The Twins, in need of rotation upgrades, have been in touch with agent Scott Boras about left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, Darren Wolfson of 1500 SKOR North reports in his latest podcast (audio link, Twins talk beginning at 25:10 mark). It’s hardly surprising, as Minnesota figures to gauge the prices of virtually every top starter available, but the connection is nevertheless of some note. La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune also links the Twins to Ryu, and he adds that manager Rocco Baldelli and pitching coach Wes Johnson have been involved in the early recruiting process for the team’s top pitching targets. The general goal of those efforts is to help paint a picture of the culture the Twins try to foster and the means by which they feel they can help pitchers improve. “Making sure that people are comfortable and are going to a place with the right people they want to be with and they want to work with,” Baldelli said of the process. “…I enjoy talking with guys. Some of them end up Twins and some of them don’t. All of those conversations are worthwhile in every way.”
Some more notes out of the Twin Cities…
- Also within his podcast, Wolfson adds that there’s some internal trepidation about paying first baseman C.J. Cron at the $7.7MM rate projected by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. They’ll have until 8pm ET tonight to tender Cron a contract, and it’s possible that they could try to bring him back at a lower rate. But the Twins have also continued to discuss the possibility of moving Miguel Sano from third base to first base, which would free up the possibility of acquiring a third baseman either via free agency (e.g. Josh Donaldson, Todd Frazier) or trade. If the Twins part ways with Cron, they’d be at $48.9MM in guaranteed contracts plus another $41.1MM in projected arbitration salaries and pre-arbitration contracts. That rough $90MM sum is well shy of the $130MM record payroll with which they opened the 2018 season, and the team’s 2019 attendance rose by nearly 250,000 over the 2017 season that preceded that record level of spending.
- Longtime Twins righty Kyle Gibson will embark on the next chapter of his career with the Rangers after agreeing to a three-year, $30MM deal last Wednesday. The former first-round pick apparently bet on himself in 2019, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter) that Minnesota had tried to sign Gibson to a two-year pact worth $17MM a year ago. Gibson, however, spurned what would’ve been the first multi-year guarantee of his career and came out ahead as a result. He ultimately earned $8.125MM in his final season of arbitration eligibility and will take that home on top of the additional $30MM he’ll be guaranteed with Texas once his deal is formally announced.