Twins sign Dylan Bundy; have plenty of work left to do after lockout
Many of the premier free agents have flown off the board in recent days in anticipation of a lockout.
MINNEAPOLIS — Three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer is now a Met. Reigning American League Cy Young winner Robbie Ray will call Seattle home for the next five years. All-Star left-hander Kevin Gausman is going north of the border to Toronto.
Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, two of the top infielders on the market, both landed mega-deals with the Texas Rangers, and Javier Báez wound up with the Detroit Tigers, a Twins’ division rival.
Many of the premier free agents have flown off the board in recent days in anticipation of a lockout. A flurry of activity marked the period of time ahead of the sport’s first work stoppage since the players’ strike of 1994-95.
The Twins made a move Wednesday, too, agreeing to a one-year, $4 million deal with starting pitcher Dylan Bundy. Bundy’s deal comes with a club option for $11 million in 2023 and a $1 million buyout. Minnesota’s seven-year, $100 million contract extension with center fielder Byron Buxton was also made official Wednesday.
And now, all will be quiet.
At 10:59 Wednesday night, the sport’s Collective Bargaining Agreement expired, with recent negotiations between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association failing to produce a deal.
Rosters are set until the lockout ends, transactions frozen for the foreseeable future. So, what shape is the Twins’ roster in at the moment?
Extending Buxton was a major offseason objective, and the Twins have now accomplished that. But aside from that, the Twins still have needs that must be addressed before spring training begins.
Bundy became the first free agent addition to the Twins’ rotation this offseason. The right-hander, who was selected No. 4 overall by the Orioles in the 2011 draft, has a career 4.72 earned-run average. With the Angels last season, he was 2-9 with a 6.06 ERA in 23 games, including 19 starts.
Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said the club had targeted Bundy as a trade candidate in the past.
“He dealt with some injuries towards the end of this year which I think caught up to him a little bit, but we feel like with a full offseason and a good plan going into spring training, this is a guy we think has real bounce-back ability, and (he’s) a guy we’ve always liked,” Falvey said.
While the free agent pitching market has been especially active and the Twins have been engaging in discussions, Falvey said they’ve looked at the trade market “maybe more so” than at free agents, having conversations with other teams about potential fits to bolster their rotation.
Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan, both rookies last season, figure to be in the rotation. But plenty of question marks remain.
“It’s always hard to find quality pitching and enough depth there,” Falvey said. “I think that’s going to be a big part of the rest of our offseason, continuing to find ways to add to it, both at the minor league level and at the major league level, the non-roster level and all of the above, to try and get as much depth as possible to help us through a season.”
The Twins remain in need of an answer at shortstop. Andrelton Simmons is a free agent. Top prospect Royce Lewis isn’t ready to assume the mantle yet. The Twins weren’t expected to be players at the top of a very strong shortstop market, but it’s still a position that will need to be addressed.
Buxton and Bundy aside, the only other moves the front office has made thus far have been minor. The Twins declined their mutual option on relief pitcher Alexander Colomé. They cut ties with pitchers John Gant, Danny Coulombe and Juan Minaya and utility player Willians Astudillo, among others. Outfielder Jake Cave was outrighted to St. Paul.
Roster subtractions have been happening since October. Roster additions will need to happen after the lockout ends. And when that time comes, whenever it might be, there’s still plenty left for the front office to accomplish.