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Article: Best Remaining No-Risk Starters on the Free Agent Market

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#21 JLease

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 09:40 AM

I'm fine with a minor league deal of Bucholtz I guess, but I think we need to move on from Ervin. There's definite baggage there and likely minimal upside at this point.

 

But I think I'd prefer to ride or die with the various pitchers we have then dumpster dive for a veteran. It's not like we don't have experienced pitchers (Gibson, Odorizzi, and Pineda have all been around for a while now, and even Berrios has multiple years in MLB), so unless we sign a guy who improves the top end (my "better than Gibson" plan) I think we're better off finding out if Mejia, Gonsalves, Stewart, or Romero are going to be options as consistent MLB starters for this team. Having three guys in AAA (or 2 + a guy in the 'pen) isn't bad depth, really. And Lewis Thorpe might be knocking on the door this summer too.

 

Mejia's issue is not getting deep enough into games, but we know he can pitch effectively at this level. Working with an opener might be the solution for him to get the team enough innings out of that 5th slot.

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#22 ChrisKnutson

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 09:41 AM

Why not take a chance on Martin Perez?? Whether he remains a starter, or is sent to the bullpen, any lefty that’s capable of throwing 95+ is worthy of being signed.
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#23 sweetmusicviola16

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:01 AM

I was hoping we had turned the page on dumpster diving by now. We have DeJong, Littell, Stewart, Gonsalves, Thorpe and even Duffey who used to be a starter waiting in line behind Mejia should he falter. That's 7 guys right there for 1 spot, no shortage of competition if that's what you're wanting. 

 

I'm with others. Firmly move on from Erv, he was a late season problem so not likely a part of any solutions.

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#24 Nick Nelson

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:03 AM

 

Romero over Mejia - that is where the upside is.These pitchers are just fillers and if we had a weak rotation in Rochester they would be okay, but we have DeJong, Gonsalves, Littell, Thorpe, and Stewart with Grandal coming up quickly - we do not need fillers. 

What if Romero gets hurt in spring training and Mejia doesn't look ready for a starting job after throwing <100 IP and ending last year on the DL? This is a very plausible scenario, and presently it would force the Twins to turn to someone like De Jong, Gonsalves, Littell etc because they have no choice. 

 

Again, this isn't about pushing the young guys aside or robbing them of opportunities. That's why I'm looking exclusively at non-roster deal candidates.

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#25 Nick Nelson

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:21 AM

 

There is always downside.

 

 

Nick,

 

You and I have different opinions on what constitutes no risk. 

What is the risk/downside in signing one or more of these guys to a minors deal? 

 

I'll tell you what's risky: going into camp with only what they currently have. In fact it is inexcusably risky. 

 

 

I was hoping we had turned the page on dumpster diving by now. We have DeJong, Littell, Stewart, Gonsalves, Thorpe and even Duffey who used to be a starter waiting in line behind Mejia should he falter. That's 7 guys right there for 1 spot, no shortage of competition if that's what you're wanting. 

 

I'm with others. Firmly move on from Erv, he was a late season problem so not likely a part of any solutions.

Seven guys with almost zero starting experience between them (or at least almost zero track record of success as a starter). Thorpe and Duffy are not credible contenders for rotation spots. 

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#26 bighat

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:23 AM

 

 

Ervin had some not so professional things to say around the deadline, especially coming from a veteran guy who was hurt the majority of the season. They might not want to saddle Rocco & Co. with any more baggage from the previous year.

In his defense, Ervin basically said that he wanted to win - and was disappointed when the Twins waved the white flag. Baseball players have said and done worse. I always liked a healthy Erv, he was very solid for the Twins. I'd be open to giving him a deal but would understand if the Twins want to move on as well. I like the fact he was brought up in the article, he'll certainly be a steal for someone out there.

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#27 Nick Nelson

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:23 AM

 

Why not take a chance on Martin Perez?? Whether he remains a starter, or is sent to the bullpen, any lefty that’s capable of throwing 95+ is worthy of being signed.
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He was a borderline choice for this list. His age (27) definitely makes him interesting. But I kinda expect him to get an MLB deal somewhere after finishing really strong last year. 

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#28 by jiminy

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:30 AM

I understand the argument for using a down year to audition and improve young pitchers, not block them with one-year veterans who won't be here beyond that anyway.

 

But you usually need 8 to 10 starters by year's end, so I'm not convinced anyone would really be blocked. Several will fail due to injury or ineffectiveness, so it's not either/or.Realistically we need them all.

 

Also, I'm not convinced the Twins should be playing for 2020 yet. Cleveland could suffer some injuries, and the rest of the division is weak enough that the Twins could be competitive.

 

I'm not optimistic about 2019. There is playoff upside on the hitting side. But this team is not a playoff team as currently constructed, because the pitching staff is far, far short of contender level. 

 

So if they have the budget to invest in a few more starter candidates and a few quality relievers, on one-year deals, why not?

 

These are all low risk players, in that they would not require guaranteed salaries past 2019, if that.

 

Would Mejia having to earn a spot (I'm not convinced he has yet), or Romero refining his pitches a bit more before starting his service clock, really be so bad?

 

You have to expect at least two injuries, and at least two guys not pitching well. Do we really want to work your way down to Dejong starting in the majors in 2019?I'd hoped we'd put those years behind us.

 

Personally I'd love to see Buchholz or Miley on the roster, as well as anyone else the scouts think might bust out.


#29 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:35 AM

 

What is the risk/downside in signing one or more of these guys to a minors deal? 

 

I'll tell you what's risky: going into camp with only what they currently have. In fact it is inexcusably risky. 

 

 

 

I suppose to a minors deal I could get behind that. The risk though, is locking up a roster spot for guys that we should be playing such as Romero or Mejia.

 

Truthfully, there's enough AAA depth that I'm not going into camp with what we have is risky. Risk, in my opinion, is not taking advantage of some of the relievers still on the market and ignoring the pen.

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#30 USAFChief

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:35 AM

 

I like Mejia as #5.But rather than using an opener, why not give the bullpen the day off and stack Romero with him.Let Mejia go 4-5 and bring in Romero to close the game with another 4-5.Would keep Romero's innings down to say 130-140 which works with previous year's work loads.

That results in both a 13 man staff and a 7 man bullpen. If you're going to have a 7 man bullpen, I'd prefer the benefits of a 12 man staff and a four man bench.

 

"Stacking" just doesn't work.

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#31 Tom Froemming

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:48 AM

It's pretty funny last year the Twins signed one of these type guys and it ended up being a critical mistake that they replaced him with a much higher profile signing.

 

How different may have things gone if the Twins had kept Anibal Sanchez instead of signing Lance Lynn? Never would have guessed in a million years I'd be asking that question at the time of that signing. I literally laughed why they signed Anibal, who had been pretty much the worst pitcher in baseball for multiple seasons.

 

Obviously those two guys are both at the extreme ends of potential outcomes, but it's an interesting thing to look back upon.

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#32 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:55 AM

 

I like Mejia as #5.But rather than using an opener, why not give the bullpen the day off and stack Romero with him.Let Mejia go 4-5 and bring in Romero to close the game with another 4-5.Would keep Romero's innings down to say 130-140 which works with previous year's work loads.

I completely agree and have suggested this in the past. The logical next step after the opener strategy is a shared rotation position, ideally with a RH and LH pitcher sharing that spot. They can both spot relieve in between starts as mop up guys but prepare as starters. You start the side that is the best match up with your opponent's top half of the order and it gives two guys starting experience. The first goes as long as he is effective and the hope is that you usually get at least 6-7 innings between the two, protect the first from that dreaded third time through the order, and protect your bullpen a little from the classic 5th starter 2 inning start. If we need to pull the first guy in the middle of an inning, we use a middle reliever type to close that inning out and give the second guy a clean slate the next inning.

 

Mejia is perfect from the left side for this role. We can use either Stewart or Romero for the RH part of this platoon, depending on whether Romero becomes a back end relief guy this year. What do you guys think?  

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#33 jkcarew

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:00 AM

No thanks. Bring in quality, or let the young guys have a crack.

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#34 Surelock

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:07 AM

After seeing last fall’s playoffs, the Twins need a #1 & a #2 starting pitcher.Berrios has been our best pitcher, but he was a #3 or #4 on all those teams in last year’s playoffs. 

 

Cleveland is the frontrunner to win the Central again this year.This is how the Twins SP’s compared to Cleveland’s SP in inning/game in 2018.

• Gibsonaveraged 6.13 innings/game  vs  Kluber average 6.61 innings/game
• Berrios average 6 innings/gamevsClevenger average 6.25 innings/game & Bauer average 6.25 innings/game
• Odorizzi average 5.13 innings/game  vs  Carrasco average 6 innings/game

 

Cleveland had 3 pitchers with over 200 innings pitched and the Twins had 2 pitchers with over 190 innings pitched.We all know how Cleveland did in the 2018 playoffs and they realize how far out they are from championship action. 

 

The odds of the Twins relief pitchers failing are very high simply because they will be called on to often for too long.The Twins have a fundamentally sound core of players at the positions and in the batting order, but Twins have a good chance to be out of contention by the 2019 All-Star break.No matter who the relief pitchers are.


#35 ChrisKnutson

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:23 AM

He was a borderline choice for this list. His age (27) definitely makes him interesting. But I kinda expect him to get an MLB deal somewhere after finishing really strong last year.


If you forget his 2018 season, you’d notice that throughout his career, Perez has actually been somewhat durable (when healthy) and effective (especially 2016-17) in one of the more hitter-friendly parks in the entire league. So I have no problem with the Twins taking a chance and signing him to a 1yr ML deal.
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#36 Tomj14

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:38 AM

 

I was hoping we had turned the page on dumpster diving by now. We have DeJong, Littell, Stewart, Gonsalves, Thorpe and even Duffey who used to be a starter waiting in line behind Mejia should he falter. That's 7 guys right there for 1 spot, no shortage of competition if that's what you're wanting. 

 

I would argue that planning on any of the guys you listed is dumpster diving for 2019.

I really HOPE DeJong, Littell, Stewar and Gonzo become reliable major league pitchers in any capacity and I HOPE Thorpe becomes a solid starter in 20 or 21, but planning on it 2019 is well not a real plan.


#37 Nick Nelson

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 12:03 PM

 

If you forget his 2018 season, you’d notice that throughout his career, Perez has actually been somewhat durable (when healthy) and effective (especially 2016-17) in one of the more hitter-friendly parks in the entire league. So I have no problem with the Twins taking a chance and signing him to a 1yr ML deal.

Personally I'd rather just go with Mejia than guarantee Perez a roster spot. He's not a clear enough upgrade to me. Despite the solid velo his K-rates have been terrible. 4.78 FIP over the past three seasons. If you're talking about adding him as a reliever that's another story (though not really germane to this particular thread).

 

 

I would argue that planning on any of the guys you listed is dumpster diving for 2019.

I really HOPE DeJong, Littell, Stewar and Gonzo become reliable major league pitchers in any capacity and I HOPE Thorpe becomes a solid starter in 20 or 21, but planning on it 2019 is well not a real plan.

Exactly. There is value in experience, and having some track record of actual major-league success. Obviously none of the guys I listed are especially attractive right now (thus the "buy-low" concept) but there's more substantive reason to believe in them -- if healthy -- than someone like Littell or De Jong. 

 

If you don't think players like the ones in this article ever turn it around and get back on track, you're just not paying attention. Sanchez last year is as good an example as any. 

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#38 beckmt

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 12:08 PM

I am in favor of using our depth this year to sort out 2020.Twins have about 5 to 7 starters for one spot.Let's find out what we have, still have faith that maybe Stewart will figure it out.

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#39 beckmt

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 12:16 PM

You can pencil in Mejia or any of the other twins extra starters last year for that last spot.We just need to see what we have before we do any signings that will block spots, Perez and Buch are the only two who will interest me at all, and that only if you feel the Pineda is too much of a risk to not have a backup plan. 


#40 Nick Nelson

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 12:23 PM

 

You can pencil in Mejia or any of the other twins extra starters last year for that last spot.We just need to see what we have before we do any signings that will block spots, Perez and Buch are the only two who will interest me at all, and that only if you feel the Pineda is too much of a risk to not have a backup plan. 

They're not blocking spots. That's the whole point! You don't have to remove anyone from the 40-man roster to add them, and you're not beholden to them in any way. The only way one of these guys beats out a Mejia is if they convince you they're clearly better options. 

 

I'm pro-Mejia. I want to see him in that fifth starter role. That's why I don't really want anyone on an MLB deal. But failing to equip yourself with feasible backup options is malpractice. 

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