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Exhibition Game Thread: Twins vs Gophers (2/21 @ 5:05pm CT)

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:23 AM
I know, it's a day early... and maybe someone else is already assigned to the game thread... But Do Hyoung Park just posted the lineup fo...
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fangraphs and other national, non-local articles about th...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:51 PM
Can't find the old thread on this but it's probably time for a new one anyway. Fangraphs just published their playoff odds - https:...
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Astros Being Investigated for Using Tech to Steal Pitchin...

Other Baseball Yesterday, 07:21 PM
I can no longer say I want the Twins to emulate the Astros. Bush league maneuver to use cameras in order to steal signs.
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Mike Clevinger Has Surgery for partially torn meniscus.

Other Baseball Yesterday, 05:00 PM
Usually this is a 4-6 week recovery. He will be out for the first Twins-Indians series, given that he will have to play rehab games to ma...
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KARE11: Andrea Hayden first female strength and condition...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 03:36 PM
https://www.kare11.c...93-ff73491ad7e6   Andrea Hayden was hired this year as the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the...
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Josh Donaldson, Bringer of Rings

The Minnesota Twins will never be the same. This is a transformational signing. This is that first statement signing a team needs, when it matures into the kind of organization that can compete for top talent with those in bigger markets. At the plate, in the field, and on the books, Donaldson is just perfect for this team, at this moment.
The Washington Nationals signed Jayson Werth for seven years and $126 million prior to 2011. Unlike these Twins, those Nats weren’t ready to win, but they needed to announce themselves as serious about acquiring stars and about winning games. The Twins, despite their 101-win 2019, needed this signing to do the same. However, the serendipity of this match runs much deeper than that.

No contending team needed a defensive upgrade on the left side of its infield more than the Twins did. I wrote about this right after they were eliminated in October. Donaldson is a massive upgrade for them. He was second in Defensive Runs Saved at third base in 2019, and has been great throughout his career, but the particular way in which he saves those runs makes him a particularly perfect fit for Minnesota.

Defensive Runs Saved breaks down how players perform on balls they field straight on (including charging weakly-hit balls), to their right, and to their left. Of Donaldson’s 15 runs saved, 10 of them came on balls to his left, toward the hole between third base and shortstop. Donaldson is great ranging to his left, picking the ball smoothly and throwing accurately on the move, across his body. He’ll not only be an upgrade of about 20 runs over Miguel Sanó at his own position, but help minimize the impact of Jorge Polanco’s defensive deficiencies at short.

At the plate, the big problems the Twins face in 2020 are the risk of regression from some of their breakout bats and the departure of hitting coach James Rowson. Donaldson’s arrival softens both of those blows. The Twins’ trademark last season was their unrelenting focus on the goal of driving the ball in the air to the pull field. No team did it as often as they did; no team came close.

Few hitters agree as readily with that mentality, or execute it as methodically and faithfully, as Donaldson does. Teams and players who make that their objective can set themselves at different points on a spectrum of approaches, however, tinkering with the means they believe can most consistently achieve that end. Some prefer to emphasize plane, launch angle, and timing. Others emphasize maximizing exit velocity, even if it means using the big part of the field at times and having to command the strike zone better. The Twins fall into the latter bucket, and so does Donaldson.

Rank the 342 batters who had at least 150 tracked batted balls in 2019 by average exit velocity, and the Twins now have the second-, third-, and sixth-hardest hitters, in Sanó, Nelson Cruz, and Donaldson. Rank the group by average exit velocity solely on fly balls and line drives, and they have the first-, third-, fifth-, and seventh-most powerful sluggers, with those three in the same order and Mitch Garver sliding into the picture. If you were worried about a brain drain, or about the team being (on the whole) pretty aggressive and susceptible to junk, the addition of a guy like Donaldson, who walks about 15 percent of the time and will not shut up about leg kick and launch angle even if you ask him to, should be a source of comfort.

Cost certainty can be a hard asset to assess, but it’s clear that the Polanco, Max Kepler, and Sanó extensions have delivered tangible value here. With those three and Donaldson locked in for at least the next four seasons for an average annual total of $45 million and change, the team has a ton of flexibility. They can afford to pay Garver, Byron Buxton and Luis Arráez, even if they have big seasons that put them in position to demand huge paydays.

They have time and leverage to seek long-term deals with Royce Lewis, Trevor Larnach, or Alex Kirilloff, should any of them come up and perform in a way that makes that kind of investment seem wise. They’ve replaced Cruz’s massive power and reliability, a year before they even needed to do so. They have a solid offensive core under control for relatively little money, which gives them the season to assess some internal starting pitching candidates they like very, very much, and which will allow them to bid handsomely on starters next winter if those internal candidates don’t assert themselves.

Jeff Passan tweeted that the Twins were the sneaky favorites to sign Donaldson from the outset of the offseason. In hindsight, perhaps that should have been obvious. No team and player were better matched, even including the Twins and certain free-agent starters for whom they elected not to pay a premium. This move feels perfect.

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69 Comments

 

If you can't beat-em......join-em!

Or buy 'em!

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Brock Beauchamp
Jan 15 2020 03:20 PM

Everyone seems happy about this...reminds me of another MN player who got a 80 Million payday and takes That team no where as well....Unless Donaldson can pitch into the 8th inning I don't get this deal. When the Twins had all their money tied up with Mauer they had to get rid of fan favs just to pay 1 man. And when Joe retired, the Twins had cash to get decent players and sign players to longer contracts....I would rather pay a 24 yr old as opposed to a 34 yr old this money. And NO, don't even think about trading Eddie!

Okay, I’ll bite:

What “fan faves” did the Twins get rid of due to Mauer’s contract?

    • kenbuddha, MN_ExPat, KFEY93 and 1 other like this

 

Even worse.... it's their competitive balance round B pick

At least you won't have to worry about Houston sniping someone you like early in the draft. 

 

The solution to this is for the Twins to stop being a $130-140m team.

They’re coming off a 101 win season, for crying out loud.

Even if they go to 150-160 that is Large % of the budget.......just don't see that ending well.....would rather see that money lock up our own guys (Berrios/Buxton)

Okay, I’ll bite:

What “fan faves” did the Twins get rid of due to Mauer’s contract?


I took the comment to mean Kirk Cousins, but I could be wrong.
    • James, tvagle, MN_ExPat and 1 other like this

 

I actively dislike like free agent signings as a fan because it breaks continuity & team identity. It makes me care less about t team when the faces change abruptly.

 

 

Signing Nelson Cruz absolutely helped the team identity. He "was the heart and soul of this club" in 2019- Derek Falvey. 

 

Cruz was our team MVP this year. He not only produced MVP type numbers but also had a huge affect on improvement from other guys, most notably Sano.  

    • Reider, MN_ExPat, wabene and 2 others like this
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Brock Beauchamp
Jan 15 2020 04:30 PM

Even if they go to 150-160 that is Large % of the budget.......just don't see that ending well.....would rather see that money lock up our own guys (Berrios/Buxton)

One shouldn’t prevent the other. Even after the Donaldson deal, the Twins basically sit at $140m, including Buxton and Berrios. Give them both a raise and the team still wouldn’t be at even $150m.

$150m would have ranked 12th in baseball in 2019 and probably lower than that once the dust settles on 2020.

Twins fans really need to de-program themselves from what the Pohlads have been selling us for the past decade. IIRC, the Twins had the 10th highest payroll in 2010 and they should be able to replicate the modern equivalent for a 3-4 year competitive run. That’s about $160-165m in 2020 money.
    • Reider and kenbuddha like this

 

I was wrong. They FO did it. Nothing but credit. I don’t care if Donaldson suffers a career ending injury this year. They made the attempt, and that’s all I was asking for.

What a freaking lineup this team will have (especially against lefties). I’m imagining:

Polanco, SS
Donaldson, 3B
Cruz, DH
Sano, 1B
Garver, C
Kepler, RF
Rosario, LF
Arraez, 2B
Buxton, CF

Pretty incredible. Now, everyone make their sacrifice/offering to the injury gods.

 

Against lefties (given Polanco's struggles as a RH bat):

Garver
Donaldson
Cruz
Sano
Rosario
Kepler
Buxton
Arraez

Polanco

vs. righties:

Polanco
Arraez
Donaldson
Cruz
Rosario
Sano
Kepler
Garver
Buxton
 

One shouldn’t prevent the other. Even after the Donaldson deal, the Twins basically sit at $140m, including Buxton and Berrios. Give them both a raise and the team still wouldn’t be at even $150m.

$150m would have ranked 12th in baseball in 2019 and probably lower than that once the dust settles on 2020.

Twins fans really need to de-program themselves from what the Pohlads have been selling us for the past decade. IIRC, the Twins had the 10th highest payroll in 2010 and they should be able to replicate the modern equivalent for a 3-4 year competitive run. That’s about $160-165m in 2020 money.


Yea and I should be dating Kate Upton. To dismiss the financial implications of this signing by saying the Twins should spend more is ignoring history and reality
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tony&rodney
Jan 15 2020 06:58 PM

For everyone who brings up Mauer - he was the worst three time batting championship catcher in MLB history. 

 

My take on JD signing: hip hip hooray!

 

    • ashbury and Bomba2026 like this

I don't think the Twins lose their competetive balance pick.I think those are protected. It should be their third round pick.Nice to get the Competetive balance pick to balance out the one that is lost.

Yee haw!Nice! 

I recently hacked MLB's website and came across the following email:

"To: TheCommish@mlb.com

Dear Rob,

We would like to remind you that the Twins set a new record for home runs last year, which was very exciting.As you can see from our roster, we are looking to do more this year.Our goal is a very doable 350 this year.Think of the fan excitement!

All ask that you do your part and KEEP THE BASEBALLS JUICED!!

 

Signed,

 

Falvine"

 

Everyone seems happy about this...reminds me of another MN player who got a 80 Million payday and takes That team no where as well....Unless Donaldson can pitch into the 8th inning I don't get this deal. When the Twins had all their money tied up with Mauer they had to get rid of fan favs just to pay 1 man. And when Joe retired, the Twins had cash to get decent players and sign players to longer contracts....I would rather pay a 24 yr old as opposed to a 34 yr old this money. And NO, don't even think about trading Eddie!

Mauer's contract had NOTHING to do with who or how they paid anyone else. The owner/FO made a decision to pay for nobody else. They were in a new stadium bringing in tons of cash and they CHOSE to keep payroll down. They had the money to pay free agents yet chose year after year to not do that.

 

2011 $113M

2012 $94M
2013 $75M

2014 $86M
2015 $109M

2016 $108M

 

If you notice they actually dropped payroll after they got into the new stadium. They stated they'd pay about 50% of revenues which were about $250M which should have had a payroll of $125M. So why didn't they? Mauer's contract had NOTHING to do with it. Greed did.

    • KFEY93, Dome Dogg and tony&rodney like this
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andy4butler
Jan 15 2020 09:43 PM

 

Against lefties (given Polanco's struggles as a RH bat):

Garver
Donaldson
Cruz
Sano
Rosario
Kepler
Buxton
Arraez

Polanco

vs. righties:

Polanco
Arraez
Donaldson
Cruz
Rosario
Sano
Kepler
Garver
Buxton
 

with the new rule on pitching change limitations, I would definitely alternate left and right handed batters.  
 

I like:

 

Garver

Polanco

Rosario

Cruz

Donaldson
Kepler

Sano

Buxton

Arraez

 

Mauer's contract had NOTHING to do with who or how they paid anyone else. The owner/FO made a decision to pay for nobody else. They were in a new stadium bringing in tons of cash and they CHOSE to keep payroll down. They had the money to pay free agents yet chose year after year to not do that.
 
2011 $113M
2012 $94M
2013 $75M
2014 $86M
2015 $109M
2016 $108M
 
If you notice they actually dropped payroll after they got into the new stadium. They stated they'd pay about 50% of revenues which were about $250M which should have had a payroll of $125M. So why didn't they? Mauer's contract had NOTHING to do with it. Greed did.

Looking at those payroll lite years it's time for some payback. $165m? That might change some fan narratives. Go get another pitcher!
Photo
Brock Beauchamp
Jan 16 2020 02:47 PM

Yea and I should be dating Kate Upton. To dismiss the financial implications of this signing by saying the Twins should spend more is ignoring history and reality

Except for that one part where the last time they fielded a 90 win team, they were around 10th in MLB payroll.

Besides, should we just let ownership slide when they’re being cheap just because they’ve done it in the past, too?

Except for that one part where the last time they fielded a 90 win team, they were around 10th in MLB payroll.

Besides, should we just let ownership slide when they’re being cheap just because they’ve done it in the past, too?


Nope just saying what the reality is. I wish they would spend more but I also wish I could date Kate

 

22 Games, 97 PAs, .373/.464/.819, 1.283 OPS 
10 HR, 21 RBI 

So 35 HR and 80 RBI.....at home!:)

    • Dome Dogg likes this

 

Signing Nelson Cruz absolutely helped the team identity. He "was the heart and soul of this club" in 2019- Derek Falvey. 

 

Cruz was our team MVP this year. He not only produced MVP type numbers but also had a huge affect on improvement from other guys, most notably Sano.  

 

Cruz was a fantastic hired gun, but whatever Falvey says, Nelson Cruz will not be remembered first as a Twin. He won't be wearing a Twins uniform in the HOF. 

 

I personally got more satisfaction from watching Kepler, Berrios, Garver, Sano, Rosario, Buxton, Duffey etc thrive last year than I did watching Nelson Cruz.

 

I'm an outlier on this issue. I just can't start caring about a free agent signee the same as a I do a guy that I've been dreaming on through the minors. 

 

My comments were to acknowledge that I'm totally irrational on this issue and despite my prejudice against free agent signings, even I can't find a reason to complain about the Donaldson signing. 


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