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Twins Spring Training Highlights

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:22 AM
I'll try to update this thread anytime I'm able to grab some spring training highlights. Here are a few from today:  
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Twins and Gibson Discussion and Extension

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:17 AM
http://www.startribu...lier/507159692/   Interesting to see how this plays out. I'd have to think an extension is likely since the T...
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Leadoff Batter

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:17 AM
In most games this spring I've noticed Kepler being used as the leadoff batter. And based on results thus far (yeah, yeah, small sample s...
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Article: Twins 2019 Position Analysis: Starting Pitcher

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:04 AM
Nowhere has the reforging of this team's identity over the past half-decade been more apparent than in the starting rotation. Five years...
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Article: Could Martin Perez Be 2019's Anibal Sanchez?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:52 AM
Last season, the Twins signed then 34-year-old starting pitcher Aníbal Sánchez to a one-year contract, a move that confused most of their...
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Upcoming Rule Changes Greatly Benefit Tyler Austin’s Future

There’s no place in today’s game for a weak-side platoon bat who offers little defensive value. It’s really difficult for me to see the value in the Twins keeping Tyler Austin on the active roster.

That all changes in 2020.

The MLB announced a series of rule changes that will dramatically change a player like Austin’s future outlook. He’s exactly the type of player who will benefit most from these updates.
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
One of the challenges the Twins face in retaining Austin will be trying to fit him on the roster, which will more than likely feature a three-man bench for the majority of the season. He’s out of options, and power is typically very expensive. If the Twins place him on waivers, I have little doubt the majority of rebuilding teams would be salivating over the thought of bringing him in.

We learned today that an extra roster spot will be added next season, making it much easier for a team to carry a bat-only type player. That’s huge for a guy like Austin. One of the other significant changes coming is the three-batter minimum for pitchers. But there’s a twist.

Starting in 2020, a pitcher must either face three batters or pitch to the end of a half-inning. So it’s not a strict three-batter minimum rule, but it will make it more difficult for teams to deploy specialist pitchers. Austin has been phenomenal against left-handed pitching over his young career (.937 OPS), but right-handers have mostly had their way with him (.664 OPS, 39.0 K%). As it stands right now, it’s not always easy to take advantage of that platoon split, but it will become much easier with these new restrictions.

A lot of the focus on this rule change has revolved around how it impacts bullpen usage. While that’s certainly the most obvious element to the rule and the thing it aims to adjust, I believe this change (in addition to the extra roster spot) means pinch hitters suddenly become a great deal more valuable than they’ve been in the era of the 13-man pitching staff.

These tweaks have the potential to change a slugging pinch hitter from a luxury most teams cannot afford to shoehorn onto their rosters to a potential integral part of the makeup of each team’s bench.

While Austin’s potential value is boosted by these changes, there were already some good reasons for the Twins to try to keep him in the org. Nelson Cruz has been arguably the best power hitter in baseball over the past few years, but nobody escapes Father Time. He does an incredible job at taking care of himself but you never know when a dropoff or significant injury may come. C.J. Cron had a breakout year last season and is a much more established player than Austin, but what if he can’t replicate that success? What if he's LoMo 2.0?

The Twins are only committed to Cruz and Cron for this upcoming season, though both can be brought back in 2020 if the team so chooses – Cruz has a $12 million option and Cron has one more year of arbitration eligibility. Austin, meanwhile, isn’t set to become a free agent until 2024. The Twins also have some nice bats down on the farm who figure to be factoring into the 1B/DH conversation before too long. Brent Rooker also seems to be a big beneficiary of these rule changes, but a bat in the hand is worth two in the rack.

I have not been a big supporter of Tyler Austin in the past because it’s difficult to see much value in a player of his profile the way the game is being played today. With a tweak in the rules must also come a reevaluations of how we value certain players. While these rule changes aren’t so dramatic to cause any kind of a seismic shift, I do believe they have a significant impact on players of Austin’s specific profile.

The only question is can they find room for Austin throughout the entire 2019 season?

Full Rule Changes
Here’s a link to the full press release.

For 2019:

-Inning breaks reduced to two minutes. They were previously 2:05 for local games and 2:25 for national broadcasts.

-There will be a single July 31 trade deadline. No more separate wavier trade deadline.

-Updates to All-Star Game voting and a $1 million bonus to the Home Run Derby winner.


For 2020:

-Active roster to expand one spot to 26.

-Rosters will only expand to 28 in September instead of 40.

-Undetermined cap on the number of pitchers on an active roster. This will be determined by a joint committee.

-Pitchers will need to either face three batters or pitch to the end of a half-inning.

-Injured list goes back up to 15 days instead of 10.


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85 Comments

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nicksaviking
Mar 14 2019 12:50 PM

 

Game 7, game is on the line.Your new pitcher can't find the strike zone.Bases loaded.

 

I'd think they need to add the stipulation that if you DFA a guy mid-inning obviously someone else has to come in to pitch.

 

If the GM goes to the mound to give the guy the news, does that count as a mound visit though?

    • REPETE, 70charger, markos and 3 others like this

 

This was a joint announcement from the MLB and MLBPA, they've already agreed to the new rules. It is unfortunate for relief specialists, but there will be 30 more players collecting a big league check starting in 2020, a huge victory for the players.

 

Of course, A LOT less players will be called up in September.......

 

but, more than 1 player will get that extra roster spot, due to injuries and shuttling......It is an interesting trade off.

 

IMO, more players get more real time in the majors, but less players get September time. The total number of days in the majors is probably similar, but they are spread among less players (though still more than 1 player per team).

 

I like the rule changes, but even more than that, I like the collaboration between the owners and the players. This seems like a huge step in avoiding a strike, I would have thought both sides would have been waiving these changes around like weapons in an attempt to score a better deal in the upcoming CBA.

 

It almost makes me think the owners have already let it be known to the MLBPA that they're aware the current economic situation is crap and the players will get a bigger piece of the pie in the next CBA.

 

the union has already said it did not agree to the three batter minimum.....but on other things, yes, it's likely a good sign.

 

This also opens up scenarios where 1st place teams cannot get emergency help if a key injury occurs in August.A team might be all but clinched but suddenly without their star player, then you have a dead team in the playoffs.  

 

Teams have until July 31st to prepare for all possibilities. 

 

If a team does not have suitable replacements on their roster come August 1st. It will be the GM's fault.

 

Just the same as if a GM rosters a LOOGY and spends the year moaning that his LOOGY has to face 3 batters miniumum which includes right-handers who routinely light him up. 

 

The rules will be in place... The GM"s must adjust to the rules or work at a significant disadvantage to the other GM's who adjusted to the rules. Sticking to yesterday's roster management in today's world is generally a bad idea.:)  

    • Mike Sixel, nicksaviking, brvama and 4 others like this

 

Viewers hate pitching changes and will tune out if you allow a substitution. :)

Have you ever tuned out after a pitching change?It doesn't take that long, about 2 minutes?People with attention spans that low probably aren't going to like baseball to begin with.

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yarnivek1972
Mar 14 2019 01:15 PM
Per an article on Yahoo, it is 13 pitchers max until September then 14.

https://www.yahoo.co...-152243554.html
    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

 

Have you ever tuned out after a pitching change?It doesn't take that long, about 2 minutes?People with attention spans that low probably aren't going to like baseball to begin with.

 

I'm almost certain you missed some sarcasm....

    • ashbury, nicksaviking, Sconnie and 1 other like this

I support the 26-man roster if they limit pitchers to 13 spots.

 

During the past 30+ years, pitching staffs have increased from 10 to 13 for most teams. There are now 8 RP to choose from in the late innings, while the team on offense has 3 PH options. Most of the time, the three PH include a backup C, OF, and a UT player. Hardly a fair battle of managerial strategy. 

 

For competitive teams, it will probably be a veteran. For a struggling team, it might be a prospect. In any case, it will give the offense another tool in late innings.

 

Here's an article that contains a handy set of graphs showing changes in age and roster use during the past 100 years.

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

Why don't they address replay?I can't stand watching the manager stand at the top step, while the umpires stare at him for 30 seconds while some other coach watches TV.   

 

I was in favor of replay if it meant not having to watch Gardy argue (incorrectly time & time again) for 2 minutes.The "Gardy Replay Rule" should eliminate time consuming arguments, not take up more time by waiting 30 seconds just to go to commercial because they're not going to challenge.  

 

Like the additional roster spot, hate the 3 Batter minimum.That fundamentally changes strategies.Plus, a RP that "just doesn't have it" can blow a lead pretty easily in 3 batters.  

    • Hosken Bombo Disco likes this

 

 

Teams have until July 31st to prepare for all possibilities. 

 

If a team does not have suitable replacements on their roster come August 1st. It will be the GM's fault.

 

Just the same as if a GM rosters a LOOGY and spends the year moaning that his LOOGY has to face 3 batters miniumum which includes right-handers who routinely light him up. 

 

The rules will be in place... The GM"s must adjust to the rules or work at a significant disadvantage to the other GM's who adjusted to the rules. Sticking to yesterday's roster management in today's world is generally a bad idea.:)  

Saying that a GM should always have a suitable replacement for a star level player might be a stretch.Especially considering the disparity of payrolls around the league.Tampa Bay can't reasonably have an answer to losing a star player in August.Doesn't seem like you have an answer for who benefits from ditching the August waiver deadline.

 

The 3 batter rule is designed to eliminate a strategy so GMs making an adjustment is really a backwards step.Doesn't really have anything to do with the quoted trade deadline comment either.I think it opens the door for those moments when you realize oh this pitcher clearly doesn't have it tonight.Guess we are stuck with him for at least 3 batters.Might suck for those end of game or playoff scenarios when you always want someone ready in relief.

 

the union has already said it did not agree to the three batter minimum.....but on other things, yes, it's likely a good sign.

I wonder if this is one of those things that might change back quickly. I can imagine that there might be a lot of pushback by fans if they have to watch their own pitcher implode for 3 batters. Is it really a good thing for the game if a pitcher walks the first batter on 4 pitches and then gets booed by his own fans for 2 more batters as he is struggling to find the zone? Does that speed up the game at all? A new pitcher will need to enter that game anyway. 

 

Also, it probably isn't a good look if a bunch of pitchers get "injured" mid-batter or something in order to get another pitcher in the game. 

    • Mike Sixel and howieramone2 like this
I’m all for the roster rules changes. The three batter minimum and position player pitching rules are only baffling to me. Forcing a guy who doesn’t have it that night to stay in will only make games longer. A lot of LOOGY will lose their job also.
    • Danchat likes this

 

 

I'm almost certain you missed some sarcasm....

I did because it seems Manfred actually believes people tune out like this. 

    • ashbury, Mike Sixel, Hosken Bombo Disco and 1 other like this

 

 

Certainty this rule will force teams to pick a direction earlier. They won't be able to hedge their bets as easily by using the waiver/trade rules in August. As far as injury replacements go, teams just may need to be sure they have quality reinforcements in the minors. Waiver pickups will still be available as well. I think teams may be forced to be a little more active before the July 31 trade deadline. I doubt if that is a bad thing.

I think it is ultimately a bad thing if a team has to call up someone from AAA to replace an elite player especially near playoff time.At least they could try to land a decent player in the old system.

 

At the end of August you are over 150 games in, one big injury can cripple a lot of teams.That team could already be in a position to clinch a spot and you now have a weak team in the playoffs.It could also mean one less team fighting for those last spots.The later deadline was a nice emergency plan for anything that you really can't plan for.

 

I don't see the positive in this rule change.

 

Saying that a GM should always have a suitable replacement for a star level player might be a stretch.Especially considering the disparity of payrolls around the league.Tampa Bay can't reasonably have an answer to losing a star player in August.Doesn't seem like you have an answer for who benefits from ditching the August waiver deadline.

I think small-market teams specifically benefit from the ditching of the August waiver deadline. Good teams, who have a real need for a specific player, can easily get blocked by their opponents (with worse records or in the other league) making waiver claims on that specific player. But there is an asymmetry there, as small-market teams are probably more reluctant to make a defensive claim on an expensive player that would help their opponents because they can ill-afford to be saddled with the salary. 

 

Personally, I wish they would have just moved the regular trade deadline to August 31.

    • beckmt likes this

On today's radio broadcast Cory asked Falvey about these changes.Falvey mentioned he expects there to be "tweaks" to the 3 batter minimum rule.In particular they discussed the option of waiving the minimum if the opposing team puts in a pinch hitter.That way a team can't suddenly put in a couple righties where they had lefties or vice versa and force your pitcher to face them.

    • Hosken Bombo Disco and DocBauer like this

 

I think small-market teams specifically benefit from the ditching of the August waiver deadline. Good teams, who have a real need for a specific player, can easily get blocked by their opponents (with worse records or in the other league) making waiver claims on that specific player. But there is an asymmetry there, as small-market teams are probably more reluctant to make a defensive claim on an expensive player that would help their opponents because they can ill-afford to be saddled with the salary. 

 

Personally, I wish they would have just moved the regular trade deadline to August 31.

Moving the actual deadline would probably be better.More competitive teams later into the season.Would probably mean less return for the selling team though.Might make the other broken system of the qualifying offer more appealing to teams.

 

I think small markets might also be negatively affected too.if payroll is keeping them from grabbing a rental on an expensive contract that would be quite a bit cheaper a month later.

    • mikelink45 likes this
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howieramone2
Mar 14 2019 02:02 PM

 

I like the rule changes, but even more than that, I like the collaboration between the owners and the players. This seems like a huge step in avoiding a strike, I would have thought both sides would have been waiving these changes around like weapons in an attempt to score a better deal in the upcoming CBA.

 

It almost makes me think the owners have already let it be known to the MLBPA that they're aware the current economic situation is crap and the players will get a bigger piece of the pie in the next CBA.

They threw a dog a bone.

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nicksaviking
Mar 14 2019 02:06 PM

 

Saying that a GM should always have a suitable replacement for a star level player might be a stretch.Especially considering the disparity of payrolls around the league.Tampa Bay can't reasonably have an answer to losing a star player in August.Doesn't seem like you have an answer for who benefits from ditching the August waiver deadline.

 

The 3 batter rule is designed to eliminate a strategy so GMs making an adjustment is really a backwards step.Doesn't really have anything to do with the quoted trade deadline comment either.I think it opens the door for those moments when you realize oh this pitcher clearly doesn't have it tonight.Guess we are stuck with him for at least 3 batters.Might suck for those end of game or playoff scenarios when you always want someone ready in relief.

 

A replacement for a star player isn't usually available anyway, there's usually a good reason why a player makes it through waivers and is available in August. Also, every other professional sport has a firm trade deadline and they seem to manage. 

 

I'd think the 3 batter rule would increase strategy, it just wouldn't be the current strategy. A manager is going to have to gameplan more than one at bat in advance with this rule.

 

I also rarely see a guy who "doesn't have it" get yanked after one batter anyway. It's usually not clear that he doesn't have it until he's faced three batters.

    • Riverbrian, jay, Dman and 1 other like this
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nicksaviking
Mar 14 2019 02:16 PM

 

Moving the actual deadline would probably be better.More competitive teams later into the season.Would probably mean less return for the selling team though.Might make the other broken system of the qualifying offer more appealing to teams.

 

I think small markets might also be negatively affected too.if payroll is keeping them from grabbing a rental on an expensive contract that would be quite a bit cheaper a month later.

 

I'm OK seeing how the new trade deadline plays out, I wouldn't have been opposed to seeing what happened by pushing the traditional deadline to August 31st though either. 

 

Teams need to be encouraged to make moves earlier in the year though. Maybe make the stakes of late season trades financially significant? Teams making trades after July 31st have to pay in what equals 50% of their acquired players' reaming season salary into the revenue sharing pool? Trades between June 1 and July 31st have to pay in 15% and trades made prior to June pay nothing?

    • DocBauer likes this

 

A replacement for a star player isn't usually available anyway, there's usually a good reason why a player makes it through waivers and is available in August. Also, every other professional sport has a firm trade deadline and they seem to manage. 

 

I'd think the 3 batter rule would increase strategy, it just wouldn't be the current strategy. A manager is going to have to gameplan more than one at bat in advance with this rule.

 

I also rarely see a guy who "doesn't have it" get yanked after one batter anyway. It's usually not clear that he doesn't have it until he's faced three batters.

Josh Donaldson would count as a star in my opinion. Other 2018 August guys like Ryan Madson, Curtis Granderson, and Gio Gonzalez are legitimate guys to get in a late season trade.Maybe you prefer Justin Verlander joining the Astros to win the World Series in 2017. (That's two MVP winners traded in August in the last 2 years)

 

Other famous August trades like Justin Upton, John Smoltz, Larry Walker, Adrian Gonzalez would be star caliber.Twins have used it in the past as well to obtain Bert Blylevin, get rid of Josh Willingham, Delmon Young, etc. 

 

3 batter minimum will negatively effect pitching strategy no matter how you look at it. There will be a change in pitching strategy yes but pitching overall just became worse.

 

In the playoffs (especially recently) teams often have another player ready the moment a reliever enters the game.It is no longer even an option.

I think it is ultimately a bad thing if a team has to call up someone from AAA to replace an elite player especially near playoff time.At least they could try to land a decent player in the old system.
 
At the end of August you are over 150 games in, one big injury can cripple a lot of teams.That team could already be in a position to clinch a spot and you now have a weak team in the playoffs.It could also mean one less team fighting for those last spots.The later deadline was a nice emergency plan for anything that you really can't plan for.
 
I don't see the positive in this rule change.


Perhaps. I suspect that it is mostly the richer teams that are in position to make significant trades to acquire true difference makers in August. I really don't have a problem with a harder deadline. The difference between a typical waiver pickup and whoever you have available in the minors usually isn't much, factoring in the variability of fringe major leaguers.

The other thing is that if contenders are sort of forced to call up their best prospects, rather than play games with their service time, well that wouldn't be a bad thing either.
    • Riverbrian likes this

I did because it seems Manfred actually believes people tune out like this. 

So call my feeble attempt "Satire" instead of "Sarcasm" - which doesn't make it any safer to try on an Internet forum. :)

    • Mike Sixel and Tomj14 like this

On today's radio broadcast Cory asked Falvey about these changes.Falvey mentioned he expects there to be "tweaks" to the 3 batter minimum rule.In particular they discussed the option of waiving the minimum if the opposing team puts in a pinch hitter.That way a team can't suddenly put in a couple righties where they had lefties or vice versa and force your pitcher to face them.

That tweak does stand out by a mile.

    • markos and DocBauer like this

 

Concur. I like the roster reduction to 28 players in September the most. While it eliminates the cute stories like James Beresford getting a cup of coffee, it should keep teams honest and competitive.

I will take the minority opinion here.September does not bother me and if it lets career minor leaguers get points towards the pension I am happy with that.  

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33, Ben Noble and 2 others like this

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