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Envisioning a Good Twins Rotation in 2022 (For Real!)


Nick N:  I'm amazed by how many people can already say with assurance how all these pitchers will perform next year. I bet you wouldn't have viewed Rodon as a 2021 impact guy one year ago. Or Gausman two years ago. Things change. People get healthy and turn corners. I'm not recommending anyone specifically, I'm just saying that quality arms are sourced from that middle tier of starters every year. Can the Twins make the right pick and take the right steps to get them there? That's the question.

Are you saying we should ignore current success of these pitchers?  Granted, there are no guarantees, but FO should be looking at probabilities here - who gives them the best chance to rebound into contention next year?  Is it Cobb/Heaney or Rodon/Thor/Gausman?  

As many respondents on this post have already mentioned, there is no way a cautious approach to the offseason will get the Twins back to respectability - not with all the holes in the pitching staff alone.   The real questions are: will ownership open up their wallet to allow for out-of-the-box thinking and is Falvey the guy  to succeed at this process?  Nibbling at the edges in FA/trading is one of the reasons this franchise has set the all-time record streak of playoff losses.  Many of us are fed up with this embarrassment and want more!  

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9 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

There used to be a person here who had in their signature “Will (insert year here) be the year where a prospect is truly blocked by 5 good starters?” 

There’s no such thing as a player blocking a prospect. Not here. Not in the last decade. Certainly not with the current state of the pitching staff. 

On the flip side, if all we do is rely on young pitchers, and they flop, there’s no one else to turn to. 

That's some backward wisdom.  If you fill a spot, it's not open for a prospect.  It's not complicated.  This does not cause a problem If we contending.  It does create a problem giving a prospect that is ready innings at the ML level.  We are going to have four opening, three if they give Dobnak a shot so the question is how many spots do we need for the guys that will be ready.

Guys that should or could be ready next year .... Balazovic / Ryan / Woods Richardson / Duran / Canterino / Enlow / Winder and Sands.  That's 8 if you don't count Jax or Barnes.  Is it a good idea to fill the rotation with Pineda types and fail to provide these guys the ML experience they need for this team to move forward.  That's a good way to be a 500 team and prolong that level of play.  This team's future is largely dependent on developing our SP prospects.  Let's get on with it.

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1 hour ago, Major League Ready said:

Guys that should or could be ready next year .... Balazovic / Ryan / Woods Richardson / Duran / Canterino / Enlow / Winder and Sands.

Frankly? I think the only ones on that list ready to be MLB starting pitchers in 2022 would be Ryan and Winder. The others are either in AA or hurt (or in the case of Woods Richardson, missing in action).

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13 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

There used to be a person here who had in their signature “Will (insert year here) be the year where a prospect is truly blocked by 5 good starters?” 

There’s no such thing as a player blocking a prospect. Not here. Not in the last decade. Certainly not with the current state of the pitching staff. 

On the flip side, if all we do is rely on young pitchers, and they flop, there’s no one else to turn to. 

No player worthy of playing time has ever been blocked for long in the history of MLB.

 

It's never happened. 

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3 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

 

Guys that should or could be ready next year .... Balazovic / Ryan / Woods Richardson / Duran / Canterino / Enlow / Winder and Sands

I bet I can go back to the 1st year of TD and find this exact post every year, with just the actual names changed. 

 

 

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17 hours ago, Linus said:

I’m other words if everything breaks near perfectly we will have a slightly above average rotation. I think I would bet the under. 

I consider this a somewhat middle of the road outcome. "Everything breaks near perfectly" would involve signing mid-rotation guys who perform like top-of-rotation guys, and multiple prospects breaking through with standout rookie performances. I'm not calling for anything like that to happen although I don't think it's all that implausible.

Generally speaking, I just think a lot of people are mired a negative mindset based on what's happened this year, where basically everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. And I get that. But like I said in the piece ... things change fast in this game. Twins fans really should understand that as well as anyone.

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29 minutes ago, Nick Nelson said:

Generally speaking, I just think a lot of people are mired a negative mindset based on what's happened this year

Sure, things can change fast, but I tried to get you to pump the brakes back in spring training when you called the 2021 rotation the deepest in memory. 

A good pitching staff in 2022, in my opinion, will have more to do with bringing in new pitching and bullpen coaches and bringing new people into the front office from the outside to help with pitching the day after the season ends. This organization has been bleeding pitching talent since Falvey and Levine showed up and while I’m not calling for their firing, I do think the first thing to do is to get someone else in to stop the bleeding. Or maybe there are people already inside who aren’t being heard who need to be. Even better. 

Not trying to be Debbie Downer for anyone. Not trying to have a negative mindset. Just trying to present another set of expectations for people to consider for 2022. We can half-expect that 1 or 2 of the young pitchers will emerge and surprise us in 2022 and still have fun following the team and talk about moving the pieces around for 2023. 

Thanks!

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3 hours ago, dxpavelka said:

And if we rely on acquisitions and they flop we have 2021.

 

Happ and Shoemaker stuck around way too long because there wasn’t anyone ready to take their place. Thanks to injury to a multitude of pitchers in the upper levels. We are in a better position now to rip and replace mid level acquisitions if they flop. At least that’s the hope with 10 pitchers in AA/AAA with relative upside. 

If they flop and that’s who we banked on, we’re turning to someone much worse than them… Waiver wire scrubs like Garcia and Burrows. 

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5 hours ago, Nick Nelson said:

Saying "These guys who were previously good, and have been bad while hurt this year, might be good again" is magical thinking? 

Nope. Saying that isn't magical thinking. But actually putting Dobnak and Pineda into a 2022 rotation and expecting them to repeat past successes is most certainly magical thinking. You saying it is "hope," and that's fine. I like it when Twins fans still have hope. But hope is not a FO strategy for success in baseball.

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4 hours ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

A good pitching staff in 2022, in my opinion, will have more to do with bringing in new pitching and bullpen coaches and bringing new people into the front office from the outside to help with pitching the day after the season ends. This organization has been bleeding pitching talent since Falvey and Levine showed up and while I’m not calling for their firing, I do think the first thing to do is to get someone else in to stop the bleeding. Or maybe there are people already inside who aren’t being heard who need to be. Even better. 

Perfectly stated. THIS is absolutely the offseason pitching plan I want to see this organization follow through on. And if not, the chorus for their firing should get much, much louder. We Twins fans have seen this for years and years now - it doesn't matter how many prospects you have, or how many starters you sign, if you don't have an organization that can help your hurlers reach peak performance.

Some things may change quickly in baseball, but this glaring defect of this organization hasn't changed one bit. That's why you see the likes of Andrew Albers getting shelled out there again today.

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11 hours ago, USAFChief said:

No player worthy of playing time has ever been blocked for long in the history of MLB.

 

It's never happened. 

The list of good MLB players losing their jobs to superior talent is long. Willy Adames, a really good shortstop, was traded for a couple of decent relief pitchers because Wander Franco was kicking down the door. If Jose Miranda and/or Josh Winder is good enough they will have a uniform and play.

.500 baseball is not close to contending but it is competitive and a start. Detroit is pushing to make it there and Cleveland is a .500 team and they suffered many more losses of personnel than the Twins. Seattle is a good example of a team that battles every day and is beating the odds to win. Start at .500 as a base and push forward. I'm optimistic that this offseason can provide an opportunity for the Twins to get well for 2022.

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5 hours ago, USAFChief said:

. 500 is not competitive. 

And .500 is a pretty tall order for the pitching staff advocated here.

There is no realistic path to a great staff to start next year. No team has added three great pitchers in one off-season. With luck, they could have a good rotation next year, but it will be luck. 

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9 hours ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

Frankly? I think the only ones on that list ready to be MLB starting pitchers in 2022 would be Ryan and Winder. The others are either in AA or hurt (or in the case of Woods Richardson, missing in action).

I am assuming you mean opening day of 2022.  That would be relevant if we were counting on them to contribute to a contending team.  The strategy of a mid market team producing a contending rotation in the off-season without counting on an absurd level of luck would be incompetent on the part of our FO.  Any attempt is likely to perpetuate mediocrity or worse.  So why manage the roster as if this is the goal.

All of the prospects I mentioned have a reasonably good chance of being ready to pitch at the ML level at some point in 2022.  If you don't believe ML experience is important, we should fill the rotation with established pitchers and let our prospects sit in AAA.  That's sounds like a really good way to continue to be bad to me.  Developing pitching is basically a prerequisite to contending for a mid or small market team so shouldn't our strategy facilitate that need?

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11 hours ago, USAFChief said:

. 500 is not competitive. 

And .500 is a pretty tall order for the pitching staff advocated here.

So what realistic plan constructs an entire starting rotation in one off-season.  What mid-market team has ever even attempted to acquire 4 SPs capable of contending?  The answer is there is no realistic plan to build a contending staff from nothing in one off-season, at least not for any team than perhaps the Yankees or Dodgers who could buy the SPs if there were that many available.  The problem is not so much the plan but the concept of a $300M revenue team constructing a contending rotation from nothing in one off-season.

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On 9/3/2021 at 10:45 PM, LastOnePicked said:

I'm 100% certain they feel this way - that's why the traded Berrios and actively shopped Buxton and Rodgers before the deadline. For PR reasons, they're not saying this publicly, but even Dan Hayes indicted recently that they're saying it privately. You watch - they will sign 1-2 Happ-like starters over the offseason, tops.

As for trades, there are no takers out there for Kepler, Sano or Donaldson. Perhaps they can rebuild trade value by next year's deadline, but that's doubtful, too.

Polanco and Arraez are worth keeping for 2023.

You don't end a 90+ loss season, return with virtually no starting rotation and no bullpen, and compete with the likes of the White Sox. It's just not going to happen. Even Nick's blueprint for 2022 success includes a great deal of magical thinking about Pineda and Dobnak.

But that's okay. Make 2022 a development year. But then go big on Berrios. Get the pieces ready to retake the Central in 2023.

If the FO feels 2022 is a development year, what good is paying Donaldson 21 million each of the next two years, Sano 9.25 next year with an option for 14 million in 2023 which it sounds like there is no chance of picking up.

Also we love to talk about trading people at their peak on TD, Will Polanco's peak be any higher than this off season?

Also, I say good luck to the Pohlad's with fans in the stands next year, especially if Buxton is not extended.

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3 hours ago, Major League Ready said:

So what realistic plan constructs an entire starting rotation in one off-season.  What mid-market team has ever even attempted to acquire 4 SPs capable of contending?  The answer is there is no realistic plan to build a contending staff from nothing in one off-season, at least not for any team than perhaps the Yankees or Dodgers who could buy the SPs if there were that many available.  The problem is not so much the plan but the concept of a $300M revenue team constructing a contending rotation from nothing in one off-season.

I don't think the Twins can build a contending staff for 2022. That's the point. I disagree with the premise of the article. 

 

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11 hours ago, USAFChief said:

I don't think the Twins can build a contending staff for 2022. That's the point. I disagree with the premise of the article. 

 

Yeah, they certainly need to START to build a rotation next year, but being a real contender? Not likely.

I mean has anyone looked at Chicago's rotation? They can't match up with that in one offseason. This is going to require long-term planning, which I'm not sure is even in the blueprint stage yet. 

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33 minutes ago, nicksaviking said:

Yeah, they certainly need to START to build a rotation next year, but being a real contender? Not likely.

I mean has anyone looked at Chicago's rotation? They can't match up with that in one offseason. This is going to require long-term planning, which I'm not sure is even in the blueprint stage yet. 

Certainly one offseason isn't enough to make the rotation great, but much of the way the White Sox built their rotation can be matched by the Twins.  Lynn was a trade.  Kuechel was a mid-level pitching deal in FA.  Giolito and Cease were prospects acquisitions.  Rodon was there for the taking by anyone. 

The team will need to let their young starters get seasoned next year, but in 2023 they can absolutely be on the path the White Sox took.  Just spend this offseason acquiring a Kuechel-like guy and look for a trade opportunity.  Then trust your young arms.

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On 9/5/2021 at 11:19 PM, TheLeviathan said:

Certainly one offseason isn't enough to make the rotation great, but much of the way the White Sox built their rotation can be matched by the Twins.  Lynn was a trade.  Kuechel was a mid-level pitching deal in FA.  Giolito and Cease were prospects acquisitions.  Rodon was there for the taking by anyone. 

The team will need to let their young starters get seasoned next year, but in 2023 they can absolutely be on the path the White Sox took.  Just spend this offseason acquiring a Kuechel-like guy and look for a trade opportunity.  Then trust your young arms.

Right, in addition to giving out regrettable contracts for average to below average pitchers, the danger with trying to immediately fix the awful rotation into a contending rotation would be once again not developing their own young pitchers. Giolito and Cease were absolutely brutal early in their careers. Are the Twins expecting their top young arms to hit the ground running? They'd be foolish to assume that will be the case.

But you aren't going to be a contender if you're giving 20-30 starts to a couple of young guys who put up Giolito's 2018, Cease's 2019 or Jose Berrios' 2016 seasons. They organization is going set the club back years if they do 2022 wrong out of desperation.

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I am weary of reading all the baseless optimism on here about Twins pitching prospects. There was a nucleus to build on at the start of this season. With Maeda's injury that foundation -at least the starting pitcher portion of it- is down to nothing. Just lots of wishful thinking, that's it. Period. Ober as the ace? Laughable. He's good but maybe as a 3 or 4.  Maeda and Berrios were above average 2 and 3 starters. Now they're both gone for 2022. Buckle up Twins fans. Unless some really terrific and bigtime moves are made in the offseason, 2022 is going to be painful. 

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5 minutes ago, Grasslander said:

I am weary of reading all the baseless optimism on here about Twins pitching prospects. There was a nucleus to build on at the start of this season. With Maeda's injury that foundation -at least the starting pitcher portion of it- is down to nothing. Just lots of wishful thinking, that's it. Period. Ober as the ace? Laughable. He's good but maybe as a 3 or 4.  Maeda and Berrios were above average 2 and 3 starters. Now they're both gone for 2022. Buckle up Twins fans. Unless some really terrific and bigtime moves are made in the offseason, 2022 is going to be painful. 

Someone called Ober an Ace?

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On 9/5/2021 at 10:44 PM, nicksaviking said:

Yeah, they certainly need to START to build a rotation next year, but being a real contender? Not likely.

I mean has anyone looked at Chicago's rotation? They can't match up with that in one offseason. This is going to require long-term planning, which I'm not sure is even in the blueprint stage yet. 

I would hope they would wait until the end of the year to draft a “blueprint”.  They are evaluating quite a few SP and RPs the rest of the way.  Once that is done they will need to decide if they can realistically build a contender this off-season.  I am not sure what that blueprint looks like but it looks unlikely to me.  From there the blueprint takes shape based on how willing they are to allocate time at the big league level to prospects.  Here is what I think that looks like.

Position players - Start by trading Donaldson in the off-season and Miranda spends all or most of 2022 at the ML level.  Martin still needs to prove he is ready.  That might not be until June.  I don't see Lewis here until 2023.  They either go with a stop gap SS or give Palacios a chance.  They could possibly trade Arraez for a SS that is blocked or a top pitching prospect if you can get it.

Starting pitching – Sign a quality veteran for 2022 and beyond.  He can lead and between him and Ober you have a start.  Hopefully Ryan will establish himself over these last few weeks.  This would be the idea year for a good bounce back candidate.  They would get every chance here given the wide open rotation.  The bounce back candidate or Dobnak or perhaps both get a shot at the start of the season.  Prospects are shuffled in as they prove to be ready.  I hope that includes Winder / Duran / Balazovic / Canterino / Enlow / SWR and maybe Cole Sands.

RP – Rogers / Duffey / Alcala / Minaya is a good start.  There is nothing wrong with the way these guys have pitched of late.  I would put Jax in the BP and see how that works.  Thielbar / Columbe / Garza are serviceable.  We need to add a good LH RP.   

Is this a formula to contend?  Of course not but 500 is realistic.  There is no good plan for building an entire SP staff capable of realistically contending in one off-season.  However, they could position themselves to realistically contend in 2023.  Get Cave and Simmons out of this lineup replaced with Kirilloff / Garlick or Larnach and a decent hitting SS and we have a good lineup.

By the end of 2022, Ober / Ryan should be sufficiently seasoned.  It’s reasonable that at least one of Winder / Duran / Balazovic / Canterino / Enlow / SWR gets established in 2022.  Having moved Donaldson (partial salary) and declining Sano’s option we will have plenty of salary room to add a top SP via free agency.  Perhaps Jose Berrios.  Of course, they have to be willing to play here but establish the rest of the rotation with prearb guys will be a scenario we have not seen here in recent or even distant memory.

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On 9/7/2021 at 5:15 PM, Major League Ready said:

I would hope they would wait until the end of the year to draft a “blueprint”.  They are evaluating quite a few SP and RPs the rest of the way.  Once that is done they will need to decide if they can realistically build a contender this off-season.  I am not sure what that blueprint looks like but it looks unlikely to me.  From there the blueprint takes shape based on how willing they are to allocate time at the big league level to prospects.  Here is what I think that looks like.

Position players - Start by trading Donaldson in the off-season and Miranda spends all or most of 2022 at the ML level.  Martin still needs to prove he is ready.  That might not be until June.  I don't see Lewis here until 2023.  They either go with a stop gap SS or give Palacios a chance.  They could possibly trade Arraez for a SS that is blocked or a top pitching prospect if you can get it.

Starting pitching – Sign a quality veteran for 2022 and beyond.  He can lead and between him and Ober you have a start.  Hopefully Ryan will establish himself over these last few weeks.  This would be the idea year for a good bounce back candidate.  They would get every chance here given the wide open rotation.  The bounce back candidate or Dobnak or perhaps both get a shot at the start of the season.  Prospects are shuffled in as they prove to be ready.  I hope that includes Winder / Duran / Balazovic / Canterino / Enlow / SWR and maybe Cole Sands.

RP – Rogers / Duffey / Alcala / Minaya is a good start.  There is nothing wrong with the way these guys have pitched of late.  I would put Jax in the BP and see how that works.  Thielbar / Columbe / Garza are serviceable.  We need to add a good LH RP.   

Is this a formula to contend?  Of course not but 500 is realistic.  There is no good plan for building an entire SP staff capable of realistically contending in one off-season.  However, they could position themselves to realistically contend in 2023.  Get Cave and Simmons out of this lineup replaced with Kirilloff / Garlick or Larnach and a decent hitting SS and we have a good lineup.

By the end of 2022, Ober / Ryan should be sufficiently seasoned.  It’s reasonable that at least one of Winder / Duran / Balazovic / Canterino / Enlow / SWR gets established in 2022.  Having moved Donaldson (partial salary) and declining Sano’s option we will have plenty of salary room to add a top SP via free agency.  Perhaps Jose Berrios.  Of course, they have to be willing to play here but establish the rest of the rotation with prearb guys will be a scenario we have not seen here in recent or even distant memory.

I don't disagree with your take on signing one long term asset and developing the young pitchers to see what we have.

But they've been signing multiple one-year, stop-gap starters for two years now; they should have had a blueprint to putting together a long-term sustainable rotation at least since 2019. Winging it for the last several years, particularly years they were winning the division seems unorganized and reckless.

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