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Twins leave Winter Meetings seeking pitching

'Active' front office laying ground work for potential moves
December 13, 2018

LAS VEGAS -- The Twins' stated goal at the Winter Meetings was to treat it as more of an orientation than a swap meet.And as they left Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon, they felt fantastic about the progress they made in integrating new manager Rocco Baldelli to the organization after

LAS VEGAS -- The Twins' stated goal at the Winter Meetings was to treat it as more of an orientation than a swap meet.
And as they left Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon, they felt fantastic about the progress they made in integrating new manager Rocco Baldelli to the organization after the 37-year-old skipper spent a significant amount of time planning with scouting, player development and analytics personnel -- meeting some of the staff in person for the first time.
Chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine viewed first base and second base as the most pressing offseason needs for the club. After the earlier signings of C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop, there simply wasn't any need for urgency for Twins leadership to make additional moves at this relatively early stage of the offseason.
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With that said, the Twins did use their time in Las Vegas engaged in active dialogues with most clubs and many agents, with Levine characterizing the organization as "pretty active" on both the trade and free-agent markets. Twins leadership still sees an opening to add another quality Major League bat to the lineup and seeks to build out its pitching depth.
"We're trying to make sound business decisions, and there's a lot of supply out there," Levine said. "There's a lot of players on the marketplace still. So we've got a lot of options we can continue to pursue."

BIGGEST REMAINING NEEDS

  1. Relief help:Addison Reed, Taylor Rogers, Trevor Hildenberger and Trevor May comprise the core of the Twins' bullpen as things currently stand, and some of the many young arms competing for the fifth rotation spot could be shifted to the bullpen to gain experience. But Twins leadership wants to build out its pitching depth, and Falvey expressed there is "some need to continue to build that group."
    2. Another bat: It doesn't necessarily need to be a left-handed bat, nor do the Twins have a glaring positional need after signing Cron, Schoop and Ronald Torreyes. But Twins leadership has clear interest in adding an experienced Major League hitter, and they feel good that the current flexibility on the roster allows them to be choosy about the quality of the hitter.
    3. A fifth starter: The bottom line here is that the Twins do want to give their young pitchers some experience next season, with Adalberto Mejia, Chase De Jong, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves, Aaron Slegers, Zack Littell, Fernando Romero and others likely competing for the only open rotation slot. The Twins are open to bullpenning or using an opener, but in the interest of building more depth, they could pursue an outside option if the opportunity presents itself.
    RULE 5 DRAFT
    The Twins didn't select or lose any players in the Major League phase of Thursday morning's Rule 5 Draft.
    They didn't have room to make a selection after filling their 40-man roster prior to the Winter Meetings with the acquisitions of Torreyes and Schoop. Minnesota didn't protect a pair of top 25 Rule 5 eligible prospects in outfielder Lewin Diaz and left-hander Tyler Jay, the sixth overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, but neither was taken by another team.
    Minnesota selected right-handed reliever Dusten Knight from the Giants in the Triple-A phase of the draft. The 28-year-old was a 28th-round selection by the Giants in the 2013 MLB Draft from the University of Texas-Pan American.
    Knight has a 3.11 ERA across six Minor League seasons and topped out at Triple-A in 2017 and '18. He spent the majority of this past season with Double-A Richmond, where he was 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA, 35 strikeouts and 10 walks in 20 relief appearances.
    GM'S BOTTOM LINE
    "There were things that were proposed to us that could help our team, and we're continuing to monitor those. But our goal was to fill as many holes as we possibly can and not necessarily jump to just one. So that's I think how we're approaching this. We were active here, we were actively trying to have dialogue around helping the Major League team, and that's the focus right now. I know that doesn't bring anything to fruition just yet, but our goal was to be ready when we get to Spring Training, not necessarily on December 15." -- Levine

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