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Article: When the Twins Go Buying... Who Are They Selling?

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Way Too Early Deadline Talk & A Quick Note on Rosario

Posted by Andrew Gebo , 09 May 2019 · 1,143 views

Recently I have seen a lot of chatter on various social media sites about what the Twins should do at the deadline. Even though it’s only May, let’s talk about it.

You’ve probably all heard or taken part in the cries for this team to be buyers. The other day I saw a tweet claiming they should trade Sano for Madison Bumgarner. This type of unrealistic fantasy trades aren’t worth discussing so let’s focus on much more practical moves.

History will tell us that contending teams will almost certainly be buyers at the deadline. Cubs traded for Chapman, Astros acquired Verlander and the Dodgers made a deal for Yu Darvish. However, this doesn’t mean contending teams are obligated to make a blockbuster acquisition at the deadline. In some cases marginal improvements or staying quiet at the deadline makes sense and that’s where the Twins should be.

Yeah, yeah, I know… “but we need pitching!!” … It’s no secret good pitching is important. News flash though, the Twins already have excellent pitching. Berrios, Perez, and Odorizzi are a very solid front end of a rotation. There’s likely not a single GM that would scoff at Kyle Gibson as their number four starter. Pineada from what he’s shown so far is the weak link in the rotation, but that’s generally always the case with your number 5 starter. Also, in his defense he’s pitched in less than ideal weather conditions and is still building up his stamina after missing a year and a half. It’s reasonable to expect him to be at least a little better than he has been as the season progresses. So if we’re going to add pitching it likely won’t be to the starting rotation, injuries aside, of course. Bumgarner would be great, sure, but if we’re being honest he’s not any better than the top three guys in the rotation. Do we really want to see the Twins give up prospects to get Bumgarner as a rental when he wouldn’t even be the staff ace?

That brings us to the bullpen, everyone’s favorite thing to gripe about. While yes, expectations were low for that group coming into the season they’ve actually performed really well. Taylor Rogers, to his credit, is quietly becoming the next Andrew Miller. I have full confidence in May, Hildenberger, and Parker. Now, this isn’t to say there’s no room for improvement in the bullpen. As I mentioned in a previous post, Will Smith of the Giants would make sense. That’s the type of marginal pitching addition this team should be seeking. No sense in selling the farm for an elite level arm when there’s no glaring need.

Now for the lineup. I would hope we can all agree there’s really no need to add a power bat to the existing group. Also, there’s no room to add a guy. With Sano coming back every position is occupied with more than capable hitters. Let’s do ourselves a favor and not even entertain the idea of adding a position player unless the injury bugs jumps out from the behind the curtain and wrecks damage on this squad.

Last note regarding the deadline talk, there’s one more thing to keep in mind. Top tier players don’t come cheap at the deadline. Yes, the Twins have a really good farm system but given the way this current roster is constructed it really doesn’t make much sense to sell off some of that organizational depth. The core group of the team is still very young. Berrios, Polanco, Buxton are all 25 or younger. Kepler is 26 and Rosario is the elder statesman at 27. The veteran guys on this team are all on short terms deals. Cruz, Cron and Schoop are one year deals. Marwin Gonzalez is on a two year deal. There will be turnover on this roster and a need to dip into that minor league depth in the not so distant future. This team is built to win now, yes, but they’re also built to win over the next 5 years or so. Maximizing on any opportunity to win is important but so is taking advantage of a multi year window. For all those reasons it would make sense for the Twins to be marginal buyers, if not spectators at the deadline.

Quick note on Rosario. I did some digging into his numbers over his recent cold stretch and if the two homers in Toronto don’t indicate it’s a matter of time before he snaps out of it, maybe these stats will. Overall, his GB%, LD%, and FB% has remained around his career average. He’s continuing to produce hard contact at the same rate he always has. His K% for the season is the lowest of his career and his BB% is the highest. Those are all very good sings. The one glaring stat is his BABIP (batting average on balls in play), which has been hovering below .200 most of the year. For reference, .300 BABIP is about league average and for his career, Rosario has been slightly above that number. It’s pretty safe to say his recent cold snap (much like the Polar Vortex) will soon pass and he will begin to heat up again. Hopefully faster than the weather has this spring. Last note regarding Rosario, opposing pitchers have been throwing him a lot, and I mean, a lot more change ups. Once he makes the adjustment to that pitch and gets a little more luck on balls in play he will soon be on another tear.

Thank you all for reading and I look forward to your comments!

  • Oldgoat_MN, nclahammer and Tom Froemming like this



The need for pitching regards playoff matchups, this staff is built to win the division behind the good offense.Come playoff time Odorizzi/ Perez/ Gibson don't match up great as your 2nd starter.Then pen is the biggest area of concern, they need a closer level righty to pair with Rodgers.

    • Platoon likes this
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Andrew Gebo
May 09 2019 03:42 PM

The need for pitching regards playoff matchups, this staff is built to win the division behind the good offense.Come playoff time Odorizzi/ Perez/ Gibson don't match up great as your 2nd starter.Then pen is the biggest area of concern, they need a closer level righty to pair with Rodgers.


Thanks for the comment! I do agree that playoffs are a different beast and that is one area where a guy like Bumgarner could be very valuable. His career postseason track record is HOF worthy. There’s no active pitcher in the game who’s performed better than him in the playoffs. Even still, like I mentioned in my post I’m not convinced it’s wise to give up high end prospects to get him on a rental with the hope he can rediscover his 2014 postseason dominance. Obviously Bum isn’t the only pitcher available but I’ve heard Twins fans throw his name out there a lot.

The pen is tricky too. Off top of my head I’m really not sure how many, if any, top level relief arms will be available at the deadline. Kimberl is the easy and obvious answer but I have a hard time believing that’s the direction they want to go.
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LA VIkes Fan
May 09 2019 05:42 PM

To repsot something I put in another thread - How about one of the SF relievers? Agree on Smith, and Dyson, Vincent and even Melancon may make some sense. The price would be prospects and they need OFs so maybe a Jake Cave plus a prospect deal would do the trick. Cave would immediately start there and upgrade the OF assuming he hits like last year (I'd ignore this year's stats given his very limited and sporadic playing time). Might work for both teams if it was a Cave plus Littel, Mejia or Gonsalves, or maybe Cave plus a lower level prospect with a higher upside than those three guys. I say anyone is fair game except, Lewis, Kirilofff, Graterol, Thorpe, Alcala and maybe Smeltzer. Same with Arizona who also needs OFs. A guy like Andrew Chafin or even Robbie Ray might be available although their "good" relievers by stats are young and probably off limits except for Greg Holland who is definitely off limits.

 

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Andrew Gebo
May 09 2019 06:47 PM

To repsot something I put in another thread - How about one of the SF relievers? Agree on Smith, and Dyson, Vincent and even Melancon may make some sense. The price would be prospects and they need OFs so maybe a Jake Cave plus a prospect deal would do the trick. Cave would immediately start there and upgrade the OF assuming he hits like last year (I'd ignore this year's stats given his very limited and sporadic playing time). Might work for both teams if it was a Cave plus Littel, Mejia or Gonsalves, or maybe Cave plus a lower level prospect with a higher upside than those three guys. I say anyone is fair game except, Lewis, Kirilofff, Graterol, Thorpe, Alcala and maybe Smeltzer. Same with Arizona who also needs OFs. A guy like Andrew Chafin or even Robbie Ray might be available although their "good" relievers by stats are young and probably off limits except for Greg Holland who is definitely off limits.


Thanks for reading!

The only way a trade for Melancon would make sense is if the Giants eat most of his contract and even then I don’t know for 100% but I believe he has full no trade rights. Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, and Will Smith are the more likely candidates from their pen. I’m going to have to disagree with you on Cave, though. I really don’t think the Giants would have much interest in him. Left handed bats (Barry Bonds aside) have not done well in their ballpark.

The Padres also have some intriguing arms in their pen but they’re beginning to look like a potential contender if not this year then very soon so it’s probably unlikely they’re willing to part with any talented bullpen arms.

Overall though I think the reliever market is going to be very limited at the deadline. Outside of the Giants there’s really not many guys who fit the bill in terms of being trade chips.

In regards to their internal options I remain very optimistic about Romero. I know he’s struggled with his command this year but there’s no denying he has great stuff. High velocity fastball and effective breaking balls when he can actually throw them for strikes. I think he’s a guy who has a chance to develop into a weapon out of the bullpen.
It's only May 9th and there is a lot of time not only for the season, but until the deadline. At the moment, we are in a bit if a fantasy/projection vacuum. That being said, I agree with your post 100%.

With one exception.

Gibson is only the #4 SP because there was where he was slotted to buy him some time to build up endurance and feel. No matter how well Perez and Odorizzi have done...and I hope they keep it up, or pitch at least close...I dont feel Gibson is a #4 SP at all.

And I agree on Pineda as well. I believe he just needs a little more time to build up endurance and get his feel back in his first full season from surgery. History has shown us this, often with positive results. And Rocco has been nursing him a bit, which is smart.

Rotation depth is scary at the moment. But Littell is warming up. Gonsalves hasn't pitched yet, which is troubling. Thorpe started slow, exploded, then had a clunker. How will he respond next time out is important. Smeltzer looks like a guy who suddenly found himself. A month and a half from now, the depth situation could look entirely different!

But the pen is where at least one move needs to be made, no matter how solid/decent it has largely performed thus far. I am with you on the core four. But unless Romero can harness his great stuff the next month or so, or Reed suddenly surprise and become his old self, we need another quality arm that can be relied on. But we also need a 2nd lefty. Can Mejia take this time to accept his role and just trust his stuff and make a difference? Can Moya or Vasquez prove they can fill a viable role?

I also don't want to overpay for help, but there is enough system depth to make at least one good move to deepen the pen without mortgaging anything. (Two moves may be needed).

How much you give up, obviously, depends not only who is added, but how much remaining control is available. Here's hoping at least one of the aforementioned steps forward to make a difference.
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Andrew Gebo
May 09 2019 08:06 PM

It's only May 9th and there is a lot of time not only for the season, but until the deadline. At the moment, we are in a bit if a fantasy/projection vacuum. That being said, I agree with your post 100%.
With one exception.
Gibson is only the #4 SP because there was where he was slotted to buy him some time to build up endurance and feel. No matter how well Perez and Odorizzi have done...and I hope they keep it up, or pitch at least close...I dont feel Gibson is a #4 SP at all.
And I agree on Pineda as well. I believe he just needs a little more time to build up endurance and get his feel back in his first full season from surgery. History has shown us this, often with positive results. And Rocco has been nursing him a bit, which is smart.
Rotation depth is scary at the moment. But Littell is warming up. Gonsalves hasn't pitched yet, which is troubling. Thorpe started slow, exploded, then had a clunker. How will he respond next time out is important. Smeltzer looks like a guy who suddenly found himself. A month and a half from now, the depth situation could look entirely different!
But the pen is where at least one move needs to be made, no matter how solid/decent it has largely performed thus far. I am with you on the core four. But unless Romero can harness his great stuff the next month or so, or Reed suddenly surprise and become his old self, we need another quality arm that can be relied on. But we also need a 2nd lefty. Can Mejia take this time to accept his role and just trust his stuff and make a difference? Can Moya or Vasquez prove they can fill a viable role?
I also don't want to overpay for help, but there is enough system depth to make at least one good move to deepen the pen without mortgaging anything. (Two moves may be needed).
How much you give up, obviously, depends not only who is added, but how much remaining control is available. Here's hoping at least one of the aforementioned steps forward to make a difference.


You’re absolutely right that Gibson being the #4 is more about his health going into the season and less about his ability as a pitcher. I don’t think anyone, Perez included, expected him to be this good. His cutter and 3-4mph increase in fastball velocity seems to be a huge turning point for him, which is great to see. The fact that Gibson is slotted as the #4, regardless of the reason why, just highltits the depth of their rotation.

The rotation lacks household names, other than maybe Berrios but even he’s not a well known name to casual fans of other teams. I think that plays into fans’ perception of the rotation because there’s no Chris Sale, Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, etc. type guy. Last note on the rotation, Wes Johnson deserves a lot of credit for their success. He’s clearly figured something out.

The bullpen is going to be tricky. Right now it looks like the reliever market is going to be very limited at the deadline. Simple supply/demand economics would indicate that means any arms that are available will likely demand above market value given the scarcity of the market. I remain optimistic about Romero. He’s certainly struggled with command but he has electric stuff and I think he could develop into a weapon out of the bullpen.

Thanks for reading and let’s keep the good times rollling!
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MMMordabito
May 10 2019 11:12 AM

If Madison Bumgarner is what it takes to get the Twins deep into the playoffs, I could honestly care less if one of Graterol, Kirrilloff or Lewis never plays for the Twins. 

 

I think fan bases tend to overvalue and overproject their own prospects and players. I get excited about prospect potential myself and love following the MiLB daily. However, I would get much more excited if there was a real possibility of World Series games being played at Target Field.

 

I would personally want to see Bumgarner pitch for a couple more months before doing anything.

 

It's fun watching how well Perez and Odorizzi are pitching right now, but it's way too early to pencil them is as playoff load-bearers at this point.Also, neither one of them has ever cut open a rattlesnake, rescued digesting rabbits and nursed them back to health.

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Andrew Gebo
May 10 2019 02:20 PM

If Madison Bumgarner is what it takes to get the Twins deep into the playoffs, I could honestly care less if one of Graterol, Kirrilloff or Lewis never plays for the Twins. 
 
I think fan bases tend to overvalue and overproject their own prospects and players. I get excited about prospect potential myself and love following the MiLB daily. However, I would get much more excited if there was a real possibility of World Series games being played at Target Field.
 
I would personally want to see Bumgarner pitch for a couple more months before doing anything.
 
It's fun watching how well Perez and Odorizzi are pitching right now, but it's way too early to pencil them is as playoff load-bearers at this point.Also, neither one of them has ever cut open a rattlesnake, rescued digesting rabbits and nursed them back to health.


Don’t get me wrong, I love me some MadBum! Who doesn’t want to see him blowing snot rockets, staring down umpires after a bad call and being an overall badass?

If Perez or Odorizzi regress back to their career normal level of production then the possibility of acquiring Bumgarner becomes very real.

It’s also very likely they can get Bum without giving up Lewis, Kiriloff or Graterol. He turns 30 in August, he’s a free agent after this year and he’s shown signs of not being the same guy he was back in 2014. A player like that doesn’t typically warrant a return of a top 10 overall prospect.

The need for pitching regards playoff matchups, this staff is built to win the division behind the good offense.Come playoff time Odorizzi/ Perez/ Gibson don't match up great as your 2nd starter.Then pen is the biggest area of concern, they need a closer level righty to pair with Rodgers.

This. Offense feasts against average pitching. You don't get those chances in 5 or 7 games series as often. You may roll into Houston or New York and miss a one or two level starter in the regular season. That won't happen in October. The pitching match ups will often be head to head. In tight playoff baseball, offense is the least important arrow in you quiver.

I agree that's it's way to early to talk about the deadline.

 

But it's never too early to talk about making the team better. And often, the best way to get a deal, is to make that deal before the market gets hot.