Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account


Verified Member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Reputation Activity

  1. Yikes, Bro
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Cody Christie for an article, Twins Catcher May Be Marlins Perfect Catch   
    It's clear that starting pitching is Minnesota's biggest priority this winter, and the team will have to be creative to fill all the starting rotation needs. One of the avenues will undoubtedly be to explore the trade market. Free-agent starting pitching costs a premium, and the current regime hasn't been successful signing players in the past. 

    Enter the Miami Marlins and their surplus of starting pitching. It seems like no team can have too much starting pitching, but the Marlins have a strong farm system and other MLB-ready options. According to MLB Pipeline, six of their top-10 prospects are pitchers, including four pitchers at the Double-A level or higher.

    Marlins manager Don Mattingly made it clear that upgrading catcher is a priority for the club this winter. "It's an area we're looking at," Mattingly said. "It's fairly safe to say it was some kind of message when we grabbed two catchers at the trade deadline and we also have Nick Fortes up here."

    Fortes, a 2018 MLB Draft pick, posted a 1.030 OPS in 34 plate appearances. However, he has a .651 OPS in 190 minor league games. Alex Jackson and Payton Henry, both catchers acquired at the deadline, struggled after joining the Marlins organization. With no clear long-term option, the Marlins can look to the free-agent class, but Yan Gomes (98 OPS+) is the best option.

    Minnesota entered the season with what looked like one of baseball's best catching duos, but there were some struggles along the way. Ryan Jeffers struggled offensively at the Triple-A and MLB-level. Mitch Garver found his swing after a rough first month, but he was limited to 68 games. Minnesota's catching future is uncertain with both players' inconsistent 2021 campaign.

    From the Twins' perspective, Garver seems like the more likely player to be traded. He is six years older than Jeffers, and he has multiple years of team control remaining. Trading Garver allows the Twins to give Jeffers more regular at-bats, and it also provides the team with an opportunity to bring in a left-handed veteran catcher to serve in a back-up role (unless they feel that Ben Rortvedt is ready for such a role). 

    Other teams with established catchers are likely to reach out to the Marlins. Last winter, Miami had discussions about acquiring Willson Contreras from the Cubs, but he is only one year away from free agency. MLB Trade Rumors identified Arizona's Carson Kelly and Pittsburgh's Jacob Stallings as other possible trade candidates. Kelly posted a 104 OPS+ in 98 games, while Stallings finished the year with a 92 OPS+ in 112 games. There's also no guarantee either of those teams are interested in trading their catchers. 

    To be competitive in 2022, the Twins will need to trade MLB-level assets to acquire starting pitching. Besides the catchers, other established players like Max Kepler, Josh Donaldson, and Luis Arraez will likely hear their names in the rumor mill. For now, the Twins and Marlins seem like a strong match to make a trade this winter. 

    Do you think the Marlins and the Twins will be able to work out a deal? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  2. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Andrew Thares for an article, Game Score: Twins 5, Tigers 2   
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Pineda 5.2 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
    Homeruns: Polanco (32)
    Top 3 WPA: Pineda (0.181), Polanco (0.163), Duffey (0.121)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Jorge Polanco Give Twins Early Lead
    The Twins bats got off to a quick start in this ballgame providing some instant offensive support for Michael Pineda. Luis Arraez got things started with a single and advanced to second on a weakly-hit infield single from Byron Buxton. This set the table for Jorge Polanco, who promptly drove the very next pitch out of the ballpark, giving the Twins a 3-0 lead.
    Michael Pineda Has Strong Final Start of the Season
    With the Twins season coming to an end on Sunday, this was almost assuredly the final start of Michael Pineda’s season, and potentially his final start in a Twins uniform, as he will be a free agent at season’s end.
    Pineda held the Tigers offense scoreless on three singles through the first three innings of the ballgame, before surrendering his lone run of the game in the fourth. Robbie Grossman got the Tigers fourth started with a single, before Pineda struck Miguel Cabrera with a pitch. Grossman advanced to third on a Jeimer Candelario fly out, and then scored on this comebacker that struck Pineda.
    Twins Add Insurance Runs in the 8th
    Protecting small leads in the 9th have plagued the Twins all season, so the offense adding two insurance runs in the 8th inning to double their lead felt bigger than they usually would. After making a great catch to end the top of the inning, Byron Buxton led off the bottom of the inning and was hit by the first pitch he saw. Buxton then stole second, and advanced to third on a throwing error by Tigers catcher Eric Haase. Buxton would later come in to score on an RBI base-hit from Max Kepler.
    Miguel Sano followed the Kepler hit with a one-out walk to load the bases for Nick Gordon who hit a shallow fly ball to center that did not appear deep enough to score Josh Donaldson from third, but he tagged up anyway and scored the Twins fifth run of the game thanks to an off target throw home.
    Bullpen Usage Chart
      FRI SAT SUN TUE WED TOT Garza Jr. 0 0 18 19 0 37 Vincent 0 0 33 0 0 33 Thielbar 0 0 17 13 0 30 Coulombe 0 37 0 0 0 37 Farrell 0 18 0 0 0 18 Duffey 17 0 0 18 21 56 Barraclough 0 33 0 0 0 33 Colomé 5 0 0 26 18 49 Minaya 19 0 0 0 22 41 Moran 0 19 0 0 0 19 Alcalá 6 0 0 10 0 16  
    What's Next?
    The Twins have their final home game of the 2021 season on Thursday night, as they look to complete the three-game sweep of the Tigers. Joe Ryan is scheduled to pitch for the Twins opposite Tarik Skubal. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 pm CDT.
    Post Game Interviews
  3. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Nash Walker for an article, Max-imizing Kepler's Value   
    Max Kepler was a catalyst for the record-breaking Twins in 2019, bashing 36 homers while mostly leading off for the 101-win division champions. Kepler had been a below-average hitter (96 OPS+) in 419 games before his magical hiatus from the trenches of BAbip hell. 
    It was somewhat odd to see. Kepler hit a modest .233/.313/.417 over the first three-plus years of his career. His 93 wRC+ paled in comparison to other right fielders, as the position hit .261/.333/.441 (107 wRC+) leaguewide over that same span. 
    Even with his relative struggles at the plate, Kepler provided value with a strong glove. He saved 22 runs from 2016-2018, tying him for third among qualified right fielders. Kepler was worth 5.4 Wins Above Replacement even with a negative WAR mark offensively. 
    Recognizing a chance for upside, the Twins inked the instant fan-favorite to an extension and initially looked brilliant for doing so. Kepler broke out in 2019 with elite power and an increased ability to reach base. 
    But it wasn't a breakout. Kepler has since gone back to his unremarkable roots at the plate.

    There’s no doubt that the numbers look uglier than they should. His barrel rate is higher than ever. He’s hitting the ball harder and more than he did in 2019. His strikeout rate is fantastic, and he’s walking in nearly 12% of his plate appearances.
    So what happened?
    Outside of the obvious in 2019 (juiced ball), his few weaknesses have capped his upside overall. He's pulling and pulling rather weakly, contributing to that previously-mentioned BAbip purgatory. Plus, there’s the deadly platoon factor. Kepler's line is impacted by his inability to hit lefties, but even if he were facing only right-handers this season, he'd still be below-average among left-handed right fielders in those matchups. 

    Kepler leads right fielders this year in Outs Above Average (7) and is tied for 10th among all qualified outfielders. Even though he’s well below the position average offensively, he ranks 21st out of 30 right fielders with at least 300 plate appearances in fWAR (1.5). He’s not a hindrance per se, but he’s no longer a solid plus-piece in his current spot. 
    Often lost in value analysis is his ability to play centerfield. In 80 games in centerfield since 2019, Kepler’s been worth three Outs Above Average. Still, the Twins have often turned to others when Byron Buxton is out, focusing on keeping Kepler fresh. 
    There’s room for increased value here. If the Twins decide to trade Byron Buxton, wouldn’t Kepler then become the centerfielder where his subpar bat would play much better? In this case, he’s much more valuable. Kepler would be close to an average hitter as a primary centerfielder in 2021 but is 16% below league average in right. 
    Understandably, the Twins want to keep him fresh, especially since he’s had a history of hamstring injuries. Winning in baseball also requires maximum value at each position. Kepler, while still passable in right, is not being maximized. Keeping him in a corner will limit the Twins offensively unless he finds a way to beat the shift or hit lefties again. 
    On the flip side, if the Twins keep Buxton, marketing Kepler as a centerfielder via trade will help them reach his maximum value in return. It’s great to have both in the outfield, but it’s been more a defensive luxury than a damaging duo in the lineup. 
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Jamie Cameron for an article, Game Score: Twins 3, Cleveland 0   
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Gant 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 K
    Homeruns: Rooker (11)
    Top 3 WPA: Gant .300, Simmons .135, Thielbar .098
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    The Twins looked to build on their Labor Day win over Cleveland on Tuesday. They sent John Gant to the mound to face Aaron Civale, who returned from the IL to provide a boost to a beleaguered Cleveland rotation. Here’s how the Twins lined up for the game.
    Gant, fighting for 2022 rotation consideration, got off to a solid start. He threw two clean innings, working particularly effectively with his changeup and generating extra ride on his fastball, before running into trouble in the third inning. After getting a double play, Gant surrendered two singles and a walk to load the bases. Franmil Reyes missed a grand slam by five feet to keep the game tied, flying out to deep center field. Meanwhile through three innings, Civale showed no signs of rust. Other than giving up singles to Josh Donaldson and Miguel Sano, he looked highly effective. Civale worked consistently up in the strike zone, throwing a wide variety of breaking balls keeping Twins hitters off balance, and off the bases.
    Gant returned for a more efficient and effective fourth inning. Despite walking three through four innings, Gant generated nine swings and misses and four strikeouts in as many innings. Is Gant working himself into consideration for a job with the Twins in 2022?
    The deadlock was finally broken in the sixth inning. After Max Kepler drew a walk to lead off the inning, Andrelton Simmons singled up the middle to drive home Kepler, give the Twins a one to nothing lead, and force Civale from the game. A walk to Luis Arraez put runners on first and second with two out, but Byron Buxton flew out to shallow center field to end the inning one to nothing in favor of the Twins.
    After walking the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning, Gant returned to strike out the side. He completed five inning, struck out seven batters, and generated twelve swings and misses. Despite walking four Cleveland hitters, Gant has improved noticeably in each of his starts with the Twins. Gant will be an interesting sub-plot to monitor in the remaining four weeks of the season.
    Jorge Alcala relieved Gant in the sixth inning. He got Franmil Reyes swinging on a beautiful sinking fastball at 97mph. He followed up with back to back ground-outs, preserving the Twins one run lead heading to the seventh inning.
    In the seventh inning, Brent Rooker crushed a home run to right center field to increase the lead to two. Juan Minaya pitched a scoreless bottom of the seventh, striking out two, to preserve the Twins lead.
    An infield single and an Oscar Mercado double high off the left-field wall created a threat for Cleveland in the eighth inning. With runners on second and third and two out, Yu Chang struck out swinging to take the game to the ninth inning.
    Luis Arraez tripled home Andrelton Simmons to extend the lead to three to nothing in the ninth. Alexander Colome entered to close the game for the Twins. Owen Miller grounded out, before Amed Rosario singled on a fly ball to center field. A Miles Straw flyout and a Bobby Bradley strikeout brought the Twins their third consecutive win.
    Bullpen Usage Chart
      THU FRI SAT SUN MON TUE TOT Colomé 0 0 11 23 9 17 60 Thielbar 0 0 0 28 0 25 53 Minaya 0 0 21 0 0 21 42 Alcalá 0 0 0 15 0 19 34 Garza Jr. 0 8 23 0 0 0 31 Duffey 0 0 0 10 8 0 18 Coulombe 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Next Up
    On Wednesday, the Twins continue their series with Cleveland. Joe Ryan will take on Triston McKenzie. First pitch is at 5:10 CST.
    Postgame Interviews
  5. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Thiéres Rabelo for an article, Game Score: Twins 2, Brewers 0   
    Box Score
    Andrew Albers: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
    Home Runs: Donaldson (20)
    Top 3 WPA: Albers .306, Donaldson .177, Coulombe .080
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Before either team even took the field, two special stories were already on display. First, third baseman Eduardo Escobar, now with the Brewers, made his first visit to Target Field as an opposing player since he was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2018. He got a warm welcome from Twins fans!
    The other story, the most important one, was also about a player’s return. After spending over two months on the injured list recovering from a hand fracture caused by a hit-by-pitch, Byron Buxton was activated by the Twins roughly an hour before the game. He took the leadoff spot in Rocco Baldelli’s lineup, starting what might be a crucial stretch for his continuity as a Twin.
    While Buxton’s first plate appearance in the majors since Jun. 22 was unimpressive, with a three-pitch strikeout, that didn’t mean Minnesota’s offense wasn’t going to make some noise early. With two outs in the first, Rob Refsnyder singled, reaching with a head-first slide. Josh Donaldson hit a line drive home run to left in the following at-bat, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead. This was Donaldson’s fourth home run in the last six games.
    Even though they came out of the second inning empty-handed, the Twins offense kept Brewers starter Eric Lauer on the ropes. They loaded the bases with only one out and suddenly had the chance to blow this game wide open. One of those runners was Buxton himself, who worked a five-pitch walk after getting ahead in the count with 3-0. Refsnyder hit a ground ball to left that would’ve cleared the bases had it stayed fair. But it landed inches into foul territory, and he ended up being struck out briefly after that to end the inning.
    Albers picks up where he left off
    Meanwhile, Andrew Albers began putting together a nice start. Over a week after his relief appearance in New York, where he provided four innings of one-run ball, he dominated Milwaukee’s lineup the first time through the order. He retired nine of his first 11 batters faced, pitching three shutout innings on 41 pitches.
    He pitched himself into a jam during the fourth inning. After allowing only one hit through three, he gave up two and hit a batter, loading the bases. But he managed to induce weak enough contact to get out of it. In fact, this is what he was able to do a lot tonight. His stuff wasn’t electric, but everything was well located, causing Brewers batters to ground out multiple times. With an arsenal of five pitches, very few of them were not thrown for a strike. According to Statcast, he didn’t give up a single barrel during this outing.
    After a shaky fourth inning, he returned to pitch a 1-2-3 fifth and retired one batter in the sixth before being removed from the game. Jorge Alcala, also making his return to the team from the IL, came in in his relief and finished off the Brewers on ten pitches.
    Offense quiets down, but the bullpen is lights out
    Minnesota didn’t get a lot done on offense for the remainder of the game. The only time they could pose a threat was during the sixth inning when Buxton had men in the corners with two outs. Kirk Cousins’ cousin, Jake, painted the inside part of the strike zone to strike him out.
    Fortunately for the Twins, their bullpen was lights out. Jorge Alcala and Danny Coulombe held the Brewers scoreless until the eighth before Tyler Duffey came in to get the final out of the inning. Duffey, in fact, caught a huge break with a slow curveball out of the zone that was called for a strike – framed brilliantly by Ryan Jeffers. But on the previous pitch, a pitch that painted the lower corner of the zone and got called for a ball should’ve ended the inning.
    Alexander Colomé pitched the ninth inning, looking to bounce back from his previous two disastrous outings. This time, he was able to retire the side on only 13 pitches (10 strikes) to earn his eighth save of the year.
    Postgame Interviews
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
      SAT TUE WED THU FRI TOT Albers 0 0 0 0 88 88 Garza Jr. 31 0 24 4 0 59 Coulombe 0 0 19 0 20 39 Thielbar 0 14 22 0 0 36 Duffey 0 19 9 0 6 34 Colomé 0 0 20 0 13 33 Minaya 0 30 0 0 0 30 Gibaut 0 23 0 0 0 23 Alcalá 0 0 0 0 12 12 Barnes 0 0 0 0 0 0  
  6. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Andrew Thares for an article, Game Score: Twins 9, Red Sox 6   
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Ober 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO
    Home runs: Sano (22), Polanco (24), Donaldson (19), Cave (3)
    Top 3 WPA: Ober (.257), Donaldson (.130) Polanco (.118)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)
    Miguel Sano Hits Longest Home Run in MLB This Season
    Last week Miguel Sano blasted a 475 foot bomb as part of the Twins extra inning win against Cleveland. At the time, it was the longest home run hit by a Minnesota Twin this season. Well... Sano wasn’t content with just having the Twins longest home run of the season, he wanted more and tonight he did just that as he blasted a 495 foot home run not just over the monster, but the billboards at the back of the deepest part of the monster. Truly a majestic home run that you need to see to believe.
    Jorge Polanco Hits 24th Home Run of the Season
    After failing to come through with bases loaded and just one out in the second, Jorge Polanco redeemed himself in his next at-bat. With one on and two outs in the top of the fourth inning, Polanco became the second Twins hitter in as many innings to take Nick Pivetta deep.
    Bailey Ober Has Another Strong Outing
    While Griffin Jax has gotten more recognition for his performance of late, Bailey Ober has quietly been very good over the past month as he carried a 2.81 ERA over his last five starts entering Wednesday night’s game. Those numbers only continued to improve after Ober went five shutout innings against the Red Sox.
    Tonight’s outing was as impressive as any he has made in his young Major League career. The only inning where the Red Sox put together a scoring threat was in the third. Christian Vasquez got the threat started with a one out single, and then advanced to second on a groundout from Enrique Hernandez. Kyle Schwarber then came through with a two-out hit, but poor baserunning from Vasquez caused him to be held up a third. This was the second chance Bailey Ober needed, as he got Xander Bogaerts to fly out to right to end the threat.
    Alex Colome Blows Yet Another Save
    If there has been one single theme to this disappointing season from the Twins, it has been Alex Colome blowing save after save. It started from day one and it hasn’t stopped as he blew yet another great performance from his teammates that should have led to a Twins 4-2 victory. Instead, he gave up this game-tying two-run blast to Kyle Schwarber in the bottom of the ninth.
    Colome then gave up a single and a walk to put the winning run on second base with still nobody out. However, he was able to work out of the jam and send this game to extra innings.
    Donaldson and Cave Go Yard in the 10th
    Just when all hope seemed lost, the Twins bats took back the lead with a five-run 10th inning. The inning got started with a two-run home run from Josh Donaldson.
    While those two runs were nice, it hardly felt like a safe lead for the Twins to hold in the bottom of the inning. Luckily, the Twins were not done hitting. With two outs in the inning, Rob Refsnyder got on base with a line drive single to center. Ryan Jeffers followed by getting hit by his second pitch of the game, setting the stage for Jake Cave who crushed a no-doubter over the bullpen in right, giving the Twins a much more comfortable 9-4 lead.
    Ralph Garza gave up two runs in the bottom of the tenth inning, but the Twins won 9-6.
    Bullpen Usage Chart
      THURS FRI SAT TUE WED TOT Barnes 0 109 0 0 0 109 Minaya 0 16 0 30 0 46 Albers 63 0 0 0 0 63 García 0 0 28 0 0 28 Gant 61 0 0 0 0 61 Garza Jr. 0 0 31 0 24 55 Barraclough 0 46 0 0 4 50 Duffey 0 0 0 19 9 33 Colomé 0 0 0 0 20 0 Coulombe 19 0 0 0 19 19 Thielbar 0 0 0 14 22 23 What's Next?
    The Twins will face the Red Sox in Game 3 of the series on Thursday night. John Gant is the scheduled Twins pitcher, and he will square off against Chris Sale.
    Post Game Interviews
  7. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Andrelton Simmons Isn’t Good Enough to Get Away with This   
    Remember Steve Carlton? The not-very-integral member of the 1987 World Champion Minnesota Twins was, at one time, the best pitcher in baseball. Four Cy Youngs, five years leading the National League in strikeouts (the fifth time at age 38), last pitcher to throw 300 innings a season, led the Phillies to their first title in 1980. A remarkable career.
    He was also completely out of his mind.
    Carlton never spoke to the media, which means we didn’t learn until he was long retired that he built a mountain lair with a 7000-foot storage cellar loaded to the gills with guns and bottled water for “The Revolution.” That revolution was coming thanks to Russian sound waves, the Skull and Bones Society, the Elders of Zion, the National Education Association, and more. I’m aware this qualifies him to represent the state of Georgia in Congress today, but in 1994 this was wild stuff.
    One assumes that the Phillies knew that Steve was off his nut, but when you can produce like he did, you let that stuff slide a little bit, especially if he keeps it quiet. By the time he was failing to make the Minnesota Twins playoff roster because he wasn’t as good as Lester Straker, he was just a cooked 43-year-old with weirdly anti-Semitic ideas about how the world works. He never pitched again.
    Which brings me to Andrelton Simmons.
    Already the COVID patient zero of the Twins locker room, he took to social media on Thursday to let the world know, and I quote:
    I’m not going to debate the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines with Simmons or anyone else, as there is no debate to be had. They work. Please shut up and let the horses have their wormer paste. (Also, it’s “effects.”)
    Across town, the Vikings are dealing with a similar situation. A handful of their best players (Adam Thielen, Harrison Smith, I guess Kirk Cousins if you squint hard enough) apparently won’t get the vacc either. It presents some hard choices for them, as they don’t have quality replacements for any of them as the regular season looms, and the NFL will make teams forfeit games if they can’t field a lineup due to COVID quarantines.
    The Twins face no such dilemma.
    The season is over. Simmons is an offensive liability and a good-to-excellent defender, which basically makes him a better Jeff Reboulet, if Jeff Reboulet thought Jurassic Park was real. He’s on a one-year deal. Maybe if he was the standout player in a disappointing season you could let his idiocy slide. Or maybe if it was something less harmful and kind of quirky, like thinking the earth was flat or dedicating his Instagram Stories to proving that birds are a deep-fake.
    He’s not good enough to get away with this. Let the summer of Drew Maggi begin.
    Image license here.
  8. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Andrew Thares for an article, Game Score: Twins 1, White Sox 0   
    Box Score
    Starting Pitcher: Ober 5.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
    Homeruns: Polanco (21)
    Top 3 WPA: Ober (0.284), Minaya (0.188), Polanco (0.154)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Bailey Ober’s Excellent Start
    After a shaky first month or so of his MLB career, Bailey Ober has settled in nicely since the start of July, as he has posted a respectable 4.23 ERA with solid strikeout and walk numbers in his last six starts coming into today. Those number’s got even better after Ober put up what may have been his best start of the season.
    Ober had a strong first inning, as he got Cesar Hernandez to strikeout to leadoff the ball game. Then, after an Andrew Vaughn strikeout, he struck out Jose Abreu to end the first. In the second, Eloy Jimenez got a leadoff single to begin the inning, before Brian Goodwin flew out to center field for the first out of the inning. Ober then made a great play on a weak comebacker off the bat of Adam Engel that set up the 1-4-3 double play to end the inning.
    After two smooth innings to start the game, Bailey Ober found himself in a big spot facing Andrew Vaughn with runners on the corners and two outs. Ober was up for the challenge, however, and got Vaughn to swing and miss on three straight 94 MPH fastballs to get out of the jam.
    After another strong inning in the fourth, where he gave up just a lone single, Ober found himself in another dicey spot in the fifth. After a leadoff single, followed by one out walk, the White Sox were threatening with the top of their order due up. Pitching coach Wes Johnson came out to settle down his young right-hander. Like many times before it, whatever Johnson said must have worked, as Ober came back with two more strikeouts to get out of the jam once again.
    Jorge Polanco Goes Deep Again
    One of the few bright spots for Twins fans this season has been the play of Jorge Polanco, who has returned to his early 2019 form over the past three plus months of this season. Entering play today, Polanco had an OPS of .885 since the start of May. 
    Polanco has taken that to a whole new level so far in August, as he already had five home runs in just nine games entering play today. That hot streak continued again today, as Polanco went deep to the opposite field in the bottom of the sixth to give the Twins the 1-0 lead.
    He almost followed that up with another home run in the bottom of the eighth, that would have given the Twins a potentially huge insurance run. However, the ball hit right off of the top of the wall in right, and Polanco had to settle for a two out triple. Luis Arraez made a strong bid to drive him in, but his line drive held up just enough to be caught by White Sox center fielder Adam Engel.
    Twins Bats Were Cold
    Outside of the Jorge Polanco home run and triple, it was a rough day for Twins hitters at the plate. The other eight hitters in the Twins lineup went just 2-for-23 with 12 strikeouts and four walks. 
    Luis Arraez got one of those two hits, drilled a leadoff double to the left-center field gap to leadoff the second. However, the Twins failed to cash in on the early opportunity. 
    The other hit came from Trevor Larnach who got a two-out threat started with a single in the fifth. Andrelton Simmons followed that with a walk, before a wild pickoff attempt from White Sox pitcher Garrett Crochet allowed both Larnach and Simmons to advance. Unfortunately, that opportunity would not be taken advantage of as Max Kepler struck out to end the inning.
    The Bullpen Shuts the Door
    After Bailey Ober’s strong start, it was the bullpen’s job to seal the deal for the Twins win and that is exactly what they did today. Caleb Thielbar, Juan Minaya and Alex Colome all deserve some credit, as they each pitched exceptionally well. Collectively, they combined to go 3 and ⅔ innings, allowing zero runs on zero hits while striking out four and walking two.
    Bullpen Usage Chart

    What's Next?
    After back-to-back series wins against American League division leaders, the Twins will have an off day on Thursday before welcoming another American League division leader in the Tampa Bay Rays to town on Friday. Michael Pineda is scheduled to get the start for the Twins, while the Rays starter is still TBD.
  9. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Nick Nelson for an article, In Defense of the Twins Front Office   
    The Twins hired Derek Falvey (who hired Thad Levine) in the wake of a disastrous 103-loss season in 2016. By that point, the Twins had gone six straight years without making the playoffs, and during that span they lost more games than any team in baseball. 
    The following year, Minnesota stunningly reached the postseason as a wild-card team. Then they missed out in 2018, still finishing second, before rebounding in 2019 with one of the greatest seasons in franchise history. The Twins followed in 2020 with another division title. 
    To run all that back: this front office took over a team that had gone 407-565 (.419) with zero playoff appearances in its previous six years, and went 300-246 (.549) with three playoff appearances in the next four. 
    Does their success owe somewhat to the foundation built before they arrived? Of course. No one would deny that Terry Ryan and Co. had cultivated an impressive nucleus before being ousted. But during those years, the Twins repeatedly failed in the draft, failed in acquisitions, and failed in player development. The results bore that out.
    Let's be clear about something here: This current regime was so successful and so impressive through four years that they were repeatedly poached of talent, both in the front office and the coaching staffs they assembled. Not only that, but Falvey and Levine themselves have been courted by big-name franchises like the Red Sox and Phillies. 
    What did they say, according to publicized reports on the matter? 
    "No thanks, we're going to see through what we're building here."
    And so, to see flocks of fans calling for their heads because of one bad season, which is no worse than the ones we saw repeatedly before they arrived ... it's a little hard to take. 
    Falvey became the youngest head exec in the league when he took Minnesota's top job. Currently he is 38 years old, which is three years younger than the DH he traded to Tampa Bay last month. Up until now he never experienced serious adversity during his tenure, which speaks to how smoothly things have gone in the first four years. 
    The same could be said, by the way, for his managerial choice Rocco Baldelli, who was named Manager of the Year in 2019 (as the youngest skipper in baseball, with no experience in the role) and then won a second straight division title in his second season.
    These people have shown their mettle. They've won. A lot. I realize they haven't won in the playoffs, and that sucks, but they haven't had nearly the opportunity of their predecessors. 
    Are we not going to give them a chance to learn from failure?
    Obviously the free agent pitching additions from the past winter have failed at every level. But this front office has made plenty of good and savvy pickups in the past, which helped fuel the success of high-quality staffs the last two years. And in any case, Falvey wasn't really hired to sign pitchers. He was hired to develop them.
    On that front, the jury is still out. This operation was four years in when a pandemic came along and wiped out an entire minor-league season. The fact that Minnesota's upper minors are currently loaded with intriguing high-upside arms would suggest the mission was on track, and is just now getting back on the rails. 
    Soon we'll start seeing those arms (along with the ones acquired at the deadline this year) ushered into majors, and at that point we'll be able to make real assessments. But until then, you're judging an incomplete project. 
    This reassembled baseball ops department has been working ahead of schedule basically since they took over a moribund franchise in despair. They hit a setback this year, and it's been painful. Let's give them a chance to get back on track in the wake of a major disruptive event and humbling follow-up season.
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Matthew Lenz for an article, Fact or Fiction: The Twins Way Didn't Work for Matt Shoemaker   
    In the article written by Dean Spiros of the Pioneer Press, Shoemaker says he is now pitching "the opposite of how the Twins wanted [him] to pitch." Perhaps this is why in 20 innings with the St. Paul Saints, he has a 1.80/3.82 ERA/FIP with improved strikeout and walk rates compared to the 60 1/3 innings he pitched with the Twins. Although 20 innings is a small sample, he's also keeping opposing hitters in the ballpark, which was a massive problem in his time with the Twins, where he has the third-highest home run per nine innings rate among all pitchers who have thrown 60 or more innings.

    In fairness to Shoemaker, he didn't completely trash the Twins and shouldered some of the blame by saying that "[he] could have said no." He also hopes to be back with the big league club at some point by saying, "I really like the Twins organization," he said. "The guys up top, the staff, that's where it's tough…." Truthfully, I don't think there is anything wrong with what Shoemaker said and how he said it. I believe that some of the headlines generated from these quotes made Shoemaker out to be the bad guy when in reality, he was taking some responsibility for his struggles.

    I'm not here to debate the semantics of what was said and how the media and fans interpreted it. But we can look into his claims that the Twins asked him to make adjustments that ultimately lead to him getting DFA'd, unclaimed, and assigned to the St. Paul Saints on July 1st.
    Pre-Twins Tendencies
    Before coming to the Twins, Matt Shoemaker had thrown more than 600 innings with a 3.86/4.03 ERA/FIP, 3.7 K/BB, and a 1.3 HR/9 over eight injury-riddled seasons. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 2014 and had an excellent 2016 season, but since then, he hasn't thrown 80 innings in a season due to various injuries to his arm, knee, and shoulder. The Twins were undoubtedly taking a risk on him, but most assumed that he would be a suitable piece for the back end of a rotation that had World Series hopes as long as he's healthy. Even the biggest naysayer couldn't have predicted the season that Shoemaker ended up having. Even Jeremy Maschino, who has no affiliation to the Twins or Shoemaker, was optimistic about the signing.
    In the aforementioned Pioneer Press article, Shoemaker claims that he's had success when he works up and down in the strike zone with changing speeds. Being that he's been oft-injured from 2017 to 2020, I decided to go back to his last full season in 2016, which also happens to be the most successful season of his career.

    Reviewing his Statcast Pitch Arsenal on Baseball Savant in that season, you can see that he'd throw his four-seam fastball and sinker up in the zone while Shoemaker threw his change-up and slider down in the zone. Quick note: depending on the year and the source, his change-up can also be classified as a split-finger. That change-up/split-finger, in particular, was about eight miles per hour slower than his four-seam with significantly more vertical movement and, according to Brooks Baseball, hitters slugged just .286 off of the pitch in 2016. These tendencies remained consistent when I looked at his career from 2013 to 2020 and seemingly aligned with what he said in the article. So what does "the opposite" of those tendencies look like for Shoemaker?
    2021 Tendencies with the Twins

    Right away, I'll again point out that what was classified as a "change-up" in 2016 was re-classified as a split-finger in 2017 and every year since. You can also see pretty quickly that Shoemaker did seem to adjust to the "Twins way" by relying more heavily on his slider in 2021 (thrown 24.5-percent of the time) than throughout his entire career (16.5-percent). That change may be what Shoemaker is referring to, which hitters have slugged .484 before the 2021 season. This year hitters are slugging .507 off his slider while his split-finger is still his most effective pitch with an opponent slugging percentage of .392. That said, I think Shoemaker needs to take a little more responsibility than saying, "I could have said no."

    Despite the increase in slider usage, his fastball, sinker, and split-finger tendencies are primarily in line with what he had done throughout his career. He throws his fastball higher in the zone coupled with his split-finger down in the zone, although his sinker heat map appears to be a little more erratic. In general, all of his heat maps are more erratic than those from his 2016, which is where I think he needs to take some responsibility for his struggles. Moreover, he may disagree with the pitch calling, but I can't imagine that the Twins were asking you to throw 92 mile per hour fastballs down the heart of the plate.
    There is plenty of blame to share here. It's not all on the Twins, and it's not all on Matt Shoemaker. I think the Twins are at fault for asking Shoemaker to increase usage on the least effective pitch in his arsenal. As Shoemaker suggested in the article, what might work for one guy isn't necessarily going to work for the next guy. What's concerning to me is that his career numbers suggested that, yet the Twins went ahead with their heavy slider approach anyway. At the same time, it's clear that Shoemaker isn't as effective with his pitches as he was pre-injuries. Is that something that will improve as he gets more innings under his belt or something that can be fixed with a stint in the Minors? Time will tell, and now that the trade deadline has come and gone, I think it's only a matter of time before we see Shoemaker back in a Twins uniform.

    What were your thoughts on Shoemaker's claims? Were they legit or just a disgruntled player failing to own up to his struggles?

    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to John Bonnes for an article, Three Things to Like (and Hate) about the Nelson Cruz Trade   
    #3 Reason to Like This Deal – The Timing
    Congrats, Minnesota. You're kind of a big deal. Your team just made the biggest trade of the trade deadline so far because Cruz was the best bat on the trade market. That market was a bit limited, given that he can't play in the National League, but he was still the big dog.
    And believe it or not, the question you should be asking was, "Why did they make the deal so early?" The Twins have been out of the postseason race for a month, but often a deal like this is not made until a day or two before the deadline. Sometimes it's not made until the afternoon of the trade deadline. Seeing a deal come together a week early suggests one of two things, both positive for the Twins:
    They got an offer they could not refuse. That's good news. They gave "buyers" a deadline for their best deal. I suspect the latter. The Twins looked at the market and decided to push the first domino. They still have at least Michael Pineda, Andrelton Simmons, and Hansel Robles to move, and they want to start fielding offers.
    It also might be that they saw teams waiting on making offers for someone like Cubs' third baseman Kris Bryant until Cruz had found a landing spot. That's important because the Twins are likely trying to move Josh Donaldson. That's more difficult until Bryant is traded, since Bryant doesn't have $50M attached to him as Donaldson does.
    So even if the Twins insisted on the timing, it's a ploy that suits their needs.
    #3 Reason to Hate This Deal - Beware the Rays
    The Rays have earned the title of the Smartest Team in Any Deal. It's happened over and over, even when the names involved were premier players like Blake Snell or Chris Archer. It's hard to win a trade with the Rays.
    That said, the last deal the Twins made with the Rays has turned out great. Before the 2018 season, the Rays traded Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for prospect Jermaine Palacio. Odorizzi only had one good year with the Twins – but it was a terrific year, posting a 3.51 ERA in 2019 and resurrecting his career.
    Meanwhile, Palacios is back in the Twins organization. He's playing at AA-Witchita this year. He's 24 years old and having a breakout season, posting a 782 OPS as a shortstop after leaving the Rays' farm system. So, at the very least, the Twins weren't fleeced in that deal.
    #2 – Reason to Like the Deal – The Twins NAILED a Need
    Was the Twins' starting pitching the biggest reason for this year's disappointing season? Maybe not. But it's within the top four for sure, and feel free to debate the order in the comments. (Your candidates: starting pitching, injuries, [insert your favorite rant here], Alex Colome).
    But if the Twins want to take advantage of the competitive window they have from 2022-2024, they need major-league ready (and preferably cost-controlled) pitching. That's precisely what they got in this trade.
    The Twins only have two starting pitchers returning next year – Kenta Maeda and Jose Berrios. This year's backup plans - Randy Dobnak, Devin Smeltzer, and Lewis Thorpe – have been injured. So have all three of the top pitching prospects in the organization: Jhoan Duran, Matt Canterino, and Jordan Balozovic. Plus, the Twins likely have only about $40M to spend on the free agent market next year.  
    Getting back cost-controlled but solid major league pitching is no easy task in Major League Baseball. Looking at the other players the Twins could trade, very few could field that return. Nelson Cruz was their best (and maybe last) chance to do so, and they pulled it off.
    #2 Reason to Hate It – Nelly's Gone
    Losing Nelson Cruz sucks. He was a perfect fit for this team, and the team ended up being a perfect fit for him. Even though he played for the Twins from when he was 38 to 41 years old, he posted the highest OPS (984) of his career for any team. Read that again. Texas (823 OPS) and Seattle (908 OPS) revere him. But Cruz never played better for any team – unless he does so for the Rays. And I hope he does. Kick some ass, Nelly.
    Plus, of course, the whole leadership thing. Cruz was the MVP for both full seasons he played for the Twins, and while his performance certainly justified it, it was his teammates' testimonials that made that choice a no-doubter. He doesn't call attention to himself with histrionics or conspicuous public displays. He just led. The media didn't hear that from Cruz. They learned about it from his teammates. That's how you know it was real. Which brings us to the best reason to dislike this trade...
    #1 Reason to Hate It – And He Ain't Coming Back
    Sometimes you have to leave the past behind, and I suspect the Twins recognize that. Cruz will turn 42 years old next year, and that presents a significant risk. They also have younger bats, like Brent Rooker and maybe even Mitch Garver or Luis Arraez, that they would like to try as a designated hitter. Plus, he will likely cost any team over $10M to sign, and we've already covered the potential payroll squeeze that awaits this team.
    It's not impossible. The Twins love him, clearly. Cruz loves them right back. So never say never. But this season revealed so many leaks in the Twins' ship that I'll be surprised if they expend resources to bring Nellie back for one more year. It would have been nice to have him around a few more months, given that reality. 
    #1 Reason to Like The Trade – They Did Pretty Good
    If you screw up the players you get back, none of it means a damn thing. We won't know for sure about these guys until their Twins' careers are over, but there are some things to be excited about with the players the Twins got in return.
    The lesser (right now) of the two prospects is Drew Strotman. It's worth noting that he's the higher draft pick of the two, so he was not always second fiddle. He's also on the Rays' 40-man roster, which is a negative to his value in terms of roster management, but shows just how impressed the Rays were with him just last year. He has a mid-90s fastball, a plus slider, and added an impressive cutter last year to complete the package.
    That potential hasn't been displayed yet this year in AAA. He's had decent results (3.39 ERA) but is walking way too many batters. But he's also just 24 years old, and this is his first taste of AAA after skipping AA altogether.
    The more intriguing prospect is Joe Ryan. He wasn't particularly near a top 100 prospect in preseason rankings, but it'll be interesting to see if that has changed given his performance this year in AAA. Tallying 75K in 57 IP, with just ten walks and a 0.789(!) WHIP, can change expectations.
    His profile is funky enough to either cast doubt or raise eyebrows. He has a mid-90s fastball that batters have trouble picking up due to his delivery. The COVID year allowed him to work with the Rays coaching staff on his secondary offerings, which seem to have improved. Plus, he is a bit of a free spirit, based on this profile of his development in Sports Illustrated.
    If Twins fans want a preview of him, check out the US Olympic Baseball team. He's on it. Or make your way to CHS Field in St. Paul in August. Or maybe you won't need to cross the river. He might be ready for a trial at Target Field before the year is over.
    The Twins did reasonably well in their first move of the trade deadline season. They made a solid and aggressive move at a good time, getting quality players and filling a need. It also sets them up nicely for more moves before the July 30th deadline.
    But yeah, it's a shame it had to come to this. And the team will need to wait and see if their move turns out as well as they hope.
  12. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Twins Trade Nelson Cruz to the Rays for Two AAA Starting Pitchers   
    Just minutes ago, several national baseball writers, including Jeff Passan announced that the Twins and Rays have reached a deal for the reigning AL champions from Tampa to add slugging DH Nelson Cruz. 
    According to Bob Nightengale, the deal will involve four players including pitcher Drew Strotman. 
    The Twins have made it official, noting the Wichita right-handed reliever Calvin Faucher will also be going to the Rays. In return, the Twins will get pitchers Strotman and Joe Ryan.  
    The Players 
    Drew Stotman is a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher. He has spent 2021 with the Rays Triple-A affiliate in Durham, NC. He is 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. In 58 1/3 innings, he has given up 50 hits, walked and struck out 62 batters. He was the Rays fourth round pick in 2017 out of St. Mary's in California.
    Joe Ryan is a 25-year old right-hander. He has spent the season with Triple-A Durham as well. He is 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA and a 0.79 WHIP. In 57 innings, he has given up 35 hits, walked just ten and struck out 75 batters. He was the team's 7th round pick in 2018 out of Cal State-Stanislaus. 
    The two have combined to make 23 starts for Durham and worked twice out of the bullpen. Ryan ranks as the Rays #10 prospect while Stotman ranked #17. 
    Calvin Faucher was the Twins 10th round pick in 2017 out of UC-Irvine. In 30 2/3 innings with Double-A Wichita, he posted a 7.04 ERA and a 2.05 WHIP. He is a good athlete on the mound. 
    But let's be honest, we're here, right now, to learn about the prospects coming to the Twins from the Rays organization, and to thank Nelson Cruz for two-and-a-half terrific seasons. 
    Nelson Cruz won the AL Silver Slugger for DH his first two years with the team. He finished in the Top 10 in MVP voting both years as well. In 2021, at 41, he is again having a terrific season and represented the Twins at the All-Star game last week. 
    In his time with the Twins, Cruz played in 258 games. He hit .304/.386/.598 (.984) with 435 doubles, 76 home runs and 191 RBI. He was clearly the leader in the clubhouse. He has won humanitarian award for his community service in the cities he has played in as well as his home in the Dominican Republic. 
    The Rays head into Thursday games with a 57-39 record, one game back of the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. They are the current leader in the race for an AL Wild Card spot. They have a need at DH. The Rays need a right-handed power bat. 
    Please feel free to share your thoughts on Nelson Cruz's time with the Twins, today's trade to the Rays, the two pitchers they received in return.
  13. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Seth Stohs for an article, Game Recap: Royals 6, Twins 3   
    Box Score
    Griffin Jax: 5.0 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
    Home Runs: Trevor Larnach (6)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Griffin Jax (-0.368), Alex Kirilloff (-0.129), Luis Arraez (-0.094)
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Jax Makes First Start 
    After earning his first MLB Win in his previous appearance, the Twins sent Griffin Jax to the mound on Saturday afternoon for his first major-league start. He struggled in the first inning. It started with a 10-pitch plate appearance for Whit Merrifield. Then Jorge Soler had a long at bat. Jax needed almost 30 pitches to work out of the first inning (without allowing a run, mind you). He then breezed through the second and third innings. Unfortunately, he ran into trouble again in the fourth inning. He gave up four runs and then gave up two more in the fifth inning. 
    While he walked three batters, Jax threw 58 of his 88 pitches for strikes (65.9%). After Derek Law tossed two scoreless innings, Danny Coulombe pitched a scoreless eighth frame. 
    I think that Jax can find several positives from the first three innings, but he can (and presumably will) learn a lot from all five innings. It's also very likely that had the Twins been in a different place in the standings, Jax probably would have been removed earlier in the fourth inning. But, it's all about development, and Jax was able to do just that. 
    Donaldson Leaves Game Early
    Stop me if you've heard this before, Josh Donaldson was rounding first base on a hard smash when his looked as if he'd been shot in the back of the hamstring. Somehow, he continued to hobble toward second base and was safe with a double. Wisely, the Twins took him out of the game. It was later announced that Donaldson left with a tight hamstring. He was trying to remain in the game, and actually didn't look too bad.
    However, it's a long season. That means two different things. First, there were rumors late this week about the Twins and Mets having "preliminary discussions" about Donaldson, so no sense in letting him get hurt further. Also, if he isn't traded, he does still have two years left on his contract (plus an option), so no sense in seeing him make it worse by trying to score from second on a possible two-out single. 
    Larnach Launch 
    The Twins faced a lefty in Danny Duffy on Saturday. It seems that Baldelli & Company are going with a rotation when the team faces southpaws. Two of the Max Kepler, Luis Arraez, Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach group start versus lefties with the other two on the bench. It seems this playing time is spread fairly evenly. On this day, Trevor Larnach was not in the starting lineup. However, a series of events put Gilberto Celestino in right field, and when a right-handed reliever entered the game, Larnach was called on to pinch hit and play the rest of the game. He responded with a hard-hit single, and then hit a LONG home run in the eighth inning off of Greg Holland. It was his sixth home run on the season. 
    Celestino Holding His Own
    Before Larnach pinch-hit for him, Celestino was 1-for-2 with a double. He also threw out Hunter Dozier at the plate, showing off a strong arm.  
    Since starting his MLB career by going 0-for-15, he is hitting .250 (7-for-28) with two doubles and two home runs. He has also played much better defense since the nervous blunders the first couple of games. Are those great numbers? Certainly not. But when we remember that he should be playing, arguably, in Double-A Wichita and has been pushed into big-league action before he was ready, it is encouraging for his future to see the adjustments he has made. And, as noted in the header, it's probably much more fun to play when you aren't just overwhelmed. 
    Postgame Interview
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

      TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Coulombe 43 0 0 16 7 66 Duffey 15 0 0 13 0 28 Thielbar 0 16 0 0 0 16 Robles 0 0 34 0 0 34 Law 0 0 32 0 34 66 Colomé 0 14 0 17 0 31 Rogers 0 0 0 22 0 22 Alcala 0 0 19 0 0 19 Jax 0 0 0 0 88 88 
  14. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Tom Froemming for an article, Josh Donaldson Trade Rumor: Twins, Mets In “Very Preliminary Talks”   
    Here is a link to Andy Martino’s report on SNY. His specific wording: “The team has engaged in very preliminary talks with the Minnesota Twins, who might trade Josh Donaldson. Those conversations have not yet progressed, but Donaldson is a possibility for the Mets.”
    I include that because sometimes these things can get overblown in headlines/Tweets/any other shortened communication. There most definitely does not sound like there’s anything concrete and chances seem very good these talks don’t progress too far.
    The Mets have been devastated by injuries this season, resulting in Jonthan Villar spending the most time of anyone at third base. He’s currently on the IL, leaving Luis Guillorme to man the hot corner for the most part. J.D. Davis, their Opening Day third baseman, is on the 60-day IL with a finger injury but is currently on a minor league rehab assignment.
    Donaldson is coming off a white-hot June in which he hit .275/.354/.638 (.992 OPS). He’s also played in 63 of the team’s 79 games this year. The Twins have also seen their fair share of injuries, of course, but third base actually seems like a solid position to deal from. Luis Arraez has looked capable there, Miguel Sanó will still make sporadic appearances at his old position, Willians Astudillo is still around and José Miranda is having an outstanding season down on the farm.
    So what may be the hold up? Money.
    Donaldson is still owed nearly $11 million for this season and guaranteed $51.5 million more over the next three years. As Martino points out, the Mets are less than $10 million away from MLB’s luxury tax. With that being the case, it seems likely the Twins will be asked to cover some of Donaldson’s contract in the event of a trade.
    Still, if you would have asked me earlier this season if trading Donaldson at the deadline was going to be a possibility for the Twins, I would have been pessimistic. He's still a very productive player, but given he's 35 and owed as much money as he is means there's a small window of teams that may be interested. The folks at Baseball Trade Values still haven't quite nailed their valuations, but it's the best resource we have available for now. They have Donaldson pegged as having negative trade value, -$19.7 million. Aaron Gleeman recently ranked Donaldson as the 11th-most valuable trade asst on the Twins over at The Athletic.
    Donaldson's performance landed him a spot on MLB.com's June 2021 All-Star team, but his back-and-fourth with Lucas Giolito somewhat overshadowed that performance. That "pesty" behavior led Twins Daily's Cody Christie to ask if Donaldson is among the least likable Twins players. Regardless of whether or not he's been a distraction to the team, it seems to make a lot of sense for the Twins to look to move on from any aging players with high salaries. 
    I can certainly see the motivation behind a deal for both sides of this potential trade, but it also seems easy enough for the Mets to simply wait for Davis' return. The 28-year-old is a career .274/.353/.457 hitter and is already five-games deep into his rehab assignment. That, combined with the money concerns, leads me to believe if the two sides eventually come to an agreement there will be an underwhelming return for the Twins. 
    Would it even be worth it? Well, that probably depends on what you think of the 2022 Minnesota Twins. We're going to find out where the organization stands by the end of this month.
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, Front Office Facing Pitching Problems   
    Across the division in Cleveland, Falvey grew a reputation for being able to develop pitching. Minnesota needed to overhaul that aspect of their development, and the early returns were promising. Despite the Bomba Squad emerging in 2019, Minnesota also became the best pitching version of itself that the franchise had seen in years. Taylor Rogers was elite, Tyler Duffey was transformed, and a number of fliers worked out.
    Enter 2021 and things couldn’t be further from that reality. This Twins club owns the 29th overall fWAR mark from their pitching staff, and both starters and relievers have been collectively terrible. The lineup took a bit to get going, but it hasn’t been an issue for weeks. With the White Sox now having all but ended Minnesota’s chances in the year ahead, a look at 2022 puts both Falvey and Levine squarely on the hot seat.
    Given the amount of talent eyeing a return on this roster, and the unexpected nature of these results, a full rebuild should not be the course of action in 2022. Reloading and trying it again with some new pieces makes all the sense in the world. What the front office must not do again however, is look to shop in the bargain bin and think the process will entirely translate into results.
    I have long harped on the infrastructure brought in by this front office as being exceptional. That still rings true. Wes Johnson is a good pitching coach, and throughout the farm there’s intelligent instructors. At some point though, you can’t bank entirely on a blueprint squeeze more juice from an already cashed fruit. J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker were fine back-end additions, but they both relied entirely on depth with nothing done to raise the water level.
    From the vantage point we have now, walking through this smoldering warzone, Falvey has virtually nothing to show for this season. The plethora of waiver claims all failed to pan out, save for the small sample of Luke Farrell. Happ and Shoemaker have been terrible. Randy Dobnak was extended, then optioned, and has never had a real defined role. On the farm, each of the top prospects has now gone down with arm issues, likely due to the year off. Yes, Josh Winder and Jordan Balazovic look good, but there’s more reason to be cautious than excited at this point.
    In the year ahead it will be on the Twins to use their depth as a fall back plan rather than seeing it as a source of reliance. Signings like Happ and Shoemaker indicated a belief one or both would soon be bumped as prospects came for their spots. Now Shoemaker is gone entirely, and the lack of options becomes even more glaring with yet another miss added to the books. Jose Berrios has been good, but not yet elevated to the next step, and now the talk of trading him lands even more into a questionable realm for me.
    Over the winter the plan has to be pitching, spending on it, and making sure it’s right. Relief arms are generally fickle year over year. Expecting Alexander Colome to fall this hard wasn’t a good bet. In 2022 you can reshuffle that group and bring in new faces, but they can’t be supplemented with a bunch of fall back options just ran out in case of emergency. The starting staff needs a legit arm that slots in to the top three, and that’s on top of paying or at least keeping Berrios.
    One bad season in the midst of such turnaround isn’t going to cost the front office their jobs, but there is plenty of reason to question why Derek Falvey hasn’t come through with his calling card should we see two years’ worth of these results. It’s time to right this ship, fix it, and prove the belief has been warranted. Dollars, development, whatever path you want to take, pitching can not be a problem for the Twins in the year ahead.
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Nate Palmer for an article, Game Recap: White Sox 7, Twins 6   
    Box Score
    Starter: Kenta Maeda 4.2 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 5 BB, 4 K
    Home Runs: Josh Donaldson (12)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Maeda (-.355), Jeffers (.076), Cruz (-.055),
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    The Twins were able to start the game off with a bang, but the game quickly went south from there. The quick start came as Luis Arraez singled to lead off the game. With Arraez standing on first, Josh Donaldson was able to deposit the ball in the left-field seats to put the visiting team up 2-0 to start the game. 
    With Donaldson trash talking as he crossed home plate it seemed the Twins were headed in the right direction to keep the squad’s season on life support. That quickly changed. 
    Maeda walks 5
    2021 continues to be a completely different season for Maeda in comparison to 2020. Health has been an issue. Command has as a result also been an issue. That became extremely evident as Maeda walked three straight batters in the first inning and would end his outing with 5 walks in total. This is incredible considering that is half his walk total from all of last season! 
    Maeda appeared to briefly regain his command in the 4th and into the 5th inning. Once Maeda regained his control it seemed everything else didn’t go right around him. Balls fell in, slow rollers found the right piece of grass, and that was all it took to get the White Sox to 7 runs on the scoreboard. 
    Twins try to make it a game
    Just as the game seemed to be completely out of reach the Twins began to make it interesting in the 7th. Nelson Cruz doubled home Trevor Larnach after Larnach reached on a near homer to right field. Max Kepler then also doubled to bring Cruz around to score the second run of the inning. To bring the Twins within 2 runs at a score of 7-5, Alex Kirilloff grounded out but on the play, Kepler was able to make his way home as well. 
    In the end, the Twins were two bad baserunning decisions away from potentially tying the game at 7 runs or even winning the game. Cruz getting thrown out at second somehow thinking he was Byron Buxton stretching a single into a double. Also, Jorge Polanco getting absolutely found out on his attempt to steal represents two big mistakes for outs on the basepaths. 
    It is was encouraging to see the Twins battle back, but that margin of error is that much more minuscule through this stretch of division games. Tomorrow the Twins will lean on Bailey Ober as the White Sox send Dylan Cease to the mound. 
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
      WED THU FRI SUN MON TUE TOT Jax 0 0 75 0 0 0 75 Coulombe 0 0 32 0 0 43 75 Duffey 0 0 0 23 0 15 38 Thielbar 0 4 0 30 0 0 34 Rogers 0 8 9 0 0 0 17 Shoemaker 0 11 0 0 0 0 11 Robles 0 0 10 0 0 0 10 Alcalá 0 10 0 0 0 0 10 Colomé 0 0 7 0 0 0 7  


  17. Sad
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, Could the Twins Trade Luis Arraez?   
    Luis Arraez has been found money for the Twins system. While a solid prospect, his debut season posting a .334/.399/.439 slash line was not expected by any means. He probably takes the highest quality at bats on the team and has fantastic bat to ball skills that should always buoy a solid batting average. So why would the Twins look to trade him?
    Arraez essentially has no primary position at this point after Polanco took over second base. He’ll still make the occasional appearance in the middle infield but often finds himself in the corner outfield or filling in for an injured Donaldson at the hot corner. His shift off the position he played his entire minor league career has gone as well as we could have expected, although usually we don’t expect much in this scenario. Arraez is slightly below average across the board defensively.
    His flexibility on the diamond is valuable, though not as valuable as it could be. There’s no situation where the Twins would feel the least bit comfortable with dropping Arraez in at shortstop or center field which are two of the most valuable positions to be able to play. Corner spots are typically where you hide rough defenders and you can often find passable backups. It’s very likely somebody like Nick Gordon is nowhere near the offensive contributor that Arraez is, but his defensive range and what looks to be at least a solid bat could very well close the gap on Arraez as a future utilityman in the Twins eyes.
    Injury History
    It’s probably not crazy to say that Arraez’ defensive struggles have at least something to do with his injury history. At 24 years of age Arraez has had knee problems on both sides, one being a torn ACL and the other being tendonitis that hampered him significantly throughout 2020. Even after the issue had supposedly been resolved we still see Arraez run the bases gingerly on occasion while appearing to nurse an aching lower half. 
    Knee injuries can often result in a brutal aging curve unfortunately, and there’s worries that a 24 year old Luis Arraez is already suffering from chronic issues. As he ages further we could see decline not only defensively, but offensively. He may be able to maintain his bat to ball skills and terrific plate discipline, but as we’ve seen this season in his .351 slugging %, if his power completely evaporates as it could with leg injuries then his value at the plate could really fall off. Arraez is due to become a free agent in 2026. Is it possible that his value could be at its peak?
    Should We Trade Him?
    As with most productive controllable players, whether we should trade Luis Arraez doesn’t have a simple yes or no answer. He’s an incredibly valuable player, and likely more valuable as a player on the Twins than a trade chip at this point due to his injuries and overall struggles this season. Still, Polanco has settled into second base nicely and appears to have rebounded at the plate. The next wave of outfielders are here with more on the way. While he would be a great stop gap for Donaldson’s IL trips, he’s probably not an everyday third baseman.
    Especially if he rebounds at the plate and shows he’s healthy over the next month, a contender could justify paying up for the 24 year old who’s controlled for four more years if they see him as an everyday starter. The Twins lineup would certainly miss him but he’s a player they could likely afford to lose more than Taylor Rogers or Jose Berrios while still getting a nice return that could help rebound in 2022.
    Arraez has become a quiet star and is surely one of my favorite players, but when teams crumble as the 2021 Twins have, all options have to be considered. Could Luis Arraez be the big move the Twins make to try to rebound from a surprisingly disappointing season?
    — 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
  18. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, NASA: Newly Discovered Asteroid Will ‘Definitely’ Land on Byron Buxton   
    When NASA astronomer Steve Bland observed a new asteroid hurtling through space earlier this month, he was alarmed. The object was clearly on a path that would send it directly towards Earth. “Obviously, that’s a nightmare scenario,” said Bland. “Even a relatively small object could wreak havoc on the impact area.”
    Further study relieved Bland and his co-workers when it was determined that the asteroid, named 2021 SB, would disintegrate rapidly upon entering the planet’s atmosphere. However, there was one note of concern.
    “Just from following the course it’s travelling through our solar system, there is zero doubt in my mind that it’s definitely going to land on top of Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton,” said Bland.
    It’s estimated that 2021 SB will be the size of a golf ball once it reaches Buxton and will likely end its grand celestial journey on his throwing shoulder or right big toe.
    “I can’t say I’ve ever seen anything like this before,” admitted Bland. "Most asteroids do not target individuals."
    The Twins say they’ve been notified by NASA of the situation.
    “It’s not an existential threat to all human life but Byron is for sure going to be out indefinitely,” said Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. “We spoke with Byron and he’s as disappointed as we are.”
    Officials say the asteroid will likely reach Buxton immediately after his left hand is fully healed from the fracture suffered during Monday’s game versus Cincinnati.
    “2021 SB actually appeared to slow down on Monday evening,” said Bland. “It was on pace to get here on Wednesday but now looks like it’s taking its sweet time. Yes, that’s unusual.”
    Although Bland didn’t want to speculate on the actual date, time, and location, sources close to the team say they expect the space object to injure Buxton on his first day back with the Twins or on a St. Paul rehab assignment when he’s signing autographs for impressionable young children.
  19. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, It’s Time to Pay Byron Buxton   
    Injuries are often unpredictable, and the situation becomes one more of reaction than it does preventability. Recently Lucas Seehafer wrote a wonderful piece outlining Buxton’s maladies and what to make of them. The man is a tireless worker and in exceptional shape. Short of the early career positioning that had him prone to taking down outfield walls, nothing since has been a direct reflection of his own doing.
    This week Cody Christie talked about whether the decision is to pay Buxton or Jose Berrios. I’ve already argued in favor of Jose, and my reality is that the correct path is to retain both.
    In 2021 Byron Buxton has played just 26 games thus far. He led the majors in fWAR at the time of his hip injury, and his 2.6 fWAR would be a pace of 16.2 fWAR over the course of 162 games. That would go down as the single greatest season in terms of fWAR throughout Major League Baseball history.
    With Buxton it used to be a question if the production at the dish would be there. Since the moment he made his big league debut, he’s been the best defensive outfielder in the league. For the better part of the past three years now, we’ve seen that the bat has caught up to expectations as well. He’s got a .903 OPS and 139 OPS+ dating back to 2019. I’ve never been especially high on utilizing his speed for stealing bases because my assumption was always that the power would play. He’s hit 33 homers in his last 153 games, and the 44 doubles make it unnecessary for him to steal third base.
    I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone willing to argue against Buxton’s talent on the field. There are so few players that can do what he does, and at the level in which he contributes. It’s understandable to suggest that being without him while injured hurts the team, but even more damning would be to see him showcasing his abilities for someone else.
    Every single organization in baseball knows what Buxton’s injury history is. That means he’s going to face the same payday challenges no matter where he goes when the questions of availability are brough up. All it takes is for one team to pay him a value that coincides with the missed time, and Minnesota handing out a $100 million deal doesn’t preclude them from making other complimentary decisions.
    The reality is that the Minnesota Twins need Byron Buxton, probably more than he needs them, and despite a few missteps towards him along the way it’s time for the front office to match the number that gets something done.
    Byron Buxton is a generational talent type of player and trying to replace that type of production is much harder than finding money to make the other pieces fit.
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or email
  20. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Matthew Taylor for an article, The Minnesota Twins Should Give Taylor Rogers a Contract Extension   
    In what has been a nightmare season for the Minnesota Twins’ bullpen, Taylor Rogers has been one of the few bright spots. Through 29 appearances thus far, Rogers owns a sparkling 2.67 ERA with a career high K/9 of 12.5. Rogers has been used in every type of situation as well, playing the role of left-handed specialist, fireman and closer, proving time and time again to be Rocco Baldelli’s most trusted arm in the bullpen. After a 2020 season in which Rogers was extremely unlucky, regression has tilted back in his favor in 2021, and the results are proving again that he is an exceptionally talented pitcher.
    As a talented pitcher on a struggling baseball team, the reaction from some may be that Taylor Rogers is a prime trade candidate. Playoff teams can always use another reliever, and with 1.5 years remaining on his deal, a Taylor Rogers trade could net the Twins a solid return. While the logic behind that thinking is sound, there is another alternative that could benefit the Twins even more, a contract extension.
    There are several reasons why a contract extension for Taylor Rogers would make a lot of sense for the Minnesota Twins. The first of which is extremely basic, Taylor Rogers is a really good pitcher. Since the start of 2018, Rogers ranks in the top-20 among all relievers in innings pitched, ERA, WHIP and K/BB ratio. Simply put, Rogers is one of the best bullpen arms in all of baseball.
    Secondly, the Minnesota Twins bullpen is one of the worst bullpens in baseball with not many names to count on going forward. Outside of Taylor Rogers, the only semi-reliable names that the Twins have for the future are Tyler Duffey, who is having his worst season since 2018, and Jorge Alcala, who has shown promise but is nowhere near a sure thing. Taking a bad bullpen, and removing its best piece would be risky and leave a huge question mark for that unit for a Minnesota Twins team who will be hoping to compete again in 2022 or 2023.
    Additionally, by extending Taylor Rogers this offseason, the Minnesota Twins would be able to save annual money by committing longevity to Rogers. After earning $6M in his second year of arbitration prior to 2021, Rogers will likely be looking at a 3rd year arbitration contract of $7.5M heading into 2022. If the Twins want to save money on Rogers’ third year of arbitration, as well as avoid Rogers becoming an unrestricted free agent, they could offer Rogers a 3 year contract at $20M. This contract would net Rogers an AAV of $6.67M, saving the Twins money in 2022, as well as ensuring that they maintain some consistency in their bullpen by bringing back their best reliever at a reasonable contract. 
    Signing a reliever to a contract extension is always going to be a risky proposition, especially for someone like Rogers who will turn 31 this offseason. The lefty, however, has just 300 big league innings on his arm and has shown no signs of slowing down, increasing his velocity and whiff % to career highs in 2021. As a great clubhouse guy, Rogers brings more than just talent to the Minnesota Twins and would be the perfect bridge player to not only lead the bullpen over the next couple of years, but usher in the bullpen arms of the future.
    The Twins should extend Taylor Rogers.
  21. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to David Youngs for an article, Twins Claim RHP Beau Burrows off Waivers   
    No, the name above isn’t former Heisman winner Joe Borrow. It’s Fort Worth, TX native and former Detroit first-round pick Beau Burrows. 
    After a grueling stretch of games, the Twins added a promising arm to the bullpen, claiming Burrows off waivers from the Tigers on Tuesday afternoon. Burrows will report to Triple-A Saint Paul. The Saints will begin a six-game series against the Clippers in Columbus tonight.
    The 6’2 right-hander was drafted out of high school in the first round (pick 22) of the 2015 Amateur Draft by the Tigers. He spent 2015-2019 dancing between Rookie Ball and AAA for the Tigers organization. His best season came in 2017 when he posted a 10-7 record with a 3.20 ERA in 26 games between High-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie.
    Burrows got his shot at the big leagues in 2020, pitching 6 2/3 innings of relief in five games for Detroit. In that span, he recorded a 5.40 ERA with eight hits and four earned runs. 
    The Weatherford High School graduate has only pitched once for the Tigers this season, surrendering four earned runs in 1 2/3 innings on June 22 against the White Sox. Burrows was perfect for the first inning of his appearance but left the game in the middle of his second inning on the mound due to illness.
    And while he appears to be healthy now, Burrows has struggled to find consistency in the past thanks to injuries, particularly in 2019. Burrows missed a month and a half early that season due to shoulder inflammation. After returning to the bump he was later shut down in August due to a left oblique strain. 
    Burrows' pitch arsenal consists primarily of a four-seam fastball (66%), slider (20%), and changeup (14%). His fastball has averaged at 94.5 MPH so far this season with hitters recording a .200 batting average against it. Burrows also has a curveball and sinker, yet hasn’t thrown either pitch so far this season.
    While the sample size is small it’s clear that Burrows has some untapped talent and just hasn’t gotten into a rhythm yet. Hopefully, that will change in the Twins organization. Welcome to Minnesota, Beau!
    The addition of Burrows puts the Twins back at 40 players on their 40-man roster. 
  22. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Nate Palmer for an article, Game Recap: Twins 7, Reds 5   
    Box Score
    Starter: J.A. Happ 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 4 K
    Home Runs: Nelson Cruz (16), Nelson Cruz 
    Top 3 WPA: Matt Shoemaker (.969), Miguel Sano (.384), Caleb Thielbar (.232)
    Bottom 3 WPA: (if they lose)Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    Before Monday night’s game even saw the first pitch tossed it was a big night. First, on Cancer Awareness Night the Twins remembered bench coach Mike Bell who passed away during Spring Training after his own fight with cancer. If you missed the tribute it is a must-watch. 
    Also, Monday marked the day that MLB’s new foreign substance went into effect as well. As much as substances used by pitchers have been the storyline over the last month-plus of baseball, how these guidelines are enforced and affect the game will be the story the rest of the way for 2021. 
    The Twins started off the game's offense with a big 2nd inning. It started with a Nelson Cruz bomb for 424 feet at a pace of 116.5 mph to put the Twins up 1-0. The table was then set by more of that core the Twins have relied on for years with Kepler walking and Polanco hitting a single to put runners on the corners. A Kirilloff RBI single added to the Twins lead and a later Arraez sacrifice fly would let the Twins end the inning up 3-0. 
    Even though the Twins were in the lead, it was another case of the Twins missing a chance to bust a game open. They left the bases loaded with plenty of opportunities to practically put the game out of reach early. Only time would tell if that would come back to hurt them later in the evening. 
    Happ Good Enough Early, Then…
    Happ had plenty of rocky stretches early on, but through 3 innings had held the Reds scoreless. The 4th inning took a turn for the worse. Happ issued a walk to Tyler Stephenson who would later advance to 2nd on a wild pitch. While Happ had worked around base runners in earlier innings, this time Eugenio Suarez got on a Happ fastball and sent it into the seats for a 2-run home run. 
    Aristedes Aquino would then hit a solo shot into the left-field bleachers. A home run that many (including this writer) would bring an end to Happ’s evening. The Twins did bring him back in the 5th where he was able to get two more outs before being lifted for Luke Farrell. 
    Another Scare from Buxton
    Once again it seems that Byron Buxton just cannot avoid the freak injuries. This time it was a stray pitch from Reds starter Mahle that hit Buxton on the hand. Buxton did his best to stay in the game initially. After catching a fly-ball to end the Twins defensive side of the 5th inning. Buxton was 1-for-2 with an infield hit when he was forced from the game. 
    After the game the update was that Buxton has a boxer's fracture.
      The Twins seemingly played all their chips to try and secure a win in the 8th inning. One spot of the lineup saw many more players shuffle through it as Josh Donaldson pinch hit for Nick Gordon who earlier replaced Buxton. Donaldson was intentionally walked to load the bases to bring Larnach to bat. With Donaldson still not fit to run, Miguel Sano came on as a pinch-runner.  Larnach couldn’t get the hit the Twins needed. That left the Twins with the 9th inning to try and get the job done before extra innings. They couldn’t leave another chance with the bases loaded pass them by, right? This time with Kepler, Polanco, and Kirilloff on with 1-out the Twins saw Jeffers take an incredibly painted pitch for a strike-out and Simmons ground out to send the game to extras. 
    Extra-Inning Magic
    Extra-innings began with the Reds and Twins exchanging 2-run innings. And as the 11th inning began, former starter Matt Shoemaker took the mound for the Twins. Twins fans have become used to Shoemaker’s unfortunate results as a starter but that wasn’t the case Monday night as he pitched a great 11th and 12th inning. 
    That got Miguel Sano to the plate in the Twins half of the 12th, after Arraez had helped move Simmons over from 2nd to 3rd. It didn’t matter where Simmons was standing in the end as Sano blasted a home run over the entire Reds defense for the walk-off win. 
    It was a firework-worthy ending for the longest game in the MLB this season! Also 5 in a row for the Twins! 
    Postgame Interview
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
      TUE WED FRI SAT SUN MON TOT Thielbar 0 38 0 12 0 19 69 Alcalá 0 10 18 0 18 20 66 Rogers 0 15 12 13 0 16 56 Colomé 0 20 0 15 0 7 42 Duffey 0 0 20 0 21 0 41 Robles 0 0 20 14 0 0 34 Shoemaker 0 0 0 0 0 32 32 Farrell 0 0 0 0 0 19 19 Dobnak 0 0 0 start 0 0 0

  23. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, Revisiting the Shaun Anderson Trade   
    LaMonte Wade Jr. was an easy player to like. He slowly worked his way up through the minors over five years using his patient plate approach and solid outfield defense and found himself on the back end of a deep outfield rotation in 2019 and 2020. Nobody expected Wade to be a star player, but he seemed like the kind of solid contributor that fills out the edges of a competitive roster. He slashed .211/.336/.388 in a Twins uniform, played decent defense in the outfield, and even filled in at first base on occasion.
    It basically came down to a battle between Wade and Jake Cave for a roster spot last winter. To Cave’s and the Twins credit, he was fantastic, especially against righties prior to his disastrous 2020 season in which he was 18% below league average offensively. Cave’s prior play ultimately won him the roster spot as the Twins rightfully were planning on a rebound. Wade was eventually shipped to San Francisco for a high upside arm in Shaun Anderson.
    Now I like Shaun Anderson despite his struggles in a Twins uniform and I liked the trade at the time. He’s a high octane righty with a nasty slider that he struggles to locate. Plenty of adjustments that can be made. Unfortunately Anderson never figured it out in his brief time with the Twins, as he was claimed off waivers by Texas after posting a 9.35 ERA and 4.90 FIP in 8.2 innings. Meanwhile LaMonte Wade Jr. is slashing .257/.350/.443 with the Giants. No explanation is needed on Jake Cave’s performance.
    This wasn’t a noteworthy outcome in a vacuum, mistakes happen. I find it significant for two reasons however. 
    First of all, this move symbolizes the entire offseason in my eyes. Was it an exciting move? No. You could make out what the Twins were trying to do however and it didn’t take much to get excited over someone they handpicked that was so under the radar. The same could be said for the signings of Robles, Happ, Shoemaker, Simmons and Colomé. Much like all of these but Robles however, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the outcome could’ve been worse.
    Second, for whatever reason for all of the mistakes that were made this offseason, Shaun Anderson (who has minor league options and is 26 years old) is the first addition the front office has admitted failure on by placing him on waivers. Meanwhile J.A. Happ, Matt Shoemaker and Alexander Colomé continue to “eat innings” with absolutely zero chance of having any future on this team beyond 2021. It’s simply baffling.
    This move didn’t change the course of the Twins success in 2021, but it’s incredibly frustrating because it embodies the offseason perfectly. The majority of this winters acquisitions were sensible at the time but look absolutely horrible in retrospect as pretty much anything that could have gone wrong did.
    The result of such a string of lame duck acquisitions leaves Twins fans’ faith wavering, as all of the good will built up throughout 2019 and 2020 was undone in one fell swoop of atrocious pitching additions.
    The Twins will enter the 2021 offseason with ample money to spend and plenty of holes to fill. Can so many disastrous moves be chalked up to bad luck? Can Twins fans feel good about an upcoming offseason of acquisitions that will surely be relied upon to get back on track in 2022?
    — 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
  24. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Ted Schwerzler for an article, It’s Time to Pay Jose Berrios   
    Yes, Berrios wants a hefty payday, and no, he isn’t one of the top 10 pitchers in baseball. The three players he’s most closely tied to in this contract situation are Luis Severino, Aaron Nola, and Lance McCullers. The former two got paid prior to the 2019 season. McCullers just got his payday. They are all 27 years old, save for Nola who just recently had a birthday. None of that trio would qualify as top 10 pitchers in the game either.
    Nola and Severino took four-year deals at $45M and $40M, respectively. McCullers agreed to a five-year deal that starts in 2022 and is for $85M. Jose reportedly wanted something close to what the Phillies and Yankees did for their starters; that isn’t happening now. He’s going to get something closer to what the Astros paid out, and that’s more than a fair valuation. I don’t think Berrios would find a $17M AAV on the open market, but I’d be shocked if he couldn’t get something in the $12-15M range.
    Really though, this conversation is less about dollars and more about sense. Over the winter Minnesota paid J.A. Happ $8M and Matt Shoemaker $2M both on one-year deals. That $10M has immediately become a sunk cost as both have been downright terrible, and the stability intended for the back of the rotation has been non-existent. I’d have preferred to see the Twins aim higher when rounding out the group, but we’ve seen that troubles there as guys like James Paxton haven’t even thrown a pitch for their new team.
    I think the point with Berrios is this, you already have a commodity that you know, he should be entering his prime, and there’s never been a question of his durability. Sure, he’s faltered in August and September, but it hasn’t ever been injury related. He’s not an ace, and he may be a borderline number two at times, but it’s fair to say he’s a top-half of the rotation arm that flashes even more when he’s on. The alternative is one of unknown, or one I think we can bet against.
    Touching again on the unknown, you’re dealing with bargain bin arms hoping that a middle-of-the-road veteran is enough for the sake of stability. Maybe they’re injured, ineffective, or both. The option we can probably bet against is a big ticket purchase. Trevor Bauer made a good deal of sense from a roster construction standpoint, but he was never going to be interested in Minnesota, and the Twins were never going to drop that kind of coin. Nothing precludes the Twins from spending, but top free agents don’t see this as a destination either.
    Looking ahead to the upcoming offseason, there’s more than a few veteran arms that should hit the market. Plenty of them will be paid handsomely, and some of them may even be interested in talking with the Twins. Giving Jose Berrios something like $80M over the next five years isn’t going to stop any opportunity to engage those arms either. If development continues to happen, you’d hope this rotation has a desire to include Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran as soon as next season. Maybe one of them turns out to be an ace, and maybe neither do. Either way, pitching being a focus, moving on from Berrios solely to pay someone in hopes of replicating his production seems silly.
    Finding an ace is among the most difficult things to do in baseball. There’s maybe 10 of those guys in the game, most are developed internally, and if they do ever hit the open market Minnesota isn’t the first choice they’ve got on their list. Building a rotation with guys that all have the ability to pitch like an ace on any given night is a much more attainable goal, and both Kenta Maeda and Berrios fit that bill. Beyond there the Twins don’t have answers. Michael Pineda has been a steadying presence, and maybe they bring him back again this winter, but Berrios should be inked into that future as much as anyone.
    It's easy to spend someone else’s money, and the Pohlad’s have plenty of it, but the thought process runs deeper than that. Plenty of money comes off the books again this winter, and while 2021 has been a disaster, a new opportunity to reload will be in front of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Including someone like Berrios as part of that makes more sense than it does finding the next guy discarded from another organization to replace him.
    — Latest Twins coverage from our writers
    — Recent Twins discussion in our forums
    — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  25. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to John Bonnes for an article, Gleeman & The Geek, Ep 530: It's Over   
  • Create New...