Twins general manager Terry Ryan met with the media today to discuss the team’s upcoming offseason. Some highlights from his wrap-up and other notes on the Twins…
- As Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press writes, Ryan said he will be open to the idea of making an upgrade behind the plate. The GM noted that starting catcher Kurt Suzuki had a down season but also praised Suzuki for his durability. However, he wouldn’t commit to being satisfied with the team’s current catching situation in 2016. “Let’s not get into that,” Ryan said. “Let’s see what happens. If there’s a catcher available that we think can help this club, we’ll look at it. Kurt can improve, as can almost every offensive player we have.”
- Berardino adds within that report that the Twins made an effort to acquire A.J. Pierzynski from the Braves this summer but couldn’t strike a deal. He also reminds that the Twins tried to bring Pierzynski back to Minnesota on a two-year deal prior to signing Suzuki in the 2013-14 offseason. It stands to reason that the Twins will have some level of interest in Pierzynski again this winter.
- In a separate piece, Berardino tackles the issue of whether or not Torii Hunter will return next season. The 40-year-old Hunter has said previously that he wants to retire with the Twins, but he’s also expressed that he isn’t interested in a limited role. Ryan said today that he hopes to meet with Hunter sooner rather than later to discuss his future. “I don’t think the day after the season ends is the right time for him to make that conclusion,” said Ryan in reference to Hunter’s future and all of the factors that will weigh into it. Hunter said he planned to know by Thanksgiving whether or not he’ll play another year, writes Berardino, but Ryan understandably doesn’t want to wait that long and said he’ll discuss situation with Hunter “fairly soon.”
- MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger has a full rundown of Ryan’s comments from today, and within his write-up is Ryan’s reveal that second baseman Brian Dozier will have an MRI on his hip. Ryan didn’t believe there to be a serious injury with Dozier, but the 28-year-old followed up a .256/.328/.518 first half (which resulted in his first All-Star nod) with a .210/.280/.359 second half.
- Ryan doesn’t want Miguel Sano to get into the mindset of being solely a designated hitter, but he also stated that Trevor Plouffe is a third baseman only and wouldn’t play in the outfield at all to accommodate the impressive young Sano. Because of that, Bollinger notes that one option would be to trade Plouffe this offseason, though Ryan himself suggested no such notion. Still, it’s a situation worth monitoring; Joe Mauer‘s bat at first base has faded, but he has three years at $23MM per season remaining and has a full-no trade clause on his contract, so moving across the diamond isn’t an option for Plouffe, who is controlled through 2017 and has batted .251/.317/.429 with 36 homers and much-improved defense from 2014-15.
- Everyone on the coaching and training staff has been invited back for the 2016 season, though no new contracts have been finalized, per Bollinger.
- Trevor May, who was one of the team’s more effective starters early in the season but moved to the bullpen due to team need, has been told to prepare as a starter this offseason, Bollinger writes. Ryan said that no firm decision has been reached, but it’s easier to taper down from starter to reliever than vice versa. Sticking in the rotation would be preferable for May himself, Berardino wrote yesterday. May told Berardino he feels he can be a “go-to guy” for the Twins. “I don’t think I’ve achieved anywhere close to what I can achieve as a starter,” May told Berardino. “I’m excited to come in next year and kind of open some eyes.”
- Ryan said the team will look into upgrading both the rotation and bullpen this offseason, Bollinger writes. The GM also isn’t ruling out upgrades at catcher or shortstop, though he does feel that Eduardo Escobar has put himself into a good position heading into 2016. The 26-year-old hit .262/.309/.445 this season — a batting line that was bolstered by a .269/.330/.486 second half.