MINNEAPOLIS — MLB’s Winter Meetings have come and gone with no big moves were made by the Minnesota Twins to improve their roster. This doesn’t come as a surprise since the organization under the Pohlad family ownership has consistently been deliberate in making outside personnel changes, whether by free agency or trade.
While some teams used the gathering at the Winter Meetings to improve their clubs, there is still a lot of time to see what develops before next season, including with the Twins. In a recent interview, team president Dave St. Peter spoke about the ongoing process to improve his roster. “We are obviously open-minded as to how we get better,” St. Peter said while indicating the possibility of acquiring players via free agency or trade.
The Twins improved so much last season they transformed themselves from mediocre into one of MLB’s better clubs. The Twins can court potential newcomers with a storyline that not only includes a talented team but also features a players’ manager in Rocco Baldelli.
“We think our story has gotten incrementally better over the course of the last 18 months,” St. Peter said. “We think that we have a great, compelling ball club for 2020 and beyond, and we are optimistic that one way or another we're going to be able to add pitching.”
St. Peter mentioned pitching without being prompted, an indication of how Minnesota has prioritized finding offseason help on the mound. The Twins set the home run record last season with 307. Every offseason story on how the Twins will get better in 2020 and go beyond AL Central champs to a successful postseason run has Minnesota needing to improve the starting staff.
Who will the Twins offer up in trades for either pitchers or other players? St. Peter said the club doesn’t so much target individuals in their organization for potential trades as it does looking at where the organization has strength and depth. Although he didn’t mention left fielder Eddie Rosario as trade bait, Sportingnews.com reported several days ago other teams are asking about Rosario, and the Twins do have a terrific minor league prospect and possible replacement in outfielder Alex Kirilloff. It appears sooner (perhaps next year) or later Minnesota will need to make room for the 22-year-old Kirilloff who has a .317 minor league career batting average.
When asked, St. Peter couldn’t think of any Twins currently under contract who have no-trade clauses in their contracts. Does he believe any Twins are untouchable? “No, I don't think so,” he answered. “…The reality of it is, there’s probably some players that practically speaking you're just probably not going to move because I'm not sure that another team could offer us enough.”
Twins front office personnel decision-makers Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have won St. Peter’s confidence since being hired in 2016. St. Peter said their relationships with other MLB front office leaders are so important to the Twins as they search to make a team with 101 wins last season even better.
Although loaded with offense, a rumor is the Twins will sign free-agent third baseman Josh Donaldson, who hit 37 home runs last season for the Atlanta Braves. His acquisition would presumably send Miguel Sano from third base to first base and improve the infield defense.
Tickets are on sale for TwinsFest at Target Field Jan. 24-25. The annual event has typically been three days but next year will be held over two days. The Twins will be celebrating their 60th season of play since moving to Minnesota as the Washington Senators.
St. Peter is a college football fan and enjoys travelling to games. This fall he saw a game at Mississippi and last year was at Georgia.
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Condolences to family and friends of former Gophers and South St. Paul hockey coach Doug Woog, who passed away Saturday afternoon. A beloved hockey leader for decades, the 75-year-old Woog had been dealing this year with health care issues including Parkinson’s disease.
Former Timberwolves superstar Kevin Garnett “is a central figure” in a new Adam Sandler movie, according to a story in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. In the film “Uncut Gems” Garnett seeks to acquire an Ethiopian black opal.
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With decades of experience as a sports reporter and columnist covering professional and college sports, Twin Cities-based sports columnist David Shama not only shares his perspectives, but he also quotes many of Minnesota’s biggest newsmakers among players, coaches and owners.