The Minnesota Twins off-season needs take up a lot of real estate on paper. However, evaluating this team’s needs for 2023 is challenging because of all the injuries they had this past season. Their needs may change when all these players are healthy. Most of them will be ready for 2023. This means the front office and manager Rocco Baldelli will have to assess what is needed most.
Leading the Division
Before the 2022 season started, projections for the Twin were lukewarm. Most people had them finishing fourth or fifth, and struggling to win 70 to 75 games. However, this team surprised everybody getting off to a great start in April and May. They led the AL Central for 92 days, and still had a lead on September 2. Then, this team had a major collapse. They finished September with a record of 10–18. Yes, you can say it was injuries, but a lack of timely hitting with runners in scoring position and quality pitching was the major cause.
Money to Spend
They have money to spend on quality players, especially after Carlos Correa chose to opt out of his contract. It’s already been reported that they will have as much as $60 million to spend. They have to decide on what is needed most to help this team avoid a collapse. They can’t and shouldn’t delay shoring up those needs, and getting players in a Twins uniform as soon as possible.
The Twins’ off-season needs begin with relief pitching. Like many other teams in major league baseball, you can never have enough quality arms to help out. Jovani Moran and Caleb Thielbar are a decent left-handed duo this team will rely on for the 2023 season. This means they really don’t need to spend money on left-handers. They could, however, use at least two quality right-handers to compliment Jhoan Duran and Griffin Jax, both of whom emerged as a reliable setup men. After them, they really have no others they can rely on. If they are going to continue pulling their starters after five innings, as they did in 2022, they must spend big money on the bullpen. They need to find, and make the right decision on relievers who will help out.
We know teams that win championships all have top closers. Jorge Lopez was supposed to fill the void as a shutdown closer after a major trade deadline pickup. However, he struggled to throw strikes for the team, and spent the final month as a set-up pitche. It will be interesting to see what this team does with him. Emilio Pagan who is under team control in 2023, also struggled in the closer role. If he stays with the Twins, he will be seen as a set-up man. This means getting an effective closer is a necessity. The Twins need to decide whether López can be the dominant closer that they need. Maybe a full season in Minnesota will help him. Otherwise, the team needs to get someone who can.
At Least Two Catchers
The Twins’ off-season needs may see them seeking at least two catchers. Both Sandy Leon and Gary Sanchez are free agents. The two played in 102 of 162 games combined behind the plate this season. If both leave, Ryan Jeffers is the lone catcher on the 40-man roster. Once viewed as the Twins’ long-term catcher, Jeffers struggled this season. He only hit .208, and had a hard time calling pitches. He is only 25-years old, and still could develop into a decent catcher, but the Twins will need to either sign another catcher, or keep León or Sánchez. Better yet, they could sign both. Not only do they fulfill the position’s need, but they can mentor the younger Jeffers.
There are other spots needed, such as more starting pitching and a right-handed power hitter. So this will be a busy off-season for the Twins front office and manager Rocco Baldelli. There is good news, however. Despite their second-half fade, the Twins do have some core players that should help them contend in 2023. Their regular lineup includes Luis Arraez, Byron Buxton (though, as we know, he must remain healthy), Jose Miranda, and Jorge Polanco. Starting pitchers include Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, and Joe Ryan. If they can get their injured players healthy, shore up their shortcomings with wise selections and signings, the Twins will be a team to watch in 2023.
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Carlos Correa, Jovani Moran, Caleb Thielbar, Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax, Jorge Lopez, Emilio Pagan, Sandy Leon, Gary Sanchez, Ryan Jeffers, Rocco Baldelli, Luis Arraez, Byron Buxton, Jose Miranda, Jorge Polanco, Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Joe Ryan
Jim Marshall has lived in Phoenix, AZ for 50 years. He is an avid baseball fan, but enjoys all of Arizona's local sports teams, including Diamondbacks, Suns, Cardinals and Coyotes. In addition to the four major sports, he closely follows the Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Rattlers and Arizona State Sun Devils.
Jim's passion for baseball continues beyond the field as he is an avid collector of baseball memorabilia. His favorite athlete of all time is Baseball Hall of Fame member Harmon Killebrew.
In addition to watching, reading and talking about sports, he takes time to travel and appreciate the great state of Arizona with his lovely wife, Patti.