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Lewis Thorpe fourth option granted


As we await an arbitrator's ruling on a fourth option year for Lewis Thorpe, it sounds like some similar decisions are coming down, not granting the fourth option.

 

In case you missed it, Thorpe and a few other players would be eligible for a fourth option year in 2021 under a strict reading of the rule that a "full season" must be at least 90 days. Usually this rule only applies to rookie league seasons and seasons missed due to injury, but 2020's unusual schedule was technically shorter than 90 days too. So the players and teams have taken these cases to an arbitrator.

 

MLBTR reports that the Nats lost their claim on a fourth option year in 2021 for Erick Fedde, although his situation was a little different than Thorpe's (Fedde had a 4th option for 2020 that the Nats didn't use, keeping him in MLB for the entirety of the shorted 2020 season):

 

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2021/03/nationals-rumors-erick-fedde-out-of-options.html

 

But the St. Louis beat writer suggested on Twitter that the same ruling will come down for the Cardinals' Justin Williams (who is in Thorpe's same position):

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Then he makes the team. Who goes down, Dobnak (to start everyday) or possibly Stashak?

The problem there is no one goes down to start every game. AAA season is pushed a month plus. Does anyone really think Thorpe gets claimed if the Twins lose their case? 

 

 

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I guess given those sets of facts I shouldn't be surprised.  The players had no control over COVID nor the shortened season so it would be a bit odd to penalize them for it.  It the players are good enough they will make the 26 man if not another team will get a crack at them and they might get to be MLB players.

 

Stinks for the Twins and Thorpe IMO but it makes sense not to penalize the players who might then have to endure another minor league year with no way out.

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The problem there is no one goes down to start every game. AAA season is pushed a month plus. Does anyone really think Thorpe gets claimed if the Twins lose their case? 

 

If you are the Pirates or Orioles or any rebuilding team why not grab a back end starter that could be better than that for free?  I would.

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Then he makes the team. Who goes down, Dobnak (to start everyday) or possibly Stashak?

The most recent TD roster projection had this bullpen:

 

Bullpen (9): Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Alex Colome, Jorge Alcala, Hansel Robles, Caleb Thielbar, Cody Stashak, Randy Dobnak, Shaun Anderson

 

So Thorpe could take Anderson's spot, unless you wanted it for Law. Thielbar has an option year remaining too.

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If you are the Pirates or Orioles or any rebuilding team why not grab a back end starter that could be better than that for free?  I would.

 

Very fair, but the Twins are contenders. Are we going to actually miss Thorpe? Most of his optimism comes from him being a lefty, not his arsenal in any way.

Thorpe being on the team makes the Twins worse. I'd rather have Dobnak on the team now then worry about the chance of Thorpe being a 4 or 5 starter in 2 years.

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The most recent TD roster projection had this bullpen:

 

Bullpen (9): Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Alex Colome, Jorge Alcala, Hansel Robles, Caleb Thielbar, Cody Stashak, Randy Dobnak, Shaun Anderson

 

So Thorpe could take Anderson's spot, unless you wanted it for Law. Thielbar has an option year remaining too.

 

Anderson was sent down already https://www.mlb.com/press-release/press-release-twins-option-shaun-anderson-devin-smeltzer

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Dobnak and Thorpe will both be on the roster to start the season. They need two long relievers/spot starters. Stashak is probably the one to be optioned to AAA.

 

Totally agree I was going write the same thing. I hope Baldelli thinks the same. We really need 2 long relief pitchers especially in the beginning. Maybe even piggyback
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Very fair, but the Twins are contenders. Are we going to actually miss Thorpe? Most of his optimism comes from him being a lefty, not his arsenal in any way.

Thorpe being on the team makes the Twins worse. I'd rather have Dobnak on the team now then worry about the chance of Thorpe being a 4 or 5 starter in 2 years.

 

I see your point and I don't know what we have in Thorpe yet to be honest.  Is he the no control walk batters and give up the big hit pitcher or is he back to competent 5th starter and maybe more.  It is too early to tell that is why that 4th option year would have been nice.  

 

The Twins are so thin on lefties though I don't think they can afford to try and trade him or just lose him.  We'll see what happens but I think they keep him for now and see how he performs.

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The problem there is no one goes down to start every game. AAA season is pushed a month plus. Does anyone really think Thorpe gets claimed if the Twins lose their case?

I actually think he’s claimed pretty readily. His velocity is back and he’s left-handed. That’s basically the easiest roster stash of all time.
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Update:

 

Still no word about Thorpe, but the Cubs allegedly *have* been granted a 4th option year for Adbert Alzolay:

 

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2021/03/adbert-alzolay-has-fourth-minor-league-option.html

 

Alzolay's case looks very similar to Thorpe's. Both debuted stateside in 2013, both used their 3 minor league options in 2018-2020, and both pitched in MLB in 2019-2020.

 

The two players do have a few differences:

- Thorpe signed a year earlier (2012) although he didn't pitch in the Twins org that year

- Thorpe pitched a bit professionally with the Melbourne Aces in Australia in 2012-2013 while under contract with the Twins (Alzolay was apparently assigned to the Venezuelan winter league in 2014 but I couldn't find any source confirming he actually pitched there, he's not listed in their stats at B-Ref or mlb.com)

- Thorpe has a bit more credited service time to date, 137 days vs 50 days per B-Ref

 

None of these differences technically matter in determining a 4th option year by the rule book, but perhaps they might matter to an arbitrator, when deciding how to weigh the shortened 2020 season?

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It's nice they got the 4th year option.

 

But if they're going to stick with Thorpe in the pen I don't think they're going to need it. Seems like the fringy starter prospects quite often end up bullpen aces once the team finally commits to them being a full time reliever. Thorpe's my pick for this year's dark horse bullpen break out star.

 

Now to bookmark this page so I can come back and delete this post a month from now if he goes in the tank.

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Honestly I think the Arbiter did the right thing here.  Yes this decision works out well for the Twins as they get to protect an asset, but I think it benefits Thorpe as well.  If he is struggling at the MLB level he can keep working on things at AAA.  If he doesn't struggle I honestly don't think he will get sent down.  I think the Twins and Twins fans all hope that he never uses and or needs the 4th option and is here to stay. 

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Good news for the Twins. Possibly not such bad news for Thorpe either. While he could be close to making a transition to the bullpen, the possibility of sending him down to AAA means it also would be easier for the team to keep him starting for now and see how his adjustments this offseason play out. He's likely to have a better-defined role to prepare for this way, and the Twins are very likely to need him in MLB this year in any case, so he won't languish in the minors, and the option eliminates whatever chance there was of DFAing him and leaving him in limbo between teams.

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Dobnak and Thorpe will both be on the roster to start the season. They need two long relievers/spot starters. Stashak is probably the one to be optioned to AAA. 

 

Well, at least I was immediately wrong. 

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Well, at least I was immediately wrong. 

 

Don't feel bad I was too.  I guess they want to keep him stretched out and not take up a spot to start the season.  I thought, I guess incorrectly that they would have him time share with Happ to start the season but since they were granted the 4th option I guess that plan changed.  I don't think he will down long but who knows.

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