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Fangraphs Top 50 Free Agents

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:34 AM
Here is the link to their Top 50 Free Agent List with player write ups, community estimated contracts and Fangraphs estimated contracts....
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White Sox make changes

Other Baseball Today, 06:28 AM
Both Manager Rick Rentaria and pitching coach Don Cooper were let go.     Was a bit surprised by this, because the White S...
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Hypothetical rule change: remove DH when pitcher is removed

Other Baseball Yesterday, 08:55 PM
I just read this potential rule change on Twitter and I am intrigued:   https://twitter.com/...4091739136?s=20     For th...
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What can Morton be had for?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:55 PM
https://www.thescore...lb/news/2045846
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What to do with Lewis Thorpe?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:28 AM
Lewis Thorpe is out of options. The Twins either need to keep him on the MLB team as their 5th starter or as a reliever out of the bullpe...
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Ryu To Sign with Toronto. Now What?

We have become a Twins media site that writes stories about other teams and other players. We have had to, because opportunities missed are news too. So much so, it’s almost a cliché: a person on his death bed, remembering the girl he never asked for a date, the chances he didn’t take. Losing Hyun-Jin Ryu is not so dramatic as that. But it’s Twins news, so we'll cover it, and what it means.
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Last night it was reported that Ryu will sign with the Blue Jays. He is the last of five “impact” pitchers on the free agent market, none of whom signed with the Twins. Those stories were also Twins news.

That’s because the Twins had a clear objective this offseason, and they had set themselves up well to do it. They needed starting pitching that could hold up in the postseason. The free agent class for that particular skill was as strong as it had been in a decade. Plus, the Twins had managed their payroll so that they had lots of money to spend, even without asking for a serious increase in budget. All the pieces were there.

Those pieces ended up completing other teams' puzzles. Turns out, a whole lot of other teams had the same idea, and between some aggressive crazy bidding and individual player preferences, the Twins were unable to sign any of the impact pitchers on the free agent market. What’s worse, while they were waiting for decisions from Ryu and Madison Bumgarner, the second and third tier of free agent pitchers have also been mostly snapped up.

It’s not a complete disaster. Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda will rejoin Jose Berrios in the rotation, which brings back the top three starters of a rotation that finished fifth in the AL in ERA and third in innings pitched. But unless there is a trade, they are unlikely to start the season with a better rotation this year than they started last year. It’s arguable if any of the remaining available free agents are better than the departed Kyle Gibson, which shows just how shallow the remaining market is.

Plus, of course, getting nominally better was never really the goal. So now what? At a high level, there are three options:

Trade. For the most part, the trade market for starting pitching has been waiting for the free agent market to settle. There is a reason for that: the teams that lost out on free agents now need to get serious about trades.

Reportedly, as many as five other teams missed out on Ryu, so the Twins now get to compete with them to try to pry away David Price or put together a mega-deal for Noah Syndergaard. There are also a number of other options that are a step below that, but could still make the rotation better. You’ll be seeing a lot of coverage of those options on Twins Daily.

Pivot. Instead of trying to solve the pitching problem, they could sign an impact player on offense to make up the runs they’ll give up. This weekend’s rumors that the Twins are willing to give former-MVP third baseman Josh Donaldson a four-year deal suggest that they’re at least willing to explore in that direction. Signing Donaldson would improve the team considerably, even if he can’t take the mound in Game 2 of the ALDS.

Keep the Powder Dry. This is another way of saying “do nothing.” It sounds better because it implies that they will do something later, perhaps by the trade deadline, when the time is right. Logically, conserving resources until a better opportunity comes along makes sense, but after failing to acquire any impact pitching both last offseason and the last trade deadline, and having a payroll about $15 million lower than they did last year, it’s hard to give them the benefit of the doubt.

So the news is that there is no news, and that might not seem like a dramatic error. But then again, not saying “hi” to that girl at the party isn’t such a dramatic moment either. That’s the trap. There's no drama, because it’s not a risky path. Just the opposite. It keeps you on a familiar and comfortable path.

A familiar comfortable path you have been down several time before, and now are assured to travel again: going home alone.

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367 Comments

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pierre75275
Dec 23 2019 08:21 AM
To be honest, as a fan, I don't want to hear about how we will do something at the trade deadline. Also to be fair, I have no interest in spending that money on Ryu due to his injury history, and the same applies to Stasburg.

Cole was never realistic at 300 million plus.

Wheeler in my opinion was the best bet out of all of them to succeed at the contract. He is the one we missed.

If it were up to me I would sign Walker and Wood and Donaldson and try to trade for somebody like Jon Gray.
    • dcswede, PseudoSABR, LA VIkes Fan and 8 others like this
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pierre75275
Dec 23 2019 08:24 AM
Also I feel Madison Bumgardner has his best and very very good years behind him and I was not terrible interested in signing him either as I felt that purely equal value in numbers could be found elswhere
    • Mike Frasier Law, Captain18s, wabene and 4 others like this
I’m waiting for spring training. I will give them that amount of time to do what they said they would. If they don’t, then their idea of the window of opportunity being wide open is very different from mine. It’s going to cost them way more than money to do it, too, but that’s what it’s going to take, because I’m thinking Syndegaard. Yeah, I’m hoping way too big.
    • birdwatcher, diehardtwinsfan, Sconnie and 4 others like this

Go make the deal for Price. Eat most if not all of the contract (for it is money we have and pitching we lack) and keep the prospect cost lower. Price slots in nicely alongside Berrios and is certainly better (or at least consistently better) than Gibson, which sets up the rotation pretty darn well. We know Boston wants to dump salary, we know he's the contract they most want to move. Let's go for it. The risk really isn't that bad, especially for a team whose window is open right now.

 

I wouldn't mind finding one more veteran since Pineda is going to miss the first 6 weeks or so. Yes, you don't need a 5th starter as often early on, but it would be better to only need 1 internal guy to step up. (Thorpe is my choice).

 

Offseason isn't a failure yet, but it's disheartening to see the Twins miss on every top FA pitcher. Some of it wasn't really in their hands, but the reality is part of the front office's job is to overcome those objections and sell the player and agent on coming to your city. And if they couldn't sell it, then they bear a share of responsibility for that too.

    • SQUIRREL, birdwatcher, Mike Frasier Law and 8 others like this

It seems the front office has thrown in the towel and is conceding to the White Sox whom have made significant improvement and we're not as good as last year. Going into the 1st quarter of the season with 2 known starters who at best are #2 or #3 starters. Have made no effort to improve the infield and made nothing but false promises from the jump.

It's just same old story just with different drivers. 

    • adjacent and Marcusesm like this

I believe, John, that everyone is looking at the past 45 days as a failure.But what is the truth?

 

The Twins began free agency needing to fill four of five starting spots in the rotation.I would call filling half those spots a success.Unfortunately, they were Odorizzi and Pineda who were signed and everyone is looking at that different than if they signed Ryu and Bumgarner.After Cole and Strasburg, who weren't coming here, the only other free agent I would rather have singed than the two we got was Wheeler.All the others have too many warts to be worth what they got, both dollars and years, in my opinion.Congrats to the FO for not getting sucked into the rush to sign some of these guys to what may be damaging contracts two, three or four years down the road.

 

Would I have liked to see them also sign Wheeler, sure.But I see this as a successful journey to this date.Now on to the trade market for another good pickup , hopefully, someone who disappoints many of us but turns out to be another Odor trade. 

 

Then the final question, do they go into the season with the four young guns battling for Pineda's early starts and #5?Or do they sign another veteran starter, more of a reclamation project to give the young guns some competition?

 

You speak of Gibson and Perez.On paper, the young guns aren't as good as Gibson and Perez were thought to be last spring.But Gibson and Perez both had very disappointing seasons (Gibson had the illness.I both respect the hell out of him and will miss him).If two of the young four pitch the majority of the year for the Twins, I suspect their results at year end will be better than Gibson and Perez put up in 2019.Don't know which two it will be, that's why they play the games.

 

Now time to sit back and be patient while waiting for that trade to be announced.OH, and Merry Christmas John and all here at TD!

    • SQUIRREL, luckylager, Mike Frasier Law and 13 others like this

I have a running list of the top 20 FA from prior years that includes who signed them, for how much, and how long.I always review it as teams move into the FA frenzy.In general, it appears that the yearly tally is about 80% of the contracts fall into the regrettable or forgettable category.This appears to be especially true for pitchers with long term deals.

 

Since 5 years seems to be the length many commenters want to use for spending “billionaires” money; I thought looking back at the 2015 FA class might be enlightening.Here they are in descending order of rank, with yrs/avg salary

 

Pitchers: Greinke (6/34) Price (7/31) Cueto (6/22) Kazmir (3/16) Leake (6/16) Lackey (2/16) Chen (5/16) Zimmerman (5/22) Samardzija (5/18).An interesting group not unlike this year’s, with some big names in their prime; a few injury prone but talented arms, some high ceiling potential, and a few playoff tested veterans that would be good for any staff.

 

Non-Pitchers: (Just the top 5) Heyward (8/23) J Upton (6/22) Cespedes (3/25) Gordon (4/18) Davis (7/23).In retrospect, a disaster.Definitely not what it looked like at the time.Appeared to be relatively young players in their prime.

 

2015 was not an outlier.There were worse years such as 2017 (remember the clamoring for Darvish, Arietta, and Cobb), and better (maybe 2018 but there has to be a touch of buyers remorse already with Machado and Harper).

 

Overall, a cautionary tale.They are not as good as we make them out to be.

    • birdwatcher, Mike Frasier Law, Dantes929 and 14 others like this

Agreed they did fill 2 of the 4 spots in the rotation but 1 of those spots is open the 1st 40 games of the season, so it appears the front office expects 3 pitchers from the minor leagues to fill those spots. That's a big ask from them. Maybe I'll be surprised and Graterol, Romero, Dobnak or Smeltzer will be reliable pieces.

    • mikelink45 likes this

The Twins front office does some things really well, like building the organization and managing the floor with small value based moves. The front office, however, has been an unquestionable failure at raising the ceiling through the acquisition of high end talent from outside the organization. Before the start of free agency, this off-season looked like a pretty clear test of what type of front office the Falvey/Levine regime would be, they had a massive amount of payroll to work with, an extremely clear need, and a number of potential "impact" free agents who could help. The fact the team failed to sign anyone of note from outside the organization makes for a sad narrative and dims the hopes of actually winning a playoff series (something that hasn't happened since 2002).

    • Oldgoat_MN, labcrazy, Battle ur tail off and 1 other like this
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NatteringNabob
Dec 23 2019 09:05 AM
Thank you so much. Great article as always.

Does it seem like all signs point to a trade for a salary dump? With exception of Donaldson (who seems like he’s just using other teams to get something more out of the Braves) there’s no free agent worth a significant investment. But they can’t go into the year with a payroll this low, can they?
    • birdwatcher and Otwins like this

What to do now? Wait until the correct window is open and make a big time move. As fans we heard the FO office would do something when the window was open and we thought that meant any window, That is on us.

    • gunnarthor and LemonUpgrade like this
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jorgenswest
Dec 23 2019 09:10 AM
I think they pay the full Price now. 96 million assuming the medical checks out.

I would prefer Price than Ryu at 80 million and a lot better than Keuchel. They lose the year at the end of the deal on Ryu but I would rather have three years. Price may make more starts in three years than the oft injured Ryu in four.

Is Price more valuable than Donaldson plus the hope in a guy like Walker?
    • birdwatcher, DocBauer and wabene like this
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nicksaviking
Dec 23 2019 09:18 AM

Ask about Price, then when the Red Sox don't initially accept a reasonable deal for him, pivot to Sale and see how they feel about moving him instead.

 

But I'd not be happy waiting until the trade deadline. I think Gray and Blake Snell could be moved if their teams are presented with a proper deal now. But if those teams find themselves contending in July, they won't be moving pitchers.

 

I think the Mets might be the best team in the NL though, I don't think they'd be interested in moving Syndergaard unless they get an excellent MLB player in return; Buxton or Sano perhaps. And maybe not even Sano since they don't have a DH and have the best 1B in the league. The Twins might not have an impact player they'd actually want in exchange for Syndergaard now that I think about it.

    • Mike Frasier Law and DocBauer like this

 

Go make the deal for Price. Eat most if not all of the contract (for it is money we have and pitching we lack) and keep the prospect cost lower. Price slots in nicely alongside Berrios and is certainly better (or at least consistently better) than Gibson, which sets up the rotation pretty darn well. We know Boston wants to dump salary, we know he's the contract they most want to move. Let's go for it. The risk really isn't that bad, especially for a team whose window is open right now.

 

I wouldn't mind finding one more veteran since Pineda is going to miss the first 6 weeks or so. Yes, you don't need a 5th starter as often early on, but it would be better to only need 1 internal guy to step up. (Thorpe is my choice).

 

Offseason isn't a failure yet, but it's disheartening to see the Twins miss on every top FA pitcher. Some of it wasn't really in their hands, but the reality is part of the front office's job is to overcome those objections and sell the player and agent on coming to your city. And if they couldn't sell it, then they bear a share of responsibility for that too.

The Blue Jays are thinking the same thing.

No only "Going home alone" but "Going home alone early". Disappointing but I have gotten used to the Twins saying one thing while doing something completely different. 

    • labcrazy likes this

I said at the outset that I thought the Twins would follow the Rays bullpen rotation path and that looks like what they are doing. They've made some good additions to the pen in Romo and Clippard. I think they might make one or two more additions like them.

They won't sign Donaldson but they might sign either a defensive first MIer to move our infield around a bit (Sano at first, Polanco to second, FA at short and Arreaz at third) or sign a stop gap first baseman until one of our young prospects is ready to come up. 

 

We're obviously not at the level of the Yankees or Astros and a few bad breaks could have the Sox catch up with us but we should still be favored to win 90 games and get into the playoffs without jeopardizing the future with bad contracts or trading away impact prospects. Essentially, this FO is following the Ryan model. We'll see if they can do it as well.

Good article.Now the postings will include - I didn't want him - he isn't worth it - he has injury issues ---

 

The Angels are interested in Boyd, the Blue Jays want Price, the Dodgers want Clevinger, the Yankees want Hader...

 

This is just what we have.Let's start thinking about our minor league/rookies and start thinking more about what they can do. 

 

Agreed they did fill 2 of the 4 spots in the rotation but 1 of those spots is open the 1st 40 games of the season, so it appears the front office expects 3 pitchers from the minor leagues to fill those spots. That's a big ask from them. Maybe I'll be surprised and Graterol, Romero, Dobnak or Smeltzer will be reliable pieces.

Do they expect to fill three of the opening day spots with the kids from last year?I doubt it.Let's sit back and chill and wait for them to do something.They aren't half way to pitchers and catchers reporting.

    • wabene likes this

 

. But they can’t go into the year with a payroll this low, can they?

I am afraid they can.

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

Clearly, if the Twins want to improve they will need to trade, but for whom and giving up who.We will never know what was offered to the players that signed elsewhere, the reports were they were competitive, but another year of other FA signing elsewhere.I have never been a build your team via FA, because it really is not the way to build a team, but they are supposed to supplement your team. 

 

If a trade is not done, then here is to hoping the young rookies can step up and preform well. I hope they go out and sign Donaldson and trade for a starter. 

    • rdehring likes this
Yeah let's go after Price! He's pretty good in the postseason, right? Right??!

 

I think they pay the full Price now. 96 million assuming the medical checks out.

I would prefer Price than Ryu at 80 million and a lot better than Keuchel. They lose the year at the end of the deal on Ryu but I would rather have three years. Price may make more starts in three years than the oft injured Ryu in four.

Is Price more valuable than Donaldson plus the hope in a guy like Walker?

 

David Price is 34 years old and is owed 32M-32M-32M for the next 3 seasons and has missed heavy parts of the last 2 seasons.Taking all of that contract seems like a huge risk.I can't imagine they would take on Price unless Boston is covering at least a semi-decent portion of it.

    • LA VIkes Fan, dgwills, labcrazy and 2 others like this
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FormerMinnasotan
Dec 23 2019 10:17 AM
The Twins FO will do nothing. They failed in pursuing any of the second teir starters (MadBum, Wheeler, Ryu), and their reluctance to trade top prospects for quality starting pitching is well known.
    • gunnarthor, rghrbek, Vanimal46 and 9 others like this
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TerwilligerBuntsOne
Dec 23 2019 10:39 AM

There has been much criticism about the lack of success for the Twins in the free agent pitching market. Perhaps rightfully so.

 

However, it seems to me that it is possible that they liked this year's free agent crop. But they didn't necessarily love them enough to set the market on a bad multiyear mega deal for a good-but-not-great pitcher.

 

This does point towards the trade market.

 

It also could point towards the FO already looking ahead to the potential free agent crop of pitchers...for NEXT off-season?IF they are going to set the market and potentially overpay for an arm, it is possible that they decided that they like next year's guys better than this year's guys.

 

And again, this does point towards the trade market.

 

    • SwainZag and rdehring like this

I can't wait to tell my grandkids about how incredibly high the floor was for these Minnesota Twins.

    • Mike Sixel, Oldgoat_MN, adorduan and 4 others like this