The Twins entered the offseason seeking “impact” starting pitching, but it doesn’t appear they’ll succeed in that quest. They agreed to one-year deals with Rich Hill and Homer Bailey on Tuesday, and with no high-end starters left on the market, their heavy lifting could be done in that area after also retaining Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda.
Although the Twins may be finished picking up notable starters, that doesn’t mean the reigning AL Central champions are content to enter next season without adding at least one more established contributor to the roster. On the contrary, they’re still chasing the premier free agent available, Josh Donaldson, and have made the third baseman a four-year offer, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reports (subscription link).
Financial details of the Twins’ proposal are unknown, but it could well be in the neighborhood of $90MM. As of two weeks ago, the Nationals were reportedly willing to go to that range for Donaldson, who has also drawn attention from his previous team, the Braves, as well as the Dodgers, Phillies and Rangers this winter. All of those clubs could still conceivably make a splash at the position.
Considering Donaldson has been an elite-level player for a large portion of the past several seasons, he’d increase any team’s title chances on paper. However, his age (34) could make at least some teams wary of handing him a long-term, big-money accord. The Twins appear unafraid, though.
For Minnesota, signing Donaldson would likely mean soaring past the ~$120MM Opening-Day payroll they posted last season, as Jason Martinez of Roster Resource estimates the team’s already in that vicinity. But a significant amount of that money’s due to come off the books a year from now with Hill, Bailey, Odorizzi, Nelson Cruz and Marwin Gonzalez among the Twins’ players who are scheduled to become free agents then.
For now, reeling in Donaldson would surely mean shifting third baseman Miguel Sano to first, where the Twins don’t appear to have a clear solution after cutting ties with C.J. Cron, their previous starter. Cron’s now a member of the division-rival Tigers, while the versatile Gonzalez may be the Twins’ leading in-house candidate to man first.