Twins fishing for big piece with 'foundation' set

Falvey: 'Maybe agents look at us differently than they did a few years ago'

December 7th, 2022

Considering the Twins’ lack of activity historically at the very top of the free-agent market, it’s at least fair to wonder if they would be able to keep up in the bidding for a truly elite free agent of the caliber of , who has remained a priority this offseason.

That seems to be less of a question now -- at least, according to Scott Boras, the super-agent who represents Correa along with several other key free agents at the top of this market.

“The Twins normally are fishing in one of their 10,000 lakes,” Boras said, turning characteristically to an analogy. “Well, now, I think they’re in the deep ocean. They again have an amazing young core of players. They’re certainly trying to retain the veteran leadership that Carlos provided them last year.”

The Twins will need to be in that deep ocean to land a player of Correa’s caliber or a pitcher like . Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey indicated that, at least under his leadership, the situation might not have been right in other offseasons to make a big splash.

But given the depth of the existing roster, which currently has few glaring needs outside of a timeshare catcher, the time for a splash could indeed be now.

“We wouldn't be having this conversation if I didn't feel the foundation wasn't there,” Falvey said. “That would be, in my estimation, probably a little unwise to push when you don't have the foundation. So I couldn't recommend that to ownership as the right path.

“So, that's why we're having that [conversation] now [with] Carlos or otherwise. We're having those conversations with a number of different players. I think we've opened ourselves up over the last couple of seasons to having those conversations, and maybe agents look at us differently than they did a few years ago prior to having some of those types of players on the roster.”

Twins expect to use Farmer in flexible role 
In case there was any thought that the Twins’ acquisition of shortstop from the Reds would preclude them from seeking one of the top shortstops on the market, manager Rocco Baldelli put that notion to bed by noting that he expects Farmer to move around the infield for Minnesota.

“I think he's going to be one of those versatile infielders that can play what's the most demanding spot in the infield at shortstop, but also move and play other spots for us, too,” Baldelli said. “I think he's going to find a way to get plenty of at-bats and contribute in a lot of different ways.”

Farmer was Cincinnati’s primary shortstop for most of the 2021 and '22 seasons, but he will give the Twins more infield depth to spell at third base and at second base while they continue their push to re-sign Correa.

Is right-handed outfield help a priority?
Outside of shortstop and catcher, one more area in which the Twins could add would be in a right-handed outfield slot, as Minnesota’s outfield group (and lineup as a whole) is quite left-handed outside of .

Considering how much Baldelli likes to seek platoon advantages in his lineup, would the Twins be comfortable continuing to lean on as one of their primary right-handed bats against left-handed pitching?

“With Kyle, if he’s playing the role we intend him to play -- mostly facing left-handed pitching, mostly in a corner -- he’s done really well for us,” Falvey said. “He fits that profile really well. We made the decision early around his contract and got to that agreement. That’s the way we obviously feel about him.”

The Twins agreed to a one-year, $750,000 contract with Garlick to avoid arbitration this offseason, after he posted an .805 OPS against lefties in limited action last season but posted a noticeably worse .717 overall OPS, fueled by the need to play him against right-handed pitching much more than Minnesota would have liked due to the plethora of injuries around the outfield.

Considering the size of that contract, it’s not likely to stop the Twins from continuing to seek an upgrade for that role, though Mitch Haniger, one of the more significant right-handed corner outfielders on the market, went to the Giants on Tuesday.