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How Will Kyle Farmer Fit in for the Twins?


Why am I thinking to myself that if Farmer was everything we are trying to make him out to be, why is Cincinnati so willing to send him packing for a minor league prospect not ready for prime time?  And why are we so willing to jettison a proven veteran 3rd baseman who, by the way, also has a history of filling in at short for (pardon the pun) short periods of time?  A right handed bat for a right handed bat, and not a better hitter all around.  What?  The 3ish million we are going to save?  Or is it really just that he could be a 3rd string catcher in a pinch?  A 32 year old with 2 more years of arbitration doesn't suggest a proven commodity; he has, however, proven durable, based on at bats over the last 2 years.  Overall, I just am not feeling good about trades with Cincinnati since the Mahle trade, so I will reserve judgment until about mid season, when we know how the two are working out.  If they both come through, as I have said on occasion, I will take my crow medium rare.  But recent history with the FO trades gives me pause, so I will wait and see.  I will miss Urshela in the middle of the lineup and on the left side of the infield.  3ish million better buy something pretty good.  

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Regardless if it is Option A, B or C, Kyle Farmer should be in the lineup versus left handed pitching. He has superior splits against left handers than any left handed hitter the Twins have on their roster and also better than Polanco. 

Option A: I think is most likely and I am not opposed to it if the Twins spend money to fortify their pitching staff and perhaps add a slugging outfielder or first baseman. As a starting shortstop, I'd probably project Farmer to be below average, but not among the worst.

Option B: With Farmer in a job share with Miranda and each playing other positions on occasion makes sense. Injuries will happen and there is plenty of positional flexibility with Twins' infielders.

Option C: Utility, but ultimately short side of a platoon makes sense and emphasizes Farmer's two greatest strengths--positional flexibility and strong splits against left handed pitching.

 

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I think the "if this guy's our SS, we're doomed" logic is misplaced.  We've got money to spend, but if you spend $35M/yr on Correa, now we're down to $15M to address catcher, SP, RP, and RH OF.  It sure strikes me that depth at C, SP, RP and RH OF are far worse than depth at SS, if you look beyond the first half of 2023.  Some things are going to have to work out right for this team to win - it won't happen if you dedicate 75% of your available capital on a SS, especially one on a long contract. 

If we're going to be truly good, Lewis (and I'm betting on Brooks Lee) will be the stalwart SS on the team.  We add 1 above-Gray SP, 1 above-Alcala/Lopez RP, a 2nd catcher, and a Haniger-type RF, and hope/trust that Jeffers, Arraez, Polanco, Lewis/Lee, Miranda, Kiriloff/Larnach, Buxton, Haniger, with a rotating DH and a Farmer, Gordon, 2nd catcher, Lewis/Lee (we'll see who actually moves to 4th OF, probably not either of these guys)  backstock is enough. 

3 yrs of deGrom at $35M, trade for a Jays catcher, trade Kepler to add 1 name to the Duran, Lopez, Alcala, Jax, Thielbar, Moran, Sands,  Winder, Ober, Pagan relief pile, keeping at least 2 of them for 2+-inning stints. 

deGrom, Gray, Mahle, Maeda, Ryan (Ober, Winder, Varland, SWR, Canterino).  You don't like that team?  I haven't booked it on Roster Resource, but I'm thinking $50M between deGrom (who is probably closer to $40M) and Haniger, shed Kepler and save a few dollars getting a young RP, trade for a catcher, we're still under budget.

 

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I think they might try for Correa but whatever numbers they throw up there another team will exceed them.  This team doesn't do long term deals so I think the odds of one of the big name shortstops coming here is pretty unlikely.  Personally I think they will try and follow the Cleveland Blue Print.  Try to go young and hope a decent number of those young players hit.  I think Plan A is most likely.

Lewis and Lee are their top two prospects for goodness sake and they both can play short.  Maybe not at an elite level but they can play it.  I have to believe they will give them every opportunity to work out there.  They also have Martin who could play there in a pinch.  Jullien and Wallner are bats on the rise and Rodriquez could be a fast mover as well.  That doesn't even include Miranda, Kirilloff, Larnach and Celestino as young bats still trying to make names for themselves. Not everybody is going to make it but if 50% do that will put the team in a good spot.

Correa liked it in Minnesota so there is always a chance I just don't like the odds.  Also for as good as Correa is he didn't help this team make the playoffs.  I just don't think I like the idea of a player that isn't "that" great a difference maker taking up 20 to 25% of the salary space on this team.  Cleveland doesn't have a single player except Ramerez making much of anything and they took the division and have space to add if they want to.  That is a position I would prefer to be in.

I think Farmer is a decent compromise at this point.  We need our young pitching to turn out some better than average arms or it won't really matter what the Twins do at shortstop.  For proof just look at last year. 

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Practically, Scenario A makes the most sense, which is why this was a smart transaction.  Farmer is a perfectly good interim fit at SS until someone is ready to take over full time.  I liked Urshela as much as anyone but with Miranda needing playing time, Gio was expendable.

With the usual limited budget and many holes to fill, signing one of the big 4 SS would probably yield no better than a .500 club(see 2022).  With the money "saved" the Twins should be able to fill gaping holes at the top of the rotation, at catcher and adding more offense to the OF/DH.   Filling one of these open slots by trade instead of FA should allow for bolstering the bullpen, as well, Their failure to do that last offseason was a principal reason for their late season collapse.

In a Pohlad-less world, sure, it would be great to see payroll in the $160-180MM range, enabling a top 4 FA SS to be added, but that's a pipe dream, so let's just hope the whiz kids see the way clear to adding quality at a number of positions rather than one big name.

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4 hours ago, Fire Dan Gladden said:

As with most of the moves being made right now, it is impossible to get a read on everything until we start Spring Training and have a more holistic view.

That being said, not sure why anybody would argue about a team building cheap depth.  The Twins rest people all of the time, this is a decent move for your 5th infielder, and a also provides a decent stopgap until they are ready to move up one of the younger players.  I really like this move.

Option A isn’t cheap depth. Option A is cheap starter with no depth.

im a fan of cheap depth. Not a fan of cheap starter no depth.

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41 minutes ago, Mark G said:

Why am I thinking to myself that if Farmer was everything we are trying to make him out to be, why is Cincinnati so willing to send him packing for a minor league prospect not ready for prime time?  And why are we so willing to jettison a proven veteran 3rd baseman who, by the way, also has a history of filling in at short for (pardon the pun) short periods of time?  A right handed bat for a right handed bat, and not a better hitter all around.  What?  The 3ish million we are going to save?  Or is it really just that he could be a 3rd string catcher in a pinch?  A 32 year old with 2 more years of arbitration doesn't suggest a proven commodity; he has, however, proven durable, based on at bats over the last 2 years.  Overall, I just am not feeling good about trades with Cincinnati since the Mahle trade, so I will reserve judgment until about mid season, when we know how the two are working out.  If they both come through, as I have said on occasion, I will take my crow medium rare.  But recent history with the FO trades gives me pause, so I will wait and see.  I will miss Urshela in the middle of the lineup and on the left side of the infield.  3ish million better buy something pretty good.  

He’s essentially an offensive even trade with Urshella but a better option at short…….plus the $3.5 million saved that hopefully we spend on the staff. He is a bridge to Lewis or he’s there all year…….can play 3rd as well. At 32, getting out of Cincinnati & having a chance to be in playoffs may produce a spark as well! I live here & watching the Reds is tough, can’t imagine playing everyday as a reasonably talented professional.

I liked Urshella but every $1.5-3.5 million we can save that can be used for a front end starter or relief depth is worth a shot!!

Hopefully, there’s a plan.

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11 minutes ago, Richie the Rally Goat said:

Option A isn’t cheap depth. Option A is cheap starter with no depth.

im a fan of cheap depth. Not a fan of cheap starter no depth.

Just out of curiosity, let's assume the Twins do not sign any of the big 4 SS (a reasonable expectation even if they make concerted efforts).  What do you suggest they do? 

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He's La Tortuga v.2, just not as much fun watching run the bases!

I have zero idea if they are going to make a serious run at Correa. I am concerned that Lewis gets lost in the shuffle. He would be blocked at SS, and blocked at CF. Where does he play? His athleticism would be wasted in one of the corners.

Maybe they are evaluating Lewis's recovery and deciding the injuries are such that he will not function at SS, or CF. I could live with that. Only time would tell if that judgment was right, but I could live with a decision based on their professional judgment.

What would be more upsetting would be if Lewis is just odd man out because of circumstance. Twins have invested a great deal in developing and supporting him, we finally had a brief glimpse of his potential last year, and there is undeniable potential. I'd like for Lewis to have his shot, I think he's earned it with his resiliency and the potential he has shown to date. I am hopeful in a way I havent been for a very long time imagining a left sided infield tandem of Lewis and Lee.

There is always uncertainty bringing up a new guy. Worked out OK for Houston this year though. And who can predict if fair value will be extracted over the life of a 300 million contract? Falvine is getting paid to figure it out. I hope he/they get it right, whatever direction they go. There will be no shortage of critics opening fire, this one included, if they mess it up.

 

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Just now, Fire Dan Gladden said:

Just out of curiosity, let's assume the Twins do not sign any of the big 4 SS (a reasonable expectation even if they make concerted efforts).  What do you suggest they do? 

He’s insurance. I don’t mind him as an insurance policy, but I’d rather see Andrus at SS with Farmer still the insurance policy.

Past 5 or 6, then go get another utility guy to platoon w/ Farmer and throw a crap-ton of money at outfield. This team needs to score more runs and black hole at SS makes that harder 

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5 hours ago, Nick Nelson said:

Why pay almost $6 million for a potentially superfluous piece? 

I'm pretty sure this is a set up line and I know you went a different direction in your well written article.

However... There are probably people out there who think Farmer becomes superfluous if we Sign Correa or one of the big 4 to play SS... or trade for one. 

I'll say this every chance I can. In Baseball, there is no such thing as superfluous. I'm not sure how many injuries have to happen for some to realize it but apparently the amount of injuries we suffered last year and the year before that isn't enough. 

We can sit here and minimize this trade by minimizing his talent/abilities and value.

The Twins acquired him for a reason. Minimization is not possible with the injuries that will occur because they occur every year.  

If he is going to play and he will... he can't be superfluous.  

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Richie the Rally Goat said:

He’s insurance. I don’t mind him as an insurance policy, but I’d rather see Andrus at SS with Farmer still the insurance policy.

Past 5 or 6, then go get another utility guy to platoon w/ Farmer and throw a crap-ton of money at outfield. This team needs to score more runs and black hole at SS makes that harder 

Elvis Andrus made $15M last year... a pretty big leap considering they just did a salary dump with Urshela.  Andrus put up numbers pretty similar to Farmer last year too...

I am not trying to fight, just want to be realistic here.

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19 minutes ago, Fire Dan Gladden said:

Elvis Andrus made $15M last year... a pretty big leap considering they just did a salary dump with Urshela.  Andrus put up numbers pretty similar to Farmer last year too...

I am not trying to fight, just want to be realistic here.

Farmer 91 wRC+ and 1.4 fWAR

Andrus 105 wRC+ and 3.5 fWAR

Andrus produced much more value than Farmer.

 

I’m not certain Urshela was a salary dump as much as a roster spot opener. Time will tell if that was a salary dump, and some of the things DSP said in his late season interview suggested it could be. If that were the case, would we expect a better record than 2022? I would not.

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12 minutes ago, Richie the Rally Goat said:

Farmer 91 wRC+ and 1.4 fWAR

Andrus 105 wRC+ and 3.5 fWAR

Andrus produced much more value than Farmer.

 

I’m not certain Urshela was a salary dump as much as a roster spot opener. Time will tell if that was a salary dump, and some of the things DSP said in his late season interview suggested it could be. If that were the case, would we expect a better record than 2022? I would not.

That was the first OPS+ over 78 for Andrus since 2017. 

2018- OPS+ 78
2019- 78
2020- 60
2021- 73

Expecting Andrus to OPS+ anywhere near 100 in 2023 seems like a bad bet to me. 2022 was also the first time he'd slugged .400 since 2017. His .464 slugging with Chicago carried him to a 116 OPS+ during his time there. 2017 was the only year of his career that he slugged that well (.471). His .404 slugging in 2022 was only the 3rd time in his 14 year career that he slugged over .400.

In Farmer's 2 full seasons as a starter he's OPS+ed 88 and 90. He's certainly no star, and I hope they get better than him, but he's more stable than Andrus for sure. I'd take Farmer over Andrus for 2023 10 out of 10 times. 

Edit: Sorry, you used wRC+, I wasn't looking close enough. Those numbers are actually worse. 2018-2022 went 76, 76, 57, 74, 105 for wRC+.

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28 minutes ago, Fire Dan Gladden said:

Elvis Andrus made $15M last year... a pretty big leap considering they just did a salary dump with Urshela.  Andrus put up numbers pretty similar to Farmer last year too...

I am not trying to fight, just want to be realistic here.

Elvis made more than $14M last year on the last guaranteed year of an 8-year contract. His OPS+ numbers since he signed the mega-deal are 110, 105, 78, 78, 60, 73 and 103 (in 2022). Texas paid half of Andrus' salary for the years he was in Oakland. This is a case where someone was vastly overpaid.

Elvis had a pretty good year this year, really his first decent year since 2017. If he had put up another sub-80 OPS+ I don't think he would even be considered for a major league contract. That said, I have been of the opinion that he would be a decent gamble to acquire for one year to bridge the gap for Twins' prospects, but only if the price was right (I would guess $5-8M).

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2 hours ago, Minny505 said:

Guillorme is a great pull. Had to look him up. NICE!

Mets might trade him for pitching depth as they have almost no MLB pitching staff in place...literally. It's kind of hilarious looking at their Roster Resource page right now. Scherzer, Peterson, and Diaz, are pretty much the staff at this point.

As if the Twins should be trading "pitching depth" to the Mets. LOL

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2 hours ago, Minny505 said:

Guillorme is a great pull. Had to look him up. NICE!

Mets might trade him for pitching depth as they have almost no MLB pitching staff in place...literally. It's kind of hilarious looking at their Roster Resource page right now. Scherzer, Peterson, and Diaz, are pretty much the staff at this point.

The closest pitching BTV to Guillorme is Paddack or Woods-Richardson. Would you trade either for Guillorme? Would the Mets decline and seek a deal from another team given Paddack’s injury status and Woods-Richardson’s inexperience?

 

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1 minute ago, stringer bell said:

Elvis made more than $14M last year on the last guaranteed year of an 8-year contract. His OPS+ numbers since he signed the mega-deal are 110, 105, 78, 78, 60, 73 and 103 (in 2022). Texas paid half of Andrus' salary for the years he was in Oakland. This is a case where someone was vastly overpaid.

Elvis had a pretty good year this year, really his first decent year since 2017. If he had put up another sub-80 OPS+ I don't think he would even be considered for a major league contract. That said, I have been of the opinion that he would be a decent gamble to acquire for one year to bridge the gap for Twins' prospects, but only if the price was right (I would guess $5-8M).

I would say to the FO that any chance to trade for Elvis has "Blue Bayou". So "Don't Be Cruel" to us fans. Sign Carlos Correa because "It's Now or Never".  

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Many on this site have disparaged RBI as a key stat. There has been some pushback the other way, as well. I would like to point out that last year had 78 RBI, twelve more RBI than any player on the Twins, and even if measured on an RBI per plate appearance, he would have been one of the top run producers on the Twins in 2022. 

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Option A, please, and don't waste money on a Big 4 (let others damage themselves with that mistake). Spend the money on getting an ace (like Rodon), a starting catcher (like Contreras or Vasquez), and a legitimate starting outfielder (I don't care about LH or RH; I want an MLB hitter/defender to lock down a spot among the injured/inexperienced/stupid (yep, Gilberto, that's you). Maybe even get get Abreu to be our new Cruz. Maybe add cheap SS depth. Options abound if we don't waste money over-paying a shortstop for the better part of a decade for past work.

There is no evidence an "elite" shortstop is needed to win a title, and a boatload of evidence that most shortstops peak before they get to free agency. Plus we had Correa last year; it was worth a try, and pretty exciting, but I'm not real interested in a redo (and he's the best and youngest of the Big 4 bunch).

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Maybe Urshela was a salary dump, maybe he wasn't. One thing is clear, if the Twins want Arraez getting the majority of at bats at 1B then they needed to find a place for Miranda and Urshela was blocking him there. 1B wasn't Miranda's natural position to begin with. Farmer fills a hole. Miranda now fills a hole. Arraez now has his hole to himself. Polanco can stay at 2B. Gordon can stay in the OF or be emergency infielder. Farmer is emergency catcher. If Lewis or Lee or Martin make it this year, great! Push Farmer, push Miranda, push Kepler outta here if he's still here. Use money saved for an ACE and another shutdown arm in the pen. make the entire team better, not just one position, shortstop.

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9 hours ago, MGM4706 said:

Horrible move!! Urshela was a Pro's Pro!! Gave Twins one of best left sides in baseball! And we let him go to save 3 million? And to put Miranda at 3rd? Come on. His range is 2 feet to either side with an average arm. The Pohlads have put the pocketbook first again over winning!!

Yes. Yes. Yes. Miranda's range at third is about what Farmer's is at short.

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20 hours ago, rv78 said:

Maybe Urshela was a salary dump, maybe he wasn't. One thing is clear, if the Twins want Arraez getting the majority of at bats at 1B then they needed to find a place for Miranda and Urshela was blocking him there. 1B wasn't Miranda's natural position to begin with. Farmer fills a hole. Miranda now fills a hole. Arraez now has his hole to himself. Polanco can stay at 2B. Gordon can stay in the OF or be emergency infielder. Farmer is emergency catcher. If Lewis or Lee or Martin make it this year, great! Push Farmer, push Miranda, push Kepler outta here if he's still here. Use money saved for an ACE and another shutdown arm in the pen. make the entire team better, not just one position, shortstop.

AGREED!! Don’t sweat SS like it’s an impossible riddle. Farmer as a bridge or a surprise solution…..use the $ for Front End Starter &  Back End depth!!! Simple.

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22 hours ago, PatPfund said:

Option A, please, and don't waste money on a Big 4 (let others damage themselves with that mistake). Spend the money on getting an ace (like Rodon), a starting catcher (like Contreras or Vasquez), and a legitimate starting outfielder (I don't care about LH or RH; I want an MLB hitter/defender to lock down a spot among the injured/inexperienced/stupid (yep, Gilberto, that's you). Maybe even get get Abreu to be our new Cruz. Maybe add cheap SS depth. Options abound if we don't waste money over-paying a shortstop for the better part of a decade for past work.

There is no evidence an "elite" shortstop is needed to win a title, and a boatload of evidence that most shortstops peak before they get to free agency. Plus we had Correa last year; it was worth a try, and pretty exciting, but I'm not real interested in a redo (and he's the best and youngest of the Big 4 bunch).

Agreed - SS isn’t the magic answer. What was Greg Gagne’s OPS?? Nobody cares or cared. I assume Farmer is comparable at the plate. Front End Starter!! Back End depth!!

If Gilberto plays on the Twins MLB roster again somebody should get fired for lack of prior upgrade! 5 left handed options ahead of him as well as Buxton as we stand today……plus we resigned Garlick.

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On 11/21/2022 at 12:57 PM, Mark G said:

Why am I thinking to myself that if Farmer was everything we are trying to make him out to be, why is Cincinnati so willing to send him packing for a minor league prospect not ready for prime time?  And why are we so willing to jettison a proven veteran 3rd baseman who, by the way, also has a history of filling in at short for (pardon the pun) short periods of time?  A right handed bat for a right handed bat, and not a better hitter all around.  What?  The 3ish million we are going to save?  Or is it really just that he could be a 3rd string catcher in a pinch?  A 32 year old with 2 more years of arbitration doesn't suggest a proven commodity; 

I think you just hit on the reason they did this. It's the team control. They feel like they can pay this guy peanuts and he can fill SS or somewhere else in the infield if needed. 

I don't feel like this is a winning move in any way. But it is a Falvine move. "Team control" 2 of their very favorite words. 

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I am indifferent on this move. We gave up nothing to get him. Basically this ends up looking like trading 1-year of Urshella for 2 years of this guy. 

I haven't seen him play much so I will reserve judgement, but I also feel like moving a guy that was pretty solid and literally the most durable player on the team wasn't a great idea with the glass joe guys we already carry on this roster...

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