Pohlad says Twins not in market for major additions

February 21st, 2024

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Coming off a mostly quiet offseason marked most significantly by the departures of longtime lineup mainstay Jorge Polanco and reigning Cy Young runner-up Sonny Gray, Twins leaders have noted in Spring Training that the meaningful bulk of their roster is already in camp.

Though the Twins’ offseason uncertainty with their television contract has been temporarily resolved, and four premier free agents remain unsigned on the open market -- Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, Matt Chapman and Cody Bellinger -- the Twins will not be in the market for any of the players at that level, executive chair Joe Pohlad said on WCCO Radio on Tuesday.

“No. The reason I say no is because we're going to live pretty much where we're at right now,” Pohlad said. “But what I will say about some flexibility is that when [president of baseball operations Derek Falvey] and his team think that there's the right opportunity in front of us, we don't live hard and fast by a specific number. That said, we're not going to go out and spend $30 million on a player right now.

“The players out there right now that a bunch of fans are talking about, we're not in the market for those players. But there are definitely other players that can have a positive impact on our team that Derek, I'm sure, is looking at.”

The Twins have notably been opportunistic at that level in each of the last two offseasons -- inking Carlos Correa first to a surprising bridge deal, then to a six-year, $200 million contract -- but after an offseason in which they indicated all along that television uncertainty would hamper their ability to spend, it appears they’re ready to count more on improvement from within.

The organization put forth a record $153 million payroll last season; this year, Cot’s Baseball Contracts estimates their Opening Day commitment at around $118 million, though they’re still in the market for help. A right-handed outfield bat is the clearest fit, with Michael A. Taylor, Tommy Pham and Adam Duvall still available.

Beyond that, the most vocal figures within the clubhouse continue to express confidence in the group the Twins have assembled following the offseason additions of Anthony DeSclafani, Carlos Santana and a bevy of relievers.

“I've been around a lot of talented teams,” Correa said. “I'm happy where we're at.

“With the team we have right now, we can compete against anyone. I do know one thing: I trust in this group of players, I trust in the young talent that we have and trust in our farm system and the product we put on the field is prepared to go out and compete against anyone.”

Pohlad confirmed the Twins are receiving less money from this year’s television contract -- though he did not specify an amount -- and acknowledged the optics of cutting back following a year in which the Twins won the division and snapped their 18-game playoff losing streak.

“I think in today's game, you can see there are a number of different ways to win,” Pohlad said. “You see that both with the Tampa Bay Rays, with the Baltimore Orioles, having lower payrolls and turning out very successful products on the field, but also investing in other areas of the business.

“Without a question, the television situation is having an impact on our business, but beyond that, we're also just trying to right-side our business, and that's playing into it as well.”

The Twins are likely to rely primarily on improvement from Correa, Byron Buxton and Royce Lewis -- all healthy in camp together for the first time -- along with continued improvement from homegrown youngsters like Edouard Julien, Matt Wallner and Brooks Lee, who could factor into the picture this season.

“No matter which team you're looking at, whether it's us, teams that are at the lower end of the revenue scale, or teams that have a lot more money, every single team wins by developing their own players,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “No team wins by going out and simply signing a ton of free agents. And if it happens, I think it's more rare than it is the rule, not that it doesn't happen.”

“You obviously want to have guys with names and pedigrees and guys that have done it before,” Correa said. “But at the same time, there's a lot of young guys out there that can get the job done, and we obviously trust in the guys we have in our farm system.”