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The Flip Side of Free Agency Frustration

Free agency. It represents a world of endless possibilities. Especially at a time where generational superstars like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are out there, openly available to all 30 teams, the free agent market offers a chance for fans to dream big.

Of course, any Twins faithful who fantasized of flashy acquisitions this offseason have found themselves mostly disappointed. Minnesota's avoidance of the traditional free agency avenue has been resolute, almost as if by design.

I believe there are reasons behind this approach that don't amount to, "They're cheap".
Image courtesy of Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Here are a few experiences that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have had with free agency since taking over the Twins front office:

* In their first signature move, they quickly signed free agent Jason Castro to a three-year contract. He was solid in his first year, and the second was a total loss. Now he enters Year 3 as a fairly significant (and somewhat pricey) question mark.

* In their second year, they signed Addison Reed, Logan Morrison and Lance Lynn for a combined ~$25 million. Morrison and Lynn were busts, and so to a lesser extent was Reed, who now enters Year 2 as a fairly significant (and somewhat pricey) question mark.

* They made a serious bid for Yu Darvish last winter, reportedly offering more than $100 million before falling short of the Cubs and watching the right-hander immediately bomb in Chicago.

* They inherited the contract of Ervin Santana, who qualifies as one of Minnesota's most successful free agent signings ever, but saw the downside of that deal as well with $13.5 million of their payroll dedicated to a guy who provided basically nothing in 2018.

* They also inherited the contract of Phil Hughes, some of which they're still on the hook for this year. Granted, it was an ill-advised extension rather than Hughes' original deal that went sour, but he's another fine example of the dangers in long-term commitments to veterans – even those that are on top of their games at the time.

So now we come to the team's approach this year in free agency. With the exception of Nelson Cruz, none of the players acquired by Minnesota were on those lists fans skimmed through in September and let their brains run wild, because none of them were firmly expected to be on the market. And now most players that did occupy the upper levels of those rankings are gone.

Is this by design? Are the Twins attempting to take advantage of a league-wide aversion to spending by capturing quality players who are being unfairly devalued? It sure seems that way.

Instead of tethering themselves to expensive, inescapable commitments for players on the higher tiers (which, as we've learned time and time again, carry no assurances) the front office is making deals on its own terms.

Martin Perez on a one-year deal plus team option is actually a lot more interesting than those standard Terry Ryan flyers of yesteryear, because it has real upside. Perez doesn't turn 28 until April. If the Twins are able to unlock whatever they see in him (and I have to believe it's more than meets the eye, because other teams were interested too), they've actually found themselves an asset. The same is true of Cruz and Blake Parker, though they don't have the same long-term fit potential.

One that does is Jonathan Schoop. He's probably the player we're not talking about enough. The Twins aggressively signed him one week after his non-tender from Milwaukee. He's an athletic defender, one year removed from an All-Star season, and he's averaged 25 homers in the past three seasons. Most vitally, he's only 27.

Guys like this don't become available too often. And for teams that want more of a sure thing – such as the Brewers, who elected to move on – maybe he's not the best choice. But within Minnesota's developing strategy, he made all the sense in the world. Unlike the others added this winter, his contract doesn't include a 2020 option, but if he rebounds, blends into the nucleus, and likes it here? Now you might've found yourself a newly minted piece to your core.

It's tough to knock any of these deals on their own. But when you look at the big picture it's easy to feel a bit underwhelmed. As someone in the forums astutely put it: "the sum is lesser than its parts." I understand and empathize with the lack of enthusiasm some are feeling. But ultimately, it's not Jed Lowrie or Adam Ottavino that's going to put fans in the seats. Winning will.

You may not be jazzed about the caliber of these names. But don't conflate the current front office with the previous regime. These aren't your garden-variety bargain bin signings of the Kevin Correia or Mike Pelfrey ilk. There's a deeper methodology in place, and I'm sure I'm only scratching its surface.

From my view, the Twins are hoping they can hit on a few of these gambles while the incumbents rebound enough to keep them hanging in a weak division. Then, around the middle of the season they can more clearly assess their position and their needs. As I concluded on Monday, the silver lining to this resource preservation is that it will give them extreme flexibility leading up to the trade deadline.

The pessimistic view is that the Twins are treading water until 2020. The optimistic (and I think more realistic) view is that they're treading water until June or July.

Let us not forget: The most impactful, game-changing transaction in the American League over the past two years didn't happen during the offseason. It happened when Detroit traded Justin Verlander to Houston in August of 2017. Given the league's expected landscape this summer, it's not hard to envision similar opportunities emerging in a sea of non-contenders.

So, there's something to dream on.

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71 Comments

 

FWIW, Ryan signed Hughes at age 28 too. Pelfrey was only 29.

 

Phil Hughes was arguably Ryan's best original signing.

 

It's the quick extension that was Ryan's undoing. But the original signing was fantastic.

    • ashbury, scottz, Twins33 and 7 others like this

Many complain that the front office isn't doing anything to put a winner on the field in 2019.I'm fine with it.They don't really know what they have in Buxton and Sano, so they are biding there time.And besides, don't dismiss doing nothing. Most damage in sports, in business, in life is caused by doing too much.I think doing nothing is generally underrated!

I'm not advocating for going to extremes, such as signing players to lengthy contracts that will hamstring the team for years as future events unfold. But acquiring talent when you're not sure of what you've got, and then dealing with the happy circumstance of too much talent, was still possible this off-season. McCutchen signed for 3 years. That contract wouldn't be an albatross, and would be preferable to what they are paying Cron in my estimation. Aiming higher with the pitchers they signed would be another avenue toward bolstering talent during uncertainty - relievers are generally always fungible if you find yourself overstocked.

 

Uncertainty is a fact of life for any team. That doesn't mean marking time.

 

Damage caused by taking action is often easy to spot and then critique. Failing to shore things up and perform maintenance is less obviously costly, and is also generally underrated. This and the next several seasons for the Twins are an era of young cheap talent produced by the farm system, albeit talent of as yet uncertain quality, and the thing to do is apply unused financial resources during this period in case the young talent flops. What exactly are we saving the money for?

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher, big dog and 3 others like this
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diehardtwinsfan
Jan 23 2019 09:22 AM

I'd quibble with Nick's comments on Lynn. I don't think it was a disaster move. He had a disasterous first month, which I think we all agree on, but he was much more of typical Lynn after that... so much so that he got traded for a prospect...

 

Yeah, I get that the first month mattered, but overall, it was a decent signing and ended up getting us some depth pieces in a lost season. You also left Rodney off, who also brought home a prospect and also had struggles at points, but was generally solid. Same with Duke.

    • birdwatcher, Twins33, DocBauer and 1 other like this
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MMMordabito
Jan 23 2019 09:24 AM

 

Speaking of trades, that's a thing teams do too. One thing I'll rain down praise upon this front office for is how they've beefed up the minor league system. The depth is incredible ... trade from it. Use that as your means to improve the 25-man roster if you're so put off by free agency.

 

This!!

 

Kirilloff, Larnach, Maciel, Celestino, Wade, Baddoo .... That's the top end of just the outfield prospects .... They aren't all going to roam at Target Field ... Don't gut the system, but there is definitely wiggle room.

    • birdwatcher, Danchat, dbminn and 1 other like this
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Nick Nelson
Jan 23 2019 09:33 AM

 

Yeah, I get that the first month mattered, but overall, it was a decent signing and ended up getting us some depth pieces in a lost season. You also left Rodney off, who also brought home a prospect and also had struggles at points, but was generally solid. Same with Duke.

I left Rodney and Duke off because those are the kinds of low-wattage FA signings we've been seeing this year. So that kinda supports the current approach if anything. They were as good or better than plenty of the relievers who got larger guaranteed commitments elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

    • MN_ExPat likes this

 

Who cares if you are the most expensive team to win 73 games?

As I said, efficiency is important.This would be the antithesis of efficiency.But I agree, who cares?

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Nick Nelson
Jan 23 2019 09:38 AM

 

$3.5M is the going rate for an "opener"? Did Perez knowingly sign on to the Twins for such an ignominious role? His 1st time vs.2nd time stats don't even suggest he'd be successful as an opener.

 

And the Twins don't have cheaper options in filling that role?

 

Seems doubtful.

Why do were care about the money? There's no difference, practically, between spending 3.5M or 1.5M on him. The only thing I care about is the roster spot. But the fact that he got both an MLB deal and a higher-than-expected salary tells us there were other teams in on Perez, creating demand. The Twins didn't agree to those terms for the hell of it. 

 

So while everyone's entitled to dislike the Perez move, understand that the Twins aren't alone in seeing something more there. I agree that it's hard to tell what that is right now, but I can assure you that plenty of better pitchers than him on paper will end up with lesser deals. 

    • birdwatcher, MN_ExPat and DannySD like this
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Nick Nelson
Jan 23 2019 09:39 AM

 

Who cares if you are the most expensive team to win 73 games?

The over/under on the Twins in Vegas is 84.5 wins so I'm wondering what basis there is for this, other than outright pessimism. 

    • MN_ExPat likes this

 

If you were going by the small sample size of lust his last year's statistics ast year then his 2.45 ERA as a relieverwould say that he could be a very effective pitcher.

Not only would you have to cite an extremely small sample (11 IP), you'd also have to trust ERA over peripherals in that small sample, or even just RA9 (ERA plus unearned runs). Perez still only had 5.7 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, and 4.09 RA9 in those relief innings.

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nicksaviking
Jan 23 2019 09:44 AM

 

Damage caused by taking action is often easy to spot and then critique. Failing to shore things up and perform maintenance is less obviously costly, and is also generally underrated. This and the next several seasons for the Twins are an era of young cheap talent produced by the farm system, albeit talent of as yet uncertain quality, and the thing to do is apply unused financial resources during this period in case the young talent flops. What exactly are we saving the money for?

 

But if the young talent flops it's not like there's enough free agents to carry this team to the championship let alone the playoffs. So far the refrain has been about the money, but they spent money last year and their free agents this year haven't been exactly cheap. I don't think it's about saving money, I think it's about saving roster commitments beyond this year.

 

Which tells me that they are NOT counting on the current crop of young players at the MLB level to be reliable, and I don't blame them. Aside from two, they have all been very unreliable. I know no one likes it, but I think the front office is waiting until they see a cohesive core. They don't want to go all in with albatross free agents if the young guys who are supposed to be the base of the team are this flaky and unpredictable. I don't see a Hunter/Koskie/Jones/Guzman/Pierzynski/Santana kind of core here. And definitely no Puckett/Hrbek/Gaetti/Brunanski/Viola. Yet.

    • Dman and DocBauer like this

 

Why do were care about the money? There's no difference, practically, between spending 3.5M or 1.5M on him. The only thing I care about is the roster spot.

Well, $3.5 mil probably gives him a longer leash than $1.5 mil, so he could tie up that roster spot for longer, regardless of whether his performance warrants it.

 

Also, the context of the post to which you were responding was the "opener" idea, which is in part a strategy emphasizing optimization and efficiency. $3.5 mil for an opener -- an a suspect one, at that -- runs a bit counter to that.

 

$3.5 mil for a league-average starter (which is what Perez was in 2016-2017) would be good value -- although I'm not sure it would be a great asset. Ultimately doesn't move the contention needle much, and teams aren't exactly going to surrender much talent for it in trade either.

When you start plugging in longer term free agent or two, you have a club built around them, in which those free agents do fill obvious holes,

 

Right now the Twins have a roster with, perhaps, 20-21 holes. It seems no one is in the longterm plans on the current roster, otherwise the Twins would be going out of their way to extend the players. The couple obvious choices for extension are Berrios (they better do something) and Rosario (do you really want to build a franchise around him). 

 

So many questions that needed answers last season and the Twins didn't get them, but the promise is still there, so you take another and much longer look.

 

The Twins are playing for the future, the promise of the signings of the current administration becoming the team of the future. Look at the current 40-man roster. ho on the roster should be here in 2020. Who should be here in 2021. Who in 2022. You are better to ask who "might" and some of those "mights" are still in the minors.

 

Kepler and Buxton are still questionable. Sano is a big question for an esxensiuon. The Twins have no 2B/ss. They have patchwork at 1B. The atching is a mess. Not that any/all of these guys could play well in 2019. But the only proven given is an aging DH. The rotation has three guys entering free agency and one longer extension candidate. They have a bunch of starters that you hope can pitch you into the 6th inning. Hope is the big word. 

 

The bullpen has no closer and a couple of overworked setup guys, and the usual mix of arms with a couple in the wings. Anyone you want to extend? ANyone you can live without? Before you say May and Rogers, really think about that.

 

Yes, the Twins could sign a couple of HUGHE free agents. But now, they are rebuilding. The pieces they have MIGHT make them competitive if the players want big money in the future (something that should've also happened last year with names like Santana, Lynn, Dozier, Morrison all playing for BIG contracts in the years ahead.)

 

There is a plan. We have to be patient. The front office WANTS to make a team and organization in their own image. It takes time (sadly), but once the pieces start falling into place, we MIGHT have success and actually get young conrollable longterm free agents.

    • nicksaviking likes this

 

I'd quibble with Nick's comments on Lynn. I don't think it was a disaster move. He had a disasterous first month, which I think we all agree on, but he was much more of typical Lynn after that... so much so that he got traded for a prospect...

While Lynn wasn't a disaster in absolute terms, I think he could be considered that, relative to expectations. He averaged 2.8 bWAR per season in St. Louis, then produced 0.3 in 20 starts for the Twins.

 

And while Lynn did get traded, it was based on his St. Louis reputation -- in other words, he was traded despite his performance with the Twins, not because of it. And some might argue a corner guy like Austin, who is 27 years old and out of options this spring, is more of a suspect than a prospect too. (Yes, I do realize we also got a rookie ball pitcher in the deal. :) )

 

It's important to be efficient, but who cares if you are the team that spends the least to win 80 games?I am really underwhelmed so far, and barring a significant trade I don't see how this team is going to take the next step, other than our traditional two-tiered strategy of Wait & Hope.

This!

 

And the answer to the question of who cares if you're the team that spends the least to win 80 games is: Jim Pohlad.

 

Nick, I understand all of your points and, if you want to give this FO the benefit of the doubt (as many people who were so head over heels in love with their metric-friendly approach were), that's fine.

 

But if, as you indicated, they may be gun-shy about going the FA route because none of the players they've signed have worked out well, one conclusion that a person could make is that these guys aren't all that good at evaluating major league talent, regardless of how advanced their methodologies might be.

    • Carlos Figueroa likes this

 

But if the young talent flops it's not like there's enough free agents to carry this team to the championship let alone the playoffs. So far the refrain has been about the money, but they spent money last year and their free agents this year haven't been exactly cheap. I don't think it's about saving money, I think it's about saving roster commitments beyond this year.

So what's the plan, if the young talent flops? Just muddle along until 2021 or so, when Lewis and Kirilloff are hopefully up and producing? Note that we don't have to just sign 30+ year old, "win now" FAs. We could be using our resources to acquire or lock up younger assets for both the current "window" and the potential Lewis/Kirilloff window.

    • lukeduke1980 and Battle ur tail off like this
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MMMordabito
Jan 23 2019 10:08 AM

 

I really think this fanbase needs to consider an ownership revolt. We all helped finance this beautiful ballpark I can't afford to take my family to and we STILL get the Bankster boogie... I will not support this team anymore (after 52 years) until ownership does.

 

It's January 23.Ownership has already added $31 mill to 2019 in new players.That's more than double what had been added by this time last season.Lynn, Odorizzi and Morrison came much later.$60+ mill just came off the books. Can they at least have the full off-season to show commitment?The whole process is running slowly, just like last season (and it probably will until the CBA expires).

    • birdwatcher and IndianaTwin like this

But if the young talent flops it's not like there's enough free agents to carry this team to the championship let alone the playoffs. So far the refrain has been about the money, but they spent money last year and their free agents this year haven't been exactly cheap. I don't think it's about saving money, I think it's about saving roster commitments beyond this year.

Which tells me that they are NOT counting on the current crop of young players at the MLB level to be reliable, and I don't blame them. Aside from two, they have all been very unreliable. I know no one likes it, but I think the front office is waiting until they see a cohesive core. They don't want to go all in with albatross free agents if the young guys who are supposed to be the base of the team are this flaky and unpredictable. I don't see a Hunter/Koskie/Jones/Guzman/Pierzynski/Santana kind of core here. And definitely no Puckett/Hrbek/Gaetti/Brunanski/Viola. Yet.


How many years in a row would they have to be good to believe in them? Because the core was good in 2017 and the FO made no long term commitments to surround them with talent, and their FA signings were lauded as efficient bargains. If they don't believe in this core, keeping Gibson is terrible strategy. So I'm having a hard time figuring out what they think. Other than not believing in even medium term contracts.
    • markos, KirbyDome89, Tom Froemming and 2 others like this

When you start plugging in longer term free agent or two, you have a club built around them, in which those free agents do fill obvious holes,

Right now the Twins have a roster with, perhaps, 20-21 holes. It seems no one is in the longterm plans on the current roster, otherwise the Twins would be going out of their way to extend the players. The couple obvious choices for extension are Berrios (they better do something) and Rosario (do you really want to build a franchise around him).

So many questions that needed answers last season and the Twins didn't get them, but the promise is still there, so you take another and much longer look.

The Twins are playing for the future, the promise of the signings of the current administration becoming the team of the future. Look at the current 40-man roster. ho on the roster should be here in 2020. Who should be here in 2021. Who in 2022. You are better to ask who "might" and some of those "mights" are still in the minors.

Kepler and Buxton are still questionable. Sano is a big question for an esxensiuon. The Twins have no 2B/ss. They have patchwork at 1B. The atching is a mess. Not that any/all of these guys could play well in 2019. But the only proven given is an aging DH. The rotation has three guys entering free agency and one longer extension candidate. They have a bunch of starters that you hope can pitch you into the 6th inning. Hope is the big word.

The bullpen has no closer and a couple of overworked setup guys, and the usual mix of arms with a couple in the wings. Anyone you want to extend? ANyone you can live without? Before you say May and Rogers, really think about that.

Yes, the Twins could sign a couple of HUGHE free agents. But now, they are rebuilding. The pieces they have MIGHT make them competitive if the players want big money in the future (something that should've also happened last year with names like Santana, Lynn, Dozier, Morrison all playing for BIG contracts in the years ahead.)

There is a plan. We have to be patient. The front office WANTS to make a team and organization in their own image. It takes time (sadly), but once the pieces start falling into place, we MIGHT have success and actually get young conrollable longterm free agents.


Then why is Gibson on the roster? Or even Rosario? Or Polanco? If they are rebuilding, why aren't they going all the way?
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nicksaviking
Jan 23 2019 10:24 AM

 

So what's the plan, if the young talent flops? Just muddle along until 2021 or so, when Lewis and Kirilloff are hopefully up and producing? Note that we don't have to just sign 30+ year old, "win now" FAs. We could be using our resources to acquire or lock up younger assets for both the current "window" and the potential Lewis/Kirilloff window.

 

Yeah, that's typically what happens with rebuilds. Sano and Buxton didn't turn into Lindor and Rameriz or Betts and Bogaerts or Correa and Bregman. It sucks but that's the hand we were dealt. Fingers crossed they somehow become elite and the other young players become consistently above average.

 

I'm all for acquiring young talent any way we can get it if you're referring to trades. Aside from Machado and Harper I don't see a lot on the free agent market that really falls into that category. As far as the current roster, I don't see anyone other than Rosario and Berrios worth an extension, though I'd absolutely promote one for both of them at this time.

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Nick Nelson
Jan 23 2019 10:27 AM

 

But if, as you indicated, they may be gun-shy about going the FA route because none of the players they've signed have worked out well, one conclusion that a person could make is that these guys aren't all that good at evaluating major league talent, regardless of how advanced their methodologies might be.

Except this trend also played out prominently elsewhere around the league. If we looked at the entire list of top 50 free agents or so, and assessed how things played out in 2018, I think we'd fine more misses than hits everywhere.

 

Look no further than Colorado's aggressive efforts to power up their bullpen through FA. 

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yarnivek1972
Jan 23 2019 10:29 AM

It's January 23. Ownership has already added $31 mill to 2019 in new players. That's more than double what had been added by this time last season. Lynn, Odorizzi and Morrison came much later. $60+ mill just came off the books. Can they at least have the full off-season to show commitment? The whole process is running slowly, just like last season (and it probably will until the CBA expires).


Pitchers and catchers report in 23 days.
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nicksaviking
Jan 23 2019 10:37 AM

 

How many years in a row would they have to be good to believe in them? Because the core was good in 2017 and the FO made no long term commitments to surround them with talent, and their FA signings were lauded as efficient bargains. If they don't believe in this core, keeping Gibson is terrible strategy. So I'm having a hard time figuring out what they think. Other than not believing in even medium term contracts.

 

How about 1 year? In 2017 Sano was good for a half year, then stunk, then broke his leg likely due to his lack of conditioning. Buxton was good for about two months, the opposite months that Sano was good no less. Polanco and Kepler were disappointingly mediocre at best. Berrios looked good until he tailed off at the end. Which left Eddie Rosario as the only guy who showed any semblance of consistency, which has happened two years in a row now. 

 

If more of these guys than not flake out again to start 2019, yeah, I'm sure Gibson is moved mid season. If these guys want the front office to make better moves, then they need to start showing they can be counted on. We didn't get the prospects we were promised for the last decade. I don't know where the failure is with that, but so far it has been a failure. 

 

Honestly though, I think an enthusiastic young manager can improve the team in intangible ways. So despite the pessimistic prior two paragraphs, I think Baldelli can get a majority of these guys to turn the corner. I have higher hopes that guys can reach their potential now than I did the last couple of years.

    • chpettit19 likes this
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MMMordabito
Jan 23 2019 10:44 AM

 

Pitchers and catchers report in 23 days.

 

That's exciting, but it hardly spells the end of free agency or the early trade season ... at least not with the current MO of the league.

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LA VIkes Fan
Jan 23 2019 10:54 AM

 

I don't think you can make a call on Yu Darvish one way or the other yet. He still has plenty of time to make the Cubs look good. It's sorta like how people immediately thought the Twins won the Jose De Leon-Brian Dozier non trade just because De Leon got hurt. We still don't know how that one's gonna turn out, but I'd rather have De Leon than Raley/Smeltzer right now.

 

Speaking of trades, that's a thing teams do too. One thing I'll rain down praise upon this front office for is how they've beefed up the minor league system. The depth is incredible ... trade from it. Use that as your means to improve the 25-man roster if you're so put off by free agency.

 

Do something to go for it. Now. Why are you going to wait until you're 100 games into the season? I don't like the notion that 2019 is a building year or an evaluation year. Not with the division as bad as it is. The door is wide open.

 

At this point I could care less specifically about payroll, I just want to see this organization really invested in trying to win the division. That's not the message coming out of Target Field right now.

Well said. I think what we may be seeing is the FO evaluation of the present nucleus and it's not real favorable. I think the evidence shows us that the FO thinks this team is more than one or two players away from being a real contender so they're keeping their powder dry until the young(er) core either hits or flames out.Only then will they commit to adding FAs or tearing down and starting over.I think they traded for the minor leaguers as insurance on the underachievers we now have more than as later depth and trade bait. 

 

After all this, we're back where we started waiting on the younger players to hit. Let's really look at what we got:

 

6 guys who are established quality MLB players (or at least close) - Berrios, Gibson, Rosario, Polanco, Rogers, Cruz.

 

2 guys who seem to have big time talent but haven't performed for more than short bursts - Sano, Buxton. 

 

3 guys we thought had talent but have not even performed at an MLB average level yet - Kepler, Odorizzi, Hildenberger (overall).

 

4 complete question marks due to injury, SSS, or wildly uneven past performance - Pineda, Shoop, Reed, Cave.

 

0 "carry the team on my back for 2 weeks" type stars.  

 

Add a bunch of young guys where it's too soon to know (Romero, Mejia, Garver etc.) and the usual veteran "meh" types (Cron, Castro) and you have an 80-85 win team. You know, a nice team, but not one where adding that one guy will make it a WS contender. 

 

I'm frustrated because the window is open in the AL Central and it may not be open long if the White Sox talent hits. Although it is the White Sox, so they'll probably find a way to screw things up (the Detroit Lions of MLB). Much as it pains me to say it, looking at what we have, it is a defensible strategy to wait a half a season, see if the roster steps up, and then add by trading the assets we got last year. I'd rather sign Machado and/or Harper, Kuchel,and Kimbrel and go for it now but it's hard to see (1) any of them wanting to come to the Twins with our uncertain outlook, and (2) the ownership paying the freight for one of them, much less 2 or 3. I think the first half is all about evaluation and that play will determine if we trade for talent, just use 2019 as a development year, or blow it up and start over.  

    • birdwatcher likes this

Except this trend also played out prominently elsewhere around the league. If we looked at the entire list of top 50 free agents or so, and assessed how things played out in 2018, I think we'd fine more misses than hits everywhere.

Look no further than Colorado's aggressive efforts to power up their bullpen through FA.

Of course, they could have used the next three guys in the minors. Would that have been better? Seems unlikely. No one ever looks at the alternative, using your next three minor league players. The twins worst RPs all put up negative WAR. How would the next three they brought up do?

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