The holidays are upon us and just as most of us brace for our family members to show up and ruin everything, another large group is out raiding the local malls and dark corners of the internet trying to get the perfect gift for that special someone.
For Minnesota Twins fans, that feeling of trying to drop the hint to get the perfect gift has to sound familiar. With the largest home attendance since the 2013 season, Twins fans were pretty nice this year (outside of the guy that threw the mini-donut) and deserve a great gift.
Unfortunately, many see the owner of the Twins as Ebenezer Scrooge these days. As Zack Wheeler opted to sign in Philadelphia and the team unlikely to pursue Stephen Strasburg or Gerrit Cole, they'll have to look somewhere else for free agency's version of Turbo Man.
That doesn't mean that we can't make a list of the things that Twins fans should hope comes down their chimney (or at least onto the diamond at Target Field) before the 2020 season.
Sign some starting pitching
The Twins have been busy on the free-agent market so far, but the two pitchers that they've put into their rotation have felt like getting socks and underwear for Christmas. That being said, Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda are fine choices to bring back in 2020, but might not fit the bill of impact pitching the Twins said they would pursue.
This leaves a couple of options for the Twins. Most notably, the Twins need to look at Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu to try to come away with at least one solid free agent. After that, the Twins might have to look to the likes of Kevin Gausman or Rick Porcello if they want to buy some starting pitching to put under the tree.
If all else fails, the Twins might look at a trade market that has several teams looking to dump salary (Boston's David Price) and/or simply get guys off their roster (Pittsburgh's Chris Archer) to initiate a full rebuild. Either way, it will be a blue Christmas if the Twins can't come up with something.
Figure out who belongs in the infield
Again, the Twins made progress this week when they signed Alex Avila to be Mitch Garver's primary backup. While this also made it seem like a gift card to a smoothie bar, it's part of a Twins infield that will look different in 2020.
The Twins non-tendered C.J. Cron due to a thumb injury and a steep difference between hitting left-handed pitchers (.326/.385/.636 with 11 HR, 31 RBI) and right-handed pitchers (.225/.281/.404 with 14 HR, 47 RBI). That made the projected $8 million he would earn in arbitration too steep.
With that, the Twins need to find some answers. Miguel Sano was brutal defensively at third base with a UZR rating that estimated Sano giving up nearly 20 runs over 150 games per FanGraphs, meaning he could make a move to first base. The Twins could be looking at Josh Donaldson or Todd Frazier to play third or make a smaller move just to make their defense better.
Improve the bullpen
This almost seems as great of a holiday tradition as stiff-arming a small child to get the last toy at Target. The Twins have had some whiffs when it comes to building a bridge to get to Taylor Rogers and with KSTP's Darren Wolfson reporting that the Twins are not one of the three teams Sergio Romo is looking to sign with, they may be back to square one.
If they can't retain Romo, they could be looking to upgrade on the back end with Dellin Betances or Will Harris being potential targets. Again, trades are an option here too with Toronto's Ken Giles being an intriguing potential target.
After watching the bullpen get destroyed by the Yankees last October, the Twins should be looking to add an arm or two for some depth in case things go haywire next season.