Let's play GM: Pitchers
Who doesn't like playing GM? Below I broke down and added my opinion on pitchers who the Twins have or should be linked to. The contracts attached to the names are based on predictions and opinions from various sites along with my own opinion. I thought it would be fun to have people's thoughts and opinions on who the Twins should sign. The rules will be that we assume the contracts I have listed are accurate(which it won't be, but just for argument's sake), minor league deals are worth $2M + incentives if the player makes the team and that the Twins have $40M to spend this off-season. Keep in mind that the $40M includes position players so you may not want to blow the whole budget on pitching, although you can since it is our biggest need.
Ervin Santana (5yrs, $75M): A durable pitcher coming off a very good year who will get paid. The velocity is still there, pitches deep into games, and is a good bet to give you 200 innings a year(although the partially torn UCL scares me). The negatives for me are the contract and the draft pick that he's going to cost. More importantly the money attached to the pick.
Ubaldo Jimenez (4yrs, $56M): I prefer Ubaldo to Ervin due to the higher upside, but he scares me. He performed like an ace down the stretch and carried the Indians to the playoffs. He has better stuff than Ervin and misses significantly more bats. The problem has always been control which leads to short outings. He's averaged less than 6 IP per start for the last 3 years. He will also cost the Twins a draft pick.
Ricky Nolasco (4yrs, $52M): Durable innings eater. Outstanding K/BB throughout his career. FIP and xFIP have always liked him better than his ERA. Won't cost the Twins a draft pick. Question mark would be the switch to the AL due to being an NL lifer.
Jason Vargas (3yrs, $28.5M): Durable innings eater. K% went up in 2013 and GB% has been better the past 2 seasons.
Bronson Arroyo (2yrs, $24M): Durable innings eater to the extreme. Great K/BB rates the past 2 seasons and is known to be a good leader and clubhouse guy.
Scott Feldman (2yrs, $18M + vesting option): Has a good understanding of what type of pitcher he is now. Throws a nice mix of a sinker, cutter, curveball with an occasional change-up. To me he projects to give Ervin Santana type results, while being $50M+ cheaper.
Scott Kazmir (2yrs, $17M): High risk, high reward guy. Durability, health, and his platoon splits are a big concern. Velocity came roaring back this year, as did the strikeouts(something I CRAVE as a Twins fan). The best xFIP in the FA class not named A.J. Burnett.
Chris Capuano (2yrs, $10M): The Kevin Correia special, except Capuano is a better pitcher. Could end up with a one year deal, but probably looking for more security. Low upside, but should be worth his contract.
One year deals
Dan Haren (1yr, $12M): The numbers tell me I should love him. He's maintained his amazing K/BB, 3.67 xFIP in 2013 and you can point to his bad luck with the long ball as the cause of his inflated ERA. The fact that his GB% has declined and his LD% has increased tell me it might not just be bad luck. It may be the wear and tear of being a workhorse has taken it's toll. His IP have also plummeted the last 2 seasons and there's a chance he may also get a multi-year deal. For these reasons, I'm not a big fan of Haren.
Josh Johnson (1yr, $9M + $5M incentives): Boom or bust guy. I would love the signing, but Mike Radcliff already stated "if he wants $10 million, we're not going to be involved with that". Pretty much burst my bubble. But hey, you run the show in this exercise!
Phil Hughes (1yr, $8M + $2M incentives): A favorite on Twins Daily due to his age and upside. I'm not a fan of his mechanics, but he still has good velocity and some swing and miss stuff. He is great at getting ahead in the count, which I'm sure the Twins would love. I'd like the signing but I'm worried about Willingham, Presley, Arcia and Doumit roaming the outfield for him.
Jason Hammel (1yr, $6M + $1M incentives): Throws hard and put up front line numbers in the AL east in 2012. Injury prone, but has some upside.
Roberto Hernandez (1yr, $5M + $2M incentives): Ground ball machine. Increased his K% while lowering his BB% in 2013. If he can get his HR/FB% down he should be a good buy low candidate. Outstanding 3.60 xFIP in 2013.
Colby Lewis (1yr, $2M + $4M incentives): After two and a half good seasons with the Rangers, Colby is coming off multiple surgeries including Tommy John. The good thing is he recovered from the TJ surgery midway through the 2013 season so he's had more time to recover. An extreme fly ball pitcher, I have the same outfield defense concern as I do with Hughes. Should still be a good buy low candidate.
Jesse Crain (1yr, $3.5M + $3M incentives): Was the best reliever of 2013 before a shoulder injury derailed his season. I know that the bullpen is a strength, but making it a seven inning game knowing Crain and Perkins are lurking is tantalizing. He could make for a nice trade chip come the trade deadline as well.
Minor league deals
Johan Santana: Why not?!?
James McDonald: Coming off a shoulder injury. Depending on health, could be intriguing. Great stuff coupled with inconsistency.
Scott Baker: Was barely touching 90 MPH last year coming off TJ surgery. Most likely cooked, but if he can regain his velocity, definitely worth a shot.
Shaun Marcum: The darling of the 12-13 off-season. A lot of fans(including myself) wanted the Twins to go after Marcum. Good thing they didn't. I would give him about a 20-25% chance of ever throwing another baseball in the majors. But if Scott Kazmir could come back from the dead, I guess anything can happen.
Ryan Madson: The Twins bullpen is pretty set, but Madson is outstanding when healthy. After making $12M in the last two years without throwing a MLB pitch(only in America!), he could be a steal and provide some trade value at the deadline.
Suk-Min Yoon (2yrs, $12M): Who knows? Could be a diamond in the rough and shouldn't cost too much. Durability is a concern along with a shoulder ailment. Starter or reliever? Stuff might not play in the majors. Success of Asian pitchers recently should create some buzz but I would stay away.
Randy Messenger (2yrs, $8M): One of my favorites for no reason whatsoever. Maybe it's his name? More likely it's the fact that he has a good splitter. A pitch that has seemed to baffle MLB hitters lately. Nov. 15 is the deadline for him to take offers from major league teams. He has an offer of 3yrs,$10M w/ up to $5M more in incentives to play in Japan.
Raciel Iglesias (minor league contract w/ a $4M signing bonus): Only 23 he throws in the low to mid 90s with a plus breaking ball. He is undersized and needs to add a change up to be considered a starter. I could be way off on the contract but I didn't find any predictions. So I predicted a similar contract to fellow Cuban Dalier Hinojosa. I predict that he will be a steal.
My signings: Kazmir, Feldman, Crain, Iglesias and of course Johan. $27M committed to pitching. What say you?
good buy low article, not a lot of upside. Johan will probably get too much and would not want Crain, rest are reasonable. Would like Johnson and the Japanese pitcher, but the later will probably cost too much. Kazmir could be a winner, but a chance. Like him more than the others to go with Johnson. Taking one flyer should be done.
I like Kazmir and Hughes if he can be signed for multi-year. If not, I would target Nolasco or Arroyo. I would certainly take a flier on any of the guys who are looking at minor league contracts and the international players for the right deal.
Kazmir, Hughes, Johan is who I sign, ideally.
Since I'm greedy and we have cash to spend I'd go for both Jimenez and Nolasco and try and sneak in Madson to boost the bullpen, but I'm the greedy type
Nothing wrong with greedy! Both would be good adds. Immediate impacts in 2014 and if the good Jimenez shows up, it could mean 10+ wins just between him and Nolasco over the Diamond, Worley, Hendriks, Hernandez, Walters, Pelfrey riffraff of 2013. That's approaching .500 with money to spare. Add a couple more pieces, a full season of Mauer, better offensive seasons from Hammer and Doumit and growth from Arcia, Hicks and Gibson and we just might have something.
Originally Posted by AussieTwin
Well that was exactly my thinking, Ubaldo has the upside because we've seen what he can do and he showed glimpses of it again last season. Nolasco I think is just one of those solid middle of the rotation guys that most games will give your team a chance to win. The other FA I would take the risk on is Josh Johnson, former ace who's proven himself and did his best work on a horrible team who if healthy could get back to his form and really give us some solid innings
Originally Posted by JP3700
A guy I've been thinking about that is never mentioned is Jeremy Hellickson. He had a tough year last year but has definitely been a solid pitching and the Rays know pitching so why not inquire with them what it would cost for him while his value is at its lowest?
Ratliff and *If he wants 10 million...* ARG!!! This team is going to HAVE to overpay to get pitchers here. On a one year deal, who cares if they give Johnson 10M.!?!?!?
It drives me nuts...
It would be nice if the Twins could get at least one young pitcher with upside to sign a multi-year deal (e.g. Hughes). But if you can only get him to sign a one year deal, then there's no point. I'd also like to see the Twins sign another solid pitcher / quality innings eater. There appears to be plenty of options. And given the Twins' budget, it really wouldn't hurt them to give an opportunity to a pitcher that appears to be a long shot, but was solid in the past (e.g. Johan Santana, Colby Lewis, or even Scott Baker on a minor league deal wouldn't break the bank).
Kazmir (2 year deal), Hughes (1 year deal with incentives and a second year option), trade for Ryan Dempster (Red Sox want to move him). Spend big next year on Bailey.
I would like to see them sign 3; Ubaldo, Haren/Arroyo, and Hughes/Hammel. Wouldn't mind a flyer on Johan as long as hes not actually being counted on to fill a top 4 rotation spot, and wouldn't mind if they went after Bartolo. For the position players I would like to see Hart or Loney, a corner outfielder that can actually play defense and start (Melky fits this mold), and an infielder that could push Plouffe/ Florimon if they struggle.
A lot of love for Hughes which I expected. I understand the thought that we'd want to have him signed for more than one year, but this is a guy coming off a horrible year who wants to rebuild value. One year limits the risk for the team and also gives the pitcher leverage if he has a good year. I think one year benefits both sides. Keep in mind that you can always extend him, trade him or offer him a qualifying offer if he does show the change of scenery is what he needed. That is still a big IF.
No love for Ervin so far!
I saw on MLB hot stove that Santana wants 5/100. Nolasco wants 5/80. Of course that does not mean they get it but it does provide an indication that the agents/players smell all that extra revenue entering the market.
I think you go with a one year plus a club option. That way if he would rebound we will have him for more than one year. And he wont be playing in Yankee stadium so I think he will improve, but how much that will be determined on the field.
Originally Posted by JP3700
Also, Ervin seem a bit too high of price tag. I know we all want the Twins to spend, but thats a large commitment for a middle market team.
To me, this seems like a year to see what we've got to build from. Our depth in SP has increased a lot after the past two drafts (not that I'm saying any of them are ready) and another year under some belts will give us a better idea. So my GM theory is sign two multiyear guys 30 or just under and take several flyers in major and minor league deals.
Kazmir - I would go two years plus a mutual option. $16-19MM
Nolasco or Hughes - I personally would prefer Nolasco but Hughes has the better age and upside. Three years at least approaching double digits per year. Maybe even some incentives for Hughes.
HAVE TO take a flyer on Josh Johnson. A walk-on Ace for most staffs. Yeah, the injury bug bites him more often than not but the potential return is insane. Could flip him at the deadline, could make a qualifying offer after the year, or resign him to lead the next wave. Would the Twins spend $10MM (and some extra $$ of incentives) and at worst call it a wash on a non-competitive year for that? They should..
other flyers: Hammel, Hernandez, Haren, or Capuano.
Also, sign SS Aledmys Diaz and/or trade for Espinosa while his value is low. I also read some great proposals for Chad Billingsley of the LAD and I think we could work out something great for Ricky Romero from Toronto.
Sorry for the novel.
Keep in mind Bourn and Swisher were both seeking $100M last year. Bourn got 4yrs/$48M and Swisher got 4yrs/$56M with a $14M vesting option.
Originally Posted by Major Leauge Ready
A better comp would be Anibal Sanchez. He was also seeking $100M and got 5yrs/$75M with an option year that has a $5M buyout. Sanchez was a better pitcher and over 2 years younger than both of these guys.
The club option would be nice, especially because it generally just benefits the team and not the player. I just don't see why Hughes would want to do it. I'm sure we aren't the only team who thinks he can be a much better pitcher away from Yankee stadium so other teams will be bidding on his services. So he's going to take the contract and situation that benefits him most.
Originally Posted by MichiganTwins
I agree on the Ervin comment. I wouldn't be happy if the Twins signed him. Not necessarily due to the large commitment, but because I don't think he's worth that commitment.
Very good points. I was thinking the same thing about the Sanchez comp. These guys are not really close yet they are asking for alot more. All that tells us for sure is that the agents are going to start out with crazy demands. We all knew the TV money would have this effect in terms of FA asking price. The question is ... are there a couple GMs that will go crazy (see lincecum)
Originally Posted by JP3700
I can understand the hesitation to give Johnson 10M/year, he had a few moments but was not very good for most of the year. That does happen often the 1st year back from surgery which is why I have no interest in Billingsly even though I always thought he was under rated. Offering him 5-7 base with Innings pitched incentives up to 10-12Mil is what should be done.
Everyone talks about getting Hughes, who is a EXTREME fly ball pitcher getting out of Yankee stadium. Guess what, if your trying to be good your going to have to beat the Yankees at Yankee stadium. Comerica is a is the same way, Kaufmann & the Tigers stadium arent exactly pitcher friendly anymore either. Im just not nearly as high on Hughes as most anyone esle.
I wouldnt want anything near 5/80 for Nolasco & I do think he would be a good fit on the team. 4/55 with a 5 mill buyout on the last year is about the ceiling on him IMO.
How is Tim Hudson not getting more love? He wants to go back to the Braves being his hometown but they are not wanting to give him multple years he wants. He is the type of bulldog attitude pitcher they need on the staff. He was having an very good year until breaking his ankle on that freak play & you wouldnt have to give him the years you would other SP's.
If the prices really are going to be driven up so far, it is wise for the Twins to go after Hughes and Kazmir, then drop down to Capuano.
I am not sure what the real difference is going to end up being, in terms of performance, between Ricky Nolasco and Chris Capuano. Career ERA+ 94 for Nolasco and 97 for Capuano. Both pitchers seem like they end up being Correia in terms of value. Capuano is definitely one of those fairly few guys who would sign a one-year deal with a second option (team). Hughes is not doing that. Hughes gets a one-year deal, a strong two-year deal, or a three-year deal that probably pays a bit less. Kazmir is somewhat similar, but clearly not with the one-year deal.