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Front Page: Every Team Wants Zack Wheeler

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:13 PM
Zack Wheeler is one of the most sought after free agents this off-season and there will be not shortage of teams interested in his servic...
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Minnesota and Big Contracts

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:05 PM
For more than 2 decades I have listened to Minnesota Twins fans complain that the Pohlads never give out big contracts. This is mostly bu...
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Front Page: Twins Making Sweeping Changes on the Diamond?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:02 PM
When the Minnesota Twins decided to non-tender C.J. Cron it immediately created another position of need for the 2020 club. Joining the n...
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Front Page: Wheeler’s Gone, But Bumgarner Would Give the...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:01 PM
With Zack Wheeler signing with the Philadelphia Phillies for $118 million over five years, Minnesota’s interest turns to Madison Bumgarne...
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The Trade Route

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:53 PM
Ive heard rumblings of the Twins swinging a trade with the Tigers for a big name pitcher, and I have to assume it would be Boyd.   A...
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What the Early Twins Offseason Rumblings Tell Us

Outside of Jake Odorizzi accepting his qualifying offer, and thereby filling one of several 2020 rotation vacancies, the first month of Minnesota's offseason was quiet – at least, in terms of real action. But there's been no shortage of reported rumors involving the Twins.

Let's read between the lines and see if we can find substantive takeaways behind these rumblings, as well as developing storylines elsewhere.
Image courtesy of Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
Here are five conclusions I've drawn based on signals rising from the offseason landscape.

1: The Twins will need to pay a hefty premium to sign Zack Wheeler

The team's interest in Wheeler is no secret. It's also clear they have company in this regard.



The appeal of Wheeler heading into this offseason was easy enough to see: He's got rotation-fronting ability, but it never fully manifested in New York for various reasons. In seven seasons with the Mets he never threw 200 innings, while totaling a 3.71 FIP and 100 ERA+. In other words, his overall performance was almost exactly average.

This backdrop set the stage for a team to acquire the 29-year-old's untapped potential at a relative discount, but when virtually every other front office has the same idea, the whole "discount" proposition goes out the window. To wit: Dan Hayes of The Athletic is hearing Wheeler could land something in the range of five years at $20-22 million per.



That seems astounding for a guy with Wheeler's track record, but it reflects something we're seeing elsewhere on this offseason's pitching market, and more broadly as well: front offices are paying for the future, not the past. It sounds obvious, but has hardly been the norm throughout the history of free agency. Players got paid based on their accomplishments. It's basically what makes the service-time system work – to the extent it does.

We're seeing a clear shift though. It's evident when Drew Pomeranz, owner of a 4-16 record and 5.36 ERA over the past two seasons, signs with San Diego for four years and $34 million guaranteed. It's evident when Kyle Gibson, who possesses a 4.52 career ERA and torpedoed late in a turbulent 2019 campaign with Minnesota, scores a $30 million payday with Texas (a team that previously executed similar plans with Lance Lynn and Mike Minor, with great success).

And it's evident in the relative buzz around Wheeler, compared to other second-tier options like Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jun Ryu. Bumgarner is a four-time All-Star, a former World Series MVP, and fourth among active pitchers in ERA. Ryu finished second in NL Cy Young balloting this year, led the league in ERA, and owns a 2.98 career mark. Both hurlers have ample postseason experience.

Wheeler is lacking in all of these credentials, but nevertheless, the preference of teams around the league seemingly aligns with that of Twins Daily's Twitter following:



So if the Twins want to add Wheeler, they're surely going to have to go well beyond the "bargain" realm. And if they truly believe in his ability to be that linchpin force atop the rotation, they should be comfortable doing just that.

2: The Twins aren't dead-set on bringing back Jason Castro

If they were, they would've already done it. At least, that's my read.

The free agent catching market has been active early, and another name came off the market last week with Yan Gomes re-upping in Washington. Castro is still out there, and a reunion remains very much in play, but the more time passes, the more likely it seems that both sides are seriously exploring other options.

Given how well he fits, as a lefty-swinging veteran presence with strong defensive chops and a built-in rapport, I figured the Twins might just lock Castro down quickly and check that need off the list. Instead, they're taking their time.

3: More projects are coming to the bullpen

As much as I'd love to see the Twins take an aggressive approach in powering up an already-potent bullpen, it always seemed more likely they'd focus the majority of available resources on the rotation. Uncovering hidden gems and converting previous starters has been the recipe for building this current unit into an asset, so why not stick with it?

The claim of left-hander Matt Wisler, a former starter who saw his K/9 rate skyrocket to 11.5 as a reliever this year, fits that bill. As does the more recent addition of Mitch Horacek, who is himself finding his way in the minors as a hard-throwing reliever, after transitioning from a previous starting role.

Blaine Hardy, signed to a minors deal last week alongside Horacek, brings another lefty arm to the mix with MLB experience and depressed stock.



The Twins are piling up "maybes" in a way that might negate their need to spend on ostensible "sure things." I'd still like to see at least one clear high-impact acquisition for the back end of the bullpen, though. I find myself wondering if the Twins fancy Blake Treinen, who's reportedly being made very available by the A's, as an opportunistic addition in that realm. The Yankees are said to be moving in.

4: Moving Miguel Sano to first base is on the table

The Twins face a fairly important deadline on Monday, when they must make decisions on all of their arbitration-eligible players. The biggest question mark among that group is C.J. Cron, who was a key piece of their lineup in the first half, largely a nonfactor in the second half, and is now coming off thumb surgery. The possibility of sliding Sano, who was generally a negative with the glove at third base, across the diamond has been broached by fans often, and it does appear to be something the team is considering.



The idea of pairing Donaldson with Sano at the infield corners is beyond tantalizing. Mike Moustakas would also be a good fit in this capacity. (Todd Frazier though? Eh.)

5: The White Sox mean business. (And the Indians might not?)

Minnesota will likely enter the 2020 season as favorites in the AL Central, but they won't have the luxury of three teams making zero meaningful effort to compete. The White Sox registered a statement with their bold signing of Yasmani Grandal to a $73 million contract, and they also reached a new deal with slugger Jose Abreu to keep him at the heart of their lineup for three more years.

Chicago's talent pipeline is about ready to start delivering. Nick Madrigal might be their Opening Day second baseman, with the release of Yolmer Sanchez paving way. Meanwhile, Lucas Giolito is arguably the best starter in the division, and the Sox are reportedly looking to add another piece alongside him atop the rotation:



Potentially offsetting this development: Cleveland sure doesn't seem intent on making a push to retake the division. I haven't heard the Indians connected to any big names, and in fact, they've have been more prominently framed as sellers. Francisco Lindor, two years away from free agency, is apparently drawing interest.



Corey Kluber is on the same timeline (FA after 2021) and his name came up in rumors last winter, so I fully expect to see it happen again. Trading either Lindor or Kluber would signal a pseudo-rebuild for Cleveland.

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84 Comments

Thorpe should move to the pen now, and not spend another year as a starter. Just as Rogers should have moved a year earlier.

    • Twins33, nicksaviking, ChrisKnutson and 2 others like this

Pineda? Downside is the 60 game suspension but for the most part losing Pineda and gaining Wheeler would be a zero sum to me.


I am all about re-signing Pineda. When you look at stuff, age, what he did last year, where do you find a better value or fit?

His suspension only carries about 30 more days. As I understand it, he can fully participate in ST and gets a couple weeks to ramp up in the minors before he is activated. Not sure if he can remain at the Ft Myers complex during the suspension or is forced to work out on his own.

I don't like to have to cover that first 30+ days, but over the course of the entire season, again, he's a perfect fit.
    • scottz, Twins33, gagu and 3 others like this

Suggesting that Sano move across the diamond from third to first is not a criticism.Many players outgrow the left side of the infield and go on to be very effective defensive players.Albert Pujols moved from third early in his career and became a multi gold glove first baseman.Miguel Cabrera made a similar move and had been an average to better than average defensive first baseman early in his career; although age has caught up to him some now. Although both are now DH’s late in their careers, that move was not made in their mid-twenties.
Sano was signed as a SS, but that was close to 100 lbs ago.It does however indicate that there is a certain level of athleticism present.The key is to make any change early enough in the offseason for him to be comfortable by opening day.That was the real mistake in the attempted move to right field; a change initiated in spring training.Although I am not suggesting a move to the outfield, I do believe that Sano has the skills that would allow him to be at least an average defensive right fielder; highlighted by an impressive arm.Again, this would assume adequate time for training and adjustment.
First base should be a much smoother transition, especially if given the time to adequately learn and become comfortable. In the overall “defensive scheme”, Sano as an average first baseman is far more valuable than Sano as a below average third baseman.That being said, I do believe that he has the potential to be above average defensively at first base.

    • DocBauer, gagu and In My La-Z-boy like this

 

In an environment where Kyle Gibson gets $30 Million over 3 years, probably this is a year to stay out of the bidding wars on the top and 2nd tier free agents. Re-sign Pineda, and go with Odorizzi and Berríos as the top 3. Then let the rest of the Twins roster fight for the last two spots Graterol, Dobnak, Thorpe, Romero, Smeltzer and others can try to prove themselves. Or the Twins should look to make a trade for x starter. Otherwise, the Twins pay big bucks for Wheeler based on potential more than past performance, or pay big bucks for aging and likely declining pitchers like Ryu and Mad-Bum.

Then the Twins will never be in on top and 2nd tier free agents. The "environment" hasn't changed in years, and I strongly doubt it will change any time soon.

 

FA pitching costs a lot of money. Either pay it, or don't expect to sign FA pitching, ever.

    • SQUIRREL, Mike Sixel, scottz and 9 others like this

 

Then the Twins will never be in on top and 2nd tier free agents. The "environment" hasn't changed in years, and I strongly doubt it will change any time soon.

 

FA pitching costs a lot of money. Either pay it, or don't expect to sign FA pitching, ever.

And, imo, if you are going to pay, then go big and sign one of the top 2 ... 

 

It's my wish for Santa this year.

    • USAFChief, diehardtwinsfan, Twins33 and 2 others like this

 

And, imo, if you are going to pay, then go big and sign one of the top 2 ... 

 

It's my wish for Santa this year.

Santa hasn't pitched well for years. I'd rather have Wheeler.

 

    • SQUIRREL, Mike Sixel, scottz and 11 others like this

 

Santa hasn't pitched well for years. I'd rather have Wheeler.

But Santa has magic ;)

    • USAFChief, birdwatcher and scottz like this
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bustedstuff88
Dec 02 2019 12:01 PM

In an environment where Kyle Gibson gets $30 Million over 3 years, probably this is a year to stay out of the bidding wars on the top and 2nd tier free agents. Re-sign Pineda, and go with Odorizzi and Berríos as the top 3. Then let the rest of the Twins roster fight for the last two spots Graterol, Dobnak, Thorpe, Romero, Smeltzer and others can try to prove themselves. Or the Twins should look to make a trade for x starter. Otherwise, the Twins pay big bucks for Wheeler based on potential more than past performance, or pay big bucks for aging and likely declining pitchers like Ryu and Mad-Bum.


So your plan then is to essentially trot out the same rotation in 20 as you did in 19 less Gibson?
    • alphanumeric and Tomj14 like this
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sweetmusicviola16
Dec 02 2019 12:21 PM

 

In an environment where Kyle Gibson gets $30 Million over 3 years, probably this is a year to stay out of the bidding wars on the top and 2nd tier free agents. Re-sign Pineda, and go with Odorizzi and Berríos as the top 3. Then let the rest of the Twins roster fight for the last two spots Graterol, Dobnak, Thorpe, Romero, Smeltzer and others can try to prove themselves. Or the Twins should look to make a trade for x starter. Otherwise, the Twins pay big bucks for Wheeler based on potential more than past performance, or pay big bucks for aging and likely declining pitchers like Ryu and Mad-Bum.

The FA environment is always the same. If not now at this point where our need is the greatest its ever been, then when?

    • howeda7, Battle ur tail off and In My La-Z-boy like this

 

Except zero sum isn't better. And, Pineda is highly rated, not someone no one had thought of and no one is interested in. The post I responded to said find someone better, that no one is interested in....

I didn't think you were trying to be that literal about it.I go to mlb.com and there is zero buzz about Pineda and a lot about Wheeler.Would not surprise me to see Pineda go for less than half of what Wheeler gets and I think I would rather have Pineda.That puts him in the better camp.But ok, zero interest that is better than Wheeler?Graterol or even Dobnak might end up better but can't say no one has interest in them. You win. 

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ChrisKnutson
Dec 02 2019 12:27 PM
As much as I’m interested in Wheeler’s untapped potential, I feel like we’d be taking the same risk Boston took when signing Eovaldi; only a much bigger. Again, I’m not opposed to signing Wheeler, but I’d feel much more comfortable in signing a trio of Pineda, Keuchel, and Porcello to short term deals instead.
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In My La-Z-boy
Dec 02 2019 12:27 PM

We'll know a little more tonight after the Cron decision. Rumors has the Brewers shopping Hader. 4 years of control, and a $4.6m number next year. Wolfson says we are talking to Boras about Ryu. With everyone apparently wanting Wheeler I am skeptical we offer the most? Maybe we see a blockbuster trade for a #1 starter? Hoping if we don't pony up for Wheeler, that we make a trade. Hate to lose prospects, but this is the off season to go for it. One way or the other, I am hopeful the off season rumblings this winter include 2 stud starters please to go along with resigning Pineda.

    • Battle ur tail off and nick_hansen like this

I'm perusing the starting pitchers that were good last year....there aren't a lot on non-playoff teams. Especially if you eliminate any with only a year or two in the majors. Other than the Marlins pitcher last year, it's hard to think of starters traded with more than 2-3 years of control left. I think trading is going to be difficult, and pricey.

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nick_hansen
Dec 02 2019 01:10 PM

 

As much as I’m interested in Wheeler’s untapped potential, I feel like we’d be taking the same risk Boston took when signing Eovaldi; only a much bigger. Again, I’m not opposed to signing Wheeler, but I’d feel much more comfortable in signing a trio of Pineda, Keuchel, and Porcello to short term deals instead.

I think it's pretty optimistic that we would sign three FAs. In my mind, including resigning Pineda, it would be two at most.

Bringing back Pineda is a solid move. Keuchel is a tough one because he is now 32 and it will likely take a 3-4 yr deal to get it done. Porcello is really only a back-end innings eater at this point.

I just don't see why we don't take a chance and see if we can turn Wheeler into a top-of-the-rotation starter. The tools are all there. For me, if they sign Wheeler and resign Pineda, they are looking pretty decent for next year. Also trading for a SP like Jon Gray wouldn't be a bad idea either and could put them over the top. 

    • In My La-Z-boy likes this
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sweetmusicviola16
Dec 02 2019 01:28 PM

 

I'm perusing the starting pitchers that were good last year....there aren't a lot on non-playoff teams. Especially if you eliminate any with only a year or two in the majors. Other than the Marlins pitcher last year, it's hard to think of starters traded with more than 2-3 years of control left. I think trading is going to be difficult, and pricey.

The Orioles seem intent on tanking for the next 3 seasons or so. How about John Means? Make it a blockbuster and get Givens for the pen and Mancini to replace Cron. Or is Means too big of a risk in not being established enough yet?

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Battle ur tail off
Dec 02 2019 01:37 PM

 

In an environment where Kyle Gibson gets $30 Million over 3 years, probably this is a year to stay out of the bidding wars on the top and 2nd tier free agents. Re-sign Pineda, and go with Odorizzi and Berríos as the top 3. Then let the rest of the Twins roster fight for the last two spots Graterol, Dobnak, Thorpe, Romero, Smeltzer and others can try to prove themselves. Or the Twins should look to make a trade for x starter. Otherwise, the Twins pay big bucks for Wheeler based on potential more than past performance, or pay big bucks for aging and likely declining pitchers like Ryu and Mad-Bum.

 

Then prepare for another 1st round sweep should they make the playoffs. Who cares if the Pohlads have to spend some money. We will have assets that are easy to move should the plan bomb out the next year or 2 in order to recoup some of the money invested. Gutless thinking will not get it done. 

    • alphanumeric, lukeduke1980 and nick_hansen like this

 

The Orioles seem intent on tanking for the next 3 seasons or so. How about John Means? Make it a blockbuster and get Givens for the pen and Mancini to replace Cron. Or is Means too big of a risk in not being established enough yet?

 

He has 5 years of control left. Other than last year, and Miami, I can't think of pitchers like that being traded. Here is a good write-up on him.

 

https://blogs.fangra...-rookie-season/

I think you offer Cron.arbitration. He could wind up being this years Jonathan Schoop. If someone comes in and beats him out of the position, great.

Wolfson says we are talking to Boras about Ryu.


Music to my ears. We're the Twins, we can't afford to give up early round picks with our blockbuster signings. Ryu has no QO attached. Maybe he's the target and interest in Wheeler is feigned. Keep hearing 5 years 100-110 million, but I think that might be the floor. After that postseason, the FA pitcher market is gonna be crazy.
    • In My La-Z-boy likes this

I think you offer Cron.arbitration. He could wind up being this years Jonathan Schoop. If someone comes in and beats him out of the position, great.


Too much money for the easiest position to fill. We got Kiriloff and Rooker coming.
    • alphanumeric likes this

 

Too much money for the easiest position to fill. We got Kiriloff and Rooker coming.

The thought that we have Kiriloff, Rooker, etal possibly coming makes this similar to the Schoop position last year. Arbitration is a 1 year signing.

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
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nick_hansen
Dec 02 2019 02:10 PM

 

Music to my ears. We're the Twins, we can't afford to give up early round picks with our blockbuster signings. Ryu has no QO attached. Maybe he's the target and interest in Wheeler is feigned. Keep hearing 5 years 100-110 million, but I think that might be the floor. After that postseason, the FA pitcher market is gonna be crazy.

Giving up what is essentially a mid-second round pick for signing a guy that could be at the front of our rotation for the next half-decade is not that heavy of a price to pay. The farm system is deep and we can afford to forfeit a pick as long as the FA is in our long-term plans.

    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel, Twins33 and 4 others like this

 

Music to my ears. We're the Twins, we can't afford to give up early round picks with our blockbuster signings. Ryu has no QO attached. Maybe he's the target and interest in Wheeler is feigned. Keep hearing 5 years 100-110 million, but I think that might be the floor. After that postseason, the FA pitcher market is gonna be crazy.

 

I assume, then, you won't make a trade of a good prospect either? Because a good prospect is worth more than a 2nd round pick, not to mention what multiple good prospects are worth compared to one 2nd round pick....

    • Twins33 and Battle ur tail off like this
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Battle ur tail off
Dec 02 2019 02:41 PM

 

I assume, then, you won't make a trade of a good prospect either? Because a good prospect is worth more than a 2nd round pick, not to mention what multiple good prospects are worth compared to one 2nd round pick....

 

LOL

 

Don't trade prospects, don't sign Free Agents. In Carl's ghost we trust. 

 

I'm done with it. If they don't spend at least 100 million on starting pitching this year, it's a massive failure. You want Ryu? Fine, bring him in here along with Wheeler or Bumgartner. I've got no problem with that and it should also be more than possible. 

We aren't the little engine that could anymore. This team is filled with a roster full of boppers and athleticism that is young. It's time to go for it. Sign the studs or trade for them. Our fanbase deserves it, as well as the entire roster that has more than proven their worth. 

    • Doctor Wu and sweetmusicviola16 like this
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nick_hansen
Dec 02 2019 03:07 PM

 

LOL

 

Don't trade prospects, don't sign Free Agents. In Carl's ghost we trust. 

 

I'm done with it. If they don't spend at least 100 million on starting pitching this year, it's a massive failure. You want Ryu? Fine, bring him in here along with Wheeler or Bumgartner. I've got no problem with that and it should also be more than possible. 

We aren't the little engine that could anymore. This team is filled with a roster full of boppers and athleticism that is young. It's time to go for it. Sign the studs or trade for them. Our fanbase deserves it, as well as the entire roster that has more than proven their worth. 

If the shellacking that we took in the playoffs has taught us anything, we need to do something bold with the pitching if we are going to take it to the next level. Doing the traditional Terry Ryan dumpster diving thing is not going to get us to where we want to be.

    • Doctor Wu, Battle ur tail off and sweetmusicviola16 like this

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