During their 4 ½ day stay in Las Vegas, the Twins were talked about a few times, they were connected to some free agents, and Derek Falvey even made an appearance on MLB Network but ultimately, as of writing, they didn’t execute any moves. They didn’t sign anyone, trade anyone, or even lose anyone in the Rule 5 draft.
None of the players the Twins have been connected to have signed anywhere, though, so despite what might have been a quiet transaction wire, the Twins certainly didn’t rest on their laurels. It’s more likely that the twins were laying the groundwork for a busy forthcoming 2-6 weeks as they set their team up for Spring Training.
The Twins haven’t been closely tied to many starting pitchers, though I would argue that this is the area in most dire need of repair if the Twins expect to compete in 2019.Instead, the Twins have been reported to have been looking hard at catcher Wilson Ramos, relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen, and most aggressively, designated hitter Nelson Cruz.
Cahill would be a good option for the middle of the rotation, and having a bullpen ace like Miller or Allen would be a welcome upgrade. Wilson Ramos would return to the Twins organization, though now on the downside of the aging curve. All would be upgrades in their own way. Nelson Cruz would be a bit more nettlesome.
Cruz will be entering his age 39 season, which is young compared to Bartolo Colon and not many other people. Sluggers can still slug into their late 30s and early 40s, but not nearly at the pace of their younger years. Games played diminish with age, especially at this age, and productivity waxes along with it. That’s essentially what one could expect from Nelson Cruz in the very near future.
Unless the Twins are going to be making a more aggressive push for the playoffs than I had anticipated, or it seems they have plans to, this move seems incredibly sort sighted. Cruz would be a very short term asset, but to add him ,they would need to make room on the 40 man roster. The most likely victim would be Tyler Austin, who crushed left handed pitching when he was here just for a few months in 2018.
If this offseason is viewed as one in which the Twins are building a win now squad, then Nelson Cruz makes sense. The low cost maneuvers for younger, team controlled players and the encouraged development of talent in house suggest a long term view though. Whle Cruz is more valuable this season, Austin still has 5 more seasons of team control left! This season Cruz is better, but for the next 5, Tyler Austin will likely be far more worthwhile.
The Twins set the table for the rest of the offseason with their moves in Las Vegas. If the pitching options pan out,then it seems as though everything went according to plan .If they do continue with an aggressive pursuit of Nelson Cruz, I have to admit that I’m not sure what the plan ever was.