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The Troubling Realities of Buying High on Free Agent Pitching


Spending big on free agent pitchers is a high-wire act by nature, as it involves making exorbitant commitments to aging arms that are often amid temporary peaks in value. 

It is, needless to say, a pursuit the Minnesota Twins have largely opted to avoid – much to the lament of many fans. This offseason, they may have little choice but to set their scruples aside and overspend on the boom-or-bust frontline starter they need. 

Exciting, but precarious.

Image courtesy of Image courtesy of Stan Szeto, USA Today

 

When you look at data around aging curves for major-league pitchers, it matches up to what you'd expect: as a group, they are most effective between the ages of roughly 24 to 28 before inevitably experiencing decline at varying scales. 

This makes sense, of course. As pitchers get older, their innings mount, their bodies wear down, and the league gets wise to all of their tricks. We see the cycle play out time and time again. Sure, there are some pitchers who manage to evade the ravages of age, but they are rare and beyond prized.

For every Jacob deGrom, who keeps chugging along into his mid-30s, or even every Justin Verlander, who's on top of his game at age 40, there are many examples of fleeting greatness. Sometimes the drop-off is quite sudden.

Madison Bumgarner was one of the game's greats throughout his 20s as a Giant but completely unraveled at age 30 after signing with Arizona. Hyun-Jin Ryu had a brief run of pure excellence for the Dodgers but has wilted in his mid-30s in Toronto.

The Twins have been thankful to avoid free agent landmines like these – pitchers who entered the market with relatively high stocks and cashed in, only to fall victim to the curve, leaving their new clubs in a tough spot with lingering implications. (The D-backs owe Bumgarner $23 million next year coming off a 4.88 ERA; the Blue Jays owe Ryu $20 million after he posted a 5.67 ERA in 27 innings.)

Slam-dunk pitchers like deGrom and Verlander do pop up in free agency, but because of their rarity they have their pick of big-market titans who can outflex the field. These guys are simply out of range for the Twins, and most other teams.

The more common and accessible free agents are those like Bumgarner and Ryu types: pitchers in the early stage of the aging curve's declining trendline, looking to get paid off what they did in their prime. 

pitcheragingcurve.png

Robbie Ray is a perfectly good example from one year ago. He was the definition of a buy-high candidate, coming off a breakout age-29 season where he won the Cy Young while leading the league in ERA and strikeouts. The Mariners bought high with a $115 million contract that was eclipsed only Max Scherzer's $130 million deal with the Mets.

During his first year in Seattle, Ray was ... meh. Certainly not a disaster, but a shining example of the dangers in overpaying for assets that are likely to depreciate quickly. Ray posted a 3.71 ERA, 4.16 FIP, and 1.8 fWAR in 189 innings. He was an average-ish mid-rotation starter making $21 million, and slated to make $44 million over the next two years.

What's more, Ray's player-friendly contract includes an opt-out after 2024, meaning that if his performance continues to trend this way, Seattle will owe him another $50 million for his age 33 and 34 seasons. But if he returns to form, he can re-enter the market after two more years. Seattle's already been robbed of much of this deal's upside due to Ray's mediocre first season. 

The fact that Ray procured such a favorable contract coming off his only great season speaks to the leverage higher-end free agent pitchers enjoy during Hot Stove negotiations. Which brings our attention to the focus of today's discussion: Carlos Rodón. 

The parallels between Ray's situation last year and Rodón's this year are unmissable. Both are left-handers entering the market at age 30, coming off career seasons. Both had extremely suspect track records prior to their star turns, which came during short-term deals for that reason. 

The uncertainties shrouding these two players weren't of the same exact ilk – Ray's more performance-based, Rodón's more health-related – but both players carried obvious and notable risk. 

Last offseason, Ray wasn't the best free agent starter. Not in a class that featured future Hall of Famers like Scherzer, Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw. But he was the arguably the best starter who felt realistically available to mid-market teams like Seattle or Minnesota. And this year Rodón is in a similar position, albeit with sparser competition at the top tier. (Chris Bassitt is a far cry from Kevin Gausman.)

Rodón has been one of the best starting pitchers in baseball over the past two seasons, a true ace in every sense of the word. He's been mostly healthy, with the exception of a shoulder scare in late 2021. There's much to like. 

But the magnitude of risk in handing out a mega-deal to Rodón weighs very heavily on a team with spending constraints (self-imposed as they might be). The shoulder woes have surfaced time and again, wiping out most of his ostensible prime years. He's coming off a career-high workload and heading into his 30s. 

As Twins fans know all too well, shoulder injuries are pernicious. The downside with Rodón isn't that he'll follow Ray's route and revert to middling performance levels, but that he won't be able to pitch at all. Or he'll become entangled in lengthy cycles of starts, stops, and setbacks, all while accounting for about one-fifth of the payroll year after year.

That's undeniably a scary specter, and knowing what we know about the Twins front office and their particular aversion to these kinds of flexibility-inhibiting scenarios, it's easy to see why they've tended to stay away.

But this offseason is different. If the Twins miss out on Carlos Correa, it almost feels like they HAVE to find a way to sign Rodón in order for the winter to be considered a resounding success, and to build widespread excitement for the 2023 product. Most other big-splash type moves that are within their range would be somewhat underwhelming as marquee headliner, at a time where they just lost a premier superstar, and had unprecedented spending power as a result.

This is not just a matter of optics and PR. It's hard to imagine any singular move, outside of signing one of the top four shortstops, capable of making such a massive impact on the team's quality and upside. Adding Rodón atop the rotation would transform the outlook for that unit and the pitching staff as a whole. 

Coming off back-to-back Cy Young-caliber seasons, Rodón would be a worthy centerpiece of the offseason from any vantage.

So how much would this gamble cost? If we suppose that Rodón is open-minded and simply looking for the best deal, it becomes a straightforward bidding war – albeit one with high stakes and some imposing competition. The left-hander is reportedly receiving early interest from the Dodgers, Mets, and Rangers, among others.

The Rangers are said to be one of his most serious suitors, and they exemplify the type of uphill battle Minnesota's front office faces in this pursuit. Texas spent more than half a billion in free agency last offseason alone. With such a free-wheeling mindset, made possible by operating in a top-five market, they can more easily sink big money into shaky investments – like, say, signing Corey Seager for $32 million annually through age 37 – and worry about the repercussions later.

For the Twins, it's a different ballgame. The stakes are graver, the downside greater. And depending on Rodón's personal preferences, it might take a significant outbid to woo him from more attractive destinations.

It's hard to know exactly where the southpaw's contract figure might land, when you factor in all the risk and all the reward. One article in The Athletic projected five years and $160 million, which is higher than I've seen elsewhere but certainly within reason. For the Twins to make it happen, they might need to get creative with a contract framework that leans strongly in the player's favor – a Scott Boras specialty.

Again, you can make a good case to say "screw it, just make the deal happen, whatever it takes." But then, I come back to this front office and what we know about them. As much as they might like Rodón and the fit, it would be very uncharacteristic to outslug a bunch of heavy-hitters in an all-out auction for a peaking asset.

What seems much more likely is that they'll turn to other pitchers near the top of the remaining free agent starter pool in search of real upside without the extreme "buy-high" dynamic. 

One name that really stands out in this group is Nathan Eovaldi. He's got the credentials, the big stage experience, the power fastball. In 2021 he finished fourth in the Cy Young voting with 5.7 fWAR, placing him at the premier class of MLB starters. In 2022 he took a step back, with production that was more or less Robbie Ray-esque. 

Unlike Rodón and Ray, Eovaldi is not a buy-high target. Unfortunately for him, the right-hander's date with free agency came a year too late for that. He'll still get paid handsomely but the proposition should be much less daunting for a team like the Twins. 

How much less realistic upside does Eovaldi bring to the table compared to Rodón and Ray, relative to the chasmic difference in cost? If you look at 2022 in isolation, far less, but results aren't that dependably consistent from year to year. To prove that, look no further than all of the dudes we're talking about here.

Signing Rodón feels, in some ways, like a move the Twins need to make, should they miss out on Correa. But turning away from the feeding frenzy and focusing on an arm like Eovaldi would be much more on-brand, while still showing a touch of boldness. He would very likely be the most expensive free agent pitcher signing in franchise history, and a plausible upgrade from Sonny Gray in the #1 rotation spot.

This course would also allow the Twins to save some coin and spread more of it to other needs, while still addressing the rotation in a meaningful, emphatic way.

 

 


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Good info 

 

with pitchers, you just never know 

No one, and I mean No One, guessed that Verlander would win the Cy Young this year. 
 

people laughed at the Nats contract with Mad Max (what the hell were the Tigers smoking to have these two on staff.  Again no one knew how good they would be), but that contract was worth every penny to the Nats. 
 

I’m nervous as hell about signing Rodon. He produced this year & is a lefty.  I think we have the depth if quality starters (no shut down Ace) to handle blips by Rodon 
 

but to be honest I’d rather over pay for DeGrom or JV because the history is just a bit better. 
 

id rather spend $160M on DeGrom over less years with player option after 2 and mutual option after 3. Heck I’d bump that to $1M more AAV than Mad Max’s contract because Boras

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Thank you Nick for a tremendous article! 

I am still baffled about calls to "go get an ACE", as if they were being dangled as a blue-light special at K-Mart. (Old school reference I know, lol). They either cost a fortune in players and prospects from a re-building team, or cost a similar $ fortune on the rare opportunity they hit FA.

I think the FO is beyond skittish to sign a quality FA. The problem there is there are FA who turn out just fine, and justify their signing. And all it takes is that ONE signing that turned out for everyone to say "SEE". And Wheeler is a good example. Darvish is a lesser example as he's been OK. And there are other examples. Lester for the Cubs? You never get FULL VALUE, but you pay, generally, for those couple of seasons where they are good.

I can't tell you how much I want Rodon on a 4yr deal, or 5yr, maybe with an opt out. He actually moves the needle of contention, even though I know he will be good/great only half the time. But believe me, I understand the percentages and the FO aversion to these deals. But again, when it works, it was worth the deal.

IMO, while some kind of ACE is amazing to have, I've always believed a collection of #2 and #3 SP with a great pen made the most sense. For the season, and the playoffs, I want the deepest staff I can put together. ONE GAME doesn't guarantee anything.

Damn, I still want Rodon, lol, and I hope we get him, but the cost has to make sense.

But there are a couple of SP options out there besides Rodon I believe the Twins should be looking at. They should be EXPECTING someone to be injured and need the depth, if they really want to compete in 2023. Even then, there will be room for Varland, SWR, maybe Balazovic at some point, etc. Even with good health, you still need 8-10 SP in a season.

I like what's on hand. I wouldn't mind extending Gray. I think a healthy Mahle just might be our best SP. I like Ryan and Ober a lot. I think Maeda might surprise. But if I want to contend, I'd just expect injuries and sign someone as good as what we have, or better.

Rodon might be the only "better" than what we have. Is he worth the risk? IDK. But a healthy Rodon looks good, doesn't he? I'm not expecting him. But I sure hope we add one of the other "good as Gray" arms because I don't want to just trust in health.

 

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2 hours ago, wsnydes said:

I agree with pretty much everything in this article, but after watching this FO shop the bargain bin on pitching for their entire tenure, I wouldn't mind a change of pace and go after a high priced FA just to see what happens!

My biggest problem with that is getting burned on the last 2-3 years of any contract. I know the Twins are NOT a small market team, they just act like one.  I still don't like a 6-8 year deal.

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5 hours ago, darin617 said:

My biggest problem with that is getting burned on the last 2-3 years of any contract. I know the Twins are NOT a small market team, they just act like one.  I still don't like a 6-8 year deal.

Yeah, I agree with that.  That's part of the deal though if you're going after that top tier guys.  I don't like it either, but in a sense I'm kinda at the point where I'd rather risk that for once.

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6 hours ago, darin617 said:

My biggest problem with that is getting burned on the last 2-3 years of any contract. I know the Twins are NOT a small market team, they just act like one.  I still don't like a 6-8 year deal.

You can say they are NOT a small market team. They are not a large market team, either. The differences between the Twins revenue and the top 8-9 teams was close to 100 million

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Very interesting article Nick.  I've always looked at investing in FA as investing in the stock market, and the pitching market is very volitile. There's a lot of hype, spinning data from agents so you'd buy high with peaking pitchers. Like the stock market as a buyer you can't get fooled by the hype, you normally don't buy high (or you lose your shirt, if you're lucky break even), you do your due diligence.

1st you look at the CEO, you need more than a great product you need a great CEO to manage it. 2nd you need to look at underlying conditions that affects the data. I have 2 baseball examples 1st Ray, in '21, TOR saw something in Ray that the ARI wasn't doing that they could fix, they didn't fool around they went out and got him . 2nd Rodon, in '22 here I think that SF got lucky, they took a chance and that they only managed Rodon differently than CWS.

With Rodon at first I was leary of his injuries but later I dug deeper and relealized something. At CWS LaRussa was old school, he wanted his SP to at least come close to complete their games. Rodon didn't fit his mold so even though Rodon had great #s, LaRussa let him go w/o a QO. I believe a lot of Rodon's early injury problems were due to him being over extended. I changed to be an advocate for the Twins to pick up Rodon if they managed him differently than LaRussa.

Right now Rodon is blue chip, his stock is high with a lot of suitors, the Twins will have to pay a premium for him to come here. I'm not up on Eovaldi, is there something more that can be unlocked?Would he be a good fit? I don't know. Right now I'm not intrigued.

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So Doc you believe that Rodon could be very effective if the Twins use him for short outings verses going for complete games. What are they waiting for then? He fits their mold perfectly. 5 innings and boom you're outta the game. No reason to use another effective inning or two if it's there. Just throw it away and exhaust the arms in the bullpen. We all know how good that works.

As for taking a "chance" on him are the washed up veterans the Twins have signed lately been the answer? I'd rather they over-pay a bit for a Rodon than see a Shoemaker, Happ, Bundy, Archer prototype again. And why is it OK to over-pay for a Correa but it's not OK for a pitcher? So what if it takes 5 years at $160M. That's less burn than what the Twins would feel with a Correa contract and have his salary drag in the last years of an 8, 9 or 10 year contract.

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I understand your point on aging pitchers Nick.  I also understand your point on having shiny bobbles to present to the adoring public.  Ultimately though, nothing moves the needle in terms of the average fan experience more than winning.  The average fan doesn't care if the Twins spend like the Tampa Bay Rays, just so long as the Twins win like the Rays.  One could only hope.  

After several years, the jury is out on the current front office.  It feels like it's make or break time for them.  I know, I know, the Pohlads have shown to be very patient and very loyal with their employees for the most part.  Here's an idea that would show that this front office was actually ahead of the curve.  Go out and trade for and then develop pitchers in their early to mid-twenties who have the ability to be the aces that are looking for these great deals at age 30.  

To a certain extent, Ryan is an example of this thinking.  Of course, only time will tell if he can become an ace or a mid-rotation starter.  I also agree with Doc, give me a bunch of 2's and 3's and a great bullpen.  They haven't had a great bullpen in a handful of years.  Or, think outside the box, teams routinely carry 13 or 14 pitchers on their staffs.  How about 12 pitchers, each of whom pitches 3 innings in a four day rotation.  Now that would be unique.  None of them would be facing a lineup a third time, which seems to be a goal these days.  Plus, you'd have 1 or 2 in reserve to use wisely or truly close down a game.  That's the sort of "outside of the box" thinking we were hoping for with this front office.  Instead, they've done as much bargain bin hunting as Terry Ryan used to do.  Enough said, Just Win Baby!

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Nice article.  Well thought out.  Part of the reason some people clamor to sign an ace or at least a very good SP is that the Twins don't have one now or in their system.  They have failed to produce top quality pitching from within.  Yes we can all name the possible starting pitchers the twins already have lined up that are currently on the roster.  Just because people can throw those names out there doesn't mean that those are quality pitchers.  Way too much unproven talent.  Plus this FO has continually gone bargain basement shopping for pitchers.  It hasn't done too well has it?  If we are hell bent to spend so much money on Correa it will leave us little or no monies to improve in other areas.  That is pitching especially.  Unless Carlos can pitch lol

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This should be a question of philosophy:  Are the Twins a team which will seek to develop aces (like the Rays) or a team which flails at free agents (like Robbie Ray).   When the Twins started the FalVine era, the former was the goal.  And it should be the goal.  If the cupboard is bare, fill it in with the probable has-beens and maybe an ace that slips through for a short-term contract late in free agency.  But the goal should always be to develop starters to be stars between ages 24-28.  

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I am with you on the premise of this article and perhaps take a stance beyond what you are saying because I have not been in favor of us going after any megadollar - mega year contracts.  You sited some excellent examples, but the league is filled with them.  Good for the player, not the league and especially good for Boras and the agents who play on the owner's vanity.

I would not go after any of the big dollar players - including Correa.  Great players, but a team needs to build with some long term philosophy.  The short term overpay for Correa was a great deal.  I wish they could have pushed for a second year opt out instead of one year, but that is history.  Houston proved that he can be replaced.  Ultimately all the big named SS will be at second base before their contracts are out but Houston will see Pena in his prime.

Go young - Acuna, Soto, Rodriguez... It is the hope of the smaller markets to hit the jackpot with potential rather than with history.  Remember how everyone in BB agonized over Pujols contract dragging down the Angels?  Yes his magically final year in St Louis was great, his contract years with the Angels was not.  

Trade the players at their peak and reap good prospects - I value the prospects more than once good players.  Is BB the only sport where a new team pays a premium for the years that a player had with another team. 

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There is no doubt spending big on free agent pitching is a monetary risk.  Never investing top dollars or high picks in pitching reduces your monetary risk but makes your performance risk sky rocket. The only way the Twins method works is if you get really good at developing your own pitching. The Twins haven’t done that and show no signs of being able to do it. 

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13 hours ago, DocBauer said:

Thank you Nick for a tremendous article! 

I am still baffled about calls to "go get an ACE", as if they were being dangled as a blue-light special at K-Mart. (Old school reference I know, lol). They either cost a fortune in players and prospects from a re-building team, or cost a similar $ fortune on the rare opportunity they hit FA.

I think the FO is beyond skittish to sign a quality FA. The problem there is there are FA who turn out just fine, and justify their signing. And all it takes is that ONE signing that turned out for everyone to say "SEE". And Wheeler is a good example. Darvish is a lesser example as he's been OK. And there are other examples. Lester for the Cubs? You never get FULL VALUE, but you pay, generally, for those couple of seasons where they are good.

I can't tell you how much I want Rodon on a 4yr deal, or 5yr, maybe with an opt out. He actually moves the needle of contention, even though I know he will be good/great only half the time. But believe me, I understand the percentages and the FO aversion to these deals. But again, when it works, it was worth the deal.

IMO, while some kind of ACE is amazing to have, I've always believed a collection of #2 and #3 SP with a great pen made the most sense. For the season, and the playoffs, I want the deepest staff I can put together. ONE GAME doesn't guarantee anything.

Damn, I still want Rodon, lol, and I hope we get him, but the cost has to make sense.

But there are a couple of SP options out there besides Rodon I believe the Twins should be looking at. They should be EXPECTING someone to be injured and need the depth, if they really want to compete in 2023. Even then, there will be room for Varland, SWR, maybe Balazovic at some point, etc. Even with good health, you still need 8-10 SP in a season.

I like what's on hand. I wouldn't mind extending Gray. I think a healthy Mahle just might be our best SP. I like Ryan and Ober a lot. I think Maeda might surprise. But if I want to contend, I'd just expect injuries and sign someone as good as what we have, or better.

Rodon might be the only "better" than what we have. Is he worth the risk? IDK. But a healthy Rodon looks good, doesn't he? I'm not expecting him. But I sure hope we add one of the other "good as Gray" arms because I don't want to just trust in health.

 

Damn, Doc, I wish I could express my thoughts as well as you have for me.  Thanks.

Have been talking for awhile that an ACE isn’t what is important.  Give me a staff with #2-#4 better than the team I am playing and I am gonna win series, lots of them.  And great #2-#4 are a lot easier to find/develop.  And a heck of a lot less expensive.  
 

Come to think about it, this may be what the FO has been doing this past year or so.

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Acquiring a bunch of #2's and #3's is sound strategy.  Once upon a time, we had a true ACE (Johan Santana).  We still haven't won a playoff game in forever.  I'm risk averse tp overpaying for pitchers on the FA market.  If we could sign Senga for a reasonable price I'd be for that.  I'd rather utilize organizational strength (like LOTS of talented LH hitting outfielders) to TRADE for a targeted SP that is clearly better than anyone we currently have) and that we have a couple years of control at a manageable cost.  Then, after those couple of years, assess how a Brandon Woodruff or Pablo Lopez has done and decide like we did with Berrios, whether we are extending or selling off.  

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Your theory on aging. starting pitchers is sound. Eovaldi will be 33 this February.  He is a bit too old,   according to this aging pitcher theory. I suspect. I have long thought that the Twins needed to promote starters/relievers from the minor leagues sooner, rather than later. Now based on your article, I see that promoting pitchers earlier from the Twins minor leagues might work better. Get some good smart veteran catchers to call the pitches and get some heat throwing young pitchers who can throw the pitches where the smart catchers tell them to throw the pitches. Sounds like a plan. And get Chase Petty back. This article is why the Twins should stop trading good young pitching prospects, who are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.

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Agreed 100% on the risks associated with buying high on a pitcher. The challenge is the Twins have not shown capability to buy low on a starting pitcher and get excess value. Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy, Martin Perez etc, etc…. Bad before becoming Twins, bad as Twins.

While Nathan Eovaldi is a fine pitcher, he’s not better than Sonny Gray, and probably a touch below. Gray career - ERA 3.56, FIP 3.67, ‘22 - 3.08/3.41. Eovaldi career 4.16/3.83 ‘22 - 3.87/4.30. The Twins have tons of depth that’s all mid-rotation very similar to Nathan Eovaldi.
 

What they don’t have is a front of the rotation starter, which Eovaldi is not.

More importantly they don’t have innings. Last offseason the FO knew they weren’t getting traditional starter workload, but they still weren’t capable of executing a non-traditional pitching workload to get to 1500 innings, and Nathan Eovaldi exacerbates that deficit greatly. He’s pitched greater than 150 innings twice in his career. The Twins can’t rely on Eovaldi to be a traditional high quality 150-200 inning starting pitcher who also doesn’t move the needle on the front of the rotation.

Go big, or develop internally

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Paying a free agent piotcher is a luxury for msot teams. You hope for one or two good seasons. With the opt-outs that are in many contracts, you have the ability to front-load for a stud, hope they give you the quality, and let them walk. Or even if you sign a guy to a longer contract (3-5 years) you hopefully have the ability to trade them if it isnb't working out, but their stats are still good enough for a contending team to grab.

Even with home grown talent, it is a hard decision. Which is often why it is GREAT if you can nab one of your own talents and sign them longer term by the time they enter arbitration, going that distance of, say, a five year contract into a free agent year or two with mutual options.

Most of us in Twins Daily land were on the bubble if Jose Berrios would've been worth a $120 million contract before he was traded to the Blue Jays. Yet one or two years ago, we would've been more than happy to see the Twins sign him for 5-7 years (at what might've been less than $120m).

In the end, though, I have a hard time seing the Twins wasting $15-20 million or more on 2-3 so-so arms, rather than just investing in a probably one good arm, if available. Besides the horror stories of old, I was disappointed with the Twins final payout on Archer this last season, where the guy ended up doubling his salary because of his starts, but not really giving us...a start. Right up there with Odorizzi taking the qualifying offer. Thank goodness the 2020 season was shortened and the Twins didn't have to payout the full amount.

 

Again, it is a fine line. Be interesting to see where the Twins go with, say, Joe Ryan. We all remember basically not seeing any longterm worth in the likes of Kyle Gibson, as an example.

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6 hours ago, rv78 said:

So Doc you believe that Rodon could be very effective if the Twins use him for short outings verses going for complete games. What are they waiting for then? He fits their mold perfectly. 5 innings and boom you're outta the game. No reason to use another effective inning or two if it's there. Just throw it away and exhaust the arms in the bullpen. We all know how good that works.

.I said I agreed with the way SF used Rodon. Rodon pitched 178 innings in 31 games, that averages less than 6 innings/ game, That means he pitched some games more others less depending on pitch count & situation. 

The BP gets exhausted not because the rotation isn't pitching enough innings, it's because the BP is utilized with 5-6 RPs pitching 1 inning each and long relief is forgotten. Long relief is our greatest asset, many games we can have a SP going 5-6 innings and long relief goes 3-4. Tighter games you can throw in a couple high leverage short RPs. There is no stress on the rotation, long relief or short relief. Neglecting long relief is what caused exhaustion on our poor short relief which translate in overstretching our weak rotation. And that's how that worked.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Richie the Rally Goat said:

What they don’t have is a front of the rotation starter, which Eovaldi is not.

He wasn't in 2022. He very much was in 2021. Same can be said for Robbie Ray. 

People would've been thrilled if the Twins signed Ray last year, not so much this year. But he's the same pitcher. You see what I'm getting at? 

If your criteria for "front of the rotation starter" is entirely defined by what the guy did in the previous season, you are all but assured to overpay on every occasion. If you're a bit more open-minded, that's how you land guys like Kenta Maeda, Charlie Morton, Tyler Anderson, etc. I just think it's a more realistic and practical path for a team like the Twins. 

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If you don't pay for a "front of the rotation starter" you can still be over-paying for the other guys as well. Would you agree that the Twins over-paid for Maeda in 2022? How about Shoemaker? Was he an over-pay? I'd rather they over-pay for a guy like Rodon than the typical bottom feeders like they have been signing. At least with a "front of the rotation starter" like Rodon there is a chance that he will be just that. a front of the rotation starter. Over-paying for guys like Shoemaker, Archer and so on will never get you anywhere. Give me "the chance", not the "what's left".

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3 hours ago, Nick Nelson said:

He wasn't in 2022. He very much was in 2021. Same can be said for Robbie Ray. 

People would've been thrilled if the Twins signed Ray last year, not so much this year. But he's the same pitcher. You see what I'm getting at? 

If your criteria for "front of the rotation starter" is entirely defined by what the guy did in the previous season, you are all but assured to overpay on every occasion. If you're a bit more open-minded, that's how you land guys like Kenta Maeda, Charlie Morton, Tyler Anderson, etc. I just think it's a more realistic and practical path for a team like the Twins. 

Well, the stats I quoted were ‘22 and career, so clearly last year isn’t all I care about.

How’d Eovaldi do in ‘16, ‘17, ‘19? He’s had 2 very good seasons, 2 ok seasons, and several bad and injured ones.

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