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Twins Blogosphere

Minnesota Twins and Pitcher Matt Shoemaker Agree To Deal

The Minnesota Twins have come to an agreement with starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker on a one-year deal, according to Jeff Passan. Shoemaker will likely compete for the fifth spot in the Twins rotation with Randy Dobnak, Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe.
Image courtesy of © Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Shoemaker is a 34-year-old with a 3.86 ERA in 602 major-league innings. He's made 112 appearances in the big leagues, including 104 starts. It was known that the Twins had an offer out to him. His one-year deal includes $250K in incentives on top of a $2 million base, according to Passan.

Shoemaker is a good story, having gone unselected in the 2008 draft before signing with the Angels, working his way up through the minors, and finishing second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 when he went 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA.

The righty's career has since been marred by injury issues, and he's made just 18 total starts since 2017, but he continues to perform well when on the mound. Andrew Thares wrote last week about why Shoemaker is an intriguing fit for the Twins.

For instance, in 2020, Shoemaker increased his fastball's average velocity 1.6% to match the highest velocity of his career. And that paid dividends:

"Additionally, his fastball spike started to pay some dividends in the advanced metrics, particularly with his Four-seamer, where his expected wOBA dropped from a career .390 down to just .214 in 2020 on that pitch."

Thares also looked at Shoemaker's pitch usage, focusing on those pitchers which gave up home runs, which was his biggest issue in last year. He wonders why they didn't feature the four-seam fastball more....

"Instead, they continued to focus the majority of his fastball usage on his sinker (25.6% of pitches in 2020), which has been a flat-out awful pitch for the almost the entirety of Shoemaker’s career. This is where an opportunity lies for the Twins to take advantage of. If they simply cut the usage of Shoemaker’s awful sinker in favor of what appears to be a much improved four-seamer, it would instantly bring his game to a whole new level.

Now that we know the details of the contract, Thares' conclusion reads even stronger:

"You factor all of that in with the Twins ability to get the absolute most out of pitchers when other couldn’t (just look at Kenta Maeda last year as an example) and the Twins could have themselves a more than credible option to compete for a spot in the Twins starting rotation this spring, and he would likely be doing so on a cheap, low-risk deal for the Twins."

Click over to read the whole analysis. When you're done, since Twins Daily has the best and most generous Twins community, share your thoughts and analysis in the comments!

Twins Daily's Tom Froemming shared some highlights of Shoemaker's pitches and additional details of his career to date in the video below.

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It is an intimidating picture
    • DocBauer and Joey P like this
Brock Beauchamp
Feb 15 2021 05:13 PM
Hmm. I was hoping for more of a sure thing but I guess this is fine for the fifth starter role.
    • Twins33, PseudoSABR, LA VIkes Fan and 2 others like this

Hopefully he doesn't tear something signing the contract.

    • Brandon, tarheeltwinsfan, Dave The Dastardly and 1 other like this

He looks like John Turturro! If he is as intimidating in the rotation as Turturro was in The Big Lebowski....

    • sampleSizeOfOne likes this
Feb 15 2021 05:33 PM

Hopefully Shoemaker can toe the rubber and cobble together some good performances. 

    • DocBauer, tarheeltwinsfan, CUtomorrownight and 4 others like this

I am glad they brought in another veteran pitcher to compete for the 5th spot.Hopefully he grabs it and we have Dobnak etc. for depth because odds are one or more of the starters are going to need rest or get injured so we will need guys available to step up and step in.


I assume this means Garlic is toast and headed for the waiver wire?hopefully he goes unclaimed and grows with the Twins, as this doesn't look like a minor league deal, so will need to make room on the 40 man.

    • LA VIkes Fan, Hosken Bombo Disco, DocBauer and 8 others like this
Feb 15 2021 05:40 PM

Hope I am wrong but... yuck!

I like it. Low price and the Twins don't have to start the season relying on Dobnak every 5th game. Gives Dobnak some time to work on things in St.Paul and when there is an injury to a starter he can take the 20 minute drive to Minneapolis. 

    • LA VIkes Fan, Otwins, Dman and 6 others like this


Hope I am wrong but... yuck!

If he stays healthy you very well could be wrong. However, his history shows that isn't at all likely.

Essentially the 2021 version of Homer Bailey.So if Shoemaker wins 5th spot out of ST, so Dobnak and Smeltzer go to St.Paul as depth for when injuries hit?I believe Thorpe is out of options?

    • mikelink45, DocBauer, rdehring and 1 other like this

....sadly, this seems to slam the door shut on Odorizzi returning.

    • jrod23, bighat, wabene and 2 others like this

Here's the real question though:


Does Shoemaker make a handful of starts and then go on the IL?




He starts the season on the IL - probably lingering shoulder issues from last fall - and debuts in July so it's "just like trading for an impact arm"?


So many choices.

    • Joey P likes this

Looks like Shoemaker is this year's Homer Bailey.


Meh, alright. He's got a decent track record, and if healthy he can give the Twins some innings and maybe a few wins. At this point I'd prefer Dobnak but competition is healthy - speaking of healthy, it's quite possible Shoemaker doesn't stay healthy all year and Randy will likely be a starter for a good part of the year, regardless.

    • Dman likes this

Well done Twins.I'd still like us to give Odo a deal, if they have a chance.:)

    • GNess likes this

Good addition. 




1. Shoemaker's short term upside likely > than Dobnak, Smeltzer and Thorpe.


2. Injury history doesn't always predict an injury future.


3. Adds needed depth to the SP core - especially if Duran and Bala can contribute in 2021.


4. If Shoemaker performs at average in the upper half of his past performances - he is a pretty strong #5.

    • LA VIkes Fan, Dman, DocBauer and 5 others like this

I'd rather have him than Martin Perez. I'd rather have Rich Hill than Shoemaker. Seems to be a pattern in signing 5th starters. Not opposed by any means, as he's essentially going to be in and out of the 5th spot and the IL, rotating with Dobnak, Thorpe, and a couple of surprises.

    • TopGunn#22 and Jack like this
Feb 15 2021 06:33 PM







That back end is far from confidence inspiring. 

    • Twins33, mikelink45 and SkyBlueWaters like this
Dudes been a boss when healthy. Solid #3 with 2 upside. He’s been around long enough to teach younger guys and knows how to pitch in Yankee Stadium. Underrated signing, let’s go.
    • LA VIkes Fan, Otwins, Dman and 9 others like this

Like the signing because of the solid upside and consistent effectiveness when healthy.  

Wish it was a minor league deal with higher incentives so we would have a chance to look at him during spring training and get a better idea of where he is at health wise.


I guess the Twins think he is healthy and ready to role! Might be the end for Thorpe tho!

    • tarheeltwinsfan, Wizard11 and GNess like this
LA VIkes Fan
Feb 15 2021 07:12 PM

Shoemaker was good with the Angels before he got hurt. Solid #3 guy, frankly has a similar track record to Odorizzi until 2019 and they both lost 2020 to injuries. We weren't going to pay Odorizzi 12-14m a year for 3-4 years once we signed Cruz and Simmons and Colome. The choice was always (1) Cruz, plus a SS, reliever and 5th starter (Cruz, Simmons, Colome and now Shoemaker) vs. (2) Cruz and Odorizzi,, and run back the remainder of the BP plus young guys and the same starting 9.I think the FO made the right choice.  

    • flpmagikat, Dman, Major League Ready and 8 others like this








That back end is far from confidence inspiring. 

I'd much rather have somebody like Quintana or Paxton instead of Happ, as they signed at similar prices. Dobnak/Shoemaker are fine for the back end of the rotation. I would like better options than Thorpe/Smeltzer, but we are talking about the #8/9 spots.

    • wsnydes and SkyBlueWaters like this
Also, Gleeman said Thorpe was "awarded" a 4th option year, so not losing him. Unless he is the waiver candidate.
    • Dman, MN_ExPat and rdehring like this
Feb 15 2021 07:29 PM

"The Shoe" will cover the White Sox.

    • ashbury, Dman and Joey P like this
While not dancing a jig...and I'm not Irish anyway...Im OK with this. We need depth and competition. Despite all the success of our staff in 2020, even in a short 60G season, we saw the need for depth.

We know the recent injury history. The good? 25+ GS 2014-2016 and 14 in 2017, good career ERA, FIP and WHIP with a decent 8+K per 9.

I agree with GNess that past injury history does in no way guarantee future injury. I also agree this is a lot like the Bailey signing last year. And that's NOT a bad thing. Bailey had a nice rebound 2019. If 2020 had been a full season, there is a very good chance Bailey would have contributed well over at least a half year. And every season there is someone who gets over the injury bug and suddenly shines like they used to and becomes a "steal" for the team who signed them. Why can't this be Shoemaker?

Now, I would have preferred stretching payroll more to $8-10M for the HOPE of Paxton, the STEADINESS of Odorizzi or the UPSIDE of Walker and push Happ down. But 1-4 I really like the rotation we have. (Especially Happ getting out of Yankee stadium). There is still room for Dobnak, who I like, to make a difference. There is also room for Duran and Ober and potentially others over a full season.

So again, I'm OK with this move.
    • flpmagikat, LA VIkes Fan, Dman and 4 others like this
Feb 15 2021 07:39 PM

I like the move. It seems to open the door for one of the rookies to step in much easier. 


If Dobnak opened(opens) the season as the #5 and he's pitching fine but not great, the team is going to think long and hard about leaving him in there. If Dobnak starts the season in the bullpen and does fine there, he's probably more likely to stay in relief and allow the already stretched out Balazovic or Duran to grab the vacant rotation spot.


Not that Shoemaker might NOT stay healthy, I hope he does and I wish him well.

    • DocBauer, Wizard11, MN_ExPat and 2 others like this

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