Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

LEN3 Throws Cold Water on Hot Stove

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:16 PM
http://m.startribune...ings/502283381/ Don't get your hopes up. The Twins, according to LEN3, aren't going to do much at the winter meeti...
Full topic ›

Article: What's There to Say About Ehire?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:15 PM
There are some players who are simply around to fill out a roster. The technical baseball term for these kind of players would be replace...
Full topic ›

Article: Rundown: On Trading Kepler, DRC+, LeMahieu and More

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:06 PM
Dan Hayes of The Athletic wondered if the Twins might trade Max Kepler to address some other areas of need. It’s a good piece, as Dan has...
Full topic ›

Article: Is Mitch Garver Still a Catcher?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:15 PM
In a dispiriting 2018 season that was direly short on bright spots, Mitch Garver was unequivocally one of the best stories, progressively...
Full topic ›

Article: Join Twins Daily At The Diamond Awards; Get A Fr...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:39 PM
Any given year, the Twins Diamond Awards are fantastic, but the event that is just a few months after Joe Mauer’s retirement is sure to b...
Full topic ›

Two Veteran Free Agents The Twins Could Target

It's one of those things that can be difficult to quantify, but without a doubt, veteran presence matters in an MLB clubhouse.

In 2015, anyone who spent time around the team will tell you that 39-year-old Torii Hunter played a larger role in the group's success than his numbers show. And this year, 44-year-old Bartolo Colon's impact after joining the roster in mid-August overshadowed his production on the field.

Colon is back on the market and reportedly looking to give it another go next season. It's sadly time for the Twins to move on from Big Sexy, but there are two other well-traveled vets that look like potential fits.
Image courtesy of Gary A. Vasquez and Brad Mills, USA Today
John Lackey "intends to pitch in 2018," according to Jon Heyman. He's 39 and has thrown almost 3,000 innings in the major leagues. When we last saw him on the mound, it wasn't pretty; the right-hander was roughed up in three relief appearances during the NLDS. And in general, it was a trying season for him, as he posted his worst ERA in five years while allowing a league-high 36 home runs.

But outside of the long ball troubles, Lackey pitched fairly well. His 1.28 WHIP would've ranked third among Twins starters and his 20.4% K-rate would have ranked second. From 2013 through 2016, he posted a 3.35 ERA and 1.18 WHIP with an excellent record of durability while pitching for teams that made the postseason every year (Red Sox, Cardinals, Cubs). He took home rings in 2013 and 2016.

Lackey is a capable starter with tons of experience, and he's accustomed to winning. He'll also be surely be available on a one-year deal, leaving the front office with plenty of long-term flexibility if they were to sign him.

The other name I'll be tracking is not a pitcher, but a hitter. Jayson Werth, 38, plans to keep playing and might look very nice on the Twins bench next season.

Like Lackey, he's coming off an inauspicious campaign, having hit .226/.332/.393 in the final year of a fairly disastrous $126 million contract with the Nationals. He was limited to 70 games this year by a bone bruise in his left foot. Werth hasn't had much success lately in general with a sub par .724 OPS over his past three seasons.

As a guy making $21 million and expected to serve as a regular in the outfield, Werth was a major liability. FanGraphs pegged him at -0.3 WAR in 2017.

But what if he were making a fraction of that on a one-year deal, being used more sparingly and more to his strengths? Werth posted an .820 OPS and 10/9 K/BB ratio against left-handed pitchers this year, but made less than 20% of his plate appearances against them. In his career, he has hit .293/.393/.538 against southpaws.

With the Twins, he could spend much of his time at DH while occasionally spelling Max Kepler or Eddie Rosario in the outfield corners against left-handers (though preferably not often as he'd be a huge step down defensively).

As a young team looking to build upon its success and return to the postseason, the Twins will surely have a keen interest in players that fit the veteran leader prototype. As it happens, two of the most experienced players on the free agent market look like pretty solid fits, given their needs. I wouldn't be surprised to soon hear Minnesota connected to one, or both.

Have you gotten your copy of the Offseason Handbook yet? You can read about these names and dozens of other Twins targets. Download yours now and dig in:


Attached Image: CTA-Banner (2).jpg


  • Cory Engelhardt likes this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

123 Comments

Lackey maybe. Werth, absolutely not. We need to start moving our youth through the program. We just lost Daniel Palka. We're going to start losing more players unless we start making them an option.
    • Jerr, laloesch, Dave The Dastardly and 1 other like this
Photo
Winston Smith
Nov 07 2017 09:46 PM

Kepler had an ops of .453 against LH pitching so Werth D could be a little sub-par and still be a big plus. If he is used right he could be worth it. Rosario isn't as bad but still not good. If not Werth somebody like him is a good idea.

    • gagu and d-mac like this
I’m hopeful a RH hitting fourth OFer is a winter addition, and Werth seems like a decent gamble for a mild rebound, enough to be very helpful if used properly.

Lackey, on the other hand, seems poised to crater, rather than rebound. Hard pass.
    • Carole Keller, Jerr, snepp and 3 others like this
Melky over Werth.
    • LA VIkes Fan and AWOLNATION_11 like this

John Lackey is a bad person and a bad teammate. I don't care if he's free. Hard pass.

    • Jerr, snepp, Kelly Vance and 3 others like this
As for Lackey, I wonder how many of the home runs he gave up at Wrigley (with the wind blowing out) would be fly ball outs at the somewhat less friendly confines of Target.

As for Werth, just how much in dollars and roster spots is the cost of maybe 150 PA's a year?

But I am again in favor of 1-year deals while the Twins wait for reinforcements in 2019.

Grossman is probably as good or better than Werth and tends to hit lefties better.We also will need to see if Kepler or Rosario are platoon only or can stand in against all but the super tough lefties.Werth would probably want to be more than a bench bat so do not see the fit here.

LackeyNo, No, No.

    • Carole Keller, peterb18, Oldgoat_MN and 1 other like this

John Lackey is a bad person and a bad teammate. I don't care if he's free. Hard pass.


Why do you say this?
No reason to not get a more productive vet, if one is needed. I guess Mauer and Dozier and Santana aren't enough? Why not? I am relieved that Colon will be gone.
    • gman and Dave The Dastardly like this
Photo
The Wise One
Nov 08 2017 04:20 AM

 

Why do you say this?

Lackey pitches to the inside of the plate and occasionally hits the batter. Maddon when he was coach at Tampa took exception when Lackey missed inside and hit one of his and called him a bad teammate because of hitting a batter could get a teammate hurt in the melee, 

No and No. They are simply not good enough any more to take up valuable roster spots on coming Twins teams.

    • birdwatcher, Jerr, peterb18 and 2 others like this

Just hire Torii to be a coach and let's pass on all the crusty worn out veterans that will only take roster spots away from the young guys. I thought when Ryan left, this organization would quit dumpster diving for worthless players. Colon proved otherwise. Let's hope that is the end of it.

    • Kelly Vance likes this
Definitely agree with Beckmt.....Grossman would be a better choice than Werth. However, neither would be beneficial....both are washed up.
    • birdwatcher likes this
Photo
yarnivek1972
Nov 08 2017 07:51 AM

Lackey pitches to the inside of the plate and occasionally hits the batter. Maddon when he was coach at Tampa took exception when Lackey missed inside and hit one of his and called him a bad teammate because of hitting a batter could get a teammate hurt in the melee,


FWIW, Lackey is by far the active leader in HBP with 133. Next is CC Sabathia with 109. Bronson Aroyo and Ervin Santana are the only other actives over 100.

That said, I have no problem with a guy pitching hard inside to make hitters uncomfortable. That is part of the game. A part Twins pitchers have never done enough of IMO.
    • PDX Twin, gagu, d-mac and 1 other like this

I wouldn't want either one either. Frankly, I'd rather them bring back Colon on a cheap deal than gamble on the likes of Lackey.

    • birdwatcher and Lefty74 like this

I would personally go for one of the pitchers listed in the other article over Lackey.

 

I wouldn't mind a flyer on Werth, I don't see a huge difference between him and Grossman. And I do think there is value in having veterans round out rosters if they embrace the role.

Lackey was cooked last season. Next year he'll be burnt to a crisp. 

 

Also, as an advocate for increasing pace of play in baseball, Lackey would drive me nuts. Never forget it took him literally 5 minutes to throw 6 pitches in a playoff game. 

 

Hard pass on Werth as well. 

    • VirginSturgeon likes this
Photo
Nick Nelson
Nov 08 2017 09:25 AM

Wow. Y'all really don't like John Lackey!

 

John Lackey is a bad person and a bad teammate. I don't care if he's free. Hard pass.

He can't be that detrimental of a teammate given that every club he's been on in the past four years has been extremely successful.

 

 

I thought when Ryan left, this organization would quit dumpster diving for worthless players. Colon proved otherwise. Let's hope that is the end of it.

We're COMPLAINING about the Colon signing now?? Do you folks have extremely short memories or are you just attached to your narratives?

 

 

Lackey was cooked last season. Next year he'll be burnt to a crisp. 

Again, a "cooked" Lackey would have been ranked second on the Twins in K-rate and third in WHIP. Opponents hit .248 against him. The home runs were his only major issue and that can change a lot from year to year (e.g. Phil Hughes). I feel somewhat confident that Lackey is not going to have an 18.4 HR/FB rate again.

 

    • James, Oldgoat_MN, gagu and 1 other like this

No more considering pitchers who slot in behind Santana.We already have an entire farm system full of them.Time to aim for somebody that can slot in front of Santana.The team has more than enough money.

 

If your interested in taking risks, just resign Colon and make him a long reliever.We would at least know what we're getting.

    • birdwatcher likes this

Hard pass on both. The Twins need to STOP signing bad players.

Photo
howieramone2
Nov 08 2017 09:56 AM

Every team in baseball has a farm system full of prospects that would slot in behind Santana. Doubtful our team or most teams, at this point in time, have the money to sign somebody who will slot in front of Santana. All we need to do is use our deep farm system to trade for a 2/3 type. No need to impair our future, lusting for a mythical ace. There may be 10-12 in all of baseball, and we are much better off using our resources on our 6 young stars. You can have a good rotation, without a mythical ace, which is the route we should take.

    • birdwatcher and LA VIkes Fan like this

 

FWIW, Lackey is by far the active leader in HBP with 133. Next is CC Sabathia with 109. Bronson Aroyo and Ervin Santana are the only other actives over 100.

That said, I have no problem with a guy pitching hard inside to make hitters uncomfortable. That is part of the game. A part Twins pitchers have never done enough of IMO.

I agree.Maddon's reasoning, while not completely incorrect, is lame.Worrying about hitting a batter simply makes the pitcher's job harder.It is a part of the game, as it should be.Accidents happen, balls get away, hitters crowd the plate.All are a part of the game.When pitchers start hitting guys on purpose, then we can have that discussion.

    • Broker likes this
Photo
howieramone2
Nov 08 2017 10:15 AM

 

Hard pass on both. The Twins need to STOP signing bad players.

I never knew they started.

    • RaymondLuxuryYacht likes this
Photo
Deduno Abides
Nov 08 2017 10:24 AM
Before Lackey is written off as finished, keep in mind that his K/BB rates in 2017 were better than Santana’s. However, I agree with people who would want a lot of diligence about his personality. Apparently, Maddon says his teammates love him last month and he has a lot of fire, which the Twins could have used over the years in the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium, but he has had clubhouse problems in the past and he didn’t come off well when he filed for divorce while his wife was battling cancer.
    • James likes this
Photo
tarheeltwinsfan
Nov 08 2017 10:27 AM

I submit that the Twins have veteran leadership already. Let's give the young players the experience they need

    • Kelly Vance and Dave The Dastardly like this