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4th OF Discussion with Hamilton now DFA'd

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:41 AM
With Billy Hamilton DFA'd by KC today should we claim him to be our 4th OF/ speed off the bench?This would allow our OF defense to be at...

Front Page: Twins Game Recap (8/17): Twins Win Slugfest i...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:59 AM
After the Minnesota Twins took the first two games of the series, on Thursday and Friday night, they were looking to clinch the series wi...

Where are they now? Ex-Twins in 2019

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:46 AM
I had fun with the "Ex-Twins in the Box Scores" post last year. I know, it's too early for any games at this point in the year, but I hav...

Front Page: Tyler Duffey Got Screwed Out Of A "W"...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 02:46 AM
There was a scoring decision last night that was at least odd and probably just plain incorrect. In the Twins 4-3 win over the Rangers, S...

Front Page: Twins Minor League Report (8/17) Bullpens Bri...

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 02:15 AM
Hey, look at that, a bad pun, love it. Anyways, there was a number of great performances from a number of bullpens, a great start from a...

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Ervin Santana Newest Member of Twins’ Crowded, Mediocre Rotation

Posted by GoGonzoJournal , 11 December 2014 · 2,456 views

ervin santana terry ryan minnesota twins rotation starter
Ervin Santana Newest Member of Twins’ Crowded, Mediocre Rotation Terry Ryan and the Minnesota Twins made their one move of the Winter Meetings, reaching an agreement with Ervin Santana on a four-year, $55 million deal that features a vesting option that goes into effect if Santana tosses 200 innings in 2018, which would make the deal worth $68 million. It’s the biggest free agent deal in Twins’ history, which says a lot. It’s a smidge bigger than what Ryan gave Ricky Nolasco this time last year, which says even more. Terry Ryan doesn't dip his toe into the free agent market very often, and when he does, it’s just a toe. No splashes will be made in Minnesota, because all the water’s ice most of the year, but according to Mike Berardino’s source, Santana really likes pitching in the cold, which he’ll be doing a lot in April, and hopefully October, at Target Field.

I called this one way back in September. Ryan offered Santana a three-year, $33 million deal before last season only to be turned down for a make-good, one-year deal with Atlanta worth $14.1 million. He did make good, although he was inconsistent, and will now have job security through 2018 at least.

Santana’s inconsistency last year isn't a concern, especially if he follows in Phil Hughes’ footsteps and just stops walking folks. He also had terrible run support in Atlanta, and that won’t be the case with the Twins the next four years. They were seventh in runs scored, averaging 4.4 per game, and the lineup has only gotten better. The defense, however, has gotten worse with the arrival of Torii Hunter, but Byron Buxton should be covering a lot of ground at Target Field before this contract ends.

Santana is a nice addition to Minnesota’s crowded, mediocre rotation. He’s shown flashes of having ace-like stuff, especially his slider, per Parker Hageman ofTwins Daily.

Santana has provided around 3 wins above replacement or better five times in his career, including a season in the American League Central with the Kansas City Royals just two years ago. His strikeout numbers were a bit inflated in his first National League season, but you can expect him to strike out seven batters per nine innings, something the Twins have sorely missed since another Santana was traded to New York, and it’s something they'll sorely need given their below-average defense everywhere except the left side of the infield.

What this signing does tell us is Terry Ryan isn’t afraid to create competition for his up-and-coming starting pitchers, and he’s not likely to sign many bullpen arms this offseason. Tommy Milone, Mike Pelfrey, Alex Meyer, and Trevor May will likely fight for the fifth spot in the rotation, and losers of that fight will likely pitch in the bullpen, be released, or optioned to Rochester. Money isn’t really an issue for the Pohlads, and paying someone not to play or even play for someone else does have value considering the young players the Twins have coming up. It is telling that Ryan would sign three starters to three-year deals or better in consecutive years. Perhaps he doesn't see Meyer or May as top-of-the-rotation starters anymore. Take from it what you will, but there’s a method to his madness.

The Twins will also have to take someone off their 40-man roster to make room for Santana, and my money’s on recent Rule 5 pick JR Graham being sent back to Atlanta. Why not? We're already giving them a second round pick for signing Santana. Might as well give up the bullpen arm that throws 100 mph. I like Graham, and wouldn't be against releasing Milone. Billy Beane knew something Terry Ryan didn’t. He sure looked like damaged goods at the end of last year, and his stuff wasn't great before that.

So Terry Ryan made good on his promise to improve the pitching staff, but until Meyer or May or Berrios turns into an ace, the Twins will continue to be irrelevant. If they can stay in the race until after the All-Star break, it'll be a successful year for rookie manager Paul Molitor. Judging by the moves of the rest of the AL Central, though, it’s highly unlikely the Twins stick with Detroit, Kansas City, Cleveland, or Chicago. It'll be another season in last place for the Twins, but it might be their last, and they may not lose 90 games.




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Hosken Bombo Disco
Dec 14 2014 09:58 AM
I agree that Meyer/May/Berrios will have to be the Ace. Hard to count on Hughes repeating again. I'm willing to give Milone a pass on last year. I'm sure Milone was told to "attack the strike zone" just like everyone else, but without the velocity that's going to be a problem for a guy like him. Having better data on the opponents would help him I think.
    • GoGonzoJournal likes this

Milone's fastball couldn't break a pane of glass. Am I the only one getting tired of all these pessimistic whiney articles?

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GoGonzoJournal
Dec 14 2014 05:26 PM

Milone's fastball couldn't break a pane of glass. Am I the only one getting tired of all these pessimistic whiney articles?

They are pessimistic for a reason – that reason being a front office that's responsible for four consecutive 90-loss seasons and a marketing department that asked its fans to compare their brand to a brand new car. If the Twins are any car, it's my 1957 Chevy 4-door 210 – old-fashioned, unpopular, and it hardly ever "plays" in October.

 

If you can find reason to be optimistic, then you don't know Twins baseball. Despite "future stars" coming from the minors, the unwillingness of Terry Ryan to spend what the Pohlads give him is frustrating.

 

You are also not required to read my blog posts. They are not articles. 

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Paul Pleiss
Dec 22 2014 03:20 AM

I think everyone wants a Kershaw or a Scherzer at the front of their rotation. But just a few years ago everyone wanted a Verlander too... and I'm not sure that's always the best way to handle it.

 

I would love for the Twins to go sign Scherzer or Shields and give the club a legit front of the rotation as a 1-2 punch with Hughes, but I'm not holding my breath, and I'm not even sure it makes sense for this club.

 

Let's give Hughes a chance to prove that 2014 was not a year long fluke. He was ace-like. Maybe it's time we give him credit for becoming one.

 

As far as waiting for Meyer/Berrios et all to become an "ace" you can't keep waiting forever. I know we all dream big on the young arms coming up through the system, and Berrios could turn out to be the best of them all, but let's also be thankful for the guys that are at the MLB level right now that have the potential to be very good.

 

Kyle Gibson very well may continue to make progress to becoming the pitcher we all used to dream he would become. He made huge strides from 2013 to 2014. If he can do that again this season he is a solid #3 starter. Trevor May showed at the end of 2014 that when his stuff was on he could be a strikeout king. Maybe he can get his nerves under control and be that guy every 5th day. Throw in Santana and a hopefully resurgent Nolasco and all of a sudden we are talking about an above average rotation.

 

I think that right now, more than anything else, this team needs to improve their OF defense. Yes, Byron Buxton is on the way, but with Arcia and Hunter manning the corner spots this team is in trouble. Hicks/Schafer should be able to cover some extra ground, but Hicks especially, hasn't shown the ability to play servicable CF defense. Bad OF defense is going to make all the improvements in the pitching staff look a little worse.

 

This team scored a lot of runs last season. Can they figure out how to keep the other team from doing the same?