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Game Thread (8/16): Twins vs. Detroit, 7:10 PM CT

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:12 PM
Twins | 56-63 overall, 35-24 at home, 5-5 last 10 Ervin Santana, RHP | 6.53 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 2.33 K:BB in 20.2 IPTigers | 50-71 overall, 1...
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Recent Blogs


Cleveland's Controllable Rotation Presents Blueprint for Twins

The Cleveland Indians are rolling toward a third straight division title, and once again, they're doing it on the strength of elite starting pitching.

Here's what's scary: Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, the duo that has powered this unit ever since Cleveland's return to relevance in 2014, both remain under control for years to come, and at extremely reasonable rates.

It's safe to say the wizardry performed by Cleveland's front office hasn't gone unnoticed by Derek Falvey. After all, he was part of the group that orchestrated those brilliant contracts.
Image courtesy of David Richard, USA Today
In a letter to season-ticket holders, Falvey used a familiar term when rationalizing the club's deadline fire-sale, referencing a desire to "achieve sustainable championship-caliber baseball." Admittedly, it sounds like the usual jargon of front office types trying to soothe an agitated fanbase amidst tumultuous times, but... Falvey is a bit of an authority on the subject.

He was a key fixture in Cleveland's front office when the Indians struck long-term deals with Kluber (a five-year, $38.5 million extension) and Carrasco (four years, $22 million) on the same weekend in April of 2015. Kluber was four years away from free agency, Carrasco three.

The figures listed above don't fully convey the beauty of these incredibly team-friendly contracts, both of which include a pair of economical team option years.

Although Carrasco's guaranteed term expires after this year, Cleveland can bring him back for $9 million in 2019 and $9.5 million 2020. Given that the 31-year-old is once again performing at an exemplary level, those decisions are looking like no-brainers.

The same is true for Kluber's options in 2020 ($13.5M) and 2021 ($14M). A two-time (so far) Cy Young winner making Ricky Nolasco-type money. Wow.

Granted, the salaries for both players can escalate based on Cy Young finishes, but either way we are talking about unbelievably favorable pacts for the club, which set itself up for inexpensive prolonged control if the starters fulfilled their promise (as they have), with escape valves if things went awry.

In retrospect, these contracts almost seem too good to be true. But they speak to the powerful value of long-term security for a young and somewhat unestablished major-league pitcher. It's not like Kluber or Carrasco were leveraged all that much; the former was coming off a Cy Young season in 2014, and the latter had broken out with a 2.55 ERA in 134 frames.

But when you've earned relatively little, and you know you're one elbow pinch away from everything changing, the prospect of many millions in guaranteed money can be very alluring.

Which brings us back to Mr. Falvey, and his current position overseeing baseball operations for the Minnesota Twins. He now finds himself with another rising frontline arm in Jose Berrios.

Like Cleveland, Minnesota faces finite payroll constraints. Maintaining a reasonable price tag on core pieces like Berrios is critical in the "sustainable championship-caliber baseball" framework, and it's why those savvy extensions for Kluber and Carrasco are such critical ingredients in Cleveland's ongoing supremacy.

Berrios is under team control for four more seasons after this one. The Twins have almost no hope of a striking deal with him quite as favorable as those of Kluber and Carrasco – both late bloomers who followed winding paths to stardom. Berrios is a 24-year-old All-Star with an impeccable record of health; needless to say, it'll be tougher to impress upon him the downside of holding steady and betting on himself.

But that downside exists. He and his agent both know it. No one is invincible. With free agency still so far away, the Twins have enough leverage to work out a mutually beneficial deal that locks up Berrios into his 30s while still giving the team some protection.

I really like the makeup of those Kluber/Carrasco contracts – the team option years are fairly cheap but in both cases can be increased up to $4 million by Cy Young finishes, bringing them closer to market value. So in a way, the pitchers still were able to bet on themselves, and remain highly incentivized to keep improving.

I don't believe Berrios needs that incentive. But, knowing what I know about him, I think he'd embrace it.

Whatever the terms, Minnesota would be very wise to make an extension for Berrios their No.1 priority for the offseason. Obviously, that'll mean loosening their stance after they reportedly tried and came short last winter.

But a rotation building block is worth his weight in gold. No one needs to tell Derek Falvey that.

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35 Comments

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TheLeviathan
Aug 09 2018 02:04 PM

 

The most I'd probably give Gibson is 3-years, $35 million. Assuming the qualifying offer isn't going anywhere (which may not be a safe assumption to make), the Twins can control Gibby for the next two seasons at something like $27 million. After that, he'll be heading into his age 33 season.

 

I'd much rather see any extra money potentially headed Gibson's way be directed toward adding a year or two of control to the younger guys, much like what Cleveland did with Kluber, Carrasco and Jose Ramirez.

 

Not trying to be funny here but, in all seriousness.....

 

Who are our Klubers, Carrascos, and Ramirezs to sign at this point?I love me some Rosario, but I'm not ready to do that kind of extension with him.I agree with you in principle, but we don't have those kinds of players to invest in right now.Hence why I'd be willing to throw a little more towards Gibson.

    • Mike Sixel likes this
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notoriousgod71
Aug 09 2018 04:10 PM

 

I must be the only person terrified by the thought of Berrios being our number one starting pitcher for years to come...

 

I'm resigned to it.The only way it doesn't happen is if he completely collapses or some internal player magically morphs into Scherzer.

I'm passing on Gibby.He's OK nothing special.We have guys at AAA that could replace him for a lot less. 

 

I'm passing on Gibby.He's OK nothing special.We have guys at AAA that could replace him for a lot less. 

 

I'm not sure how anyone can reach that conclusion based on the past 12 months. I'd love to hear your rationale.

    • USAFChief and Twins33 like this
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yarnivek1972
Aug 09 2018 07:13 PM
And even if they did have guys at AAA that could replace him for less (an opinion I strongly disagree with), they definitely don’t have four. One, MAYBE two that MIGHT SOMEDAY be better.
    • Mike Sixel likes this

I think Gibson would sign a contract.I would hope it would be somewhat low. Why?I've watch Gibson for his 6 years with the Twins and this is what I see (excluding 2018)Gibby avg number of innings about 160, Gibby gives up more hits then inning pitched, avg k's about 130,But this year Gibsons numbers have all gotten better,140 innings-just 118 hits, 135k's and a whip of 1.24.I'm not buying that Gibson suddenly has learned to pitch.Remember the last guy we signed that seemed to have turned the corner. Morrison went from avg at 15 Hr's a year to 38, how is that working for us.I'm just not buying that one good year of Gibson is worth signing.Seem this year the pitchers have the advantage.I'm for finding or signing guy better then Gibson.If you look at Odorizzi's numbers, they are better than Gibson or very similar.Odorizzi had a year, last year, like Gibson is having this year (almost identical)What happened to Odorizzi this year, he regressed to what he was before.Middle of the road 4-5 pitcher on a good team. I just feel Gibby will regress next year and after as well.We need to find # 2,#3, to go with Berrios and Romero for the coming years.I'm ok if Gibby is #5 for a reasonable price, but he's not a number 1-3 pitcher on a good team, and I don't think a #4.That's just the way I see it. 

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Brock Beauchamp
Aug 10 2018 08:58 AM

 

I think Gibson would sign a contract.I would hope it would be somewhat low. Why?I've watch Gibson for his 6 years with the Twins and this is what I see (excluding 2018)Gibby avg number of innings about 160, Gibby gives up more hits then inning pitched, avg k's about 130,But this year Gibsons numbers have all gotten better,140 innings-just 118 hits, 135k's and a whip of 1.24.I'm not buying that Gibson suddenly has learned to pitch.Remember the last guy we signed that seemed to have turned the corner. Morrison went from avg at 15 Hr's a year to 38, how is that working for us.I'm just not buying that one good year of Gibson is worth signing.Seem this year the pitchers have the advantage.I'm for finding or signing guy better then Gibson.If you look at Odorizzi's numbers, they are better than Gibson or very similar.Odorizzi had a year, last year, like Gibson is having this year (almost identical)What happened to Odorizzi this year, he regressed to what he was before.Middle of the road 4-5 pitcher on a good team. I just feel Gibby will regress next year and after as well.We need to find # 2,#3, to go with Berrios and Romero for the coming years.I'm ok if Gibby is #5 for a reasonable price, but he's not a number 1-3 pitcher on a good team, and I don't think a #4.That's just the way I see it. 

Gibson made an approach and delivery change last season and has been a significantly different pitcher since that time (roughly 12 months now). This isn't a fluke, Gibson is a different pitcher today than he was early last season. 

 

That doesn't mean he can't regress or get injured - just like anybody - but he's a pretty safe bet to be a better, more consistent pitcher than he was earlier in his career.

    • Nick Nelson, Mike Sixel and TheLeviathan like this

I have no idea why everyone is so sure Romero is going to be really good, he's not even in the majors right now........

 

I see no shot Gibson signs for a low deal, this is his last shot to make big money. You either have to give him years, or big money, or both, imo, to get him to sign.

 

I see no shot Gibson signs for a low deal, this is his last shot to make big money. You either have to give him years, or big money, or both, imo, to get him to sign.

Well, Gibson might be a realist. He's not entering FA until his age 32 season, and he might come with a draft pick penalty if we make him a qualifying offer. Given how the market played out last offseason, he might not have any real shot at "big money", and a more modest guarantee could be seen as acceptable (it's at least insurance for him in case of injury, which is always a concern for pitchers).

    • BJames likes this

 

Well, Gibson might be a realist. He's not entering FA until his age 32 season, and he might come with a draft pick penalty if we make him a qualifying offer. Given how the market played out last offseason, he might not have any real shot at "big money", and a more modest guarantee could be seen as acceptable (it's at least insurance for him in case of injury, which is always a concern for pitchers).

 

A QO will be worth 19MM by then.....at that point, depending on how things look, you maybe just take that 1 year deal. If he's this good next year, he'll get a deal, even as a 32 yo. Most athletes bet on themselves at this point, not all, but most.

 

I think 4/80 gets it done. I don't think 3 years (as that's only a 2 year extension) gets is done, but it might. Kind of depends how long he wants to play.


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