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Article: The Discard Pile

jonathan schoop cj cron blake parker martin perez
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#21 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 08:08 AM

My main worry is that FA's block young players who have been working hard to make it on the Twins' roster someday. Then the FO signs Perez. What does that say to Gonsalves and Mejia and Thorpe? It says, none of you are good enough so we signed this guy Perez, whose minor league numbers were not as good as yours, and whosemajor league numbers are well below average. Part of the psyche of the 3 young lefty hopefuls will be saying: "I'll show you and even though I am trying as hard as I thought was humanly possible,it must not be enough so I'll try harder" and part of their psyche will be saying: "This is not fair to me nor to my minor league brothers and I can't wait to get out of this organization and go to an organization that has faith in me as a player and gives me a fair chance". Where is the loyalty on behalf of the FO? Am I being naive to think that building a championship major league team can begin in the minor leagues with a core of winners who progress together to the Twins major league team? 

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#22 Doomtints

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 08:10 AM

A team that won't spend money can't do multiple 1-year deals. The money problem never goes away, but those players do, all while blocking the cheap players they could have been developing.

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#23 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 08:24 AM

Nick, Your Discard Pile was a very well thought out article and makes many good points. I like the fact that you are a "glass half-full" guy..... My mom used to read "The Pokey Little Puppy" to me when I was a little fellow. He was always lagging behind. That story may have caused me be a Senators/Twins fan for all my life.I wonder if she had read "The Little Red Hen" to me more, would I have become a Yankees' fan?.

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#24 shimrod

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 08:26 AM

Deadline trade fodder. Indicates that team management does not expect to win. How do you keep that expectation from filtering down to the players? I'm pretty sure you can't. 

 

I don't think you can build a winner without trying to, you know, win. 

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#25 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 08:29 AM

 

In my now cynical and less hopeful eyes, I think it says they don’t think this core will do it so they are adding just ‘hoping for some lightning’ players to fill the roster. Until the next wave comes through. Same old story. And what does it say to this core? If I’m this core I’m going to do as well as I can, biding my time until I can get out from under such a winning mentality. (In case anyone didn’t catch it, my winning mentality comment was sarcasm.) If Im this year’s core I’m thinking that’s one huge Sisyphusian goal they’ve been given.

This FO has built a team that might be barely competitive ... competitive, not winning ... in the AL central, and the AL central only ... and that’s if all the ifs come together. Remember how excited we were last year? Yeah, fool me once ...

While I’ve been very vocal about signing Machado, because I felt that could be done without breaking the bank, I also felt it could be done while gathering a few other GOOD pieces through FA and/or trade. I mean, even the best of the RP, we could have signed one or two of those as well and still kept to a similar budget as last year. With their budget last year, which they did fine with ... by fine, I mean, did they lose money last year? No? Even with such poor play, they managed? Hmmm. They have had opportunity this year to add really good pieces to the in-house talent that wouldn’t break the bank, that would have kept them in the realm of last year’s spending, that wouldn’t have put them over the top in the realms of Boston, LA, New York spending, that could have garnered a team that would have been competitive in all of the AL and NL. Instead we have eked out one huge possibly, keep your fingers crossed, maybe, if we get lightning in a bottle, super budget team that in all probability puts us in .500 range.

Count me in the hugely disappointed, hugely uninspired, this is going to be a very long season camp. I guess our new window is when Lewis and Kirilloff get here. Same old story.



And I’m hoping that my outlook is very wrong.

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#26 Major League Ready

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 08:35 AM

If all of you who insist the best path to winning for a mid-market team is through trading prospects for established players or spending on"higher-end" free agents.There should be several examples of teams that have executed this strategy. Show us the examples.It should be easy. If there are not an ample number of examples, you are insisting your conclusion is far better than the "geniuses" based on youropinion without an supporting evidence. In other words, your opinion is an assumption, not a conclusion reasoned from results (data).

 

Let's make the parameters clear.

1) Teams that provide by far the best data for this exercise are teams with similar or less revenue than the Twins.

2) An established player that is a difference maker has had at least one season of 3 WAR or better.

3)If we are establishing the merit of different strategies, we can't simply count any player acquired through trade. Players acquired as minor league players or before becoming established is the opposite of what is being promoted here. The fact is that there are far more players contributing to successful teams similar to the Twins in revenue that were acquired before becoming establish MLB players.

4) What exactly is a higher-end free agent is hard to quantify but it's not Jed Lowry at 3/24. That too is the opposite of what is being promoted here. I would define higher-end (difference maker)MLB free agents as those who sign for more than $50M or RPs @ 8M AAV but there is certainly room for interpretation.

5) We are interested in how the players who produced were acquired not the roster in general. It makes no sense to count roster spots when the core point is the most productive players.

 

Let's see the examples of 90+ win teams with equivalent or less revenue built on the practices being promoted here. Then, let's compare that list to the list of similar teams where there are no such examples or where players acquired in this way had a modest degree of impact on overall success.

 

What if your assumptions are not supported by history. Could it be you are insisting on practices that all of the other similar teams have determined are poor practices. I don't care for the Perez trade either but that's not all that relevant to relative merit of a mid market team building through free agency and trading key prospects. The notion we are going to trade excess mid level prospects for difference makers is incredibly naive.

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#27 Major League Ready

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 08:46 AM

I would not be fair of me to ask for examples of teams where trades for established players and high end free agent acquisition were big contributors without offering an example of teams who's success had little or nothing to do with this type of acquisition. In other words, teams that have proven that the opposite of what is being promoted here is the best path to success.

 

Atlanta had 4 position players at 3 WAR or higher but they had Inciarte at 2.9 so I will include him.

Freddie Freeman - 5.2 WAR – Drafted by the A’s with the 78th pick.
Ozzie Albies- 3.8 WAR - Signed as an Int free agent for $350K.
Ronald Acuna - 3.7 WAR - Signed as an Int free agent for $350K.
Johan Camargo - 3.3 WAR – Signed as an Int free agent for $42K.
Ender Inciarte - 2.9 WAR – Acquired by trading away a proven middle of the rotation SP (Miller) The braves also got a top 10 prospect in Danby Swanson. In other words, the exact opposite approach being supported by many here.

The Brave’s position players are a result of good drafting and International signings. None of the International draftees were particularly high profile. The total expenditure for all three was just under $500K

 

They had 1 good SP and two decent SPs. Their best SP (Mike Foltynewicz) was acquired by trading away an established player (Gattis) when Foltynewicz had not yet established himself at the MLB level. He finally stepped up in 2018. Their 2nd best SP was Sanchez who the Twins cut. He was not great and certainly is not the type of difference maker acquisition being called for here. The other Sp to log decent innings was Sean Newcomb who the A’s traded Andrelton Simmons to acquire. Again the opposite practice being called for here by many.

 

The Braves roster was built trading away established talent for prospects or MLB players that have never deliver a 3 WAR season. There are no big $ free agents or high $ International signings. None.

 

I will be happy to offer another if someone can give an example of a successful team with similar financial resource that utilized the practices suggested here. I am not even sure if you could fund an example of any team with similar revenue that trade away top 50 prospects after a season under 500.

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#28 TheLeviathan

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 08:53 AM

The FA signings have been (justifiably) hammered a lot, but little mention has been made of this:

 

Why not make freaking trade?There are guys available for a song (like Sonny Gray, Zack Grienke, etc.) that could help this team and you'd get tremendous value.  

 

The lack of spending exists in several aspects.Ultimately, I'm just disappointed they haven't added more to this core with the resources and options available.As the data shows, good teams build through a variety of avenues.It'd be nice if we were exploring more of them than the "Who will sign a one year deal with us at a below market price?"

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#29 dbminn

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 08:54 AM

It hasn't been all bad. I like the Cruz deal and Schoop may turn out to be a smart move. They both give the team a better chance of winning in 2019 without trading prospects.  

 

What bothers me is the lack of a plan for 2019-2021 for pitching. I'd feel better if they had signed one of the young FA SP. Same for RP - I'm still irritated by the Pressly trade, and now they passed on all of the FA. 

 

There's still time. I'd be happy if they made extension offers to Gibson, Rogers and May. They could trade for a young starter or reliever who is under control for several years. I'm not optimistic the FO will act - but I hope I'm wrong. 

 

There are a lot of great prospects in the system. I'd rather have them enter the majors with an established core already on the team than wait until 2023 for everything to come together. 

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#30 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 09:02 AM

This offseason can best be summarized as “the sum adds up to less than the parts”.

Individually, many (if not all) of these moves are fine but without a legit arm to go alongside Cruz’s legit bat, consider me underwhelmed (and more than a little pissed off, to be frank about it). Scrounging for deals is great and I commend a mid market front office for doing it... but if that’s ALL you do and come in way under budget doing it... no. Just no.
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#31 Sconnie

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 09:08 AM

 

I would not be fair of me to ask for examples of teams where trades for established players and high end free agent acquisition were big contributors without offering an example of teams who's success had little or nothing to do with this type of acquisition. In other words, teams that have proven that the opposite of what is being promoted here is the best path to success.

 

Atlanta had 4 position players at 3 WAR or higher but they had Inciarte at 2.9 so I will include him.

Freddie Freeman - 5.2 WAR – Drafted by the A’s with the 78th pick.
Ozzie Albies- 3.8 WAR - Signed as an Int free agent for $350K.
Ronald Acuna - 3.7 WAR - Signed as an Int free agent for $350K.
Johan Camargo - 3.3 WAR – Signed as an Int free agent for $42K.
Ender Inciarte - 2.9 WAR – Acquired by trading away a proven middle of the rotation SP (Miller) The braves also got a top 10 prospect in Danby Swanson. In other words, the exact opposite approach being supported by many here.

The Brave’s position players are a result of good drafting and International signings. None of the International draftees were particularly high profile. The total expenditure for all three was just under $500K

 

They had 1 good SP and two decent SPs. Their best SP (Mike Foltynewicz) was acquired by trading away an established player (Gattis) when Foltynewicz had not yet established himself at the MLB level. He finally stepped up in 2018. Their 2nd best SP was Sanchez who the Twins cut. He was not great and certainly is not the type of difference maker acquisition being called for here. The other Sp to log decent innings was Sean Newcomb who the A’s traded Andrelton Simmons to acquire. Again the opposite practice being called for here by many.

 

The Braves roster was built trading away established talent for prospects or MLB players that have never deliver a 3 WAR season. There are no big $ free agents or high $ International signings. None.

 

I will be happy to offer another if someone can give an example of a successful team with similar financial resource that utilized the practices suggested here. I am not even sure if you could fund an example of any team with similar revenue that trade away top 50 prospects after a season under 500.

the Braves blew it up in 2014 and rebounded 4 years later. The Twins never blew it up, this rebuild has already been going for 8 years. Does it need to go 13? 20?

 

The Braves aren't a bad model, but it's too late to go that route now. The franchise would be ruined. 

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#32 Major League Ready

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 09:09 AM

I am sure the Brewers will be mentioned as an example and their two most important players were acquired by trade and free agency. They are an example of trades/FA working but a weird one. They only had 2 pitchers over 2 WAR and one was a RP. He was drafted. The only SP with 2+WAR was Chacin and he is the type of signing being hated on here.They only had four 2WAR+ position players of which Yehlich and Cane led the way. It yielded 96 wins last year but I am not sure how. 

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#33 ewen21

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 09:10 AM

I am going to be somewhat of a dissenter here.

 

I am not disappointed in Falvey and Levine all that much because I don't think all that much of them or the Twins right nowI can totally see why they are using this strategy because the young players that were so often bragged about are now in their mid 20s and have not really distinguished themselves as major leaguers.These were the guys they were planning on building around and these young players: Sano, Buxton, Kepler, etc....just have not been as advertised (bragged about).

 

We really need to get over it and move on from "XYZ propsect has a ________ ceiling" or "his numbers at this stage of his career are the same as Torii Hunter's so we need to believe he can do the same thing"

 

It is high time we treat prospects as assets and that we stop getting so attached to them.This team is where it is because these alleged blue chip guys aren't "all that" as it turns out.Now we have our new coach making personal visits just to see where their heads are at.I am far more concerned about where the culture is than I am with the FA market.Sorry.THat FA market isn't going to save us AND if the culture here doesn't change we are going to be able to do much better than what we did last winter and this winter for a long LONG time.  

 

The young players not living up to the hype (I did not create the hype, nor did I buy into it) is what the problem is right now.If they approached anything resembling where the pundits said they'd be by now I am certain our GMs would be more aggressive in the FA market.I, quite frankly, don't see it as a smart strategy to outbid the market just to sign a name guy.Not unless the team is going someplace. 


#34 kab21

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 09:11 AM

 

The future of this team is the Lewis-Kirilloff-Berrios core with the hope that prospects from the set of Rooker, Gordon, Romero, Thorpe, Gonsalves, Enlow, Larnach, Jeffers, Arraez amongst others can play strong supporting roles. Then hope that at least a couple of the previous highly touted group Sano, Buxton, Kepler, Polanco can join Rosario to fill out that team. Make a smart trade here and there, find a gem in Rule 5, add a hustle guy like WIllians Astudillio and that is the team you hope has a chance.

 

If those prospects were selected well and we get some good luckwith the other players, then we have a chance to put together a competitive team.If they were not selected well and/or we have some bad luck, then it might be a continuation of the same. 

 

But, we are not going to build a team on these discards.That is what you wait for once you get your group of prospects established to fill holes.Using historical Twins, guys like Chili Davis, Carl Willis, Juan Berengar, Shane Mack, and Brian Harper.  

If your plan is to wait until a core of prospects all come up together to make any significant moves then the Twins will be bad for a very long time. 

I like value shopping as much as anyone. Sometimes is works and sometimes it is Morales/Lynn but but that doesn't mean the Twins can never identify a player that they really want and choose to overpay. All avenues should be looked at for player acquisition and just because the Twins are merely a mid market team that doesn't mean that they should ignore making big moves. And the Twins should definitely stop operating like a small market team from the 80s and 90s regardless of the results of 2 of those teams.

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#35 Major League Ready

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 09:17 AM

 

the Braves blew it up in 2014 and rebounded 4 years later. The Twins never blew it up, this rebuild has already been going for 8 years. Does it need to go 13? 20?

 

The Braves aren't a bad model, but it's too late to go that route now. The franchise would be ruined. 

 

The fact that the Twins have not succeeded is not in question, not even a little. However, that failure has absolutely nothing to do with best practices or what strategies they should follow going forward. This argument drives me out of my mind. Following less productive strategies because they have failed to execute good strategies is the definition of incompetence.

 

The fact that it is faster would only be relevant if it had an equivalent or even close to equivalent chance of working. There is a reason the entire league is emphasizing drafting and development. There are reasons why you constantly hear team X is interested in player Y but won't part with top prospects. There are reasons why long-term contracts, especially for 30 or 30+ players are being avoided. To ignore all of the trends because we want gratification now is horribly ill-conceived strategy.

 

 

Edited by Major League Ready, 21 January 2019 - 10:01 AM.

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#36 CBtwinsfan

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 09:19 AM

To me the Twins are between a rock and a hard place with their roster.What happens if Buxton, Sano, Berrios, or even Kepler lives up to their potential.Buxton hits for a 290 average with his usual defense, Sano hits over 40 bombs and has a 270 batting average, Berrios wins 20 games with over 200 strike outs and Kepler hits 30 bombs with at 270 batting average.You spend 20 plus million dollars over 7 years on someone like Manny Machado and what do you do with our own if the switch flips and they produce like everyone thinks they should.Unfortunately the Twins are not able to have the payroll of the the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers have and would have to get rid of a couple of them.What happens if Gibson all of a sudden figures it out and wins 20 games.its all possible and it could all happen next year if the stars align.The problem is the Twins have too many young players with high ceilings, and high ceilings means big payroll in the near future and Falvey and Levine have to keep that in mind when they put this years roster together.

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#37 birddog

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 09:25 AM

I did not expect Twins would be major factors in the free agent market. Machado and Harper never even crossed my mind, but I did expect Twins would be active in the trade market. Quite a while ago a post about a trade with the Diamondbacks for Goldschmidt (and possibly Grienke) had me excited that may be the case.

 

When I saw the other teams interested in Goldy, I knew it would never happen here since we value our prospects-who-never-pan-out way too much to trade them for established players even though we have the money to do it. No Goldschmidt? No problem. Cron will be just as good and we can use the money saved on other washed up rejects. I love baseball, and I love my Twins and this is what makes the path of this regime so repulsing. Buxton/Sano--Buckno!--not panning out so let's just wait for the next wave of prospects-the-Twins-won't-develop-into-stars.

 

Normally this time of year I am so excited for the Twins to report to spring training I can hardly stand it. This year, nothing but apathy.


#38 Nick Nelson

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 09:36 AM

 

But, we are not going to build a team on these discards.That is what you wait for once you get your group of prospects established to fill holes.Using historical Twins, guys like Chili Davis, Carl Willis, Juan Berengar, Shane Mack, and Brian Harper.  

Here's my problem with the "Wait until the right moment and push your chips in" stance: Nobody knows when that right moment will be. 

 

The Twins won 71 games in 1986. They won 74 in 1990. 

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#39 Twodogs

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 09:48 AM

The Twins realistically are in the same position as they were last year. There was a ton of hope going into last season that they had the pieces to win the Central, not necessarily to win the WS but to be able to make the playoffs. Now had they been in the hunt, who knows what they would have brought on board at the deadline to push them over the top, we will only know if they can get there this year. There is no reason why with everything that went wrong last year that some of that could go right this year. No matter how much everyone says they know that this guy will be the difference maker they just don't know. Remember Yu Darvish? Pretty sure almost everyone on here thought they knew that he was the difference last year, but how'd he do? As bad a Lynn was to begin with he still out produced Darvish. Nonetheless, if some of Buxton, Sano, Kepler, Polanco, Rosario etc... Go on and do even just a little better this year then the Twins could be in the thick of it come July and August and that's when they should overspend for a Greinke, Baumgarner, something to put them over the top. Right now, in my opinion all they really needed to add were pieces to the bullpen so they have a better shot at pulling out those close wins?? But otherwise I feel overall they are probably better with their signings than what they were last year? Schoop I think will be better than Dozier was last year, Cruz will be better than Morrison, and Cron and Mauer will be a wash, Mauer prob had a little more production but loses out when he has to miss long stretches because his brain was acting up. So all in all, if the core does just a little better I believe the new version of FA's are better than the 2018 version?

JMO, still Perez is a little curious, when I think they just need to add to the Bullpen until the deadline?

Now if they go out and overspend right now and that core doesn't produce, just like last year, they they overspent for nothing, the core has to produce before you go and add those 1 or 2 giant pieces.

Edited by Twodogs, 21 January 2019 - 09:51 AM.

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#40 Riverbrian

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Posted 21 January 2019 - 09:50 AM

I don’t care who they sign or where they come from. My only focus is how they perform and are deployed.

If the Twins try to get 150 innings out of Martin Perez with a 4.80 ERA. Then I will take issue.

My concerns are strictly fundamental at this point. 25 players on the roster who are all given the opportunity to compete for playing time and whoever performs the best gets the playing time.

I simply won’t suffer through another year like last year where under performers get to walk past the lineup card without checking It because they going to be playing.

I don’t care where they come from scrap heap or 200 million dollar free agents or straight from Ft. Myers.

So the front office can sign who they want. Roll the dice how they want to roll it. I’ll simply be watching the playing time allocation afterwards and that’s when I’ll applaud or complain.
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