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  • Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!


    dwade

    Baseball hasn't always been the paragon of parity, with teams like the Cardinals, Braves, and Yankees constructing dynasties that spanned the better part of a decade, but this year is unlike any we've seen in recent history. No American League team is more than 10 games out of a playoff spot with two full months of the season left. It's parity to the utmost: Every team is in it if they want to be.

    From a general baseball standpoint, this is phenomenal. Even as the Royals run away with the AL Central, the other four playoff spots are all still very much up for grabs, and it virtually guarantees meaningful baseball will be played well into September.

    Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    On a team-by-team level, this is maddening; if everyone is a contender, then no one is. Teams that have struggled to find .500 are, at least in theory, just one or two pieces away from making the crucial leap. The Royals proved last year that once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen, leaving fans of fringe-contending teams to shout "Don't just stand there, DO SOMETHING!"

    Thanks to the object lesson that is the New York Mets, we can see just how flawed that logic is. They traded High-A starter Casey Meisner for A's reliever -- and free-agent-to-be -- Tyler Clippard. Cue Keith Law's response:

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    Charitably, the Mets made themselves better when they acquired Clippard and they did so by trading talent from a position of strength, and at least they struck while the iron was hot, right? Flags Fly Forever!

    Law's point, and he's probably correct here, is that not all action -- even that which makes you better in the short run -- is good.

    The Mets' bullpen isn't great, but it's also not their most glaring weakness. It sits at or slightly above average in most categories (K/9, BB/9, FIP, and WAR most notably), and while having a shutdown bullpen makes the playoffs less stressful, the Mets' decidedly sub-par offense still may keep them from ever getting there. If the Mets determined that Meisner had more value as a trade piece than he did in their organization, which seems objectively true, they still misused him and received too little value in return. Having a large collection of quarters doesn't make trading five of them for a dollar a good idea.

    I'll leave the actual evaluation of Meisner to the professionals. He's a 20-year-old in High-A, meaning he still has the full range of possibilities ahead of him: His could be a cautionary tale for years to come when he becomes a star (like Wilson Ramos or Carlos Santana) or a complete non-factor (ala Deolis Guerra or literally dozens of other pitchers league-wide).

    Twins fans should take the Mets' move as a cautionary tale, since there's a parallel between someone like Meisner and someone like Max Kepler, who is showing good production in the low minors, but who may be blocked on his path to the majors. Or, more pointedly, who may have more value outside the Twins organization than in it. He could be used to bring talent into a squad that sorely needs it, but unless they can get fair-market value or above for him, the Twins are better off keeping Kepler and waiting for a calmer trading period to emerge.

    Fortune favors the bold, especially with so many teams in the mix for a fixed number of playoff spots, but for a team at the very beginning of its contending window like the Twins are, sometimes

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    The thing is, I don't really care if the Twins pick up a huge impact player like Tulo... Okay, that's not true. I do care. But I don't care as much as other people around here.

     

    If you don't want to mortgage the future for today, that's okay. I can live with that. I don't entirely agree but I can live with it.

     

    But what absolutely infuriates me is indecisiveness. If you're not going to improve today, Milone and/or Pelfrey should be off the roster for whatever you can get. The bullpen should have had a grenade rolled into it a month ago.

     

    Put Berrios in the Minnesota rotation. Put Duffey in the Minnesota pen. Hell, do almost anything. I don't care.

     

    That's my problem. The rotation with Pelfrey and Milone is not going to improve. You know what will make it improve? Trevor May. The bullpen is not going to improve. What know what might make it improve? Damned near anything. Be bold. Call up Burdi. Try one of the handful of AA/AAA arms and cross your fingers.

     

    And for ****'s sake, stop playing Danny Santana.

     

    Try something. Whether it's acquiring players or using assets on hand is less important to me than exploring options to problems that will not resolve themselves.

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    Twins fans should take the Mets' move as a cautionary tale, since there's a parallel between someone like Meisner and someone like Max Kepler, who is showing good production in the low minors, but who may be blocked on his path to the majors. Or, more pointedly, who may have more value outside the Twins organization than in it. He could be used to bring talent into a squad that sorely needs it, but unless they can get fair-market value or above for him, the Twins are better off keeping Kepler and waiting for a calmer trading period to emerge.

     

     

    While I certainly agree with your overall point about being cautious and not giving away the farm, I guess I disagree a little about Kepler and his value. First, I think he is quite a bit more valuable than Meisner. Second, I don't think Kepler is blocked. I don't think Rosario has shown enough to be the default in left field, nor do I think that Hicks has hit well enough right-handed, for long enough, to be the everyday default in right field (Hicks is still hitting just .245/.311/.321(.632) against righties this year, which just doesn't cut it for a corner outfielder). I also think Kepler's upside is higher than both of them.  His ability to take walks and his potential for power are both much higher than Rosario, and his left-handedness and less drastic splits are superior to Hicks. I would trade Rosario before Kepler if I were the Twins, although frankly, I don't see the need or reason to trade any of the three (or Buxton obvs.), especially given Hicks continued struggles against righties. A four-person outfield in which Hicks backs up Buxton in CF, and starts and pinch hits primarily against lefties (and occasionally starts against weak righties) would be a fantastic outfield.

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    And the vast majority don't turn out to be viable major league players.

     

    So in the end, for most, their only real value is to provide subject matter for the minor league forum on TD.

     

    I would argue that in the last few years Twins' prospects have provided nearly as much value as acquired veterans, and of course at much less price. And the prospects now are much better than those of the last few years. Veteran FA and trade acquisitions often fail too. Just look at Nolasco, Morales, Stauffer, Suzuki this year, Pelfrey, Doumit, the last 2 years of WIllingham, etc.

    Edited by nytwinsfan
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    I don't think any pitcher out there is worth getting rid of Milone and/or Pelfrey.

     

    As far as getting rid of Danny Santana is concerned, Paul Molitor seems to think that he is the best option at Shortstop, and Molitor has forgotten more about baseball than most of us will ever know.

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    And the vast majority don't turn out to be viable major league players.

     

    So in the end, for most, their only real value is to provide subject matter for the minor league forum on TD.

     

    Prospects' value as trade pieces also go up and down.  IMO, the Twins front office has been either a) poor at evaluating talent; B) poor at maximizing and nurturing talent; or c) too stubborn or passive in acting on a or b.  If we're evaluating and nurturing talent correctly, we should have a great idea as to who may or may not be expendable.  At least I hope we know our own prospects better than other teams.

     

    Looking back at our failed prospects.  Almost all of them came with sneaking suspicions of over-hype long before their value started to plummet.  Prospect rankings are often slow-to-react.  We've had lots of coveted players and prospects who we held until their trade value was virtually gone.  We've traded virtually no one at the peak of their value.  

     

    Gordon Gekko would say the Twins do a good job of buying low, but a pretty poor job at selling high.

     

    What in-house prospects might people be overvaluing?  

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    As far as getting rid of Danny Santana is concerned, Paul Molitor seems to think that he is the best option at Shortstop, and Molitor has forgotten more about baseball than most of us will ever know.

    I cannot default to Molitor's expertise when Danny Santana is one of the worst regular starters in all of baseball by every metric you can possibly find to evaluate a player.

     

    If there was some "well, maybe he's not that bad at that aspect of the game" side of Santana, I might feel differently about it... But he is literally horrible at every aspect of baseball right now.

     

    Santana has a lot of potential. None of that potential has been realized in 2015. None. Zero. Zip. Nada.

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    They could seriously help this team without mortgaging the future by adding a few bullpen pieces.  That said, I do think there is too much "have to make a deal" talk - that's a bad way to operate a team.  Do things that make sense, but focus on trying to make your team better.

     

    However, if the market doesn't bear fruit, there are options in the minor leagues right now that Brock was right about.  The roster needs to be changed, that's what has to happen.  Not necessarily a trade.

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    Agree with both Brock and Leviathan completely!

     

    There IS improvement to be made. And there ARE moves to be made.

     

    I appreciate Molitor believing in the talent and potential of Santana. And I also would not write him off. It would be foolish to do so considering his talent, and some off potential and flash we've seen. But he looks lost and overmatched...to be fair and honest...a lot of the time, not all the time. But now is not the time for continuing auditions from your starting SS. Escobar is flat out better at this time and needs to be in there.

     

    Pelfrey has been very solid for the club. He was a big boon once upon a time. But May is younger, more talented and more productive on several levels. (Numbers show it along with the eye) And to remove such a potentially strong piece out of your rotation for someone who is NOT a part of your future is ridiculous.

     

    The bullpen needs help. The Twins have options like Duffey who are viable to audition and help. But there are enough veteran arms out there, like Benoit, that they could undoubtedly acquire without mortgaging anything, that I'm in favor of such a move. Benoit to solidify the 8th, bump Fien to the 7th, (where I've said for a while he belongs), depends the pen with little sacrifice. We might even sign said veteran again this off season for '16. It would be an investment the Twins could afford, but also, sorry to say, Burdi, Jones and others aren't knocking on the door just yet.

     

    And I gotta be honest, I'd love a low cost shot at AJ teaming with Zuke behind the plate. Absolutely nothing special behind the plate, but they would undoubtedly provide confidence from the staff, could offer an OK-ish platoon or quasi-platoon offensively. And maybe, just maybe, if the right deal isn't there this next off season for a young option, the Twins might try to ride that duo for one more year.

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    yeah, I liked how Gardy refused to give up on Casilla too. liked him SO much that he said before Hardy was traded that Casilla would compete for the shortstop spot because he had all the physical skills.  Santana doesn't seem to have the fundamentals down yet.  How that is possible I don't know, but it's just like Casilla and the fundamentals of shortstop.

    Edited by jimmer
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    I still think something will happen with Pelfrey, he won't be on this team at the end of the season, he'll get traded (for a minor prospect) sometime in August after passing thru waivers to some team that needs another starter.

     

    Also it won't hurt May's long-term development to spend a few weeks in the pen, in fact, the Twins may find that strikeout reliever that they've been looking for.  A lot of TD posters have predicted the bullpen is where May would eventually end up anyway.

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    The thing is, I don't really care if the Twins pick up a huge impact player like Tulo... Okay, that's not true. I do care. But I don't care as much as other people around here.

     

    If you don't want to mortgage the future for today, that's okay. I can live with that. I don't entirely agree but I can live with it.

     

    But what absolutely infuriates me is indecisiveness. If you're not going to improve today, Milone and/or Pelfrey should be off the roster for whatever you can get. The bullpen should have had a grenade rolled into it a month ago.

     

    Put Berrios in the Minnesota rotation. Put Duffey in the Minnesota pen. Hell, do almost anything. I don't care.

     

    That's my problem. The rotation with Pelfrey and Milone is not going to improve. You know what will make it improve? Trevor May. The bullpen is not going to improve. What know what might make it improve? Damned near anything. Be bold. Call up Burdi. Try one of the handful of AA/AAA arms and cross your fingers.

     

    And for ****'s sake, stop playing Danny Santana.

     

    Try something. Whether it's acquiring players or using assets on hand is less important to me than exploring options to problems that will not resolve themselves.

     

    http://ih0.redbubble.net/image.69823114.3932/fc,550x550,white.jpg

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    "That's my problem. The rotation with Pelfrey and Milone is not going to improve. You know what will make it improve? Trevor May." -Brock

     

    Every day I hear (or see) this idea repeated in various forms.

    "Trevor May was the best starter in the rotation for..." "His peripherals show that he's outperformed Pelfrey..." "His ERA is artificially inflated."

    This opinion is stated as fact over and over (esp on the radio) and it just rubs me raw because it contradicts all the statistical evidence.

     

    I have dug deep into the numbers comparing May and Pelfrey. Pelfrey has been more successful at limiting runs, logging quality starts and has consistently gone deeper into games. He has outperformed May by an admittedly slight margin in almost every category. May strikes out more batters, gives up more xbh and home runs. Pelfrey doesn't get the strike outs, but has induced 22 dps to May's 4. 

     

    Also, Pelfrey is pitching almost identical to his career averages in both primary and peripheral stats. In short, there is more reason to believe he'll continue to perform at this level through 2015 than there s to believe May will. That means something if the Twins hope to have reliable starters to take the mound in a playoff series.

     

    If you want to punt on this year, he should be traded and you should accept the temporary downgrade in the rotation that should be expected by reinserting May so he can resume his development.

     

    That is a valid course to choose. It is not however, valid to assert that May has performed better than Pelfrey unless you simply wish to eliminate results and success from the equation.

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    "That's my problem. The rotation with Pelfrey and Milone is not going to improve. You know what will make it improve? Trevor May." -Brock

     

    Every day I hear (or see) this idea repeated in various forms.

    "Trevor May was the best starter in the rotation for..." "His peripherals show that he's outperformed Pelfrey..." "His ERA is artificially inflated."

    This opinion is stated as fact over and over (esp on the radio) and it just rubs me raw because it contradicts all the statistical evidence.

     

    I have dug deep into the numbers comparing May and Pelfrey. Pelfrey has been more successful at limiting runs, logging quality starts and has consistently gone deeper into games. He has outperformed May by an admittedly slight margin in almost every category. May strikes out more batters, gives up more xbh and home runs. Pelfrey doesn't get the strike outs, but has induced 22 dps to May's 4. 

     

    Also, Pelfrey is pitching almost identical to his career averages in both primary and peripheral stats. In short, there is more reason to believe he'll continue to perform at this level through 2015 than there s to believe May will. That means something if the Twins hope to have reliable starters to take the mound in a playoff series.

     

    If you want to punt on this year, he should be traded and you should accept the temporary downgrade in the rotation that should be expected by reinserting May so he can resume his development.

     

    That is a valid course to choose. It is not however, valid to assert that May has performed better than Pelfrey unless you simply wish to eliminate results and success from the equation.

    Okay, I'm not even going to use fancy stats to show how wrong this is. Here are the basics:

     

    Trevor May, the June before he was removed from the rotation: 

    5 GS, 24.1 IP, 3.70 ERA, 24 K

     

    Mike Pelfrey, the June before May was removed from the rotation:

    6 GS, 35.1 IP, 5.35 ERA, 16 K

     

    Mike Pelfrey, the July after May was removed from the rotation:

    4 GS, 23.0 IP, 4.30 ERA, 11 K

     

    Mike Pelfrey wasn't better before May was removed from the rotation and he wasn't better after May was removed from the rotation.

     

    Mike Pelfrey is who he is. He's a middling starter who can't miss bats and was playing way over his head early in the season. That's great, you let that guy play way over his head and appreciate the effort he gives you.

     

    But in the back of your mind, you always remember that he's playing way over his head and you prepare for the inevitable. The moment he starts scuffling, you take his job away, thank him for his service, and move on.

     

    Instead, the Twins removed a young starter who was showing consistent improvement, relegated him to the bullpen, and kept that middling starter over him in the rotation.

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