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Astros assistant GM outburst

Other Baseball Today, 05:30 PM
Contrary to a recent series of articles here, maybe the Twins shouldn't become the new Astros, at least not like this:   https://www...

Who's a more valuable trade asset, Buxton or Kepler?

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At the deadline, it was reported that the Mets asked for Byron Buxton (plus more players) for Noah Syndergaard. With the Twins are least...

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What Kind of Trade Package Can Get Syndergaard?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:55 PM
I've been having this discussion in my email, so I might as well throw it out to the group of learned Twins fans:   At the trade dea...

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What If The Twins Don't Go Big This Year?

Posted by Thieres Rabelo , 30 July 2019 · 13,867 views

We are within the last 24 hours before the trade deadline and the market has been quiet for basically every non-Mets team in MLB. Apparently, this has become a pattern around major league GM’s in recent memory, whether it’s the deadline or offseason free agency. The fact is, none of the contenders has done much so far. What if they don’t?

First of all, this is not what I assume is going to happen. I believe that, eventually, teams willing to win will make their moves. But I’m curious to see what’s going to happen if none of them actually pulls the trigger until tomorrow. Granted, 2019 has one particularity. Most teams are considerably indecisive about being sellers or buyers, as USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale tweeted on Monday:



Like I said, I strongly believe that contending teams will pull the trigger. But I have to say that I’m starting to be a little bit concerned if the Twins are among those teams. Don’t get me wrong, I really hope this suspicion is completely wrong. But if Derek Falvey and Thad Levine don’t bring in the stars Twins fans are hoping for, it wouldn’t be something never seen before in their regime.

The biggest example that comes to my mind is the last offseason. After bringing in key veterans to power the already good offense in C.J. Cron, Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop and Marwin Gonzalez, the Twins had basically one urgent matter to address: the bullpen. For us fans, it sounded crazy to think they wouldn’t sign big names in the beginning of the year, especially because they had plenty of payroll room for that.

We all know what happened. The Twins decided to wait and made Blake Parker their one and only big free agent signing for the bullpen. Six months later, they still have the same urgent matter to be addressed. What if they choose to approach it the same way? Chances are very little, but here are three questions I ask about this current deadline for the Twins.

Is this their “all in year”?
This is an important matter. Is 2019 the ultimate contending year for the Twins? Should they spend top prospects to make the team stronger for this playoff run? One can argue that it isn’t. The Twins already have one of the best young cores in baseball. And that’s talking about MLB-talent, not only about prospects. The best offense in the league has an average age of 27.7. If it wasn’t for Nelson Cruz, it would be 26.9. That’s unbelievably young.

Also, Fangraphs currently ranks the Twins’ farm system as the sixth best in MLB and Minnesota has five players in the Top 100 Prospects in the game. So, would it really be the worst thing in the world if they didn’t commit to winning this year’s World Series? Maybe not. Maybe trusting this young core and let them get post-season experience at this point could make a huge difference in the years to come.

Is this team good enough to win?
I’ll be straight here and say that I don’t think so. But some people do. In several moments, Minnesota had the best record in baseball and have solidly stayed put within the top four teams in the league. Is it crazy to assume they can pull this? Perhaps no. Fangraphs’ Dan Szymborski tweeted yesterday an interesting rank of how many Wins Above Replacement (WAR) each team has outside their top four players. Guess who’s on top?



Bottom line, Minnesota has a damn good team. They have taken the season series against the Astros earlier in the year and made the Yankees sweat to defeat them. Also, they currently have a 29-24 record against teams with .500 or above. That’s an 88-win pace on a 162-game season. It’s hard to believe, but such inconsistent pitching staff as the Twins’ has been currently has the seventh best ERA and FIP in the game, as well as the fourth most WAR. Like I said, I don’t think this team has what it takes to win it all the way its roster is right now, but I don’t think those who believe that are being unreasonable.

Are there really good options?
Maybe the biggest concern for all teams considering buying in this deadline is the lack of clear options. One of the Twins main targets, Marcus Stroman, was traded to the Mets during the weekend for an unbelievably cheap price. The Mets also kind of ruled out trading Noah Syndergaard to Minnesota when they asked for Byron Buxton in return, as reported by Star Tribune’s La Velle E. Neal III. In his opinion, “the Twins seem comfortable with their rotation”. And that probably adds up. I mean - and this is an honest question - who do you see in the league now that would represent a considerable leap in quality for the Twins rotation? Should they spend quality prospects to get players who would produce the same as their current starters?

When talking about the bullpen, things are clearly different when we talk about the club’s needs, but no so different when we talk about availability of options. In my opinion, the best option for Minnesota and for any team, for that matter, would be the Pirates’ Felipe Vásquez. But rumors have it that Pittsburgh is asking too much. Is he worth giving two or three top prospects for you? Besides, the Dodgers seem like frontrunners to acquire him. Kirby Yates also looks like a great fit, but the Padres appear to be in buyers mode, as they have inquired the Mets about bringing in “Thor”.

There are other names who could be pursuited. So far, Sergio Romo is the only addition and Cody Allen is doing work in the minors to try to earn a spot. Neither of them cost the Twins much. Maybe we should be expecting cheap signings like these two instead of big splashes. Maybe they will work. What would you do?

By this time tomorrow we will have our answers. Minnesota has to choose between shopping big and try to win it all this year or just modestly improve an already good team, patiently waiting for years to come and not compromising the long-term future.

  • DocBauer, nclahammer and DannySD like this



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TwinkieTownKiller
Jul 30 2019 01:43 PM

I think the issue is that the front office has gone on record saying they will aggressively add to the team when the window is open and they know what to expect from this team. The window is wide open. Buxton and Sano are performing at the maximum that you can expect from them. If they go back on their word, it's going to look like they were just blowing smoke and weren't expecting to actually have to act on their promises.

 

Fans always blow the deadline out of proportion when they don't get the big names. In this case though, it reaches all the way back to the offseason when the only moves they made to address the well known weakness of this team was sign Martin Perez and Blake Parker. Perez being found money aside, those were pretty low effort moves. I like the Sergio Romo trade as a supporting move, but if you're a contending team and the only pitching acquisitions you make in a calendar year are Perez, Parker and Romo, you deserve the criticism you get every time your staff loses you a game. 

 

I think we have a very smart front office. They've done a lot with a little in terms of signings, trades, player development etc. But if they aren't willing to make a splash on a surging team right now while they have the financial flexibility and prospect capital, when will they? I still do have hope that we will add another serviceable reliever at least before the deadline by the way.

    • Brandon and Thieres Rabelo like this

We aren't getting past both the Astros and Yankees in the postseason anyway unless our bats carry us or we give up half our top prospects for pitchers. Of everyone available, only Bumgarner/Greinke would be an upgrade as a starter this postseason anyway, and the stud relievers will cost a lot of prospects. I'd rather have Graterol in the postseason bullpen this year than trade him for a 1-2 year rental, for example. I agree we should not do that for this year, and a minor trade could give us a playoff bullpen of Rogers/Romo/Odorizzi/Ian Kennedy/Harper/Smeltzer/Duffey/Graterol which would be at least interesting. 

    • Thieres Rabelo likes this

Without adding at least 2 RP and a SP that are all quality arms this team will not make it out of the 1st round of the playoffs if they still make them.

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strumdatjaguar
Jul 30 2019 04:07 PM

I hoping at least 4-6 major trades by the contenders tomorrow.Just think how boring the trade deadline will be in future years if NADA is the level of activity under the new rule.

First of all, great post! Really wish this was on the front page.

Not piling at anyone, but remember not so long ago when Rosario was just too wild, Polanco couldn't play short, Kepler was only a 4th OF, etc, etc. And without Cruz, the team's lineup averages just under 27yo! That is crazy! Of course, Cruz will be back next season. Personally, I wish/hope the market is slow for Castro and he would come back for another couple years on a reduced deal.

Unless hope and fantasy meet, there are no top of the order difference maker SP options available at the moment. Unless you want to gift wrap some crazy package of prospects and vastly overpay. And after that there is nobody available who clearly offers anything better than what the Twins have on hand. And what they have on hand is awfully good.

The problems with the pen have been overblown. You don't have the record/season the Twins have with a dumpster fire bullpen. What did you say, if they only played teams with a .500 record or better they would win 88 games? Crazy! And we have some guys who are stepping up and looking like real pen options for the future, but even though some will continue to help, and make the post season roster, it's too late to really count on most of them for now. Think about the tough games against the Yankees this year. Only 6 games, but if we had another couple of arms we could count on, we very likely split, if not win the series.

This team has an honest chance in 2019 with a couple solid pen additions. A real and honest chance. And they have the milb depth to make at least one more high quality move.

But as good as this team is, as young and talented as it is, the window is not only open, but it could be wide open for another 4-5 years if we can keep the bulk of this roster together. While there are very good prospects lower in the system, there is a very nice collection of arms and position players at Rochester and Pensacola who could/can/have started to contribute.

I like our first move. We need another acquisition even better. But I agree that I just wouldn't mortgage anything for 2019 when this team is so good and has so much potential. There are vast differences between doing nothing, making a couple smart moves, and giving up 4-6 top 20/30 prospects to go all in for one season.
    • twinssporto and Thieres Rabelo like this

I want to say that is OK to overpay to get the last piece of the puzzle for our team.We need at least 1 more good to great reliever.and if we could get Thor.....cool.I believe with our offense...It will never be this good again,,,, and our rotation is solid enough.... and with a better bullpen we could win the whole F'ing thing.  

 

I don't understand how the author of this article can say we are on pace to win 88 games over a 162 game season and say we can't win this year and not back it up.Baseball is not yet like Basketball, where you know who is gonna do well in the playoffs and who isn't.In baseball, you still have to play the games.  

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diehardtwinsfan
Jul 31 2019 03:11 PM

yeah, not thrilled about them not being that aggressive... that's me personally. Perhaps they will show more this offseason. The core of the offense (minus Schoop) is set to return next year.And they have reinforcements in Rooker, Kirilloff, and Larnach, so they should want to do something about pitching.

    • Thieres Rabelo likes this
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Thieres Rabelo
Jul 31 2019 05:00 PM

 

I don't understand how the author of this article can say we are on pace to win 88 games over a 162 game season and say we can't win this year and not back it up.Baseball is not yet like Basketball, where you know who is gonna do well in the playoffs and who isn't.In baseball, you still have to play the games.  

Hi, Brandon. Thanks for the read.

That is a simple math comparison. It shows how well the Twins have been playing agains above .500 teams and nothing more.

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Thieres Rabelo
Jul 31 2019 05:02 PM

 

yeah, not thrilled about them not being that aggressive... that's me personally. Perhaps they will show more this offseason. The core of the offense (minus Schoop) is set to return next year.And they have reinforcements in Rooker, Kirilloff, and Larnach, so they should want to do something about pitching.

Hi. Thanks for the read!
Yes, I agree that they have to do something about pitching, but why not do it over the offseason, when they can simply sign a free agent? There's no hurry. The Twins title window is open for at least four more years.

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Thieres Rabelo
Jul 31 2019 05:03 PM

 

First of all, great post! Really wish this was on the front page.

Hi, DocBauer! Thank you very much for reading it and also for the kind words. They mean a lot to me! God bless you!

Even if the Twins had over-overpayed for Greinke, there is no guarantee that we would have gotten past the first round of the playoffs.

With luck being the main factor in post season play, lets see how this team does. :)