The Minnesota Twins have reportedly "checked in" on free agents Kyle Schwarber, Adam Duvall and Michael Brantley as they prepare to defend their American League Central title, according to The Athletic's Dan Hayes.
Schwarber, 27, could serve as a replacement for designated hitter Nelson Cruz if the Twins opt not to re-sign the slugger. The former Chicago Cubs star hit 11 home runs in 59 games last year after mashing 38 homers in 2019. Brantley, meanwhile, could fill a need at right field after Minnesota waived Eddie Rosario last week.
Per Hayes, the Twins and Cruz remain in contact and are hopeful they can reach a deal on a new contract, but talks are moving slowly.
"We continue to be in conversations with a number of free agents and teams on potential trade targets," Twins president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said. "Nothing has really come together, but I would say we’re active in conversations with players that are free agents that were on our team last year as well as players externally."
Urgency may be kicking in as the rival Chicago White Sox began the week by adding frontline starters in pitcher Lance Lynn and outfielder Adam Eaton.
Brantley, 33, is projected to earn $21.3 million per season on his next contract, according to Spotrac, after slashing .300/.364/.476 with 22 RBI.
Adding another outfielder is more of a luxury for Minnesota than a necessity at this point. Alex Kirilloff, 23, looks ready for a promotion to the big leagues after rising quickly through the Twins organization over the last few years. Moving on from Rosario opened up a spot for him to challenge for an everyday job if Minnesota is unable to land a preferred free agent.
"We start from a place of feeling really good about our team," general manager Thad Levine said. "It’s a team that we’re building off from a very strong nucleus of players that are returning. We’re taking a patient approach to the offseason. We’re having conversations with agents and teams, but we’re going to be very selective. We think we’ve got a very good club."