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Derek Falvey Interview on 1500 ESPN

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:08 AM
Falvey discusses Sano, payroll, etc. http://www.1500espn....an-mackey-judd/
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Twins Minor League Coaches/Coordinators

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 01:01 AM
The Twins made some changes this offseason already in their minor league system. Pitching coaches Ivan Arteaga and Henry Bonilla were let...
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Harold Baines and Lee Smith are Hall of Famers

Other Baseball Yesterday, 11:33 PM
MLB announced tonight that a 16-person committee decided that DH Harold Baines and RP Lee Smith are now Hall of Famers.   Here is th...
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Article: Standing Pat as a Strategy

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:24 PM
'As we speak cruel time is fleeing. Seize the day, believing as little as possible in the morrow.' – HoraceBy all appearances, this is go...
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Buxton: "Pissed" at Twins for No Call-Up Decision...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:05 PM
According to the Star Tribune, Byron Buxton is displeased with the Twins after not being called up in September of 2018. According to Byr...
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Carlos Santana Is a Perfect Fit for the Twins

Nick did a nice job highlighting the Twins’ need for OBP in a piece earlier this week. His focus was on potential upgrades among the free agent options. I’d like to add a potential trade target for consideration: Carlos Santana.

But wait, didn’t Santana just get traded? Yup, to the Seattle Mariners. That means he essentially got traded straight to the trade block. The M’s just dealt away Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz and Jean Segura, so it’s not like they’re gearing up to have a competitive season.
Image courtesy of © Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jayson Stark of The Athletic reported the Mariners are telling teams “they’re fine” with holding on to Santana, but that they’ve also had trade conversations with multiple teams about moving him. I can’t imagine it would cost a great deal to acquire him. The big piece of value in the trade that sent Jean Segura to Philadelphia was J.P. Crawford, who Baseball America had as its No. 16 prospect in the game heading into last season.

Santana basically has something like $41.7 million guaranteed to him over the next two years (there’s a team option for a third season, I included the buyout in that estimate). That’s a lot, but it’s only two years. The Twins don’t have much in future liabilities, and there’s always the chance they can get Seattle to eat some of that money.

So that’s why the Mariners would likely be open to moving him, but why the Twins would want to bring him aboard?

First off, Santana had more walks (110) than strikeouts (93) last season. His 16.2 BB% trailed only Mike Trout, Bryce Harper and Joey Votto. A switch-hitter, Santana also comes with no platoon concerns. He has a career .816 OPS against lefties and an even .800 OPS versus right-handers. He’s also been incredibly durable, reaching at least 600 plate appearances for eight straight seasons. He’s a guy who you can count on in the middle of your lineup everyday, no matter who is on the mound.

How about that on-base ability? On the downside, his .352 OBP was the lowest he’s posted in seven seasons. The plus side is that’s still well above league average (.318). Also, part of that dip in his OBP was due to the fact Santana had a career-low .231 BABIP in 2018 (his career BABIP is .265).

The 2019 Steamer projections like Santana to bounce back, projecting his wRC+ to jump from 109 this past season to 122 next year. That same system is forecasting a 102 wRC+ from Tyler Austin.

Speaking of which, Santana’s arrival would certainly push Austin out the door. Maybe he could be a piece that heads to Seattle in the deal to acquire Santana, who knows? I’m starting to sour on the idea of Austin getting regular playing time with the Twins next season. Ted was also wondering aloud in the blog section how much longer Austin would be around.

Strikeouts are bearable, but only to a certain point. Consider this:

Tyler Austin 36.6 K%
Miguel Sano 36.3 K%
Byron Buxton 31.7 K%

You just can't have an everyday lineup that includes all three of those guys.

Jake Cave also has some contact issues (33.0 K%) so it’s not like you’d be getting any relief in the event Buxton went down with an injury. In case you were wondering, Cron has a 22.6 K% for his career, that was up slightly to 25.9 last season. Santana’s career K% is just 16.6, and that was all the way down to 13.7 last year.

Santana is a guy who can stabilize the middle of Minnesota’s lineup, provide a veteran presence and combat a few issues that appear to be concerns for the Twins right now.

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45 Comments

 

Santana can still play 1B well. He is not a liability out there.

 

I'd still rather have SP and RP and a SS or 2B, even a flex 3B/SS/1B (not sure there is one other than Machado)

    • Carole Keller, Twins33, TheLeviathan and 1 other like this

 

Yeah, betting on Cron is betting on that his huge HR/FB rate spike is real and sustainable. A lot of his other stats didn't really show much change.

 

I'm not a Cron guy......my objection is much more about opportunity cost in acquiring pitching. And, ya, I got the defense wrong!

    • nicksaviking likes this
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nicksaviking
Dec 06 2018 10:18 AM

 

Santana can still play 1B well. He is not a liability out there.

 

It's still just 1B. If people weren't happy paying $23M/year for defensive value at 1B, I can't imagine why people would be happy with $20M.

 

I'd still rather have SP and RP and a SS or 2B, even a flex 3B/SS/1B (not sure there is one other than Machado)

 

 

Marwin Gonzales is the guy.

    • Twins33 and SF Twins Fan like this
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Winston Smith
Dec 06 2018 10:32 AM

 

I'd still rather have SP and RP and a SS or 2B, even a flex 3B/SS/1B (not sure there is one other than Machado)

They have the money to do all of those things and trade for Santana. Problem is will they?

They always say money isn't an issue but the only time the GM spent up to the limit he got fired and the next year payroll was cut.

My guess is the payroll will end up about $23MM lower than last year, around $100MM.

    • Carole Keller, USAFChief, Sconnie and 2 others like this

They have the money to do all of those things and trade for Santana. Problem is will they?
They always say money isn't an issue but the only time the GM spent up to the limit he got fired and the next year payroll was cut.
My guess is the payroll will end up about $23MM lower than last year, around $100MM.


Agreed
    • dbminn likes this

 

I also don't think Santana is the answer, especially at his current price point. But I don't think you are giving him a fair shake here. He has been average or better at all the baserunning metrics for the past 4 seasons, and he has graded average or better at first base defense by all the metrics as well. And if you don't trust the defensive metrics, the Statcast sprint speed data has him exactly the same as Joe Mauer last year. And the gap between him and Albert Pujols (the slowest guy on the list) is basically as big as the gap between Santana and Buxton. He is not a Molina.

 

Further, while CBP does help with HRs, its small dimensions suppress singles and doubles. Given that power isn't really Santana's game, the ballpark probably didn't give him a many favors. And while I know that ballpark effects are a contentious topic, Fangraphs at least has Target Fields as a more hitter-friendly park than CBP over the past 5 seasons. 

Yeah, I probably went overboard with the Molina reference. He's not that slow. That said, bWAR did not like his defense at all last year.

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nicksaviking
Dec 06 2018 10:56 AM

 

They have the money to do all of those things and trade for Santana. Problem is will they?

They always say money isn't an issue but the only time the GM spent up to the limit he got fired and the next year payroll was cut.

My guess is the payroll will end up about $23MM lower than last year, around $100MM.

 

They all but said that was the case. I might think $100M might be high even. 

 

I know they won't flat out say it publicly, but it would be nice if they would if only so everyone would vent about it now and come to terms with the fact so our whole off season isn't ruined with simmering animosity. It's going to be a long winter if every free agent signed or big contract traded by another team is met here with anger.

 

They all but said that was the case. I might think $100M might be high even. 

 

I know they won't flat out say it publicly, but it would be nice if they would if only so everyone would vent about it now and come to terms with the fact so our whole off season isn't ruined with simmering animosity. It's going to be a long winter if every free agent signed or big contract traded by another team is met here with anger.

It's not "ruining the offseason" that bothers me.

 

It's ruining the 2019 on-season.

 

It's going to be a long summer if "we can't afford it" is the team's response to every free agent signing or big contract traded.

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33, Winston Smith and 5 others like this
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Tom Froemming
Dec 06 2018 11:34 AM

Lots of good discussions on both sides. Yes, the Twins definitely need a middle infielder and relief help. Extra starting pitching is always nice too. Trading for Santana shouldn't mean you can't address those issues. If for some reason it would, then I agree, it would be more important to focus on those spots.

 

Just a couple of other quick notes on Santana, first, his BABIP was actually the absolute lowest among all qualified hitters last season. His average exit velocity was in the top 40 percent of the league and his hard hit % was in the top 35 percent, so there's no real reason to expect his BABIP to remain that painfully low.

 

On his defense/athleticism, the Phillies trusted him enough to make 16 starts at third base last year. It's a tiny sample, but Santana actually had a better UZR/150 over there than Eduardo Escobar. In fact, among the 80 players to log 100 innings at 3B, Santana ranked 39th in UZR/150.

    • Sconnie, ChrisKnutson, kenbuddha and 4 others like this
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nicksaviking
Dec 06 2018 11:35 AM

 

It's not "ruining the offseason" that bothers me.

 

It's ruining the 2019 on-season.

 

It's going to be a long summer if "we can't afford it" is the team's response to every free agent signing or big contract traded.

 

I don't think they are saying that after every big contract or trade, they implied it once and they probably won't say another word about it again. I'd rather we were just being creative to come up with discussions and ideas to fit within their implied (and bogus) constraints to make the team better than just be angry all year. It's nearly intolerable around here right now and the frustration isn't going to change ownership's behavior.

I like the hitting tools that Santana would bring and also the fact that in addition to 1B he could play some 3B as a backup plan for Sano.I would also say if the $ would prevent us from upgrading the 2B/SS position and Relief Pitching then not on board. The other issue is we already have Cron and Austin and to a lesser extent possibly Garver/Sano splitting the 1B/DH position. There would have to be several moves to make all this work. 

Santana and Cron had very similar xwOBA in 2018. It's likely they both see a lower xwOBA in 2019 as Cron had a huge jump vs his career and Santana is on the downside of his career.

 

That said, the trajectory of 1B in the last couple decades is to peak at 28 (which Cron just did) then level off thru age 30, at which point they start to slowly decline. That means Cron will likely outhit Santana by a smidge over the next two seasons.

 

Santana is a much better fielder. He is also a better fit for the roster allowing you to platoon Austin or Astudillo.

 

In John Bonnes, gun to me head fashion, I'd take the bet on Santana being a better player over the next couple seasons, but it's negligible. If the Twins can strike a deal that is essentially payroll neutral over the next couple seasons then consummate it. Maybe Cron, a C+ prospect and $25mil.

 

If we take Swarzak back in the trade, I suspect Dipoto goes for it. What's the sentiment on Swarzak. Is he washed up? He had a steep dropoff last season and I have not looked into why other than BABIP.

 

I don't think they are saying that after every big contract or trade, they implied it once and they probably won't say another word about it again. I'd rather we were just being creative to come up with discussions and ideas to fit within their implied (and bogus) constraints to make the team better than just be angry all year. It's nearly intolerable around here right now and the frustration isn't going to change ownership's behavior.

To each his own. I'm not giving them a pass on not spending, just because it makes for more pleasant conversation. I'm not going to pretend I think it's ok, or it presents some sort of reasonable obstacle.

 

They have no excuse. They have oodles of money available.

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33, Rigby and 2 others like this

I agree that he would be decent fit for the Twins if we only have to give up some prospect or two if we get some salary relief. First of all he is first baseman and do like his career numbers on striking out and his hitting. I have no faith in Cron for the coming year for first base. Second its only two years and even if one kids come up from minors we still could use him in DH role / first baseman. Would add no long term commitments for the Twins or prevent the twins locking up some their younger players. The question arise does this fit this Front Office plan for the team because I don't think there plans are to be competitive this year or the next year were in there rebuild for 2021 when there prospects start arriving. 

    • ChrisKnutson likes this

 

I'd still rather have SP and RP and a SS or 2B, even a flex 3B/SS/1B (not sure there is one other than Machado)

Jedd Gyorko qualifies for that.Sort of.He's mostly 3B/2B lately, but he did have 5 games at SS & 5 at 1B last year.(Plus 1 IP).The Cardinals probably don't have room for both Gyorko & Greg Garcia.Gyorko has the better bat, but Garcia might be a better fit for them at this point.

    • Mike Sixel likes this
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theBOMisthebomb
Dec 06 2018 02:10 PM
I'd pass on Santana. However, this was a breath of fresh air to this old schooler who has embraced the new world yet cannot stand that strikeouts are seen as acceptable and the rate at which they are happening: "Strikeouts are bearable, but only to a certain point. Consider this: Tyler Austin 36.6 K% Miguel Sano 36.3 K% Byron Buxton 31.7 K% You just can't have an everyday lineup that includes all three of those guys." Thank you for this insight.
    • Aerodeliria likes this
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KirbyDome89
Dec 06 2018 02:18 PM

 

I don't think they are saying that after every big contract or trade, they implied it once and they probably won't say another word about it again. I'd rather we were just being creative to come up with discussions and ideas to fit within their implied (and bogus) constraints to make the team better than just be angry all year. It's nearly intolerable around here right now and the frustration isn't going to change ownership's behavior.

We agree that the constraints are bogus and that there's anger bubbling beneath the surface but most of what I've seen is restraint until the offseason shakes out. 

 

Twins fans have been conditioned to not expect signings like Machado, Harper, or even Corbin, but missing out on Donaldson for 1 year was a bummer. If the FO fails to bring in significant help (i.e. clear upgrades) for the MI & bullpen, and swing some moves to bolster the starting rotation while simultaneously slashing payroll by $30M outrage is more than justified. 

    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, Sconnie and 1 other like this
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ChrisKnutson
Dec 06 2018 03:08 PM
If the goal is to win the division (not sure if it is), than the FO better be quick about acquiring Santana, and signing Cruz and Lowrie before other teams take advantage of their small markets. And it’s not like these guys are your regular journeymen, nor are they young studs who’ll command +$100M each, these are veterans who play at an all-star caliber level, not to mention that they’re all relatively affordable and likely to sign for 1-2 years; keeping the seat warm for Lewis/Rooker/Gordon/Kirilloff/Larnach/Jeffers, along with with keeping us in contention.

Altogether, these three will probably cost $80M total,, so why not “go all in” if it’s not gonna financially cripple us (or even make a dent). Obviously we still would need some bullpen help, but with the pitching depth we got, I’m pretty sure we can make due without spending +$30M on bullpens arms. The only big name bullpen arms I’d sign this offseason are Cody Allen and Zach Britton (1 year “prove it” contracts), other than them, I say we go after possible bargains like David Phelps, A.J. Ramos, Drew Storen, etc.

The stars are aligning, take advantage of it and we could easily win the division this year, the next, and so forth (depending on the development of our core).

Man, Segura is the guy I REALLY wanted. Phillies are building something over there...


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