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Wolfson: Starting pitching on the Twins' radar

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#1 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 10:59 AM

I know it's a "pics or it didn't happen" scenario but at least news of this kind is encouraging.

Twins plan to be aggressive in free agency, have targeted starters | 1500 ESPN Twin Cities ? Minnesota Sports News & Opinion (Twins, Vikings, Wolves, Wild, Gophers) | Sportswire: Minnesota Twins

#2 Parker Hageman

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:05 AM

1500ESPN.com’s Darren Wolfson writes that league sources have told him that the Twins are already active in the free agent market, showing interest in pitchers Jason Vargas (9-8, 150 IP, 109/46 K/BB and 4.29 xFIP), Ubaldo Jimenez (13-9, 182.2 IP, 194/80 K/BB and 3.62 xFIP) and Ricky Nolasco (13-11, 199.1 IP, 165/46 K/BB and 3.58 xFIP). Wolfson also says that the Twins are believed to have Ervin Santana (9-10, 211 IP, 161/51 K/BB and 3.69 xFIP) on their radar.

(For more TwinsDaily.com thoughts on these impending free agents, be sure to pick up a copy of our 2014 Offseason Handbook)

In the event of signing Jimenez or Santana, the team would need to forfeit their second round draft pick, a move that General Manager Terry Ryan had said he was willing to make in order to improve the team.

How would you rank these targets?

Twins plan to be aggressive in free agency, have targeted starters | 1500 ESPN Twin Cities ? Minnesota Sports News & Opinion (Twins, Vikings, Wolves, Wild, Gophers) | Sportswire: Minnesota Twins

#3 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:16 AM

Missouri, baby. They promised to go all out last year too. Doesn't matter if you try, only if they actually sign players.

Jimenez
Santana
Nolasco
Vargas
Lighten up Francis....

#4 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:27 AM

They promised to go all out last year too.


Maybe it's selective memory in my attempts to wash away last offseason but were there reports of the front office targeting specific (good) pitching last season? I don't remember it.

Then again, I don't remember much from offseason other than unbridled, overwhelming disappointment.

#5 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:31 AM

I just recall what Ryan said in his TD interview, that they were going to go get good pitching. They ended up with the worst starting staff in baseball, despite signing two free agents and trading for a MLB pitcher. I won't believe things have changed, until they do change. I expect others may feel differently.
Lighten up Francis....

#6 gunnarthor

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:32 AM

Nolasco actually fits what I predicted earlier. They'll sign him to eat innings and have a rotation of Correia, Nolasco, Gibson, Pelfrey and Deduno with Albers, Diamond, May, Meyer, Hendriks, De Vries the back ups. Not a great rotation.

#7 JB_Iowa

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:47 AM

I want to believe, really I do.

But I remember a lot of pretty high hopes around here last year at this time.

While these reports may be somewhat more positive than we saw last year (and while the owner has seemingly given a directive to acquire something "better"), I would still rather be pleasantly surprised than to have hope dashed again.

So until I KNOW that they've signed some good free agent pitching, I will remain a skeptic.

#8 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:54 AM

They were never linked to big names last year. Doesn't mean they weren't in on it, but they were not linked to them. I would consider it encouraging that at the very least, they are after some guys that could be difference makers.

Edit... should note I'm not terribly high on Nolasco

#9 iTwins

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 11:57 AM

They were never linked to big names last year. Doesn't mean they weren't in on it, but they were not linked to them. I would consider it encouraging that at the very least, they are after some guys that could be difference makers.

Edit... should note I'm not terribly high on Nolasco


Exactly. Last year felt like anytime the Twins were mentioned, they were just "in the market" and weren't ever connected to anyone. Just the fact that there are now names being connected to them is an improvement.

Now it feels like they're in the market AND they brought a list. Hopefully, they remembered their wallet.

#10 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:06 PM

They were never linked to big names last year. Doesn't mean they weren't in on it, but they were not linked to them. I would consider it encouraging that at the very least, they are after some guys that could be difference makers.

Edit... should note I'm not terribly high on Nolasco


Thanks. That's how I remember it as well.

At the very least, it's an improvement to hear them connected to names like Ubaldo and Santana.

#11 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:09 PM

Linked/shminked. That's pretty much meaningless, imo. Butera was linked to trying to hit.
Lighten up Francis....

#12 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:10 PM

If Santana performs, sacrificing a second rounder is a no brainer, even in a deep draft, but given his history, is Santana worth that price?

#13 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:12 PM

If Santana performs, sacrificing a second rounder is a no brainer, even in a deep draft, but given his history, is Santana worth that price?


You know how you feel about Nolasco?

I feel that way about Santana. Times two.

I think he's going to be a dreadful signing. Too old, too inconsistent, coming off a very good year. He's going to be a bad value.

I'd rather give four years to Hughes than four years to Santana.

#14 JB_Iowa

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:21 PM

I'd rather hear what I'm hearing now than what I heard last year.

I'm just not going to get my hopes up about the results.

And if they manage to sign one of Jimenez, Nolasco, Santana, Hughes, Tanaka (or a few others), I'll give a sigh of relief. Their choice may not work out but at least it would indicate to me that the TR is willing to go outside his comfort zone. And signing 2 instead of 1 would be even better.

But again, until I see it, I'm an agnostic.

#15 twinsnorth49

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 12:42 PM

Fool me once, shame on you.....Fool me, you can't get fooled again.

George W Bush

#16 Jim Crikket

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 02:21 PM

This is one of those rare circumstances where I think everybody is right.

You can be a bit encouraged because we really haven't seen this kind of published report of linkage to legitimate FAs in the past, nor do I recall having ownership publicly endorsing dipping in to the FA market to improve competitiveness.

At the same time, the Twins have earned all the skepticism being reflected in comments, as well. Encouragement is fine, but it's perfectly fair for us to take a "believe it when we see it" view.

Even if they do go after FAs, there will be significant disagreement around here over whether they went after the RIGHT pitchers, but I'd welcome that argument over what we've had to talk about to this point.
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#17 Thrylos

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 03:57 PM

Here is what I think is happening:

The list (alphabetically) :

Jimenez
Nolasco
Santana
Vargas


Who is not like the other 3 (and is more like Kevin Correia/Nick Blackburn) ? Hind: he has an 87 mph FB. That is the one who the Twins will overpay and sign and pretend that they signed top talent...
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#18 JB_Iowa

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Posted 01 November 2013 - 06:22 PM

To add a little from Berardino:

Minnesota Twins, Josh Johnson appear an unlikely match - TwinCities.com

#19 Willihammer

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:51 AM

To add a little from Berardino:

Minnesota Twins, Josh Johnson appear an unlikely match - TwinCities.com


If the Twins want to make a run at Nolasco, it could cost them upwards of $13 million per season, according to early industry estimates. A three- or four-year deal seems most likely for Nolasco.

Messenger, who had a 2.89 ERA and struck out 8.4 batters per nine innings this season in Japan, is weighing a three-year offer approaching $15 million to remain with Hanshin.

"My sense is (the Twins) have interest in all three of our free agents. I just don't know to what degree," Sosnick said. "They haven't really reached out to me on anybody directly. My sense is they're most interested in Nolasco."


This would be a good start to the offseason IMO. Nolasco's a soft tosser but he can throw the kitchen sink at you and has been durable.

#20 Shane Wahl

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:02 AM

Maybe it's selective memory in my attempts to wash away last offseason but were there reports of the front office targeting specific (good) pitching last season? I don't remember it.

Then again, I don't remember much from offseason other than unbridled, overwhelming disappointment.


Harden is the only one I remember being discussed in that way.

#21 Shane Wahl

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:12 AM

Career ERA+ for Nolasco is 94, for Vargas it's 91.

#22 Brandon

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:42 AM

Ubaldo is the only one likely to cost 15 million or so per season. Nolasco and maybe Ubaldo are the only ones worth 4 years on a contract. If the Twins sign one of these and another one like Vargas or Hughes at 8-10 million on a short term contract 1-3 seasons then They won't break the bank to sign these guys. I would be surprised if they get Nolasco or Ubaldo.

So we could have a rotation of:
Nolasco
Vargas
Deduno
Correia
Gibson/Pelfry
with a bunch of capable 6th and 7th starters Albers/ Diamond/ Worely/ Hendriks/ Meyer and more...

#23 Shane Wahl

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:54 AM

Nolasco is going to get at least 3 years. And it's going to be a disaster for whoever signs him.

#24 Willihammer

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 11:09 AM

Roberto Hernandez is worth a call IMO. Coming off a career low BB rate and career high K%. Over a run difference in xFIP to ERA, good candidate for regression.

#25 goulik

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 11:49 AM

In our complaints, let's not forget that Correia, While average at best was our best pitcher and costs less than Blackburn. If we sign some big names, Correia does fit nicely as a #3. He started slow but his final numbers were better than we expected and his contract is quite reasonable for what it brings...

Any of these would improve the rotation so I am in as long as it makes long term and short term sense numbers wise

#26 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 12:18 PM

If Santana performs, sacrificing a second rounder is a no brainer, even in a deep draft, but given his history, is Santana worth that price?


The "depth" of the 2014 draft is being over-stated. Last year the top tier was 3-4 guys, followed by 8-9 guys, followed by about 30 other guys that could be first rounders.

Obviously it's early, but right now that top tier is looking deeper (maybe 7-8 guys) followed by a dozen or so guys, followed by very few guys that are getting first round grades.

If there is an offseason preceding a draft where I would advocate burning a 2nd round pick to sign a FA - based solely on early reports - it would be this one.

#27 Wookiee of the Year

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 12:48 PM

If we sign some big names, Correia does fit nicely as a #3. He started slow but his final numbers were better than we expected and his contract is quite reasonable for what it brings...

Honestly, that's not how I remember it at all. I remember Correia getting off to a strong start, but then his numbers bounced back to typical for his career. (A quick search gives me this from Aaron Gleeman on 8/8: "Kevin Correia has a 5.90 ERA and .329 opponents' batting average in 17 starts since May 1.") Not that he can't function as a back-of-the-rotation arm--you're right, he can hold down that fort for another year.

The "depth" of the 2014 draft is being over-stated. Last year the top tier was 3-4 guys, followed by 8-9 guys, followed by about 30 other guys that could be first rounders.

Obviously it's early, but right now that top tier is looking deeper (maybe 7-8 guys) followed by a dozen or so guys, followed by very few guys that are getting first round grades.

If there is an offseason preceding a draft where I would advocate burning a 2nd round pick to sign a FA - based solely on early reports - it would be this one.

Thanks for this assessment. Honestly, I love this kind of analysis--the sort of "is this the year to..." questions. (I find myself wondering what next year's FA Starting Pitching market looks like--how easy will it be to continue building then? What does that say about how aggressive the Twins should be this year?)

#28 goulik

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 02:59 PM

I had to look Correias numbers but When I said started slowly I was simply remembering he finished strong the last couple months. Correia ERA by month. (ESPN.go.com MLB splits)
April 2.23
May 6.26
June 4.29
July 6.18
August 3.60
September 3.48

#29 Wookiee of the Year

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 04:30 PM

I had to look Correias numbers but When I said started slowly I was simply remembering he finished strong the last couple months. Correia ERA by month. (ESPN.go.com MLB splits)
April 2.23
May 6.26
June 4.29
July 6.18
August 3.60
September 3.48

Ah--thanks for providing the breakdown. I hadn't realized Correia turned it around so much in August and September. It's funny how much sequencing has to do with how good a year we think someone had. In 2012, Willingham got off to a hot start, then had a good but not great year. Jamey Carroll started very cold but actually played quite well in August and September. While people remember 2012 as a great year for Willingham, few think of Carroll as providing much value that same year.

#30 MinnesotaMike

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 06:49 PM

It is fun to speculate, but seriously? The Twins will throw out enough rumors to stoke the hot stove fire but at the end of the day, they are planning and have planned all along to stand at the end of the line and pick from the remaining junk that no one else wanted.