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Front Page: Wheeler’s Gone, But Bumgarner Would Give the Twins Plenty to Work With

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#1 Patrick Wozniak

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 08:01 AM

With Zack Wheeler signing with the Philadelphia Phillies for $118 million over five years, Minnesota’s interest turns to Madison Bumgarner. Like Wheeler, Bumgarner is now rumored to sign before winter meetings and the Twins are supposedly making a strong push to sign the left-hander.After just watching Wheeler’s market heat up and go beyond what anyone predicted, it seems likely that Bumgarner could end up with a bigger contract than expected, though likely still less than Wheeler. Cole Hamels also signing a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves could help the Twins, as Atlanta seemed to be the favorites to sign Bumgarner, but are now less likely to do so.

Personally, I was in the sign-Wheeler camp, but a recent article by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal has warmed me a bit more on Bumgarner. His number’s pitching outside of San Francisco definitely give me pause, but Rosenthal pointed to some encouraging stats in the 2019 version of Bumgarner.

Bumgarner’s strikeout rate (24.1%) was his highest since 2016 while his walk rate (5.1%) was the lowest since 2015. That’s great, but also encouraging is the fact that his fastball velocity was also the highest it’s been since 2015. Of course, Wes Johnson is known for getting a little extra oomph out of the fastball, so Bumgarner may even be able to add a bit more to the 91.72 mph he averaged in 2019.

However, the most interesting tidbit of the article has to do with the increase in spin rate that Bumgarner’s fastball saw last season. He had the greatest overall increase of all MLB pitchers, going from 2081 to 2405 for a difference of 324 from 2018 to 2019. The next four pitchers on the list, Lucas Giolito, Gerrit Cole, Mike Minor, and Matthew Boyd make for pretty good company. Minnesota’s embrace of analytics and technology may help to further enhance Bumgarner’s pitches.

Of course, Bumgarner is a legend for what he has done in the postseason and his track record in that regard would certainly be attractive to a team like Minnesota, who hope to be contending for the length of Bumgarner’s contract. In addition to his postseason success, Bumgarner also pitched better against “good” teams in 2019 with a 3.68 ERA against the top-18 offenses according to Rosenthal, which would also be welcome.

Now that Wheeler signed, Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu are all that is left of the second-tier of top free agent starters. With Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg seemingly out of the picture (not that they were ever in it), Bumgarner may be the Twins last chance, as Ryu seems unlikely to land in Minnesota. There are more than four teams in need of a front-end starter, so some teams are bound to be left out. If the Twins strikeout on Bumgarner, a trade may be the last hope in significantly improving the rotation.

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#2 bustedstuff88

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 08:34 AM

We went from cautiously hopeful to having our backs up against the wall pretty quickly this offseason.

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#3 sweetmusicviola16

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 08:40 AM

Wheeler was the better get. We were willing to go 5/100 on him. I see madbum going 4/90. We won't get him as my guess is we offer somewhere along the lines of 4/77 based on what we offered Wheeler.

 

We have an org that wants to look good but isn't willing to do what it actually takes to get these kind of pieces. I understand that Wheeler wanted to pitch close to Jersey. But being 18mil apart on the offers isn't even close tbh. We will soon be kicking the tires on Roark and Tehran is what I see.

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#4 SF Twins Fan

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 08:43 AM

Get it done! The dude is a workhorse.

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#5 CharlieDee

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 09:13 AM

This will be the last story I read about someone that we might sign, or that we have interest in. We went through the exact same thing at last seasons trade deadline,and as far as starters go we did absolutely nothing. This looks like a replay as we talk,and talk,and talk some more about how we need starting pitching. While we talk other teams actually go out and get the deals done. I will always love the Twins,but I have NO confidence at all that our front office will sign a meaningful starter. 

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#6 Battle ur tail off

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 09:26 AM

You guys are correct. The Twins are a landing spot for FA's that don't have a ton of interest from anyone else. If we have to bid against someone else, or go above what we deem as fair value for a player, count them out. 

 

Look at it this way. When Bumgarner signs somewhere at least we will get to hear the Twins are "IN" on Strasburg and Cole for a couple weeks before they sign with one of the big boys. LOL

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#7 dbminn

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 09:49 AM

I don't see Bumgarner getting less than 5 years at this point. Too many teams with money chasing a SP. 

 

Angels, Padres, Yankees, White Sox, Dodgers and Nationals are all actively pursuing one of Cole and Strassburg. There will be three losers who will go after MadBum. If the Twins want him, they will need to make a big offer soon.

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#8 bobs

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 09:57 AM

I love Madison Bumgarner.He's an old school starting pitcher.His toughness would be good for other pitchers.HIs numbers away from pitcher-friendly park in SF scare me a little.I'm always cautious with guys coming from NL to AL and I'm nervous about the length it would take to get him.Also, I would just be surprised if a guy of his stature comes to Minnesota.

 

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#9 dex8425

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 09:59 AM

 

I don't see Bumgarner getting less than 5 years at this point. Too many teams with money chasing a SP. 

 

Angels, Padres, Yankees, White Sox, Dodgers and Nationals are all actively pursuing one of Cole and Strassburg. There will be three losers who will go after MadBum. If the Twins want him, they will need to make a big offer soon.

The Reds are going after Madbum as well. And Kuechel. 

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#10 Shaitan

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:05 AM

I haven't read a single "but what about the draft pick" post this year.


#11 Shaitan

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:08 AM

 

Wheeler was the better get. We were willing to go 5/100 on him. I see madbum going 4/90. We won't get him as my guess is we offer somewhere along the lines of 4/77 based on what we offered Wheeler.

 

We have an org that wants to look good but isn't willing to do what it actually takes to get these kind of pieces. I understand that Wheeler wanted to pitch close to Jersey. But being 18mil apart on the offers isn't even close tbh. We will soon be kicking the tires on Roark and Tehran is what I see.

Do you work for the Twins?

 

Otherwise I don't see how you could possibly know both what they offered to Wheeler or have on the table right now. Not to mention their motivation.

 

Anything reported about contract negotiations is based on hearsay or rumors. Unless the reporter literally saw the offer, it should be taken with a grain of salt.

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#12 Cody Pirkl

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:09 AM

The big drawback of MadBum that isn't being discussed enough is his home road splits. He's a legitimate number 1 when pitching at home with a 2.93 ERA and held opponents to a .213 batting average. He had a 1.10 HR/9 at home as well. On the road he pitched to a 5.29 ERA allowing a .286 average and a 1.59 HR/9.

 

San Francisco is easily one of the best places to pitch in the MLB because of the dimensions on that park. The Twins outfield defense is elite with Buxton in CF but I'd be seriously worried about the balls that leave the stadium. 

 

Steamer has him projected for an ERA over 4.50 and I don't think that's an unfair prediction under the assumption he's on a new team in 2020. He's a good pitcher who will be a workhorse. He has an average exit velo in the 14th percentile and hard hit % in the 10th percentile who strikes out less than 9 batters per 9. 

 

In my opinion, giving MadBum $20 million per year for any length would be a panic move and will set you up for disappointment if you're expecting an ace.

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#13 sweetmusicviola16

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:09 AM

There are no less than 12-13 teams in on Keuchel, Bumgarner and Ryu. There are likely a few less in on Cole and Strasburg. 5 guys that a dozen or more teams want and desire. That means the others will get to divide the likes of Wood, Pineda, Tehran, Miley, Porcello and Roark.

 

I can see Falvine at the press conference trying to pass off Porcello as frontline pitching at this point in his career......

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#14 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:17 AM

I'm really hoping Santa puts some Cole in my stocking for Christmas, but that's probably a high hope. MadBum isn't a bad get, just not my first choice. 

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#15 rdehring

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:30 AM

 

The big drawback of MadBum that isn't being discussed enough is his home road splits. He's a legitimate number 1 when pitching at home with a 2.93 ERA and held opponents to a .213 batting average. He had a 1.10 HR/9 at home as well. On the road he pitched to a 5.29 ERA allowing a .286 average and a 1.59 HR/9.

 

San Francisco is easily one of the best places to pitch in the MLB because of the dimensions on that park. The Twins outfield defense is elite with Buxton in CF but I'd be seriously worried about the balls that leave the stadium. 

 

Steamer has him projected for an ERA over 4.50 and I don't think that's an unfair prediction under the assumption he's on a new team in 2020. He's a good pitcher who will be a workhorse. He has an average exit velo in the 14th percentile and hard hit % in the 10th percentile who strikes out less than 9 batters per 9. 

 

In my opinion, giving MadBum $20 million per year for any length would be a panic move and will set you up for disappointment if you're expecting an ace.

When I read your comments TTKiller, I get a bit down and begin hoping that the Twins do not sign Baumgarner.Then when I think of the fact he would be moving from the NL to the AL, I get a real pain in the gut.  

 

But if we don't get either of the big 2, or Wheeler or Baumgarner, who fills out those remaining three spots?Hopefully, they are working now to get Pineda under contract.I could see him picking up where he left off before the suspension.That was good, very good.So who else is there?

 

Are the Twins having discussions with Teams A, B and C about trading for a very good young starter?Discussions that won't get into high gear until the big 4 are gone.Someone with several years control remaining.Someone who could slide into a top 3 spot in the rotation with Berrios and Odorizzi.Then do they roll the dice and sign one of the reclamation projects, someone who once was very good but is now a long shot, someone none of us will be happy with?If he would return to anything close to what he was, great.If not, I have no problem with the 5th starter being the winner of a Thorpe, Smelzer, Dobnak or Graterol battle in spring training.

 

No matter how much money they offer any of these top 5, the fact is there is a good chance we don't get them.After all there are more than 5 teams after these same 5 guys and all are being encouraged to throw tons of money at 'em.And as we learned yesterday, there are many reasons why the Twins are the longest of shots to get some of these guys...maybe all of them.So signing one of these guys may have been Plan B all along.Its just that they have to play it out before moving on to what just may have been Plan A.  

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#16 AceWrigley

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:34 AM

It looks like trading for a starting pitcher or 2 (if that's what the front office is targeting) might be the best route from a value standpoint. What if Jose and Odo end up being the only veteran starters? Is it possible the Twins Brass thinks it can fill out a viable rotation with Dobnak, Smeltzer, Thorpe, Littel, Vallimont, Sammons, Sands, Balazovic if it has to? How about Josh Lindblom who has gone 35-7 over 2 years in Korea and wants to come back to MLB at age 32, worth a look?

 

It's hard to sign a free agent who would rather play somewhere else for whatever reasons regardless of money.

 

Can we resign A.J. Pierzynski again and trade him for some young pitchers?

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#17 Cody Pirkl

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:52 AM

 

When I read your comments TTKiller, I get a bit down and begin hoping that the Twins do not sign Baumgarner.Then when I think of the fact he would be moving from the NL to the AL, I get a real pain in the gut.  

 

But if we don't get either of the big 2, or Wheeler or Baumgarner, who fills out those remaining three spots?Hopefully, they are working now to get Pineda under contract.I could see him picking up where he left off before the suspension.That was good, very good.So who else is there?

 

Are the Twins having discussions with Teams A, B and C about trading for a very good young starter?Discussions that won't get into high gear until the big 4 are gone.Someone with several years control remaining.Someone who could slide into a top 3 spot in the rotation with Berrios and Odorizzi.Then do they roll the dice and sign one of the reclamation projects, someone who once was very good but is now a long shot, someone none of us will be happy with?If he would return to anything close to what he was, great.If not, I have no problem with the 5th starter being the winner of a Thorpe, Smelzer, Dobnak or Graterol battle in spring training.

 

No matter how much money they offer any of these top 5, the fact is there is a good chance we don't get them.After all there are more than 5 teams after these same 5 guys and all are being encouraged to throw tons of money at 'em.And as we learned yesterday, there are many reasons why the Twins are the longest of shots to get some of these guys...maybe all of them.So signing one of these guys may have been Plan B all along.Its just that they have to play it out before moving on to what just may have been Plan A.  

I think Ryu may be the better get than Bumgarner. He's older and can be had on a shorter contract and his overall performance has been better. If we can keep him healthy for 150 innings, he's our ace. I think they could sign him and Pineda back, explore the trade market, sign someone like a Homer Bailey or Wade Miley type as insurance for the innings that those two miss, and still have Dobnak, Smeltzer and Thorpe as backups. A plan like that can be put together and still leave plenty of room in the payroll to explore the positional needs we have. 

 

I don't want the Twins to panic and throw $20 million AAV for 5 years at MadBum and I don't think they will. When somebody else signs him, people are going to be pissed because we missed another target, but he's a great example of a guy that needs to come at the right price. There are so many avenue's the front office can take to successfully fill the rotation. I know why people are skeptical that they will, but they're smart enough to do it. 

 

Also for the record, I could absolutely talk myself into MadBum if we sign him. He would make us better, I just don't think it needs to be MadBum or bust.

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#18 MN_ExPat

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 10:56 AM

Wheeler was the better get. We were willing to go 5/100 on him. I see madbum going 4/90. We won't get him as my guess is we offer somewhere along the lines of 4/77 based on what we offered Wheeler.
 
We have an org that wants to look good but isn't willing to do what it actually takes to get these kind of pieces. I understand that Wheeler wanted to pitch close to Jersey. But being 18mil apart on the offers isn't even close tbh. We will soon be kicking the tires on Roark and Tehran is what I see.


We have to factor Wheeler’s desires and outlook into that though. His wife is from Philly. Had the FO offered the same extra 18, I truly think it wouldn’t have made a difference. Not because “No one” wants to play in MN or because “we” are too cheap, but because these players are human beings with there own wishes and desires often independent of baseball.

Reed signed with MN because in large part of his wife being from the Midwest and MN was close to home for her (and before any one says anything about performance. that point is strictly about choosing a location).

There a a lot of good schools my son could probably pitch at in college, but most of them he doesn’t like or isn’t interested in for various reasons (he’d really like to stay close to home in GA). MLB players aren’t all that different. Unless an organization throws obscene money at them, players are going to follow their own hearts and desires first and foremost.
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#19 whosafraidofluigirussolo

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 11:14 AM

With Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg seemingly out of the picture (not that they were ever in it), Bumgarner may be the Twins last chance, as Ryu seems unlikely to land in Minnesota.

 

Why is Ryu unlikely to land in Minnesota?

 

Not asking because I have a strong conviction otherwise, but curious what your thinking is.

 

There has long been a perception that most Asian-born players prefer to play on the coasts, particularly the west coast, if they have a choice about where to play. Presumably this perception started from real examples of players feeling this way, but it seems like it gets repeated in many different cases and I wonder how true it really is across the board.

 

On the other hand, the Dodgers seem to prioritize retaining their own free agents and to make it happen when they want to, so if they like the match with Ryu then yes, I'd guess that any other team is at a disadvantage.


#20 Splash

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Posted 05 December 2019 - 11:29 AM

If we can’t get any of the top starters and I’m the Twins FO I would resign Pineda, trade for at least a #3 starter, and sign a lesser starter (preferably one with some upside). That rotation should be good enough to get a playoff spot, and we can hope to trade for an ace mid season again.
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