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Article: KC 6, MIN 5: Maybe It’s Better Off This Way?

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Is Another Arm Coming?

After acquiring Jake Odorizzi in mid-February, the Minnesota Twins got a much-needed boost to the starting rotation. Knowing that a top-three starter needed to be the main area of focus this offseason, a swap with the Rays brought a level of stability. Since that point though, smoke has billowed from Hammond Stadium, and it’s worth wondering if Derek Falvey isn’t quite done wheeling and dealing.
Image courtesy of © Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
On February 18, the Star Tribune’s Phil Miller tweeted that Falvey was quoted as saying “I’m not turning my phone off” in regard to adding another starter. Since that date, Darren Wolfson reported on 1500 ESPN radio that Minnesota lowballed Lance Lynn, and then more reports surfaced in early March suggesting an offer of two years and $20 million was made to the former Cardinals starter. Just under a $3 million boost on the rejected qualifying offer probably isn’t going to get it done, but it’s hard to ignore the makings of a fire being in place.

Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn are the trio the baseball world is currently focused on. While Mike Moustakas, Neil Walker, and a host of position players remain unsigned, it’s impact pitchers that are generally in short supply. With those three arms still to be had, almost every outlet sees Minnesota as a logical landing spot. On ESPN, David Schoenfield put five teams down as his “best bets” to land one of them. While the Brewers should be competitive with their additions, it’s the Twins and Nationals that look the best of the bunch (excluding the Orioles and Phillies). His piece can be added to the long list of articles making the suggestion that Minnesota make another move, but the question remains if, and if so, who?

Of the group, it seems as though Jake Arrieta remains the most remote possibility. Being a Scott Boras client, Arrieta has sought a massive payday and has seemingly stood behind that notion. After peaking late, Arrieta has put just four strong seasons of work together. In a Cubs uniform, he looked the part of an ace and picked up a Cy Young award in 2015. At 32 years-old however, there’s a lot of mileage on the arm, and the decline could be both sharp and immediate.

Should the Twins continue to create the Rays of the Midwest, then Alex Cobb has to be considered. Both Logan Morrison and Jake Odorizzi serve as recruiters, while pitching guru Josh Kalk is already in house. Undergoing Tommy John surgery, Cobb has just 34 starts under his belt since 2014. At 30 however, age is still on his side and the 2.82 ERA from 2013-14 looks dazzling in retrospect. Minnesota has to have some level of belief that there’s more to be unleashed than the 3.66 ERA and 6.4 K/9 of 2017, but he too would represent a clear upgrade.

Rounding out the trio is the name the Twins have been most tied to, Lance Lynn. If not for Yu Darvish, it was probably Lynn who presented the most intriguing combination of dollars and sense on the free agent market this offseason. Also a Tommy John survivor, Lynn will soon be 31 and bounced back to start a league high 33 games in 2017. The career 3.4 BB/9 isn’t ideal for a starter, and jumping up to 3.8 in 2017 is worrisome. However, he’s consistently posted K/9 totals over 8.0 and that’s something the Twins would love to have on the bump.

As things stand, the Twins have exactly three weeks left until Opening Day in Baltimore. That same time frame applies to those players still left on the open market. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine could run Kyle Gibson and Phil Hughes to the mound as 50% of their starting rotation (until Ervin Santana returns), but that duo doesn’t provide much confidence for a team with postseason aspirations. Both represent solid depth options, but with money left in attempts to reach 51% of revenues, a path to an upgrade is in clear view.

The longer the process drags on, the more negative the impact becomes for both sides. Getting free agents into camp and acclimated should be of integral importance, regardless of it being with the Twins or elsewhere. Although it’s not as if the players are simply doing nothing, gearing up their throwing programs within the organization is a far better use of time. Examples of late-signing free agents aren’t plentiful, and signings well into the season bring back bad memories of Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales. Despite being tied to draft pick compensation, both a team and the player budging a bit makes too much sense not to get done.

When the smoke clears, I’m inclined to believe Minnesota will have one more new face in the clubhouse. Lynn seems to be the odds-on favorite, with Cobb or no one coming in ahead of Arrieta. A one-year pact to give up the pick would be tough, but a two-year deal hardly benefits guys looking for some stability. One thing is certain, the calendar isn’t stopping and we’ll have resolution at some point.

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51 Comments

Right now, you lose two: the Draft Pick AND removal of someone from the 40-man, if not named Sanchez or Vargas. I would love to see a reasonable ($20 for two years isn't totally reasonable) with an option on a third year tied to performance.
    • tarheeltwinsfan and bighat like this
Give Cobb and offer.
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Lee-The-Twins-Fan
Mar 08 2018 08:20 PM

 

Right now, you lose two: the Draft Pick AND removal of someone from the 40-man, if not named Sanchez or Vargas. I would love to see a reasonable ($20 for two years isn't totally reasonable) with an option on a third year tied to performance.

 

Ditto - although for Lynn or Cobb I'd be willing to go as high as $30 million for two years plus a $20 million team option for year three.  That way, if he's pitching well, the Twins would have a hard decision to make.

 

Let's get it done.

I have no problem with the lowball offer. The agents overplayed their hands & most likely passed on good deals back in December.

 

I love it that is called collusion when teams finally figure out it's not smart to spend like drunken sailors on leave.

 

This is gonna be really ugly when the collective bargaining agreement is up. With all the teams tanking t rebuild.

    • jokin, Kelly Vance, specialiststeve and 9 others like this

I am guessing it will take 2\30 or 2\25 with incentives to get one of them signed.They turned down the qualifying offer so will want at least that much for year one.They do have the option to stay on the market until the season starts and wait until some pitchers go down via injury if they have to. So they still have some leverage left.

 

They both seem like risky bets but the Twins really kind of need to lay it all out there this year as they have a path to the playoffs if they get the starting pitching they desperately need.If they can get a two year deal done they should do it.The FO must have made decent money the past few years time to pony up now that we have a core in place.

 

I am a little bummed that if we do bite the bullet and get one of the pitchers that the draft won't stack up quite as well for us but the farm is pretty stocked and they will still get some good players.They just won't have as much extra money to maneuver with.

    • DocBauer likes this
We need to fast forward to March 29. This is third featured article in a row covering a horse that's been dead for awhile now. How much more does this subject need to be broken down.

Ted, this has nothing to do with your writing, just the general vibe. I actually appreciate your contributions very much.
    • Twins33, mikelink45, HitInAPinch and 5 others like this
If it gets lasted in the process, maybe, just maybe, Arrieta could blink and sign a 1 year deal. I want an Ace!

I am kind of rough, so I prefer Cobb.3 years @ $13 m per year.

We need to fast forward to March 29. This is third featured article in a row covering a horse that's been dead for awhile now. How much more does this subject need to be broken down.

Ted, this has nothing to do with your writing, just the general vibe. I actually appreciate your contributions very much.

the whole point was “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”
    • HitInAPinch and bighat like this

Ya never know, some of these guys are deciding to go with the 1-year offers.Moustakas just re-signed with KC for only $6.5MM guaranteed.Maybe its teams flopping, maybe its collusion, or maybe its just teams wising up about throwing stupid money over a long period to a guy that's been worth less than 3 war over the last 2 seasons combined.  

    • ken likes this
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Homer Hanky
Mar 08 2018 09:58 PM

 

Give Cobb and offer.

Would you give Cobb the same offer Lynn got? 2/$20mil? 

 

 

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The Wise One
Mar 08 2018 10:43 PM

 

We need to fast forward to March 29. This is third featured article in a row covering a horse that's been dead for awhile now. How much more does this subject need to be broken down.

Ted, this has nothing to do with your writing, just the general vibe. I actually appreciate your contributions very much.

It will continue to be a subject of conversation until it is proven beyond a reasonable doubt that all starters on the rotation are better than what they could have signed.  

My guess is the Twins won't come above their offer to Lynn of 2 years 20 mil.  I don't blame them at this point  The draft pick is secondary, but it is something to be considered.

 

Although not great, I am ok with the group we have, provided if Gibson, Meija or whomever is the number 5 (not that we really need one the first moth the way the schedule plays out), a # 5 is ok to pass to a prospect if and when the above guys fail, which I think Gibson will.

 

Would I like Lynn?  Sure.  The way the market is right now it should be on our terms after a not great but not at all inactive off season.

    • caninatl04 likes this
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Kelly Vance
Mar 08 2018 11:50 PM

 

Ditto - although for Lynn or Cobb I'd be willing to go as high as $30 million for two years plus a $20 million team option for year three.  That way, if he's pitching well, the Twins would have a hard decision to make.

 

Let's get it done.

"I'd be willing to go as high as...." nice of you to offer your own money to sign the FA pitcher. 

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Kelly Vance
Mar 08 2018 11:54 PM

might be wiser to use the money to extend our outfielders and Doze. Let Romero and Gonsalves take spots 4 and 5. A year from now, they will have learned the major leagues and we will have locked up our crucial position players long term 

    • mikelink45, terrydactyls1947 and flyin fin like this

 

 

I love it that is called collusion when teams finally figure out it's not smart to spend like drunken sailors on leave.

Agree with that statement 100% ! The stats don't lie, and the variety of stats and ways of analysis are no longer an industry secret. Why penalize or criticize teams for finally being smarter about the ways they spend money?

    • darin617, Dozier's Glorious Hair and Original Whizzinator like this
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Tommygun921
Mar 09 2018 07:17 AM
I'd rather go forward with what we have. Unless there's an injury to Berrios, Oddorizzi, Gibson or an extended one with Santana. I just don't see Lynn, Cobb or Arrieta being worth the money it's gonna take than what we will have possibly next year or the year after. Just because they're the best free agents available doesn't mean they're going to be better than what we will have in '19 and '20.
    • mikelink45 and flyin fin like this
Would you give Cobb the same offer Lynn got? 2/$20mil?



Well I think if the Twins really want him they need to offer like 2/25 or 26 maybe with some incentives that could add a couple million per year. I think 2/20 those guys just kinda snarl at, but add 2 to 3 million and it might be kinda hard to pass on? One thing to consider is that Erv is on the DL and let's face it he pitched above his head last year, once he works his way back he most likely won't be the same pitcher as he was last year. Second thing is the draft pick, yeah people can cry about a draft pick but it's only one pick, so to put that in perspective, over the last 10 years how many of the Twins draft picks have turned out to be a pitcher as good as Cobb? If I do my math correctly, I think, what, zero?? So one pick shouldn't scare them, yeah use it as leverage to say hey, we are giving up a pick for you, so that's why we are offering 2/25, but in reality I don't think the pick is worth that much. Now it's up to the Twins, if they want to roll Hughes and or Sanchez out there all year then don't bother. I think the lineup is probably good enough to carry them again, but I am of the mindset that they probably shouldn't count on Santana to even come close to repeating last year's numbers

 

Right now, you lose two: the Draft Pick AND removal of someone from the 40-man, if not named Sanchez or Vargas. I would love to see a reasonable ($20 for two years isn't totally reasonable) with an option on a third year tied to performance.

The 40-man spot is easy, release Sanchez.  

    • Twins33 and Original Whizzinator like this

 

 

I love it that is called collusion when teams finally figure out it's not smart to spend like drunken sailors on leave.

 

 

Agree with that statement 100% ! The stats don't lie, and the variety of stats and ways of analysis are no longer an industry secret. Why penalize or criticize teams for finally being smarter about the ways they spend money?

 

I agree as well.It's a complete "duh" moment and I'm glad front offices are seeing this.However, the owners only get that much more rich.Heaven forbid ticket prices would EVER drop or prices of ANYTHING at a ball game for that matter to make it more affordable for a family of 4 to go.

    • Original Whizzinator likes this
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HitInAPinch
Mar 09 2018 08:47 AM

 

I'd rather go forward with what we have. Unless there's an injury to Berrios, Oddorizzi, Gibson or an extended one with Santana. I just don't see Lynn, Cobb or Arrieta being worth the money it's gonna take than what we will have possibly next year or the year after. Just because they're the best free agents available doesn't mean they're going to be better than what we will have in '19 and '20.

Well, a couple things:

 

1st, I'd try my best to sign 2 of those guys.I don't think much of our rotation.In the field, this team could be something special.Good pitching is lacking.

 

2nd,It should be remembered that the Twins would be subtracting a couple starter salaries (Gibson and Hughes?) in the process.From what I've seen of the Gibson and Hughes in comparison to the 2 of Arrieta, Cobb and Lynn salaries, there would be a (relatively speaking) small increase in payroll and more of an increase in talent and health.

 

 

 

 

 

I just do not see those pitchers doing what we all dream.I want Romero and Gonsalves and hopefully more from the minors - soon.Develop our own arms - put them in and get them the seasoning they need.If we keep signing okay guys we block potential and I like potential much more.Remember we have Pineda coming next year so the rotation gets more congested. 

    • caninatl04 likes this

 

might be wiser to use the money to extend our outfielders and Doze. Let Romero and Gonsalves take spots 4 and 5. A year from now, they will have learned the major leagues and we will have locked up our crucial position players long term 

In a perfect world where Romero and Gonsalves pan out and can make 25-30 starts in the majors next year that works.

But in the real world you have to plan in case things don't.

Imagine we extend Dozier and Buxton, and Gibson sucks, Odorizz is average, Romero can't handle starting and Gonzo is just a 4 or 5.

Then we are in the same place we have been, looking to trade Dozier/Santanaand playing for 2021 or 2022 when the pitchers in A ball come up.

 

I say offer Cobb or Lynn 15 million for one year and a team option for another 15 million with a couple million buy out.

I am not worried about losing the pick or the 40 man spot. Since Vargas and Sanchez.

    • Original Whizzinator likes this
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nicksaviking
Mar 09 2018 09:32 AM

 

Well, a couple things:

 

1st, I'd try my best to sign 2 of those guys.I don't think much of our rotation.In the field, this team could be something special.Good pitching is lacking.

 

2nd,It should be remembered that the Twins would be subtracting a couple starter salaries (Gibson and Hughes?) in the process.From what I've seen of the Gibson and Hughes in comparison to the 2 of Arrieta, Cobb and Lynn salaries, there would be a (relatively speaking) small increase in payroll and more of an increase in talent and health.

 

How would the team be subtracting the Hughes/Gibson salaries?

    • Oxtung, Sconnie, tarheeltwinsfan and 3 others like this

I don't think the Twins feel that they really need to add either one.I don't see the log jam breaking until a SP has an injury and then I would see them doing a 1 year deal at this point with the hopes that FA next year is better for them.I think the Twins feel that they have options in the minors if there is an injury and either one of these guys is a luxury and not a necessity.

    • Dman likes this

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