Hey guys. I’m writing you all from vacation in beautiful Rapid City, S.D. We’re on our way to see Mount Rushmore in the morning, but before that, here’s the mailbag column I promised you all almost a week ago. The homestand got kind of busy, and I ended up writing a James Rowson/Byron Buxton column I wasn’t previously planning on.
Also, my baby turns eight weeks old this Tuesday, and so we’re spending my paternity leave and some of my wife’s maternity leave on the road because we never take vacations. I mean seriously, look at this face:
So anyway, here goes nothing:
I think it’s too soon to say. I think it’ll probably take 2-to-3 season to know for sure, but I do know based on my conversations with guys on the big club that they’re not throwing away old ways of doing things, but are also emphasizing analytics quite a bit — and Jeff Pickler is at the forefront of those operations.
I do think though that they’re taking the slow and steady approach to this thing. They haven’t really turned over the 40-man roster that much — outside of mostly a bunch of inherited relievers — and didn’t do a ton in the offseason, either. I think bringing on two new catchers with good defensive skills was a way to evaluate existing players this season with their own eyes. That is to say, not holding what guys like Kyle Gibson did with different guys behind the plate and with whatever changes this new staff has implemented not yet taking shape yet.
In other words, it’s an evaluation year for basically everyone in the organization, and they’ll begin parting it out more in the offseason. I think it’s a smart way to do business.
You can target some cheaper rental relievers, but otherwise there isn’t much that can be done unless it’s taking on a lot of money or years in a contract that a team doesn’t want. That doesn’t make a lot of sense for the Twins right now. I think Pat Neshek makes a lot of sense if the Phillies aren’t asking for too much, but otherwise, I just stay the course. I’ve seen people clamoring for Brad Hand on the message boards and that makes no sense at all to me. A.J. Preller is going to straight up fleece someone in that deal, and it’s one reliever. Billy Wagner in his prime isn’t going to alter the course of what the Twins are going to do the rest of the year enough to merit this kind of trade, let alone Hand, who was not on the radar at all a year ago.
The smartest bullpens in today’s game are the ones who find Brad Hands, not trades for them. Look at the Red Sox with Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg. They paid quite a bit in trade equity for those two guys, and have gotten a combined 2.2 innings from the duo. I’ve seen people on the boards and on Twitter who would be OK with moving names like Stephen Gonsalves plus more for Hand. That’s absolutely preposterous.
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