Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Photo

Front Page: Offseason Underway: Twins Make Flurry of Moves

jake odorizzi martin perez nelson cruz stephen gonsalves kohl stewart
  • Please log in to reply
83 replies to this topic

#1 Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson

    Owner

  • Owner
  • 3,910 posts

Posted 04 November 2019 - 06:52 PM

The Minnesota Twins' offseason officially kicked off on Monday, with the club announcing several significant roster moves.

Nelson Cruz will be back, Martin Perez will not (at least not on the same contract), and Jake Odorizzi faces a tough decision. Meanwhile, another key instructor was extracted by another (dreaded) team, and a pair of former top pitching prospects exited the organization.

Read on for more detail on each of these developments as the Hot Stove begins to spark.NELSON CRUZ 2020 OPTION ACTIVATED

This barely qualifies as news. Activating the ultra-reasonable $12 million club option on Cruz was a total no-brainer, and the club's intention had already been announced via media reports. Nevertheless, it's now official: Boomstick is back.



MARTIN PEREZ 2020 OPTION DECLINED

Around the middle of May, the decision to activate Perez's team option in 2020 looked about as obvious Cruz's does now. Through his first eight starts he put up a 2.17 ERA, pairing a standout cutter with eye-catching fastball velocity, but it was all downhill from there. He posted a 6.17 ERA the rest of the way and was left off the ALDS roster.

The Twins are exercising a $500,000 buyout on the southpaw's $7.5 million option for next year, so he'll enter free agency.

I wouldn't rule out the possibility of Perez coming back on a one-year deal as a reliever (lefty batters hit just .228/.291/.294 against him this year), but the Twins clearly need to aim higher for the rotation.

QUALIFYING OFFER EXTENDED TO JAKE ODORIZZI

Coming off a breakthrough season, Odorizzi is poised to hit the open market, but the Twins now have an inside track on retaining him. By making him one of 10 free agents to receive a qualifying offer, the Twins have placed the ball in Odorizzi's court – he can either accept a one-year deal worth $17.8 million, or reject it and negotiate with other teams. Should he sign elsewhere, Minnesota will receive valuable draft pick compensation. Should he find the market underwhelming with this stipulation, the Twins gain leverage as the only team that won't lose a pick by signing him. Carl Pavano's 2010-11 offseason exemplifies such a scenario.

It really could go either way with Odorizzi. On the one hand, $17.8 million is a lot of money (especially for a guy who's made around $20 million total in his MLB career), and accepting the QO would enable him to hit free agency unencumbered next winter. On the other hand, he's coming off an All-Star season, and he's still under 30. This might be his best chance to shop himself and score a career-making payday. If his market isn't hot, I assume the Twins would be amenable to a longer deal that makes sense for both sides (we suggested three years, $36 million in the Offseason Handbook). Either outcome puts the team in a favorable position. Odorizzi has 10 days to decide.

Michael Pineda was not extended a qualifying offer, so he'll head to free agency with no hindrance other than the 39-game ban carrying over from this year.

STEPHEN GONSALVES CLAIMED BY METS

Minnesota tried to sneak the lanky left-handed pitching prospect through waivers, but weren't so lucky. Though his entire 2019 season was basically washed out by elbow issues, Gonsalves – Twins Daily's No. 4 prospect as recently as spring of 2018 – has a 2.50 ERA and 9.6 K/9 rate in the minors. He showed some intriguing signs during an altogether inconspicuous MLB debut last year. It's a bummer to lose him for nothing.



But it's also not a shocking or controversial call by the front office. The elbow issues are concerning and likely to linger. Even beyond that, there have always been questions about the viability of his middling fastball against big-league hitters. Turning 26 next season, he isn't young by prospect standards.

There's certainly a chance the Twins could live to regret this, but they can mitigate that risk by aggressively pursuing high-caliber arms to replace Gonsalves and his enduring promise.

KOHL STEWART OUTRIGHTED, ELECTS FREE AGENCY

And there goes one of the most painful busts in franchise history. Drafted with the No. 4 overall pick in 2013, at a time where the Twins desperately needed a transcendent pitcher to reverse their sagging fortunes, Stewart never developed into anything more than a mediocre sinkerballer, incapable of missing bats or consistently throwing strikes anywhere above rookie ball. He departs Minnesota with a 4.79 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 62 big-league innings.

Stewart isn't totally hopeless. He's still only 25 and a very good athlete. His outstanding ability to induce grounders is a building-block skill. Maybe a change of scenery will turn him around but the Twins could no longer justify giving him a 40-man spot.

CATCHING COORDINATOR POACHED BY YANKEES

Amidst this flurry of roster maneuvering, it was a non-player personnel move that hit me hardest today. Per Zone Coverage's Brandon Warne, Twins catching coordinator Tanner Swanson is leaving the club to join the Yankees (UGH) as Major League Catching and Quality Control Coach.



I've always heard good things about Swanson. My appreciation for him grew upon reading Parker's excellent spring training feature on his efforts to refine Mitch Garver's receiving technique, only to be crystallized as I saw those efforts pay off magnificently during the summer. Swanson is the real deal, and another tough loss in a young offseason that has already seen Minnesota lose hitting coach James Rowson and minor-league hitting coordinator Pete Fatse.

If there's any silver lining to be found in this scavenging by rivals, it's that having baseball powerhouses like Boston and New York hiring out of your ranks says a lot about your eye for talent. The Twins' newly reassembled baseball ops unit is becoming a hotbed, and that's about the highest praise you could give Derek Falvey as he enters his third year on the job.

(Speaking of which, let's us all just breathe a sigh of relief that Minnesota has evidently missed the biggest potential bullet: I wondered openly if the Red Sox would come calling on Falvey to replace fired GM Dave Dombrowski – turns out they did, and he said no.)

How are you feeling about this smattering of moves to kick off Twins' offseason? Anything you'd have done differently? Sound off in the comments.

And now an odd request from the Twins Daily community: if you found this page via Facebook, can you please add a comment telling us from which Facebook Page you followed it? It's getting quite a bit of traffic, and we would love to know who is sharing it. Thanks.

Click here to view the article
  • ashbury, glunn, Blake and 4 others like this

#2 Mike Sixel

Mike Sixel

    Now living in Oregon

  • Member
  • 30,796 posts

Posted 04 November 2019 - 07:01 PM

Not sure I get the Gonsalves move......this team has 1 starting pitcher on the MLB roster, two if you count Dobnak.......

  • glunn, Lonestar, Sconnie and 2 others like this

It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#3 Nick Nelson

Nick Nelson

    Owner

  • Owner
  • 3,910 posts

Posted 04 November 2019 - 07:07 PM

 

Not sure I get the Gonsalves move......this team has 1 starting pitcher on the MLB roster, two if you count Dobnak.......

It does seem strange. Suggests to me they don't have a lot of confidence in his elbow to rebound. I heard his velocity has been down too.

  • Steve Lein, glunn, Blake and 10 others like this

#4 Mike Sixel

Mike Sixel

    Now living in Oregon

  • Member
  • 30,796 posts

Posted 04 November 2019 - 07:15 PM

 

It does seem strange. Suggests to me they don't have a lot of confidence in his elbow to rebound. I heard his velocity has been down too.

 

I was never high on him......perfect trade candidate all along, imo. Oh well. This FO better be better than the last one at drafting pitchers.....

  • peterb18, Oldgoat_MN, SF Twins Fan and 4 others like this

It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#5 gman

gman

    Cedar Rapids Kernels

  • Member
  • 232 posts

Posted 04 November 2019 - 07:18 PM

There might be a few left, but thus pretty much slams the door on 30 years of drafting and pitching development by Terry Ryan and crew.

  • peterb18, notoriousgod71, mikelink45 and 1 other like this

#6 LewFordLives

LewFordLives

    Member

  • Member
  • 114 posts

Posted 04 November 2019 - 07:30 PM

Yeah, very odd move with Gonsalves. This is a team that is going to need starting pitching depth and he is not that far removed from being a top 5 prospect. I had not read anything to indicate that his arm issues were a long term problem, but of course we don't hear the full story.
  • peterb18, Sconnie and DocBauer like this

#7 twins_89

twins_89

    Ft Myers Miracle

  • Member
  • 392 posts

Posted 04 November 2019 - 07:43 PM

Gonsalves is the only move I somewhat question, everything else seemed like obvious moves to make. Hopefully the Twins are confident that they have a good plan for Gonsalves 40 man spot.

  • LA VIkes Fan likes this

#8 old nurse

old nurse

    Member

  • Member
  • 3,831 posts

Posted 04 November 2019 - 08:12 PM

 

There might be a few left, but thus pretty much slams the door on 30 years of drafting and pitching development by Terry Ryan and crew.

Thorpe, Romero, Graterol, Balzovic, Colina, Jax, Stashak, Wells, Poppen,Vazquez, a few 18-20 year old pitchers who were international signings at 16 Moran was sent to the AFL, they haven't given up on him. Hildenberger hasn't been released.There are plenty others in the system, likely not going to make it to the majors, but still a chance. Lujan and Acosta were promoted this year. Some of these might be released later, but it is still a chunk.

  • birdwatcher, gagu, bighat and 1 other like this

#9 LewFordLives

LewFordLives

    Member

  • Member
  • 114 posts

Posted 04 November 2019 - 09:00 PM

I would be shocked if Odorizzi accepts the QO. He's been around long enough to know this may have been a career season and might be his one and only chance to cash in. I do think 3 years $36 million is on the low end. There's a lot of teams looking for pitching.
  • beckmt, LA VIkes Fan and bighat like this

#10 mikelink45

mikelink45

    Junior Member

  • Member
  • 2,702 posts

Posted 04 November 2019 - 09:01 PM

I used to call for Gonsalves to be promoted, but as he was exposed over the last two years my enthusiasm disappeared.At 26 he has not shown me anything that calls this move into question. Graterol, Balozovic, Duran are all ahead of him now.We have Smeltzer, Dobnak, Littell, Alcala, Stashak, Thorpe on the 40 man and Enlow, Colina, Sands, and Vallimont in the minors.  

I do not think Gonsalves had a chance and he did not deserve it.My question is about Romero, Harper, Hildenberger - have I missed announcements about them? 

  • Aerodeliria and lurker like this

#11 PseudoSABR

PseudoSABR

    Pitch-to-contact poster

  • Twins News Team
  • 5,562 posts

Posted 04 November 2019 - 10:27 PM

A couple years ago, I had hoped Gonsalves would turn into a Kevin Slowey, a guy with great minor league numbers who showed promise, if not lived up to, at the MLB level.  

 

That the Twins cut bait with him and his co-draftee Stewart gave me dismay, but wasn't surprising.The new regime has worked with these guys for three years; I believe they understand the limits of each's talent.  

 

With as much 40-man room and dollars the Twins have, I anticipate a lot of out-of-the-box pitcher acquisitions.We'll acquire pitchers through FA, waiver, rule-5, trade, indy league, etc., and while none (or few) will be household names, I like that the Twins aren't letting sunk cost get in the way of making roster space/taking risks/being bold.

  • birdwatcher, 70charger, LA VIkes Fan and 6 others like this

#12 DocBauer

DocBauer

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 5,774 posts

Posted 04 November 2019 - 11:14 PM

My thoughts, line by line:

1] Perez is a no-brainer at this point. I don't know if he just lost what he had, or the league figured him out. If he is just willing to do what others have done before, and embrace the idea of converting to the pen to extend his career and make $, then I could see him back on a low level deal. But unless someone else thinks they can really make a change his days as a ML SP are done, and history should show this.

2] Odorizzi will now be back, barring some crazy surprise. There is talk about how the QO really is a win-win for the team. I'd argue that to some degree. Odorizzi has stated he'd like to come back. He either makes a TON of money, close to what he has made in his career to this point, and then becomes a FA next season, OR, negotiates an extended offer with the Twins. I think win-win for both sides and he's back.

3] Gonsalves and Stewart are only slightly surprising. It's time for Stewart to move on and see if a change of scenery could make him a decent RP somewhere.

A healthy 2019, I don't think Gonsalves is gone. But there are only so many spots to fill, and 2019 IS a factor at this point. I ALWAYS thought he would take an extra year than most wanted but turn out to be a nice "pitcher" who would fill a 4-5 slot but could have the light turn on and maybe be a solid #3 after a couple of years. Best of luck!

4] Losing Swanson hurts equally as much as Rowson, IMO. He was brought in with the forward thinking FO not only for defensive work, but he brought in a whole different philosophy in regard to little things like catchers having batting practice before defensive drills while they were still fresh.

He brought innovation. Sure hoping they have someone else in mj d already to take his place.
  • LA VIkes Fan, mikelink45, gagu and 3 others like this
"Nice catch Hayes...don't ever f*****g do it again."

--Lou Brown


#13 diehardtwinsfan

diehardtwinsfan

    G.O.A.T.

  • Moderator
  • 14,617 posts
  • Locationthe charred ruins of BYTO

Posted 05 November 2019 - 06:32 AM

 

I would be shocked if Odorizzi accepts the QO. He's been around long enough to know this may have been a career season and might be his one and only chance to cash in. I do think 3 years $36 million is on the low end. There's a lot of teams looking for pitching.

 

He's also been around long enough to know that may mean sitting out most of next season... I do think a long term deal makes sense, so hopefully it doesn't come to that. 


#14 USAFChief

USAFChief

    Bad puns. That's how eye roll.

  • Moderator
  • 25,350 posts
  • LocationTucson

Posted 05 November 2019 - 07:40 AM

Gonsalves and Stewart are examples 1,000,000,000 and 1,000,000,001 why you never, ever resist trading "prospects" for established major league players.

 

I acknowledge there are most likely dozens of examples in those 1,000,000,001 where you'd end up regretting the move.

  • Mike Sixel, Twins33, mikelink45 and 6 others like this

Cutting my carbs...with a pizza slicer.


#15 wabene

wabene

    Wahoo

  • Member
  • 1,059 posts
  • LocationDuluth

Posted 05 November 2019 - 08:04 AM

A couple years ago, I had hoped Gonsalves would turn into a Kevin Slowey, a guy with great minor league numbers who showed promise, if not lived up to, at the MLB level.  
 
That the Twins cut bait with him and his co-draftee Stewart gave me dismay, but wasn't surprising.The new regime has worked with these guys for three years; I believe they understand the limits of each's talent.  
 
With as much 40-man room and dollars the Twins have, I anticipate a lot of out-of-the-box pitcher acquisitions.We'll acquire pitchers through FA, waiver, rule-5, trade, indy league, etc., and while none (or few) will be household names, I like that the Twins aren't letting sunk cost get in the way of making roster space/taking risks/being bold.

Part of what makes it fun following this team now is the decisive maneuvering. Cutting bait with guys and not hanging on. I look at the 40 man and I don't see more than a couple of guys that have had their chances and they might not make the opener either. I also expect a variety of acquisitions during an off season worth watching.
  • 70charger and In My La-Z-boy like this

#16 Major League Ready

Major League Ready

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 1,932 posts

Posted 05 November 2019 - 08:46 AM

 

Gonsalves and Stewart are examples 1,000,000,000 and 1,000,000,001 why you never, ever resist trading "prospects" for established major league players.

 

I acknowledge there are most likely dozens of examples in those 1,000,000,001 where you'd end up regretting the move.

 

Lower revenue teams have never agreed with your position and over the past decade all teams are clearly putting more value on prospects. What do you know that the GMs don’t?

 

 

  • SwainZag likes this

#17 spycake

spycake

    Senior Member

  • Member
  • 16,962 posts

Posted 05 November 2019 - 09:18 AM

 

Lower revenue teams have never agreed with your position

"Never" is a mighty strong word (both you saying lower revenue teams have never agreed, and Chief for saying never resist trading prospects), but the Brewers have made these deals (Sabathia, Greinke, and now Yelich). The Royals obviously had a few famous examples (Shields and Cueto). Discussed recently, and it didn't work out quite the way Oakland hoped at the time, but their Samardzija moves were a net positive. The White Sox side of the Samardzija trade wasn't so good, but they did well with Peavy a few years earlier. Toronto did well in the Donaldson deal, although less good (but far from crippling) in their Price rental. Detroit did very well in the Cabrera trade, plus all right in deals for Sanchez, Price, and even Upton.

Edited by spycake, 05 November 2019 - 09:50 AM.


#18 JLease

JLease

    Pensacola Blue Wahoos

  • Member
  • 629 posts

Posted 05 November 2019 - 09:46 AM

I was surprised at Gonsalves getting dropped, but the more I think about it, the less surprised I am. 2019 was a lost year and there were some really worrisome indicators in 2018, despite some good results. The jump in BBs in 2018 was a bad sign and his loss of control exploded when he got a taste in MLB. If the velocity is down, coming back off an injury year, at age 25 (not 26), with control problems, and the elbow is where the problem is...he's not looking like a great bet. He's looking like a AAAA player whose chance to be more is getting wiped out by injury.

 

I held out a lot of hope on Kohl Stewart; I thought with his ability to keep the ball in the park and avoid hard contact, he might be a useful back of the rotation guy, but he just couldn't finish off batters. I still think there's room in this league for guys who don't rack up huge K totals, but you have to be able to get some, and Stewart just doesn't get enough. The other thing is, if you're going to give up contact you can't also hand out the free passes. It's too many base runners to survive, even if you can get a bunch of DPs. The WHIP for Stewart tells the story, i think; he never got it under 1.3 in any level past A-ball. he's a bust and another red flag on the dangers of taking a HS pitcher too high.

 

I'm a big no on Perez coming back. Teams figured out the cutter once they got enough tape on it, and while the ability to throw a bunch of innings is in fact a skill, the twins should aim higher, even for a LH specialist, because for as good as he was against lefties, he got smoked against righties and I don't want to waste a spot on a LOOGY

  • 70charger and mikelink45 like this

#19 redstorm

redstorm

    Cedar Rapids Kernels

  • Member
  • 100 posts

Posted 05 November 2019 - 10:14 AM

 

I was surprised at Gonsalves getting dropped, but the more I think about it, the less surprised I am. 2019 was a lost year and there were some really worrisome indicators in 2018, despite some good results. The jump in BBs in 2018 was a bad sign and his loss of control exploded when he got a taste in MLB. If the velocity is down, coming back off an injury year, at age 25 (not 26), with control problems, and the elbow is where the problem is...he's not looking like a great bet. He's looking like a AAAA player whose chance to be more is getting wiped out by injury.

 

I held out a lot of hope on Kohl Stewart; I thought with his ability to keep the ball in the park and avoid hard contact, he might be a useful back of the rotation guy, but he just couldn't finish off batters. I still think there's room in this league for guys who don't rack up huge K totals, but you have to be able to get some, and Stewart just doesn't get enough. The other thing is, if you're going to give up contact you can't also hand out the free passes. It's too many base runners to survive, even if you can get a bunch of DPs. The WHIP for Stewart tells the story, i think; he never got it under 1.3 in any level past A-ball. he's a bust and another red flag on the dangers of taking a HS pitcher too high.

 

I'm a big no on Perez coming back. Teams figured out the cutter once they got enough tape on it, and while the ability to throw a bunch of innings is in fact a skill, the twins should aim higher, even for a LH specialist, because for as good as he was against lefties, he got smoked against righties and I don't want to waste a spot on a LOOGY

 

To further prove your last point:

 

With the new three-batter minimum rule starting in 2020, there may not be LOOGY's on any teams next year. It will be incumbent on all lefty relievers to be able to get right-handed hitters out too.

  • birdwatcher and bighat like this

#20 Mike Sixel

Mike Sixel

    Now living in Oregon

  • Member
  • 30,796 posts

Posted 05 November 2019 - 10:58 AM

Lower revenue teams have never agreed with your position and over the past decade all teams are clearly putting more value on prospects. What do you know that the GMs don’t?


Milwaukee says hi.
  • Battle ur tail off likes this

It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 




Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: jake odorizzi, martin perez, nelson cruz, stephen gonsalves, kohl stewart