Rundown: The Next Eovaldi, Cleveland Trade Rumors and More
Image courtesy of © Richard Mackson-USA TODAY SportsEovaldi had a solid 2018 season, but his postseason performance for the Red Sox really put him over the top. He missed the entire 2017 season and the two years prior to that pitched to a 4.45 ERA in 279 innings with the Yankees. Sounds a lot like Michael Pineda, right? Fingers crossed.
In trying to come up with a similar buy-low, high-upside option I landed on Eovaldi’s Boston teammate and fellow free agent Drew Pomeranz. From 2014-17, he had a 3.24 ERA in nearly 500 innings. Forearm issues caused him all sorts of problems in 2018, including a dip in velocity. He had a 6.08 ERA for the Red Sox last year and was demoted to the bullpen. So obviously there are some red flags, but MLB Trade Rumors predicted that he’d be available on a one-year, $6 million contract. I’d take that gamble.
I floated that idea out on Twitter, but Darren Wolfson of KSTP was kind enough to let me know the Twins had not made any contact with Pomeranz at this time. Maybe that will change once they address more urgent matters, who knows? Also, for those wondering, Drew is not related to former Twin Cities broadcaster and minor league pitcher Mike Pomeranz.
Doogie also noted on Twitter that the Twins have been in contact with Patrick Corbin’s agent. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Corbin, the top pitcher on this year’s free agent market, is expecting to receive six-year offers. Corbin has met with the Phillies, Nationals and is expected to meet with the Yankees. Jim Pohlad is notoriously averse to long commitments, and there’s some logic in that stance, so it still seems the Twins would be a long shot to land the lefty.
It seems pretty odd that Cleveland is apparently forced to shed a lot of payroll this offseason, but even more strange is who they’re inclined to move. Bob Nightengale of the USA Today reported that there’s a sense the team is more amenable to send away Trevor Bauer than Corey Kluber or Carlos Carrasco. Not only is Bauer the youngest of that trio, he also had the best 2018 season of that group. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported today that the Dodgers are in trade talks with Cleveland and its believed one of the members of their rotation would be headed to LA if any deal is agreed upon.
The Twins could certainly use a boost in their rotation, but I doubt Cleveland would be motivated to deal one of their best players to their top division rival. Still, someone like Bauer potentially leaving Cleveland, along with their other pending free agents, will obviously give the Twins better odds of winning the division.
Rob Huff of MLB Trade Rumors projected the Twins to have a $125 million payroll for 2019. That means they'd have $48 million to spend this offseason. Given the comments by ownership and the front office, I would be surprised if they went that high. But again, if Cleveland sheds talent the Twins should absolutely get aggressive.
The Indians are already losing Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. The fact that there’s so much speculation that they’re looking to shed payroll means they’re certainly not going to be signing any big free agents.
Michael Clair of Cut 4 predicted that the Twins would win the AL Central next season. One of the things he points to in the team bridging the gap to Cleveland is luck. So many things went poorly for the Twins in 2018 while Cleveland avoided a lot of those unforeseen issues, outside of their bullpen problems. If they traded Bauer and one of Francisco Lindor or Jose Ramirez was forced to miss a significant amount of time, that team would be very ordinary.
The first Twins Hot Stove Show of the offseason was recorded Wednesday night. You can listen back to the full episode here. Derek Falvey and Rocco Baldelli were the guests. There was a lot of talk about culture, leadership and forming partnerships.
A couple members of the 2018 Twins are moving on to other organizations. La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Trib provided details on Jeff Pickler joining the Reds coaching staff and Chris Gimenez becoming the game planning coach for the Dodgers.
Over at Twinkie Town, Hayden looked back at the 10 dumbest things that happened to the Twins in 2018. I laughed, I cried, I realized there was lots of dumb stuff I’d already blocked out of my memory.
A name you can expect to be hearing a lot is Yusei Kikuchi. The Seibu Lions are expected to post the 27-year-old lefty next week. He’s already in the US and was spotted at an Anaheim Ducks game. Here’s some video of Kikuchi on the mound:
I haven’t seen the Twins linked to Kikuchi in any way, but he seems like a player they should definitely have interest in. He has a 2.81 ERA in more than 1,000 innings in the NPB. If you’re interested in learning more, Yankees site River Ave Blues did an excellent job profiling Kikuchi.
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