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Next MLB stadium to be demolished?

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Game Thread: Twins @ Rays 4/22 @ 12:10 PM CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:37 PM
    ANNND Welcome back! To Minnesota Twins Whine Line: The Dating Game Edition! That game wasn't very fun yesterday! I'm going...
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Ryan LaMarre Opportunity

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Article: Twins Extend Phil Hughes

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:21 PM
Mark Feinsand from the New York Daily News is reporting this morning that the Twins and Phil Hughes have agreed to a three-year contract...
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Article: TB 8, MIN 7: Playing The Wrong Notes

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:24 PM
Chopin’s Etude Op. 25 No 5 is better known as the “Wrong Note” Etude. Not because it encourages the pianist to play the wrong notes, but...
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Three-Bagger: DH, Dozier And Destiny

March is underway and spring training is now in full swing. In fact, before we know it, the first round of camp cuts will already be upon us.

As we wrap up the first full week of exhibition games, here's a look at three key Minnesota Twins storylines.
Image courtesy of Kim Klement, USA Today (Brian Dozier)
* Heading into camp, it appeared the Twins were committed to keeping the designated hitter spot flexible this year, adhering to the revolving door approach that's basically been their norm.

Not a bad idea for a team with a slow-footed fourth outfielder, an aging first baseman who benefits from rest, and a hefty third baseman coming off leg surgery.

The arrival of Logan Morrison has flipped this dynamic on its side.

Fresh off a 38-homer season with Tampa, Morrison is a big add for the offense, and figures to become a mainstay at DH. That will represent a change of course for the Twins, who haven't had a single player make 70+ starts at designated hitter since Jim Thome in 2010.

In addition to stability, they'll hope Morrison can bring more production. Last year's DH cohort, led by Robbie Grossman, hit just .237/.328/.383 for a .711 OPS; only catchers (.703) yielded a worse mark among Twins position groups.

Grossman appears to be thrust onto precarious ground by the new slugger's arrival. In 2017, 57% of his 456 plate appearances came as DH, and it's not clear the team is interested in shifting that balance toward the outfield. Last year Paul Molitor became very comfortable writing in the Rosario-Buxton-Kepler alignment almost every day, and there's no reason to expect him to deviate if all are healthy. Swapping in Grossman downgrades the defense, and it's not clear he's an offensive upgrade over any of the three.

With that said, I have a really hard time envisioning Grossman being left off the roster. He led the team in on-base percentage in 2016 and ranked second last year. Even if he doesn't start frequently, there's plenty of value in a switch-hitter who can come off the bench and give you a disciplined AB from either side.

One school of thought suggests the Twins could part with Grossman and carry Zack Granite as their fourth outfielder. I don't see it. Granite has multiple options remaining, so he can easily be stashed at Rochester until he's needed. He wouldn't serve much purpose on the Twins roster with all three starting outfielders healthy.

And as for the forgotten man, Kennys Vargas? As Seth put it yesterday: "At this point, he's essentially getting at-bats to show 29 other teams what he can do."

* Over the past few years, Brian Dozier has been known for launching bombs on the baseball field. Earlier this week, he dropped one in the clubhouse.

Okay, that's a stretch. It's been clear for some time that Dozier was intent on testing the free agent market, and there've been zero rumors of contract negotiations with the Twins. Still, it was a bit surprising to see him so frontal and candid about his looming date with the open market.

I respect it. Dozier might be going against the grain by dispelling the notion of a spring or in-season extension, but he's shutting it down as a talking point right off the bat and that's just fine. He insists it won't distract him this year and I believe it.

Left unspoken by Dozier was this: He is very likely entering his final year as a Twin.

We've seen how shrewd this new front office is; what are the chances they'd pay him the money he'll want as a 31-year-old, with Nick Gordon standing in line as a cheap long-term replacement?

From the very start, Dozier's relationship with Minnesota's current baseball ops leadership has been lukewarm at best. The first thing Derek Falvey and Thad Levine did when they arrived was float him in highly publicized trade talks with the Dodgers. At the deadline Dozier openly took exception to the team's sudden pivot from buyer to seller. And the Twins haven't publicly hinted at any serious desire to hammer out a long-term deal with their best player.

In the entirety of his MLB career up to this point, Dozier has pocketed about half of Joe Mauer's 2018 salary. If he's got a chip on his shoulder, and feels he's earned himself a windfall from whatever club is willing, I don't blame him in the least. Frankly, I can't wait to see how the added motivation manifests this season.

* Speaking of Mauer, he too is heading into the final year of his contract, as you might have heard. Much like Dozier, he makes it no secret that he is going to let the 2018 season play out and go from there. But unlike his infield neighbor, Mauer won't be chasing a big payday in the fall – he'll be weighing retirement.

Mauer, who turns 35 in a month, proved last year that he isn't cooked. (Before that, it was very much in question.) If he can continue at that 2017 level or better, it'd be an easy decision to invite him back on a short-term pact for around half his current salary.

But if he reverts to something resembling his 2014-through-2016 form? Then things get interesting.

These days, it isn't hard to find high-quality hitters who can play first base – Logan Morrison serving as case in point. In fact, by the end of this season, Morrison may have clearly established himself as the clearly superior offensive weapon, in which case he can be retained for $8 million in 2019. At that juncture, what's stopping the Twins from moving on?

Well, there is Mauer's already mythical status within the franchise, and with at least some corners of the fanbase. Also: his phenomenal glove, familiarity in the clubhouse, and revered presence in the batter's box cannot be overlooked. But as we've seen with Dozier, the new brass ain't too sentimental.

There's pretty much zero chance Mauer, with his deep Minnesota roots and young twin girls, is going to go play in another city for a year or two. He basically admitted as much: “This is where I want to be. This is where my family is, where my daughters are growing up. I have no intention of going anywhere else. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.”

So, if his play this year doesn't inspire the Twins to make a serious run at bringing him back, we could be looking at the end of the road for Joe Mauer. And if this winds up being the last year in a Minnesota uniform for both he and Dozier – the two longest-tenured Twins – that's 25 combined years in the organization, walking into the sunset. The last enduring links to bygone eras.

Can the new wave combine with the final vestiges of the old to make an epic run? It almost feels like... destiny.

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26 Comments

With Rosario-Buxton-Kepler playing almost everyday, shouldn't that make it easier to have Grossman as the 4th outfielder? He can DH against lefties with Mauer or Morrison sitting, and just be on the bench against righties. He can play in the outfield once in a while, but if an outfielder goes on the DL we can call up Granite.

    • ashburyjohn, birdwatcher, Twins33 and 8 others like this


We've seen how shrewd this new front office is

 

The word "shrewd" is a bit of a stretch at this point.

 

 

    • RegularJoe62 likes this

This regime I believe wants to move on from this group of players and in my mind they are slowly but surely moving talent that previous regime assembled here out the door. I look at next year I could see the Twins without Dozier, Mauer, Santana, Vargas, Escobar, Grossman, Duffy, and Sano very easily gone by next year. I could see the Twins trading Dozier, Santana, and Escobar at trading deadline if were not in contention in July even if were out like last year 4 to 5 games on the wild card. Vargas is gone before season opens. Duffy could be traded by July but more than likely gone before next year. Sano if he has complete season and has better year than last year they will trade him for some more pitching. Gossman could be traded anytime in a deal to bring additional pitching. That leaves us with Buxton, Rosario, and Kepler of original twins before this regime was here and I wouldn't be surprised if one them are also traded in next year or so too. I look at the Twins going with infield of Royce Lewis at SS, Polanco at second or Gordon, some one they sign for first base, and when they trade they will get a third baseman thrown into the deal. Also Hughes will be gone too and probably some more of pitchers in bull pen and in triple a. This regime wants to put there own stamp on this team and what we grew up developing players trying to sign them for long term I think is thing of the past with this group. They will put out public image of one thing but in fact they may be doing opposite thing with players and the organization. This is my gut feeling but they may win it all and be successful but it will have changed how baseball is done in this organization.

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HitInAPinch
Mar 02 2018 05:42 AM

Best scenarios for Dozier: 

  1. starts the season with the Twins, ramps up his value and gets traded for a decent, not spectacular, return.
  2. we're back to the Dodgers and still don't get what we'd want, but would still take it. 

 

Grossman is the type of guy you need when you don't have a very good team.I'm thinking we've moved beyond him.Vargas, too.

 

I'm looking for seeing what Falvey and Levine do to make the Twins a consistent winner!

    • brvama, Platoon, caninatl04 and 1 other like this

Problem for the mid market teams is staying on top.The coast teams can buy players they need to fill in, mid market teams seem have a period where they are good and then a 4-5 year reload.  

I think if a player wants tobe here and work it out, that can probably happen. Most of those will be youngsters who sign a contract to take away the first few years of FA.Once a player gets over 30, chances of an extension drop away a lot.  

This seems to mirror my thoughts on this era, where most of your average to average plus players are done fulltime in their early 30's.

Unless Pohlad steps in to keep a popular player, I can see this group trying to sign players to one extension and then in most cases letting the player walk.  

It's a harder approach, but this is where the market is heading.We shall see if it bounces back, but it is going toward the era where only the great players get paid, and most of the rest will be interchangeable parts.Only the clubs with lots of money will have the luxury ofhaving a huge payroll.

What you see is what you get with Dozier.If you want BS, talk with someone else.Refreshing.

    • Twins33, Oldgoat_MN, bluechipper and 4 others like this
Good article, Nick. It's that time when the "new" Twins take over for the "old." Happens all the time and on every team. For me, I'm excited. As far as the new FO actions and motives, they have something this franchise hasn't had in a long time: quality prospects available in the minors. That alone makes these decisions clearer. And there is enough strength coming that some can be flipped to fill areas of need along with the FA signings. Even on the pitching front, next year we'll have May, Gonsalves, Romero, among others to challenge for spots.
    • gagu likes this

 

Best scenarios for Dozier: 

  1. starts the season with the Twins, ramps up his value and gets traded for a decent, not spectacular, return.
  2. we're back to the Dodgers and still don't get what we'd want, but would still take it. 

 

Grossman is the type of guy you need when you don't have a very good team.I'm thinking we've moved beyond him.Vargas, too.

 

I'm looking for seeing what Falvey and Levine do to make the Twins a consistent winner!

 

The best scenario for Dozier is that the Twins are winning and he is an important part of a contending team. I really don't understand why so many are making deadline trade plans for this team. This is a concession that you make if everything falls apart.

 

Grossman is the type of guy that good teams have. He is the Gene Larkin of this team. He is a great bench bat that can sub in at DH or in the OF in case of an injury or a matchup. He shouldn't be a starter or a team's primary DH but good teams have solid hitters on the bench. But this role isn't really needed on a team with a 1B and a 1B at DH. And a 3B that might need to DH. And a backup catcher that could DH occasionally. I expect him to start the season on the Twins but I think it is unlikely that he finishes the season with the Twins (injuries happen though).

 

This regime I believe wants to move on from this group of players and in my mind they are slowly but surely moving talent that previous regime assembled here out the door. I look at next year I could see the Twins without Dozier, Mauer, Santana, Vargas, Escobar, Grossman, Duffy, and Sano very easily gone by next year. I could see the Twins trading Dozier, Santana, and Escobar at trading deadline if were not in contention in July even if were out like last year 4 to 5 games on the wild card. Vargas is gone before season opens. Duffy could be traded by July but more than likely gone before next year. Sano if he has complete season and has better year than last year they will trade him for some more pitching. Gossman could be traded anytime in a deal to bring additional pitching. That leaves us with Buxton, Rosario, and Kepler of original twins before this regime was here and I wouldn't be surprised if one them are also traded in next year or so too. I look at the Twins going with infield of Royce Lewis at SS, Polanco at second or Gordon, some one they sign for first base, and when they trade they will get a third baseman thrown into the deal. Also Hughes will be gone too and probably some more of pitchers in bull pen and in triple a. This regime wants to put there own stamp on this team and what we grew up developing players trying to sign them for long term I think is thing of the past with this group. They will put out public image of one thing but in fact they may be doing opposite thing with players and the organization. This is my gut feeling but they may win it all and be successful but it will have changed how baseball is done in this organization.

I think this is a stretch. I think this regime is risk averse and not very interested in signing a player to a fairly large contract that ends well into his mid 30's. They could have signed Lynn/Cobb instead of trading a prospect for a lesser pitcher but they (have thus far) chose(n) to not sign Lynn/Cobb to a 4 year contract that likely turns sour by the end.

I think the rest of your expectations are reaching. Grossman simply doesn't have a role with this team (with Mauer and Morrison and Sano/Garver here). He may well be out due to that but that has more to do with being okay at a few things and not good at others (like defense). Santana will be gone when he isn't effective. If he has another nice year then I totally expect the Twins to exercise his option.

I predict Mauer will get Nowitzki type contracts as long as he wants to play and is moderately good. He could even take the Gene Larkin bench bat/spot starter role that I mentioned about Grossman above.

 

    • Carole Keller, Oldgoat_MN, Nickasaski and 1 other like this

As nice as it is to have Grossman putting up good OBP numbers, I still can't see him bringing back much in a trade. Better to keep him than Vargas at this point.

    • Danchat likes this

Louis Opatz's excellent article about Zac Grannitte over at TT notwithstanding, I find myself agreeing with the Grossman-as-Larkin narrative.  I mean, on a truly juggernaut team, you have Manny Machado on your bench.  But in non-exhibition situations, it seems like in today's baseball, a patient, professional switch hitter who can pinch-hit in tough situations is a pretty valuable commodity.  In a pressure packed playoff game, I can much more easily imagine him coaxing a rally-sustaining walk than I can envision Vargas actually connecting for a homer.  

 

Chemistry is overrated, but then again, I see Grossman as a guy well-suited to a bench role; a guy who only needs 10 AB's to get ready in the spring should be able to perform without much playing time needed during the season!

 

Along those lines, Granite is perfect to stash in AAA as well--not a top prospect that is going to get bitter, but a hungry guy who will be ready when his name is called.

 

The Twins' first "window" is this season.  A significant reboot away from the leadership of Dozier/Mauer/Santana is looming.  The trade deadline will be interesting, not because of what Dozier might yield, but rather to see what prospects this shrewd-yet-risk-averse front office might give up to make a push with this old core.

    • Carole Keller, brvama, kab21 and 5 others like this
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Original Whizzinator
Mar 02 2018 09:21 AM
"the new brass ain't too sentimental" This is what is refreshing to me. They do seem very shrewd to me. Heck this mid market team has been stocked but they still have cash to spend. 135m would fit their market size. They might not be done I think this off-season is going to produce some last minute one year deals

I'm a bit nostalgic.Not a bit, a lot.So I'd like to see them keep Dozier, but I don't know if it makes sense, given his age and probable salary in FA.Same with Mauer.My boys grew up with his Fathead on their wall!But it's professional sports, which makes it a business with hard decisions that have to be made.Ultimately, I want the FO to treat these two veterans right.If that means they allow Dozier to leave and make life-changing money somewhere else, so be it.If that means offering Mauer one-year contracts until he either a) can't play anymore or B) chooses to retire.They both have earned that.

    • Oldgoat_MN and MN_ExPat like this

The word "shrewd" is a bit of a stretch at this point.

please expand
    • Nick Nelson likes this

 

Louis Opatz's excellent article about Zac Grannitte over at TT notwithstanding, I find myself agreeing with the Grossman-as-Larkin narrative.

Much like Larkin was a .267 hitting robot, perhaps Grossman is a 14% walk rate robot? :)

Thank you for a great article. Its great since it touches on so many points and raises a few questions.

First, maybe someone could clarify the seeming inconsistency that a) Grossman was second in OBP, but :cool: the DH position had an OBP of only .328.

Second, could someone explain how anyone, and I mean anyone, could generate such a negative Defensive Runs saved. Grossman didn't play RF often enough to let so many fly balls fall in and / or make so many bad throws.

As for Brian Dozier. I know. Minnesota sports fans, including me, aren't used to situations where Plan A is good, and Plan B is also good. Under Plans A & B, Dozier is certainly incentivized (and I hate that word also) to play well. If the Twins are "in it" (Plan A), they have a great 2B. If he leaves in FA, they have a number of good to great replacements in the minors. If the Twins are not "in it", then the Twins get something for someone who was going to go FA anyway.

Finally, Joe. Aside from resigning him at his current contract levels (I forget $27 mill per?), there is again, not a bad outcome. If his '18 is like his '17, and he still wants to play, then that is good. If his '18 is like his '16 and / or he doesn't want to play, then they can exercise their option on Morrison and / or use one of their many minor leaguers who can hit and play 1B.

What I like about the FO is that they have created options such that two things have to go wrong rather than just one.

The first AAA spring training game start March 14.I don't see much of a reason to cut guys till the 12th.So I think we'll see some of the young pitchers for another week. So far I think Littell, Romero and Slegers look good.Gonsalves doesn't look like he throws hard enough to be effective in the Bigs.  

    • Halsey Hall likes this

 

Last year's DH cohort, led by Robbie Grossman, hit just .237/.328/.383 for a .711 OPS; only catchers (.703) yielded a worse mark among Twins position groups.

 

This is a new DH era.Teams are using the position to rotate players. As a matter of fact, as far as the DH position goes, the Twins were 4th in the AL in wOBA, t4th in wRC+, and 7th in OPS, according to fangraphs.

 

Great to have Morrison, no argument there, but the DH production was hardly the Twins' issue last season, compared to the rest of the league

 

 

    • BJames likes this

 

This is a new DH era.Teams are using the position to rotate players. As a matter of fact, as far as the DH position goes, the Twins were 4th in the AL in wOBA, t4th in wRC+, and 7th in OPS, according to fangraphs.

 

Great to have Morrison, no argument there, but the DH production was hardly the Twins' issue last season, compared to the rest of the league

It presents a big opportunity to upgrade an offense that was 4th in the AL in OPS with a .768 OPS. It was actually the only possible improvement that the Twins could have made to the team since the other 8 positions were set. 

I agree that it was one of the smallest issues (compared to PITCHING) for the Twins but it did present an opportunity for improvement.

    • gagu likes this
Photo
strumdatjaguar
Mar 02 2018 06:36 PM

Some fans will complain about Dozier leaving.However, if the Twins are in contention, it will be worth it to have him here for the entire season.If the team falters, then the Twins get something at the trade deadline. Either way, the Twins have Gordon waiting to step up and are strong in the middle infield for years to come. The added power with Logan Morrison, who will be here next year to more than make up fort the loss of Dozier's power in the line-up..

 

The first AAA spring training game start March 14.I don't see much of a reason to cut guys till the 12th.So I think we'll see some of the young pitchers for another week. So far I think Littell, Romero and Slegers look good.Gonsalves doesn't look like he throws hard enough to be effective in the Bigs.  

Just for my personal edification, define "throws hard enough to be effective in the bigs"?

This is a new DH era. Teams are using the position to rotate players. As a matter of fact, as far as the DH position goes, the Twins were 4th in the AL in wOBA, t4th in wRC+, and 7th in OPS, according to fangraphs.


Not quite. When you just click the "DH" tab on Fangraphs, it shows the total stats of every player who somehow "qualifies" as a DH, even if those stats were accumulated at other positions. You have to go to the "Split" drop-down menu and select DH to see the cumulative performance of our actual starting DHs.

https://www.fangraph...ers=0&sort=16,d

So technically, we were only 8th in the AL with an 88 wRC+ out of the DH spot -- Grossman and Vargas both performed a little worse as a DH than when the played the field, although interestingly enough, it was mainly dragged down by 100 awful PA from Sano as a DH (51 wRC+).

https://www.fangraph...ers=0&sort=16,d

 

please expand

 

What is it they've done to demonstrate they have outsmarted anyone? I believe that would be the definition of "shrewd".

 

What is it they've done to demonstrate they have outsmarted anyone? I believe that would be the definition of "shrewd".

From Webster’s
“a : marked by clever discerning awareness and hardheaded acumen shrewd common sense
b : given to wily and artful ways or dealing a shrewd operator”

Notice no mention of innovation? I’d say the FO is absolutely savvy and has done a good job of implementing clever ways to improve.

Case in point: Rowson was a very good hire. The analytics dept improvement was very aware and keen to the situation at hand. Innovative? No that ship sailed a while ago.

So what has the FO done that isn’t “shrewd”? Give a reason why they aren’t shrewd, or even good at their jobs?
    • Thrylos and gagu like this

 

From Webster’s
“a : marked by clever discerning awareness and hardheaded acumen shrewd common sense
b : given to wily and artful ways or dealing a shrewd operator”

Notice no mention of innovation? I’d say the FO is absolutely savvy and has done a good job of implementing clever ways to improve.

Case in point: Rowson was a very good hire. The analytics dept improvement was very aware and keen to the situation at hand. Innovative? No that ship sailed a while ago.

So what has the FO done that isn’t “shrewd”? Give a reason why they aren’t shrewd, or even good at their jobs?

 

So far I would say they have been "competent", but I'm not willing to give them much beyond that. They are just doing what was pretty obvious that needed to be done while the prior regime sat stuck in the "Twins Way."

 

Shrewd would imply that they have somehow done something that no one was expecting, and superior to other orgs, and at this point I don't see enough to substantiate that. Sorry, but the OP is going to be favorable to the FO, and this sentence that we are dwelling on was just another example of that.

    • Sconnie likes this

So far I would say they have been "competent", but I'm not willing to give them much beyond that. They are just doing what was pretty obvious that needed to be done while the prior regime sat stuck in the "Twins Way."

Shrewd would imply that they have somehow done something that no one was expecting, and superior to other orgs, and at this point I don't see enough to substantiate that. Sorry, but the OP is going to be favorable to the FO, and this sentence that we are dwelling on was just another example of that.

Agreed, competent is a great way to describe Falvine. I have not yet seen evidence of advanced ”GMing” but I feel like Falvey and Levine have shown savvy and political awareness that Ryan never did. Shrewd in the context can have positive connotation...

Mostly I just wanted you to give evidence to your assertion. It wasn’t clear to me what you meant or what...

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