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Timeline for Top Prospects: 2021 Edition

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 06:21 AM
The Minnesota Twins will enter 2021 as one of the best teams in baseball, and whether they’re projected to win the AL Central or not, a f...
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Hopefully Simmons "issues" are not like Romero...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 12:08 AM
Per multiple sources, new Minnesota Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons has been delayed to the team's camp by visa issues. The exact detai...
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Twins Daily 2021 Top Prospects: Recap

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 10:36 PM
What did we learn while updating our annual Twins top prospect rankings after a year that offered no minor-league games, and very little...
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A Good Comp for Jhoan Duran and His Splinker

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 11:54 PM
Getting one’s head around the unusual profile of Twins pitching prospect Jhoan Duran can be tricky. It might be helpful to use a starter...
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Twins Daily 2021 Top Prospects: #7 SS Keoni Cavaco

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 11:54 PM
Yes, we are still high on Keoni Cavaco, our #7 Twins prospect for 2021. Let's take a look at what's to like (a lot), what's to work on (a...
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Recent Blogs

Free Agent Faceoff: Brad Hand vs. Trevor Rosenthal

Although relief pitchers have been flying off the market over the past week, there are still some intriguing names available. Would Brad Hand or Trevor Rosenthal be a better fit for the Minnesota Twins?
Image courtesy of © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports (Hand) and © Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports (Rosenthal) -- Illustration by Adriana Taylor
Before reading the final entry of the “Free Agent Faceoff” series be sure to check out the previous three installments:

Designated Hitter: Marcell Ozuna vs. Nelson Cruz
Utilityman: Kiké Hernández vs. Tommy La Stella
Starting Pitching: Jake Odorizzi vs. James Paxton

Brad Hand
Contract Estimate: 2 years, $14M

The Case For:

Brad Hand has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the past half decade. Since the start of the 2017 season, Hand ranks 5th among all relievers in ERA (2.61), 8th in K/9 (12.60) and 7th in fWAR (5.5). Hand is coming off of the best season of his career, posting an ERA of 2.05 and leading the American League with 16 saves in the abbreviated 2020 season.

Hand is still just 30 years old and has been tremendously durable over the course of his career, throwing at least 50 innings in every season since becoming a full time reliever, and throwing at least 70 innings in all but one.

As has been well documented within Twins fan circles, Brad Hand is a Minnesota native, playing his high school ball for Chaska High School. Bringing Hand home to play for his hometown ball club in front of friends and family would be a poetic next step in the all-star closer’s career.

The Case Against:

After deciding to bring back Taylor Rogers and Caleb Thielbar via arbitration earlier this offseason, the Minnesota Twins set themselves up well with left handed arms in their bullpen. Adding in another high-leverage left handed arm might be a bit of overkill, as their biggest need is to replace the right handed bullpen arms that they lost in Trevor May, Matt Wisler, Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard.

The other reason against bringing back Brad Hand is the philosophical approach the Minnesota Twins have against spending money on relievers. The reliever position has been proven to be extremely volatile over the years, and the Twins have shown repeatedly that they would prefer to get the most out of waiver claims and sign veteran relievers than to sign the top tier arms on the free agent market. Signing Hand would likely require a sizable monetary investment, and the Twins have shown time and time again they are unwilling to do so, especially as a third left hander in a bullpen that’s starving for righties.

Trevor Rosenthal
Contract Estimate: 2 years, $14M

The Case For:

Trevor Rosenthal was an elite closer in baseball for a long time, repeatedly finishing top-10 in the majors in ERA and strikeout numbers. After struggling with injury and undergoing Tommy John Surgery in 2018, Rosenthal struggled on the mound. In 2020, though, Rosenthal proved that his injury issues were behind him as he posted the best season of his career, throwing up a 1.90 EAR with a career-best K/9 of 14.5. Rosenthal re-gained his top-notch velocity, repeatedly hitting triple digits on the radar gun throughout the 2020 season.

Trevor Rosenthal would slot in perfect as a replacement for Trevor May as a fireball-throwing right handed pitcher who generates plenty of swings and misses and strikeouts. Rosenthal would instantly be thrust into the high-leverage spot of the bullpen and allow everyone in the bullpen to slot down a rung in the bullpen pecking order.

The Case Against:

Rosenthal has by no means been a man of clean health over the past five seasons, as he hasn’t pitched more than 48 innings in a season since 2015. If the Minnesota Twins were to commit money to an elite reliever, it would be hard to do so for a reliever that has not proven that he can stay healthy for an entire season. To bring in an injury risk to a bullpen that will already be struggling with depth after losing Trevor May, Matt Wisler, Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard would be an enormous risk for this Twins club.

Additionally, Rosenthal proved over 23.2 innings that he can be effective out of the bullpen, but it hasn’t been since 2017 that he has pitched more than 40 innings and proven to be effective. Should the Minnesota Twins sign Rosenthal they would be taking a big bet that he can be both healthy and effective for a long stretch for the first time in a long time.

The Verdict

Although the health and consistency concerns with Rosenthal are very real, Trevor would make a lot of sense as an addition for this Minnesota Twins bullpen and is the winner of this free agent faceoff. After losing out on nearly 100 innings of right-handed bullpen arms from 2020, the Minnesota Twins need to be able to replace that right handed production. To be able to do someone with the elite upside of the former Padre makes a lot of sense. Rosenthal being able to lock down the back of the bullpen and being able to replace the velocity and strikeout ability of Trevor May would allow younger players like Jorge Alcalá and Cody Stashak the ability to thrive in lower leverage situations.

Although Brand Hand makes sense in a lot of ways, it’s hard to envision the Twins committing money to a third left hander in the bullpen. Hand making more money than even his contract prediction would not be a surprise, and it’s difficult to see the Twins get into a bidding war for the southpaw.

Which of these two relievers would you like to see the Minnesota Twins sign? Are there any other relievers on the market you’d like better? Leave a comment below and start the conversation!

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Alcala is the heir apparent to May's role. 

Rosenthal would be our closer, plain and simple until Rogers can prove he has "it" again.


They should have been the winners in the "Yates" bowl, but somehow let $5-5.5 million for one season prove to be too much for them.


So now to make a meaningful move for the bullpen it's 2-years and $14 million.

    • DocBauer likes this

I was looking for a list of the faceoffs and could not find it.How many of the players that have been featured have now been signed?


Matthew Taylor
Jan 22 2021 05:03 PM

I was looking for a list of the faceoffs and could not find it.How many of the players that have been featured have now been signed?

Hi Mike — I linked the other 3 Faceoff stories at the top of my article right after the photo. So far, none have signed, but it sounds like Kiké Hernández is close to signing with the Red Sox.
    • mikelink45 likes this

I want to say both, but I'm hesitant to give Rosenthal 2 years. And I suspect Hand wants more than 2 years to maximize his unexpected free agency.

    • tony&rodney likes this
Out State Twin
Jan 22 2021 06:10 PM

Sign Hand as he is one of us just like Nick Anderson. They overpaid Mauer.

Rosenthal's stuff is just mesmerizing.It could backfire, but I think he elevates the bullpen more than Hand.

    • TopGunn#22 and mikelink45 like this
Jan 22 2021 08:30 PM

Both. Why not both?


    • Twins33, mikelink45, jud6312 and 1 other like this
Jan 22 2021 09:32 PM
Good article, but the projected dollar amounts are less than what Trevor May got. I don't see that happening. As much as I would like to see either one of these guys in a Twins uniform, the front office has shown they don't like to commit big dollars to the bullpen.
Out State Twin
Jan 23 2021 07:34 AM

Lets sign both using the money saved by not signing a DH using a DH by committee. A great bull pen wins games & winning games wins championships.

    • mikelink45 and jud6312 like this

Rosenthal walks to many guys.....don't need the ulcer


Well done, Matt.As you said, there is some risk with Rosenthal but well worth it.Seeing his fast ball approach 100mph in 2020, with much better control, bodes well for his apparent recovery from arm surgery.He was very good with KC and I, for one, was disappointed Falvine didn't nab him when he was available at trade deadline.San Diego hit the jackpot when picking him up for their late season run.


Rosenthal at 30 would be a huge benefit to a depleted bullpen, led by a very questionable Taylor Rogers.Easily worth a 2 year/$15MM contract.Now that would move the needle for me!FO whiffed on Yates; they have a chance to make amends.Is it in their DNA to take a risk with potentially big payoffs??

Nothing against local boy Hand, but Rosenthal would be my Choice as well. I trust Rocco's pen usage of him and Johnson to keep the walks under control


Both. Why not both?

I second this.

I doubt either will be signed.As pointed out the FO is not a fan of signing 30 year old relivers that are considered top of game.Too often they end up being overpaid, and managers feel like they need to put them out there in the type of situation they are paid for.Not sure Rocco would, but he did keep putting Rodgers out in saves when he had issues last year.


Relievers are so volatile and at age 30 even more so.Both rely on velo, which is common for relievers and it will start to drop off at age 30 typically.How will they react to that?I know this front office typically shy away from these types of guys and piece together the pen with less expensive guys.  

Jan 24 2021 01:48 PM
No to both. Spending money for the sake spending money is not a very good strategy. Rosenthal is not helping when he is on the DL. Would not offer Hand two years. And I don’t understand the fascination with Yates

Now Hand is a National.I guess that leaves only one option in this contest.And Hernandez is a Red Sox so that contest has been settled too.