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Twins struggle with free agency

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:46 PM
What's going on with Twins struggle to sign anyonesignificant in free agency? Do players not want to come to Twins team? Last year Twins...
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Jake Odorizzi, What's going on w/ him?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:13 PM
Since the beginning there was a lot of FA talk surrounding Jake &thattherewas a lot of interest from various teams. Thought he'd be g...
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J.A Happ?

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 08:13 PM
According to Mlbtraderumors the Twins have reached an argeement with J.A. Happ.I feel we need someone better, but need to see the terms b...
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One less Grove to pick from...

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 06:45 PM
Joe Musgrove to the Padres...who else   https://www.mlbtrade...e-musgrove.html   Feel free to rant, rave, bemoan, lament all th...
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Free Agency / Re-Signings 2020-21 Offseason

Other Baseball Yesterday, 04:20 PM
Free agency is likely going to be a really slow burn this year, but I still think it's worth having a thread to discuss signings. ...
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Three Strikes: Why Eddie Rosario Should Leave

The Twins essentially cut ties last night with left fielder Eddie Rosario, perhaps the most polarizing Twins’ player since he joined the team six years ago. Here are three reasons it was a good move.
Eddie Is Who He Is
Which is a solid contributor who is as likely to decline as he is improve. He’s never really learned any but the most bare bones strike zone discipline, limiting him to a career on-base percentage of just .310. He’s been effective because of his power, but power isn’t something the Twins have lacked in this lineup. His speed in the outfield has slowed so his defense is declining, and likely to decline further.

He’s an above average regular, but he’s never been an All-Star level outfielder and he isn’t especially likely to be. The Twins may be getting rid of him a year too early. But as the saying goes, that’s better than a year too late.

He Drives Us Crazy
Having a free-swinger in the middle of the Twins order often proved counter-productive. A young pitcher would grind against disciplined hitters like Max Kepler, Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz – and up would walk Eddie Rosario like a blast of fresh air. Rosario could make them pay on occasion – his RBI totals demonstrate that – but that .310 OBP would often provide them the lifeline they needed.

Plus, of course, his bizarre choices on the bases and in the field could be maddening. Like running through an obvious stop sign to get thrown out. Or refusing to pick up a ball at his feet because he thought it was out of play. (Yes, those links are to the same video from the same game. It also includes some good plays. Such is the Eddie Rosario Experience.)

He’s Too Expensive
In this pandemicized MLB market, it looks like free agents – and especially hitters – are going to be available at bargain prices. And while the Twins are well-situated with a low committed payroll, they’ll obviously have financial limitation since we still don’t know if fans will be allowed in Target Field.

The Twins put Rosario on waivers last night, even though the non-tender deadline was today, to give him a chance to latch on with another team that would voluntarily offer him arbitration, and thus commit to paying him around $10M. If no team claims him – and I suspect none will, since the Twins clearly tried to trade him before this deadline – it confirms that Rosario’s built-in arbitration raise just made him too expensive to keep.

Plus, the Twins have a number of replacements that could replace his production. Their top prospect, Alex Kirilloff, is a left-handed hitting corner outfielder and was called up for the playoffs last year. His ceiling looks potentially higher than Eddie’s, and he’s just 23 years old. Their third best prospect, Trevor Larnach, is also a left-handed hitting corner outfielder who looks like he’s close to the majors. They also have other options who could fill a portion of the role like Jake Cave, Lamonte Wade Jr. and Brent Rooker.

Bottom Line
Rosario is the kind of player a competitive team makes a tough decision on and lets go. He’s good, but he’s not great, and he’s not likely to get better. He’s right at the point where he’s getting expensive, there are better opportunities on the market, and he’s the organization had worked hard to develop internal replacements who deserve their shot. Eddie will likely go on to have a successful career with another team. But that team doesn’t need to be the Twins.

Now read Three Strikes: Why Eddie Rosario Should Stay

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33 Comments

Eddie is a "good news/bad news" type of player but I think the Twins will miss his RBI's even if the analytics folks don't value RBI any more. Frustrating sometimes? Absolutely, but is big in the clubhouse and will be missed.

 

    • LA VIkes Fan, mikelink45 and DocBauer like this

I'll miss Eddie - He played hard, he was fun to watch, and there was always a chance to see something magical (good or bad).He might not do everything right but a kid couldn't have a better example of how to play the game.He wasn't the most talented but he always gave it his all. 

    • mikelink45, DocBauer, Shaitan and 1 other like this

 

He’s an above average regular....He’s good, but he’s not great

 

I guess this is my problem with the move. We're moving on from a player not because he's bad and we need to, but because money. We're going to likely be a little bit worse without him, and all because the Twins want to cut payroll. Again. And it's not like this is a long term massive contract. It's a one year 10 mil deal. Woo.

    • jjswol and mikelink45 like this

I am constantly amazed that Eddie gets the attention he does, but Kepler does not get the criticism he deserves.

    • SQUIRREL, mnfireman, LA VIkes Fan and 4 others like this
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nicksaviking
Dec 02 2020 12:27 PM

 

I guess this is my problem with the move. We're moving on from a player not because he's bad and we need to, but because money. We're going to likely be a little bit worse without him, and all because the Twins want to cut payroll. Again. And it's not like this is a long term massive contract. It's a one year 10 mil deal. Woo.

 

I really like Eddie and I'd like him to stay if the situation was right, but I don't think the team will be worse without him. If Kirilloff and Larnich are the main options to replace him, what ever losses they will feel with the bat, they'll probably make up for in OBP and defense. And, there's also a good chance they wouldn't show any loss with the bat either. In today's game a .800 OPS for a corner outfielder isn't exactly hard to find.

 

This reminds me of Jacque Jones leaving. Most people loved Jacque, he was a core member of the team's resurgence. He had a really decent but streaky bat, but his OBP and defense were iffy and the Twins didn't bother trying to re-sign him as they had Cuddyer and Kubel in need of outfield spots.

 

And while the team may drop payroll (I suspect most every team will) it's not about saving money, it's about reallocating money. Saving 9M on your LF when his replacement likely isn't to be much if any of a downgrade means you can allocate 9M more into pitching or middle infield upgrades.

    • glunn, DocBauer, chpettit19 and 2 others like this

 

 


 

And while the team may drop payroll (I suspect most every team will) it's not about saving money, it's about reallocating money. Saving 9M on your LF when his replacement likely isn't to be much if any of a downgrade means you can allocate 9M more into pitching or middle infield upgrades.

 

There is no guarantee they will spend that 9M.....

 

    • LA VIkes Fan likes this
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nicksaviking
Dec 02 2020 12:48 PM

 

 

 

And while the team may drop payroll (I suspect most every team will) it's not about saving money, it's about reallocating money. Saving 9M on your LF when his replacement likely isn't to be much if any of a downgrade means you can allocate 9M more into pitching or middle infield upgrades.

 

There is no guarantee they will spend that 9M.....

 

 

I guess I wasn't looking for a guarantee.

 

It would be nice if they found a good free agent, but if the team is going to scale back, this is a good year to do it, the free agent market is ugly. 

While trying to project out what the Twins' rookie OFs might be able to do in their first season, I did a bit of research on how some of our past rookie debuts have gone.

 

2020 Ryan Jeffers - .273/.355/.436 (.791 OPS) 0.3 WAR
2018 Jake Cave - .265/.313/.473 (.786 OPS) 1.7 WAR
2018 Mitch Garver - .268/.335/.414 (.749 OPS) 0.9 WAR
2016 Byron Buxton - .225/.284/.420 (.714 OPS) 1.7 WAR
2016 Max Kepler - .235/.309/.424 (.734 OPS) 2.4 WAR
2016 Jorge Polanco - .282/.332/.424 (.757 OPS) 0.4 WAR
2015 Miguel Sano - .269/.385/.530 (.916 OPS) 2.4 WAR
2015 Eddie Rosario - .267/.289/.459 (.748 OPS) 2.2 WAR
2014 Danny Santana - .319/.353/.472 (.824 OPS) 3.8 WAR

 

Those are some good numbers. Here's hoping we can tack on a couple more successful years at the top of this list.

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terrydactyls1947
Dec 02 2020 01:40 PM
Here is my worthless take on the situation. With a vaccine about ready to begin distributing, now is the time for the Twins to go all in. Fans could well be brought back into stadiums by July 1st and the second half of the season would be all sell outs. Offer Trevor Bauer four years for $120M with an option for a fifth year. Offer Marcel Ozuna three years at $48M to be DH. Sign one good reliever and fill in remaining holes internally. Payroll goes up a little but the next several years would look very promising.
    • baul0010 likes this

Eddie has been an asset to the Twins and a key figure for better or worse in terms of team culture. But his asset value diminishes as his salary increases unless the Twins can project some improvement in his numbers. 

 

The Twins will likely (hopefully) get greater value out of the pool of in-house replacements because they can approximate Eddie's numbers in the short term at a much lower salary. Mid-long term the Twins are counting on at least one of the youngsters to surpass Eddie's level of production.

 

Having said that, I have enjoyed rooting for him and hope his career continues on a good path.

    • DocBauer likes this

Well reasoned IMO.I think most of us could see the writing on the wall with two of our best prospects pretty much ready to contribute.Seems hard to believe they couldn't get something in trade for him. Teams down on their luck rebuilding could use a guy like Eddie.

 

I certainly enjoyed Eddie's passion for the game and his fearless attitude at the plate I will miss him.

    • DocBauer likes this
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Major League Ready
Dec 02 2020 01:58 PM

 

I am constantly amazed that Eddie gets the attention he does, but Kepler does not get the criticism he deserves.

 

The criticism of Rosario is recent. Rosario was truly great for a half season but he has been mediocre at best since the 1st half of 2018. His horrid plate discipline, base running errors, and defensive mistakes make him a target for criticism. Kepler has none of these issues and his offensive numbers are better than Rosario's over the past couple of seasons. Kepler is a more complete player and his WAR is more than double Rosario's WAR over the past two seasons. This is why Kepler is not criticized IMO.  

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LA VIkes Fan
Dec 02 2020 02:41 PM

 

 

 

And while the team may drop payroll (I suspect most every team will) it's not about saving money, it's about reallocating money. Saving 9M on your LF when his replacement likely isn't to be much if any of a downgrade means you can allocate 9M more into pitching or middle infield upgrades.

 

There is no guarantee they will spend that 9M.....

 

Agree with this and the earlier poster. As I mentioned in the Rosario thread, this is a defensible move if a least 7-8M of the money is allocated to some combination of starting pitching, a better defensive SS (with Polanco moving to 2B and Arraez to super utility), or a high end closer. NOT to Cruz, not to the rest of the BP. We already have those dollars from losing May and Romo. IF we don't do any of those things, then this is all about money and payroll. Undersatnable from a business standpoint, but very disappointing nonetheless.  

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LA VIkes Fan
Dec 02 2020 02:55 PM

 

The criticism of Rosario is recent. Rosario was truly great for a half season but he has been mediocre at best since the 1st half of 2018. His horrid plate discipline, base running errors, and defensive mistakes make him a target for criticism. Kepler has none of these issues and his offensive numbers are better than Rosario's over the past couple of seasons. Kepler is a more complete player and his WAR is more than double Rosario's WAR over the past two seasons. This is why Kepler is not criticized IMO.  

Not sure I agree. Kepler's WAR comes from his defensive value, not his bat. He hit well in 2019. He hit poorly in 2017, 2018 and 2020. That suggests 2019 is the outlier year, not an indication of things to come. If that's true, Kepler is a guy from whom you can expect .225 -.250/ .320/ .430 (750 OPS) with 20-25 plus HRs. Below average hitting corner OF with good power. That's what Kepler has been every year except 2019. 

 

Kepler and Rosario played 2 different roles on the team. Rosario was the cleanup hitter and pretty good at that. Kepler cannot fill that role but he provides much better OF defense, can play CF when we need to Buxton on IL, and could hit 6th or 7th on a championship contending team. Nothing wrong with that and he's appropriately priced for what he can do. What Kepler can't do is replace Rosario in the middle of the lineup.

 

And there's the rub. Who hits 4th on this team in 2021? If Cruz is re-signed, he could hit 4th and maybe Polanco 3rd? If Cruz isn't re-signed who hits in the #3 and #4 hole? Kepler isn't good enough, Polanco and Sano are real maybes better suited to leadoff and hit 6/7 respectively, and trusting one or two guys fresh up from the minors is a very risky play. Donaldson and Cruz hitting 3 and 4 with Polanco and Arraez in the 1 and 2 holes? Is Buxton ready to move up with his sub .300 OBP? Lineup construction is going to be a real challenge for next year.  

Eddie is the type of guy who might raise a team's floor while simultaneously lowering their ceiling. He is a good player, but the Twins have plenty of good players. A roster of good players makes the playoffs only to get swept; competing without truly contending.

 

Moving on from Eddie is necessary to see if we can get better production both from LF, but also throughout the entire organization.

 

The offseason headlines on Twins Daily often read something like "Should the Twins Sign X" or "Should the Twins Trade for X" when the question is really, "What is the downstream impact of signing/not signing X?" In the case of Eddie, the downstream is an opportunity for one of the prospects to step up and contribute and for Eddie's salary to be spent in greater areas of need.

 

I enjoyed the Eddie Era in Minnesota, wish him good luck where he ends up, and am looking forward to seeing if the Twins are able to improve their entire roster as a result of this decision.

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Major League Ready
Dec 02 2020 05:14 PM

 

Not sure I agree. Kepler's WAR comes from his defensive value, not his bat. He hit well in 2019. He hit poorly in 2017, 2018 and 2020. That suggests 2019 is the outlier year, not an indication of things to come. If that's true, Kepler is a guy from whom you can expect .225 -.250/ .320/ .430 (750 OPS) with 20-25 plus HRs. Below average hitting corner OF with good power. That's what Kepler has been every year except 2019. 

 

Kepler and Rosario played 2 different roles on the team. Rosario was the cleanup hitter and pretty good at that. Kepler cannot fill that role but he provides much better OF defense, can play CF when we need to Buxton on IL, and could hit 6th or 7th on a championship contending team. Nothing wrong with that and he's appropriately priced for what he can do. What Kepler can't do is replace Rosario in the middle of the lineup.

 

And there's the rub. Who hits 4th on this team in 2021? If Cruz is re-signed, he could hit 4th and maybe Polanco 3rd? If Cruz isn't re-signed who hits in the #3 and #4 hole? Kepler isn't good enough, Polanco and Sano are real maybes better suited to leadoff and hit 6/7 respectively, and trusting one or two guys fresh up from the minors is a very risky play. Donaldson and Cruz hitting 3 and 4 with Polanco and Arraez in the 1 and 2 holes? Is Buxton ready to move up with his sub .300 OBP? Lineup construction is going to be a real challenge for next year.  

 

I am focused on production after the trade deadline in 2018 because I believe what occurred at that point is particularly relevant to Rosario's value. The league adjusted and Eddie has demonstrated he has no answer. Since that period of time. Kepler has been better offensively and considerably more valuable defensively.

 

Since 7/31/2018

 

Rosario / Kepler
HRs – 45 / 45
wRC+ 99 / 114
OPS - 774/889
wOBA 321/342
SLG – 477/479
RBI – 164/130

 

Kepler is better in every category with the exception of RBIs.

Kepler takes better ABs.
Kepler does not throw to the wrong base.
Kepler does not make stupid base running mistakes.

 

Therefore, people are not frustrated with Kepler like many of us are with Rosario. I thought it went without saying that Kepler's considerably higher WAR was a product of defensive contribution. That was meant as just one factor why some of us are more satisfied with Kepler vs Rosario.

    • DocBauer and Bickle19 like this

 

The criticism of Rosario is recent. Rosario was truly great for a half season but he has been mediocre at best since the 1st half of 2018. His horrid plate discipline, base running errors, and defensive mistakes make him a target for criticism. Kepler has none of these issues and his offensive numbers are better than Rosario's over the past couple of seasons. Kepler is a more complete player and his WAR is more than double Rosario's WAR over the past two seasons. This is why Kepler is not criticized IMO.  

If only I had the time to challenge all those assertions.Let's just say I am not among the Kepler lovers.

 

Eddie is the type of guy who might raise a team's floor while simultaneously lowering their ceiling.

I've long felt there were players who could be described in a similar way, though I've never taken the time to try to quantify it. Some players do things that bring wins your way. However, these players may also do things that bring losses your way, and thus on average they are, well, let's say average. Basically, if you're a cellar-dwelling team, such a player may be interesting to you, because a few of them may be a quick route out of the 100-loss wilderness and let you reach .500. However, to go above .500, you eventually need to move on, to the scarcer player who brings the positives but not the negatives. I guess the same holds true for reaching the post-season versus excelling in it.

 

Win Probability Added is a rough cut at this form of analysis, though not for fielding - it offers a positive and a negative component to plate appearances, which when combined gives the aggregate rating. WAR and its relatives, by contrast, just gives an aggregate.

 

My thinking along these lines has been more about starting pitchers - some guys bring Cy Young stuff to some of their starts, and then in other games they can't find the plate, and though they tantalize you with potential they never do much better than .500 ball. But there's no reason a position player can't fit that profile too - Eddie will occasionally save your bacon with a laser throw to home plate that nails a Bosox runner carrying the tying run, but at too many other times will endure wasted at-bats where he eats out of the pitcher's hand.

 

I've loved rooting for Eddie because he seems like a genuine good guy. But if the team moves on from him, I think I understand their thinking.
 

    • glunn and nicksaviking like this
Once again, John, like in the pro-Rosario article, every point you made is spot on.

I am and have been a big fan of Eddie and have thoroughly enjoyed his production, great plays and moments, as well as his enthusiasm for the game. But the world in general, MLB in particular relevance for this conversation, is in a strange place right now. And the Twins have other needs to allocate $ towards.

In a perfect situation and anything close to "normal", as I stated in the other OP, Rosario would be back for another year and the kids would be allowed to develop and force themselves in to the lineup. But this is the easiest "cut" to add to other areas.

While I don't expect Kirilloff, or anyone, to just step in their 1st year and automatically replace Rosario's production, we can't love and embrace and eagerly await such young talent and their debut, and then chastise the Twins for allowing that to now happen.

I repeat myself yet again that the Twins simply can't allow the lineup to lose BOTH Rosario AND Cruz at the same time. So via unexpected trade or more probably FA, a dependable bat will have to be signed or re-signed. Hence my article in the Forums category concerning Cruz.

To naysayers, I absolutely, positively believe Rosario being cut loose is not, in of itself, some attempt to save $. It's the most logical step, and easiest replacement, to re-allocate $ to other team needs, even if payroll itself is lowered due to the current financial situation. And it's not just the Twins.

Wouldn't it suck if Rosario went to Boston and killed it for 6-8 years.....

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FritzDahmus
Dec 03 2020 07:31 AM

This is a bad move.

 

But it is typical of teams with smaller payrolls. They get rid of a good player with experience that can give the team a veteran at-bat in a playoff game.

 

Then construct the reasoning for letting him go -- based on what he does on the field -- after calling him a good player....so they feel the need to point out some antics [name a player you couldn't do that to].

 

In Eddie's case, he always batted in the middle of the lineup and always was a team leader in RBIs. He was a left fielder....not a shortstop. 

 

Now, if the twins go out and replace him with a Michael Brantley or someone of that caliber.......fine! But we are looking at Cave, Rooker, Kirilloff, Larnach, etc....

 

A money dump.........again. I hope he ends up with the Yankees and beats the crap out of us.

No room in NY for Rosario....

I have nothing to say that hasn't been said in 14,000 threads before this one.

 

But I'm not a fan of the headline. Saying he should leave makes it sound like it's his decision.

 

While trying to project out what the Twins' rookie OFs might be able to do in their first season, I did a bit of research on how some of our past rookie debuts have gone.

 

2020 Ryan Jeffers - .273/.355/.436 (.791 OPS) 0.3 WAR
2018 Jake Cave - .265/.313/.473 (.786 OPS) 1.7 WAR
2018 Mitch Garver - .268/.335/.414 (.749 OPS) 0.9 WAR
2016 Byron Buxton - .225/.284/.420 (.714 OPS) 1.7 WAR
2016 Max Kepler - .235/.309/.424 (.734 OPS) 2.4 WAR
2016 Jorge Polanco - .282/.332/.424 (.757 OPS) 0.4 WAR
2015 Miguel Sano - .269/.385/.530 (.916 OPS) 2.4 WAR
2015 Eddie Rosario - .267/.289/.459 (.748 OPS) 2.2 WAR
2014 Danny Santana - .319/.353/.472 (.824 OPS) 3.8 WAR

 

Those are some good numbers. Here's hoping we can tack on a couple more successful years at the top of this list.

 

Seeing that Santana leads the pack almost makes me hope our rookies don't perform super well next year (as a sign of career longevity).

 

Yeah, I know DanSan kinda resurfaced in 2019 but I'm still not counting it.

 

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nicksaviking
Dec 03 2020 12:19 PM

 

Agree with this and the earlier poster. As I mentioned in the Rosario thread, this is a defensible move if a least 7-8M of the money is allocated to some combination of starting pitching, a better defensive SS (with Polanco moving to 2B and Arraez to super utility), or a high end closer. NOT to Cruz, not to the rest of the BP. We already have those dollars from losing May and Romo. IF we don't do any of those things, then this is all about money and payroll. Undersatnable from a business standpoint, but very disappointing nonetheless. 

 

Or it could be about finding room for the numerous corner outfield prospects, all of whom have a higher ceiling than Rosario.


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