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VivaBomboRivera!

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  1. 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.
    Conclusion
    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?

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  2. 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.
  3. 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.
     
  4. 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 
  5. 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.
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  6. 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.
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  7. 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  

     

     
  8. 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?
    https://twitter.com/CoopCarlson/status/1223675817470898176
    Utilityman?
    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?
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  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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    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.
  12. 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. 
  13. 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
     

     
  14. 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?
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  15. 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.
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  16. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to John Bonnes for an article, Gleeman & The Geek, Ep 530: It's Over   
  17. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Lucas Seehafer PT for an article, Game Recap: Twins 5, Astros 2   
    Box Score
    José Berríos: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K
    Home Runs: Jorge Polanco (9)
    Top 3 WPA: José Berríos .266, Jorge Polanco .126, Miguel Sanó .104
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    The Minnesota Twins were in full control from the moment that José Berríos took the mound during the bottom of the first inning.
    Berríos tossed an absolute gem, striking out eight and lowering his ERA to 3.49 over the course of seven innings for one of his better performances of an already strong campaign. Other than two poorly located pitches against Kyle Tucker and Robel Garcia - the two went back-to-back during the top of the seventh inning - Berríos was virtually unhittable. 
    At the plate, the Twins tagged eight balls with an exit velocity greater than 100 mph, producing five hits. Jorge Polanco continued to display signs of returning to his 2019 form as he went 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. He’s slashing .300/.358/.617 with 18 hits and five home runs over his last 15 games. His current .766 OPS would be the third-best of his career behind the 2018 (.773) and 2019 (.841) seasons.
    Miguel Sanó got the scoring going for the Twins in the bottom of the fourth inning when he launched a double high off the right centerfield wall to score Trevor Larnach. He was later robbed of more RBIs when Astros’ leftfielder Michael Brantley made a sliding catch on a sinking line drive with the bases loaded.
    While it could be easily argued that Sanó has had one of the more disappointing performances during a Twins’ season littered with disappointing performances, the fact of the matter remains that he has been largely a league-average player. (His wRC+ is hovering right around 100.) There's even some evidence that he's getting a little unlucky.
    Sanó currently owns a .214 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), which is the lowest of his career by far. (He owns a .329 BABIP for his career and his previous low was in 2018 with a .286 figure.) Entering play on Saturday, the MLB average BABIP was .289. Sanó will always have a high strikeout rate and will often fail to produce in situations where, frankly, he needs to, but if he continues to put the ball in play at the current rate that he is, odds are he’ll end the season as a slightly-above average player statistically speaking.
    Another bright spot for the Twins during their win was the continued strong play of Nick Gordon. Gordon made yet another start in centerfield and once again performed quite well defensively. His initial reactions on two balls in the right centerfield gap were solid and his strong path to the ball combined with his above-average speed allowed him to make two fairly difficult catches look easy.
    Gordon went 1-for-4 at the plate, but reached base a second time after a dropped third strike rolled to the backstop. He proceeded to steal second base both times he reached, putting him in some truly rarified air. 
    The key for Gordon’s career moving forward is continuing to perform well in center. He can play a serviceable second base and, while it’s not his ideal defensive position, would be alright in fits and starts at shortstop. The biggest thing that was keeping Gordon as a fringe prospect - his health history notwithstanding - was his overall lack of power combined with mediocre arm strength. He had the speed to get to balls as short, but sometimes struggled with fielding the ball cleanly and throwing runners out. If he can show average to above-average skills in center, his value on the team will rise rather significantly. There just aren’t many role players on MLB rosters who can produce a .300 or so batting average and fill in at both shortstop, center and second base.
    Finally, and there really isn’t any way to relay this stat other than to shoehorn the bejeezus out of it, Larnach’s legs simply can’t catch a break.
    Postgame Interviews
    No postgame interviews tonight as the game was aired on Fox.
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
      SUN TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Jax 0 23 51 0 0 0 74 Duffey 14 0 0 20 22 0 56 Farrell 13 19 0 23 0 0 55 Alcalá 10 21 0 7 15 0 53 Robles 15 0 0 11 0 15 41 Shoemaker 0 0 0 0 35 0 35 Colomé 0 9 25 0 0 0 34 Rogers 0 20 0 0 3 9 32 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
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  18. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Cody Pirkl for an article, Down on Dobnak   
    No player in baseball is immune to the league adjusting and Dobnak has proven to be no different. After posting a 1.59 ERA through 28.1 innings in his debut season, Dobnak took a bit of a tumble in 2020. He started out just as hot but eventually was optioned and finished the season with a 4.05 ERA. The league really appeared to finally figure him out as he tallied a 6.41 mark in his last 6 appearances.
    Since then the numbers speak for themselves. Through 36 innings this year Dobnak owns a 7.36 ERA and 7.95 FIP. He’s been worth -.4 fWAR, often allowing blowup performances that take the Twins out of the game before they even have a chance. So what happened to Randy Dobnak?
     
    Walks Will Haunt
    Dobnak by no means has what would be considered a walk problem by league standards. Unfortunately the bar is much higher for a pitcher with Dobnak’s skillset. In his rookie season he had a respectable 19.5% K rate and an incredible 4.2% walk rate. Unfortunately his K rate has dropped by over 6% over the last two seasons lowering his margin for error. It may not seem like much of a change, but his increase to a 6.5% walk rate since his rookie season means the tightrope Dobnak walks gets a little bit thinner.
    We’ve seen the “bad luck” starts from Dobnak in the past where seemingly every batted ball finds a hole. With little strikeout ability to fall back on, Dobnak relies too much on batted ball luck to really issue any free passes at all. Asking for no walks at all is a tall order, which is why the more obvious solution would be to try to increase whiffs. 
     
    The Slipping Slider
    Dobnak and the Twins appear well aware of his dilemma which is why so much was made of his new slider grip this spring. Dobnak looked like a completely different pitcher in Spring Training by generating tons of swings and misses with the new pitch, but unfortunately those gains appear to have been short lived. 
     
    Dobnak’s attempt to adjust to the league has simply turned out to be a disaster. To be fair the new slider has drawn a 4% increase in whiff rate thus far, but it’s hard to argue against the fact that the pitch is worse in pretty much every other measurable way. The path to consistent success was tough enough as a contact oriented control artist who leans heavily on two pitches. Without the slider it’s hard to see a light at the end of these struggles. So where can he go from here?
    These issues Dobnak has had obviously run deeper than this shallow explanation but it’ll be interesting to see what he can do to adjust. Perhaps the first step is a return to the slider that worked so well for him in his first year and a half. It was a bit surprising that the initial adjustment Dobnak made wasn’t a new pitch to add to his repertoire such as a cutter, perhaps something like this could still be in the cards for the right handed sinkerballer.
    One thing is for certain, Dobnak has a lot of work to do to restore faith in him as even a reliable back of the rotation starter for 2022. The Twins didn’t invest much into this extension but it certainly does run the risk of becoming a sunken cost if Dobnak can’t right the ship. Much like the Twins as a whole this year, Randy Dobnak is dealing with significant adversity. Can he overcome it?
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  19. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Tom Froemming for an article, On Rocco Baldelli’s Bullpen Management Last Night   
    Before we get into the things I have a problem with, I want to point out that I do like the idea of bringing in some high-leverage relievers earlier in close games. Reserving your top guys only for the eighth and ninth innings is often a good recipe to ensure you won’t end up needing those guys when it gets to that point of the game. I didn’t have any problem with Rocco Baldelli’s decision to go to Taylor Rogers when he did, I just didn’t like the way that it went down in the bigger picture.
    Let’s break this thing down. A lot of the decision-making process was explained by Baldelli in his postgame press conference, which is available here, and is also available in this Tweet thread from The Athletic’s Aaron Gleeman. 
    Rogers only threw three pitches …
    For me, the only reliever you should be pulling after he throws fewer than 10 pitches is a guy you don’t trust at all. Use the bottom guy in your bullpen to get the final out of an inning? Sure, go ahead and put in somebody else you trust more for the next frame. Rogers is not the guy you waste for one batter.
    … and was pulled because the Twins were trailing ...
    Rogers took over for him in the seventh inning with two outs and the Twins down a run. Rocco said Rogers would have stayed out for the eighth inning if the Twins would have scored a run (or multiple runs) the next half inning. I guess I don’t mind that logic as long as you feel there’s a decent chance you’re going to score that next half inning. If you’ve got the big boppers coming up and the opposing starting pitcher is reeling, alright. This was not the case.
    Due up for the Twins in the bottom of the seventh: Nick Gordon, Andrelton Simmons and Gilberto Celestino. The result: Strikeout, flyout, strikeout.
    … which resulted in the game being handed over to Shoemaker.
    If you needlessly deploy a reliever for an abnormally short appearance but still have plenty of other options, fine. I still don’t like it, but fine. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case here.
    Baldelli went to the newly-bullpened Matt Shoemaker for the eighth and ninth innings because he was concerned about the length the bullpen could provide in the event things went into extra innings. That in itself isn’t unusual, it's the kind of thing managers are thinking about all the time, but it tells us that Rocco knew things were going to be a bit tight in terms of coverage.
    The one big benefit of having Shoemaker in the bullpen should be you don’t have to be as concerned about length anymore. He had last pitched June 4 and only threw 38 pitches over a third of an inning. Whether or not he could keep you in a ballgame should certainly be questioned, sure, but in terms of length Shoemaker should have been expected to be able to throw 80+ pitches if you really needed him to.
    Baldelli should have been expecting the bullpen to cover several innings
    Bailey Ober started this game for the Twins. He went five innings, which I think was as long as Rocco could have expected him to go coming into this one. Ober only threw 73 pitches, but I’m sure the Twins are being extra careful with him since he didn’t pitch in competitive games last year and had a previous single-season career high of 78 2/3 innings pitched.
    If you’re not expecting your starter to go deep and know you have some relievers who are unavailable, why are you burning Rogers for a three-pitch outing?
    And Rocco didn’t have any regrets over his decisions
    This one may get me the most. It’s one thing to make decisions that don’t go your way, look back with the benefit of hindsight and admit you would have liked to do things differently. Instead, Rocco said “there’s really nothing that we would do differently.” Uh, okay ... 
    Why does this matter?
    The Twins aren’t going anywhere in 2021, so what’s the big deal with one more loss? They played a mostly solid game (certainly by 2021 Twins standards) against a good Houston team. Why break out the microscope and nitpick like this?
    The rest of this season is all about evaluation. That includes the manager.
    It’s difficult to pin the struggles of this Twins team on anything or anyone in particular (I'd lean more toward the front office, but let's save that for another discussion). A lot has gone wrong. They have dealt with a ridiculous amount of injuries, but so have most other teams in the league this season. You can find more on that in another article I wrote recently. It’s also worth pointing out again that it’s tough for any manager to navigate a short or flat-out bad bullpen. It’s like having an arm tied behind your back. If Alex Colomé was a dependable bullpen arm right now this all would have been much easier for Rocco.
    Sometimes you can push all the right buttons, have the perfect process and things don’t turn out your way. That’s not what happened last night.
    See Also
    Here's some analysis on how Bailey Ober has pitched so far in his brief time with the Twins. I went digging into the info at Baseball Savant and FanGraphs and came away with some observations you might find interesting.
     
  20. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Cooper Carlson for an article, The Twins Have One Final Chance to Turn it Around   
    If you've been paying any attention at all to the Twins this season you know this team simply might not be good. That is extremely frustrating for Twins fans who were basically promised another successful regular season and another shot at the playoffs. As I write this on June 11th, the Twins have just a 3.0% chance to make the playoffs according to Fangraphs. Then you remember that Nelson Cruz walkoff and can't help but think about the 3% and what needs to happen to get there. The winning has to start immediately.
    The Twins will play 18 more games in June before July rolls around and trades must be made. These games will be against the Astros, Mariners, Rangers, Reds, Cleveland, and the White Sox. Not too easy, not too difficult. If the Twins realistically want to get back into striking distance of the playoffs then they'll have to win 12 of these 18 games minimum. Ideally they take anywhere from 13-18 of the games, but let's stay realistic. Going 12-6 shouldn't be out of the question and it's about time this team goes on a run. Winning 12 games would put them at 37-43 at the start of July. That's not pretty, but it's better than the current 12 games under .500 so it would work.
    For this experiment let's say the Twins go 12-6 and everyone ahead of them goes .500 until July. This would put the Twins about 10.0 games back of Chicago for the division and 7.0 games back of the second wild card spot. Is that enough to hold back the front office from selling everyone? Probably not. Will the Twins instead have to go 14-4 or so until July to be around 8.0 back for the division and roughly 5.0 back for the wild card? Probably. It's an uphill climb for the Twins but they've dug this hole for themselves and now they'll have to dig out of it themselves.
    For now, the team has to take it one game at a time. Sports are all about momentum and maybe that Nelson Cruz home run sparked something in the team that we are yet to see in 2021. Maybe this is some weird stage of grief that I'm going through where I'm writing about this bad team going 14-4 in their next 18. That seems like the likely scenario here. Either way, time for the Twins to win or say goodbye to some fan favorites.
  21. Haha
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to RandBalls Stu for an article, Rocco Baldelli Urges Team to ‘Get Into’ Steely Dan   
    With the 2021 season rapidly slipping away, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli needed to do something. With making the team healthier being out of his hands, he did what he thought best: put on some Steely Dan.
    “I think the players-only meetings and office sit-downs only accomplish so much,” said Baldelli. “What you really need are the sardonic lyrics of Donald Fagen, the tasteful guitar of Walter Becker, and the in-the-pocket grooves of the finest session players in Los Angeles.”
    When the players showed up to Target Field on Thursday after another punishing loss to the New York Yankees, they weren’t met with extra batting practice or a shouting fit from the coaching staff. Instead, the clubhouse was lined with shag carpeting, incense sticks, and the Dan’s 1973 album Countdown to Ecstasy booming through cabinet speakers.
    “This sounds like something my dad would listen to,” said catcher Ryan Jeffers. “I mean, it’s fine. The guy sure sings about drugs and sex stuff a lot.”
    Baldelli says he plans to go through the entire discography in hopes that the team will use the band’s jazz-inflected rock stylings and tales of southern California decadence to inspire them.
    “Their evolution from a touring band to creatures of the studio can maybe show the guys here that there’s more than one way to get after it,” said Baldelli. “When you get those Michael McDonald backing vocals on ‘Peg’ it oughta help clear your mind and let your natural talent and coaching do the rest of the work.”
    “This sounds like the music my dentist plays in his office,” said outfielder Trevor Larnach. “But then the lead singer who can’t really sing sings about Jose Cuervo and the caves of Altamira. I’m worried about Rocco.”
    For his part, Baldelli says he’s confident that he’s making the right move.
    “You know, when an engineer accidentally erased the recording of ‘The Second Arrangement’, Donald Fagen didn’t blow up. He simply walked out of the studio. So when I show up at the park and they tell me another player is out for two weeks because of whatever that day’s injury is, I ask what would Donald do? I don’t erupt. I simply walk out of the room.”
    When it was pointed out that Steely Dan didn’t record a new album for twenty years after that incident, Baldelli began to sob before composing himself and asking the reporter if he could pick out Mark Knopfler’s guitar on “Time Out of Mind.”
     
  22. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Tom Froemming for an article, There's No Easy Way Out of This for the Minnesota Twins   
    Major League Baseball isn’t like other sports. The degree of difficulty in the draft is extreme and one player, no matter how good, can only make so big of an impact.
    Joe Mauer is the fourth-best No. 1 overall pick of all-time, according to Baseball-Reference WAR, behind only Alex Rodriguez, Chipper Jones and Ken Griffey Jr. Those top four combined to help bring one World Series championship to the teams that drafted them (Jones with Atlanta in 1995). Even when you get this pick right, there’s so much else you have to do correctly to build a successful team.
    Know who the 10th-best top overall pick is? B.J. Surhoff. He had a nice long career, but when we’re talking about one of the best top picks that’s not a very encouraging guy landing in the top 10.
    Since the turn of the millennium, we’ve seen busts such as Bryan Bullington (2002), Delmon Young (2003), Matt Bush (2004), Luke Hochevar (2006), Tim Beckham (2008), Mark Appel (2013) and Brady Aiken (2014). There’s been more misses than hits. This is the first overall pick we’re talking about!
    Twins fans should have the best grip of anyone on how long it can take for draftees to materialize. The 2016 season is long in the rear-view mirror yet we’ve only seen 51 plate appearances (Brent Rooker) and four innings pitched (Bailey Ober) from that draft class. Royce Lewis would have likely been on the verge of contributing, but the tricky thing with these draft picks is they're human beings subject to injuries. 
    And that’s just the draft, MLB’s international signings might be the ultimate crapshoot in all of sports. It seems for every $4 million Wander Javier there’s a $100,000 Ronald Acuña Jr.
    It seems like the idea of tanking really took off after the Cubs and Astros won back-to-back World Series championships in 2016 and ‘17. Both franchises had long down periods before reaching the top. Chicago was led by 2013 No. 2 overall pick Kris Bryant and Houston by 2012 No. 1 overall pick Carlos Correa. It was easy to believe there was a simple formula to follow but what’s overlooked is how good (or fortunate) both those organizations were with many of their other transactions that had nothing to do with tanking/draft picks.
    The Cubs made excellent trades for Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Hendricks and Jake Arrieta. The Astros originally signed José Altuve for $15,000, got Dallas Keuchel with the 221st pick of the 2009 Draft and paid just $25.97 for an invaluable trash can from Home Depot (sorry, I couldn’t resist). That’s definitely oversimplifying things — those teams did benefit from tanking — but you have to do so many other things right than just get high draft picks and big international signing bonus pools.
    Just look at teams like the Orioles, Reds, Tigers, Marlins, Mariners, Rangers and Pirates. They are in varying states of extended rebuilds and have little to show for it. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have 13-straight winning seasons, Dodgers are at 10 years of winning and Cleveland, despite all their (mostly self-imposed) limitations, has eight consecutive seasons with a winning record. Those teams haven’t had to lose, let alone bottom out, to stay competitive.
    People like to marvel over the fact that Mike Trout was the 25th-overall pick. But Mookie Betts was the 172nd, Shane Bieber was the 122nd, Jacob deGrom was the 272nd … we could go on and on. Any team in baseball could have had all four of those guys at the same time. Think about that for a second!
    There is no limitation that counts as an excuse for not being successful. There is also no monetary or talent-acquisition advantage such as draft position that is a silver bullet for success.
    So how do the Twins ensure a successful future? Same as always: Be elite in player acquisition and player development.
    Hey, I said it wasn’t that easy.
  23. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Andrew Thares for an article, Game Recap: Orioles 6, Twins 3   
    Box Score
    Dobnak: 5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K  
    Home Runs: Jeffers (1)
    Bottom 3 WPA: Astudillo -.127, Dobnak -.124, Colome -.100, 
    Win Probability Chart (via Fangraphs)

    Squandered Opportunities in the 1st
    Just two batters into the ballgame, the Twins already had a threat mounting against Orioles starting pitcher Matt Harvey, after Jorge Polanco leadoff the game with a double, and was followed by a walk from Josh Donaldson. That opportunity, like many others before it this season, was not taken advantage of, as three and four hitters Alex Kirilloff and Nelson Cruz both struck out before Trevor Larnach grounded out into the shift to end the inning.
    In the bottom half of the inning, the Orioles put together and even greater threat, as the first three batters to face Randy Dobnak all reached base to load them up with nobody out. Freddy Galvis then struck a hard line drive up the middle that looked destined to be a single, however, thanks to the shift, Jorge Polanco was positioned perfectly to snare the line drive and double up Trey Mancini at second to give Dobnak two desperately needed outs. Dobnak then got out of the jam by getting DJ Stewart to flyout to left to end the inning.
    Jeffers Picks Up Where Garver Left Off
    The Twins received bad news today, as catcher Mitch Garver needed to undergo surgery to repair damage done in Tuesday night’s ballgame when he was struck in the groin with a foul ball. Timing could not have been worse, as Garver was coming off a great month of May where he easily led all Twins hitters with a 183 wRC+.
    As a result of the injury, Garver was placed on the 10-Day IL and Ryan Jeffers was recalled from St. Paul to replace him, and it did not take long for him to do that as Jeffers blasted a home run in his first plate appearance to give the Twins a 1-0 lead in the second.
     
    In the eighth, with the Twins trailing 6-1, Jeffers drilled an opposite field flyball to the right-centerfield gap. For a second it appeared as though Orioles centerfielder Cedric Mullins would track it down, but the ball glanced off his glove and made it to the wall. This allowed Nick Gordon, who had reached on a single to leadoff the inning, to score from first and Ryan Jeffers to treck all the way around to third for what was not only Jeffers’ first career MLB triple, but his first triple since he became a professional in 2018. Jeffers would later come in to score on a Jorge Polanco sac-fly to cut the Orioles lead to three.
    Orioles Bats Came to Play in Middle Innings
    Things were cruising along well for Randy Dobnak through the first few innings. He had scattered three hits, a walk and a hit batter, but had not allowed any runs through three. However, things picked up for the Orioles in the middle innings. In the fourth, they strung together three singles together and scored a run on a throwing error from Nick Gordon that sailed into the Orioles dugout down the first baseline.
    In the fifth, Dobnak was on his way to a quick 1-2-3 inning after retiring the first to Baltimore hitters. However, he then lost Freddy Galvis to a walk, and after a mound visit from pitching coach Wes Johnson, Dobnak left a hanging breaking ball over the heart of the plate that DJ Stewart did not miss, as he sent it over the wall in right to give the Orioles a 3-1 lead.
     
     After the Twins worked around a leadoff double in the sixth, the Orioles connected for three more runs in the seventh to stretch their lead out to five runs. Caleb Thielbar began the inning by striking out two of the first three batters he faced and giving up a single to the lone batter that he didn’t strike out. He then had to be removed due to an injury and was replaced with Alex Colome. Colome then proceeded to give up a walk, before Ryan Mountcastle took him deep on this three-run home run.
     
    Bullpen Usage Chart

    What's Next?
    The Twins will continue their road trip with a visit to Kansas City to take on the Royals in a four-game series that begins Thursday night at 7:10 pm CT. The Twins are slated to throw J.A. Happ against Kris Bubic for the Royals.
  24. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Matthew Lenz for an article, Potential Trade Packages for José Berríos   
    The last article generated some good discourse on this topic and really showed that fans really are split on this topic. Some are wondering if it’s a panic move based on two months of data while others are wondering who would replace Berríos in the rotation if he were traded? In Matthew Taylor’s article, which was the inspiration for my articles on this topic, he is of the ilk that the last two months show the Twins aren’t in that window to compete for a World Series this year or next. He doesn’t believe a complete rebuild is necessary, as the Twins boast one of the best farm systems in baseball, and thinks the window is just shifted to 2023 and beyond. On the other hand, I’ve just lost the faith in Berríos to take that next step to be a frontline starter but, with one-and-a-half years of team control remaining and being on the younger side, I think a team would “pay up” for that potential that many Twins fans thinks he still has. If the Twins were to hold him and look to sign an extension, I’d want it to be no more than $15MM AAV over a two or three years but even the top end of that feels too rich for me. If we were to move on from Berríos this year and think that we will compete in 2022, then there are about a dozen free agents options that I think would sufficiently replace him but that sounds like an article for another day. I think one thing that we need to be reminded of is that this informal series that Matthew and I have created wasn’t just a spur of the moment, “panic” decision.
    To be fair, this sounds more like speculation than an actual report but it comes from a legitimate journalist who’s been tied to Major League Baseball since the early 2000’s. Even if it’s speculation, he’s been through enough seasons and trade deadlines to have an idea on how the trade market could come together in the coming months. In particular, he mentioned the Blue Jays as a potential suitor but I also think the Braves and Yankees are two other teams who have the offense for a postseason run while needing some rotation help, and have the farm system necessary to add an impact starter. Looking at the Twins farm system and young talent already in the Majors, I think the biggest needs for the Twins would be a pitching prospect, ideally left-handed, and/or a prospect who could play third base who can help within the next couple of seasons. Theoretically, the Twins could probably piece together a second base/shortstop/third base puzzle that included Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez, Nick Gordon, Royce Lewis, and even Keoni Cavaco over the next few seasons but they really don’t  have a true third base prospect in their system. Based on my previous article, I don’t think the Twins will net a top-100 prospect for Berríos alone and would likely need to add another piece to sweeten the deal whether that be cash, a rent-a-reliever (i.e. Hansel Robles or Alex Colomé), or a position player (i.e. Kepler with the emergence of Larnach and Kirilloff). Without further ado, here are the players I would be targeting a Berríos deal.
    Toronto Blue Jays (24-23, 4th in AL East, 39.3% chance to make the playoffs, per FanGraphs)
    The Jays farm system is stacked and they have one of the best offenses in baseball that needs to be supplemented with some pitching help in both their rotation and bullpen. If I were to put together a deal involving Berríos and one of our rent-a-relievers, I would be targeting the following:
    Simeon Woods-Richardson - RHP prospect known more for his command of the zone than being a power pitcher Jordan Groshans - a SS/3B prospect with a good bat who needs another season or two in the minors Alek Manoah - RHP prospect with a big arm that needs to improve control I’m more interested in the top two than Manoah and, of course, he’s coming off a fantastic MLB debut. They might be pressed to move on from Groshans as they don’t have any other future options at third with Vladimir Guerror Jr moving to 1st but, if the Twins are sellers, they’ll have the assets to net him and Woods-Richardson.
    Atlanta Braves (24-25, 2nd in the NL East, 36.1% chance to make the playoffs)
    Like the Blue Jays, the Braves have the offense to contend but really need help in their rotation and bullpen making them a good match if the Twins are sellers. Moreover, they have one of the better farm systems in baseball making it plausible they’d be willing to move things around to make a push in the second half of the season. I would target the following:
    Braden Shewmake - 2B/SS prospect projects as a good contact hitter with good speed and a good glove, but not great skills. Tucker Davidson - LHP prospect who projects to be good, not great, with a plus fastball but needs to work on improving his offspeed. Kyle Muller - hard throwing LHP prospect with plus pitches but struggles with control which will likely be a deciding factor in how his career plays out. As I mentioned earlier, the Twins are chalked full with young middle infield options but when Shewmake was drafted (2019, 1st round) some thought his long-term outlook was at 3rd base, although he’s played exclusively at short in the Braves system. Of the two lefties, which is a need for the Twins, Muller has the higher ceiling while Davidson has the higher floor and has also made two appearances for the Braves over the last two seasons.
    New York Yankees (28-20, 1st in the AL East, 87.0% chance to make the playoffs)
    The Yankees starting rotation has been better than most would have thought but just lost Corey Kluber for at least two months to a shoulder injury, and I don’t think they have the reinforcements that can be relied on in 2021. I would target the following:
    Luis Medina - hard throwing RHP prospect who really needs to work on control. Probably needs at least one or two more seasons in the minors. I didn’t even mention higher ranked RHP prospects like Clarke Schmidt who has already had Tommy John surgery and multiple issues with his elbow, Luis Gil or Deivi Garcia who don’t move the needle for me. On the other hand, Medina would be an intriguing project that has the potential to be better than Berríos but also has the floor where he’s a non-factor. Outside of Jasson “the next Mike Trout” Dominguez, they don’t have the farm system to acquire a big-time arm (i.e. Max Scherzer) midseason, so a mid level starter like Berríos is probably more realistic.
    I wouldn’t be overly concerned with our lack of 3rd base prospects and would be targeting pitchers as the headliner in a trade involving Berríos, as you can never have enough pitching. Furthermore, I think finding a team like the Blue Jays or Braves that need help in the rotation and bullpen could really help a better prospect by creating a bigger package of immediate contributors to potential playoff teams.
    What are your thoughts on some of the names in this article? There are undoubtedly more teams that would be interested in Berríos...do you have a certain team or prospect in mind you’d like to see the Twins acquire?
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  25. Like
    VivaBomboRivera! reacted to Tom Froemming for an article, Game Recap: Twins 6, Royals 5   
    Box Score
    Happ: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K
    Home Runs: Larnach (3)
    Top 3 WPA: Larnach .196, Garver .135, Cruz .108
    Win Probability Chart (via FanGraphs)

    The Twins jumped out to an early lead, scoring runs in the first and second innings, but that advantage was quickly erased by a Salvador Perez two-run homer in the third. J.A. Happ retired the last seven batters he faced after giving up that homer.
    The bats took the lead back thanks in part to a Rob Refsnyder RBI bloop single and a run-scoring passed ball. They tacked on runs in the sixth and eighth innings to extend the lead to four runs. Every bit of that wiggle room was needed.
    Jorge Alcala and Tyler Duffey each delivered a perfect inning before Hansel Robles gave up a run in the eighth. Taylor Rogers came on for the ninth inning to protect a three-run lead and got off to a concerning start.
    After Kelvin Gutierrez doubled Adalberto Mondesi hit a two-run homer to reduce the lead to one run with no outs in the ninth. Rogers induced a groundout then struckout the final two batters he faced to secure his fourth save of the season.
    Larnach’s Bomb
    Larnach’s home run was another tape-measure shot. He went deep into the Delta Sky360 Suite earlier this week and nearly did it again today. This one was “only” hit 423 feet with a 109.5 mph exit velocity.
    Postgame Interview
    Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet

      TUE WED THU FRI SAT TOT Robles 13 20 0 0 21 54 Rogers 26 0 0 0 21 47 Duffey 0 15 0 0 13 28 Thielbar 2 16 0 0 0 18 Farrell 0 0 0 17 0 17 Minaya 0 0 15 0 0 15 Colomé 13 0 0 0 0 13 Alcala 0 0 0 0 10 10  
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