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FA's Arrieta or Lynn the only two choices

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#1 DocBauer

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 09:57 PM

I'm tired of talking about and reading about Darvish. Aren't you? And we're not going to talk about him except to make the singular point that is a really nice pitcher and the best pitcher available in the market this year. But he's gone. He's a Cub. We will probably never know the full contract term offered by the Twins, and there is no way Darvish or his reps will ever reveal how serious they considered the Twins regardless.

And it's a moot point now gang. The Twins need a starting pitcher of quality. I'm not saying #1 or ACE because they don't grow on trees and aren't usually available except in certain circumstances. The FO recently made a statement in regard to making a trade for a high quality SP option and commented about weakening a spot on your team to make such a trade not being very appealing. Having read the entire context of the article featuring those comments, it was NEVER stated the Twins would not make such a trade. Rather, it was a rather general comment about how slow the FA market is, that the trade market is even slower, and then the comment was made concerning the idea of trading players of your own. There was no refusal to do so, and the comment didn't even appear to be Twins specific, only a general comment.

Now, the Twins system is deep and in good shape. In fact, it could be argued they may have too many good young players to protect and add to the 40 man next season. Especially considering the overall youth of the parent club. And if the trade market is truly moving even slower than the FA market, and we're witnessing depressed value in said FA market, then doesn't it make the most sense to forfeit a 3rd pick in the upcoming draft, keep the roster and system intact, for NOW at least, and STILL improve the rotation?

I sat down and just looked a little harder and longer at the available options. We all know the names: Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb. From my point of view, I have immediately eliminated Cobb. No disrespect to him, but he's the same age as Lynn, has never started more than 29 games, 2017, and his previous high was 27, and never pitched more than 179.1 innings, also in 2017. While his 2017 is notable, to be sure, it almost appears 2017 was a possible aberration. (Speculation to be sure).

Let's look at Arrieta and Lynn the past 4 season's using some base numbers: (Lynn missed all of 2016 to surgery)


Arrieta:

SEASON ERA IP AVG WHIP BB/SO BB/9 SO/9

2014 2.53 156.2 .203 .99 41/167 2.36 9.59
2015 1.77 229 .185 .86 48/236 1.89 9.28
2016 3.10 197.1 .194 1.08 76/190 3.47 8.67
2017 3.53 168.1 .235 1.22 55/163 2.94 8.71


Lynn:

SEASON ERA IP AVG WHIP BB/SO BB/9 SO/9

2013 3.97 201.2 .252 1.31 76/198 3.39 8.84
2014 2.74 203.2 .238 1.26 72/181 3.18 8.00
2015 3.03 175.1 .258 1.37 68/167 3.49 8.57
2017 3.43 186.1 .223 1.23 78/153 3.77 7.39

Going to be honest, I had to look at Arrieta's numbers a couple times to make sure they were right. Despite a seemingly mediocre 2017, his numbers actually look pretty nice. His ERA was certainly up, (And I get and fully appreciate the ERA quandry/debate), along with a rather substantial rise in opponents BA, (But still a very good .235), but his BB and SO were slightly better in 2017 vs 2016. Is he really toast?

Lynn's numbers certainly can't match Arrieta, overall, the past 4 full season's played. But they are good numbers. Twice He has exceeded 200IP, and had 186 in his first season back from surgery. I will not be flippant about TJ surgery, but recent history has shown many pitchers performing even better their second season back, with better control/feel, and sometimes increased velocity post surgery. Both Arrieta and Lynn have post season experience, Lynn more-so. Lynn is a year younger, though neither are ancient by any stretch. In fact, they are the same age, or a year younger than the aforementioned Darvish.

I will not dismiss either FA option, however, IMO, considering age, previous production, experience, post-surgery bump in expectation, I feel Lynn is the guy the Twins should be targeting. Unless the remaining FA crop decides to bite on 1 year deals to "prove themselves", I feel Lynn should be available on a 3 year deal, possibly 4, at somewhere between $14-17 per. Is he a #1? Nope. Is he Darvish? Nope. But he is affordable. He is quality. With Berrios improving and a healthy Santana, that is still a pretty solid 1-3 with quality defense, offense and improved bullpen for support.

If you're a Cobb fan, I get it. (Especially with AL experience). If you're an Arrieta, bounce back candidate fan, I get it. I just feel Lynn is the right choice here.

What do you all think?
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#2 TheLeviathan

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 10:15 PM

I prefer Cobb, he's actually demonstrated success in the AL and that matters a lot if I'm signing free agent pitchers.

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#3 spycake

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 10:21 PM

Lavelle Neal said there is zero percent chance of the Twins signing Arrieta, for whatever that's worth. Maybe that means it is likely. :)
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#4 hugelycat

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 10:31 PM

Thanks for putting this together. Always fun to read well thought arguments like this.:) 

All three have risks. My heart says Arrieta, but my head says Lynn. I think Arrieta has the highest upside, but if he busts, you're saddled with the worst contract, and he's no sure thing. You'd have to be sure he isn't declining to go after him.

I think Lynn has the best combination of upside and contract. His peripherals were not great in 2017 (lower K rate / higher BB rate), but he still threw 186 innings after coming back from TJ surgery. He has been very good in the past and can continue to be very good. As long as the Twins are happy with his health, I would try to sign him.

Cobb is intriguing, but I don't like his low K rate (6.42 K/9 last year). Not a lot of room for error if you aren't striking guys out. That and his durability concerns would keep me away - unless, of course, you can get a great contract.

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#5 PseudoSABR

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 11:14 PM

Why not offer Arrieta better-than Darvish opt-out numbers, say 2/45? I worry Lynn and Cobb are this years Hughes and Nolasco, pitchers with track records but an injury history and lack of dominance that suggests regression towards the mean could anchor the value far below what will be paid.  

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#6 Dantes929

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 11:30 PM

 

Why not offer Arrieta better-than Darvish opt-out numbers, say 2/45? I worry Lynn and Cobb are this years Hughes and Nolasco, pitchers with track records but an injury history and lack of dominance that suggests regression towards the mean could anchor the value far below what will be paid.  

Cobb and Lynn are not Hughes and Nolasco. Hughes with New York had a 4.52 ERA with no particularly great season. Nolaasco had a 4.32 ERA and it was NL.  Lynn is NL also but with a career ERA of 3.38.Only injury I know of was in 2016 arm surgery which would scare me off except he came back strong with a 3.43 ERA in 2017.  Cobb also had 2015 arm surgery and came back strong after a slow start in 2017. In his last 24 starts 16 were quality.His injury history besides that is blood clot and a concussion which is why he hasn't gotten the big inning season but shouldn't ring any chronic injury bells.. Cobb would be my choice. He had a solid return season without his signature pitch. If that is what we get then that is a good solid middle rotation guy but he has upside also. It is said the changeups are the last pitch to come back after surgery and if Cobb can get the feel for the splitter change he could jump to front line and be a steal.  I would be fine with Lynn as well..   

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#7 Deduno Abides

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 12:19 AM

The free agent pitcher who has the best contact and swinging strike data is probably John Lackey, who also may be the cheapest. The worst data probably belong to Alex Cobb.

Jake Arrieta has seen a lot of his pitch quality statistics get much worse over the last few years.

Lance Lynn probably had the best soft/hard contact data, but the worst K/BB ratio.

Of them, if you can get Lackey on a cheap one-year deal, I’d do that, then seek to upgrade at the trade deadline, even if that means eating half of Lackey’s salary.

The 2019 rotation is going to look much different. Berrios, Pineda, Gonsalves, Romero, plus one. The “plus one” will hopefully be at the front of the list. Lynn, Arrieta, Garcia, Cobb will not be at the front of the list and in fact could be at #4 or so, so it wouldn’t be a good idea to lock in. Save the gunpowder for bigger game.

Edited by Deduno Abides, 15 February 2018 - 12:20 AM.

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#8 RaoulDuke

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 12:32 AM

My preference is Lynn, the coming over from the NL thing scares me (Nolasco) but he should benefit from our outfield defense the most.

 

Cobb has succeeded in the toughest division but the lack of Ks is worrisome.

 

Arrietta would be the obvious choice if he wasn't tied to Boras and seeking a ridiculous contract.

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#9 terrydactyls1947

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 12:33 AM

Sign both Cobb and Lynn and then move to an outfielder.
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#10 Sconnie

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 02:49 AM

Cobb and Lynn are not Hughes and Nolasco. Hughes with New York had a 4.52 ERA with no particularly great season. Nolaasco had a 4.32 ERA and it was NL. Lynn is NL also but with a career ERA of 3.38. Only injury I know of was in 2016 arm surgery which would scare me off except he came back strong with a 3.43 ERA in 2017. Cobb also had 2015 arm surgery and came back strong after a slow start in 2017. In his last 24 starts 16 were quality. His injury history besides that is blood clot and a concussion which is why he hasn't gotten the big inning season but shouldn't ring any chronic injury bells.. Cobb would be my choice. He had a solid return season without his signature pitch. If that is what we get then that is a good solid middle rotation guy but he has upside also. It is said the changeups are the last pitch to come back after surgery and if Cobb can get the feel for the splitter change he could jump to front line and be a steal. I would be fine with Lynn as well..

if you look at K/9 BB/9 and FIP Nolasco and Hughes are good comps to Cobb and close on Lynn. Lynn’s K rate looks to be inflated by pitchers, accounting for which would bring him to be comparable to Hughes and Nolasco.

Hughes original deal was actually pretty good. If he were signed for 3 years and let walk we wouldn’t have this bitter taste in our mouths about a guy who’s a 4th starter and got 4th starter money and now we all move on with our lives.

Nolasco before coming to the Twins was an NL pitcher and had his stats padded by pitching to pitchers too, but the guy got his 4th starter money and provided 5th or 6th starter value.

Lynn and Cobb shouldn’t be made out for more than they are just because they are the 3rd and 4th best starters available. It’s a cruddy crop past Darvish.

My pref would be 1 year make good on Arrieta who could bounce back from a down year(or be in a death spiral) or sign a starter the tier below Cobb and Lynn who probably is not much of a step down and won’t require a 3-4 year deal.

#11 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 06:31 AM

My choice is Lynn personally. Control is the last thing to return from TJS. My assumption is that the spike in walk rate in 2017 was due to that. Lynn has had a better career than Cobb too. I take Lynn every time.

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#12 Dantes929

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 07:49 AM

 

My choice is Lynn personally. Control is the last thing to return from TJS. My assumption is that the spike in walk rate in 2017 was due to that. Lynn has had a better career than Cobb too. I take Lynn every time.

I would say their careers are rather similar.Career ERA 3.5 in the AL East vs 3.38 in the NL. 

 

if you look at K/9 BB/9 and FIP Nolasco and Hughes are good comps to Cobb and close on Lynn. Lynn’s K rate looks to be inflated by pitchers, accounting for which would bring him to be comparable to Hughes and Nolasco.

Hughes original deal was actually pretty good. If he were signed for 3 years and let walk we wouldn’t have this bitter taste in our mouths about a guy who’s a 4th starter and got 4th starter money and now we all move on with our lives.

Nolasco before coming to the Twins was an NL pitcher and had his stats padded by pitching to pitchers too, but the guy got his 4th starter money and provided 5th or 6th starter value.

Lynn and Cobb shouldn’t be made out for more than they are just because they are the 3rd and 4th best starters available. It’s a cruddy crop past Darvish.

My pref would be 1 year make good on Arrieta who could bounce back from a down year(or be in a death spiral) or sign a starter the tier below Cobb and Lynn who probably is not much of a step down and won’t require a 3-4 year deal.

I don't think I discount advance stats but strikeout rates and FIP are just not created equal. Cobb ismore than a full run better than Nolacso in his career and done it against better offenses.Itsnot SSS.

Not all pitchers who have the same stuff are created equal. I have a friend who tried out for a college team and was cut because he didn't throw hard enough or strike enough people out.He instead had an amateur career with about a 95% win rate against the same kind of pitchers he lost out to in college. He did it by being smart and living on the corners with pin point control. Cobb and Nolasco might have similar stuff but that does not make them similar pitchers.Cobb and Lynn do not have similar stuff but they are similar pitchers.

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#13 lukeduke1980

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:18 AM

I think either pitcher would be a nice addition, however I think our front office thinks of themselves as 'value' guys who were hired to spend money wisely.I don't know if that's realistic in order to bring above average starting pitching in the door. 

 

To me, you have to take a risk and overspend if you want a guy you'd feel confident in putting on the mound for a wild card play in against the Yankees.Right now we have an 'Ace' who turned into a crumbling pumpkin in the play-in game. 

 

Arrieta has had pretty good postseason numbers the last 2 years, including dominating the Indians in the World Series.I'd role the dice with him but its not my 150 million.


#14 olivia11

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:23 AM

I have zero interest in Arrieta.I'm happy with either Cobb or Lynn.I think Lynn makes a ton of sense.But I also think that if the Twins go with Cobb it means that the Twins' metrics plus Josh Kalk's scouting report (hired from Rays) both suggest Cobb will be the better pitcher.With all the Twins interest in (ex-)Rays pitchers, the Kalk signing seems really smart.  

 

After getting either Cobb or Lynn, I would also sign Jaime García to a one-year deal.He'll be cheap and the Twins could really use a reliable lefty.Plus, if he's bad, it's a low-risk, one-year deal and they can trade or release him.

 

2018 Opening Day:

Berríos

Lynn/Cobb

García

Gibson

Mejía

 

2018 (once Santana's back): 
Berríos

Lynn/Cobb

Santana

García

Gibson/Mejía/May

 

AAA Depth: Gonsalves, Romero, Littell, Slegers, Jorge 

 

 

 

 

Edited by olivia11, 15 February 2018 - 09:04 AM.

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#15 Twins33

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 08:38 AM

Never thought I'd be saying this, but I'd rather have Arrieta if the choice is between these two. His MPH drop scares me, but he still seems like the better choice.
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#16 kab21

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 09:08 AM

You take Arrieta if you think last year's stats are a blip and he will 'regress' back to a midpoint between last year and his career norms. You take Cobb/Lynn if you think last year's stats are a blip (due to TJ) and that their advanced stats will support last year's ERA stats.

Arrieta's velocity drop and everything else really scares me. Even if he was available at 3/72, I think I would pass. Cobb's swstr% is ridiculously low and gives me some significant concern about his K's rising. 

Lance Lynn is the most promising imo but you are banking on him continuing to defy the ERA vs FIP gods for a lengthy contract. This is a difficult bet to take if it is a >4/60M contract.

Is 2016 2017 2018 the year that a good pitching prospect is truly blocked by 5 good pitchers in the starting rotation? 

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#17 gunnarthor

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 09:17 AM

Looking at some of the recent big pitching contracts that have happened, it's hard to predict who will be a disaster and who will work out ok. But a few things are generally pluses. First, if you have a history of being good, you'll probably remain good (until you suck). But the second big issue was durability. Pitchers who can throw innings, year after year, are a safer bet than those who didn't. The third main plus was age - the younger, the better.

 

So I would think Lynn is the safest bet of all these guys. He's not an ace but he could be another Ervin Santana type. A guy who, in his best seasons, could be an all-star.

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#18 markos

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 10:01 AM

 

Looking at some of the recent big pitching contracts that have happened, it's hard to predict who will be a disaster and who will work out ok. But a few things are generally pluses. First, if you have a history of being good, you'll probably remain good (until you suck). But the second big issue was durability. Pitchers who can throw innings, year after year, are a safer bet than those who didn't. The third main plus was age - the younger, the better.

 

So I would think Lynn is the safest bet of all these guys. He's not an ace but he could be another Ervin Santana type. A guy who, in his best seasons, could be an all-star.

I agree. Obviously price matters, but I think Lynn is the best option. Digging into his numbers, it is interesting that though his ERA was worse in the first half, his BB and K peripherals were much better in the first half - basically at his career average. It certainly isn't surprising that he would wear down after a year rehabbing TJS. 

 

Regarding Cobb, it is probably worth pointing out that Baseball-Reference calculated that TB had the second easiest pitching environment in all of baseball (including national league teams). Their method looks at strength of opponents, defense and ballpark factors. While I have some specific issues with their methodology, it can't be completely discounted. When thinking about Cobb (or Archer for that matter), it is probably worth factoring in that the AL East was actually pretty mediocre offensively last season.

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#19 big dog

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 10:08 AM

I want one of Lynn or Cobb, that's my first choice, second, and third choice.I'd prefer Lynn but that's based on very little info, including never seeing either one pitch.

 

I don't ever want to feel like I need to cheer for John Lackey.But that's just me.

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#20 bcs4

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 10:11 AM

I don't think Santana will be ready to pitch in May, and when he is, I'm afraid he'll be over 4 for the year. If that's true, they're not likely to keep the team ERA close to where it was, even if the relievers drop their ERAs by .5. The only pitcher on the staff that I see helping keep the numbers close to what they were last year is Gibson. I wouldn't bet on him for anything. I think his problems are mental, and that's hard to fix.

 

Even with a healthy Santana, the Twins are a marginal team. I doubt they'd win a wild card this year because I don't think the top teams are going to win as many games as they did last year. They need a pretty substantial drop in ERA to improve much.

 

The other thing is that some of these guys are going to get hurt. I think we need 2 good pitchers to be competitive. For what they were offering Darvish, they should be fairly close to getting both Lynn and Cobb unless other teams run up prices because it's a pretty weak year for SP FAs.

 

The Twins won't do it, but they need both. They won't compete unless they come up with substantially more than what they've got.