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Cody Pirkl

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  • Birthday 09/22/1995

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  1. When Jose Berrios was traded last season, the front office described the next chapter as a retool rather than a rebuild. Now rumors swirl of a Byron Buxton trade. Make no mistake, if these rumors come to fruition, there is no such thing as a retool. The Twins find themselves in a difficult situation this winter. After trading their #1 starting pitcher in Jose Berrios, they’re left with only two rotation spots tentatively spoken for, each by a rookie. A pitching staff that sunk the former back-to-back AL Central champs has to be completely reworked on the front end with significant needs in a bullpen that struggled as well. Shortstop, the quarterback of the infield, is also vacant and will require a legitimate impact addition in order to help propel the team back into contention. In addition to on-field tangibles, they’ve also lost the leader of their pitching staff in Berrios, as well as the leader of the team as a whole in Nelson Cruz. A path to a comeback in 2022 is a bumpy one, but it could certainly be done. What can’t be recovered from, however, is adding center field to the list of vacancies. Center field is one of the most important everyday players on any baseball team. In Minnesota, the player manning the position has been the reason the team has sunk or swam. Since the Twins rise to success in 2019, they’ve been 100-64 with Buxton on the field and 106-106 without him. Correlation does not equal causation, but there’s no denying those numbers are indicative of Buxton’s impact when you watch him on the field. Some have called for Buxton to be traded in the past, mainly due to his long list of injuries. There’s no stopping such an opinion, but those who hold it have to realize what they’re advocating. The Twins almost certainly surpass the point of no return if they choose to field a team without Byron Buxton. The best case scenario following a Buxton trade, regardless of the return, is to sell off literally everyone else. Pay part of Josh Donaldson’s contract to get the best possible return. Take advantage of the need for catchers across the league and get a haul for Mitch Garver. See if anyone is willing to make an offer for Taylor Rogers. 2022 will certainly be a wash, and these players would offer more value on the trade market than on a losing team. Does that reality sound painful? Try the alternative where the Twins trade one of the best players in baseball and try to compete in 2022. The path to doing so without emptying the farm system or spending an unrealistic amount in free agency simply doesn’t exist. Pretending that the team marches into the playoffs in 2022 without Buxton manning center field would set Twins baseball back years. At least Option A gives full attention to collecting young talent to try to develop a new core for the near future. The team still has a path to contention in 2022, and even if that doesn’t work out, their upcoming prospects should position them well for 2023. Extending Byron Buxton is a vote of confidence not only in the front office's ability to rebound, but in the current core that’s in place. Trading Byron Buxton is waving a white flag on both fronts. The next move by the front office won’t be forced. It’s a choice. Byron Buxton isn’t asking for anything near record-setting money. There is no better player they’ll ever find to man center field, and the one they have is a home-grown fan favorite. Such a move by the front office would be giving up on a two-year window that earned them so much praise despite it never having been capitalized on. In six years this front office has inherited a stinker of a team and converted it into a core of players that once had fans thinking the stars are the limit. Now they sit on the edge of a decision that would rightfully leave fans wondering “What was it all for?”. For more Twins content: — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  2. The Twins find themselves in a difficult situation this winter. After trading their #1 starting pitcher in Jose Berrios, they’re left with only two rotation spots tentatively spoken for, each by a rookie. A pitching staff that sunk the former back-to-back AL Central champs has to be completely reworked on the front end with significant needs in a bullpen that struggled as well. Shortstop, the quarterback of the infield, is also vacant and will require a legitimate impact addition in order to help propel the team back into contention. In addition to on-field tangibles, they’ve also lost the leader of their pitching staff in Berrios, as well as the leader of the team as a whole in Nelson Cruz. A path to a comeback in 2022 is a bumpy one, but it could certainly be done. What can’t be recovered from, however, is adding center field to the list of vacancies. Center field is one of the most important everyday players on any baseball team. In Minnesota, the player manning the position has been the reason the team has sunk or swam. Since the Twins rise to success in 2019, they’ve been 100-64 with Buxton on the field and 106-106 without him. Correlation does not equal causation, but there’s no denying those numbers are indicative of Buxton’s impact when you watch him on the field. Some have called for Buxton to be traded in the past, mainly due to his long list of injuries. There’s no stopping such an opinion, but those who hold it have to realize what they’re advocating. The Twins almost certainly surpass the point of no return if they choose to field a team without Byron Buxton. The best case scenario following a Buxton trade, regardless of the return, is to sell off literally everyone else. Pay part of Josh Donaldson’s contract to get the best possible return. Take advantage of the need for catchers across the league and get a haul for Mitch Garver. See if anyone is willing to make an offer for Taylor Rogers. 2022 will certainly be a wash, and these players would offer more value on the trade market than on a losing team. Does that reality sound painful? Try the alternative where the Twins trade one of the best players in baseball and try to compete in 2022. The path to doing so without emptying the farm system or spending an unrealistic amount in free agency simply doesn’t exist. Pretending that the team marches into the playoffs in 2022 without Buxton manning center field would set Twins baseball back years. At least Option A gives full attention to collecting young talent to try to develop a new core for the near future. The team still has a path to contention in 2022, and even if that doesn’t work out, their upcoming prospects should position them well for 2023. Extending Byron Buxton is a vote of confidence not only in the front office's ability to rebound, but in the current core that’s in place. Trading Byron Buxton is waving a white flag on both fronts. The next move by the front office won’t be forced. It’s a choice. Byron Buxton isn’t asking for anything near record-setting money. There is no better player they’ll ever find to man center field, and the one they have is a home-grown fan favorite. Such a move by the front office would be giving up on a two-year window that earned them so much praise despite it never having been capitalized on. In six years this front office has inherited a stinker of a team and converted it into a core of players that once had fans thinking the stars are the limit. Now they sit on the edge of a decision that would rightfully leave fans wondering “What was it all for?”. For more Twins content: — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  3. It’s easy to get frustrated when the Twins buy low on players, especially when they don’t bounce back as hoped. It’s equally easy to forget how there are several of these bounce-back candidates who pay off big every year. The reality is it’s easier and cheaper to try to find the next Robbie Ray than it is to pay up for the real one. It’s more teams than just the Twins that go chasing bounce-backs every winter to be fair. The formula is to look for a pitcher coming off of a rough showing who still has something to like, whether that’s great success in recent years or something they do well but need to incorporate into their game more. The Twins have significant needs in the rotation. If you think they employed this tactic in recent years, I’d be expecting a whole lot more of it this winter. Here are a few names to watch. Dylan Bundy Bundy looked like a big missed opportunity in 2020. Traded for pennies on the dollar from Baltimore to the Angels, Bundy put up ace-like numbers in LA during the shortened season. His K/9 crept near 10 while limiting walks and homers. He had a 3.29 ERA and 2.0 fWAR through just 11 starts. 2021 was a different story however. Bundy struggled with velocity at times. He also upped his sinker usage by almost 10% at the cost of his changeup and curveball. The results were ugly, as he finished with a 6.06 ERA in 90 innings and lost his rotation spot. Numbers like that don’t draw a ton of attention, but his well performing slider (36% whiff rate in 2021) and incredible stretch in 2020 makes him an excellent flier to take at the back end of the rotation with upside for much more. Still only 29 years old, Bundy will probably carry a price tag that wouldn’t stop the Twins from adding elsewhere. Carlos Martinez Martinez’ time in St. Louis started with a roar and ended in a whimper. Debuting at 21 years old, Martinez was an incredibly valuable arm from 2015-2019. For 2020 and 2021 however, Martinez tallied just over 100 innings with the Cards as he dealt with a rash of injuries and struggles with velocity. His ERA in those two years went from 9.90 in 2020 to 6.23 in 2021. At only 30 years of age, Martinez hits the market with a value that may never be lower. Expecting him to return to his #1 or 2 starter form may be a longshot. It is reasonable however to think that there’s enough talent in his right arm to shore up a rotation spot on a pitching needy team for a very low price. He also has closing and relief experience if durability is an issue. The last time he was used exclusively as a reliever in 2019, Martinez averaged nearly 97 mph on his fastball as opposed to sitting around 94 in the rotation. A Carlos Martinez signing would definitely be a gamble, but likely a low risk one that depends mainly on health. Assuming he can take the mound regularly, it’s easy to imagine the former Cardinal help fill a vacancy of some sort in the Twins tattered pitching staff. Michael Wacha Wacha looked like a future stud in St. Louis when he debuted, peaking in 2017 when he averaged 95.5 mph on his fastball and was a 3 win player. It’s all been downhill since then however, as Wacha has dealt with a decline in velocity and home run issues in the four years since. His 2021 was uninspiring on the surface in Tampa Bay with his ERA over 5.00 in just over 120 innings pitched. Of note however is the fact that 2021 was the first season Wacha has averaged 94 mph on the fastball in four years. While ineffective throughout most of the season, at the end of August he scrapped his cut fastball which allowed a .375 average against and a .586 slugging %. He replaced it with more fastballs and changeups (his best pitch) and finished the last month of the season with a strikeout per inning and a 3.00 ERA. His upside may lack that of Bundy or Martinez, but there’s a decent chance of him being a serviceable starting pitcher for a good MLB team. His price should be incredibly cheap considering he was paid $3m in 2021 and didn’t show much bounce-back potential until the last month of the season. It’s the exact type of move such a pitching needy team would shoot for even though the fanbase would lament it. Are any of these three more enticing than the others? Are there any bounce-back candidates that you’d like to see the Twins go after not on the list? Let us know below. For more Twins content: — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  4. Every year a few formerly-successful pitchers hit the free agent market after disappointing campaigns. The Twins famously look for a bargain when possible, and this year there are a few such arms to keep an eye on. It’s easy to get frustrated when the Twins buy low on players, especially when they don’t bounce back as hoped. It’s equally easy to forget how there are several of these bounce-back candidates who pay off big every year. The reality is it’s easier and cheaper to try to find the next Robbie Ray than it is to pay up for the real one. It’s more teams than just the Twins that go chasing bounce-backs every winter to be fair. The formula is to look for a pitcher coming off of a rough showing who still has something to like, whether that’s great success in recent years or something they do well but need to incorporate into their game more. The Twins have significant needs in the rotation. If you think they employed this tactic in recent years, I’d be expecting a whole lot more of it this winter. Here are a few names to watch. Dylan Bundy Bundy looked like a big missed opportunity in 2020. Traded for pennies on the dollar from Baltimore to the Angels, Bundy put up ace-like numbers in LA during the shortened season. His K/9 crept near 10 while limiting walks and homers. He had a 3.29 ERA and 2.0 fWAR through just 11 starts. 2021 was a different story however. Bundy struggled with velocity at times. He also upped his sinker usage by almost 10% at the cost of his changeup and curveball. The results were ugly, as he finished with a 6.06 ERA in 90 innings and lost his rotation spot. Numbers like that don’t draw a ton of attention, but his well performing slider (36% whiff rate in 2021) and incredible stretch in 2020 makes him an excellent flier to take at the back end of the rotation with upside for much more. Still only 29 years old, Bundy will probably carry a price tag that wouldn’t stop the Twins from adding elsewhere. Carlos Martinez Martinez’ time in St. Louis started with a roar and ended in a whimper. Debuting at 21 years old, Martinez was an incredibly valuable arm from 2015-2019. For 2020 and 2021 however, Martinez tallied just over 100 innings with the Cards as he dealt with a rash of injuries and struggles with velocity. His ERA in those two years went from 9.90 in 2020 to 6.23 in 2021. At only 30 years of age, Martinez hits the market with a value that may never be lower. Expecting him to return to his #1 or 2 starter form may be a longshot. It is reasonable however to think that there’s enough talent in his right arm to shore up a rotation spot on a pitching needy team for a very low price. He also has closing and relief experience if durability is an issue. The last time he was used exclusively as a reliever in 2019, Martinez averaged nearly 97 mph on his fastball as opposed to sitting around 94 in the rotation. A Carlos Martinez signing would definitely be a gamble, but likely a low risk one that depends mainly on health. Assuming he can take the mound regularly, it’s easy to imagine the former Cardinal help fill a vacancy of some sort in the Twins tattered pitching staff. Michael Wacha Wacha looked like a future stud in St. Louis when he debuted, peaking in 2017 when he averaged 95.5 mph on his fastball and was a 3 win player. It’s all been downhill since then however, as Wacha has dealt with a decline in velocity and home run issues in the four years since. His 2021 was uninspiring on the surface in Tampa Bay with his ERA over 5.00 in just over 120 innings pitched. Of note however is the fact that 2021 was the first season Wacha has averaged 94 mph on the fastball in four years. While ineffective throughout most of the season, at the end of August he scrapped his cut fastball which allowed a .375 average against and a .586 slugging %. He replaced it with more fastballs and changeups (his best pitch) and finished the last month of the season with a strikeout per inning and a 3.00 ERA. His upside may lack that of Bundy or Martinez, but there’s a decent chance of him being a serviceable starting pitcher for a good MLB team. His price should be incredibly cheap considering he was paid $3m in 2021 and didn’t show much bounce-back potential until the last month of the season. It’s the exact type of move such a pitching needy team would shoot for even though the fanbase would lament it. Are any of these three more enticing than the others? Are there any bounce-back candidates that you’d like to see the Twins go after not on the list? Let us know below. For more Twins content: — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  5. Cody Pirkl

    Seeing Red(s)

    The day after the World Series wrapped up, news surfaced of a trade between the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers. Nothing major, but definitely surprising to see so early in the offseason. It’s an innocent enough deal, but it sheds the spotlight on a Cincinnati team with plenty of star power who narrowly missed the playoffs. Cincinnati finds themselves in an odd spot. Some high dollar players and regular contributors appear to be major question marks moving forward. Their minor league system is quite frankly not great. They have several players either leaving by way of free agency or possibly opting out. It appears to have led leadership to a disappointing conclusion. It’s never fun to see another team turn towards a possible rebuild, but it creates opportunity for those still willing to go for it. There are a few players the Twins could check in on. Sonny Gray Starting off with a fun name that’s been linked to the Twins before. At 31 years old, Gray threw 135 1/3 innings in 2021 and posted a 4.19 ERA. He did suffer from several injuries throughout the season but still posted a strong 27% K rate and sub 10% walk rate. It may not be realistic to expect 200 innings from Gray in 2022, but one would think that a second consecutive 162 game season could build him up to the 160-170 range assuming he avoids major injuries. Gray is due about $10m in 2022 with a $12m team option in 2023. This is the kind of money and upside that would slot perfectly into the Twins plans to return to contention while leaving wiggle room for plenty more additions. If the Reds are selling they have no reason to hold onto a 30+ year old pitcher for $10m per year. Fellow TwinsDaily writer Nash Walker did some research on the old Trade Simulator and found one viable return including RHP Matt Canterino and OF Trevor Larnach. If the Twins want to return to contention that just may be the cost of doing business. Amir Garrett Garrett has been the topic of Twins trade talk before as well, as the hard-throwing lefty reliever would be a nice arm to slot into the back end of a needy bullpen. The difference this winter is Garrett is much more realistic. The left hander is coming off what could be described as a brutal season after posting an ERA over 6.00 in just under 50 innings. His main issue was a HR/9 nearing 2 for the second year in a row. Garrett still posted a 28.4% K rate and showed every bit of the arm talent that was so impressive in years past. He’s due to make $2m in 2022 with one more year of arbitration, and the Reds may see more value in flipping a reliever nearing the age of 30 if they’re headed toward a rebuild. Getting Garrett out of Great American Ballpark alone may go a long way in improving his performance, and the cost after his 2021 simply can’t be very high. Nick Senzel The former top 100 prospect has fallen a long way from being a possible core piece of a hypothetical Francisco Lindor trade. Injuries are mostly to blame, as 26 year old Senzel has yet to truly get any run at the MLB level for an extended period of time. Senzel has played in just 59 games since his debut in 2019 where he was able to appear in 104 ballgames. The Reds could very well be willing to take what they can get as their former up and coming star continues to miss time. For the Twins, Senzel is a player who can play center field, second base, third, and even fill in at shortstop in a pinch given his history in the minors. It may become a bit crowded in the utilityman position, but making such an acquisition could open up the possibility of a trade of someone like Luis Arraez who would be able to fetch them a higher end arm of the trade market. There are surely other Cincinnati players who would be shopped if they decide to steer into a rebuild. These three however carry relatively low acquisition costs and fit into the Twins plans of acquiring several other players to rebuild after a disappointing year. Are there any other Reds you’d like to see the Twins call on? (Yes I know, Luis Castillo) Let us know below! For More Twins Content — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  6. It’s officially the offseason, which means the possibilities are endless. One familiar team has already kicked off trade season and identified themselves as a potential trade partner for the Twins. The day after the World Series wrapped up, news surfaced of a trade between the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers. Nothing major, but definitely surprising to see so early in the offseason. It’s an innocent enough deal, but it sheds the spotlight on a Cincinnati team with plenty of star power who narrowly missed the playoffs. Cincinnati finds themselves in an odd spot. Some high dollar players and regular contributors appear to be major question marks moving forward. Their minor league system is quite frankly not great. They have several players either leaving by way of free agency or possibly opting out. It appears to have led leadership to a disappointing conclusion. It’s never fun to see another team turn towards a possible rebuild, but it creates opportunity for those still willing to go for it. There are a few players the Twins could check in on. Sonny Gray Starting off with a fun name that’s been linked to the Twins before. At 31 years old, Gray threw 135 1/3 innings in 2021 and posted a 4.19 ERA. He did suffer from several injuries throughout the season but still posted a strong 27% K rate and sub 10% walk rate. It may not be realistic to expect 200 innings from Gray in 2022, but one would think that a second consecutive 162 game season could build him up to the 160-170 range assuming he avoids major injuries. Gray is due about $10m in 2022 with a $12m team option in 2023. This is the kind of money and upside that would slot perfectly into the Twins plans to return to contention while leaving wiggle room for plenty more additions. If the Reds are selling they have no reason to hold onto a 30+ year old pitcher for $10m per year. Fellow TwinsDaily writer Nash Walker did some research on the old Trade Simulator and found one viable return including RHP Matt Canterino and OF Trevor Larnach. If the Twins want to return to contention that just may be the cost of doing business. Amir Garrett Garrett has been the topic of Twins trade talk before as well, as the hard-throwing lefty reliever would be a nice arm to slot into the back end of a needy bullpen. The difference this winter is Garrett is much more realistic. The left hander is coming off what could be described as a brutal season after posting an ERA over 6.00 in just under 50 innings. His main issue was a HR/9 nearing 2 for the second year in a row. Garrett still posted a 28.4% K rate and showed every bit of the arm talent that was so impressive in years past. He’s due to make $2m in 2022 with one more year of arbitration, and the Reds may see more value in flipping a reliever nearing the age of 30 if they’re headed toward a rebuild. Getting Garrett out of Great American Ballpark alone may go a long way in improving his performance, and the cost after his 2021 simply can’t be very high. Nick Senzel The former top 100 prospect has fallen a long way from being a possible core piece of a hypothetical Francisco Lindor trade. Injuries are mostly to blame, as 26 year old Senzel has yet to truly get any run at the MLB level for an extended period of time. Senzel has played in just 59 games since his debut in 2019 where he was able to appear in 104 ballgames. The Reds could very well be willing to take what they can get as their former up and coming star continues to miss time. For the Twins, Senzel is a player who can play center field, second base, third, and even fill in at shortstop in a pinch given his history in the minors. It may become a bit crowded in the utilityman position, but making such an acquisition could open up the possibility of a trade of someone like Luis Arraez who would be able to fetch them a higher end arm of the trade market. There are surely other Cincinnati players who would be shopped if they decide to steer into a rebuild. These three however carry relatively low acquisition costs and fit into the Twins plans of acquiring several other players to rebuild after a disappointing year. Are there any other Reds you’d like to see the Twins call on? (Yes I know, Luis Castillo) Let us know below! For More Twins Content — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  7. Luis Arraez is one of the most fun players on the Twins roster. Everything from his unmatched ability to get the barrel to the ball to his aggressive head shaking after taking a pitch is entertaining to watch. He wasn’t much of a top prospect, but has made the most of his opportunity after being called up in 2019 due to injuries. Little has changed with Luis Arraez the player, but the Twins’ perception of him may have. Arraez appeared to be the second baseman of the future when he arrived in 2019. The energy and variety he brought to a record-setting power team made it easy to imagine slotting him into the middle infield for years to come. Amid all of that excitement, however, it was easy to overlook his defensive shortcomings. Fast-forward two years. Luis Arraez holds a .313/.374/.403 batting line. He’s more than held up his side of the bargain offensively. In those two years however, so much around him has changed. Jorge Polanco made the permanent switch to Arraez’s home position, pushing him into a rotation between second, third, and corner outfield. The Twins have also signed Josh Donaldson, and now Jose Miranda appears to be the future of the hot corner in Minnesota. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach debuted and will get solid MLB time in 2022 with several corner outfielders shortly behind them in the minors. Having too many quality players is far from a problem, but the real concern comes from the quickly mounting injury history. At 24 years old, he’s suffered significant injuries to both knees, the side effects of which can commonly be seen on the base paths or following awkward swings. In 2020, injury cost Arraez 28 games out of the 60 game season. In 2021, Arraez missed 41 games and looked to be fighting through some kind of injury a good amount of the time. Unfortunately the game of baseball is unforgiving, and it’s rare to see such long standing recurring knee issues improve with age. Is it possible the Twins see more value in shopping Luis Arraez on the trade market? Regarding highly sought after defensive positions (and positions the Twins have a need at), Arraez can’t fill in at shortstop or center field. He’s also not particularly strong at the positions he does play. In Outs Above Average per Statcast, he was worth -1 in left field, -1 at third base and -3 at second. His defensive flexibility consists of positions that are easy to fill on the market if the Twins already emerging long term solutions there don’t work out as planned. This is not to say the Twins should necessarily actively look to dump Luis Arraez. Heading into 2022 with him platooning and spelling starters to get his bat in the lineup would be far from a bad thing. That being said, everything good about Luis Arraez makes him a valuable trade asset. His bat is special, he’s incredibly cheap and controllable, and he isn’t locked into one single position. In regards to assets the Twins have on their roster to trade, it may not get any better than Luis Arraez. It would be a difficult decision, but someone like Max Kepler or Miguel Sano wouldn’t bring in any kind of impact arm the Twins will certainly be looking for. It may be easy for them to look over the roster and see Arraez as a solid bat in the lineup that’s buried at several positions. They may also weigh the long term health gamble on his knees which could continue costing him significant time. Should the Twins trade Luis Arraez? That question likely has a lot to do with what they can get in return. It’s safe to say the idea has crossed their mind however, and possibly could be looked at more closely this winter for a roster that needs a significant shakeup. Should the Twins even consider it? Let us know below. For More Twins content: — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  8. Sometimes change hurts. In the Twins case, they’ve opened the door for a whole lot of it after flopping in 2021. Headed into the winter, they’ll have to explore every path to bounce back in 2022. Some of those paths may be surprising. Luis Arraez is one of the most fun players on the Twins roster. Everything from his unmatched ability to get the barrel to the ball to his aggressive head shaking after taking a pitch is entertaining to watch. He wasn’t much of a top prospect, but has made the most of his opportunity after being called up in 2019 due to injuries. Little has changed with Luis Arraez the player, but the Twins’ perception of him may have. Arraez appeared to be the second baseman of the future when he arrived in 2019. The energy and variety he brought to a record-setting power team made it easy to imagine slotting him into the middle infield for years to come. Amid all of that excitement, however, it was easy to overlook his defensive shortcomings. Fast-forward two years. Luis Arraez holds a .313/.374/.403 batting line. He’s more than held up his side of the bargain offensively. In those two years however, so much around him has changed. Jorge Polanco made the permanent switch to Arraez’s home position, pushing him into a rotation between second, third, and corner outfield. The Twins have also signed Josh Donaldson, and now Jose Miranda appears to be the future of the hot corner in Minnesota. Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach debuted and will get solid MLB time in 2022 with several corner outfielders shortly behind them in the minors. Having too many quality players is far from a problem, but the real concern comes from the quickly mounting injury history. At 24 years old, he’s suffered significant injuries to both knees, the side effects of which can commonly be seen on the base paths or following awkward swings. In 2020, injury cost Arraez 28 games out of the 60 game season. In 2021, Arraez missed 41 games and looked to be fighting through some kind of injury a good amount of the time. Unfortunately the game of baseball is unforgiving, and it’s rare to see such long standing recurring knee issues improve with age. Is it possible the Twins see more value in shopping Luis Arraez on the trade market? Regarding highly sought after defensive positions (and positions the Twins have a need at), Arraez can’t fill in at shortstop or center field. He’s also not particularly strong at the positions he does play. In Outs Above Average per Statcast, he was worth -1 in left field, -1 at third base and -3 at second. His defensive flexibility consists of positions that are easy to fill on the market if the Twins already emerging long term solutions there don’t work out as planned. This is not to say the Twins should necessarily actively look to dump Luis Arraez. Heading into 2022 with him platooning and spelling starters to get his bat in the lineup would be far from a bad thing. That being said, everything good about Luis Arraez makes him a valuable trade asset. His bat is special, he’s incredibly cheap and controllable, and he isn’t locked into one single position. In regards to assets the Twins have on their roster to trade, it may not get any better than Luis Arraez. It would be a difficult decision, but someone like Max Kepler or Miguel Sano wouldn’t bring in any kind of impact arm the Twins will certainly be looking for. It may be easy for them to look over the roster and see Arraez as a solid bat in the lineup that’s buried at several positions. They may also weigh the long term health gamble on his knees which could continue costing him significant time. Should the Twins trade Luis Arraez? That question likely has a lot to do with what they can get in return. It’s safe to say the idea has crossed their mind however, and possibly could be looked at more closely this winter for a roster that needs a significant shakeup. Should the Twins even consider it? Let us know below. For More Twins content: — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  9. Let's just be upfront about this. The utilityman market isn’t incredibly ripe with players this winter. This is directly referencing Dodgers star Chris Taylor. After years in the October spotlight with Los Angeles, yet another standout postseason performance in 2021 has Twins fans dreaming, and for good reason. It’s a fun idea and Taylor is a great player who would make any team better, but the Twins shouldn’t be chomping at the bit to bring him in. Taylor was a marginal minor league player in Seattle before being traded to LA for a guy who wound up throwing 12 MLB innings. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto later called the trade “clearly the worst deal I’ve ever made”, as Taylor’s current career line sits at .261/.337/.443, 11% above average offensively. That doesn’t even tell the story of Taylor’s ability to play just about any position on the diamond as needed. So why shouldn’t the Twins plan to bring in such a player? To state the obvious, the team is an absolute mess. I do believe their needs can be addressed this winter in a way that returns them to contention, but a utilityman is far from the top of the list. There are currently two starting pitchers in the 2022 starting rotation. I’d guess the Twins want to bring in at least 4 candidates to fill those vacancies, which is going to cost a decent amount of money if done correctly. In addition, they’ll likely also want at least a proven bullpen arm or two. Taylor Rogers will be a question mark if brought back due to his finger injury and Tyler Duffey’s 2021 made him a much bigger question mark than in years past. You’d have to hope they plan on signing legitimate pieces this winter rather than cheap bounce back candidates and players all 29 other teams have passed on. That’ll cost a good bit of cash as well. It could be argued that the vacancy at shortstop could be filled by the versatile Taylor. He was fine defensively there in 2021 to be fair although at 31 he’s nearing a point where shortstop defense tends to decline rapidly. Taylor has surely earned himself a long term deal, however, which may not be in the Twins best interest in the future. The hope is for someone like Royce Lewis to take the reins at shortstop relatively soon, and what becomes of Taylor then? Sure, he can cover most other positions, but that kind of versatility may be less valuable to the Twins than other teams. People already raise the concern of Luis Arraez getting enough at bats across a full season due to not having a full time spot. He gets his starts spelling Josh Donaldson, Jorge Polanco or one of the corner outfielders in order to get into the lineup regularly. The only other position Taylor would be truly needed at is backing up in center field, a job that can be filled for much cheaper in free agency. To be clear, Taylor would absolutely make the Twins better. They would likely prefer a stopgap type shortstop, but he would be useful at other positions if their plans with Royce Lewis come to fruition. After all, having too many options is a good problem to have. That being said, I think now is the wrong time to sign a player like Chris Taylor. Nobody can say exactly where this team is in their contention window and there are significant question marks around highly impactful players like Byron Buxton. There are gaping holes across the roster and unless ownership is truly willing to throw down some dollars, it’s not worth shortchanging themselves elsewhere for added versatility. If they run into a 2019 Marwin Gonzalez situation where come Spring Training he’s still looking for a place to go, there would be nothing wrong with being opportunistic if it’s in the budget. The Twins have bigger needs to address on the front end of free agency, however, and Chris Taylor should be nowhere near priority number one. Now just isn’t the right time. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  10. Watching the stars shine in the playoffs is fun, especially when they’re approaching free agency. Future pitchers, shortstops, and sluggers are all fun to dream about. A utilityman, however, shouldn’t be in the Twins offseason cards. Let's just be upfront about this. The utilityman market isn’t incredibly ripe with players this winter. This is directly referencing Dodgers star Chris Taylor. After years in the October spotlight with Los Angeles, yet another standout postseason performance in 2021 has Twins fans dreaming, and for good reason. It’s a fun idea and Taylor is a great player who would make any team better, but the Twins shouldn’t be chomping at the bit to bring him in. Taylor was a marginal minor league player in Seattle before being traded to LA for a guy who wound up throwing 12 MLB innings. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto later called the trade “clearly the worst deal I’ve ever made”, as Taylor’s current career line sits at .261/.337/.443, 11% above average offensively. That doesn’t even tell the story of Taylor’s ability to play just about any position on the diamond as needed. So why shouldn’t the Twins plan to bring in such a player? To state the obvious, the team is an absolute mess. I do believe their needs can be addressed this winter in a way that returns them to contention, but a utilityman is far from the top of the list. There are currently two starting pitchers in the 2022 starting rotation. I’d guess the Twins want to bring in at least 4 candidates to fill those vacancies, which is going to cost a decent amount of money if done correctly. In addition, they’ll likely also want at least a proven bullpen arm or two. Taylor Rogers will be a question mark if brought back due to his finger injury and Tyler Duffey’s 2021 made him a much bigger question mark than in years past. You’d have to hope they plan on signing legitimate pieces this winter rather than cheap bounce back candidates and players all 29 other teams have passed on. That’ll cost a good bit of cash as well. It could be argued that the vacancy at shortstop could be filled by the versatile Taylor. He was fine defensively there in 2021 to be fair although at 31 he’s nearing a point where shortstop defense tends to decline rapidly. Taylor has surely earned himself a long term deal, however, which may not be in the Twins best interest in the future. The hope is for someone like Royce Lewis to take the reins at shortstop relatively soon, and what becomes of Taylor then? Sure, he can cover most other positions, but that kind of versatility may be less valuable to the Twins than other teams. People already raise the concern of Luis Arraez getting enough at bats across a full season due to not having a full time spot. He gets his starts spelling Josh Donaldson, Jorge Polanco or one of the corner outfielders in order to get into the lineup regularly. The only other position Taylor would be truly needed at is backing up in center field, a job that can be filled for much cheaper in free agency. To be clear, Taylor would absolutely make the Twins better. They would likely prefer a stopgap type shortstop, but he would be useful at other positions if their plans with Royce Lewis come to fruition. After all, having too many options is a good problem to have. That being said, I think now is the wrong time to sign a player like Chris Taylor. Nobody can say exactly where this team is in their contention window and there are significant question marks around highly impactful players like Byron Buxton. There are gaping holes across the roster and unless ownership is truly willing to throw down some dollars, it’s not worth shortchanging themselves elsewhere for added versatility. If they run into a 2019 Marwin Gonzalez situation where come Spring Training he’s still looking for a place to go, there would be nothing wrong with being opportunistic if it’s in the budget. The Twins have bigger needs to address on the front end of free agency, however, and Chris Taylor should be nowhere near priority number one. Now just isn’t the right time. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  11. Cody Pirkl

    No Half Measures

    In a vacuum, Josh Donaldson is not overpaid despite what some frustrated fans may tell you. His time missed in 2020 was frustrating albeit not as costly as it appears considering his prorated salary in the 60 game season. In 2021, he was actually one of the regulars in the lineup day in and day out. As a whole, Donaldson has slashed .243/.355/.474 with the Twins, far from the “wasted payroll” reputation some have pinned on him. That being said, he’s 35 years old with a tremendous injury history in addition to having about $50m remaining on his salary over the next two years. The result of all of these factors leave the Twins with a fantastic player with an enormous ceiling and about as low of a floor a player can have. For that very reason, it’s difficult to blame them for at least exploring the trade market given the year they just came off of. They shouldn’t be so quick to pull the trigger on a deal without lining themselves up for a slam dunk however. This was a recently reported idea for a trade between the Twins and Milwaukee who will likely need an impact third base option in 2022. It’s a perfect example of the type of trade the Twins shouldn’t do. There’s almost no scenario where the Twins don’t pay down significant money to get Donaldson’s contract off the books. The issue is trades like this make the Twins worse in the present and offer little payoff for the future. Dumping about $35m in future payroll would likely look appealing to ownership. That being said, doing so probably lands them in a situation like this one where the Twins take on money of their own in Jackie Bradley Jr.’s $9.5m and $6.5m buyout in 2023. JBJ slashed .163/.236/.261 en route to a -0.8 fWAR finish on the season. Worse than Matt Shoemaker, Andrelton Simmons etc. Perhaps taking on money isn’t out of the question, but the younger pieces in the deal have to be at least somewhat appealing. In this scenario, they receive 19 year old RHP Logan Henderson and 22 year old outfielder Joey Wiemer, #21 and 23 in the Brewers system respectively. Prospects from the 20s range aren’t very exciting for most teams, but the Brewers in particular are a bottom 5 system by most prospect sites. So in review, the Twins get to save a bunch of money in the future, although not a ton after taking on a much less valuable player. Their lineup and team as a whole takes a significant downgrade in regards to the 2022 Opening Day lineup. They also get two prospects who have a very insignificant chance of making any impact on the team in the future. This type of trade would be a mistake. The Twins have two options in my opinion. They may very well be gearing up to spend big this winter and acquire some legitimate pieces via free agency and trade. In which case, gamble on the health of Josh Donaldson who will still be one of the premier players on the team if healthy. His salary doesn’t impede their spending plans nearly as much as it gets credit for. The second option is to come to terms with 2022 not being the year. If you don’t want to spend down immediately for a comeback season, paying most if not all of that contract in a trade should be the goal. It’s already on the payroll and one way or another, they’ll pay some sort of price on it. Might as well write a fat check to a competing team in a deal where the recipient gets instantly better and the Twins can command some impactful prospect capital in return. One way or another, the Twins need to commit 100% when it comes to the Josh Donaldson decision. There’s no point in taking half measures for a team whose winter will have an enormous tilt not only on the 2022 season, but the next few years to come. Should they hold onto their star third baseman or sell him off for the best trade package? Let us know below! — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  12. Josh Donaldson will be one of the many hot topics among Twins fans this winter. Will he stay or be shipped out? The Twins should be looking to fully commit to whatever decision they settle on. In a vacuum, Josh Donaldson is not overpaid despite what some frustrated fans may tell you. His time missed in 2020 was frustrating albeit not as costly as it appears considering his prorated salary in the 60 game season. In 2021, he was actually one of the regulars in the lineup day in and day out. As a whole, Donaldson has slashed .243/.355/.474 with the Twins, far from the “wasted payroll” reputation some have pinned on him. That being said, he’s 35 years old with a tremendous injury history in addition to having about $50m remaining on his salary over the next two years. The result of all of these factors leave the Twins with a fantastic player with an enormous ceiling and about as low of a floor a player can have. For that very reason, it’s difficult to blame them for at least exploring the trade market given the year they just came off of. They shouldn’t be so quick to pull the trigger on a deal without lining themselves up for a slam dunk however. This was a recently reported idea for a trade between the Twins and Milwaukee who will likely need an impact third base option in 2022. It’s a perfect example of the type of trade the Twins shouldn’t do. There’s almost no scenario where the Twins don’t pay down significant money to get Donaldson’s contract off the books. The issue is trades like this make the Twins worse in the present and offer little payoff for the future. Dumping about $35m in future payroll would likely look appealing to ownership. That being said, doing so probably lands them in a situation like this one where the Twins take on money of their own in Jackie Bradley Jr.’s $9.5m and $6.5m buyout in 2023. JBJ slashed .163/.236/.261 en route to a -0.8 fWAR finish on the season. Worse than Matt Shoemaker, Andrelton Simmons etc. Perhaps taking on money isn’t out of the question, but the younger pieces in the deal have to be at least somewhat appealing. In this scenario, they receive 19 year old RHP Logan Henderson and 22 year old outfielder Joey Wiemer, #21 and 23 in the Brewers system respectively. Prospects from the 20s range aren’t very exciting for most teams, but the Brewers in particular are a bottom 5 system by most prospect sites. So in review, the Twins get to save a bunch of money in the future, although not a ton after taking on a much less valuable player. Their lineup and team as a whole takes a significant downgrade in regards to the 2022 Opening Day lineup. They also get two prospects who have a very insignificant chance of making any impact on the team in the future. This type of trade would be a mistake. The Twins have two options in my opinion. They may very well be gearing up to spend big this winter and acquire some legitimate pieces via free agency and trade. In which case, gamble on the health of Josh Donaldson who will still be one of the premier players on the team if healthy. His salary doesn’t impede their spending plans nearly as much as it gets credit for. The second option is to come to terms with 2022 not being the year. If you don’t want to spend down immediately for a comeback season, paying most if not all of that contract in a trade should be the goal. It’s already on the payroll and one way or another, they’ll pay some sort of price on it. Might as well write a fat check to a competing team in a deal where the recipient gets instantly better and the Twins can command some impactful prospect capital in return. One way or another, the Twins need to commit 100% when it comes to the Josh Donaldson decision. There’s no point in taking half measures for a team whose winter will have an enormous tilt not only on the 2022 season, but the next few years to come. Should they hold onto their star third baseman or sell him off for the best trade package? Let us know below! — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  13. Corey Kluber Kluber was heavily linked to the Twins last winter before the Yankees threw $11m at the right hander. Kluber pitched quite well in his first year in the Bronx with a sub 4.00 ERA. Unfortunately after throwing just one inning in 2020, Kluber missed significant time and only reached 80 frames. Kluber is likely a candidate for another one year deal at age 36. He still looked like a valuable pitcher in a tough stadium and division, and a move back to the soft AL Central would do him wonders. He may not be counted on for a significant amount of innings, but pairing him with a pitcher like Michael Pineda would be valuable. There’s upside to be had similar to the Twins 2020 Rich Hill signing, upside the Twins will surely be looking for in order for a bounce back in their pitching staff. Marcus Stroman The Twins were bullish on Stroman in 2019 when the Blue Jays eventually shipped him to the Mets. The Twins claimed Toronto never returned their call for a counter offer. Stroman wasn’t much help in 2020 but performed exceptionally well in 2021 with a 3.02 ERA in almost 180 innings. Stroman would definitely require a long term deal with some good money attached. He may not be a flat out ace, but he’s a durable, experienced arm. His reliance on movement, location, and weak contact should make him a valuable pitcher for the foreseeable future now that he’s surpassed 30 years of age. He’d also immediately slot in as an Opening Day starter and top of the rotation anchor. Noah Syndergaard Digging way into the well here, remember when the Twins were in on Noah Syndergaard in 2019 and the Mets wanted Byron Buxton in exchange? I’m sure no fans were angry at the Twins for not pulling the trigger, right? Syndergaard has a storied past when it comes to injury, most recently returning from Tommy John just this year. The result of this being there isn’t much of a body of work to see since 2019. It’s hard to forget the arm they call “Thor” throwing one 100 mph fastball after another. While never quite an ace, it’s hard to deny that the upside is there. With Syndergaard's recent history, he’s another candidate for a one year “show me” deal. It may be high risk, but there may not be a pitcher on the market with a higher potential payoff. The Twins will be looking high and low on both the free agent and trade market this winter to try to fix a pitching staff that straight up cost them any shot at contending in 2021. It wouldn’t be the most surprising development to go back to the well and revisit some arms they were previously interested in. Is there any one of this trio that stands above the rest? Should these three be avoided altogether? Let us know below! — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  14. The ongoing joke about the Twins is how often they’re rumored to be in on a player but don’t wind up with them. This winter they have a chance to make good on their past links with three such pitchers. Corey Kluber Kluber was heavily linked to the Twins last winter before the Yankees threw $11m at the right hander. Kluber pitched quite well in his first year in the Bronx with a sub 4.00 ERA. Unfortunately after throwing just one inning in 2020, Kluber missed significant time and only reached 80 frames. Kluber is likely a candidate for another one year deal at age 36. He still looked like a valuable pitcher in a tough stadium and division, and a move back to the soft AL Central would do him wonders. He may not be counted on for a significant amount of innings, but pairing him with a pitcher like Michael Pineda would be valuable. There’s upside to be had similar to the Twins 2020 Rich Hill signing, upside the Twins will surely be looking for in order for a bounce back in their pitching staff. Marcus Stroman The Twins were bullish on Stroman in 2019 when the Blue Jays eventually shipped him to the Mets. The Twins claimed Toronto never returned their call for a counter offer. Stroman wasn’t much help in 2020 but performed exceptionally well in 2021 with a 3.02 ERA in almost 180 innings. Stroman would definitely require a long term deal with some good money attached. He may not be a flat out ace, but he’s a durable, experienced arm. His reliance on movement, location, and weak contact should make him a valuable pitcher for the foreseeable future now that he’s surpassed 30 years of age. He’d also immediately slot in as an Opening Day starter and top of the rotation anchor. Noah Syndergaard Digging way into the well here, remember when the Twins were in on Noah Syndergaard in 2019 and the Mets wanted Byron Buxton in exchange? I’m sure no fans were angry at the Twins for not pulling the trigger, right? Syndergaard has a storied past when it comes to injury, most recently returning from Tommy John just this year. The result of this being there isn’t much of a body of work to see since 2019. It’s hard to forget the arm they call “Thor” throwing one 100 mph fastball after another. While never quite an ace, it’s hard to deny that the upside is there. With Syndergaard's recent history, he’s another candidate for a one year “show me” deal. It may be high risk, but there may not be a pitcher on the market with a higher potential payoff. The Twins will be looking high and low on both the free agent and trade market this winter to try to fix a pitching staff that straight up cost them any shot at contending in 2021. It wouldn’t be the most surprising development to go back to the well and revisit some arms they were previously interested in. Is there any one of this trio that stands above the rest? Should these three be avoided altogether? Let us know below! — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  15. Tyler Duffey was among the best relievers in all of baseball in 2019 and 2020 and was a valuable reliever in 2021 despite a bit of a step back. With one year of control remaining on the home-grown reliever, what does the future look like for the Doof? From 2019 to 2020, Tyler Duffey ranked second in all of baseball in ERA among all pitchers who had thrown at least 80 innings. He struck out over 12 batters per nine innings and became one of the most dominant and underrated bullpen arms in all of baseball. After Taylor Rogers struggled in 2020, some even believed Duffey should have been elevated to closing duties. 2021 hasn’t been quite the same for Duffey, although he’s still been a valuable arm. His strikeouts have dropped to under a batter per inning while his walks have ballooned to a career high of over four per nine innings. In short, Duffey just hasn't been consistent. His 0.7 fWAR in 2021 matches his 2020 mark despite throwing 35 more innings. Now over 30 years old and entering his last ride through arbitration, Duffey becomes an interesting case for 2022. Non-Tender After making a bit over $2m in 2021 it would be surprising to see the Twins scoff at a moderate pay increase for a reliever who’s been so solid. Still, it’s fair to wonder whether the front office has learned a lesson in hubris when it comes to bullpen building. It would raise some eyebrows, but they very well could look at Duffey’s age and stat line and believe there’s better value to be had elsewhere for $3-4m. While I wouldn’t advise non-tendering such a dependable reliever given the year the Twins just had, there’s a scenario where the front office would be correct in this decision. Relievers, in general, are volatile and Duffey is coming off of an inconsistent season with diminished velocity and is now over the age of 30. I think this is the least-likely scenario, but it’s definitely a possibility. Extension One way to avoid having to worry about arbitration and impending free agency is to work on an extension. Duffey and the Twins could hammer out a 2-3 year deal for a fairly insignificant figure that makes sense for both sides. Duffey would get security for the next two years and the Twins get the reassurance of one of their bullpen stalwarts staying for the next two years. Again, I see this as an unlikely scenario. Duffey looked far from on the top of his game throughout all of 2021, and I’d guess the Twins would have liked to see more from him in order to lock him up through his age 32 season. Reach a Deal The likeliest scenario is the Twins find the middle ground on a pre-arbitration one-year deal as they showed they like to do in the 2020 offseason. Duffey gets one last year guaranteed in Minnesota and the Twins get another year of a hopefully-reliable reliever with no further commitment into the future. This also allows the Twins to trade Duffey (something I thought they would have done this year) at the deadline if out of contention or even turn around and trade him before the season begins. The price would be the driving factor, but if a team sees their 2022 setup man and offers a fair price to bring him in, the Twins may just save the money and take the return. I think this outcome is increasingly likely if someone like Donaldson or Buxton are traded during the winter and the team shifts its outlook to 2023. Duffey’s had a storied career in Minnesota, but one way or another it may be nearing its end. The Twins have to assess which route best benefits the team moving forward, and it may not be as easy a decision as it would have been last offseason. How do you think the Twins should handle the Duffey situation? — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
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