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Twins drop Rochester as AAA affiliate, Pensacola also may...

Twins Minor League Talk Yesterday, 10:17 PM
This is a piece by LEN III lifted from the StarTribune web site. https://m.startribun...ment/573034791/
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Caesar Hernandez a Marwin replacement option

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:20 PM
A contact hitter with speed who has played mostly 2b the past 3seasons but has some experience at 3B and SS. Probably is just a 3B and 2...
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Is Cruz a MUST signing? And what if he doesn't fit?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 09:20 PM
Let me state I love Cruz and want him back if possible. I not only believe he brings class, experience, knowledge and leadership to the t...
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Craig Breslow, Assistant General Manager - Cubs

Other Baseball Yesterday, 07:55 PM
Twice former Twin Craig Breslow was promoted to Asst GM in Chicago, working alongside former Twin Randy Bush.   https://www.mlbtrade...
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Free Agency / Re-Signings 2020-21 Offseason

Other Baseball 29 Nov 2020
Free agency is likely going to be a really slow burn this year, but I still think it's worth having a thread to discuss signings. ...
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How Will the Twins Address the Bullpen This Offseason?

In case you missed it, Nick Nelson, Matt Baun and myself had a fun discussion about some relievers available on the free agent market we feel could fit into the Twins’ plan for 2021. One of the main takeaways was that this is a significant area of concern at the moment.
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Trevor May, Tyler Clippard and Sergio Romo are all free agents. Those three also happened to be the team’s leaders in appearances this season. And it’s not as if this bullpen unit was exactly in need of a refresh. The Twins ranked sixth in bullpen ERA and were tied with the Rays for the best bullpen WAR, per FanGraphs.

Top of the Relief Market

This year’s free agent relief pitcher class may not be especially flashy as far as top-end talent goes, but another topic we discussed on the live stream was its depth. If we combine the free agent rankings at FanGraphs and MLB Trade Rumors, here’s what we come up with for the top-10 relievers on this year’s market:

1. Liam Hendriks
2a. Trevor May
2b. Brad Hand
4. Blake Treinen
5. Trevor Rosenthal
6. Alex Colome
7. Mark Melancon
8. Kirby Yates
9. Joakim Soria
10. Greg Holland

Hendriks is definitely the No. 1 guy, but after that things aren’t so clear. In the second spot, FanGraphs preferred May (21 as opposed to Hand’s 23) while MLB TR had Hand higher (26 vs. May at 28). There are plenty of other rankings out there, but I wanted to stick with the ones that aren’t behind paywalls for the purpose of this discussion.

It’s also worth pointing out there may be many more intriguing names that become available. The non-tender deadline, which is Dec. 2. It seems likely that more names of intrigue will be added to the free agent bullpen picture between now and then.

The Twins’ front office already made a couple of moves to add to the bullpen when they claimed Ian Gibaut and Brandon Waddell off waivers, but those two seem to more fit the mold of guys you hope may be able to contribute rather than those you’re really counting on to produce.

Falvey-Levine History

Here’s a look at the deals the Twins have signed free agent relievers to since Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over the front office:

2016-17 Offseason
Feb. 3: Matt Belisle signed for one year, $2.05 million

2017-18 Offseason
Dec. 15: Fernando Rodney signed for one year, $4.5 million plus an option
Dec. 26: Zach Duke signed for one year, $2.15 million
Jan. 15: Addison Reed signed for two years, $16.75 million

2018-19 Offseason
Jan. 14: Blake Parker signed for one year, $1.8 million

2019-20 Offseason
Dec. 20: Sergio Romo signed for one year, $5 million plus an option
Dec. 20: Tyler Clippard signed for one year, $2.75 million

That’s seven relievers they’ve signed to major league deals for a combined $35 million. By far the biggest commitment went to Reed, who pitched to a 4.50 ERA over 55 games in 2018 and released in 2019.

Of those seven relievers signed, four were from mid to late December and the other three on into the new year. Reed was also the youngest of the bunch, as he was entering his age 29 season. The other six were all entering their ages 34 seasons or later.

What Will They Do This Offseason?

If the Twins end up non-tendering Taylor Rogers, that likely changes this conversation quite a bit, however, I am firmly of the belief Rogers will be back with the Twins in 2021. While his ERA jumped, Rogers actually had a (ever so) slightly better FIP this season than he did in 2019. He also served as the team’s MLBPA rep, which speaks to the respect Rogers commands in the clubhouse.

The potential loss of May, Clippard and Romo is a definite blow, but with Rogers back in the fold, the Twins would still have a nice bullpen foundation. Tyler Duffey backed up a breakout with another strong season while Matt Wisler, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Alcala and Cody Stashak will look to further establish themselves.

How will the front office supplement that group? I’d expect more of the same. I’m willing to speculate the front office is going to wait for the market to come to them. It also seems like a good bet the Twins’ biggest bullpen addition via free agency will probably be on a one-year deal that tops out at $5 million.

That may not sound very inspiring, but I do believe that will get you more in this offseason than it would in previous years.

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12 Comments

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Doctor Gast
Nov 08 2020 11:03 AM

I too would like Rogers to return, he`s listed on the projected 26 man roster for 2021 on the Twins site (Rosario is not). I`d like both Clippard & May to return but I think May would hold out for more than the Twins are willing to pay. I believe the Twins probably have their eyes on different relievers that fit their profile (to go along w/ the 2 they already picked up) but waiting to see how things pan out. I wouldn`t mind if they approach Hill to help out in the BP & do somespot starting

Bullpen performance is so erratic that change can be very good.The important thing for the Twins to learn from the WS is that you can over use and burn out a good reliever - Anderson.Bullpen games plus 4 innings of BP per game is too much and arms give out from both injury and fatigue.If a starter needs five days to throw five innings or less why do managers think you can keep throwing out the BP guys game after game - one day off is not enough.I do not care if Rogers comes back or not - the price tag looks to large based on the last two years.  

    • Aerodeliria likes this
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tony&rodney
Nov 08 2020 04:24 PM

Then again, wouldn't Hendriks and Hand nicely complement Rogers and Duffey? The money is there.

    • TopGunn#22 and SF Twins Fan like this
Watch May go elsewhere and be the filthiest reliever in the game for next few years. Our specialty seems to be casting off dominant relievers.
Apologize for probably repeating some things already stated in the post podcast OP.

I do think the FO and staff do a great job of identifying bullpen pieces. Internally, I think Alcala has a high ceiling and is already penciled in for 2021. Now, does he morph quickly in to a back end piece, or does he settle in to mid relief for the time being? Depends not only on him, but also any potential additions. I also believe Rogers is back for around $6+M. There is WAY too much arm talent and past production at his age to believe he is cooked after a mediocre 2020. Duffey is set. I believe Stashak and Wisler are near locks. Wisler less so, and he will regress somewhat. He pretty much has to!

That's 5 of 8 spots virtually set. No matter how payroll gets set, there is need and room and at least SOME payroll to work with.

Thielbar has a real shot, IMO, but doesn't have enough OOMF in his arm for me to just slot him in despite how well he performed last year. The Twins MIGHT slot Colina back in the rotation at some point, but IMO, they have decided his future is in the pen, at least for now. His one appearance late in the year is indicative of the Twins liking him, but no indication he is or is not ready yet. And, of course, there is ABSOLUTELY the possibility one of the 2 recent additions, or a flier yet to come, could surprise. But those ARE fliers and depth at this point. Also possible the Twins slide Thorpe in to the pen NOW, but I'm guessing he remains in the rotation for NOW. Can't ignore Smeltzer for some sort of role. Not even going to touch the Romero possibility at this point. But ALL of this is more about depth at this point.

Clippard has been living on 1yr deals for about the same money for some time now while producing. He was excellent in 2020 at $2.7M I believe. His re-signing for somewhere between $2.5-3M makes so much sense for both sides. And I see no reason that kind of contract can't be fit in rather easily.

Where it gets difficult is a NEED for ONE MORE quality arm to keep the pen strong for a championship caliber team. STILL have to make the crucial Cruz decision, bring in a #3/4 SP and at least consider a 10th man utility player. (IMO, Adrianza is a given at around $1M). There is going to be a financial crunch at some point. But a quality bullpen is too important to be ignored.

Unless Cruz is gone, or Rogers is gone, (maybe and I doubt it), there just isn't room for a Hendricks or Hand signing unless payroll stays the same for 2021. THEN, there would be room. Losing either, or both, open up a whole different can of worms not to be discussed here.

I agree with Tom, beyond the re-signing of Clippard, that there should be room for ONE GUY for about $4-5M. Does May really rank that highly on other teams list? I like him a lot. And I repeat that if he was a FA from another team, we might be clamoring for the Twins to sign him. But not a proven closer, does be really get $6-7M for multiple years from someone else? IDK, maybe he does. Maybe he doesn't and wants to stick with the Twins for $4-5M per. Like the RP offered, maybe a Yates or Hunter comes on board for a shot at winning for a $3-5M deal.

Any way you want to slice up the roster and payroll pie, I'm looking at Clippard back and one more veteran arm for $3-5M, plus one more cheap flier with some sort of split contract or opt out deal.
    • Clare, LA VIkes Fan and Tom Froemming like this

If the Twins traded Sano and his $11.5 million dollar salary and made Kiriloff the 1B-man that would open up ALL SORTS of possibilities.I believe the Twins offense would be fine without Sano and Rosario and we would be better defensively.Also, there is no way on God's Green Earth that Trevor May is in the same conversation/classification as Brand Hand.Just no way.Hand is far superior and has a track record that puts May to shame.

    • TiberTwins and DocBauer like this

I think Rogers deserves another shot. His control wasn't that good in spots but there were times that he made good pitches that were hit off the end of the bat, etc. I still like Tony Watson of the Giants as a lefty specialist and would definitely try to re-sign May. A lower profile pitcher with closer experience like Soria or Trenien or keeping Clippard would help but we haven't had much luck in signing relievers from other teams. I would not count on Thielbar having a similar season to this year but he was a nice story. Alcala should continue to improve.

    • DocBauer likes this

Would like to sign a closer type to share duties with Rogers and possibly Duffy, Alcala. Also an additional RP, bounce back candidate or Clippard type. Already signed 2 projects. Have Wisler, Theilbar, Colina, Stashek, Thorpe, Smeltzer, and may be some other young pitchers to fill out BP. Top 4 plus Wisler and second FA, last 2 from group listed.

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SF Twins Fan
Nov 09 2020 11:25 AM

The Falvine offseason bullpen signings could be described in two words...dumpster diving.... It'd be nice to see the Twins sign one of the top 5-6 relievers listed above.

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Major League Ready
Nov 09 2020 02:31 PM

 

The Falvine offseason bullpen signings could be described in two words...dumpster diving.... It'd be nice to see the Twins sign one of the top 5-6 relievers listed above.

 

That's what many posters said in 2018 when the top 10 free agent RPs signed for an averaged 9.6M annually. The produced a cumulative fWAR 1.6. Only one of them broke 1 WAR. High-end RPs are the worst investment of any type of player. Not where I would spend in a year when they have to replace several players and don't have much in terms of available budget.

 

BTW ... All of those top RPs managed to produce 1 win for every $60M spent in 2018.

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SF Twins Fan
Nov 09 2020 03:29 PM

 

That's what many posters said in 2018 when the top 10 free agent RPs signed for an averaged 9.6M annually. The produced a cumulative fWAR 1.6. Only one of them broke 1 WAR. High-end RPs are the worst investment of any type of player. Not where I would spend in a year when they have to replace several players and don't have much in terms of available budget.

 

BTW ... All of those top RPs managed to produce 1 win for every $60M spent in 2018.

How did the top relief pitchers from 2016, 2017 and 2019 do? Just because there was 1 season where the top relief pitchers signed didn't do well doesn't mean you shouldn't try to bolster the bullpen. I'm not saying the Twins should sign any of these relief pitchers to long term deals and I doubt any of them will get deals longer than 3 years. But going into next year hoping Rogers rebounds and then just bringing up a bunch of young guys it's likely to be a recipe for success. 

Not sure who this "Matt Baun" fellow is but he sure sounds fishy