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Would You Rather: Darvish or a Cobb/Lynn Combo?

It’s possible both Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn end up costing roughly the same amount combined as Yu Darvish all on his own. Add to the top or aim for depth? Which of those strategies would you prefer the Twins take when it comes to upgrading their rotation?
Image courtesy of Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
I threw this idea out on Twitter last Friday. I figured it was possible a total investment of $120 million may be able to net a team Darvish alone or the combination of both Cobb and Lynn.

The poll got 432 votes and ended up as a 50/50 split, so I thought it was worth revisiting here. I'll let you all break the tie.

It's worth noting that since the length of the deals being different, the annual average values didn’t match perfectly. Darvish at five years, $120 million would cost $24 million per season. Cobb and Lynn both at four years, $60 million works out to a total of $30 million a year.

There were people on Twitter shocked with the results on both sides. Some thought it was obvious the Cobb/Lynn duo was best because of insurance. They were a little worried about putting all their eggs in one basket. Another argument from that side was extra depth made it more likely the Twins could win the AL Central, as opposed to competing for the Wild Card again. This crowd also seemed less trusting of Kyle Gibson and Adalberto Mejia.

The pro Darvish crowd was mainly preaching the importance of adding a true top of the rotation starter. But there were a few people who also made the case that adding two middle of the rotation guys would be unnecessary due to Trevor May’s return and the emergence of guys like Stephen Gonsalves, Fernando Romero and Zack Littell. Personally, going all in for Darvish is the option I'd prefer for that exact reason.

For what it’s worth, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press sent out a couple Tweets earlier today relevant to this discussion:

So it seems like the Twins aren't willing to go much beyond the $120 million I threw out there for Darvish ...

... and it doesn't sound like they'll go nuts for either of those two. MLB Trade Rumors noted that Cobb has already lowered his asking price from $100 million down to $70 million.

This was just me spitballing some numbers, so it’s entirely possible that none of those three pitchers sign for anything close to the deals I threw out there, but just play along and let me know which of those two options you’d prefer.


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87 Comments

I'd rather have Darvish and keep my two draft picks.

 

    • Steve Lein, glunn, Blake and 9 others like this
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SF Twins Fan
Jan 23 2018 07:26 PM

I'd rather have Darvish for sure. The Twins need a top of the rotation starter and that's what Darvish is. If the Twins make it to the playoffs again I don't want Santana to be the pitcher matching up against other teams number 1's.

    • glunn, nicksaviking, kab21 and 5 others like this
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Tom Froemming
Jan 23 2018 07:31 PM

 

I'd rather have Darvish and keep my two draft picks.

That's definitely part of the factor, but under the new system the Twins would lose their third and fourth picks. In the 2018 Draft, that would be their "Competitive Balance Round B" pick (No. 75 overall) and their third-round pick (No 94).

 

There will certainly be talented players available in those spots, but the Twins have a very deep system right now, and are in a good position to lose picks for the right players. Not saying Cobb and Lynn are those guys, just saying. 

    • glunn, howieramone2 and caninatl04 like this
I like Darvish/ Archer personally.
    • glunn, gil4, Twins33 and 3 others like this
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Lee-The-Twins-Fan
Jan 23 2018 07:53 PM

I suspect we won't get Darvish. He'll likely sign for 6 years and $160 million. The Cubs seem to really want him. They have the money, too.  I just don't see the Twins going that high. And they probably shouldn't.

 

If we can't get Darvish, we should try for Arrieta. four years and $98 million.

 

I don't consider Lance and Cobb to be worth the draft picks for each. Arrieta is.

    • glunn, sploorp and caninatl04 like this
IDK, on one hand Darvish is more of a true Ace however, he hasn't pitched 200 innings in a season since 2013. So I might lean, if all costs are the same towards the package of Lynn and Cobb. Now think about it, Lynn started 33 games year one after TJ, so he looks to be fairly durable, Cobb to me has a weird throwing motion, but in combination the two would bolster the 5 man rotation to very tough for the long haul of a season. Then if in the running the Twins could do some trade deadline deal for an Ace like Houston did this year with Verlander. They could even use one of Cobb or Lynn as trade bait for that one Ace to put them over the top?? What I'm saying is that two birds in the hand might, in the long run, be worth more than one in the bush😀

So two quality starters like Lynn and Cobb makes a rotation from April to August look like this
1.Santana
2.Berrios
3.Lynn
4.Cobb
5.Gibson

Then from August through the playoffs
1.Deadline Trade Pitcher
2.Santana
3.Berrios
4.One of whoever is left from the trade, Gibson, Lynn, or Cobb

Obviously that is looking a long way into the future, but I'm just seeing a lot of opportunities with two quality guys that would be tradable with fairly friendly contracts from this year when the big dog teams like the Yankees were out of the market which is kinda driving the prices down a little bit. So in conclusion, I think I might go with both Cobb and Lynn over Darvish.
    • glunn likes this

Darvish

    • glunn, nytwinsfan and sploorp like this

Darvish, they don't need two ok starters....imo.

    • Carole Keller, Steve Lein, glunn and 10 others like this
It's not even a question. Of course Darvish makes you a better baseball team than Cobb and Lynn. What other goal is there?

A frontline to starter to slip in front of Santana and Berrios in the rotation makes this team a legit contender. Cobb and Lynn don't do that.

In the end, this is along the lines of me trying to decide whether I'd rather marry Katy Perry or Beyoncé. Sure if fun to think about, but no way is it actually going to happen in any of the infinite parallel universes.
    • glunn and sploorp like this

Darvish, easily.  

    • Steve Lein, glunn and sploorp like this

 

I'd rather have Darvish and keep my two draft picks.

What would your answer be if it was Cobb/Lynn at 4/$48M + $12M in achievable incentives (say, $3M/yr for 100+ innings)?

 

My understanding is the $50M threshold to lose a draft pick only counts guaranteed money. When I read that, I was curious about the fine print to see how far the non-guaranteed envelope could be pushed. I could see some team offering pitcher like Darvish (except subject to the draft pick loss)offering a 5/$49M contract plus a $71M bonus (paid over 5 years) for throwing at least 1 pitch at any time during the contract. 

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Tom Froemming
Jan 23 2018 08:42 PM

 

My understanding is the $50M threshold to lose a draft pick only counts guaranteed money. When I read that, I was curious about the fine print to see how far the non-guaranteed envelope could be pushed.

I don't believe that $50 million mark has anything to do with the team signing the player, but this system is brand new and I could be wrong.

 

I think that mark comes into play in regard to what the team the player is departing from receives. If Cobb/Lynn sign for more than $50 million, the Rays and Cards will get a better compensation pick.

    • jorgenswest likes this
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pierre75275
Jan 23 2018 09:15 PM
If Darvish won't sign w the Twins I wouldn't want any starting pitcher. Would rather roll w Gonslaves or Romero or Pinada at mid season and hope the bullpen can carry the 1st part of the season
    • glunn and mikelink45 like this

 

If Darvish won't sign w the Twins I wouldn't want any starting pitcher. Would rather roll w Gonslaves or Romero or Pinada at mid season and hope the bullpen can carry the 1st part of the season

I would tend to agree with this as well. Pineda won't be ready mid-season. I wouldn't break the bank for Darvish. He's just not a stud pitcher. Only threw more than 200 Innings just once in his career and gives up his share of gopher balls. Yes, he has better career WHIP and ERA than Cobb or Lynn but I think he's just going to cost too much and throw in the draft picks and he really starts to get expensive.

    • glunn likes this

I am the contrarian- I want Romero and Gonsalves. Develop!Hire a special coach for each of them from the money saved and let us celebrate the future.

    • glunn, jimbo92107, Teddy and 3 others like this
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nicksaviking
Jan 23 2018 09:24 PM
Cobb and Lynn can't get this team out of the WC round, so pass, I'd rather not sign anyone and work on trades instead. This team has to stop taking half measures. And if this team was never going to give $150M for Darvish, what was with all the big talk early on? They had to know that's what it would take.
    • jorgenswest, mikelink45, Hosken Bombo Disco and 3 others like this

Darvish

 

Break the Bank 

    • glunn, Blake, Physics Guy and 1 other like this
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Carole Keller
Jan 23 2018 09:56 PM

Darvish, they don't need two ok starters....imo.

Yep. IMO as well.
    • Steve Lein, glunn and Blake like this
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Twinfan & Dad
Jan 23 2018 10:05 PM
Romero and Gonsalves unless we trade for Archer.
    • glunn likes this
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Hosken Bombo Disco
Jan 23 2018 10:13 PM
At this point, I'd try to sign Cobb. Lynn can pitch but is kind of an odd duck and not sure he'd fit in here. All the manufactured drama surrounding Darvish is a red flag for me. Berrios is a bona fide ace in the making, anyway.
    • glunn and h2oface like this
I'll take Arrieta as first choice. Darvish second. And a couple of rotation guys as third choice. Spend a little more for quality. A true one with Erv as a two and Berrios the third arm in a series is a nice set up.
    • glunn likes this

I want no part of Darvish. He will be 32 in August & sounds like the contract is going to $150M at least. It doesn't seem wise to go 5-6 years for a pitcher his age.

    • glunn likes this
I’m not the smartest “Baseball Guy” but it seems the duo is an average way of plugging up some rotation spots for 4 years. I get they can be traded, but the disaster scenario where they both are sub-par and act to block the way of the young guns just scares me.

Personally, I go Darvish. If you can’t get him, roll with what you got and maybe add a wild card signing to compete. I think we may be getting ahead of ourselves to say we are in win now mode rather than win over the next five years mode.

Crazy Mitch Brain Scenario:

Roll out what we have and see what Gonzo and Romero do first 2 months of the year. If they have what it takes, give them a shot. If not, plenty of assets to go pop the trade market and grab what you need for the push. This gives us the ability to see what we have, flexibility to extend/sign who we have and then make the decision when we have a feeling on the season.

I think we still are in 3-5 year plan mode. I don’t see our young core at the point where we have to capitalize now or we miss it. Let’s ride this young wave and leave doors open. Could you imagine have 3 Hughes type contracts sucking up valuable payroll when the young guys are better (I get it, worst case scenario) To me, I work to avoid this before taking a big risk.

Long story short......
    • glunn likes this

I would rather just have Cobb. My bet, Lynn is cooked (300 more innings than Cobb), Arrieta had his short peak, and Darvish will be the most regrettable contract of them all. I could care less about one draft pick. (Can you say Kohl Stewart? Or Alex Wimmer, or Levi Michael?) I bet Cobb will be the best pitcher of the bunch for the next 5 years. Darvish would be fine, I just think it would be only valuable for 2 years.

What would your answer be if it was Cobb/Lynn at 4/$48M + $12M in achievable incentives (say, $3M/yr for 100+ innings)?

My understanding is the $50M threshold to lose a draft pick only counts guaranteed money. When I read that, I was curious about the fine print to see how far the non-guaranteed envelope could be pushed. I could see some team offering pitcher like Darvish (except subject to the draft pick loss) offering a 5/$49M contract plus a $71M bonus (paid over 5 years) for throwing at least 1 pitch at any time during the contract.

signing amount affects the comp pick going to the team who lost the player. It does not affect the team signing said player.

This strategy would be great if the teams affected were the Yankees and Dodgers! Im less excited to thumb my nose at St Louis or Tampa Bay.



I’m in the Darvish or trade mode. Arrieta is just so risky, Cobb and Lynn aren’t that much better than the Nolasco types, which is to say Gibson and Mejia already fit that mold.... somewhat anyways.... maybe Levine finds that improvement internally with Gonsalves, Romero or May.
    • glunn and birdwatcher like this

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