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Offseason checklist: Twins’ needs and moves

@dohyoungpark
November 4, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins exceeded all expectations in 2019 with 101 wins -- the second most in franchise history -- and their first American League Central title since '10. The team's core of position players took a collective step forward and will remain mostly intact as Minnesota eyes a deeper

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins exceeded all expectations in 2019 with 101 wins -- the second most in franchise history -- and their first American League Central title since '10. The team's core of position players took a collective step forward and will remain mostly intact as Minnesota eyes a deeper run into the postseason next year.

With that in mind, this should be an active offseason for the Twins, who could lose as many as four of the five primary members of their starting rotation to free agency despite the relative stability and strong production anticipated elsewhere around the diamond. Can they build a pitching staff that will help carry their success into 2020?

MLB.com is keeping track of all of the Twins' moves here. As the offseason continues, be sure to check back for updates.

BIGGEST NEEDS

Starting pitching
The Twins' primary needs this offseason will unquestionably be in the starting rotation. The contracts of Kyle Gibson, Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda expired following the 2019 season, and the Twins also declined a $7.5 million club option on left-hander Martín Pérez on Monday, meaning that they will need to fill four rotation spots this winter.

That means 25-year-old José Berríos is the only sure bet to return in 2020, while Odorizzi could return on a one-year deal if he accepts the $17.8 million qualifying offer before Nov. 14. Otherwise, the Twins have the financial flexibility and prospect depth to explore both the free-agent and trade markets for reliable rotation additions that they will need to support a talented young group of position players.

Backup catcher
Minnesota is mostly set in its lineup depth after rookie Luis Arraez emerged as a potential long-term solution in the infield, but with Opening Day backstop Jason Castro also bound for free agency, the Twins will be in the market for a solid backup catcher to pair with breakout star Mitch Garver, who will assume the starting duties in 2020.

This should actually be a meaningful decision, as manager Rocco Baldelli employed a weighty timeshare behind the plate last season, when Garver earned 73 starts and Castro made 72. Baldelli made it clear early on that he hoped to keep his catchers fresh with frequent days off, meaning that Minnesota's backup catcher won't be lacking for playing time.

MOVES MADE

Nov. 4: Twins extend Odorizzi qualifying offer

Odorizzi was one of 10 players in the Major Leagues to receive the qualifying offer before Monday's 4 p.m. CT deadline, and the 29-year-old right-hander has 10 days to accept or reject the one-year, $17.8 million deal that could bring him back to Minnesota and give the Twins one fewer rotation spot to fill this offseason. Rotation-mates Gibson and Pineda were not given the qualifying offer, which makes the Twins ineligible for Draft pick compensation in the event of their departures in free agency.

Nov. 4: Cruz's option exercised; Pérez's option declined

To no great surprise, the Twins officially exercised their $12 million club option for designated hitter Nelson Cruz to bring back the veteran leader of their clubhouse, who also paced the Bomba Squad with his 41 homers and 1.031 OPS. The decision had been first reported in October. The Twins did not, however, exercise their $7.5 million club option on Pérez, instead paying the starter a $500,000 buyout after he posted a 5.12 ERA in 32 games, including 29 starts, during his first season with the Twins.

Nov. 4: Gonsalves lost to waiver claim; Stewart becomes free agent

The Mets claimed off waivers left-handed starter Stephen Gonsalves, who had been the Twins' No. 18 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and was the club's fourth-round selection in the 2013 MLB Draft. Gonsalves has a 2.50 ERA over seven Minor League seasons and made his MLB debut in '18 before he was sidelined for most of '19 with an injury to his pitching elbow. Kohl Stewart was a former first-round selection who recorded a 6.39 ERA in nine MLB games during the 2019 season. He was outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected to become a free agent.

Oct. 31: Dyson elects free agency

Reliever Sam Dyson was outrighted off the 40-man roster and rejected the outright assignment, becoming a free agent. Dyson underwent season-ending capsule repair surgery on his right shoulder on Sept. 24 and was expected to miss much, if not all, of the 2020 season. Though Dyson had a 2.47 ERA in 49 appearances for the Giants when he was acquired at the July 31 Trade Deadline, he was limited to a 7.12 ERA in only 12 games for the Twins due to his arm issues.

Oct. 29: Twins claim Wisler off waivers

Right-hander Matt Wisler became the first addition to Minnesota's 40-man roster when it claimed the reliever off waivers from the Mariners. The 27-year-old Wisler posted a 5.61 ERA in 44 games with San Diego and Seattle in 2019, but he saw a huge spike in his strikeout rate, with 63 punchouts in 51 1/3 innings. The primary factor was his slider, which he threw a whopping 70.5 percent of the time, resulting in 57 of those strikeouts and a 40.8 percent whiff rate.

Oct. 28: Three players outrighted to Minors

The Twins took care of some housekeeping on their 40-man roster by outrighting outfielder Ian Miller, outfielder Ryan LaMarre and infielder Ronald Torreyes to the Minor Leagues. All three were September additions to the big league roster, with Miller and LaMarre providing needed depth due to a rash of outfield injuries and Torreyes giving coverage around the infield while Ehire Adrianza and Marwin Gonzalez were sidelined. LaMarre, 30, and Torreyes, 27, are eligible for salary arbitration, and they could be non-tender candidates.

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