Published on November 8th, 2015 | by Thompson0
The 2016 World Series Champion Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins can win the World Series next year. They have the lineup, mostly. They just need a bat and more production from the catcher position. The pitching is on the way in the form of Jose Berrios, Tyler Duffey, and Trevor May, and they have the defense. They need a left-handed reliever, a bat, and more production from the catcher position, and hope that Byron Buxton becomes the player we all expect him to be.
Trade Trevor Plouffe to the Angels for José Alvarez and a player to be named
The Twins must make room for Miguel Sano, and the Angels did not extend a qualifying offer to David Freese because they are looking to avoid the luxury tax, as Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register noted. Freese will likely demand a multi-year deal at a higher rate than Plouffe’s arbitration figures for the next three years. They are both worth about 2-2.5 wins above replacement. The Twins should oblige the Angels and get their much-needed left-handed reliever.
Alvarez pitched 67 innings last year, struck out 59 and walked 23 for an ERA of 3.49 and a WHIP of 1.209. Lefties hit just .219 off him last year.
Trade Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Jorge Polanco and a player to be named to the Padres for James Shields, Joaquin Benoit, and Austin Hedges
The Padres need a shortstop of the future, and although a move to second base is predicted for Polanco, he’s already better than the entire Padres’ depth chart at shortstop. Clint Barmes will be 37 next year, and his option has been declined, but Alexi Amarista is not the answer either.
The Padres will also have plenty of openings in the starting rotation, with Cory Luebke’s option being declined, and Ian Kennedy and Brandon Morrow becoming free agents. Petco Park is a pitcher’s dream, although the Padres don’t exactly have outfielders who can go get it.
The money is nearly even between the two teams in this deal, so it should work from that respect. San Diego doesn’t need Hedges with Derek Norris in his first year of arbitration eligibility and just a year removed from an All-Star Game appearance. So the Padres end up with an MLB-ready shortstop under team control until 2018 and a couple of starting pitchers who can take advantage of the abyss that is Petco Park, and the Twins get a big arm out of the bullpen, a starter to take advantage of the Twins’ “go get it” outfield, and their catcher of the future to stash at Rochester for a year while he learns how to hit.
Sign Justin Morneau to a one-year, $5 million deal
Morneau isn’t worth much at this point given his injury history, but a reunion would be super cool, and he can still hit. I’d hesitate to put him in the field. He could trip and end his career, so a full-time DH role is likely best, as is a one-year deal. He could be the addition that takes us over the top, or the addition that allows Kennys Vargas to finally earn the full-time DH spot.
Sign AJ Pierzynski to a one-year, $2 million deal
This is a no-brainer. Kurt Suzuki’s OPS dropped 114 points from last year’s All-Star season. He hit lefties pretty well with an OPS of .658, but struggled mightily against righties (.587). He’s also a terrible defensive catcher, and AJ doesn’t fix that, but a righty/lefty platoon could keep both catchers fresh. AJ crushed righties, recording a .799 OPS in 2015.
- James Shields
- Ervin Santana
- Kyle Gibson
- Tyler Duffey
- Trevor May
- Glen Perkins, CL
- Joaquin Benoit, SU
- Kevin Jepsen, MR
- Casey Fien, MR
- José Alvarez, MR
- Caleb Thielbar, MR
- Tommy Milone, LR
MIN vs. LHP (AL)
- Aaron Hicks, RF (.272/.360/.447)
- Brian Dozier, 2B (.267/.340/.487)
- Joe Mauer, 1B (.292/.362/.384)
- Miguel Sano, 3B (.284/.363/.519)
- Justin Morneau, DH (.253/.298/.410)
- Eddie Rosario, LF (.289/.311/.500)
- Byron Buxton, CF (Who cares?! He needs to play everyday!)
- Eduardo Escobar, SS (.277/.297/.492)
- Kurt Suzuki, C (.248/.311/.356)
MIN vs. RHP (AL)
- Brian Dozier, 2B (.207/.301/.445)
- Joe Mauer, 1B (.264/.344/.374)
- Justin Morneau, DH (.297/.374/.520)
- Miguel Sano, 3B (.263/.393/.535)
- AJ Pierzynksi, C (.309/.342/.457)
- Eddie Rosario, RF (.260/.281/.445)
- Eduardo Nuñez, LF (85 runs saved above avg. in LF; .809 OPS vs. RHP in 2015)
- Eduardo Escobar, SS (.254/.314/.423)
- Byron Buxton, CF (.256/.297/.407)
So, this 25-man roster leaves Terry Ryan some money to play with, and Jim Pohlad said there’s plenty, as Darren Wolfson tweeted.
Talked w/ Pohlad. He and Ryan have had the payroll talk. Terry has Jim’s go-ahead to do what he wants this offseason. #mntwins
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) November 5, 2015
The addition of Shields makes things interesting, though. Berrios gives the Twins a really good chance in a Wild Card Playoff Game, and Shields isn’t a bad way to start an ALDS, with Santana pitching Game 2, and Gibson going in Game 3. Berrios will be ready for Game 4, and Shields will go again in Game 5. Sounds almost like a Playoff rotation.