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  • Pelfrey Excited about Meyer, Twins Future

    After many rumors, the Minnesota Twins announced their third free agent signing of the offseason in mid-December. After signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, the Twins re-signed Mike Pelfrey to a two-year contract that has several achievable incentives. He is excited to be back, and so are a couple of the Twins young pitchers.

    According to Pelfrey, “I had another offer on the table. It wasn’t where I wanted to be. Also, Terry Ryan was pretty tough at negotiations. He said ‘take it or leave it.’ I said, ‘Hey Terry, I’m going to take it. I want to come back. I told you that all along.’”


    His teammates were encouraging him throughout the process and excited when he finally signed. He said, “I’d get texts from guys saying ‘How come you haven’t signed yet?, and I’d say, ‘Hey, if they wanted to sign me back, they would have done it by now, OK.’ So, we’d be go back and forth and joke around.”

    Why did Pelfrey want to return to the organization? There were several reasons, but the people had a lot to do with it. “This organization is great. A lot of very good dudes to be around. So I’m obviously excited to come back and see those guys.”

    However, that isn’t enough for him. He has goals for himself, but also for his team. “The only other thing is we’ve got to win. That’s the thing that we’re missing. We had fun last year, but winning is fun. We need to get that back.”

    So, why does he think that winning may be on the horizon? “I honestly believe that we’re heading in the right direction. We have Buxton. We have Sano.”

    He also singled out one prospect that he is really excited about. “We have Alex Meyer, who I think that, when he is ready, he’ll be the ace of the staff. His stuff is that good. I’m a huge believer in him.”

    So, what is it that he likes about Meyer and how good he can become? Pelfrey commented, “He’s got the best stuff on the team. No offense to anyone else on the team. He’s got the best stuff. He just does. I think when he realizes that, and harnesses that a little bit, he’s going to be dominant. He’s 6-9, throws downhill, mid-to-upper-90s. He’s got a pretty good breaking ball, but just needs to harness it and pull it together which is going to happen with a little more seasoning. You know, that power-strikeout guy that this organization has been wanting and fans have been wanting, I think he’s coming. I think when he’s ready, which is maybe in spring, maybe later on the year, that they’re going to make room for him and he’s going to be an impact guy.”

    Meyer also spoke highly of Pelfrey. Meyer said, “I was really happy about Pelfrey coming back. I really liked Mike a lot. He talked to me a lot in spring training. He took me out to dinner a couple of times, just to talk. We have the same agent. That’s kind of how it fell into place. It was good for me to be out there and be around him. I’m excited to go out there and learn from him. When Rick Anderson called me and told me ‘I put you in the same group in spring training as Mike Pelfrey so he can show you the way.’”

    Meyer isn’t the only young Twins pitcher who has leaned on Pelfrey. Kyle Gibson had some ups and downs in his first big league campaign, but Pelfrey was the guy he leaned on too. “I think some of it was he went through the same surgery, pretty similar timelines. Maybe because he’s just a funny guy and likes to talk a lot and that’s how I am too. He was really helpful. He’s real easy to talk to, real easy to ask questions to.”

    Pelfrey is looking forward to starting over after a rough return from Tommy John surgery in 2013 with the Twins. What is his personal goal for 2014? “I think you go in, your goal is always 200 innings. Even last year, coming off surgery. They said they were going to put me on an innings limit. Save it. My goal was 200 innings. But my goal was 200 innings and I fell way short of it. At the end of the year, there was no other way to put it. I had a bad year. Coming off surgery or not coming off surgery, whatever, I had a bad year. I definitely need to get back to what I had done years before.”

    He acknowledged that although he is a competitor and wanted to come back, he may have come back too quickly. The mental aspect of his return may have been just as difficult as the physical. “I think the mental part is fully trusting that you’re ok, that you can let it go and snap it at the end. I thought I got through that. It’s all mental. I talked about the physical part of it, the feel, which I couldn’t get until month 13. I think it’s a little bit of both (physical and mental) and getting that assurance back that you’re really OK.”

    With the additions the team has made this offseason, Pelfrey feels good about the 2014 Twins. “Obviously going into the offseason having the highest ERA in baseball as a starting staff is definitely not acceptable or what we expected. I think they knew that was an area of need and they went out and addressed it. The inner competition that you can create among each other is good and brings out the best out of people. It’ll be good. I think, looking at the rotation, we’ll have a chance to win every night. Guys are going to give us a chance to be in the ball game and have a chance. Hopefully we’ll go and do that and win a lot more games.”

    It goes back to why Pelfrey wanted to return to the Twins. “This organization is going to turn it around in a hurry as long as everything works out. I think things are changing and we’re heading in the right direction.”

    Fans of the Minnesota Twins who have endured the past three seasons certainly hope that is true too!
    Comments 58 Comments
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Great article, Seth. And good news on a at least three levels:

      1) Chemistry among the starting pitchers. I don't remember hearing this in recent years. Maybe it's a testimony to your reporting that you were able to draw this out. Purely as a fan, it's nice to hear that the team is working together.

      2) It's good to hear that players want to be a part of the Twins organization. Some might think that Pelfrey is just blowing smoke, but he doesn't have to praise the organization. He came up in the Mets organization, but both the Strib and the Press writers back up your premise--Pelfrey wants to stay with the Twins. Jason Kubel was also was pretty candid about this at Twins Fest. At the K-Twin booth he didn't call out either Arizona or Cleveland, but he did talk about the quality of the Twins organization, and wanting to get back here.

      3. The overall positive direction toward the future. These guys are together in Spring Training. They know--on a competitive level--what kids like Meyer, Buxton, and Sano can do. Pelfrey seems willing to play the role of a seasoned veteran who's willing to walk alongside some younger talent.

      That's all good news. Thanks Seth, for making this late January morning just a little warmer!
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Good morning Seth from the sunny Californian desert...where it has been in the low 80's for the past week.

      And thanks for the great article. In this game which has become so much about statistics and numbers, we often forget there is much more in putting a team together. Chemisty and relationships often are the reason one team wins and another doesn't. When reading Parker's story about Willingham, I couldn't get his relationship with Dozier out of my mind. Now learning about the influence Pelfrey will have on the development of Meyer and Gibson is just another example of putting the right parts together...both on and off the field.

      Thanks again Seth, loved what I just read.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      I hope he pitches as well as he interviews!

      Great article.
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      I would love to see Pelfrey come close to the numbers he had in 2008 or 2010.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Well there you have it. We gave Pelfrey 2/12 because Meyer needed a friend.
    1. brvama's Avatar
      brvama -
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      Well there you have it. We gave Pelfrey 2/12 because Meyer needed a friend.
      Gimme a break. Is it so difficult to find something good about this story? At least take what a major league veteran pitcher has to say about the future of Meyer as a positive and hope.
    1. pierre75275's Avatar
      pierre75275 -
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      Well there you have it. We gave Pelfrey 2/12 because Meyer needed a friend.
      I understand you have an opinion, and thats fine, but usually these comments should stay reserved for the star tribune.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      Well there you have it. We gave Pelfrey 2/12 because Meyer needed a friend.
      Sounds more like mentor. I'm all for overpaying for a mentor-clubhouse leader type. I wasn't a big fan of the Pelfrey signing, but if the young arms this team NEEDS to develop look to this guy for leadership and advice, it's a worthwhile signing in my book.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Great article as usual Seth. I am one of those who was glad Pelfrey reupped. Usually the second year after Tommy John is the best--and that is the 2014 season. I am hoping for big things from him including the 200IP. Also good that he mentors Meyer and Gibson.
    1. dakotanative's Avatar
      dakotanative -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Sounds more like mentor. I'm all for overpaying for a mentor-clubhouse leader type. I wasn't a big fan of the Pelfrey signing, but if the young arms this team NEEDS to develop look to this guy for leadership and advice, it's a worthwhile signing in my book.
      For a team to be greater than the sum of its parts it needs players who are more concerned about the team than their own situation or stats. Pelfrey is demonstrating leadership in taking Meyers under his wing. This is a very positive sign and it will carry on through the development of other pictures like Berrios and Thorpe. I fully expect Meyers to be the Twins fifth starter this year. I cannot wait to see him pitch. I live in the Manassas Virginia area and tried to see him pitch in Richmond last season and just missed him.
    1. twinsfan34's Avatar
      twinsfan34 -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Sounds more like mentor. I'm all for overpaying for a mentor-clubhouse leader type. I wasn't a big fan of the Pelfrey signing, but if the young arms this team NEEDS to develop look to this guy for leadership and advice, it's a worthwhile signing in my book.
      Ditto!!

      I'd a paid Roy Halladay $6M a year to be on the IR and be around the clubhouse.

      I think the Cardinals having Chris Carpenter "on staff IR" all year the past few years has helped those young guys tremendously.

      If he can get Meyer to where he sees him ("Ace"), it's $500K + $6M for an Ace end cost. Sounds like a steal of a deal to me.
    1. twinsin17's Avatar
      twinsin17 -
      Hearing Pelfrey say Meyer has the best "stuff" on the staff is very encouraging. Also like to see him comment about Buxton and Sano. Maybe these young guns will provide the spark needed to get our veterans competing at their highest level. If that is the case we could turn some heads this year!
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      I thought I would throw out there that Pelfrey will likely pitch 300-400 innings the next two years. So the mentor thing is great....but.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Pelfrey also has some decent upside IMO....
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Great job, Seth. Pelfry exemplifies what Terry Ryan frequently talks about. Pelfry wants to be here, and he has a positive make-up. Those aeren't empty phrases coming out of Ryan's mouth, and they are important attributes not evident on Excel spreadsheets.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by birdwatcher View Post
      and they are important attributes not evident on Excel spreadsheets.
      Nor, as yet, in the standings.

      That doesn't take away from the human-interest angle of the article, which I enjoyed.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      This helps with understanding why he was re-signed. There has to be the hope that by 2015 he is not going to be in the starting rotation (Nolasco, Hughes, Gibson, Meyer, May).
    1. h2oface's Avatar
      h2oface -
      Great article, Seth. I am convinced that Pelfrey means well, and wants to do better.... way better......... than he did last season. In fact, what he says about it reminds me eerily of Matt Capps' return - wanting to come back and show the team and the fans he is better than he had regressed to, and feeling a lot of guilt. Just because with Capps that was pure hope and no performance doesn't mean Pefrey's return will be the same.

      When thinking about how the Twins are such great guys and it is such a great place to play (and for the last three years, lose and play), the story makes me think of a high school age young person that has had their parents divorce, and now has two homes. At that age, the child can pretty much pick and chose who they will live with, and they gravitate toward the household that lets them get away with more, that is less demanding, that has less consequences for not performing well. Having a great clubhouse led by Gardenhire may have had it's time and be in the past, as well as picking a team without utilizing the sabermatics that are now available. Time will tell if this feel good story results in more fun....... like winning.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      When thinking about how the Twins are such great guys and it is such a great place to play (and for the last three years, lose and play), the story makes me think of a high school age young person that has had their parents divorce, and now has two homes. At that age, the child can pretty much pick and chose who they will live with, and they gravitate toward the household that lets them get away with more, that is less demanding, that has less consequences for not performing well.
      I'm not sure the allusion of "lazy high school kid" and "one of the best in the world, playing at the highest level of competition" makes much sense.
    1. birdwatcher's Avatar
      birdwatcher -
      Quote Originally Posted by ashburyjohn View Post
      Nor, as yet, in the standings.

      That doesn't take away from the human-interest angle of the article, which I enjoyed.
      Yes, the whole question of leadership and all the non-physical factors influencing performance are intriguing. We can only guess at what impact it all has on wins and losses and individual stats. We can't measure it. But think of how frequently athletes attribute their individual performance or team performance to things like attitude, confidence, desire, or approach as opposed to some mechanical or strategic adjustment, and we know Yogi was right. And it's why character and make-up should not be dismissed as part of the judgment of players by GM's and field people.
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