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John Bonnes
10-24-2012, 02:14 PM
For those who have purchased the Offseason Handbook, I want to ask about the part of the Terry Ryan interview that shocked me the most: that the 2nd biggest priority is to improve the bullpen. When I asked why, the reply was that the team can never have enough arms, but also seemed to be that they still believe in Dozier and Florimon.

I gotta say, I was pretty surprised by this. That one thing I thought about later was that maybe he meant it in relation to picking up waiver claims and 6-year minor league free agents, more than shopping on the market for an established reliever.

Did that shock anyone else?

Willihammer
10-24-2012, 02:27 PM
The idiom that "you can never have enough pitching" is getting tiresome. It signals a fundamental disconnect between the old school wisdom and the saber understanding which says that wins can come from anywhere.

Great interview btw

Jim Crikket
10-24-2012, 02:35 PM
I found it interesting, but not shocking. I also can't say I really disagree with him totally. I'm not sure if the bullpen was all that strong or whether it just looked like it because we compared it to the rotation. Relief pitchers are notoriously inconsistent from one year to the next and when you consider the kind of patchwork bullpen the Twins cobbled together last season, I'm not at all confident that we should assume it would remain strong if left largely as-is. Are we REALLY comfortable with Anthony Swarzak, Tyler Robertson and Alex Burnett going in to 2013? Even the guys that performed better than expected (Casey Fien and Jared Burton) don't exactly have histories that shout "reliability." Heck, is it tough to imagine even Glen Perkins having a bit less success? Given that any rotation help they get is unlikely to include anyone who throws a lot of complete games, making the bullpen more reliable makes a lot of sense to me.

The sense I got from Ryan in your interview with regard to the middle infield is that he feels the Twins have internal options that are probably just about as good as what's available via free agency. In middle infielders, you can't have bad defenders who also can't hit and for much of the season the Twins were using guys like that. You can get by with light hitting MIs who make a lot of plays defensively if the rest of your lineup knows what to do with a baseball bat. He thinks the Twins have people who can play defense up the middle anyway. It doesn't mean you don't also look to upgrade, but I don't necessarily disagree that pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen, is more critical.

IdahoPilgrim
10-24-2012, 02:40 PM
I haven't looked at any numbers, but just from what I can remember about the season (and I'll admit I've already blocked-out large parts of it in my memory, in a gesture of self-health), the bullpen didn't look nearly as sharp in the second half of the season as it did in the first.

ThePuck
10-24-2012, 02:40 PM
I found it interesting, but not shocking. I also can't say I really disagree with him totally. I'm not sure if the bullpen was all that strong or whether it just looked like it because we compared it to the rotation. Relief pitchers are notoriously inconsistent from one year to the next and when you consider the kind of patchwork bullpen the Twins cobbled together last season, I'm not at all confident that we should assume it would remain strong if left largely as-is. Are we REALLY comfortable with Anthony Swarzak, Tyler Robertson and Alex Burnett going in to 2013? Even the guys that performed better than expected (Casey Fien and Jared Burton) don't exactly have histories that shout "reliability." Heck, is it tough to imagine even Glen Perkins having a bit less success? Given that any rotation help they get is unlikely to include anyone who throws a lot of complete games, making the bullpen more reliable makes a lot of sense to me.

The sense I got from Ryan in your interview with regard to the middle infield is that he feels the Twins have internal options that are probably just about as good as what's available via free agency. In middle infielders, you can't have bad defenders who also can't hit and for much of the season the Twins were using guys like that. You can get by with light hitting MIs who make a lot of plays defensively if the rest of your lineup knows what to do with a baseball bat. He thinks the Twins have people who can play defense up the middle anyway. It doesn't mean you don't also look to upgrade, but I don't necessarily disagree that pitching, both in the rotation and bullpen, is more critical.


Lately, when have the Twins put any kind of emphasis on the infield? Smith made an effort in 2010, then in the offseason prior to 2011, didn't keep Hudson and let Gardy convince him to trade Hardy. That's it. Doesn't seem middle infield or 3B is a concern to them. No way they can look at the internal options and, based on performance at the major league level, be satisfied with where they stand.

SpiritofVodkaDave
10-24-2012, 02:42 PM
The only three guys I trust in the pen heading into next year are Perkins, Burton and Duensing, so yes, I think the bullpen should be a priority.

We only need to really grab one MI on the FA market to upgrade. Caroll/Florimon/Dozier can hold down the other spot just fine.

joeboo_22
10-24-2012, 02:45 PM
I agree that you can never have too much pitching, and agree that you can never predict a bullpen. But I also look at the Twins and I don't see a ton of holes in the bullpen. And I just wonder if the TR signing someone else's leftovers and taking up 40 man space and sitting in the bullpen until August when everyone gets upset with him after blowing leads and on here we have threads on the guy, and at the same time there is 1.2.3.4.5 guys at AAA who at least deserve the same shot.

So I guess it depends on what the Twins are doing, if they are minor league contracts/AAA contracts its one thing, but if they are major league contracts or 40 man space contracts I'll be upset.

johnnydakota
10-24-2012, 02:53 PM
i stated several times this year the twins need 2 front of the rotation starters and at least a lefty righty relever combo to add to burton,perkins fien and dunny ....to many times we watched as gray or robertson or others let games slip farther away ,

what is shocking is that curly claims to be chasing starting pitching, i figure with there short armed, low pocket mentality that having the best bullpen is the most we can hope for

nicksaviking
10-24-2012, 03:10 PM
I suppose the bullpen is a concern for a team that really enjoys carrying 13 pitchers. Finding 8 suitable arms for the pen is a lot harder than finding 6 or 7 like most clubs. If only there was a better way to go about this.....

greengoblinrulz
10-24-2012, 03:18 PM
Ryan mentioned this in one of his radio shows.
I would love to look at some strikeout type pitchers like Jonathon Broxton and/or Jason Grilli
Look at MN's bullpen numbers from 2012 & they were very mediocre except for ranking last in strikeouts despite being in the top for innings pitched.

Brock Beauchamp
10-24-2012, 03:27 PM
Jesus Christ, John. You can never have too much pitching. :D

mike wants wins
10-24-2012, 03:34 PM
It would be nice to have one middle infielder to go with all those arms....

Jim Crikket
10-24-2012, 04:06 PM
I would also point out that whatever the "second" focus is could change, depending on how Ryan addresses the rotation problem. For example, if he determines the way to bring on rotation help is to trade away Willingham, then I might argue that his next greatest need might be to find a RH hitter with power to replace Willingham in the heart of the order. When you fill one need, you need to be careful about worsening other situations.

Winston Smith
10-24-2012, 04:18 PM
Pitching, pitching, pitching I don't care what saber says.

What do the Giants and Tigers share very good pitching staffs!

What do the Twins, Astros, Cubs, Indians, Royals, Rockies all share really bad pitching.

diehardtwinsfan
10-24-2012, 08:24 PM
Pitching, pitching, pitching I don't care what saber says.

What do the Giants and Tigers share very good pitching staffs!

What do the Twins, Astros, Cubs, Indians, Royals, Rockies all share really bad pitching.

The Giants and Tigers have pretty decent hitters too.... and those other teams are largely lacking there as well. You might be on to something :)

Just giving you some crap... You are right though, the pitcher is the most valuable person on the diamond, and regardles of what saber says, the pitcher has more effect on a game than any of the guys 1-9... That said, this pen thing surprises me a bit. I tend to think the pen will improve if starting pitching can consistely go 6-7. That alone helps (though Gardy and his bring a guy in for four pitches routine kind of blows that up a bit)... I woudln't mind another power arm out of the pen, but I'd think the middle infield would be a bit higher on the list.

ThePuck
10-24-2012, 08:40 PM
I woudln't mind another power arm out of the pen, but I'd think the middle infield would be a bit higher on the list.

One could argue that since we preach pitch to contact, solid defense up the middle is imperative and would help our pitching immensely

twinsnorth49
10-24-2012, 08:52 PM
I woudln't mind another power arm out of the pen, but I'd think the middle infield would be a bit higher on the list.

One could argue that since we preach pitch to contact, solid defense up the middle is imperative and would help our pitching immensely

Ozzie Smith and Ryne Sandberg couldn't have saved that staff, save Diamond.

clutterheart
10-24-2012, 08:54 PM
A good bullpen is the #1 cure to beat all of the SABR reasons why you should lose. (#2 is ground ball pitchers)

USAFChief
10-24-2012, 09:46 PM
The Twins bullpen was a problem last season. Not THE problem, but a problem. Decent at the end, but exceptionally weak from about number 3 or 4 on down.

I've never agreed with the common myth that "bullpens are the easiest thing to build." Bad arms there cost you, just like bad arms in the rotation. And you can't really hide a shallow bullpen, either. Every pitcher in your 'pen is going to be forced into pitching high leverage innings during the course of a season. It's the nature of the beast. Most MLB games are close.

If they truly are trying to compete next year, upgrading the bullpen is probably necessary.

Riverbrian
10-24-2012, 10:08 PM
I don't have a problem with bullpen being #2 on the list and I like the assumption that the 2013 starters(whoever they may be) are going to pitch well enough that an improved bullpen is important.

If #1 isn't addressed significantly #2 won't matter. I take this as a clue that TR is going to go for it in regards to #1.

if pitching is going to be weak... Another path would be to load up on offense to bash your way past it. He isn't taking that approach according to what John says.

Therefore... I think TR is making a move on pitching... Fasten your seat belts. This might be a fun off season.

Nick Nelson
10-24-2012, 10:40 PM
If they truly are trying to compete next year, upgrading the bullpen is probably necessary.
Eh, I don't see it as a big priority. Perkins and Burton are a very good back-end combo, Duensing is one of the better lefty specialists in the league, and Fien made a believer out of me this year (not that I necessarily believe he'll repeat his performance, but he's solid). Swarzak is a fine long man. That leaves you with one or two spots. Burnett will probably fill one and I'm not necessarily a fan but there are a handful of other intriguing guys within the org who could step in. I'll be following Michael Tonkin with great interest next year.

I can certainly see the wisdom in bringing in a few extra relievers to solidify depth for that unit, but to view it as the biggest problem spot after the rotation? Yeah, that's pretty surprising.

Physics Guy
10-24-2012, 11:42 PM
I have to think those comments do not bode well for Slama. I just don't get it. Did Slama piss off Gardy at Spring Training? Why is he not in the mix. Let the poor guy go if you are not going to give him a chance.

kab21
10-25-2012, 12:49 AM
While I'm not sure if I agree that the bullpen is the 2nd priority I agree that it could be awful next season. Just one injury and things could fall apart. However I'm not sure if FA is where you fix bullpens. Of course Ryan didn't say FA so that's good but bullpens seem to more often be fixed by castoffs acquired in little trades, small FA pickups or converted starters that sucked.

Shane Wahl
10-25-2012, 01:28 AM
Other than MI, what other contenders are there for second priority? Swarzak is a joke, Fien is not a guaranteed repeat, Robertson has some questions, and Burnett is never going to be so lucky again. Sounds like there are legitimate question marks there.

Brock Beauchamp
10-25-2012, 06:55 AM
If they truly are trying to compete next year, upgrading the bullpen is probably necessary.
Eh, I don't see it as a big priority. Perkins and Burton are a very good back-end combo, Duensing is one of the better lefty specialists in the league, and Fien made a believer out of me this year (not that I necessarily believe he'll repeat his performance, but he's solid). Swarzak is a fine long man. That leaves you with one or two spots. Burnett will probably fill one and I'm not necessarily a fan but there are a handful of other intriguing guys within the org who could step in. I'll be following Michael Tonkin with great interest next year.

I can certainly see the wisdom in bringing in a few extra relievers to solidify depth for that unit, but to view it as the biggest problem spot after the rotation? Yeah, that's pretty surprising.

Agreed. If you have even a mediocre rotation, the bullpen isn't nearly as exposed. Those guys you listed are quality guys at the back of the pen. If your rotation isn't awful, you don't have to worry so much about the "soft underbelly" of the pen.

I'm not against shoring up the bullpen but I am surprised that it's the #2 concern. I'd think the middle infield wins that title easily.

Ultima Ratio
10-25-2012, 10:41 PM
Must have an offseason trade in the works involving the departures of Perkins and Burton in order to get a solid starting pitcher. This trade would boost the bullpen to a #2 concern. Am I reading between the lines correctly, or reading the invisible-ink-annotated margins?

greengoblinrulz
10-25-2012, 10:51 PM
I can definately see the pen implode next year outside of Perkins.
Burton had his first solid year & history shows how up & down setup guys can be.
Fien came out of nowhere to have a solid half-season. Neither to me is a sure thing.
The sure thing to me is Duensing....only if he's used correctly & by knowing Gardy/Andy, that wont happen.
Gardy/Andy praise Burnett for his ERA while every other stat shows how mediocre he is & has been the 2 yrs previous.
Robertson's numbers weren't good but he did dominate lefties & there can be a place for someone like that.
Swarzak is a dime a dozen & will battle Deduno for the spot.
I cant say it enough, MN needs to find some strikeout pitchers for the pen...preferebly righties. I would love to check out JBroxton, JGrilli and ODotel (who will prob go to a contender). MN wil have to pay for these guys tho.

USAFChief
10-25-2012, 11:28 PM
Agreed. If you have even a mediocre rotation, the bullpen isn't nearly as exposed. Those guys you listed are quality guys at the back of the pen. If your rotation isn't awful, you don't have to worry so much about the "soft underbelly" of the pen.

I'm not against shoring up the bullpen but I am surprised that it's the #2 concern. I'd think the middle infield wins that title easily.

How so? Wouldn't the better your rotation is, mean the more important the bullpen is? What's more important...holding onto a lead or tie, or coming into a game the starter has already lost? Nobody really cares all that much when Jeff Gray comes into a game the starter has already lost. If the Twins don't improve their starting pitching, then the bullpen isn't going to matter much. It'll lose games, but you can't finish lower than last.

In any case, no matter if your team is good or bad, or your starters are good or bad, your bullpen is going to be the deciding factor in a lot of games. Most major league baseball games end up close, it's the nature of the beast. Continually getting outpitched in the last 3 innings of a game matters too, just as does getting outpitched in the first 6.

You might argue that better starting pitching will throw more innings, and that's true, but the difference isn't as much as you'd think. Twins starters averaged 5.4 IP in 2012, worst in the AL. But the best only averaged 6.2, and half the teams were somewhere in the 5's, so most nights the Twins were asking their bullpen to get 1 or 2 more outs than their opponants. A good starting staff might eliminate those 1 or 2 outs, but every team in the league is asking their bullpen to pitch mulitiple innings almost evey night. You can't do that effectively with a 2 or 3 man bullpen.

I do agree that I don't know if the infield or the bullpen is a higher priority, but I'd argue both need to be addressed, although neither will likely matter much if they don't get better starting pitching.

one_eyed_jack
10-25-2012, 11:36 PM
A bit surprising, but not totally shocking given the history. When the Twins were winning division titles in Ryan's first term, their bullpen was a huge strength. And in the era of pulling starters based on pitch counts, many games are won and lost on middle relief.

While I'd like to see the middle infield upgraded, the free agent market is pretty darn thin at those positions while there are some decent relievers available. So it would be easier to improve the bullpen without giving up anything of value.

Maybe Flormion and Dozier are the answer, I don't know. I hope so. It sure would be nice to see some continuity there. The Yankees have been able to start Jeter/Cano there in most games going back to the '05 season. How many combos have the Twins cycled through in that time?

PseudoSABR
10-26-2012, 12:09 AM
Pitchers. Duh.

Chief is right, that the relievers in the past year (two years) haven't been battled tested. Throwing relievers out there in low pressure situations doesn't tell us much about their value as a reliever.

That said, we should be looking for Fiens and Burtons not Capps. There's nothing keeping the Twins from bringing in lots of minor league FA guys. Terry Ryan might be talking less in terms of dollars committed to the bullpen, so much as the time the Twins spend scouting/scouring the wire and free agency for arms. Each minor league signing is more than a whim, there's investment on the scouting/front office side. And frankly the gains made from mining the lower rungs FA are more likely to show up in the bullpen than anywhere else.

Put another way, the FO doesn't need to invest scouts/personnel into investigating whether Grieke or Marcum or Sanchez are good; those scouting/personnel assets are better used towards investigating players the team might have both questions and beliefs about/in.

beckmt
10-26-2012, 12:37 AM
I do think that at this time the Twins have a 3 man bullpen to be counted on. Rest are spot pitchers after the game is lost, and many of the better outings from the pen where against the weaker hitting clubs. Most top of the line bullpens have pitchers with stuff, Twins do not, this needs to be addressed.

Brock Beauchamp
10-26-2012, 07:49 AM
Agreed. If you have even a mediocre rotation, the bullpen isn't nearly as exposed. Those guys you listed are quality guys at the back of the pen. If your rotation isn't awful, you don't have to worry so much about the "soft underbelly" of the pen.

I'm not against shoring up the bullpen but I am surprised that it's the #2 concern. I'd think the middle infield wins that title easily.

How so? Wouldn't the better your rotation is, mean the more important the bullpen is? What's more important...holding onto a lead or tie, or coming into a game the starter has already lost? Nobody really cares all that much when Jeff Gray comes into a game the starter has already lost. If the Twins don't improve their starting pitching, then the bullpen isn't going to matter much. It'll lose games, but you can't finish lower than last.

In any case, no matter if your team is good or bad, or your starters are good or bad, your bullpen is going to be the deciding factor in a lot of games. Most major league baseball games end up close, it's the nature of the beast. Continually getting outpitched in the last 3 innings of a game matters too, just as does getting outpitched in the first 6.

You might argue that better starting pitching will throw more innings, and that's true, but the difference isn't as much as you'd think. Twins starters averaged 5.4 IP in 2012, worst in the AL. But the best only averaged 6.2, and half the teams were somewhere in the 5's, so most nights the Twins were asking their bullpen to get 1 or 2 more outs than their opponants. A good starting staff might eliminate those 1 or 2 outs, but every team in the league is asking their bullpen to pitch mulitiple innings almost evey night. You can't do that effectively with a 2 or 3 man bullpen.

I do agree that I don't know if the infield or the bullpen is a higher priority, but I'd argue both need to be addressed, although neither will likely matter much if they don't get better starting pitching.

The Twins have a decent pen already. Duensing, Burton, Duensing, and *maybe* Fien make up for a pretty solid 7-9 innings. Sure, the Twins could probably use another seventh inning guy but if you have four (maybe three) pitchers who can pitch, you're going to hold on to a lot of leads.

The main problem was the rotation. If you didn't have guys like Blackburn folding after four innings, followed by Deduno pitching five good innings, followed by De Vries throwing another 4.2 innings, your good relievers wouldn't be so taxed and we wouldn't be forced to watch Jeff Gray pitch the seventh or eighth inning over and over and over again. Sure, a half inning doesn't seem like much but over the course of a season, that's an extra 80 innings your bullpen has to throw and most of those innings aren't going to the Duensings, Burtons, and Perkins of the team. They're going to the scrubs, the replacement guys. And as we saw with many Deduno/Liriano starts, going five innings or less doesn't automatically mean the game is a blowout. Many of those games were close but Gardy had to come up with four innings from the pen. Not an easy task in a close game, doubly so if the opposing starter goes seven innings and you only have to face the best of their bullpen because of it.

Also, a better rotation means that Duensing actually get to pitch from the bullpen instead of being thrown into a starting role where he flounders. As I said, the Twins could use another guy in the pen but considering that their MI options are Escobar, Florimon, Carroll, and Dozier, I'm surprised that's not the #2 priority for the team. It seems to me that the most gains could be found by finding a shortstop or second baseman who isn't really bad at baseball.

Riverbrian
10-26-2012, 09:28 AM
Agreed. If you have even a mediocre rotation, the bullpen isn't nearly as exposed. Those guys you listed are quality guys at the back of the pen. If your rotation isn't awful, you don't have to worry so much about the "soft underbelly" of the pen.

I'm not against shoring up the bullpen but I am surprised that it's the #2 concern. I'd think the middle infield wins that title easily.

How so? Wouldn't the better your rotation is, mean the more important the bullpen is? What's more important...holding onto a lead or tie, or coming into a game the starter has already lost? Nobody really cares all that much when Jeff Gray comes into a game the starter has already lost. If the Twins don't improve their starting pitching, then the bullpen isn't going to matter much. It'll lose games, but you can't finish lower than last.

In any case, no matter if your team is good or bad, or your starters are good or bad, your bullpen is going to be the deciding factor in a lot of games. Most major league baseball games end up close, it's the nature of the beast. Continually getting outpitched in the last 3 innings of a game matters too, just as does getting outpitched in the first 6.

You might argue that better starting pitching will throw more innings, and that's true, but the difference isn't as much as you'd think. Twins starters averaged 5.4 IP in 2012, worst in the AL. But the best only averaged 6.2, and half the teams were somewhere in the 5's, so most nights the Twins were asking their bullpen to get 1 or 2 more outs than their opponants. A good starting staff might eliminate those 1 or 2 outs, but every team in the league is asking their bullpen to pitch mulitiple innings almost evey night. You can't do that effectively with a 2 or 3 man bullpen.

I do agree that I don't know if the infield or the bullpen is a higher priority, but I'd argue both need to be addressed, although neither will likely matter much if they don't get better starting pitching.

The Twins have a decent pen already. Duensing, Burton, Duensing, and *maybe* Fien make up for a pretty solid 7-9 innings. Sure, the Twins could probably use another seventh inning guy but if you have four (maybe three) pitchers who can pitch, you're going to hold on to a lot of leads.

The main problem was the rotation. If you didn't have guys like Blackburn folding after four innings, followed by Deduno pitching five good innings, followed by De Vries throwing another 4.2 innings, your good relievers wouldn't be so taxed and we wouldn't be forced to watch Jeff Gray pitch the seventh or eighth inning over and over and over again. Sure, a half inning doesn't seem like much but over the course of a season, that's an extra 80 innings your bullpen has to throw and most of those innings aren't going to the Duensings, Burtons, and Perkins of the team. They're going to the scrubs, the replacement guys. And as we saw with many Deduno/Liriano starts, going five innings or less doesn't automatically mean the game is a blowout. Many of those games were close but Gardy had to come up with four innings from the pen. Not an easy task in a close game, doubly so if the opposing starter goes seven innings and you only have to face the best of their bullpen because of it.

Also, a better rotation means that Duensing actually get to pitch from the bullpen instead of being thrown into a starting role where he flounders. As I said, the Twins could use another guy in the pen but considering that their MI options are Escobar, Florimon, Carroll, and Dozier, I'm surprised that's not the #2 priority for the team. It seems to me that the most gains could be found by finding a shortstop or second baseman who isn't really bad at baseball.

Brock I apologize for this but... Everything you typed here is just a bunch of words.

A good rotation needs a bullpen... A bad rotation needs a bullpen. Your post seems to be a little A + B = C.

Bullpen is fine therefore with better SP we don't need to improve the bullpen? Yeah... That's an easy concept to understand but terribly wrong.

Runs can be scored in any inning. A bullpen pitching with a lead will be a different kind of important as opposed to last years staff that had to log serious innings down on the scoreboard.

If the pitching isn't going to improve in 2013... I agree with you... Our bullpen is just fine. If the pitching improves and we have some leads to play with... You better keep an eye on who is available for bullpen help otherwise you risk giving up your gains.

Goblin is right... We could use some flamethrowers.

J-Dog Dungan
10-26-2012, 09:50 AM
The real problem is is that the MI FA situation is the worst in a LOOOONNNG time. There are exactly 0 MI FA that anyone would want to give a major contract this offseason.

kab21
10-26-2012, 10:04 AM
The real problem is is that the MI FA situation is the worst in a LOOOONNNG time. There are exactly 0 MI FA that anyone would want to give a major contract this offseason.

It's always terrible. The Twins aren't in a position to give a MI a big contract so imo this is actually a GOOD year for MI'ers in FA. Scutaro, Drew, and Keppinger are affordable and solid while Yunel Escobar is likely to be dumped by the Jays.

Rick Niedermann
10-26-2012, 10:20 AM
Well if Terry Ryan is/was truly concerned upgrading the bullpen then why didn't he give Slama a chance in September? But I do like the idea if for no other reason then I do not trust Burnett, Robertson. I don't think Anthony Swarzak is very good either. But for some reason most bloggers think he is great. We certainly don't need to keep rotating washouts like Jeff Manship, Esmerling Vasquez, Luis Perdomo and Matt Maloneys of the world. I'd bring back Capps at a say 1.5 million before I wouldn't use a 40 man spot on another bunch of AAAA type pitchers.

kab21
10-26-2012, 10:36 AM
Regardless if the bullpen is a big concern or not you don't address it by spending a lot of money on it in FA. Bullpens get fixed by picking up failed starters or by dumb luck to be honest. Target more guys like Burton and Fien and you could pick up another cheap reliever that is far better than shelling out a 3/12 contract for a mediocre RP'er.

sorney
10-26-2012, 11:30 AM
I thought the whole idea of drafting all those college power arms last year was that some of them would turn into relievers very quickly,while some would turn into starters. With the volatile nature of relievers, I'm not sure the #2 priority should be finding relievers. Relievers should just be a checkbox item that is done every offseason.

Boom Boom
10-26-2012, 11:35 AM
I disagree with TR. My 2nd priority would be upgrading at shortstop.

Linus
10-26-2012, 11:43 AM
I think what TR is really saying is that we have to dramatically increase the number of quality innings pitched regardless of whether or not it comes from the starters or the bullpen. He probably feels the task is so difficult that he is going to have make an all out effort to improve both starters and relievers significantly - and it still might not be enough.

As far as MI, my guess is that he feels that at least he has some young players to choose from that may get better and solve the problem acceptably. This logic holds some water when you consider the FA options are not great and you would have to overpay to get them (I would like Scutaro however). He knows he has no realistic bullpen options in the system, other than the ones that are already there.

So, I agree with the approach.

ThePuck
10-26-2012, 11:43 AM
Seems every offseason we get to say, 'we need a 3B, a shortstop and a 2B'. Since Santana left, we added starting pitchers.

LaBombo
10-26-2012, 02:32 PM
...You might argue that better starting pitching will throw more innings, and that's true, but the difference isn't as much as you'd think. Twins starters averaged 5.4 IP in 2012, worst in the AL. But the best only averaged 6.2, and half the teams were somewhere in the 5's, so most nights the Twins were asking their bullpen to get 1 or 2 more outs than their opponants. A good starting staff might eliminate those 1 or 2 outs, but every team in the league is asking their bullpen to pitch mulitiple innings almost evey night. You can't do that effectively with a 2 or 3 man bullpen.

I do agree that I don't know if the infield or the bullpen is a higher priority, but I'd argue both need to be addressed, although neither will likely matter much if they don't get better starting pitching.

Agree with your overall assessment of priorities in the last sentence, but not how much a good rotation helps a pen.

Another way to look at the rotation's effect on the bullpen is this: The AL teams with the weakest rotations (Twins, KC) in terms of IP depended on their bullpens for more than 100 extra innings pitched than the teams with the starter IP totals did.

100 innings. Purely in terms of innings pitched, that's enough to wash away the collective sins of Jeff Gray (5.71 ERA), Tyler Robertson (5.40), and Jeff Manship (7.89).

Can you totally eliminate your 2 or 3 worst relievers' damage to your season by getting 100 extra innings from your starters? No, of course not, thanks to the effects of usage limits/leverage/strand rate/etc. But you can damn well reduce it, and expend fewer resources shoring it up when there are plenty of other holes to fill.

johnnydakota
10-26-2012, 03:35 PM
I can definately see the pen implode next year outside of Perkins.
Burton had his first solid year & history shows how up & down setup guys can be.
Fien came out of nowhere to have a solid half-season. Neither to me is a sure thing.
The sure thing to me is Duensing....only if he's used correctly & by knowing Gardy/Andy, that wont happen.
Gardy/Andy praise Burnett for his ERA while every other stat shows how mediocre he is & has been the 2 yrs previous.
Robertson's numbers weren't good but he did dominate lefties & there can be a place for someone like that.
Swarzak is a dime a dozen & will battle Deduno for the spot.
I cant say it enough, MN needs to find some strikeout pitchers for the pen...preferebly righties. I would love to check out JBroxton, JGrilli and ODotel (who will prob go to a contender). MN wil have to pay for these guys tho.
i believe octavo has an option year with detroit,if not is a good pickup , someone i wished they added last year with perkins unproven and capps proven

Brock Beauchamp
10-26-2012, 10:48 PM
Brock I apologize for this but... Everything you typed here is just a bunch of words.

A good rotation needs a bullpen... A bad rotation needs a bullpen. Your post seems to be a little A + B = C.

Bullpen is fine therefore with better SP we don't need to improve the bullpen? Yeah... That's an easy concept to understand but terribly wrong.

Runs can be scored in any inning. A bullpen pitching with a lead will be a different kind of important as opposed to last years staff that had to log serious innings down on the scoreboard.

If the pitching isn't going to improve in 2013... I agree with you... Our bullpen is just fine. If the pitching improves and we have some leads to play with... You better keep an eye on who is available for bullpen help otherwise you risk giving up your gains.

Goblin is right... We could use some flamethrowers.

It's not that terribly difficult to understand. Here, I'll lay it out differently.

Most of this past season, the Twins had Burton, Perkins, Fien, and junk in their pen (to keep it simple). The rotation went around 5.1 innings per start.

If the Twins sort out some of their pitching woes next season and pick up some starters, let's say they average 6.0 innings per start (not gonna happen but I'm only illustrating a point here). That is a whopping 320 less outs the bullpen needs to get over the course of a season. It also pushes out most of that "junk" from the previous bullpen because they don't need to pitch as often. The vast majority of those 320 innings went to the worst members of the bullpen. That's roughly two seasons' worth of work you no longer need to dish off to your "junk" relievers. Two full seasons of replacement level or worse baseball, poof, gone. That's huge.

As an added bonus, the Twins could then shift Duensing to a full-time bullpen role, adding another quality arm to Burton, Fien, and Perkins. That's four quality relievers you now have... Four relievers who need to cover 320 less outs (two full reliever years) in a season. You now have more quality arms in the pen who need to throw less innings per season. That's how a good rotation can help a bullpen.

As I said, I'm not against the Twins picking up another reliever in case one of those four guys falter or get injured (uh, Slama, anyone?), but I am surprised that JR considers it the second biggest priority on the team. I don't see it that way. I think more could be gained by pursuing a middle infielder (but admittedly, this FA crop has very little to offer in that department) because the Twins are going to be flat-out awful in the MI unless they get really, really lucky with one of the guys they have in the minors.

USAFChief
10-27-2012, 12:35 AM
A few point, Pig:

First, Twins starters averaged 5.4 IP per start in 2012, not 5.1. Not a big deal, but still.

Secondly, you're mixing up "outs" and "innings" in paragraph 2. You start out talking about 320 outs, end up with 320 innings. Dropping 320 innings from the bullpen isn't going to happen, I'm sure you'll agree. Even dropping 320 outs is going to be difficult; they'd need to be up among the league leaders next year in IP from starters to come close to that.

Third, you're planning on only the "bad" relievers losing innings. That's not going to be the case. You're still going to have a 6 or 7 man pen, and all of those relievers are going to pitch at least some high level innings...again, most baseball games are relatively close. You cannot get through a season without exposing the bottom half of your bullpen in situations where that is going to hurt you if the bottom half of the pen sucks. Hopefully they can use Burton regularly next season on back to back nights, but that's just one example of why you can't depend on a couple guys to pitch every time it matters. Not to mention the liklihood that some of your "good" relievers are going to miss time during the course of the season. You're not going to see any poof, two full seasons of replacement level or worse baseball, gone. That's totally unrealistic. Less, possibly, but not gone.

Finally, call me crazy but I'd like to see more of Fien (and Burton for that matter) before I count on them being consisitent, quality relievers who can be pretty much counted on. For that matter, Duensing probably needs to be exposed to as few good RH hitters as possible to truly be an asset in the pen.

I'm certainly not against upgrading the MI. But I think ignoring the bullpen will likely waste a good portion of whatever improvement they can squeeze from the starters. If they want to contend in 2013, they need better pitching...1st inning through 9th.

old nurse
10-27-2012, 12:58 AM
In regards to the MI, what is out there? From the list of FA and players discussed not much. That could be why bullpen is the second priority. There is more of a chance to improve the bullpen than the MI.

Brock Beauchamp
10-27-2012, 01:16 AM
A few point, Pig:

First, Twins starters averaged 5.4 IP per start in 2012, not 5.1. Not a big deal, but still.

Secondly, you're mixing up "outs" and "innings" in paragraph 2. You start out talking about 320 outs, end up with 320 innings. Dropping 320 innings from the bullpen isn't going to happen, I'm sure you'll agree. Even dropping 320 outs is going to be difficult; they'd need to be up among the league leaders next year in IP from starters to come close to that.

Third, you're planning on only the "bad" relievers losing innings. That's not going to be the case. You're still going to have a 6 or 7 man pen, and all of those relievers are going to pitch at least some high level innings...again, most baseball games are relatively close. You cannot get through a season without exposing the bottom half of your bullpen in situations where that is going to hurt you if the bottom half of the pen sucks. Hopefully they can use Burton regularly next season on back to back nights, but that's just one example of why you can't depend on a couple guys to pitch every time it matters. Not to mention the liklihood that some of your "good" relievers are going to miss time during the course of the season. You're not going to see any poof, two full seasons of replacement level or worse baseball, gone. That's totally unrealistic. Less, possibly, but not gone.

Finally, call me crazy but I'd like to see more of Fien (and Burton for that matter) before I count on them being consisitent, quality relievers who can be pretty much counted on. For that matter, Duensing probably needs to be exposed to as few good RH hitters as possible to truly be an asset in the pen.

I'm certainly not against upgrading the MI. But I think ignoring the bullpen will likely waste a good portion of whatever improvement they can squeeze from the starters. If they want to contend in 2013, they need better pitching...1st inning through 9th.

5.1 and 5.4 innings are virtually the same if you're using traditional baseball innings counts (.0, .1, .2).

I typed "innings" in one portion of the post but all the math is based on outs so we're good there.

Not only the "bad" relievers are going to lose innings... That's not the point. The point is that the "good" relievers will also have more of their workload shifted to where it should be... The seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. No more Burton in the fifth helps the team quite a bit, maybe even more than Jeff Gray not pitching the fourth.

As I said, I'm not against the Twins looking for more bullpen help. That's not the point of my statements... My point is that I question whether the bullpen should be the second highest priority this offseason.

USAFChief
10-27-2012, 01:36 AM
The point is that the "good" relievers will also have more of their workload shifted to where it should be... The seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. No more Burton in the fifth helps the team quite a bit,

Not to beat a dead horse, but Burton entered a game prior to the 6th inning six times in 2012. Once after mid May, when he had proven himself healthy, effective and one of the trusted few.

In any case, we're splitting hairs, because I don't know whether the bullpen should be "priority 2" either. All I know is i doubt the Twins 2012 bullpen would have been able to stand up to the rigors of a pennant chase, but we don't talk about it much because the putridity of the rotation masked it, or at the least made it moot. And...as it is currently constructed, I don't think it very likely the bullpen would stand up in 2013, were the Twins to somehow find themselves trying to win important games next August and September.

So I'll leave it at this...I hope JR somehow manages to get lucky with the MI, or upgrade it, AND finds a couple quality RH arms to augment the pen and the 4 above average starters he somehow pulls out of a hat. That's not asking too much, is it?

iastfan112
10-27-2012, 02:08 AM
I'd be fine with a cheap bullpen option and some scrap heap signings but I don't think it should be second on the priority list. Perkins and Burton make a fine setup and closer combo. Duensing is a great situational lefty and Fien should be serviceable in the 7th(this is my most likely target to regress). Swarzak is a decent option for long relief, despite what his ERA may show, most of the ugliness came from his handful of starts. I'd much rather see the money spent in the infield, guys like Kelley Johnson or Drew are intriguing and shouldn't break the bank. I hear Mark DeRosa is available as well.

As it is we have a questionable Plouffe(was that streak a mirage?) at 3B, an aging Jamey Carroll or a no hit Pedro Florimon at SS, and a disapointing(thus far) Dozier at 2nd. It's not as if there is any sort of help coming from the minors for these positions either. Even with a good year Levi is likely a year away.

Riverbrian
10-27-2012, 07:44 AM
I'd say we need a left hander. Duensing can't be the only capable lefty. I'd say that is fairly important. Perkins could be that guy and if he is. We will need a closer and I'd say that is fairly important. Injuries and failure is always a real possibility with current staff. We also need an uptick in Gas. TR tried with Zumuya last year. He just might take another swing at someone with a live arm.

If SP improves and the bullpen isn't addressed and Fein is cut in May with a 8.56 ERA. Twinsdaily will crucify TR for not addressing the pen.

I have no problem with the #2 priority assessment of the pen.

NoCryingInBaseball
10-27-2012, 09:09 AM
One or two new starters aside, the starting rotation maystill need a good bullpen to back them up. If Bakers is resigned, he will be returning with pitch count or inning limitations doe to his rehab. The same goes for Gibson if he makes the big leagues at the beginning of the year ormid-season. The rotation will still need one of the players from the 2012auditions; Hendriks, Deduno, or (dare I say it…Blackburn), any of these candidates are still “projects” and could easily give way in the early innings for bullpen support. Guess I understand where Ryan is coming from.

Brock Beauchamp
10-27-2012, 11:58 AM
The point is that the "good" relievers will also have more of their workload shifted to where it should be... The seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. No more Burton in the fifth helps the team quite a bit,

Not to beat a dead horse, but Burton entered a game prior to the 6th inning six times in 2012. Once after mid May, when he had proven himself healthy, effective and one of the trusted few.

In any case, we're splitting hairs, because I don't know whether the bullpen should be "priority 2" either. All I know is i doubt the Twins 2012 bullpen would have been able to stand up to the rigors of a pennant chase, but we don't talk about it much because the putridity of the rotation masked it, or at the least made it moot. And...as it is currently constructed, I don't think it very likely the bullpen would stand up in 2013, were the Twins to somehow find themselves trying to win important games next August and September.

So I'll leave it at this...I hope JR somehow manages to get lucky with the MI, or upgrade it, AND finds a couple quality RH arms to augment the pen and the 4 above average starters he somehow pulls out of a hat. That's not asking too much, is it?

In a perfect scenario, Burton almost never sees action before the seventh inning.

Anyway, we're tangenting here... No need to split more hairs.

I don't mean to imply that the bullpen is perfect by any means... Just that this team has larger holes that need plugging.

diehardtwinsfan
10-28-2012, 06:29 AM
In regards to the MI, what is out there? From the list of FA and players discussed not much. That could be why bullpen is the second priority. There is more of a chance to improve the bullpen than the MI.

There are a couple of intriguing 1 year type options that have been mentioned here and in a few other places (Kelly Johnson and Stephen Drew), but not much else. Both would be playing for a decent payday and have minimal cost... not bad options, but that's about it.

minn55441
10-28-2012, 08:28 AM
I think we are looking at this wrong. TR said in the interview that the bullpen is the second priority. He also said that he will bring in competition for third base. He has the huge list of players on his wall. I think he knows exactly who his options are at third and the bullpen. For some reason, I think the competition for Plouffe and also the MI addition will be through rule 5 and through trades. The additional arms will come in the form of FA signings. I think there a bunch of arms out there that they have identified as good additions to the pen and they will go get them. The position player additions might be throw-in's executed during a trade for a pitcher. It may just be a case where TR knows the RP he wants and they will be early signings. The pitching will be addressed first, It is the number one and number two priorities.

Brandon
10-28-2012, 07:43 PM
I am going to go out on a limb for the bullpen and suggest the return of Latroy Hawkins. He can be had on a 1 year deal at this stage of his career and he is reliable and will likley cost between 2-3 million and he knows Gardy and Rick and is familliar with their philosophies and meant to resign here anyway and he has a fanclub here so more fans in the stands...

The 3B competition will come from Inge. I bet they sign him to a 1 year 1-2 million. Terry Ryan said his biggest concern about Plouffe is his ability to field at 3B. Inge is a good fielder. He can also be the 3rd string Catcher and catch maybe 50-100 innings throughout the season next year. I think he can even play a little second base if he goes on an offensive tear for a while.

Brock Beauchamp
10-28-2012, 07:45 PM
You know, Inge isn't the worst idea in the world. It kicks Butera off the roster and provides a backup option to Plouffe. I forgot about the guy.

PseudoSABR
10-30-2012, 05:57 PM
Joey Devine became a FA today and would certainly be worth a minor league deal...