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Spring Training Games Thread 2021

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:30 PM
One thread to rule them all...   Er. Sorry. Got a bit ahead of myself. (Power does tend to go to one's head.)   Anyway, seein'...
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A 26 man roster is an improvement, but is MLB making a mi...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:10 PM
The world of sports has changed over the years. As a result, leagues have adapted roster sizes to allow for more active players, reserve...
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Jake Odorizzi, What's going on w/ him?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:48 PM
Since the beginning there was a lot of FA talk surrounding Jake &thattherewas a lot of interest from various teams. Thought he'd be g...
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American League Power Rankings, by O/U

Other Baseball Today, 02:13 PM
With spring training in full swing, who are the favorites in the A.L.?15. Baltimore OriolesBetOnline O/U - 63.5 winsThe Orioles are bruta...
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Danny Santana

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:39 PM
Some reports that the Twins are interested in Danny Santana! As a utility guy if he can still play SS and CF I can see how he would fit...
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Twins Rotation Is Fine Without Another Big Addition

All offseason long we have been waiting for the Twins to land some one like Kluber, Paxton or bring back Odorizzi. What if instead the team decides to go with just J.A. Happ and a minor league signing? Will they be alright?
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
As the rotation currently stands, it isn't all that bad. In fact, it could be pretty good. Here is how the starters are currently projected to line up via Fangraphs.
  • Kenta Maeda
  • Jose Berrios
  • Michael Pineda
  • J.A. Happ
  • Randy Dobnak
That is a rotation that should be expected to be productive, but not be in the top tier of the league. In Maeda and Berrios, you have two borderline aces that would be a clear number one for quite a few teams. Pineda and Happ would both make almost every rotation in baseball, and then you have the fifth spot.

Ideally, the Twins add one more player like James Paxton or Jake Odorizzi. It doesn't seem to be shaking out that way, as the team wants players on a one year or a minor league deal.




In the end the final rotation spot might be a battle between Randy Dobnak and a minor league signing like Mike Foltynewicz. That should be alright.

In last years 60 game season, the Twins had the second best rotation using WAR. That was without Pineda for a majority and we now replace Rich Hill with Happ. That should be an upgrade, but it's at least an even swap.

Having Pineda and Happ ready to go for a full 162 plus Berrios and Maeda being very good sets up nicely for the Twins. Minnesota currently is projected to have the 8th best rotation using WAR, so still top ten despite no big additions.

Overall, adding another big name pitcher would be ideal but it is not a necessity. I am excited to see how the team puts it all together to compete in 2021.

DISCLAIMER: IF THE TWINS DON'T SPEND ON STARTING PITCHING THEN THEY MUST SPEND ELSEWHERE! That was for you, Derek Falvey!

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22 Comments

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specialiststeve
Jan 27 2021 08:49 PM

Am also "okay" with the rotation as it is as is solid one through 3 and the 4th and 5th starters have had some success and would likely be as good or better than "most" 4th and 5th starters of the majority of the teams we will be playing. 

Also have some starters in the minors that are very close to contributing and it is likely we will be seeing them this summer with an injury or two... 

 

There are still a bunch of pitchers out there looking for a home and some have started taking that one year deal... I think owners have figured out that if we are going to take a risk on a player make it a short risk... players are going to have to adjust... no reason to go for a 3 year deal on a "risk"... 

 

That being said if somehow the owner loses his mind a bit and somehow lands Bauer I am sure we all would be jumping for joy and again we would be a lot closer to contending for more than the division. 

    • arby58 likes this

I would add as many starting pitchers as I could. Not sure anyone threw 70 innings last year.It may be difficult to expect 180 innings from starters. Send Dobnak, Smeltzer and Thorpe down knowing you will need them plus probably Duran and Balazovich. Probably need 8-10 starters to go 162 game schedule. 

    • Twins33, adjacent, LA VIkes Fan and 8 others like this

"Fine" doesn't instill much optimism of getting over the playoff loss hump. 

 

Its not a bad rotation and it's much improved over the rotations of yore, but not picking up at least one more, it lacks depth and relies pretty heavily on Maeda repeating his last season and Berrios maintaining his typical early season dominance throughout the season. I'd feel much better with one more middle of the rotation arm.

    • Twins33, Vanimal46, KirbyDome89 and 1 other like this
Did I miss the Twins signing of Mike Foltynewicz? He is exactly the type of arm you should take a flyer on

I've been saying more or less the same thing since the Happ signing. If I had a choice between another starting pitcher ala Odo or a couple of quality relievers, I'd probably take the relievers at this point. Berrios is still only 27 - it's worth recalling that Gerrit Cole's breakout year was at age 27 - the year before he was 12-12 with a 4.26 ERA for Pittsburgh. Berrios for one can still get better.

If they are not picking someone else up then they will have to depend on the young arms to be productive because injuries happen to pitchers all the time.Thorpe and Smeltzer did not look ready last year and Duran and Balazovic are likely on innings limits this year so if the Twins do have injuries we could be in trouble.Hopefully they can bring in one more vet just in case.

 

I am guessing the reason for one year deals is they plan to use Duran, Balazovich and or Canterino next year?Pineda and Happ could be gone next year and we don't know how Randy will do with a full season so there will most likely be plenty of room.

In my opinion, they need depth. Right now, everything is fine if nobody gets hurt. But somebody will. At that point, you don't want to be pushing Balazovic or Duran, ready or not. Ithe show they are ready OK. But if not, you need some kind of insurance,

    • Minfidel and DocBauer like this

Please give room for minor league prospects to pitch their way into the rotation for this year and the future.

    • PDX Twin, jud6312 and saviking like this
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Dodecahedron
Jan 28 2021 08:58 AM

I'm in the camp that this rotation is good enough. It's time to finish the bullpen.

 

Any more FA starter signings would just bump one of these guys to the minors, which seems like a bad plan since any FA available isn't much better than what the Twins have already. If the Twins want more depth, trade for some AAA pitchers who they can use if the team needs a fresh arm.

    • mikelink45 and PDX Twin like this

I don't like the idea that the Twins must always have someone with a major-league track record for every slot. That's expensive and gives us a team of 30-somethings. The current squad is mostly home-built, and the next generation needs a chance to play soon.

    • mikelink45 likes this
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nicksaviking
Jan 28 2021 10:23 AM

I don't really care to give Dobnak the final spot. He just seems too Scott Diamond/Andrew Albers/Cole Devries - y to me.

 

The guys who come out of nowhere and get good results but can't miss any bats seem to be a great story initially, but they seem to be a very short story. These guys are something fun to talk about during a rebuilding losing season, but I think I'd rather have someone with better stuff and potential since this team should be fighting for the division. With the top four spots filled with players whos ceilings are pretty close to set in stone, it would be nice to see someone in the fifth spot you can dream on. Either a bounce back free agent or a young prospect.

 

Or, you know, go trade for someone that would put Happ/Pineda in the fifth spot.

 

Dobnak might be a great swingman though. A better version of Anthony Swarzak or Brian Duensing.

    • Twins33, wsnydes, jud6312 and 1 other like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Jan 28 2021 10:34 AM

While the current rotation is fine, we don't have the necessary depth to with stand injuries. Let's not forget that Maeda hasn't shown he can go 170-200 innings. His history in LA was that he tended to lose effectiveness at around 140-150 innings. That's why they would shift him to the bullpen, not his contract. Frankly, the only starter we have that we can realistically count on for 35 starts/200 innings is Berrios give Pineda's injury history and Happ's age. 

 

We could use one more tested starter, even a bounce back type like Archer or Foltynewitz. That leaves the younger guys for depth. We will use a minimum of 7-8 starter for at least 3-5 starts apiece this year. It would really help to add one more guy to the mix. We can do that AND add 2 2-4m type relievers. 

    • adjacent, jud6312 and GNess like this
Seems to me that Tanaka would have been worth 4 mill per year for two years which is what he got by going back to Japan?? 3.74 career era and an 8.5 K9 and was pitching in Yankee stadium. It seems strange that no one would give him 4 mill?
    • Danchat likes this

The rotation works as is right now, and should be a solid rotation.I'd like to see Dobnak have a chance to right the ship, if not, he's a great bullpen addition.Smeltzer and Thorpe would be alright options from St. Paul when needed.It's hard to get excited about them though.We also will have Bailey Ober, Bryan Sammons, and Griffin Jax with higher level experience than Duran and Balazovic.Again, nothing to be excited about, except maybe Ober and Jax.Sammons is a workhorse though.

 

Odds of both Duran and Balazovic studding out is pretty slim, but I'm ready to find out who they are in The Show.

 

We land one more starter, we'd be well insured.We don't, we'd be relying on a lot of AAA and AAAA guys until Balazovic or Duran are ready, which isn't a guarantee.

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nicksaviking
Jan 28 2021 11:59 AM

 

Seems to me that Tanaka would have been worth 4 mill per year for two years which is what he got by going back to Japan?? 3.74 career era and an 8.5 K9 and was pitching in Yankee stadium. It seems strange that no one would give him 4 mill?

 

I think plenty of teams would have done Tanaka at 4M per. I don't know what his salary is with his new contract, but I'd guess he's taking a discount going back to Japan.

 

The Yankees gave Corey Kluber 11M to replace him. At this stage of their careers Tanaka is a better pitcher, so I'd have to think Tanaka's asking price was most likely quite a bit higher than that.

 

And considering he's going back to Japan to play at a significant discount, it's very possible he only intended to stay if he could play for the Yankees, or stay in NY, or some other very narrow set of circumstances.

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Dodecahedron
Jan 28 2021 12:20 PM

 

I don't really care to give Dobnak the final spot. He just seems too Scott Diamond/Andrew Albers/Cole Devries - y to me.

 

The guys who come out of nowhere and get good results but can't miss any bats seem to be a great story initially, but they seem to be a very short story. These guys are something fun to talk about during a rebuilding losing season, but I think I'd rather have someone with better stuff and potential since this team should be fighting for the division. With the top four spots filled with players whos ceilings are pretty close to set in stone, it would be nice to see someone in the fifth spot you can dream on. Either a bounce back free agent or a young prospect.

 

Or, you know, go trade for someone that would put Happ/Pineda in the fifth spot.

 

Dobnak might be a great swingman though. A better version of Anthony Swarzak or Brian Duensing.

 

Dobnak rocketed through the minors and he can toss a sinker. I think he profiles nicely for the division and he might give a team like the Yankees trouble in the playoffs.

 

Not saying Dobnak is a star, but there is a lot to like.

 

Dobnak rocketed through the minors and he can toss a sinker. I think he profiles nicely for the division and he might give a team like the Yankees trouble in the playoffs.

 

Not saying Dobnak is a star, but there is a lot to like.

His 2019 outing against those very Yankees would seem to disagree with this notion. A single outing, sure, but 13 BF in 2 IP allowing 4 ER on 6 H isn't very awe inspiring.

    • jud6312 likes this
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KirbyDome89
Jan 28 2021 01:15 PM

So we're counting on:

 

1) Pineda being available for a full season,

2) Maeda continuing to be the pitcher we saw for 11 games last year, and not the 4 seasons prior

3) Berrios to avoid his annual late season fade

4) A revolving door at the 5th spot being productive

 

And if all of that shakes out in favor of the Twins they'll have a rotation that "isn't that bad, could be pretty good, but isn't top tier."

 

Yikes.

    • Twins33, Rigby, wsnydes and 1 other like this
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nicksaviking
Jan 28 2021 01:30 PM

 

Dobnak rocketed through the minors and he can toss a sinker. I think he profiles nicely for the division and he might give a team like the Yankees trouble in the playoffs.

 

Not saying Dobnak is a star, but there is a lot to like.

 

I don't tend to view a sinker as a positive. I don't want pitchers who intentionally put the ball in play.

I don't tend to view a sinker as a positive. I don't want pitchers who intentionally put the ball in play.


I sort of agree, I mean I like the guys who can strike everyone out, al la Roger Clemens, etc.... But I'm thinking for me it kind of depends on what they are able to do with that sinker and what else they bring to the table. I mean Kyle Hendricks is a sinker ball pitcher and I'd love to see him in a Twins uniform. Not saying Dobnak will ever be Kyle Hendricks, but if he were able to do some of the things Hendricks does on a consistent basis then I'd be good with Dobnak. But that is a big "If"
I’m ok with a sinker ball pitcher that puts the ball in play, especially with the defense setting up the way it is.
Tanaka finished 3rd in Cy Young voting, has a consistent history, and is battle tested in post season. I cannot understand why a team wouldn't have thrown a 2 year/12 million contract offer at him, with the opt out after the first year, unless he is injured. In my uneducated opinion the Twins need a 1 or 2 caliber SP and a couple more helpers in the bullpen. Maeda was admittedly great last year, but seems possible it was an outlier. Berrios still struggles. I like Pineda but he is a 2 pitch pitcher, maybe a bullpen candidate. Happ? Hmm. I guess he's a lefty and just ok. Seems we have a lot of 3-4 types. That won't get it done in post season.