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Free Agency / Re-Signings 2020-21 Offseason

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Comments on 41 MLB baseball I visited with 5 to go

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Starting Pitching Market Beginning to Develop

Last week, Matthew Taylor wrote about how Odorizzi needed to become a priority in the Twins’ offseason plans. That piece is still very much relevant, but yesterday we were presented another data point on how the market may turn out this winter.
Image courtesy of © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
The Atlanta Braves signed Drew Smyly to a one-year, $11 million contract yesterday. While Smyly did post some eye-popping numbers for the Giants this season, which was accompanied by a nice uptick in velocity, he’s also struggled to stay healthy and productive over his career.

Below is a discussion on the market, how Odorizzi stacks up against Smyly and how much Odorizzi may get in his next contract.



So with Smyly's signing we have one less free agent on the market, and another pitcher with a less than impressive overall resume walking away with a nice paycheck. Odorizzi figures to do quite nicely for himself.

Per ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Blue Jays, Giants, Mets and Twins have all shown interest in Odorizzi. All of this early activity has left the starting pitching market thin, which should help Odorizzi find even more suitors.

Here are the top-10 free agent pitchers remaining with their current ages:

1. Trevor Bauer (29)
2. Masahiro Tanaka (32)
3. James Paxton (32)
4. Jake Odorizzi (30)
5. Charlie Morton (37)
6. Taijuan Walker (28)
7. José Quintana (31)
8. Garrett Richards (32)
9. Mike Minor (32)
10. Corey Kluber (34)

This list is based on the rankings from FanGraphs and MLB Trade Rumors. I slotted in Morton at my own discretion, since he was not a free agent at the time the FanGraphs list was published.

The top remaining names from there include Adam Wainwright, J.A. Happ, Rick Porcello, Matt Shoemaker, Jon Lester, Cole Hamels, Chris Archer and Anthony DeSclafani, among others. It’s not exactly an inspiring group of arms.

Perhaps the Twins were always more likely to acquire a starter via trade anyway, as they did with Odorizzi and more recently Kenta Maeda. This lack of supply on the open market, however, could result in trade demands increasing.

This front office has been pretty passive in the free agent market. Here’s a look back:

Dec, 13, 2017: Michael Pineda two years, $10 million
March 12, 2018: Lance Lynn one year $12 million
Jan. 30, 2019: Martin Perez (ended up being one year, $4.4 million)
Nov. 14, 2019: Jake Odorizzi one year, $17.8 million (qualifying offer)
Dec. 10, 2019: Michael Pineda two years, $20 million
Dec. 31, 2019: Homer Bailey one year, $7 million
Dec. 31, 2019: Rich Hill one year, $3 million

Since Derek Falvey took over the Twins in October of 2016, the largest deal they’ve signed a free agent starter to was Pineda’s two-year, $20 million deal last December. I decided to include Odorizzi on this list, but I suppose a player accepting a qualifying offer is different from a true free agent signing. The earliest this front office has signed a starting pitcher on the open market was, again, Pineda’s deal last December.

SEE ALSO
Re-Signing Jake Odorizzi Needs to be a Priority for the Minnesota Twins
Gleeman & The Geek, Ep 501: Free Agent Starting Pitchers
A Low-Tech Tool In A High-Tech Baseball World
How Will the Twins Address the Bullpen This Offseason?

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16 Comments

If I said I was not excited would that be a buzz kill?Bauer, if he is last years version is the only great pitcher.Would I pay him $30 million - no.Will he repeat last year?Who knows.Pitchers are up and down in performance.They are also prone to a variety of injuries.Develop young arms.Nothing else really matters unless you want to pay a lot to be disappointed. 

    • glunn, gil4 and Tom Froemming like this
I am not saying the Twins should break the bank to sign Odorizzi. And I'm not saying in any way he deserves any bank to be broken, piggy or otherwise. But i am saying if they like him, believe in him and want him then they'd better act pretty quickly. We've already seen 2 QO accepted, a re-sign and now an unexpected Smyly signing. And while I hate to buy in to rumors, they exist and seem prevalent. Need to get this done or the trade route might be the only route. Otherwise, nothing but low level and far left fliers will be left.
    • glunn and Tom Froemming like this
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Tom Froemming
Nov 17 2020 08:30 PM

 

If I said I was not excited would that be a buzz kill?Bauer, if he is last years version is the only great pitcher.Would I pay him $30 million - no.Will he repeat last year?Who knows.Pitchers are up and down in performance.They are also prone to a variety of injuries.Develop young arms.Nothing else really matters unless you want to pay a lot to be disappointed. 

I hear ya, this does not look like a great overall SP class. Bauer was going to get paid regardless, but the lack of similar options at the top mean he's really in a great spot to get big bucks.

    • glunn, mikelink45 and DocBauer like this
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Tom Froemming
Nov 17 2020 08:36 PM

 

I am not saying the Twins should break the bank to sign Odorizzi. And I'm not saying in any way he deserves any bank to be broken, piggy or otherwise. But i am saying if they like him, believe in him and want him then they'd better act pretty quickly. We've already seen 2 QO accepted, a re-sign and now an unexpected Smyly signing. And while I hate to buy in to rumors, they exist and seem prevalent. Need to get this done or the trade route might be the only route. Otherwise, nothing but low level and far left fliers will be left.

One guy who intrigues me is Garret Richards. The problem is he's rarely healthy, but I think the Twins are well-suited to take on a high-risk, potentially high-reward pitcher like that. I mean, as well-suited as any team can be.

 

But, the Twins definitely have the prospects to make another strong deal if they go the trade route. May need to overpay for pitching, but this franchise is in a position to deal unproven pieces for MLB talent.

    • glunn and DocBauer like this
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IndianaTwin
Nov 17 2020 09:10 PM

With typically needing to go as much as 10 deep, I’d be into Mike Foltynewicz on a Rich Hill-type contract.

 

(I’d also be into Rich Hill on a Rich Hill-type contract. Has there been any speculation on what’s up with him?)

    • glunn likes this

Outside of Walker who might have a bit of an upside, if you do not resign odo, you are looking at a Morton, who will be expensive or maybe a Kluber if you think he has something left in his tank.Not a good position to be in, but you cannot leave two starting spots to rookies or second year players.Dobnick is a great story, but is he an illusion or one year wonder.We have seen a lot of those.  

Like a lot of others here Bauer would be nice, but doubt they will spend the money for an ace.And if they do, what other choices and holes are created to make the budget work. 

    • glunn and DocBauer like this
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Doctor Gast
Nov 18 2020 07:40 AM

 

One guy who intrigues me is Garret Richards. The problem is he's rarely healthy, but I think the Twins are well-suited to take on a high-risk, potentially high-reward pitcher like that. I mean, as well-suited as any team can be.

 

But, the Twins definitely have the prospects to make another strong deal if they go the trade route. May need to overpay for pitching, but this franchise is in a position to deal unproven pieces for MLB talent.

I`m also intrigued w/ Garret Richards. He seemed healthy in 2020, after his T J surgery he should be good to go but in a shortened season he never really got things worked out. Nash had an interesting session on"Locked On Twins"about Richards. Richards has a high spin rate on his fastball, he just need to learn to pitch it high in the zone. He also has a great slider but leaves it hanging sometimes. These tweaks seems minor to me plus Wes could squeeze a couple of extra ticks out of his fast ball. He has a lot of up side.

    • glunn and DocBauer like this

Slowly but surely developing I guess. Atlanta has shown to be aggressive early in free agency the last couple off-seasons so I'm not sure if they're a good measurement to use. They lost out on Gausman and Stroman and needed a replacement for Hamels. 

I could see someone trying to lock in Morton soon on a 1 year deal... Does anyone believe Tanaka is going anywhere besides the Yankees? Bauer's going to have his own market that won't have any bearing on the other pitchers in the class. 

I don't know man, I still see a very slow winter of activity. 

    • glunn and DocBauer like this

My prediction is a "normal" market for SP and premiere RP this offseason, then a slow market for everyone else.

 

Pitching is always is too much demand. Even in these odd times.

 

Strike fast if you want somebody with a proven track record. You can add projects and 7th-inning types later.

    • ashbury, glunn and DocBauer like this
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Major League Ready
Nov 18 2020 10:37 AM

 

My prediction is a "normal" market for SP and premiere RP this offseason, then a slow market for everyone else.

 

Pitching is always is too much demand. Even in these odd times.

 

Strike fast if you want somebody with a proven track record. You can add projects and 7th-inning types later.

 

IDK ... It's already pretty abnormal with Strohman and Gausman accepting Qualifying Offers. Hand's option being declined is unusual as well.

    • glunn and DocBauer like this

Not a great field for starting pitching, lots of questions. The good thing is, the Twins aren't as desperate to get a top-end guy.

 

I'd be happy to bring Odorizzi back, but even healthy we kinda know where his ceiling is going to be: 5 quality innings, unlikely to go 7 more than 1-2 times in a season. As a 4th starter that's fine, but how much do you want to pay for it? 

 

Frankly, I kinda wanna take a flyer on Kluber this year rather than bring back Rich Hill.

    • glunn, LA VIkes Fan, DocBauer and 1 other like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Nov 18 2020 02:48 PM

I like Odorizzi, but I think we have to be honest about the kind of starting pitcher he actually is. He's a guy who will regularly go 5+ innings, sometimes 6 or 6+, and almost never 7, all while pitching to an ERA/FIP somewhere between the mid-3s to the mid-4s. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that; he is a solid #3 to strong #4 starting pitcher. He fits in nicely with the three we have, particularly now that Maeda can be the #1 and Berrios #2. Odorizzi is not a #2, but he can fill the #3 or #4 spot on a quality team. Those kind of guys are not that easy to find but they do exist in a large enough quantity that you don't have to overpay to keep them if the market goes crazy.

 

So what is a guy like that worth? Well, thehe's certainly worth a three year deal, even three years with a fourth-year option given his age. Certainly worth $12 million-$14 milliion a year. The big question is whether somebody out there will pay him like a number two guy and give him $15-$18 million a year. Unfortunately, given the dearth of starting pitching I think there very well may be a team that's willing to pay him like a number two guy and actually think they can turrn him into a number two guy. I would not want the Twins to be that team because it just restricts us too much from other things we need, particularly bullpen help.

 

I think that in a perfect world, we re-sign Odorizzi to a three-year deal in the $35-$40 million range, with a mutual fourth-year option at that same basic price point. If he's going to cost us a guarnatedd four years or 3 at $50 million plus, I say we pass, put Dobner in the rotation, and either sign Richards, Kluber or try to re-sign Rich Hill, preferably Kluber. 

    • glunn, DocBauer and JLease like this

 

IDK ... It's already pretty abnormal with Strohman and Gausman accepting Qualifying Offers. Hand's option being declined is unusual as well.

Hand is definitely unusual. But Cleveland is kind of the early 2000 Twins: They have a good roster but they have to get creative within their budget to maintain any kind of success. (And they'd pulled it off so far.)

 

The last 2-3 years have trended toward more players taking the QO. Stroman and Gausman don't surprise me at all. Well, Stroman does. But as a person and player, he surprises me more often than not.

I could copy and paste a lot of thoughts here, but that might end up redundant.

I still believe this market is going to be very weird. We haven't even had DFA candidates really enter the market yet. Position players, bench pieces, bullpen pieces and back of the rotation options...there could be tremendous late in the process options available. 2022 could be even more wild...assuming a season at this point...as there will not only be FA, but very possibly a plethora of 1yr 2021 contracts available. But I digress.

Despite bargains and potential steals here and there, SP is, and always has been, a premium. Despite "expected" cuts in payroll across the league, what we are seeing early is a few teams...and players...jumping early for a payday and some sort of rotation stability for next year. I'm betting things will slow down after an initial wave of SP activity.

Are the Twins desperate for SP? No. But don't kid yourself that they aren't in the market to add vs banking on Duran or Balazovic being ready early. The FO has been smart and savy with the initial signing of Pineda and the trades for Odorizzi and Maeda. The Hill signing was still solid. Honestly, if 2020 had been a normal season, the Bailey signing could have ended up being very smart as well.

Rotation-wise, the Twins are very close to being very good. But can they bank on being smart enough for another Odorizzi or Maeda trade acquisition? At some point, don't you have to play it a little bit safe and play the cards you have in your hand? It seems to me the Twins knkw what they have in Oddo. I would not overpay for him. And only they know how they truly feel about him. I ABSOLUTELY don't feel he is an $18M per pitcher. But age and performance and history of $ would indicate he is worth somewhere between $12-15M per. All indications have been previously that he would like to return. I'd jump at 3yrs for around $36-39. Anything more and I'd have to pass.

Odorizzi gone, Morton for 1yr makes sense. This is assuming he doesn't want to retire. I think its more about being with a contender. Bingo! I like Walker...again...based on relative youth and potential and a solid rebound in 2020. But I'm betting he is asking for a multi-year deal after looking good. Is he worth it? And for how much and for how long? The more I think about it, the more I like Richards. But again, how much and for how long?

Baseball gods help me, I keep thinking about Kluber on a 1yr for $3-4M with incentives to see if he can be 75-80% of what he once was after 2yrs of basicaĺly not pitching at all.

Everything tells me Odorizzi for something fair...unless another team comes in and blows things up...for 3yrs makes the most sense. After that, Morton on a 1yr deal for around $13M+ish. After that, I'm looking at Richards and Walker for the best 1-2-3yr deal that makes sense.

After that...trade.

I am never opposed to trading prospects for a quality acquisition. I am hoping for a FA THIS SEASON because, despite depth in the system, I am afraid of paying too much. Rosario is almost certainly gone. If Cruz is brought back, he's on some sort of 1+ deal. We are uncertain about Pineda beyond next season and Berrios beyond 2022. If a trade is the way to go, so be it. I just want someone with control for a few seasons.
    • Doctor Gast likes this
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Major League Ready
Nov 19 2020 08:17 AM

 

I was thinking pretty much the same thing as Doc. It starts with Odorizzi. I don't see them reaching an agreement with Odorizzi quickly. I am betting the current asking price is more than the Twins are willing to pay. They are going to allow him to go out and determine his market and then make a determination if they want to match. That process could drag on long enough that another deal may present itself. Morton on a 1yr deal for example.

I would like to see the Twins do an arbitration trade of Rosario to the Tigers for Matthew Boyd. They throw in a low-level prospect (or two) for the salary difference, or perhaps give up on Thorpe or Smeltzer if the Tigers want a pitcher who might pan out closer to majors.