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  • Twins, Kyle Garlick Avoid Arbitration, Agree to One-Year Deal Worth $750,000


    Matt Braun

    On Monday Night, news broke that the Twins agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder Kyle Garlick for $750,000. Let’s talk about it.

    Image courtesy of Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

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    The Good Lord put Kyle Garlick on this Earth to do one thing: mash left-handed pitching. The 30-year-old isn’t a great fielder, has never taken more than 200 plate appearances in a season at the major league level, and consistently fails to hold a Duolingo streak (allegedly). But, he can put a hurt on a ball thrown from a southpaw like few players in MLB. 

    Garlick’s career slash line against lefties is a lopsided .251/.301/.538, almost a mirror image of Byron Buxton’s .224/.306/.526 total effort in 2022, and a hearty upgrade over the average AL slash line against lefties in 2022 (.246/.315/.399). I tried typing Garlick’s line against right-handers, but the power ominously flicked on and off while a ghastly voice told me the day of my death. 

    For Minnesota, the fit is obvious; the team is 21st in MLB in OPS against lefties dating back to the 2020 season, as core players like Max Kepler and, strangely, Miguel Sanó have found themselves flummoxed when facing southpaws. While other lefty killers like Mitch Garver and C.J. Cron have exited stage right, the Twins have struggled to find replacements, and the team that dominated lefties in 2019 (.872 OPS!!) needs aid against them. 

    This is an aside, but Nelson Cruz hit .361/.438/.730 against lefties while in a Twins uniform. Man, that guy rocked. 

    For Garlick, the deal is a nice safety net; players who break into the league at the age of 27 don’t usually become roster fixtures, and Garlick’s two-year tenure with the Twins has so far represented the heftiest playing time any major-league franchise has offered him. Health has also failed Garlick. The outfielder suffered four separate injuries in 2022 while a sports hernia knocked out most of his 2021 campaign. His new contract worth $750,000 is now a little over the veteran minimum of $700,000, making the deal a slight perk up to his paycheck. 

    Garlick will never be an impact player, but every team needs tertiary specialists, and the Twins have been significantly lacking in players who can thump a lefty. It’s easy to imagine a late-game scenario where Rocco Baldelli pinch-hits Garlick with a lefty reliever stuck on the mound, giving the Twins a better chance to nab an extra-base hit, potentially securing a crucial run. Or, maybe, Garlick starts against a tough lefty, cranking two homers in a rousing effort.

    You don’t even need to imagine that one because he did it last year against Shane McClanahan

    In any case, the deal is a low-stakes buy-in for a player who helps fix a desperate roster need. If healthy, Garlick could be a useful piece against a niche, yet important, variety of pitcher. If he isn't healthy, the team is down a sum of money any good accountant could wipe away with ease. 

     

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    It’s a decent signing. Garlick had his moments when healthy. Low cost, low risk, but good for Garrick’s career as he tries to get eligible for the ML pension.

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    This tells me that the Twins value a part-time specialist type player over a prospect that they could protect from the rule 5 draft. Having a player like Garlick take a spot on the 40 man roster will possibly cost a prospect as well. I guess the Twins aren't serious about making improvements to the team.

    If he would be used ONLY as a pinch hitter against a lefty pitcher late in a game I would have no problem but the Twins have a Manager that will still let him bat against a righty. Saw it many times last year where he started against a lefty and Rocco let him bat when the opposing team brought in a righty later in the game. Mr. Analytic Rocco uses his analytics when he wants and then also refuses to use analytics when he needs to.

     

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    Just more bargain hunting by the Twins.  I wouldn't call a career OPS of .839 mashing when it's such a small sample size. He'll be 31 by the time the season starts and only has 186 plate appearances versus lefties.  

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    1 hour ago, Vanimal46 said:

    3 guarantees in life. Death, taxes, and fans wildly overreacting about depth signings. He’s making $50k over the minimum and can be easily DFA’d if other opportunities present itself. Every team needs depth. That’s all this signing is. 

    I still remember last year when people freaked out about signing Tim Beckham to a minor league deal. I don't like Garlick and hope he's not on the Twins next year, but there's no reason not to keep him around until you have someone who's better. They'll DFA him in an instant if they can sign a Haniger type, but why not keep him until you do?

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    1 hour ago, chpettit19 said:

    I still remember last year when people freaked out about signing Tim Beckham to a minor league deal. I don't like Garlick and hope he's not on the Twins next year, but there's no reason not to keep him around until you have someone who's better. They'll DFA him in an instant if they can sign a Haniger type, but why not keep him until you do?

    At least you are honest about your loathing for Garlick.

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    3 hours ago, rv78 said:

    This tells me that the Twins value a part-time specialist type player over a prospect that they could protect from the rule 5 draft. Having a player like Garlick take a spot on the 40 man roster will possibly cost a prospect as well. I guess the Twins aren't serious about making improvements to the team.

     

    That's not necessarily true. Remember a year ago, the Twins signed Jake Cave to a guaranteed, low-dollar deal and almost immediately removed him from the 40-man roster to add players to the roster. This move stops them from doing nothing really. 

    Signing Garlick doesn't say anything any bigger about their offseason plans. He's a piece. They're going to make minor-league signings too. It's all part of it. But again, this deal doesn't keep them from doing anything. 

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    2 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

    3 guarantees in life. Death, taxes, and fans wildly overreacting about depth signings. He’s making $50k over the minimum and can be easily DFA’d if other opportunities present itself. Every team needs depth. That’s all this signing is. 

    Yup. This has no impact on the decision to bring in a RHB COF. For the contract, it's a great signing as it ensures they have someone in case the market for those outfielders gets heated.

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    After thinking about this a little it makes sense so long as they pursue a better right handed cof. The market is pretty slim for this type of player so having Garlick as a back up plan at least sets the floor. If this is plan A then that’s a different story…..

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    i would like to upgrade the RH corner OF spot (Wil Myers looks like a nice fit: mashes LH pitchers like Garlick, not helpless against RH pitchers, should be pretty affordable, decent track record of health overall). but Garlick is a nice backup option to have if there's no movement there (i.e., they spend an epic amount of money on SS & Rodon?).

    The roster spot might be a bit tricky, but locking him down at this price seems to be a pretty smart insurance policy. That said, it's a marginal move, not a significant one. It's certainly not one to either praise the FO for being brilliant, nor a reason to light the torches and sharpen the pitchforks...

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    3 hours ago, RpR said:

    At least you are honest about your loathing for Garlick.

    I didn't say loath anywhere. I don't think he's a player worthy of a major league roster spot on a contender because he brings 1 thing, and 1 thing only to a roster. And hitting against lefties is the smallest role possible on a roster. So, no, I don't like him as a player taking up a spot on the 26-man roster and I hope that doesn't happen. But signing him to barely above league minimum deal isn't hurting anything so I have no problem with that. Just expect a major leaguer to be able to hit righties, run, field, throw, or literally be good at any other part of the game besides hitting lefties.

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    WOW!!  Do you think the brass tried to talk him down to 500 thousand before they signed him. I’m so feed up with this teams management and coaching decisions that after a lifetime twins fan I’m about to give up. I doubt they’ll sign Gio Urshela. They’ll want to save the money to sign a couple more hacks like garlick. Of course they could sign him,I doubt any other team was interested.Shows me what they think of their talent in the minors. If they don’t have a player that could be of more use than garlick we are in really bad shape. The 2023 season doesn’t look promising.I plan to find other things to spend my time and money on. The only thing that could draw me back is when they fire falvine and the ENTIRE coaching staff!!😏

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