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  • Four Free Agent Relievers the Twins Should Reunite With


    renabanena

    There’s an old Chinese proverb that “a good horse will never return to eat grass it's walked past”. Whoever came up with this proverb clearly didn’t know about the cutthroat free-agent market. After a whirlwind weekend of trades, the Twins are still left with gaps to address in their bullpen. However, there are still many available arms left on the market, many of whom donned Twins uniforms in the past. Here are four free-agent relievers that the Twins should re-sign without having to give up the Trevor Story fund. 

    Image courtesy of Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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    Tyler Clippard 
    Twins’ Tenure: 2020

    Tyler Clippard celebrated his fifteenth season in the majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year, where he quietly had one of his best seasons yet. In the most competitive division in baseball, Clippard held a 3.20 ERA, 1.303 WHIP, and 1.9 K/W ratio. At age 37, Clippard is one of the oldest relievers on the market and unlikely to get a long-term contract with any team. This makes him a cost-efficient and effective addition to the team as an alternative to Taylor Rogers or Caleb Thielbar in short relief scenarios.

    Blake Parker
    Twins’ Tenure: half of 2019

    Blake Parker was designated for assignment during the height of the Bomba Squad era and was quickly picked up by the Philadelphia Phillies. Last season, we briefly saw him in Cleveland’s bullpen, where he was, dare we say, pretty good! It’s as close to a 180 as we’ve seen since his last days in Minnesota. His 3.09 ERA, 142 ERA+, and 2.64 SO/W in 43 innings last season are fairly comparable to Tyler Duffey’s statistics. Similar to Clippard, his age is a disadvantage on paper, but his price tag is unlikely to break the bank. 

    Kohl Stewart
    Twins’ Tenure: 2018 - 2019

    The Twins selected Kohl Stewart fourth overall in the 2013 MLB Draft, over the likes of Tim Anderson, Aaron Judge, and Twins’ legend Isiah Kiner-Falefa. He demolished the Minor Leagues until he was called up to the Majors in 2018, where he fizzled out almost immediately. Things have been challenging for Stewart since his release in 2019. He opted out of the 2020 season due to having Type 1 Diabetes, pitched for two months last year with the Cubs until he was placed on the 60-day IL, and was offered only a minor league assignment with the Cubs.  

    With that said, Kohl Stewart is only 26 years old, making him over a decade younger than the others on this list. With the addition of a Cutter last season, Stewart has a six-pitch repertoire with varying degrees of success. He currently relies heavily on his Sinker, which is by far his least effective pitch. If the Twins can focus Stewart on perfecting his virtually unhittable Slider and newly-added Cutter, Stewart can become a Sergio Romo-esque reliever with a Thielbar-esque story. Due to his recent misfortunes, Stewart is likely also the cheapest addition on this list, Signing Stewart to another Minor League assignment is low-cost with a high upside. 

    57975169_KohlStewartBaseballSavant.png.052d35acab817c79df60487f85c2ab23.png

    Sergio Romo
    Twins’ Tenure: 2019 - 2020 

    Speaking of Sergio Romo, this fan-favorite has spent time with almost every team in the league with no signs of stopping. Last season, opponents had a paltry .219 batting average against his infamous Slider. Romo also pitched 61 2/3 innings last year, one inning more than his All-Star season in 2013. Romo is a workhorse who seems to defy time and gravity. His return to Minnesota will be a welcome relief (pun intended) for fans who have lost so many other favorites this past week.  

    Who else would you like to see the Twins reunite with? Leave a comment below!

     

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    Given the age of three of these possibilities, perhaps another Chinese horse proverb is appropriate--"An old horse knows the way."  I am like many other fans.  I don't know for sure what is going on as I don't see the Twins signing any relievers which I would have thought they would do no matter what happens with their search for a shortstop and starting pitchers.  

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    - "That's a bold statement Cotton, let's see if it works out for them" ;).

    The above four are an interesting thought exercise. 

    I personally would be hesitant to sign any of them, but then again there is a very good reason why I am not currently the Lord High Inquisitor of all things Twins Front Office related.  While any of these wouldn't be exciting, flashy, or probably even remotely inspiring... at the end of the day they would be exactly the type of flyer that all major league teams take every year.  It doesn't hurt to kick the tires.

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    4 hours ago, renabanena said:

    Tyler Clippard celebrated his fifteenth season in the majors with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year, where he quietly had one of his best seasons yet. In the most competitive division in baseball, Clippard held a 3.20 ERA, 1.303 WHIP, and 1.9 K/W ratio.

     

    Actually a 1.303 WHIP and 1.9 K/W ratio are not good. Both are worse than league average, and represent the worst marks of Clippard's relief career dating back to 2009.

    Now, it was a small sample and Clippard might rebound, but those two measures are not evidence of good performance.

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    4 hours ago, renabanena said:

    Speaking of Sergio Romo, this fan-favorite has spent time with almost every team in the league with no signs of stopping.

     

    Romo posted the worst K% and ERA+ of his career in 2021 (plus one of his higher BB%). His career may not be quite finished, but those would seem to qualify as "signs of stopping."

    This seems to be a list of former Twins who haven't yet retired, rather than a list of good relievers to sign. In which case, why didn't Fernando Rodney make the list? He hasn't seen MLB game action since 2019 but he is not officially retired -- in fact, he was a dominant closer for the hitter-friendly Mexican League champ Tijuana in 2021, including saving game 7 of the championship series!

    Fernando Rodney keeps plugging away

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    While signing ONE of those 4 might be useful, none or even all of them.will not solve our bullpen woes.

    Look at the teams in the playoffs last year.

    All of them had a bevy of 100mph flamethrowers and a top notch closer.

    We have none of that! A Solid closer has been out achilles heal ever since Joe Nathan.

    We missed our last window of World Series opportunity because if it and have no chance without a bona fide closer and a 100mph set up man. 

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    There are 24 pitchers on the Twins 40-man roster.  Even if a couple will soon be on the 60-day IL, there isn't room for adding a retread.  Not that the roster is stuffed to the gills with all-stars, but I'd rather drop one of the incumbents because we acquired someone actually, you know, good, and with upside.  Not just a hurler that will help you limp through 2022.

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    I'm always baffled when I read that a pitch that a pitcher throws the most is his least effective.  Is it because it's the only pitch he can throw for strikes?

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    2 hours ago, KBJ1 said:

    While signing ONE of those 4 might be useful, none or even all of them.will not solve our bullpen woes.

    Look at the teams in the playoffs last year.

    All of them had a bevy of 100mph flamethrowers and a top notch closer.

    We have none of that! A Solid closer has been out achilles heal ever since Joe Nathan.

    We missed our last window of World Series opportunity because if it and have no chance without a bona fide closer and a 100mph set up man. 

    Agreed...

    Although, I don't need the designated closer... but I'll take the "bevy of flamethrowers" because the entire bevy could all close when needed. 

    When the Twins starting adding those type of guys and deepen that pen in this fashion, they will finally become what I call Bullpen serious. 

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    You can argue about the other three, although I think Romo is no longer a good fit for us, but I would enjoy seeing Stewart get a chance to put things together for us.

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    6 hours ago, USAFChief said:

    Ron Davis is available too, and I bet would pick up the phone.

    Al Worthington is still around and as viable of a reliever at this point. 

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    5 hours ago, KBJ1 said:

    While signing ONE of those 4 might be useful, none or even all of them.will not solve our bullpen woes.

    Look at the teams in the playoffs last year.

    All of them had a bevy of 100mph flamethrowers and a top notch closer.

    We have none of that! A Solid closer has been out achilles heal ever since Joe Nathan.

    We missed our last window of World Series opportunity because if it and have no chance without a bona fide closer and a 100mph set up man. 

    Major League Leaderboards » 2021 » Relievers » Dashboard | FanGraphs Baseball

    Yet Atlanta still won it without a leader. 

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