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Article: Twins Prospect Pulse: Promotions and Short-Seaso...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 07:25 AM
Welcome to another edition of the Twins Prospect Pulse. Over the past month we’ve seen several big promotions (Alex Kirilloff, Brusdar Gr...
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Article: Twins Minor League Report (7/16): Doubleheader T...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 07:08 AM
While Major League Baseball took a day off for the Home Run Derby, the minor leagues were in full force. All six affiliates were in actio...
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Article: Dozier’s Days Numbered, Then What?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:07 AM
Despite sweeping the hapless Baltimore Orioles, and then taking a series from the equally terrible Kansas City Royals, the Minnesota Twin...
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Twins, OAK a good match? Gibson & Odorizzi available

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:04 AM
Some interesting trade news floating around this morning.   -Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle seems to be connecting the...
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Article: 2018 Minnesota Twins Midseason Top Prospect List...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 06:56 AM
The true tragedy of the 2018 season?How it's tarnishing the hopes of so many Minnesota Twins fans who've earnestly bought into the vision...
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4 Stories To Watch At The Winter Meetings

With Christmas only two weeks away, the Hot Stove has yet to heat up for Major League Baseball. But that's about to change.

Two situations that have been holding up the offseason landscape – Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton – have finally been resolved, and with the Winter Meetings set to get underway this week, the floodgates are going to open.

Here are four (potentially) Twins-related storylines to track as the action unfolds.
Image courtesy of Gary A. Vaquez, USA Today (Yu Darvish)
1) Darvish Market Heats Up
In late November, Jim Bowden reported that there were six teams legitimately "in" on free agent starter Yu Darvish. It's reasonable to believe the Twins are one of those teams. Thad Levine, who has ties to the right-hander from his days in Texas, has called Darvish a priority.

The 31-year-old makes plenty of sense as a fit for Minnesota. He'd fulfill their need for a frontline starter, and as one of the game's best strikeout pitchers, he aligns with the organization's growing emphasis on missing bats. But can the Twins swing it financially?

Signing Darvish will likely require an investment roughly three times larger than the one Terry Ryan made in Ervin Santana, who became the franchise's biggest free agent splurge ever ($54 million) three years ago. But it's not like such commitments are unprecedented for the Twins; they did pony up $184 million to lock up Joe Mauer one year ahead of his free agency, and that contract is on the verge of expiring.

The problem is that even if Levine is prepared to come to the table as a serious bidder, he'll face stiff competition for arguably the most coveted free agent on the market. However, it is worth noting that a few of the big-market heavy hitters seem limited or less urgent in their pursuit.

The Yankees would be hard-pressed to go all in on Darvish after taking on Stanton's $250 million contract. The Dodgers must save up with an eye on re-signing Clayton Kershaw, who can opt out of his deal after next year. The Cubs appear to be focusing their attention on another free agent starter, Alex Cobb.

2) Rays Trade Talks
Speaking of Cobb, Tampa doesn't appear to have any intention of trying to bring him back, and in fact, it sounds like a bit of a fire sale might be in the works. Bob Nightengale of USA Today wrote the following: "The Rays, who have seen the disparity grow even greater in the AL East with Stanton coming aboard, are listening to anyone and everyone."

It was reported earlier this offseason that the Twins had discussed Jake Odorizzi with the Rays, and plenty of other intriguing names could be in play. Their closer Alex Colome led the American League in saves this season and has three years remaining of team control.

And of course, their ace Chris Archer would be the prize of all prizes. Can Levine muster an offer to make that happen?

If it means giving up four of the team's top ten prospects, should he?

3) Cole in the Stocking?
Another noteworthy trade target is Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole. The Twins have reportedly shown interest in the righty, who could conceivably slot ahead of Santana as Minnesota's No. 1 starter. He's two years away from free agency and in his prime at age 27. Because of these facts, Cole won't come cheaply, but he's more realistic than Archer.

4) Rule 5 Rumblings
The Rule 5 draft will take place on Thursday morning, giving teams around the league an opportunity to poach unprotected players from other organizations. The Twins have a few prospects who are candidates to get taken (I have a suspicion someone's going to grab Nick Burdi and stash him on the DL while he rehabs from Tommy John Surgery), but they also have flexibility to acquire someone, with four open spots on the 40-man roster.

J.J. Cooper of Baseball America listed his top five Rule 5 candidates and, unsurprisingly, the first three are relief pitchers. Burch Smith, Mason McCullough and Cale Coshow all have big fastballs, and could be impact additions.

It also bears noting that Justin Haley, Minnesota's Rule 5 pick from a year ago, is once again available. He pitched very well at Pawtucket after being returned to the Red Sox organization this past summer, posting a 2.66 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in seven starts.


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73 Comments

Me thinks that the new-ish FO ultimately gets one of Darvish/Cole/Archer/Odorizzi/Cobb. I also don't think they'll wear blinders when making a decision. They'll figure out what provides best 'market value' and go with it. These guys are flexible thinkers and that excites (usually skeptical) me.

    • ashburyjohn, birdwatcher, DocBauer and 5 others like this

I hope they're in on Darvish, but won't be heartbroken if they're not. Lots of money and years for a 31-year-old with some past arm issues. I'd love him to be here, but something about him makes me a bit uneasy.

 

I'd really like them to chase Cobb, but the Cubs' interest probably drives the cost up above where it belongs. And, even if the Twins are able to offer apples to apples in terms of years and dollars, the Cubs are probably a bit closer to winning again. I imagine if all other things are equal, that might be a pretty good tie-breaker.

 

The prospect haul required for Archer might be a bit hard to swallow. Honestly, I think I'd prefer Cole to Archer - 2 years younger, comparable (if not better) career numbers, same number of years before FA, and likely a bit more reasonable in cost to acquire.

 

I have zero interest in another Rule 5 pick-up. They have enough young guys of their own that could be treated as an in-house Rule 5 guy. Sign a veteran or two and let the young guys battle it out. Maybe look at a guy or two that's available and if they're not selected, trade for them. 

    • glunn, birdwatcher, DocBauer and 4 others like this
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brockbesler
Dec 10 2017 07:45 PM
I hope they push as hard as they can to sign Darvish and trade for one of the others. My preference would be Archer or Cole. With the way the rest of the American League is shaping up the Twins are going to have to be aggressive. I think it’s time for them to go all in. The window is opening and they have room to take on payroll. Would Gonsalves, Gordon, Jorge, and a low level prospect be enough to land either Archer or Cole?
    • glunn, TL and sploorp like this

 

I hope they push as hard as they can to sign Darvish and trade for one of the others. My preference would be Archer or Cole. With the way the rest of the American League is shaping up the Twins are going to have to be aggressive. I think it’s time for them to go all in. The window is opening and they have room to take on payroll. Would Gonsalves, Gordon, Jorge, and a low level prospect be enough to land either Archer or Cole?

Cole probably yes, Archer, no way in hell. Archer is the better pitcher and also has 4 years of control, versus Cole's 2 years of control. Archer probably has about 5/2 the value of Cole. I can't imagine a scenario where the Twins get Archer unless they trade at least Royce Lewis, one of Gonsalves or Romero, plus probably another decent 5-9 range prospect. 

 

I'm interested what it would take to get Cole. I've heard the Pirates likely have no interest in middle infielders, so even though Gordon would probably be who we'd want to give up, I'm not sure the Pirates would be that interested. 

    • glunn, Twins33, HitInAPinch and 1 other like this

The prospect haul required for Archer might be a bit hard to swallow. Honestly, I think I'd prefer Cole to Archer - 2 years younger, comparable (if not better) career numbers, same number of years before FA, and likely a bit more reasonable in cost to acquire.

Just a clarification: Cole has two years or arbitration and then is a FA. Archer has two years plus two club options (I'd be surprised if any team didn't activate those two options-they are way cheap for what he provides). So it's two years of control vs four.
    • glunn and sploorp like this
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brockbesler
Dec 10 2017 08:11 PM

Cole probably yes, Archer, no way in hell. Archer is the better pitcher and also has 4 years of control, versus Cole's 2 years of control. Archer probably has about 5/2 the value of Cole. I can't imagine a scenario where the Twins get Archer unless they trade at least Royce Lewis, one of Gonsalves or Romero, plus probably another decent 5-9 range prospect. 
 
I'm interested what it would take to get Cole. I've heard the Pirates likely have no interest in middle infielders, so even though Gordon would probably be who we'd want to give up, I'm not sure the Pirates would be that interested.


You are right. I was a little light for Archer. We all know Lewis isn’t going anywhere though. I wonder if Gonsalves, Gordon, Kiriloff, Jorge, and Blankenhorn would get them interested?
    • glunn likes this
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TwinsBrasil
Dec 10 2017 08:26 PM

About the prospects Minnesota could use in a trade, is Nick Gordon anywhere near being one of them? I mean, Polanco isn't going anywhere for a while and Royce Lewis is the team's top prospect. Plus, they have Wander Javier as another option.

    • glunn likes this
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Baseball Bat
Dec 10 2017 08:32 PM

I'm hesitant to do any trade this offseason that requires giving up more than 1 of Lewis, Gordon, Gonsalves, and Romero. I don't think the Twins are in the stage of their window yet where it makes sense to gut the top echelon of prospects that they have for 2 years of a starter who will leave for $100 + million anyways. Not saying Gerritt Gole isn't worth Gordon + Gonsalves and then a lower level guy because he probably is. I just don't think it makes sense for the Twins right now to do that. Why not just sign Cole in 2 years or trade for an Archer type pitcher then. The Twins have the potential to be really special come 2019 or 2020 once guys like Romero, Gonsalves, Jay, Gordon hit. Around then is when you can start mortgaging the future to go for it. 

 

The Twins farm system is probably borderline top 10, but the strength of the system is the depth. The Twins would be smart to utilize that depth in maybe trading for a reliever with a year or two left of control or a starter that may only require Gordon plus Littell or Jorge. Don't want to mistime the window and deal prospects too early.

    • glunn, chaderic20, Major Leauge Ready and 7 others like this
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ashburyjohn
Dec 10 2017 08:37 PM

In advance of the Rule-5 draft, we have 14 position players on the 40-man roster. Fourteen! A team can't realistically go into a season with that number, can they? Something has got to be in the works to add to that quantity.

 

Even with the number of pitchers exposed to possible drafting, we have 22 hurlers on the 40-man. That becomes a seemingly unsustainable 23 if a pitcher is added via free-agency.

 

For comparison, a team like the Astros currently are at 18/20. Dodgers, 18/22. A ratio like 20/20 or 19/21 seems like the norm when the dust settles and the season starts.

 

14/22?!? I have to believe big changes are coming to pull these numbers for the Twins closer in balance, in a way not currently being discussed whatsoever.

    • glunn, Oldgoat_MN, USNMCPO and 2 others like this

In advance of the Rule-5 draft, we have 14 position players on the 40-man roster. Fourteen! A team can't realistically go into a season with that number, can they? Something has got to be in the works to add to that quantity.

Even with the number of pitchers exposed to possible drafting, we have 22 hurlers on the 40-man. That becomes a seemingly unsustainable 23 if a pitcher is added via free-agency.

For comparison, a team like the Astros currently are at 18/20. Dodgers, 18/22. A ratio like 20/20 or 19/21 seems like the norm when the dust settles and the season starts.

14/22?!? I have to believe big changes are coming to pull these numbers for the Twins closer in balance, in a way not currently being discussed whatsoever.


I think they'll add a RH DH or 3b, but that's it. The catching depth is through minor league deals and they have Gordon and Wade as depth pieces not yet on the 40 man.

They'll probably even drop Vargas. I'd expect a few more minor league signings, but it will be lopsided this year, kind of a fluke of prospect timing.
    • glunn and howieramone2 like this

Regarding Rule 5. You have to ask, is the person they take better than the person they may lose (or persons). And do you want to spend a year finding that out?

    • glunn and jud6312 like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Dec 11 2017 05:30 AM

 

In advance of the Rule-5 draft, we have 14 position players on the 40-man roster. Fourteen! A team can't realistically go into a season with that number, can they? Something has got to be in the works to add to that quantity.

 

Even with the number of pitchers exposed to possible drafting, we have 22 hurlers on the 40-man. That becomes a seemingly unsustainable 23 if a pitcher is added via free-agency.

 

For comparison, a team like the Astros currently are at 18/20. Dodgers, 18/22. A ratio like 20/20 or 19/21 seems like the norm when the dust settles and the season starts.

 

14/22?!? I have to believe big changes are coming to pull these numbers for the Twins closer in balance, in a way not currently being discussed whatsoever.

 

yeah, we have a lot of 4/5 types sitting on the 40 man. I do think a trade for aguy like Cole makes sense in that you could probably offload a guy like Jorge as a part of the package (not the whole package, but certainly a part). I also think Enns likely gets the DFA at some point, though again I could see plenty of rebuilding teams who would move MLB talent and be happy to acquire a guy like that who is MLB ready with 6 years as a part of the deal.

    • glunn likes this

 


 

I have zero interest in another Rule 5 pick-up. They have enough young guys of their own that could be treated as an in-house Rule 5 guy. Sign a veteran or two and let the young guys battle it out. Maybe look at a guy or two that's available and if they're not selected, trade for them. 

 

It was pretty underwhelming what they did last year when they had the number one Rule 5 pick, I don't expect much this year as far as gains for the Twins.

 

If they lose Burdi, I think that will hurt them in the long run, he has too much potential.

    • glunn, Twins33, nytwinsfan and 2 others like this

 

If McCutchen is on the trade block, per Olney, that probably means Cole really is too.

    • glunn, Twins33, HitInAPinch and 4 others like this

ALSO, we can't let this happen:

    • glunn, Twins33, Hosken Bombo Disco and 4 others like this

Our history shows that a Twins playoff team comes along for about 3 years then goes into hibernation for several years before returning. Thus we should make hay while the sun shines and trade for Cole or Archer and sign a good free agent. I don't think we will win Darvish nor do I think we should trade the entire farm but prospects do not always pan out. Proven commodities are best. And I still believe we need a top closer. After all, do you trust who we have at this point?

    • glunn and HitInAPinch like this

 

Our history shows that a Twins playoff team comes along for about 3 years then goes into hibernation for several years before returning. Thus we should make hay while the sun shines and trade for Cole or Archer and sign a good free agent. I don't think we will win Darvish nor do I think we should trade the entire farm but prospects do not always pan out. Proven commodities are best. And I still believe we need a top closer. After all, do you trust who we have at this point?

 

I'm for going after Cole if he can be got without include Royce Lewis. Archer, whose value is more than twice that of Cole (bc of years of control, quality of pitcher, and contract), would almost certainly require Lewis, Gonsalves or Romero, and probably more. That's not worth it.I'd target Cole with a package that does not include Lewis.

    • glunn, markos and HitInAPinch like this
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nicksaviking
Dec 11 2017 10:59 AM

I'd include Gonsalves in a package for any good arm, it wouldn't take much to convince me to move Romero and/or Gordon as well. I'd be actively shopping Kepler and I would be willing to move Polanco from the MLB roster without too much hesitation. I like Garver but have a hard time seeing the club letting him usurp Castro any time in the next two years so I'd be willing to include him in a package as well. I'd also be willing to move Mejia, but since he's the only MLB ready lefty starter there probably would need to be a replacement for him in the cards.

 

Lewis, Buxton, Sano, Berrios (and obviously Brent Rooker) are probably my only untouchables when it comes to getting front line starters. And I might cave on Lewis if it's for someone truly exceptional.

    • glunn and Mike Sixel like this

 

I'd include Gonsalves in a package for any good arm, it wouldn't take much to convince me to move Romero and/or Gordon as well. I'd be actively shopping Kepler and I would be willing to move Polanco from the MLB roster without too much hesitation. I like Garver but have a hard time seeing the club letting him usurp Castro any time in the next two years so I'd be willing to include him in a package as well. I'd also be willing to move Mejia, but since he's the only MLB ready lefty starter there probably would need to be a replacement for him in the cards.

 

Lewis, Buxton, Sano, Berrios (and obviously Brent Rooker) are probably my only untouchables when it comes to getting front line starters. And I might cave on Lewis if it's for someone truly exceptional.

A rebuilding team probably wouldn't want Kepler or probably Polanco either, I'm guessing.

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Tommygun921
Dec 11 2017 12:22 PM
I just can't see why the heck you would trade Gonsalves or Romero for another pitcher. Seems dumb to trade one of your 2 best pitchers in the Organization for someone that's had more success in MLB, but is older. And that's not counting any other players it'd take to aquire said player.
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SF Twins Fan
Dec 11 2017 12:28 PM

 

I'd include Gonsalves in a package for any good arm, it wouldn't take much to convince me to move Romero and/or Gordon as well. I'd be actively shopping Kepler and I would be willing to move Polanco from the MLB roster without too much hesitation. I like Garver but have a hard time seeing the club letting him usurp Castro any time in the next two years so I'd be willing to include him in a package as well. I'd also be willing to move Mejia, but since he's the only MLB ready lefty starter there probably would need to be a replacement for him in the cards.

 

Lewis, Buxton, Sano, Berrios (and obviously Brent Rooker) are probably my only untouchables when it comes to getting front line starters. And I might cave on Lewis if it's for someone truly exceptional.

 

I wouldn't want to see the Twins actively shopping Kepler or Rosario as the Twins don't have a replacement ready to come up and fill in the position. (Granite is not a starting OF option - he's at best a 4th outfielder). Wade is a solid prospect but he hasn't played above AA yet, so he wouldn't be ready to come up until at least mid season. I also don't understand trading Garver either, as the Twins don't have another option for catcher anywhere near major league ready. Rortvedt played at Low A this season and he's the only catching prospect the Twins have.

 

If the Twins are going to make trades they need to trade away from the middle infield depth and also the starters they have at AA and AAA that all project to be 3 - 5 starters in a rotation.

    • glunn, birdwatcher and BuxtonBandwagon like this

 

I just can't see why the heck you would trade Gonsalves or Romero for another pitcher. Seems dumb to trade one of your 2 best pitchers in the Organization for someone that's had more success in MLB, but is older. And that's not counting any other players it'd take to aquire said player.

 

Archer or Cole--absolutely.We have to be realistic about what kind of pitchers Gonsalves and Romero are. Both Archer and Cole have already reached a higher level than Gonsalves has a ceiling.He has #3 starter stuff, and I'd believe he has the makeup and intelligence to possibly pitch at a #2 level at times, but but Archer is a fringe #1 guy and Cole is a solid #2 with potential to pitch at a #1 level when he's on.As for Romero, he's got #2 stuff with a lot of risk.There's still a good chance he ends up a bullpen arm.I think it's a no brainer if the rest of the asking price isn't too high.

 

I would probably keep Lewis off limits, but anyone else is shippable at the right price.There's just little probability that any of them will have the kind of impact that a front-line starter would.

 

My preference for the starting pitchers that have been talked about would be:

Archer, Cole, Odorizzi, Darvish, Cobb, Arrieta, Lynn.  

 

Obviously the first three are contingent on what they have to give up to get them, but if they are building for sustained success having a younger cheaper guy is better than signing a big contract for an older free agent.Arrieta and Lynn feel like free agent traps waiting too happen, so I'm not sure I'd really want them at all unless the deals are very team friendly.

    • glunn, birdwatcher, Twins33 and 4 others like this

 

I just can't see why the heck you would trade Gonsalves or Romero for another pitcher. Seems dumb to trade one of your 2 best pitchers in the Organization for someone that's had more success in MLB, but is older. And that's not counting any other players it'd take to aquire said player.

I mean, if you think there is a decent chance Gonsalves or Romero is going to be an Archer (or even Cole) level pitcher, then yeah, I agree.But Gonsalves looks like a 4-5 type and while Romero has the upside of a front-line starter, the actual odds of that happening are probably less than 20%, plus he may not even be suited for a starting role. He's never pitched more than 125 innings, and the one time he pitched that many innings, he got hurt/warn down at the end of the year.Archer gives you an ace for 4 years, and Cole a #2 for two years. With injury risk there is no sure thing, but those are much more of a guarantee of a #1-#2 pitcher than Gonsalves/Romero. That's why you might trade Romero or Gonsalves, plus something more (and for Archer, probably a lot more).Also, let's say you trade one of Romero or Gonsalves for 2 years of Cole.By 2020, when Cole is a FA, both the other of Gonsalves/Romero and Lewis Thorpe may be ready to join your rotation. And tons of money is opening up from the Santana, Mauer and Dozier contracts expiring next year, so you may also have enough to get another FA pitcher next year or in 2020, if you don't this year. Meanwhile, having Cole means you have a good starting pitching rotation the next two years, rather than a mediocre one. We don't want to wait until 2020 to be a contender, but without beefing up our rotation for 2018-19, we aren't realistically contenders. And I don't think you can count on Gonsalves or Romero to add what the rotation needs tothis year, and likely not even next year. Obviously it all depends on the total amount the Pirates (or the Rays) ask for, but I would not make trading Romero or Gonsalves off limits. I might even trade Lewis for Archer, if the deal was good enough (say, Archer for Lewis plus a 6-10 level prospect - which the Rays likely wouldn't do anyway).

    • Twins33, howieramone2, Tomj14 and 1 other like this
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nicksaviking
Dec 11 2017 12:56 PM

 

A rebuilding team probably wouldn't want Kepler or probably Polanco either, I'm guessing.

 

They are young and very controllable, position or ability aside, they profile as the type of MLB ready players rebuilding teams always ask for.

 

Archer or Cole--absolutely.We have to be realistic about what kind of pitchers Gonsalves and Romero are. Both Archer and Cole have already reached a higher level than Gonsalves has a ceiling.He has #3 starter stuff, and I'd believe he has the makeup and intelligence to possibly pitch at a #2 level at times, but but Archer is a fringe #1 guy and Cole is a solid #2 with potential to pitch at a #1 level when he's on.As for Romero, he's got #2 stuff with a lot of risk.There's still a good chance he ends up a bullpen arm.I think it's a no brainer if the rest of the asking price isn't too high.

 

I would probably keep Lewis off limits, but anyone else is shippable at the right price.There's just little probability that any of them will have the kind of impact that a front-line starter would.

 

My preference for the starting pitchers that have been talked about would be:

Archer, Cole, Odorizzi, Darvish, Cobb, Arrieta, Lynn.  

 

Obviously the first three are contingent on what they have to give up to get them, but if they are building for sustained success having a younger cheaper guy is better than signing a big contract for an older free agent.Arrieta and Lynn feel like free agent traps waiting too happen, so I'm not sure I'd really want them at all unless the deals are very team friendly.

 

Agreed with everything, except you'd rather have Odorizzi and Cole than Darvish? Are you taking into account what you'd have to give up in money and prospects, because Darvish is clearly a much better pitcher than Odorizzi and although its less clear cut, than Cole.

    • Twins33 likes this