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Twins in 'learn-and-explore mode' at Meetings

With most urgent needs already filled, Minnesota now acting prudently
MLB.com @dohyoungpark

LAS VEGAS -- With their most pressing needs at first and second base having already been addressed with the signings of C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop, the Twins came into the Winter Meetings without much urgency to make a splash during the event's four days.

Thus far, this offseason has seen aggressive trade action contrasted with a relatively slow free-agent market. Therefore, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine look to remain in "learn-and-explore mode" through the Meetings as they feel out the market through conversations with agents and teams.

LAS VEGAS -- With their most pressing needs at first and second base having already been addressed with the signings of C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop, the Twins came into the Winter Meetings without much urgency to make a splash during the event's four days.

Thus far, this offseason has seen aggressive trade action contrasted with a relatively slow free-agent market. Therefore, chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine look to remain in "learn-and-explore mode" through the Meetings as they feel out the market through conversations with agents and teams.

In other words, don't expect the Twins to make a major move at the Winter Meetings -- but there's plenty of offseason during which they may make some noise.

"We're constantly having conversations that span agents and other teams so that we understand the landscape and when we need to strike," Levine said.

There have been rumors concerning the Twins, including a source confirming to MLB.com that there is "mutual interest" between the club and 38-year-old slugger Nelson Cruz, who is coming off five straight seasons of 37-plus homers.

Video: Nelson Cruz slugs his way to free agency in 2019

While Falvey acknowledged the reports, he cautioned that it's all a part of the Twins doing their homework on various potential targets.

"I think there have been a lot of reports and indications, but a lot of this right now, to be candid, is due diligence work," Falvey said. "There's a lot of rumors, but there's a lot more responsibility to check in with different people around potential fits with our team."

The Twins feel confident in filling their designated hitter role with their in-house talent, with some combination of Tyler Austin, Miguel Sano, various outfielders and others able to rotate at the position. The robust den of young arms competing for the fifth rotation spot will also factor into the bullpen picture.

Falvey and Levine did acknowledge that those groups could be helped by adding some talent. There's just less of a need to move quickly there, with the market currently still developing.

"We probably were a little more aggressive at first base and second base because we saw clear holes, whereas the relievers, we do have some incumbents that could compete -- similar for the DH -- so it was a little bit less of urgency, I think, on our side to fill those holes," Levine said.

Despite the waiting on the transactional side, there will be plenty of activity happening within the club's ranks, as Falvey and Levine view the Meetings as an opportunity for new manager Rocco Baldelli to personally connect with the team's player development and scouting staffs.

The skipper hadn't met some members of the organization in person prior to his arrival in Las Vegas, so aside from the standard checking in with teams and agents, the ability to talk under one roof about some big-picture planning is also an important consideration for the Twins during their time in Las Vegas.

"Any time you get your group together it is kind of a de facto organizational meeting," Levine said. "So we will try to move forward as a group and continue the bonding there."

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

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