Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Twins News

What you need to know as the Twins enter 2020

@dohyoungpark
January 23, 2020

The Twins are still putting the finishing touches on their 2020 roster, but a score of the biggest names on Minnesota teams of past, present and future will be available to fans as part of the club's various fan engagement initiatives before the quickly approaching start of baseball. • Offseason

The Twins are still putting the finishing touches on their 2020 roster, but a score of the biggest names on Minnesota teams of past, present and future will be available to fans as part of the club's various fan engagement initiatives before the quickly approaching start of baseball.

Offseason checklist: Twins’ needs and moves

As the calendar turns over from an eventful 2019 to what the Twins hope will be a more fruitful '20 campaign, here's what Twins Territory can look forward to over the coming months.

What major roster dates remain?

Most of the offseason roster management nitty-gritty is already out of the way, with important dates like the start of free agency, the qualifying offer deadline, the deadline to lock in the 40-man roster, the non-tender deadline, the Rule 5 Draft and deadline to exchange salary figures ahead of arbitration already having passed.

Minnesota came to terms with six of its seven arbitration-eligible players to avoid hearings. The odd one out was José Berríos. The right-hander submitted a $4.4 million request and Minnesota countered with $4.025 million, per MLB Network's Jon Heyman, and unless a deal is struck, the two sides will present their cases in front of a panel of independent arbitrators from Feb. 3-21, where one of the figures will be selected for 2020.

When is TwinsFest?

TwinsFest 2020 will be held Jan. 24-25 at Target Field. Current Twins players scheduled to attend the event include Ehire Adrianza, Jorge Alcala, Luis Arraez, Jake Cave, Nelson Cruz, Randy Dobnak, Mitch Garver, Brusdar Graterol, Max Kepler, Zack Littell, Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, Fernando Romero, Miguel Sanó, Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe.

TwinsFest 2020, Presented by Kwik Trip

Top prospects, including Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Brent Rooker, Ryan Jeffers and Travis Blankenhorn, will also be in attendance, while former players and coaches there will include Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Bert Blyleven and Jack Morris.

Twins Top 30 Prospects list

When do the Twins begin Spring Training?

Twins pitchers and catchers are scheduled to begin their first workouts on Feb. 12, while the first full-squad workout is set for Feb. 17 at the CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Fla. The Twins will open their spring schedule with a scrimmage against the University of Minnesota Feb. 21 at Hammond Stadium, begin their Major League slate on Feb. 22 against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., and host their first MLB opponent, the Blue Jays, on Feb. 23.

When is Opening Day?

The 60th season of Twins baseball in Minnesota will begin with its earliest Opening Day on March 26, when the Twins visit Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum. Minnesota is on the road for its first seven games before hosting the Athletics at Target Field for its home opener on April 2, kicking off a six-game homestand against Oakland and Cleveland.

Three questions to be answered by Opening Day:

1. Who wins the final rotation spot?

The Twins added two more starting pitchers on New Year's Eve (although one is working his way back from elbow surgery), but president of baseball operations Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine have said that they expect the fifth rotation spot to be filled by an internal option -- likely one of Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak or Lewis Thorpe.

Dobnak is the hardest thrower of the three and had stellar results for the Twins in limited 2019 action, posting a 1.59 ERA in nine games after he rose all the way from Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Smeltzer was also effective with softer stuff, pitching to a 3.86 ERA in 11 games. Thorpe's 6.18 ERA was the worst of the bunch in '19, but he has the strongest prospect pedigree and could be a force with his curveball.

2. Is Brusdar Graterol a starter or a reliever?

That also begs the question: Will there be a transition back to starting for flamethrower Graterol, who is the club's top pitching prospect and ranked No. 3 in the Twins' organization by MLB Pipeline? Falvey and Levine didn't yet have an answer at the Winter Meetings, though they do expect the 21-year-old to be a Major League presence in 2020.

Graterol was a starter throughout his Minor League career, and that's where he can impact a greater number of innings for the Twins moving forward. But the idea of a pitcher who can throw triple digits at the back end of the bullpen is awfully tantalizing. The Twins' decision could also be dictated by the needs of their roster once most of their offseason acquisitions are complete.

3. Who will be the fourth outfielder?

The Twins do expect Buxton to be healthy for Spring Training following his September surgery for a torn labrum in his left shoulder, but the center fielder's injury history has necessitated significant play from the Twins' fourth outfielders over the past several seasons. There's no shortage of options with the presence of Jake Cave, LaMonte Wade Jr and Marwin Gonzalez, along with Luke Raley and Travis Blankenhorn waiting in the wings. But the Twins might also benefit from the presence of another true center fielder to keep Max Kepler anchored in right field.

Do-Hyoung Park covers the Twins for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark and on Instagram at dohyoung.park.