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Article: Don't Panic Over Bad Breaks For Twins Rotation


Nick Nelson
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Fair enough. The negative response to the Twins not beating an offer they could've or should've is certainly better than the backlash they would've received for not even making an offer.

 

Well, now Nick is telling us they actually gave up on Darvish several weeks ago. Which, on the timeline, would put us back to about the time of Twins Fest. And at that time, they said they hadn't even made him an offer yet. Which would then lead me to believe the front office knew they weren't making Darvish a serious offer.
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Imagine, fans demanding accountability.

 

I appreciate Nick... Always have. 

 

He's right... Balance is good... there is a ton of negative flowing right now and his efforts at showing the other side is appreciated by me at least... and necessary. Nick is bravely walking forward into a very stiff wind. 

 

We are all disappointed but there is no reason... or proof... that not landing Darvish took us automatically from 90 Wins down to 80 wins by itself.  

 

 

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I'm not arguing it's crippling.  I just wouldn't spend any time trying to argue it as a positive.  We lost our best pitcher for a month, spinning that into positives is just silly.  There is a wide gulf between "Crippling" and "let me try to sell you this rock and tell you it's a lump of gold"  I'm in that wide gulf.  

 

And I'd suggest the degree of silliness required to try that argument might be indicative of the value of your overall effort.  Maybe, rather than go down paths that absurd, it would've been better to just try something else entirely.  

 

Or, at least, understand why people aren't buying your sales pitch that the rock is really gold.

See Bill Simmons’ “Ewing Theory.”

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I am all for silver linings but I think you have a couple items in here that do not qualify:

 

One final thing to note: Santana has a clause in his contract that would have guaranteed his $14 million salary in 2019 if he reached 200 innings this season. That was a possibility Twins decision-makers needed to account for in their planning, and it might've made them more hesitant to commit payroll for next year. Now, as it it will be virtually impossible for Santana to eclipse the 200 mark, Minnesota has a true team option for 2019, when he'll be 36.

 

I don't get how this is a silver lining.  There were 15 players last year that pitched 200+ innings.  The average WAR was 4.4 with the lowest being 2.0.  I don't know any contending team that would turn down a 1 year/$14 million contract for that kind of production.  

 

WAR Link

 

For comparison purposes, the 4 big free agent pitchers this year (Darvish, Arrieta, Cobb, Lynn) had an average WAR of 2.5 with the low being 1.4 and they seem to be in line for 4-6 year contracts for $15-21 million a year.

 

Free Agent WAR Link

 

The Cubs are now committed to the righty through 2023. He'll be 37 when the pact expires. Although $21 million in annual salary is lower than most expected but it still becomes a hindrance quickly if he underperforms or battles injury. And those are legitimate apprehensions since Darvish is arguably a bigger long-term health risk than many of his peers.

 

The Twins are a mid-market team and should be expected to be middle of the pack on payroll.  The median salary in MLB is about $135 million (Link).  Inflation was 2.13% in 2017 (Link).  If we project that over the next 6 years the median payroll in 2023 will be $153 million or higher, as MLB payroll has grown significantly faster than inflation in the past.  The Twins have no payroll obligations past 2019 and should easily be able to absorb 13.7% of their payroll being dead money.  They got by this year with Phil Hughes, Nolasco, Park, and Perkins consuming 25% of their payroll.

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Well, now Nick is telling us they actually gave up on Darvish several weeks ago. Which, on the timeline, would put us back to about the time of Twins Fest. And at that time, they said they hadn't even made him an offer yet. Which would then lead me to believe the front office knew they weren't making Darvish a serious offer.

I'm not defending the offer MN made. I'm as disappointed by it as anybody, and I think we're right to question how serious the team was about Darvish given what he signed for, the subsequent comments from the FO, the offer they made, ect. 

 

That said, speaking strictly from a PR standpoint, I understand why they made the offer, even though I agree with you that they knew there was no chance it was going to be accepted. 

Edited by KirbyDome89
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Why are you oversimplifying things so much? They weren't going to sign Gimenez in the blind hope that it'd prompt Darvish to sign, creating another roadblock for Garver in the process. I wish people would stop operating under the assumptions that A) The Twins had complete control over this situation, and B ) They were unaware at all times of Darvish's mindset/leaning.

 

By all accounts they'd moved on from Darvish weeks ago and have been working other angles.

 

 

Last offseason you'd convinced yourself the Twins were going to trade Dozier to the Dodgers. This offseason you apparently convinced yourself they'd sign Darvish. On both occasions, when it didn't happen, you had a little meltdown on this forum. Maybe your own unrealistic expectations are the cause of your being disappointed and hoodwinked?

 

The Twins made earnest efforts to pull off a Dozier trade that makes sense, and to sign Darvish. There is zero evidence that either of these things aren't true. The front office drew lines in the sand (we're not giving up Dozier for any less than X, we're not going to add a sixth year for a 32-year-old non-elite pitcher), and they stood by them. These are good things. They aren't obliged to do whatever's necessary to pull off a move you want to see.

As recently as last Tuesday, on Mackey & Judd, Levine was still saying they were pursuing Darvish?

Why would he say that, if they'd already moved on? And, if they had, but were still saying they were pursuing him, do you see how that could create some mistrust of the process?

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I'm just theorizing here, but my guess is that Darvish's camp was coming close to a decision, and communicated to all remaining suitors "Submit your best offer" so the Twins did, despite knowing it probably wasn't enough.

If they submitted an offer that they knew wasn't good enough, then they weren't serious about signing him, regardless of how large the figures were relative to previous Twins signings.

Especially when the final price was $40+ million less than projected coming into the off-season.

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Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow, can we please move on to something that matters?

 

We have Santana coming back in early May and May coming back later in May. So by late May we could have a starting rotation of Santana, Berrios, Gibson, Mejia and May. Personally, I have no problems with that five, especially if Berrios/Mejia take that next step, Gibson is like he was late last year and May is close to the pitcher he was pre-injury. Should this happen, that could be one good rotation.

 

And sometime this summer, either Romero or Gonsalves could be ready to contribute should they need a fill-in.

 

So they need to fill the hole between April 1 and mid-to-late May. Whether that is from outside the organization or they catch a break with someone like Slegers or Enns, we will all know in 45 days. And who knows, maybe they are getting good reports on that forgotten man, Phil Hughes. Let's stop ragging on each other and get ready to hear the best two words in the English language..."play ball."

Projecting Santana to be back in early May seems quite optimistic to me. The 10-12 week recovery time given puts him at between roughly April 20th- May 4th, at which point he'd need a pretty lengthy rehab stint, considering he'll barely have thrown a baseball in 7 months.

I'd guess that the third week in May is about the best case scenario.

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Late to the party on this one, for various reasons, so probably won't get read anyway, lol.

 

Nick...appreciate what you are trying to do here, but really, it should have been a slightly altered/different article that simply said: "Don't give up on 2018 before it begins". But I really do understand and "get" your points.

 

However:

 

1] Losing Santana sucks, no matter how you spin it. We can't change his injury, but, I'd rather have 2-4 weeks during the season when May might be back, and guys like Gonsalves, Slegers, Romero and Jorge could have a couple AAA months under their belt. Not sure I buy in to the idea of no auto extension for Santana in 2019. We LOVE numbers in baseball...except for age. The truth is Santana has pitched as well, or better, overall, in his Twins career as he has ever pitched. Unless this injury truly affects his ability/performance, he could be brought back in 2019. That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, however.

 

2] I like additional IP and opportunity for the kids in spring. But will they face ML hitters or AAA/AAAA hitters? Experience is good for the kids, but they just aren't ready yet.

 

3] Who knows, maybe we dodged a bullet on Darvish. The Cubs were the one team that scared me, and damned if they didn't make the move I feared. We also may never truly know the Twins offer, but it sure sounds like the numbers per year were very close. The 6th year and opt out seemed to seal the deal. And I get we can't just get stupid in terms of numbers and details...but...to seem that close and not willing to bump up, or front load seems irresponsible to me. IMHO, this is the first time I've questioned the new FO. We will also never know, probably, how seriously Darvish really considered the Twins. That shouldn't just be swept under the rug either.

 

As to my proposed alternate title to the article, I have NOT given up on 2018. Barring injury or sudden, unexpected regression, this lineup should be better in 2018. Sorry for those who wanted to lay out a pair of $10M per contracts, but the pen looms much better to me...with more help on the way. Plus, if Rogers, Pressly and Duffey can mature even a bit more, oh my!

 

The rotation is still the issue. We ALL KNOW THIS. No secret. But how well did this team do last season with the rotation and pen they had and the numbers that marched through? Get Santana healthy. Watch Berrios...and Mejia...get better. See May come back. Gibson? SSS maybe, but something seemed to click the second half we hadn't seen before. And a couple of the kids could be ready later in the year.

 

Silver lining? Not so much right now. Giving up on 2018? No way! The best news is the market is depressed for FA, and there are still some intriguing options out there to help. There is still the possibility of a trade, though I prefer to keep everything intact and spend the money.

 

I'd sign Lynn or Cobb, whoever my scouts/advisors and myself seeing as the best fit for a fair contract and take a 1 year flier on someone else. After all, you can never have too much pitching.

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As recently as last Tuesday, on Mackey & Judd, Levine was still saying they were pursuing Darvish?
Why would he say that, if they'd already moved on? And, if they had, but were still saying they were pursuing him, do you see how that could create some mistrust of the process?

OK, let's be clear on this: I'm not professing to be some sort of insider. I'm not a reporter out here dropping scoops. 

 

I talk occasionally to people who cover the team, or who seem to have a good grasp of what's going on. I take in news and tidbits from all possible sources and give more weight to things that align. I connect the dots as best I can and I try to reflect those vibes in the things I write here. 

 

I don't mean to say they gave up on Darvish or ruled out the chance of him coming here. I just got a sense in mid-to-late January that optimism was waning, and that a union with the Cubs was beginning to seem likely. Wrote as much at the time

 

If you want to "mistrust" a front office that – according to documented reports – offered 100M+ to the top FA on the market and has also taken a shot the top trade candidate, go for it. I, myself, am going to wait and continue advising people not to panic. It's ONE free agent off the board.

 

 

Projecting Santana to be back in early May seems quite optimistic to me. The 10-12 week recovery time given puts him at between roughly April 20th- May 4th, at which point he'd need a pretty lengthy rehab stint, considering he'll barely have thrown a baseball in 7 months.

The release from the Twins said "Major League game activity." Seems pretty explicit that they're including a rehab stint in that estimate, no?

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I am all for silver linings but I think you have a couple items in here that do not qualify:

 

 

I don't get how this is a silver lining.  There were 15 players last year that pitched 200+ innings.  The average WAR was 4.4 with the lowest being 2.0.  I don't know any contending team that would turn down a 1 year/$14 million contract for that kind of production.  

 

WAR Link

 

For comparison purposes, the 4 big free agent pitchers this year (Darvish, Arrieta, Cobb, Lynn) had an average WAR of 2.5 with the low being 1.4 and they seem to be in line for 4-6 year contracts for $15-21 million a year.

 

Free Agent WAR Link

 

 

The Twins are a mid-market team and should be expected to be middle of the pack on payroll.  The median salary in MLB is about $135 million (Link).  Inflation was 2.13% in 2017 (Link).  If we project that over the next 6 years the median payroll in 2023 will be $153 million or higher, as MLB payroll has grown significantly faster than inflation in the past.  The Twins have no payroll obligations past 2019 and should easily be able to absorb 13.7% of their payroll being dead money.  They got by this year with Phil Hughes, Nolasco, Park, and Perkins consuming 25% of their payroll.

I appreciate the research and thought put into this comment but I'm just beyond tired of dwelling on what the Twins should spend. Falvey and Levine are working within an established framework and I'm more interested in seeing what they do within that framework than constantly lamenting the constraints. 

 

Those constraints shouldn't be an issue right now, and I don't know that they are. But the average fan isn't thinking about 2020-22, when Sano, Buxton, Rosario, Berrios, Kepler and Polanco are all deep in arbitration or hitting free agency. Falvey and Levine need to. 

 

Yes, Darvish signed for less than expected. Others probably will too. I see that as more of an opportunity than giving a 6-year deal to a guy who turns 32 this year.

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OK, let's be clear on this: I'm not professing to be some sort of insider. I'm not a reporter out here dropping scoops.

 

I talk occasionally to people who cover the team, or who seem to have a good grasp of what's going on. I take in news and tidbits from all possible sources and give more weight to things that align. I connect the dots as best I can and I try to reflect those vibes in the things I write here.

 

I don't mean to say they gave up on Darvish or ruled out the chance of him coming here. I just got a sense in mid-to-late January that optimism was waning, and that a union with the Cubs was beginning to seem likely. Wrote as much at the time.

 

If you want to "mistrust" a front office that – according to documented reports – offered 100M+ to the top FA on the market and has also taken a shot the top trade candidate, go for it. I, myself, am going to wait and continue advising people not to panic. It's ONE free agent off the board.

 

 

The release from the Twins said "Major League game activity." Seems pretty explicit that they're including a rehab stint in that estimate, no?

On your first point, you yourself acknowledged that they made an offer, knowing it probably wasn't enough. Regardless of the meaning of the raw amount, relative to your budget, submitting an offer that you know isn't good enough, is not a serious attempt.

 

50K is a lot of money to me. It would be the most I ever offered to pay for a car. But that doesn't make it a serious offer if I walk into a Lamborghini dealership with it.

 

On your second point, I apologize for not noticing that detail. Pro sports injuries, especially when surgery is involved, is almost always given in recovery time.

If Heezy is reading, would appreciate any insight on the expected recovery time for this surgery.

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I appreciate the research and thought put into this comment but I'm just beyond tired of dwelling on what the Twins should spend. Falvey and Levine are working within an established framework and I'm more interested in seeing what they do within that framework than constantly lamenting the constraints. 

 

Those constraints shouldn't be an issue right now, and I don't know that they are. But the average fan isn't thinking about 2020-22, when Sano, Buxton, Rosario, Berrios, Kepler and Polanco are all deep in arbitration or hitting free agency. Falvey and Levine need to. 

 

Yes, Darvish signed for less than expected. Others probably will too. I see that as more of an opportunity than giving a 6-year deal to a guy who turns 32 this year.

The 'average fan' may not be thinking about future salaries of some of our younger players but plenty of people around here have. They probably also realize that all teams have players that get raises in arbitration and still manage to sign quality FAs here and there.  All teams have to deal with that.  Let's hope all those guys' play are worthy of big arbitration numbers.  We should be so lucky.

 

Now was the time.  If ever there was a time to make a big splash to address your yearly GLARING need, it was now, right?  Weak division, young players who could take the next step, they made the playoffs last year.  This is the kind of situation that has been talked about over and over as THE time to do this.  And we continue to dive for scraps.

 

In regards to the last paragraph, it makes it seem like you're now saying that signing Darvish wouldn't have been a good idea and that it's turned out to be a good thing after all. Why exactly? That lesser talent that likely won't move the needle will be even cheaper? You were all for signing the almost 32 year old, were you not? And now that the Twins couldn't get it done, it wasn't a good idea to sign him after all? Turns out that it's actually better for us that we didn't get him?

Edited by jimmer
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OK, let's be clear on this: I'm not professing to be some sort of insider. I'm not a reporter out here dropping scoops.

 

I talk occasionally to people who cover the team, or who seem to have a good grasp of what's going on. I take in news and tidbits from all possible sources and give more weight to things that align. I connect the dots as best I can and I try to reflect those vibes in the things I write here.

 

I don't mean to say they gave up on Darvish or ruled out the chance of him coming here. I just got a sense in mid-to-late January that optimism was waning, and that a union with the Cubs was beginning to seem likely. Wrote as much at the time.

 

If you want to "mistrust" a front office that – according to documented reports – offered 100M+ to the top FA on the market and has also taken a shot the top trade candidate, go for it. I, myself, am going to wait and continue advising people not to panic. It's ONE free agent off the board.

 

Interesting, thanks. Didn't realize that was out there.

 

One of the weaker arguments is that since the Twins offered "a lot of money" they should be immune from criticism. Maybe if Kershaw opts out of his deal next offseason (were the Dodgers aware that opt-out was in the Kershaw contract?) so if Kershaw is on the free agent market, the Twins should offer Kershaw 5/110 and then be proud they gave it their best shot and people should accept that. No. Darvish was worth more than 5/110. He is most likely worth more than 6/126, but we'll see.

 

Thanks again. The Twins still have a lot of questions to answer, about both the Darvish negotiation and more importantly their rotation plans for 2018-2019

Edited by Hosken Bombo Disco
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i don't really care about setting the bar, or who offered what, or who didn't, or "giving credit" for trying.

 

Get it done, or it's meaningless.

Exactly. I will praise the regime when they do something well, and criticize when they blunder.

 

I'm not happy they "tried their best" to get the only player they specifically targeted to sign this winter. They didn't get it done, and it's a failure. Simple as that.

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