Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

Leaderboard

  1. John Bonnes

    John Bonnes

    Owner


    • Points

      33

    • Posts

      6,041


  2. Seth Stohs

    Seth Stohs

    Owner


    • Points

      19

    • Posts

      23,154


  3. RandBalls Stu

    RandBalls Stu

    Twins Daily Contributor


    • Points

      16

    • Posts

      303


  4. Cody Pirkl

    Cody Pirkl

    Twins Daily Contributor


    • Points

      16

    • Posts

      518


Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 11/28/2021 in Articles

  1. Since Buxton first joined the team in 2015, he’s only had one year with 500 plate appearances, and indeed only one with over 331. His injuries have ranged from seemingly self-inflicted problems due to his aggressive defense in center field, to worrisome nagging injuries like hip strains and foot injuries, to flukey injuries like a broken finger from being hit by a pitch. On the other hand, he’s been absolutely elite defensively throughout his time with the Twins, and recently his offense has reached a similar level. This year he hit .306 with 19 home runs in just 61 games, a pace that makes him a 50-home run threat over a full season. He’s also only 27 years old, entering the peak period of many players' careers. He is due to be a free agent next offseason, compelling the Twins to either sign him to an extension or trade him this offseason, lest they risk having him leave next year for nothing more than a compensatory draft pick. That urgency is further heightened by the threat of an impending work stoppage starting as soon as Wednesday night. If an extension or trade iss not made by then, there is a chance any such move would be delayed until some unknown point in a potentially compressed offseason, or thwarted altogether. A deal would likely represent the biggest deal the Twins have made since they signed Joe Mauer to a contract extension in 2010 for $184 million dollars. That deal was also for a rare talent who contributed defensively, was at the peak of his ability, and on the verge of free agency. The deal with Mauer aged poorly, as leg problems and concussions limited his ability to stay at catcher and stay in the lineup. With Buxton having more health questions, the reality is it makes him more affordable; it’s unlikely the Twins could complete a deal without the built-in discount his health history affords them. The Mauer deal also took place as the Twins were completing a run of division-winning seasons and trying to lengthen their competitive window. Twins’ management’s next to-do for this offseason is to find some starting pitchers whom Buxton’s Gold Glove can assist with his range in center field. While the size of Buxton’s deal is likely significant, the Twins entered the offseason with as much as $50M or so to spend on free agents. A deal with Buxton is likely to maintain that capability. Indeed, Ken Rosenthal has just published contract details: The extension guarantees $15M per year (except this year, when he still would've been under arbitration) plus very large bonuses for MVP bonuses and a series of $500K bonuses if he stays healthy for over 500 plate appearances. It is a very creative contract. I can't think of any that has had a bonus structure remotely similar to it. The deal essentially rewards Buxton extra money for staying healthy for a full season, handsomely for MVP-caliber production, but still guarantees him base salary commensurate to a top center fielder. If the Twins had traded Buxton instead, it would be hard for them to pretend that they could expect to be competitive in 2022. They would have lost their best offensive and defensive player, while also trying to replace 60% of their starting rotation. Retaining Buxton keeps the option of competing in 2022 alive. It should also make him one of the core pieces of the next competitive Twins team. Further pieces will still need to be assembled, but the deal represents a serious effort by the Twins to compete by locking up high-end home-grown talent for a long time. We'll add details as they emerge. In the meantime, give us your initial thoughts below.
    26 points
  2. The owners of Major League Baseball locked out the players just after midnight on Thursday morning, ensuring baseball’s first work stoppage in over a quarter century. And Shad Browne knows who to blame. “These players are greedy and entitled, I’m sick of ‘em,” said the Fairmont landscaper. “They get paid money to play a game and sometimes you’ve gotta take a stand.” The owners, wealthier than the players by a monstrous degree and living lives of unimaginable luxury, do not receive the same level of disdain from Browne. “Lotta these owners are entrepreneurs who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps to make their money,” said Browne incorrectly. “Meanwhile, the modern player just takes a day off when they feel like it. The way I see it, you don’t play, you don’t get paid.” Browne, who took PTO last Monday because the Vikings lost and he was “super hungover,” said he sees a lot of himself in owners, despite this being remarkably untrue. “They’re just trying to run a business same as anyone else,” he said with the steady resolve that only the deeply ignorant possess. “I guess I’d just like to see a little more gratitude and a little less attitude from the millennial generation.” Browne, who used the word “meritocracy” in reference to a country where you don’t have to work a day in your life if your great-granddad sold mustard gas to Kaiser Wilhelm, dismissed the notion that the owners should take some of the blame for instigating the lockout they instigated. “At the end of the day, they’ve got a business to run,” said Browne, for whom the concept of generational wealth has never so much as registered for one second of one day. “If the players can’t handle that, they can get a job just like anyone else. “It’s just not right,” said the cornfed rube.
    15 points
  3. To the Commissioner: I first want to ask you why you don’t support the great game of baseball. In this past season, some of the greatest moments in the history of the sport took place. However, there continues to be a long list of issues tied to your time as commissioner. Fans understand that not all commissioners will be loved, but your actions have impacted a generation of fans, and it may be tough to bring these former fans back into the fold. Fans list of grievances against the owners and yourself is long. During the unprecedented 2020 season, the owners and your office tried to paint the players as greedy and unwilling to sacrifice enough during a global pandemic. Baseball was lucky to get through the 2020 campaign, but plenty of teams and players were impacted along the way. As reported in the Washington Post, “The minute it became apparent this season was going to have to be played in empty stadiums, Manfred and the owners began moaning about their losses, even though the game has never been healthier financially than in recent seasons. New contracts with regional television networks have lined the owners’ pockets, and attendance has been strong.” Another grievance fans have against your leadership is tied to the Houston Astros cheating scandal. Multiple managers and a general manager were fired in response to the allegations, but how much did they have to do with the scandal? None of the players involved in the scandal were suspended, and two of the three managers were back in baseball after missing a shortened 2020 campaign. In your letter to fans, you touted the $1.7 million spent on the “broken” free agent system during November. Guess what? Players were willing to strike these deals because of the looming lockout. It’s a fundamental human need to want to know where your family will live and how much income a person can expect. Players want security and to know what the future holds. Also, you said, “By the end of the offseason, Clubs will have committed more money to players than in any offseason in MLB history.” While that may sound good on paper, this shouldn’t be breaking news. Increasing revenues across baseball should allow teams to spend more money. Every offseason should see a new record amount of money being committed to players. Your list of concessions to the players includes some ideas that will fundamentally make the game stronger. There should be a minimum payroll. Teams shouldn’t be able to engage in service time manipulation. Young players should be paid more, including those in the minor leagues. Fans want a universal DH. A new draft system can help to stop teams from trying to be competitive. All of these changes would make baseball more competitive, not less. There is one thing we can agree on; baseball can not afford to cancel games. Baseball’s popularity continues to decline, and losing any part of the 2022 season will push fans further away from this great game. As you referenced regarding the 1994 season, “We owe you, our fans, better than that.” Today is a difficult day for baseball fans. You have made questionable leadership decisions throughout your time as commissioner. What is baseball fans’ biggest problem with you? You don’t appear to be a fan of the game.
    9 points
  4. Cody Pirkl

    The Twins NEED a Shortstop

    This winter is likely the greatest in terms of free agent shortstops in the history of baseball. Corey Seager, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa etc. A perfect scenario for the Minnesota Twins who have an opening at the position and a farm system whose two most obvious candidates to grab that role are questionable at best. It’s unclear whether the Twins were ever open to blocking Royce Lewis and Austin Martin with a long term signing of a star free agent, but it appears the market has likely priced them out of it regardless. The Twins just simply were never going to pay this kind of money for any player of any caliber. It is what it is. It’s more likely that their plan was to hope that one of the stud shortstops waited out the market too long and were open to a shorter deal as we neared Spring Training. Something very unlikely when discussing such high profile players. As we enter the lockout and take the temperature of the market, things are continuing to look more and more bleak in terms of adding a shortstop. There are low end names such as a reunion with Andrelton Simmons, bringing in the recently DFAed Jose Iglesias, or checking in on the solid but unspectacular Freddy Galvis if his rumors of signing overseas aren’t true. Think these options are gross? All of them should be preferred to the alternative. It’s certainly a possibility that the Twins refuse to pay up for the studs and don’t see the point in bringing in another Andrelton Simmons type. After all, Jorge Polanco is coming off a year where he was the Twins best all-around player, and technically he could move right back over to being the quarterback of the infield. They could even move Luis Arraez back to second base. At face value this sounds just fine. I’d argue, however, that it would be an absolute disaster. Much of Jorge Polanco’s value in 2021 came from finally being healthy. Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but there were talks attributing his improved health to not having as much wear and tear on his recurring ankle injury at second base. He also was much more valuable due to his ability to effectively play his new position. He posted -1 Outs Above Average at second base and flashed some gold glove caliber plays as he adjusted. He was much improved from his last full season (2019) at shortstop when he posted -22 Outs Above Average. Luis Arraez is also a significantly worse second baseman than Polanco, meaning a significant defensive downgrade at both positions. The Twins quite simply did not make many good decisions in 2021. Moving Polanco to second was probably their best. He reestablished himself as a core piece of the team and appeared to overcome his health issues with a move to a less demanding position. Moving Arraez into a utility role also turned him into a much more valuable player than if he were pitted at a position that he struggles at defensively. If the Twins decide that they don’t want to pay for a top-tier shortstop, that’s fine. If they decide the bottom tier isn’t impactful enough to spend on, that’s fine as well. They can’t do both. Walking back two of the better developments the team made in 2021 could carry consequences far beyond 2022. At this point in regards to Jorge Polanco, the Twins found something that works for both him and the team. He’s reemerged as a star player who’s under team control and can be a force for years to come at only 28 years old. He would immediately lose value by becoming one of the worst defensive shortstops in baseball. He could lose a lot more than that if he moves back to a more physically-demanding position and reinjures his ankle which has been surgically repaired twice. Not worth saving a few bucks in my opinion. The Twins had few bright spots in 2021. They should be taking their shortstop search incredibly seriously to avoid wiping away one of those bright spots in 2022. The Twins don’t need a second baseman moving across the second base bag. They need a shortstop. MORE TWINS CONTENT — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
    8 points
  5. Cody Pirkl

    One Team's Trash...

    For a pitching needy team like the Twins, the non tender deadline is like Christmas. Position players do get cut loose, but they’re oftentimes much less interesting than the arms that find themselves looking for teams for a multitude of reasons. There are three arms in particular that could go a long way in helping fill a needy pitching staff. LH SP Matthew Boyd Boyd was once a highly-coveted arm that would have brought in a king's ransom. On Tuesday, the Tigers officially decided to ship him out. One can only assume they’d like a do-over as they’ve now let him go for free. Boyd’s home run issues have simply become too much to overcome these last few years, and he’s now recovering from surgery on his forearm. The projected $7.3m turned out to be enough for the Tigers to finally cut bait. 2021 was a resurgent year for Boyd when he was on the field. He posted a 3.89 ERA in 78 innings. His breaking ball and changeup combo was impressive and more than enough to overcome a flawed fastball that has been crushed in his career. He may not be an arm the Twins can lean on too heavily coming off injury, but with so many rotation openings there would be nothing wrong with taking a flier on a cheap arm with significant upside who just turned 30 years old. RH RP Richard Rodriguez This may have been the most surprising non-tender of the day as Rodriguez was only projected to make $3.1m. He would have cost a heavy prospect package as recently as last offseason, but the Pirates held onto him, eventually dealing him to Atlanta for significantly less down the line. His 2.94 ERA was not indicative of his performance under the hood, as his strikeouts completely dried up, dropping from 36.6% in 2020 to an absurd 16.7% in 2021. It’s hard to fathom such a drop off in a pitcher with such incredible raw stuff. The Twins should be heavy on Rodriguez who gutted his way through a successful 2021 in terms of final outcomes and has a history of closing out games. Any return to form on the strikeout rate would give them a tremendous force on the back end of games in a bullpen that let so many opportunities slip away in the last year. RH SP Chad Kuhl The moment we’ve all been waiting for. I actually proposed a package deal last winter for both Richard Rodriguez and Kuhl, and here they are for free! (Well, not free, only dollars rather than prospects and dollars.) I may not be GM material, but I do know that the reason I liked Kuhl last winter is still very much relevant. He did not have a good season, still mostly starting games and posting an ERA north of 4.80. He still had a 33.5% whiff rate on his slider and a 44% whiff rate on a changeup that he should probably be throwing more often. The ship has sailed on Chad Kuhl, the starting pitcher in my mind. Maybe Wes Johnson has other ideas. That being said, he has a five-pitch mix that could easily be trimmed down to two or three with a move to the bullpen. His 94 mph fastball should play up in shorter stints, and he has at least one devastating pitch in the slider, as well as a changeup to mix in. At the very least, Kuhl could be a multi-inning reliever with his pitch mix and still shows signs of being able to figure out how to develop into much more. It's a low risk gamble to take on a pitcher that does a few things extremely well and was cut loose over a projected $2.2m. While these three stand out as obvious options, there is no shortage of players looking for new teams following tonight's deadline. See the full list of non-tendered players who are now free agents below: Diamondbacks: Taylor Clark-RHRP Braves: Johan Camargo-UTIL, Richard Rodriguez, RHRP Red Sox: Tim Locastro-CF Tigers: Matt Boyd-LHSP Angels: Phil Gosselin-2B Brewers: Dan Vogelbach-1B Twins: Danny Coulombe-LHRP, Juan Minaya-RHRP, Trevor Megill-RHRP Marlins: Lewis Brinson-CF (DFAed) Mets: Robert Gsellman-RHRP Pirates: Chad Kuhl-RHP Padres: Jose Castillo-LHRP, Matt Strahm-LHRP, Trey Wingenter-RHRP Nationals: Ryne Harper-RHRP, Wander Suero-LHRP Are there any other non-tendered players you’d like to see the Twins take a flier on? Let us know below! FOR MORE TWINS COVERAGE... — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
    8 points
  6. In 2011, Dylan Bundy was the fourth overall draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles from Owasso High School in Oklahoma. Because of his draft status, he immediately became one of the top prospects in baseball. He signed a five-year MLB contract starting in 2012, and received a $4 million signing bonus. He made two late-inning appearances for the Orioles in 2012 and worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings over two games. Unfortunately, at that point injuries derailed his career. He did not return to the big leagues until 2016 when he posted a 4.02 ERA over 109 2/3 innings in 36 games. That season, he split time between the bullpen and rotation. Since 2017, he has been used exclusively as a starter. Now 29, Bundy went 2-9 with a 6.06 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP in 19 starts. In 90 2/3 innings for the Angels, he walked 34 and struck out 84 batters. He ended the season on the 60-Day Injured List with a shoulder injury. It was a tough season following a 2020 season in which he finished ninth in AL Cy Young voting. He went 6-3 with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP over 11 starts and 65 2/3 innings. He also struck out 72 batters and walked just 17. He was in a lot of rumors at that season's trade deadline. The Twins certainly are hoping that he returns to that form. Bundy will make $4 million in 2022. The Twins will also have the option of bringing him back in 2023 for $11 million or buying out that option for $1 million. When he was drafted, he was known for his 100 mph fastball. In 2021, his average fastball velocity was 90.8 mph. Of course, in his successful 2020 season, his fastball velocity was 90.2. Bundy also throws a slider about 21% of the time, and it comes in the low 80s. He also throws a slower curve in the mid-70s and a changeup in the low-80s. As a four-pitch pitcher, he remains intriguing. In 2021, he threw each of his pitches at least 13.8% of the time. It will be interesting to see what Wes Johnson and Pete Maki saw in Bundy that they might be able to tinker with to try to bring out his best performance. Bundy slots into the Twins starting rotation with Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan. Others currently in line for a possible rotation spot include Randy Dobnak, Griffin Jax, Lewis Thorpe and prospects such Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran and Josh Winder.
    7 points
  7. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman also listed the Tigers, San Francisco Giants, Rangers and Angels as suitors for Ray’s services, and previously the Red Sox and Blue Jays had been mentioned. However, it’s worth noting that several of these teams have already signed free agent pitchers this offseason, perhaps limiting their interest. For instance, the Blue Jays reportedly now have an agreement with another of the other four premier pitchers on this list, Kevin Gausman. On the other hand, who wouldn’t want to add Ray? Last year he posted a 2.84 ERA over 193.1 innings, striking out 11.5 per nine innings. Most importantly, the 30-year-old’s career struggles with his control completely disappeared: he walked only 2.4 batters per nine innings, after averaging 5.1 per nine from 2018-2020. If the Twins want to play, they’ll need to pay. MLBTradeRumors predicted Ray would receive a $130M contract, 5-year deal on the open market. Given some of the other contracts we’re seeing, that estimate may be a little high, but any deal would certainly exceed $100M. What’s more, they’ll also likely need to move fast. The two premier pitchers who are at least very close to greements - Gausman and Max Scherzer - have done so in in the last 24 hours as teams and players scramble to get something done before MLB's Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on Wednesday. It is widely anticipate that event will lead to a work stoppage, effectively killing the offseason market for both sides. That urgency is further heightened by concerns that normally mundane details, like getting physicals done, will need to be completed by then for contracts to be valid. The Twins entered the offseason with at least three spots in their starting rotation to fill, and as of yet have not signed any free agents. They did, however, reach an agreement yesterday with star center fielder Byron Buxton on a 7-year extension. But starting pitching remains the team’s biggest need, and the available arms are dwindling fast. Even beyond the top four arms, other highly attractive targets like Noah Syndegaard, Justin Verlander, Eduardo Rodriguez, Anthony Desclafini and many others have signed within the last two weeks.
    7 points
  8. The Twins have already made several transactions that have altered their list of arbitration-eligible players. Early in November, the Twins decided to put right-handed pitcher John Gant on waivers. When he cleared, he elected to become a free agent. Gant came to the Twins at the July trade deadline as part of the J.A. Happ trade. He was set to make approximately $3.7 million in his final season of arbitration. Outfielder Rob Refsnyder played like a Legend for a while after the Twins called him up, even playing a lot of center field. However, after a couple of injuries, including a concussion, he wasn’t able to repeat that performance. The minor league veteran was projected to make about $800,000, but the Twins DFAd him this month too. It became a talker, but the Twins signed outfielder Jake Cave to a one-year, $800,000 deal for 2022. Like all arbitration deals, it isn’t completely guaranteed. Finally, just last week, the Twins DFAd the fan-favorite, Williams Astudillo. Set to make a projected 2022 salary around $1.2 million in his first arbitration season. Since he hasn’t hit since his debut season in 2018 and has little defensive value, it was an easy decision to remove him from the roster and after he cleared waivers, they simply released him. And then the Twins claimed right-handed pitcher Jharel Cotton from the Texas Rangers in early November. Let’s take a look at him and the other arbitration-eligible Twins players that the Twins have a decision to make before Tuesday’s deadline. (in alphabetical order, note: age on April 1, 2022) LUIS ARRAEZ - UT (24) Service Time: 2 years, 121 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Why Tender? Though Arraez struggled late in 2021 and ended out with a batting average below .300 for the first time in his professional career. He can play in left field and second base, and actually had a solid season playing third base in 2021. On the other side of his case, he had several IL trips again due to his knees and legs. Likelihood to be Tendered: 10 Summary: Just over the weekend, we learned that MLB had set the “Super 2” line at 2.116 (two years, 116 days) service time. Fortunately, the Twins' brass doesn't need to spend much time thinking about whether or not to tender a 2022 contract to Arraez. It's a given. What is his future with the organization? Could he be traded? If not, what position will he play, or will he continue to play all around the diamond? All to be figured out... after that contract is tendered on Tuesday. BYRON BUXTON - CF (28) Service Time: 5 years, 160 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $7.3 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $8 million Why Tender? Because he’s Byron Buxton. Because his 2022 salary will be minimal relative to the value he will and has provided. Because they can then continue negotiating a potential long-term deal. Because even if they don’t reach a deal, he can easily be traded for a very nice return. Likelihood to be Tendered (1 unlikely to 10 very likely): 10. Easy choice. Summary: This one will require very little thought. What happens beyond tendering hims a 2022 contract has been the topic of debate for the past six months. JHAREL COTTON - RHP (30) Service Time: 3 years, 52 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: N/A Why Tender? Because he showed some good stuff out of the Rangers bullpen in his return to the big leagues following Tommy John surgery. Because of what he had shown as a starter in Oakland early in his career. Because he’s got a good fastball, but a great changeup. Likelihood to be Tendered: 5 Summary: There are reasons to believe that Cotton could be a solid middle-relief pitcher option, and who knows, maybe the Twins think that he could be healthy enough to get back to starting and be an option for a back of the Twins rotation too. However, the Twins may also ask for Cotton to agree to a 1 year, $900,000 or $1 million deal, and if he accepts, great. If not, non-tendered and he becomes a free agent. DANNY COULOMBE - LHP (32) Service Time: 3 years, 8 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $800,000 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million Why Tender? Coulombe isn’t an exciting pitcher, but he’s long been a solid MLB left-handed reliever, and he pitched well for the Twins in the second half. Had quite a bit of MLB success before injury including being used very often for Oakland for a couple of seasons. He is very similar to Caleb Thielbar, so again, is it necessary to have another lefty in a ‘pen that already should include Thielbar and Taylor Rogers, with Jovani Moran in the near-ready position as well? Likelihood to Tender: 6 Summary: Coulombe has been better than most Twins fans probably think. He’s just solid with limited upside. For $800,000, little reason not to tender him. That said, they may do what they did with Thielbar a year ago and lock him up to a deal below projection. TYLER DUFFEY - RHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 74 days Arbitration Year: 3rd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million Why Tender? Duffey’s velocity may have been down a little bit in 2021, but he still put up solid numbers. He ranked right up there with the top relievers in baseball over the past three seasons. Hasn’t received many Save opportunities, which certainly keeps his arbitration salary down, but he’s been used in high-leverage situations. Can they reach an agreement on a one-year deal before an arbitration hearing? Could they look to lock up Duffey for two or three seasons? (maybe a two-year, $7 million deal, or even a three-year, $12 million deal). Likelihood to Tender: 9 Summary: Another easy decision because even if things go poorly, he should have some trade value so non-tendering makes no sense. With so many question marks in the Twins bullpen, losing Duffey would make things even more difficult. MITCH GARVER - C (31) Service Time: 4 years, 45 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million Why Tender? Remember his 2019 season? Well, after a poor April, Garver returned to that high-level, 2019 form for much of the rest of the season. The lone concern is an injury history that really hurt him in 2020, but also a couple of times during the 2021 season. Garver’s name shows up in some trade rumors this offseason, and teams would likely line up if the Twins made it known he was available. Likelihood to Tender: 10 Summary; An easy decision to tender him a contract. Likely a much more intense conversation has likely occurred regarding the future of the Twins catcher position. While the idea of a Garver/Ryan Jeffers even split of playing time makes a ton of sense in theory, would it work in reality? Or, could the fact that they have both of them, along with Ben Rortvedt in Triple-A and clearly the best defensive catcher of the three, maybe one could be dealt in the offseason for some pitching. None of that alters how easy the decision will be to tender Garver. JUAN MINAYA - RHP (31) Service Time: 2 years, 140 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million Why Tender? Minaya came up to the Twins in the season’s second half and really performed well. He showed good life on his pitches and was put into some big situations. The interesting thing is that he pitched much better for the Twins than he did in his time with the Saints. He had some good years with the White Sox. He has had some control issues in his career, but he’s also very capable of racking up strikeouts. Likelihood to Tender: 6 Summary: Minaya was certainly a nice surprise for the Twins in the second half of the season, but was that enough to tender a seven-digit deal? Like Cotton and Coulombe, it might be another case where the Twins offer him $900,000 to $1 million for 2022, and if he takes it, great. If not, he can be non-tendered. TAYLOR ROGERS - LHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 145 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $6.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $7 million Why Tender? I think we would start with the fact that he has been one of the best relievers in baseball over the past four or five seasons. Aside from some struggles in the shortened-2020 season, he’s been very good. He also has been very healthy until his late-July finder injury that cost him the final two months of the 2022 season. The lone question regarding Rogers will be how he recovers and returns from the finger injury since he did not have surgery. Likelihood to Tender: 9 Summary: Another easy choice. Reports indicated that teams were still interested in trading for Rogers, even after he got hurt. They certainly can trade him in the offseason or in July should they choose to do so. I personally think there should also be extension thoughts with Rogers. He’s become a leader on the team, and has earned it based on production. Of course, Aaron Loup getting two years and $17 million might tell us that Rogers should get quite a bit more than that. However, I would offer him a three-year, $24 million deal with an option at $9 million for a fourth year. CALEB THIELBAR - LHP (35) Service Time: 3 years, 131 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Why Tender? By the end of the 2021 season, the Minnesota native was Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson’s most relied upon, if not reliable, bullpen arm. He really increased his ability to miss bats. His fastball sat between 91 and 95 mph, and that slow, 68 mph curveball is a good pitch to go with a strong slider. Likelihood to Tender: 8 Summary: Another easy choice. Just offer it to him, work on a good deal and call it good. Because of his age and that he’s got a few more seasons before free agency, there is no reason to do anything but go year-to-year with him. How long will the Twins be able to keep Thielbar away from a college coaching career? Your turn. If you’re in charge, would you tender contracts to all of these players? What kind of deals would you like to see? Discuss.
    7 points
  9. Whenever a team signs a star in their prime, the pressure automatically mounts. Not just the stress of success, but the heat on how the team will build around that star. Will the Angels ever give Mike Trout enough pitching to win? Can the Phillies build enough strength around Bryce Harper? There’s a constant clock tick, tick, ticking. Trout, 30, has nine years remaining on his deal. How many more years can the Angels expect healthy, MVP-level production? Harper, 29, just won MVP for a Philadelphia team that missed the playoffs once again. $300+ million contracts considerably impact spending, even for teams like the Phillies, Angels, and Yankees. For one, that’s a lot of money on the books for a long time. Additionally, teams must supplement the stars they sign with other All-Star level players. For the Twins, a club that just handed out the second-largest contract in team history, the situation is the same. On a per-game basis, Byron Buxton is in the same tier as his $300 million counterparts. The only thing keeping him from that status is his injury history. Now that Minnesota decided Buxton is the building block, the front office must work to avoid wasting his prime. Buxton, 27, will never combine his elite speed and power more than now. In other words, this is likely the best version of Buxton we’ll ever see. Consider this scenario. The Twins continue to sit around in free agency and on the trade market and fail to muster enough pitching to compete in 2022. Let’s say, on top of that, Buxton plays 140 games and wins MVP. This situation is plausible. While Buxton is one of the most impactful players in MLB, he is only one player. See Harper, Bryce and Trout, Mike. By signing this deal, Buxton commits to a team coming off a last-place finish with an unknown road ahead. If he’s healthy, a gamble the Twins have already decided to make; they have to make it matter. Here’s how they can: 1. SIGN CARLOS RODÓN Rumored to be involved in his sweepstakes, the Twins have an opportunity to add an ace for a cheaper-than-usual price tag. Rodón’s injury history is enough to scare off even the riskiest of teams. He barely got through the 2021 season with dwindling velocity and more arm problems. The healthy version of Rodón was the best pitcher in the league, posting a 2.37 ERA and 35% strikeout rate in 132 2/3 innings. He’s the exact type of gamble a team like the Twins should make. 2. TRADE FOR CHRIS BASSITT Bassitt has the American League’s lowest ERA over the last two seasons (min. 200 innings) and is reportedly available. He works with a deep repertoire of pitches with clear room for improvement. He’d immediately join Rodón as a duo rivaling Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito as the best in the division. 3. RE-SIGN MICHAEL PINEDA Pineda had some hiccups over his three years with the Twins, but he was rock-solid and often gave them a chance to win. Pineda’s 3.80 ERA since 2019 is enough to run back for more. A top three of Rodón, Bassitt, and Pineda would enter the season as one of the best the Twins have ever had. (at least since the season they had Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda atop their rotation) What do you think? Does the Byron Buxton extension put more pressure on 2022? Do you like these moves? Comment below! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    6 points
  10. Right before the Vikings game on Sunday, Ken Rosenthal announced that the Twins and Byron Buxton were finalizing an extension. Minutes later, he tweeted that the deal was for seven years and $100 million. This is huge news for Twins fans everywhere as Buxton is an electrifying player with MVP talent. As you all know, Buxton’s main downfall is concerns about his health. Since 2018, Buxton has only played in 48% of Twins games. It is hard to justify giving a lot of money to someone who has not been on the field for half of the games. However, when Buxton is on the field, the Twins are a completely different team. Since the beginning of 2019, the Twins have played at a 98 win pace when Buxton is on the field and an 81 win pace when he is not. When a player has an impact this profound on the success of his team, you want to keep him around with hopes that he can stay healthy. Over a month ago, I wrote an article about what a potential Buxton extension would look like. I predicted it to be 7 years for $133 million, so signing him for $100 million is a steal for us. If Buxton performs like an MVP for his contract, he could make much more. Below are the full details of his contract. Included in the contract is a full no-trade clause. This means that if the Twins want to trade Buxton during his contract, he would have to agree to it. This was reportedly the final piece of the deal to be completed. This no-trade clause shows me that Buxton really loves Minnesota and wants to be here for his whole career. Buxton could have held off and waited until free agency in 2022 and probably got more money from a different team, but given his injury issues he wanted guaranteed money and he got it. In 2021, Buxton was worth over 4 wins above replacement in only 61 games. If he would’ve kept that pace up for even 120 games, he would have led all of Major League Baseball in WAR. Buxton is a generational talent that excels in every phase of the game. Now that the Twins have extended their superstar, look for them to be aggressive in free agency. After including Buxton’s $9 million in the 2022 payroll, the Twins are up to $77 million in payroll. They now have roughly $50 million to spend on 3 starting pitchers, a shortstop, and a reliever or two. I look for them to sign a middle to top-tier starting pitcher (Stroman, Rodon, Ray) and two more mid-tier pitchers, like Jon Gray, Yusei Kikuchi, or Michael Pineda. This will probably cost us about $40 million, so we will have to sign a stop-gap shortstop like Jonathan Villar or Freddy Galvis until Royce Lewis or Austin Martin is ready to take the reins. Byron Buxton is the most exciting player I have ever seen play for the Twins, and I am looking forward to seven more years of this. Thank you for reading, and Go Twins!
    5 points
  11. Dustin Morse tweeted that the Twins have claimed 27-year-old right-handed pitcher Trevor Megill off of waivers from the Cubs. To make room on the 40-man roster, outfielder Jake Cave was outrighted to St. Paul. Megill turns 28 next week. In 2021, he pitched in 28 games for the Cubs. He went 1-2 with an 8.37 ERA in 23 2/3 innings. He walked eight and struck out 30 batters. Megill stands 6-8 and 250 pounds. He was originally drafted by the Padres in the seventh-round of the 2015 draft out of Loyola Marymount. A year earlier, the Padres drafted him in the third round but he didn't sign. He was the Cubs Rule 5 pick in December of 2019. He didn't pitch at all in 2020. Megill is blessed with a 96.4 mph average fastball. He also throws a slider in the mid-80s and a curveball in the low-80s. His two breaking balls were each thrown about 16-18% of the time. It wouldn't be surprising if Wes Johnson worked with him and got him to eliminate one of the breaking balls and use the other a lot. The other half of the transaction should relieve some Twins fans angst. Last week, the Twins signed Cave to a non-guaranteed contract. Today, he was removed from the 40-man roster, went unclaimed and was outrighted to St. Paul. According to Darren Wolfson, he had a split contract in which he would make $800,000 in the big leagues and $300,000 at Triple-A. Over his first two seasons with the Twins (2018-19), he played in 163 games and hit .262/.329/.466 (.795) with 27 doubles, four triples, 21 homers and 70 RBI. Unfortunately over the past two seasons, he has played in 118 games and hit .202/.263/.332 (.595) with nine doubles, three triples and seven home runs. UPDATE - Trevor Megill was non-tendered by the Twins on Tuesday night. However, according to Kiley McDaniel, there is a once-a-year loophole that makes it make a little bit more sense. Feel free to share your thoughts on Megill or Cave.
    4 points
  12. The Twins signed Dylan Bundy to a 1-year, $5 million deal on Wednesday night, with a $1 million buyout on an $11 million club option for 2023. The move came just hours before the MLB owners unanimously enforced a lockout of the players. The signing of Bundy shouldn’t alter the fact that the Twins front office receives a ‘doing the bare minimum’ grade in improving the starting rotation thus far in free agency. Frustratingly, we’ll have to wait to see how the story plays out. In Bundy, however, the Twins have signed a solid upside arm they hope will have a Robbie Ray type impact season in 2023. What range of outcomes does Bundy offer? How might the Twins tweak his approach to maximize a high upside play? Let’s dig into the numbers. Conveniently, Bundy has shown his entire range of outcomes in his past two seasons with the Angels. Last season, he was rancid. In 90 2/3 innings he managed a 6.06 ERA (4.83 xERA), a 21.2% K%, and 0.0 fWAR. Woof. Conversely, in the shortened 2020 season over 65 2/3 innings, he managed a 3.29 ERA (3.02 xERA), 27% strikeout%, and 2.0 fWAR, that’s a 6.0 fWAR pace over a full season, phew! To put that all visually, here is 2020 and 2021 next to each other. In incredibly simple terms, a Bundy season splitting the difference of those two outcomes would generate approximately a 2.5 fWAR season which is nothing to be sneezed at and a solid start to what needs to be an extensive overhaul of a non-existent rotation for the Twins before the 2022 season kicks off. So what attracted the Twins to Bundy, and how might they try and tweak his approach next season? Here’s what attracted the Twins to Dylan Bundy. Bundy has a nasty slider. In 2020, he threw it 25% of the time. In 2021, he threw it just 21%. Expect that figure to skyrocket in 2022. It’s by far his best pitch and was worth over four runs in 2021. The Twins will have him throw it 30% of the time or more. It’s notable that Bundy’s slider location was one of the primary reasons he struggled in 2021. In 2020, the heat map has it right in the corner of the strike zone, as opposed to far more centrally located in 2021. Regaining command of that pitch will be critical to his success in 2022. Another reason the Twins were likely attracted to Bundy is his fastball. Long gone are the days when Bundy was a top prospect throwing his fastball in the high-90s. It does, however, have an extremely high spin rate, the Twins’ most obvious fastball-related tendency. Bundy’s formula with the Twins will be fastballs high in the zone a la Jake Odorizzi and a high volume of sliders down and away to right-handed hitters. In my opinion, there’s not much to dislike about the Bundy move. He’s a high upside play who can easily be a solid number three starting pitcher on a great contract. The nagging question which will gnaw at Twins fans throughout the lockout and make it difficult to focus on the positives of the Bundy signing in isolation, was tweeted by John Bonnes yesterday. ‘Do the Twins front office love good contracts more than good players?’ We'll have to wait and see.
    3 points
  13. Jake Faria was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 10th round of the 2011 draft and spent the first 40 games of his big league career — spread across the 2017-19 seasons — in St. Petersburg. The Rays shipped him to Milwaukee in exchange for Jesus Aguilar at the 2019 trade deadline, and he proceeded to post an 11.42 ERA for the Brewers in 8 2/3 innings. Milwaukee designated him for assignment in January 2020 and ultimately released him in mid-September after passing through waivers unclaimed. (Faria did not appear in an MLB game during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.) He signed with Arizona this past June and appeared in 23 games, including three starts, for the hapless Diamondbacks striking out 32 batters in 32 2/3 innings. Faria boasts a four-pitch mix — four-seamer, splitter, curveball, and slider — though he leans heavily on his fastball, which sits around 92 mph. However, while his fastball is nothing to write home about, his splitter is, inarguably, an above average offering. His splitter helped propel him to a promising rookie campaign in 2017 when he produced 1.3 fWAR, an 81 ERA-, and a 3.43 ERA in 16 total games (14 starts). However, his iffy tertiary and quaternary stuff (i.e. his slider and curveball) have tanked an otherwise promising start to his career. Faria has never produced anything near what he did during his age-23 season. However, bringing him in on a minor league deal represents a zero risk, decent reward opportunity for the Twins. In a best-case scenario, he is added to the 40-man roster and functions in a similar role to that of Devin Smeltzer from past seasons; a serviceable long inning relief arm who has the ability to step up into a spot-starter role on occasion. In a worst-case scenario, he sticks around at Triple-A and provides organizational pitching depth, something that is always in dire need. In many respects, the signing of Faria is emblematic of the Twins front office’s approach to finding bullpen arms. They often look for pitchers who can be signed for cheap (i.e. short-term or minor league deals) and possess at least one offering that displays some signs of being elite. Matt Wisler rose to prominence after a middling career due his high-end slider. The Twins will likely hope to accomplish the same feat by relying on Faria’s splitter. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here
    3 points
  14. As we’ve discussed for weeks, the basic premise is that all Major League Baseball functions relating to teams and players at the highest level have ceased. Ownership and Rob Manfred are an entity, while the players and their union are the other. Everything else hangs in the balance. Despite the free-agent frenzy we’ve had the past week, or so, team sites are desolate wastelands giving nods only to Manfred's statement and players of yesteryear. Rosters are all but wiped out, and it’s as if the players do not exist (unless, of course, MLB can profit off of their likenesses through the official shop). There’s plenty of talking points to go over from the last week, and while free agency took most of the headlines, each of these subjects should be touched on. In no particular order, let’s get into it. The Ball Problem All year long, Major League Baseball was working through issues with the chief instrument in play during a game, the ball. First looking to rid the use of sticky substances and then going through in-game checks to verify compliance, new instructions had been introduced to the playing field. The only problem was that the league itself was playing unfairly. Thanks to research from astrophysicist Meredith Wills, a story broke regarding baseball using two different balls during the 2021 season. We had no-hitters popping off like crazy, and then all of a sudden, they were gone. In Bradford William Davis’ piece for Insider, he talks about the distrust the implications surrounding the ball have brought for players. MLB could be incentivized to create more offense in high-profile games. The league has many gambling partnerships, and changing the chief implement could also work to their benefit. With a lockout looming, cheating players out of a level of consistency when their entire earning power comes from statistical performance seems disingenuous at best. Everyone should be operating on a level playing field, but the league itself decided to tamper with the main component. CBA Adjustments In a piece filed to ESPN by Jesse Rogers, we are given a general idea of the negotiations regarding a new CBA center around. Major League Baseball has proposed expanded playoffs, going to 14 teams, which would benefit ownership with increased opportunities for revenue. The expanded playoffs would allow for division winners to pick their Wild Card opponents. With 14 teams making the Postseason, players are worried about a lack of competitive drive for organizations. Half of the league making the final tournament could depress a reason to spend in the offseason and further stifle wages for players. Another proposal from the league is to add a lottery system, giving each non-playoff organization a shot at the number one pick. The top three selections would become a part of this lottery with the hopes of removing a desire to tank and generate a beneficial draft standing. Evan Drellich’s piece at The Athletic talks about the issues creating the most discourse between the two sides. For the players, things are focused on the years it takes to reach free agency and revenue sharing implications. The owners are concerned about the luxury tax and raising the minimum salary thresholds. Proposals are often presented in a give-and-take scenario. The players will need to get creative regarding free agency and compensation as ownership has dug in on their stance regarding those topics. Understanding the Lockout With baseball currently shelved, there are some principles to understand as we move forward. The Athletic’s Evan Drellich put together an excellent primer earlier this week. By definition, a lockout is the work of ownership or the league. Those in charge have effectively told players, or their workers, that they are unwilling to work together unless the players accept their deal. On the flip side, a strike would be the players suggesting their services are no longer available until an agreement favors their position. Up until games are missed, a strike is not on the table. Because of the lockout, we will not see traditional offseason events take place. The Winter Meetings have been canceled, and that at least temporarily includes a postponement of the Rule 5 draft. Pitchers and catchers are set to report for Spring Training beginning on February 14, 2022. If we are still in this holding pattern come mid-to-late January, that’s when worry will start to feel real. This lockout is the first work stoppage in 26 years, going back to the 1994-95 strike. Lockouts, rather than strikes, are more capable of being overcome. To the average fan, anything missed in the offseason generally flies under the radar. Bud Selig needed Cal Ripken Jr.’s Iron Man streak and the Home Run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to save his sport last time. Rob Manfred would need something similar to draw fans’ interest back in should a strike commence, and it would be in the best interest of both parties to avoid that outcome. While locked out, the intention of collective bargaining must be to negotiate in good faith. This will be interesting as Major League Baseball is coming off a Covid-shortened season in which both sides put many of their concerns and qualms out in public. It was evident that there was a wide gap and plenty of distrust between the two parties during Spring 2020, and that was before the CBA had expired. What About the FA Frenzy As the lockout loomed, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA decided to move the non-tender deadline to November 30. With the December 1 deadline for a work stoppage effectively implemented, we saw free agents signing at a blistering pace. This is something baseball has often lagged behind the NBA and NFL. With free agency becoming an event this season, The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli wondered if a transaction deadline isn’t necessary. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told her, “When you have an ending, it forces decisions, like the trade deadline. Nothing ever gets done until that last week, and then it’s a flurry of deals the last two days because people know it’s game over, so they are forced to make a decision. I like that, it makes people just finally get in the game and pick a spot. Pick a lane to drive in. You are either in it or not in it, you are either in for a penny or a pound or whatever it is. I like that aspect of it.” Players have previously shot down the idea that a deadline would be a good thing as it would force them into decisions when time is the only thing on their side. One key difference between baseball and other sports is that MLB doesn’t have a salary cap. The piece highlighted agents and executives' stances, providing many different ways to think about a deadline. At its core, though, we are left with this parting thought, “It gets talked about a lot, but it’s never been something that seemingly has momentum,” (Ross) Atkins said. “So, what is the reason for that?” What’s On the Other Side? We’ve seen a busy couple of weeks with the lockout looming, but it could very well pale in comparison to what happens following the resumption of work. Travis Sawchik went back in time to look at what took place following the 1994 work stoppage. Although we’ve had a glut of free-agent signings in recent days, the reality is that there’s still so much yet to do. Arbitration figures must be exchanged, and hundreds of players are still looking for new homes in 2022. All of that must be completed, and we have no idea how long this lockout process will take. The calendar should be what we look to when trying to understand what’s to come. January is a crucial month, and where the divide lies then will likely determine future action for the sport. Spring Training games are the most reasonable to miss, and players would probably welcome that situation. Should business not commence until February, though, fans will likely experience one of the busiest months in history should the league look to start on time. Teams that have shopping yet to do, or transactions needing to be made, could be in for complete chaos with hopes of getting everything accomplished. As Twins fans, that’s potentially exciting with a payroll sitting at just $91 million and a roster yet to be filled out. We’re just getting started in this process, and so much more will be publicly available through the coming weeks and months. It will be challenging to determine what’s tactic and what has merit, but make no mistake that the league is set to use its platform as their megaphone. With MLB Network becoming an ownership talk show, MLB.com removing the workers, and teams disassociating from their talent, the players union will need to sway public perception with a much smaller outlet. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
    3 points
  15. “This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive,” Manfred opined in a letter to fans shortly after the lockout began. “It’s simply not a viable option.” Expounding further during a press conference on Thursday morning, Manfred stated, “Things like a shortened reserve period, a $100 million reduction in revenue sharing, and salary arbitration for the whole two-year class are bad for the sport, bad for the fans, and bad for competitive balance.” The three bargaining chips cited by Manfred are among the most coveted by the Players Association during negotiations, according to The Athletic’s Evan Drellich. (For those curious, ESPN's Jeff Passan outlined "the myriad issues being discussed" between the two sides in a recent column.) Despite his bold claims, the commissioner did not provide concrete evidence to back them up. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s difficult to envision how the Players Association’s proposals would negatively impact the sport, competitive balance, or the fans, in particular. American professional baseball and the fans of MLB would not be impacted directly — and perhaps only indirectly with interventions such as slightly increased ticket and souvenir prices, though the impact would likely be marginal — by a reduction in revenue sharing between the owners. (However, as Passan discusses, decreased revenue sharing would likely negatively impact the owners of small market teams more than those in large markets, but, it should be noted, they're still billionaires.) A change to the arbitration process and a reduction in time before players reach free agency would only end up with them making more money, more quickly while having an opportunity to change teams earlier in their careers, potentially opening up a wider path to regular playing time in the Major Leagues. In reality, the major changes the Players Association is seeking during negotiations would only negatively impact one entity, though it’s important to note that Manfred is technically an employee of said entity: the owners. As such, it shouldn’t be surprising that the commissioner framed the lockout in the way he ultimately did. However, doing so, particularly by saying that the players’ demands are bad for the fans, is misleading at best, insulting at worst, and nonsensical overall. The fans of MLB will only be harmed — and even that is a dramatic way to describe the theoretical effects of the stoppage — if the lockout extends into Spring Training and the regular season, reducing the amount of games to take in. Again, neither party is without fault for the current lockout, but Manfred’s framing of the bargaining chips getting played against the owners as a negative for the fan should not be taken with a grain of salt, but rather thrown away all together. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email — Read more from Lucas here
    2 points
  16. As we begin the dead period induced by the end of the current CBA, the rest of the AL Central continues to improve while the Twins stand pat. The Tigers and Javy Baez agreed on a six-year, $140 million contract Tuesday, frustratingly adding a premier shortstop to the division, in a position of need for the Twins. In spite of the understandable pessimism with which Twins fandom has greeted the beginning of free agency, the Byron Buxton extension still provides a spark of optimism for me. I simply cannot see a team extending an MVP-caliber center fielder and not continuing to build around him. Earlier this week, I looked at the Reds as an ideal trade candidate in the Twins search for playoff-caliber starting pitching. Today, we’ll turn our attention to the Oakland Athletics, who appear to be on the cusp of a rebuild after a disappointing 2021. The A's off-season got off to a disastrous start when manager Bob Melvin was coaxed to San Diego. Long-term stadium troubles and the exit of premier players like Mark Canha may make for a long winter in northern California. So who does Oakland have? Why should the Twins want them? And what might it take to acquire them? Chris Bassitt If the Twins want to contend for the AL Central in 2022, Bassitt should be their number one target from Oakland. Despite his season being derailed by a facial fracture sustained in August, Bassitt had a memorable season. He amassed career-highs in fWAR (3.3), K/9 (9.1), and managed a 3.34 FIP over just 157 innings. The primary downside to Bassitt is he’s a free agent in 2023, so the Twins would only be acquiring one year of Bassitt, which would make him a little cheaper than other options. Potential trade: Twins trade OF Trevor Larnach to Oakland for RHP Chris Bassitt Frankie Montas Montas really put it together last season with the A's. In 2021, he managed 4.1 fWAR, 9.96 K/9 and a 3.37 FIP while throwing a 97 mph heater and an exceptional slider. Montas is under contract until 2024, and at 28, has age on his side. Consequently, his price would be more expensive than other starting pitching options with two years of team control. Potential Trade: Twins trade INF Luis Arraez and INF Keoni Cavaco to Oakland for RHP Frankie Montas Sean Manaea Manaea comprises the left-handed prong of Oaklands top three starting pitchers, and similarly to Montas and Bassitt, had his best season to date in 2021 (which Nash Walker recently covered). Manaea managed 3.3 fWAR, 9.7 K/9 and a 3.66 FIP over 179 innings of work. Manaea also has some injury history and less explosive stuff than Montas or Bassitt, his fastball sitting at around 91 mph. Manaea is a free agent in 2023 and unless the asking price is cheaper than my trade proposal, I wouldn’t pursue him strongly if I were the Twins as there are too many orange flags. Potential trade: The Twins trade C Mitch Garver to Oakland for LHP Sean Manaea What would you offer in a trade with Oakland? Which of their starting pitchers appeals to you the most?
    2 points
  17. It finally happened. The Twins have signed Byron Buxton to a huge deal, $100 million deal over seven years and a bunch more incentives per Ken Rosenthal. Twins fans are very excited right now, but not every big contract pays off. While this is an excellent deal for the Twins and exciting for the fan base, it is more than fair to be concerned about the health of Buxton and how much time he can stay on the field. Buxton has only appeared in over 100 games once in his career. That was in 2017, when he appeared in 140 games. $15 million per year with incentives is not an insufficient salary for a player who has trouble staying on the field. While this investment could work out for the Twins, it could also go wrong if Buxton doesn't stay healthy. When Buxton is healthy, he is easily the best player on the field and in the lineup. He’s made clutch catches and his batting average in 61 games this year was .306 . He made those 61 games count. The incentive for him to stay healthy? $500K each for reaching 502, 533, 567, 600, and 625 plate appearances. It is an incentive to stay healthy. The gamble is Buxton is like other players who have had outstanding years and been an asset to their team. This article is not meant to say that Buxton is not an asset, or will not fulfill the contract. When he is on the field, he is a solid asset to the team. He is a hard-nosed player who rehabs hard and does go all out. The concern of this writer, and some other fans, is that larger deals with players who are prone to injury can be exciting while still being concerning. Some players got long-term, big contracts and then busted after the ink had dried. Here are three such examples: Gary Matthews Jr had an outstanding year with the Rangers in 2005. He hit .313 and drove in 79 runs with 19 home runs. The Angels liked what they saw and offered him five years and $65 million. He was barely productive with the Angels posting a .248 hitting average, ten home runs, and totaled just 55 RBI in three seasons. The contract amount is comparable to what we are looking at in terms of length and desired production for Buxton. Jeffrey Hammonds signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Brewers. In 2001 that was a fairly large deal but it wasn’t the largest or craziest. Milwaukee saw Hammonds hit.335 and drive in over 100 runs while posting an OPS over .900 the year before. Hammonds only played 49 games due to injuries in 2001 and never lived up to his contract or potential. Looking for an example with the Twins? Well, the largest contract the Twins have signed was with Joe Mauer. He was coming off of an MVP season and a year away from free agency. At the time, the Yankees and Red Sox likely would have been competing for his services, so the Twins didn’t let him get to free agency. They locked him up for eight years and $184 million. The Twins were about to move into Target Field and the local boy turned future Hall of Famer had to be retained. Was he worth the $184 million during that contract? No. He fought some knee injuries and a concussion that altered the trajectory of his career. He struggled some and had to switch positions. Like Mauer a dozen years ago, the Twins could not afford to lose Byron Buxton this offseason. Of course, the ultimate hope would be to see Buxton have an inverse career to that of Mauer. Buxton has fought injuries before signing his nine-figure deal. Hopefully he will be able to remain healthy after signing the deal. The Twins are signing Buxton based on his previous field production and his immense talent and ceiling, but also considering his on-field time missed. There have been notable times when players have been signed and gone downhill. The contract shows that the Twins have the means to make big contracts happen. Not all large contracts are bad. The Twins certainly are showing us that they are willing and able to make commitments to players and I believe this is a good sign for the organization and fans alike. I know there is still plenty of time left and about $50 million left, so now with Buck locked in and a good outfield roster, we can focus on putting that money into pitching - both starters and relief. While I am cautious about what this will mean for the Twins in the long run and the team if they have to continually cover for Buxton if his injurious state does not improve, it is proof that the organization is willing to do what it takes to retain players. The fans who were putting all their hopes into the organization, I just hope it’s enough. Now we can take a quick sigh of relief and hope the Twins make some pitching moves that will help the team in 2022 and beyond. But will they sign anyone before the CBA comes to an end and signings will be on a freeze.
    2 points
  18. Following back-to-back division titles, expectations were high for the 2011 Minnesota Twins. Unfortunately, things couldn't have gone much worse for that club, as they were one of the most disappointing teams in franchise history. The team lost 99 games and "earned" the second overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. With the draft approaching, multiple names had been tied to the Twins, but Bryon Buxton was a player that was tough to ignore. Baseball America ranked him as the top prospect in the draft even though there were questions about the level of competition he faced throughout high school. Minnesota gave Buxton a $6 million signing bonus, which was $1.2 million higher than any other player in the draft. Plenty of hype followed Buxton in his pro debut. He struggled out of the gate with the GCL Twins as he went 19-for-88 (.216 BA), but he got on base over 32% of the time. He also showed more power than expected, with 11 of his 19 hits being for extra bases. He was promoted to Elizabethton and hit .286/.368/.429 (.796) with eight extra-base hits in 21 games. It clearly looked like some of the questions surrounding him in the draft were starting to be answered. Buxton emphatically answered any remaining questions during the 2013 minor league season. As a 19-year-old, he split time between Low- and High-A, destroying the ball at both levels. He finished the year hitting .334/.424/.520 (.944) with 49 extra-base hits in 125 games. Oh yeah, he stole 55 bases too. Buxton had established himself as the game's best prospect, and the organization wanted to see how he stacked up against some of baseball's other top prospects. Following the season, Buxton made his first trip to the Arizona Fall League. In 12 games, he went 11-for-52 (.212) with three home runs and a double. However, he injured his non-throwing shoulder and missed the rest of the AFL season. Even with the abrupt end to his AFL campaign, the accolades started to roll in. Baseball America named Buxton their 2013 Minor League Player of the Year. He entered the 2014 season as the consensus top prospect by all three national rankings. Baseball America said his "combination of tools and production made him the talk of the minor leagues" in their 2014 Prospect Handbook. After a standout 2013 campaign, things got off to a rough start in 2014. Buxton suffered a wrist injury in spring training and started the season on the injured list. He played 30 games with Fort Myers to ease himself back into action. However, Buxton suffered a concussion in his first game at Double-A, and his season was done. He ended the year with a .702 OPS and a return ticket to the AFL. However, he was limited to 13 games after dislocating a finger while diving for a ball. It was time for an offseason to get healthy. Baseball America being the only national ranking to drop him out of the top spot entering the 2015 season. The 2015 season was Buxton's first shot to prove himself in the upper levels of the minors. In 59 games at Double-A, he hit .283/.351/.489 (.840) with 25 extra-base hits and 20 steals. His bat looked like it was ready for baseball's highest level, and the Twins called him up for his big-league debut in June. At the time, Minnesota was light on outfielders. Aaron Hicks was suffering from a right elbow injury and Torii Hunter was serving a two-game suspension. Buxton went 7-for-37 (.189) with two extra-base hits in 11 games before suffering a sprained left thumb that cost him two months of the season. When he was healthy, the Twins sent him to Rochester to find his swing. At Triple-A, he was nearly six years younger than the average age of the competition. He batted .400/.441/.545 (.986) with five extra-base hits in 13 games. On August 20, Minnesota recalled him, and he finished the season with a .606 OPS over his final 28 games. He entered the next season as baseball's number two overall prospect and Minnesota's Opening Day center fielder. It's hard to know when Minnesota will have another prospect of the same caliber as Buxton. He, along with Joe Mauer, are the only players in franchise history to be named Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year. Twins fans saw Minnesota keep Mauer on a long-term deal, and now Buxton has followed in Mauer's footsteps. What do you remember most about Buxton as a prospect? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    2 points
  19. For more on each of these arbitration-eligible players, you can read much more in The Question: To Tender or Not To Tender. Here is the quick summary: John Gant cleared waivers and became a free agent. Rob Refsnyder was DFAd and became a free agent. Willians Astudillo was DFAd, cleared waviers and was released. Jake Cave signed a one year, $800,000 for 2022. In addition to those four arbitration-eligible players, lefty Devin Smeltzer was DFAd, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A. You might have heard, the Twins have agreed to terms with Byron Buxton on a seven-year, $100 million contract extension which also includes some creative, interesting incentives. But there is more work to be done, and today (Tuesday) should be an interesting day. The team still have to make decisions on seven more arbitration-eligible players. Here is some information on each of those players (mostly from Sunday's article), but we will have a spot ready to update whenever we hear any news on any of the players. Also, be sure to vote on whether or not you would a.) Tender a contract, b.) Non-tender the player, or c.) Try to reach an agreement at a lower dollar value. If player won't, then non-tender. LUIS ARRAEZ - UT (24) Service Time: 2 years, 121 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million JHAREL COTTON - RHP (30) Service Time: 3 years, 52 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: N/A DANNY COULOMBE - LHP (32) Service Time: 3 years, 8 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $800,000 Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million TYLER DUFFEY - RHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 74 days Arbitration Year: 3rd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million MITCH GARVER - C (31) Service Time: 4 years, 45 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $3.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $3.5 million JUAN MINAYA - RHP (31) Service Time: 2 years, 140 days Arbitration Year: 1st of 3 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.1 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1 million TAYLOR ROGERS - LHP (31) Service Time: 5 years, 145 days Arbitration Year: 4th of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $6.7 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $7 million CALEB THIELBAR - LHP (35) Service Time: 3 years, 131 days Arbitration Year: 2nd of 4 MLB Trade Rumors Projection: $1.2 million Twins Daily Offseason Handbook Prediction: $1.5 million Again, we will update this article throughout the day on Tuesday until we learn what the resolution is for each player. There may be some agreements, maybe even multi-year deals. There will be contracts tendered without an agreement. At that point, numbers will be exchanged by the team and the player. There are likely to be a non-tender or two as well which will make those players free agents immediately, like happened with Eddie Rosario a year ago.
    1 point
  20. One of our friends at Twins Daily, Shea McGinnity, summed it up best. The last 48 hours have likely been the most intense and exciting period of baseball free agency in the sport’s history. Twins fandom is understandably elated at Byron Buxton signing a 7-year, $100 million extension which keeps him a Twin for life. Yet, something feels like it’s missing. Oh, right, the starting pitching. The Twins don’t have much to speak of, and the starting pitching free agent market has been decimated in a pre-lockout financial feeding frenzy In the last 48 hours, Jon Gray, Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray, and Max Scherzer have all signed hefty to record-breaking free-agent contracts. The remaining free-agent starters, using Aaron Gleeman’s Top 25 list at The Athletic, looks thin. Marcus Stroman and Carlos Rodon are the top names remaining. Clayton Kershaw isn’t signing with the Twins. Alex Wood and Alex Cobb are rumored to be signing with the Giants. That leaves Michael Pineda, Danny Duffy, Zack Grienke, Yusei Kikuchi, and Dylan Bundy. The mounting frustration for Twins fans lies in the discrepancy between the front office’s end-of-season rhetoric and their extreme lethargy in the recent free-agent frenzy. All indications from Derek Falvey suggested the Twins were ready to compete in 2022. The Twins front office exists in a challenging tension. They want to establish themselves as an organization that consistently competes through developing its own pitching. Until that labor bears fruit, fans are left to lust after free agent signings that will never come to pass. The Twins organization does not sign pitchers to hefty contracts. With that said, let’s examine some options for how they might strengthen their pitching staff via trade, starting with the Cincinnati Reds. Over the next three weeks, I’ll be profiling the three organizations the Twins should be looking to trade with for starting pitching. I’ll take into account their likely cost, performance, and future contract to rank options 1-3 for each organization. By all accounts, the Reds are open for business. They have an array of excellent MLB pitching, are undergoing organizational change (such as the departure of former pitching coordinator Kyle Boddy) and a good farm system that could use the addition of close to MLB ready bats. Sonny Gray Sonny Gray should be one of the Twins’ primary trade targets currently. In the midst of a 3-year, $32 million contract which runs through 2023, Gray has been worth, on average 2.5 fWAR over his last five seasons. Gray has maintained excellent peripherals and a strong K% throughout his late twenties and early thirties. He fits the profile of a starting pitcher, who the Twins wouldn’t have to give up multiple of their best prospects for, who could start a playoff game for Minnesota. Potential trade: Twins trade RHP Jordan Balazovic and C Ryan Jeffers to the Reds for RHP Sonny Gray. Tyler Mahle Tyler Mahle is best known to Twins fans as the pitcher who broke Byron Buxton’s hand this season but had a quiet breakout year for the Reds. Mahle profiles more similarly to Gray, both in stuff and cost, but has age on his side at just 27. Mahle sported a 27.7% K% in 2021 to go along with a 3.80 FIP, and 3.84 fWAR. Mahle, like Luis Castillo, is not a free agent until 2024. Potential Trade: Twins trade INF Luis Arraez and RHP Matt Canterino to the Reds for RHP Tyler Mahle. Luis Castillo Luis Castillo is by far the best of the three Reds options and by far the most expensive, which is why I am ranking him last. Castillo has excellent velocity (97 mph fastball), a devastating changeup, and doesn’t hit free agency until 2024. The asking price on Castillo has been reported to be incredibly high, which it should be for a starting pitcher you would feel confident in leading a good number of MLB rotations. It seems unlikely the Twins would trade for Castillo given the cost. Potential trade: The Twins trade SS Royce Lewis and OF Max Kepler to the Reds for RHP Luis Castillo. Do you agree with my ranking? What would you offer in a trade with Cincinnati? Which of their starting pitchers appeals to you the most?
    1 point
  21. The Twins selected Justin Morneau in the third round of the 1999 MLB Draft out of New Westminster, British Columbia. At the time, he was a catcher, but he moved to a full-time first baseman by his second season. This defensive shift corresponded with a dominant run through the minor leagues. As a 20-year-old, he moved from Low-A to Double-A and combined for an .886 OPS. Over the next handful of seasons, Morneau established himself as one of baseball’s best power-hitting prospects. Baseball America ranked him in their top-25 prospects in each offseason from 2002-2004. This meant the Twins had to make room for him at the big-league level, which included trading away fan-favorite Doug Mientkiewicz. Morneau spent ten seasons out of his 14-year career in a Twins uniform, and many of his most prominent accolades came in Minnesota. He was a four-time All-Star, and he won two Silver Sluggers. Morneau was named the 2006 American League MVP, and he finished runner-up for MVP in 2008. All four of his 100-RBI seasons and his three 30-home run seasons came with the Twins. While the Twins struggled in October, Morneau was able to put up solid postseason numbers. He played in 13 postseason games over four series and hit .302 with two home runs, four RBI, and eight runs scored. His best series was in 2006 against Oakland when he went 5-for-12 (.417) with three extra-base hits, including two homers. Unfortunately, only seven of his postseason games came in Minnesota as he appeared in six games with Pittsburgh after being traded by the Twins. Morneau wasn’t a typical power-hitting slugger as he hit .300-or-better in five seasons. During the 2014 campaign, he won the National League batting title with the Rockies. He finished that season with a .319 average, four points higher than Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison. Multiple moments defined Morneau’s career. Ron Gardenhire benched Morneau during a series in Seattle and had a career-changing conversation. Morneau posted a 1.023 OPS the rest of that season and won the MVP. He looked to be heading for a second MVP in 2010 before a now-infamous slide in Toronto ended his season. His career took a different trajectory from that day forward. When it comes to Cooperstown, Morneau doesn’t have the resume needed to be enshrined. According to JAWS, he is the 88th best first baseman in baseball history. This ranks him just ahead of players like Tino Martinez, Paul Konerko, Joe Harris, and Brandon Belt. Many of these players had good but not great careers that are worthy of the Hall of Fame. Morneau’s impact on baseball will be felt long after his retirement. He has been a special assistant to the Twins front office, and he has altered the team’s broadcast experience with his insightful color commentary. He and his wife, Krista, continue to be active members of the Twin Cities community. For a generation of Twins fans, Morneau was the middle-of-the-order hitter of some of the best teams in franchise history. Unfortunately, any shot at Cooperstown ended with a slide into second base back in 2010. Do you think Morneau deserves to be more than a one-and-done on the ballot? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES — David Ortiz — Joe Nathan — Torii Hunter
    1 point
  22. Welcome back, fans! I hope that you had a good Thanksgiving. I know that going over Twins History isn’t as juicy as all the news we have had lately from a Cave extension, Astudillo saying good-bye and potential trades. History is important to our future and while we are looking ahead at potential arms for our line up, looking back over pitchers that made an impact on our team. I am learning a lot about where we came from and what has changed and hasn’t in this organization. Onto our next no-hitter! Were you right? Did you guess Eric Milton? It may come as a shock to some, but Milty had a great no hitter which included an on fire offense. Some of the choices are more of an internal battle than others - but laying out stats and guidelines help me narrow down my choices. No-No Number 2: Eric "Milty" Milton - 1999 The Pitcher: Eric Milton The Date: September 11, 1999 The Opponent: Anaheim Angels The Stadium: Metrodome The Pitcher's Background and Story Eric Milton was born in Pennsylvania in 1975 in a small town called Bellfone, where he attended the local high school. Milton left home to play ball and attend the University of Maryland. He had three strong seasons for the Terrapins, and in the summers he played collegiate summer ball in the Cape Cod Baseball League. In 2004, he was inducted into the Cape Cod’s Hall of Fame. In 1996, Milton was selected with the 20th overall pick by the New York Yankees.; He left college to chase his MLB dream. Milton only played one season with the Yankees minors before being traded to the Twins. Milton was part of a trade that sent Chuck Knoblach to the Yankees for Brian Buchanan, Cristian Guzman, Danny Mota, and cash. His MLB debut was on April 5, 1998, as a Minnesota Twin. He pitched against the Kansas City Royals, and had six scoreless innings to record his first major-league win. The Twins were having another lackluster season in 1999. They were on a losing streak and carrying a 59-82 record. Even with guys like David Ortiz, Brad Radke, Corey Koskie, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Jaque Jones, they were clearly a young, inexperienced team taking their lumps.. That day was something different. The Game: It was not a typical day in Twins territory on September 11, 1999. The Twins were starting at 11:00am instead of a typical Saturday night game. Dating back to the Twins' inaugural season in 1961, there was an agreement that they would change the schedule so fans could leave their game and make it to the Gophers football home opener. This schedule began at The Met and continued when the Metrodome opened. When the Gophers and Twins were home on the same day, the Twins would move their games up to noon central time. It sounds like a huge inconvenience, as the Dome had to be converted from a baseball field to a football field in a matter of hours, but the teams made it work. Terry Steinbach was behind the plate. Steinbach helped Milton navigate the game. Immediately the chemistry was on point. Milton started the game by getting Jeff Davanon out on four pitches. The 24-year-old lefty remained in control for the remainder of the game. He walked a few hitters but was able to maintain control of the game with his fastball. Milton was putting on a show and had no clue that he was working on a no-hitter. Superstition was running rampant through the Twins dugout. Milton said at one point a kid brought him Gatorade and sat next to him. When the kid got up to walk away, Milton said, "Hey, what are you doing? You have to come back." Opponent The Anaheim Angels and the Twins were not having great seasons, respectively. Both teams were well below .500. There was nothing happening for either team that would have predicted this being a no-hitter. The Angels were struggling to get along with their manager Terry Collins. Collins had a reputation for a volatile temper that collided with his players leading them to undermine his authority. This issue had a significant impact on the field, and players admit it was hard to play and have cohesion with the conflict looming. That was not the only thing that was against the Angels at that time. Due to the early start time and the September rosters - Joe Maddon, the new Angels manager that replaced Terry Collins, had four call-up players that had their MLB debut that day and only two starters in the line-up that day: Troy Glaus and Orlando Palmeiro. Needless to say, there was a lot going against the Angels, but that does not cheapen the no-no for Eric Milton. How many pitchers pitched Milton was the only Twins pitcher that pitched that day. He threw all nine innings, striking out 13 batters, with his fastball reportedly touching 94 mph. As Milton stared down the batter's box with his first no-no in progress, Steinbach behind the plate had already seen a no-hitter in his career. Even with control and a mean fast ball, Milton only allowed two walks and nothing else to the Angels. Home or Away The Twins hosted the game versus the Angels at the Metrodome when they were splitting the building with the Golden Gophers football team. Sharing a field meant more pressure to get through the game promptly to turn the area into a gridiron. The Dome held 60,000 people, but only 11,222 showed up to cheer on the Twins. Given their record, I am not surprised. Thanks to the acoustics of the Dome, we know that it could get loud. However, once Milton realized what was going on and his spidey sense kicked in that this may be a no-hitter around the sixth or seventh inning, he said, "It sounded like 20,000" people were in there, and that's part of what kept me going”. Did the pitcher hit In Major League Baseball, the Designated Hitter rule had been in place for more than 20 years. Even though Milty did not have to hit, the offense was on fire. Terry Steinbach set the tone in the bottom of the first inning. He hit a triple to right field which scored Matt Lawton and gave the Twins a lead. The Twins offense scored seven runs by the end of the game, the highest number of runs of any Twins no-hitters. Even though he didn’t have many at-bats with the Twins, Milton when he was traded to the Phillies in exchange for Carlos Silva, Nick Punto and Bobby Korecky in 2004. He wasn't a great hitter, but with 209 plate appearances, he posted a .166 batting average, above average of pitchers. This no-hitter was fun to research and write about. From Milton’s superstition to other fun facts I learned, such as the ill-timed "Wheel of Fortune" promotion. A fan had to fill in the letters of a puzzle on the scoreboard to unveil the answer to the question of "Who pitched the first no-hitter for the Twins?" (Jack Kralick) The question had been developed before the game and went unchanged despite the no-hit bid. ANA@MIN: Milton completes no-hitter against Angels Eric Milton says that this no-hitter isn't on the top of his list of achievements. That Moment was his 2002 American League Divisional Series win against the Oakland A's, where he held them to only two earned runs after pitching seven innings. Milton threw second no-hitter in 2004 with the Phillies. Would this have been your second choice? Would it have even been in your top three? Does the DH make a difference to you in how you view pitching? Let me know your thoughts. I look forward to discussions! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
    1 point
  23. Arguably the most impactful bit of information came out on Tuesday night when baseball insider Ken Rosenthal tweeted news about the arbitration deadline. Initially slated for December 2nd, MLB and the Players’ Union agreed to move the non-tender deadline to November 30. This is important because those arbitration-eligible players who will be sent to free agency now have roughly 24 hours to negotiate deals with clubs before the assumed lockout. With the current Major League Baseball CBA set to expire on December 1 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time, non-tendered players will become free agents at 8 pm Eastern Time on November 30. A flood of new free agents will hit the market, and both sides will be scrambling to negotiate deals before a shutdown occurs. The flip side of this is that Major League Baseball, and more succinctly the owners, benefit by flooding the market with free agents. They would hope that players are rushed into lesser compensation or are pushed to accept deals at a lower valuation following a lockout filled with future uncertainty. On November 22, J.P Hoornstra posted this piece for the OC Register, noting that the MLB Players Association has prepared a lockout guide for players and agents. In the event of a lockout, all Major League Baseball activity will cease. This refers to workouts, transactions, and other scheduled items relating to the sport at its highest level. Because Minor League Baseball is not represented by the MLBPA or under the umbrella of the MLB CBA, minor league activities will go on without change. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer posted a great FAQ this week with regards to all things lockout. What takes place during the shutdown? What are the key points of contention? What could be expected to come from it all? It’s worth a look. This outcome has been assumed for some time but became even more evident before the Covid-shortened 2020 Major League Baseball season. As the owners attempted to negotiate in public and paint the players in a bad light, workplace tensions grew higher than ever. While we’re ultimately dealing with billionaires and millionaires, Rob Manfred is presiding over a sport that bounced back from its last lockout due to the boom that was the Steroid Era. Manfred is the figurehead of the owners, and while he’s done their bidding during his time in office, it’s been mainly to the detriment of fans, players, and the sport as a whole. It’s time for both sides to bridge the gap and find a way to move forward. The MLBPA needs stronger leadership than it’s seen from Tony Clark, and MLB needs anything better than what Manfred has given thus far. A week from now, we’ll be discussing the first days of the shutdown, and the only hope is that it remains brief. Don’t hold your breath. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
    1 point
  24. Roxy, a 5-year-old dog in a festive Christmas sweater, has two messages this holiday season. “I would very much like a treat, and the Minnesota Twins should sign Byron Buxton to an extension,” said Roxy. The dog, a Staffordshire bull terrier, hopes the gaudy garment draws attention to her message. “Everyone sees a dog in an ugly sweater and they lose their damn minds,” said Roxy. “Now that I have their attention, I can get them to see the golden opportunity of a long-term deal for one of the game’s dynamic talents. Make no mistake, I hate wearing people clothes and go to great lengths to avoid it, including carpet urination and defiling stuffed animals. But this is important.” Roxy said Buxton’s extensive injury history, while a concern, was outweighed by the center fielder’s overall game. “In the field he saves your starting pitcher a run every game,” said the dog, pausing to bark at the doorbell for 45 seconds before continuing. “And his offense has finally caught up to his elite defense. He hit 19 home runs in 60 games last year. This is the rare chance for a team like Minnesota to retain a superstar in his prime oh my god A BUNNY RABBIT!” Roxy observed a rabbit in the backyard, tore out the doggy door, and unsuccessfully chased it around the backyard. She wandered back into the house. “As I was saying, Buxton’s health actually affords the Twins a chance to get him on an affordable, incentive-laden deal,” said the dog, catching her breath. “If he had been healthy and producing like he did for 162 games in 2021, the price tag would have given the Pohlads a nosebleed.” Roxy noted that she also “did her business” while protecting the household from the bunny threat, and said you should clean it up before one of the kids stepped in it. She ended the interview to go nap in a sunbeam for three hours.
    1 point
  25. As we enter the final week of November, it was recently announced that the deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players would be pushed to November 30. This gives free agents a day to sign before the expected December 2 lockout. While many will wait through the labor strife, players have the option to strike a deal in the 24 hours between the two deadlines. With relation to Buxton, it’s a certainty that Minnesota will tender the star centerfielder a contract. Entering his final year of arbitration, MLB Trade Rumors projects Buxton’s 2022 salary to come in just north of $7 million. At the very least, the Twins will come to terms with the Baxley, Georgia native on those grounds. What’s more interesting is the dates that loom large in the future and the belief that Buxton’s situation will be resolved before the commencement of the 2022 regular season. Here are some key dates to circle and what they mean: November 30th - Arbitration Tender Deadline This one jumps out as the most important. As highlighted above, Buxton will be tendered a contract, and there’s zero doubt about that. Avoiding arbitration doesn’t mean that the sides can’t still reach an agreement on an extension, but simply that Byron knows what he will be paid in the year ahead. It’d be ideal for both sides to hammer out the extension before this point and extend the player to a multi-year deal that buys out free agency years. December 2nd - Current CBA Expired Should nothing more be accomplished than a contract for 2022 being agreed to, the two sides will have 24 more hours to negotiate. December 1st is the final day covered by the current Major League Baseball Collective Bargaining Agreement. At 11:59 pm Eastern Time, the current CBA becomes void, and the lockout begins. Both parties can continue working towards a conclusion of this saga or leave each other hanging for whatever duration the labor limbo hangs on for. Both teams and players may have different parameters to deal with following the ratification of a new CBA. Still, little of it should impact Buxton, who is already in the final year of arbitration eligibility. February 26th, 2022 - Spring Training Begins As things stand now, this is where Minnesota opens the 2022 exhibition slate against the Toronto Blue Jays down in Florida. More often, the regular season is a hard deadline for contract negotiations to be completed by. Still, both sides could look at Spring Training being a key date given Buxton’s injury history. Wanting to have something done before actual action gets underway makes a good deal of sense. Obviously, this date is tentative given the uncertainty of where a lockout takes us. I’d imagine the league and player’s association are more open to losing Spring Training games than they are actual regular-season games that count. April 2nd, 2022 - Opening Day If there’s a hard deadline established, this would seem to be it. Minnesota can’t afford to go into the regular season without clarity on Buxton’s future. If he’s not extended by this date, the alternative of trading him has to become a reality. Given the volatility of his playstyle and injury history, risking the asset depreciation before the trade deadline would be a fruitless endeavor. Again, this date could be moved with respect to the CBA situation, but it’s almost a given that whenever the regular season starts, Twins fans will know the fate of Byron Buxton. July 31st, 2022 - Trade Deadline Should we reach this point with no clarity, the front office will have massively overplayed their hand. Not only having failed to extend the talented centerfielder, we could be talking about a player with a few months of lackluster performance or an injury that drags down his trade value. Without a long-term deal in place here, the opposition understands Minnesota is set to move on in the winter. Draft pick compensation may not be what it is now, and regardless, it would be a sad return for someone that should’ve commanded so much more. That should be the complete timeline for dates to follow regarding this Buxton-saga. The longer it drags on, the more hopeless the outcome looks. I’d wager we see finality before the commencement of Spring Training, and having something done far sooner than that would be a much-welcomed reality. The Twins have an opportunity to pay a generational talent because he’s been injured. It’d be silly to balk at that, but if they’re going to, they best get it right, and soon. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    1 point
  26. It's the held breath before the last pitch, the arms wide open as the catcher runs towards the pitcher, and the roar of the crowd as they witness one of the most magical moments in baseball: the no-hitter. The no-hitter is one of the beauties of baseball and games that you never forget as a fan. The no-hitter is as much luck as talent, and there have been some great pitching talents to pass through the Twins pitching staff. There have been 314 No-Hitters since 1876. They are rare, about 1.2 per year (statistically). However, in 2021, we saw the most no-no’s in any season in MLB history, nine to be exact. With all the excitement of the no-hitters this season, it’s a perfect time to look into the Twins no-no’s. Just one year after moving from DC as the Senators to Minnesota as the Twins in 1961, the Twins recorded their first no-hitter. The Twins organization has gone on to experience four more no-hitters since, the last one ten years ago. I intended to write about the no-hitters in one article and rank them. However, the more I read about each game, I thought it would be fun to make a series out of the rankings. There is a lot that goes into a game to take into consideration as I considered ranking their quality, even more so when the game ends as a no-hitter or a perfect game. It’s not all luck. With many variables that go into a game's success. So let’s take a brief look at what factors I considered to decide how to rank the games. Opponent The opponent is essential. A stronger opponent will give a pitcher more trouble than a team that is hitting poorly, has a lesser coaching staff, and any luck at the plate. It doesn't make it easier - nothing about baseball is easy - it's just a different scenario with more challenges. Baserunners Allowed Since having errors, walks or a hit batter is likely in a no-hitter (unless it is a Perfect Game, something no Twins pitcher has done, yet), looking at these numbers could make one no-hitter score higher than another. A good defense will come to the pitcher's aid and how well they can get an out, a ground ball, and round out double plays is a large factor. How many pitchers pitched Fewer pitches to accomplish a no-hitter is undoubtedly preferred. The number of pitchers involved in a game makes a difference. In a game for the Yankees this past May, Corey Kluber pitched a no-hitter. The Cubs also tossed a no-hitter this season. Zach Davies started but three other pitchers followed to finish the game. A combined no-hitter is not the norm (though certainly more likely as today’s pitchers rarely go beyond six innings), but certainly, I wanted to take that into account. Home or Away The strength of the schedule is important. So sleeping in your bed and playing in your home stadium with your fans can be better than playing at the closest opponent's stadium. It is also better than traveling back two time zones after a double-header or late-night game. There are a lot of things that people don't think affect a team that genuinely does. I am sure that the east to west coast games are exhausting and play a part in the turn-out and how well the players play. Does home or away really make a no-hitter more or less likely? If so, I’m sure it’s nice to have the fans there. Did the pitcher hit? The DH came into the American League in 1973. Before then, Twins pitchers and their opposing pitchers had to hit. Since then, American League pitchers have had to deal with batters whose sole purpose is being a good hitter. In theory, that should make throwing a no-hitter much more difficult in the AL than NL. Unless a player like AL MVP Shohei Ohtani is on the team. He can dominate on the mound and at the plate. People who say baseball is boring may not have a clue how much goes into a game. The low-scoring games are some of the best games to watch. It is a battle of the pitchers and hitters, as well as t defense can affect the games we see. Based on the criteria above, I looked over the five no-hitters that the Twins had. All no-hitters are impressive, some more than others. As I reviewed box scores and numbers, the #1 ranked no-hitter to me was a no brainer. No-No Number 1: “Jittery” Jack Kralick - 1962 The Pitcher: Jack Kralick The Date: August 26, 1962 The Opponent: Kansas City Athletics The Stadium: Metropolitan Stadium The Pitcher’s Background and Story Jack Kralick was born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1935. His parents later moved to Michigan where he attended high school and eventually attended Michigan State University. He spent time bouncing between minor league teams and a semi-pro squad back home in Michigan. Later he was pursued by the Tigers, Yankees and Indians. Kralick however was more keen on the offer from the Washington Senators and made his debut in the Majors in 1959 with the Washington Senators, which would eventually become the Minnesota Twins. Jack Kralick went the distance in this game, a near-perfect game. It was the very first no-hitter for the “Minnesota Twins”. Kralick was described as a “loner,” a smoking machine, and was called “jittery” for his constant movement on the mound from twitching his feet to fidgeting with his belt. Even though he was seen as quiet and a recluse, teammate Rich Rollins said that he “got along well with everyone in the clubhouse and everyone got along with him while he was in Minnesota.” The Game It was a beautiful 78 degrees for this late August game, a day when one is almost disappointed that the game only lasted one hour and 57 minutes! That’s how quickly the pitchers turned and burned the line-ups. The Kansas City Athletics (now the Oakland Athletics) were a struggling team when they played against the Twins and eventually finished ninth in the AL with a record of 72-90. They certainly were not a strong team, but that’s not what makes this no-hitter my favorite no-no. Let’s review the rest of my criteria to see why it continued to impress me more and more. Only one Kansas City baserunner was allowed on base in this game. That is the lowest number of base runners among the five Twins no-hitters. The only runner came with one out in the ninth inning. “Jittery” Jack Kralick retired 25 batters and was two outs away from a perfect game before George Alusik walked. That just blew my mind. For a pitcher to get that far into the game with no other pitching maladies is just … awesome. The game ended with a foul-pop fly to first base. Because it was a decade before the Designated Hitter rule which came about in 1972 and was implemented in 1973 throughout the American League. All pitchers were also hitters. You pitched. You hit. Being able to hit was a requirement to play the game. In my opinion, it made teams stronger and more cohesive. Along with the no-hitter, Kralick also went 1-for-2 and had a sacrifice bunt.. Through the three seasons that he was with the Twins, the southpaw hit .173. During the 1962 season, his batting average was .202, definitely an asset to the Twins and the highest batting average of his career! 1962 was his last full season with the Twins. In early May of 1963, Kralick was traded to Cleveland in exchange for righty Jim Perry. Yes, the Jim Perry that is in the Twins Hall of Fame. I am excited to share more of the Twins no-hitters with everyone and see if you agree with where I ranked the games. Do you have ideas for this series? What do you think is important in a no-hitter? Is it talent, or just luck? Let me know below! With all of the no-hitters this year and speculation as to why they are happening, it’s fun to think about the potential for another Twins no-hitter sooner rather than later! I look forward to discussions! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, or email
    1 point
  27. THE PLAYER The White Sox drafted Bassitt, 32, in the 16th round of the 2011 Draft out of the University of Akron. In what turned out to be a lopsided trade, the White Sox moved Bassitt and Marcus Semien for Jeff Samardzija in December of 2014. Semien and Bassitt combined for 29.7 Wins Above Replacement and counting, while Samardzija barely eclipsed replacement level in his lone season for Chicago. Billy Beane won again. Bassitt has quietly pitched very well for the last four seasons. Among 74 starters who’ve thrown at least 400 innings over that span, Bassitt is tied for 13th in ERA+ (130) and ranks 14th in OPS against (.656). 49 starters have thrown at least 200 innings over the last two seasons. Just six have a lower ERA than Bassitt: Corbin Burnes, Walker Buehler, Brandon Woodruff, Max Scherzer, Zack Wheeler, and Max Fried. Bassitt works with a deep arsenal of offerings and excels at missing barrels. He throws a sinker in the lower-to-mid 90s, an excellent four-seamer with similar velocity, a cutter, changeup, slider, and curveball. The lanky right-hander is an interesting case study. He’s already terrific, but there’s glaring room for improvement in his profile. Bassitt increased his slider usage from 0.1% in 2019 to 10.1% in 2021. My suggestion: bump that up even more. Bassitt’s slider grades as an excellent pitch, with an expected batting average of .127 and a 39% swing-and-miss rate in 2021. Perhaps fewer sinkers (.356 xWOBA) and cutters (.375), and more sliders would help Bassitt miss more bats. This change would significantly help against right-handed batters, who hit just .143 with a .209 wOBA against Bassitt’s slider in 2021. THE COST Bassitt is one year from free agency and will make about $9 million via arbitration in 2022. The Athletics aren’t afraid to trade away their expiring veterans, and there’ve been multiple reports indicating that Bassitt, Sean Manaea, Matt Chapman, and Matt Olson could all be available. According to MLB Trade Simulators, a deal for Bassitt would require quite a bit, but not nearly as much as Luis Castillo. If the Athletics wanted one young player in return, Trevor Larnach holds similar value, according to the simulator. If they seek a package, perhaps Alerick Soularie, Matt Wallner, Blayne Enlow and Drew Strotman could make sense. The Twins certainly value one-year commitments. Because Bassitt is making such a reasonable salary, it’s viable to trade for him and sign a high-priced free agent. The Twins have the depth to swing a deal like this. It’s possible they’d favor Manaea, the younger lefty who may require less in return. Manaea is objectively worse than Bassitt but throws an excellent changeup and costs a projected $10.2 million via arbitration in 2022. Frankie Montas, 28, could be the highest-upside target but also the most expensive with two years remaining on his contract. What do you think? Should the Twins trade for Chris Bassitt? FOR MORE TWINS CONTENT: — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
    1 point
This leaderboard is set to Chicago/GMT-06:00
×
×
  • Create New...