The Twins were eliminated from the playoffs earlier today, notes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (video). Heyman looked at possible offseason plans for the club. The lineup is youthful and includes top prospects Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and former top prospect Aaron Hicks. Eddie Rosario also had a strong season, and Max Kepler is waiting in the wings for an opportunity. The future may be bright, but experience is an issue. Minnesota may benefit from to re-signing Torii Hunter (more on that in a moment), but may need to look at him as a fourth outfielder.
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- Heyman also highlights the pitching staff as an area that needs improvement. The club will lose Mike Pelfrey to free agency, and he had a deceptively decent season. They’ll hope to get full, healthy seasons out of Ricky Nolasco and Ervin Santana next year. Another veteran in the Pelfrey mold could make sense. Personally, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them compete for a second tier starter like Mike Leake. The club could look at themselves as the 2016 version of the Cubs. The bullpen also needs work. Glen Perkins is a fine anchor, but he’s missed time at the end of the last two seasons with a neck issue.
- Hunter remains undecided about retiring, he tells reporters including Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com (via Twitter). “This possibly could be my last game. And there’s a really good chance.” Betsy Halfand of MLB.com has more detail. Hunter says he would have announced his retirement months ago if the Twins had suffered through another futile. However, the possibility that they could return to the postseason next year has delayed his decision. He’ll likely wait until after the college football season (both of his sons play) before making an announcement.
- Hunter does say he’s not interested in a part time role, “Eighty one games? I’m not coming back for that.” If the Twins want to re-sign him, they may need to get creative with some of their younger players. The 40-year-old is coming off his first below average offensive campaign since 2003. He did manage to hit 22 home runs over 563 plate appearances. An unusually low .257 BABIP looks like the culprit behind his poor average and on base percentage.
- Reliever Neal Cotts “would love” to return to the Twins next season, writes Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. Cotts, 35, signed a one-year, $3MM contract with the Brewers last offseason. The Twins acquired him in mid-August. With Minnesota, he posted a decent 3.95 ERA with 5.93 K/9, and 2.63 BB/9 in 13 and 2/3 innings. Presumably, he would require a similar commitment to re-sign for 2016.