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Twins Need to Take Bold Action on Bullpen Before It's Too Late


 

Good catch on Colomé, although it was late May (May 25, 2018 to be exact).

 

Colomé was still pretty good back then, but he was making $5 mil, in his first season of non-minimum salary, with increasing arb awards expected in the following two seasons. So the frugal Rays sent him with another salary dump (Denard Span) to Seattle.

 

I'm guessing most pitchers in similar situations are traded (or non-tendered) before the season begins. The Rays don't have a reliever making that much money right now, and neither do the Marlins. I don't know if any other organization would be so money-insensitive to make such a move with an effective reliever at the moment.

 

The Rays paid his salary that year for him to play for Seattle, an odd choice for a team trying to save money.

 

Later, the Mariners traded him immediately at the end of the year, in spite of him pitching quite well for them. The Mariners never game him a dollar.

 

The other players involved in these trades are far from impressive. Very strange considering how well he appears on paper.

 

The Twins either did not ask questions about his personality, or they did ask but didn't care.

 

 

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Who's going to trade a good reliever in early May? Nobody. Very unlikely.   The front office completely blew the offseason, and it can't fix it right now.   I can't claim to have predicted the pen

If we cannot have good relievers to shore up the BP how about a different strategy.  Piggly Back starters all the way.  Have a second starter ready every game - drop the relievers, call up good arms a

Sign Greene. Promote Law and Smeltzer. Demote Theilbar and Waddell. IL Colome. Make Robles the closer, Rogers a fireman, Duffy and Alcala 8th inning guys. And pray.... a lot.

The most frustrating thing about Rogers is Rocco's insistence on using him on back to back days. We have 3+ years of data now that says Rogers is a diminished pitcher when pitching on zero days rest.

 

2018

Without rest--12.2 IP, 10 k/9, 6.4 bb/9, .7 hr/9, 3.55 ERA, 4.05 FIP

With rest--55.2 IP, 10 k/9, 1.1 bb/9, .3 hr/9, 2.43 ERA, 1.75 FIP

 

2019

Without rest--15 IP, 12.6 k/9, 4.2 bb/9, 3 hr/9, 7.20 ERA, 6.03 FIP

With rest--54 IP, 11.5 k/9, .7 bb/9, .5 hr/9, 1.33 ERA, 1.49 FIP

 

2020/2021

Without rest--5.1 IP, 8.4 k/9, 0 bb/9, 3.4 hr/9, 5.07 ERA, 6.10 FIP

With Rest--26.1 IP, 10.9 k/9, 1.7 bb/9, .7 hr/9, 3.08 ERA, 2.23 FIP

 

The trends are quite clear--with the exception of the 2020/2021 SSS, Rogers' walk rate explodes on no rest. Even in the 2020/2021 SSS, his HR rate explodes on no rest. This is supposed to be an analytical team that believes in the benefits of rest--it baffles me that Rogers can even be considered an option on no rest.

What should he have done last night? Because there were no good options...

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This is pretty much correct, but I would go further as well.  If you're going to pull your starter in the 6th or earlier, you can't immediately go to one of your 3 best guys unless it's a must win game.  Thielbar/Alcala/Colome et al have to be used in the 6th and 7th, and Rogers/Duffey/Robles can only be used in the 8th or 9th.  If you're going to expect your bullpen to pitch 600+ innings in a year, then the price of that is giving 200 to 300 innings to average to bad relievers.  The only way around that is to have 7 or 8 good guys, or to carry 2 long guys at all times.

It's just math!

 

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The Rays paid his salary that year for him to play for Seattle, an odd choice for a team trying to save money.

 

Later, the Mariners traded him immediately at the end of the year, in spite of him pitching quite well for them. The Mariners never game him a dollar.

Colomé and Span were set to earn about $11.2 mil in salary for the rest of 2018. So even though the Rays sent $4.75 mil to Seattle, they still saved about $6.45 mil by making that trade. 

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Colomé and Span were set to earn about $11.2 mil in salary for the rest of 2018. So even though the Rays sent $4.75 mil to Seattle, they still saved about $6.45 mil by making that trade. 

 

So you admit that Colome was a free add-on for trying to dump someone else's salary. 

 

This is more evidence to suggest that Colome is a cancer.

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What should he have done last night? Because there were no good options...

What you could have done is spend the extra money ( 2 -6) million a year and either paid Trevor May or signed Liam Hendricks.  This is a fail on the front office.  Then we have the fail on Rocco's bullpen management.

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So you admit that Colome was a free add-on for trying to dump someone else's salary. 

 

This is more evidence to suggest that Colome is a cancer.

He's pitched terribly this season, but what reason do you have for believing that he's a "cancer"? That's a pretty awful accusation...

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So you admit that Colome was a free add-on for trying to dump someone else's salary. 

I'm sure Colomé was more valuable than Span at the time, but I don't think you can characterize anyone in this deal as a "free add-on." The Mariners were simply willing to pay a combined $6.45 mil (plus two minor leaguers) for Colomé and Span.

 

I don't think this transaction, or his subsequent trade to Chicago, offers any evidence about Colomé's personality. It's not unusual for non-dominant closers to bounce around a bit once their salaries get high.

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#3- we desperately need to make trades to free space on our 40 man to make appropriate moves, like bringing up Broxton. It's a shame we couldn't bring him up when camp broke. Instead they sent him down to cool off.
If we look we could probably find a trading partner. Some one who needs to shore up an area where we can help or a team that has conceded to rebuild even if they have shown some promise if they like the deal.
The problem is we need to look.

I really don't understand this obsession some people have with Broxton. Is it just based on his spring training numbers? Haven't we learned by now how useless spring training statistics are? Broxton's numbers at the plate since 2017 make Jake Cave look like Babe Ruth...

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The 9th and 10th inning numbers defy description. They also take a decent 2 3/4 hour game and turn it into a 3 1/2 hour game..complete with the associated ugliness. I don't understand the 'Rogers is  unlucky' thing. They have hit some very hard shots against him and there is no defense for the ball clearing the wall.

 

Stretching out the starters might be an option, but probably not a very effective one. Take Berrios..when he goes bad, its a landslide of bad...usually resulting in a dugout full of runs with no outs, to the point where he has to come out. Would be nice to get 7 innings from our starters at least 3/5 of the time. The craziness is our best start was opening day when Berrios came out after 7 innings of no-hit ball. Wonder how it would have played out had they let him stay?

 

i would never consider trading Buxton for relief pitchers. he is Mr Excitement and one of the only reasons to watch the Twins so far. Start working now on a way to keep him (assuming he can play a full season) Donaldson, for me, has been just slightly OK so far. His offense has not been all that stellar, for what we got him for. His 'd' can be spectacular but he'll make routine mistakes too.

 

The offense has to take some lumps. When the opposition scores 28 runs in the 9th and 10th and you counter with 3...no need to continue that sentence.

Yep--the pen is a hot mess and as we have seen, not an easy fix.

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I really don't understand this obsession some people have with Broxton. Is it just based on his spring training numbers? Haven't we learned by now how useless spring training statistics are? Broxton's numbers at the plate since 2017 make Jake Cave look like Babe Ruth...

Broxton can at least provide defense and speed. I care less about the bat for now since Cave has not contributed anything this season.

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What should he have done last night? Because there were no good options...

 

You're right, there were no good options.  That includes Rogers, who due to pitching on Monday, was also not a good option.  So maybe Alcala, or Thielbar, or Colome blows the lead just the same, but at least then Rogers is available tonight.  As it is, we have now pitched Duffey and Rogers two days in a row, so our good options tonight are...Robles?  This bodes ill for our chances in a close game tonight; those chances would be better if Rogers was available, but instead we used him in a situation in which it was predictable he would not be good.  The upshot is that we traded tonight's potentially good Rogers appearance for last nights predictably bad Rogers appearance.  Seems less than smart.

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The 9th and 10th inning numbers defy description. They also take a decent 2 3/4 hour game and turn it into a 3 1/2 hour game..complete with the associated ugliness. I don't understand the 'Rogers is  unlucky' thing. They have hit some very hard shots against him and there is no defense for the ball clearing the wall.

 

Stretching out the starters might be an option, but probably not a very effective one. Take Berrios..when he goes bad, its a landslide of bad...usually resulting in a dugout full of runs with no outs, to the point where he has to come out. Would be nice to get 7 innings from our starters at least 3/5 of the time. The craziness is our best start was opening day when Berrios came out after 7 innings of no-hit ball. Wonder how it would have played out had they let him stay?

 

i would never consider trading Buxton for relief pitchers. he is Mr Excitement and one of the only reasons to watch the Twins so far. Start working now on a way to keep him (assuming he can play a full season) Donaldson, for me, has been just slightly OK so far. His offense has not been all that stellar, for what we got him for. His 'd' can be spectacular but he'll make routine mistakes too.

 

The offense has to take some lumps. When the opposition scores 28 runs in the 9th and 10th and you counter with 3...no need to continue that sentence.

Yep--the pen is a hot mess and as we have seen, not an easy fix.

 

Berrios pitched the second game of the season, and it was 6 no-hit innings.

 

Donaldson has been worth .5 WAR in 17 games--That's 3 WAR in 102 games, which is worth $30M on the free agent market, and we paid $23M, so seems reasonable.  He has an OPS over .800, a wRC+ of 127, and has accounted for 2.8 UZR in his 329 innings with the Twins.  He is absolutely not the problem with this team.

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The most frustrating thing about Rogers is Rocco's insistence on using him on back to back days.  We have 3+ years of data now that says Rogers is a diminished pitcher when pitching on zero days rest.

 

2018

Without rest--12.2 IP, 10 k/9, 6.4 bb/9, .7 hr/9, 3.55 ERA, 4.05 FIP

With rest--55.2 IP, 10 k/9, 1.1 bb/9, .3 hr/9, 2.43 ERA, 1.75 FIP

 

2019

Without rest--15 IP, 12.6 k/9, 4.2 bb/9, 3 hr/9, 7.20 ERA, 6.03 FIP

With rest--54 IP, 11.5 k/9, .7 bb/9, .5 hr/9, 1.33 ERA, 1.49 FIP

 

2020/2021

Without rest--5.1 IP, 8.4 k/9, 0 bb/9, 3.4 hr/9, 5.07 ERA, 6.10 FIP

With Rest--26.1 IP, 10.9 k/9, 1.7 bb/9, .7 hr/9, 3.08 ERA, 2.23 FIP

 

The trends are quite clear--with the exception of the 2020/2021 SSS, Rogers' walk rate explodes on no rest.  Even in the 2020/2021 SSS, his HR rate explodes on no rest.  This is supposed to be an analytical team that believes in the benefits of rest--it baffles me that Rogers can even be considered an option on no rest.

I just think this needs repeating :)

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Not only is it worth repeating but it should be taped to Rocco's forehead. For someone to use numbers to make decisions like he supposedly does, I just can't understand why you ignore them when they are.so glaringly bad. 

And for those who said he didn't have any other options, how about leaving Duffey in? Was he gassed? He only threw 10 pitches Monday. If Alcala isn't any good against lefties then let Duffey pitch to them and then use Alcala after that. Rogers should not have been an option. 

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There are about four relievers who are somewhat trustworthy:

 

Duffey (who doesn't look nearly as dominant as last year)

Robles

Rogers (who got horrifically unlucky last night)

Thielbar

 

Then there's the rest.

 

Alcala has promise, but he just gets hammered by lefties, which is why he wasn't usable last night. I'm not sure the solution there, besides hoping for the best, or having him develop a pitch against lefties.

 

Stashak, I don't know. Great strikeout numbers, but if he's not striking someone out, he's getting hit hard. His walks are way up. His BABIP and FIP suggest he's getting unlucky on batted balls, and the Twins are using him that way, but he's not a high leverage option.

 

Colomé, I mean, what else is there to say? You've got to start working him into low leverage situations and hope that he figures something out. But it's untenable to keep him around all season as a nearly useless arm. Eventually they need to decide he's turned it around, or cut bait.

 

So at this point, the  Twins have to be kicking the tires on Greene. But they also should be aggressively cycling through their AAA options to see if anyone can stick. Law looked good in the spring, and I'm surprised they haven't tried him yet. Ryan Mason looked good in past minor league seasons, he could quickly emerge as an option. But the Twins need to get aggressive.

Duffy’s problem appears to be conditioning. Does the team ever work on conditioning? Appears not with Rocco’s to each his own philosophy. Country club atmosphere...Lucky the Wild is playing tonight.

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Another option, which the late minor league start has complicated:

Use one of the starter prospects, probably Duran, as a short reliever for this season.

Yes, I know it has risks. But it alleviates the crowding of the 40-man and of the bullpen with unusable arms. And it's better than trading them. Starting pitching depth was supposed to be a thing we have, right?

We always intended to need more relievers. Well, it's not convenient, but time to see what Law, Hamilton, Gibaut can do.

And another thing: not all analytics-driven strategies work. Pulling your starters when they struggle in the fourth or fifth may need to be re-evaluated. Especially when the quality of pitcher available is so far below the starting corps.

This makes the most sense to me.

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My frustration has turned in to borderline depression at this point in regard to the pen. But I'm also shocked by what has happened. And I don't know that I have any answers/remedies to offer up. But I do think we need to examine/realize a few points.

 

And yes, some of this is just my opinion.

 

1] The ridiculous move to delay the start of milb means that some of the guys we might bring up and "try" are just getting started. And the taxi squad and alternate site is not a direct substitute for actually playing real games. So, unfortunately, this option might be weeks away.

 

2] I'm OK with the Greene idea, but, he's unsigned for a reason. He might do well. Why not take a shot. You might get lucky. But he's no savior.

 

3] As someone else pointed out already, it's just CRAZY that EVERYONE has struggled AT ONCE. How does that happen? If you want a silver lining, then surely the law of averages would see a couple of these guys begin to settle in.

 

4] I like the idea of making an early season trade to a non-contending team. And there are some interesting options presented in a different thread. But it is unusual to see that happen this early. Desperate times?

 

And this last one I feel really strong about.

 

5] Exactly how did the FO blow the off-season in regard to the original intent for the pen? Now look you can't predict injuries OR poor performance, but as has already been pointed out, some of the guys NOT signed are already injured and out. How would they have helped us now?

 

Robles was coming off a horrible year, but had his best year in 2019 and a few really good seasons before that. (I'm encouraged by Robles). Colome has been very consistent and coming off his best year ever and is only 31yr old and not some sudden loss of velocity aged veteran. Did ANYONE see him being this bad?

 

Duffey might have been our best arm in 2020. Roger's stuff is there and looks better than last year. But the control or consistency or SOMETHING still isn't right.

 

My biggest concern was the middle part of the pen, Thielbar and Stashak, for different reasons. But hey, you can dip in to your pool for another middle guy or two of you need to, right?

 

Would we really be better with Romo, the injured Clippard or Rosenthal and whoever? And please don't tell me Hendricks. His contract is nuts and I think even LA and NY teams were shocked by his deal. Notice they didn't make similar offers?

 

This goes beyond stinking to the point of suckage. And I am not an optomist for a sudden turn around, even though I am generally optimistic by nature. This is NOT going to be an easy fix. There is no young fireballer waiting to be promoted after a few good weeks to start the year.

 

Go ahead and sign Greene and get him ready if the deal makes sense. But he won't be ready for a few weeks.

 

Work the phones and try to make a deal if you can that isn't nuts.

 

There are at least a few arms who have been at the alternate site who have at least been throwing consistently. Can Colome have an injury?

 

BUT, unfortunately, what you are STUCK with for right now is trying to figure out how to right the arms you have.

 

This is not the FO blowing anything. This is, crazy, everyone just being off and pitching poorly all at once.

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