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Blake Snell a trade target or not

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Let me state I love Cruz and want him back if possible. I not only believe he brings class, experience, knowledge and leadership to the t...
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Comments on 41 MLB baseball I visited with 5 to go

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Twins Face 2 Pivotal Decisions in Arbitration

The Minnesota Twins have seven (or maybe eight) players eligible for arbitration this offseason.

Beyond the usual uncertainty around how much each player will earn next year, given the ability to submit their own salary figures, there are at least two pivotal decisions to be made on longtime fixtures in the lineup and bullpen.
On Tuesday night's episode of Offseason Live, I talked through each of the Twins' arbitration-eligible players with Matt Braun and Matthew Trueblood. You can watch it below, or keep scrolling for a written breakdown.


We know for sure that these seven players are eligible for arbitration:
  • Mitch Garver, C (1st year of of 3)
  • Tyler Duffey (2 of 3)
  • Matt Wisler (2 of 3)
  • Jose Berrios (2 of 3)
  • Taylor Rogers (3 of 4)
  • Byron Buxton (3 of 4)
  • Eddie Rosario (3 of 3)

We're not sure about Caleb Thielbar. His service time puts him right on the border of Super 2 status, but that's a murky line as is, made only cloudier by this shortened season. If he is arbitration-eligible for the first time, he is in line for about $1 million, and a no-brainer to bring back.

Here's a look at the respective situations of the other seven players (2020 salaries based on full season, 2021 salary estimates via Twins Daily's guesses and those posted at MLB Trade Rumors):

Mitch Garver, C
1st year of 3 in Arbitration
2020 Salary: $600K

Key Stat: Career .275/.371/.522 hitter versus left-handed pitchers.

Arbitration Salary Estimates: Twins Daily: $2M | MLBTR: $1.9M

The Lowdown: As he enters arbitration for the first time, Garver's price will be kept in check coming off a lost season. Despite his discouraging campaign, keeping the 2019 Silver Slugger around next year is clearly a no-brainer at this price point, barring a trade. His ability to hit southpaws (which endured through his struggles in 2020, as he stilled slashed .304/.385/.435 vs. LHP) is particularly valuable. At this point it seems likely he'll head into next season slated for a 50/50 timeshare with Ryan Jeffers at catcher.

Tyler Duffey, RP
2nd Year of 3 in Arbitration
2020 Salary: $1.2M

Key Stat: Ranks 4th among MLB relievers in fWAR since 2019 All-Star break.

Arbitration Salary Estimates: TD: $2.5M | MLBTR: $2.6M

The Lowdown: Duffey was the Twins' best reliever and one of the best relievers in the American League, so he should at least double his 2020 salary in arbitration. Still, at somewhere in the range of $2.5 to $3 million, he'll be a tremendous bargain. With free agency only two years away, this might be an opportune time for the Twins to pitch his agent on an extension.

Matt Wisler, RP
2nd Year of 3 in Arbitration
2020 Salary: $725K

Key Stat: 1.07 ERA and 12.4 K/9 in first year with Twins (25.1 IP)

Arbitration Salary Estimates: TD: $1.5M | MLBTR: $1.8M

The Lowdown: The Twins claimed Wisler off waivers last offseason, seeing promise in his slider, and were rewarded to the fullest. He threw that pitch a career-high 83% of the time in his first season as a Twin, and completely dominated with it, holding opponents to a .143/.141/.221 slash line. It was the nastiest pitch on the Twins and one of the nastiest in baseball. Due to his lack of a track record prior to 2020, Wisler will still be quite cheap – likely under $2 million. Obviously he's back, though it's worth wondering how highly the Twins are prepared to slot him in the bullpen hierarchy.

José Berríos, SP
Year 2 of 3 in Arbitration
2020 Salary: $4.025M

Key Stat: Since his debut on April 27th, 2016, only 11 MLB pitchers have logged more innings than Berríos.

Arbitration Salary Estimates: TD: $7.5M | MLBTR: $7.5M

The Lowdown: Durability has been Berríos' calling card as an MLB starter, and it shined through again in 2020 as he made a team-leading 12 starts. He took a bit of a step backward performance-wise (4.00 ERA and 1.32 WHIP were both the highest since his rookie year in 2016), but not enough to prevent him from getting a hefty raise. With free agency approaching at the end of 2022, the Twins are running out of leverage in extension talks, but they've had a hard time finding traction in those discussions during the past couple winters.

Byron Buxton, CF
Year 3 of 4 in Arbitration
2020 Salary: $3.075M

Key Stat: Since start of 2018, Twins are 102-52 (.662) with Buxton, and 113-117 (.491) without.

Arbitration Salary Estimates: TD: $6M | MLBTR: $5.9M

The Lowdown: Durability has ... not been Buxton's calling card. He's been one of the biggest difference-makers in the game when on the field over the past three years, but has missed about 60% of the team's games during that span. The 2020 season, like most others, ended with Buxton injured and unable to play. This both diminishes his earning power in arbitration, and complicates the long-term picture. Can the Twins afford to go all-in on him when he has so consistently proven unable to stay healthy? Will his injury history make him more open to the security of a contract extension?

Taylor Rogers, RP
Year 3 of 4 in Arbitration
2020 Salary: $4.45M

Key Stat: In 2018 & 2019, ranked 4th among MLB relievers in fWAR and 6th in WPA. In 2020, ranked 33rd and 169th (out of 173).

Arbitration Salary Estimates: TD: $7M | MLBTR: $6.9M

The Lowdown: For several years, Rogers was as good as it gets. He was a shutdown bullpen reliever, and essentially match-up proof, consistently coming through in the clutch to rank as one of the game's best high-leverage performers. In late 2019, that started to change, and this year the negative trend continued. His 2020 numbers weren't all that bad, on the surface – 4.05 ERA, 2.84 FIP, 6.00 K/BB ratio, just two home runs allowed – but Rogers was not a dependable back-end arm. And while there's a good chance he bounces back, the pricetag of around $7 million is quite high, especially with the Twins (probably) scaling back payroll and looking for cost savings.

Eddie Rosario, LF
Year 3 of 3 in Arbitration
2020 Salary: $7.75M

Key Stat: Ranks 98th out of 128 qualified MLB players in fWAR since start of 2019.

Arbitration Salary Estimates: TD: $10M | MLBTR: $12.9M

The Lowdown: We were a little more conservative on Rosario's salary estimate than MLBTR, who foresees him making nearly $13 million in his final year of arbitration. At either number, it's going to be tough to justify keeping Rosario around. While he's been a reliable source of home runs and RBIs, he rates as a roughly average player overall, with poor defense and declining speed offsetting much of the (checkered) value he offers at the plate. Given the presence of multiple cheap replacement options – including Alex Kirilloff, who successfully debuted in the playoffs – it's tough to imagine the Twins keeping Rosario around ... unless they can non-tender him and reach agreement on a lower number.

Would you keep Rosario and/or Rogers around at the heightened price tags? Where do you stand with the other arbitration-eligible players and contract extension candidates? Weigh in below.

~~~


You can tune into the next Offseason Live broadcast via Twins Daily's Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube page. It'll be an interactive show where viewers help steer the conversation via comments and questions. You'll also be able to watch the replay tomorrow here on the site, or via audio by subscribing to our podcast.

In the meantime, check out previous episodes of Offseason Live and see what's upcoming:

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20 Comments

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diehardtwinsfan
Oct 21 2020 07:27 AM

I suspect Rosario is non-tendered or traded as there are potential replacements in house.I like him as a player, but he's a bit too boom or bust on a team that has way too many boom/bust type players. 

 

Rodgers probably stays as he's a bounce back candidate... even at that cost. 

    • glunn and DocBauer like this

Eddie I have been saying for weeks is gone.Rodgers is a closer call.He was touted as a closer all year, only to lose that job and go back to closer by committee, which I am generally a fan of.I think he will be back for 1 year for sure.He still will get lefties out and can get righties so even if not closing he will still have value. 

    • DocBauer likes this

What a tough situation management is in beginning with no idea how many fans will be allowed to attend games, if any? Have to believe their budget is going to be much lower than 2020, especially if the 30 teams did lose $3.0 billion as I read in the Strib this morning.

 

With that said, will be interesting how they deal with all the above in arbitration. Also will be interesting how the arbitrators will rule. Will they take into consideration the uncertainties facing the game? Would think they should, but does the CBA allow for it or more likely silent.

 

Would love to see them extend Duffey and Buxton. Just don't know how much Rogers was affected by his role as player rep? 

I loved having Eddie and I wonder how many key hits he got - the ones that actually won games or gave us a good chance to win because it seems that other than Cruz he was the one who was ready for the big AB.But I see the momentum and the cost so I think he is gone.I will miss him, but Cleveland would love him. 

 

Rogers might be easy to say he can bounce back from this year, but you point out that he was on a downward trend the year before too.I have to defer to Wes Johnson, but if the fix is not simple that is too much money in a down economy.

 

Buxton is such a tease - the W - L with and without him is amazing, but the fact that he only played in 154 games in those three seasons means he really had a one year output. That is really a difficult performance to award. What I really want to know is when do we get another CF - to back up or share the load.Kepler and Cave are not acceptable.Who in the minors is ready?What FA is available.Do they believe Royce Lewis can be out there?Is Celestino a CF? 

 

    • jun and LoveMyPug like this

I'd unload Duffey, Buxton, Rosario and Rogers. Time for a youth movement as the present core of players have proven they can't get it done in the playoffs when it counts. I'd also try to trade K-Sano, Kepler and Cave. Don't resign the highly over-rated Marwin or Romo either. This team needs to look a lot different next year if they ever want to get to the next level.

 

Eddie I have been saying for weeks is gone.Rodgers is a closer call.He was touted as a closer all year, only to lose that job and go back to closer by committee, which I am generally a fan of.I think he will be back for 1 year for sure.He still will get lefties out and can get righties so even if not closing he will still have value. 

Exactly--find the right spot in the order to bring him in.The idea of a "closer" is bad thinking to start with.  

Because of revenue uncertainties for next year I wouldn't be surprised if the Twins payroll budget comes in about 125M. With that in mind, I like Eddie Rosario but I can't see signing him at either of those rates, especially when we have some really good hitters coming up. Rogers arb rates also seem too high unless Wes Johnson feels 2020 was an aberration and we can get the old Rogers back. Then again, it's only money, right? Ha! I think I would use available moneys for starting pitching.

    • jun likes this

I would take (within Reason) what I could get for Rosario, even if it was a couple of decent lottery tickets. Can't see with payroll reduction, his number being workable.If you keep him then Cruz is almost certainly gone.We still need starters and cannot see how numbers will work, unless we think the two Twins minor leaguers will be in the rotation (notSmeltzer, and probably not Thorpe).

Not sure I’m willing to double down on the good stories of Wisler and Thielbar. 3 things are certain in life: death, taxes, and baseball teams making adjustments. What other tricks does Wisler have up his sleeve when teams adjust to his absurd 80% slider pitch mix?
It would be really tough for me to justify paying Rogers $7M+ when he hasn’t been that good since the second half or 2019. He’s been good here, and been a workhorse, but I’d rather have May at half that.

That Buxton W-L stat is incredible. I wonder what it would take to lock him up to a 5 year deal, or something that neighborhood. Something clearly clicked offensively this year (or he was finally healthy enough and beyond the head games of people messing with his swing all the time).

This time next year it’s not absurd to think we could be talking about the AL MVP. If we get to that point without a deal, there’s no way he’s here long-term (he may not want to be anyway, given the history with the club, and the repeated postseason incompetence, I wouldn’t blame him).
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diehardtwinsfan
Oct 21 2020 04:34 PM

 

Not sure I’m willing to double down on the good stories of Wisler and Thielbar. 3 things are certain in life: death, taxes, and baseball teams making adjustments. What other tricks does Wisler have up his sleeve when teams adjust to his absurd 80% slider pitch mix?

 

I'd have thought they would have adjusted in season... it's not like that 80% rate would have been evident at some point... I haven't seen the pitch, but is this pitch one where hitters are looking for it and still cannot hit it?

Really enjoying these discussion, great job. I agree with y'all, Rosario hard to bring back. Rogers only one that is not an easy sign, but would bring him back.

 

I'd unload Duffey, Buxton, Rosario and Rogers. Time for a youth movement as the present core of players have proven they can't get it done in the playoffs when it counts. I'd also try to trade K-Sano, Kepler and Cave. Don't resign the highly over-rated Marwin or Romo either. This team needs to look a lot different next year if they ever want to get to the next level.

You just can't unload everybody! Buxton, Duffey and Kepler should stay for now.

    • wabene likes this

Sometimes, we just want to invision someone is something that was what we want them to be. 

"For several years, Rogers was as good as it gets."

Several? I would say about one full year, and that was the second half of 2018 and the first half of 2019. If that is several, I agree.

    • jun and wabene like this

Not sure I’m willing to double down on the good stories of Wisler and Thielbar. 3 things are certain in life: death, taxes, and baseball teams making adjustments. What other tricks does Wisler have up his sleeve when teams adjust to his absurd 80% slider pitch mix?

I agree, they should be in the mix but we need backup plans.
    • jun likes this

 

Not sure I’m willing to double down on the good stories of Wisler and Thielbar. 3 things are certain in life: death, taxes, and baseball teams making adjustments. What other tricks does Wisler have up his sleeve when teams adjust to his absurd 80% slider pitch mix?

Sometimes a hitter can know exactly what's coming, and still not be able to hit it.

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stringer bell
Oct 22 2020 07:40 AM

I guess I thought tendering Rogers would be a no-brainer especially since no one has enough pitching (see the playoffs). Rogers was very good and versatile and seemed to figure out how to get right handed batters out, but he faded a bit late in 2019 and wasn't good last year. I think a bit different usage and a tweak or two would again put him in the "very good" to "elite" categorization. 

 

Rogers is relatively young and healthy. I simply can't see the Twins giving him up because he costs too much.

    • h2oface likes this

Sometimes a hitter can know exactly what's coming, and still not be able to hit it.

When it's a slider, knowing exactly what's coming may mean to just lay off it.
 

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Battle ur tail off
Oct 22 2020 02:28 PM

 

It would be really tough for me to justify paying Rogers $7M+ when he hasn’t been that good since the second half or 2019. He’s been good here, and been a workhorse, but I’d rather have May at half that.

That Buxton W-L stat is incredible. I wonder what it would take to lock him up to a 5 year deal, or something that neighborhood. Something clearly clicked offensively this year (or he was finally healthy enough and beyond the head games of people messing with his swing all the time).

This time next year it’s not absurd to think we could be talking about the AL MVP. If we get to that point without a deal, there’s no way he’s here long-term (he may not want to be anyway, given the history with the club, and the repeated postseason incompetence, I wouldn’t blame him).

 

I would low-ball the snot out of Buxton. He has proven he can't stay healthy. Teams won't lineup to give him a large contract when they know he is good for 40% of their games each year. If he wants big money he is going to have to do it on a discount. That or he has to wait and "show out" if he wants to get paid. It is too large of a risk to pay him 10-15 million a year over 4 or 5 years if we keep getting what we are getting for him. 

Offer him 5/35 and if he doesn't take it, milk him for all he is worth and sell him off a year before he reaches FA. He will likely be cooked by then anyway if he keeps on the path he is on. 

 

We also have to remember, he STILL goes through periods where he looks like one of the worst hitters in the league. 

I don't see normalcy until 2022 baseball season.

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