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Article: Let's Make A Deal, Part II: Payroll

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:43 AM
As the Twins navigate a rough stretch while privately considering how to upgrade the team in advance of the trade deadline, we fans conti...
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Real baseball

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:37 AM
Did anyone else notice how each A's batter takes at least 6 or 7 pitches to be out, if they are out? Or how about clutch hitting situatio...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (7/20): Bats Bats Bats...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 08:33 AM
Unfortunately the Twins game decided to be really good and also really, really, really bad so the minor league report is brought to you w...
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Mejia Claimed by Angels

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:31 AM
Just tweeted out. It will be interesting to see if he turns it around
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Article: Twins Game Recap (7/20): Twins Offense and Bullp...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:29 AM
In a game full of excitement and heartbreak, the Twins once again lose to Liam Hendricks and the Oakland Athletics by a score of 5-4. Als...
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Arms Race: The Search For Young Starters

On Tuesday night, the Tigers and Twins kicked off a series at Target Field. On the hill for Detroit was Matt Boyd, a 25-year-old lefty who owns a 2.38 ERA since the beginning of July. Along with Rookie of the Year frontrunner Michael Fulmer, Boyd is a key component in a resurgent rotation that ranks sixth in the AL in ERA after finishing last in 2015.

Neither was in the organization 13 months ago.
Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski, USA Today
Fulmer, who the Twins will be lucky enough to avoid this week, has gone 10-4 with a league-leading 2.58 ERA in 20 starts since joining Detroit's rotation at the end of April. The Tigers got him back from the Mets in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes at last year's deadline. Boyd was acquired a day earlier, as part of the package that netted the Blue Jays David Price.

Detroit made four straight postseason runs before spiraling to fifth place in 2015. They used the opportunity to bring in more young impact pitching talent than the Twins have during five years of futility, and now the Tigers are back in the playoff race again. Astonishing, really.

Granted, it's not every day you have high-caliber rentals like Price and Cespedes to dangle. But neither Fulmer nor Boyd was an elite prospect. General manager Al Avila and his front office simply targeted the right guys.

In order to get their woeful staff back on the track, the Twins must absolutely do the same.

They may have found something in Adalberto Mejia, who came over from San Francisco in the Eduardo Nunez trade last month. But they need to keep adding to their pipeline in order to enhance their chances at striking.

Watching Minnesota's pitchers get clubbed around on a regular basis, it feels like a return to respectability is far away. But the Tigers are showing that a turnaround can happen rather quickly. The Twins themselves have shown this, jumping from 15th in runs allowed in 2014 to eighth last year before falling back off a cliff.

Run production is not a problem for this team. For a third straight season, they are at or above the league average in scoring. Preventing runs is the hold-up, and needs to be the primary focus heading into 2017. Pressure is growing with the postseason drought extending and the youthful offensive core gaining traction.

Some of the improvement will need to come internally, of course. They can't really count on Phil Hughes coming off shoulder surgery but he's a possible factor. It sounds like Trevor May will get another shot at starting. Kyle Gibson ought to rebound from this strangely dismal season. Most importantly, Jose Berrios will hopefully find his way and become a force to be reckoned with.

But relying solely upon those pieces to form a quality rotation around Ervin Santana is not an option. If the Twins actually have aspirations of returning to contention next year – and I truly believe they do – they need to add at least one more arm with high-end potential. They subtracted one, albeit one with fleeting appeal, when they sent Alex Meyer to the Angels.

So, where to find such an arm? Free agency is probably not the answer. Even with some spending flexibility and Ricky Nolasco off the books, there just isn't a single name on the upcoming market that pops out.

I would suggest that the best approach is following the same path the Tigers did to acquire Boyd and Fulmer, and the same one the Twins did with Meyer: trading established MLB players for fast-tracked minor-league pitching with sizable upside.

There are a few different assets that could be considered for such a move, but when it comes to making a transformative splash, only one solution makes sense. That would be shopping Brian Dozier.

While sitting in as co-host on the Gleeman and the Geek podcast on Sunday, I discussed the notion of dealing Dozier extensively with Aaron. I recommend clicking here and giving it a listen, if you haven't. But the bottom line is that, as a power-hitting second baseman who is under 30 with a favorable contract, Dozier is extremely valuable. He hit his 30th home run on Wednesday night and is enjoying a career year. This would be the definition of selling high.

And as it happens, the Twins are equipped to replace him. Second base is Jorge Polanco's best position. While losing Dozier would obviously hurt, it's the kind of major shakeup that is warranted at the conclusion of another disastrous 90-loss season. Given the relatively lopsided nature of the offense and pitching staff at this point, it only makes sense to draw from one to help the other.

Yet, this idea is contingent on targeting the right guys. Otherwise, it's a catastrophe in the making. If the Twins don't trust Rob Antony to do it, they need to find someone they do. The stakes are high.

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78 Comments

I like Dozier. This kind of power up the middle doesn't grow on trees.
That said, I agree. This team is absolutely desperate for starting pitching, and I think trading Dozier is the only realistic path to achieving that.
    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
You have a believer in me, Nick. I'm seeing dollar signs the longer Dozier stays on fire at the plate. Keep it up Dozier!
    • TheLeviathan and wsnydes like this
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Deduno Abides
Aug 24 2016 09:09 PM
Not many "good" teams with young pitching need a 2B. Dozier is not a great 2B. If he could play OF, he could help his value, like Ian Desmond, and give 2B to Polanco. The Twins could start 2017 with Dozier-Rosario-Kepler in the OF. If Buxton improves (3 K's tonight are troubling), then it would be all the easier to trade Dozier and move Rosario to left.

Dozier is far & away the most valuable commodity.  He's also the only player we presently have who would belong in a "pennant contender" lineup - - - - if he's traded, we darn well better get back "pennant contender quality" pitching.

    • Oldgoat_MN and SF Twins Fan like this
Remember all the talk this past winter, about how poor Detroit's farm system was, how much better the Twins rotation depth was, and how the Tigers should just blow it up and rebuild? Ah, memories...
    • Mike Sixel, alarp33, markos and 5 others like this
Yes finally I've been saying this all along we need arms and lots of them and where did you hear Trevor may might start again? That should of happened along time ago it's Tyler Duffy who should be in the pen he has 2 pitches may has 4 hmmm. 2nd of all I made a statement in article few days ago saying I call it now we trade dozier for some arms any "smart" gm trades him for some serious arms and not any more Kyle Gibson type this needs to stop now we have tons of number 6 starters and no 1,2 or 3 starter it's depressing for 1 time let's have a real lineup and at least 2 starters then we can have Ervin S. I refuse to call him santana Cuz he is no Johan that's the only santana I care about. I would trade dozier and I believe some team would drool for Buxton and if that's the case then do it for again more arms
Spy. It is like they rebuilt in six months.

I hate those guys.
    • birdwatcher and Oldgoat_MN like this
I have thought along the Twins should be trading Dozier and it certainly he is at high point in value. The only problem I have with that is I don't have a lot of trust in Twins making a good deal to get some young arms. I look at when they Traded Span and Revere for pitching and so far only pitcher of value has been May and I think the Twins have maybe screwed him up now I am wondering if he will develop into the pitcher he looked like he could become. If the Twins could get young pitcher nearly MLB ready and couple low minor high upside pitchers thrown into the deal I think they should. I Think that Polanco could fill in adequately for Dozier and I just don't think the Twins will be ready to win before they have to make a decision on Doziers. What ever MN does in picking pitchers has not been what you call stellar for the organization. I can't remember when the Twins have had high upside pitcher they drafted and made major leagues and stayed up and was successful my guess it would be Radke. If the Twins wanted improve the organization they need to figure out what they do as organization and why they are not coming up with more pitching talent. A new GM should address this problem right away and start making changes to correct this problem. A major league club if its going to win needs to develop pitching on their own if they want to be contenders. I wonder what changes would need to be made to improve this. I think its not getting rid of people but adding people who's only job is acquire and find good pitching prospects. I think their people finding position players are above average and should continue in their jobs in player development. I look at their drafting position players and acquiring position players they have been very successful. Now they need to find people that are as good at that in finding pitching.
Obviously the Twins need pitching. And obviously the hope is the new GM will make smart decisions, whether it be via trades, FA, etc.

There are some solid pieces in the pen to begin with, and enough arms on the way that if even a couple of them turn out, the bullpen could be really solid.

The rotation is the biggest issue. And I don't say not to trade Dozier. Potentially, he's a valuable trade chip. And Polanco would provide a quality replacement, just as a different type of player. But if you move Dozier, you also lose his offense and create another need in the infield.

Nobody wants to keep playing the waiting game. But I have to wonder if the Twins still aren't better keeping Dozier and keep working with youngsters like Berrios, May, Duffy, Mejia and eventually Gonsalves along with vets like Santana and Gibson.
It's obvious that they need at least an impact arm, and another solid middle of the rotation type next year. Dozier is part of the most logical way to get one of them. There is a lot of talk about how he might not bring a big enough return, but he might if you add to the package. I know 30 HR second baseman don't grow on trees, but 30 HR in the OF is not uncommon. Acknowledging that other GM's are not fools, his value will never be higher, there is nowhere but down for him to go. His defense is replaceable, and this team doesn't need sticks, it needs pitching and defense. Letting the desperation for a SS cloud the common sense of trading Dozier for a above average SP is shortsighted.
    • Major League Ready, Vanimal46, d-mac and 1 other like this
When speaking of pitching it is remiss to add that I cannot believe any pitcher would want to look over his shoulder and see this defense standing behind him. I know analytics has changed how the game and players are viewed. But some things are static. You need good defense up the middle, that's not ever going to change unless they change the shape of the field. And you can give up a little at two of the corners, at the most. When Abner Doubleday said, "if you can hit, they will find you a place to play", I don't think he meant all those hitters were supposed to be on the same team. :)
    • troyhobbs, KidBro and wsnydes like this

Yes finally I've been saying this all along we need arms and lots of them and where did you hear Trevor may might start again? That should of happened along time ago it's Tyler Duffy who should be in the pen he has 2 pitches may has 4 hmmm. 2nd of all I made a statement in article few days ago saying I call it now we trade dozier for some arms any "smart" gm trades him for some serious arms and not any more Kyle Gibson type this needs to stop now we have tons of number 6 starters and no 1,2 or 3 starter it's depressing for 1 time let's have a real lineup and at least 2 starters then we can have Ervin S. I refuse to call him santana Cuz he is no Johan that's the only santana I care about. I would trade dozier and I believe some team would drool for Buxton and if that's the case then do it for again more arms


Doogie's interview w/ RA touched on May potentially going back to the rotation.

http://kstp.com/spor...olanco/4230249/
    • Nick Nelson, birdwatcher and nytwinsfan like this

When speaking of pitching it is remiss to add that I cannot believe any pitcher would want to look over his shoulder and see this defense standing behind him. I know analytics has changed how the game and players are viewed. But some things are static. You need good defense up the middle, that's not ever going to change unless they change the shape of the field. And you can give up a little at two of the corners, at the most. When Abner Doubleday said, "if you can hit, they will find you a place to play", I don't think he meant all those hitters were supposed to be on the same team. :)

Polanco and Escobar could eventually be a better 2b/SS fielding tandem than Dozier and Escobar or Dozier and Polanco. Dozier's not going to improve much as a fielder. Polanco still has youth on his side to improve his fielding.
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JaleelWhite FanClub
Aug 25 2016 06:59 AM

If the Twins were unwilling to part with Plouffe this past offseason with a stud prospect in waiting, then it's highly doubtful they trade an actual star player like Dozier.

 

And who's to say if we actually get a stud pitching prospect he'll pan out once he reaches the Twins. The Berrios situation isn't giving me too much confidence in the staff's ability to get the most out their talent.

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JaleelWhite FanClub
Aug 25 2016 07:03 AM

I don't know if trading Dozier's the answer. He's the one actual established, somewhat consistent star the team has right now.

 

How about the team flips the script and packages 2-3 top prospects and go get an established ace? As Buxton and Berrios are showing, there's no guarantee that all these highly-ranked prospects shine right away (if at all).

    • Hosken Bombo Disco and howieramone2 like this

Whoever we get, we need to surround them with the right preparation and coaches. There are three people (or more) working with Berrios, Duffey got worse after his rookie year, May has been mishandled, we break the confidence of some young players, and our staff is a mess.  

 

Listening to Mackey on 1500, he listed the bottom half of the teams in all mlb in 2012. Only the Twins are on the same losing track, most have been to playoffs, some to world series and only the Rockies continue to be mediocre.  

 

Teams can turn it around with the right people leading the way.

    • d-mac likes this

 

I don't know if trading Dozier's the answer. He's the one actual established, somewhat consistent star the team has right now.

 

How about the team flips the script and packages 2-3 top prospects and go get an established ace? As Buxton and Berrios are showing, there's no guarantee that all these highly-ranked prospects shine right away (if at all).

Do you believe the Twins will offer Dozier $15-20 million a year at age 31 when he hits free agency?

Are you comfortable offering Buxton + 1 or 2 of the guys in AA such as Gonsalves, Jay to make the prospect trade happen?  

    • Platoon likes this
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ALessKosherScott
Aug 25 2016 07:29 AM

My two cents is they have the ultimate weapon for pitchers...81 games in a ballpark that makes right-handed pitchers really hard to take out of the park. Left-handed, homer-prone pitchers like Santiago, not-so-much.

 

But right-handed ones, yes.

 

Step 1

 

Find an army of Carlos Silvas and Nick Blackburns, Or righty sinkerball pitchers who are cheap in free agency.

 

Step 2

 

Crisp up the infield defense.

 

Step 3

 

Profit.

I don't know what people expect, in terms of a rebuild, if you are unwilling to trade the older players to get more prospects. That's what rebuilding teams do.

    • Steve Lein, birdwatcher, Sconnie and 4 others like this
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Major League Ready
Aug 25 2016 08:01 AM

 

Do you believe the Twins will offer Dozier $15-20 million a year at age 31 when he hits free agency?

Are you comfortable offering Buxton + 1 or 2 of the guys in AA such as Gonsalves, Jay to make the prospect trade happen?  

These deals for an "ace" are usually a situation where the player has no more than 2 years of control.Even Kershaw would not make this team good enough to win the division.The team needs to grow up so this type of trade right now would relieve us of the very players who will hopefully make this team a contender.This might make sense in a couple years but it makes no sense right now.

    • Vanimal46 and wsnydes like this
Yup, if 90+ losses 5 of 6 years doesn't give one the true value of Dozier to this team relative to starting pitching, I don't know what will.
    • troyhobbs, Platoon and d-mac like this

These deals for an "ace" are usually a situation where the player has no more than 2 years of control. Even Kershaw would not make this team good enough to win the division. The team needs to grow up so this type of trade right now would relieve us of the very players who will hopefully make this team a contender. This might make sense in a couple years but it makes no sense right now.


Agreed. Just wanted to hear the other side of the discussion from others who feel they should trade prospects for pitching instead of Dozier for pitching.

For the record I'm 100% bought in on trading Dozier for pitching.
    • wsnydes likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Aug 25 2016 08:06 AM
Dozier is the closest thing to a leader we got. I couldn't trade him. Should have traded Buxton or Sano when those guys still had value. :)

Dozier is valuable -- but is there a market for him, at a top price?  I know the Braves were mentioned by some around these parts, although they seem pretty intent on rushing their own prospects -- Swanson already, and perhaps Albies not far behind.  Otherwise, 2B needs are mostly for teams that are unlikely to give up a lot of talent (KC, Pittsburgh) or teams that have nothing to give up (the Angels).  There are a couple big market teams that might have a need (Dodgers and Mets), but both have some prospects and internal options themselves, and Neil Walker will be a free agent too and probably projects similarly to Dozier, given their histories.

 

It's a variation on the Plouffe 3B market last winter, it seems.

    • birdwatcher, Oxtung and markos like this

 

Dozier is valuable -- but is there a market for him, at a top price?  I know the Braves were mentioned by some around these parts, although they seem pretty intent on rushing their own prospects -- Swanson already, and perhaps Albies not far behind.  Otherwise, 2B needs are mostly for teams that are unlikely to give up a lot of talent (KC, Pittsburgh) or teams that have nothing to give up (the Angels).  There are a couple big market teams that might have a need (Dodgers and Mets), but both have some prospects and internal options themselves, and Neil Walker will be a free agent too and probably projects similarly to Dozier, given their histories.

 

It's a variation on the Plouffe 3B market last winter, it seems.

The Dodgers came to my mind too as a potential fit. Kendrick isn't lighting the world up with his bat, and they could view Dozier as a big upgrade to their lineup. As we know they're also a team that's not afraid to take on salary if it helps their team. 

As far as others, who knows. The picture is too fuzzy at the moment to know for sure. There may be teams off our radar who feel Dozier is an upgrade to their current 2B. 

    • birdwatcher likes this

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