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Musical Chairs In The Bullpen

New Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has been as vague as he can be about his plans for the bullpen, so we can only make the most general statements about the makeup of the relief corps this year. But one general statement we can make is this: eight is greater than seven. That simple truth suggests that, barring injuries, the Twins are going cut someone we won’t want to see cut.
Image courtesy of © Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
The Twins will almost surely break camp with just seven relievers, or eight if you count Martin Perez, since a fifth pitcher isn’t needed until April 16th. With Perez starting in the bullpen, and with very little buzz around camp regarding “Openers” there is no good reason to carry eight other bullpen arms.

Which means someone is going to get stuck because there are eight names that seem like they belong in the bullpen. Here they are, more or less in order of my evaluation of their likelihood to make the team:
  • Addison Reed - Unless he’s hurt, he’s in there. He’s making $8M and the Twins and he are both hoping that a lower workload will rejuvenate his arm.
  • Taylor Rogers - Was the Twins most effective remaining reliever, and left-handed, too. Another lock.
  • Blake Parker - I suppose that whatever the concerns were which held up his official signing could convince the Twins that he’s damaged goods, but it seems unlikely their lone free agent bullpen addition wouldn’t make the team.
Next we get to a triumvirate of arms that don’t have options. If the Twins give up on any of these guys, they have to place them on waivers, and if a team claims them, they lose them. As such, that all have the inside track on a roster spot.
  • Trevor May - He should probably be above Parker on this list, but I like lumping the guys with no remaining options together. He was one of the Twins most prominent relievers late last year after returning from Tommy John surgery.
  • Adalberto Mejia - He’s being trained as a starter, but appears to be the de facto #6 guy, on the outside looking in. The Twins will want to keep him in case other starting pitchers are hurt, and that means keeping him on the roster. Plus, he’s left-handed, and there aren’t any other southpaws in the bullpen beyond Rogers.
  • Matt Magill - This is the name a lot of people are overlooking. When we get to the names that might not make the opening roster, I suspect a lot of fans will want to come back to this name. But Magill relieved in 40 games last year, averaged 95 mph with his fastball and good enough command. He also gave up way too many home runs, which is a kiss of death to a reliever, but I still don’t think they Twins will risk exposing him to every other team.
The rest of the candidates in the bullpen have options remaining, so none of them will be lost to other teams; they’ll just be sent to Rochester. If you agree to the list above, six of the seven spots are taken, and only one spot is left. But two prominent names are left standing: Trevor Hildenberger and Fernando Romero.

Last year Hildenberger was supposed to be one the more promising young arms in the bullpen, but stumbled badly in the second half of last year. This year, Fernando Romero is being prepared as a reliever because Baldelli has already described him as a “weapon.”. They both were seen as potential setup men for high leverage innings.

Even with math against them, it is still a good chance that both make the roster. After all, injuries happen in spring training. It wouldn’t even have to be an injury to a reliever to open a spot: an injury to a starting pitcher would likely mean Mejia moves to the rotation and then another spot is open in the bullpen. But it looks like the two young homegrown relievers about whom the fan base was most excited about the last two years will be battling it out for the last spot,

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20 Comments

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AlwaysinModeration
Feb 21 2019 10:30 PM
Yeah, I have no problem with them jettisoning Magill.
    • Otwins, DJL44 and railmarshalljon like this
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AlwaysinModeration
Feb 22 2019 07:21 AM
Based on their track records across their entire careers, I’d rank the candidates:

1. Romero (hard to judge since he’s been a starter, but I understand the “he could be a weapon” thinking)
2. Rogers (he had a great year, but doesn’t have the track record to back it up)
3. Hildenberger (last year’s HR/9 looks flukey)
4. Parker (last year’s HR/9 looks fluky, this could turn out to be a great signing)
5. Reed (needs to keep homers down, but he has an impeccable track record...big bounce back coming; he could slot in anywhere 1-5...provided he isn’t injured)
....
6. Mejia (sticks as a long man / starter candidate, but numbers don’t stack up as a reliever; I would think Romero should be way ahead of him in the pecking order for SP)
7. May (Ks are great, but too many hits, walks and homers)

...

8. Magill (I don’t get it. Numbers just aren’t impressive).
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AlwaysinModeration
Feb 22 2019 07:23 AM
And if I were ranking them with Kimbrel under consideration, it would be:

1. Kimbrel

....


2. Everyone else
    • Doctor Wu likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Feb 22 2019 08:57 AM

I'm afraid it has to be Magill...due to the signing of Parker.

That means that one of the last two (Hildy or Romero) are in Rochester along with guys like Duffey and the funky lefty.All four pitched for the Twins last year with Hildy and Duffey on the roster all or most of the year.If three of the four are at Rochester, one has to say that the bullpen is stronger than last year.And that is a positive step for 2019.

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howieramone2
Feb 22 2019 09:14 AM

I would start Hildy in Rochester. Magill out pitched him by a large margin last season.

 

Based on their track records across their entire careers, I’d rank the candidates:

1. Romero (hard to judge since he’s been a starter, but I understand the “he could be a weapon” thinking)
2. Rogers (he had a great year, but doesn’t have the track record to back it up)
3. Hildenberger (last year’s HR/9 looks flukey)
4. Parker (last year’s HR/9 looks fluky, this could turn out to be a great signing)
5. Reed (needs to keep homers down, but he has an impeccable track record...big bounce back coming; he could slot in anywhere 1-5...provided he isn’t injured)
....
6. Mejia (sticks as a long man / starter candidate, but numbers don’t stack up as a reliever; I would think Romero should be way ahead of him in the pecking order for SP)
7. May (Ks are great, but too many hits, walks and homers)

...

8. Magill (I don’t get it. Numbers just aren’t impressive).

 

Based on that, Reed has to be on top :)

 

(not that it is a good yardstick, btw...)

    • Sconnie and railmarshalljon like this

How can a guy with "the kiss of death to relievers" also be a lock to the bullpen?

 

With Pineda, Perez and Odorizzi in the rotation, having multiple relievers be effective for 2 innings plus is going to be critical to the bullpen, especially if the intention is to keep it a 12 man staff. 

 

Mejia seems likely to fit that bill. 

 

Weapon and long relief don't really jive, but is that Romero?

 

Who else? Giving up a ton of dingers doesn't bode well in the longer appearance or the shorter appearance role... Magill has to be on the outside looking in right now

I would definitely send down someone with options as injuries can happen anytime and having someone ready who should be up in AAA is better than someone who is just the hot hand at the moment.  

 

Honestly I would send ROmero down initially as he can get more used to relieving at AAA.  

 

but numerous scenarios can still play out.If Magill is awful in spring training he could get cut.if he is solid he likely stays.  

 

Hildenburger could get sent down if his struggles continue.He would have the advantage over Romero going into spring training with all of the time he already has in the majors.  

 

There are also injuries and "injuries" that can change the equation too.so it will be fun to watch.like I said its better than watching which AAAA reliever will make the team.  

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ChrisKnutson
Feb 22 2019 05:50 PM
With Marwin now on board, I highly doubt we land Kimbrel as well (not impossible tho). Meaning, the most realistic improvements we can make to the bullpen are probably signing 1-2 of Madson/Norris/Warren/Sipp. Who’d you sign? Because I wouldn’t bet on Reed or Hildy bouncing back from last season’s struggles. If we lose Magill in the process, so be it. Besides, we have plenty of depth anyways; in the form of Littell, Stewart, Vasquez, Moya, De Jong, Stashak, J. Reed., Alcala, etc.

If not Kimbrel, this is what I hope to see:

CL- Bud Norris (short leash tho)
Taylor Rogers
Fernando Romero
Addison Reed
Adam Warren
Adalberto Mejia
Blake Parker
Trevor May
I don't care really but found this interesting. Looks like you'll have to click the tweet because the image doesn't come through well apparently. Anyway, it is Magill's swinging strike rates.

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AlwaysinModeration
Feb 22 2019 10:43 PM

Based on that, Reed has to be on top :)

(not that it is a good yardstick, btw...)


I think you are right. Reed at the top. I just thought the board would scoff if I typed that.

As for whether it’s a good yardstick....I’d rather look at the whole picture than the last year (or two). Of course, you could weight the last year or two a bit heavier if you want. That might make sense too.
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LylesCrocodiles
Feb 22 2019 11:12 PM
Magill throws 5 pitches? Those are solid %s but small sample size for sure. He’s 29. And his career numbers aren’t inspiring.

I think most of what has been laid out above is pretty accurate. I think Reed Parker Rogers and May are locks. Hildenberger will get a spot if healthy/effective in spring. I can’t see the Twins choosing Magill over Mejía.

Mostly it will come down to how ready Romero is to be a key part of the pen on opening day. If they don’t plan to use him in high leverage situations I could see him opening in AAA.

I really would like to see Vazquez get a shot to make the team but it will take at least 2 injuries for that to happen.
Such a strange situation. . The Geek says we have too many relievers and it would hurt to cut one. Gleeman says we must sign another relief guy so thereby cutting two of our favs. What a conundrum
Hildenberg can go.
Sorry, I haven't clicked the Magill link as of yet. But from my eye, just way too inconsistent and way too many HR balls. That being said, there were a lot of times I watched him and his mid 90's heat and slider were good to nasty. Can he be taught more consistency at this point?

I'm not convinced, even with a 7 man pen, that. 3rd LH won't be kept instead of someone like Magill or Hildenberger.

I doubt Kimbrell is a realistic hope at this point, but then again, I haven't seen his name linked to any other team. As for the arms in camp, I don't have a clue. Let 'em do their stuff and see what happens. I'm just anxious to see if Pineda is actually a real person and will pitch for us in some capacity this year.

Another guy that's already been used in the bullpen a couple of times in the past week is Justin Nicolino, who pitched for the Marlins last year. Don't know much about him. Anyone out there seen him pitch? What are his strengths? Does he stand a chance of making the Twins' opening day roster?

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notoriousgod71
Mar 03 2019 07:32 AM

If you are going to go with a horse **** rotation and try the "opener" you damn well better have a lights out bullpen.

 

We have neither.

My preference would be to send Romero back to AAA and put him in the rotation. He has the most upside of any of the major league ready potential starters, and giving him another shot at starting makes a lot of sense when you consider that 3 of the Twins current starters are free agents after the season.


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