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  • Notebook: Minor League Signings and More!

    Andrew Luedtke

    In today's Offseason Notebook for Monday, Feb. 8, the Twins make several minor league signings, MLB and MLBPA agree on a deal for health and safety protocols for the upcoming season, plus the baseball is changing in 2021?

    Image courtesy of © Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

    Andrew Albers reunites with the Twins

    Today, the Twins and Andrew Albers agreed on a minor-league contract which will include an invitation to MLB spring training.


    Twins fans should remember Albers as he played for them in 2013 and 2016. In 2013 he threw 17 1/3 scoreless innings in his first two starts — a Twins franchise record for longest scoreless streak to start their career with the team. This included a complete game shutout of Cleveland in his second start.


    From 2018-20, Albers pitched in Japan for the Orix Buffaloes. In 2020, he posted a 3.66 ERA in 96 IP with 70 strikeouts and 24 walks. Albers, now 35, will add some depth to the Twins starting pitching options, but figures to see most of his time in St. Paul with the Saints.

    Twins sign Keon Broxton, Robinson Leyer, and Chandler Shepherd to Minor League Deals

    This afternoon, the Twins announced three more minor league signings. The most intriguing of which is OF, Keon Broxton. Broxton, a third-round draft pick by the Diamondbacks in 2009, has played for five major league teams. From 2016-17, Broxton produced a .741 OPS with 29 HR’s in 218 G for the Brewers. Since, Broxton has played for four teams producing a .565 OPS in 151 G combined in 2018 & 2019. He’s a solid defensive player producing 34 OAA (outs above average) in his career. He no doubt would be an intriguing option as a fourth OF and backup for Byron Buxton on the Twins roster. He has played all three OF positions in his career. It also helps that he is right handed as the Twins have plenty of lefty options (Kepler, Cave, Kirilloff, and Larnach).


    Also, the Twins added 27-year-old RHP Robinson Leyer. Leyer pitched in six games last year for the Red Sox. He posted a 21.21 ERA with nine K’s in 4.2 innings. It should not be a surprise to anyone that he throws a mid-90’s fastball (averages 95 mph) and a slider.

    Here’s a fun video of him striking out Marcell Ozuna.


    Additionally, the Twins added Taylor Rogers' former University of Kentucky teammate, Chandler Shepherd. Shepherd, 28, appeared in five G’s for the Orioles in 2019 (starting in three of them). He’s mostly pitched as a starter in the minors.

    Only Broxton has an invite to Major League Spring Training out of these three.

    MLB Deadening the baseball?

    Ken Rothenthal and Eno Sarris of The Athletic reports (subscription required), that the baseballs used in 2021 will “change slightly”. Additionally, five more MLB teams will add humidors to store game baseballs — an obvious attempt by MLB to to reduce the HR rates across the league.

    The Twins, who led the world in home runs in 2019, stand to be impacted by the change. Also, for anyone who watched the Twins on TV in 2020, it seemed like they were only able to score if a home run was it. But, playing devil’s advocate here, the Twins had six players averaging home runs hit over 400 feet in 2020 (Jeffers, Cruz, Sano, Garver, Kepler, and Buxton), they are not exactly hitting “cheapies”.

    Check out a fun breakdown written last year by Six Man Rotation that details which players benefited the most from the “ping pong” baseballs used in 2019. Spoiler: there is a Twin mentioned.

    In any case, it’s frustrating as fans to see the consistent overreaching by the league who, in many people’s opinion, make the game less fun.

    Who doesn’t love dingers?


    Grapefruit Schedule Changes for Spring Training

    MLB is working on a plan to place teams in different “pods” for Spring Training in Florida to eliminate the amount of travel and hopefully help mitigate the opportunity for COVID-19 spread.


    The Bringer of Rain Opens Baseball Academy

    Josh Donaldson broke ground today on the “Josh Donaldson Baseball Academy” in Mobile, Alabama. Josh of course is a graduate of Auburn University located in Alabama.


    MLB and MLBPA Reach Agreement on Health and Safety Protocols

    It appears MLB/PA have a deal on the protocols for spring training and the regular season. This includes 7-inning double headers, runner starting on 2B in extra innings, and does not include the universal DH.



    Am I Still Excited about Willians Astudillo?

    Dealing With the Dodgers

    Projecting the 2021 Twins Bullpen

    You can follow Andrew Luedtke on Twitter here.

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    "Who doesn’t love dingers?"


    I don't! Compared with triples, double plays, great catches in the outfield, beaten out bunts, and lots of other plays, I find home runs about as exciting to watch as walks and strikeouts. Of course, they are exciting when they change the outcome of a game dramatically, but most of the time they are just adding to a lead or cutting into a deficit, often by only one run, and end up not really having an impact. 


    So, for excitement as a spectator, give me the deader balls all day!

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    I am so fed up with Mandred and his burning desire to change something every offseason. First, he changes the ball, creating some gross mutation of the game. Then, he lies about it like a total schmuk. Now, he wants to change it again.


    Just get that dirtbag out of there.

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    I am NOT a fan of runners starting on Second base. I am also VERY opposed to the idea of a universal DH. Keep baseball like it has always been Don't try to change the game to match the viewers. Try to help the viewers to better understand and appreciate the game. Invest time and money into youth baseball/softball programs. Get young kids excited about this Great American Game! One of the things so unique to baseball is that its two leagues have slightly different rules, yet they still find a way to work together and create something truly great. Such a wonderful metaphor for what we need now in our country. Instead of trying to force someone else to change to your view why don't we find a way to work together, despite our differences.


    I can understand adding runners on second if say the game reaches 13 innings. But before that let it play out.


    I wish they had never changed how the All Star Game winner determines homefield for the World Series. It made that game unique as it gave the players a reason to play hard. 


    I hope they do not add any more teams to the postseason, do not shorten games, do not add a salary cap, and I hope they NEVER EVER add an automated strike zone. Baseball is a game of people, for people. 


    Baseball should not be about the money. Baseball is about the people who play it and the people to watch it. It is a game I grew up with and would like to grow old with. It is a game I plan to pass on to my children and their children. I just hope it is the same Great Game I grew up with. 

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