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Minnesota Wild season 2018-2019

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I figured I would start a new forum for the upcoming season. Most Wild players have been in MN for the past two weeks going through capta...
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2018 Vikings In Season Thread

Minnesota Vikings Talk Yesterday, 09:55 PM
This is correct, they would lose cap room next year. He's going to stay on the team, the question is what role should he have. I'd li...
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Article: 2018 Twins Highlights: Top Pitching Performances

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:05 PM
One of the strange things about the 2018 season for the Twins was that the one thing that seems to be a constant organizational weakness...
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Article: What if This is the Max for Kepler?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:55 PM
At the end of the 2018 Major League Baseball season the Minnesota Twins had a trio of main narratives. First and foremost, this was a tea...
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2018 MLB Postseason Discussion Thread

Other Baseball Yesterday, 08:35 PM
How about a postseason game thread? Any MLB postseason discussion can just go here.
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End of the Road for Phil Hughes and the Twins

He gave it his all. No one could deny that Phil Hughes did everything in his power to battle through major health woes in efforts to provide some return on Minnesota's investment in him.

Ultimately, he couldn't fend off the inevitable. His twice-repaired shoulder just didn't have enough to give anymore. And on Monday night, the Twins announced they have designated the veteran right-hander for assignment, effectively ending his tenure with the team and leaving ownership on the hook for around $20 million still owed through 2019.
Image courtesy of Jesse Johnson, USA Today
There's no question. Terry Ryan's extension for Hughes in December of 2014, with two years still remaining on the pitcher's contract, was an ill-advised one.

It now will cost the Pohlads, who may be able recoup some of the money through insurance (though I've seen nothing to that effect as of yet).

But if ever a guy was deserving of such a leap of faith, it was Hughes. Let's not forget: this was a 27-year-old free agent, a former first-round draft pick and elite young talent coming off a down season, who – rather than taking the usual make-good-and-move-on route – signed for three years at a stunningly reasonable rate in Minnesota.

Then, Hughes went on to deliver one of the top three seasons by a Twins starter in the past decade. And at the end of it, when he came one out short of reaching a $500K contract escalator at 210 IP, he turned down the team's offer to pony it up. Said it would set a bad precedent. Even for a millionaire pro athlete, that is a lot of money to walk away from.

It added to a respect that I'd already built up for Hughes. I enjoyed watching him early in his career from afar, even as a member of the hated Yankees. I was a huge fan of his contract with the Twins – to this day, I consider it the finest Ryan ever signed (even if the extension negated that brilliant stroke).

And watching Hughes pitch in 2014 was a true delight. He was at the pinnacle of his craft, consistently hitting spots with lethal precision while setting the all-time MLB record for K/BB ratio.

For what it's worth, according to FanGraphs, Hughes was worth $44.7 million in that season alone, accounting for about two-thirds of the $66 million he'll make in his tenure with the club. And while he's never come close to approximating that performance in four seasons since, he has tried.

After throwing a career-high 209 innings in 2014, Hughes saw a serious velocity drop in 2015. He fought through and tossed 155 innings with a respectable 4.40 ERA. We all hoped his arm would rebound the next year; he was still under 30, after all.

It didn't. Hughes lost more arm strength in 2016 and his performance became untenably bad. A line drive to the leg ended his season, but only beat to the punch the real culprit: a bum shoulder. He underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome a few weeks later.

Hughes rehabbed and came back to spring training in 2017 feeling optimistic. But it quickly became apparent he still didn't have it. The Twins tried him as a reliever for a while and then, realizing the same symptoms were inhibiting him as before, had him go under the knife for a second time to relieve his enduring shoulder condition.

The success rate for two-time TOS surgery recipients is very low. Hughes recognized that. Through it all, he kept trying to tinker and find some way to get major-league hitters out. Even in my brief interactions with Hughes while covering spring training in Ft. Myers, it was obvious the man experiments relentlessly to find any kind of edge.

No amount of tinkering, however, can offset a nonfunctional shoulder. The decision to move on was sadly long overdue, and allows the new front office leadership to move on uninhibited by his burdensome presence on the roster.

Hughes is still only 31 years old. It's very possible he'll find his way back after a lengthy period to rest and strengthen his shoulder. I really hope he does.

But it wasn't going to happen here. And now that chapter is closed.

As of Monday night, the Twins had not announced a replacement for Hughes on the 25-man roster, though we're hearing it'll likely be Ryan LaMarre. The vacant 40-man spot should soon be filled by Trevor May, eligible to come off the 60-day DL in a week.

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108 Comments

Like most Twins fans, I hated the extension, and still do not understand it. But there is no denying Hughes is a warrior. I respect what he accomplished in his major league career, and understand that, although part of the game, career threatening injuries don’t always happen to the other team’s players.
    • Yoke, birdwatcher, pbrezeasap and 10 others like this

The best decision I have seen the FO make, in their short tenure. I am proud of them. I would be even prouder if they did the same with Lynn, and brought up Gonsalves. 

 

I think Phil knew this was coming before the season started. I would feel sad for him, but there are still 20 million reasons that it isn't that sad.

 

Worth $44.7 million for one season? FanGraphs has some fuzzy math.

    • birdwatcher, Winston Smith, jun and 5 others like this
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Original Whizzinator
May 22 2018 03:17 AM
Phil Hughes has my respect as does the FO for making this move.
    • Carole Keller, Yoke, birdwatcher and 19 others like this

I was ready to say.....That's a cheap shot!

 

 

....then I read the article

This front office has shown the willingness to make necessary moves despite bad investments of the previous front office, as well as managing the DL and the 25-man roster pretty well.This is one of these moves. 

 

Unfortunately Hughes got hurt and he has never been the same pitcher since.Glad to see that someone who will give the Twins better chance of winning will take his place.

    • brvama, Sconnie, caninatl04 and 1 other like this

Phil Hughes has my respect as does the FO for making this move.

this, Phil’s a stand up guy who earned his money. I’m glad he got it, because it would have just lined JPs pocket otherwise.

Glad Falvine has the courage to part ways. I’m sure these have been difficult conversations with Pohlad and Hughes.
    • pbrezeasap, Kevin, LA VIkes Fan and 5 others like this
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The Wise One
May 22 2018 05:27 AM

 

The best decision I have seen the FO make, in their short tenure. I am proud of them. I would be even prouder if they did the same with Lynn, and brought up Gonsalves. 

 

I think Phil knew this was coming before the season started. I would feel sad for him, but there are still 20 million reasons that it isn't that sad.

 

Worth $44.7 million for one season? FanGraphs has some fuzzy math.

for 2015 Phil Hughes had a fWAR of 5.95 If you take the costs of the contracts signed that year dived by the total WAR of the players you come upwith the they consider thetrue cost of WAR when multiplied by 5.95. gives you 44 million. Now a bunch of teams spent money on player expecting huge returns. Of course the duds free agents like Bronson Arroyo Ubaldo Jimenezand Sin Soo Choothat are getting 13-14 millionto produce very little WAR eachit really drives up the cost. 

This move was long overdue.Glad that the cord has finally been cut.

 

That said, I wish Hughes well in the future wherever or whatever he ends up doing.

    • caninatl04 likes this

Not much more to say; getting released is one of those unfortunate aspects of baseball life. But injuries such as the ones Hughes had to deal with are extremely difficult to recover from. Alexi Ogando, another pitcher who once showed lots of promise and got derailed by arm trouble (he was an All-Star for Texas back in 2011), was released by the Cleveland organization this week. He's 34, a few years older than Hughes, but earlier in this decade he looked terrific..

    • bluechipper likes this

 

I would be even prouder if they did the same with Lynn, and brought up Gonsalves. 

 

This is crazy talk, an absurd hot take.

 

Lance Lynn has no injury and has a long track record of success. He's been bad but it would be really shocking if he just all of a sudden forgot how to pitch at age 31. He's also not signed for next year so if you want to build his trade value, you have to start him. If nothing else, it's be insane to release him since he'd be a nice arm for the bullpen as he's always had a reasonably high strikeout rate.

 

You'd also be bringing Gonsalves up and starting his MLB Clock in order to get maybe 1-2 starts before May and Santana are back. This would be the definition of a move with no point.

    • luckylager, pbrezeasap, Twins33 and 4 others like this
This move is loooong overdue. I'm a proud, happy fan today.

 

 

 

You'd also be bringing Gonsalves up and starting his MLB Clock in order to get maybe 1-2 starts before May and Santana are back. This would be the definition of a move with no point.

Twinks are always reluctant to "start the clock" on their prospects. I highly doubt Gonsalves will be the callup for the very 2 reasons you mentioned, Santana and May. A relief pitcher will get the call.

It now will cost the Pohlads, who may be able recoup some of the money through insurance (though I've seen nothing to that effect as of yet).


Beware the insurance trolls!

This DFA almost certainly puts to rest the idea that the Twins could expect to recoup any meaningful portion of Hughes's salary through insurance.
    • ashburyjohn, USAFChief, Thrylos and 2 others like this

 

Like most Twins fans, I hated the extension, and still do not understand it. But there is no denying Hughes is a warrior. I respect what he accomplished in his major league career, and understand that, although part of the game, career threatening injuries don’t always happen to the other team’s players.

 

1.) Most Twins fans now claim to hate the move but back then, the reaction was decidedly more mixed. This is the TD version of the "I was at the Bill Mazeroski Shot Heard Round the World game."

 

2.) I was one of many people who liked the move back then and I like it still today. The move was reasonable (Phil Hughes salary has not hamstrung the Twins and he has not blocked any ready prospects) and just didn't work out. Sometimes the end result is bad but it doesn't mean the process was bad. The Twins got a great season out of Hughes and because of the two years left on his deal, they had the leverage to get a team-friendly extension. That involves a gamble but it was a reasonable one, especially when you think about how hard it is to find an ace.

 

And Phil Hughes had an ace season. He was 27 with the stuff to make it seem like it could be legit. Potentially having an ace for 5 years is worth what the Twins paid. I know this because the Twins are still looking for an ace. It's hard to lure one away (Darvish showed us that non-elite markets and teams need to pay way extra to get top pitchers) and it's hard to develop one (Berrios is likely a #2, Romero might be it but it's early and Graterol looks like one but throws 100 which is scary injury-wise).

 

I thought it was a good move then and I stand by that today. It's easy to hate on the decision because it didn't work out but 2014 Phil Hughes was probably the best shot the Twins have had to find an ace or near-ace pitcher. They took that shot and I don't fault them for it - you miss 100% of shots you don't take.

    • Nick Nelson, gunnarthor, pbrezeasap and 16 others like this

You'd also be bringing Gonsalves up and starting his MLB Clock in order to get maybe 1-2 starts before May and Santana are back. This would be the definition of a move with no point.


Gonsalves is going to turn 24 in July... How much longer do we have to wait to start the clock?
    • h2oface, SF Twins Fan, KirbyDome89 and 2 others like this
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Carole Keller
May 22 2018 06:23 AM
Good luck to Phil.

    • USAFChief, Blake, Jerr and 23 others like this

 

Gonsalves is going to turn 24 in July... How much longer do we have to wait to start the clock?

 

The clock is not dependent on age so that really has little to do with it.

 

I think they'd have no issue if Santana/May weren't in the mix. Gonsalves would have a shot to grab the open spot. But that spot isn't open, it's a temporary one.

 

It'd be shortsighted to bring Gonsalves up for 2-3 starts when you know that barring injury, he's going to head back down. If you were starting Sam Deduno instead, it's be one thing. But Lance Lynn is a vet with a track record of success and it's not unreasonable to give him a bit more rope.

 

Finally, Gonsalves has only 9 starts in AAA. Not crazy to give him some more time, especially because he's not a stuff pitcher. I could be totally making this up but it seems like a guy with great stuff would have an easier time adjusting to a level change than a guy who is more about pitching like Gonsalves. again, total conjecture.

    • Dman, PDX Twin, dbminn and 3 others like this

Any chance Phil ends up in the Twins minor league system? I wouldn't hate letting him get some AAA work in as a reliever to see if he can find something.

 

This is crazy talk, an absurd hot take.

 

Lance Lynn has no injury and has a long track record of success. He's been bad but it would be really shocking if he just all of a sudden forgot how to pitch at age 31. He's also not signed for next year so if you want to build his trade value, you have to start him. If nothing else, it's be insane to release him since he'd be a nice arm for the bullpen as he's always had a reasonably high strikeout rate.

 

You'd also be bringing Gonsalves up and starting his MLB Clock in order to get maybe 1-2 starts before May and Santana are back. This would be the definition of a move with no point.

 

Maybe. But the assumption that either Santana, coming back from a hand surgery on his pitching hand, or May, coming back from TJ, will be as effective as before the surgeries might be as shocking as Lynn having reached the beginning of the end of his track. The Cards had absolutely no interest. That says a lot to me.

 

This is a quarter of the season gone, and in only 37.1 innings on the mound, and regardless of his 41 K's, he has given up 29 walks, 47 hits, 31 earned runs, which has made every team he faces a team of .313 hitters, with an OBP of .422 and an OPS of .929! Trade value? I don't think any GM is gonna ignore that, even if he rattles off a few usable starts. He is torching the pen. Letting MLB ready players age in the minors, reducing their possible prime years, never makes a lot of sense to me. That clock is ticking, too.

 

It is also not unusual for a 31 year old pitcher, or any age pitcher for that matter, to have lost his effectiveness, regardless of his track record. Plus he missed all of 2016 with TJ surgery, so I don't feel that saying he has no injury is all that accurate. Matt Harvey comes to mind, as a recent example. His first year back was similar to Lynn's 2017. Lynn also faded big time in September of last year, so this is now about a 3 month history, with the one start a couple starts ago the outlier.

 

So I stand by my crazy take, and would love to see this team advance with youth that is looking more than ready for having a go at it. I said on another post a couple days ago... would you rather pay Hughes millions to lose games for the Twins, or to lose games for another team? And I feel the same about Lynn. We will see if the FO has the same courage to jettison one of their own decisions, as they just have with one that wasn't theirs.

You'd also be bringing Gonsalves up and starting his MLB Clock in order to get maybe 1-2 starts before May and Santana are back. This would be the definition of a move with no point.


To be clear, a player's service time "clock" doesn't so much "start" when they are called up, as it does "run" while they are up and "pause" when they are sent down. If they sent Gonsalves down after 2 starts, the clock would pause just like it did for Felix Jorge last summer.

And like Jorge (and Romero), Gonsalves's "option clock" has already begun too. This already qualifies as an option year for him, so there is zero marginal cost to the Twins (in terms of options) to recall him and send him back down as many times as they like this season.

Now, in the context of cutting Lynn, it still might not make sense, but that is primarily on the cutting Lynn side, and perhaps on the subjective Gonsalves scouting side. It should have nothing to do with his service time clock or options at this point.
    • ashburyjohn, USAFChief, Blake and 15 others like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
May 22 2018 06:48 AM

The bad news for Phil Hughes is that he has been released. The good news is that such a nice article can be written by Nick about a nice man who gave it his best, had a tough series of injuries, but kept trying. He never gave up. There's a lot to be said for that. Hughes made enough money to live like a king the rest of his life. That, to me sounds like a lot of "good news" for Phil Hughes. I want to say to Phil Hughes: "Good luck to you, Phil ,and I hope your "after baseball life" is a long and happy one. Thank you for your dedication and effort. Thank you for your tweet." 

    • Carole Keller, Blake, pbrezeasap and 15 others like this

 

To be clear, a player's service time "clock" doesn't so much "start" when they are called up, as it does "run" while they are up and "pause" when they are sent down. If they sent Gonsalves down after 2 starts, the clock would pause just like it did for Felix Jorge last summer.

And like Jorge (and Romero), Gonsalves's "option clock" has already begun too. This already qualifies as an option year for him, so there is zero marginal cost to the Twins (in terms of options) to recall him and send him back down as many times as they like this season.

Now, in the context of cutting Lynn, it still might not make sense, but that is primarily on the cutting Lynn side, and perhaps on the subjective Gonsalves scouting side. It should have nothing to do with his service time clock or options at this point.

Thank you. Spot on.

 

 

    • Blake, ThejacKmp and SF Twins Fan like this

For what it's worth, according to FanGraphs, Hughes was worth $44.7 million in that season alone, accounting for about two-thirds of the $58 million he'll make in his tenure with the club.


Of course, Fangraphs bases that on a static ~$7 mil per win value, which we know isn't very useful in this context. For the 2014 Twins, marginal wins weren't particularly valuable. The Twins best paths to value in that performance were in boosting his trade value or in its repeatability. Unfortunately the Twins made a fairly big bet on the latter and lost it almost immediately, as Hughes instantly returned to being a ~2 WAR SP in 2015 (his NY peak) before injuries set in.
    • USAFChief, diehardtwinsfan and h2oface like this

 

The Cards had absolutely no interest.

 

I don't think any GM is gonna ignore that, even if he rattles off a few usable starts. He is torching the pen.

 

It is also not unusual for a 31 year old pitcher, or any age pitcher for that matter, to have lost his effectiveness, regardless of his track record. Matt Harvey comes to mind, as a recent example.

 

would you rather pay Hughes millions to lose games for the Twins, or to lose games for another team? .

 

1.) Not true that the Cardinals had no interest. They extended him a qualifying offer, indicating that they were willing to pay him like $17 million to pitch for a season. Once the market fell out, I imagine that they would have taken him back but likely paid less than the Twins (because they'd be giving up the opportunity to get a draft pick). Also, no way Lynn goes back to the team that wouldn't extend him. I don't remember that ever happening, there's pride involved here too.

 

2.) This isn't 1990. GMs look at the whole picture with Lynn, not his ERA. If he shows some signs of coming around (walk rate drops etc.) someone will see him as a buy-low candidate at the deadline. There's no medical reason for him to be this bad.

 

3.) Along those lines, he's not Matt Harvey. Harvey has had two plus pretty bad seasons in a row and has had issues with velocity and a drop in his K rate that points at medical issues. That's not true of Lynn. There's no medical concern and his velocity/K rate haven't dropped, this is a pitching mechanics issue. Someone will gamble on that because pitching doesn't grow on trees.

 

4.) Hughes is totally different. There's a medical reason that he is no longer a good pitcher - he's lost movement and velocity on pitches and has been bad for years now. (He's like Harvey). Lynn has been bad for 8 starts (and really only 6 of those starts). That's not enough to rip things apart, it's time to chill and give it some time, painful as that is.

 

5.) Perhaps the courage is to stay the course and trust your pitching coaches and catchers to work with a veteran and fix his issues.

    • PseudoSABR, LA VIkes Fan, howieramone2 and 3 others like this
Go train with RA Dicky and make a come back. Good luck, Phil.
    • USAFChief, h2oface, adorduan and 4 others like this

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