MINNEAPOLIS -- After a slow start to the offseason, the Twins have been active filling roster holes, taking advantage of players who were not tendered contracts.They claimed first baseman C.J. Cron on waivers after he was designated for assignment by the Rays ahead of the non-tender deadline, while also agreeing
MINNEAPOLIS -- After a slow start to the offseason, the Twins have been active filling roster holes, taking advantage of players who were not tendered contracts.
They claimed first baseman C.J. Cron on waivers after he was designated for assignment by the Rays ahead of the non-tender deadline, while also agreeing to terms with second baseman Jonathan Schoop and utility infielder Ronald Torreyes on one-year deals. Cron is expected to be Joe Mauer's replacement at first, while Schoop replaces James Dozier at second base and Torreyes can join Ehire Adrianza as the club's utility players.
But the Twins are far from done, as things are expected to heat up next week with the annual Winter Meetings, which will be held from Monday to Thursday in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, general manager Thad Levine and the rest of the front office will be able to meet with the other 29 clubs about potential trades as well as agents about potential signings.
Adding pitching remains a priority for the Twins, and here's a look at what to expect:
• Hot Stove Tracker
The Twins are in the market for a starting pitcher and bullpen help, including a veteran closer after trading Fernando Rodney in August. Cron could be the answer at first base, but the Twins could still add a corner infielder or outfielder who can serve as the DH, especially after the decision to non-tender outfielder Robbie Grossman.
Whom might they trade?
It would be a surprise, but there's always a chance the Twins could decide to move third baseman Miguel Sano, who is coming off a rough year after undergoing surgery to insert a titanium rod in his left shin last offseason. But Sano doesn't have much trade value at the moment, so if Minnesota does make a trade, it's more likely to be prospects for a veteran.
Prospects to know
Shortstop Nick Gordon, ranked as the club's No. 4 prospect by MLB Pipeline, is considered close to Major League ready, but he struggled in the second half with Triple-A Rochester. With fellow shortstop prospects Royce Lewis, the club's No. 1 prospect, and Wander Javier (No. 8) in the organization, the Twins could look to trade Gordon. But prospects Alex Kirilloff (No. 2), Brusdar Graterol (No. 3) and Lewis are considered untouchable.
Rule 5 Draft
The Twins have no open spots on their 40-man roster, so they would have to clear a spot to make a selection in the Rule 5 Draft. Minnesota could also lose lefty Tyler Jay, as the former first-round pick was left unprotected.
The Twins had more money coming off the books than any other club this offseason, so payroll shouldn't be an issue. Even after tendering contracts to 10 players and signing Schoop and Torreyes, their current payroll estimate is roughly $90 million after having a payroll of about $130 million last year. So they have money to spend to be able to add to their roster, but they're not expected to go after elite free agents such as Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. They're more likely to sign a starter and add up to three relievers, much like this past offseason, when they signed starter Lance Lynn and relievers Zach Duke, Addison Reed and Rodney.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.