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Article: Cleveland's Controllable Rotation Presents Blueprint for Twins

jose berrios
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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 12:16 AM

The Cleveland Indians are rolling toward a third straight division title, and once again, they're doing it on the strength of elite starting pitching.

Here's what's scary: Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, the duo that has powered this unit ever since Cleveland's return to relevance in 2014, both remain under control for years to come, and at extremely reasonable rates.

It's safe to say the wizardry performed by Cleveland's front office hasn't gone unnoticed by Derek Falvey. After all, he was part of the group that orchestrated those brilliant contracts.In a letter to season-ticket holders, Falvey used a familiar term when rationalizing the club's deadline fire-sale, referencing a desire to "achieve sustainable championship-caliber baseball." Admittedly, it sounds like the usual jargon of front office types trying to soothe an agitated fanbase amidst tumultuous times, but... Falvey is a bit of an authority on the subject.

He was a key fixture in Cleveland's front office when the Indians struck long-term deals with Kluber (a five-year, $38.5 million extension) and Carrasco (four years, $22 million) on the same weekend in April of 2015. Kluber was four years away from free agency, Carrasco three.

The figures listed above don't fully convey the beauty of these incredibly team-friendly contracts, both of which include a pair of economical team option years.

Although Carrasco's guaranteed term expires after this year, Cleveland can bring him back for $9 million in 2019 and $9.5 million 2020. Given that the 31-year-old is once again performing at an exemplary level, those decisions are looking like no-brainers.

The same is true for Kluber's options in 2020 ($13.5M) and 2021 ($14M). A two-time (so far) Cy Young winner making Ricky Nolasco-type money. Wow.

Granted, the salaries for both players can escalate based on Cy Young finishes, but either way we are talking about unbelievably favorable pacts for the club, which set itself up for inexpensive prolonged control if the starters fulfilled their promise (as they have), with escape valves if things went awry.

In retrospect, these contracts almost seem too good to be true. But they speak to the powerful value of long-term security for a young and somewhat unestablished major-league pitcher. It's not like Kluber or Carrasco were leveraged all that much; the former was coming off a Cy Young season in 2014, and the latter had broken out with a 2.55 ERA in 134 frames.

But when you've earned relatively little, and you know you're one elbow pinch away from everything changing, the prospect of many millions in guaranteed money can be very alluring.

Which brings us back to Mr. Falvey, and his current position overseeing baseball operations for the Minnesota Twins. He now finds himself with another rising frontline arm in Jose Berrios.

Like Cleveland, Minnesota faces finite payroll constraints. Maintaining a reasonable price tag on core pieces like Berrios is critical in the "sustainable championship-caliber baseball" framework, and it's why those savvy extensions for Kluber and Carrasco are such critical ingredients in Cleveland's ongoing supremacy.

Berrios is under team control for four more seasons after this one. The Twins have almost no hope of a striking deal with him quite as favorable as those of Kluber and Carrasco ā€“ both late bloomers who followed winding paths to stardom. Berrios is a 24-year-old All-Star with an impeccable record of health; needless to say, it'll be tougher to impress upon him the downside of holding steady and betting on himself.

But that downside exists. He and his agent both know it. No one is invincible. With free agency still so far away, the Twins have enough leverage to work out a mutually beneficial deal that locks up Berrios into his 30s while still giving the team some protection.

I really like the makeup of those Kluber/Carrasco contracts ā€“ the team option years are fairly cheap but in both cases can be increased up to $4 million by Cy Young finishes, bringing them closer to market value. So in a way, the pitchers still were able to bet on themselves, and remain highly incentivized to keep improving.

I don't believe Berrios needs that incentive. But, knowing what I know about him, I think he'd embrace it.

Whatever the terms, Minnesota would be very wise to make an extension for Berrios their No.1 priority for the offseason. Obviously, that'll mean loosening their stance after they reportedly tried and came short last winter.

But a rotation building block is worth his weight in gold. No one needs to tell Derek Falvey that.

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#2 mikelink45

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 05:40 AM

Nicely done.That is why we should bring up Romero and Gonsalves now.Let's see the rotation building blocks and determine who else should be put in place for this kind of plan.I think we have the people in the minors now if they do not get injured.No more FA fillers.Build a platform for success. 

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#3 KGB

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 06:14 AM

It would be great to lock in a good rotation.Last year I believe that was the hope with the young lineup.If I remember correctly, the front office said they had contract discussions with 5 of the players but nobody signed.I wonder if the FO is low-balling the offers or if the players now feel it better to bet on themselves and not sign these types of contracts.


#4 rdehring

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 06:15 AM

Thanks, Nick, nice presentation of what the Twins need to get done.

 

Do they also extend Gibson this winter?Or is it too late?

 

 


#5 jimmer

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 06:19 AM

Then they have Bauer and Salazar for at least two more seasons and Clevinger for four more seasons.

Edited by jimmer, 09 August 2018 - 06:22 AM.

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#6 FormerMinnasotan

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 08:05 AM

With all the money coming off the books it would be wise to extend Berrios before he becomes too expensive to resign. I think an 8 yr $120 million contract ($15 mill per season). That would secure Berrios long term at a reasonable yearly rate.
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#7 Nick Nelson

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 08:27 AM

 

Do they also extend Gibson this winter?Or is it too late?

It's a great question. I thought about touching on that here but it's not really the same discussion. I wonder what kind of extension would make sense for both sides. Probably deserving of its own article. 

 

 

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#8 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 08:54 AM

 

It's a great question. I thought about touching on that here but it's not really the same discussion. I wonder what kind of extension would make sense for both sides. Probably deserving of its own article. 

I think a four year extension is reasonable. Gibson is not young and tossing $60m at him in guaranteed money might do the trick.

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#9 TheLeviathan

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:03 AM

4/60M is exactly what I was about to suggest.I don't love that contract as a Twins fan/pretend FO guy....but I'd do it.

 

Frankly, I'd do it because there is no possible way I see this team spending all it's available resources on free agents the next 4 years.I'd go ahead and offer that this offseason.(With one caveat...if your trade discussions lead you to believe you might have opportunities this offseason for a deal.But I'm guessing you'd have already pulled that trigger if you did)

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#10 TheLeviathan

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:04 AM

Also, I wouldn't be opposed to offering Berrios something along the lines of 6/80M.(Maybe you have to go a bit higher?)This kid's make-up and talent are worth investing in IMO.

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#11 Mike Sixel

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:16 AM

I find it fascinating that so many would never draft a pitcher in round 1, because of injury concerns, but would commit 6-8 years on a contract to one. It seems like a disconnect. Of course, I don't agree on not drafting one early, so I'm probably more inclined to take the risk.

 

I think it's also harder to sign Berrios than the two CLE pitchers because he already got a good bonus, not a great bonus, but a good one. Elite players are signing less and less contracts, if they are the kind that got paid at signing, because they see what happened to some of their peers. 

 

Me?

I flip flop on signing Berrios to a deal, and only because of injuries. That said, I'd offer him 6-8 years, and see what happens. There is real value in certainty (or as close as baseball can come), and he's a legit very good to great pitcher.

 

Gibson?

Hmmmm......I'd offer a 4 year deal, meaning a 3 year extension. I don't think it happens, though. If I'm him, I want to be a FA in a year, unless the TWins really go big.

One of the best opening day rosters in years. Now go get 'em.


#12 Nick Nelson

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 09:19 AM

 

Also, I wouldn't be opposed to offering Berrios something along the lines of 6/80M.(Maybe you have to go a bit higher?)This kid's make-up and talent are worth investing in IMO.

I'm not sure you'd have to go that high because his earning potential over the next couple seasons is so limited. He's not even arb eligible until 2020.

 

Would a structure like this make sense? Maybe the last couple years are team options, a la Kluber/Carrasco?

2019: $1.5M (he'd be making 500k otherwise)

2020: $5.5M

2021: $9M

2022: $12M

2023: $14M

2024: $16M

2025: $16M

 

That's 7 years, $74 million and seems pretty reasonable to me, especially if there are incentives that can boost his earnings based on performance.

 

I wonder if the uncertainty of the free agent market would make a young player and his agent more open to something like this, too.

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#13 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 10:26 AM

Last offseason, tried to figure out what an extension might look like for Berrios using similar pitchers. 

 

http://twinsdaily.co...extension-r6173

 

It was 

 

2018 - $0.75M

2019 - $1.00M

2020 - $3.25M

2021 - $5.00M

2022 - $8.00M

2023 - $12.0M

2024 - $14.0M

2025 - $16.0M (option)

 

Obviously the 2018 comes off of this, but it would then be a 6 year, $45M or a 7 year, $60M if the option was picked up. 

 

After an All Star season, probably have to bump up about $5-6 million for the arb years by waiting. and another million a year for those three free agent years... So, I think you could add $10 million to my deal from last year.


#14 Seth Stohs

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 10:35 AM

As for Gibson, I think there are a number of things to consider:

 

1.) He should make about $9-10 million next year in Arbtration.

2.) If he becomes a free agent (after pitching well again next year), he'd probably be in line for a 3-4 year deal in this new world of free agency. Probably at $14-16 million a year (think Alex Cobb range). 

3.) It'd be nice to sign him to a 3 year deal this offseason, buying out two years of free agency, but he should want another year or two added to that because he would get those year if he actually did become a free agent.

4.) If he doesnt pitch well next year, he would likely be a one or two year guy at something like $15 million total, so him becoming a free agent is him betting on himself.

 

So,, I think I'd look to do something like:

 

2019: $10 M

2020: $12 M

2021: $14 M

2022: $14 M

 

Four years, $50 million. 

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#15 alarp33

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 10:59 AM

 

As for Gibson, I think there are a number of things to consider:

 

1.) He should make about $9-10 million next year in Arbtration.

2.) If he becomes a free agent (after pitching well again next year), he'd probably be in line for a 3-4 year deal in this new world of free agency. Probably at $14-16 million a year (think Alex Cobb range). 

3.) It'd be nice to sign him to a 3 year deal this offseason, buying out two years of free agency, but he should want another year or two added to that because he would get those year if he actually did become a free agent.

4.) If he doesnt pitch well next year, he would likely be a one or two year guy at something like $15 million total, so him becoming a free agent is him betting on himself.

 

So,, I think I'd look to do something like:

 

2019: $10 M

2020: $12 M

2021: $14 M

2022: $14 M

 

Four years, $50 million. 

 

I don't dispute your numbers, but the Twins would be crazy to offer him this today. Saving maybe a couple million a year in '20-22 but taking on all the risk he turns into another Phil Hughes? No thanks

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"The game has changed since I've entered, it's for bright, energetic negotiators moreso than anything I possess." - Terry Ryan 2007


#16 KirbyDome89

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 11:04 AM

 

As for Gibson, I think there are a number of things to consider:

 

1.) He should make about $9-10 million next year in Arbtration.

2.) If he becomes a free agent (after pitching well again next year), he'd probably be in line for a 3-4 year deal in this new world of free agency. Probably at $14-16 million a year (think Alex Cobb range). 

3.) It'd be nice to sign him to a 3 year deal this offseason, buying out two years of free agency, but he should want another year or two added to that because he would get those year if he actually did become a free agent.

4.) If he doesnt pitch well next year, he would likely be a one or two year guy at something like $15 million total, so him becoming a free agent is him betting on himself.

 

So,, I think I'd look to do something like:

 

2019: $10 M

2020: $12 M

2021: $14 M

2022: $14 M

 

Four years, $50 million. 

I'd let him bet on himself, then bite the bullet and sign him back as a FA if that's where it ends up. Spend some of that "financial flexibility," to audition Gibson for another year before committing to him on a long term deal. 


#17 Tom Froemming

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 11:11 AM

The most I'd probably give Gibson is 3-years, $35 million. Assuming the qualifying offer isn't going anywhere (which may not be a safe assumption to make), the Twins can control Gibby for the next two seasons at something like $27 million. After that, he'll be heading into his age 33 season.

 

I'd much rather see any extra money potentially headed Gibson's way be directed toward adding a year or two of control to the younger guys, much like what Cleveland did with Kluber, Carrasco and Jose Ramirez.

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#18 Nick Nelson

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 11:40 AM

 

The most I'd probably give Gibson is 3-years, $35 million. Assuming the qualifying offer isn't going anywhere (which may not be a safe assumption to make), the Twins can control Gibby for the next two seasons at something like $27 million. After that, he'll be heading into his age 33 season.

 

I'd much rather see any extra money potentially headed Gibson's way be directed toward adding a year or two of control to the younger guys, much like what Cleveland did with Kluber, Carrasco and Jose Ramirez.

I'm on board with this. As long as the QO sticks around, the Twins will be in solid position. 


#19 spycake

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 11:58 AM

The most I'd probably give Gibson is 3-years, $35 million. Assuming the qualifying offer isn't going anywhere (which may not be a safe assumption to make), the Twins can control Gibby for the next two seasons at something like $27 million. After that, he'll be heading into his age 33 season.


The current CBA runs through 2021, so I think it is safe to assume the qualifying offer should still be around after 2019.
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#20 Krusington

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 12:18 PM

I must be the only person terrified by the thought of Berrios being our number one starting pitcher for years to come...




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