea of what they're going for, but the exact plan of attack is unknown. Adding a pitcher via trade makes the most sense, and is starting to become the main talking point when mentioning making an addition.
Getting a guy like Giolito on a cheaper make-good deal could be a route the team takes as well. Minnesota loves to try squeezing the last bit of juice out of veteran players, and Giolito is still onl y 29-years-old.
Nobody but Derek Falvey and Thad Levine know what the plan is, but this latest report is a reminder that the Twins aren't alone in the market and can't drag their feet for too long.