With the December Winter meetings almost on tap (December 7-11), let's see what our division rivals might have up their sleeves while in San Diego...
The Twins have finished in the bottom half of the division since 2010 when they won their last division title. That ended a string of contention for nine consecutive years.
They appear to be in severe rebuilding mode as they have a lot of young talent in the pipeline, but most are not quite ready just yet.
The lineup will likely only have one significant change from 2014 as Josh Willingham was dealt at the August deadline. Kurt Suzuki played well enough last season to receive an extension through 2017 and will make $6M in 2015. Joe Mauer is still in the midst of that massive deal that pays him $23M annually through 2018. Brian Dozier's breakout year won't net him a payday just yet as he is in his final pre-arbitration year. Eduardo Escobar is also in his final arbitration year. Trevor Plouffe is expected to get about $4.5M in his first arbitration year.
Oswald Arcia should stick in right and won't reach arbitration for two more years. Jordan Schafer was claimed on waivers from the Braves in July and hit well enough to get first crack at left next year. Aaron Hicks, provided he stays healthy should be in center next year. That would allow Danny Santana, who played quite a bit of center to go back to a super utility role. Kennys Vargas did alright as the DH last year once Kendrys Morales was sent back to Seattle. All are per-arbitration except Schafer, who will probably get $1.5M in his second year of arbitration. They just signed Torii Hunter yesterday to a one year deal worth 10.5M. He could play quite a bit, or become the backup outfielder too.
The bench will likely still have Chris Parmalee, Chris Colabello and Eduardo Nunez, who was picked up from the Yankees late last season. The backup catcher will be either Josmil Pinto or Eric Fryer.
Uber-prospect Miguel Sano was added to the 40 man roster, but due to some horrible injury luck won't be ready for another year at least. Of the bench guys, only Nunez will make more than minimum as he is in his first arbitration year. The only player of note gone is Pedro Florimon who went to the Nationals.
The past two winters, the Twins have picked up Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey to supplement a rotation devoid of prospects. The Correia experiment is over already as he was dealt to the Dodgers for a fringe prospect. Pelfrey is a free agent after 2015, making $5.5M. But Nolasco is in Minnesota through 2018, making $12M per. The one home grown guy that will definitely be in the rotation is Kyle Gibson, who won't reach arbitration for two more years.
The trade for Tommy Milone last mid-season should give them four starters. The last spot, right now, is likely Trevor May or Logan Darnell as prospects Alex Meyer and Jason Wheeler aren't quite ready yet. The Twins did also let go of Sam Deduno (Astros) on waivers and cut Yohan Pino and Kris Johnson recently.
Closer Glen Perkins makes $4.65M in 2015 and is signed through 2018. Jared Burton was let go this offseason and Anthony Swarzak was outrighted. That leaves Casey Fien, Brian Duensing and Caleb Thielbar at the back end of the bullpen, with both Fien and Duensing in arbitration. There are plenty of young arms to choose from to flesh out the pen, including Ryan Pressly, Michael Tonkin, A.J. Achter, Aaron Thompson, Lestor Oliveros and former Mariner prospect Stephen Pryor.
Minnesota had a $100M payroll in 2012. But that dropped significantly to $63M in 2013 and then back up to $87M last year. They are at almost $91M right now for 2015. So I wouldn't expect many more lavish deals.
They do have a hole in the rotation and could use some more bench help. But unless they seriously want to upgrade one of their bats, I don't think there were be a lot of action for the Twins this winter.