Image courtesy of © Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsJuan Minaya - Minor League Deal - No Spring Training Invite
If Minaya’s name rings a bell, it’s because he spent parts of the last 4 seasons with the White Sox. In 2018 he put up a 3.25 ERA with a near 28% strikeout rate while averaging over 95 mph on his fastball. He was one of the top arms in the White Sox bullpen 2018 with a 78 ERA- which was similar to Sergio Romo’s 2019 season. 2019 wasn’t quite as kind however, as his velocity dipped by almost 2 mph and the effectiveness of the rest of his pitches went with it. His 3.90 ERA was discredited by a 4.66 FIP, and the White Sox outrighted him midseason.
Minaya could work to recapture some of that velocity at the age of 29 which could raise the floor of the rest of his arsenal. If the Twins are in need of bullpen help as the season goes on, they may have themselves a high octane arm with past major league success waiting in AAA.
Cory Gearrin - Minor League Deal - Spring Training Invite
Gearrin is a reliever who’s made a career out of being reliable. In his eight seasons he’s pitched to a 3.64 ERA and 3.81 FIP and in only one of them has he allowed a HR/9 over 1.0 His career groundball rate of almost 50% indicates a high floor, as suppressing fly balls is a valuable skill to have these days. Gearrin also has one of those sliders that nerds love.
While he may not have Minaya’s raw stuff with an average fastball at 91.4 mph, there’s a lot to like about Gearrin’s reliability. Gearrin is another one of those veterans who’s been around the majors and provides a great fallback option if something doesn’t go according to plan. We may not be seeing him in a closer or setup role, but he’s a name to watch for at some point in 2020.
Blaine Hardy - Minor League Deal - Spring Training Invite
Hardy is another player that’s been in the AL Central for a few years, spending his entire career with the Tigers thus far. He suffered a miserable 2019 with a 4.47 ERA and 5.72 FIP while trying to pitch through a partially torn flexor tendon in his arm. Before 2019 however, Hardy had a 3.60 ERA in 5 seasons. He’s shown up to Major League Camp confident that his arm issues are in the past.
Hardy has a leg up because of his being left handed. He has some interesting reverse platoon splits (4.82 FIP vs L, 3.69 FIP vs R) due to his best pitch being his changeup the last few years similar to Tyler Clippard.
If the Twins can get his breaking ball to be more effective against same handed hitters, Hardy’s repertoire could make him valuable. Pitchers with strong changeups may be at a premium with the new three batter minimum since they’re typically able to match up decently against hitters on both sides of the plate. You have to believe the Twins have something in mind after watching Hardy first hand all these years and giving him a chance to prove he’s healthy in a Twins uniform.
The Twins already had some strong minor league depth going into the winter, but clearly wanted some options with more major league experience at the ready. I think this year above all others we’ve seen the front office bring in low risk options with the chance for a high pay off. On non guaranteed contracts, why not give yourself as much of a buffer of major league talent as possible? With the season just around the corner, are there any sneaky candidates you would expect to come up at some point and make an impact for the 2020 Twins?
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- Blake, Oldgoat_MN, mikelink45 and 4 others like this