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How Do You Spell R-E-L-I-E-F?

Posted by mike8791 , 01 January 2019 · 677 views

So now that the home town nine have apparently filled their glaring lineup holes, our thoughts (and hopefully Flavines') should be turning to the 2019 bullpen. Let's examine the team's options:

1. Stand pat and hope there are enough internal options to build a reasonably effective pen. This is not as far fetched as one might think, given the performance of Rogers in 2018, the re-emergence of May after two injury-plagued years, a healthy Addison Reed, and a well-rested Hildenberger who hopefully can snap back from a woeful second half performance last year. Add in some other potential dependable arms like Magill, Moya, and Vasquez and on paper this could be an improved pen in 2019. Throw Romero into a late inning role and the possibilities for a much improved bullpen are enhanced.

2. Go for the best proven closer on the FA market and call it a day. Any of the three top candidates - Kimbrel, Britton, or Robertson - would immediately step in as the closer. Although not risk free, each would represent a sizable upgrade over last season's opening day closer, Rodney, and give all Twins fans the confidence that the FO has taken a significant step forward towards contention. Looking at each of these three, Kimbrel seems to be out of reach given his six year contract demands. As good as he is, investing big sums in a reliever does not make a lot of sense for a team with as many question marks as this one still has. Robertson would represent the best investment assuming a maximum 3 year contract. Britton with his injury history would probably represent the highest risk, but has a huge upside. The Twins can afford to splurge here if they have to. The question is : will they?

3. The Twins can set their sights lower and go for one or two lower-priced FAs who while not proven closers would still likely be a significant upgrade. Ottavino, Allen, and Herrera are the cream of the crop in this second tier. Chad Allen is a risk after a poor 2018 stint, but this falloff would lower the price enough for the Twins to afford another of his caliber. Herrera and/or Ottavino would appear light years ahead of any current Twins bullpen denizen. Signing any two of this group would send a clear signal to ther team and fans that this organization is serious about contending in 2019 at a cost not much more than $20MM/year for two.

So which of these three categories would you select? The Twins have certainly strengthened their offense in the offseason. A rebound season by either Buxton or Sano would be another big step towards competing in the Central, at the very least. The rotation, while not spectacular, looks like it could be pretty solid if things break right. Only the bullpen is shaky and the pieces are there in free agency to fix this hole. Just a matter of FO resolve. If they just nibble at the edges here, it would be a sure indicator they are not serious about contention in 2019.

  • howieramone2 and nclahammer like this



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theBOMisthebomb
Jan 01 2019 04:32 PM
Minnesota's newest hype man - Flavor Flavine!!!!! Yeah, boy...
    • Sconnie likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Jan 01 2019 08:26 PM
Really hoping the FO decides to buy low on Cody Allen because the guy’s been one of the most reliable relievers in all of baseball for a 5 year period and just had a down year in 2018 and will likely return back to his normal self in 2019.
    • nclahammer likes this
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Channing1964
Jan 01 2019 08:31 PM
what about a proven lefty starter? Gio, Wade Miley, or Keuchel? I still wanna see us get a utility guy a la M.Gonzalez, or even Dietrich...2-3 more moves is not out if the question
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ChrisKnutson
Jan 01 2019 08:39 PM

what about a proven lefty starter? Gio, Wade Miley, or Keuchel? I still wanna see us get a utility guy a la M.Gonzalez, or even Dietrich...2-3 more moves is not out if the question


I think we’re done adding position players, but when it comes to pitchers, I think 2yr deals for both Cody Allen and Gio Gonzalez seem very realistic.

Assuming the Twins have "limited" funds this offseason, my preference is to address their biggest need, the bullpen, first.Hopefully, this would result in signing one of the proven closers or two of the second tier of FA's.

 

The value of adding a #3, 4 or 5 starter is highly doubtful, IMO.They already have enough of those and the southpaw Mejia is most likely to fill the lefty role as a #5 starter.What the FO should be doing, if they were to go all in, is to find a starter to slot in ahead of Berrios, Gibson, et. al.This would entail a trade that would result in trading some real assets.For a young, controllable pitcher like one of the Mets big four, yes, Lewis or Kirillof, would have to be part of any trade, along with someone like Kepler and a couple of our top rated minor league pitchers, perhaps.Since the likelihood of that ever happening is remote, I would turn to a short term solution like Greinke or Baumgartner for the next year or two.Both Arizona and the Giants are in a rebuild mode and would be much more willing to accept far less than it would take to get one of the Mets' top starters.  

 

If the Twins could add such a potential "ace", along with the aforementioned bullpen upgrade, the 2019 Twins would look like a genuine contender, not a pretender.Any bets onwhether this scenario enfolds?

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tarheeltwinsfan
Jan 02 2019 10:34 AM

Mo Rivera would be my choice...but if he's not available, how about David Robertson?

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ChrisKnutson
Jan 02 2019 10:46 AM

Assuming the Twins have "limited" funds this offseason, my preference is to address their biggest need, the bullpen, first.Hopefully, this would result in signing one of the proven closers or two of the second tier of FA's.
 
The value of adding a #3, 4 or 5 starter is highly doubtful, IMO.They already have enough of those and the southpaw Mejia is most likely to fill the lefty role as a #5 starter.What the FO should be doing, if they were to go all in, is to find a starter to slot in ahead of Berrios, Gibson, et. al.This would entail a trade that would result in trading some real assets.For a young, controllable pitcher like one of the Mets big four, yes, Lewis or Kirillof, would have to be part of any trade, along with someone like Kepler and a couple of our top rated minor league pitchers, perhaps.Since the likelihood of that ever happening is remote, I would turn to a short term solution like Greinke or Baumgartner for the next year or two.Both Arizona and the Giants are in a rebuild mode and would be much more willing to accept far less than it would take to get one of the Mets' top starters.  
 
If the Twins could add such a potential "ace", along with the aforementioned bullpen upgrade, the 2019 Twins would look like a genuine contender, not a pretender.Any bets onwhether this scenario enfolds?


I really doubt Farhan Zaidi’s mission is to piss off the entire Giants fan base by trading Bumgarner in his first offseason with the team, also I’m pretty sure the Twins are on Grienke’s no-trade list.

The only starters I can think of as being realistic trade targets for the Twins are Julio Teheran, Rich Hill, Mike Minor, Dylan Bundy, and Mike Leake, with Bundy being the only “potential ace.” Meaning, the we’re probably better off signing Keuchel if a “potential ace” is what we’re looking for. And even though it’s not exactly a pressing need, it’d be nice if we could at least have one starter (preferably left handed), besides Berrios, as a lock for the 2019 rotation. IMO, Gio Gonzalez would be great fit.

Chris, appreciate your comments.To respond:

 

1. The Giants should trade Baumgartner given their aging roster, declining performances, and very tough division.Whether their new GM will be so inclined is another question.From reports I read, chances are more likely of him moving at trade deadline rather than now.Still, it's worth the phone call.

 

2. Greinke represents a twofold problem: his large contract($30MM/year over next three years) and his no-trade clause.Still, depending on how much $ the Dbacks throw back, the loss of prospects would not be nearly as steep as for a Thor or Wheeler and what good is our "stacked farm system" if we don't use it?Greinke is, like Baumgartner, a long shot, but if the Twins brass truly wants a contending team this year, they have to take a good shot at one of these guys.

 

3. Keuchel, while not costing prospects, would cost a high draft choice.More importantly, he seems to be holding out for a 5year contract at probably somewhere near $20MM a year.For a "midmarket" Pohlad-owned team, this is simply too high a price to pay long term, especially with the impending need to sign some of our owncore to long term contracts.He slipped badly last year and thus, I would vote a strong no unless his asking price drops considerably.

 

4. Likewise, a big no on Gonzales who at 33 has a diminished FB reportedly not topping 90mph.He is a lefty and can probably fall within the Twins budget but for a lower ranked starter, I'd rather put my money into the bullpen.We have enough internal candidates for the #4/5 rotational positions.It's a #1(and probably#2) starter the team sorely lacks - almost a necessity for going deep into the playoffs.

 

5. Rolling the dice on someone younger like Bundy might be a play but why would a rebuilding Oriole team jettison him?It would take a haul of our best prospects, probably including a Lewis or Kirillof, to snare him.With Bundy's ERA never breaking 4.00(and last year at 5.45), he's not worth the risk of decimating our top prospect list.Now if a top package of prospects could fetch a Snell or Snydergaard, I'm all for it!! 

 

This whole discussion is probably a moot point, as I'm afraid our new FO is as risk adverse as the old one(except in mid-summer starter-for-prospect trades).They've filled some holes but even these fillers come with big question marks, adding to the many other questions in our lineup and staffs.I just think we have to reconcile ourselves to another year of wait and see.Ugh!!

    • ChrisKnutson likes this
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howieramone2
Jan 02 2019 12:21 PM

I like the idea of bringing in two relievers for 2 years and around 20M total. I would have Lewis, Kirilloff, and Javier as my untouchables, the rest I have no problems dealing.

 

In seems half the teams in baseball are in some form of rebuild and the new regime has thus far shown they are astute traders. Open up the farm system and trade for a youngish mythical ace.

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Mike, as you have intelligently stated, there are reasons why all 3 options could work. But if forced to choose, I'm going with option #3, the pair of RP coming in around the $20M mark.

Maybe I'm wrong, but Red's history, age, and a few, solid late season performances indicate to me it was just his turn to have an off season due to injury or a tired arm. Personally, I think May is for real, especially now that he has fully embraced his role as a reliever. Even if Rogers isn't as good as 2018, he's NICE. With his milb history and first 1 1/2 years of performance I'm betting on Hildenberger. Now, let's add in Moya, Mejia and Romero for their contributions...do be determined...as SP, RP, designated/primary SP, and we start to see a lot of arms an inventive coaching staff has to work with.

Some may say I'm crazy, but if this staff can find greater consistency from Magill, his mid 90's FB and wicked slider could play a part as well.

Can Reed and especially Curtiss finally show the consistency to make a real contribution?

But I believe in depth and options. There are still a handful of quality guys with late inning stuff and history available to make a difference without making that HUGE commitment to that "one guy". I think Allen is one of those real opportunities. Then you could bring in a flier like Herrera, or someone else, coming off injury or a down season, to increase that depth and your options.

I actually like a lot of what is on hand. But I really want that depth to work with.
    • ChrisKnutson likes this
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ChrisKnutson
Jan 02 2019 10:48 PM
IMO, Cody Allen should be a given, but other relievers we should be thinking about are Tony Sipp, Blake Parker, David Phelps, Oliver Perez, Sergio Romo, and Dan Jennings

Thanks guys for all the great ideas.They have certainly crystallized my thinking into stating a few preferences for the bullpen:

 

 -Initially I,too, preferred the two FA signings of the "second tier", Ottavino and Herrera, at the top. Spreads the risk a bit more and more importantly, allows for Twins' internal parts to develop under less pressure.Just too worried about Roger's overuse last year, Reed's injury and his falloff on return, May's long injury history and Hildy's miserable flop as a closer.

 

 -But reconsidering the above, put me down for the signing of Robertson to slot into the closer's role immediately.A closer is the Twins real need going forward and I have the most confidence in Robertson.Two year contract would be fine, but a 3 year one, if ncessary, should be made available by a FO wanting to stabilize this bullpen for more than one year.It will probably take an overpay to induce Robertson to the TC, but he's worth it, IMO.He has maintained a high K/9 which is the surest sign of a successful closer.Herrera's late season injury , and Ottavino'serratic year-to-year performance, makes me hesitate on these two(maybe one can be counted on but two is a crap shoot so picking one of thetwo to be the closer could be risky). Of course, if a miracle occurred and the Twins could ink both these guys, all the better.I just don't think this FO has the b...ls for this move.

 

So add Robertson, maybe one outlier from Chris's list and I'll take my chances with the rest of the pen.I think we can all agree, however, that if the FO does none of this, we're looking forward to another year of treading water.Should be an interesting six weeks before ST!Go Twins!!

 

 

 

    • ChrisKnutson likes this

Robertson just signed by Phillies for 2 yrs/$23MM!!A very reasonable contract, even for the Twins.Now the FA reliever market will accelerate.Yanks reportedly all in on Britton(good - they can have him!!).  

 

If this FO is serious about a substantial bullpen upgrade, they better be on the phone with Ottavino's and Herrera's agents. IMO, pretty steep dropoff after that(assuming Kimbrel is a lost cause).After these three, and perhaps Allen, not much closer material left.And please, please, please ........ no more talk of Romero in the bullpen.He is arguably the only near term minor league starter with front-of-the-rotation potential!

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ChrisKnutson
Jan 03 2019 05:15 PM
If Robertson gets a 2yr/$23M, Allen’s probably worth 2yr/$16M (maybe even less).
Absolutely sick about Robertson! His contract is so manageable! Why didn't we do this? Maybe we contacted him, and maybe we didn't. Maybe he wanted to stay on the east coast, liked what the Phillies were doing, hates Minnesota, whatever. Just sick about what he signed for. On the positive side, there are still arms out there. Does this move the needle downward for terms, but upward for opportunity and expediency for Allen and Ottavino and others? Come on Twins! Bring in an arm and a flier and then add another quality "utility" player that is out there!
    • ChrisKnutson likes this

Doc, I hear you!We'll never know if Falvine was in on Robertson, but they could have offered more $ and the closer's role - something he's not getting in Philly!Giving the FO a break, maybe Robertson's three seasons here in Chicago and the cold, made the east coast too tempting to pass ....but Philadelphia!!! C'mon.

 

The good news is that Neshek and Hunter are now expendable!The Twins probably couldn't resist another one year value-driven deal if the Phils contributed some $.This type of addition, IMO, is now much likelier than Ottavino(a Brooklyn boy, btw) or Herrera who I think is the lowest risk, best value left among the remaining FAs.But he is just too logical for the Wonder Boys to grab.They are more interested in showing the baseball world how clever they are in grabbing a diamond in the rough no one else ever considered.

 

Ah, hubris!!Don't you love it.

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ChrisKnutson
Jan 05 2019 11:05 PM
Britton to Yankees, possibly Ottavino as well.

Stop the presses!!Blake Parker is now a Twin.Of the 5 new players added, only Cruz was a FA; the others were all DFA pickups.On a decidedly mediocre LA staff, Parker was DFA'd.

Now the offseason is about adding filler players, as well as improving the roster.Taking a flyer on Cron, Schoup, Torres or Parker is certainly a legitimate offseason option.But to count on all four to contribute in a big way is simply foolhardy.

 

The Twins bullpen is unsettled at best with no clear closer.Parker will most certainly not be that person.To rely on Reed, May or Romero is a sure recipe for digging a deep hole early in the year. Remember Ron Davis.Nothing demoralizes a team as blowing late inning leads.Nothing!!

 

With the number of FA closers dwindling to the unaffordable(Kimbrel) or more the hope and prayer type(Cody Allen, Greg Holland,et.al) there's not much left, I'm afraid.Sure the Twins could get lucky but isn't that what the FO is supposed to do in the offseason?Fill the obvious holes to elevate team performance, not rely on hopes and prayers.If the Sox could find money to sign Herrera, why do the Twins settle for the bargain basement?Totally bizarre, enough to throw real doubt on the true abilities of the Wonder Boys.