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A Different Idea For Twins Catching


cjm0926

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I will start it off by saying, this is just an idea, I am not saying it should or will happen. I am also not saying it is a terrible idea and it could possibly work. With that being said, here we go.

The Twins currently have 2 very good catchers, one being Mitch Garver, a well above average batting catcher who is nearly 31 years old. The other, Ryan Jeffers, a 24 year old catcher who underperformed with his bat this past season. While neither player is an AL MVP candidate Twins are likely set for the coming years with this duo. But I recently had a thought that I will explain below.

Mitch Garver is a beast with the bat, no doubt about it. But he is getting up there in age for a catcher, being 31 years old by next opening day. If I remember right, that is the age that Joe Mauer moved over to 1B full time. Currently, the Twins are set at first base, with Alex Kirilloff, the expected 1st Baseman for the better part of the 2020's, and Miguel Sano, who appeared to have finally figured something out towards the end of the 2021 season, holding down the position. Nobody is saying that Garver will not catch for another 5 years, but the odds are pointing against it. Garver had a career year in 2019, a horrible year in 2020, and looked to have bounced back in 2021, but was injured for a lot of it. Mitch Garver currently has a 10.9 trade rating on baseballtradevalues.com.

Ryan Jeffers was a former highly regarded prospect within the Twins system. He debuted in 2020, hitting .273 with 3 homers in 62 Plate Appearances. However, in 2021 he took a massive step back offensively, hitting below the Mendoza line, although he showed solid power hitting 14 home runs in 293 Plate Appearances. He also struck out at a nearly 37% clip. Jeffers was drafted as a bat first catcher, but has turned into a very good defender, which is more important for a catcher than any other position, being directly involved in every play. Jeffers is rated at 19.2 on baseballtradevalues.com.

Now, we look at the primary catchers for the 2 best teams in their own respective leagues, Travis d'Arnaud and Martin Maldonado. We will start off with d'Arnaud. He hit .220 with 7 homers in the regular season for the eventual World Series champions, the Atlanta Braves, and posted an 0.2 WAR. Maldonado for the Astros hit .172 with 12 bombs, posting a -0.1 WAR. I am not saying that just because these teams had average to below average hitting catchers with very strong defense it improved their World Series odds, but I am saying there could be something to be taken away from that.

Catcher is the most important on the field defensively, calling pitches, controlling baserunners, aligning defense, etc. But offensively they can get away with things that other positions can't like low averages, low power, etc. which makes a lot of sense. Catching puts a lot of wear and tear on the body causing many to eventually move away from the position or retire early, like Posey and Mauer. 

The Twins have frankly been spoiled at the position offensively since 2019, and they could try a different approach to fill other holes in 2022. The Twins have a massive need for top of the rotation type pitching, and with many 2022 offseason blueprints being posted on Twins Daily, a catcher is often in a trade to acquire said pitching. I have seen both Garver and Jeffers name thrown around in those blueprints as trade bait for a high end starter. But what if I said the Twins should trade both of them. They both have very good value and could be a solid part of a package to bring back good pitchers. Jeffers has about twice as much value according to a website, but Garver could be a huge addition to almost any team being a veteran and above average hitter. It is better to trade a low risk player away a year too early rather than a year too late. Especially with catchers and freak injuries.

Say the Twins do trade both away, then what would we do? The Twins have Rortvedt making the league minimum and providing stellar defense, even better than Garver and Jeffers. Rortvedt's huge downside is his bat. In 2021 Rortvedt hit .169 with 3 homers in 98 Plate Appearances. He also struck out at around a 30% rate. If Rortvedt can hit around .200 and cut down the strikeouts a bit, he could become a solid catcher for years to come. That solves half of the puzzle, now what do the Twins do about the other catcher? There are many low risk, low reward catchers available in free agency this offseason that could be had for 1 or 2 year deals at very low prices. Possibly a right handed bat to platoon with Rortvedt, a lefty, like the Twins did in 2019 with Castro and Garver. Although Rortvedt and another catcher wouldn't be as nice offensively as Jeffers and Garver, it could be very nice defensively, which is what a catching tandem needs most. For a catcher 3 or 4, they can call on a guy in AAA or AA to fill in for a week or two.

What I have noticed is that an offensive catcher is just a cherry on top, not needed, hence the Astros and Braves making the World Series with their average offensive catchers. Defense is needed much more and strong offense can only overshadow bad defense so much *cough cough Gary Sanchez*   I am also not saying the Twins are as talented as Houston or Atlanta at other positions, but filling the holes through trading the catchers could make it much closer. Although this isn't the prettiest or nicest plan to hear as a fan, it could be what is needed for the Twins to jump back into contention and fill the holes. Leave a comment on what you think about this, and don't be afraid to say if you think its garbage, just have some reasoning and I'll happily discuss. Thank you for reading.

 

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This is a good topic cjm and one we will all debate for most of the winter.  One team that has a plethora of starting pitching but where the cupboard is bare for catching is Miami.  They just non-tendered a catcher they traded with the Phillies for who was supposed to be their catcher of the future.  

In my trade scenarios I have been offering Jeffers to Miami because he has more value and we could get "more" back from the Marlins.  If they preferred Garver I would spin on a dime and offer him.  I think they would want Jeffers because age-wise, he's their catcher of the future.  

The other two teams that have pitching to trade are Oakland and the Brewers.  Both have decent to good catchers so neither is a match.  However, what if a team like the Yankees would be interested in Garver, and if they signed Cory Seager to play SS would agree to a multi-player deal that brought one of their young SS prospects over to the Twins ??  That would be tempting.

I like your "outside the box" thinking of "considering" dealing BOTH Garver and Jeffers, because I believe in 2023 Rortvedt could be the Twins #1 catcher and finding a RH hitting vet to back him up wouldn't be difficult.  While I think it's highly unlikely the Twins would trade BOTH Garver and Jeffers this off season, it really would be dependent on WHAT they would be getting back.  The Twins have some payroll flexibility to add one or two FA SP's.  But Ryan and Ober at the bottom of the rotation should really be considered ONE pitcher, based on innings/pitch limits that will be placed on each.  That means the Twins need to sign/trade for FOUR "solid" SP's.  Dobnak and Gant (if he is retained) give them depth in the rotation to be used as needed.  But adding FOUR SP's is a must as far as I'm concerned.  

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I like your outside the box thinking but I'd hate to lose neither Garver or Jeffers. But our greatest need is SP so I our depth at catcher and MIA need there is a perfect match. I prefer to keep Garver because he's a more established hitter and has much better arm. I'm also very high on Rortvedt but I won't thrust him in a sole starting position.  I'd even hesitate to have him as the main back up right away. 

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I agree that one of the two could be flipped but I would hesitate flipping both unless the return was just too good to turn away from, and I don't see that happening. I could see Jeffers traded with someone else for an established starter, or alone for a ready to go prospect.

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12 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

Open to all ideas .... so what specific trade(s) do you have in mind?

Nothing too specific, I am also not saying we should trade them both away just because, but I think if the return is good we should do it. Possibly one of them and more players to Miami, or a package to Arizona for Gallen, just whatever can get us back into contention

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Good post. This is a potentially rich and divisive discussion. I'm open to any trades and signings that result in a competitive team for next year. I'll use 10 games over .500 as a marker for competitive.

Rortvedt looked pretty lost at the plate last season but rebounded in St. Paul and he is clearly superior right now to both Garver and Jeffers with a glove. There are catchers out there to sign if necessary. 

The post highlights the pitching needs on the team and TopGunn#22 is spot on with our need to get four starting pitchers. Perhaps by May or June, the needs could narrow to three with Winder/Duran filling one spot. Every option needs consideration. Falvey has just stated that he likes both Garver and Jeffers. We all do to some extent. Pitching is a need. 

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2 hours ago, Doctor Gast said:

I like your outside the box thinking but I'd hate to lose neither Garver or Jeffers. But our greatest need is SP so I our depth at catcher and MIA need there is a perfect match. I prefer to keep Garver because he's a more established hitter and has much better arm. I'm also very high on Rortvedt but I won't thrust him in a sole starting position.  I'd even hesitate to have him as the main back up. 

I think Jeffers is the right one to trade away of the 2 for the value, it is a luxury to have both. My only fear is how long Garver can stay at catcher. I think Rortvedt can turn into a solid catcher, and have a maybe slightly below average bat.

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Pretty big gamble to trade both but very interesting concept.  Garver with the injury last year to the you know whats, to me is the long term concern.  Turning 32 this year and needing more rest to the knees, lower back and his manhood, has me thinking at best 75 games at catcher.  Do we really want Rort who is probably a year or year + away from being a go to guy?  Probably not.  Trading Jeffers is risky because of youth compared to Garver, more seasoned and to me Rort is still a solid #3 catcher behind these two.  Won't say no if the return is there though

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1 hour ago, umterp23 said:

Pretty big gamble to trade both but very interesting concept.  Garver with the injury last year to the you know whats, to me is the long term concern.  Turning 32 this year and needing more rest to the knees, lower back and his manhood, has me thinking at best 75 games at catcher.  Do we really want Rort who is probably a year or year + away from being a go to guy?  Probably not.  Trading Jeffers is risky because of youth compared to Garver, more seasoned and to me Rort is still a solid #3 catcher behind these two.  Won't say no if the return is there though

These are exactly my thoughts. I don't think Rortvedt is a go to guy this year or possibly part of next year, but that is why I would sign a vet to kind of offset that. But yea, I am not chomping at the bit to get them traded, but if we get a solid return for both, that could be something to try.

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10 minutes ago, Joey P said:

You all are forgetting our biggest asset at catcher (and everywhere)... 

La Tortuga!!!

...

:) La Tortuga does have value although I believe he won't remain a Twin. Catching is a valuable asset, Astudillo could be a safety net for many teams 

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Good stuff.  I am a BIG fan of promoting our talent to find out if they are going to succeed as well as a big fan of trading excess talent to bring back what we need.

I've been playing around with TD Build Your Own and swung big, (but albeit not accurately from what I believe will be a true $$ perspective on 2 pitchers, low $3M on a catcher (but happy to go internal) and resigning Buxton.

So 2 FA pitchers, Ober, Ryan and....well I went to the Twins minors again with Balazovic.  

But I'd be happy to adjust if we could swing a deal withe Marlins for Jeffers or Garver and get some more high potential pitching.

Displace Northern MN Twins Fan residing where the best hitter in baseball is located.

DC - I love watching Soto bat.

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10 hours ago, Joey P said:

You all are forgetting our biggest asset at catcher (and everywhere)... 

La Tortuga!!!

...

How could I forget!!!!, might as well delete the article haha

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10 hours ago, Unwinder said:

I'm not sure how I feel about this but I believe in Rortvedt, and will jump at any excuse to keep Tortuga on the roster.

It definetly is a risky plan, high risk, low-mid reward. I think with the right steps it could bolster the roster quite a bit

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Garver is an average to bottom half defensive catcher.  He had one spectacular season at the plate.  Garver has the injury bug and once that starts with a catcher. its hard to reverse.  Garver is a DH and backup catcher.

Jeffers is unproven at he plate.  He is not more than an average defensive catcher over a whole season.  Also, Buster Posey and Joe Mauer are exceptional athletes to play behind the dish at their height.  Its a big impediment. I'm not sure Jeffers is exceptional.  

Why the love for these two?  Because we have them?

Move on, you need a great defensive catcher that can handle your pitchers and batting above .230 and more than 15 HR's is a plus.  

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Several posters have mentioned Miami as a possible trade partner.  By happy coincidence, MLB radio today was discussing the Miami offseason with the beat writer from the Miami Herald.  He was saying that the Jeter-run front office is willing to do whatever it takes to get a good catcher, more offense, and some veteran leadership.  Sounds like a perfect match to me.  I say the Twins start the negotiations with an offer of Garver and Kepler for Alcantara and Bleier.  If they accept, fine.  If not, try to find some add-ons to get the deal done.  Ideas??

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On 11/19/2021 at 3:47 PM, terrydactyls said:

Several posters have mentioned Miami as a possible trade partner.  By happy coincidence, MLB radio today was discussing the Miami offseason with the beat writer from the Miami Herald.  He was saying that the Jeter-run front office is willing to do whatever it takes to get a good catcher, more offense, and some veteran leadership.  Sounds like a perfect match to me.  I say the Twins start the negotiations with an offer of Garver and Kepler for Alcantara and Bleier.  If they accept, fine.  If not, try to find some add-ons to get the deal done.  Ideas??

Miami is the team we need to target (no pun intended) along with Oakland. Alcantara is my first choice but most on TD would not trade Lewis or Martin as part of the package needed to haul in Miami's big righthander. Miami may not consider losing Alcantara. My proposal is Garver or Jeffers, Larnach, Vallimont, and Canterino for Edward Cabrera and Max Meyer. Hopefully there are many conversations between the two teams. Garver and Kepler for Alcantara works for me though.

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Braves and Astros thrived with below average catching because they had World Series caliber teams surrounding them.  Not sure that applies here.

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For once we are not thin at catcher, and the two young ones have minor league options allowing them to be shuffled at will.  And beyond Rortvedt there isn't a really good pipeline in the farm system.  For controllable top-shelf pitching I'd be willing to make a trade and suffer the need to make do at C, but I'm skeptical that our guys are what will pry a top pitcher loose from someone like Miami.

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4 hours ago, ashbury said:

I'm skeptical that our guys are what will pry a top pitcher loose from someone like Miami.

Worth a shot though. Add a player or two if needed, but at least make a really strong offer. 

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14 minutes ago, tony&rodney said:

Worth a shot though. Add a player or two if needed, but at least make a really strong offer. 

I have a feeling Miami's stance will be "here are the five guys we want for our rotation of the future, but you are welcome to #6, in return for your best catcher plus some younger pitching arms as a sweetener."  Wait and see.

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2 minutes ago, ashbury said:

I have a feeling Miami's stance will be "here are the five guys we want for our rotation of the future, but you are welcome to #6, in return for your best catcher."  Wait and see.

It certainly seems like that might be true. I'm not in for Sixto Sanchez, Jesus Luzardo, or Eliaser Hernandez, but count me open to a trade of either Garver or Jeffers for Cabrera or Meyer. Talent plays.

I'm not sure how Miami sees their rotation .... Alcantara, Rogers, Lopez and then what. They have Hernandez, Sanchez, Luzardo, and Cabrera lined up for 4-7 and then Meyer. Additionally, Miami has a true potential #1 star in Eury Perez plus  Jack Eder as a pitcher with talent on the mend from Tommy John. Alcantara or Lopez may be too rich in costs but Cabrera and Meyer might be possible.

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