The Royce Lewis Era has (unofficially) begun [Twins Hyperlinks]

Hi all, and thanks to those of you who made it to Friday’s livestream. This one’s just me blabbing about José Berríos and taking Twins questions from viewers. As you can tell, I’m definitely still getting used to the format! The plan in the future is to add these to the podcast feed.  

*After a final round of roster cleaning ahead of several traditional offseason activities like the Rule 5 draft, the Twins locked in their roster at 40 players. That will change again before opening day. 

How they got there: they offered an MLB contract to Jake Cave and added 6 prospects to the 40-man roster: infielders Royce Lewis and Jose Miranda, and pitchers Josh Winder, Cole Sands, Chris Vallimont and Blayne Enlow. They’ve also DFA’d Willians Astudillo and Charlie Barnes, and outrighted two players to the minors: Devin Smeltzer and Kyle Garlick

Each of those guys is worth more than a paragraph on their own but we like to keep these Monday editions moving. 

*What’s changed on MLB’s free agent starter market?

With the deadline to accept Qualifying Offers now behind us, we have some more clarity on the market for free-agent starting pitchers. As you might have expected during the summer, there still are some top arms available but you might make a compelling case for the trade route at this stage. 

Here’s another look at my top-25 free agent starters, with updates:

1. Max Scherzer 
2. Kevin Gausman

The top two were not eligible to receive a Qualifying Offer.

3. Clayton Kershaw 
4. Carlos Rodón

The next two did not receive the QO, which raised some eyebrows, including mine. 

5. Robbie Ray -- declined QO, free agent
6. Marcus Stroman 
7. Noah Syndergaard -- 1-year deal with Anaheim
8. Alex Wood
9. Anthony DeSclafani
10. Eduardo Rodríguez -- 5-year deal with Detoit
11. Justin Verlander, 39 -- 2-year deal with Houston (includes player opt-out)
12. Wade Miley, 35 -- Claimed on waivers by the Cubs

13. Zack Greinke, 38
14. Alex Cobb, 34
15. Steven Matz, 31
16. Corey Kluber, 36
17. Jon Gray, 30 -- did not receive QO, which surprised some in the industry
18. Rich Hill, 42
19. Yusei Kikuchi, 31
20. Tyler Anderson, 32
21. Kwang-hyun Kim
22. Merrill Kelly, 32
23. Michael Pineda, 33
24. Zach Davies, 29
25. Chris Archer, 33

Four of the top-12 are now gone from consideration. Add in the 6-year extension for José Berríos in Toronto, and we’ve started to see a market taking form. Above those pitchers, it will get expensive; below, the excitement level drops. 

Let’s get to the weekly Twins Hyperlinks:

*Young St. Paul hitting coach Matt Borgschulte headed to Baltimore, writes Betsy Helfand. 

*It looks like Sinclair, which owns Bally Sports North and other regional sports networks, will not bring back the RSN’s to Dish Network after all

*The latest words from the mouth of Rob Manfred, via Evan Drellich in The Athletic. “...an offseason lockout that moves the process forward is different than a labor dispute that costs games.”

*Also in The Athletic, Aaron Gleeman has 6 veteran shortstops that could make sense as trade targets for the Twins.

*According to Phil Miller in the Star Tribune, the Twins will look to add more Major League coaches -- beyond the uniformed members of the coaching staff in the dugout -- for “coordinating and communicating analytic information to players, mostly before games.” That sounds similar to what the Giants did last year amid their magical season. 

*This week’s can’t-miss Pat Reusse column: An ode to La Tortuga


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You might also like…

*Should the Twins have extended José Berríos? (Members only post, podcast)

*5 free agents picked for the Twins by MLB Trade Rumors (available for all)

*A Byron Buxton contract extension and what it should look like (available for all)

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