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This is pretty much a must win in my opinion. We need to go to Soldier Field and take them... which means we won't. 
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Twins Minor League Coaches/Coordinators

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NBA 2018-19 Thread

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Article: Rundown: Target Field Security, Offseason Expect...

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Target Field is undergoing yet another fairly major update this offseason, the focus being around Gate 34. Rochelle Olson of the Star Tri...
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Twins Sign Belisle: What Does This Mean?

On Tuesday afternoon, the Minnesota Twins announced that reliever Matt Belisle had signed with the Twins after being released a day earlier by Cleveland. Infielder Gregorio Petit was Designated for Assignment to make room on the 40-man and 25-man rosters. It was a minor transaction, in the big picture, but it certainly created a ton of discussion. What does this signing mean for the Twins? Let’s try to figure it out.
Image courtesy of RIck Osentoski, USA Today
When the news came out that the Twins had signed Matt Belisle, my level of surprise was fairly low. I don’t know why. It just seems like what we would have always deemed a “Twins” type of move. The DFAing of Petit was also not a surprise.

But as I gave it more thought, my mind raced in several different directions, and at the end of the day, I’m much calmer, but I can’t say that the move makes any more sense than it did eight hours ago. It still begs several questions.


1.) What Does Matt Belisle Have Left?

Matt Belisle got off to a very slow start last year with the Minnesota Twins, but he turned it on in the second half. He pitched well and did a nice job as the Twins closer after the Brandon Kintzler trade at the deadline.

Late in the offseason, he signed a one year, $1.5 million deal with Cleveland. He made the Opening Day roster. He began the season with three scoreless outings before giving up runs in his next three outings. He responded with two scoreless outings. Cleveland DFAd him. Belisle became a free agent, but soon re-signed with the team. He was released on Sunday and signed with the Twins on Tuesday.

In his 10 2/3 innings, he posted a 5.06 ERA. He walked one and struck out just four. In nine outings (and also 10 2/3 innings) for Triple-A Columbus, Belisle posted a 4.22 ERA with one walk and 11 strikeouts.

In other words, he shouldn’t be a late-inning reliever, but the 38-year-old can probably be a solid big league pitcher still.


2.) What Does It Say About The Front Office’s Opinion of the AAA Relievers?

This was my first thought, and I know it was the thought of many others. First and foremost, it is inexplicable to me that Alan Busenitz isn’t pitching in the big leagues. Of course, that was my opinion before the Belisle signing. He pitched well late in the 2017 season for the Twins and became a reliable arm for Paul Molitor.

While Busenitz didn’t make the Opening Day roster, he was promoted in mid-April. He then pitched in four of the next six games. The Twins were struggling and needed arms, so Busenitz was sent back to Rochester. In 14 games for the Red Wings, He has posted a 0.38 ERA. In 24 innings, he has given up 15 hits, walked five and struck out 28. The 27-year-old has nothing to prove in AAA, and he still have some upside.

But Busenitiz isn’t the only reliever in Rochester who has to be wondering what the Twins front office is thinking.
  • Tyler Duffey was just sent down over the weekend to make room for outfielder Jake Cave. Duffey had pitched well in limited duty since being called back up. That said, it did make sense to want a fourth bench bat. So, three days later, adding a bullpen arm and going back to three bench bats has to make him think. In 26 innings over 11 outings for the Red Wings, Duffey has posted a 1.38 ERA. He’s walked seven and struck out 26 batters.
  • John Curtiss has the pitches to be a dominant reliever. While his short stay with the Twins earlier this season wasn’t pretty, it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) limit anyone’s idea of his potential. Coming into Tuesday, he had a 1.61 ERA in 22 1/3 innings. In that time, he had 31 strikeouts, but ten walks.
  • Luke Bard has 19 strikeouts and six walks in his 17 innings (11 games) since his return to the Red Wings after his stint with the Los Angeles Angels. His big fastball, slider and spin rates are pretty much big league ready.
  • Nick Anderson has given up nine earned runs in his last three outings (2 2/3 innings) which raised his season ERA from 1.16 to 4.15. So, as rough as this current “slump” is, it’s important to think about the first 14 games and 23 1/3 innings. In his 26 innings, he has walked 12 and struck out 39.
  • Jake Reed remains in the organization. He missed time earlier in the year and has struggled somewhat in his return. In his 15 2/3 innings over ten outings, he has walked seven and struck out 14 batters.
  • While he’s left-handed, Gabriel Moya has also pitched well in his five weeks with the Red Wings after being optioned at the end of April. He’s posted a 2.11 ERA in 21 1/3 innings. In that time, he has walked eight and struck out 29 batters.
  • Trevor May is working his way back from Tommy John surgery. As his rehab stint ended, the Twins optioned him to Rochester and he has worked out of the bullpen since. At some point, he’ll be ready as well.
That is a lot of quality options who all were just told that they have been pushed down the line another spot with the Belisle signing.

The team likely calls it "depth." Hopefully the players will consider it a challenge. The other option is that they get overly upset and don't handle it well.

3.) What Kind of Leader is Belisle? (And What Kind of Leadership Does This Twins Team Need?)

Matt Belisle likely isn’t going to be a difference maker for the Twins bullpen (which, frankly, has been pretty solid most of the season). The Twins have pitchers at Rochester who are just as talented, if not more talented, and younger. What we keep hearing is that the Twins are bringing in Belisle for his leadership in the clubhouse.

Fair enough. There were plenty of good stories in 2017 about the role Belisle played for the team, particularly in a leadership role.

However, when the Twins signed Fernando Rodney, there was some conversation about him being brought in as a leader for the pitchers. Then Zack Duke was signed, and we heard about how great of a teammate he is. And, when they signed Addison Reed, his leadership was again mentioned.

I don’t mean to downplay the value of veteran leadership. It is important. But there are a lot of veterans, and there are a lot of veterans who are touted as leaders, and there are several indications that the clubhouse is not a happy place right now. There are issues. The team is five games under .500, not at all where they felt they would be at this point,

Can Matt Belisle’s leadership push the Twins to more wins? That is to be determined. Can he help the Twins offense score more runs? That would also be helpful. As would getting more of the regulars back on the field and healthy.


Summary

So at the end of the day, this is a minor move. Matt Belisle probably has a little left in the tank. Maybe he can help out. Maybe he can eat some of the innings that are currently constantly going to Addison Reed and Ryan Pressly so that they don’t reach 100 games pitched this year. Trevor Hildenberger is starting to take more and more of those opportunities, and Matt Magill has pitched well enough to earn those opportunities as well.

We have also seen what Paul Molitor likes from his bullpen. He trusts Addison Reed and Ryan Pressly. In the first half last year, he trusted Taylor Rogers and ran him into the ground by the second half. We saw that somewhat in the second half last year when he used Trevor Hildenberger most every day over the final couple of months. My guess is that Molitor will not be afraid to use Matt Belisle late in games because of how well he did in the role last year. Trust.

I also suspect that this is one move that the front office is giving Molitor and the team, a veteran, in an attempt to win this year. The trade deadline is about seven weeks away. By mid-July, the front office will have some big decisions to make. Most important, will they believe that the Twins could still make the playoffs this year? As Nick wrote yesterday, it’s not yet time to give up on this year.

What this signing appears to me to be, in the big picture, is a message to the team and its veterans that they have a little over a month to turn things around and put themselves in a position to compete for a playoff spot. If not, all bets are off and at that time, we can start discussing which veterans could be on the trading block and which players will come up to take their places.

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84 Comments

 

This is not correct.May is still doing rehab, but switched to the pen for some reason.  

 

Were he reinstated and optioned, he would had needed a spot on the 40-man roster.He is still on the 60-day DL.In other words Belisle (who is as relevant for the Twins as David Hale was) is just keeping May's spot warm, unless the Twins have seen enough of Duffey (and his attitude, btw, whining when demoted first time) to DFA him instead.

May was activated and optioned on June 7, per his MLB page:

 

http://www.milb.com/...tching/2018/ALL

    • Carole Keller and USAFChief like this
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ashburyjohn
Jun 13 2018 07:49 AM

May was activated and optioned on June 7, per his MLB page:

 

http://www.milb.com/...tching/2018/ALL

TD's minor league report of that day also conveyed the news, for those who read that site:

 

http://twinsdaily.co...f-on-opponents/

    • Carole Keller, Seth Stohs and Platoon like this

Record since acquiring Belisle: 1-0.


No one can debunk this! Super Bowl homeboy!
    • ashburyjohn, Seth Stohs, USAFChief and 2 others like this

 

Late in the offseason, he signed a one year, $1.5 million deal with Cleveland. He made the Opening Day roster. He began the season with three scoreless outings before giving up runs in his next three outings. He responded with two scoreless outings. Cleveland DFAd him. Belisle became a free agent, but soon re-signed with the team. He was released on Sunday and signed with the Twins on Tuesday.

Seth, this is incorrect/incomplete.

 

- Belisle signed a minor league deal with Cleveland, which was only worth $1.5 mil if he made the team. This is pretty compelling evidence that he failed to get an MLB contract offer this winter.

 

- He was bad in spring training. I don't normally put too much stock in spring training stats, but for a guy on a minor league deal fighting for a job, they should be a useful barometer. 22 hits and 8 runs allowed in 11.1 innings this spring.

 

- Belisle perhaps only made the team due to injuries (Salazar and Merritt were placed on the DL the same day).

 

- Belisle was a mop-up reliever for Cleveland, with a .59 game-entering leverage index, comparable to Rule 5 pick Justin Haley's usage last year.

 

- Belisle was DFA'd about a month into the season, presumably cleared waivers and rejected an assignment to AAA and elected free agency. Then he was a free agent for 8 days before re-signing another minor league deal with Cleveland on May 16. Again, pretty compelling evidence that no one was offering Belisle a MLB deal less than a month ago.

 

- His most recent appearance was also his worst, 5 hits and 4 runs in 2/3 of an inning at AAA on June 8.

 

What does this mean? It means the Twins as well as the entire league passed on giving Belisle an MLB deal this offseason, and did so again less than a month ago in mid-May. And his performance to date has largely justified that judgement.

    • rghrbek likes this

TD's minor league report of that day also conveyed the news, for those who read that site:
 
http://twinsdaily.co...f-on-opponents/

While there's lots of info on "that site" I cannot believe they have not been covering the raccoon going up the bank building. It's that type of coverage that drives me to peruse Twinkie Town, ocassionaly. :)
    • ashburyjohn likes this
Speaking of: The raccoon on the bank building and Belisle on a MLB roster. What do they have in common?
    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
I think a few weeks is fine to see how Belisle and the Twins do before the trade deadline where there could be several bullpen jobs available and several minorleagers brought up then. Most of the AAA relievers need to work on control anyway as around 4 walks per 9 innings is too many.
    • SwainZag and caninatl04 like this
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LA VIkes Fan
Jun 13 2018 08:02 AM

This does make you wonder if there is a trade coming.Busenitz would seem to have checked all of the boxes for an MLB call up with his solid MLB performance last year and his AAA performance this year. Duffy was good in his last stint and the list goes on. We badly need a catcher for this year and probably next. Maybe this tells us that the team is trying to make a deal for a Wilson Ramos type and Busenitz, Curtis, and/or Duffy is part of the package going back. 

 

Most of the AAA relievers need to work on control anyway as around 4 walks per 9 innings is too many.

Busenitz (1.9 BB/9 at Rochester) and Duffey (2.3) need to work on their control? Or we're just going to lump them in with other pitchers who do, for no apparent reason except to justify signing Belisle as our 13th pitcher?

    • adorduan, rghrbek, jud6312 and 1 other like this

Okay, what are the Twins doing about the offense. Mauer, Polanco and Buxton will be back. I guess that solves the need to keep Cave/LaMarre. A pitcher will probably have to go. And maybe it will be BOTH LaMarre/Cave with Grossman as the backup. That sends chills of anticipation.

 

But then we have "where to play Escobar." Of course, Mauer at DH, Sano at 1st, Escobar at 33rd. So Grossman is the bench bat with Adrianza and Wilson (until Rupp gets the call).

 

Maybe we need a veteran clubhouse guy to rally the clubhouse, the dugout, the bench. The bullpen seems to have their mentors up the wazoo at this point.

 

Anyway, the Twins are still one-up in the pitching department and the Belisle leash may be short (or a month, at the most).

 

Yes, though, it sends a message to the Duffy's at Rochester..."why not me, again" as well as the future building blocks in an overstuffed 40-man pitching roster (couldn't Slegers fill this role, will Mejia ever see the majors again...who will depart when the Twins do have to add names like Reed and Bard and Anderson to the 40-man roster?

 

Further complications when you have to shuffle the deck for Ervin Santana.

 

Oh, yes, Trevor May is out there, still working on returning. And he will return!

 

 

Maybe this tells us that the team is trying to make a deal for a Wilson Ramos type and Busenitz, Curtis, and/or Duffy is part of the package going back. 

So these guys can't beat out Matt Belisle for the 8th bullpen spot -- but Tampa's going to insist they are included in a major trade?

 

Also, those guys aren't in MLB now and don't require Belisle to replace them on the roster even if they were dealt. Except perhaps as "depth" but it's a really weird way to address depth by adding a 13th pitcher to your roster who doesn't have options.

    • Platoon, rghrbek, Vanimal46 and 2 others like this

If they activate Mauer soon (he just started a rehab assignment for Rochester yesterday), this also means the only move they can really make is sending down LaMarre or Cave (barring another injury in the meantime). So gone is the CF platoon, and say hello to Robbie Grossman, exclusive 4th outfielder again.

    • Doctor Wu likes this
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howieramone2
Jun 13 2018 08:18 AM

 

And of course how long will they go with a 3 man bench? It must be extremely discouraging for the MiLB players to work their ass off and see the FO bring in a retread instead of them. One can be "challenged" only so often before the challenge becomes a discouragement.

If they can't take the heat, time to get out of the fire.

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nicksaviking
Jun 13 2018 08:22 AM

 

If they can't take the heat, time to get out of the fire.

 

They haven't been given the chance to take the heat.

 

If Belisle was brought in because they needed his "leadership" that doesn't speak too well of Rodney, Reed and Duke.

    • Platoon and jud6312 like this
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howieramone2
Jun 13 2018 08:23 AM

 

I, too, am totally dumbfounded with this move. This is such a Terry Ryan move. Twins are loyal to a fault with players who do not deserve to be on a MLB roster, like the player we finally released, Pettit. And don't get me started on how we are keeping Grossman for no apparent reason. At some point the loyalty has to go to our minor league prospects who have proved at every level they deserve at least a shot.

 

Also agree with earlier poster who said it's the offense that needs major help. Once again we are totally baffled with 85 mph fastballs and 76 mph curves last night. Does the FO really believe Polanco and Buxton returning are going to transform us into a team that can consistently score runs?

Yes

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howieramone2
Jun 13 2018 08:26 AM

 

They haven't been given the chance to take the heat.

 

If Belisle was brought in because they needed his "leadership" that doesn't speak too well of Rodney, Reed and Duke.

He was brought in to help us win games, just like last season where I believe he was our best pitcher after 6-15. 

    • SwainZag and LA VIkes Fan like this
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ashburyjohn
Jun 13 2018 08:35 AM

He was brought in to help us win games, just like last season where I believe he was our best pitcher after 6-15. 

Ha ha, those fools! Cleveland fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia," but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go into the second half of the season without Matt Belisle when post-season contention is on the line!"

 

hqdefault.jpg

    • USAFChief, Jerr, TiberTwins and 10 others like this

If they can't take the heat, time to get out of the fire.

It would be far easier to "get out of the fire", if you were not shackled to it. MiLB players have approximately the same amount of mobility as a turtle turned over on its back. In the corporate world, those who feel they have given their best, and for whatever reason it wasn't enough to elevate them into the executive suite, are free to move to a like company in the same industry. This at least satisfies the question most people would have. Was it me, or the orginisation? In MiLB you can't go from the Twins farm system to the White Sox. You have to abandon your career path completely.

Comments I've seen on this site in the past:

 

Busenitz had a flat fastball/shaky peripherals; the league will catch up to him.  He's Slamma-ing AAA pitching.

 

Moya gets by on a deception.

 

My own observation:  Curtiss has shaky control that gets exacerbated under the limelight.  Shoot, last night he wilted against the Yankees...affilitate.

 

Duffey is what he is.  He'll be good, he'll be bad.  Sometimes happy, sometimes sad.  Right now he's mad.

 

Bard is the Matt Belisle of the young turks--couldn't cut it in a contenders pen.

 

Listen, I don't actually dislike any of these guys, and I think they all deserve a(nother) shot. They may be more talented than Belisle, but I'm not convinced they'll perform better.  At any rate, this seems like a move driven by or done on the behalf of Molitor.  If that is the case, it will be a mark in his ledger, one way or the other.

    • Carole Keller, LA VIkes Fan, gagu and 1 other like this

Ha ha, those fools! Cleveland fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia," but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go into the second half of the season without Matt Belisle when post-season contention is on the line.

>>>>>>>>>>>Think of the trade value once everyone catches on to this. Belisle will be our way forward to a catcher who can catch a baseball. Belisle for Realmuto even up. (Though the FO will have to deal with some harsh critiscm for giving away Belisle)

    • ashburyjohn likes this

If we don't like any of our AAA relievers -- why do we have so many of them on our 40-man roster? Why didn't we sign Belisle this winter? I guess by waiting, I think Cleveland is on the hook for Belisle's modest salary above the league minimum... so, savings!

 

Although that still would have been the case had we signed him less than a month ago, when he was a free agent for 8 days after Cleveland let him go the first time...

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yarnivek1972
Jun 13 2018 08:51 AM

If the Twins are selling, they should go all in.
Rodney, Reed, Magil, Presley, Lynn, Ororizzi, Dozier, Escobar.
Why half arse it.
They have replacements for all of them.


You can’t trade players no one wants. As I said, Reed and Rodney are likely at the top of teams want lists. Relievers usually are.

 

If they can't take the heat, time to get out of the fire.

Duffey has thrown 6 scoreless innings across 4 games in MLB since the last time Belisle was a free agent. Was that him showing he was unable to take the heat?

    • Mike Sixel, Platoon and wsnydes like this
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howieramone2
Jun 13 2018 09:14 AM

 

Ha ha, those fools! Cleveland fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia," but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go into the second half of the season without Matt Belisle when post-season contention is on the line!"

 

hqdefault.jpg

According to current board standards, the Indians haven't accomplished anything since 1948.

Man, sooooo - Twins!!!


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