ESPN.com’s Buster Olney breaks down a big offseason for the Twins in an Insider post. While the team still faces a lofty task in unseating the Indians in the AL Central, it certainly seems to have achieved plenty of bang for the buck in adding multiple veteran pieces this winter. The Twins are on track to have over $ 125MM on the books to open the 2018 season, which will easily set a club record. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the organization’s opportunism this winter, though, is that it was able to add a variety of quality veterans without committing much at all in future resources. Not only that, but the club also feels quite confident in its prospect base, as Dan Hayes of The Athletic reports (subscription link). GM Thad Levine says the organization feels it has the pieces in place to allow the team to pursue yet more external acquisitions in the near future without compromising its long-term outlook.
- Meanwhile, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey told reporters today that owner Jim Pohlad did not veto anything proposed by his front office this offseason despite the payroll climbing to record heights (via Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). While Falvey said the team will (obviously) evaluate trade needs more closely as the non-waiver deadline approaches this summer, he implied that he expects to have continued support from ownership. “I can tell you this: I know Jim Pohlad is committed to this team and committed to winning because he just proved it,” said Falvey at the press conference to introduce Lance Lynn.
- On a similar note (and also via Berardino), Falvey implied that the team’s pursuit of Yu Darvish wasn’t ultimately called off due to any kind of reluctance from Pohlad but rather because the bidding simply went beyond a point where the team felt comfortable from a baseball standpoint. “There were other opportunities we were pursuing that we tapped out ourselves,” Falvey said when asked about Darvish. Though he didn’t mention the righty by name, Falvey indicated that at times, players of interest to the Twins simply received offers that went beyond internal valuations in terms of years and/or dollars.
- La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune takes a look at the considerable shortstop depth the Twins have throughout their minor league ranks due to the presence of Royce Lewis, Nick Gordon and Wander Javier. All three landed on Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list, and Falvey spoke to Neal about the importance of that depth even with present-day shortstop Jorge Polanco entering just his second full big league season. As Falvey notes, some of the in-house prospects could move off the position, and it’s also of course possible that Polanco could move across the bag to second base should Brian Dozier leave via free agency. Neal notes that the Twins believe all three can play shortstop in the long run but are heartened by knowing that each has the athleticism to move around if needed. Gordon is likely ticketed for Triple-A to open the season, while Neal notes that in an ideal world, the 18-year-old Lewis (last year’s No. 1 overall pick) would open the year at Class-A Advanced with Javier in the Class-A Midwest League.