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Front Page: Non-Tendered Players That Could Interest The Minnesota Twins


Nate Palmer
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The Minnesota Twins made non-tender decisions on C.J. Cron and Trevor Hildenberger before Monday night's deadline making those two players available to other MLB teams to sign. Other teams made similar decisions which has added to the free agent market. Here are a few interesting names for the Twins.SP Aaron Sanchez

 

Aaron Sanchez was a name linked to the Twins at the trade deadline but wound up with the Houston Astros instead. Sanchez has lacked consistency but shows enough flashes that makes him intriguing. This season between Toronto and Houston Sanchez compiled an unimpressive 5.89 ERA over 131 1/3 innings.

 

Biggest issue with Sanchez is that his season ended after he neeed shoulder surgery and likely will delay the start to his 2020 season. Sanchez will certainly attract some suitors as someone will want to see if they can get something out of a starter who can throw in the mid-90s.

 

RP Blake Treinen

 

After being one of the most dominant relievers in 2018, all things fell apart for Treinen in 2019. The high velocity, sinker ball pitcher just was not able to produce at the same level of effectiveness. He is still only one year removed from a season in which he had a 0.78 ERA. He also went to college at South Dakota State so that is close to a homecoming, right?

 

Treinen's former teammate, lefty Ryan Buchter could also be worth a look after turning in three straight seasons of sub-3.00 ERA. He doesn’t have high velocity but could be the lefty to pair with Taylor Rogers the Twins have been needing.

 

OF Kevin Pillar

 

Call it Byron Buxton insurance, a quality fourth outfielder to mix in, or even someone to have in the case of an Eddie Rosario trade, but Kevin Pillar could be a solid addition for the Twins. Pillar had long manned center field in Toronto until being moved to San Francisco at the beginning of 2019.

 

There he was a centerpiece of the Giants offense with a .264/.293/.442 slash line and .735 OPS and 21 home runs. While DRS has shown a downturn in Pillar’s center field defense the past two seasons, he is still a capable defensive outfielder. Domingo Santana is another outfielder non-tendered who could provide a similar bat but not the same level of defense.

 

SP Taijuan Walker and SP Jimmy Nelson

 

Both of these pitchers have big red flags after some injury-plagued seasons. Walker had Tommy John and a shoulder injury. Nelson hasn’t quite recovered from a shoulder injury of his own that held him out of all of 2018 and he struggled to get back from in 2019. Both have shown some dominant flashes. Nelson especially looked like ace material before his injury.

What names have caught your eye? Any of these names fit for a Twins team that is pushing to improve and make a push into the 2020 playoffs?

 

Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook.

 

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I mentioned both Walker and Kevin Gausman in my article for the offseason handbook. Here are some interesting career numbers to consider:

 

Kevin Gausman (925 2/3 IP, 28-years-old)

21.7 K%, 7.1 BB%, 43.1 GB%, 1.34 WHIP, 95 xFIP-, 4.04 SIERA

Taijuan Walker (528 1/3 IP, 27-years-old)

21.3 K%, 7.4 BB%, 43.7 GB%, 1.25 WHIP, 99 xFIP-, 4.08 SIERA

 

And a couple more names for additional context:

 

Zack Wheeler (749 1.3 IP, 29-years-old)

22.8 K%, 8.5 BB%, 46.5 GB%, 1.29 WHIP, 97 xFIP-, 4.03 SIERA

Jose Berrios (596 2/3 IP, 25-years-old)

23.1 K%, 7.7 BB%, 40.7 GB%, 1.26 WHIP, 99 xFIP-, 4.23 SIERA

 

Things have not been going Gausman's way the past two seasons and Walker has logged just 14 innings over that time, but both of them are pretty interesting to me. 

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I mentioned both Walker and Kevin Gausman in my article for the offseason handbook. Here are some interesting career numbers to consider:

 

Kevin Gausman (925 2/3 IP, 28-years-old)

21.7 K%, 7.1 BB%, 43.1 GB%, 1.34 WHIP, 95 xFIP-, 4.04 SIERA

Taijuan Walker (528 1/3 IP, 27-years-old)

21.3 K%, 7.4 BB%, 43.7 GB%, 1.25 WHIP, 99 xFIP-, 4.08 SIERA

 

And a couple more names for additional context:

 

Zack Wheeler (749 1.3 IP, 29-years-old)

22.8 K%, 8.5 BB%, 46.5 GB%, 1.29 WHIP, 97 xFIP-, 4.03 SIERA

Jose Berrios (596 2/3 IP, 25-years-old)

23.1 K%, 7.7 BB%, 40.7 GB%, 1.26 WHIP, 99 xFIP-, 4.23 SIERA

 

Things have not been going Gausman's way the past two seasons and Walker has logged just 14 innings over that time, but both of them are pretty interesting to me. 

I would certainly like to give Gausman a shot. Perhaps Wes could get him to replicate those numbers he pitched with the Reds.

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A one-year deal for Shaw makes sense. According to BBRef, he's a plus defender at third. Good power and a little bit more L/R balance.

Brewers fans at work today were feeling leery with Shaw when they heard Moose signed elsewhere. Their GM apparently felt the same way as he let him go even after losing Moose. I’d pass

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I wonder what was going on with Treinen last year. Looking at reports, he looked great in the spring and in his first couple (multi-inning) appearances, then struggled but was shortly thereafter diagnosed with tendonitis. He came back, but Mid-July he was shut down with a shoulder injury. He came back again but was shut down for good in September with a back injury.

 

Looking at that, I could see a narrative that he just had cascading injuries that led to a season in which he could never get back on track. That seems like a guy who could bounce back big time. 

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A modest two year deal to any of the highlighted pitchers would be a good move, IMO.  All three have high end talent, but the injury issues are concerning.  The deal could be treated in a psuedo-Pineda way.  Year one is all about health.  IL until 100% or when it makes sense assuming a playoff push.  

 

I wouldn't sign more than one of those three though.

 

Treinen and Buchter are both interesting.  MiLB options abound in the pen, so more arms with talent are a good answer for the volatility.  I'd kick the tires on Alex Claudio as well.

 

Danny Hultzen on a minor league deal would be fine.  It's a Rich Harden type of hail mary, but it's good to explore all options.

 

No interest in Pillar here.  It's just a name drop, although he has had some good games against the Twins. The Twins top four outfielders right now are all "capable" or much better than that. Give Jake Cave 628 PAs, and he'll match that homer total and do it with an OBP well above the .287 that Pillar put up.  Hell, with all the articles suggesting a Rosario trade and using his .300 OBP as one of the main reasons to move him, I don't see what Pillar will bring that's any better.  He might be cheaper, but why kill the clubhouse over 2-3 mill?

 

 

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All of the left handed relievers who were non-tendered should get a look. With the three batter minimum, they need to be able to have some success against right handed hitters, though. 

 

Given the Twins roster construction, they already have three utility types (Gonzalez, Adrianza & Astudillo) and a regular for every position except first base (or third if Sanó is moved). A right handed hitting outfielder who can play center field well (as well or better than Kepler) would be a good add. 

 

There were also a number of catchers non-tendered, although none of them hit left handed. If the Twins are interested in Garver getting reps at first, they should be interested in adding major league catching.

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Filling Hildenberger's spot with Trienen would probably be a good move in my opinion. They could start him out lower down the chain of relievers and see if he returns to form. I think he's somewhere in between his historic 2018 and terrible 2019 and that's still a damn good reliever.

 

I didn't see that Jimmy Nelson got non tendered. If they're going to sign a Martin Perez reclamation project again, that should be your guy.

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I thought about Buchter, too. But it appears he can't get right handers out, and the new 3 batter minimum would work against him. Probably why he was non-tendered. Alex Claudio of the Reds the same thing. 

 

Exactly this on Buchter. 

.904 OPS vs right-handers. 

 

Not going to fly with the new rule.

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All of the left handed relievers who were non-tendered should get a look. With the three batter minimum, they need to be able to have some success against right handed hitters, though.

 

Given the Twins roster construction, they already have three utility types (Gonzalez, Adrianza & Astudillo) and a regular for every position except first base (or third if Sanó is moved). A right handed hitting outfielder who can play center field well (as well or better than Kepler) would be a good add.

 

There were also a number of catchers non-tendered, although none of them hit left handed. If the Twins are interested in Garver getting reps at first, they should be interested in adding major league catching.

Like the way you are thinking here! Agreed on checking out various LHRP options. My dream was Pomeranz on a 2yr $4-5M deal but that got completely blown up. Now, it's about who is the best candidate Johnson and the FO like. I kind of hate to say it, but I'm starting to wonder about Perez. I think his days as a SP option are gone, unless someone decides they can still "fix" him the way it looked like the Twins did the first couple of months last year. If he would accept a bullpen move, I find him interesting.

 

With all due respect to Cave, who I like despite some rough edges and a play in the field here and there that left me scratching my head, I'd be very interested in a lower cost 4th OF who can play a legitimate CF. I don't care if he bats LF/RF necessarily, just a guy who can play good defense and be solid offensively. I just don't know who to target at this point.

 

Catcher is weird and interesting. There are a couple guys I like...really liked Vogt...but still prefer to go status quo with Castro. Interesting I haven't heard a single rumor about him. Leads me to believe a re-sign is a strong possibility.

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If you really want to take a flyer on someone, I have the perfect candidate.  After shoulder surgery in 1987, I was unable to throw a baseball until I had my shoulder replaced in 2017 and spent 2018 rehabilitating it.  I can now throw pain free.  I have no wear and tear on my right arm and can still top out on the radar gun at a solid 45 MPH.  My control is a little weak but I'm sure Wes Johnson could straighten that out.  And I would be a very inexpensive signing which would leave a lot of money left over for Rendon and Cole.  And if you view this as a Bill Veeck type of move, what other team would have a 73-year old pitcher?

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