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  1. Personally, I think this is exactly the way to think of it, and honestly I think there's a really good team to be built around this idea, with a number of great fits already in house. I think people get caught up in the "they're only going to go 3 innings no matter what" idea, when in reality I believe things would certainly be more flexible than that. I think the other item to consider is that we don't necessarily have to fill the rotation with just bargain bin pitchers. There are plenty of pitchers out there with health concerns or innings limits that I think would be perfect for this type of setup. If you're still with me at this point, let me just propose a scenario that fits this method, while also building what I think could be a strong potential playoff rotation. The way I'm thinking something like this could work is essentially with a 3-tier pitching staff consisting of: starting pitchers(5), bulk relievers(4), traditional relievers(5). First, to fill some spots internally we will have: Ryan and Ober as two of our starting pitchers, Jax and Dobnak as two of our bulk relievers, and Rogers/Duffy/Thielbar/Alcala as four of our traditional relievers. That leaves us with 3 SP, 2 Bulk, and 1 Traditional spots to fill. To fill the final reliever spot, I'm signing someone like McHugh or Knebal to function as a high leverage, proven arm. I want these 5 relievers to be lights-out arms that can shut down the 7th-9th innings. To fill one of the bulk spots, I'm swinging in a trade to bring in a guy from Miami, Elieser Hernandez. There are countless guys both in the organization already and outside of it that I think could fit these roles well, so I wouldn't read too hard into the one specific player I picked. But I did just want to show one stat line quick about why I think someone like Hernandez would be great here: 1st Time through the order: 25.3% K-BB% / .675 OPS / 2.54 FIP 2nd Time through the order: 15.6% K-BB% / .828 OPS / 6.31 FIP The last bulk spot could simply be a rotation of AAA guys as arms are needed throughout the year. I'll let you fill in the blank there, I'm not going to think too hard about it. Eventually I think these could be ideal places for Duran or Canterino to end up long-term if they end up showing they can't handle a starters workload. Finally, I think there are a number of interesting non-bargain bin candidates to fill out the rotation. I'm looking to identify players who maybe have a long injury history and have never hit the 150+ inning mark but are extremely effective when healthy, players coming off of an injury looking to manage innings and slowly build throughout the year, or young players like Ryan/Ober still building their workload. Nobody says these guys have to be scrubs. Two pitchers that I think would be perfect for this type of rotation are Alex Wood and Alex Cobb. Both have an extensive injury history, but have proven to be strong starters when healthy. Let them go out and get their ~15 outs, throw 75-85 bullets, and help to manage their workload throughout the year so they are healthy and fresh going into playoffs. Then to top the rotation off, I think a great fit for this setup could be Carlos Rodon, as someone who is coming off of an injury and maybe doesn't have the capacity to be counted on for 150+ innings. Maybe his market isn't quite what he was hoping it to be, so we swoop in and offer him a 1x$22M contract to let him rebuild his value. If he's healthy going into playoffs, there's a Game 1 starter you can feel real good about. I'm not saying this is the most realistic offseason, and if you asked me if I thought this plan was likely to be put into place my answer would be "of course not". In reality are we going to sign Rodon AND Wood AND Cobb, no definitely not! And would 1-2 of the SP spots and 1-2 of the bulk spots be more likely to be filled with the Chris Archer's of the world, absolutely! But some people are writing this off without even giving it consideration, and I think that's a mistake. We would all love to sign the Gerrit Cole's and Scherzer's of the world, but that's never going to be our reality here. I think ideas like this can allow us to be competitive in a "Rays" sort of way, while also not constraining us to a $70M total payroll. Full pitching staff for this specific scenario is included below for clarity's sake. There are a million variations of this that you could put together, but this is just something pulled together on short notice.
  2. I can certainly see this FO not wanting to lock itself into multiple long term deals. Perhaps a more realistic scenario would be signing Pineda to another 1 or 2 year deal instead of a longer 3/4 year deal for Gray. While I did like what I saw from Ober/Ryan last year, I wouldn't consider either to be a lock to be a long term #3 or better pitcher. Ultimately I think we should be gathering as many young/controllable arms as possible, in hopes that 2-3 end up panning out into top 3 rotation pieces. Another 1-2 will likely end up in the bullpen (I could see that being a very realistic possibility for Canterino and Duran), and if we end up with a logjam of young pitchers, those could be great pieces to potentially package to go get a star shortstop or ace pitcher at the deadline. We saw last year that a lot of these arms are not guaranteed to stay healthy, which just makes me hesitant to bank on future rotation spots being filled by our current AA and AAA guys. Definitely can understand the issue you are pointing out though. This definitely isn't the scenario that I think is most likely for this FO to pursue imo!
  3. Thank you! Yes, I did see that it was a slightly lopsided trade according to BaseballTradeValue.com when I was running through possibilities. I'm of the opinion that Buxton and Larnach are both relatively undervalued there, although I would probably consider Meyer undervalued as well. Ultimately I went with more of a "gut feel" trade versus trying to even things out based on value. Can certainly see Marlins balking on paying up for Buxton, but thought it was at least an interesting idea to consider as they certainly need help in CF. Garver was also someone I strongly considered and could certainly see him being someone the Marlins value.
  4. After reading through the awesome community blueprint article and the various plans linked within, I wanted to take my own shot at the Twins offseason plan while taking a slightly different approach than most others. Similar to the Dramatic Roster Upheaval scenario proposed by @Nick Nelson, "we're trying to depict what it might look like if the organization says, 'We still want to compete, we still want to spend, but the current mix just isn't working.' It will involve keeping some core pieces in place, but unloading large or expiring contracts and charting a new, dramatically different course for the franchise". With that being said, I went into things with three parameters in mind: Trade Byron Buxton. This is clearly the unpopular opinion compared to the general community consensus, and if we're being honest is certainly not my preferred option. However, in the interest of applying a different though process, I wanted to take a look at what a offseason that includes a Buxton trade could look like. No Qualifying Offer Free Agents. With QO's coming out the other day, I wanted to take an approach that avoids signing an QO free agents, thereby preserving the Twins 2022 draft capital/bonus pool. Not something I'm dead set on in reality, but something I wanted to keep under consideration. Competitive in 2022. Though it might seem counter-intuitive to parameter #1, as a Buxton trade would initially indicate an upcoming full system rebuild, the goal of this plan is to return to being a competitive team in 2022 without Byron Buxton, while laying the groundwork for a competitive 5 year window. With those parameters in mind, here are the moves I would make for the Twins 2022 offseason: FA Signing -- Kevin Gausman (5x$25M): My first move is to sign Kevin Gausman to a 5x$25M contract, a similar deal to what Zach Wheeler got two years ago (Comparable to the contract proposed by MLB Trade Rumors). Gausman's 2021 results confirmed the shortened 2020 season was not a fluke, and at age 31 I am comfortable making a five year commitment to the former top 5 pick to anchor this rotation going forward. Backup Plan: Marcus Stroman (5x$22M) FA Signing -- Sign Jon Gray (3x$14M): A man well discussed here on Twins Daily the past several years, the Rockies did me a huge favor by not extending the QO to Gray, therefore making him eligible for my plan based on the parameters laid out above. While the merits of Gray have been well discussed, I actually think there's an interesting comparison to be made to our newly signed ace (KG). In Gray we have a former top five pick who spent the first six years of his career in an organization that failed to harness his full potential. With at least one + pitch (slider for JG, Splitter for KG), a change in scenery could be the key to tapping further upside. Backup Plan(s): Rodriguez ($14M -- QO), DeSclafani ($14M), Wood ($10M), Cobb ($8M), Pineda ($8M). A variety of options here, as I think each of these can be solid playoff starters when healthy. Trade -- Trade Byron Buxton, Luis Arraez, and Trevor Larnach to Miami for RHP Pablo Lopez and RHP Max Meyer: While I still think the idea of trading Buxton is a mistake and something the Twins should look to avoid at all costs, if it is something that's going to happen I believe it should require a return of this nature. As outlined in the amazing Offseason Handbook, the Twins and Marlins make a ton of sense as trade partners. Miami is ripe with arms both at the MLB and MiLB level, but are in desperate need of bats, making the Twins a natural match as an organization in desperate need of arms. In Pablo Lopez, the Twins are getting an established (and controllable) major league starter who posted a 10 K/9 last year, with xERA and xFIP under 3.75 the past two seasons. The one concern with Lopez is an IL trip this past year for a rotator cuff strain, but he was able to return to make one final appearance this past season, and should enter 2022 healthy. The merits of Meyer are well documented in the Offseason Handbook, and simply put, I think there's a future #1/2 starter in Meyer (not to mention he's #OneOfUs). While giving up Buxton/Arraez/Larnach probably feels like a haul, in return we would be getting two rotation building blocks for the next 4+ years. I'm of the opinion that if a trade doesn't make you a little uncomfortable with what you're giving up, there's probably no chance it would ever be accepted in the first place. Even though I hate the idea of giving up Buxton and two young/controllable bats, I think this is a trade that could give both sides exactly what they're looking for. Note: Another potential option from the Marlins would be Alcantera. However, I do not believe he is somebody they would be willing to move, and I don't think there's any chance of getting both him and Meyer, so I chose what I thought was a more realistic possibility centered around two young arms. FA Signing(s) -- Canha (2x$12M), Galvis (1x$3M), Brad Miller (1x$3M), Jake Diekman (1x$2.75M): To fill out most of the remaining roster spots, I am signing these players to what I think are fair market deals. In them you are getting the following: Canha: Solid major league outfielder who can play all three outfield positions. Power numbers for 2019 were likely a mirage, but he's a high OBP guy that I envision splitting CF duties with Kepler. Galvis: A popular cheap SS option among other blueprint ideas, I think he is a fine option for 2022 until you can see if Lewis is both healthy/ready. If not, we are likely back in the SS market in 2023. Brad Miller: Love the idea of picking up Backyard Brad as a platoon guy who can play at the corners in both the infield and outfield. He's unplayable against lefties, but he has great splits against righties. Dude just seems like a ball player. (I forget which blueprint I saw that included Miller, but loved the idea and apologies for not giving credit). Diekman: Wasn't great last year, but was unreal in 2020 and brings a nasty slider from the left side. Seems like a Twins kind of guy. With these moves made, I have the Twins landing at a final salary for $135M for 2022 after filling out the rest of the roster with internal pieces. I believe this is a team that can return to being competitive in 2022 while establishing the foundation of the rotation for years to come. Gausman/Gray/Lopez/Ober/Ryan/Meyer are all controlled through at least 2025, and I believe each of those pitchers are either established as playoff caliber starters, or have the potential to be in the case of the latter three. While the lineup obviously takes a hit without Buxton/Arraez/Larnach, believe we have internal pieces in Kirilloff/Miranda/Lewis/Martin who will offset those losses in the years to come. While I'm certainly not "all in" on 2022, just for fun I decided to look a little beyond at a potential 2023 roster, which is where I think things get really exciting. I've attached a picture for clarity's sake, but I see a roster with at least 6 quality starters (not including Maeda who I have in the bullpen as he returns from injury, or any of our current minor league prospects), as well as some salary cap to spend and not all that many holes to fill (primarily SS. Could I interest anyone in Dansby Swanson if he makes it to the market?). I believe this plan leaves the rotation in a great spot for the future, and the newfound rotation depth also gives us a surplus of potential trade chips (Duran/Balazovic/SWR/Canterino/Winder/Sands/Strotman) to go get a SS or other major piece to put things over the top. Would love to discuss any of these moves with people! I know trading Buxton isn't the popular move, but I believe this scenario puts us in a position to compete for a World Series title in the next 5 years. Thanks!
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