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Derek Falvey Interview on 1500 ESPN

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:08 AM
Falvey discusses Sano, payroll, etc. http://www.1500espn....an-mackey-judd/
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Twins Minor League Coaches/Coordinators

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 01:01 AM
The Twins made some changes this offseason already in their minor league system. Pitching coaches Ivan Arteaga and Henry Bonilla were let...
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Harold Baines and Lee Smith are Hall of Famers

Other Baseball Yesterday, 11:33 PM
MLB announced tonight that a 16-person committee decided that DH Harold Baines and RP Lee Smith are now Hall of Famers.   Here is th...
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Article: Standing Pat as a Strategy

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:24 PM
'As we speak cruel time is fleeing. Seize the day, believing as little as possible in the morrow.' – HoraceBy all appearances, this is go...
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Buxton: "Pissed" at Twins for No Call-Up Decision...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:05 PM
According to the Star Tribune, Byron Buxton is displeased with the Twins after not being called up in September of 2018. According to Byr...
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Supplementing The Twins: A Rotation Trio

Continuing with the series on supplementing the Twins this offseason, we’ll wrap up the starting pitching category. So far, both Lance Lynn and Tyler Chatwood have been considered. With the idea that it would be good for Minnesota to bring in a starting option or two, it’s never a bad idea to have a relatively lengthy list of names.
Image courtesy of © Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
In looking at the final three pitching names, a certain level of brevity will be used. Given that both Lynn and Chatwood seem to be a bit better fit on the surface, the following trio would be nice complementary pieces to one of the top two options. Without any further explanation though, let’s get into it.

Alex Cobb

He turned 30 years old on October 7, and has exactly 700 big league innings under his belt. Through 115 starts, he owns a career 3.50 ERA and has compiled a 7.3K/9 to go with a 2.6 BB/9. Cobb missed the 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery, and made just five starts in 2016. This season however, he posted a serviceable 3.66 ERA and 4.16 FIP in his first “healthy” year since 2014.

At one time, having looked like another darling of the Rays staff, Cobb is now well past the 2.82 ERA he posted across 49 starts in 2013-14. After making $4.2 million last season, he’ll enter free agency for the first time. With the opportunity to sign his first lengthy deal, the Twins could land a more-than-capable guy for the rotation.

Throughout his career, Cobb has a relatively pedestrian strikeout rate. That said, he limits walks and has induced ground balls over 50% of the time. Home run rates have been in check, and this past season was really the first time he’s served up more than 1.0 HR/9. Working in the low 90’s, he’s a pitcher who works for his outs, and the sinker/curveball combination is one he utilizes often.

I don’t know if Cobb can get back to his early career success. Injuries have taken place, and age is against him. That said, the floor is pretty safe here, and the ceiling may be ripe for the picking.

Jhoulys Chacin

After pitching the first six seasons of his big league career in Colorado, Jhoulys Chacin bounced around the big leagues a bit. With stops in Arizona, Atlanta, Los Angeles (AL), and San Diego, he’ll be joining his fifth team in the past four years.

Over the course of 32 starts for the Padres in 2017, Chacin owned a 3.89 ERA with a 4.26 FIP and a 7.6 K/9 with a 3.6 BB/9. Those numbers, especially playing half your games at Petco, don’t make you jump up and down. Command jumps out as an issue, and in a pitcher’s park you’d like to see a better FIP number.

Looking for positives, Chacin made just $1.75 million last season, and should be able to be had relatively cheaply. He’ll also be only 30 years old, and likely has plenty of juice left in the tank. Although he doesn’t generate quite as many groundballs as Cobb, Chacin also tends to give up fewer home runs.

In 2017, Chacin was mainly a fastball/slider pitcher, mixing in the occasional curveball and changeup. His stuff sits low 90s, and his swinging strike rate has hovered around 8.0% for most of the past seven years. He’s far from flashy, but if the Twins are looking for a low-cost arm to round out the starting rotation, they could look in his direction.

Andrew Cashner

Finally, and in somewhat of a flipping-the-script move, we take a look at Andrew Cashner. The oldest and most expensive of this group, Cashner will be 31 in 2018 and made $10 million on a one year deal with the Rangers last season. Across 28 starts, he compiled a 3.40 ERA along with an incredibly odd 4.6 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9.

Long the darling of many writers, Cashner’s allure has never been alluring to me. There’s a decent amount to like here, but we’ve just never seen it all come together. His 3.80 ERA over the course of his career is just fine, but there have been plenty of mediocre seasons sprinkled in between good ones. Whether or not he takes a step forward or back is anyone’s guess.

Despite striking no one out, and walking too many batters in 2017, Cashner kept the ball in the yard. Playing home games in Texas, that’s a pretty tough task and he’s to be commended for that. The fastball is his pitch of choice, and he relies on secondary offerings of a slider, curveball and changeup almost equally. Despite once being an upper 90’s hurler, he’s since settle into the mid-90s at this latter half of his career.

Compared to the other two options, Cashner is the greatest wildcard. The strikeout and walk numbers a season ago were baffling, and not getting hurt more with them also leaves plenty of room for exposure. With velocity on his side however, he might have the ability to unlock more value.

In my thinking, signing someone like Lynn or Chatwood, along with one of this trio, seem to be intriguing options. Cobb represents the guy I’d most trust, and Cashner is probably the biggest flier. For the price, Chacin has appeal of his own as well. If you’re taking a look at it, how do you see them stacking up?

Check back next week as we move to the relief side of supplementing the Twins.

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70 Comments

Appreciate the work on this series Ted...couple summary thoughts on all 5 guys in my order of not preference but more of a "If we have to sign one of these guys" order:

 

Chatwood - He's a fit with GB rate and I thought he was known for spinning it a little

 

Cobb - Just because he destroy's the Twins doesn't make him an All-Star (see JRM)

 

Lynn - Appears he's pretty proud of himself and looking for 4/$80M...not worth that much cheese

 

Cashner - Should sprint to the bank if he gets a QO and only if he falls through the cracks

 

Chacin - Seems too much like more of the same attempts Twins have made in the past...would rather ride with current young arms

 

    • caninatl04 likes this
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Deduno Abides
Oct 26 2017 09:40 PM
For the price of one of these guys, you could probably get two or three of relievers like Oh, Reed, Nicasio, Morrow and Swarzak, for example, and for fewer years. You still probably want one external addition to the rotation, but hopefully the new pitching coach and scouts have some good ideas about less well-known - and therefore less expensive - candidates, which would allow the Twins to make a big acquisition at the trade deadline and not take an expensive risk on the health and performance of just adequate, at best. veteran pitchers.
    • mikelink45 likes this
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Ted Schwerzler
Oct 26 2017 10:41 PM
My preference, and that will be flushed out further as I go through RP and offensive additions, is to add one SP, 2 RP, and a bat. A second SP would be gravy, and probably not necessary. Depending on the price tag, Lynn is the most interesting to me. For less money, give me Chatwood or Cobb. The final two are merely guys that seem worth considering, but I’d ultimately pass on.
    • USAFChief, DocBauer, tvagle and 1 other like this

Chacin screams "trap!" to me. He should stay with the Padres so he can maintain those numbers. Cashner's stats confound me and I think it's unlikely he'll put up anything close to a 3.40 ERA. That's a hideous K/9, I'll pass.

Do not like any of these options, though if forced to pick one it would be Cobb.A few higher ace types out there and many of the teams who would usually buy one need to get under the luxury tax limit for next year.Go buy and ace.

    • gil4, tvagle and IaFan1 like this

I will keep my negative voice in the discussions. I really do appreciate your work on this series, but in the end I am not moved by any of the options and would rather have our new pitching coach work with what we have. 

Lynn and Chatwood, it would appear to me, offer the best combination of safety and upside these other three can't match. I also am in the camp of adding one SP, via FA or trade. With what is onboard, the probably re-sign of Gibson, and what's on the way, I'd go for the one arm and a couple RP.
    • caninatl04 likes this
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Tom Froemming
Oct 27 2017 07:53 AM

Another good one. Nice work on these, Ted.

 

My concerns with FA pitchers are much more around decline in performance rather than injury risk. You hate to pay a guy to sit on the DL, but having a high-paid starter who you're all but forced to keep rolling out there despite struggles is maybe even worse.

 

With that said, I'm really intrigued by Cobb. He's got a 112 ERA+ over 700 innings in his career. The injuries are a concern, but if healthy I'm confident he'll be at the very least a guy you want in your rotation.

 

Chacin has a nearly identical 111 ERA+ in over 1,000 career innings, but he's been much less consistent. The big gap between the two comes in K:BB ratio. Cobb has a career mark of 2.79, Chacin 1.94 (2.13 and 2.16 the past two seasons).

 

I could definitely see a scenario in which you sign Chacin and three months later you're already thinking "geez, we have guys in the minors I'd way rather see pitching every fifth day than this guy."

    • 70charger and Original Whizzinator like this

Chacin seems like a great candidate to move to the bullpen, pick up 1-2 MPH, shelve the two pitches that don't work, and be good as a RP to me....but I have zero interest in him as a SP.

 

Lynn and Cobb and Chatwood (one of them) would be fine, but not exciting, to me.

    • SF Twins Fan and caninatl04 like this

Cobb's not old. He has a good career resume and he has a good year since his surgery under his belt.His numbers are also AL which is great for me since when any NL pitcher's name surfaces I add .5 to their ERA just as a matter of course. Cobb's 2017 season ranks him ahead of Berrios and behind only Santana. His career ERA against every AL East team is under 3.5 and it is under 3 against the Yankees. Lynn and Chatwood do not excite me but Cobb does and I am not sure why he doesn't excite everyone.As far as I can see he would be the best free agent pitcher the Twins have ever signed without the benefit of hindsight. (Morris was 36 coming off two seasons over 4.5 ERA). If the ONLY thing the Twins did this off season was sign Cobb I would be happy.Someone talk me down here.

    • Mike Sixel, Minfidel, Vanimal46 and 3 others like this

 

Cobb's not old. He has a good career resume and he has a good year since his surgery under his belt.His numbers are also AL which is great for me since when any NL pitcher's name surfaces I add .5 to their ERA just as a matter of course. Cobb's 2017 season ranks him ahead of Berrios and behind only Santana. His career ERA against every AL East team is under 3.5 and it is under 3 against the Yankees. Lynn and Chatwood do not excite me but Cobb does and I am not sure why he doesn't excite everyone.As far as I can see he would be the best free agent pitcher the Twins have ever signed without the benefit of hindsight. (Morris was 36 coming off two seasons over 4.5 ERA). If the ONLY thing the Twins did this off season was sign Cobb I would be happy.Someone talk me down here.

 

talk you down from being happy? Never.

    • Dantes929 likes this

Out of the 5 Ted presented, my preference list would be:

 

Cobb - best value and best production out of all

 

----

 

Chatwood - I'll take others' words for it that he has a good spin rate and some upside

Lynn - Think he's going to be too expensive for the production he'd get in the AL. 

Cashner - somehow he does pretty well without the ability to strike people out

 

----

 

Chacin - Hard pass. 

 

 

    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel and blindeke like this

I guess it just depends on the cost. All could be useful in some way.

These are like crack cocaine to a Twins fan!!Love to speculate.Here's one.Deal Nick Gordon for Chris Archer!Pay Archer with the money coming off the books when Mauer's contract expires.

Otherwise, I'm in on Cobb.

These are like crack cocaine to a Twins fan!! Love to speculate. Here's one. Deal Nick Gordon for Chris Archer! Pay Archer with the money coming off the books when Mauer's contract expires.


If Nick Gordon was even close to enough to get Archer, the deal would already be done, and Tampa's GM would be looking for a new job.
    • Dantes929 and jimmer like this

Would these guys make the Twins' rotation better than two of the Indians', Yankees', Red Sox', Houston's?  

 

If not, they are not the right pitchers for the Twins.

    • Deduno Abides and caninatl04 like this

Would these guys make the Twins' rotation better than two of the Indians', Yankees', Red Sox', Houston's?

If not, they are not the right pitchers for the Twins.

This comment is baffling to me.

First, there isn't a pitcher that the Twins can realistically sign to have a better rotation than any of those teams. There isnt a guy in our rotation that sniffs the top 2 (in some cases top 3) of those rotations.

So, doing nothing is a favorable option? Despite a guy like Cobb, for example, significantly improving a pretty bad rotation?

But, hey, if you were running the Twins we would've traded Buxton for a bag of balls in June and we'd be going into next year minus one of the best players in game, with Zach Granite as our everyday CF. So, I can't really say we see eye to eye on anything baseball related.
    • Twins33, Dantes929, Minfidel and 1 other like this

 

This comment is baffling to me.

First, there isn't a pitcher that the Twins can realistically sign to have a better rotation than any of those teams.

So, doing nothing is a favorable option? Despite a guy like Cobb, for example, significantly improving a pretty bad rotation?

But, hey, if you were running the Twins we would've traded Buxton for a bag of balls in June and we'd be going into next year minus one of the best players in game, with Zach Granite as our everyday CF. So, I can't really say we see eye to eye on anything baseball related.

 

(For that unrelated garbage:Not a bag of balls, but a GG AS OF buying low, a potential top of rotation guy and a ready closer - but don't let the facts get in your way)

 

The point is for the Twins to compete deep in the post season they need a rotation better than at least half of the other contenders, not to mention of the team that won their league.

 

Period.

If that is not the goal, you might as well not spend money for free agents at the level of Nolasco and Correia and Pelfrey, and do a honest rebuilding trying to build an elite rotation with younger pitchers.

 

If your goal is to be mediocre, go to the post season occasionally and then one and out,sure, go for it, but, of course, we do not see eye to eye, since I want the Twins to win, and apparently you don't.

    • caninatl04 likes this
I'm all for Cobb. I think he'd be an excellent signing and really boost the middle of the rotation. It's just not realistic to expect this team to go out and buy a high-end guy with Hughes still on the books. Just won't happen.

A lot of people forget, not only is Cobb recently returned from TJ, but I believe to took a 100 mph liner that cracked his skull open. It takes time to come back into form from both of these injuries. Wouldn't surprise me at all if he returns to pre-injury form in the near future. I would think it could only help moving from the Trop to spacious Target Field, and getting out of the power-riddled AL East.

To me, Cobb is the best value, but could also end up being the best pitcher out of any of the guys mentioned in this series. Make it so.
    • gil4 and Original Whizzinator like this
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AWOLNATION_11
Oct 27 2017 11:33 AM

I'm leery of career national leaguers like others have posted as well.I'm sure there are probably 29 other teams with similar thoughts, but it'd be interesting if they could sell Chris Tillman on a short-term reasonable salary deal.Maybe he'd like to get out of Baltimore/AL East for a season or two and try again for a bigger payday.Or Michael Pineda on a deal with a team option for 2019 so if he comes back solid from Tommy John at the end of 2018 they'd have him for 2019.

 

If Nick Gordon was even close to enough to get Archer, the deal would already be done, and Tampa's GM would be looking for a new job.

Clearly.But that's where it starts. 

 

 

 

They either go after them now (eg. Two of Jimmy Nelson,Chris Archer, Jacob deGrom, Jon Gray in a trade or Darvish or Otani as free agents) or go after pitchers who are a year away or so and rebuild.

Doing it half ass and not at least try to get close to Cleveland, gives them nothing but another mediocre season.

 

Enough waiting for Godot.

Ignoring everything else, I do think a trade is a good idea. No way is Colorado (87 win team that lost WC game) going to move Gray. But DeGrom should be on the block. Nelson could be but Milwaukee was good last year but selling high on Nelson could make sense. If Tampa is going to trade its pitchers, Archer would be a big get. 

 

The Twins could also target guys who aren't established but who we internally rank high. Cubs got a steal with Arrieta a few years back. 

    • Doctor Wu likes this

Gleeman of course conveniently forgot to include what I proposed to trade Buxton for....

Whatever. It is out of subject.

As far as pitching goes:

The Twins need 2 pitchers better than Berrios to compete in 2018 postseason and/or to compete in the division.

Unless Romero overcomes his endurance issues, the Twins do not have these pitchers in their organization.

They either go after them now (eg. Two of Jimmy Nelson, Chris Archer, Jacob deGrom, Jon Gray in a trade or Darvish or Otani as free agents) or go after pitchers who are a year away or so and rebuild.
Doing it half ass and not at least try to get close to Cleveland, gives them nothing but another mediocre season.

Enough waiting for Godot.


Jimmy Nelson? They guy who had one pop up season and is about to miss most (or all) of 2018?

The premise is all wrong anyways. They aren't trading for those guys without weakening the everyday lineup and it ignores other ways that they can strengthen the overall roster.
    • PseudoSABR, Original Whizzinator and Doctor Wu like this

Gleeman of course conveniently forgot to include what I proposed to trade Buxton for....

Whatever. It is out of subject.

As far as pitching goes:

The Twins need 2 pitchers better than Berrios to compete in 2018 postseason and/or to compete in the division.

Unless Romero overcomes his endurance issues, the Twins do not have these pitchers in their organization.

They either go after them now (eg. Two of Jimmy Nelson, Chris Archer, Jacob deGrom, Jon Gray in a trade or Darvish or Otani as free agents) or go after pitchers who are a year away or so and rebuild.
Doing it half ass and not at least try to get close to Cleveland, gives them nothing but another mediocre season.

Enough waiting for Godot.


"Get good pitchers," a novel idea that I'm sure no one on the organization has run up the flag pole.
    • 70charger likes this

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