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Improving Pen?


Brandon

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Well, Lookey there.  It looks like we have the makings of a solid bullpen again.  WHAT!.  Here is what we have, granted we can still use some upgrades.  Duffey has been solid with a few hiccups earlier in the year and has a 3.61 ERA.  Thielbar has a 3.71 era and is striking out 11.3 per 9 innings.  Alcala is back off the DL and pitched 2 scoreless innings and while his era is high this year due to giving up lots of homers, He didn’t give them up last year and I would expect him to normalize.  Minaya and Couloumbe have been solid with a 3.20 and 3.04 ERA in 25.1 and 23.3 innings.  Garza is still getting some time in here but has an ERA in the 3’s including his time in Houston in over 20 innings and Gibaut has only 1 game so far but has promise.   I am not saying by any means that we have a great pen but our pen has seemed to settle into providing good performances more often then not lately and with a large number of relievers too.  (Note I am not including Colome because that guy is the 2nd coming of Ron Davis this year). 

Duffey 3.71 ERA in 47.1 innings

Thielbar 3.61 ERA in 51 innings

Alcala 5.00 ERA in 45 innings and 4.08 career ERA in 70.2 innings

Minaya 3.20 ERA in 25.1 innings (does anyone know if we have control for next season with Minaya)? 

Coulombe 3.04 ERA in 23.2 innings

Garza has 1.93 ERA in 9.1 innings and 3.10 ERA in 20.1 innings season to date

Colome had a 4.35 ERA with lots of unearned runs and blown saves.  (I don't trust him in pressure situations at this point but he could prove to be serviceable to just get innings).

Rogers will be back next season and hopefully we can find another reliever Gibaut maybe or Farrell or Dobnak when they come back from the DL, who can step up and help keep runs off the board the rest of this year.  Also Moran should be up at some point.   

While I am sure that our pen is not where we want it to be, I am glad they are performing at a solid rate as we go through growing pains with the shattered rotation.  

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Your exuberance is fun, fine, and even warranted to some degree. I just can't understand a shot for Gibaut in any way unless it's a temporary filler before being dropped again for someone else.

And I understand the want to promote some younger arms from AAA. I want to see that as well. And I'm frustrated! But I CAN understand taking a look at these handful of arms to help make better off-season decisions. These guys are 25-31yo, for the most part, and 1 or 2 could be kept. Also, a couple could end up being smart milb signings to bring back. So I get it.

The lack of an expanded September roster hurts teams like the Twins. But there is room TOMORROW to still drop a couple of these guys and add/promote a couple of the milb arms for September for auditions. 

Right now, just forgetting the rotation needs for a moment, the Twins really, really need to add a couple quality arms for 2022. We all know this. It's no mystery. But it's also OK to be taking a look at the guys on hand to help decide who to bring back in various degrees.

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I can't get excited about MOST of the minor league free agents the Twins signed and have been shuffling thru the pen. They were minor league in-season free agents for a reason, and more than likely will remain so once all teams start cutting players and adding prospects.

 

The Twins need to make decisions on Stashak, Smeltzer, Dobnak (who can be designated off for #'s sake and still stay a Twin as it is doubtful anyone would pick up his contract - remember Nick Blackburn). Also, Gant, Thorpe, Garcia, Jax, Barnes, plus Astudillo, Cave and Gordon. These are tried and true organizational talent. Not stunning, but developed and you know what to expect, or not.

I' m an arm chair general manager, have a couple of open roster spots. Am I salivating if any of these names appear on the waiver wire: Albers, Thielbar, Farrell, Law, Colome, Minaya, Coulombe, Gibaut, Vincent, Garza Jr., Barraclough, Burrows (we know no one cared already), Garlick, Refsnyder...not to mention Gilmartin, Shepherd, Leyer, Nunn, Nittoli, Boyd, Burt, Manoah, Johnson, Koch, Garcia, Harvey, Maggi. Vasquez.

 

Would we rather find spots for: Hamilton, Moran, Kerrigan, Contreras, Miranda, Winder, Cano, Mason, Sammons, Ryan, Cabbage, Lewis, Schulfer, Sands, Enlow, Vallimont, Gore, Lujan, Funderburk, Beck and Waner Javier? Granted, we don't need to worry about a bunch of these as they are lower in the minors, but if any of the above are gone, they are gone. But the minor league free agents are still sustainable to be kept if you pay them enough and convince them to sign a minor league invite to camp. 

 

The bigger question is, of ALL the names that I listed in this post - who makes the Twins a better team, a more competitive team in 2022, and would actually take the playing field and contribute at what salary cost. How many are solid placesetters. Who has real value to a rebuilding team in the shortterm  How many are longterm assets.

 

 

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2 hours ago, DocBauer said:

Your exuberance is fun, fine, and even warranted to some degree. I just can't understand a shot for Gibaut in any way unless it's a temporary filler before being dropped again for someone else.

And I understand the want to promote some younger arms from AAA. I want to see that as well. And I'm frustrated! But I CAN understand taking a look at these handful of arms to help make better off-season decisions. These guys are 25-31yo, for the most part, and 1 or 2 could be kept. Also, a couple could end up being smart milb signings to bring back. So I get it.

The lack of an expanded September roster hurts teams like the Twins. But there is room TOMORROW to still drop a couple of these guys and add/promote a couple of the milb arms for September for auditions. 

Right now, just forgetting the rotation needs for a moment, the Twins really, really need to add a couple quality arms for 2022. We all know this. It's no mystery. But it's also OK to be taking a look at the guys on hand to help decide who to bring back in various degrees.

On Gibaut, I knew nothing of his minor league stats just saw a scoreless outing and decided to use that as a plus at the end.  

My other point of this, was to point out we may not need a bullpen overhaul just adding another strong arm or two as we seem to have a decent 5-7 guys who are contributing and may be able to sustain it into next year.  

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2 hours ago, Rosterman said:

I can't get excited about MOST of the minor league free agents the Twins signed and have been shuffling thru the pen. They were minor league in-season free agents for a reason, and more than likely will remain so once all teams start cutting players and adding prospects.

 

The Twins need to make decisions on Stashak, Smeltzer, Dobnak (who can be designated off for #'s sake and still stay a Twin as it is doubtful anyone would pick up his contract - remember Nick Blackburn). Also, Gant, Thorpe, Garcia, Jax, Barnes, plus Astudillo, Cave and Gordon. These are tried and true organizational talent. Not stunning, but developed and you know what to expect, or not.

I' m an arm chair general manager, have a couple of open roster spots. Am I salivating if any of these names appear on the waiver wire: Albers, Thielbar, Farrell, Law, Colome, Minaya, Coulombe, Gibaut, Vincent, Garza Jr., Barraclough, Burrows (we know no one cared already), Garlick, Refsnyder...not to mention Gilmartin, Shepherd, Leyer, Nunn, Nittoli, Boyd, Burt, Manoah, Johnson, Koch, Garcia, Harvey, Maggi. Vasquez.

 

Would we rather find spots for: Hamilton, Moran, Kerrigan, Contreras, Miranda, Winder, Cano, Mason, Sammons, Ryan, Cabbage, Lewis, Schulfer, Sands, Enlow, Vallimont, Gore, Lujan, Funderburk, Beck and Waner Javier? Granted, we don't need to worry about a bunch of these as they are lower in the minors, but if any of the above are gone, they are gone. But the minor league free agents are still sustainable to be kept if you pay them enough and convince them to sign a minor league invite to camp. 

 

The bigger question is, of ALL the names that I listed in this post - who makes the Twins a better team, a more competitive team in 2022, and would actually take the playing field and contribute at what salary cost. How many are solid place setters. Who has real value to a rebuilding team in the short term  How many are long term assets.

 

 

You are absolutely right that the front office has their work cut out for them this offseason in determining who should be kept on the 40 man and who can be retained as a minor league free agent.  As an arm chair GM veteran myself.... I would think the Twins will keep a few of the relievers for depth.  You pose a great thought in what to do with Dobnak.  I think you are correct that they should take him off the 40 man in the offseason.  I see them keeping Gant, Jax and possibly Garcia.  Astudillo is also a possibility since he plays several positions, hits league average and is well liked in the clubhouse....isn't that what a bench player is?  I can see them trying to sign Gordon to a minor league deal.  He is not a horrible bench option.  (Key word is bench).  

On your list of relievers above I can see the Twins keeping a few of them for the back of the pen for depth.  I doubt they want to blow up the pen again.  so I see them keeping Theilbar, Minaya, and Coulombe.  But you are correct in that even if kept we do not know if these guys will help move the needle enough.  

Again my premise of the post is that right now the pen seems to be performing well and there may be a few keepers in the bunch.  This is also at a time when we are starting our rotation over from scratch where only Ober seems to be a lock for next season's rotation.  He is pitching at a solid #3-4 starter...even a level 2 in his last start....Its nice knowing our bullpen isn't quite as out of whack during this tryout period.

 

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Brandon, glad you brought up this relatively unnoticed positive trend.  Twins bullpen has definitely improved in August, and is probably the number one reason Twins finally had a month over .500.  Looks like Thielbar, Coulombe and maybe Gant and Minaya have a good chance of making next year's bullpen.  I suppose Rogers, Duffey and Alcala are locks although the latter two have to show some solid improvement over this year's performance.

The bottom line is that this club has to add a genuine closer and if affordable one other late inning arm.  No one in the rest of this list looks like likely candidates for clutch situations on a contending club.

One more thing.  My personal favorite metric for analyzing relievers is the % of inherited runners scored.  That stat is a true measure of a reliever's effectiveness.  I believe the Twins' 2021 pen ranked dead last in this category.  Guys like Rogers and Duffey were particularly poor in this stat, which is why the need for two additional back-end studs.

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Other than signing Buxton long-term (which is the #1 task of the Twins off-season) #2 is adding 3 veteran arms to the starting rotation.  A   #1, #2 and #3 either thru FA signing or Trade/Trades.  The 3rd most important task is to fortify the bullpen.  Indeed, a closer needs to be acquired, either thru FA (which WILL be expensive---think Kimbrel) or thru a trade, a younger arm, identified as closer material that can anchor the back end (think Joe Nathan trade result).  Rogers is best as an 8th inning guy and occasional closer.  Tampa Bay and Oakland are two good examples of teams that are able to identify these types of guys and go out and get them at a reasonable cost.  The final task is to find a "bridge" SS.  A Freddy Galvis/Jose Iglesias type to play 2022 as the regular SS, allowing Polanco to remain at 2B and giving Lewis and Martin time to further develop.  Also, one or two of the young arms currently being used as starters could have an impact in the BP (Duran, Colina).  I just don't want the mind-set for 2022 to be one of submission to the White Sox.  They could suffer some misfortune in 2022 opening the door to possibly compete.  Who in the heck thought the Giants would be in 1st place in the NL West on 9/4 ??  Everything was Dodgers, Dodgers, Padres, Padres.  Who on TD would have predicted the kind of season SEATTLE is having ??  We are a horribly under achieved 2021 season removed from being the 2019 & 2020 division champs.   The Twins are not devoid of talent.  The FO squandered the seasons of 2019 and 2020 by not making a significant IN-SEASON move to put the Twins over the top either year.  2022's off season will be the biggest test ownership and the Twins FO has had.  Are they up to the challenge ??

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On 8/30/2021 at 9:56 PM, Rosterman said:

I can't get excited about MOST of the minor league free agents the Twins signed and have been shuffling thru the pen. They were minor league in-season free agents for a reason, and more than likely will remain so once all teams start cutting players and adding prospects.

 

The Twins need to make decisions on Stashak, Smeltzer, Dobnak (who can be designated off for #'s sake and still stay a Twin as it is doubtful anyone would pick up his contract - remember Nick Blackburn). Also, Gant, Thorpe, Garcia, Jax, Barnes, plus Astudillo, Cave and Gordon. These are tried and true organizational talent. Not stunning, but developed and you know what to expect, or not.

I' m an arm chair general manager, have a couple of open roster spots. Am I salivating if any of these names appear on the waiver wire: Albers, Thielbar, Farrell, Law, Colome, Minaya, Coulombe, Gibaut, Vincent, Garza Jr., Barraclough, Burrows (we know no one cared already), Garlick, Refsnyder...not to mention Gilmartin, Shepherd, Leyer, Nunn, Nittoli, Boyd, Burt, Manoah, Johnson, Koch, Garcia, Harvey, Maggi. Vasquez.

 

Would we rather find spots for: Hamilton, Moran, Kerrigan, Contreras, Miranda, Winder, Cano, Mason, Sammons, Ryan, Cabbage, Lewis, Schulfer, Sands, Enlow, Vallimont, Gore, Lujan, Funderburk, Beck and Waner Javier? Granted, we don't need to worry about a bunch of these as they are lower in the minors, but if any of the above are gone, they are gone. But the minor league free agents are still sustainable to be kept if you pay them enough and convince them to sign a minor league invite to camp. 

 

The bigger question is, of ALL the names that I listed in this post - who makes the Twins a better team, a more competitive team in 2022, and would actually take the playing field and contribute at what salary cost. How many are solid placesetters. Who has real value to a rebuilding team in the shortterm  How many are longterm assets.

 

 

Thielbar, Farrell, and a very outside chance Law could be useful contributors next year. They would all be minimal contracts. 

 

Any minor league player is something more than just next year.  Long term assets can be defined by anybody's prospect lists  You appear to be unaware how many different people like a lot of the prospects the Twin's have

 

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When people mention get rid of this player or that player just keep in mind that Matt Shoemaker is still pitching in professional baseball despite his time with the Twins. Remember that AAAA players do serve as a disaster plan

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17 hours ago, TopGunn#22 said:

Other than signing Buxton long-term (which is the #1 task of the Twins off-season) #2 is adding 3 veteran arms to the starting rotation.  A   #1, #2 and #3 either thru FA signing or Trade/Trades.  The 3rd most important task is to fortify the bullpen.  Indeed, a closer needs to be acquired, either thru FA (which WILL be expensive---think Kimbrel) or thru a trade, a younger arm, identified as closer material that can anchor the back end (think Joe Nathan trade result).  Rogers is best as an 8th inning guy and occasional closer.  Tampa Bay and Oakland are two good examples of teams that are able to identify these types of guys and go out and get them at a reasonable cost.  The final task is to find a "bridge" SS.  A Freddy Galvis/Jose Iglesias type to play 2022 as the regular SS, allowing Polanco to remain at 2B and giving Lewis and Martin time to further develop.  Also, one or two of the young arms currently being used as starters could have an impact in the BP (Duran, Colina).  I just don't want the mind-set for 2022 to be one of submission to the White Sox.  They could suffer some misfortune in 2022 opening the door to possibly compete.  Who in the heck thought the Giants would be in 1st place in the NL West on 9/4 ??  Everything was Dodgers, Dodgers, Padres, Padres.  Who on TD would have predicted the kind of season SEATTLE is having ??  We are a horribly under achieved 2021 season removed from being the 2019 & 2020 division champs.   The Twins are not devoid of talent.  The FO squandered the seasons of 2019 and 2020 by not making a significant IN-SEASON move to put the Twins over the top either year.  2022's off season will be the biggest test ownership and the Twins FO has had.  Are they up to the challenge ??

Seattle found a bullpen out of the scrap heap, Sometimes a team gets lucky. Sometimes they don't. They still have not won anything

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