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Front Page: Report: Twins Nearing Multi-Year Deal with Mi...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:48 PM
According to Peirre Noujaim from Fox 9 News in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Twins have reached a deal to keep veteran Michael Pineda with t...
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Chasing Madison Bumgarner Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:47 PM
Looks like the market is heating up for Bumgarner now, and the Twins are in. Post rumors and thoughts as they arise, please:  
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The Trade Route

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:38 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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Front Page: Passan: Twins to Sign Catcher Alex Avila

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:33 PM
Jeff Passan of ESPN reported Friday morning that the Twins had an agreement with veteran catcher Alex Avila on a one-year, $4.25 million...
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Front Page: Twins Rookie Pitchers Were Well Prepared in 2019

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:31 PM
There are probably only a handful of things in sports more terrifying than being a pitcher. I mean, just think about it for a second: Som...
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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

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Physics Guy
Dec 02 2019 03:14 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.

In my opinion, the risk of signing Wheeler is nowhere near what the Eovaldi signing was.Eovaldi capitalized on an excellent 12 games after being traded to the Red Sox (and a great posteseason) to get a 4 year $68M contract ($17M AAV).He had a total bWAR of 7.6 the previous 5 season.

 

Wheeler has 7.4 bWAR over the past two seasons.I'd take the "risk" of a 5yr $110M contract for him any day over the Eovaldi contract.IMO the Twins need at least one more pitcher better than Odorizzi to compete in the playoffs.I don't see any of those other three as being that, save for maybe what Pineda showed right before his suspension.If the Twins aren't going to open the pocketbook this year, then I guess they are happy with last year as their best possible outcome.If you fail to cultivate top end starters from the farm you have to spend money in FA, and usually overspend to get what you need.

    • Mike Sixel, Twins33, nicksaviking and 2 others like this
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nicksaviking
Dec 02 2019 03:44 PM

 

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?

 

John Means is a soft tossing high contact righty. He had a good year but he's not a guy anyone would ever want leading a WS contending rotation, and he doesn't have the stuff to become that guy. He doesn't do a lot for me.

 

Yeah, a guy like Wheeler is a risk, but he's got a 97MPH heater, he strikes out a batter an inning and he's not going to make you worry about his control. It might not all come together, but at least he has the potential to be able to match up against the Yankees or Astros. I don't think anyone could say the same about even the other pitchers considered in his tier like Keuchek, Ryu or even Bumgarner, let alone anyone on Baltimore's staff.

 

And I realize your Means suggestion was in no way suggesting that the team shouldn't get a guy like Wheeler. Sounded like you were on board with free agents in addition to trades.

    • Mike Sixel, LA VIkes Fan, alphanumeric and 3 others like this
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nick_hansen
Dec 02 2019 04:18 PM

I like the idea though. You get a decent mid to back-end rotation guy with years of control and a RP (Givens) that they had looked at trading for last year at the deadline.

    • Mike Sixel likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Dec 02 2019 04:22 PM

In my opinion, the risk of signing Wheeler is nowhere near what the Eovaldi signing was.Eovaldi capitalized on an excellent 12 games after being traded to the Red Sox (and a great posteseason) to get a 4 year $68M contract ($17M AAV).He had a total bWAR of 7.6 the previous 5 season.
 
Wheeler has 7.4 bWAR over the past two seasons.I'd take the "risk" of a 5yr $110M contract for him any day over the Eovaldi contract.IMO the Twins need at least one more pitcher better than Odorizzi to compete in the playoffs.I don't see any of those other three as being that, save for maybe what Pineda showed right before his suspension.If the Twins aren't going to open the pocketbook this year, then I guess they are happy with last year as their best possible outcome.If you fail to cultivate top end starters from the farm you have to spend money in FA, and usually overspend to get what you need.


I’m not gonna refute any of what you posted about Wheeler because I’m a fan of him too, but are we really gonna pretend that Keuchel doesn’t have a good postseason track record...

If it were up to me, Wheeler and Keuchel would’ve been signed weeks ago.
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sweetmusicviola16
Dec 02 2019 04:56 PM

 

John Means is a soft tossing high contact righty. He had a good year but he's not a guy anyone would ever want leading a WS contending rotation, and he doesn't have the stuff to become that guy. He doesn't do a lot for me.

 

Yeah, a guy like Wheeler is a risk, but he's got a 97MPH heater, he strikes out a batter an inning and he's not going to make you worry about his control. It might not all come together, but at least he has the potential to be able to match up against the Yankees or Astros. I don't think anyone could say the same about even the other pitchers considered in his tier like Keuchek, Ryu or even Bumgarner, let alone anyone on Baltimore's staff.

 

And I realize your Means suggestion was in no way suggesting that the team shouldn't get a guy like Wheeler. Sounded like you were on board with free agents in addition to trades.

Yes, I want to see Wheeler or someone comparable or better even signed. Then sign a Keuchel type or someone like Tehran for our #4 spot. I was responding to mikes comment about not much quality on non contenders. Means was one of the few that stood out to me. otherwise he's right on. I'd prefer we go the FA market first, then we have our farm kids for insurance against injury and or a poor performer, and for when Rosario and maybe Cron move on as replacements.

    • Mike Sixel likes this

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 second round pick alone, no. But the "price to pay" is 5 or more years commitment, 100 or more million. People say he's going to be good. Ryu was the better pitcher most recently. I'd rather have him for less than five years.
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birdwatcher
Dec 02 2019 05:16 PM

 

Financial Flexibility is the key for winning teams, having the ability to sign or trade for high price players but choosing not to is more important than not being able to sign or trade for those players because you are hamstrung by payroll. </s>

 

 

Wish you people would quit being so snarky about Tampa Bay. They didn't do all that poorly, you know. ;)

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

I assume, then, you won't make a trade of a good prospect either?

I would. Just because I don't want to get into a costly commitment to Zach Wheeler shouldn't lead to make some sweeping assumption regarding a different thing, trades. Every situation is different. I don't know if Wheeler will be as good as Ryu, but he's going be more expensive and cost a draft pick.

If it's Cole or Strasburg, though, I don't hesitate to give up my first rounder.
    • Mike Sixel and sweetmusicviola16 like this

Madison Bumgarner had essentially the same season that Zack Wheeler had last year.

MadBum with a few more innings pitched, a better WHIP, essentially the same K/9...and a slightly lower ERA+.

 

MadBum is less that 10 months older than Wheeler. I get the extra 'mileage'..theoretically. Still, less than 10 months older. Talk up Wheeler, and swoop in and get MadBum on friendlier terms!

 

(I'm fine with at least one of MadBum, Ryu, or Wheeler.)

    • alphanumeric, DocBauer, Vanimal46 and 1 other like this
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jorgenswest
Dec 02 2019 06:40 PM
I hope the Twins sign Wheeler. He is a playoff caliber starting pitcher.

I am not convinced he is better than Odorizzi (also a playoff caliber starting pitcher in my opinion).

He is moving from a NL pitcher friendly park to Minnesota. It will have an impact on his overall numbers.

Here is some data that I am sure some will disregard.

The last two seasons pitchers have come to the plate against him 106 times. He has turned 98 of those plate appearances into outs giving up 7 hits and 1 walk while striking out 56. In the AL he will face a DH instead. Those additional PAs are going to eat into his innings per start and increase his number of high pitch count innings.

In his 5 AL park starts over the last two years he has thrown 28 innings in 5 starts. Those starts were against New York, Kansas City, Chicago, Toronto and Baltimore. The Yankees are awesome but don’t you think he should have been more dominant against the other 4? The White Sox are the only team where he pitched 7 innings.

I want Wheeler but I have no expectation that his numbers will be close to his CitiPark numbers. Unless baseball takes some of the life out of the baseball I think we should expect somewhere near 6 innings per start while strikeout and walk rates merge closer together when he isn’t feasting off opposing pitchers.

It is very likely that someone will pay a heavy premium for AL performance that isn’t much different than Odorizzi’s. I am kind of hoping that team is the Twins.
    • birdwatcher and DocBauer like this
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sweetmusicviola16
Dec 02 2019 06:42 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. 

I tend to agree. If you don't go for it now then when will we?

 

Berrios, Odo and say Graterol will make about 23mil this season. The time is now to offer Cole 35mil and Wheeler 23mil. Higher if need be. Yes the payroll will be at 150mil. Next year 40mil can come off for Cruz, Rosario, Marwin and Odo. In a year a number of the prospects will be ready.

    • BK432, Mike Sixel and Battle ur tail off like this

 

I hope the Twins sign Wheeler. He is a playoff caliber starting pitcher.

I am not convinced he is better than Odorizzi (also a playoff caliber starting pitcher in my opinion).

He is moving from a NL pitcher friendly park to Minnesota. It will have an impact on his overall numbers.

Here is some data that I am sure some will disregard.

The last two seasons pitchers have come to the plate against him 106 times. He has turned 98 of those plate appearances into outs giving up 7 hits and 1 walk while striking out 56. In the AL he will face a DH instead. Those additional PAs are going to eat into his innings per start and increase his number of high pitch count innings.

In his 5 AL park starts over the last two years he has thrown 28 innings in 5 starts. Those starts were against New York, Kansas City, Chicago, Toronto and Baltimore. The Yankees are awesome but don’t you think he should have been more dominant against the other 4? The White Sox are the only team where he pitched 7 innings.

I want Wheeler but I have no expectation that his numbers will be close to his CitiPark numbers. Unless baseball takes some of the life out of the baseball I think we should expect somewhere near 6 innings per start while strikeout and walk rates merge closer together when he isn’t feasting off opposing pitchers.

It is very likely that someone will pay a heavy premium for AL performance that isn’t much different than Odorizzi’s. I am kind of hoping that team is the Twins.

 

Of course, advanced stats take into account the NL/AL thing.....he's a good pitcher. He has very good stuff. I get that you like him, but if you discount every NL pitcher, and every AL pitcher on a playoff team, and every pitcher with more than 2 years of control left....who is left?

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jorgenswest
Dec 02 2019 07:25 PM

Of course, advanced stats take into account the NL/AL thing.....he's a good pitcher. He has very good stuff. I get that you like him, but if you discount every NL pitcher, and every AL pitcher on a playoff team, and every pitcher with more than 2 years of control left....who is left?

If discount means expect fewer innings per start, lower overall strikeout rate and higher overall walk rates then yes every AL team should factor in this discount. He had a 56-1 strike out to walk ratio facing pitchers the last two years. There has to be a discount.

A discount is different from a dismiss. I don’t dismiss a pitcher because he is an NL pitcher. The Twins need to sign him. They need another pitcher of the caliber of Berrios and Odorizzi. Wheeler is that caliber.
    • birdwatcher, Mike Sixel and sweetmusicviola16 like this
1. Sign Wheeler. Sign Alex Wood. 2. Sign Castro. 3. With the depth in the Pen, a couple reclamation projects is fine by me. Probably going to have to rotate those guys in and out at the bottom of the Pen anyway. Maybe Johnson strikes gold a couple more times. 4. Sign Donaldson YESTERDAY!!! 5. I think the White Sox are a bit further away than the national media market believes them to be. But, I guess with all that money they might be able to be more competitive. I wouldn't be too concerned just yet.
    • birdwatcher likes this
The market on pitchers being driven up is worst case scenario for those still holding out hope that the Twins may actually loosen the purse strings this offseason.

I get the feeling we’re all going to be pretty frustrated with our sitting place when the music stops. I’m bracing myself.

Think about this: The White Sox just signed Grandal recently after a 72 win season. It’s bigger than any free agent contract ever awarded by the Twins, and would be among the richest contracts in Twins’ franchises history. If we’re still saying that come training camp...just shut the whole thing down.
Not comparing the two guys directly, but coming off the WC season a couple years ago the Twins offered Darvish over $100M.

Now, coming off a 101 win season and plenty of financial room, there is no reason not to expect a major signing. Now exactly who is hard to predict. There are other teams offering and the pitcher has to decide he wants to play for our Twins and can see success coming here.

Not sure how anyone couldn't see impending success at this point.
Is there any better season for sports fans? Everyone we dream about is willing to sign with our team for the contract about we are willing to give them. Every rookie it's ready to fulfil all promise, a potential we saw last year it's guaranteed 3 fulfilled this year. There are no failures, only successes and we move into the next season with full optimism. I just had my birthday yesterday and I know the next year is bound to be even greater than this year.
    • Oldgoat_MN likes this
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Battle ur tail off
Dec 03 2019 11:53 AM

 

Not comparing the two guys directly, but coming off the WC season a couple years ago the Twins offered Darvish over $100M.

Now, coming off a 101 win season and plenty of financial room, there is no reason not to expect a major signing. Now exactly who is hard to predict. There are other teams offering and the pitcher has to decide he wants to play for our Twins and can see success coming here.

Not sure how anyone couldn't see impending success at this point.

 

Yes, but the offer could also be looked at as not competitve. He signed for more than that. To me, that's the old "we tried" offer. They knew he would get more and didn't lay out what it took to get him. Wheeler probably signs for 5/110. Twins will probably offer 4/75. 

    • Mike Sixel likes this

Yes, but the offer could also be looked at as not competitve. He signed for more than that. To me, that's the old "we tried" offer. They knew he would get more and didn't lay out what it took to get him. Wheeler probably signs for 5/110. Twins will probably offer 4/75.


But the Twins offered Darvish over $100M and if I recall correctly, the same annual $. It was the 6th year Chicago tacked on that got the deal done.

I see no reason why the Twins wouldn't go to the $100M for Wheeler. Now, if the numbers go to $25M per yr or 6yrs, I can see them walking away and looking at the next couple of guys. (Which reports say they are).

I think comparing Darvish and Wheeler might be a little unfair, which is why I didn't initially. But a couple years apart, they are at least comparable as one of the top FA SP available.
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Battle ur tail off
Dec 03 2019 12:24 PM

I get it, but it the history of this organization is to offer up deals like that they know won't be accepted. If Wheeler takes 110 and they offer 100, it won't be good enough and just another token offer. To be honest, he should be signed by us already. Quit postering and get a deal done. 

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Physics Guy
Dec 03 2019 03:28 PM

 

I get it, but it the history of this organization is to offer up deals like that they know won't be accepted. If Wheeler takes 110 and they offer 100, it won't be good enough and just another token offer. To be honest, he should be signed by us already. Quit postering and get a deal done. 

Why would they be posturing? Do you really think they would make the offer if they didn't think he might accept it?Why would they waste their time. They chose to limit their offer to 5 years and from what I can tell, the Cubs may have been the only ones to go to 6 years. Not going to 6 years for Darvish wasn't necessarily a bad decision, considering where the Twins were at two years ago.IMO, they are in must better shape to go for it this year. I sense your frustration from several posts, but it's early yet.How many big name pitchers have been signed in early December the past five years?

    • 70charger and DocBauer like this

 

But Santa has magic ;)

But better check that red-nosed reindeer for PEDs!

    • USAFChief likes this

Rumblings? I wish. So far all I hear are mumbles and groans. Still waiting for a trade or signing that actually makes an impact.

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Battle ur tail off
Dec 04 2019 10:07 AM

 

Why would they be posturing? Do you really think they would make the offer if they didn't think he might accept it?Why would they waste their time. They chose to limit their offer to 5 years and from what I can tell, the Cubs may have been the only ones to go to 6 years. Not going to 6 years for Darvish wasn't necessarily a bad decision, considering where the Twins were at two years ago.IMO, they are in must better shape to go for it this year. I sense your frustration from several posts, but it's early yet.How many big name pitchers have been signed in early December the past five years?

 

Why posturing? To make the fans feel as if they are actually gonna open the pocket books. Public relations. Some people eat it up that we are "IN" on someone. 

 

I didn't say it was a bad idea to not offer Darvish 6 years. That said, this is a recurring theme with our favorite team. If it takes so and so amount to sign these guys, we offer in just below that value and say "we tried".

 

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.

I think what you described in terms of $$$ is going to be it moving forward...you could say it already has been as well I believe.  


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