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Zack Littell on Throwing Multiple Sliders

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:07 PM
https://blogs.fangra...is-two-sliders/ Interesting piece over at FanGraphs where Zack Littell discusses the two different sliders he used...
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Thorpe leaving camp for a spell

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  "To who this may concern! I’ve left camp for a week or 2 for personal matters. I’m healthy and excited for this year. I’ll be bac...
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YouTube TV Drops Fox Sports Regional Networks

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Does MLB and its TV affiliates (mostly Fox Sports channels) realize how idiotic they are being by not being available to be watched on ma...
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MLB.com Top 30 Twins Prospects

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MLB redesigned their prospect ranking pages and released the Twins top 30 today. 
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Nick Gordon News?

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Recent Blogs


Should the Twins Trade for Kris Bryant?

After missing on all of the big-name free agent starting pitchers this offseason, the Minnesota Twins have shifted their focus to former MVP third baseman Josh Donaldson, to try to make their big splash this winter. However, with reports coming out that the Twins are increasingly pessimistic about their chances of signing Donaldson, they may have to change their course yet again. One potential option that they could set their sights on is another former MVP third basemen, in Kris Bryant.
Image courtesy of © Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
After years spent building up their core players, the Chicago Cubs appear to be stuck in no-mans land this offseason. They would like to add to their team (which greatly underperformed in 2019), but they do not have the payroll flexibility to do so. Additionally, their farm system is all but depleted of impactful prospects that can help the team in the short term. As a result, the Cubs have moved in the direction of potentially trading away some of their core pieces, with an aim at more long-term success. On such piece that has become available is Kris Bryant.

The former second overall pick in the MLB Draft, has been an excellent player since he entered the league in 2015. His debut sparked some controversy, as the Cubs intentionally left him off their opening day roster. Instead, Bryant didn’t make his MLB debut until April 17th, 2015. As a result, the Cubs bought themselves an extra year of team control before Bryant becomes a free agent, which will be after the 2021 season instead of after the 2020 season.

Early reports suggest that the Cubs are asking for a king’s ransom in exchange for Bryant, which could inevitably sway the Twins from making a move for him. However, if the Cubs do see moving Bryant as aligning with their plans for the future of their organization, they might have to come down on their asking price, just to get other teams to enter into the conversation.

When you look around the rest of major league baseball, there aren’t many teams where trading for Kris Bryant makes more sense than it does for the Minnesota Twins. They have a clear need to upgrade at third base (hence their interest in Josh Donaldson), they have the the cap space to take on the expensive final two years of arbitration (Bryant is due $18.6 M in 2020), and they have the prospect capital to make this deal work.

So, what kind of package could the Twins offer that would realistically get the Cubs to bite on a trade for Kris Bryant? I think the starter to this conversation would be around the Twins giving up one of either Royce Lewis or Alex Kirilloff. If the Cubs are insistent on both, then I don’t think this is a deal that makes much sense for the Twins, but one or the other is reasonable. The Twins might also need to include another prospect a tier down from Lewis and Kiriloff. This includes the likes of Brusdar Graterol, Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic. Personally, I see Balazovic the least likely of these players to get dealt away to the Cubs, as they are still trying to compete, and of the group mentioned he is the furthest prospect away. Finally, the Twins might also have to include another prospect or two as kickers, someone like a Cole Sands or Travis Blankenhorn would make sense.

Now, many of you might be thinking this is far too much to give up for two seasons of Kris Bryant, and if so, you are probably right, but the idea is to explore a trade package that could actually get the Cubs to trade away one of the faces of their franchise, while they are still clearly within a competitive window. The Cubs are also reportedly interested in acquiring MLB-ready talent, which could cause the Twins to pull back as they don’t really have much to offer in that regard (outside of Eddie Rosario who would make zero sense for the Cubs to acquire given their current outfield state). At the end of the day, this could be the deciding factor that keeps the Cubs from actually trading away Bryant, but when an opportunity to acquire a player of Kris Bryant’s ability is available, the Twins should at least consider taking a stab at it.

What do you think? Should the Twins look to make a big move for Kris Bryant if they miss out on Josh Donaldson, or look for other alternatives to improve this team for 2020 and beyond? Let us know in the comment section down below.

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60 Comments

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Doctor Gast
Jan 11 2020 01:49 PM

Makes total sense to at least start a dialogue w/ Chicago, to see what`ll it cost. 

    • glunn likes this
I don't know. If we are already willing to spend 20 million on Bryant or Donaldson, I think paying Donaldson an extra 5 million or even 8 million a year and having Killeroff and Graterol during their low cost years makes more sense then a trade.
    • SQUIRREL, glunn, PseudoSABR and 16 others like this
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tony&rodney
Jan 11 2020 02:14 PM

No. 

    • Major League Ready, sftwinsfan and bighat like this
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howieramone2
Jan 11 2020 03:21 PM
I would talk to them. This is the second offseason in a row, King Theo has been forced to sit out. No one knows better than he, free agency is not Christmas.
Hard pass. If we are going to hit the farm system it needs to be for a good pitching prospect. I don’t understand the recent obsession on TD about acquiring a third baseman.
    • Monkeypaws, goulik, Doctor Wu and 1 other like this
I understand the premise completely, but I'm just not sure I follow the logic. The Twins would get him for only 2yrs, possibly only 1yr, which is yet to be determined. (Though I don't think Bryant will win his case).

Financially, that $18M is very affordable! Not sure how saving $18M helps the Cubs any this year with all the major FA parts having been signed. I would assume any savings is directed towards next off season along with acquiring a couple nice young prospects.

With Sano still able to play 3B on 2020, as good as Bryant is, does moving 3 or 4 top 20 prospects for 2yrs of him move the needle enough vs saving those prospects and using them on a SP move?

One if the nice things about Donaldson is there is no prospect cost. Guess I don't have an immediate answer, just questions.
    • glunn, VOMG and jkcarew like this
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howieramone2
Jan 11 2020 04:18 PM
Doc, he may be desperate. Poor farm system with few if any pitching prospects and a contract that runs out after the 2021 season. A friend in need, is a friend indeed.
    • DocBauer and Doctor Gast like this

 

Hard pass. If we are going to hit the farm system it needs to be for a good pitching prospect. I don’t understand the recent obsession on TD about acquiring a third baseman.

But, why? The Twins don't have both a third-baseman and a first-baseman. They either need a first-baseman or a third-baseman. The season starts in 2 1/2 months. That's a fairly big deal for a team that is expected to compete for a pennant.

 

Meanwhile, using anything other than a proven player to fill the gap in a year where the team has a chance to seriously contend....well, I would expect the topic of what to do about third (or first) isn't going away anytime real soon.

    • DannySD likes this

 

With Sano still able to play 3B on 2020, as good as Bryant is, does moving 3 or 4 top 20 prospects for 2yrs of him move the needle enough vs saving those prospects and using them on a SP move?

But you need a first-baseman and a third-baseman.

 

IMO, the Twins should be exploring a proven first-baseman or a proven third baseman for 2020. Can they slap a rookie in there...or a bench player...or Garver? Well, there's been no indication that the Twins want Garver to play first-base on 'rest' days. A current bench player would make the entire lineup less deep and less flexible. And slapping a rookie into a premier offensive position for a contending team...that's probably pretty risky as well.

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sweetmusicviola16
Jan 11 2020 04:45 PM

 

I don't know. If we are already willing to spend 20 million on Bryant or Donaldson, I think paying Donaldson an extra 5 million or even 8 million a year and having Killeroff and Graterol during their low cost years makes more sense then a trade.

Exactly. Cruz and Gonzalez come off the books after 2020 and Donaldson's contract would replace their money essentially. Save the prospects and sign JD if you insist on getting a 3B other than Sano.

    • Cap'n Piranha likes this
Pay Donaldson, or pay AND give up prospects for Bryant, and have less years of control.

Let me think about that...


...

No.
    • Cap'n Piranha, Twins33, Danchat and 6 others like this

You're suggesting the Twins deal 2 of their top 5 prospects and throw in another one that's probably in the mid-20's for a player that's suing his current organization and is already going to be making $15M+ in year 1 with us, will get close to $20M in year 2 and could possibly be gone after that? Pretty sure we could get Syndergaard out of the Mets for less. I know we could get Jon Gray for less of a prospect haul.

 

If we're giving up top prospects, I want top pitching, not a rental of a guy getting spendy at 3B., especially when he hasn't been anywhere near his MVP form for 2 years. Note: Bryant's D has taken a significant hit the last two seasons, so let's not pretend that he's going to suddenly turnaround our 3B defense. Yes, he's better at 3B than Sano but both guys value is tied to their offense right now.

    • glunn, TL, DocBauer and 4 others like this

But you need a first-baseman and a third-baseman.
 
IMO, the Twins should be exploring a proven first-baseman or a proven third baseman for 2020. Can they slap a rookie in there...or a bench player...or Garver? Well, there's been no indication that the Twins want Garver to play first-base on 'rest' days. A current bench player would make the entire lineup less deep and less flexible. And slapping a rookie into a premier offensive position for a contending team...that's probably pretty risky as well.


I think you meant to say they need a 3B OR a 1B. And I agree. I mean, it's pretty glaring we need one or the other, right? Personally, i was hoping for Cron back on a 1yr until someone else was ready. The FO didn't see it that way. Personally, I think they just didn't trust him being 100%. And that's OK. IMO, Sano is servicable at 3B for now, with room at 26yo and slimmed down and seemingly re-dedicated to fitness, etc, to show improvement. But I absolutely GET the idea of moving him to 1B, where I think he would be OK to good. I'm still surprised we didn't make a move sooner on Moose. I also thought bringing in Shaw for a rebound season made an awful lot of sense as well.

IDK if Donaldson and his agent are simply trying to play the Twins, or if he has real interest. I do know the Braves haven't blinked, nor have the Nationals, who's offer almost certainly has deferred $ involved. While we can only speculate what each team has truly offered, it would seem the Twins offer is right there with everyone else, and probably higher than any current Atlanta offer. Personally, I don't believe Donaldson is going to get his $110M. It's all part of a power play, and I get that. And I'm 100% OK if the Twins blink just a little and up their offer a bit and tell him "here ya go". There is risk involved if he signs with us, but sometimes you have to take a shot.

If he says no, I'm queasy on Bryant. He's a nice player and a great bat. But I say again, is the prospect capital worth the 2yrs in hopes of a later re-sign? Or are we better off with a Frazier or Moreland type 1yr signing and save that prospect capital for a different trade addition, most notably a pitcher?

I wish Donaldson would say YES and we can mkve forward, and enjoy the ride and hope against the risk. Otherwise...I'm hesitant on the Bryant trade and leaning toward the shorter, smaller route for now.
    • rdehring, RaoulDuke and jkcarew like this

If the Twins had unlimited resources, sure I'd do it, but they don't. If the Twins are going to blow that much prospect capital it should be to obtain pitching. They'd be better off having Sano focus on improving his defense. 

    • glunn and Doctor Wu like this
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terrydactyls1947
Jan 11 2020 10:53 PM
If you're going to trade all those prospects, then throw in Rosario also and see if you can get Trevor Storey and Jon Gray (or Marquez German) from the Rockies. And then offer Donaldson $110M and call it a successful off season.
    • glunn likes this
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IndianaTwin
Jan 12 2020 12:14 AM

I haven’t played with sites like baseballtradevalues.com, but they would suggest that either Lewis or Kiriloff is a big overpay for Bryant straight up.

 

Graterol or Larnach are the two that are closest to Bryant in a 1 for 1. In a 2 for 1, think something like Balzovic and Urbina. In a 3 for 1, Jeffers, Urbina and one of Gordon, Enlow, or Celestino.

 

The second paragraph has names I like, but none that are untouchable. Between Bryant and Donaldson, I think they are pretty comparable for 2020 and 2021, and I think we’d be glad not to be paying Donaldson $25MM in 2022 and 2023. 

Hard pass. If we are going to hit the farm system it needs to be for a good pitching prospect. I don’t understand the recent obsession on TD about acquiring a third baseman.


Because Sano is pushing 300 pounds and his sabremetric fielding stats have gotten much worse the past couple of years.
    • alphanumeric likes this

Bryant is a tier 1 type player. The Twins don't acquire tier 1 players. No need to speculate on this one. It won't happen. And he really isn't much of an upgrade defensively over Sano. If 3B is really a concern then Donaldson is the guy. If 3B isn't much of a concern then the Twins will continue to wait on Donaldson until he signs elsewhere instead of giving him what he wants and then saying, well we were in the mix, we tried, he didn't want to play here. Nothing new. Another feeble attempt was made, let's move on. Yippee!

    • Doctor Wu likes this
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howieramone2
Jan 12 2020 08:16 AM
Win or lose, another outstanding effort to improve our favorite team. The biggest wiff this offseason, was the Red Sox not pushing harder to hire Falvey.
    • Sconnie likes this
Speaking of Red Sox. The Twins could just sign Mitch Moreland to a 1 year deal. He has decent power, decent on base%, good fielder and then just leave Sano at 3rd for another year. Plus it doesn't really block Krilloff or Lanarch, either one of those guys, whoever has the ability to make the club could work a couple of games a week in at 1st also. I can't see Moreland being expensive. I'd liken it to kind of getting a better fielding version of CJ Cron??
    • Monkeypaws and DocBauer like this

I haven’t played with sites like baseballtradevalues.com, but they would suggest that either Lewis or Kiriloff is a big overpay for Bryant straight up.

Graterol or Larnach are the two that are closest to Bryant in a 1 for 1. In a 2 for 1, think something like Balzovic and Urbina. In a 3 for 1, Jeffers, Urbina and one of Gordon, Enlow, or Celestino.

The second paragraph has names I like, but none that are untouchable. Between Bryant and Donaldson, I think they are pretty comparable for 2020 and 2021, and I think we’d be glad not to be paying Donaldson $25MM in 2022 and 2023.


Well the one thing about Donaldson in 22 and 23 is that Cruz will be gone and at that point Donaldson can DH a lot of the season, pretty sure that would save on his body a little bit when he is 36 and 37, plus he can focused more on his hitting then also. So he'd still have a spot in the lineup even when he's a little older. So in my mind it's not the best excuse to not go after him.

 

Because Sano is pushing 300 pounds and his sabremetric fielding stats have gotten much worse the past couple of years.

 

Do they, though? Let's look at the actual stats for the last 3 years from bRef:

 

Total Zone Fielding Runs Above Average/year (at 3B, based on a projection of 1200 innings):

2017: -16

2018: -6

2019: -13

 

BIS Defensive Runs Saved Above Average/year (at 3B, based on projection of 1200 innings):

2017: -9

2018: -15

2019: -8

 

How is that getting appreciably worse? I'm not going to say that he's good by any means at 3B, but suggesting the advanced stats are saying he's getting worse at 3B (or suggesting he's too fat to play 3B)

just isn't borne out by the evidence.

 

Yes, he's "worse" than his age 23 season (where he played only 42 games at 3B, fewer than any time in the last 3 years, and roughly half of what he actually played there in 2017 & 2019...maybe small sample size was a factor there?) and his age 22 season...where he only played 9 games at 3B and any projection makes little sense.

 

The sabermetrics are telling me that Sano is a fairly poor fielder at 3B, and has been for the past three years. They're not telling me much about whether he's getting better or worse overall; the best argument is probably that's he's basically been the same guy on defense there for the last three years. (and incidentally they also say he's awful in the OF and should never play there and the jury's out on him at 1B)

 

Back to Kris Bryant: would I be interested in dealing Larnach and a tier three lottery ticket from A-ball for Bryant? I'd definitely think about it. I'd still rather just sign Donaldson, and I'd still rather spend prospect capital on pitching, but now we're talking a deal that at least makes more sense for the Twins. But you have to be betting that Kris Bryant is going to get back to his all-star form and will like it enough here that he'd consider staying, either signing an extension early or sticking when he hits FA. He's been an elite player, but hasn't been one for a few years. He is young enough that getting a rebound right now is certainly very possible, so if the deal lines up it's worth considering. But a package of Kirilloff/Lewis + one of Graterol/Larnach/Balazovic and a kicker from the ranks of someone at the Blankenhorn level is a pretty massive overpay, IMHO.

    • VOMG likes this
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tony&rodney
Jan 12 2020 09:18 AM

The Twins would be nuts to trade any of their top seven prospects for Bryant.

This is especially true because Donaldson is available, prospect free.

    • AWOLNATION_11 and VOMG like this

No, No and heck no!

 

See a lot of conversation about Sano's defense.Let's acknowledge one fact from 2019, he didn't have a spring training and was back on the field in May following a brief minor league rehab assignment following his injury.Don't know what effect that had on his defense, however, gotta believe it had some.  

 

With that said, I don't see him as being a good defensive third baseman.Just that he may be better, or not as bad, as we saw last summer.  

Because Sano is pushing 300 pounds and his sabremetric fielding stats have gotten much worse the past couple of years.


Defense at third base is not even close to the top of the Twins problems.
    • tony&rodney likes this

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