Destination Minnesota: Twins an attractive place to be

Published 7:33 pm Thursday, March 22, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twin Cities were the place to be this winter with the Super Bowl in town.

The Twins, meanwhile, have worked hard to make Minnesota more of a long-term destination.

“I wanted to go somewhere where they had a chance to win no matter what,” said right-hander Lance Lynn, the last in a series of shrewd moves made to upgrade a team that was already well on the upswing after reaching the American League wild card game with a collection of 25-and-under contributors.

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That outlook seemed unfathomable when the Twins lost a club-record 103 games in 2016 and chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine barely touched the roster for 2017 upon taking over the front office. But that’s what is happening: Players seeking a stable, successful environment have eagerly picked Minnesota.

“I think we can sense that,” manager Paul Molitor said. “Everyone is, with good reason, excited about what lies ahead. I think this is an attractive place to come to right now, given the direction and the talent level and all those things.”

To get there, the Twins took advantage of the sluggish free agent market to sign Lynn and designated hitter/first baseman Logan Morrison for bargain-rate contracts well after spring training began.

They acquired right-hander Jake Odorizzi for a minor league shortstop. Earlier in the winter, they signed free agent relievers Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed and Zach Duke to short-term deals. They even made a low-risk addition for 2019, signing Michael Pineda to a two-year contract so he can recover from Tommy John elbow surgery and ideally help anchor the rotation next season.

After picking up Lynn on a one-year, $12 million deal, Molitor himself acknowledged his mild surprise at receiving another upgrade to his roster so deep into March. The Twins, though, have clearly signaled they’re serious about contending.

“It’s amazing what winning will do,” second baseman Brian Dozier said. “Adding pieces to make a run at this thing, it’s always exciting.”