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2013 Blueprint, Part Two: The Pitchers

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In part one of the blueprint, I laid out the Twins 2013 roster as I see it should be (disclaimer: this means that this is what the Twins *should* do, not a prediction as to what they *will* do). In part two, I focus more intensely on the pitching situation, and turn the pitching staff first for obviously reasons.

I am not completely against trading away MLB players or even some prospects (lower levels) for MLB-ready or near MLB-ready pitching, but I do think there is a better way to go about it. My path for 2013 (and through 2015) is to sign Shaun Marcum and Edwin Jackson to, for example, 3 years and $30 million each.

Marcum is about to turn 31 and has averaged 193 innings in seven seasons with Toronto and Milwaukee, compiling a 3.78 ERA and a 7.3/2.7 K/BB ratio. Jackson just turned 29 and has been in the majors in some capacity for 10 seasons already. Early in his career it appears he was in over his head, but in 2011 he posted a 3.79 ERA and this year he had a 3.77 ERA (before a disastrous last start) and has pitched near 200 innings each season, combining for about a . . . 7.3/2.7 K/BB ratio. Jackson and Marcum are clearly very, very similar pitchers who have up eerily similar numbers. And their similarity will be refreshing after the mirror-imaged Blackburn, Pavano, and Marquis this year.

I am not sure how the market is going to play out, but the Twins should be aggressive. The long-term salary projections for this team are quite favorable as it is the case that Morneau, Willingham, and Span are going to be replaced with much cheaper options in the coming years. With the subtraction of Nishioka's salary from my 2013 salary projection, $20 million for Marcum and Jackson leaves the salary at around $93-94 million. So, for those who say that the Twins would never sign two pitchers like this, maybe demanding that the Twins make such signings is a better use of time!

Diamond-Jackson-Marcum at the top is dramatically better than what the Twins started out with in 2012.

The general idea with the Rochester rotation would be Gibson limited to 5 innings and then 6 innings an outing in April and May respectively. If all goes well, he can be promoted. Walters, Bromberg, Vasquez, and Hernandez would join him while Baker gets rehab time.

Speaking of Baker, Baker would get a base $2 million salary with huge incentive increases based on innings pitched and ERA. That salary would top out at $6 million.

So the rotation, including Hendriks (who I still believe will prove to be a good pitcher, certainly worthy of a 4th or 5th spot in the Twins rotation) and Deduno (let's say), would be remarkably improved and there would again be depth at AAA, including Gibson and Baker. A healthy and good Gibson and the return of a good Baker would mean that Hendriks is back at AAA anyway (barring injury at the top).


With regard to the bullpen, I am not an Anthony Swarzak fan for a variety of reasons, so the Twins should trade him for Big Foot and be done. I would give the LR role to Cole DeVries.

The only thing I am not sure of is whether or not Deolis Guerra would clear waivers. He is out of options, and the Twins didn't bother giving him a September look for some insane reason. I still believe, of course, that Anthony Slama should be with the Twins. Guerra needs more time in AAA and Slama clearly does not, so he gets the nod. Alex Burnett has an option, and I think the Twins should use it immediately to get him to work on command and striking more batters out. I don't really trust him at all, but at least it is good that he has an option left. Tyler Robertson provides solid strikeout potential from the left side and has improved during the year.

Casey Fien was a great surprise this year. I hope that this continues and he can serve as a strong middle reliever as basically Brian Duensing's other half. Speaking of Duensing, no more moving him into the rotation. Ever. I cannot understand why such a stupid move was made in 2012.

A solid Fien and the Duensing-who-isn't-messed-with-by-incompetent-managing, provides a good 7th/8th foundation for Burton and Perkins.

So the 2013 staff would look like this:

Scott Diamond
Edwin Jackson
Shaun Marcum
Liam Hendriks (Baker/Gibson)
Sam Deduno (Baker/Gibson)

Cole DeVries
Anthony Slama (Deolis Guerra)
Tyler Robertson
Casey Fien
Brian Duensing
Jared Burton
Glen Perkins

(other options throughout the year are Guerra, Burnett, Lester Oliveros, Caleb Thielbar, Luis Perdomo, and perhaps Dakota Watts and Bruce Pugh)


Note: other free agent signings that I could live with: Ervin Santana, Joe Blanton, and perhaps even Joe Saunders.


In part three, the focus will be on the position players and the notion that depth is a good thing.

Updated 10-02-2012 at 09:32 AM by Shane Wahl

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Comments

  1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    Had to edit that since I started writing it before Jackson's last start . . .
  2. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
    Would you be able to live with Dan Haren?
  3. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    Haha, well yes. I am assuming certain things about him being targeted by Boston in a big way.
  4. glunn's Avatar
    I like your analysis, but wonder how difficult it might be to entice a quality free agent to come to a team that will have had the worst record in the AL for two straight years.

    Marcum and Jackson might put some weight on the value of going to a team that appears to have a better chance of being competitive. Also, if some other team wants them, the Twins seem unlikely to get into a bidding war.

    I fear that the Twins will bottom fish for someone who has some potential, but is less in demand, such as Ervin Santana.
  5. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    Glunn, I understand that point. I think that Jackson is harder to get in that regard. I would put Greinke, Dempster, A. Sanchez, Haren, and Peavy at the top of the list of the big spenders, even though it would be a mistake to give such contracts to Greinke and Peavy in particular. If those five go to 5 different teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, Rangers, for example), then the market gets more interesting after that. Convincing players to come to the Twins has to involve a clear future in 2013 and beyond for success (telling X that the Twins are interested in Y, and vice versa, would be a good part of that). This blueprint would be what is communicated to potential free agents like Jackson and Marcum (and the blueprint isn't done yet). 3/30 is a baseline for Jackson, but MAY be high for Marcum. The Twins could spend 3/30 on Marcum and 3/42 on Jackson and that is only a $4 million/year increase from my plan and that means still under $100 million (+ for Baker incentives).

    Ervin Santana is not a terrible option. I do think that my blueprint, unfortunately, is at the top of the possible spectrum for the Twins to actually commit to and the likelihood is fairly low. Jackson and Santana is a bit more probable. Marcum and Santana more, Santana and Blanton more, etc. down to some horrible Jeremy Guthrie and Erik Bedard situation. I do think that they will add two pitchers though. Who they are is the big difference.
  6. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    By the way, a quick prediction: Yankees-Dempster, Red Sox-Haren, Dodgers-Peavy, Angels-Greinke, and Rangers-Sanchez
  7. beckmt's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by glunn
    I like your analysis, but wonder how difficult it might be to entice a quality free agent to come to a team that will have had the worst record in the AL for two straight years.

    Marcum and Jackson might put some weight on the value of going to a team that appears to have a better chance of being competitive. Also, if some other team wants them, the Twins seem unlikely to get into a bidding war.

    I fear that the Twins will bottom fish for someone who has some potential, but is less in demand, such as Ervin Santana.
    I do not see Jackson coming here(believe he still is a Boris client). I am hoping Marcum can be signed here, but believe the money for him will be higher than 10 mil a year.
    Trades are the way this is going to get done and a least one if not 2 core players will have to be traded to get the pitching (major league ready or close prospects) at this time.
    Baker would only want with a club option second year, not to be used as an advertisement for 2014.
    Am assuming Gibson will be here sometime in 2013, so Twins need a least one FA splash(for no other reason than to keep season ticket holders). Doing nothing is not an option
  8. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    Trade away talent for talent. Sounds like a zero sum game to me right now. The Twins signing and ADDING to their roster . . . which can mean trading them later in the year, is the recipe for success.

    If the Twins want to trade Swarzak, Bigley, and Burnett for some middle infield B-level prospect at AA, then that is another story . . .
  9. beckmt's Avatar
    Trading away REPLACEABLE talent for talent. This is not a zero sum game, it is a way to survive. Look at what Oakland has done over the past few years. Twins have a glut of outfielders coming, also have some first basemen coming if they do not resign Morneau. Use the excess in those positions to find pitching is the way the Twins have to go.
    That being said, I believe the Twins will have to sign an expensive FA pitcher for the reason of trying to keep their season ticket base, less this become a downward spiral until the next group of above average talent arrives about the same time.
  10. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    Yes, if the Twins DON'T spend $20 million on FA pitchers, the payroll starts dipping under 90 and down, down, down.

    I agree about replaceable talent. The Twins system has a lot of outfielders, long relievers, middle relievers, and likely first baseman (Parmelee, Vargas, and likely Sano).
  11. Rosterman's Avatar
    Kyle Waldrop!
  12. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
    I love the post. But I do think that a combination of signing FA pitchers and trading away "replaceable" talent will be done. I would love the Jackson and Marcum combination and I think it is very realistic. I do think Jackson would require closer to the 3/42 that you mentioned, but to most of us, fans, it is very much worth it and necessary. I do not like Ervin Santana. He seems to have a dead arm. He overthrows like crazy to compensate for his diminishing velocity and his fastball is ALL over the place. Seems more like Liriano 2.0.

    I love Denard Span. He is inexpensive and he is a very good CF and leadoff hitter. That said, the Twins have a servicable replacement for him in the short-term, in Revere and in the long-term in both, Hicks and Buxton. Getting upper-tier prospects in pitchers, infielders or catchers would be ideal (Mauer's future replacement). Also, the same deal for Morneau. He has value and I would like to see the Twins "eat" some of his salary in order to aquire high-end talent via trade. His second-half was very good and it only takes one buyer to like what they saw. If Adam LaRoche moves on for example, would the National be willing to part with a good prospect for Morneau to remain competitive? Other teams will be needing leadoff men and LH power bats this off-season.

    With FA pitching (and hopefully one middle infielder) help the Twins can strengthen its MLB squad. With the trades of Span and Morneau, the Twins can strengthen and keep building on a solid farm system. The Twins may chase for a AL Central crown a little longer than they did in 2012, but two pitchers isn't going to be a 27-30 improvement. The Twins should shoot for .500 in 2013 by adding to the rotation in the off-season and build for 2014 and beyond with the trades of Span and Morneau.
  13. ScottyB's Avatar
    Beckmt - just a quick tidbit - Jackson did leave Boras this season which makes it possible for the Twins.

    However, my gut tells me that we haven't seen the free agent options that Ryan will go for. He will wait for the non-tenders and go after one or two there. Ryan's strength is finding guys on the scrap heap and picking up a bunch of them hoping they will stick. Good examples this year were Burton, Fien, Mastroiani, and Floriman. The bad options included Maloney, Gray, Thomas, Kumatsu and Marquis. Look for a bunch of minor league free agent signings - that's Ryan's MO.
    Updated 10-10-2012 at 04:54 AM by ScottyB
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