Published on September 26th, 2014 | by Thompson0
A Realistic 2015 Minnesota Twins Roster, Staff and Payroll
There is no reason the 2015 Minnesota Twins can’t be competitive. They have money to spend, prospects to watch, and changes to be made to the coaching staff that will reap rewards. Terry Ryan should be making drastic moves just to keep his job. Anywhere else and he would have been canned by now, but I believe in Terry Ryan’s ability to do the job. He can prove it by canning Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson.
Gardy’s gotta go. He’s not the type of manager that can lead these young, mostly Spanish-speaking men to the promised land. He’s only been to the promised land once in his career, and that was his first year managing a team built by Tom Kelly. He’s got one playoff win in 11 years, two in 12 years, and a whole six in 13 years.
If I were Terry Ryan, I’d take a chance on Ozzie Guillen – a man who can at the very least give us entertaining post game interviews. He’s also known to defend his players and light fires under asses. Oh, and he’s got a World Series ring – during Gardy’s tenure!
Then there’s Rick Anderson, who somehow couldn’t make Francisco Liriano and Vance Worley work. They certainly aren’t having any trouble in Pittsburgh with Ray Searage. Maybe Terry Ryan should offer him the job. Frankly, I don’t care who he hires as long as it’s not Anderson. Sure, he can say he turned Phil Hughes around, and Hughes even credits him, but one guy in 10 years? It’s not like Johan Santana needed a lot of coaching, and it’s not like the young Twins’ starters have been breaking through in the majors. Trevor May has struggled mightily, and very few of the young bullpen arms have impressed.
Terry Ryan can’t fix the problems with the Twins by hiring a new manager and pitching coach, though. It starts and ends with the product on the field, which is horrendous. He can start fixing things by spending as much money on starting pitching as he does on his nine starters. Ervin Santana should be a nice fit. Ryan offered him a three-year deal worth roughly $30-33 million before this season, but Santana elected to set himself up for a better payday, taking a one-year deal with the Braves. It worked, and now he can expect a three-year deal worth $45 million or more.
I think he’s a good fit between Hughes and Nolasco, and so does Carl Buscheck of Bleacher Report. It should take some pressure off Nolasco to be the man and just allow him to pitch. He’s also another “veteran” presence at the top of the rotation, although Hughes (28), Nolasco (31), and Santana (31) may be the youngest group of veteran pitchers in the league. Good thing Mike Pelfrey will be around in the bullpen.
Pelfrey’s 2015 contract could end up OK, as Nick Nelson smartly writes here. Even if we can get 80 innings out of him, something’s better than nothing, and Pelfrey will be a leader in the clubhouse. I guess that’s why they keep paying him because he’s certainly not leading by example.
Besides non-tendering Anthony Swarzak and Eduardo Nunez, there aren’t too many surprises. Miguel Sano better be in the mix. If he’s not, I’d suspect an early call-up in July. Millone could replace Swarzak in the bullpen, but frankly, I think they’re both non-tender candidates. Millone was a gift, but seems to be damaged goods. Billy Beane knew something Terry Ryan didn’t. It’s not as though Millone has been dominant or anything, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is down a full point from last year. Hicks and Schafer both make the roster because who knows if Hicks will stick. Santana may move to short, or he may not, but it’ll all shake out in Spring Training. This is not a lineup for next season – just a 25-man roster.
Anyway, that’s a grand total of around $92-93 million, barring any extensions, and I think Terry Ryan and the Twins are backing off a potential extension for Brian Dozier after signing Kurt Suzuki for two years. Barring any injuries, the team above will be better than the 2014 Minnesota Twins. Santana is a massive upgrade to Kevin Correia, Pelfrey could be serviceable from the pen, which now has plenty of long relief to accommodate the inconsistent youngsters. Eventually, we’d like to see Alex Meyer in a starting role, but his day will come soon enough. Something is bound to happen to Nolasco or Hughes given the Twins’ luck the past few years.
If Miguel Sano recovers, Kennys Vargas keeps smashing, Oswaldo Arcia keeps improving, Hughes repeats his 2014 performance, Nolasco figures himself out, Mauer stays healthy, Santana sticks at short and Hicks hits enough to stick anywhere in the outfield, Gibson improves his consistency, Suzuki stays fresh, Pinto gets reps at catcher, Plouffe returns healthy, Dozier keeps doing his thing, and Meyer and May reach their potential, 2015 could be a much better year for a much better ballclub.