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Article: Johan Santana Elected To Twins Hall of Fame

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:42 PM
This afternoon at Target Field, the Minnesota Twins announced that Johan Santana has been elected to the Twins Hall of Fame.Santana is th...
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Yahoo Sports Says Both Twins and Cardinals Pursuing Trade...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:04 PM
Just read it on Yahoo Sports.Apparently, the Twins want to see if they can sign Yu Darvish first.I'd rather have the younger Chris Archer...
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Article: Twins Weekly for Jan. 12-18: Reed All About It

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:34 PM
Welcome to Twins Weekly. This feature intends to help readers discover anything they may have missed, encourage prospective writers to ge...
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Article: Why I Believe The Twins Are Going To Sign Yu Dar...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 07:07 PM
Call it a hot take. I'm fine with that. It's been cold out, and the frozen state of affairs this offseason is only deepening the chill.Bu...
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Article: Three Prospects To Watch In 2018

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 06:16 PM
If you haven’t heard yet, the 2018 version of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook is now available. It’s hard not to get overwhelmed wh...
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Two Veteran Free Agents The Twins Could Target

It's one of those things that can be difficult to quantify, but without a doubt, veteran presence matters in an MLB clubhouse.

In 2015, anyone who spent time around the team will tell you that 39-year-old Torii Hunter played a larger role in the group's success than his numbers show. And this year, 44-year-old Bartolo Colon's impact after joining the roster in mid-August overshadowed his production on the field.

Colon is back on the market and reportedly looking to give it another go next season. It's sadly time for the Twins to move on from Big Sexy, but there are two other well-traveled vets that look like potential fits.
Image courtesy of Gary A. Vasquez and Brad Mills, USA Today
John Lackey "intends to pitch in 2018," according to Jon Heyman. He's 39 and has thrown almost 3,000 innings in the major leagues. When we last saw him on the mound, it wasn't pretty; the right-hander was roughed up in three relief appearances during the NLDS. And in general, it was a trying season for him, as he posted his worst ERA in five years while allowing a league-high 36 home runs.

But outside of the long ball troubles, Lackey pitched fairly well. His 1.28 WHIP would've ranked third among Twins starters and his 20.4% K-rate would have ranked second. From 2013 through 2016, he posted a 3.35 ERA and 1.18 WHIP with an excellent record of durability while pitching for teams that made the postseason every year (Red Sox, Cardinals, Cubs). He took home rings in 2013 and 2016.

Lackey is a capable starter with tons of experience, and he's accustomed to winning. He'll also be surely be available on a one-year deal, leaving the front office with plenty of long-term flexibility if they were to sign him.

The other name I'll be tracking is not a pitcher, but a hitter. Jayson Werth, 38, plans to keep playing and might look very nice on the Twins bench next season.

Like Lackey, he's coming off an inauspicious campaign, having hit .226/.332/.393 in the final year of a fairly disastrous $126 million contract with the Nationals. He was limited to 70 games this year by a bone bruise in his left foot. Werth hasn't had much success lately in general with a sub par .724 OPS over his past three seasons.

As a guy making $21 million and expected to serve as a regular in the outfield, Werth was a major liability. FanGraphs pegged him at -0.3 WAR in 2017.

But what if he were making a fraction of that on a one-year deal, being used more sparingly and more to his strengths? Werth posted an .820 OPS and 10/9 K/BB ratio against left-handed pitchers this year, but made less than 20% of his plate appearances against them. In his career, he has hit .293/.393/.538 against southpaws.

With the Twins, he could spend much of his time at DH while occasionally spelling Max Kepler or Eddie Rosario in the outfield corners against left-handers (though preferably not often as he'd be a huge step down defensively).

As a young team looking to build upon its success and return to the postseason, the Twins will surely have a keen interest in players that fit the veteran leader prototype. As it happens, two of the most experienced players on the free agent market look like pretty solid fits, given their needs. I wouldn't be surprised to soon hear Minnesota connected to one, or both.

Have you gotten your copy of the Offseason Handbook yet? You can read about these names and dozens of other Twins targets. Download yours now and dig in:


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123 Comments

Lackey yells at his catcher and yells at his position players during the game (on the field) when mistakes happen. He acts like a complete donkey on the field. Hard pass.
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Nick Nelson
Nov 08 2017 10:46 AM

Definitely sounds like Lackey's teammates hate him

 

http://m.mlb.com/new...cubs-teammates/

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nicksaviking
Nov 08 2017 10:51 AM

Last year the team signed a bunch of "clubhouse" vets who's benefits were pretty entirely off-field related. While Lackey and Worth may be a slight step up from Giminez and Breslow, it's not like these guys are a big help on the field. I really hope the Twins stop doing this.

 

Isn't Carlos Santana known as a good clubhouse guy? Surely Addison Reed has some valuable veteran leadership skills? Can't we instead start getting veteran leaders that also contribute statistically?

    • Carole Keller, USAFChief, Sconnie and 2 others like this
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Matt Johnson
Nov 08 2017 11:03 AM

If the Twins sign Werth, I quit.

 

Last year the team signed a bunch of "clubhouse" vets who's benefits were pretty entirely off-field related. While Lackey and Worth may be a slight step up from Giminez and Breslow, it's not like these guys are a big help on the field. I really hope the Twins stop doing this.

 

Isn't Carlos Santana known as a good clubhouse guy? Surely Addison Reed has some valuable veteran leadership skills? Can't we instead start getting veteran leaders that also contribute statistically?

 

What does a DH and reliever have to do with a 5th starter and a 4th OF?

As far as getting Lackey for a veteran leader, I think Erv is probably a better example that I want my young guys to emulate.

 

As far as getting Werth in the dugout to hit lefties, I'd rather let our young guys take their hacks and learn how to hit lefties rather than taking up a roster spot for that.I see Werth as wanting to stay in the NL.

I have no interest in either. I hope the Twins agree
    • Carole Keller and birdwatcher like this

As far as getting Lackey for a veteran leader, I think Erv is probably a better example that I want my young guys to emulate.
 

Except for the whole PED thing.
    • ThejacKmp and wsnydes like this
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Wookiee of the Year
Nov 08 2017 12:57 PM

I don't have any interest in adding a back-of-the-rotation starter (if you're going to add to the rotation, add near the top), but Werth holds some appeal for me.

 

It's simply not true that Grossman hits lefties better than Werth. In 2017, Werth's OPS against lefties was 124 points higher than Grossman's; across their careers, Werth is 89 points better. That's a real step up.

 

Also, Werth's defense isn't quite as bad as you'd think. In 2017: by DRS, he and Rosario were comparable below-average left fielders; by FRAA, Werth was half a win better than Rosario; and by UZR, Rosario was half a win better. None of us see Rosario as unplayable in the outfield; overall, Werth looks like maybe a half-win below average defender as a full-time player, and not nearly that bad as the short side of a platoon.

 

All that suggests Werth could be worthwhile as a corner outfielder platoon for Kepler and his .152/.213/.240 line against lefties.

    • USAFChief and markos like this
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nicksaviking
Nov 08 2017 02:04 PM

 

What does a DH and reliever have to do with a 5th starter and a 4th OF?

 

Fine, Austin Jackson as the 4th OF and Tyler Chatwood as the #5 then.

 

Why would anyone intentionally go out and sign a "5th starter" anyway? No team should be intentionally looking for a guy who profiles as a 5th starter, that's typically a pretty poor adjective for a guy and the spot that goes to the weakest performing member of the rotation by default. This team needs front of the rotation help. Signing Lackey is just going to mean there's 5-10M less to go toward getting the #1 and #2 that this team needs.

    • USAFChief, markos, PseudoSABR and 2 others like this

I'd rather give a couple million to Lackey on a short term deal than pay 4/48 to a middle-to-back-end of the rotation starter that will likely seem overpaid in 2-3 years, ie Cobb. 

 

Werth is a pass for me. Wouldn't be werth it.

 

    • Nick Nelson and Deduno Abides like this

 

Fine, Austin Jackson as the 4th OF and Tyler Chatwood as the #5 then.

 

Why would anyone intentionally go out and sign a "5th starter" anyway? No team should be intentionally looking for a guy who profiles as a 5th starter, that's typically a pretty poor adjective for a guy and the spot that goes to the weakest performing member of the rotation by default. This team needs front of the rotation help. Signing Lackey is just going to mean there's 5-10M less to go toward getting the #1 and #2 that this team needs.

 

Nothing wrong with those two guys, though I suspect Chatwood signs a pretty decent contract.

 

On your second point, I don't think that's the way it works at all. 5th starter is the guy who occupies the 5th spot in the rotation, right? Not necessarily a value judgement. If the Twins took a shot at Lackey or one of the other 5 guys mentioned, there would be hope that he bounces back and is better than 2-3 of the other guys in the rotation. While the team should strive to have controllable arms in their prime occupying all of the rotation, that obviously isn't the case right now. As they try to distribute resources, while not locking into bad contracts, and keeping some flexibility for future prospects to break in or potential trades - it makes sense to have a varied risk preferences. So I don't really see the problem, or see why it is a bad strategy.

    • howieramone2 likes this

If the Twins stay true to who they are and don't make a big splash on a big name, I like Tyler Chatwood as a potential fit for this rotation. His numbers don't look good on paper, but let's not forget he pitched his home games in Coors Field. His road numbers are far better. His road ERA in 2017 was 3.49. Clearly, Coors Field inflated his ERA and deflated his chances at a big contract. Low-risk/high-reward signing for who could be a solid #3 starter behind Santana and Berrios.

    • Twins33 and nicksaviking like this
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Lee-The-Twins-Fan
Nov 08 2017 03:25 PM

Only problem is, Chatwood is in the NL. Has to face DHs in the AL if he were with the Twins.

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AWOLNATION_11
Nov 08 2017 03:32 PM

Lackey is fine if the price is right. As for Werth, I'd look into Howie Kendrick or Matt Holliday first. 

    • markos likes this

Wait! Do we want to become the (crippled) Yankees? If Hughes is healthy, couldn't he be as good as Lackey? Someone mentioned Melky Cabrerra. He would be a better addition. I'll wait til the free agent listing comes out before posting anymore about free agents. Sano can be an occasional RH DH if needed. Whatever happened to Park?

Chatwood is going to get paid, imo.
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diehardtwinsfan
Nov 08 2017 04:21 PM

nothing on this list excites me.

 

Fine, Austin Jackson as the 4th OF and Tyler Chatwood as the #5 then.

 

Why would anyone intentionally go out and sign a "5th starter" anyway? No team should be intentionally looking for a guy who profiles as a 5th starter, that's typically a pretty poor adjective for a guy and the spot that goes to the weakest performing member of the rotation by default. This team needs front of the rotation help. Signing Lackey is just going to mean there's 5-10M less to go toward getting the #1 and #2 that this team needs.

He get's it! Aiming for a 5th starter is so weak. Sign the best guy you can and hope he makes your 4th starter into your new 5th starter.

    • USAFChief, nicksaviking and Broker like this
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notoriousgod71
Nov 08 2017 04:30 PM

 

Lackey yells at his catcher and yells at his position players during the game (on the field) when mistakes happen. He acts like a complete donkey on the field. Hard pass.

 

Sounds like Jack Morris to me.

 

He get's it! Aiming for a 5th starter is so weak. Sign the best guy you can and hope he makes your 4th starter into your new 5th starter.

 

Every rotation starts with 5 starters. Among the 5 is the 5th of those 5, who will come after Santana, Berrios, Gibson, and a presumed multiyear SP signing. This need not be a ranking of their abilities.

    • GP830 and howieramone2 like this
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ashburyjohn
Nov 08 2017 04:45 PM

Every rotation starts with 5 starters. Among the 5 is the 5th of those 5, who will come after Santana, Berrios, Gibson, and a presumed multiyear SP signing. This need not be a ranking of their abilities.

Then every rotation by definition has a #1, and we can stop our search for one right now.

    • USAFChief, GP830 and Broker like this

 

Then every rotation by definition has a #1, and we can stop our search for one right now.

 

Nope. Though every team does have at least 1 starter!

 

Every rotation starts with 5 starters. Among the 5 is the 5th of those 5, who will come after Santana, Berrios, Gibson, and a presumed multiyear SP signing. This need not be a ranking of their abilities.

Right, but when people are referring to a given player as a 5th starter-- they aren't referring him as if they're referring to the 5th Beatle.

 

They're referring to the starter who is the 5th best on your team and 5th least reliable.

    • Mike Sixel likes this
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Nick Nelson
Nov 08 2017 05:03 PM

John Lackey has a 3.57 ERA, 4.02 FIP and 1.20 WHIP over the past five seasons. If he pitches up to that baseline, he's not a #5 starter on the Twins. He's a #2 or #3. 

 

If you don't like the guy because you think he's a dink, that's OK, but let's not act as though he hasn't been a durable, quality performer. 

    • BigSkyTwinsFan and notoriousgod71 like this