Twins GM Thad Levine: We are not done improving our team
Twins general manager Thad Levine provided some general updates on his team’s winter plans during a podcast interview with SKOR North’s Darren Wolfson (audio link). With J.A. Happ signed to the rotation earlier this week, more additions could still be in the offing, since Levine feels “we’re starting to see things really de-congest” in the free agent market.
“We’re not done. We still have some flexibility. We’re still having ongoing conversations; we still see many ways we can improve this team both from a qualitative standpoint and from a depth standpoint,” Levine said.
As you might expect, Levine declined to get into detail about many names, but did note that the Twins are “staying in touch” with reliever Tyler Clippard and “are in constant conversation” with Nelson Cruz’s representatives. Interestingly, Wolfson opened the pre-interview portion of the podcast by noting that talks have been “pretty dead” between Cruz and the Twins, and it has been some time since Minnesota presented Cruz with an offer. As Wolfson puts it, however, “all it takes is one new call” to reignite talks, as both sides are pretty familiar with each other’s positions. As has been the case all offseason, Cruz’s situation might not be resolved until there is firmer clarity on whether or not the National League will use the DH in 2021.
In terms of specific needs, the Twins are always interested in more arms (“If in doubt, add more pitching,” Levine said), particularly as pitchers re-adjust to throwing more innings in the wake of the abbreviated 2020 season. Beyond pitchers, Levine is open to all possibilities on the position-player front, due to Minnesota’s versatile roster.
“When we look at the free agent market, we do not feel limited in terms of bats that we can go recruit….We do have such amazing flexibility within our team [that] you could almost recruit a player at about any position on the field and still make it work,” the GM said.
The Twins are also exploring options on the trade market, and Levine said that technically, there aren’t any so-called untouchable players on the roster — as a general principle, the organization has to be open to anything should an opportunity arise, but obviously the Twins are “less inclined” to shop or discuss certain top-tier players and prospects. Levine also added that the Twins had received trade interest in “over 30 distinct players” within the organization over the last year, which the general manager considered a positive endorsement of Minnesota’s talent depth at both the major-league and minor-league levels.