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beckmt

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  1. Like
    beckmt got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, Buxton, the FO, and how to handle players   
    As has been stated before there was a long thread on how the Bryon Buxton September callup was handled. This is to be a different look with regards to damage to the long term franchise.
    1. Case 1 Texas and Profar.
    Texas did a service time saving manipulation of Profar's time. This worked out very badly for Texas. (Side note Profar's agent is Boras so not all of this may be relevant). The long term result was that went after 2017 or 2018 when Texas tried to get an extension with Profar, the Texas front office was told not to bother without paying market rate or above market rate (my guess based on what happened here). This led to the trade of Profar to the A's for not what I would consider a market rate deal for Texas. Profar is in the same category as Buxton as he was rated in the top 5 prospect list for 2 years running at one time. Without the extension given Texas's time line they were forced to take what they could get (given Profar would be a free agent before Texas became relevant again).
    How does this affect Buxton? The Twins do not look as if they are actively planning to compete without a bit of the luck factor in 2019. There are two possible outcomes here: Buxton plays OK this year breaks out next year and hits his maximum trade value about the time the Twins expect to become relevant (2020 - 2024). Twins are then faced with the issue of (do you trade a potential superstar when you are ready to compete or do you hold on to compete and lose Buxton in 2 years for a compensation draft pick).
    Then there is the issue of the FO talking about sustainability. That would mean looking at trading Buxton at this time when the best Twins talent is years is arriving and creating issues in the clubhouse and ongoing for the Twins keeping players who could be the face of the franchise. Kyle Gibson (the union rep), has already weighed in by commenting he thought Buxton should have been brought up. This leads to 2 more issues:
    1. Having problems with keeping players who are getting good or watching them walk after 6 years. Or being forced to trade them (issue with this is you are dealing with other GM's who on the free spending teams will give you a number of their lessor 4 - 15 type prospects, but put there top prospects off limits in deals like this). This rational being that in 1 - 2 years they could sign them without giving up prospects.
    2. Team reputation: Unless you pay more money than anyone else will offer, you will not get good FA's to come here. This leaves you with taking chances or having to sign players with warts (bad clubhouse personalites, lack of hustle, and me first types). You will never win big with these types.
    Option 2: If you want to play hardball and Buxton plays into your hands by having a bad spring you could send him to Rochester and leave him for the year. If you as the FO are convinced he is not going to stay here, this might be the winning option. It will now align Buxton with the new upcoming core and you could get 2 - 3 years from Buxton when the Twins might be really good.
    Downside: There is this pesky thing called the CBA, this would certainly be noted by the union (especially if Buxton did well in Rochester and was not called up). It would certainly complicate things and might lead to the union holding out for shortened club control be free agency as small and mid market clubs would take note and try to group talent into possible windows. Extreme case is that it might be litigated based on deliberate manipulations with the goal of bringing all sports into a much changed employee - employer relationship (this might be done by dissolving the sports unions).
    2. The Kris Bryant - Chicago Cubs case.
    This is more of the common case where the Cubs sent Bryant down at the start of the season to gain an extra year of control over him (even though Kris Bryant was clearly major league ready). What this has done to the Cubs is that there is almost no chance he will resign with the Cubs unless they offer more than any other club. Cubs might, but are not guaranteed to do that. Or the relationship may be so far south Cubs would have to do a big overpay to keep him.
    Where does thing affect Buxton?
    1. It means that the union will almost certainly want changes to the CBA in this area. This could be a big sticking point (if the union decides to exist). This could lead to a nasty strike(which might last for a long time into the season before being settled), or major changes to the length of team control (most of which I have seen is about 4 years). This would in the long run kill the small market teams from being competitive for any length or period of time).
    2. Buxton could develop a bad or me first attitude (this would be very bad for clubhouse chemistry) and could try and force his way out early than the Twins would want.
  2. Like
    beckmt got a reaction from mikelink45 for a blog entry, Buxton, the FO, and how to handle players   
    As has been stated before there was a long thread on how the Bryon Buxton September callup was handled. This is to be a different look with regards to damage to the long term franchise.
    1. Case 1 Texas and Profar.
    Texas did a service time saving manipulation of Profar's time. This worked out very badly for Texas. (Side note Profar's agent is Boras so not all of this may be relevant). The long term result was that went after 2017 or 2018 when Texas tried to get an extension with Profar, the Texas front office was told not to bother without paying market rate or above market rate (my guess based on what happened here). This led to the trade of Profar to the A's for not what I would consider a market rate deal for Texas. Profar is in the same category as Buxton as he was rated in the top 5 prospect list for 2 years running at one time. Without the extension given Texas's time line they were forced to take what they could get (given Profar would be a free agent before Texas became relevant again).
    How does this affect Buxton? The Twins do not look as if they are actively planning to compete without a bit of the luck factor in 2019. There are two possible outcomes here: Buxton plays OK this year breaks out next year and hits his maximum trade value about the time the Twins expect to become relevant (2020 - 2024). Twins are then faced with the issue of (do you trade a potential superstar when you are ready to compete or do you hold on to compete and lose Buxton in 2 years for a compensation draft pick).
    Then there is the issue of the FO talking about sustainability. That would mean looking at trading Buxton at this time when the best Twins talent is years is arriving and creating issues in the clubhouse and ongoing for the Twins keeping players who could be the face of the franchise. Kyle Gibson (the union rep), has already weighed in by commenting he thought Buxton should have been brought up. This leads to 2 more issues:
    1. Having problems with keeping players who are getting good or watching them walk after 6 years. Or being forced to trade them (issue with this is you are dealing with other GM's who on the free spending teams will give you a number of their lessor 4 - 15 type prospects, but put there top prospects off limits in deals like this). This rational being that in 1 - 2 years they could sign them without giving up prospects.
    2. Team reputation: Unless you pay more money than anyone else will offer, you will not get good FA's to come here. This leaves you with taking chances or having to sign players with warts (bad clubhouse personalites, lack of hustle, and me first types). You will never win big with these types.
    Option 2: If you want to play hardball and Buxton plays into your hands by having a bad spring you could send him to Rochester and leave him for the year. If you as the FO are convinced he is not going to stay here, this might be the winning option. It will now align Buxton with the new upcoming core and you could get 2 - 3 years from Buxton when the Twins might be really good.
    Downside: There is this pesky thing called the CBA, this would certainly be noted by the union (especially if Buxton did well in Rochester and was not called up). It would certainly complicate things and might lead to the union holding out for shortened club control be free agency as small and mid market clubs would take note and try to group talent into possible windows. Extreme case is that it might be litigated based on deliberate manipulations with the goal of bringing all sports into a much changed employee - employer relationship (this might be done by dissolving the sports unions).
    2. The Kris Bryant - Chicago Cubs case.
    This is more of the common case where the Cubs sent Bryant down at the start of the season to gain an extra year of control over him (even though Kris Bryant was clearly major league ready). What this has done to the Cubs is that there is almost no chance he will resign with the Cubs unless they offer more than any other club. Cubs might, but are not guaranteed to do that. Or the relationship may be so far south Cubs would have to do a big overpay to keep him.
    Where does thing affect Buxton?
    1. It means that the union will almost certainly want changes to the CBA in this area. This could be a big sticking point (if the union decides to exist). This could lead to a nasty strike(which might last for a long time into the season before being settled), or major changes to the length of team control (most of which I have seen is about 4 years). This would in the long run kill the small market teams from being competitive for any length or period of time).
    2. Buxton could develop a bad or me first attitude (this would be very bad for clubhouse chemistry) and could try and force his way out early than the Twins would want.
  3. Like
    beckmt reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Do we need an Ace, do we need Harper, Machado?   
    Bear with me now - I am about to go off the baseball rails here. I read all the speculation, all the projections of player salaries and all the moaning from our team and fans and the rest of the teams and their fans so I am going to say something no one wants to hear. We do not need an Ace, we do not need a superstar! There it has been said. The follow up to that is - and I want us to win the series!
     
    Okay, now for my reasons. Lets start with the easiest - the Ace. The Ace in the 1800s pitched much more than any current pitcher. Old Hoss Radbourne won more games - 59 than any pitcher starts in a season. He was the triple crown of pitching leader - 1.38 earned run average, 59 wins and 441 strikeouts. I know we are all about strikeouts now - look at that total. And he pitched 12 years! Okay that was an Ace that made a real difference.
     
    Then we got to the 30 win era where this was the standard that really set out the ACE - Denny McClain in 1968 was the last to win 30. There were 21 thirty game win seasons with most in the early 1900s. And they still had arms on their bodies the next year. These thirteen pitchers were also Aces of course Denny took to Aces in the gambling dens and ruined his career.
     
    Then came the twenty game winners - with Warren Spahn winning 20 - 13 different years during his career - despite losing years to serving in the war. His last 20 game year came in my high school graduation year - 1963. He and the other 20 game regulars were Aces. On this list of twenty game winners is Nolan Ryan - yes he also lost a lot, but he was the real leader into the strikeout era and he also was a complete game pitcher.
     
    Then we went to five man rotations and now to openers (the shame) and the argument that wins don't matter. The above pitchers also completed games - Cy Young completed 749 games - yes he won and lost games. And he earned his wins just like the other Aces above.
     
    Now, the Ace not only pitches one of five games, but only 6 - 7 innings in most outings. I see Kershaw get $35m a year and think - why? He cannot even move them forward in the off season and his speed is diminishing.
     
    Sign two number twos and three number threes and we will be better off than signing a one, running out of money and ending up with most games being toss ups or worse. Of course you can also make that a different combinations of 2s,3s,and 4s, but don't break the bank on the ACE.
     
    Then there is the Bryce Harper/Manny Machado madness. Who in the world is worth the kind of money they are talking about. Living in MN I have heard for years about how the Mauer contract impacted the team ability to sign other players (I know it was an excuse, a joke, not real), but 300 - 400m is not a joke. Look at Mike Trout - the greatest player of our current era. By himself he cannot lead them to a championship season. Nor has Machado or Harper shown that they can either.
     
    Each player is up to bat 3 - 5 times a game - that is all and if no one is on base they cannot drive them in. If they swing for the fences and have a crap average like Harper or Sano or Morrison did last year you get 30 HRs - which if they are spread out give you 30 games of production and 132 of small or no production. In the field only the catcher and first baseman are involved in the majority of fielding plays, so even in the field there is limited production most of the time.
     
    Since WAR is such a popular figure think about the numbers the best players puts up. No one is worth 80 or 90 WAR, the great ones are 10 and there are few is any each season.
    This individual game is still a team game and if the team does not pitch, field, hit, the team does not win and wins are what we want. Look at the Angels other player - HOF to be - Pujols. Tell me his worth to the team, tell me how that contract impacts the team.
     
    No - sign a lot of good players, good fielders, good on base average, good production people, steal some bases, be fast and be involved. It is the team with production 1 - 9, rotation 1 - 5, even slightly above average at all positions that wins. Not the team with the biggest star.
  4. Like
    beckmt got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, Twins 2019 - Go Big or Go home   
    This is more a wish list, but will show how the Twins can proceed if they decide to spend the money.
     
    Mauer Retires
    Many of the lower end 40 man list is released or not offered contracts.
     
    Signings
    Corbin 5/110
    Ryu or Evoldi 4/60 - 70
    Herrera - 3/42
    One or two more RP types mid range 2/15 each
     
    Oderizzi traded probably would have to absorb part of contract - other choice would be Oderizzi + Kepler for a decent starter and sign AJ Pollock 5/100 - 110. (This also protects the Twins against Buxton not making it).
     
    Sign a second baseman or SS or a 1 - 2 year contract until Lewis arrives (or another middle infielder). 2/12 - 14
     
    This gives the Twins a decent starting lineup plus pitching
     
    Catchers - Castro, Garver
    1B Austin
    2B FA or Polonco
    SS Polonco or FA
    3B - Sano
    OF Rosario, Pollock, Cave or Rosario, Buxton, Pollock
     
    Bench Garver Austiddo, Cave or Buxton, Adrianza
     
    Pitching
    SP Berrios, Gibson, Corbin, Ryu or Evoldi, Trade or a winner of spring training battle
    RP May, Rogers, Herrera, Hildenberger, FA1, FA2, Drake or loser of young starting pitching battle
     
    Payroll Depending on extention signings around $130 - $150 million (talking of adding 60 - 80 million before arbitration signings)
     
    Have at it.
  5. Like
    beckmt got a reaction from Oldgoat_MN for a blog entry, Twins 2019 - Go Big or Go home   
    This is more a wish list, but will show how the Twins can proceed if they decide to spend the money.
     
    Mauer Retires
    Many of the lower end 40 man list is released or not offered contracts.
     
    Signings
    Corbin 5/110
    Ryu or Evoldi 4/60 - 70
    Herrera - 3/42
    One or two more RP types mid range 2/15 each
     
    Oderizzi traded probably would have to absorb part of contract - other choice would be Oderizzi + Kepler for a decent starter and sign AJ Pollock 5/100 - 110. (This also protects the Twins against Buxton not making it).
     
    Sign a second baseman or SS or a 1 - 2 year contract until Lewis arrives (or another middle infielder). 2/12 - 14
     
    This gives the Twins a decent starting lineup plus pitching
     
    Catchers - Castro, Garver
    1B Austin
    2B FA or Polonco
    SS Polonco or FA
    3B - Sano
    OF Rosario, Pollock, Cave or Rosario, Buxton, Pollock
     
    Bench Garver Austiddo, Cave or Buxton, Adrianza
     
    Pitching
    SP Berrios, Gibson, Corbin, Ryu or Evoldi, Trade or a winner of spring training battle
    RP May, Rogers, Herrera, Hildenberger, FA1, FA2, Drake or loser of young starting pitching battle
     
    Payroll Depending on extention signings around $130 - $150 million (talking of adding 60 - 80 million before arbitration signings)
     
    Have at it.
  6. Like
    beckmt got a reaction from wabene for a blog entry, Twins 2019 - Mid Range approach   
    I have outlined in an earlier post how the Twins stack up with a minimalistic approach to next year. This is my attempt to show what will happen with a mid range payroll - looking in the neighborhood of $100 million.
    Departures:
    Mauer - retired
    Santana and Morrison - bought out $2,000,000 total
    Not offered contracts - Forsythe, Petit, Magill, Belisie, Slegers, Busnetiz, Duffey, Gimmenez, Gaterol - This should clean up a lot of 40 man space. It is possible some of these might be retained and see if they can be traded, most have little or no value.
    Reenstated to the 40 man
    Castro, Mejia
    Added to 40 man
    Thrope, Gordon, Wade - they are a couple more that may be close Jay is the one I am questioning, but am almost sure a bad team would take him in the rule 5 if not added.
    Try to group and trade to a rebuilding club for a better starter - Gonsalves, Littlel, Moya, Curtiss
    Possible others not offered a contract Field and Grossman
     
    Roster
    Catcher - Castro
    Inf - Sano, Polonco, Austin, FA either SS or 2B spend around $10 million a year (this means we are taking from close to the top of the pile (after many)
    Outfield - Rosario, Buxton, Kepler
    Bench - Garver, Autudillo, Cave, Grossman, Adrianza
    DH - rotation of non starters
     
    Spend for players - around $30 million $35 million if Twins can sign Rosario to a longer term contract (expected for this scenario).
     
    Starting Pitching - Berrios, Gibson, Pineda, Oderizzi, Stewart/Fa/Romero - spend $32 million counting $8 million for year 1 of multi year Berrios contract. Not counting trade or FA which could push this to around $45 million
    Relief Pitching - May, Rogers, Hildenberger, Drake, Mejia, FA1, FA2 spend $30 million - counting at least 1 top end FA reliever and a second very good 2nd tier reliever.
     
    This is not counting trades - expecting more than 1 to send some depth pieces with potential to a rebuilding club for a #3 type starter or a very good reliever who will not be needed on a rebuilding club.
     
    I am expecting Twins will pick this path - I may be an optimist.
  7. Like
    beckmt got a reaction from nclahammer for a blog entry, Twins 2019 - Mid Range approach   
    I have outlined in an earlier post how the Twins stack up with a minimalistic approach to next year. This is my attempt to show what will happen with a mid range payroll - looking in the neighborhood of $100 million.
    Departures:
    Mauer - retired
    Santana and Morrison - bought out $2,000,000 total
    Not offered contracts - Forsythe, Petit, Magill, Belisie, Slegers, Busnetiz, Duffey, Gimmenez, Gaterol - This should clean up a lot of 40 man space. It is possible some of these might be retained and see if they can be traded, most have little or no value.
    Reenstated to the 40 man
    Castro, Mejia
    Added to 40 man
    Thrope, Gordon, Wade - they are a couple more that may be close Jay is the one I am questioning, but am almost sure a bad team would take him in the rule 5 if not added.
    Try to group and trade to a rebuilding club for a better starter - Gonsalves, Littlel, Moya, Curtiss
    Possible others not offered a contract Field and Grossman
     
    Roster
    Catcher - Castro
    Inf - Sano, Polonco, Austin, FA either SS or 2B spend around $10 million a year (this means we are taking from close to the top of the pile (after many)
    Outfield - Rosario, Buxton, Kepler
    Bench - Garver, Autudillo, Cave, Grossman, Adrianza
    DH - rotation of non starters
     
    Spend for players - around $30 million $35 million if Twins can sign Rosario to a longer term contract (expected for this scenario).
     
    Starting Pitching - Berrios, Gibson, Pineda, Oderizzi, Stewart/Fa/Romero - spend $32 million counting $8 million for year 1 of multi year Berrios contract. Not counting trade or FA which could push this to around $45 million
    Relief Pitching - May, Rogers, Hildenberger, Drake, Mejia, FA1, FA2 spend $30 million - counting at least 1 top end FA reliever and a second very good 2nd tier reliever.
     
    This is not counting trades - expecting more than 1 to send some depth pieces with potential to a rebuilding club for a #3 type starter or a very good reliever who will not be needed on a rebuilding club.
     
    I am expecting Twins will pick this path - I may be an optimist.
  8. Like
    beckmt got a reaction from Oldgoat_MN for a blog entry, Twins 2019 - minimalistic approch   
    As the Twins 2018 season ends - this is my attempt to prodict what the Twins will do for 2019.
    Assumptions:
    1. Joe Mauer retires
    2. The FO decides the Twins are too far away to put a lot of money into next year.
    3. With Gibson, Pineda, and Ordrizzi all having expiring contracts at the end of next year Twins decide to see what they have coming up, rather than throwing a lot of extra money into trying to catch lightning in a bottle and Cleveland at the same time.
     
    40 man roster:
    Twins let a number of players depart. Belise, Slegers, Morrison, Forsythe, McGill, Pettit, Gimminez, Granite, Gratarol This should leave plenty of room to move pieces around as I now have 10 openings on the 40 man.
    Adds from 60 day DL Mejia, Pineda
    Adds not on 40 man. Thrope, Wade, Gordon (they may be others I have missed)
     
    Free agents: One mid level or 4/5 type to compete for a starter job, 1 significant FA (upper range 3/36 range) reliever, 1 - 2 mid level relievers to compete for jobs next year. One FA to play MI on a 1 - 2 year contract or maybe Escobar (this may take 3/30 type money give or take).
    Other choice would be to send 1 - 3 of starting pitcher depth for a #3 type on a bad club with 2 - 3 years of control (Duffy - but this is just an example).
     
    This leaves us with:
    Starters: Berrios, Gibson, Pineda, Oderizzi, Stewart(or FA)
    Bullpen: FA1, FA2, May, Rodgers, Hildenberger, Drake, Reed
    Catcher: Castro
    Infield: Austin, Polonco, Sano, FA
    Outfield: Rosario, Buxton, Kepler, Cave (Grossman, Wade)
    Utility: Adrianza, Garver, Astudillo
     
    Spend: Depends on whether Twins sign Berrios and/or Rosario to long term contracts and spend on FA pitching. My guess based on this roster would be in the $80 million range (less if no current players are extended).
     
    Other assumption is that Buxton makes the team (otherwise have room for both Grossman and Wade in this scenario.
    Have a desire to have players that can make a pitcher work and less swing and miss (they tend to strike out in key situations).
     
    Having stated this (have at it). Will hope to post a balanced and a higher spending assumption later this week.
  9. Like
    beckmt reacted to Brandon Warne for a blog entry, WARNE: Twins Should Target Yasmani Grandal This Offseason   
    The full story can be read by clicking through here.
     
    It’s no secret this year hasn’t gone as planned for the Minnesota Twins.
     
    It’s also no secret that the Twins — who look drastically different than they did even a week ago — will see significant turnover this offseason on the roster.
     
    Not only were traded players Eduardo Escobar, Brian Dozier, Lance Lynn and Zach Duke slated to become free agents in the offseason, but so too are Joe Mauer and possibly also Ervin Santana. The upshot here is that the Twins, who had a franchise-high $128.7 million payroll to start the season according to Cot’s Contracts, have just $31.7 million hard committed to next year’s team.
     
    Here’s the breakdown of those commitments:

    $8.375 million to Addison Reed
    $8 million to Michael Pineda and Jason Castro
    $1.25 million in possible buyouts to Fernando Rodney and Logan Morrison
    $5.95 million in dead money owed to Phil Hughes

     
    Now that number will obviously jump with guys like Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Ehire Adrianza, Robbie Grossman and Trevor May eligible for arbitration again as well as first-timers Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano, Max Kepler and Byron Buxton, and there’ll be guys making the MLB minimum that’ll factor in as well, but the overarching theme is that the Twins are going to have some money to work with.
     
    It’s also coming at a truly great time; this is going to be one of the best free-agent markets in recent memory. Superstars available include Manny Machado and Bryce Harper but there are also players across a number of other spectrums that will improve whichever team they sign with.
     
    Clayton Kershaw and David Price can opt out of their deals — though both have had their issues in recent years — and Josh Donaldson also still carries some name value. All three could be big targets for most of the league if they hit the open market. Charlie Morton, Nelson Cruz and Jed Lowrie are having great seasons in their mid-30s, and could make for good bridge guys for teams waiting on prospects.
     
    Marwin Gonzalez is a Swiss Army Knife who can hit a bit, Elvis Andrus can opt out of his deal and there are lots of players who’ll be looking for short deals to bounce back, like Andrew McCutchen, A.J. Pollock, Daniel Murphy, Jonathan Lucroy, Neil Walker and even Lynn, Morrison and Dozier as well.
     
    Nobody would argue that it would be terrific to see the Twins land Harper or Machado. But at the cost of $30 million plus per year on what’ll likely be a deal with an opt-out in a few years — extremely player friendly, a la Jason Heyward — the odds just aren’t in favor of this happening.
     
    That’s before considering if that player would come to Minnesota — even if the Twins were the highest bidder.
    It’s also worth noting that both players would chew up a large part of the financial flexibility the team would likely wish to have as some of its youngsters move into their more expensive seasons. Not only that, but it’s not like the Twins really have an outfield spot or a lack of depth at shortstop in the years to come.
     
    Don’t mistake that for someone saying “CAN’T SIGN MACHADO BECAUSE ROYCE LEWIS IS A-COMIN’” or anything to that effect, but it certainly is a consideration.
     
    But that’s why I’m coming out and endorsing the following like a politician endorsing a colleague:
     
    The Minnesota Twins should make Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal their No. 1 free agency target — with a bullet — this offseason.
  10. Like
    beckmt reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Kepler's Breakout Still In Progress   
    One of the most logical candidates to have a breakout season for the Minnesota Twins in 2018 was right fielder Max Kepler. The talented German had flashed ability to do it all down on the farm, and despite being a solid regular for Minnesota, didn't yet seem to have put it all together at the highest level. Now just under two months into the regular season, we've seen the start of the breakout, but rest assured that there's more to come.
     
    In early April, I wrote about Kepler's approach at the plate. He's been relatively vocal about not intending to increase his launch angle, and instead hit the ball hard on the ground. Thankfully he hasn't followed through with that practice, and he's benefited from elevating the baseball in 2018. Getting more loft on the ball, while continuing to hit it hard, is absolutely a strong blueprint for success. What's even more encouraging for the Minnesota right-fielder is that we haven't seen the results indicative of just how good the approach has been thus far.
     
    On the season, Kepler has posted a career best .803 OPS. He has 19 extra base hits through his first 169 plate appearances, and he's already tallied six longballs. The .250 average is just a slight bump from his .243 resting spot a year ago, but the .337 OBP is indicative of an approach that has yielded an incredible 22/20 K/BB ratio. After struggling to hit lefties last season, even to the point of being platooned against them, he's flipped the script entirely. Kepler owns a 1.120 OPS vs LHP in 2018, while posting a .694 OPS against RHP. The expectation should have always been that he'd hit both types of pitchers given his minor league track record, but this level of production is a very nice surprise.
     
    As good as Kepler has been for Paul Molitor though, the best part is that we're probably just scratching the surface. In 2018 thus far, Max owns just a .256 BABIP to go with his .250 average. That number seems unsustainably low given the numbers surrounding it.
     
    With as well as Kepler is elevating the ball, more impressively yet is how hard he's hitting it. The 44.1% hard hit rate is a career best by over 10%, and he'd putting the ball on the ground a career low 37.8% of the time. Despite those factors working in his favor, his 10.5% HR/FB rate suggests there's plenty of room for growth.
    On top of the quality generated behind contact, Kepler isn't getting cheated at the dish either. His 7.7% swinging strike rate is a career best, and he's chasing pitches just 26.5% of the time, a career low. He's also setting another career high with an 83.5% contact rating. If anything, Kepler could be a bit more choosy in an effort to boost his pitchers per plate appearance above 4.0 (currently 3.91) in an effort to see something more juicy.
     
    Trying to tie a bow on what the numbers are telling us, Max Kepler has basically put the big leagues on notice. He's driving the ball with authority, and creating the best contact numbers of his career. On top of that, he's doing it against pitchers who attack him from both sides of the plate, and he's created a blueprint that should only help his counting stats to further balloon from here on out. While Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar have paced the Twins in the early going, a blistering stretch from Max could very well be right around the corner.
     
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  11. Like
    beckmt got a reaction from Oldgoat_MN for a blog entry, Go big or go home   
    Found two interesting articles today about direction. One stated that with 5 clubs already all in (Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, Astros, Angels, and maybe even the Mariners ). There was the comment that most of the rest of the American league should be sellers as best expectation would a wild card spot and a quick exit.
    The second article was in the Tampa Bay newspaper today and suggested the Ray's should do a total rebuild. That means all players with value should be traded. Twins should be willing to trade prospects for some of Tampa Bay controlled assets, starting with asking what Archer would cost. Most of these deals will take place in the next few days, so let's get started.
  12. Like
    beckmt got a reaction from Oldgoat_MN for a blog entry, Are the Twins on the wrong path?   
    We have all seen the divide in posters here with the comments on which starters should be with the Twins. It is still early or midway in spring training and this article is not so much of that debate, but a question of how the Twins should approach the next 2 years.
     
    Starters: Only Santana and Hughes will have contracts into the 2019 season. The best crop of Free Agent pitchers will be on the market after the 2018 season. I feel that the Twins by that time need to know what holes in the rotation need to be filled. Given another article yesterday by Oldgoat_MN that showed the top 8 WAR teams for the starters all made the rotation this is a very vital area.
    Problem: I do not feel that any of the current starters can average 3 WAR a year, and the Twins at this time do not have an ace to raise the average. There is also the issue of Molitor wanting to be manager and his contract runs out at the end of this year.
    Solution: If you feel or want to give a number of the younger pitchers(Berrios, Gonsalves, Mejia, May) a chance, see what you can get for any starter but Santana the last week of spring training(clubs with pitching injuries will be looking). If you can get something of reason trade them, if not start the season with them and watch the market.
    Also give Molitor an extension if you feel this process is not fair to him. Do not agree with this, but you have to cut the cord to solve the problem.
     
    Bullpen: Weakest area of the team in my opinion at this time. Expect Kinzler to be the closer with Beilise, Breslow, Rogers, Chaigos, Pressley, Haley to be the rest with one spot TBD. Need to have stability here so do not see many youngsters up to start. By midseason hope performance and trades bring up several of the younger pitchers but this area is murky at best.
    Problem, No frontline closer, not a great shutdown pen with punchout ability.
    Solution: Maybe Perkins returns to health and is a factor, maybe Burdi and other of the young bullpen force there way up. See this as more of a season long process unless pen implodes.
    Catcher: Castro is a given, Garver should start at AAA for atbats. Would prefer Murphy up, with Giminez in AAA if Murphy fails again.
    Problem Castro is here for 3 years no clear line after.
    Solution: One of Garver or Murphy is able to step up to become the starter and the kid the Twins drafted last year from Wisconsin is ready a year or two after that.
     
    Infield. Current time it is Mauer, Dozier, Polonco, and Sano. 2019 it could be Mauer(at a very reduced price, if at all),otherwise Park or Vargas, Dozier or Polonco if Dozier traded or not resigned, Polonco or Gordon, and Sano(because I do not see a thirdbase replacement in 2 years, with Polonco or TBD as the utility infielder.
    Problem: Do you resign Dozier, is Gordon the real deal, what to do with Mauer.
    Solution: Trade Dozier at midseason if you are convinced that Gordon is for real. Tell Mauer at the end of his contract, that Jake cannot be considered for manager if Joe is playing and encourage his retirement. Move Sano to first if Park and Vargas cannot fill the hole. You may have to find a stopgap 3rd base replacement in this line. Maybe Goodrum short term.
     
    Outfield: The one area of strength. No problems or solutions here unless either Rosario or Kepler do not pan out. Granite or pickup can be the 4th outfielder for a couple of years.
     
    Notes: Short term until about 2020 or 2021 this team should be cheap. Signing pitchers to larger contracts will not be a payroll issue short term.
    Solution is to go young over the next year, if Molitor does not handle the younger players or does not like this line, fire him(probably should anyway). This gives you the best chance to compete by 2019 and on from there. If you do not give you position players some hope, you will have a issue resigning without overpays, because everyone likes to play on a winner.
  13. Like
    beckmt got a reaction from glunn for a blog entry, Is Luis Robert worth giving up international signings for   
    According to some scouts according to The Score, Luis Robert from Cuba is supposed to be the 'Best Player on the Plant'. He is planning to become available before July 2 where multiple clubs, including those who will be barred for signing players for more the $300,000 could bid on him. Multiple teams have been linked to him, http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/scout-cuban-prospect-robert-best-player-on-the-planet/ar-AAnkXkm?li=AAn4eAA&ocid=spartandhp
    Would it be worthwhile for the Twins to go after him? The Twins have been linked to, and expected to sign one of the two(Rays are going to sign the other). Wander Franco and Jelfrey Marte. This comes from mlbtraderumors yesterday, attributed to Baseball America. The signing would cost the Twins the shortstop, and will have some limitations down the road.
     
    Twins already have a shortstop considered to be very good in the system(Wander Javier), but Robert is a 1B player and almost certainly be ready when Mauer leaves after 2018(if not sooner). Twins also have a glut(very unusual)of middle infield talent, with only one(Diaz) 1B talent coming in the next few years.
     
    Twins need pitching help more, so losing the ability to sign front line international players for two years could be harmful, but if Robert is going to be a superstar, would it be worthwhile?
  14. Like
    beckmt reacted to jtkoupal for a blog entry, Why Minnesota Must Trade Brian Dozier   
    Brian Dozier has been a fan-favorite for Twins fans since he started to break out in 2013. Every female in the Twin Cities has a crush on him, and in general, everyone respects the player that he is on the field and the person that he is off the field.
     
    For me personally, Brian Dozier has been my favorite player since Justin Morneau. Those two are my favorite Twins of all time, in some order (I was not around for Hrbek, Puckett, Killebrew, Carew, etc.) and I would hate to see him move on.
     
    Dozier is fresh off of a season in where he hit 42 home runs, which was good enough for a third place tie with Edwin Encarnacion and Khris Davis. However, it isn't just the 42 home runs that should capture one's eye, it should also be the 99 runs he drove in while hitting in just an average lineup. Furthermore, he finished 12th in the MLB in Slugging Percentage at .546, 20th in OPS at .886, and that has stayed healthy throughout his career while racking up Web Gems at second base.
     
    Far and away, Dozier is the best player on Minnesota's roster at the moment. However, the Twins must trade Brian Dozier.
     
    While his offensive production will be very difficult to replace with the players we own right now, it is also important to understand that Dozier is going into his age 30 season. At this age, it is worth questioning how many impact years he has left. He will undoubtedly be an effective player for several more years, but it is worth questioning whether he will put together many, if any, more years like this year or even the year prior. By no means can I predict the future, but it is certainly questionable whether Dozier will ever again amass 40+ bombs like he did in 2016, a question in which general managers around baseball are asking themselves as we speak. Dozier does certainly have more very good years left to play, but the real questions are "how good and how many?"
     
    After losing more than 100 games in 2016, it is clear that the Twins are still not that close to competing. Andy MacPhail would argue that "Progress isn't linear," and by no means is he wrong, however given the state of the pitching staff and some question marks on offense as well, it would be a stretch to consider the Twins to be a contender in the next couple of years. By the time the Twins would be legitimate contenders again, Brian Dozier will be well into his 30's and his production is very likely to diminish by that time. If he is moved now, the Twins would have two or three top prospects come their way that they could develop for when the team is ready to step back into contention. Also, it would give them a chance to see what Jorge Polanco is capable of now instead of letting him waste away on the bench until Dozier is eventually cleared later.
     
    Finally, and most importantly, Brian Dozier must be traded because his value is, quite possibly, the highest it is ever going to be. 2017 projects to be a good year for Dozier as well, and keeping him until sometime next season or next offseason could potentially pay off, but that also comes as a major risk. There is no guarantee of what level Dozier will be playing at next season. For all we know, he could tear his ACL in Spring Training. If we trade him now, we would acquire at least two prospects, quite possibly even a third, if rumors are true of the Dodgers willingness to add to their package.
     
    Of course, I recognize that teams do not always offer enough in return for a certain player. If nobody offers enough in return, then it is absolutely better to keep Dozier. But if there are top prospects involved in the discussion, then it is best for the franchise moving forward to ship Dozier and bring in some fresh new talent for the future.
     
    Watching star players and favorite players move on is painful to watch. This would be the most crushing trade since Justin Morneau was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 31, 2013. However, because of his age, his projected future production, and the current standing of the franchise, it is necessary for the Minnesota Twins, if offered a fair package, to trade Brian Dozier.
  15. Like
    beckmt reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Pitching In 2017? Twins Don't Need Any   
    Over the past few days, it seems the talk of Twins starting pitching has reared its head again. I talked about how bad it's been recently, and it probably can't be overstated. Right now, Minnesota has the worst ERA in the big leagues and it's not particularly close. They don't strike anyone out, and it's just not a great situation. A year from now though, they don't need pitching either.
     
    Now before getting all up in arms, let's take a step back. It's nearly guaranteed that the Twins will lose 90 games this season, and they very well could find themselves staring at 100 losses for the first time since 1982. Regardless of the fact that Molitor and his bunched just missed the playoffs a season ago, they really aren't in a position to compete a season from now anyways. The most important factor for 2017 is that the new GM realize that, and construct the team with that reality in mind.
     
    Over the course of the 2011 to 2014 seasons, the Twins were in no position to compete. What they did during the offseason though was to add warm bodies like Kevin Correia and Jason Marquis to their starting pitching staff. At that point, it may have been necessary with a less healthier farm system, especially on the pitching front. Right now though, that couldn't be further from the truth.
     
    Here's the reality, the Twins already have Phil Hughes and Kyle Gibson as guaranteed rotation arms to start 2017. Assuming they don't trade Ervin Santana, he'll be at the top, and without DFA'ing Hector Santiago (which I'd be in favor of), there's just one spot left. That one spot is going to need to go to top pitching prospect Jose Berrios.
     
    Therein lies the problem.
     
    Minnesota could have as many as four of the five starting rotation spots filled, and only two of them may be around when this club gets back to relevance. If the hope is that 2018 sees Minnesota at the top of the AL Central again, that rotation should be led by Berrios. Behind the aforementioned group to open 2017, whoever is managing the 25 man needs to be getting significant looks at longer term options.
     
    Trevor May's back is all but begging to go back to starting pitching. Adalberto Mejia is a top 100 pitching prospect Minnesota was flipped by the Giants for Eduardo Nunez. Stephen Gonsalves is nearly kicking the door down to be called up to the show, and he has both Tyler Jay and Kohl Stewart behind him. There's a ton of inexperience and youth among these names, but using 2017 as anything but a proving ground for the arms doesn't make much sense.
     
    With the way things are set up, the bullpen should follow suit with the starting staff. Players like Jake Reed, Zack Jones, Trevor Hildenberger, D.J. Baxendale, Alex Wimmers, and even a healthy Nick Burdi should be given significant run in relief next season. While there's some spots already claimed, putting retreads ahead of the home grown talent doesn't stand to make much sense.
     
    Now, it's absolutely fair to question the validity of each of these options (starting or relief) working out. There could be a handful of mediocrity among the options, and finding top tier players isn't an easy ask. That being said, making a move for an ace in a losing season before finding out what your internal talent looks like doesn't sound like a great ask either.
     
    If you really want to deal Brian Dozier for a top tier starter, you can probably ask around. Given that he's 29 and not signed into any of his free agent years, I'm not sure that the return is necessarily what it's made out to look like. Outside of that scenario, hold onto your top prospects and actually play them. Turn 2017 into a big league providing ground. Get the kids' feet wet and make sure you know who's capable of leading you into relevancy during the 2018 season.
     
    Prior to 2018, the Twins will likely have the same opportunity to make a deal in swapping prospects for a starter should they choose to do so. They'll likely have two more top 10 draft picks in their system, and a GM in place to actually turn things around should all be realities. Right now though, practice some patience and wait.
     
    It may not be glamorous, but the 2017 Twins shouldn't be significantly different than this bunch. Move on from the holdovers and get the perceived difference makers from the farm up. After you've gotten some time to complete evaluations at the highest level, then figure out what's next.
     
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  16. Like
    beckmt reacted to PintoWF for a blog entry, Too Early to Trade?   
    The Minnesota Twins are just 38 games into the 2016 season but it already appears to be a lost cause. If that is the case, the next step for the Twins is to start shopping around some of their veterans. Problem is the Twins don't have many veterans. Or, at least, good veterans.
     
    There are a couple of names that come to mind but the one that everyone likes to talk about is Trevor Plouffe. A soon-to-be 30-year-old third baseman playing in his seventh year at the Major League level.
     
    An above-average defensive player and a guy with some pop in his bat. Would be perfect for a team in need of a right-handed hitter they could use in a platoon system. He could also prove beneficial to a playoff contenting team down the stretch.
     
    You can use him at first base if need be and wouldn't be a terrible option for your number five or six hitter. The contract is friendly enough and wouldn't be a long-term option for a team that is just in need of a rental.
     
    The Twins have to be smart about their asking price. Their biggest issue is pitching. All of the pitching. Starters. Relief. Whatever. They need help. What would a guy like Plouffe garner in return? That's the question. The answer is all about timing.
     
    Trading now seems sensible if you're reacting to the losing emotionally. Make way for Miguel Sano at his natural position and allow for a guy like Max Kepler to have more playing time at the Major League level.
     
    Bring in some pitching prospects, let them develop in the minors and boom. You're set.
     
    In reality, it is too soon. You have to wait this out. You need to be able to play off the desperation of teams.
     
    It's like shopping for groceries. When go shopping after you have had a big meal, you're less likely to make odd purchases. You're not going to buy the new flavor of Oreo cookies. You're just not feeling it.
     
    When you go shopping for groceries hungry well... Who knows what you fill that cart with.
     
    Odd analogy, I know, but one that works in this situation. Make sure these teams are hungry and overpay for something they feel the need for right.
     
    This is a year the Twins need to be sellers. Major sellers. Clean house of guys like Plouffe and the Eduardo's (Escobar and Nunez) to make way for the future. Allow the young guys like Kepler and Jorge Polanco to get their feet wet at the major league level.
     
    Trading now would most likely not bring you something good in return.
  17. Like
    beckmt reacted to Ted Schwerzler for a blog entry, Struggles Have Highlighted Twins Correct Deadline Decision   
    The calendar has flipped to August, the Minnesota Twins are now 51-51 just three games above .500, and the problems are mounting. Every indication suggests that the Twins did absolutely the right thing at the trade deadline. As they slip out of sole possession of a wild card spot, Terry Ryan has a new period of evaluation coming.
    For much of the season, the Twins were a team playing well above water. With an extremely impressive home record, while staving off regression, Minnesota distanced themselves from the pack. As it generally does, baseball has begun to shift back towards a statistical normalcy and the Twins have felt the squeeze.
     
    Since the All Star Break, Minnesota is just 5-11. In those 16 games, the Twins offense has scored an average of 3.4 runs per game while surrendering 5.2 runs per game. Their bullpen has all but imploded, most obviously on the back end (Glen Perkins owns an 11.12 ERA since the break). The Twins offense has gone in the tank, and the winning has hit the skids. In their last three losses, Minnesota has scored just one run in each contest.
    To say this was predictable is probably not unfair. Minnesota has a plethora of pitchers with inflated FIP (fielding independent pitching) marks and strong ERA's (in fact, acquired reliever Kevin Jepsen is among them). They have also seen a boost in the offense from unlikely sources such as Aaron Hicks (who has been incredibly hot), Eddie Rosario (who's been consistent), and Miguel Sano (who surprisingly has hit for average). At the root of the struggles though is that the Twins have watched it all come crashing down at the same time.
     
    Blaine Boyer (3.02 ERA 4.28 FIP, still some regression to come) and Casey Fien (4.19 ERA 4.14 FIP) have started to even out, J.R. Graham has been knocked around (9.00 ERA in his last 8.0 IP), and we already touched on Perkins struggles. Joe Mauer (.255/.317/.327), Torii Hunter (.204/.246/.370), and Brian Dozier (.217/.299/.450) have all slumped since the break. Starting pitching hasn't been great, and Tommy Milone (7.98 ERA in 142. IP since ASG) is now headed to the DL.
    Terry Ryan is watching as each of the potential problem areas for the Twins rears it's head at once. In that, he can find solace in knowing he absolutely did the right thing at the trade deadline. Fixing the bullpen, offense, and need positions all at once without jumping the gun wasn't a realistic possibility. In a difficult test of patience, that is now paying dividends.
     
    Staying put for the most part (aside from dealing for Jepsen who provides team control going forward), allows the Twins to continue along a realistic path. Despite being in position to grab a Wild Card spot, the heat of the summer was sure to sort things out. Regardless of the big moves by the Blue Jays (both David Price and Troy Tulowitzki count as just that), the Twins were going to have to continue to defy their own odds. In not sacrificing the blueprint that has been laid out, the next few years remain incredibly bright for the Twins.
    As the 2015 Major League Baseball season rolls on, the Twins still have plenty to gain. Nowhere near out of the playoff race, call ups and seasoning can be provided to young and integral players in the midst of meaningful games. With Tyler Duffey paving the way and Jose Berrios likely soon to follow, Minnesota affords young arms a cup of coffee in the middle of real action. Miguel Sano, Hicks, Rosario, and even Byron Buxton can begin to settle into the highest level while competing for something on a nightly basis. In the end, it's the best outcome for everyone.
    Going forward, the Twins already had plenty of reason to be realistic playoff contenders immediately in 2016 and onward. Thanks to the decision to hold onto the farm, the Twins should take plenty of valuable lessons and developmental instances away from 2015 even if they don't end up in the playoffs. As 2016 rolls around, they should enter as one of the two best teams in the Central, and the final two months of 2015 baseball will serve as the launching pad for that growth.
     
    For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
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