MINNEAPOLIS -- After the decision to dismiss manager Paul Molitor on Tuesday, Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine will be busy trying to find Molitor's replacement in October.The front office must also decide what to do with the coaching staff, as there have been no
MINNEAPOLIS -- After the decision to dismiss manager Paul Molitor on Tuesday, Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine will be busy trying to find Molitor's replacement in October.
The front office must also decide what to do with the coaching staff, as there have been no announcements on the status of any coaches. So it's an important start to what should be a very busy offseason for the Twins, who also have the payroll flexibility to improve the club via free agency.
There's a lot in store for the Twins over the next few months in addition to their managerial search, and here's a look at frequently asked questions about Minnesota's offseason.
1. Which players are eligible for free agency?
First baseman Joe Mauer, right-hander Ervin Santana (whose option will be declined), designated hitter Logan Morrison (whose option will be declined), second baseman John Forsythe, catcher Chris Gimenez and reliever Matt Belisle.
2. Which players are eligible for arbitration?
Infielders Miguel Sano and Ehire Adrianza, outfielders Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, Byron Buxton and Robbie Grossman, right-handers Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson and Trevor May and left-hander Taylor Rogers.
3. Who are the non-tender candidates?
Adrianza and Grossman are the only candidates, but the Twins like Adrianza's versatility and Grossman finished the year strong and has solid on-base skills. Neither figure to see huge raises from 2018, and Grossman made $2 million in his first year of arbitration, while Adrianza made $1 million in his second. The non-tender deadline is Nov. 30.
4. Which players have club options, and by what date do the Twins have to decide if they will bring them back?
The Twins have a $14 million option on Santana and an $8 million option on Morrison. Minnesota is not expected to pick up either option. Both players have a $1 million buyout. The have until five days after the completion of the World Series to make their decision official.
5. Who needs to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft?
Infielders Nick Gordon and Luis Arraez, outfielder LaMonte Wade, infielder/outfielder Zander Wiel, catcher Brian Navarreto, right-handers Nick Anderson, Jake Reed and left-hander Tyler Jay.
6. Who will come off the 40-man roster?
The Twins will lose Belisle, Santana, Gimenez, Forsythe and Morrison to free agency, while Mauer appears likely to retire. Candidates with a strong chance of being outrighted off the roster include infielder Gregorio Petit, outfielder Johnny Field and catcher Juan Graterol.
Among pitchers, possible candidates to be taken off the 40-man roster include Tyler Duffey, John Curtiss, Oliver Drake, Matt Magill, Alan Busenitz, Chase De Jong and Andrew Vasquez. Outfielder Zack Granite also had a rough year at Triple-A, while the Twins must decide whether to keep catcher Willians Astudillo on the roster with his versality and contact skills.
7. How much money do the Twins have to spend?
The Twins only have reliever Addison Reed ($8.5 million), catcher Jason Castro ($8 million) and pitcher Michael Pineda ($8 million) under contract for next year, while they also owe right-hander Phil Hughes roughly $6.5 million after trading him to the Padres. So they have plenty of payroll flexibility to fill their roster holes this offseason, considering the club had an estimated Opening Day payroll of $128 million in 2018.
8. What are the Twins' top needs this offseason?
The Twins could always use more pitching, although they're expected to focus on the bullpen rather than the rotation, as they need to find a closer for next season and could use some reliable arms for the back of the 'pen to join Rogers, Trevor Hildenberger and May. If Mauer decides to retire, Minnesota will be in the market for a first baseman/designated hitter to replace him. The middle infield is also an area of need after the departures of Eduardo Escobar and James Dozier. They have their No. 4 prospect, Nick Gordon, near Major League-ready, but he had a rough second half, so the Twins could try to sign a second baseman or even a shortstop and move Jorge Polanco to second.
9. Who could the Twins target in free agency?
There are several big-name players who will be free agents, like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but it remains highly unlikely that the Twins would make a huge splash with a signing of that caliber. As far as starting pitching is concerned, there are solid options out there, like Dallas Keuchel, Patrick Corbin and Charlie Morton, while free-agent closers include Craig Kimbrel, Sergio Romo and Jeurys Familia.
Marwin Gonzalez could make sense as a utility infielder, while bringing back Escobar isn't out of the question. There won't be many players available at first base, aside from Steve Pearce, but designated hitters include Nelson Cruz and Evan Gattis.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.