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Resurgent Relief for Allen with Twins?

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 17 December 2018 · 2,018 views

minnesota twins cody allen
After signing Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron to deals earlier this month, the Minnesota Twins have been largely quiet. Despite having been linked to a few big bats for the lineup, there’s been no new acquisitions for Rocco Baldelli to pencil into his Opening Day 25-man roster. Looking at where Derek Falvey and Thad Levine can upgrade this club, there’s no denying some relief pitching help is a must. A familiar face could be the key acquisition in that area.

Cody Allen is the 30-year-old former Cleveland Indians closer. During their peak, it was Allen that often trotted in behind the efforts of Andrew Miller. While Miller was considered the fireman that came on to escape big jams, it was Allen who was routinely asked to close the door. Since 2014 he’s accumulated 147 saves and has surpassed the 30 mark on three separate occasions. In each of those years he tossed at least 67 innings, and his 11.8 K/9 over that stretch is nothing short of impressive.

While we aren’t yet into the advanced stages of the offseason, Allen’s market really has yet to take shape. He may eventually see the money expected to come his way entering the 2018 regular season, but the reality is that the latest campaign was a step backwards. Allen posted a career worst 4.70 ERA along with a 4.56 FIP. The strikeout totals dipped to 10.7 per nine, and his 4.4 BB/9 was also a low water mark for his seven-year big league tenure.

In trying to deduce what could be next, you must look at Allen’s inputs under the hood. His fastball velocity average 94 mph last season, which was down 0.6 mph from 2017. Allen sat in the mid 96 range back in 2014 and has lost roughly 2 mph on the pitch over the past four seasons. Primarily a two-pitch pitcher, using a fastball and curveball, he went back to being fastball reliant after briefly (and starkly) reversing that trend during 2017. The results yielded more hard contact, less swinging strikes, and an ever-climbing HR/9 tally.

This is where the Twins can find opportunity. At 30 years-old, it’d be somewhat shocking if Allen was running out of steam. There’re just over 400 innings on his arm at the big-league level, and he tallied under 100 total innings during two minor league seasons. Allen was drafted and groomed through the Indians system, meaning Falvey should have a rather intimate understanding of his health and ability. Bargaining against his recent performance, future results could be captures at somewhat of a discount.

Baldelli likely needs at least two relief arms brought in to shore up the back end of his pitching staff. Minnesota, as you’ve heard, has plenty of cash flow ready for allocation. It’s fair to assume that Allen could be had for a contract like that of Addison Reed a season ago, which then would leave roughly that same amount for another arm to be brought. The Twins acquiring two relievers at something like $8 million a year should lead to a considerable talent influx out of the bullpen.

There’s no denying that we may have become enamored with saves years ago, but they don’t tell the story of a pitcher’s true efficiency at this point. Allen however is more than a late inning statistic when he’s right, and if Minnesota determines that 2018 was a fluke, the opportunity to allow him an ability to thrive in a familiar division is more than appealing.

We have yet to see the direction Minnesota’s front office is going to take on the mound, but this would be one that should be easy to get behind.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

  • howieramone2 and nclahammer like this



Doubt he should cost as much as Reed.Maybe a 1/$7million to rebuild value.

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Ted Schwerzler
Dec 17 2018 11:12 AM

 

Doubt he should cost as much as Reed.Maybe a 1/$7million to rebuild value.

I'd look to try and lock Allen up on a two year deal. If you believe he can rebound, I want year two as well.

    • ChrisKnutson and howieramone2 like this

Not sure how I feel about that, but then again he is an established MLB pitcher with a good track record and really couldn't be any more inconsistent than say Duffy. He may very well still be a solid contributor.

 

It's these things that make me glad I don't have any say in these matter... I'd most likely screw it up.

A relief pitcher with an ERA close to 5!He is usually only in for one inning.There are a lot of red flags.Get him cheap or don't get him at all. 

Not sure what his issue may have been last season, but I would trust the FO and their scouts and metrics to know more about whether he is worth the risk or not, and at what price. I guess I will just wait to see if the Twins make any moves to acquire him as my answer to that question.

He's one if a few guys I'm interested in, along with Soria and Herrera, to name a couple more. Absolutely feel they should target one guy they really like for a 2-3yr deal and then I'm OK with a 1yr or 1+yr deal to someone like Herrera for a bounce back season. I'd just really like an option year attached.
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ChrisKnutson
Dec 18 2018 12:30 PM
Since Allen’s 2018 season had him fall out of favor as Cleveland’s closer, I don’t see him going anywhere where he wouldn’t have a chance to close out games, which is why the Twins need to jump on him now. Until 2018, Allen has been one of the most consistent relievers in the game, why not give him a chance to prove that last season was an anomaly, and that he still can be an effective closer. And besides, even if he isn’t what he used to be, he still could be useful in a 7-8th inning role.

Regardless of whether we sign Allen, or not, I’d still like to see the FO pursue other vets like Soria and Parker. Or maybe guys who’re coming off an injury like Phelps (TJ) and Herrera (torn Lisfranc).

 

A relief pitcher with an ERA close to 5!He is usually only in for one inning.There are a lot of red flags.Get him cheap or don't get him at all. 

A few bad appearances and a poor defense can kill a relief pitcher's ERA for quite a while.

 

He's one if a few guys I'm interested in, along with Soria and Herrera, to name a couple more. Absolutely feel they should target one guy they really like for a 2-3yr deal and then I'm OK with a 1yr or 1+yr deal to someone like Herrera for a bounce back season. I'd just really like an option year attached.

Just like Allen there are a ton of innings on all those pitchers arms. I would not be mad if they brought in all of them but as long as they don't over use them like they did last year with Reed.