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Front Page: Twins Front Office Testing Fate in Waiting

minnesota twins zack wheeler josh donaldson derek falvey thad levine
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#1 Ted Schwerzler

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 01:00 PM

Make no mistake, as good as the Twins front office has been, they are absolute wordsmiths. Having walked back their original plan this offseason, they are now facing a situation where they could be shut out of necessary roster additions. With only final touches remaining, it’s time to get serious about stepping up.Dan Hayes wrote a story on Tuesday at The Athletic that focused on the acquisitions of Rich Hill and Homer Bailey. The former is a top-notch arm that struggles to stay healthy, and the latter represents a solid addition to the floor of the starting rotation. What neither of them accomplish is the impact pitching that Minnesota suggested they were targeting. Thad Levine told Hayes, “The one thing we’ve learned over the years is that you can’t just have a Plan A. Tomorrow’s Plan B becomes the next day’s Plan A.” Derek Falvey went on to suggest he “may rue the day I ever mentioned that (impact) as a singular word.”

More swiftly than a dancing Michael Jackson, Minnesota’s top duo is moonwalking their opening comments backwards.

There is truth to Falvey’s suggestion that the current Twins roster has impact all over it. They won 101 games, returned a significant amount of talent, and have added to the point where they are better now than when the season ended. All of that is true, but the goal this winter should be to expand upon the opportunity currently in front of them.

You can’t fault the Twins for being shut out by uninterested free agents. Gerrit Cole wasn’t coming here, and Stephen Strasburg wanted a Washington reunion. Madison Bumgarner told everyone "No" because he loves his horses, and Zack Wheeler preferred family ties (although the Twins offer being $18MM short probably made that decision easier). Where blame can start to be placed is when obvious opportunity is met with only moderate execution.

Enter Josh Donaldson.

As Levine suggested, the Twins plans have now shifted. The starting pitching market is largely bare, and unless they’re going to swing a trade (they still should), Hill and Bailey represent the lone new additions. Upgrading elsewhere makes sense, and the former Braves third basemen is an ideal fit for the Bomba Squad.

With C.J. Cron onto Detroit, Rocco Baldelli is tasked with designating a new first basemen. Miguel Sano has proven limited, especial going to his left at third base, and would be an ideal candidate to make the switch. Generating 15 DRS a year ago, Donaldson would provide a defensive boon in the infield, and it’s a unit that needs to take a significant step forward. Throw in his .900 OPS from 2019 and you’ve got the makings of a superstar.

Reports suggest that Donaldson has at least three four-year offers, coming from Minnesota, Washington, and Atlanta. He’s had the Twins ask for over two weeks though, and that’s where my problem lies. The Nationals are synonymous for deferrals, so it’s fair to assume that could be prohibiting them from being in contention. Atlanta is best positioned geographically, and it was said the third basemen was simply waiting on a guaranteed fourth year from his hometown club. Dangling in front of him is the Twins payday that’s not quite good enough to make a decision.

Ken Rosenthal reported on Friday night that Donaldson is waiting for a team to hit his number, believed to be near $110 million. There's possibility Donaldson is angling for Atlanta to be his destination while increasing the take; after all suggestions indicate the Braves will get an opportunity to match before this is done. What also is apparent through Ronsethal's report is that Minnesota isn't there. Expected to be around the 4yr/$100MM range, the Twins leave it to chance to dictate an outcome. Derek Falvey should be on the phone with MVP Sports Group offering up $120 million over four and calling it a day.

We can discuss value forever, and there's inherent risk any time you sign a big-dollar free agent. The reality though, is that injury concerns don't subside simply because you end negotiations at $100 million. Also, after pivoting to this plan, are you really interested in going to Plan C because the cost of what amounts to a relief arm ($5 million AAV over the four years) is too much?
It’s probably unfair to be frustrated about simply being "in" on free agents. That’s going to happen, and you’re not completely interested in every player you’ve been tied to. Minnesota has been set on two players this offseason however, and they’re now in jeopardy of losing the second because of playing the value game. At some point need and opportunity should factor into the discussion, and by the time Falvey and Levine get there this time around, it may be too late.

This offseason would presently be graded as a “C” which is fine if you’re ok with status quo. Looking to take the next step, and truly capitalize on your opportunity, pushing for an “A” is a must. There’s one bullet left, but you actually have to take the shot.

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- Ted Schwerzler
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#2 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 01:33 PM

Well said Ted.

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#3 Doctor Gast

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 01:35 PM

If we go w/ 110M or more total we should have 5yrs.

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#4 jkcarew

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 01:44 PM

But why would you assume $120 would get the job done? If Atlanta gets the last opportunity to match, it's a 100% guarantee that he WANTS to go to Atlanta. Atlanta doesn't have to "match" the $120 to get him. If the scenario is as you describe in the article, an offer of $120 is only likely to get Donaldson about $10 million more from the team he wants to play for. After all, that's less than "what amounts to a relief arm" over the length of the contract.

 

The Twins would get better results if they first convinced Donaldson (by words and actions...things like acquiring a stud pitcher usually qualify) that he wants to play for the Twins....and then offering him $110.

 

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#5 shimrod

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 01:49 PM

"and have added to the point they are better now than when the season ended."

 

A few days ago you asked why there was so much pessimism about the Twins off-season. This may be where the disparity lies. I for one do not agree the Twins have improved the team (yet) this off-season. 

 

We replaced a decent catcher with a backup catcher. Added an aged, injured, pitcher who may or may not produce and is guaranteed to miss the first couple months. Swapped back-end starters (Gibson for Bailey). Added a reliever (reminiscent of last years Blake Parker signing). Where have we improved? The only thing we have going for us is the vaunted "payroll flexibility". Absent at least one more significant move we're no better off than last year and arguably worse. 

 

 

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#6 Darius

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 02:43 PM

Yeah, I don’t know how one could conclude that the team is better now than last year. They’ve added nothing apart from Clippard.

I’m still of the opinion that Gibson is a good pitcher. He could very easily have better seasons than both Hill and Bailey. The roster is also full of regression candidates. It’ll be really difficult for Polanco, Kepler, Cruz, Garver, Arraez, Odorizzi, Rogers, and some others to replicate last year’s level of success. Last year was a perfect storm, in a way, that the FO squandered. That should be more of a story than it was/has been.

Banking on last year to repeat itself, or even somehow get better, without addressing any of the weaknesses that ultimately derailed a playoff run is just plain stupid. It’s insulting to the intelligence of fans that the FO and certain media expect fans to buy that crap. Especially when the team from Chicago has been loading up.
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#7 kdag23

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 02:47 PM

Nice article, although I don't think I'd give the FO a "C" grade for the offseason. If the goal was to get better, then it's probably a D or an F. It's the same team give or take a few parts. While others have lauded the FO for resigning Odo and Pineda, it doesn't make this team better than last season. I agree that if JD is signed the FO gets an "A" and I think perceptions would shift significantly.
But I don't see it happening.

#8 bighat

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 03:05 PM

The Twins don't have any more chance to land Donaldson than they did Strasburg, Wheeler, Ryu, or Rendon. This team is the Pittsburgh Pirates of the AL. Nobody wants to sign here, despite the nice park.
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#9 KirbyDome89

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 03:08 PM

 

"and have added to the point they are better now than when the season ended."

 

A few days ago you asked why there was so much pessimism about the Twins off-season. This may be where the disparity lies. I for one do not agree the Twins have improved the team (yet) this off-season. 

 

We replaced a decent catcher with a backup catcher. Added an aged, injured, pitcher who may or may not produce and is guaranteed to miss the first couple months. Swapped back-end starters (Gibson for Bailey). Added a reliever (reminiscent of last years Blake Parker signing). Where have we improved? The only thing we have going for us is the vaunted "payroll flexibility". Absent at least one more significant move we're no better off than last year and arguably worse. 

I agree that this team isn't anywhere close to significantly better than last year, but the bullpen moves the FO made this year aren't on par with Blake Parker. Both Romo and Clippard are a step above. Neither is a huge boost but they likely won't be DFA'd before the trade deadline. 

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#10 shimrod

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 03:31 PM

Romo was on the team at the end of the year. Just as with signing Pineda and Odo, that's simply staying even. Clippard remains our only improvement. 

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#11 specialiststeve

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 03:43 PM

Respectfully Ted and the rest of you negative nellies your glass is CLEARLY half empty. 

 

Came into the off season we had one pitcher in our 5 man rotation. We resign our own at VERY reasonable prices and 2 others that are not world beaters but are again priced reasonably and no long term commitment. This allows our team to still compete and allow our prospects that have a pretty good shot at being good to gain some more experience and ease them into the show..... 

 

Also signing Romo and Clippard extends our bullpen allowing our starters to not have to go as long.... 

 

We have quality bats and arms around the corner and if yes we are better than the end of the season as losing Cron and Shoop were not huge losses and replacing their numbers should not be an issue. 

 

Adding Donaldson would clearly be a great get but get the feeling he is playing the Twins and the Nationals as he is waiting for the 110 and then will sign back with Atlanta.. hope I am wrong but that is the vibe I have. 

 

Still long off season for other trades if doesn't pan out....

 

Better pitching ... check

Backup catcher ... check

Replacement corner IF ... pending..

 

We are fine ... the sky is not falling folks. 

 

 

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#12 kdag23

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 03:51 PM

Respectfully Ted and the rest of you negative nellies your glass is CLEARLY half empty. Came into the off season we had one pitcher in our 5 man rotation. We resign our own at VERY reasonable prices and 2 others that are not world beaters but are again priced reasonably and no long term commitment. This allows our team to still compete and allow our prospects that have a pretty good shot at being good to gain some more experience and ease them into the show..... Also signing Romo and Clippard extends our bullpen allowing our starters to not have to go as long.... We have quality bats and arms around the corner and if yes we are better than the end of the season as losing Cron and Shoop were not huge losses and replacing their numbers should not be an issue. Adding Donaldson would clearly be a great get but get the feeling he is playing the Twins and the Nationals as he is waiting for the 110 and then will sign back with Atlanta.. hope I am wrong but that is the vibe I have. Still long off season for other trades if doesn't pan out.... Better pitching ... checkBackup catcher ... checkReplacement corner IF ... pending.. We are fine ... the sky is not falling folks.

How can you say the pitching is better? Berrios, Odo, and Pineda = same. Bailey for Gibson? I'd call it a wash, which means not better. Hill may do some good things, but we don't know when he's actually going to pitch. To start the season, once you get past Berrios, Odo, and Bailey your duct taping it together. If that's your idea of better, then sure.
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#13 twins_89

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 04:59 PM

I'd say that in the best case scenario the Twins are about the same as last season, but I think it much more likely they are a slightly worse team at this point. If they can make a move for a difference maker like Donaldson or a playoff caliber starting pitcher then yes they would be better, but so far I see no realistic argument that the team has improved.

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#14 big dog

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 05:01 PM

"We can discuss value forever, and there's inherent risk any time you sign a big-dollar free agent. The reality though, is that injury concerns don't subside simply because you end negotiations at $100 million. Also, after pivoting to this plan, are you really interested in going to Plan C because the cost of what amounts to a relief arm ($5 million AAV over the four years) is too much?"

 

According to this logic, we should sign him no matter what- is that right?Maybe they already pushed to get it to $100 million.If the Braves matched $120 and he came back, would you then argue "what's another $5 million per year"?Doesn't there have to be a stopping place?

 

And I don't understand your injury comment.No, they don't go away if you end negotiations at $100; they just get even more expensive as you move north from there.It's the same physical risk, but a guaranteed higher cost when he breaks down over the next four years.

 

I'm not saying don't sign him, but I certainly don't think just because you are willing to go 4/$100 you are an idiot if you don't increase the offer by 20%.I would love to be an auctioneer selling things to Twins fans, I guess, although if we had to use our own money things would probably be a lot different.

 

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#15 HawksNest

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 05:30 PM

 

Respectfully Ted and the rest of you negative nellies your glass is CLEARLY half empty. 

 

Came into the off season we had one pitcher in our 5 man rotation. We resign our own at VERY reasonable prices and 2 others that are not world beaters but are again priced reasonably and no long term commitment. This allows our team to still compete and allow our prospects that have a pretty good shot at being good to gain some more experience and ease them into the show..... 

 

Also signing Romo and Clippard extends our bullpen allowing our starters to not have to go as long.... 

 

We have quality bats and arms around the corner and if yes we are better than the end of the season as losing Cron and Shoop were not huge losses and replacing their numbers should not be an issue. 

 

Adding Donaldson would clearly be a great get but get the feeling he is playing the Twins and the Nationals as he is waiting for the 110 and then will sign back with Atlanta.. hope I am wrong but that is the vibe I have. 

 

Still long off season for other trades if doesn't pan out....

 

Better pitching ... check

Backup catcher ... check

Replacement corner IF ... pending..

 

We are fine ... the sky is not falling folks. 

 

Respectfully, I couldn't possibly disagree more with this take.

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#16 BBAM

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 05:38 PM

I honestly do not know much about the 2 new pitchers and have heard Donaldson's name over the years but is this just like the dumpster diving we are used to?Is the new front office better at dumpster diving?Seems like we are just getting older players near the end of their careers.  

 

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#17 twinssporto

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 06:06 PM

I think this off-season could have been much better. Rating it a C I think is being kind.  I would have preferred in the absence of signing an "impact" pitcher or missing on JD we would at least extend Buxton, Sano and Berrios.  I suspect if the front office doesn't pull off a decent FA signing they extend the big 3.

 

 

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On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.

#18 USAFChief

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 06:28 PM

The offseason was a failure when Ryu went off the board.

There is no path to recovery.
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Cutting my carbs...with a pizza slicer.


#19 twins_89

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 06:43 PM

I think it's time to call this the "non-impact" off-season since the team hasn't made a single acquisition that realistically moves the needle. With Donaldson looking like he's signing elsewhere, it's a pretty clear front office failure for anyone hoping to see the Twins field a better team than last season.

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#20 jorgenswest

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 06:51 PM

The offseason was a failure when Ryu went off the board.
There is no path to recovery.


Yes.

Ryu would have taken the Donaldson money 4/90. The others have compelling arguments that they had a particular team they were focused on but not Ryu. He could have been a Twin.

Even if the Twins thought Donaldson was a better way to spend this money they should have known that he was using them to drive up Atlanta's offer.
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