It's a cold January night in the Twin Cities. After a long day of crunching numbers and negotiating with agents, Derek Falvey heads to a Wendy's drive-thru. After ordering a Baconator with extra bacon, the employee on the other end of the speaker asks if he would like the value meal.
"Well, that's a complicated question," Falvey begins. "You see, you first have to ask yourself what is value? I mean, it's very problematic in this market."
"You just can't barge into a long-term commitment. Some people want one thing and you want another and you really have to define what is value to you."
"Sir, do you want the fries or not?"
Perhaps the situation with the Twins is not to the drive-thru-example level, but this is a problem throughout Major League Baseball. All 30 teams have embarked on a staring contest as they try to field the best team possible while investing the least amount of money. This has led to several fan favorites being let go and a stunning amount of non-tendered contracts last month.
Locally, the Twins are running into the same issue. Coming off another playoff sweep, the Twins are in need of revamping the roster. Part of that has already been done by non-tendering Eddie Rosario, but that only weakens a lineup that may also be without Nelson Cruz in a couple of weeks.
As the hot stove figures to fire up in the weeks leading up to spring training, the Twins have two options: Go with the pack and try to find cost-effective alternatives or go "all in" with a push toward a postseason run.
The latter has been something that hasn't been seen in Minnesota since Jack Morris signed on the dotted line. Sure, the Twins traded for Kenta Maeda and signed Josh Donaldson last winter, but neither were moves that signaled "World Series or bust." While Maeda was second in American League Cy Young voting, it proved to be a shrewd move, but blockbuster didn't define it.
As the Twins look around in the AL, they're in a better position to make their move heading into the 2021 season. After the Cleveland Indians traded Francisco Lindor, the only source of competition in the division may be the Chicago White Sox.
Elsewhere in the AL, the Tampa Bay Rays traded Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres to channel their 2000s Twins roots, leaving a wild card spot wide open. With the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics fielding good, but not great teams, it's only certain that the New York Yankees stand in the Twins' way of making a deep run.
Instead of going out and making moves, the Twins have sat on their hands in the early months of the offseason. As the New York Mets landed Lindor, the Twins have had their annual connection with every free agent shortstop only to be shocked to see them sign or traded elsewhere a couple of weeks later.
Instead of signing a proven reliever, the Twins' big move to bolster the bullpen was to sign Hansel Robles, who posted a 10.26 ERA last season. Analytics and Wes Johnson reclamation projects aside, this is frustrating as the White Sox signed former "Four-A" superstar turned lights-out-reliever Liam Hendricks on Monday.
Even the quest for a starting pitcher is mind-blowing as Trevor Bauer has sat on the free-agent market all winter. While the Twins have been reluctant to give big contracts to free-agent starters, Bauer has reportedly been willing to accept a one-year deal which should be the equivalent to a hanging breaking ball to Cruz. Bauer has since softened that stance, but why not make an offer that he can't refuse?
This also isn't a plea for the Twins to blindly spend more money. Last offseason, the Twins tried that by signing Donaldson to the richest contract in franchise history only to watch him battle through a calf injury and hit .222. It would be better for the Twins to use their money on suitable options and there happen to be many on the free-agent market.
What the Twins need to do is turn one of these rumors into reality and cannonball into the deep end of the American League pool. Go sign Bauer. Go find a proven relief arm. Trade for Kris Bryant. Something that shows they are keen on winning the World Series rather than a make-believe analytics value championship (which probably comes with a Baconator).
The Twins are in position to do what this team hasn't done since 2002. Now, they need to push their chips in the middle of the table and do something about it.