The Twins made a one-year offer to Nelson Cruz back in October, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, but at least for the moment, that offer is no longer on the table. The two sides both still hope to work out a reunion, but because Cruz is still seeking a two-year deal, he intends to wait further clarity on the status of the universal designated hitter before agreeing to terms. It’s a sensible approach for Cruz, whose market in the American League is somewhat limited by the number of clubs with aging veterans, dedicated DHs and/or budgetary constraints. A universal DH would open several new pathways for the slugger to land that two-year pact he apparently seeks.
Some more notes out of the Twin Cities…
- In the latest edition of his podcast, SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson reports that the Twins have some interest in former Indians ace Corey Kluber (audio link, Twins chatter beginning at 8:07). That’s not a huge surprise given that president of baseball operations Derek Falvey was in Cleveland’s front office when Kluber was acquired from the Padres and broke out as a star. Elsewhere on the rotation front, Wolfson notes that the Twins are not among the most aggressive suitors for Jake Odorizzi to this point. Odorizzi would prefer to return to Minnesota, all things being equal, but is receiving stronger interest from other teams. Wolfson adds that the Twins had interest in Mike Minor before he landed with the Royals but weren’t willing to go near the surprising two-year, $18MM deal he landed in Kansas City.
- Dan Hayes and Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic break down the Twins’ options at shortstop this winter, ranging from adding a veteran backup in the Freddy Galvis mold to a more aggressive pursuit of a starting shortstop, which would push Jorge Polanco into a super-utility role (an approach outlined in our Twins Offseason Outlook a couple weeks back). With Marcus Semien, Didi Gregorius and Andrelton Simmons on the market, one could craft an argument that any fit the Twins. Polanco has had two ankle surgeries over the past two years and was never a premium defender at short, but as a shortstop/second baseman/third baseman, he could provide value at a number of spots. I’d point out that Simmons has had major ankle injuries in both of the past two seasons, however, so signing him comes with some of the same risks associated with Polanco. The Angels have filled their shortstop vacancy with Jose Iglesias, while each of the Reds, Phillies and A’s have (to varying extents) signified that they’re reducing payroll. That could create an opportunity for the Twins to enter the market if they choose.
- Also at The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal spoke with a number of agents who praised the Twins for their approach to arbitration this winter. The arbitration system is generally archaic, but it is particularly ill-equipped to contextualize the results of a 60-game season. Minnesota is the only club that has entirely wrapped up its arbitration class already, and several player reps tell Rosenthal that the Twins deserve credit for being willing to find a middle ground rather early rather than drawing a hard line to maximize savings. “It took both parties acknowledging the difficulties of a COVID-19 season and the reality that the traditional arbitration matrix was not entirely relevant this offseason,” agent Mark Rodgers, who represents Taylor Rogers, told Rosenthal. Falvey told Rosenthal the Twins “wanted to be creative” prior to the tender deadline. “[Agents] feel no different than we do about the uniqueness of this year, so we decided this was the best course of action,” said Falvey.
- Certainly, the Twins’ approach to arbitration will create some good will with agents moving forward, but the team also stands to benefit. Few other clubs in baseball right now can project their 2021 payroll more accurately than the Twins, which gives Falvey, GM Thad Levine, the rest of the front office and owner Jim Pohlad more clarity as to their spending capacity in the coming months. Minnesota has plenty of work to do this winter, with several relievers departing, a need in the rotation and Cruz on the market. However, The Athletic’s Jayson Stark noted in analyzing this year’s slate of non-tenders that every executive from another club with whom he spoke for the piece expects the Twins to spend this winter. Minnesota’s payroll checks in just shy of $92MM right now — well short of last year’s full-season Opening Day mark of $133MM. They probably won’t spend back up to that level, but it does appear there’s some room for additions.
Why haven’t the Jays been linked to Kluber yet? They have basically the entire Indians’ front office from his time there, and they’ve been linked to seemingly every other free agent out there.
Maybe it’s the front office they just don’t like Kluber either way it would be a good pick up I agree
Viewing where they currently sit and the other acquisitions they’re going to make they probably want to invest in someone more stable. Klubot maintenance has been ongoing for awhile now.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
It’s 1pm here already and no MLBTR posts linking the Blue Jays to a free agent yet today…..
No kidding! So far this off season, the only thing more numerous than Blue Jays speculative posts is commenters trying in vain to make clever comments about it!
Kluber on a small’ish base salary plus incentive-laden contract with an option that kicks in based on performance and benchmarks met would be fine.
The only Blue Jay rumour I’d like to see is that Shatkins is on the way out!
You know, it might be BECAUSE the Blue Jays have so many FO office folks from the Indians that they aren’t going after Kluber. These are the people who traded him for a minimal return and it appears they were right to do it. Maybe they don’t want him?
Atkins nor Shapiro or anyone in the Jays organization traded him in Cleveland. The timeline does not add up.
Eh. Oh well. Was just taking a shot in the dark based on what deadthings said.
i think it’s a bit bold to say the Phillies are actively aattempting to decrease payroll. if that were really the case then VV wouldnt be here anymore.
Or they haven’t hired a guy yet to make that decision. Team seems in purgatory to me
The Phillies trimming payroll was what I heard from around the industry as well. Even if they don’t it’s not so bold.
Definitely need someone that can play SS, starter or utility. Had my eye on Iglesias but sadly he’s taken. No thanks on Simmons or Semien. Leaving Didi as the front runner.
Cruz has the BOOMstick but I will always remember him as the guy in RF for the Rangers in the WS.
Pls gimme one, or more:), of the top end relievers.
Give Cruz his 2 years and bring in semion. Less pressure on him in that lineup which may lead to big things
NO MORE than one year for Cruz. With Kiriloff, Larnich, Rooker, and Sano all available to DH and play other positions, as well as doing the Left/Right matchup, the Twins can put the Cruz money toward pitching. Also, trading Buxton for pitching – – and getting pitching from the Free Agent market makes much more sense.
I’m almost certain that Kluber was an included piece in a trade with Cardinals organization, not the Padres.
debubba: It was a 3 team deal. The Indians sent Jake Westbrook to Stl. SD sent Kluber to Cleveland. Stl sent Ryan Ludwick to SD.
He was. At the trade deadline in 2010 the Cardinals/Indians/Padres three team trade had the Cardinals getting Jake Westbrook from the Indians and Nick Greenwood from the Padres. The Indians got Kluber from the Padres. And the Padres got Ryan Ludwick from the Cardinals.
The trade worked out well for the Cardinals at the time as they would play in two World Series with Westbrook (2011, 2013) winning it all in ’11 but the Indians won the trade as Kluber got them back to the World Series and Kluber won two Cy Young awards. The Padres would probably rather forget they were ever involved
My 2 cents on the following players: (1) Offer Cruz a 2yr deal ($20m) deal front loaded with $15m for 2021 and a club option for $5m for 2002. (2) Offer Liam Hendricks a 3yr/$25m deal–imo, best RP/proven closer on the market. See that he’s been linked to PHI, but I’d think his familiarity with AL hitters combined with going to a team that has a strong chance for a playoff run would be an incentive. (3) Offer Didi a 2 yr deal in the area of $25-$30m. This may not get him signed, but if so it would allow Polanco to move into super-sub role at a reasonable price over the next 3 years as he’s signed over that span at an average of $5.8m. (4) After getting a clear health report, offer Kluber a highly incentive 2 year deal in the vicinity of $20m. (5) Keep Buxton as CF, but offer a 1 yr $5-6m deal to FA OFer Kevin Pillar to serve as 4th OFer (cut Cave) and inevitable CF replacement for Buxton’s next DL stint. Yes, easy for me to spend Pohlad’s money–which would add $50mill to next years payroll and still leaves adding necessary bullpen arms=====but that’s not my problem. The problem Pohlad and Levine MUST CORRECT is the glaring and utterly embarrassing 18game playoff losing streak and 18-year SAHARA DESERT DROUGHT since winning a playoff series.
Lmfao. So you think Cruz is going to give away his 2022 for 5M after making 14 for the 5 of the last 6?
That’s insane. The last time Cruz made $5 million in a season was 2012
Also, it’s not a 2 year deal if the 2nd year is a club option. It’s a 1 year deal and a crap option. Not gonna get it done. Min 13M a year for both
@Laughing at you: Ok, I will take accountability for my brain fart as you make a valid point. I wlll amend to following: Offer Cruz a 1-year deal for $15mill. Take it or leave it. I stand by the rest of my wish list.
The Twins don’t need a “Freddy Galvis type” when they can actually sign Freddy Galvis
As a Twins fan, I really love to read the bit about getting creative and compromising straight out of the gate with arbitration this year. These are the types of things that give teams good reputations and make them more desirable to work with.
Royce Lewis > Semien, Simmons, Gregorious, etc.