The Minnesota Twins have work to do as there will surely be a plethora of activity in the coming days for them and all teams now that the MLB lockout has ended. They need to finalize their roster, and they must be aggressive if they want to get any free agents or pursue trades. The Twins are in the middle of a rebuild as they still have some holes to fill up on Opening Day.
Minnesota Twins Cannot Lollygag
The Twins cannot afford to lollygag and spend their time aimlessly idle while other teams make moves. This team needs a new persona, especially after a disappointing 2021 season. A team that was considered a World Series contender suffered through a 73 win, 89 loss season. Everyone associated with this team will not accept another disaster— neither will their fans.
Where the Twins Currently Stand
As it currently stands, early indications for this team is a forecast of 74-to 77 wins. This is a fair prediction given they won 73 last year and two of their better players from last season, Nelson Cruz and José Berríos, have moved on. The team knows they need to find pitching, and a lot of it if they want to get back to being a competitive team in 2022.
Pitchers Signed Before the Lockout
The Twins signed right-handed pitchers Dylan Bundy and Jharel Cotton before the lockout. Both could be immediate starters. Cotton was with the Texas Rangers last season as a relief pitcher but was a starter with the Oakland Athletics in the past. Bundy was once a top-pitching prospect for the Baltimore Orioles. He played the last two seasons for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and will be looking to show everyone he still has power and control with his four-seam and cut-fastball.
With pitching coach Wes Johnson working with both, they will need to provide depth to a staff missing Kenta Maeda. Maeda for the 2022 season.
More Pitching Needs
Minnesota used 35 pitchers last season and will likely do that again in 2022. There is still work to be done to find some arms and get them in camp as soon as possible. The team has work to do in starting and relief pitching, which may not be easy. They will be competing with other teams looking for the back end of the bullpen arms.
Taylor Rogers did not pitch after July 2021 due to a finger injury. He is expected to be ready for the season, but this team will need more bullpen arms. Both Hansel Robles and Alex Colomé are gone, leaving only Rogers, Jorge Alcalá, Tyler Duffey, and Caleb Thielbar as the main arms out of the bullpen at this point.
Shortstop is a Priority
Shortstop is also a big need. With Royce Lewis coming off a torn ACL and Andrelton Simmons gone, the Twins need a shortstop until Lewis is fully healthy. Jorge Polanco, who has played there before, will be the regular starter at second base. The Twins do not see Nick Gordon, who is on the 40-man roster, as the full-time answer. Whoever suits up at shortstop on Opening Day for the Twins is probably not in the organization yet. They will be looking at some options.
Bryon Buxton’s Health
The Minnesota Twins have work to do, but Byron Buxton signed a seven-year, $100 million extension. Many felt he was going to leave the team. The topic for discussion now is how Buxton will respond to this new deal. Injuries and inconsistent performance were big questions for him until 2019 when he finally arrived as an offensive star to complement his Gold Glove defense. Now he has to stay healthy for a full season. The Twins are also expecting him to become the leader of this team both on the field and in the clubhouse.
Lengthy Lockout Hampers
One of the unfortunate sides of the long lockout is that it hampered team-building. It also means there is not much time to get players signed and used to their new teammates and be in full baseball shape before the season starts. The Twins need to press on with Opening Day less than a month away. They cannot waste time on getting players signed and active.
They could re-sign pitcher Michael Pineda to help out the starting rotation and sign a veteran shortstop, but they must be active and be ready to offer a deal or make a trade. There are 29 other teams also seeking to shore up their rosters. They, too, will be looking for both starting and relievers and, yes, even shortstops. The Twins need to move on to be more competitive this season.
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Nelson Cruz, José Berríos, Dylan Bundy, Jharel Cotton, Hansel Robles, Alex Colomé, Jorge Alcalá, Tyler Duffey, Caleb Thielbar, Andrelton Simmons, Royce Lewis, Jorge Polanco, Nick Gordon, Byron Buxton, Michael Pineda