Twins Insider Logo


Twins Insider

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Winter meetings update: How will Twins upgrade their rotation?

I have spoken with a few agents over the last couple of days, and they are wondering what the Twins plans are about upgrading their starting rotation.

If you look as the Twins rotation for next year, it looks like they have a lot of bodies but questionable depth.
Phil Hughes will be back after recovering from thoracic outlet surgery. Ervin Santana is the de facto staff ace. Hector Santiago looks to be the mid-rotation guy. 

That leaves Kyle Gibson, Tyler Duffey and Jose Berrios for the final two spots. That doesn't count Trevor May, who is being asked to prepare as if he's a starter next year.

Down on the farm, Stephen Gonsalves finished the Class AA season strong and could put himself in range of a callup by midseason in 2017. Tyler Jay and Kohl Stewart are longer  shots.

So agents want to know what the Twins are up to? Are they interested in a Jonathan Niese-type or someone else? Do they want to give development time to Duffey and Berrios.

All you need to know about the starting pitching market is Rich Hill's deal with the Dodgers.
Hill, who will be 37 on Opening Day, is getting $16 million in each of the next three seasons from the Dodgers - $48 million. In 2016, he pitched more than 100 innings for the first time since 2007. But he's getting $48 million. Wow.

``You want to find ways to creatively create depth,'' Twins CBO Derek Falvey said on Sunday,

They will have to be if the prices are going to be like that. It will be tough to sign a free agent pitcher when Jeremy Hellickson and Ivan Nova are considered the best starters on the market.

In other big deals, the Giants are going to pay closer Mark Melancon $62 million over four years, the most money ever committed to a free agent reliever. Now Aroldis Chapman wants a six-year deal. He's better than Melancon, so his deal could top $100 million. Geez.

Brian Dozier's flight was delayed, so he just landed at about 2:15 central time. He'll be on a tight schedule, as he has to take part in an Under Armor event as well as meet with Falvey and new GM Thad Levine.

In about a half hour, we will get be in the first press briefing of the winter meetings with Falvey. Stay turned for updates.

Day 1 for Twins at winter meetings: Brian Dozier set to arrive

Under Armour this afternoon is set to announce a 10-year deal to be the official uniform provider for Major League Baseball. It just so happens that Twins second baseman Brian Dozier will be in town to take part in the announcement.
As of now, we're not expecting Dozier to be modeling a Dodgers uniform.
The Dodgers have engaged the Twins about Dozier, with indications that the Twins' interest has been "piqued" of late. Dozier is in the prime of his career, is coming off of a 40-plus homer season and is making just $15 million over the next two seasons. That makes him the most interesting power hitting middle infielder in the world.
The dynamic duo of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine both have recently said it would take a lot for them to trade Dozier, which the right approach to take here. The Twins aren't motivated sellers, they are opportunistic sellers. If they can get the Dodgers or another team to pony up a package of prospects, then pull the trigger.
Dozier would likely push for a contract extension wherever hes dealt.
But there's no rush here to move Dozier. If the Twins don't like the names they are hearing, they can hold on to Dozier and see who caves at the trade deadline.
This is the first full day of the winter meetings. While teams are looking to make moves, there are plenty of meetings. The scouting directors, general mangers, trainers, doctors, managers and the BBWAA gather for annual meetings.
Falvey is using this week to meet more of his staff. Most clubs have organizational meetings in October to assess where they are and get organized for the offseason. The Twins canceled theirs because of the search for a new leader. Falvey was hired, but is still meeting all his pro scouts, affiliates and other members of the organization for the first time.
One Twins official told me that engaging with those folks might be the most important part of the winter meetings for them.
I'm not anticipating the Twins making a big move this week, partially because Falvey and Levine are still trying to take inventory of their organization. Solidifying the catching position was their offseason priority, and they filled that hole with Jason Castro. What about pitching? Well, upgrading their pitching staff will be a never-ending task.
Some other notes
After the press conference, Dozier, Francisco Lindor, Freddie Freeman, Ryan Zimmerman, Clayton Kershaw, Brandon Phillips and Rick Porcello are scheduled to be part of a roundtable discussion hosted by MLB Network's Harold Reynolds.
Looks like the Twins will avoid going to arbitration with reliever Brandon Kintzler. There's no deal to announce at the moment, but initial talks have been encouraging to the point where a deal looks likely.
Look for the Twins to be active in the Rule 5 draft. They wouldn't have cleared space last week (they didn't offer Yorman Landa a contract) unless they had something in mind. They will being serious Rule 5 draft preparations on Tuesday.
Former Twin Joe Nathan wants to keep pitching, and there are a few teams that are interested.
The pressure is on the host Washington Nationals to make splash this week, and they reportedly are talking about deals for Andrew McCutchen and Chris Sale.
New Twins front office employee Michael Cuddyer does not live far away from here, but will not be stopping by the meetings. "I've got (youth) basketball to coach,'' he said.  
The Twins have just announced that Deron Johnson has been promoted to Senior Advisor to the scouting department and that Sean Johnson will become the scouting director. It's shaped as a promotion for Deron Johnson, but it also gets a fresh set of eyes on the draft. Deron Johnson and Mike Radcliff will probably have plenty of input in the draft.