Twins Roster Primed for Blockbuster Trade

PHOTO: STEVE HELBER - ASSOCIATED PRESS

Today is March 28 and the Major League Baseball season is scheduled to begin for the Minnesota Twins on April 7. Fans are excited, after a flurry of post-lockout moves somehow ended with Carlos Correa in a Twins uniform. But when looking at the roster, something is still clearly missing.

The Twins are now locked and loaded on offense, sporting one of the better top-3 of any batting lineup in the league (Byron Buxton, Jorge Polanco and Correa). Could they use another proven bat in the middle of their lineup to protect their new MVP-caliber shortstop?

Sure. But as currently constructed, the Twins will score runs, no matter who hits behind Correa. In fact, one could easily argue that the Twins have one-too-many big league bats available to them. What really sticks out, is their obvious lack of starting pitchers. As of Monday, Minnesota has just four in their starting rotation, none of which make the cut as a playoff-caliber ace.

Roster construction unfinished

Meanwhile, young sticks like Luis Arraez (who is a guarantee to hit .300+) and Trevor Larnach (who projects as a middle of the lineup bomb-maker) appear destined for plenty of time on the bench. The Twins cannot be OK with that. These MLB-ready young bats need and deserve 500 plate appearances this season. How is that going to happen with Gary Sanchez also needing to strikeout 120 times per year?

It can’t. That’s why I’m convinced hoping Falvey and Levine are working the phones behind the scenes at Target Field. If you’re a team willing to trade away a front-end rotation starter, high-ranking MLB-ready prospects are what you’ll seek in return. And the Twins are busting at the seems with those on the offensive side (Arraez, Kirilloff, Larnach, Rooker, Martin, Lewis), some of whom are knocking loudly on the big league door. It’s an MLB trade match made in heaven.

Even after signing Correa, Falvine has plenty of room in the Twins’ player budget. Pohlad has budgeted $125M-$130M each year since 2017 and the Twins’ 2022 player salaries add up to just $111 million. That leaves plenty of room to fit in a well-paid veteran starting pitcher. The entire situation, every single corner of it, screams for a big trade that jettisons away some of these MLB-ready hitting prospects, in exchange for a high-profile starter.

Correa, teammates commit to winning

There’s no doubt the presence of Carlos Correa has completely changed the season outlook for players in the Minnesota Twins locker room. Correa has been meeting with small groups of players, in an effort to establish his leadership. And his teammates have taken notice. Even infield/outfield drills have tightened up and intensified upon his arrival.

“It was actually a pretty interesting conversation because they showed me they truly want to win, and they’re going to do whatever it takes to get there,” Correa said of the first dinner. “… They talk about winning and the winning atmosphere and what that feels like, that mentality. I try to describe it as best as I can since I’ve seen it. I tell them, it starts with practice and how we take practice.”

Carlos Correa (via Star Tribune)

Carlos Correa wants to win baseball games this season and knows that a deep playoff run will benefit everyone involved, himself included. Remember, he’s playing under a one-year deal (essentially), hoping to prove himself worthy of a $300+ million contract next offseason.

Will Falvey, Levine and Pohlad commit too?

But will Derek Falvey, Thad Levine and Jim Pohlad show their buy-in to winning while Correa is here? We’ve been lead to this well before, only to find it dry. Just because a blockbuster trade seems obvious, that doesn’t mean it will come to fruition. This is an organization that’s been one starting pitcher away from being relevant for much of the Falvey-Levine era.

And let’s be real. The Carlos Correa signing looks like a win-now move. But in reality, he was gifted to the Twins by his agent, Scott Boras, who made the phone call and ran the negotiations. Falvine, to their credit, was smart enough to play ball and graciously accept such a gift.

But now it’s their turn to prove their worth. Because if the Minnesota Twins can’t find a way to add one more high-end starter to their rotation, then the Correa signing will be for not and look much more like an easy way to sell tickets, than it will a step in the winning direction.

Update: Twins Sign Chris Archer

On Monday evening, the Twins signed Chris Archer, best known for his much younger years with Tampa Bay. The deal is a short-term, one-year deal worth $3.5 million, with bonus opportunities that can push it up over $9 million. Please, do not let the smooth talking Derek Falvey or tight-ass Jim Pohlad convince you that Archer is the answer to this team’s pitching problems. It’s not 2015 anymore. If the Minnesota Twins are going to field a playoff-worthy pitching staff, they need to wheel and deal a trade, and soon.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan