The Minnesota Twins have been quietly active this offseason. So with this piece, we decide to take a look at the State of the Minnesota Twins.
Resigning Nelson Cruz
Let’s begin with some of the more recent news. It’s been reported that the Twins and Nelson Cruz have decided to continue their partnership for one more year. The deal is said to be one year and $13 Million. Nelson Cruz has been extremely valuable to the Minnesota Twins since joining them in 2019. During his tenure with Minnesota, Cruz has obliterated the baseball. Cruz has an outstanding OPS+ of 168 during his time in a Twins uniform. With that, he also has his best career slash line from any of his Major League stops with a slash of .308/.394/.626. The Designated Hitter’s position was built to house a specimen like Nelson Cruz, and for the Minnesota Twins, he’s delivered.
Signing JA Happ
JA Happ is a name that can surprise people watching from afar. Happ has the poise and ability to work the upper part of the strikezone that’s usually designated for men with much higher velocity. However, even with a low 90’s fastball, Happ is able to get outs. And now place him in the expansive Target Field with Byron Buxton patrolling Center Field, and Happ’s stock will likely rise past the one-year $8 Million deal he signed with the Twins. (Check out our breaking coverage of this signing on the Baseball Banter Broadcast. (JA Happ to the Twins.)
Signing Alex Colome
There’s little question as to “stuff” possessed by Alex Colome. And adding that stuff to the previously mentioned expansive grounds of Target Field and Colome becomes seemingly more powerful. The reports have Colome signing in Minnesota for one-year and $5 Million with an option that will make the deal reach $6.25 Million in total guaranteed dollars. But this deal makes more sense than just the financials for Minnesota. Adding Colome to a bullpen that features guys like Taylor Rogers and Hansel Robles increases the options for the manager, Rocco Baldelli.
Signing Andrelton Simmons
The signing of Andrelton Simmons is something that was covered in an installment of the Baseball Banter Broadcast on YouTube. (Andrelton Simmons to the Minnesota Twins.) When it comes to Andrelton Simmons, he is a defensive phenom, a wizard with the glove. But the offense tends to be a bit lacking, to put it nicely. However, the signing of Simmons to the Twins is an improvement if for nothing more than solidifying the defense up the middle.
State of the Rotation
Well, we previously mentioned JA Happ and the prudence of the signing. But there’s more to the Twins rotation than just Happ. The rotation for Minnesota begins with the flamethrower, Jose Berrios. Berrios is one of my favorite pitchers to watch. There’s something unique about his delivery and approach that draws me to watching his starts. And mark my words, I believe there is a Cy Young in Berrios’ future. The rotation will feature Berrios and Happ, and Kenta Maeda, who has a breakout 2020 season. The rotation will also have questions at the back end. Questions like how will Randy Dobnak and Michael Pineda fair in the rotation? Or will they let some of their top pitching prospects emerge and take hold of a stop? There’s a lot to like with the from of the rotation but questions at the end that will have to wait for an answer.
State of the Bullpen
The Minnesota Twins bullpen will have some questions outside of Alex Colome and Taylor Rogers. For Minnesota to compete in the American League Central, they will need big seasons from their relatively unknown bullpen. If the bullpen can prove a strong asset, the Minnesota Twins could easily find themselves atop the American League Central in 2021.
State of the Defense
We touched on it earlier, but by bringing in Andrelton Simmons to play shortstop, the Twins have solidified their defense. With Byron Buxton, arguably the best defensive center fielder in the game, in center, and Andrelton at short, the Twins are locking up the middle. Moving Jorge Polanco over to second base should raise his defensive profile because there’s more recovering time in case errors should occur. The Twins also have a couple of underrated defenders in Josh Donaldson and Max Kepler. Yes, there are weaknesses to certain spots defensively. But the overall defensive acumen of the team was elevated by one move, Andrelton Simmons.
State of the Offense
This is where the Twins can separate themselves from the pack. A good offensive season from this lineup will have American League Central teams ducking for cover. Not long ago, this Minnesota Twins team set the record for homeruns by a team in a single season with 307. And with the right breaks during the season, they could once again find themselves knocking on the door of history.
Final Thoughts on the Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins have felt like a team on the brink of a breakout. And this roster feels no different. If one or two things break in Minnesota’s favor, they will find themselves pushing through the postseason. However, serious questions must be asked about some of the aging veterans and immobile slugger on their roster. Not to mention, the questions in the bullpen will pile up quickly if a few saves are blown early in the season. That being said, there are reasons to be excited about this team if you’re a fan of the Minnesota Twins. But there are also some questions. Overall, Minnesota Twins fans should be cautiously optimistic about this team. And if they can grab another bullpen piece or two, they would be even better suited for 2021.