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Opportunity Cost

For Twins fans, the last couple of weeks have brought one piece of good news after another. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have built on last year’s playoff team by overhauling the pitching staff. Two new starters and multiple relievers have been added to help fix Minnesota’s biggest weakness. Add in the signing of Logan Morrison to bolster the offense and it’s been an almost perfect offseason.

That being said, there has been some collateral damage throughout this process. Players who were poised to break camp with the team will be starting in the minors or ending up on another roster. Who has been impacted the most by the current roster’s construction?
Image courtesy of Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Starting Pitcher Effect
Ervin Santana is going to start the year on the disabled list but there was still other arms vying for a role in the rotation. Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson seemed like locks and both players should still be in the rotation on Opening Day. Beyond those two players, the rest of the rotation has been impacted by the additions of Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn.

Adalberto Mejia was penciled into the back-end of the rotation as spring training began. However, he now seems destined for Rochester to join a stacked rotation with many of the team’s top pitching prospects. Phil Hughes also had a chance at a rotation role. With the current roster, it seems like he will be shifted to the bullpen. Anibal Sanchez saw his Twins tenure come to an end on Sunday even if it was a long-shot for him to make the rotation.

Pre Off-Season Rotation: Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Adalberto Mejia, Phil Hughes

Current Rotation: Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios, Lance Lynn, Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson

Relief Pitcher Effect
Minnesota’s bullpen had some bright spots last season but there were still some question marks as the offseason began. There was very little late-inning experience and it was hard to know who would be called upon for some of the biggest outs in the game. Adding pieces like Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed and Zach Duke might have shifted the bullpen into one of the team’s strengths.

Some less experienced players are going to find themselves in the minors to start the year. Tyler Kinely was selected in the Rule 5 Draft but the bullpen is already crowded. The Twins could work out a deal with Miami to keep him in the minors. Hughes is going to have to take the place of another arm. Names like Alan Busenitz, John Curtiss and Gabriel Moya are going to have to continue to prove themselves in the minors as they wait for their opportunity.

Pre Off-Season Bullpen: Trevor Hildenberger, Ryan Pressly, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Alan Busenitz, John Curtiss, Jake Reed

Current Bullpen: Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed, Trevor Hildenberger, Ryan Pressly, Zack Duke, Taylor Rogers, Phil Hughes

Designated Hitter Effect
Even after having offseason surgery, Miguel Sano will continue to get time on the defensive side of the ball. There may be a time in his career where he is relegated to a designated hitter role. Over the last two seasons, Joe Mauer has averaged 23 starts at DH. Other names like Kennys Vargas and Robbie Grossman entered camp with a chance to earn some time as the designated hitter. Logan Morrison’s signing changed some of those plans.

Kennys Vargas seems like the odd-man out in the new DH equation. His lack of defensive position makes him more replaceable than someone like Robbie Grossman. Minnesota can put Grossman on the bench and have him serve in a fourth outfielder role. Vargas seems redundant with more proven hitters like Morrison, Sano and Mauer ahead of him on the DH depth chart.

Pre Off-Season DH Options: Robbie Grossman, Kennys Vargas, Miguel Sano, Joe Mauer
Current DH Options: Logan Morrison, Robbie Grossman, Miguel Sano, Joe Mauer


Who has been impacted the most by the moves of this off-season? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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66 Comments

The one thing going for Vargas is switch hitting with power. He's a legit home run threat from either side of the plate, and his approach has improved greatly over his early days, when his swing looked more like something from slow pitch softball. Today his swing from both sides is short, compact and explosive. What happens if you give a guy like the 500 at bats?

 

Looks like the Twins aren't going to find out.

    • Twins33, Riverbrian, tarheeltwinsfan and 2 others like this
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ToddlerHarmon
Mar 11 2018 01:36 PM

So, adding up the damage, we drop:

 

Mejia, Duffey, Busenitz, Curtiss, Reed, and Vargas.

 

We see less projected time from:

 

Hughes, Gibson, and Grossman.

 

More importantly, these are now the guys who step in for injuries or ineffectiveness.

 

Looking at the list, these would have been the highlights of our 2016 pitching staff.  So things are looking up.

With Santana on DL to start the seaon, we could have one more reliever in the majors.

Tyler Duffey is also left off the roster. Not sure that will happen. We'll see
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Tommygun921
Mar 11 2018 02:51 PM
Grossman has a better approach at the plate, on base skills, and can be used as a 4th outfielder. But I still would like to see Vargas kept over him. But I think Vargas will be left out. To bad he doesn't have any options left. Does Grossman have any?
    • jun likes this
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Tommygun921
Mar 11 2018 02:53 PM
Most of the pitchers left off will be the 1st ones up when there's an injury or someone fails to deliver. Which is what is what Falvine has been shooting for. Legitimate depth. Players that can be actual reinforcements instead of just replacements.
    • Twins33 and blindeke like this

 

What happens if you give a guy like the 500 at bats?

Everyone complains that he's taking Mauer's or Morrison's or Sano's at-bats.

 

It was always going to be difficult for Vargas to establish himself as an every-day guy with Mauer at 1B and Sano breaking in without a position.Last year would have been the year...but it didn't happen.

 

His bad timing doesn't make him a great hitter, though.It just makes him unlucky.

If the Twins let him go, I hope he gets that every-day opportunity at the next stop.

    • mikelink45 and CUtomorrownight like this

It seems almost impossible for Tyler Kinely to make the Twins staff - if Duffey is being left off then no way Kinely makes it. Hindsight is 20-20 but that makes the decision not to protect Burdi (who could be sent to the DL and not take up a 40 man spot until late summer) even worse. They essentially gave him up for nothing. He may not pan out and again, 20-20 hindsight, but that's not ideal.

 

P.S. By my calculations, Duffey has options left since he has only been down to the minors twice since hitting the bigs and is still in his first five years of service time. Can someone confirm that? What a nice piece to have waiting at AAA but tough for the Duff Man. He certainly seemed likely to make the team before this crazy offseason.

    • blindeke, KGB, Minny505 and 1 other like this

The Twins top three relievers at AAA are going to be Buesnitz, Moya and Duffey. That's really awesome depth. 

    • Blackjack and Original Whizzinator like this

i'm thinking the Twins have a good shot at going deep into the playoffs. They have no glaring weaknesses this year.

    • blindeke likes this
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tarheeltwinsfan
Mar 11 2018 04:47 PM

Three years ago we were looking for a SS and a CF and a Catcher and Nolasco and Correa and others of their ilk. I feel so much better about this roster. Thanks F & L and Mr. P.

    • jokin and blindeke like this
You still have to play thru spring training. If Morrison gets hurt (or Mauer), you want Vargas. The question will be Sano. Do you NEED that extra infielder. Ehire and Escobar are even a luxury, in many ways, although both can take a run in the outfield.

If an outfielder is on the mend, do you want Granite or Grossman.

Mejia is NOT a longterm player for the Twins. Yes, he throws left-handed, but it is ncie that you can still stash him at Rochester. You also have Slegers in the wings, plus Romero, Jorge and Gonsalves. So it looks pretty good there. Now, what to do about Hughes.

Do you open with Garver on the bench or send him to Rochester to catch your starters for the future. He has the options. Are you better served with one of the other catchers as a bench/backup, at least to start the season.

Yes, there will be some arms pushed back in bullpen land, not to mention some others waiting and able (Jake Reed). Right now, the Twins have an abundance of riches in the pitching department.

But they don't have much on the 40-man to call up as a bat if someone goes down, and you need to create a 40-man sport. All those minor league free agents are great if push-comes-to-shove, but none of them really work into any longterm plans.

I would not pencil in Trevor Hildenberger, Ryan Pressly, or Taylor Rogers, as "locks" for the Twins' pen, ahead of eg. Duffey

 

Other than the 4 veterans (the 3 new guys plus Hughes) there are no locks.Everyone who is returning in that pen was part of one of the worst pens in the game.No locks.

 

I think that the biggest loser with the Lynn signing was Fernando Romero who had an outside chance to make the team and be good.Maybe he will do so mid-season.

I would also not write Vargas out and/or call Grossman a lock.Neither or both can make the team or someone like Granite and Aybar might.These 4 are fighting for 2 spots and any combination might be in play.

 

Give it 2 weeks, we'll know.

    • mikelink45 and D.C Twins like this

Love the roster flexibility that comes with Granite over a long season and hate the inflexibility of Grossman and Vargas. Especially when the bench numbers are limited. And with the addition of Logan, I think HR potential off the bench is slightly less needed. 

Hildenberger was our best pitcher for a half season. 

 

I would not pencil in Trevor Hildenberger, Ryan Pressly, or Taylor Rogers, as "locks" for the Twins' pen, ahead of eg. Duffey

 

Other than the 4 veterans (the 3 new guys plus Hughes) there are no locks.Everyone who is returning in that pen was part of one of the worst pens in the game.No locks.

 

I think that the biggest loser with the Lynn signing was Fernando Romero who had an outside chance to make the team and be good.Maybe he will do so mid-season.

I would also not write Vargas out and/or call Grossman a lock.Neither or both can make the team or someone like Granite and Aybar might.These 4 are fighting for 2 spots and any combination might be in play.

 

Give it 2 weeks, we'll know.

 

    • Bill Tanner and MN_ExPat like this
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Ted Schwerzler
Mar 11 2018 06:16 PM

 

It seems almost impossible for Tyler Kinely to make the Twins staff - if Duffey is being left off then no way Kinely makes it. Hindsight is 20-20 but that makes the decision not to protect Burdi (who could be sent to the DL and not take up a 40 man spot until late summer) even worse. They essentially gave him up for nothing. He may not pan out and again, 20-20 hindsight, but that's not ideal.

 

P.S. By my calculations, Duffey has options left since he has only been down to the minors twice since hitting the bigs and is still in his first five years of service time. Can someone confirm that? What a nice piece to have waiting at AAA but tough for the Duff Man. He certainly seemed likely to make the team before this crazy offseason.

Duffey does have innings left, and Kinley likely just replaces Burdi in the minors. I'd imagine the Twins will work out a trade with the Marlins to keep him.

 

Grossman has a better approach at the plate, on base skills, and can be used as a 4th outfielder. But I still would like to see Vargas kept over him. But I think Vargas will be left out. To bad he doesn't have any options left. Does Grossman have any?

Grossman is SCARY in the outfield.He has run into Santana, Polanco and Buxton.He made more errors than all LFers in the league in 2016 in just SEVENTY FIVE games.

 

I don't understand why people keep referring to him as a "fourth outfielder". That means if someone goes down he is next man up out there.

    • rghrbek, Bill Tanner, mplsman and 1 other like this

Duffey does have innings left, and Kinley likely just replaces Burdi in the minors. I'd imagine the Twins will work out a trade with the Marlins to keep him.


FWIW, Kinley would have to clear waivers (albeit with Rule 5 restrictions attached) before the Twins could trade for him and remove Rule 5 restrictions. If he shows enough promise to be worth a trade, another team might put in a claim. Hence these kind of Rule 5 trades are fairly rare.

Of course, if he does clear waivers, the Marlins might be cheap enough to deal him for financial reasons (they'd have to pay $50k to take him back).

 

Hildenberger was our best pitcher for a half season. 

 

Maybe.But that was a horrible bullpen.And he is a novelty type of pitcher.And novelty (unlike stuff) tends to wear out.

Some people might argue that Busenitz was or that Belisle was or that Kintzler was...

 

Kinda tough to point at the one-eyed person among the blind and saying that he should be around...

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Tommygun921
Mar 11 2018 08:03 PM
"I don't understand why people keep referring to him as a "fourth outfielder". That means if someone goes down he is next man up out there."

Because that's what they're used him as since he's been here.

I think Hildenberger will have to pitch himself out of a job this spring.He was pretty solid last year and had dominated the minors. Biggest impacts likely on Mejia, Vargas, Grossman, and Granite.I have a feeling Grossman will be the 4th OF and Granite goes to the minors.Grossman can pinch-hit off the bench and is a switch-hitter.He also takes professional at-bats.You can send Granite to AAA and if/when an OF goes on the DL, then you call up Granite to fill in as an every-day OF.  

    • SwainZag and jkcarew like this
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ChrisKnutson
Mar 11 2018 08:39 PM

Imo, this what "should" happen.

 

Bullpen: Have Alan Buesnitz and Adalberto Mejia round out the last 2 spots (has experience). AAA depth; Curtiss, Reed, Moya, Kinley (trade Aaron Slegers and Tyler Duffey to Fish) are next in line. 

 

Bench: Go with Ehire Adrianza, Robbie Grossman, Eduardo Escobar, Mitch Garver. Next in line should be Zack Granite, Ryan Lamarre, and Erick Aybar.

 

And if Sano gets suspended just reward a reliever to get some looks against MLB batters (likely Fernando Romero). There's no need to call on Erick Aybar when your bench has Adrianza and Escobar, we were fine without Sano at the end of 2017 anyways. 

 

 

Look to trade Phil Huhges, Kennys Vargas, Ehire Adrianza (sell high), Erick Aybar, Tyler Duffey, and Aaron Slegers (nothing to prove in AAA) for a catching prospect, a so-so RH bench bat, or another lefty reliever.

 

 

 

Maybe.But that was a horrible bullpen.And he is a novelty type of pitcher.And novelty (unlike stuff) tends to wear out.

Some people might argue that Busenitz was or that Belisle was or that Kintzler was...

 

Kinda tough to point at the one-eyed person among the blind and saying that he should be around...

I think a bullpen is stronger when it does have a "novelty" pitcher.A change of arm angle, a knuckleball, anything that throws off the opposition is good.Neshek is a good example and has created an excellent career.

 

    • snepp, Minny505, MN_ExPat and 2 others like this

 


Mejia is NOT a longterm player for the Twins. 

Disagree. 4.50 ERA in his rookie campaign with Swing and miss material. 10.5% S/M rate. that was higher than Berrios' 9.4%. Think he has a good chance to be a typical number 3 in the rotation in the future years..

    • Twins33, dbminn and Minny505 like this

Keep Vargas.  his hitting is timely. Morrison can play OF at least as well as Grossman.

 

I'd like to see Granite in rotation with our other OF.  Nothing still falls but raindrops.  But Granite will probably be sent to AAA and brought up if someone is injured. 

 

Escobar is a proven backup in the infield. no others are needed at this time.

 

 

:)

    • jud6312 likes this
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twinstalker
Mar 12 2018 02:51 AM

 

Imo, this what "should" happen.

 

Bullpen: Have Alan Buesnitz and Adalberto Mejia round out the last 2 spots (has experience). AAA depth; Curtiss, Reed, Moya, Kinley (trade Aaron Slegers and Tyler Duffey to Fish) are next in line. 

 

Bench: Go with Ehire Adrianza, Robbie Grossman, Eduardo Escobar, Mitch Garver. Next in line should be Zack Granite, Ryan Lamarre, and Erick Aybar.

 

And if Sano gets suspended just reward a reliever to get some looks against MLB batters (likely Fernando Romero). There's no need to call on Erick Aybar when your bench has Adrianza and Escobar, we were fine without Sano at the end of 2017 anyways. 

 

 

Look to trade Phil Huhges, Kennys Vargas, Ehire Adrianza (sell high), Erick Aybar, Tyler Duffey, and Aaron Slegers (nothing to prove in AAA) for a catching prospect, a so-so RH bench bat, or another lefty reliever.

 

I would trade Granite, Grossman and Escobar for Mike Trout, who could play vs lhp instead of Kepler and back up Buxton in CF. It's always fun when you don't have to consider the other team's considerations and restrictions! Heck, we're not even paying attention to the Twins' restrictions.

 

Just so this post is somewhat constructive: a number of names above can not be traded, either procedure-wise or in practicality. Nor are teams looking to add players who need to be kept on the 25 and/or 40 man rosters.

 

If Vargas is dealt, it's after clearing waivers and being dealt to a team that will offer the infamous PTBNL or cash. I don't think Aybar can be dealt unless he makes the team, as he has an opt out. Trade Phil Hughes?That's what Terry Ryan needed to do after 2014, in hindsight, instead of extending him (not in hindsight). It should go without saying that a deal involving Hughes is impossible. 

 

It's possible there's a team out there that has some space on the 40 man for Duffey, but they're not going to pay for that. He's the definition of replacement level.

    • Dozier's Glorious Hair and Minny505 like this

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