Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Mill's Off-Season Blueprint: Part 3 - Betting on Bats, Finishing the Rotation


Mill1634

1,843 views

 Share

Twins Video

The first two parts of this series have seen the Twins clear room on the 40 man for an active off-season in hopes of bouncing back to challenge the Chicago White Sox for a division title, and even farther if the Twins were to make it there. In part 2, we signed Eduardo Rodriguez from the Boston Red Sox, former Angel Alex Cobb, and journeymen Michael Wacha to varying sorts of deals. However, I promised that I was not happy with this rotation and that more would be done to finish it out. As promised, that's how we will kick off part 3 to the off-season blueprint. 

 

Trade OF Max Kepler, C Ryan Jeffers, and RHP Drew Strotman to Miami for RHP Pablo Lopez

 

1207337091-850x560.jpeg

We still need another top of the rotation starter for this squad, and that is exactly what we add in Pablo Lopez from the Marlins. The Marlins are looking for outfield help, and they get a guy in Max Kepler who many Twins fans have soured on over the past few seasons. Kepler took off in 2019, but since then has struggled with super low batting averages in part because he pulls the ball on the ground much too frequently.  However, with a move to Miami, Kepler has a chance to reconnect with former hitting coach James Rowson and can attempt to rekindle that magic. The Marlins are also reportedly looking for a catcher for the future as we've seen in talks with the Blue Jays, and we provide them that in Ryan Jeffers. This allows Mitch Garver to take a lions share of the catching duties behind the plate, but he can still split time with Ben Rortvedt against right handed pitchers. Drew Strotman, a DFA canidate for the Twins, is a lottery ticket for the Marlins who may be a decent reliever.  Lopez, 26 years old next year, has steadily improved under Miami, and is coming off a year where he was worth 2.7 WAR in 102 innings. Lopez has steadily improved in his career, and struck out over 10 batters per 9 in 2021. Lopez features 5 pitches, with his changeup being the most effective. He also works a curveball off of his cutter/sinker/4-seam combination. Lopez may not be an ace, but he is a surefire #2 starter who I am comfortable starting in the playoffs. Lopez is under team control for a few more years, and becomes a free agent in 2025. This move sets us up for both the present and future, which is why I am comfortable trading both Kepler and Jeffers.

 

Following this move we have around 20-25 million to spend on the lineup.

 

Re-Sign SS Andrelton Simmons to a 1 year, 5M deal

Listen, I don't love this much more than anyone else. Simmons did absolutely nothing with his bat, had some controversial opinions about things off the field, and was a disappointing signing.  However, Simmons still played very good shortstop defense which is exactly what we're paying him to do. Anything that he provides us at the plate is just a plus. I do think that there is more in the bat than we saw last year, but he isn't going to be a great hitter. Also, as much as some fans didn't like Simmons, he seemed to be held in high regard by both players and coaches in the clubhouse. That accounts for something. 

 

Sign OF Mark Canha to a 1 year, 10M deal

I was all aboard the Michael Brantley train last year, and this year the outfielder that I would like to see the Twins target is former A Mark Canha. Canha isn't a great defender, so there will be a step back in right field with the loss of Kepler, but Canha is very, very underrated at the plate. In the past 3 seasons, Canha has had OBP's of .396, .387, and .358. We all know that the Twins lineup is filled with players who will crush the baseball, but outside of Luis Arraez, who I don't think you can rely as an everyday player, they don't have a prototypical leadoff hitter. Canha fits that bill. He can also swipe bags if you give him a chance. Canha is also capable of playing first base if Sano finds himself injured or just not playing well, and is a fine candidate to rotate through DH. 

 

Sign OF Odubel Herrera to a 1 year, 5M deal

Herrera, once a top prospect, hasn't quite lived up to the hype in Philadelphia, but he is still a quality outfielder, and is an overqualified 4th outfielder. Herrera isn't the defensive wizard that he was when he first came up, but he is still capable of playing centerfield a few times a week, or weeks at a time if there is an unfortunate injury to Byron Buxton. Herrera has a lifetime OPS+ of 101, which is 1% better than league average, but paired with the defense is a perfect fit for our 4th outfielder. Yes, I would prefer to have a right hander in this role, but the lower tier of the CF market is pretty bleak. 

 

Extend OF Byron Buxton to a 5 year, 90M deal + incentives

This deal would not kick in until the following year, but a decision needs to be made this off-season, because if Buxton isn't re-signing, he's getting traded. However, we aren't letting the most talented player to ever put on a Twins uniform to walk away. We give him 18 million dollars a year in base salary starting in the 2023 season, and we apply the incentives like this:

50 games played: 500K

75 games played: 750K

100 games played: 2.5M

130 games played: 6M 

These incentives of course stack on each other, so if Buxton were to find himself playing 130 or more games in a year, the total year salary for Buxton would be 27.75M dollars. That may seem like a lot, but if Buxton is playing 130 games in a season, he's probably finishing top 5 in the MVP voting and is surely worth more money than that. However, if he is injured in a season, Buxton is still taking home a solid chunk of change, but it isn't absolutely breaking the bank on the Twins. If Buxton were to hit these incentives every year, the deal could be worth 138M dollars. 

 

The Verdict

Pitchers

1. RHP Pablo Lopez

2. LHP Eduardo Rodreguiez

3. RHP Joe Ryan

4. RHP Alex Cobb

5. RHP Bailey Ober

 

Closer - RHP Corey Knebel

SU - LHP Taylor Rogers

SU - RHP Tyler Duffey

MR - RHP Adam Ottavino

MR - LHP Caleb Thielbar

MR - RHP Jorge Alcala

MR - RHP Jovani Moran

LR - RHP Michael Wacha

The rotation is vastly improved on last year with the additions of Pablo Lopez, Eduardo Rodreguiez, and Alex Cobb. All 3 arms are quality arms who I would feel comfortable starting in the playoffs. This also gives the ability for Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan to go through a little bit of a sophomore slump if it were to happen. Michael Wacha shifts to the bullpen with the addition of Pablo Lopez, but he's the 6th starter when it is inevitably needed. After that, you have various arms like Randy Dobnak, Griffin Jax, Jordan Balazovic, Cole Sands, and a handful of others signed to MiLB deals The bullpen features new additions of right handers Corey Knebel and Adam Ottavino, which supplised more right handed power to a bullpen featuring 3 good lefties. Thielbar, Alcala, Moran, and Wacha are all capable of going multiple innings which is the way baseball is going, and the other 4 provide electric stuff to shut a game down. If the Twins are in it at the hunt, I would expect another reliever to be added at the deadline.

 

Lineup vs RHP

1. RF Mark Canha

2. CF Byron Buxton

3. 2B Jorge Polanco (S)

4. 3B Josh Donaldson 

5. LF Alex Kiriloff (L)

6. C Mitch Garver

7. 1B Miguel Sano

8. SS Andrelton Simmons

9. DH Luis Arraez (L)

Bench: C Ben Rortvedt (L), IF Jose Miranda, OF/1B Trevor Larnach (L), OF Odubel Herrera (L)

The lineup features new addition Mark Canha leading off, with Buxton, Polanco, and Donaldson following them. I believe that this top of the lineup could be as good as any in baseball. The middle of the order features Alex Kiriloff, who we are relying on bouncing back after an inspiring few weeks before needing wrist surgery. Garver and Sano provide thump, but we know they have their warts. It doesn't matter in the bottom portion of the lineup. Simmons is easily the weak spot, but Arraez rounds out the order to potentially set up the table with 2 back to back .370+ OBP batters. Rortvedt is the backup catcher, with Miranda being the backup infielder. Larnach can fill in as a pinch hitter, and Herrera is a late inning pinch running or defensive replacement.

 

LHP

1. RF Mark Canha 

2. CF Byron Buxton

3. 3B Josh Donaldson

4. C Mitch Garver

5. 1B Miguel Sano

6. SS Jorge Polanco

7. LF Alex Kiriloff (L)

8. 2B Jose Miranda

9. DH Luis Arraez (L)

Bench: C Ben Rortvedt (L), SS Andrelton Simmons, OF/1B Trevor Larnach (L), OF Odubel Herrera (L)

There are a few changes in this lineup in regards to who bats where, but the players are basially the same. The only change I made to this lineup was inserting Jose Miranda at 2nd base, sending Andrelton Simmons to the bench, and sliding Jorge Polanco over to shortstop. Donaldson, Garver, and Sano all slide up in the lineup as we shift Jorge Polanco down a few spots as he is not nearly as good against left handed pitchers as he is against righties, while the hitters we slid up thrive against left handers. Miranda is intriguing at the bottom of the lineup, splitting to two lefties to make sure they can't bring in a lefty reliever to face exclusively left handed hitters. 

 

Well Twins fans, this has been Mill1634's off-season blueprint. What do you think? 
 

 Share

9 Comments


Recommended Comments

Mills, not sure where your final budget lies, but quick glance at your roster shows much imagination and realism.  Particularly like your addition of Canha to replace Kepler in Rf, thereby enhancing trade package for Lopez.  Don't think he's ready to assume ace status, but he would be a prime catch if Marlins willing to trade him.  He would be a more movable piece than Rogers or Alcantara, either of whom would be my first choice.  While Stroman or Rodon would be a better bet for a #1 Starter they admittedly will be a much harder get than Rodriguez.  Can't favor Wacha - he had a terrible year.  Rather spend a little more for someone like Pineda or Hill to give rotation better depth.

The lineup looks good, but only if Kirillof, Bux, and JD remain healthy most of the season.  It should be an above average offense, but not top tier unless everything broke favorably.  The bullpen would be helped by Knebel as stopper, but I'd pass on Ottavino and go for Tepera or Yates.  Barring injuries to Rogers or Duffey and with continued improvement from Alcala this could be a much improved pen compared to the trash heap of 2021.

All in all, a very good roster!  Let's hope the FO hires you as trade consultant!

Link to comment
1 hour ago, mike8791 said:

Mills, not sure where your final budget lies, but quick glance at your roster shows much imagination and realism.  Particularly like your addition of Canha to replace Kepler in Rf, thereby enhancing trade package for Lopez.  Don't think he's ready to assume ace status, but he would be a prime catch if Marlins willing to trade him.  He would be a more movable piece than Rogers or Alcantara, either of whom would be my first choice.  While Stroman or Rodon would be a better bet for a #1 Starter they admittedly will be a much harder get than Rodriguez.  Can't favor Wacha - he had a terrible year.  Rather spend a little more for someone like Pineda or Hill to give rotation better depth.

The lineup looks good, but only if Kirillof, Bux, and JD remain healthy most of the season.  It should be an above average offense, but not top tier unless everything broke favorably.  The bullpen would be helped by Knebel as stopper, but I'd pass on Ottavino and go for Tepera or Yates.  Barring injuries to Rogers or Duffey and with continued improvement from Alcala this could be a much improved pen compared to the trash heap of 2021.

All in all, a very good roster!  Let's hope the FO hires you as trade consultant!

Thanks for the feedback Mike. I'm pretty over Kepler has he's had near a thousand at-bats with the same issues and has either refused to adjust, or has adjusted and it hasn't worked. He is a very underrated defender in right field, so there is some value in him even if he's only a league average hitter, but I would much rather have a #2 starter than Kepler. I don't think the Marlins are moving Rogers or Sandy like you said. Sixto Sanchez is maybe a guy they'd trade, as is Eliser Hernandez, but he is more of a MOR starter. I am not a fan of Rodon. Sox didn't give him a QO, which means something, and he has years worth of injury history. Someone is going to pay up for him, but I don't think it'll be the Twins. Stroman would be a very good fit, but I don't see him wanting to play in Minnesota and will likely have many suitors, and I wanted to keep this as realistic as a hypothetical off-season can be. 

 

I think the lineup is similar to last yaer, but you have to remember it was still an above average offense last year. Have the 2020 or 2019 pitching staff and they are in the postseason again. You're always going to be betting on health with some of the main contributors, but that's true of any team. If your best players get hurt, you aren't going to have a chance whether you are the Twins, the Dodgers, or the Orioles. 

 

I would love to see the Twins add Knebel. I think there is a chance. I am probably higher on Ottavino than most, and the fit makes a ton of sense. He relies on primarily sliders, and we know how the Twins love a good slider. I wouldn't be opposed to Ryan Tepera either, he was actually somebody that I considered. The Twins were in on Yates last year, but then he was out for the entire year once again. I'd either stay away from him if you're only adding two real relievers in free agency (meaning actual money being given out, not waiver claims, R5 picks, or MiLB deals), or add him as a third arm if the money is right. 

Link to comment

The offer for Lopez seems light to me, and the trade simulators in Out Of The Park (simulation game) and baseballtradevalues.com come to a similar conclusion - neither of these is gospel but both are constructed with at least some serious intent.  A better pitching prospect than Strotman, maybe Canterino, would seem to be indicated, to get Miami to even enter a discussion.  A position player prospect like Royce Lewis also would get their attention, but I presume you don't want to go that route.

Link to comment
4 hours ago, ashbury said:

The offer for Lopez seems light to me, and the trade simulators in Out Of The Park (simulation game) and baseballtradevalues.com come to a similar conclusion - neither of these is gospel but both are constructed with at least some serious intent.  A better pitching prospect than Strotman, maybe Canterino, would seem to be indicated, to get Miami to even enter a discussion.  A position player prospect like Royce Lewis also would get their attention, but I presume you don't want to go that route.

I used baseball trade values to run this through. As far as OOTP..lol. Depends so much on your settings. Not a good way to judge if trades will go through in reality. 
 

of course the twins would potentially have to add more. I think Kepler still has some value, and we know Miami has wanted him before. Jeffers is a wildcard. I think some teams would value him a lot, and some not at all. 

Link to comment
1 hour ago, Mill1634 said:

I used baseball trade values to run this through. As far as OOTP..lol. Depends so much on your settings. Not a good way to judge if trades will go through in reality. 
 

of course the twins would potentially have to add more. I think Kepler still has some value, and we know Miami has wanted him before. Jeffers is a wildcard. I think some teams would value him a lot, and some not at all. 

OOTP isn't the hill I would die on, obviously.  But they put more effort into their scouting, their financial model, and their trading AI, than one might expect.  IMO it's on a par with the trade values site, in other words just somebody's guess but one form of sanity checking.

Link to comment
15 hours ago, ashbury said:

OOTP isn't the hill I would die on, obviously.  But they put more effort into their scouting, their financial model, and their trading AI, than one might expect.  IMO it's on a par with the trade values site, in other words just somebody's guess but one form of sanity checking.

Oh yeah, I know you're not taking it as gospel, but just wanted to put that out there for those that don't play the game that it isn't the end all be all like you said. It relies a lot on the settings you have, and the game values some players super weirdly. It's very possible the Twins would have to add on a better prospect than Strotman, but it's hard to come up with hypothetical trades in any sport, especially baseball with every front office valuing certain prospects differently. If the Twins are fans of Pablo Lopez, I have no doubt that they could put a package together to land him. 

Link to comment

This is VERY good and completely realistic.  I agree with much of mike8791, I would not go after Wacha.  But I would also not go after Cobb as well.  Give me Pineda, or aim a little higher and go for Jon Gray.  Love Knebel, but I think the Twins have the potential for a good BP without going for an Ottovina type.  I'd rather add an arm like Yates for $1 million and invest a little more in SP'ing.  Like the lineup...a LOT.

Link to comment
21 hours ago, TopGunn#22 said:

This is VERY good and completely realistic.  I agree with much of mike8791, I would not go after Wacha.  But I would also not go after Cobb as well.  Give me Pineda, or aim a little higher and go for Jon Gray.  Love Knebel, but I think the Twins have the potential for a good BP without going for an Ottovina type.  I'd rather add an arm like Yates for $1 million and invest a little more in SP'ing.  Like the lineup...a LOT.

I personally think Cobb is better than Pineda, don't really think it's close. Both have an injury history and a reason to worry going forward, and neither is an ace, but I would much rather have a healthy Cobb than a healthy Pineda. 

Link to comment

Sign Gray and Knebel. Trade with Miami for Lopez giving up Kepler, Jeffers and a prospect. Trade for one of Oakland"s SP giving them a package of prospects for their rebuild. Sign Buxton for the above base and incentives. This would give us a team to be seriously considered for post season play but more importantly a team we as Twins fan could get behind and show up to proudly watch play.

Link to comment
Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...