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  • Why Haven't The Twins Signed Omar Narváez Yet?


    Matt Braun

    For real, what are they waiting for?

    Image courtesy of Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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    Some moves require abstraction, an extended philosophical debate to understand how a player will fit in with their new team. Many articles will attempt to understand this. Beyond the apparent positional need on hand, one’s skill set, cost, and clubhouse fit are all crucial considerations, potentially providing as much impact as their on-field play. There is no such issue with Omar Narvaez.

    The Twins have stepped as close as possible to revealing their interest in Narváez as Derek Falvey will ever admit. After implying The Great Gary Sánchez Experiment flopped, Falvey—as smothered in his lawyer-talk sauce as possible—said we should “probably anticipate” the Twins looking at a catcher platoon with Ryan Jeffers. “Ryan had a really good year against left-handed pitching,” he continued. “That’s a good sign. I’m not saying he’s exclusively a platoon (player), but there is an opportunity to match up going forward.”

    Narvaez is the only opportunity. Seriously, Willson Contreras and Christian Vazquez—the two other best free agent catchers—hit from the right side of the batter's box, while Sean Murphy—the next former Athletic and biggest name in the backstop trade arena—also enjoys right-handed privileges. Any of those three players would be great additions, but their overlapping righty-ness with Jeffers would negate platoon efficiency and the Twins under Falvey love efficiency.

    Beyond his left-handed capabilities, Narváez fits the mold of a Twins catcher: a framing expert who can provide enough jolt with the bat to make you mutter “not bad for a catcher” more than a handful of times a season. His offense slipped in 2022–a .305 slugging can never look good—but his bat failed him in 2020 as well, and it recovered for an adequate .266/.342/.402 line in 2021. Even if this dead cat never bounces, a defensive specialist in Jason Castro’s mold is far from a roster curse. 

    Jeffers has yet to play with such a teammate in his Twins career. Since 2021 when the Twins anointed him as the future, the 25-year-old awkwardly matched with the similarly skilled Mitch Garver, the fun, yet limited Willians Astudillo, the offensively dreadful Ben Rortvedt, the aforementioned Sánchez, and the Wario-shaped Sandy León. All of those players, ranging from poor matches to overwhelmed in an important skill critical to winning baseball games, fail to compliment Jeffers in the way Narváez can. It’s not exactly the smooth 2019 duo of Castro and Garver, but it could come close. 

    Other baseball minds agree in the combination; the Fangraphs blurb about Narváez states that “...at this stage, he’s a backup catcher best paired with a righty-hitting starter, which might relieve some of the physical burden of catching from both parties and create more overall production at the position.” It’s like they were thinking of the Twins while writing.

    Of course, the Twins must involve themselves in negotiating, politicking, and a great deal of boring phone calls about trades and signings that never happen before they can admit defeat and simply sign a necessary player. Throw in the Carlos Correa Conundrum reserving the majority of Minnesota’s attention, and their periphery will likely remain blocked until Falvey is sick of hearing Scott Boras’ awful jokes for eight hours a day. Once that happens, the Twins should probably sign Omar Narváez. It makes too much sense, right?

     

     

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    I am not against the move, but he will not be a high target for teams.  He is coming off very bad season, where even against the righties he would be asked to hit mostly against, he hit .205/.280/.314.  Not exactly a slash line you want as a platoon.  That is only a little better than Jeffers career splits against RHP. I would think the Twins will look for other options for platoon first before settling. 

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    The Twins are probably trying to see if they can sign Correa.  If not the Twins may want to pivot to Abreau and Contreras for more bigger bats for the lineup or they may go after Rodon.  Anyway you look at it the major pieces need to fall before a next tier option is pursued.  The Twins could get that feel early on and make some pivots.  But that C won’t be anyone’s likely top target.

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    Whole heartedly agree with you Matt. I've been saying for a long time we need a Castro-type catcher to compliment our team. When I saw Narvaez, I decided he's the one that would fit behind the plate. We are now setting our floor, so signing Narvaez makes perfect sense to set the floor. If we sign Correa we have our ideal platoon with Jeffers. If we don't sign Correa we can pivot to a Conteras/ Narvaez platoon and trade Jeffers. If we wait around and let someone else pick him up we lose our perfect platoon partner. Give Narvaez a decent offer & let him enjoy his Christmas. He signed a 1 yr./ $5MM last season, with a down offensive season offer him 2 yrs./ $9MM. 

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    I think the big game shortstops are in a completely different category than the catcher search. Trading with OAK or TOR or picking up a lesser FA like Vazquez isn't going to change the budget around a $25-35m contract. A larger FA like a Rodon might have to wait until the big stuff is resolved, but a $8-12m catcher is going to fit easily. 

    But regardless of what the Twins want, the people holding the papers on the big prizes (Boras, TOR, OAK) are going to draw things out a bit and let the market develop. As the pressure on team officials to Do Something keeps building in immoderate places like NY and BOS, there will come a point where someone just throws down to take the hand, and that's worth waiting for when you're the seller.

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    I agree a with Brandon that it might be part of the SS waiting game. If one of the top 4 doesn't happen, the FO is going to pivot to pen and bats, probably, with another SP ad a Mayne.

    Do the Twins NEED a LH catcher to pair with Jeffers? No. But it's nice if you have one. What I'm afraid will happen is they have the perfect complementary piece in Narvaez for about $6M and someone will snap him up and then we're left with the FO scratching their heads asking what happened. 

    Go for the big fish! But even if you miss out on one of the top SS...and I'm not saying they will...there are other really good players to add and build the roster from that perspective. But swtting the floor with a perfect fit piece doesn't prevent future moves at all.

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    The new CEO Joe Pohlad is too busy designing new uniforms to bother with actually improving the team! He is cut out of the Pohlad mold of focusing on Profit and not Winning so don't expect any big moves. Get set for another .500 season!! More pitchers were signed today but not by the Twins. Plus Houston, the World Champs, spend more to get Abreu!! We keep getting further behind!

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    Not sure that signing a guy who projects as a backup catcher who will not hit better than the guy he replaced just because he hits from the left side of the plate screams like a move that HAS to be made.  Especially when we seem hell bent on becoming LESS left handed in totality. 

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    19 hours ago, Matt Braun said:

    The Twins have stepped as close as possible to revealing their interest in Narváez as Derek Falvey will ever admit. After implying The Great Gary Sánchez Experiment flopped, Falvey—as smothered in his lawyer-talk sauce as possible—said we should “probably anticipate” the Twins looking at a catcher platoon with Ryan Jeffers. “Ryan had a really good year against left-handed pitching,” he continued. “That’s a good sign. I’m not saying he’s exclusively a platoon (player), but there is an opportunity to match up going forward.”

    Ryan Jeffers has been given opportunity to hit right handed pitching and hasn't done well with those chances. 

    His splits suggest that he should indeed be platooned. This isn't the same as Garlick who was never really given the chance to hit righties. Jeffers has been given regular AB's against RH.

    Either way the long term prognosis is the same. 

    The very second you hit that platoon button with him. You immediately go from development to strip mining whatever you can get out of Jeffers before eventually tossing him into the discard pile sometime during his upcoming arb years. 

    If you limit (I understand Derek's "not saying exclusively") his AB's against right handers, he will never correct this deficiency and therefore never get the privilege back. He won't last long on the short side platoon shelf. 

    If you limit his appearances against right handers. Your next order of business is to quickly find that next young catcher that could be developed into real value because Jeffers will not be that guy. 

    With that said... I support the signing of Narvaez. 

     

     

     

     

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    Jeffers has the equivalent of one seasons ABs (534) over his three year stint.  I am hoping he matures as a hitter and I hope we have a hitting coach that can teach more than launch angle.   Right now he is a Tim Laudner and we need better than that.

    He is 25 and could break out as an answer to all our needs. His minor league numbers say that he has a lot more to give.

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    16 hours ago, darin617 said:

    I'm not against the move. Just do it now before the market is set. Once the possible trades happen and Conteras signs the price for the mid tier goes up.

    Reducing demand does not usually increase the price

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    14 hours ago, MGM4706 said:

    The new CEO Joe Pohlad is too busy designing new uniforms to bother with actually improving the team! He is cut out of the Pohlad mold of focusing on Profit and not Winning so don't expect any big moves. Get set for another .500 season!! More pitchers were signed today but not by the Twins. Plus Houston, the World Champs, spend more to get Abreu!! We keep getting further behind!

    Wow, can we at least let him settle into his new role for a week before the hammering starts?  Nothing like judging him before even the offseason is barely started.

    The Pohlads have a mid-market team with a mid-market payroll.  Why are some never satisfied.  Sorry, but I just don't get it.

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    21 hours ago, Squirrel said:

    No ... they signed Jair. That was misreported.

    Saw the tweet by Doogie,. Twins web site still shows Johan in transactions. Resigning Jair makes more sense.

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    Catcher is a very important position  or was at one time ...

    Catchers used to be the leader of the field , he'd position fielders , he'd call the pitch , he'd block balls in the dirt , he'd throw out a higher percentage of base stealers,  he'd be the leader of the team ...

    What happened,  I don't know but they sure aren't what they used to be , also catchers were always considered a future manager ...

    We need a defensive catcher pure and simple  , go get a good one ? and if he hits 250 so be it , it's the defense that is important   ...

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    11 hours ago, Riverbrian said:

    Ryan Jeffers has been given opportunity to hit right handed pitching and hasn't done well with those chances. 

    His splits suggest that he should indeed be platooned. This isn't the same as Garlick who was never really given the chance to hit righties. Jeffers has been given regular AB's against RH.

    Those splits really take time to stabilize and even more so at the start of a career.

    Did you know that Jeffers’ OPS splits are better in games started by a right handed pitcher than a left handed pitcher (.688 v .648)?

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    16 minutes ago, jorgenswest said:

    Those splits really take time to stabilize and even more so at the start of a career.

    Did you know that Jeffers’ OPS splits are better in games started by a right handed pitcher than a left handed pitcher (.688 v .648)?

    I didn't know that... Interesting stat... Get that info to Lavine immediately. ?

    I agree that splits need a larger sample to stabilize. That's why I'm pointing out the potential consequences of the decision to limit his appearances against right handers at this point of his career. 

    If you platoon Jeffers... or restrict his AB's against Right Handers. Further Development is no longer a consideration, The new plan will be getting the last drop of juice out of his carcass. He won't get better at hitting right handers if he is not allowed to get better against them. 

    The club will be deciding the role Jeffers will play this year and the years to follow. I don't know how I feel about that. It's a big decision. Falvey's quote scares me a little. 

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    Some possibilities:

    Maverick Handley from Orioles; Antonio Gomez from Yankees; Drew Millas from Nat's; Dominic Miroglio from Diamondbacks; Kile Cottam and Stephen Scott from Red Sox.

    Twins haven't drafted anyone for a while, but they might like one of these catchers....

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