Believe it or not, the Twins are in a prime position to spend top dollars on free agents.
MLB insider Jon Heyman reported on Thursday that Twins' ownership – as well as Derek Falvey and Thad Levine – are weighing strongly to make "big investments" to their team.
Not only did the Twins' playoff appearance this season play a part in accelerating that thinking, but it's also because Minnesota has limited salary cap commitments beyond the 2018 season.
Currently the team has $70 million committed to its roster for 2018. However that number drops to $39 million this time next year.
Also, the 2018 season is the final year of Joe Mauer's eight-year contract that he signed at the start of the decade, so his $23 million cap hit will be off the books too.
Now, players that are under team control and arbitration will drive up that number a bit, but the point is, the Twins have a ton of room to hand out free agent contracts.
Who could they land this offseason?
Brandon Warne of Zone Coverage points out that the team could attract such mid-tier free agents like Carlos Santana, Pat Neshek and Lance Lynn.
Lynn and Neshek would be immediate upgrades in the rotation and bullpen.
And Santana is one of the most disciplined hitters in the league. He averages nearly 100 walks a season while also putting on an average of 20 home runs over the last seven years.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, here's the contracts they're expected to earn this offseason:
- Santana: Four-years, $56 million – cap hit of $14 million per season
- Neshek: Two-years, $12 million – cap hit of $6 million per season
- Lynn: Four-years, $56 million – cap hit of $14 million per season
With those three players not expected to break the bank, the Twins could still attract a top arm like Darvish or Arrieta.
Plus, the team can still hand out extensions to Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario in the 2018 offseason
Since MLB doesn't have a salary cap, you can expect the team to have a payroll that's north of $125 million.