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Am I wrong? I'd rather the Twins have Martin, Woods Richardson, and $20M per year to spend than Jose Berrios?


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Would you rather the Twins had offered Berrios the same contract as the Blue Jays inJuly, or traded him for what they got and have the $20M to spend for the next six years (which might well be spend this offseason on a long-term deal). 

I'll start: I'd take the trade. Granted, I'd feel a lot better if I knew that the $20M would be spent on a pitcher as good or better than Berrios (Ray, Gaussman, etc), but even it it's used to pick up two of DeSclafini/Matz/Wood/Gray/Cobb, I think I'd rather have that and two fairly high-end prospects than Berrios in what should be his declining years. Am I wrong? 

(If your answer is some version of "they won't spend it" don't expect any kind of thoughtful response from me. This management team has shown they spend their budget and no more. I don't see any evidence they'll be pocketing the money, or that they would have stretched the budget for Berrios.)

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This isn't an unreasonable take IF the Twins can pick up someone like Stroman for Berrios-type money.

Obviously, I'd rather have Berrios over Stroman straight up but Stroman + Austin Martin + Simeon Woods-Richardson for Berrios money becomes a much harder decision, at least for me.

(I'm only using Stroman as a placeholder name here, insert your pitcher of choice)

What bothers me is that if Berrios was willing to sign for that kind of money, the Twins should have wrapped up a deal long before July of 2021. The fact he was willing to sign for a rather reasonable price but the front office traded him anyway is what irks the hell out of me, particularly with the exact same decision looming over Buxton this offseason.

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I will take the Blue Jays side of this deal, I would easily give them back Martin and SWR for Berrios and his contract. I would also take Berrios and his contract over the assumed contract the older guys (Ray and and Gaussman) are going to get.

Now if you told me the Twins are going to sign Ray or Gaussman, and their contacts is going to be between 3 - 5 years, that might change my mind.

But I am also the type of person that would trade SWR and Martin for a consistent 3+ WAR pitcher.

I love SWR as a prospect, but it also worries me a bit he has only pitched 177.1 innings since 2018, and with the way the Twins bring pitchers along it could be another three years to get him to 120+ innings a year.

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Trading Jose Berrios was absolutely the right call from the Twins front office. 

I understand losing Berrios was tough for a lot of fans.

But from a business standpoint, if you know an extension isn't going to happen with player X, why let that asset's value depreciate when you have an opportunity to capitalize on peak value? 

He wasn't taking the sweetheart extension you got with Polanco, Kepler, etc .. Move on and do what's best for both parties.

Martin and SWR is a fantastic return and I probably would've even done it if I could have signed Berrios to the extension that he got.

You still can absolutely sign a top pitcher from this class, you've got the cash ..

Orrrrr, my preference, is you wait for the plethora of starting pitching prospects you have to develop in 2022, sign a guy like Carlos Rodon to a 1 yr / 20 mil deal, let him prove he's healthy, and wait till next year's class to lock in on someone you deem to be worth that big deal. (Degrom, Eovaldi, Clevinger, Musgrove, Sale, Syndergaard, Bassit, Taillon) ..

This isn't that hard a process to grasp, they absolutely made the right move for the long term success of the organization.

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Same caveat as everyone in that they spend that 20M on ML talent, but I like the trade. If they throw that money at a SP or SS I'm happy to have that player plus SWR and Martin. I appreciate John highlighting that it isn't just player for prospects, but player for prospects plus the money the player would've been paid. They technically only have the extra 11.5 or whatever he would've gotten in arb this year, but they then have 20M for each of the next 6 years they could spend in a variety of ways.

All of that said, I still don't like that the Twins couldn't lock Berrios up to a similar deal. I'm guessing it was the length, not the AAV that scared the Twins off. Falvine seem to very much fear long term commitments for big-ish money. They'll sign Kepler, Sano, Polanco for long-ish deals, but only for low money. I can't say I'm totally against that in that multiple big money, long-term deals could cripple this org with their budgetary constraints (they receive profit sharing every year so the rest of the league thinks they're making less than most even if the Pohlads could afford to splurge based on their family wealth), but I think they owe it to their fans to keep some big time, home-grown players. Especially Berrios and Buxton who could've been kept for about 35 a year combined it sounds like. That's more than reasonable, even if I like having Martin, SWR, and 20M moving forward.

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The problem is that we don't know what happened years ago, when the Twins reportedly at least explored the possibility of an extension while Berrios still was under team control for a while. He reportedly was not receptive to those entreaties, but while we have some new information about what he would have been willing to accept recently, we still don't know what he would have accepted several years ago.

So while I do prefer the cash + Martin + Woods-Richardson over Berrios' contract with Toronto, the general reasonableness of that deal makes me wonder whether an opportunity was missed back then.

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I’d rather have Berrios. The results are mixed when we divide that $20 million between multiple players instead of one player that we know is really good:

Happ, Colomé, Shoemaker - disaster

Bailey, Hill, Pineda, Clippard, Romo - meh

The updated contract is out for Berrios - it’s 5/$83 before his opt out, and between $24-29 million for the final 2 years based on his performance in years 4 and 5 of the contract. Quite team friendly if you ask me. 

 

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30 minutes ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

I will take the Blue Jays side of this deal, I would easily give them back Martin and SWR for Berrios and his contract. I would also take Berrios and his contract over the assumed contract the older guys (Ray and and Gaussman) are going to get.

Now if you told me the Twins are going to sign Ray or Gaussman, and their contacts is going to be between 3 - 5 years, that might change my mind.

But I am also the type of person that would trade SWR and Martin for a consistent 3+ WAR pitcher.

I love SWR as a prospect, but it also worries me a bit he has only pitched 177.1 innings since 2018, and with the way the Twins bring pitchers along it could be another three years to get him to 120+ innings a year.

Randy Dobnak signed from Independent ball in August 2017, and in August of 2019 he was pitching in the bigs.

Bailey Ober was drafted in 2017, and was in the bigs after only 2.5 years in the minors.

Josh Winder pitched at three levels this year.

Louis Varland and Jordan Balazovic both pitched at multiple levels this year

The tired screed of the Twins moving their prospects slowly is just that--tired.

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3 minutes ago, John Bonnes said:

Anyone have a link to the actual contract details? Cot's is just giving the high-level numbers. 

See below from MLBTR.

12:45pm: Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that Berrios received a $5MM signing bonus and will be paid $10MM next season (Twitter link). He’ll then earn salaries of $15MM, in 2023, $17MM in 2024, $18MM in 2025-26, and $24MM in 2027-28.

That breakdown indicates Berrios’ opt-out decision will come with a total of $48MM remaining on the contract. However, Davidi adds that escalators based on Berrios’ 2025-26 stats could boost his 2027-28 salaries by $5MM apiece. If he triggers all the escalators, Berrios would decide between the remaining two years and $58MM or reentering the market in advance of his age-33 season.

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In essence, Toronto while having Berrios for the next 5 years at a total of $83M (as has been mentioned in this thread), and potentially 7 at a total price of anywhere from $131M to $141M (essentially, Berrios can opt in or out of a contract worth a minimum of 2/$48M and a maximum of 2/$58M).

What this breakdown tells me is that something has very much changed for Berrios, or he was not being honest about his reasons for not signing an extension with MN (or that the Twins were very much opposed to the risk of a 7 year deal barring a lower price point).  I can't imagine the Twins wouldn't have been happy to sign Berrios for 5/$83M, so either Berrios' contract demands have come down significantly in the last 4 months, Berrios never wanted to be in MN long-term and used "I want to test FA" as a cover so as not to upset the fans, or the Twins were adamant about not including years 6/7, or having them be incentive based rather than the most expensive years of the contract.

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1 minute ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

I can't imagine the Twins wouldn't have been happy to sign Berrios for 5/$83M

5/83 isn't a meaningful baseline for the comparison. Berrios is still guaranteed 7/131, unless he elects to forgo the last 2/48.

I think any team would give Berrios 5/83 right now, but not every team would give him 7/131.

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I see the Twins targeting 3 pitchers in the 10 to 15 million per season range.  Hence the reunion with Pineda, signing Kluber and trading for Bassitt.  ( filling in the blanks with names)

I would take Kluber, Pineda, Martin, and SMR over Berrios.  But I will not accept prospects and savings over Buxton and 15 million per year extention. 

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I’ll take Berrios. I’m not as high on the prospects as others as I believe for that valuable you need to get a great prospect at one of the premium positions ( catcher SS CF). And before someone points out that Martin is a SS/cf the concensus is he won’t stick at either spot. SWR is a wild card - if he blossoms then it’s a win for the Twins but I’ll take the durable top 20 pitcher on a reasonable contract. 

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5 minutes ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

5/83 isn't a meaningful baseline for the comparison. Berrios is still guaranteed 7/131, unless he elects to forgo the last 2/48.

I think any team would give Berrios 5/83 right now, but not every team would give him 7/131.

Correct--that's why I'm saying the hang up with the Twins (if indeed that's where the hangup was) had to have been based on years 6 and 7, whether the amount to guarantee, or the very existence of them.  I was not saying 5/$83M was on it's own a legitimate offer.  That said, since that is the maximum amount Berrios is guaranteed before his opt-out, on a certain level, 5/$83M IS a legitimate offer for Berrios.

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1 hour ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

What bothers me is that if Berrios was willing to sign for that kind of money, the Twins should have wrapped up a deal long before July of 2021.

This is something I've been wondering since 2018 or so. Were the Twins unwilling to offer Berrios a better deal than those signed by Polanco and Kepler? Were they unwilling to top the Luis Severino contract?

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9 minutes ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

I can't imagine the Twins wouldn't have been happy to sign Berrios for 5/$83M....

Sure, but just to be clear, those last two years are a player option, right? If so, that's worse for the team than having them guaranteed:

  • If they're guaranteed, the team at least theoretically has him still under contract if he becomes an absolute stud.
  • If he doesn't, or he just stays mediocre, it's exactly the same as them being guaranteed. 

If, on the other hand, those last two years are a team option, or there are difficult (or even fairly easy) incentives to to kick in the final $48M, then maybe it's worth talking about as a 5 year/$83M, or at least an aspect that protects TOR. So maybe there is a piece I'm missing. 

But the only thing this structure does is makes TOR pay more when the overall value of the money is slightly less. Otherwise, it's not only the same as an extension at 6 years of $20M apiece, it's arguably worse?

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2 minutes ago, John Bonnes said:

Sure, but just to be clear, those last two years are a player option, right? If so, that's worse for the team than having them guaranteed:

You're right that the opt-out improves the deal for the player and makes it worse for the team, as compared to a straight guarantee.

But given the backloaded salary structure here, and the fact that the opt-out comes so late in the deal, the player benefit is relatively small. If he is good enough to opt-out, the Jays will still have received 5 years from him at a bargain rate.

Fangraphs has estimated opt-outs as adding about 6% extra value to a deal for the player, although those were $200+ mil contracts (with earlier opt-outs, I think). I'd guess the value of Berrios's particular opt-out would be less than that.

Now, none of that really tells us anything about the Twins -- just that the opt-out and escalators don't make the deal much better for Berrios than the reported 7/131 number.

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1 minute ago, John Bonnes said:

Sure, but just to be clear, those last two years are a player option, right? If so, that's worse for the team than having them guaranteed:

  • If they're guaranteed, the team at least theoretically has him still under contract if he becomes an absolute stud.
  • If he doesn't, or he just stays mediocre, it's exactly the same as them being guaranteed. 

If, on the other hand, those last two years are a team option, or there are difficult (or even fairly easy) incentives to to kick in the final $48M, then maybe it's worth talking about as a 5 year/$83M, or at least an aspect that protects TOR. So maybe there is a piece I'm missing. 

But the only thing this structure does is makes TOR pay more when the overall value of the money is slightly less. Otherwise, it's not only the same as an extension at 6 years of $20M apiece, it's arguably worse?

Definitely the player option makes it less team friendly--clearly that/years 6-7 are where the sticking point came if the reason an extension wasn't reached is on the Twins side (that is, Berrios' demands are not lower now than in July, and Berrios was willing to sign an extension with the Twins).

I think I would characterize the player option as having minor upside for the team, but major downside for the team.  If Berrios is good enough that he thinks he can do better than 2/$48M in 2027/2028 when he will be 33/34, then the Jays just got 5 years of frontline starting pitching for the price of good third starter.  That's minor upside, as the inclusion of the option clearly convinced Berrios to leave some money on the table.  However, if Berrios starts getting hurt and declining, and Jays may be paying $24M a year for a 5th starter in 2027/2028.  That's a real possibility, and I can completely understand why the Twins would be leery.

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16 minutes ago, Otto von Ballpark said:

This is something I've been wondering since 2018 or so. Were the Twins unwilling to offer Berrios a better deal than those signed by Polanco and Kepler? Were they unwilling to top the Luis Severino contract?

If Berrios was honest about his desire to test FA, then he probably wouldn't have taken much less than this deal in 2018/2019, unless it was only buying out his arb years. so he could still hit FA as a 27/28 year old.  If indeed that was the case, then there's no upside for the Twins to pay Berrios $40M over 4 years (say 2019-2022) instead of $20M.  If prior to 2019 the Twins wanted to give him 6-7 years in order to make it worth their while, then I'm sure Berrios was insisting on at least $110M to $120M

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Getting Woods-Richardson and Martin is great. The $20MM is only an asset if you can sign the players you want. What pitchers have the Twins been able to entice to sign with $20MM? Wheeler, Ryu, Baumgarner, Stroman - nope. What good is the money if you can't get the top players to come here anyway?

I'd rather the Twins spent $20MM on Berrios if that was even an option.

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John, there are too many variables to give a simple answer. Berrios was our best pitcher until Maeda was better and the hope was that Maeda would continue to pitch well and that the Twins would add another pitcher. Most view Berrios as a #2/#3 pitcher whose value is tied to his taking the ball every fifth day.

The past few years we have seen a parade of pitchers who sadly performed below expectations even as Berrios continued to consistently put up fair numbers. Happ, Shoemaker, and Colome equal the Contract for Berrios which puts a ton of pressure on Martin and Woods-Richardson to perform to a solid standard. 

It is the direction of the team I find a little worrisome. We like a number of the young hitters but their defense is less than an expected standard for an MLB player. If the Twins made some decent trades and supplemented those acquisitions with a signing or two, then yes I would agree with your position. Time will tell how this shakes out. I don't think it is a matter of pocketing money so much as being risk adverse. This is why the Twins get Cave, Happ, and others. Don't get me wrong, I'm not down on the FO and there are deals like the Maeda trade I supported. My concern is with the plan.

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Martin and Woods-Richardson are fairly decent prospects. That said, Martin is likely no better than Akil Baddoo and Woods-Richardson is likely no better than Luis Gil. In short, with a better FO, we could have had our cake and eaten it, too. I don't see this FO spending $20M more wisely than a Berrios contract.

So it's a tough question to answer. With a top-tier FO staff, then I might grudgingly accept that you're right. With the FO we have? No, this move is not likely to pan out for the Twins nearly as well as it will for the Jays.

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I think keeping Berrios would have been safer. That doesn’t mean the Twins lost the trade as we know it takes sometimes 4-5 years to evaluate a trade.

As an example. Martin dropped off to ~ a .255 average with Wichita. Not so exciting except for the walks. To me, he’s a mystery man who might be a reserve or might be a star but in how much time? I have the disadvantage of not seeing enough footage on him - I only followed Gameday for a lot of his at bats.

Woods-Richardson worried me by having at least a few clunker outings with 6 runs or so given up and then after the trade he had too many of those "got shelled" kind of outings. 

A good scout could set my mind at ease or confirm my worry.

I’m cautiously excited about both players. If Martin stars in the field, say a .400 OBP and if Woods-Richardson can pitch to a 3.5 or so ERA annually, then it was a great trade

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4 hours ago, LastOnePicked said:

Martin and Woods-Richardson are fairly decent prospects. That said, Martin is likely no better than Akil Baddoo and Woods-Richardson is likely no better than Luis Gil. In short, with a better FO, we could have had our cake and eaten it, too. I don't see this FO spending $20M more wisely than a Berrios contract.

So it's a tough question to answer. With a top-tier FO staff, then I might grudgingly accept that you're right. With the FO we have? No, this move is not likely to pan out for the Twins nearly as well as it will for the Jays.

Did you really just say that Austin Martin is no better than Akil Baddoo lmao .. Jesus

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4 hours ago, Greglw3 said:

I think keeping Berrios would have been safer. That doesn’t mean the Twins lost the trade as we know it takes sometimes 4-5 years to evaluate a trade.

As an example. Martin dropped off to ~ a .255 average with Wichita. Not so exciting except for the walks. To me, he’s a mystery man who might be a reserve or might be a star but in how much time? I have the disadvantage of not seeing enough footage on him - I only followed Gameday for a lot of his at bats.

Woods-Richardson worried me by having at least a few clunker outings with 6 runs or so given up and then after the trade he had too many of those "got shelled" kind of outings. 

A good scout could set my mind at ease or confirm my worry.

I’m cautiously excited about both players. If Martin stars in the field, say a .400 OBP and if Woods-Richardson can pitch to a 3.5 or so ERA annually, then it was a great trade

If Martin (who was hurt most of the season w a wrist injury) hits .275 w a .375 OBP and SWR (who was literally the best pitcher the first 2 months in the milb,) has a 4.0 ERA , it still is a great trade.

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If I was completely confident that the front office was going to allocate $20 million to signing a pitcher comparable to Berrios using the savings gained by not signing Berrios, while also having gained SWR and Martin, this would indeed be a shrewd move. As it stands now, that's difficult to believe, but if it happens I'll be retroactively very happy with the move.

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