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Tale of Two Seasons (Twins Preview)

Ervin Santana (54) celebrates a complete game shutout in May

The Minnesota Twins certainly know how to rebound. They reached the playoffs after losing over 100 games in 2016. So far this offseason, the Twins have dominated the rumor mill as they try to catch up to the AL Central powerhouse Cleveland Indians.

What Happened Last Year?

The Twins finished 59-103 in 2016, the worst in the majors. After an offseason where Brian Dozier was nearly dealt to the Dodgers, the Twins came out of the gate strong. Top starter - and only qualified starter - Ervin Santana owned a sub-3.00 ERA until mid-June. The 34-year-old right-hander finished the year with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. The Twins also traded away closer Brandon Kintzler to the Nationals in an odd trade deadline for the club, where they acquired Jaime Garcia then traded him a week later. Jose Berrios also enjoyed a redemption of his lackluster debut stint last season, striking out 139 hitters in 145.2 innings with a 3.89 ERA.

Offensively, Joe Mauer had a quiet bounce back year. Lacking the power, only hitting 7 homers, he fashioned a .305 average while owning an OPS of .801. Eddie Rosario and Miguel Sano enjoyed breakout years combining for 55 dongs and 155 RBIs. Brian Dozier stayed strong hitting 34 home runs and driving in 98 runs while hitting .271. Other pieces, like Eduardo Escobar and Jorge Polanco contributed to the revitalized offense. Byron Buxton had a decent offensive year while winning the AL Gold Glove in center.

What Do They Need?

The Twins would do well to bolster their starting pitching. As well as Santana pitched last season, a 35-year-old pitcher with an inconsistent track record is far from a guarantee. Berrios projects to be even better, considering his stuff. But past those two, the starting rotation lacks depth. They have already been connected to the major free agent starting pitchers like Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish. Japanese two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani was a target of the Twins, but he has since eliminated the Twins from contention for his services.

Who’s Expendable?

The Twins have a number of outfielders who other teams may be interested in such as Max Kepler, Zack Granite, and Robbie Grossman. But the trade rumor mill is quiet surrounding the Twins, so it’s unlikely any of these names will be moved. The offseason moves the Twins are looking at are free agent based.

Prospect To Watch

Nick Gordon, SS, AA

Dee Gordon’s younger brother is the Twins #2 prospect. Projected to begin 2018 in Triple-A Rochester, the on-base specialist has added some power last season hitting 9 home runs, more than doubling his career total, and slugging .409. His glove leaves some to desired, but the Twins seem anxious to bring him up sometime in 2018.

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