The unlikely MLB free agency crashers of 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox delivers the pitch during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox delivers the pitch during the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Five of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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MLB free agency
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 17: A detail of the Minnesota Twins logo during the game between the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins on September 17, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Twins

Following their 2017 post-season run, the Twins regressed to just 78 wins in 2018. Their 2019 season will say everything about Minnesota’s approach. If they continue to slide, a tear-down could be in order. But if players such as Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano return to their 2017 form, the Twins will be a team to watch next winter.

At present, they are scheduled to hit that off season with zero dollars in payroll commitments. Of their potential free agents, only pitcher Kyle Gibson would be viewed as a cornerstone piece. Most of their cornerstone talents – Sano, Jose Berrios and Max Kepler, will only be arbitration 1s, meaning they would project to earn no more than $2 million or $3 million.

Historically the Twins have operated with a payroll between $100 and $120 million. Even assuming they don’t increase that – which they could – Minnesota would have the resources to attract nearly any free agent (or free agents) Twins management believes fills a team need.

Their position is only intensified if they make gains on the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians in 2019, a possibility that is hardly out of the question. If that happens, front-line 2020 free agents could see the Twins as a legitimate playoff contender both immediately and long-term.