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Article: Replicating the Relief Success in Minnesota

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Prior to the 2018 season the Minnesota Twins acquired a few free agent relief arms on one-year deals. Needing to shore up the bullpen, an...
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Article: Standing Pat as a Strategy

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LEN3 Throws Cold Water on Hot Stove

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Harold Baines and Lee Smith are Hall of Famers

Other Baseball Today, 08:13 AM
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Luis Valbuena, Jose Castillo Killed in Car Accident

Other Baseball Today, 07:47 AM
Former big leaguer Luis Valbuena (33) and Jose Castillo (37) died on Thursday in a car accident in Venezuela.    Unfortunately,...
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Thought Exercise: What Would You Give For Cano & Diaz?

Today the big news will be a trade between the Mets and Mariners that brings secon baseman Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz to the Mets. While it's fun to speculate, this deal likely could not have involved the Twins. Key to the deal is that Cano has a no-trade clause that he must waive, and doing so probably requires a return to New York City. But last I checked, we're four months from real baseball, so let's speculate anyway....
Image courtesy of © Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
How much fun would it have been to add Cano and Diaz to the Twin roster for next year? Cano gprovides a middle-of-the-order hitter at second base, and still leaves lots of room to add more offense at first base and designated hitter. Diaz is a 24-year-old lights-out closer who is under team control for four more years. Some of the bigger offseason challenges are handled in one early move.

Of course, the reason the Mariners made this deal is because Cano will make $24 million for the next six years. He also lost half of last season to a performance-enhancing drugs suspension. Plus, he's 35 years old. The reason he's available, and indeed the reason he almost has to be traded with Diaz, is because his contract is such a liability. We may find out the deal includes some money to help cover those salaries in 2021-2023, but right now we don't have any details.

But it's also worth noting that the Mets aren't giving up a tremendous amount here. They're giving up "two top prospects" but the three names prominently mentioned include 19-year-old outifleder Jarred Kelenic (a 6th overall draft pick last year), and pitchers Justin Dunn and/or David Peterson. MLB.com's Pipeline lists Kelenic and Dunn as Top 100 guys, but late-Top 100 guys. By comparion, Twins prospects like Royce Lewis and Alex Kiriloff are top 10. Instead, a comparable package might have been Brusdar Graterol and Trevor Larnach (or any of the Twins #4-#9 prospects).

Plus, the Mets are dumping a couple of questionable contracts themselves. Jay Bruce dealt with cascading injuries last year and will cost them $13M over the next two years. Swarzak had shoulder issues, lost his feel for the zone and is due $8M this year. Without including them, the package would've been even less.

Of course, Minneapolis is not New York City, so to really make the deal a reality, they would've also needed to find something to entice Cano to waive his no-trade clause. Throwing additional money at a bad contract that is going to run until a guy is 41 doesn't seem wise. It certainly doesn't seem like The Twins Way®. But if the only thing standing between getting the deal done and it not getting done is a little more cash, maybe a $5M bonus next year sweetens the pot? This is the year that they have the money, right?

It's a moot point, obviously. Mostly this deal intrigued me because I've been advocating a frugal approach on a middle infielder, but immediately pivoted into full-blow "WANT" mode when I saw the players available. But I'd be interested in what the community thinks. What kind of creative would have made sense for the Twins?

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66 Comments

Offered up this hypothetical couple weeks ago in the Money Laundering Blueprint

 

Twins Trade:

Jake Odorizzi $9.4M

Brusdar Graterol

Tyler Austin

Mitch Garver

 

Mariners Trade:

Felix Hernandez $27.9M

Edwin Diaz $.6M 4 years Team Control

Kyle Seager $19.5M - $19.5M - $18.5M

Alex Colome $7.3M

$15M over 3 years <$15M> - <$10M> - <$5M>

 

For Cano/Diaz

 

Cano's canoe-anchor of a contract I'm not sure I'd want to launder that much dirty money...so here's what I'd consider

 

Odorizzi 9.4M

Reed 8.5M

Graterol

Garver

 

Cano 120M

Diaz

Mariners kick in 50M

 

I'd push to get Colome in a deal as well either lowering the cash back and/or including Gonsalves/Stewart/Alcala whoever isn't named Lewis/Kirillof/Larnach/Rooker/Thorpe that floats their Canoes

    • glunn and Sconnie like this
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Winston Smith
Nov 29 2018 10:21 PM

Zero! That Cano deal is a killer.

 

I'd give them Kepler and a prospect for Segura.

    • glunn, Thrylos, darin617 and 5 others like this

I don't think I'd have any interest in Cano at this point in his career. 

 

I do like Diaz, but obviously he's not available without Cano. 

    • glunn, diehardtwinsfan, brvama and 7 others like this

Man, a tough one.

 

Yes, the Twins could afford Cano. But he is expensive and aging. Yet he would also solve the problem at 2B for a couple of seasons. Not sure where he would play the rest of his contract. But assuming that he IS the second baseman for the once and future present:

 

Nick Gordon

Stephen Goncalves

 

With an outfield set of Rosario/Kepler/Buxton with Cave on staff and Raley/Rooker./Krilloff in the wings, you could

 

add Tyler Larnach OR one of Rooker/Raley

 

If you had seen fit to add Jake Reed or Tyler Jay to the 40-man, both could be considered immediate trade pieces. Would offer one of them.

 

If you have to sweeten the pot still further with "prospects" I would throw out names like Andrew Cabezas, Blayne Enlow or Bryan Sammons, for example. Any one perhaps?

 

I would also make the Mariners take Addison Reed, since you are getting, essentially, your future closer and need them to eat some of your salary.

 

None of the losses about would hurt the Twins. But not really sure how much they would gain with Cano. Diaz would be a plus. Could the Twins get Seager, too. Maybe dangle Wander Javier in the mix.

 

Five players for two. Six players for three and you eat ALL the money. Twins can afford it.

 

But the Twins aren't going anywhere unless Buxton and Sano come thru.

    • glunn, Dantes929 and Minny505 like this
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TheLeviathan
Nov 29 2018 10:49 PM

Avoid this like the plague.

    • Twins33, PseudoSABR, mikelink45 and 2 others like this
These are the exercises I like best, none. In other words, simply no!
    • Doctor Wu likes this
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SgtSchmidt11
Nov 30 2018 07:22 AM

If the M's covered 1/2 of Cano's contract, I'd give them a bag of balls.

    • Blake likes this

If you look at Cano/Diaz playing ability-wise I likewise thought this would be a good fit with the Twins needs. But that Cano contract is horrible.Fortunately Cano would not come here and only his former agent who negotiated that contract wants it back - lol!The other thought that crossed my mind is that Polanco/Cano would make a good PED suspension platoon at 2B.Polanco could be suspended the first half of the season and Cano the 2nd half.  

    • PDX Twin likes this

The Twins absolutely should stay away from players with talent and big salaries and pin their hope on prospects, that way the fans always have hope for future.

 

    • USAFChief, mikelink45, Vanimal46 and 3 others like this

 

The Twins absolutely should stay away from players with talent and big salaries and pin their hope on prospects, that way the fans always have hope for future.

You can never fail when your goal is always three years from today.

    • Blake, Mike Sixel, dgwills and 6 others like this

Per Rosterman

 

"But the Twins aren't going anywhere unless Buxton and Sano come thru."

 

The entire 2019 season is at the mercy of these 2 and there is no point in trying to acquire a Cano type until this is resolved. As they say in FL, fish or cut bait. When these 2 show up in Ft Myers they had best be ready to do just that.

    • dgwills likes this
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Tom Froemming
Nov 30 2018 08:57 AM

Those two would make the Twins sooooo much better, but there are money concerns and not just with Cano.

 

Do you think the Mauer contract prevented the Twins from competing? I'd say no. Cano is also better than post-concussion Mauer, so I don't feel like his deal would hold the Twins back.

 

The issue with Diaz is if you keep letting him rack up saves he's going to get ridiculously expensive through arbitration. Why anybody would give save chances to pre-arb or arb-eligible players is beyond me. You're burning money. Let them pitch the eighth.

 

Now to the actual question, what would I give up? Well, not a lot, something like ...

 

Brent Rooker + Nick Gordon + Jake Cave + Zack Littell

 

The big benefit to Seattle in this offer would be on the financial side. They're taking back quite a bit of money in that Mets proposal. I'd imagine the Mariners would appreciate both not having to take on bad money and getting guys who could contribute in 2019. If Seattle is truly desperate to get out of Cano's contract and terrified of what they'll need to pay Diaz, this could work. 

 

This same line of thinking could work in other trade talks. The Twins have the ability to provide salary relief to a team looking to get out of a bad/big deal (how weird is that to say?). I don't think you need to give up a ton of talent in a scenario in which you're taking on a hefty contract. Cano's deal is particularity scary, there are some others that aren't nearly as bad. 

 

Looking at you Toronto.

 

I don't think the Blue Jays want to pay Marcus Stroman and Ken Giles what they're going to get via arbitration the next two years (proj. $13.8M combined for 2019), I'm sure they'd love to get out of Troy Tulowitzki's contract (2 years, $38M guaranteed) and Russell Martin (1 year, $20M) is already on the rumor mill.

    • Minny505 likes this
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nicksaviking
Nov 30 2018 09:12 AM

My problem is that it seems the receiving team is taking on bad money and selling assets almost entirely to get Diaz. He's a stud, I'd love to have him, but instead of paying Cano that money you could probably sign Zach Britton and Jeurys Familia with enough left over for a Bud Norris.

 

In other years, this might seem like a reasonable deal to fix your bullpen, but this year is unlike any I've seen in terms for free agent relievers.

    • glunn, SwainZag, PseudoSABR and 3 others like this

When is the last time the Mets made a good trade?

 

As others have said, I just don't want Cano. Maybe for 1-2 years, but no way on 5. 

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Winston Smith
Nov 30 2018 09:46 AM

 

When is the last time the Mets made a good trade?

 

As others have said, I just don't want Cano. Maybe for 1-2 years, but no way on 5. 

I think they traded for a pitcher named Santana.

    • glunn, Mike Sixel, nicksaviking and 1 other like this

I'd rather just sign some FA RPs. So, probably nothing.

 

but, if the FO thinks Cano can play 2B for a few more years and be a top DH after that (or 1B), then I wouldn't kill them for dealing for him.

 

Gordon, Gonsalves, Austin, Kepler should do it, I'd think.

    • glunn, nicksaviking and Minny505 like this

Cano has been a MVP candidate 7 of the last 9 years and was on his way last year and a WAR of 53.8, so of course the Twins don't need him.

 

    • USAFChief, Mike Sixel and Minny505 like this

This is what this deal looks like:

 

Diaz 4 years of club control prearb, Cano 5 years $120M, Bruce 2 years $28M, Swarzak 1 year $8.5 M, plus prospects and whatever $ the Mariners might send over.

 

The Twins do not have any bad contracts this time (OK, Addison Reed, so he will have to be in that deal)

 

Cano is signed from his age 36 to his age 40 season.That's 5 geriatric years, and the assumption the Twins need to make is that his last 3 or 4 will be a DH.The most they should pay him is $10+8+5+5+2 = $30 million and let the Mariners responsible for 90-Reed's 8.5 = $ 81.5.The Twins can afford to let a leftie tossing OF go, and if it were up to me, I'd throw in Kepler. (Reed + Kepler is at least equivalent to Swarzak + Bruce, but likely better.) 

 

As far as prospects go, who am I to stay in the middle of a family reunion, so Nick goes to play with Dee, like the good old days, and Stephen Gonsalves could follow.(That's two top 100 prospects btw.)

 

So we have:

 

Addisson Reed + Max Kepler + Nick Gordon + Stephen Gonsalves

for

Robinson Cano + Edwin Diaz + $80M

 

That said, there is no way in hay I would want Cano in my team...

    • glunn and Tom Froemming like this

I love how Carole and nick liked my post as I completely changed it......

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nicksaviking
Nov 30 2018 10:09 AM

 

Cano has been a MVP candidate 7 of the last 9 years and was on his way last year and a WAR of 53.8, so of course the Twins don't need him.

 

Well that 9 years part should be a red flag, most ball players don't make it that long.

 

I think Cano can still be useful, but not at that price tag and prospect cost, you could get his production for much less. Jeff McNeil was their 2B down the stretch last year, he hit as well as Cano did and he's ten years younger.

    • SwainZag likes this
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nicksaviking
Nov 30 2018 10:11 AM

 

I love how Carole and nick liked my post as I completely changed it......

 

Well whatever it was before, I agree with it now. I think this year's free agent relief class is a goldmine.

    • Mike Sixel and Major League Ready like this

If we are really on the path to the WS, it is still 2 years away (probably 3 or 4) and where would Cano be at that time - ask the Angels about big contracts for once great players.This is a NO all the way, but thanks for asking.

    • gagu likes this
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nicksaviking
Nov 30 2018 10:40 AM

 

If we are really on the path to the WS, it is still 2 years away (probably 3 or 4) and where would Cano be at that time - ask the Angels about big contracts for once great players.This is a NO all the way, but thanks for asking.

 

I actually thought Cano may be able to age better than most since he has very good on base skills, but Albert Pujols is a good example to the contrary. His lessened bat skills wouldn't be nearly as noticeable if he was still able to work a count to draw a walk. That seems pretty uncommon, but I guess not unheard of.

    • mikelink45 likes this

 

If we are really on the path to the WS, it is still 2 years away (probably 3 or 4) and where would Cano be at that time - ask the Angels about big contracts for once great players.This is a NO all the way, but thanks for asking.

On the flip side, ask the A's, Brewers, Royals and Orioles what it is like to have a reliever with a sub-2.00 ERA and a 40%+ strikeout rate. A team can pencil over a lot of roster issues if the back end of the bullpen basically stops giving up runs.

 

On the flip side, ask the A's, Brewers, Royals and Orioles what it is like to have a reliever with a sub-2.00 ERA and a 40%+ strikeout rate. A team can pencil over a lot of roster issues if the back end of the bullpen basically stops giving up runs.

I would take the reliever- but not the Cano baggage. 


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