Twins Unlikely to Sign Kimbrel, Keuchel — Wait, This Sounds Familiar!
Image courtesy of © Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY SportsIt’s important to keep in mind that every situation is different, but I still think there’s some value in looking back at how the Lynn contract came to be and compare that to where things are with this year’s market. I’m not saying any of this means the Twins are going to sign Kimbrel or Keuchel, but as long as they’re out there on the market it’s a possibility.
One more disclaimer, sharing these reports that ultimately turned out to be untrue isn’t intended to be a jab at the reporters mentioned. They were simply relaying the information that was brought to them at that time from credible sources. Their reports were accurate to the situation in that snapshot in time. It’s clear things changed very quickly at some point, actually right around this time, last year.
Here’s a look back at how things developed through the rumor mill.
Feb. 28, 2018
Mike Berardino Tweets that the Twins, who are just a few weeks removed from a strong pursuit of Yu Darvish, are likely done adding.
March 2, 2018
Jim Bowden of The Athletic reports Lynn’s asking price is north of $50 million, a mark no team is currently willing to entertain.
March 4, 208
Bowden’s sources tell him the Twins are unlikely to sign Lynn or any of the other top starters available.
March 6, 2018
Berardino writes that a person with direct knowledge said a $20 million commitment was a non-starter for Lynn.
March 12, 2018
Lance Lynn signs a one-year, $12 million deal with the Twins.
I’m sure there were additional reports I missed, but you get the drift. As we learned with Lynn last year, things can change incredibly quickly.
That lesson can obviously apply to other teams, as well. Bowden Tweeted Friday evening that the Nationals and Braves were “not in” on Kimbrel according to multiple sources. That would certainly make it appear the Twins have a better chance at swooping in at the midnight hour to sign him, but (again) things can change very quickly. If Kimbrel’s expectations are lowered, I’d imagine there’s a point at which the Nats and Braves would be very much in on him.
Dan Hayes, also of The Athletic, passed this along shortly after Bowden's Tweet:
Wouldn’t say no 100 percent? So you’re telling me there’s a chance!
But seriously, Dan would know. To his credit, he’s already done a lot of the leg work in trying to find a scenario in which Kimbrel could land in Minnesota. Back in late January, he wrote a thorough 1,300-word piece over at The Athletic on the topic. He’s been painting the possibility of Kimbrel signing with the Twins as a long shot, but he did end that article attached above with this sentence: “As unlikely as it seems, if all those market conditions fell their way, the Twins could just wind up with Kimbrel.”
This past Monday, La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune wrote that “it would take a major change of events for the Twins to sign either pitcher [Kimbrel or Keuchel] and bring him into a training camp that started three weeks ago.” And added this: “I got the sense that, unless Keuchel or Kimbrel were willing to sign a one-year contract, there's no deal here.”
A one-year contract you say? Hmm …
While it does not appear likely that either Kimbrel or Keuchel will be in a Twins uniform this season it also doesn’t really seem like either of those guys is likely to be in any particular team’s uniform this season. There doesn’t appear to be a front-runner or obvious destination for either of them at this point.
We’ve seen this movie. Our guys came out on top with contract in hand when the dust settled. Things didn’t work out exactly as intended, which was unfortunate, but they have this move in their playbook. Is it possible there was something they learned from last year that they can apply and ensure a smoother transition into the regular season for a late signing?
All I’m saying is anything’s possible.
Here are a couple more links if you’re interested in some further reading. MLB Trade Rumors featured both of these pitchers Friday.
Let’s Find A Landing Spot For Craig Kimbrel
Historical Market Price Points For Dallas Keuchel
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