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  • Game Recap: Mariners 10, Twins 0


    Jamie Cameron

    The Twins' exhausting season dragged on Tuesday, as they lost their second game of a six game road trip and dropped their sixth game in their last eight.

    Image courtesy of Image Courtesy of Joe Nicholson - USA Today Sports

    Box Score

    Happ: 4 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

    Home Runs: None

    Bottom 3 WPA: Happ -.322, Kirilloff -.046, Polanco -.044

    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    Mariners.png.dbe42c34835d8c4083aa07978d689a7d.png

    As the summer heatwave continued to blast Minneapolis, the Twins continued their frigid play in Seattle Tuesday night, dropping game two of their three game set to the Mariners 10-0.

    The Twins had mixed injury news Tuesday. Luis Arraez returned to the lineup from a shoulder injury which kept him out for several weeks.

    Meanwhile, the Twins continued to be without their talismanic center-fielder Byron Buxton, who, is still not 100% to return from a hip injury, leaving Nick Gordon to man center field as the Twins continue to MacGyver outfield solutions.

    The action on the field was stale and the game got late, early from a Twins perspective. J.A. Happ gave up a home run to J.P. Crawford on the first pitch of the game, a center cut fastball which was swatted into the right field seats. The pitch, the outcome, and the speed of its departure were all emblematic of the Twins 2021 season. Good planning and intentions, horrendous execution, horrible outcome.

    The game was ostensibly over by the second inning, which unfolded as follows; walk, single, single, 3 run triple, ground out, passed ball, strike out, hit by pitch, pop out. An increasingly disenfranchised looking and ineffective Happ left the mound after two innings with his team in a 5-0 hole.

    The Mariners added to a lead they never looked like they were going to surrender in the 4th, adding a run on three singles and generating the third mound visit of the night for Happ during what was to be his last inning. The Mariners added solo home runs in the 7th inning from Luis Torrens, and the 8th from Ty France. The France home run took the game to 10-0, in which Griffin Jax became the sacrificial lamb, throwing four innings on 93 pitches, albeit slightly more effectively than Happ.

    Offensively, the Twins offered little to nothing in what was one of their flattest performances in 2021. Singles from Cruz, Arraez, and two from Kirilloff were the lone offerings on an evening when Chris Flexen pitched eight innings of shutout baseball, striking out eight. What else is there to say?

    Mauer Charity Drive

    In happier Twins news, Joe Mauer’s home run derby raised $347,838 for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. Any of the old boys want to come out of retirement to help the 2021 squad?

    Bleacher Tweets

    On my recap days, I’m going to throw in a crowd sourced statistic, joke, story, or complaint to get more voices into the recap. Tonight's Bleacher Tweet is courtesy of Andrew Luedtke.

    But what happens when everyone is terrible, Andrew?

    Bullpen Usage Chart

      THU FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT
    Jax 0 0 0 0 0 93 93
    Shoemaker 0 35 0 43 0 0 78
    Duffey 20 22 0 0 10 0 52
    Farrell 23 0 0 0 24 0 47
    Robles 11 0 15 0 17 0 43
    Alcalá 7 15 0 0 19 0 41
    Dobnak 0 0 0 40 0 0 40
    Colomé 0 0 0 24 0 0 24
    Rogers 0 3 9 0 0 0 12

    What’s Next?

    On Wednesday, the Twins will send Bailey Ober to the hill against Justus Sheffield. First pitch is at 9:10 CT.

     

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    6 minutes ago, KirbyDome89 said:

    I don't understand the hindsight argument. How else should these decisions be judged other than by the results? Of course the FO likely didn't foresee just how terrible both starters would be, but that doesn't mean the decision to go with either of them was sound, or any way defensible at this point. 

    There's a difference between a smart signing that doesn't work out and a bad signing that predictably didn't work out. Signing Jackie Bradley Jr to a 2 year, $24m deal and watching him struggle to hit major league pitching is a bad signing that predictably didn't work out. Signing Albert Pujols to a 10 year deal and watching him immediately stop performing to career norms is a smart signing that didn't work out. Or signing Joe Mauer to a big extension that he earned to only watch him come down with head injuries and have to move to 1B is a good signing that didn't work out. There's a difference. Signing Happ to a 1 year deal to bring up the back of your rotation in a year you're going to need extra arms because last year only had 60 games is a good decision. It just didn't work out. But the process and decision making that went into it weren't flawed.

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    20 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    There's a difference between a smart signing that doesn't work out and a bad signing that predictably didn't work out. Signing Jackie Bradley Jr to a 2 year, $24m deal and watching him struggle to hit major league pitching is a bad signing that predictably didn't work out. Signing Albert Pujols to a 10 year deal and watching him immediately stop performing to career norms is a smart signing that didn't work out. Or signing Joe Mauer to a big extension that he earned to only watch him come down with head injuries and have to move to 1B is a good signing that didn't work out. There's a difference. Signing Happ to a 1 year deal to bring up the back of your rotation in a year you're going to need extra arms because last year only had 60 games is a good decision. It just didn't work out. But the process and decision making that went into it weren't flawed.

    Let's just hope the FO learned a lesson from all of this

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    18 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    There's a difference between a smart signing that doesn't work out and a bad signing that predictably didn't work out. It just didn't work out. But the process and decision making that went into it weren't flawed.

    Shoemaker not working out wasn't exactly unpredictable. If you want to say they saw something in Happ's '20 performance and chose to ignore '19 then fine. If he was the 5th starter and there was a capable backup at or near the majors then it's justifiable, but that wasn't the case. If Happ is your 4th starter and the guy ahead of him in the rotation spends a good chunk of each season on the DL, the guy behind him hasn't been reliable and/or good for 4 years, and the only internal replacement option is Randy Dobnak, that's a problem. These signings can't be viewed in a vacuum. 

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    Question...I wonder exactly what management is looking for in Buxton? If he comes back 'too soon' and gets hurt...well, that was predictable. but if they wait until they 'think' he's 100%, and he comes back and gets hurt anyway (which is likely), what has been gained? Buxton will get hurt no matter what. His trade value? Right now, who knows?

    Should we keep him? Might be nice. Would he want to stay here? Unlikely. Are the Twins in a no-win situation with him right now? I think they are.

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    1 minute ago, KirbyDome89 said:

    Shoemaker not working out wasn't exactly unpredictable. If you want to say they saw something in Happ's '20 performance and chose to ignore '19 then fine. If he was the 5th starter and there was a capable backup at or near the majors then it's justifiable, but that wasn't the case. If Happ is your 4th starter and the guy ahead of him in the rotation spends a good chunk of each season on the DL, the guy behind him hasn't been reliable and/or good for 4 years, and the only internal replacement option is Randy Dobnak, that's a problem. These signings can't be viewed in a vacuum. 

    Absolutely can't be viewed in a vacuum. Including the fact that they were going from 60 to 162 games. Meaning they needed to make up 900 innings. There are a couple minor leaguers who would've been up last year who didn't get the chance because the season was canceled. They also had Smeltzer, Thorpe, and Dobnak to take up some back of the rotation starts.

    They probably planned on being able to cycle through a few of the young guys starting about this time (or early July?), but then MLB pushed the MiLB season back a month and their 2 top arms, and the 2 closest to the bigs, missed time with injuries. They didn't have to just ignore '19 in favor of '20 for Happ. '19 was the 1 bad season he's had since '15. He was more than reasonable as a back end of the rotation guy. Shoemaker wasn't a 30 starts signing. If he made that many starts for them it would've been an incredibly pleasant surprise as he would've been drastically outperforming their expectations. Being completely unusable wasn't what anyone's prediction for him would have been. Same with Colome. Shoemaker in the 5 spot to get you through 2 or 3 months of starts wasn't unreasonable. Maybe not preferred, and maybe not the best move they could have made, but not unreasonable in trying to find an extra 900 innings this year.

    Someone else mentioned him, but Taijuan Walker in the 4 spot with Happ in the 5 was what I was hoping for. But suggesting Happ in the 4 with Shoemaker in the 5 and Dobnak, Thorpe, Smeltzer, and the young guys starting to knock at the door behind them should have been obvious that they'd be 15 games back by the middle of June is ridiculous. They didn't have the pitching to win the WS, but coming into the year certainly should've had enough to compete for the division. 

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    4 hours ago, chpettit19 said:

    My comments were never about anyone saying Flexen is top of the rotation, or even a useful pitcher. They have been that any idea of him having been a good signing for the Twins this offseason is based on 20/20 hindsight knowing he's been better than Happ and Shoemaker. He had done nothing prior to the last 10 weeks to make any claim that he had a chance to be useful on a contending team. Happ and Shoemaker, on the other hand, have both had success in the majors.

    Shoemaker couldn't stay healthy and was brought in to get some early season innings since the league was coming off a shortened season and covering innings was going to be a problem. The wheels fell off almost immediately, but the thought process in the offseason was sound. Happ has had above average ERA+s every year since 2015 except one. He was brought in to provide solid veteran innings at the back end of the staff and eat innings coming off a shortened season. The offseason thought process was sound.

    Flexen was coming off 1 good year in Korea and 3 DFA quality season in MLB. He was a flier for a non-contending team to see if he had made an adjustment overseas and could be an option in the years to come. Signing a player like him in the offseason would not have been a sound process for a contending team. Hindsight says he'd be a better #5 arm than Happ and Shoemaker, but suggesting the Twins missed out on some obvious sign or should have made a "creative" signing while trying to win a world series is not based in sound team building based on the information the team had during the offseason.

    I disagree that a thought process that devotes 40 percent of your rotation to Happ and Shoemaker is "sound "

     

    It's cheap, uncreative, and highly likely to fail. 

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    5 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

    I disagree that a thought process that devotes 40 percent of your rotation to Happ and Shoemaker is "sound "

     

    It's cheap, uncreative, and highly likely to fail. 

    Happ has been an above average pitcher in the majors all but 1 year since 2015. If you want to complain about Shoemaker in the 5 spot, fine. But if you're suggesting you expected Happ to be as bad as he has been recently you were simply ignoring his previous performance. He wasn't expensive, or flashy, or anything like that, but there was every reason to expect him to be a serviceable back end of the rotation arm. Especially in a year where you're going from 60 games to 162.

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    48 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

    Absolutely can't be viewed in a vacuum. Including the fact that they were going from 60 to 162 games. Meaning they needed to make up 900 innings. There are a couple minor leaguers who would've been up last year who didn't get the chance because the season was canceled. They also had Smeltzer, Thorpe, and Dobnak to take up some back of the rotation starts.

    They probably planned on being able to cycle through a few of the young guys starting about this time (or early July?), but then MLB pushed the MiLB season back a month and their 2 top arms, and the 2 closest to the bigs, missed time with injuries. They didn't have to just ignore '19 in favor of '20 for Happ. '19 was the 1 bad season he's had since '15. He was more than reasonable as a back end of the rotation guy. Shoemaker wasn't a 30 starts signing. If he made that many starts for them it would've been an incredibly pleasant surprise as he would've been drastically outperforming their expectations. Being completely unusable wasn't what anyone's prediction for him would have been. Same with Colome. Shoemaker in the 5 spot to get you through 2 or 3 months of starts wasn't unreasonable. Maybe not preferred, and maybe not the best move they could have made, but not unreasonable in trying to find an extra 900 innings this year.

    Someone else mentioned him, but Taijuan Walker in the 4 spot with Happ in the 5 was what I was hoping for. But suggesting Happ in the 4 with Shoemaker in the 5 and Dobnak, Thorpe, Smeltzer, and the young guys starting to knock at the door behind them should have been obvious that they'd be 15 games back by the middle of June is ridiculous. They didn't have the pitching to win the WS, but coming into the year certainly should've had enough to compete for the division. 

    There isn't much to suggest that trio would've had decent success as a starting group, even if they all rotated through that 5th. Again, if that's your last rotation spot and you have a starting caliber pitcher forcing their way onto the active roster than sure, a team can live with Happ + others every 5th day for a limited amount of time. That clearly wasn't the situation with the Twins.

    When I say "in a vacuum," I mean you can likely justify almost any signing to some degree, but roster construction needs to be taken into consideration as well. The issue is that both Happ and Shoemaker were the same type of pitcher; bounce back candidate, back end guys that carried bust potential. You can defend Happ as a 5th guy, I'd point out that expecting a trend reversal at 38 was a big gamble even for that spot, but with Shoemaker aboard that obviously wasn't going to be Happ's role and so the expectations shift. Adrianza was a decent utility guy, but if he opens the season starting at 3B by design and puts up utility-esque numbers that's a problem. 

     I really doubt (hope) this FO wasn't banking on Ober or Jax taking over in June, or even July. That'd be a nearly unforgivable dereliction of duty in a season where this team was expected to compete. Maybe, maybe they thought Duran could be up at one point but even banking on that would've been questionable entering the season. If they're signing pitcher(s) with the expectation that they become ineffective/replaceable within the first 2-3 months then I think that raises more serious questions than talent evaluation in regards to this FO. Expecting prospects to take over multiple rotation spots and hit the ground running while competing for a division is ahhh....yeah. 

    Nobody is suggesting we foresaw the team being this bad. Nobody. There isn't one glaring f*** up to blame this miserable season on. It's a series of failures that has gotten us to this point. 

     

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    42 minutes ago, USAFChief said:

    I disagree that a thought process that devotes 40 percent of your rotation to Happ and Shoemaker is "sound "

     

    It's cheap, uncreative, and highly likely to fail. 

     

    The Twins payroll this year is just under $128M, which means if you cut off the $10M for Happ and Shoemaker, they would be at $118M.  That's pretty much right inline with 2019 ($125M) and 2020 ($122M over 162 games).  Given the collapse in revenue last year, and the expected reduced revenue this year, I don't think it's fair at all for the Twins to be characterized as cheap.  What two starters could the FO have inked that would have been notably superior at the time of signing, without adding $20M or more in payroll?

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    9 minutes ago, KirbyDome89 said:

    There isn't much to suggest that trio would've had decent success as a starting group, even if they all rotated through that 5th. Again, if that's your last rotation spot and you have a starting caliber pitcher forcing their way onto the active roster than sure, a team can live with Happ + others every 5th day for a limited amount of time. That clearly wasn't the situation with the Twins.

    When I say "in a vacuum," I mean you can likely justify almost any signing to some degree, but roster construction needs to be taken into consideration as well. The issue is that both Happ and Shoemaker were the same type of pitcher; bounce back candidate, back end guys that carried bust potential. You can defend Happ as a 5th guy, I'd point out that expecting a trend reversal at 38 was a big gamble even for that spot, but with Shoemaker aboard that obviously wasn't going to be Happ's role and so the expectations shift. Adrianza was a decent utility guy, but if he opens the season starting at 3B by design and puts up utility-esque numbers that's a problem. 

     I really doubt (hope) this FO wasn't banking on Ober or Jax taking over in June, or even July. That'd be a nearly unforgivable dereliction of duty in a season where this team was expected to compete. Maybe, maybe they thought Duran could be up at one point but even banking on that would've been questionable entering the season. If they're signing pitcher(s) with the expectation that they become ineffective/replaceable within the first 2-3 months then I think that raises more serious questions than talent evaluation in regards to this FO. Expecting prospects to take over multiple rotation spots and hit the ground running while competing for a division is ahhh....yeah. 

    Nobody is suggesting we foresaw the team being this bad. Nobody. There isn't one glaring f*** up to blame this miserable season on. It's a series of failures that has gotten us to this point. 

     

     

    With all your talk about not looking at things in a vacuum, you seem to be ignoring the vacuum of payroll.  As I mentioned in my response to Chief, the Twins were already at near record payroll BEFORE Happ and Shoemaker, DESPITE large reductions to revenue both last year and this year.  If you want a team that's going to allocate $20M-$30M to it's 4th and 5th rotation spots, I suggest you check out Yankees/Dodgers Daily.  You are in line for nothing but frustration if the Twins are the team you choose to follow.

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    11 hours ago, jorgenswest said:

    Great performance from Flexen. He was available this winter. While our front office continues to fill the back end of the rotation with decline phase veterans the Mariners found a 26 year old that might help them at the end of the rotation for a few years.

     We need a front office that can find potentially useful players like Flexen. Anyone can hope on getting another year of back end pitching from Happ or Shoemaker. Neither is more than a one year hope and the problem of the back end persists to the next off season. 

    Whoa! This was ONE GAME. We were all talking about how great Littel was doing and then he gave up 4 runs without getting anyone out yesterday. Let's see how this guy does over time. 

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    1 hour ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

     

    With all your talk about not looking at things in a vacuum, you seem to be ignoring the vacuum of payroll.  As I mentioned in my response to Chief, the Twins were already at near record payroll BEFORE Happ and Shoemaker, DESPITE large reductions to revenue both last year and this year.  If you want a team that's going to allocate $20M-$30M to it's 4th and 5th rotation spots, I suggest you check out Yankees/Dodgers Daily.  You are in line for nothing but frustration if the Twins are the team you choose to follow.

    So now the FO was forced via financial constraint into making poor decisions? If I accepted that as true (I don't) wouldn't the fault still lie with the FO for putting themselves in that position? 

    Record payroll rings hollow. These franchises aren't going to suddenly stop printing money, particularly in the era of tv deals. Natural progression means we'll continue to see payroll and contract amounts rise, even for our awe shucks, small market Twins. In comparison to the rest of the league they're still sitting where they normally do, middle to bottom third. 

    If you're determined to pocket protect, there are at least 3-4 current SPs on 1 year deals that would've fit within the money owed to Happ & Shoemaker, or those two + Colome, and they'd all be considerable upgrades. 

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    1 hour ago, twinfan said:

    Whoa! This was ONE GAME. We were all talking about how great Littel was doing and then he gave up 4 runs without getting anyone out yesterday. Let's see how this guy does over time. 

    I think it's much more about pointing out how badly the swing and miss on Happ/Shoemaker has been rather than anyone banging the drum for Flexen. 

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    On 6/16/2021 at 5:17 PM, KirbyDome89 said:

    So now the FO was forced via financial constraint into making poor decisions? If I accepted that as true (I don't) wouldn't the fault still lie with the FO for putting themselves in that position? 

    Record payroll rings hollow. These franchises aren't going to suddenly stop printing money, particularly in the era of tv deals. Natural progression means we'll continue to see payroll and contract amounts rise, even for our awe shucks, small market Twins. In comparison to the rest of the league they're still sitting where they normally do, middle to bottom third. 

    If you're determined to pocket protect, there are at least 3-4 current SPs on 1 year deals that would've fit within the money owed to Happ & Shoemaker, or those two + Colome, and they'd all be considerable upgrades. 

    They didn't make poor financial decisions.  There's not a single contract on this roster that was bad at the time of signing.  The closest would be Donaldson, but even he provided a 129 wRC+ last year, and 118 this year.  And was signed to be the piece that pushed the Twins over the top for 2020/2021.  Has everything worked out with the players they've signed?  No, but that's always going to be the case.  If you reject the reality that the Twins will never be top 10 in payroll, then we're not ever going to be able to find common ground in this, mostly because you're on another planet.

    The Twins also did not print money last year.  They missed out on high 8 figures, and maybe even just into the 9 figures of revenue.  They are continuing to miss revenue this year.  The Twins have indeed stayed middle of the pack on payroll, because that is where they will stay--that's my entire point; when you sign Donaldson, Pineda, Simmons and Cruz to 8 figure deals (the four are getting $54.5M this year), keep your arb eligible players instead of trading them (Berrios, Buxton, and Rogers are getting $17M), and sign team-friendly deals with your supposed core (Sano, Kepler, and Polanco are getting $21M), you end up with a pretty high base.  Those 10 players make $92M, which means the Twins had at most about $45M to play with on their other 16 players, or less than $3M per player.  If they spend $20M on two rotation pieces, they now have only $25M left for 14 players, which means they're essentially playing nothing but pre-arb guys.

    Who are the 3-4 SP's on one year deals worth $5M on average that you think would have been superior options to Happ and Shoemaker?

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    2 hours ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

    They didn't make poor financial decisions.  There's not a single contract on this roster that was bad at the time of signing.  The closest would be Donaldson, but even he provided a 129 wRC+ last year, and 118 this year.  And was signed to be the piece that pushed the Twins over the top for 2020/2021.  Has everything worked out with the players they've signed?  No, but that's always going to be the case.  If you reject the reality that the Twins will never be top 10 in payroll, then we're not ever going to be able to find common ground in this, mostly because you're on another planet.

    The Twins also did not print money last year.  They missed out on high 8 figures, and maybe even just into the 9 figures of revenue.  They are continuing to miss revenue this year.  The Twins have indeed stayed middle of the pack on payroll, because that is where they will stay--that's my entire point; when you sign Donaldson, Pineda, Simmons and Cruz to 8 figure deals (the four are getting $54.5M this year), keep your arb eligible players instead of trading them (Berrios, Buxton, and Rogers are getting $17M), and sign team-friendly deals with your supposed core (Sano, Kepler, and Polanco are getting $21M), you end up with a pretty high base.  Those 10 players make $92M, which means the Twins had at most about $45M to play with on their other 16 players, or less than $3M per player.  If they spend $20M on two rotation pieces, they now have only $25M left for 14 players, which means they're essentially playing nothing but pre-arb guys.

    Who are the 3-4 SP's on one year deals worth $5M on average that you think would have been superior options to Happ and Shoemaker?

    I never once made the argument that they need to consistently spend in the top 10. You shifted the focus to financials after I pointed out the flaws in roster construction/expectations. FWIW during the early 2010's they were actually spending in that range, so it's possible, but again, not anywhere near the point I'm making. 

    They chose to allocate resources heavily in favor of the position players. The position they find themselves in is of their own making; it's not a defense for terrible pitching signings. 

    Rich Hill and Robbie Ray equal what Happ + Shoemaker cost, if we're entirely rejecting the notion that the Twins couldn't have spent even a penny more. Kluber was affordable if they wanted to actually aim high and erasing the 6.25 million they wasted on Colome certainly would've made that a realistic signing as well. The names aren't really even relevant, the point is that they had options, and very clearly chose the wrong ones. 

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    2 hours ago, KirbyDome89 said:

    I never once made the argument that they need to consistently spend in the top 10. You shifted the focus to financials after I pointed out the flaws in roster construction/expectations. FWIW during the early 2010's they were actually spending in that range, so it's possible, but again, not anywhere near the point I'm making. 

    They chose to allocate resources heavily in favor of the position players. The position they find themselves in is of their own making; it's not a defense for terrible pitching signings. 

    Rich Hill and Robbie Ray equal what Happ + Shoemaker cost, if we're entirely rejecting the notion that the Twins couldn't have spent even a penny more. Kluber was affordable if they wanted to actually aim high and erasing the 6.25 million they wasted on Colome certainly would've made that a realistic signing as well. The names aren't really even relevant, the point is that they had options, and very clearly chose the wrong ones. 

    I wasn't shifting the focus, I was calling out the absurtdity of you insisting we not look at moves in a vaccum, while completely ignoring the financial realities of the teams.  Regardless of why they didn't have much money for new starters this year, they didn't have the money, and it's because they went all in for 2020.  Is it therefore safe to say you would be against the Twins paying big money for a single player in the future, so they can keep payroll space open for mid-rotation starters in subsequent years?  The Twins were indeed 11th in payroll in 2010, and 9th in 2011--maybe that was because of a once in a generation event, like say, a brand new stadium opening, or a record-setting contract going into effect?  By 2012 they were down to 13th, and then 22nd in 2013; they've been in the 15-20 range ever since.

    As for the names of other players, again, you're the one who brought up the assertion that there were multiple arms the Twins could've pursued; of the three you listed--

    • Rich Hill was 41 before the season started, and struggle with health last year.  He hasn't pitched more than 100 innings since 2018, had an xERA above 5, saw his k/9 drop by 4 while his bb/9 when up by 1.  His 2020 babip was an unsustainable .240 and he had his worst swinging strike rate since 2010.  I think most people would have pegged him for what has happened to Happ, that is, an old pitcher who stayed on one year too many.
    • Robbie Ray has indeed been good this year, but is coming off a year with a 6.62 ERA, a 6.49 xERA, a 6.5 FIP, and a 5.84 xFIP; he was literally sub-replacement in 2020.  He also walked almost 8 batters per 9 (somehow he's cut that down to 2.3 this year, his best rate ever), and didn't even average 5 IP/start.  Ray would have been seen as a reclamation project, and not significantly better than Happ or Shoemaker
    • Kluber only pitched one inning last year, and just 35 in 2019, when he had a 5.80 ERA (4.06 FIP, 4.88 xFIP).  He would have been a gamble as well, and given that he barely averages 90 mph in velocity, there is a decent chance his 2021 success is short-lived, especially when you consider that his two best starts account for 17 innings with only two hits, but came against Detroit and Texas, who are 25th and 26th in OPS.  Against the 2 offenses he's faced that rank 15th or higher in OPS (Toronto 3x, ATl 1x), he's averaged 4 IP, a 1.72 WHIP, a 4.60 ERA, 9 k/9, and 6.75 bb/9.

    While all of those guys have been better than Happ and Shoemaker, there was not really reason to assume that would be the case, and to be perfectly honest, we would not feel confident about any of them starting a game 3 or game 4 of a playoff series.

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    On 6/18/2021 at 5:36 PM, Cap'n Piranha said:

    I wasn't shifting the focus, I was calling out the absurtdity of you insisting we not look at moves in a vaccum, while completely ignoring the financial realities of the teams.  Regardless of why they didn't have much money for new starters this year, they didn't have the money, and it's because they went all in for 2020.  Is it therefore safe to say you would be against the Twins paying big money for a single player in the future, so they can keep payroll space open for mid-rotation starters in subsequent years?  The Twins were indeed 11th in payroll in 2010, and 9th in 2011--maybe that was because of a once in a generation event, like say, a brand new stadium opening, or a record-setting contract going into effect?  By 2012 they were down to 13th, and then 22nd in 2013; they've been in the 15-20 range ever since.

    As for the names of other players, again, you're the one who brought up the assertion that there were multiple arms the Twins could've pursued; of the three you listed--

    • Rich Hill was 41 before the season started, and struggle with health last year.  He hasn't pitched more than 100 innings since 2018, had an xERA above 5, saw his k/9 drop by 4 while his bb/9 when up by 1.  His 2020 babip was an unsustainable .240 and he had his worst swinging strike rate since 2010.  I think most people would have pegged him for what has happened to Happ, that is, an old pitcher who stayed on one year too many.
    • Robbie Ray has indeed been good this year, but is coming off a year with a 6.62 ERA, a 6.49 xERA, a 6.5 FIP, and a 5.84 xFIP; he was literally sub-replacement in 2020.  He also walked almost 8 batters per 9 (somehow he's cut that down to 2.3 this year, his best rate ever), and didn't even average 5 IP/start.  Ray would have been seen as a reclamation project, and not significantly better than Happ or Shoemaker
    • Kluber only pitched one inning last year, and just 35 in 2019, when he had a 5.80 ERA (4.06 FIP, 4.88 xFIP).  He would have been a gamble as well, and given that he barely averages 90 mph in velocity, there is a decent chance his 2021 success is short-lived, especially when you consider that his two best starts account for 17 innings with only two hits, but came against Detroit and Texas, who are 25th and 26th in OPS.  Against the 2 offenses he's faced that rank 15th or higher in OPS (Toronto 3x, ATl 1x), he's averaged 4 IP, a 1.72 WHIP, a 4.60 ERA, 9 k/9, and 6.75 bb/9.

    While all of those guys have been better than Happ and Shoemaker, there was not really reason to assume that would be the case, and to be perfectly honest, we would not feel confident about any of them starting a game 3 or game 4 of a playoff series.

    The defense has swung from expected performance to financial constraint; I'm not sure what else to call it. My criticism of the roster construction is about who they signed and what role they filled, not how much they're owed. "Outside of a vacuum," simply means looking at roster fit, performance expectations, playing time/innings, ect. Nothing about doing that denies the existence of a budget. "Spend better," isn't the same as "spend more." I hope that's clear now. 

    If you want to argue that they were up against a self imposed cap, I'll again point out that's a position they spent themselves into, not a defense for failed signings We can play the name game and poke holes in every option but I don't see the merit in doing so. There were options, they choose poorly, and we've seen the results. Period.

    Nobody is saying the last rotation spot should be able to start game 3 of a playoff series. Nobody....

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    21 hours ago, KirbyDome89 said:

    The defense has swung from expected performance to financial constraint; I'm not sure what else to call it. My criticism of the roster construction is about who they signed and what role they filled, not how much they're owed. "Outside of a vacuum," simply means looking at roster fit, performance expectations, playing time/innings, ect. Nothing about doing that denies the existence of a budget. "Spend better," isn't the same as "spend more." I hope that's clear now. 

    If you want to argue that they were up against a self imposed cap, I'll again point out that's a position they spent themselves into, not a defense for failed signings We can play the name game and poke holes in every option but I don't see the merit in doing so. There were options, they choose poorly, and we've seen the results. Period.

    Nobody is saying the last rotation spot should be able to start game 3 of a playoff series. Nobody....

    Bro, it's not a swing, it's part of the whole picture.  Expected performance and financial constraints are connected; if I asked you to pick which team would have a better record, but the only details I gave you about the teams was that one had a payroll of $100M, and the other had a payroll of $200M, which would you bet on?  You can't just stick your fingers in your ears and pretend finances didn't play a role in the signing of Happ and Shoemaker.  The Twins did not have the ability to spend better without spending more--in this case, those are the same thing.  Are some of the other potential veteran starters performing better right now?  Sure.  Would it have been obvious in January/February those other options were superior to Happ/Shoemaker?  No.

    Every person/entity is always up against a self imposed cap.  I'm not sure why people expect the Pohlads to not profit off their ownership of the team, much less incur losses.  I think the fact that the Twins held payroll largely steady despite probably over $100M+ in lost revenue last year, and continued lost revenue this year is commendable.  I said it before, and I'll say it again--if you want to follow a team that has no payroll limitations, the Twins are not the team for you.

    Nobody is saying anyone is saying the last rotation spot should be a Game 3 starter.  I'm not sure where that straw man came from.  The Twins spent $10M for 2 starters--they didn't really have the ability to spend any more, and so they had to take bets on arms with some downside.  Anyone else they could have signed for the same numbers also had downside.  It just so happens the two guys they picked realized their downside--that's going to happen from time to time.  FYI, there's no guarantee Hill/Ray/Kluber don't fall off a cliff soon.  In fact, since I last posted, Ray had a start where he gave up 8 runners to Baltimore in 4.1 innings, and 2 earned runs.  I also should have mentioned that Kluber is on the IL, and has been since late May.  The Twins were never going to get two great options for $10M--they were going to get a couple of guys they hoped could eat some innings .

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    2 hours ago, Cap'n Piranha said:

    Bro, it's not a swing, it's part of the whole picture.  Expected performance and financial constraints are connected; if I asked you to pick which team would have a better record, but the only details I gave you about the teams was that one had a payroll of $100M, and the other had a payroll of $200M, which would you bet on?  You can't just stick your fingers in your ears and pretend finances didn't play a role in the signing of Happ and Shoemaker.  The Twins did not have the ability to spend better without spending more--in this case, those are the same thing.  Are some of the other potential veteran starters performing better right now?  Sure.  Would it have been obvious in January/February those other options were superior to Happ/Shoemaker?  No.

    Every person/entity is always up against a self imposed cap.  I'm not sure why people expect the Pohlads to not profit off their ownership of the team, much less incur losses.  I think the fact that the Twins held payroll largely steady despite probably over $100M+ in lost revenue last year, and continued lost revenue this year is commendable.  I said it before, and I'll say it again--if you want to follow a team that has no payroll limitations, the Twins are not the team for you.

    Nobody is saying anyone is saying the last rotation spot should be a Game 3 starter.  I'm not sure where that straw man came from.  The Twins spent $10M for 2 starters--they didn't really have the ability to spend any more, and so they had to take bets on arms with some downside.  Anyone else they could have signed for the same numbers also had downside.  It just so happens the two guys they picked realized their downside--that's going to happen from time to time.  FYI, there's no guarantee Hill/Ray/Kluber don't fall off a cliff soon.  In fact, since I last posted, Ray had a start where he gave up 8 runners to Baltimore in 4.1 innings, and 2 earned runs.  I also should have mentioned that Kluber is on the IL, and has been since late May.  The Twins were never going to get two great options for $10M--they were going to get a couple of guys they hoped could eat some innings .

    Payroll certainly is part of the whole picture, but arguing that the signings were sound based on expected performance and then that they were sound based on financial constraint isn't the same. We'll just disagree about whether the Twins had the ability to spend better than this FA group. 

    I don't know why you're trying so hard to force the payroll argument. We both agree this team operates under a self imposed cap. I never once argued they should've been spending X amount more last offseason. We've already covered the fact that there were much better signings within the Twins budget. The criticism is over who they chose to pay, and what roles those guys were expected to fill. 

    You literally brought it up in your last post as a way to lump all the viable FA pitching options into the same group. Of course we both know that isn't the expectation, my point was that it's disingenuous to set an unreasonably high bar in an effort to level the field. If every single one of those guys falls off a cliff at this exact moment that's still 2-3 months of production; that'd be huge and we likely wouldn't be talking about selling in June. 

    Be honest, do you really believe that a team expected to compete in the playoffs should have 2/5 of their rotation be "guys they hoped could eat some innings?" That's sound decision making? 

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