Twins owner Jim Pohlad has given GM Terry Ryan carte blanche this offseason, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. That shouldn’t be read to mean that Minnesota will compete to sign Jason Heyward and David Price, but it could signal a more aggressive stance from the club. After years of rebuilding, the team finally has a potent young core headlined by Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton. They entered 2015 with a $108MM Opening Day payroll about half of which went to Joe Mauer, Ervin Santana, Ricky Nolasco, and Phil Hughes. They’ll all return with similar contracts. I would anticipate a modest increase in payroll with veteran bench depth and the bullpen as top priorities.
- Minnesota should upgrade at catcher and in the bullpen, writes La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. The club has sufficient rotation depth even if they lack star power. However, the bullpen was a serious problem where only Glen Perkins stands out – and he’s dealt with neck injuries in the last two seasons. Catcher Kurt Suzuki regressed in 2015. Per Ryan, “Kurt, on his behalf, had a very nice 2014. This year was a bit of a struggle. And that’s an area I feel like I need to help the cause. Maybe take some of the workload down a bit. But we need to improve back there.” Former Twin A.J. Pierzynski could be a target to help shoulder the load.
- The Indians should be open to trading starting pitcher Danny Salazar for the right offensive return, writes Katrina Putnam of FanSided blog Wahoo’s On First. Salazar is coming off an impressive campaign despite starting the season in the minors. He posted a 3.45 ERA with 9.49 K/9 and 2.58 BB/9 in 185 innings and is club controlled through 2021. It’s widely thought that Cleveland will use its rotation depth to improve the lineup, although most analysis focuses on Carlos Carrasco or Corey Kluber. In my opinon, since Salazar is a pre-arbitration player, dealing him could be a challenge from a payroll perspective. They would have to acquire similar pre-arbitration talent.