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Why the Twins should spend top $$ for an Ace?

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#1 Doug Y

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 02:13 PM

If you look at every team that has won or been to a World Series they had either a HOF quality pitcher or a guy that dominated for a 5+ year span and pitched his team to the World Series, http://en.wikipedia....arting_pitchers. They had an Ace.

’87 Twins = Viola, Blyleven. ’91 Twins = Morris, Erickson Two HOFs and 2 guys that had great 5 years stretches.

Since Santana, the Twins have not had this type of guy, and will not make it or go far in the playoffs until they do. The Twins may not be able to sign an Ace, but they can trade for one. And I for one would give up valuable prospects for a known commodity. What % of prospects actually make it in the majors vs getting a known commodity?

Obviously, you may give up some good players in a trade, but you may also be giving up on top prospects such as David McCarty, BJ Garbe, Ryan Mills, Adam Johnson, Matt Moses, Kyle Waldrop, Matthew Fox. All very high drafts picks or considered top prospects.

#2 nathanaakre

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 02:35 PM

Sooooooo, which "ace" are you thinking is available? And which prospects are you wanting to give up to get said ace? Known commodity "aces" are still susceptible to injury/decline, so I'd be hesitant to just start throwing away top prospects (Buxton/Sano/Rosario/etc) and thinking that acquiring an ace will win us the World Series.

#3 Doug Y

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:14 PM

Sooooooo, which "ace" are you thinking is available? And which prospects are you wanting to give up to get said ace? Known commodity "aces" are still susceptible to injury/decline, so I'd be hesitant to just start throwing away top prospects (Buxton/Sano/Rosario/etc) and thinking that acquiring an ace will win us the World Series.


Didn't have an Ace in mind for this thread, but I would give up any prospect besides Buxton and Sano for the right pitcher.

Yes, "aces" are prone to injury and decline, but I don't believe you can win a World Series without one, so eventually you have to take a risk. Or you end up waiting for one to develop in your minor leagues, which doesn't happen very often.

#4 kdrupp09

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:22 PM

Not to be a downer, but isnt this discussion a few years too soon? It seems the target is now 2016 with the injuries to both Buxton and Sano, which likely gives the Twins 2 full years to determine if they have an 'Ace' in the system, whether it be Meyer or possibly Stewart. I think we should revisit this discussion in 2 years, when we know whether we have the top prospects to trade for an ace.

#5 VandyTwinsFan

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:32 PM

Isn't that what Kansas City did to get James Shields? They gave up their top rated minor league hitter for an "Ace" when they thought they were on the verge of returning to contention.

#6 kdrupp09

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:46 PM

Isn't that what Kansas City did to get James Shields? They gave up their top rated minor league hitter for an "Ace" when they thought they were on the verge of returning to contention.


And unfortunately for KC they essentially traded 5 or 6 years of Wil Myers for 2 years of Shields, both of which they are not going to make the playoffs in, which can be taken as a lesson for the Twins, be extremely cautious about trading top prospects for pitching when you believe you are ready to return to contention.

#7 Tibs

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:51 PM

Didn't have an Ace in mind for this thread, but I would give up any prospect besides Buxton and Sano for the right pitcher.

Yes, "aces" are prone to injury and decline, but I don't believe you can win a World Series without one, so eventually you have to take a risk. Or you end up waiting for one to develop in your minor leagues, which doesn't happen very often.

Maybe we have different definitions of an ace. When I think of an ace, I think of Kershaw, Price, Felix Hernandez, Wainwright, Darvish. How are we going to get one of those guys without trading Buxton or Sano?

I agree that the Twins need a top of the line pitcher if we want to win a World Series, but I don't see how we can get one without trading Buxton or Sano.
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#8 Dman

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:51 PM

The better way to go is to buy your ace in Free Agency but the Twins have always been to fearful of the long contract, injury and possible dead money to do it. I would be wary to give up prospects for an ace unless that is your one missing piece.

Most likely If you follow the Twins you will have to wait them to develop an ace. So keep after them to draft pitchers with ace potential and lots of them because they break easily.

#9 Brandon

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 04:19 PM

by KDRUPP09 "Not to be a downer, but isnt this discussion a few years too soon? It seems the target is now 2016 with the injuries to both Buxton and Sano, which likely gives the Twins 2 full years to determine if they have an 'Ace' in the system, whether it be Meyer or possibly Stewart. I think we should revisit this discussion in 2 years, when we know whether we have the top prospects to trade for an ace."


The better way to go is to buy your ace in Free Agency but the Twins have always been to fearful of the long contract, injury and possible dead money to do it. I would be wary to give up prospects for an ace unless that is your one missing piece.

Most likely If you follow the Twins you will have to wait them to develop an ace. So keep after them to draft pitchers with ace potential and lots of them because they break easily.



Since we are having this conversation 2 years too soon I'll put my comment from 2 years from now here. The most cost effective way to get an ace is to trade your CF on the high side for high-end pitching prospects in the lower levels of the minors Ex May and Meyer......or we can stink real bad for a year or two and draft Stewart and Barrios or sign him as an international free agent (Thorpe) any one of those should end up being good enough to be our ace. we can get by just fine with a 5 deep rotation.

Edited by Brandon, 16 June 2014 - 04:22 PM.


#10 beckmt

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 05:52 PM

Signing one is not easy, giving up a prospect is a real gamble. My guess is the Twins wait to see which of the 4-5 top pitchers in the minors become an ace.

#11 Kirby_Waved_At_Me

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 07:37 AM

The two "aces" available this trade deadline (at least rumored to be available) are David Price from Tampa Bay and Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs.
Of the two, Price has the better likelihood of being an Ace for the Twins. However, Tampa has been asking for quite a haul for their players whenever they have been sellers. Either player will probably mean losing one or more top prospect. I don't think the Twins will go for that.

I think Kansas City's mistakes in going all-in for James Shields were A) they acquired their Ace before the supporting cast was ready and B) they gave up too much for a pitcher that is very good, though not on quite the same level as Price is.

#12 Roaddog

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 08:08 AM

If you look at every team that has won or been to a World Series they had either a HOF quality pitcher or a guy that dominated for a 5+ year span and pitched his team to the World Series, http://en.wikipedia....arting_pitchers. They had an Ace.

’87 Twins = Viola, Blyleven. ’91 Twins = Morris, Erickson Two HOFs and 2 guys that had great 5 years stretches.

Since Santana, the Twins have not had this type of guy, and will not make it or go far in the playoffs until they do. The Twins may not be able to sign an Ace, but they can trade for one. And I for one would give up valuable prospects for a known commodity. What % of prospects actually make it in the majors vs getting a known commodity?

Obviously, you may give up some good players in a trade, but you may also be giving up on top prospects such as David McCarty, BJ Garbe, Ryan Mills, Adam Johnson, Matt Moses, Kyle Waldrop, Matthew Fox. All very high drafts picks or considered top prospects.


Even though we are doing well i think trading for an ace is premature. Sano and Buxton are in AA currently. Meyer and May are seemingly almost ready. I just don't think the current team is good enough to trade for an elite pitcher and the cost that comes with it.

#13 Doug Y

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 08:09 AM

And unfortunately for KC they essentially traded 5 or 6 years of Wil Myers for 2 years of Shields, both of which they are not going to make the playoffs in, which can be taken as a lesson for the Twins, be extremely cautious about trading top prospects for pitching when you believe you are ready to return to contention.



I guess I should have clarified that they need to trade for an ace pitcher when they are contending, not necessarily this year. However, in a couple of years if the Twins are close, I would absolutely trade a Will Myers for a James Shields and try and win over the 2 years you may have Shields. You don't get many chances to win it all and sometimes you have to take chances. Yes, if the trade sets the franchise back a couple years it would hurt, but the waiting for an ace to develop in the minor leagues can take many more years.

#14 gunnarthor

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 08:12 AM

Besides signing an ace, they could develop one. Both Meyer and Stewart have that ceiling. Santana obviously. And occasionally a #2 or 3 has a ace type season - Twins got one from Tapani in 91. Radke had a few. Joe Mays actually led the AL in ERA+ one year and was second in pitching WAR. I'd rather the Twins focused on developing a complete rotation rather than worrying about who the #1 pitcher is.

#15 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 08:54 AM

I think Kansas City's mistakes in going all-in for James Shields were A) they acquired their Ace before the supporting cast was ready and B) they gave up too much for a pitcher that is very good, though not on quite the same level as Price is.


While any team should balk at giving up a talent like Wil Myers, that's what it takes to get two years of an "ace" pitcher.

Kansas City's mistake wasn't so much that they overpaid, it's that their timing was awful. They could have sat on Myers for a season (and his value would have actually been higher after last year's RoY campaign) and traded for Price instead of Shields. If you have a guy like Wil Myers in your system, teams will line up to trade for him almost every season.

Anyway, back on topic. Ace pitchers are nice. They are not needed to win a World Series, though they certainly help.

But the idea of the Twins trading away a top prospect for a couple of years of an "ace" is laughable at best, grounds to fire the entire front office at worst. They simply aren't in the position to make that kind of move right now.

#16 mike wants wins

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 09:35 AM

Well, they could have just bought Greinke, and this offseason there might be some great pitchers there.....but no one thinks they'll go that route.

As for trading for a proven veteran Ace type? Given the rest of the roster, unless they plan to add other pieces, it is not the right time to trade for one.
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#17 Kirby_Waved_At_Me

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 09:42 AM

I think building the foundation of the team is essential. The Twins could try to trade for Price, for instance, but it doesn't solve all the problems at once.

Also, if the Twins are looking to sign an Ace as a free agent, have a great supporting cast is a factor for the free agent. It's different for every player - sometimes they just are looking for the biggest contract, but most marquee free agents would pick a team that will win games and be competitive. They are going to get paid no matter who they sign with, so winning is important.

The more competitive the roster gets, the easier it will be sign a guy like Grienke (or potential 2015 Free Agent Jon Lester...)

#18 tobi0040

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 11:33 AM

The two "aces" available this trade deadline (at least rumored to be available) are David Price from Tampa Bay and Jeff Samardzija from the Cubs.
Of the two, Price has the better likelihood of being an Ace for the Twins. However, Tampa has been asking for quite a haul for their players whenever they have been sellers. Either player will probably mean losing one or more top prospect. I don't think the Twins will go for that.

I think Kansas City's mistakes in going all-in for James Shields were A) they acquired their Ace before the supporting cast was ready and B) they gave up too much for a pitcher that is very good, though not on quite the same level as Price is.


I think the issue with the Shields trade is that KC did not require an extension as part of the deal. It was noted before, but they had control over Myers for 5 years and he was probably relatively signable for another 2-3. If they would have signed Shields to a 4-5 year extension the deal could have been at least defensible.

A similar deal for Price would definitely involve Buxton or Sano, plus something as the Rays got the #3 prospect in the game (Myers) and the #35 prospect (Odorizzi). I would not be in favor of that deal for Price, just to turn around and have to pay him $25M a year. As good as Jeff S. has been this year, we are talking about a 29 year old guy with a career 3.99 ERA, who wants a 6+ year deal in excess of $100M. No thanks.

Edited by tobi0040, 17 June 2014 - 11:36 AM.


#19 TKGuy

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 11:40 AM

What about Lester or Shields this offseason as FA?

#20 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 11:44 AM

What about Lester or Shields this offseason as FA?


I just don't see starting pitching being an immediate need. The Twins need to determine what they have in May and Meyer this season. Next season, they'll probably need to determine what they have in Berrios.

With Gibson, Nolasco, and Hughes virtually locked into the rotation, there simply isn't room to continue adding free agent starters.

And that's not even including guys like Johnson, Pino, and Gilmartin...

#21 Doug Y

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 11:57 AM

Anyway, back on topic. Ace pitchers are nice. They are not needed to win a World Series, though they certainly help.

But the idea of the Twins trading away a top prospect for a couple of years of an "ace" is laughable at best, grounds to fire the entire front office at worst. They simply aren't in the position to make that kind of move right now.


I disagree that you can win without a top pitcher. I think you either need an ace or a pitcher that was a top 15 guy during a 3-5 stretch.

I think most of these guys in the last 6 years meet that criteria.

2013
John Lackey, BOS
Jon Lester, BOS
Clay Bucholtz BOS
Adam Wainwright, STL
Michael Wacha, STL
2012
Matt Cain, SFG
Madison Bumgarner, SFG
Justin Verlander, DET
Doug Fister, DET
2011
Chris Carpenter, STL
C. J. Wilson, TEX
2010
Tim Lincecum, SFG
Madison Bumgarner, SFG
Cliff Lee, TEX
C. J. Wilson, TEX
2009
Pedro Martínez, PHI
Cliff Lee, PHI
CC Sabathia, NYY
Andy Pettitte, NYY
2008
James Shields, TBR
Scott Kazmir, TBR
Cole Hamels, PHI

If you look at this list, http://en.wikipedia....arting_pitchers, almost all teams had a true #1 pitcher or a guy that had a great 3-5 year run. Unless you have a lineup similar to some of the great Yankee teams, you need Pitching, Pitching, Pitching.

I agree the Twins shouldn't do it this year, but may need to in a couple years if there are close to having a World Series contending team.

#22 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 12:07 PM

I disagree that you can win without a top pitcher. I think you either need an ace or a pitcher that was a top 15 guy during a 3-5 stretch.

I think most of these guys in the last 6 years meet that criteria.

2013
John Lackey, BOS
Jon Lester, BOS
Clay Bucholtz BOS
Adam Wainwright, STL
Michael Wacha, STL
2012
Matt Cain, SFG
Madison Bumgarner, SFG
Justin Verlander, DET
Doug Fister, DET
2011
Chris Carpenter, STL
C. J. Wilson, TEX
2010
Tim Lincecum, SFG
Madison Bumgarner, SFG
Cliff Lee, TEX
C. J. Wilson, TEX
2009
Pedro Martínez, PHI
Cliff Lee, PHI
CC Sabathia, NYY
Andy Pettitte, NYY
2008
James Shields, TBR
Scott Kazmir, TBR
Cole Hamels, PHI

If you look at this list, http://en.wikipedia....arting_pitchers, almost all teams had a true #1 pitcher or a guy that had a great 3-5 year run. Unless you have a lineup similar to some of the great Yankee teams, you need Pitching, Pitching, Pitching.

I agree the Twins shouldn't do it this year, but may need to in a couple years if there are close to having a World Series contending team.


Most of those guys weren't top 15 pitchers in the years you listed. For example, Pedro only pitched 44 innings in 2009 and went 0-2 with a 6+ ERA in the World Series.

Guys like John Lackey, Lester, etc. are not "Top 15" guys (plus, you're listing 3-5 guys per season from two teams, no way they're all "Top 15" guys). They're good pitchers. You know, kinda like Phil Hughes has been this season.

I keep repeating this point but I'll do it again: "Ace Pitchers" and "Super Stars" do not win the World Series because if that's the team focus, that team will often miss the playoffs entirely. Those players are nice to have but I'll take a roster of 2009 Jason Kubels over one Joe Mauer and a bunch of league average players.

That's what gets you to the playoffs. A bunch of pretty good to really good complementary players, not 1-2 superstars and roster chaff.

And once you get to the playoffs, all bets are off. The better players tend to win but that's hardly a given.

#23 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 12:36 PM

Not sure why people are dismissing the Royals approach on this thread. They won 86 games last year and have as good a chance of making the postseason this year as the Twins do.

#24 Kirby_Waved_At_Me

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 12:39 PM

If the Twins did manage to offer a contract to Jon Lester and he signed it, I bet they would find a spot for him.
I would agree that it's not going to be an immediate need going into 2015, and I'd prefer they spent the money elsewhere (OF, for instance) if they are chasing Free Agents.

#25 Kirby_Waved_At_Me

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 12:42 PM

Not sure why people are dismissing the Royals approach on this thread. They won 86 games last year and have as good a chance of making the postseason this year as the Twins do.


The Royals played the short game, I personally hope the Twins opt for something longer term. It's hard to fault the Royals for being proactive. For as bad as they've been for so long, I'm sure Royals fans are very happy with last year.

#26 beckmt

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 12:56 PM

Twins are a longer term focus, but you also have to have hope to win the big one. I feel and hope one of the top minor league pitchers will become that ace. Until in 2016 or 2017 you have answered that question, you do not need to spend the prospects to buy one, spending the money would be a better way to go, when you get into the top 10 teams in baseball.

#27 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 01:03 PM

Not sure why people are dismissing the Royals approach on this thread. They won 86 games last year and have as good a chance of making the postseason this year as the Twins do.


They missed the playoffs last season after winning only 72 games the previous season. They only have Shields for 1/2 a season more and then he's gone for good.

Would you want the Twins to give up Miguel Sano for David Price only to have them miss the playoffs this season? I'd be pretty pissed if that happened.

Trading for an ace is a smart move if you're confident that puts your team over the 90 win mark, which basically guarantees a playoff berth. The move itself wasn't the problem so much as Moore banked on too many unknowns and lost half of Shields' service time because of it. He was impatient at the exact moment when patience is needed more than anything else.

And they could still easily miss the playoffs this season as well, which moves the trade from "bad" to "blunder".

#28 mike wants wins

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 01:20 PM

And Meyer's replacements have been better than him, they traded from a position of strength for a proven commodity, not prospects. Brock and I disagree on this. Either way, I never see Ryan trading the future for the present, in terms of a big time prospect for a proven player.

#29 nicksaviking

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 01:27 PM

Most of those guys weren't top 15 pitchers in the years you listed. For example, Pedro only pitched 44 innings in 2009 and went 0-2 with a 6+ ERA in the World Series.

Guys like John Lackey, Lester, etc. are not "Top 15" guys (plus, you're listing 3-5 guys per season from two teams, no way they're all "Top 15" guys). They're good pitchers. You know, kinda like Phil Hughes has been this season.

I keep repeating this point but I'll do it again: "Ace Pitchers" and "Super Stars" do not win the World Series because if that's the team focus, that team will often miss the playoffs entirely. Those players are nice to have but I'll take a roster of 2009 Jason Kubels over one Joe Mauer and a bunch of league average players.

That's what gets you to the playoffs. A bunch of pretty good to really good complementary players, not 1-2 superstars and roster chaff.

And once you get to the playoffs, all bets are off. The better players tend to win but that's hardly a given.


While I'll agree not all of those guys were top 15 pitchers and the term "Ace" is always going to come down to semantics, I agree with the premise. To win the World Series, you're going to have to field top end pitching unless you catch every break.

Pitching is much more important to post season success. The Twins had Santana (who didn't seem to hold to the pressure of the post season) but they haven't had any other arm this century who could have led them to a title.

#30 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 01:30 PM

While I'll agree not all of those guys were top 15 pitchers and the term "Ace" is always going to come down to semantics, I agree with the premise. To win the World Series, you're going to have to field top end pitching unless you catch every break.

Pitching is much more important to post season success. The Twins had Santana (who didn't seem to hold to the pressure of the post season) but they haven't had any other arm this century who could have led them to a title.


I don't think we're really disagreeing. Much like the argument about the Royals and Shields, much of my opinion comes down to timing.

If the Twins are an 87 win team, go for that ace. He'll not only get you to the playoffs, he'll give you a better chance to advance once you're there.

But a 70 win team has as much use for an "ace" as it does 2013 Joe Mauer. It's going to barely move the needle and you'll give away incredibly valuable resources to barely move that needle.