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Inside the Twins’ meeting rooms this winter, plenty of discussion will be focused on starting pitching. However, third base should be a s...
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This offseason the Minnesota Twins chief focus is going to be on acquiring impact pitching. The front office has suggested as much, and w...
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Plan to reduce minor league teams

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2019 MLB (Non-Twins) Postseason Discussion Thread

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Here's thread for general (non-Twins) 2019 MLB postseason discussion!
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The 2019 Twins were propelled to 101 victories by a wide range of contributions, and that dynamic was reflected in our polling for team M...
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Spending the Twins Rotation Tab

Although there is still major league baseball being played the Minnesota Twins can begin full offseason mode. Here at Twins Daily pre-orders for the 2020 Offseason Handbook are now live, and John jumped into the most pressing matter for Derek Falvey. If there was a takeaway from the stretch run and American League Division Series, it’s that Rocco Baldelli can’t continue to be hamstrung by his pitching staff. This team has money to spend, and there’s only one place to spend it.
Image courtesy of © Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
To set up some initial parameters here, we need to understand the financial situation. The Twins are coming off a $120MM payroll after a $130MM payroll in 2018. A 2020 payroll should check in at no less than $135MM, and more realistically hover around $140MM. From a commitment standpoint there’s only a first base and backup catcher role open for position players, and then there’s something like one or two bullpen opportunities. As was the title of his article, John pointed out that Minnesota has around $70 million to hand out in the form of starting pitching contracts.

So, how does that break down?

Looking at what is available on the market, and a baseline understanding of what acquisition cost will be, there’s certainly not an abundance of players that will command more than $25 million annually. Although there is never a shortage of Martin Perez-types that can be had for less than $10 million, Minnesota must be aiming higher. With Jose Berrios as a given, and one spot tabbed for an internal candidate (think Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak, or Lewis Thorpe), the rotation gets remade with projectable talent.

To break down options I categorized the three opportunities into different salary buckets. This is what I’ve come up with.

SP1 ($25 million and up AAV)- Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Madison Bumgarner

I believe this group to be completely represented by the names above. Strasburg is not a lock to opt out of his current deal, but with just $100 million left over the next four years he should cash in for a final big payday. Cole is the premiere target on the market, and while even a blank check may be thwarted by a more enticing market, there’s no excuse for Minnesota not to make their best effort.
Bumgarner was not an appealing trade option at the deadline given the estimated return for a rental. He’s still not the pitcher he once was, but he’s only 30-years-old and proved his durability again this season. Competition for three arms that every team needs will be substantial, but the Twins are as well positioned as anyone to make it happen.

SP2 ($15-25 million AAV)- Zack Wheeler, Dallas Keuchel, Hyun-Jin Ryu

The youngster of this group is the former Mets pitcher Wheeler. He’ll pitch next season at the age of 30 and was one of the most intriguing names at the deadline. He wasn’t moved but posted strong numbers across the board and looks to be knocking on the door of another level. If the Twins are convinced Wes Johnson can provide the breakthrough, they should be all in. Keuchel has given Atlanta about what was expected, but most importantly has calmed health concerns. He’s not a velocity guy but saw and uptick in strikeouts. The new ball has burned him more than ever, but this is the type of two or three starter that a really good rotation employs.
Eldest of the bunch is Ryu, who was fully healthy for the first time since 2013. Getting below 1.0 HR/9 in the toughest season to do so implies he really has no flaws, but it also comes down to belief in him going forward despite a track record of unavailability due to injuries.

SP3 ($10-20 million AAV)- Alex Wood, Julio Teheran, Jose Quintana

Only Wood is truly a free agent among this trio. Both Teheran and Quintana have team options that the Braves and Cubs respectively could pick up. For Wood, 2019 was a throwaway season due to back issues, so he comes with caution tape unless the medicals all check out.

Teheran is a bigger name than he is talent, but there’s workable ability in his repertoire.

Quintana would be returning to a familiar division, and while the Cubs could move on, his 3.80 FIP suggests the 4.58 ERA wasn’t truly indicative of the stuff.
The Twins have two parting options that would both fit in this group as well. Michael Pineda pitched himself into a decent payday even with his suspension, and because of the games missed, he’ll likely offer an immediate discount. Jake Odorizzi could be handed a QO which would put him at the top of this range, but he should have no problem finding a longer-term pact that falls somewhere in the middle.

I don’t believe the Twins will sign an arm from all three of these buckets given the likelihood for a trade being swung. If they did only hand out paychecks though, a strong trio can be formed from the group above. To say Cole is immediately out because he’d have to chose Minnesota seems dismissive. He’s a long shot, but money talks. If Gerrit turns you down, I’m more into Strasburg than Bumgarner, but I’d make sure one of them is cashing a check from 1 Twins Way. Wheeler is the most exciting name from the second group, and I believe he’s got another level yet to unlock. I’d round out the options by making sure that Jake Odorizzi never gives up the lease on whatever rental property he calls home in Minneapolis.

Who would be the three arms you’re targeting to accomplish an acquisition from each pool above?

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41 Comments

Strasburg, Cole, Wheeler - beyond that I am not excited unless Bumgartner takes a bigcut from this projection.  

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ChrisKnutson
Oct 10 2019 09:08 PM
I want Cole as much as anyone, but let’s be realistic and atleast aknowledge that the probability of us landing him is very low.

Hopefully I’m wrong, but because I know that’s unlikely to be the case I think FO’s goal should be to bring back Odorizzi and bring in an established lefty starter (MadBum, Keuchel, or E-Rod). That’d leave us with a rotation of Berrios, LHP, Odorizzi, and Graterol, and while I wouldn’t expect anything more I’d love to see the FO go the extra mile and bring in someone like Porcello who had a down year and is likely to rebound.

While we’d still lack a true ace, I definitely wouldn’t complain if this was our 2020 rotation.

Berrios
Odorizzi
Keuchel
Graterol
Porcello
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Ted Schwerzler
Oct 10 2019 09:18 PM

definitely wouldn’t complain if this was our 2020 rotation.
Berrios
Odorizzi
Keuchel
Graterol
Porcello


I can’t imagine a scenario in which Graterol starts 2020 in the MLB rotation. He’s never worked more than 102 innings in a season, and they’ll likely work him back into starting at Triple-A. I don’t dislike Keuchel as an option. Definitely out on Porcello.
    • gunnarthor, DocBauer, tarheeltwinsfan and 3 others like this
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wildtwinsfan045
Oct 10 2019 10:08 PM

You've hit the nail on the head, there is only one place to spend our money, and it's the rotation.  Our window of contention is open for the next two to three years, so we need to capitalize now.

 

Here is my armchair GM plan:

 

- Sign Cole for whatever it takes

 

We need an ace pitcher to compete in October, no bones about it.  It will take a lot of money, but it needs to happen.  I'd be willing to go up to $30 M/ year, maybe even $35 M.  We have the money, we need that ace, and he'd be worth it.  Give him a five year contract and call it a day.  If Cole won't sign and Strasburg is around, sign him instead for similar numbers.

 

- Trade for Noah Syndergaard

 

The rumors were there during the season, it should come to fruition now.  It will take a king's ransom, but our window is now.  We will say we won't include Kiriloff or Lewis, but it will probably take one of them to get it done.  Throw in whoever else from the farm system to make it happen.  Thor has two years of team control left, so it's not a pure rental, making the prospect loss worth it (or at least sting a little less).

 

- Bring back Odorizzi and Pineda

 

Odo was solid, he's a fine mid-rotation piece.  He may take the qualifying offer, or we could give him a three year, $15 M/year deal.  Either would be fine.  Pineda was really coming around in the second half of the year, having him as our 5th starter would be legit.  Give him a one year $8- 10 M "prove it" deal.

 

Berrios has been one of my favorite Twins since he came up, I would work on extending him too.  We need to keep some home grown talent, and he is the closets we have to a star pitcher currently.

 

My 2020 rotation:

Cole/ Strasburg

Syndergaard

Berrios

Odorizzi

Pineda

 

Throw in our intriguing young options, and that is a rotation that will stack up with any around the league.  We have the funds and prospects to do this, let's get it done!

 

Side note, I've been a fan of the website for years, I read it almost every day.  I have always lurked around and just been a reader, but this topic made me want to comment for the first time.  Let me know what you think of my plan.

 

Go Twins!

    • birdwatcher, Captain Kirkus, BD57 and 13 others like this
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twinsfaninsaudi
Oct 11 2019 04:30 AM
Is it a concern to anyone that Wheeler has never pitched up to 200 innings?
    • ChrisKnutson and Ted Schwerzler like this

Side note, I've been a fan of the website for years, I read it almost every day.  I have always lurked around and just been a reader, but this topic made me want to comment for the first time.  Let me know what you think of my plan.

Nice first post. Welcome!

    • gagu, Tomj14, In My La-Z-boy and 1 other like this

 

Is it a concern to anyone that Wheeler has never pitched up to 200 innings?

Is it anymore of a concern that Odo has never pitched 200 innings and only once over 170?

Wheeler has average over 6 innings the last two years. (I don't think that is worth 20+ million) but I think Wheeler has been better than Odo the last two years and people are willing to give him 19 million.

    • Danchat likes this

I'd say at minimum one pitcher from the top two tiers Strasburg and Cole obviously at the top of the wish list. Then go re-sign Odorizzi and Pineda.

 

My rotation would look like this:

1) Cole/Strasburg

2) Berrios

3) Odorizzi

4) Pineda

5) Wheeler/Keuchel

 

 

    • Sconnie likes this

We have to be all in on Cole/Strasburg and it will take more than $35MM from the Twins to be in contention. 

 

In my opinion Bumgarner should be in SP2. I may be interested in one of the SP2 group, but only after Cole and Strasburg have signed. 

    • BD57 likes this
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Ted Schwerzler
Oct 11 2019 08:06 AM

 

Side note, I've been a fan of the website for years, I read it almost every day.  I have always lurked around and just been a reader, but this topic made me want to comment for the first time.  Let me know what you think of my plan.

 

Go Twins!

Feel honored to get your first comment. Glad to have you here!

    • wildtwinsfan045 likes this
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terrydactyls1947
Oct 11 2019 08:27 AM

As I’ve stated in other threads, I’m waiting until I receive my Offseason Handbook before I lay out a detailed plan for 2020.However, I would like to make one comment about “buying an Ace.”It is my belief (which many of you disagree with) that money is not the final determining factor for where a free agent ends up.Because the amount of money is so absurdly high, a few dollars more shouldn’t make any difference compared to living where you feel most comfortable.But let’s get this back to just money. 

Using the Tier 1 players as an example, offering Cole $150M for 5 years is a lower salary number than if the Tampa Bay Rays offered him $145M.What?How can that be?Well, each player pays state tax and Minnesota ranks second only to California in the rate of tax paid.State tax for ballplayers is paid by what the state the game is played in so it gets real messy trying to set up a completely accurate schedule of tax paid by players on a givn team.But for simplicity, assume all teams play half their games at home (obvious) and the other half are played among all the other states and that the tax rate balance out no matter for which team you play.Because there are more National League teams in California than American League teams, American League players get an automatic tax break.But I’m not including this either because the math is far too complicated.So after assuming the above, the Tampa Bay Rays, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, and Florida Marlins could all offer Cole less money and have it be a better offer.Or if any of these teams went to $150M, the Twins would have to counter with an offer better than $158M just to make the offers equal.So, in conclusion, let me just say that a dollar amount is not just a simple number.Minnesota has a built-in disadvantage because of the state tax rate.

 

But as a final note, this is NOT to say that the Front Office shouldn't try to land one from Tier 1 and one from Tier 2.The flexibility is there and the team is poised for a run of several good years.

    • birdwatcher, tarheeltwinsfan and gagu like this

I have a question that I have not seen yet.Sorry if I missed it.

 

Will Pineda be eligible for the 2020 Post season?If not then I think we should not sign him.  

    • birdwatcher likes this

start at the backend....figure Graterol for the 5 spot, Dobnak for the 4th......

 

Get Berrios signed to lock down the top end.gonna be (20-25)...

 

then odo (15) or pineda (10-12) as the 3 for reasonable 

 

Then go and see what the market has....thinking the tier 1 will be more than 25 (like 30-35...don't see the Twins going here.....need to keep anyone they bring in under Berrios...so a tier 2 guy in the 18-22 range? 

I've mentioned it in a few other threads but I just think the Twins are much more likely to follow the Rays example. They'll have one or two real starters (Berrios for sure and then a handful of pitchers that the team will hope can go 6 innings starting with Pineda and maybe Graterol for a month or two by the end of the season). The rest of the innings will be eaten up by a large bullpen.

 

With payroll concerns, I don't think we will see the team target 180+ inning starters anymore. Instead we will probably try to find 8 arms that can throw 60-80 innings if needed. I expect that the Twins will be big on AAAA arms* this offseason that can shuttle between Rochester and the majors, as needed. And arms that can be DFA'd without much concern (Mejia, Eades, De Jong). I could see us making some low budget FA signings for guys like Drew Smyly or maybe even signing someone like Ivan Nova, but that's probably our ceiling.

 

On the trade front, I don't think we'd trade for Thor but I'm still a big believer in fixing Dylan Bundy and Johnson might be a good coach for him. 

 

* Somehow, Littell, Smeltzer, Dobnak and Stashak combined for nearly 140 innings of 3.30 era. That's the AAAA arms we'll rely on.

    • Oldgoat_MN, Sconnie and DannySD like this

 

Or if any of these teams went to $150M, the Twins would have to counter with an offer better than $158M just to make the offers equal.So, in conclusion, let me just say that a dollar amount is not just a simple number.Minnesota has a built-in disadvantage because of the state tax rate.

 

I agree with most of what you are saying and you're absolutely right that it will come down to more than the dollar amount on the contract. However there is no way Cole signs for less than Greinke's contract ($206MM over 6 years). Boras clients always look to get the best deal possible and anything less than $35MM per year just wont do it. I'm sure everyone is just throwing numbers out there, but we have to realize what this will take. 

    • wabene likes this

I've mentioned it in a few other threads but I just think the Twins are much more likely to follow the Rays example. They'll have one or two real starters (Berrios for sure and then a handful of pitchers that the team will hope can go 6 innings starting with Pineda and maybe Graterol for a month or two by the end of the season). The rest of the innings will be eaten up by a large bullpen.

With payroll concerns, I don't think we will see the team target 180+ inning starters anymore. Instead we will probably try to find 8 arms that can throw 60-80 innings if needed. I expect that the Twins will be big on AAAA arms* this offseason that can shuttle between Rochester and the majors, as needed. And arms that can be DFA'd without much concern (Mejia, Eades, De Jong). I could see us making some low budget FA signings for guys like Drew Smyly or maybe even signing someone like Ivan Nova, but that's probably our ceiling.

On the trade front, I don't think we'd trade for Thor but I'm still a big believer in fixing Dylan Bundy and Johnson might be a good coach for him.

* Somehow, Littell, Smeltzer, Dobnak and Stashak combined for nearly 140 innings of 3.30 era. That's the AAAA arms we'll rely on.


I've been on this train since this website started. I'd like three little legit starters, though, not two.

I'd prefer four, but it's going to be hard to actually add three legit starters in one off season.
    • SF Twins Fan likes this
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SF Twins Fan
Oct 11 2019 09:45 AM

Can we stop penciling Graterol into the 5th starter role for the Twins rotation? The probability of him starting with the Twins has to be under 5%. He hasn't pitched more then 102 innings in any season, so his max will probably be around 150 next season and he has a total of 5.1 innings at AAA. He's going to start in AAA so they can manage him innings pitched so he'll be available for the post season if the Twins make it there next season.

    • SQUIRREL, Mike Sixel, Ted Schwerzler and 1 other like this

Cole is obviously the preferred target, but I'd be fine in going all in on Strasburg too. Both are going to be very expensive, AAV of at least $30M. Strasburg actually made $38M this year; you have to wonder if he'll be one of those guys who refuses to take less in AAV in his next contract than his last year of pay? I'm sure Boras' opening bid will be $40M AAV with at least 5 years on the contract.

 

I dunno about Bumgarner. Durable but will he ever be elite again? (and how elite was he ever?) Interesting stat on him: his ERA and FIP were exactly the same. I wouldn't want him at anywhere near the price I'd pay for Cole or Strasburg; it's been several years since he was a better pitcher than Berrios to put him in context.

 

Wheeler is definitely the guy I'd want out of the next tier. He's younger and his problem previously was control; the BB/9 the last two years suggests he's figured that out and should be a consistent solid pitcher. He'd be a great replacement for Gibson.

 

3rd tier isn't a group I have a lot of enthusiasm for. Wood might be an interesting reclamation project, but Quintana looks like a pitcher heading into decline. FIP suggests he was unlucky, but I think I'd rather have Pineda back (after suspension) than any of these guys.

 

Ideally, we'd run out a rotation of:

Cole

Berrios

Odorizzi

Wheeler

Thorpe/Graterol/Stewart/Smeltzer/Gonsalves

 

More likely scenario:

Berrios

Odorizzi

Wheeler

Wood/Pineda

Thorpe/Graterol/Stewart/Smeltzer/Gonsalves

 

 

    • justinone and wabene like this
I don’t agree with the premise that it would be detrimental to the Twins to go after big free agents. Always thought it was/is ludicrous. It’s only detrimental because that’s the system ownership has in place.

It’s a self fulfilling prophecy. You don’t sign free agents because you don’t have the revenue, your team stinks because you didn’t sign any good players to supplement your roster, people don’t show up to games because the team stinks....and it’s an endless cycle of ineptitude. The mold has to be broken at some point, and you have to take a risk, if you want to snap out of it. There is no reason why this team can’t compete with the likes of the Houston Astros when it comes to payroll/free agents.

The odds of building a roster from the ground up that’s is good enough on its own is nil. Everyone points to the Rays and As as an example, but what have they ever won? Kansas City and Houston don’t fit that paradigm, because they brought in front-line guys via trade (Cueto and Verlander).

That said, I don’t think that mold will be broken, and we’ll need to consider secondary pitching options. I would go after Quintana and Wood, bring back Pineda, Odorizzi, and Gibson, and roll out:

Berrios, Odorizzi, Quintana, Wood, Pineda. Gibson would be a swing man to limit innings (especially in regards to Berrios and Pineda).

Not spectacular, but gives a solid 1-5. Pretty realistic given the Twins history. Hopefully the bullpen takes another step and the offense keeps humming.

Relying on guys like Graterol, Thorpe, etc would be a huge mistake. If they shoe they are there a month or two in, you have a great problem. Better than handing them the keys and having them flop. Dobnak and Smeltzer aren’t legitimate options, IMO. They can get you by in a spot start, but I don’t think things would look pretty over 180 innings.

At the end of the day, I still think we missed an opportunity that isn’t going to come around again. I think the offense will regress. I don’t think the rotation I listed above would be enough to get over hump.

I need to be clear, because I will be called a troll for saying things people disagree with. This is my honest outlook on the team, and it’s a tough pill to swallow with the playoffs still burning. But, IMO, it’s reality. Not looking to offend anyone here. Don’t agree? Great. But, people acting like I’m spewing falsehoods, etc just for sake of getting people angry (aka trolling) is absurd.

 

I have a question that I have not seen yet.Sorry if I missed it.

 

Will Pineda be eligible for the 2020 Post season?If not then I think we should not sign him.  

Pineda will be eligible for the 2020 postseason.

 

In fact, since his suspension was reduced on appeal, he would have even been eligible for the 2019 postseason if he had been able to serve the full 60 games before the postseason started.

 

But normally, for suspensions which aren't reduced on appeal, the special postseason ban only applies to the season in which the suspension began.

 

I linked/quoted the official documentation here:

http://twinsdaily.co...tance/?p=912047

    • Puckett34 and gagu like this
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Ted Schwerzler
Oct 11 2019 10:42 AM

 

I have a question that I have not seen yet.Sorry if I missed it.

 

Will Pineda be eligible for the 2020 Post season?If not then I think we should not sign him.  

He has a handful of games left to serve on his suspension, which will make his 2020 contract prorated for only the games he plays. The Postseason ban was not in play because of the reduced suspension.

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Ted Schwerzler
Oct 11 2019 10:43 AM

 

start at the backend....figure Graterol for the 5 spot, Dobnak for the 4th......

I'd bet pretty heavily that Graterol starts at Triple-A. That fifth spot could be reserved for one of Dobnak/Smeltzer/Thorpe, and then shift in your developing arms.

    • SQUIRREL and VOMG like this

I will add though, for all the talk we've had from ownership about going all in when the window is open, if we ever see the team sign a big time FA it would be this offseason, off of a 101 win team with a loaded offensive core. I don't think it'll happen but if ever does, it'll be now.

    • Twins33 and Oldgoat_MN like this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Oct 11 2019 11:49 AM

I believe that Pineda owes the Twins for signing him to a two-year contract, knowing that there was a strong probability he would be out all, or at least most, ofthe first year of the contract due to recovering from surgery. But then losing the important last month of the pennant race second season of the contractAND THE POSTSEASON, and part of next season, due to Pineda's poor choices, really put his team in a bind. Yea, yea, I understand they didn't have to pay him while he was suspended, but the Twins had to scramble to fill his position with AAA pitchers. I suggest he pitch for the Twins at a reduced rate next year, not just because he will be suspended part of the season, but also because his poor choices really hurt the Twins this year.

If we go with the assumption that the squad has $70mil for pitching:

 

Pineda @ $10mil AAV

Odorizzi @ $20mil AAV

Cole or Strasburg @ up to $40mil AAV

 

Offseason shopping for the rotation done! You're welcome Falvine

    • birdwatcher, justinone and gagu like this

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