With Carlos Correa back in Minnesota, what’s next for Twins this offseason?
Shortstop and catcher can be taken off the to-do list, but pitching and outfield help still needed
MINNEAPOLIS — So, what’s next?
It took months — and happened in the most improbable of ways — but on Wednesday, the Minnesota Twins officially accomplished their top offseason priority.
Carlos Correa is back, transforming both the team for the next six — up to potentially 10 — years and the offseason outlook which, to that point, hadn’t looked particularly inspiring to fans. The 28-year-old shortstop changes all of that, filling the Twins’ Correa-sized hole with the man himself.
And now that he’s back, there’s plenty more that could be done. There’s more than a month until Twins pitchers and catchers assemble in Fort Myers, Florida, to kick off spring training, giving the Twins’ front office — which has shown it is not opposed to continuing tweaking the roster all the way through March — ample time to improve the roster.
“We never view our job with a stop or an endpoint, even into and through spring training. That won’t change our pursuit,” Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. “What’s clear to us is that by adding Carlos back into the mix, we think obviously that’s a significant impact on this year’s roster. What are ways we can … continue to add to that roster? We’ve made no secret about that being our goal and our mission through this process.”
Free agency, he noted, sped up in a unique way, unseen in many previous offseasons. Correa was the last of the top-tier free agents to come off the board — many signed last month — leaving the Twins to explore potential trades along with more modest free-agent acquisitions.
So, what have the Twins done this offseason? And where could they use enhancements?
The Twins headed into the offseason with a clear need at shortstop and catcher, both of which they have addressed through free agency. The Twins signed Christian Vazquez last month to pair with Ryan Jeffers, filling their need behind the plate.
Kyle Farmer, whom the Twins acquired the day they traded third baseman Gio Urshela to the Angels, can shift around the infield now with Correa back in the fold.
The Twins’ other acquisition, slugger Joey Gallo, who signed a one-year deal, joins a crowded group of left-handed outfielders. It’s an area of depth the Twins could now choose to deal from, perhaps in pursuit of starting pitching.
While the Twins have less of a need to go bargain-hunting in free agency for starting pitching than in past years — they have the makings of a solid starting rotation with Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle, Kenta Maeda and Bailey Ober in the mix — it’s certainly an area they could improve through trade.
Last year was, if anything, another good reminder that there’s no such thing as too much starting pitching, even if the Twins do have some depth options — Louie Varland, Josh Winder and Simeon Woods Richardson among them — who could step in at some point next season.
A bullpen arm, particularly a right-hander, could be on the wish list, as well as potentially a right-handed outfielder. After designating Kyle Garlick for assignment on Wednesday, the Twins currently have eight outfielders on their 40-man roster and just two — Byron Buxton and Gilberto Celestino — are right-handed.
But no matter what the front office does in the coming month or so, things look a whole lot different now than they did just days ago when it was assumed Correa was headed to the Mets.
“Bringing in a cornerstone to the organization and someone that we feel so strongly about because of the time we’ve already had with him, these are the things that you dream about being able to do when building a championship ballclub,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. “This is it.”
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