Roster turnover after four years in Major League Baseball, with a pandemic between then and now, is sure to be filled with natural attrition.
Players get older, or too expensive, or less effective, and are replaced.
That is certainly some of what's happened to the Twins between 2019 and now, but that's not the entire story. Some of the roster remake between then and now feels far more intentionally tilted toward a philosophical adjustment.
Put bluntly: The Bomba Squad is no more. In its place is a Twins team that is far more likely to fail or succeed on the merits of its pitching and defense than the long ball.
Again, perhaps some of that is just coincidental. Maybe some of it is a nod to the realization that 2019 was an outlier because, well, juiced balls were helping everyone hit home runs.
But consider this: Of the 10 players who hit at least 13 home runs for the Twins in 2019, only two — Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler — are still on the roster. And Kepler could be gone any day.
The other eight: Nelson Cruz, C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Mitch Garver, Jason Castro and Marwin Gonzalez.
Cruz was traded for promising rotation mainstay Joe Ryan. Garver was traded as part of a series of interconnected deals that eventually led the Twins to get rid of Josh Donaldson while adding Carlos Correa — more of an all-around hitter than a masher, and a very good defensive shortstop, who the Twins re-committed to this offseason.
The Twins in the last calendar year have also traded for pitchers Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, Chris Paddack, Jorge Lopez and Pablo Lopez while trading a defensively limited batting champion (Luis Arraez), which La Velle E. Neal III and I talked about on Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast.
They signed Joey Gallo, a slugger who also happens to be a great outfielder. And they just traded for another Gold Glove outfielder, Michael A. Taylor.
The rotation is deep with capable pitchers who all arrived via trade. They signed defensive whiz Byron Buxton to a lucrative extension, re-signed Correa to an even more lucrative deal, and continue to add defensive players to supplement their pitching.
Even if Buxton is forced to DH a lot this season to preserve his health, the outfield defense will be strong, as will the infield defense up the middle with Correa and Polanco. Let's not forget the first move of a very busy offseason: signing defense-first catcher Christian Vazquez to handle the pitching staff.
The new identity is clear. All that's left is a catchy new nickname for these Twins.