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Article: Game Thread: Twins @ Yankees, 4/23@6:10pm CT

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Report From The Fort: "B" Player Gets "A" Grade

FT MYERS - Past administrations of the Twins would’ve signed Lance Lynn. In fact, they’ve done so repeatedly, except his name was Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco and Ervin Santana. These were all second-tier starting pitchers, capable of earning a “B” grade from fans and pundits. But what separates this move from those are all the “A” grades that surround it.
Image courtesy of Jake Roth, USA Today
“A” for Contract
The most obvious difference between those players and this one is the contract the Twins offered. Most of the similar pitchers that the Twins signed received four-year deals, and Lynn probably expected as much for himself this year. In fact, MLBTradeRumors.com predicted a 4 year, $56 million contract at the beginning of the offseason, which would have been right in line with the Santana and Nolasco deals.

But there was a historic adjustment in the free agent market this offseason that left a dozen top free agents unsigned as spring training started. The Twins got lucky in that way, but they also made their own luck, showing flexibility and being aggressive when the opportunity presented itself. Which they could do because they also get:

“A” for Payroll
I was as skeptical as anyone regarding the Twins willingness to upgrade their payroll this offseason, and up until this move, that seemed prudent. But as a result of this move, not only will the Twins have a payroll near $130 million, the largest payroll in their history, it’ll be up $25 million dollars from last year.

It’s not totally clear that was the plan all along; just last week Twins Chief Baseball Officer claimed there was a “high likelihood” they were done spending. And $130M doesn’t put them among the biggest spenders in baseball, or probably even in the upper half. But it’s a big step in the right direction, and shows that the team is willing to spend when they need to. And they need to, because:

“A” for Competitive Curve
Despite all the Twins moves this winter, and their young and improving core, they are not one of the top tier teams in the American League. Prior to this move, Las Vegas had them listed as the sixth best team in the AL, which would mean they would just miss the postseason.

Which makes this the time to spend. No longer can pundits excuse a passive attitude with a “they can’t compete anyway.” They are competing. And they needed a boost to help them get a half step closer to that first tier of teams. This move doesn’t guarantee anything – remember, Lynn is a “B” upgrade – but the Twins are in a position where half steps matter. And the Twins have made a lot of half-step moves this offseason:

“A” for Overall Offseason
Fans might be disappointed by not getting the “A” name this offseason, when ace pitcher Yu Darvish decided to sign with the Cubs. But if the Twins would’ve exited this offseason with Lynn and relievers Addison Reed and Fernando Rodney, it would’ve been good for an “A-“ grade.

Not only did that, but they added another LH reliever (Zach Duke), a possible top-of-the-rotation pitcher for next year (Michael Pineda) and a middle rotation starting pitcher for this year (Jake Odorizzi). That is a team (and a management team) that is going for it this year. They get an overall “A” grade for doing so.

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30 Comments

I like this FO much better than the previous one. They seemed to make more or less the best of what they had in front of them. I mostly discount the Darvish issue as something that won't change. No matter that all FA lists are relative, we are not going to ever sign the top dogs while JP owns the Twins.

This left them to do what they could with the next tier. I agree they deserve a high mark. What I wonder about is whether this is a repeatable philosophy, or operating theory. Or was it the result of a weird year for the FA market due to things like the luxury tax issue, an odd mix of talent, and which teams were actively competing for FA's? Since I don't ever expect the Twins to sign the big fish, if they can continue this type of flexible and semi aggressive thinking, I think they have a good chance to be a competitive franchise moving forward. What happens at the trade deadline will be another benchmark. And it will be interesting to see if the FA market returns to "normal" next year, how they play in the same pool as the Sharks.
    • Twins33, Vanimal46 and Original Whizzinator like this

The 2018 money it would have been taken to acquire Darvish has now been spent. 

 

 

Darvish - 22M

 

 

Odorizzi - 6.3M

Sanchez - 2.5M

Morrison - 5.5M

Lynn - 12M

 

 

Total 26.3M 23.8M

 

 

 

It doesn't matter if these moves work out or not. It doesn't even matter if I agree with the moves. For the record I'm good with them. 

 

The front office is showing the willingness to spend and the ability to be creative and the desire to improve the team. 

 

 

    • USAFChief, Twins33, Mike Frasier Law and 11 others like this
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Nine of twelve
Mar 11 2018 08:32 AM

The 2018 money it would have been taken to acquire Darvish has now been spent. 
 
 
Darvish - 22M
 
 
Odorizzi - 6.3M
Sanchez - 2.5M
Morrison - 5.5M
Lynn - 12M
 
 
Total 26.3M 
 
 
 
It doesn't matter if these moves work out or not. It doesn't even matter if I agree with the moves. For the record I'm good with them. 
 
The front office is showing the willingness to spend and the ability to be creative and the desire to improve the team.

IIRC, Sanchez' contract is not guaranteed. With the acquisition of Odorizzi and now Lynn the likelihood of him being on the 25-man coming out of ST is nil. He'll wind up receiving little of his $2.5M so that brings the expenditures to less than $24M. I agree that the course Falvine followed is a better bang for the bucks.
    • Riverbrian, MN_ExPat and Original Whizzinator like this
Sanchez gets somthing between 400 and 500k
    • Riverbrian and Original Whizzinator like this

It is a nice off season - but I am even happier with the look of our minor league options. As an advocate for youth, I like the talent that we have and I need to see a philosophy that keeps us competing, while having a method for integrating the young prospects into the major league roster.I still want Romero and Gonsalves, and I am anxious to see Lewis and Rooker step up to the majors.  

 

Its nice to have so much talent, but it is also a challenge for the FO to establish a plan that keeps us both young and aggressive.

    • Riverbrian, USNMCPO, bluechipper and 3 others like this

 

It is a nice off season - but I am even happier with the look of our minor league options. As an advocate for youth, I like the talent that we have and I need to see a philosophy that keeps us competing, while having a method for integrating the young prospects into the major league roster.I still want Romero and Gonsalves, and I am anxious to see Lewis and Rooker step up to the majors.  

 

Its nice to have so much talent, but it is also a challenge for the FO to establish a plan that keeps us both young and aggressive.

 

The Red Wings Rotation is spilling over the edges. I love it. 

 

These guys will have to compete for the phone call.

 

We used to place the phone call and there was nobody there to answer it. 

    • Twins33, Monkeypaws, bluechipper and 8 others like this

I like what all these "lesser" signings bring to the field.  Team chemistry already seems like it has the potential to be special--their are some real characters on the team.  I watched a Lance Lynn post-game interview mashup, which was funny.  Listening to Dozier mic'd up was excellent--if I were on the team, I think I'd miss the guy if he left.  

 

Good chemistry is the chicken to the egg, so I'm not suggesting it is responsible for winning, but having a bunch of hungry vets + hungry youth seems like a good combination.

    • Twins33, bluechipper, CUtomorrownight and 1 other like this
This FO has hit a home run this offseason. We are better in both the starting staff and bullpen and have upgraded the DH position. We also kept all of our prospects basically so we can be aggressive at the deadline if we are in position to make a run and didn’t hamper our long term payroll moving forward.

I expect to contend for the division title this year. When Santayana gets back, we have a very competent, not to Cleveland’s standard, but enough to compete as I like our lineup better
    • bluechipper likes this
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Original Whizzinator
Mar 11 2018 09:42 AM
Sorry for liking every post I'm a little giddy
    • gil4, Danchat and Doctor Wu like this

I give them an A as well. I don't really think Rodney is the guy and would rather have Cobb but otherwise I am pretty happy. Yet, I am not convinced the past front office would not have made these moves because lets face it, some of these appear to have fallen in our laps and the behavior of the other teams has not been anywhere near normal. We have gotten bargains which is what the prior group was always trying to get. They upped their ante back in the day with Pavano and Thome and others when trying to contend much like this group has. I could easily see them making every one of these moves.I think it is more a perfect storm. Any other year Lynn, Reed and Morrison would not have been available at these prices or this late.Twins would likely have made the Odorizzi move as well though this is probably the move for which I will give the current guys the most credit.They found a target and made an offer.That is to their credit. In the past the Twins would not have gotten Darvish either.Maybe its savvy and maybe its luck. Either way I will give them an A for being savvy and/or lucky.

    • blindeke likes this
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Original Whizzinator
Mar 11 2018 09:45 AM
With a limited amount of games I can watch I would pick based on the pitcher I wanted to see. What am I going to do now?
    • twinssouth likes this
This is fair. I had them at C+/B- for the offseason after Odorizzi, and B after Morrison, and this definitely pushes them higher. I feel like I should stop short of a solid A until they Hughes decision is cleared up at the end of spring training. It's a tricky situation with the potential to nudge the grade either way.
    • rghrbek likes this

 

This is fair. I had them at C+/B- for the offseason after Odorizzi, and B after Morrison, and this definitely pushes them higher. I feel like I should stop short of a solid A until they Hughes decision is cleared up at the end of spring training. It's a tricky situation with the potential to nudge the grade either way.

Why is Hughes part of your off-season evaluation? His salary is sunk cost.

    • Danchat likes this
This team should be better than last year in both starting players and depth, and playing in a worse division. Take ‘em one game at a time.

What’s the over under on wins?
    • Vanimal46 and CUtomorrownight like this

 

What’s the over under on wins?

 

I don't know but give me the over!!! 

 

(High Five)

    • scottz, 70charger, big dog and 2 others like this

Why is Hughes part of your off-season evaluation? His salary is sunk cost.


Hughes' contract isn't part of my evaluation, but what they decide do with him is. Adding a couple veteran SP is a hair less attractive if they're not prepared to move on from Hughes, and Mejia gets sent to AAA unnecessarily. Not a huge deal, but could take it from an A to an A- in my book. But we'll see how it plays out.
Dont forget in an offseason of buying we still came away with 3 top 30 prospects too. That brings the total to 6 since last July at minimal cost. I think this gets overlooked because we usually aquire prospects because of selling.

As far as Hughes goes the optimal way to deal with him is to make him earn his time again like everyone else. For now he competes for the 5th starter. If he looses he competes for bullpen long relief. Then we can try disable list/ demotion to minors and eventually release/ buyout if Hughes is willing. I suspect the Twins will not release him this year. If anything they will want to see where he is next year and may give him a month or so as mop up man before releasing him. I may be wrong but something along thise lines would be the most conservative thing to do with him.
I don’t think this offseason could’ve gone much better. The Twins never making a push to go for it was really starting to wear down my fandom. Now I’m only slightly crazy for telling my friends we can win the WS.
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drivlikejehu
Mar 11 2018 02:52 PM

For every season, there are the off-season moves and then the in-season moves . . . I think the off-season has given the Twins a solid starting point for the year, particularly considering the weakness of the AL Central. It didn't make the Twins clear World Series contenders, but I don't think they were in a position to reach that point (even if they signed Darvish) during the off-season alone.

 

They'll need young players to continue developing for that to become realistic . . . and if that does transpire, a deadline move or two to enhance the post-season roster.

 

I'm pleasantly surprised that the payroll has creeped up; it's still below average, of course, but given their lack of long-term commitments, the Twins should have reasonable flexibility for several years.

 

 

    • Vanimal46 and Nine of twelve like this
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Nine of twelve
Mar 11 2018 04:51 PM
I think the FO has the goal of creating an organization that supports a major league team that can legitimately contend in the postseason every year. That's a nearly unattainable goal even for a high-revenue team but it's what we should aspire to. It all comes down to scouting (which directs drafting, trading, and free agent signings) and player development.

 

Sanchez gets somthing between 400 and 500k

Not bad for 3ish weeks of work

    • Blackjack and Sconnie like this

This FO has hit a home run this offseason. We are better in both the starting staff and bullpen and have upgraded the DH position. We also kept all of our prospects basically so we can be aggressive at the deadline if we are in position to make a run and didn’t hamper our long term payroll moving forward.

I expect to contend for the division title this year. When Santayana gets back, we have a very competent, not to Cleveland’s standard, but enough to compete as I like our lineup better

seems more like Pirana small ball... nibbled to death rather than the Darvish home run
    • ashburyjohn and spycake like this

 

What’s the over under on wins?

 

I don't know but give me the over!!! 

 

(High Five)

I will be glad to accept that bet. How much would you like to wager?

​BTW, the over/under is 120. 

 

Very positive off-season, although it was looking pretty ugly a few weeks back.They definitely have a deeper and more veteran pitching staff which will make a difference. With Santana's injury and the Sano fiasco I think this would have quite possibly ended up being a below .500 team this year.Adding Odirizzi, Lynn, Reed, Duke, Rodney, and Morrison probably make this team a wild-card favorite than can complete for the division if Cleveland slips up.I'd predict them about 87-75 now.  

I would much rather have Lynn, Odiorizzi, and Morrison on the deals they have instead of Darvish and his deal. Much more flexibility going forward.

In my lifetime, I'm not sure I have ever seen a Twins FO be praised so profusely. Very refreshing.
    • olivia11 and Nine of twelve like this

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