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Twins Spring Training Highlights

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:22 AM
I'll try to update this thread anytime I'm able to grab some spring training highlights. Here are a few from today:  

Twins and Gibson Discussion and Extension

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:17 AM
http://www.startribu...lier/507159692/   Interesting to see how this plays out. I'd have to think an extension is likely since the T...

Leadoff Batter

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:17 AM
In most games this spring I've noticed Kepler being used as the leadoff batter. And based on results thus far (yeah, yeah, small sample s...

Article: Twins 2019 Position Analysis: Starting Pitcher

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:04 AM
Nowhere has the reforging of this team's identity over the past half-decade been more apparent than in the starting rotation. Five years...

Article: Could Martin Perez Be 2019's Anibal Sanchez?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 08:52 AM
Last season, the Twins signed then 34-year-old starting pitcher Aníbal Sánchez to a one-year contract, a move that confused most of their...

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Magill, the Pen, and What to Make of it All

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 21 February 2019 · 671 views

matt magill craig kimbrel dallas keuchel minnesota twins
Going into the offseason, the Minnesota Twins had plenty of opportunity to make waves. Playing in a bad AL Central division with a strong farm system on the rise, jump starting a competitive window seemingly was the obvious play for the front office. At this point, they’ve upgraded the offense while ignoring their pitching staff. In the bullpen, the most central name in all of this is none other than Matt Magill.

The 29-year-old returned to the majors in 2018 after having big league stints during 2013 and 2016. He logged 56.2 IP under the tutelage of Paul Molitor, and his 3.81 ERA was plenty shiny. That’s where the luster wears off. Under the hood is an ugly 5.08 FIP, 1.7 HR/9, and a 1.429 WHIP. He did average 95 mph on his fastball last season, and the 75% contact rate was plenty workable, but in the big leagues, there needs to be more.

Magill needed just 8.2 IP in Rochester prior to getting the call for Minnesota. His minor league track record has been relatively spotty though, and there’s the tale of a guy who owns middle-of-the-road numbers in just about every stop he makes. Knowing that Rocco Baldelli could use a significantly upgraded bullpen, it’s curious as to why such a smart front office would go down this path.

Currently Minnesota is all but accepting the idea that Magill and Fernando Romero will round out the final two spots in relief. The former is a regression candidate waiting to happen, while the latter is a starter being pushed into this position. There’s nothing to suggest that Romero couldn’t move back to the rotation in the future, but this duo has become plan A as opposed to being the fallback for what could have been better executed.

As big-league talent signs on minor league deals, and quality options remain free agents despite the Twins having an abundance of unused funds, the blueprint seems sketchy at best. Spending on relievers is hardly a winning strategy in a vacuum, but right now Minnesota has a need along with a position in which cash considerations aren’t a factor now or the future.

There’s zero argument to be made against the substantial upgrade that Craig Kimbrel would provide in relief for the Twins. Baldelli is tasked with a dart throw or committee approach at present, and while saves aren’t a worthy chase, that level of reliever takes the collective whole up another notch. Shying away from relief, Dallas Keuchel would improve the rotation, and in turn allow Martin Perez to bolster the pen. Something like $20 million per year for either of these guys does nothing to the Twins bottom line and would undoubtedly be a more realistic process to drive results.

At the end of the day, Minnesota isn’t doing anything with the bullpen or the rotation. Matt Magill and his shiny ERA are somewhat of a defining principle for how this offseason has been handled. Sure, there’s plenty of reason to look for more, but why not see what regression we can hope to stave off? In relief, the Twins start with a low bar, and they’ll need to bet on the bottom not falling out.

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




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howieramone2
Feb 21 2019 10:57 AM

I wouldn't be surprised if they made a low level deal on another reliever, but then again I have no problem with Magill. He did a good job as a long reliever and they started to use him in high leverage situations toward the end of the season. 

 

I think I read payroll is at 106M. Another extension or so, and we're getting there. I'm ecstatic the Pohlads are letting us sign our own players. I not expecting much else. The new regime, much like the old one, is operating with one hand tied behind their back, and I don't expect that to ever change.  

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Ted Schwerzler
Feb 21 2019 10:59 AM

 

I wouldn't be surprised if they made a low level deal on another reliever, but then again I have no problem with Magill. He did a good job as a long reliever and they started to use him in high leverage situations toward the end of the season. 

 

I think I read payroll is at 106M. Another extension or so, and we're getting there. I'm ecstatic the Pohlads are letting us sign our own players. I not expecting much else. The new regime, much like the old one, is operating with one hand tied behind their back, and I don't expect that to ever change.  

That's the problem though, you should have a problem with Magill. He pitched in higher leverage during September games that are watered down. His numbers suggest regression is coming. If he was a FA, no one would be jumping at signing him, let alone putting them in their pen.

 

Another extension or not, $3MM here or there isn't eating up the deficit. Go use that money to do something of consequence.

    • Danchat likes this

There was talk of Madson earlier.I think the Twins probably floated the idea of 1-3 million for the season (just speculating here) and Madson said he would rather retire than sign a below market contract.I do hope the Twins will sign another reliever but it is possible that Magill could have another good season in him.He may even improve.but if not if he is in the last bullpen spot and we do have other options to try out there.Though having more good pitchers is a better idea however.  

 

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Ted Schwerzler
Feb 21 2019 01:57 PM

 

He may even improve.but if not if he is in the last bullpen spot and we do have other options to try out there.

This is where the problem lies. Nothing suggests he'll improve, and you're starting with a very low bar by not doing more.

    • Danchat likes this

Bud Norris is still out there also.I do not think McGill makes the team even if no one else signs unless there is someone that starts the year on the DL

Magill will have a job because when you look at WPA he was in the middle of the pack of the 250 relievers. In what fangraphs calls clutch, he was way above average.WPA/li says he is at the bottom third mark. Metrics for relievers is probably the trickiest thing to figure out.

I have been saying all winter that they reason the Twins haven't invested in some of these expensive free agents has nothing to do with this season, but the affects on seasons moving forward. I sat down this morning and tried to envision what the Twins may look like next season, if the current roster performs to expectations and all the young players earn raises on arbitration, or sign long term contracts going forward. Here is what I came up with for next year.

I did not put down a dollar amount for catcher yet, but Castro would be gone, so they may want to bring in an upgrade here as well if they don't think Garver an be the starter.

I decided they could probably extend Gibson for a couple years at $12 million per.

I assumed that Schoop would either be so bad that he wouldn't come back, or so good they couldn't afford him next year, so I plugged Gordon in at 2B.

 

C- 

1B - Cron8,000,000

2B - Gordon 

3B - Sano6,000,000

SS - Polanceo 5,000,000

UT - Gonzalez 9,000,000

LF - Rosario 8,000,000

CF - Buxton6,000,000

RF - Kepler6,000,000

DH - Cruz12,000,000

 

SP - Berrios 10,000,000(Long term contract)

SP - Gibson12,000,000 (Extension)

SP - Perez7,000,000

 

RP - May5,000,000(extension)

RP - Rodgers 6,000,000 (Extension)

 

Total100,000,000

 

Adding at least 12 other players at 600,000 per year adds another 7,200,000.

 

So now you are at 107,200,000.

 

And you still have not addressed and upgrade at catcher, brought in a top line starting pitcher, brought in a closer, or any other experienced bullpen options.

 

This is the reason the Twins are being cautious this winter. They do not have endless flexibility in their budget as so many people keep harping about this winter. The budget is soon to get very tight.