We're deep into the offseason and the Minnesota Twins have done almost nothing to improve the roster. There's no other way to roll into any conversation about next steps or plans that might come together, because it's painfully true.
That doesn't mean the Twins will go the whole offseason without doing anything, though. Kind of like how the fourth season of The Sopranos was steeped in setup, there seems to be immense levels of calculation to how Minnesota is approaching the offseason.
There's a level of frustration to that, as this is a franchise that has historically kicked the can to set up future moves. A reduced payroll set an anemic tone from the outset, though, as extra emphasis has been placed on cashflow this winter.
All of that has made the arbitration deadline an even bigger deal, as it could set in motion the rest of the Twins offseason plans.
Minnesota Twins Arbitration FAQ
When is the MLB arbitration deadline?
This year the arbitration deadline will happen Friday, January 12, 2024.
It's actually the second deadline for teams to make a decision on arbitration-eligible players. Teams had until November 17th to decide whether to tender or non-tender a player. This deadline is about the players who were tendered, as those players are going to need an independent ruling to determine their salary this year.
Any player who was non-tendered was essentially released rather than get to this stage with their team.
Which Twins players are eligible for arbitration?
Minnesota tendered seven players before the deadline.
- Alex Kirilloff
- Kyle Farmer
- Ryan Jeffers
- Nick Gordon
- Willi Castro
- Caleb Thielbar
- Jorge Alcala
Most of these are no-brainers, but there's some extra texture when it comes to Kyle Farmer. There was some question as to whether or not the Twins wuld tender him based on his high salary projection. That was before the payroll was slashed, so even more pressure was put on the situation after.
The Twins tendered Farmer even after the payroll situation was brought to light, but there's an expectation that he could be traded. It's not that he isn't valuable, rather at his price point the Twins can get almost the same stuff out of guys like Willi Castro, Nick Gordon, and Austin Martin and not have to add as much to the payroll.
Farmer is a good utility player and a bat that teams won't easily find in free agency. If the Twins aren't going to be able to spend in free agency, then adding Farmer as currency is huge.
Projected salaries for the Twins' arbitration-eligible players?
Nothing is official until the hearings happen, but there have been some figures floated around these last few months that the Twins might expect to pay:
- Kyle Farmer - $6.6
- Ryan Jeffers - $3.2M
- Caleb Thielbar - $3M
- Willi Castro - $2.3M
- Alex Kirilloff - $1.7M
- Jorge Alcala - $1M
- Nick Gordon - $1M
Farmer's total is why there's the trade conversation happening. Getting him back at $6.6M is pricey, but also wouldn't be the end of the world if he returned at that price point. It'd essentially be a free agent addition at that point, or at least that's how it could get chalked up.
Everyone else makes sense at those projections. Kirilloff is in a position to earn more based on his season this year, but he's once again beginning the year injured. Ryan Jeffers almost feels like a bargain at $3.2M, while the combination of Nick Gordon and Willi Castro for $3.3M goes back to the Farmer trade arguement as it's literally half of his projected salary.