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Article: Twins Sending Relief Messages

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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 09:30 PM

As the Winter Meetings came to an end, the Minnesota Twins found themselves mentioned often and making just a few waves. In signing Michael Pineda to a two-year contract, while handing out a one-year deal to Fernando Rodney, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine may be asking us to read through the tea leaves.Looking at what we know thus far, the Twins have been connected to relievers like Brandon Kintzler, Steve Cishek, Fernando Rodney and Matt Belisle. Of that foursome, only Rodney has landed with the Twins. In 2018, he’ll be 41 years old, and the lone leftover (Belisle) will be 38. Other names they’ve been linked to include Tony Watson (32) and Addison Reed (28). Looking at the aforementioned names only Reed is under the age of 30. I think we can begin to glean something from this information.

As the Twins attack free agency, the bullpen from 2017 remains a concern. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine know that relief help needs to be brought in for this club to take the next step. With regard to relievers though, you generally want to be creative or good. Going the route of “good” can be a mistake waiting to happen. Handing out big contracts to names like Wade Davis or Greg Holland could end up preventing money being spent elsewhere, and is a situation that could blow up with a small case of the yips.

When it comes to relief pitching, finding outliers seems to be, in general, a much more fruitful endeavor. As Twins Daily’s Tom Froemming pointed out, Brandon Morrow and Tommy Hunter bother signed one year deals last offseason for less than $1.5m each. During the current offseason, both agreed to multi-year deals for multiple millions of dollars. Seth Stohs also pointed out the desire to sign the likes of Tony Sipp or Antonio Bastardo to multi-year deals for big money back in 2015. All across baseball, you can pick out relief contracts that resemble a pitcher being paid too much for too long.

Then, you have to take a look at what the Twins may be looking at from within. As things stand currently, Minnesota has more than a few promising arms on the horizon. Tyler Jay remains the top relief arm and should have a shot to get to the big leagues quickly. Felix Jorge could find himself factoring into the bullpen mix, and there are more than a few holdovers including John Curtiss, Alan Busenitz, J.T. Chargois, and even Jake Reed. Each of those guys has a relative amount of upside, and presents an ability to strike out big league hitters.

In signing Rodney, the Twins only continue to play into this perception. A one-year deal worth up to $6 million guarantees few things, but tells us plenty. Entering the 2018 season, the expectation should be that he’ll be the club’s closer. He posted a 10.6 K/9 and picked up 39 saves a year ago for the Diamondbacks. As a veteran presence, that should be welcomed out of the gate for Minnesota. As the season draws on though, nothing about his age or his contract cements him into that role over any of the previously noted youth.

What the Twins seem to be suggesting is that there’s a level of awareness regarding the deficiencies currently present on the big league roster. Relief help is obviously something Paul Molitor could use, but Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are also sending the message that they believe in what they have. Rodney, even with a good season, probably won’t be back in 2019 and another similar deal could be granted to the likes of Watson or Belisle.
As the season wears on, the front office would love nothing more than to watch Jay or Chargois develop into the next man up. Curtiss, Busenitz and Reed all have the profiles of effective setup men, and seeing them blossom into that would be a welcomed reality. By addressing current issues while also allowing future solutions to present themselves, the Twins have the best of both worlds.

Entering the 2018 season, the Minnesota Twins will try to take advantage of a potentially unique opportunity. With only the Cleveland Indians being competitive in the AL Central, they should find themselves no worse than the second best team in their division. With the rise of youth, they could soon overtake Cleveland at the top of the ladder. Rather than throwing all the chips in the basket right now, it appears the plan is to build consistently, using 2017 as a building block for the upcoming year and beyond.

Ideally, the Twins should sign another reliever to a contract similar to what Rodney just agreed to. Then, getting an impact starting pitcher could set them up nicely to make some noise. While not going all in on 2018, they’d have taken steps forward without sacrificing the long term viability of an extended run of competitiveness. To summarize, short term/high upside solutions in the pen, and a long term/high ceiling starter would make for one successful offseason.

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#2 KirbyDome89

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 10:23 PM

"Handing out big contracts to names like Wade Davis or Greg Holland could end up preventing money being spent elsewhere."

 

"a long term/high ceiling starter would make for one successful offseason."

 

So are we Darvish or bust at this point? Unless they're committing $ to a front end starter they shouldn't have to penny pinch in the relief market, and even then the dumpster diving probably isn't warranted. 

 

Right now the only "building," they've done is adding a 41 year old reliever and burning a 25 man spot on a Rule V pick. Hopefully some significant moves are made in the near future. 

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#3 Twinfan & Dad

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 10:53 PM

I couldnt agree more. Last year was the year of the young hitters coming of age and this year our young pitchers will step forward. There will be plenty of opportunity for many to shine.
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#4 Han Joelo

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 12:37 AM

I think we can come up with a more apt metaphor than "dumpster diving" for what the Twins are doing. "Identifying appreciable, undervalued assets?"

Or, since I just got back from The Last Jedi, "making a bet on Han Solo's upside while letting Jabba and Darth Vader overpay for the Boba Fetts and Bossks of the Galaxy?"
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#5 theBOMisthebomb

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 06:22 AM

The moves have been underwhelming so far. A guy who might not play in 2018 and a 41 year old closer? Not exactly setting the world on fire when looked at from a casual fan perspective. Speaking to the guys at work they are rolling their eyes and saying same old Twins. Landing Yu Darvish would put a nice bow on the offseason. I am trusting the Boy Wonders have a few tricks left up their sleeve for this offseason.

#6 Old Twins Cap

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 07:48 AM

Let me help translate:

 

Despite 2017 season and a window of opportunity created by their offense, Twins are not going to make a playoff run in 2018.

 

So, rather than pay for veteran relief, they are going to have young guys pitch the late innings and see what happens.

 

Hopefully, by 2019 or 2020, this will sort itself out.

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#7 DocBauer

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 08:30 AM

Sooner or later...hopefully sooner...a couple young arms have to step forward due to nothing else other than the numbers of them. I am still intrigued by both Pressly and Duffey, wondering if Duffey might be best as the long/middle man. Hildenberger and Busentiz should take a step forward. Curtiss shows some great stuff. Can Chargois just be healthy this season! Please!

I am somewhat underwhelmed by Rodney, but don't consider it a bad move. He seems to channel an inner Guardado/Wild Thing Mitch Williams at times, but has real stuff most of the time, some nice peripherals, some proven success, and is an upgrade to the Belisle signing last season. Probably an upgrade to Kintzler, overall.

I would still feel a lot better with another proven arm, via FA or trade, though the FA market is drying up.

But there are some good arms to work with here. It's up to them to step forward, of course, and up to the staff to help them do so. I'm not totally happy with the lack of aggression regarding the pen, but I'm not despondent either.
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#8 twinfan

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 10:11 AM

Like I said in another post, grow your fingernails over the winter because you will be biting them often when Rodney pitches in the ninth. He should, however , save 38 games but will blow 6 saves in 2018 if healthy. Pineda is a good signing but may not pitch until mid-season. The big ballpark should help him. I'm not as big on Darvish as maybe some other starters and hope we don't over pay for a guy who is over rated.


#9 barbarosa

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 10:30 AM

Great article and while I understand it, I am disappointed by the lack of effort seen at the winter meetings.A two year contract on a pitcher we won't see until 2019 and a reliever who has seen better days. With the pitchers they added, or targeted, there was no need to worry about lengthy and costly contracts.Whether we all agree or not, this was definitely dumpster diving in order not to go big in 2018.

 

I can see the Twins are still playing the old shell game with their fans.Articles prior to winter meetings FO had fans believing the Twins were actually going to go after another "bonafide ACE".Everything on Twins Daily and the Minnesota Twins page have espoused their FULL effort to garner a top of the line starting pitcher.It seems, as normal, that just is not the case.Whether it be dollars, trades or length of contract, Twins fans are seeing the same old FO antics.

 

I understand the frustration from Dozier (and probably other team mates) last year when the Twins decided to trade away talent in an obvious message to the team the FO did not care about winning or trying to win and were not willing to give the tools necessary to win.After all...we didn't get much return.So I guess this year we can only expect to "see what happens" and even if we do win another wildcard spot, we don't have, at this moment, the pitching talent to move past that one playoff game.Post season does not mean much if you have no way to move forward.

 

I hope this coming year, all the pitching talent highlighted on Twins Daily will step up and the FO will allow them to do so.IF the FO is looking to 2019, then we better find out what we really have in our young arms...now.

 


#10 gocgo

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 11:16 AM

If the plan is to grow from within while adding a few peripheral pieces here and there, then signing Darvish to a 6/160 deal makes no sense.If people didn't like the way Mauer's contract hamstrung us, signing a 31 year old pitcher to a long term contract isn't going to cure the pulled hammy.

Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.


#11 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 11:58 AM

 

"Handing out big contracts to names like Wade Davis or Greg Holland could end up preventing money being spent elsewhere."

 

"a long term/high ceiling starter would make for one successful offseason."

 

So are we Darvish or bust at this point? Unless they're committing $ to a front end starter they shouldn't have to penny pinch in the relief market, and even then the dumpster diving probably isn't warranted. 

 

Right now the only "building," they've done is adding a 41 year old reliever and burning a 25 man spot on a Rule V pick. Hopefully some significant moves are made in the near future. 

I don't believe it's Darvish or bust, but I think they know adding a middle of the road starter isn't going to do much but add to the back end log jam.

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#12 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 12:00 PM

 

The moves have been underwhelming so far. A guy who might not play in 2018 and a 41 year old closer? Not exactly setting the world on fire when looked at from a casual fan perspective. Speaking to the guys at work they are rolling their eyes and saying same old Twins. Landing Yu Darvish would put a nice bow on the offseason. I am trusting the Boy Wonders have a few tricks left up their sleeve for this offseason.

 

They're essentially paying pennies to watch over Pineda's rehab, and then get a #3 starter for well under value in 2019, that's smart spending. Then, adding a veteran closer on a one-year deal paying just $6m in order to not block any of the arms that should be making appearances doubles down on that.

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#13 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 12:02 PM

 

I can see the Twins are still playing the old shell game with their fans.Articles prior to winter meetings FO had fans believing the Twins were actually going to go after another "bonafide ACE".Everything on Twins Daily and the Minnesota Twins page have espoused their FULL effort to garner a top of the line starting pitcher.It seems, as normal, that just is not the case.Whether it be dollars, trades or length of contract, Twins fans are seeing the same old FO antics.

The offseason hardly ends after the winter meetings conclude. None of Darvish, Arrieta, Lynn, or Cobb have signed anywhere. When articles are written or noise is made doesn't dictate when guys do deals.

 

It's one thing to be frustrated with moves that were and weren't made after the dust settles, but hand wringing because they didn't follow a perceived timeline is silly.

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#14 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 12:04 PM

 

If the plan is to grow from within while adding a few peripheral pieces here and there, then signing Darvish to a 6/160 deal makes no sense.If people didn't like the way Mauer's contract hamstrung us, signing a 31 year old pitcher to a long term contract isn't going to cure the pulled hammy.

The Twins window of opportunity is for roughly the next four years. If you have to eat the end of Darvish's contract to have him be a big part of that, there's no harm there at all. Anyone complaining about Mauer's contract then or now is flat out wrong. You pay a guy for past results and future projections. Yes, Darvish will probably fade by the end of his contract, but if he bolsters a rotation that competes with the Indians, and into the postseason until Sano and Buxton are nearing 30, you've done right to add him.

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#15 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 02:01 PM

yeah, I'd be OK with Rodney as a second option, but my big concern is the lack of primary options going into early 2018. Yeah, things could break right and Chargois, Curtiss, etc. step forward, but my fear is blowing a few games early on that are critical later in the season.

 

And yes, they really need to get one more above average option in the rotation. That will probably help the pen as much as a solid reliever would.


#16 KirbyDome89

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 02:01 PM

 

I don't believe it's Darvish or bust, but I think they know adding a middle of the road starter isn't going to do much but add to the back end log jam.

Agreed that the need is greater than a mediocre starter. If they're spending FA $ I'd rather see them go after Darvish but Lynn still provides an upgrade.


#17 kellyvance

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 03:31 PM

 

They're essentially paying pennies to watch over Pineda's rehab, and then get a #3 starter for well under value in 2019, that's smart spending. Then, adding a veteran closer on a one-year deal paying just $6m in order to not block any of the arms that should be making appearances doubles down on that.

So many negative comments, but at least someone actually gets it.

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#18 Minfidel

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 04:06 PM

 

The offseason hardly ends after the winter meetings conclude. None of Darvish, Arrieta, Lynn, or Cobb have signed anywhere. When articles are written or noise is made doesn't dictate when guys do deals.

 

It's one thing to be frustrated with moves that were and weren't made after the dust settles, but hand wringing because they didn't follow a perceived timeline is silly.

Agreed. Nobody has traded for Archer or Cole yet, either. There's still time (and room on the roster) for things to happen.

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#19 Major League Ready

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 04:06 PM

 

The Twins window of opportunity is for roughly the next four years. If you have to eat the end of Darvish's contract to have him be a big part of that, there's no harm there at all. Anyone complaining about Mauer's contract then or now is flat out wrong. You pay a guy for past results and future projections. Yes, Darvish will probably fade by the end of his contract, but if he bolsters a rotation that competes with the Indians, and into the postseason until Sano and Buxton are nearing 30, you've done right to add him.

 

Why do people keep insisting that the window will close once Buxton and Sano are past their arbitration years.Why can't we extend one or both,What if Lewis comes up in a couple of years and is better than both of them?Then, we have Buxton and Sano in their prime plus Lewis. 

 

Why can't we have a pleasant surprise or two.Judge was not a top 50 prospect.Why can't Rooker or Thorpe or Graterol and Romero step up big time?The window does not need to close in 4 years. 

Edited by Major Leauge Ready, 15 December 2017 - 04:06 PM.

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#20 Twins33

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 04:13 PM

Why do people keep insisting that the window will close once Buxton and Sano are past their arbitration years.Why can't we extend one or both,What if Lewis comes up in a couple of years and is better than both of them?Then, we have Buxton and Sano in their prime plus Lewis. 
 
Why can't we have a pleasant surprise or two.Judge was not a top 50 prospect.Why can't Rooker or Thorpe or Graterol and Romero step up big time?The window does not need to close in 4 years.

I think people are just trying to think realistically. We don't know where this team will be in one year let alone four. We hope they extend some of the young core, but right now we only talk about them in terms of absolutes. They are FA in 2022 and we can't think otherwise until it happens.

It would be nice to have a surprise player or players, but we can't count on it happening. The window doesn't need to close, and we hope it doesn't, but we can't say it won't either.
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