As the baseball world collectively wonders where top-tier free agents like Cody Bellinger, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery and Matt Chapman will sign, it seems scarcely a day goes by without at least one team effectively proclaiming itself to be out of that market. The Rangers, Blue Jays, Angels, Giants, Nationals and Mariners have all seen a top baseball ops executive or ownership representative cast doubt on their ability and/or willingness to make further free agent additions of note. Add the Twins to that growing list, as owner Joe Pohlad said in an appearance with WCCO radio’s Jason DeRusha today that his club isn’t likely to make a significant late splash like they did when signing Carlos Correa a couple offseasons ago (audio link).
“…We’re not going to go out and spend $30MM on a player right now,” Pohlad plainly stated without mentioning any of Bellinger, Snell, Montgomery or Chapman by name. “The players that are out there right now that probably a bunch of fans are talking about, we are not in the market for those players.”
Minnesota never looked like a good fit for either of the position players — particularly Chapman — but the Twins are known to be looking for rotation help after seeing Sonny Gray, Kenta Maeda and Tyler Mahle depart as free agents. A late deal with Snell or Montgomery would’ve registered as something of a surprise, given the organization’s candid acknowledgment of plans to reduce payroll amid television uncertainty this winter, but their late entry into the Correa market a couple winters ago might’ve left some to wonder whether a similar approach could be in the offing here. Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote just yesterday that he “would not discount the Twins as a wild card” for the remaining starters, but Pohlad’s comments today strongly suggest otherwise.
The Twins said early this winter that payroll would likely take a step back, and at the time, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported a rough target of $125-140MM. Minnesota currently sits just south of that number, at a projected $123.5MM per Roster Resource. It should be noted that Pohlad did not rule out any subsequent additions at all — rather just a big play at the top end of the market.
“…There are definitely other players that can have a positive impact on our team that [president of baseball operations Derek Falvey], I’m sure, is looking at,” Pohlad added.
The Twins, for instance, have reportedly expressed interest in unsigned players like Michael Lorenzen, Adam Duvall and Michael A. Taylor. Signing one or even two of those names would cost considerably less than a run at Montgomery or Snell. They also watched old friend Jake Odorizzi’s recent workout for teams. Falvey and his staff have also never been ones to shy away from trades late in the offseason. Deals to acquire Pablo Lopez (Jan. 23) and Odorizzi (Feb. 17) were both completed well after the New Year in their respective offseasons. The acquisition of Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan came on the eve of Opening Day in 2022. It remains possible that some pitching or right-handed-hitting outfield help could be acquired via that market.
Generally speaking, it’s been a quiet offseason for the Twins. They shipped stalwart infielder Jorge Polanco to the Mariners late last month in a deal netting right-handers Justin Topa and Anthony DeSclafani and prospects Gabriel Gonzalez and Darren Bowen. Minnesota netted about $6.5MM in that deal as well and reinvested that money in free agent deals to sign Carlos Santana and Jay Jackson. More recently, they flipped utilityman Nick Gordon to the Marlins for lefty reliever Steven Okert.