Mauer Swing
(photo credit: Brian Curski, Cumulus Media)

The hot stove is still (reasonably) cold, so let’s dig into the mailbag and see what Twins Twitter pals are up to:

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and hear me out — what about moving Brian Dozier to third base and having a future infield of Miguel Sano-Nick Gordon-Jorge Polanco-Dozier? Even having Gordon at third base works for me, but one way or another this might be the best way to assimilate all the talent in the organization without too much of a shakeup. Mauer’s contract expires after this season, and keeping him on as a DH doesn’t seem to be the worst idea.

Who knows? Maybe Royce Lewis will blitz through the system and be MLB-ready by 20 and blow this all up? Fans can hope, right?

I hate the idea that I’d have to do this, but probably Eddie Rosario. The combination of coming off a good season and the question about how sustainable it is would make him the best choice. I think Max Kepler still has a lot of untapped talent, so I wouldn’t want to move him right now. Polanco is impossibly young and I think is going to be a star in this league. Sano and Byron Buxton are non-starters in this conversation for me.

So I guess that only leaves……Rosario?

Good question. It shouldn’t be too much. The Twins only have $21.2 million hard committed to next year’s payroll, with first-year arbitration raises slated for guys like Buxton, Kepler, Rosario and Sano. Even still, that’s a modest budget for a team that should have no trouble sustaining payrolls of $120 million every year. So in that sense, $25-28 million for Darvish isn’t unreasonable.

Is he worth that much? That’s a different question.

Polanco
Kepler
Rosario

I’m a huge Polanco believer, and I worry about if Kepler will ever hit lefties enough to shake the platoon issues. I still think Kepler is better than Rosario long-term, but 2017 made me think about this for a bit.

I think Littell has the highest floor just based on the fact that he’s reached Double-A with significant success, but beyond that, it’s probably Enlow and then Leach based on the amount of time they’ve spent pitching. As I recall, Leach was late to the game as a pitcher, and thus, is a little less polished there.

Among the kids, I can’t say for sure which one I like best as far as ceiling or future. I’d be simply guessing, and I don’t feel good about that.

Yep. I think the national writers like him a lot and his run as a catcher is enough for me to put him over the top. By fWAR, Mauer is the 13th-best catcher of all-time, with a fair chance to get into the top-10 by the end of his career — he’d need about 6.0 more WAR.

Very aggressive, I think. I really don’t see any reason for the opposite to be true with how Thad Levine’s comments on MLB Network radio came across along with the fact that they’re really one starter and a reliever or two away from possibly challenging Cleveland for the division crown. That may sound crazy, but the Indians possibly losing Bryan Shaw, Carlos Santana and Jay Bruce all in the same offseason hurts.

I’m probably the most ferocious defender of Sano sticking at third base, and even I have to say first. I think he’s going to be the kind of guy who mashes until he’s 35 or so, and will play first base starting at about age 28 or 29.

I think the main thing is that it isn’t a step backward. We don’t know how much Gardenhire’s thinking has really modernized after working with a forward-thinking manager and front office in Arizona, but what the Tigers need right now is stability. He should be able to bring that, and be a good bridge to whatever whiz kid they want to hire in three years, at which point I suspect Gardenhire gets a sweetheart job with the Twins to come full circle.

Sano will start at third base, and I think he’ll be fine there all season. Maybe I’m the only one not that worried about it, but Eduardo Escobar is a good insurance policy and maybe the Twins do something in the offseason like signing Eduardo Nunez if they’re really concerned. I think that’ll be the only real signal as to how the Twins brass feels. If they’re even moderately confident Sano will give them 80-100 games at third, they’ll stand pat. If it’s less than that, they’ll have to think about adding someone.

They’re good dogs, Ralf.

Terrific first question — Serial, but it’s close. S-Town is wild and crazy, borderline unhinged and ends up in a place you never expect at the outset, but I think Serial is a 98/100 whereas S-Town is more like a 93 or 94.

I will listen to any podcast about crime with an emphasis on serial killers, so I’ve been simply searching serial killers and listening to whatever I can find. I find the minds of the deranged to be fascinating to study.


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