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  • Twins Front Office Testing an Unsustainable Rotation Solution


    Cody Christie

    On paper, the Twins have depth in the starting rotation for the first time in years. However, the front office's path to building this rotation could be more sustainable.

    Image courtesy of Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

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    Last week, Minnesota completed a trade that will add Pablo Lopez to a starting rotation that includes Sonny Gray, Joe Ryan, Tyler Mahle, and Kenta Maeda. None of these pitchers is considered an ace, but all five have shown the ability to be playoff-caliber starters at different points in their careers. Also, the Twins didn't develop any of these pitchers, which might become a problem for the front office.

    Maeda was the first of the group to join the Twins rotation. Minnesota acquired Maeda along with Jair Camargo for Brusdar Graterol and Luke Raley. Graterol was one of the Twins' best pitching prospects at the time of the trade, but it was expected that he would shift to a bullpen role. Now, he has only pitched 106 1/3 innings with a 7.8 K/9. Maeda finished runner-up for the Cy Young during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and will return to the mound in 2023 following Tommy John surgery. He is a free agent following the season and has been limited to 173 innings in a Twins uniform. 

    Ryan was the next pitcher acquired among this group. The Twins traded Nelson Cruz and Calvin Faucher to the Rays for Ryan and Drew Strotman at the 2021 trade deadline. Cruz was integral to Minnesota's success during the 2019 season, but he wasn't on an expiring contract. Tampa is known for its ability to develop pitching, and Ryan was nearly big-league-ready. In two seasons, he has posted a 3.63 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP with 9.4 K/9. Since he debuted at age 25, the Twins have team control over Ryan into his early-30s. 

    The Twins had to give up a substantial amount to acquire Sonny Gray during the last off-season. Minnesota had selected Chase Petty with the 26th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft. In his age-19 season, the Reds pushed him to High-A, and he compiled a 3.48 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP and 8.8 K/9. Gray is no stranger to trades because he was traded three times in six seasons. In 2022, he pitched 119 2/3 innings with a 125 OPS+ and 8.8 K/9. Like Maeda, he can be a free agent following the 2023 campaign. 

    Minnesota reengaged Cincinnati at last year's trade deadline to acquire Mahle. This time the cost was significantly more, with the Twins trading multiple top prospects, including Christian Encarnacion-Strand, Steve Hajjar, and Spencer Steer. Mahle was limited to 16 1/3 innings with the Twins due to a shoulder injury, but the Twins hope he's healthy in 2023. This trade may haunt the front office if Mahle's shoulder continues to be an issue. 

    The Lopez trade differed from many others mentioned above because both teams included an established big-league player. Lopez and Ryan are the only two pitchers under team control beyond the 2023 season. Over the last three seasons, Lopez has posted a 3.52 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP while averaging 113 innings per season. Fans will expect a lot from Lopez, mainly since the Twins traded fan favorite Luis Arraez.

    One of the reasons Minnesota hired Derek Falvey was because of the pitching pipeline he helped develop in Cleveland. So far, the Twins have yet to see the results of pitchers developing in the organization's farm system. Every team needs more than five starting pitchers, and the Twins will use homegrown players like Bailey Ober, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, Louie Varland, and Jordan Balazovic. Minnesota's top pitching prospects, Connor Prielipp and Marco Raya don't figure to impact the 2023 roster. Starting pitching depth is critical, but the Twins might not be able to continue to trade for rotational help. 

    Time will tell if the Twins surrendered too much to acquire their projected starting rotation. Minnesota has shown a tendency to avoid long-term contracts for starting pitchers, and that's why the trade market has been their go-to method for acquiring talent. The organization's farm system already ranks in the middle of the pack compared to the rest of the league, so it is unsustainable to think the front office can continue to trade prospects to acquire talent. Mid-market teams like the Twins thrive with young players supplementing the big-league roster, and that can't happen if the team continues to trade away prospects. 

    Is this model of building a rotation sustainable for the Twins? Will any of the organization's homegrown pitchers break out in 2023? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    I don't agree that, really in any deal, they have traded anything that will come back to truly haunt them.

    I am hopeful for a Mahle extension. He and Lopez are truly two guys to build around/with. He had shoulder fatigue at the end of 2022, but has had no reported structural issues to speak of. I'm curious what an extension would look like, but I'd be open/hopeful for something in the ballpark of 5/100 give or take.

    I also fully am ready for Varland and Woods Richardson to make their way to the majors in 2023, and cement their respective status as rotation members for 2024. After that, Prielipp and Raya CERTAINLY have the potential to be playoff level starters down the line.

     

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    I agree 100% with your premise.  If you don't develop your own, and refuse to sign talented free agent starters, you are left with trades as your only source of pitching, and that is not sustainable over the long haul.  It is critical that Varland, Winder, Canterino, Prielipp, and the rest become talented starters, or the Twins will not be able to sustain any level of success.  Trading prospects and players for pitching is a well that will run dry.  

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    Most of this board keeps saying the FO should be aggressive going after difference making players and they went and got Correa, Gray, Mahle, Paddack, Lopez and Lopez in the past year or so to make this team stronger.  We all say lot's of prospects don't work out and we have seen lot's of them not work out.  We had a surplus of middle infielders to use as trade bait and with those assets and the top of their 2021 draft the FO obtained potentially the best starting 5 in a very long time. 

    They decided the time to go for it was last year with the Correa signing and they bet half the farm to try and make something happen.  The window on Kepler, Polanco, Sano is\was closing fast and wave two of at least hitting prospects is here.  So we wanted them to do this and it seems like they are trying to move this team over the hump they haven't been able to get over.  Will it be enough hard to say.

    To the OP's point is it sustainable?  That is an easy NO.  You can't keep trading the best of your young controllable assets for long without setting the team back unless you are willing to hang with the big boys payroll in the 250M range.  With most of these pitcher deals they also gave themselves a short two to three year window so they need some of those minor league pitchers to work out quickly or it is going to be very hard to compete even in the easy central.

    I hope they have a good year or they could be painting themselves into a corner.

     

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    i don't really see it. unsustainable is dipping into free agency every year and handing out big contracts. more sustainable is trading for guys who are pretty good that you think/hope you can make better. more sustainable yet -- most sustainable? -- is developing your own (which seems to be the plan they're moving toward)

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    If by developing your "own" is drafting them (or international signing), and seeing them until they make the Big Leagues, then the best MN Pitcher of this century doesn't qualify.

    Neither do the best relievers of this century.

    I think the key here is, how do you build your team and can you repeatedly do this.  So, despite the prospects we have sent out, (perhaps with the exception of of Perry), we have plenty still in the pipeline.  

    It can be argued that this is sustainable because they are getting prospects (draft, Int signings, trades) that either develop into quality players or are used to attain quality players.

    So, after sending prospects to the Reds and the Marlins (along with the reigning batting champ) when you see the prospect list being put out by either Twins Daily, The Athletic, MLB Pipeline you will find that there are pieces in the play that can continue to improve this team.

    Plus, we have the #5 draft pick.

    After signing C4, making a move to add quality depth to our pitching staff AND the prospects both knocking at the door and those who will be knocking at the door in a few years, I am very happy with where we stand vs the past 20 years.

    Now for a Lefty Reliever... 

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    The trades completed thus far were all reasonable in their dimensions. Hopefully, each of the acquired starters manages to reach their potential this year. My own inclination is to allow each of the three on their final seasons reach free agency as a few new starting pitchers take their place.

    One potential path to finding an ace or additional strong starting pitcher is to gamble on a guy who has not yet established their career. I had hoped that the Twins could get lucky with a pitcher like Edward Cabrera.

    Another short term addition could arrive this summer. If Lewis and others arrive fully ready for every day play, the Twins will have some players to trade for pitchers approaching free agency on other teams that are looking to restock their systems. Trades remain a viable means to fill a rotation.

    The Twins prospects should be able to grab several spots too. The stock of talent is good for the team and for competition. If any of Ober, Winder, Varland, Woods Richardson, or others prove they are ready, they will get an opportunity to start and hold a rotation job.

    While it may be a stretch to see the current group of starters as the best in decades for the Twins, there is depth of quality and this bodes well for the coming season. If the young pitchers do not step up, there will be other opportunities to add to the starting pitching staff via trades and that is ok. We have to remember that the entire minor league system exists to put the best possible team on the field at the major league level.

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    I might be the biggest advocate on this board of the need to develop or trade for prospects that produce for 6+ years instead of two years.  However, the twins can absolutely have sustained success in the wake of the trades that were made.  That will depend on a few of the young guys coming through and realizing their potential.  They need to create a rotation between Ryan / Ober / SWR / Varland / Winder / Balazovic / Prielipp / Canterino / Festa and Raya.  who knows maybe they take a pitcher at 5 this year in the draft.  If they can develop starters, they will have the financial flexibility to sign a top of the rotation free agent.

    They have so many position player prospects that a few can fail they need to create a group of core guys between Correa / Buxton / Kirilloff / Miranda / Lewis / Lee / Larnach / Walner / Rodriquez / Martin and Salas. 

    The trades were a short-term benefit and likely a long-term loss.  That can be overcome by trades like the Arraez trade if they can get present and/or future value for the established players that will inevitably be replaced.  That's why they should trade Kepler and eventually Polanco.  They might just have enough mid rotation starters to trade someone at the deadline and they have a couple pitchers that will at minimum net a comp round pick.  Plus, they got lucky and moved up to 5 in the draft and they have a comp round pick.

    There is a good chance we have a good team for the next several years.  They will need a couple stars to emerge if they are going to be a dominant team.

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    Trading for 2-3 pitcher every season is not sustainable. But trading for 2-3 pitchers with more then a year of control should be sustainable with our own prospects getting into the mix. These trades also buy time for prospects to develop.

    Id like to point out that 9/11 BP arms are home grown or waiver pick ups

    Also 4 of the 10 projected starters are this FO's picks

    9 of the 14 projected position players were Twins prospects

    Plus we have almost an entire IF and OF of prospects that could see Target Field this season. That's after all these trades. They must be doing something right with the picks and trades. No no young Nolan Ryan 

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    Just now, jccracraft said:

    I don't really understand why Ober seems to be overlooked to a degree. He's had pretty good success at the MLB level already. It would be a waste to put him back at AAA.

    I don't either.  Ober just needs a bit more time.  I can't imagine the Twins have given up on him as a starter just yet. 

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    16 minutes ago, weitz41 said:

    Trading for 2-3 pitcher every season is not sustainable. But trading for 2-3 pitchers with more then a year of control should be sustainable with our own prospects getting into the mix. These trades also buy time for prospects to develop.

    Id like to point out that 9/11 BP arms are home grown or waiver pick ups

    Also 4 of the 10 projected starters are this FO's picks

    9 of the 14 projected position players were Twins prospects

    Plus we have almost an entire IF and OF of prospects that could see Target Field this season. That's after all these trades. They must be doing something right with the picks and trades. No no young Nolan Ryan 

    Part of what troubles me about the Arraez Lopez trade is that Lopez is only under team control for 2023 and 2024.  I hope they try and extend him at some point this season.  I had really hoped they would have made a bigger deal with Arraez plus some higher level prospects and gotten one of Cabrera, Luzardo, or Alcantara.  Either way that's water under the bridge now and the FO must make the best of this. 

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    I must be missing something here... They have traded very little in the way of top pitching prospects to acquire these current pitchers.  If they were clearing the cupboard to acquire these assets I would see the argument, but that is not the case.

    Keeping your top 3-5 prospects in the system and trading everything else is very sustainable IMO.  Especially when you receive assets that are not rentals.  There are only so many pitching spots to be had on the 40-man roster...

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    1 hour ago, jccracraft said:

    I don't really understand why Ober seems to be overlooked to a degree. He's had pretty good success at the MLB level already. It would be a waste to put him back at AAA.

    Ober is good and I like him, if he's your first line of depth at AAA that says good things about your depth, not bad things about Ober. I'm pretty high on Ober, and I think he may well out-pitch someone in the opening-day rotation this year, but he's less proven than the guys in the opening-day rotation, and you can't stash Maeda, Gray, Mahle, or Lopez in St Paul. I'd rather have six starters I trust than five, and one of them's gotta wait his turn, and it has to be either Ober or Ryan, and while I like Ober a lot, Ryan pretty obviously has the edge.

    (unless they try a six-man rotation again)

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    9 minutes ago, laloesch said:

    Part of what troubles me about the Arraez Lopez trade is that Lopez is only under team control for 2023 and 2024.  I hope they try and extend him at some point this season.  I had really hoped they would have made a bigger deal with Arraez plus some higher level prospects and gotten one of Cabrera, Luzardo, or Alcantara.  Either way that's water under the bridge now and the FO must make the best of this. 

    I agree that one of the guys with more control would have been ideal but as you said that's water under the bridge. We've found out this offseason the FO will do long term contracts on position players. Now we have to hope they are also into extending pitchers they have.

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    The truth is that virtually any championship calibre team will be comprised of both home grown talent and acquired players (trades or FA). However, smaller market teams - like the Twins - benefit more on the margin by developing more of their own cheaper, controllable talent as opposed to having to go out and fill a lot of holes with more expensive, shorter contract players (again, via trades or FA).

    This current rotation has been filled via trades and the result is more proven players but with very limited control. This approach for a team like the Twins is too skewed probably on an ongoing longer-term basis than would be ideal (or likely even sustainable). But it has been done at a reasonable cost for the most part, provided we get the performance out of these players we expect (and that is far from certain). 

    The trick will be to see how many of the up and comers can get prepared to be quality, cheap, controllable rotation pieces in ‘24 and beyond (essentially behind Lopez, Ryan and any of Mahle, Gray or Maeda we choose to/are able to extend).  Then we can get back to a little more balance in the model. 

     

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    Lots of astute observations so far, and also good assessments that question the notion that the Twins have shown some sort of pattern that suggests a defined "model" for sustainability. To me, if one could describe the various means by which the roster and the pipeline have been developed? I'd label it "opportunistic." Maybe that's a model?

    Sure, plenty of players have been acquired by dealing prospects (Maeda, Gray, Mahle, Jorge Lopez, etc.) But there have been just as many or more trades of vets that have landed us promising prospects (Ryan, SWR, Austin Martin, Jose Salas, Ronny Henriquez, Alejandro Hidalgo, and earlier Alcala and Duran, etc.) And I personally think the homegrown aspect is underrated by fans, especially of course position players acquired in both IFA and Rule 5. But Falvey has also made a few decent vet for vet trades, most recently of course for Pablo Lopez.

    If I see any patterns, it's these: 1) a risk calculation that makes them favor position players early in Rule 5 and throughout IFA scouting, and 2) an economic AND risk calculation that steers them away from FA acquisitions of starters.

    The "model" I want to see, and think I might be seeing? Creating sustainable success (trying anyways) by maintaining a healthy pipeline at all times, and a penchant for trading surplus MLB assets primarily for prospects. Contrary to some beliefs, the pipeline isn't depleted despite all the recent trades. They have about a half-dozen Top 100 prospects, most of them on the cusp. It's not Cleveland's, but it's better than KCR, DET, and CWS despite their more favorable draft positions in a majority of the past 10 drafts.

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    One way to develop the pipeline is to leave a space in the rotation for a prospect to move in and prove himself.  I like this rotation, but the list of prospects is a waiting room for injuries.  Good luck - we have pared down the really tradeable prospect list now unless we are looking to trade our own pitchers (I know we already did with Petty).  Trading our veterans when their is a replacement is a better system.  
     

    Arraez was my favorite, but trading him was the right thing to do.  We should have traded Kepler and Polanco when their value was greater. 

    If we win this year the strategy will be worth it.  If we are 500 again it is not. 

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    Although the Twins may appear better on paper there are still issues with this team.  One of the big ones to me is the bullpen.  There is definitely some question marks there starting with Pagan.  I know the team doesn't care if Pagan loses games and or blows saves because his " stuff" is good.  They have told us many times that the process is more important than the results.  If the philosophy is again going to be limiting starting pitchers to 5 or 6 innings on most games, then you better have an excellent bullpen to cover all the innings.  Last year's pen did ok but couldn't hold up under the continuing barrage of innings most days.  It needs to be deeper IMHO.  I know injuries were terrible last year, as they were for many teams.  Seems like the FO is banking on luck to make them a contender.  They better hope those injured players are back and play up to their potential or it's going to be another long summer.

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    2 hours ago, Dman said:

    They decided the time to go for it was last year with the Correa signing and they bet half the farm to try and make something happen.  The window on Kepler, Polanco, Sano is\was closing fast and wave two of at least hitting prospects is here.  So we wanted them to do this and it seems like they are trying to move this team over the hump they haven't been able to get over.  Will it be enough hard to say.

    To the OP's point is it sustainable?  That is an easy NO.  You can't keep trading the best of your young controllable assets for long without setting the team back unless you are willing to hang with the big boys payroll in the 250M range.  With most of these pitcher deals they also gave themselves a short two to three year window so they need some of those minor league pitchers to work out quickly or it is going to be very hard to compete even in the easy central.

    I hope they have a good year or they could be painting themselves into a corner.

     

    I would argue they haven't traded their the best of their young controllable assets though.  They have lost some talent, but held on to the elite guys.  Adding talent and keeping your best guys IMO, is not painting themselves into a corner.  I would much rather a team amass talent rather than hoard all their prospects.

    They lost: Graterol, Steer, Petty and CES as prospects and Arraez as a younger controllable asset, as well as 2 months of Cruz in a down year.  They gained Maeda, Gray, Mahle, Ryan and Lopez.  

    I really don't see a problem right now, especially when the team has guys such as Winder, Ober, Varland, SWR as well.  Starting rotation depth is a much better thing to have IMO.

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    29 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

    One way to develop the pipeline is to leave a space in the rotation for a prospect to move in and prove himself.  I like this rotation, but the list of prospects is a waiting room for injuries.  Good luck - we have pared down the really tradeable prospect list now unless we are looking to trade our own pitchers (I know we already did with Petty).  Trading our veterans when their is a replacement is a better system.  
     

    Arraez was my favorite, but trading him was the right thing to do.  We should have traded Kepler and Polanco when their value was greater. 

    If we win this year the strategy will be worth it.  If we are 500 again it is not. 

    I get your concern about this, but wonder if it's warranted. I believe the average team uses 22 pitchers during a season (this may be an old #, but the Mariners I think used 42, I kid you not, in 2019). We should unfortunately expect one pitcher to be lost for the season, another to be out for better than half, and a third to flop. If a prospect shines, he'll get opportunities.  I'm all for trading Polanco and/or Kepler, but I want them at closer to peak value for one, and I want an overpay if possible. With that in mind, Kepler stands a chance to be much better without overshifts, and Polanco might be healthy. Give me that and a contending team desperate to upgrade at the deadline, willing to overpay. Oh, and Lewis/Julien and Larnach/Martin lighting it up.

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    10 minutes ago, SwainZag said:

    I would argue they haven't traded their the best of their young controllable assets though.  They have lost some talent, but held on to the elite guys.  Adding talent and keeping your best guys IMO, is not painting themselves into a corner.  I would much rather a team amass talent rather than hoard all their prospects.

    They lost: Graterol, Steer, Petty and CES as prospects and Arraez as a younger controllable asset, as well as 2 months of Cruz in a down year.  They gained Maeda, Gray, Mahle, Ryan and Lopez.  

    I really don't see a problem right now, especially when the team has guys such as Winder, Ober, Varland, SWR as well.  Starting rotation depth is a much better thing to have IMO.

    I agree for the short term but the last pitcher Lopez cost them Arraez and often times teams want two top 100 prospects for a year and a half of control at the deadline.  You can't stack up deals like that for long.  Top players are eventually going to be needed to pull deals off. So to the OP's point it isn't sustainable long term.

    For examples of what happens when you continue to trade your farm away follow Dombroski.  It caught up to the Tigers and Red Sox eventually.  Look at what the White Sox had to do at the Deadline in 2021.  They literally had to trade a MLB player off of their roster to get another closer because their farm couldn't get the deal done.

    Twins are OK for now but eventually this philosophy will create a barren Farm system.

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    6 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

    The idea that if you trade a prospect that works out....you automatically lose the trade is silly.

    They got a good year from Gray. They are likely to get another. Even if Petty turns into a number 2/3....they got a good return that held much less risk than Petty. 

    Yeah I agree there is always more to look at in win now trade moves than just straight up production value over the years.  When your team is a playoff team and you need to strengthen it now, not using a minor league asset that is far off to get something you need now could be the difference between making it to the next playoff game or world series.  You are willing to lose deals like that to make your strong team stronger short term.

    If\when it doesn't work out it hurts but if the move helps the team win it is worth losing potential future value IMO and too your point there is no way to immediately know if the future asset will work out either. So the value is hard to define as it could end up a lose\lose or win\win or something in between.

    So there is more to trade "value" than meets the eye IMO.

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    2 hours ago, jccracraft said:

    I don't really understand why Ober seems to be overlooked to a degree. He's had pretty good success at the MLB level already. It would be a waste to put him back at AAA.

    Options

    The answer is options. 

    Ober goes down for the crime of having options... therefore, he can be stashed for depth while Gray, Mahle and Maeda can't be stashed.  

    We will need that depth because the odds of 5 starters making it through the season are slim to none. 

    If Ober stays healthy and productive... we will see a lot of him this year. 

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    1 hour ago, Dman said:

    You can't stack up deals like that for long.  Top players are eventually going to be needed to pull deals off.

    For examples of what happens when you continue to trade your farm away follow Dombroski. 

    Twins are OK for now but eventually this philosophy will create a barren Farm system.

    I'm gonna push back a bit:

    1) Falvey hasn't been stacking up prospect-for-vet deals at an excessive clip. He's added prospects pretty much as much as he's traded them, and one could argue that the quality of prospects added surpass the talent traded away. The farm system is not close to barren. A lot of our better prospects were acquired in trade, just as a lot of our 26-man this year will be acquisitions that cost prospect capital. Feels like a pretty balanced approach.

    2) The playing field has evened out dramatically when it comes to the drafting process. Technology has closed the gap regarding development efficiencies, and league-imposed spending limits curb competitive advantages as well. How does a team gain an edge these days? Smart trades. So, I'd submit to you that their philosophy is to trade effectively, and often, rather than to deplete the farm as you're suggesting.

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    57 minutes ago, bird said:

    Lots of astute observations so far, and also good assessments that question the notion that the Twins have shown some sort of pattern that suggests a defined "model" for sustainability. To me, if one could describe the various means by which the roster and the pipeline have been developed? I'd label it "opportunistic." Maybe that's a model?

    Sure, plenty of players have been acquired by dealing prospects (Maeda, Gray, Mahle, Jorge Lopez, etc.) But there have been just as many or more trades of vets that have landed us promising prospects (Ryan, SWR, Austin Martin, Jose Salas, Ronny Henriquez, Alejandro Hidalgo, and earlier Alcala and Duran, etc.) And I personally think the homegrown aspect is underrated by fans, especially of course position players acquired in both IFA and Rule 5. But Falvey has also made a few decent vet for vet trades, most recently of course for Pablo Lopez.

    If I see any patterns, it's these: 1) a risk calculation that makes them favor position players early in Rule 5 and throughout IFA scouting, and 2) an economic AND risk calculation that steers them away from FA acquisitions of starters.

    The "model" I want to see, and think I might be seeing? Creating sustainable success (trying anyways) by maintaining a healthy pipeline at all times, and a penchant for trading surplus MLB assets primarily for prospects. Contrary to some beliefs, the pipeline isn't depleted despite all the recent trades. They have about a half-dozen Top 100 prospects, most of them on the cusp. It's not Cleveland's, but it's better than KCR, DET, and CWS despite their more favorable draft positions in a majority of the past 10 drafts.

    Ryan, SWR, Martin, and Duran came aboard midseason because the Twins were selling. That's not really a sustainable avenue of acquisition either. 

    No, the farm isn't devoid of talent, but if we're talking about the "pitching pipeline," eh, it's not exactly encouraging. They're almost at a point where they'll have more rotation spots than arms in the next year or two, and that's before injury/ineffectiveness enter the conversation. 

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    1 hour ago, Mike Sixel said:

    The idea that if you trade a prospect that works out....you automatically lose the trade is silly.

    They got a good year from Gray. They are likely to get another. Even if Petty turns into a number 2/3....they got a good return that held much less risk than Petty. 

    I am not quite there.  It depends on two things for me.  Do they actually contend?  If not, so what if they were a little better.  Obviously, they did not contend last year.  We will see about this year but a lot of stuff has to go right,  Two, how long and how well does the lost prospect perform.  5-6 years of a solid number 2 really lifts a team, not to mention that cost controlled guy frees up budget for FAs.

    There are some examples like the Marlins got Alcantara and Gallen for two years of Acuna.  For me, unless they have two runs to the WS or win the WS one of the years, it's a very bad trade.  They won 88 games in 2018 and 91 in 19 then lost 4-0 in the NLCS.  So, they did pretty well but for me that is not remotely worth Alcantara for 6 years not to mention Zac Gallen as a bonus.

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    43 minutes ago, KirbyDome89 said:

    Ryan, SWR, Martin, and Duran came aboard midseason because the Twins were selling. That's not really a sustainable avenue of acquisition either. 

    No, the farm isn't devoid of talent, but if we're talking about the "pitching pipeline," eh, it's not exactly encouraging. They're almost at a point where they'll have more rotation spots than arms in the next year or two, and that's before injury/ineffectiveness enter the conversation. 

    It's irrelevant to me how those prospects were acquired. Cruz was a FA at season's end. They weren't interested in re-signing him. They got a steal. Eduardo Escobar was looking for more money than the Twins thought he was worth. Hence Duran. Same with Santana. Potentially a great trade. I'd say these trades all qualify as part of a highly sustainable overall approach. Which of these trades would you take back on the basis that they were "selling"?,  Or for any reason for that matter?

    As far as starting pitching, they'll be just fine. Lopez, Ryan, perhaps Mahle extended. Perhaps, among Ober, Varland, Winder, SWR, Balazovic, Sands, Enlow, Canterino... they get "lucky" and discover a couple viable startersand a RP or two, maybe pick up another via a trade of guys like Polanco and Kepler, and maybe they finally get another Shane Bieber-type surprise to go along with similar Bieber-like prospects (Ober and Winder) in a guy like Headrick or Festa, or maybe a couple years down the pike guys like Raya or Prielipp pan out.

     

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