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Article: Finding Positives in Pelfrey

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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 10:44 PM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...ives-in-Pelfrey

#2 howieramone1406390264

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 10:53 PM

Good job Nick!

#3 DomeDog

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 11:03 PM

Agreed. As a savior of the Twins pitching staff, as in 2013, I don't like Pelfrey. As a back of the rotation guy, he's a nice fit and I feel good about it.

#4 JB_Iowa

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 11:31 PM

If you had told me before the off-season started that they would sign Nolasco, Hughes and Pelfrey, I think I would have been satisfied so I'm not going to complain much now.

Just enjoy those catnaps while he pitches. Yawn.

#5 Otwins

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 11:45 PM

I am glad that we signed Pelfrey. I would rather watch him pitch than Pedro Hernandez, Cole DeVries, Liam Hendricks, Vance Worley, Andrew Albers, Scott Diamond etc. Should be better this year plus he is not signed for much more than bullpen set-up money. There should be money left to add a catcher and a bat. If there is any threat of rain and he gets behind early I just hope Gardy leaves him in.

#6 shs_59

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:33 AM

meh.

I wonder if Pelfrey had any other ACTUAL offers on the table.

I know for fact, there were other teams in contact with him.

But I"m willing to venture that he didn't have any other actual offers out there, Thats the Boras magical wand wavering over our FO heads'.

UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH MEH
i'm just about ready to watch every 4/5 games for the upcoming yr. on the games the big "pelf" doesn't start in.

#7 Kwak

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 12:40 AM

Well, the Twins are all about loyalty and Pelfrey said he wanted to return. It's not there he had to fight through others to talk to Ryan. Sure hope Pelfrey uses more off-speed pitches from now on.

#8 Don't Feed the Greed Guy

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 06:49 AM

Signing Mike Pelfrey in the 2013-14 offseason feels a lot like signing Kevin Correia in the 2012-13 offseason. Two years and roughly 10-11 million dollars. I hated the Correia signing, and I was wrong. I'm oddly content with the Pelfrey signing. I think he's got more upside, he's known in the organization--compared to Correia a year ago--and he wants to be here.

I think Twins fans expected the front office to go out and get top of the rotation pitchers in free agency. Terry Ryan did that last year, in going after Alex Meyer, Trevor May, and Kohl Stewart. Add Kyle Gibson and Jose Berrios, and you see the potential for mid-to-top of the rotation arms emerging in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Until then, the Twins are positioned to keep and hold back-of-the-rotation workhorses that pitch 200 innings, hold serve with .500 records, and stabilize a pitching staff. Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco, and Kevin Pelfrey are all of that, and then some. They have the potential to surprise us with a sub 4 ERA, or a 17 win season. Correia? Not so much...

I'm okay with this, even though I will be bringing my sundial to the ballpark, to clock Pelfrey as he walks around the mound between pitches.

All the same, thanks Nick, for encouraging us to Find Positives in Pelfrey.

#9 Blackjack

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:40 AM

I didn't like last year’s signing because there wasn't a 2nd year added on, he rehabbed on the Twins dime with no further commitment. Now he'll be another innings eater, hopefully keeping the Twins close so the bullpen can take over.

As far as the slow pitching pace, the Twins knew what they're getting themselves into; they wouldn't have signed him if they weren't ready to live with it. Don’t you think that was part of the discussion during the contract negotiations?? Hopefully Gardy and Rick Anderson can convince him that he can be more effective pitching faster.

Since I mostly listen to the games the slow pace doesn't matter to me. In fact I think that baseball (and football) are too slow paced to devote 3+ hours too, they're fine if they're playing in the background. When Johan was pitching I always made a point of listening to the Twins, if people don’t like the pace of Pelfrey’s games, don’t watch that game.

#10 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:49 AM

Well said, Nick. I'm not a fan of watching Pelfrey pitch. In a word, I hate watching him pitch. It's not only the speed he moves between pitches... It's how many pitches he throws in six innings. Combine those two things and he's an irritating guy to watch.

But overall, this is a good move to fill the back of the rotation. Is it possible the Twins could get similar results from Worley or Diamond? Sure, it's possible... but last year they took that approach and the rotation collapsed for the third consecutive season.

This is a good, cheap signing that won't put dreams of pennants in any fan's head but it's the type of move that makes the team better over a 162 game season and doesn't lock them into big money and years for a guy like Garza.

If the Twins need a Matt Garza next offseason, they can go get that guy... But the way this rotation might shake out this season, they might need an OF or SS more than another starting pitcher.

Which is why I believe in incremental FA signings in the first place.

#11 cmathewson

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:50 AM

To me, this is a decent gamble. The Twins want to pay for last year's performance and get something substantially better. His arm should be better overall two years removed from TJ, but he will suffer from dead arm here and there, as is typical after such a big innings jump. I expect the deal to really pay off in the second year, when he won't have any lingering effects of TJ or the hole in his innings history it caused.

He had no right to be pitching in major league games so soon after TJ surgery, and his results make that plain. When his arm was ready, he was pretty good. I guess if they had kept him out on rehab those two months, his price this year would have been too high. So his horrible first two months in 2013 is a blessing in disguise in 2014-15.

#12 mike wants wins

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 07:56 AM

Uh, yes, they need an OF/DH a lot more than another number 5 starter, but what is done is done. Lots of 5-3 games in their future, imo.

The fact you have to write an article titled this, kind of shows what he's really worth, doesn't it?

#13 tobi0040

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:16 AM

To me, this is a decent gamble. The Twins want to pay for last year's performance and get something substantially better. His arm should be better overall two years removed from TJ, but he will suffer from dead arm here and there, as is typical after such a big innings jump. I expect the deal to really pay off in the second year, when he won't have any lingering effects of TJ or the hole in his innings history it caused.

He had no right to be pitching in major league games so soon after TJ surgery, and his results make that plain. When his arm was ready, he was pretty good. I guess if they had kept him out on rehab those two months, his price this year would have been too high. So his horrible first two months in 2013 is a blessing in disguise in 2014-15.


Calling this a decent gamble and the other story with the headline "betting against the house" has made me think about the risks/reward here. My conclusion is the Twins negotiated a really bad deal. You make a bet when the odds are in your favor, or when the potential payoff warrants the risks. What is the payoff here? I would argue the range of outcomes are somewhere between his floor (last years 5.20 ERA) and his ceiling is probably around his career mark of 4.50. I get that he had two years in the 3.60-3.70 range, but that was three and five years ago, in the NL, and pre TJ.

So the best case is he is a #4 or #5 starter and the worst case is he is our 7th or 8th best pitcher. If he hits his incentives which are likely based on innings alone, we will pay him $14.5M over two years. So we either pay a 4/5 starter 4/5 starter money or we pay a terrible pitcher $11M and either cut him or trade him and eat salary.

#14 mike wants wins

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:24 AM

Nice analysis tobi.
Lighten up Francis....

#15 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:26 AM

Calling this a decent gamble and the other story with the headline "betting against the house" has made me think about the risks/reward here. My conclusion is the Twins negotiated a really bad deal. You make a bet when the odds are in your favor, or when the potential payoff warrants the risks. What is the payoff here? I would argue the range of outcomes are somewhere between his floor (last years 5.20 ERA) and his ceiling is probably around his career mark of 4.50. I get that he had two years in the 3.60-3.70 range, but that was three and five years ago, in the NL, and pre TJ.

So the best case is he is a #4 or #5 starter and the worst case is he is our 7th or 8th best pitcher. If he hits his incentives which are likely based on innings alone, we will pay him $14.5M over two years. So we either pay a 4/5 starter 4/5 starter money or we pay a terrible pitcher $11M and either cut him or trade him and eat salary.


Your floor is about right. Your ceiling is way too low. Pelfrey's ceiling is probably around a 4.00 ERA for a season, as evidenced by his peak July/August months where he posted an ERA of ~3.5 (fueled by an unsustainably low BABIP so I'm tacking a half run back onto those numbers) while posting a career high K/9 (don't like using K/9 but FG is being a pain this morning). A little better than league average. One year post-TJ is probably a boon for him, not something to be used to lower his ceiling.

Pelfrey lives on a flat fastball. Guys coming off TJS often throw harder than ever for a season or two... An extra 1-2mph on Pelfrey's flat fastball will only help him, not hurt. The downside of TJS is that guys often struggle with their "feel" pitches, mostly breaking balls. Well, Pelfrey doesn't rely on feel pitches.

Still not good but easily worth $5.5m a season, just like Kevin Correia in 2013.

Given Pelfrey's makeup, he's also a strong candidate for the bullpen, something everyone seems to be ignoring. He's basically LaTroy Hawkins.

#16 mcrow

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:31 AM

I'm not sure why there has been all the hate about resigning him. The guy was coming off of surgery and was clearly getting stronger as the season went on last year. I think it's a good move to get a back of the rotation guy that could potentially be a solid 4th-5th starter so you are not relying on the younger guys so much.

#17 tobi0040

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:37 AM

Your floor is about right. Your ceiling is way too low. Pelfrey's ceiling is probably around a 4.00 ERA for a season, as evidenced by his peak July/August months where he posted an ERA of ~3.5 (fueled by an unsustainably low BABIP so I'm tacking a half run back onto those numbers) while posting a career high K/9 (don't like using K/9 but FG is being a pain this morning). A little better than league average. One year post-TJ is probably a boon for him, not something to be used to lower his ceiling.

Pelfrey lives on a flat fastball. Guys coming off TJS often throw harder than ever for a season or two... An extra 1-2mph on Pelfrey's flat fastball will only help him, not hurt. The downside of TJS is that guys often struggle with their "feel" pitches, mostly breaking balls. Well, Pelfrey doesn't rely on feel pitches.

Still not good but easily worth $5.5m a season, just like Kevin Correia in 2013.

Given Pelfrey's makeup, he's also a strong candidate for the bullpen, something everyone seems to be ignoring. He's basically LaTroy Hawkins.


His career ERA is 4.48 over 1,050 innings (85% of which were in the NL and pre TJ). I think an ERA of 4.00 is highly unlikely. Let's call it what it is, a bad risk/reward and quite frankly, an unneccesary contract. We have younger, cheaper options who have more upside. In addition, our offense was ranked 25th last year and we haven't addressed it. We could have used this money in a more productive manner.

#18 ericchri

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:37 AM

Not a fan of Pelfrey's, partly his slow pace, but really his mannerisms on the mound (like when he hocks up a lung 2 or 3 times between pitches, I mean what is that?). He was a bad pitcher last year, but that's how bad Diamond and Worley were last year, bad enough to make Pelfrey look like the better option. I really can't disagree with the thinking Pelfrey is the more likely candidate to give you decent innings this year versus those two or Deduno (coming off as shoulder injury) or Albers. I think I'd have been willing to risk that rotation spot on trying to find something workable amongst all of them, but c'est la vie, when your pitching is horrible, even small improvements are meaningful.

#19 mike wants wins

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:38 AM

Because there are already 3-5 candidates for that spot, and they have no LF, CF, SS, DH on the roster, and maybe no C......that's the biggest downside for me. Brock, he has three years with an ERA over 5, one with a 4.74, and two with an ERA under 4. What are the odds he pitches better than Gibson, Deduno, Meyer, Diamond, Worley....asked another way, what are the odds he pitches so much better than them that it matters in the outcome of games?

If you have limited resources, how to best spend your money is an issue......or maybe we think they don't have limited resources, and this signing is not what is keeping them from signing any offense.
Lighten up Francis....

#20 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:39 AM

His career ERA is 4.48 over 1,050 innings (85% of which were in the NL and pre TJ). I think an ERA of 4.00 is highly unlikely. Let's call it what it is, a bad risk/reward and quite frankly, an unneccesary contract. We have younger, cheaper options who have more upside. In addition, our offense was ranked 25th last year and we haven't addressed it. We could have used this money in a more productive manner.


You said ceiling. His ceiling is higher than his career average.

#21 mcrow

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:43 AM

Not a fan of Pelfrey's, partly his slow pace, but really his mannerisms on the mound (like when he hocks up a lung 2 or 3 times between pitches, I mean what is that?). He was a bad pitcher last year, but that's how bad Diamond and Worley were last year, bad enough to make Pelfrey look like the better option. I really can't disagree with the thinking Pelfrey is the more likely candidate to give you decent innings this year versus those two or Deduno (coming off as shoulder injury) or Albers. I think I'd have been willing to risk that rotation spot on trying to find something workable amongst all of them, but c'est la vie, when your pitching is horrible, even small improvements are meaningful.


There's still going to be a spot for one of the young guys to make the rotation unless they sign Arroyo. The fact of the matter is we don't have many prospects that are good enough to pitch in the majors and the couple that might be ready are iffy proposistions.

Pelfrey had a rough first half but was significantly better the second half which typical of people coming off of that surgery. Also, I don't really carry what a guy is doing on the mound so long as he's getting outs.

#22 tobi0040

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:48 AM

You said ceiling. His ceiling is higher than his career average.


You typically need to adjust .30 to .50 for an NL to AL shift. So his true career average should be in the 4.70 to 5.00 range. Now factor in TJ. 4.00 is not happening.

#23 JB_Iowa

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:51 AM

Because there are already 3-5 candidates for that spot, and they have no LF, CF, SS, DH on the roster, and maybe no C......that's the biggest downside for me.


But they still have money to sign people for those positions ..... if they can find anyone to sign (I'm sure they could find room on the 40-man for someone really desirable).

JimCrikket just posted a nice summary of the winter meetings on his Knuckleballs blog (it'll find its way on here sometime soon, I'm sure but here's the link: http://knuckleballsb...d-expectations/)

His points about WHO they could sign for those positions are good ones. What are you going to do with Willingham to add someone else in LF? What CF would want to sign with the Twins given Buxton looming in the near future (and actually, given the possibility of improvement by Hicks, too). He didn't say it but do we really need another DH candidate? What will you do with Doumit? Short Stop seems to be the one place the could upgrade if they signed Drew. And, some depth at catcher would make me feel better, too.

But given that they are still only at about $83m, there is nothing in the Pelfrey signing that prevents them from trying to make some upgrades to position players. Now, admittedly, if they would manage to sign Garza, there'd be a squeeze .... but that would be a squeeze I could live with.

#24 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:54 AM

Because there are already 3-5 candidates for that spot, and they have no LF, CF, SS, DH on the roster, and maybe no C......that's the biggest downside for me. Brock, he has three years with an ERA over 5, one with a 4.74, and two with an ERA under 4. What are the odds he pitches better than Gibson, Deduno, Meyer, Diamond, Worley....asked another way, what are the odds he pitches so much better than them that it matters in the outcome of games?


They have four options for one rotation spot. At least two of those guys will see significant starts over the course of a season. Without Pelfrey, at least three of those guys will see significant innings in 2014.

Do you really want to bank on 75% of Deduno (who may be injured), Worley, Diamond, and Gibson performing as well or better than Pelfrey? I don't.

If you have limited resources, how to best spend your money is an issue......or maybe we think they don't have limited resources, and this signing is not what is keeping them from signing any offense.


Signing Pelfrey should not stop them from acquiring a stopgap offensive bat. It should also be noted that free agents are not stupid... They're not going to want to sign with the Twins knowing that their position is in jeopardy right off the bat. Given the Twins current roster, any free agent signing is going to question whether they're going to get playing time if they stumble out of the gate. It's likely that some players don't want to come here because of that reason, such as Rajai Davis, who reportedly turned down an offer from the Twins.

#25 cmathewson

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:55 AM

What is the payoff here? I would argue the range of outcomes are somewhere between his floor (last years 5.20 ERA) and his ceiling is probably around his career mark of 4.50. I get that he had two years in the 3.60-3.70 range, but that was three and five years ago, in the NL, and pre TJ.

So the best case is he is a #4 or #5 starter and the worst case is he is our 7th or 8th best pitcher. If he hits his incentives which are likely based on innings alone, we will pay him $14.5M over two years. So we either pay a 4/5 starter 4/5 starter money or we pay a terrible pitcher $11M and either cut him or trade him and eat salary.


A #4 or #5 starter in this market is worth between $7 and $10 million. They save some dough from that in any event vs. signing Arroyo for 2/22 or Garza for 5/65. That's dough they can use to sign Drew and Suzuki. In isolation, it is a middling move. In the bigger picture, it is a good gamble.
"If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

#26 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 09:00 AM

You typically need to adjust .30 to .50 for an NL to AL shift. So his true career average should be in the 4.70 to 5.00 range. Now factor in TJ. 4.00 is not happening.


Again, you said ceiling. Mike Pelfrey has pitched two above average seasons (under a 3.75 ERA in the NL). His ceiling is somewhere around a 4.00 ERA in the AL and Target Field.

Ceiling is not the same as career average.

If you want to suggest that it's likely Pelfrey will pitch to a 4.3-4.6 ERA, I completely agree. But that's not his ceiling, as evidenced by a couple of seasons where he's been much better than that. The Twins have him under contract for his age 30-31 seasons. He's not an old man.

#27 mcrow

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 09:03 AM

But they still have money to sign people for those positions ..... if they can find anyone to sign (I'm sure they could find room on the 40-man for someone really desirable).

JimCrikket just posted a nice summary of the winter meetings on his Knuckleballs blog (it'll find its way on here sometime soon, I'm sure but here's the link: http://knuckleballsb...d-expectations/)

His points about WHO they could sign for those positions are good ones. What are you going to do with Willingham to add someone else in LF? What CF would want to sign with the Twins given Buxton looming in the near future (and actually, given the possibility of improvement by Hicks, too). He didn't say it but do we really need another DH candidate? What will you do with Doumit? Short Stop seems to be the one place the could upgrade if they signed Drew. And, some depth at catcher would make me feel better, too.

But given that they are still only at about $83m, there is nothing in the Pelfrey signing that prevents them from trying to make some upgrades to position players. Now, admittedly, if they would manage to sign Garza, there'd be a squeeze .... but that would be a squeeze I could live with.



Looking that FA's still ont he market there really are no appealing LF, CF, DH or SS on the market that really makes a lot of sense. Most of what is left are guys in their 30's, many of which are not clear upgrades anyway.

#28 mike wants wins

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 09:08 AM

Doumit is bad. Him being on the team, for 1 more year, should not stop them from signing a DH. There is no LF on the roster after this year (heck, maybe this year), unless you think Hicks will learn to hit righties anytime soon, which I do not. There might or might not be a catcher on the roster.

A good hitter, in LF, would start a lot of games the next 2-3 years, imo. Not sure why signing one seems like a bad idea to them or the Twins. Willingham can DH (for a year)....are FAs really afraid of competing with Hicks, Presley, and Mastro? If so, then I probably would not want them on the team anyway.
Lighten up Francis....

#29 mike wants wins

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 09:09 AM

Looking that FA's still ont he market there really are no appealing LF, CF, DH or SS on the market that really makes a lot of sense. Most of what is left are guys in their 30's, many of which are not clear upgrades anyway.


Which is the case next year too, how old do you expect FAs to be in any year?

It is true, of those left, there aren't a lot of great options. The good players (other than Drew, imo) have mostly signed already unfortunately.
Lighten up Francis....

#30 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 09:11 AM

Doumit is bad. Him being on the team, for 1 more year, should not stop them from signing a DH. There is no LF on the roster after this year (heck, maybe this year), unless you think Hicks will learn to hit righties anytime soon, which I do not. There might or might not be a catcher on the roster.

A good hitter, in LF, would start a lot of games the next 2-3 years, imo. Not sure why signing one seems like a bad idea to them or the Twins. Willingham can DH (for a year)....are FAs really afraid of competing with Hicks, Presley, and Mastro? If so, then I probably would not want them on the team anyway.


Doumit shouldn't prevent the Twins from signing a DH... But Willingham should.

If the Twins can get a stopgap CF (which it appears they tried to do with Davis), good for them. It's a smart move that helps the team on both sides of the ball.

What the Twins don't need is more position-less bats.