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Vanimal46

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  1. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to Andrew Mahlke for a blog entry, What should the Twins offer Byron Buxton?   
    Back in March, Matthew Trueblood wrote an excellent article on Twins Daily about what a potential Byron Buxton extension would look like. Now, obviously this was before Buxton’s phenomenal (injury plagued, but still phenomenal) 2021 campaign. After the season Buxton had, his value for a future extension skyrocketed.
    With Byron Buxton up until about 2019, the main question was always: “Will he be able to hit major league pitching?”. He always played phenomenal defense, ran the bases ridiculously well, and had an incredibly strong arm. He just had to put it together at the plate. Well, since the start of 2019, Buxton is 20th in the MLB in OPS and 4th in the MLB in slugging percentage. Buxton has really put it together at the plate in the last 3 seasons and it has been a joy to watch. 
    Before we get into his contract specifics, let’s highlight how special Byron Buxton is.
    5-Tool Player
    Byron Buxton helps the Twins win games, plain and simple. Since the beginning of 2019, the Twins are 104-68 when Buxton plays, and 106-106 when he does not. This means that they play at roughly a 98 win pace when he is on the field and an 81 win pace when he is not. This is the difference between not making the playoffs at all and getting home-field advantage in the playoffs. Let’s take a dive into what makes Buxton such a difference-maker for the Twins.
    Hitting
    I mentioned earlier how Buxton has really found his stride with his swing. Back in May of 2019, towards the beginning of Buxton’s outbreak, Parker Hageman wrote a phenomenal article about Byron Buxton’s swing. He took a deep dive into the swing adjustments Buxton had made that year that led to his success. Ever since then, his career has taken off.
    Buxton has been riddled with injuries his entire career, that is no secret. But since 2019, out of all players with a maximum of 700 plate appearances, Buxton leads with 102 extra base hits. The next closest player is Buxton’s teammate, Mitch Garver with 79 extra base hits. With limited appearances, Buxton is thriving.
    Using Baseball Savant’s handy Affinity feature, you can see which players have the most similar batted ball profiles to each other. In 2021, the most similar batters to Buxton were Yordan Alvarez, Fernando Tatis Jr., Rafael Devers, Salvador Perez, Josh Donaldson, and Aaron Judge. Buxton is up there with the cream of the crop. If you follow baseball at all, you know all of these guys are absolute stars and Buxton’s name belongs in that conversation as well.
    2021 was his best year yet. He had a 169 wRC+, had 42 extra base hits (19 home runs), and a 1.005 OPS. Buxton proved in 2021 that he couldn’t just hit, but absolutely MASH major league pitching.
    Defense
    Buxton has always been elite defensively, winning a platinum glove as the AL’s best defensive player in 2017. Since 2016, Buxton has 58 outs above average (OAA), the 5th most among all center fielders. All of the players ahead of him (Lorenzo Cain, Kevin Kiermaier, Billy Hamilton, and Ender Inciarte) played at least 140 more games than Buxton in that span. If Buxton had played 140 more games, he would have the most OAA by 10 outs. It is safe to say that when Buxton is healthy he is the best defensive CF in baseball. He also has an absolute cannon in the outfield. His arm strength has been measured at 99 MPH before, so he definitely has an above average arm.
    Speed
    Buxton has always been one of the fastest players in the MLB. In 2021, Buxton was in the 99th percentile in sprint speed. His average sprint speed was 30 ft/sec and he had the fastest average home to first time at 4.00 sec. Buxton is a game-changer on the bases and has made a huge impact on many games on the basepaths, most notably walking off the Detroit Tigers on a seemingly routine ground ball to the shortstop. 
    Overall Value
    Since 2019, Buxton has been worth 8.1 fWAR in 187 games, or a pace of 7 fWAR per 162 games. To put that number into perspective, there were zero position players with a WAR of 7 or over in 2021. In the last full season, 2019, the only players with a WAR 7 or above were Mike Trout, Alex Bregman, Christian Yelich, Cody Bellinger, Marcus Semien, and Anthony Rendon.
    Buxton’s WAR in 2021 was 4.2 over 61 games. Extrapolated to 162 games, that would be the equivalent of 11.2. That is absolutely ridiculous. That would be tied for the 17th best single season of all time in terms of WAR.
    Injuries
    Just looking at his raw per 162 numbers, you would think that the Twins should sign Buxton to a 10 year, $500 million extension. Unfortunately, Buxton has been injury prone throughout his career. As of July 2021, Buxton had only played 181 of 484 possible games since 2018. It is hard to justify giving him a big extension if he isn’t going to be healthy for a majority of it.
    Extension structure
    In short, I would offer Buxton an extension over seven years. It will start in 2023 and go through 2029, his age 29 through 35 season. As Buxton ages, his defense and speed will most likely deteriorate and he will not be as valuable. You also have to factor in his injury history so you won’t be paying full price.
    Consider the following:
    Since 2019, Buxton has played 187 of a possible 384 games, or 48% of possible games.  Since 2019, Buxton has accumulated 8.1 WAR in 187 games, or 7 WAR/162 games According to Fangraphs, you should pay $8M/WAR. So,
    If Buxton were to play 162 games, he would be worth 7 WAR x $8M/WAR = $56M/year This is obviously egregious, especially considering the Twins usually have a payroll from 125-140M.
    According to spotrac, with the exception of the Dodgers, the top payrolls are right around $200M. We are going to assume those teams are able to use the $8M/WAR calculation
    Since the Twins will use maximum 140M of payroll, 70% of what the top payrolls use, we will also use 0.7 as our multiplier for the WAR value calculation.
    $8M/WAR x 0.7 = $5.6M/WAR
    Using our new 5.6M/WAR, he would be worth roughly $39M a year if he played 162. I think this is fair for a player of his caliber. He has been an MVP level player the last 3 seasons, and shows no signs of stopping.
    Besides injuries.
    Since Buxton has only played about 48% of possible games, I would pay him 48% of that $39M per year.
    39M x 0.48 = about $19M a year. This is the base salary I would give Buxton. His base contract should be 7 years, $133 million
    However, we should account for the fact that there is a chance he remains healthy. This is where it gets tricky. This is where I bring in incentives to the contract.
    Buxton’s 7 WAR per 162 is worth 0.043 WAR per game. The current contract is assuming he plays 80 games If Buxton plays 120 games, he will get the original 19 million plus an additional amount of money We will determine this amount of money by multiplying his WAR per game by the additional 40 games he will be playing
    40 games x 0.043 WAR per game = 1.7 WAR x $5.6M per WAR = $9.5M If Buxton plays 120 games, he should earn an additional 10 million.
    For 130 games, he will be worth an additional 2.4 million using that formula For 140 games, he will be worth another 2.4 million And for 150, he will be worth 2.4 million more. Contract Summary
    Base contract: 7 years, $133 million ($19M AAV)
    120 games incentive: $9.5M/yr ($28.5M AAV)
    130 games incentive: $2.4M/yr ($30.9M AAV)
    140 games incentive: $2.4M/yr ($33.3M AAV)
    150 games incentive: $2.4M/yr ($35.7M AAV)
    If Buxton plays 150 games, he could be making up to $35.7 million per year. This is the contract I would propose to Buxton because he would be getting a good amount of guaranteed money and it also helps him understand that playing a certain amount of games could get him an absurd amount of money.
    How does this contract compare?
    A salary of 19M per year (if he meets no incentives) would make him the 27th highest paid position player in baseball. Since 2019, he is 33rd in WAR among all position players, so this base contract would be just about right. If he meets all of the incentives, he would be the highest paid position player in baseball, which is fair considering the amount of talent he has and his production over a full healthy season would be at an MVP level. I think at his peak, he will play about 120-130 games, making his salary between 28 and 31 million. This would put him in the range of the 5th to 8th highest position player in the league. 
    TL: DR version
    Pay Buxton a base salary of $19 million a year for 7 years, with games played incentives from 120 games to 150 games of various amounts that could net him up to $35.7 million per year.
    Conclusion
    Byron Buxton is a generational type of talent and I haven’t seen anyone like him in a Twins uniform my whole life. It would be a mistake to let him go just because of financial concerns. He is a player that you would rather overpay than not pay at all, so priority number ONE this offseason needs to be extending him. If there’s one player to offer this type of contract to, it’s Buck.
    Thank you for reading, and Go Twins.
     
  2. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to TheLeviathan for a blog entry, A 21-22 Offseason Idea   
    Full transparency: This is not a team intending to compete in 2022.  This team is loading up for 2023.
    Trades and Extensions:
    Sign Byron Buxton to a 7 year, 119M contract with incentives
    Trade with Florida Marlins - Mitch Garver for SP Sixto Sanchez 
    Trade with New York Mets - Josh Donaldson (plus 14M spread over two years) for RP Jose Butto
    Let Colome walk.  Release Austidillo, Refsnyder, Minaya, and Cave.
    Free Agency: 
    Sign Corey Seager a 5 year 27M contract to play shortstop
    Sign Michael Pineda back to a 2 year 24M contract with incentives
    Sign Jon Gray to a 3 year 45M contract
    Sign Sandy Leon to a 1 year, 2M contract
    Sign Leury Garcia to a 1 year 5M contract
    Sign Corey Knebel to a 3 year 24M contract
    Sign Ehire Adrianza to a 2 year, 3M contract
    Lineup/Defense
    C - Jeffers  500k
    1B - Kiriloff  500k
    2B - Polanco 5.5M
    SS - Seager 27M
    3B - Arraez 2M
    LF - Rooker 500k
    CF - Buxton 17M
    RF - Kepler 6.75M
    DH - Sano 9.25M
    Bench - Gordon 500k
    Bench - Sandy Leon 2M
    Bench - Leury Garcia 5M
    Bench - Garlick or Larnach 500k
    Bench - Adrianza 1.5M
    Regular Lineup - Arraez-Buxton-Seager-Polanco-Kiriloff-Sano-Kepler-Rooker-Jeffers
    Rotation/Bullpen
    SP - Gray 15M
    SP - Ryan 500k 
    SP - Ober 500k
    SP - Pineda 12M
    SP - Sixto Sanchez 500k
    CL - Rogers 6.7M
    BP - Alcala 500k
    BP - Duffey 3.7M
    BP - Theilbar 1.2M
    BP - Knebel 8M
    BP - Dobnak 800k
    BP - Gant 3.7
    Total Salary: 138.6M  (Including the 7M deferred)
    Rotation Depth: Gant, Dobnak, Smeltzer, Balazovic, Winder, Duran, SWR 
    Bullpen Depth: Butto, Thorpe, Moran, Stashak, Strotman? Other assorted AA and AAA guys
    OF Depth: Larnach needs to hit himself into a job. Marten should be a guy looking to get the job in LF.  As soon as mid-summer.  Almost the entire bench, plus Kiriloff and Arraez can also play in the OF.  
    IF Depth - Adrianza is a jack of all trades, Gordon as well.  Being a lefty and a switch hitter gives some options for lineups.  Royce Lewis and Jose Miranda should be in this conversation mid-summer as well.
    Catching depth: Leon exists to give Ben Rotrevedt time to be the long-term backup.  
     
    The idea here is that 2022 is a transition year.  So, let Rooker/Larnach and Jeffers and Arraez play. Martin is going to take 2B or LF eventually.  Lewis and Miranda are going to be up to take over other positions eventually.  The team is strong up the middle, depth is better, and the team is primed for a 2023 coming out party.  Ditto the rotation - Gallen, Sanchez, Ryan, Ober, and the fleet of young arms gives this team options and upside.  Bullpen is stabilized.
     
    By September 1 I’d love to see this group:  Seager-Buxton-Polanco-Kiriloff--Marten-Larnach-Miranda-Kepler-Jeffers  with a rotation of Gray-Ryan-Ober-Sanchez-Duran/Balazovic  That group is an upgrade here or there in 2023 from being a real force if we develop our talented youngsters.
     
     
     
  3. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to Brandon for a blog entry, Pineda's return for 2022? What is his contract like?   
    I have seen several overtures to Pineda wanting to stay in Minnesota.  That is a hard find in the market and with our need of several starting pitchers, we should take a good look at what it should take to resign the veteran.  Here is the article from MlbTraderumors.com I just saw which spurred this blog post.  Baldelli Hopes Pineda Will Return To Twins In 2022 - MLB Trade Rumors.  I would think its either a 1 or 2 year contract. Since we need money in the budget to sign others its probably in the 8-12 million base guarantee per season.  There should be incentives for IP.  The size of the guarantee will determine what the incentives should be.  I think that with incentives should be able to make in 13-15 million range if he hits 180 innings and that should max out his incentives as he likely will not reach 200 innings.So for my guess I will go with a 2 year 22 million contract with 500,000 incentives starting at 120 innings, 140 innings, 160 innings and 180 innings.  for a possible 13 million per season.  Do you think he will resign with the Twins and if so how much?
  4. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to TwerkTwonkTwins for a blog entry, Falvine's Waiver Claim Game   
    Critique of a front office is easy to make in the midst of a deeply disappointing season. While many fans are languishing over the incoming July trade deadline, I've heard a lot of complaints about the lack of waiver claims made this season by the Minnesota Twins.
    Why are the Twins continuing to trot out the likes of Colomé, Happ, and (formerly) Shoemaker, when the front office can claim replacement-level players from other teams for essentially nothing? 
    The outright waiver transaction process is a deeply complicated one. Whenever a team wants to remove a player that is already on the 40-man roster, that player must first be offered to each of the other 29 major league teams. If another team claims that player, the player goes on that new team's 40-man roster. The full definition from MLB can be found here. 
    Because I'm insane, and this season is awful, I decided to compile a list of every player that the Falvey/Levine front office has claimed from other organizations, in addition to players they've lost via waiver claims.
    How have they fared in the waiver claim game?  Should they pick up the pace, now that they have nothing to lose? Do these claims actually amount to anything?
    These questions are important... but so is the trip down memory lane, once you read some of these names. 
    Players Acquired Via Waiver Claim
     
    Date of Claim Player Claimed Position Team Claimed From fWAR in Minnesota 2/6/2017 Ehire Adrianza UTL IF San Francisco Giants 2.1 5/10/2017 Adam Wilk LHP New York Mets -0.2 6/7/2017 Chris Heston RHP Los Angeles Dodgers 0.0 3/24/2018 Kenny Vargas 1B Cincinatti Reds - 4/26/2018 David Hale RHP New York Yankees -0.2 5/28/2018 Taylor Motter UTL Seattle Mariners -0.3 8/3/2018 Johnny Field RF Cleveland Indians 0.1 8/3/2018 Oliver Drake RHP Cleveland Indians 0.2 10/31/2018 Michael Reed CF Atlanta Braves - 11/26/2018 C.J. Cron 1B Tampa Bay Rays 0.3 10/29/2019 Matt Wisler RHP Seattle Mariners 0.6 10/30/2020 Ian Gibault RHP Texas Rangers - 10/30/2020 Brandon Waddell  LHP Pittsburgh Pirates -0.3 2/5/2021 Ian Hamilton RHP Philadelphia Phillies - 2/11/2021 Kyle Garlick RF Atlanta Braves 0.3 6/22/2021 Beau Burrows RHP Detroit Tigers -           Total fWAR 2.6 The Twins have claimed a total of 16 players from opposing organizations since Falvey/Levine took over after the 2016 World Series. Of these 16 claims, their most consequential claim was their very first one. Ehire Adrianza was never a star, but a very productive role player for a number of contending Twins teams. 

    After that, the list isn't so impressive. Matt Wisler was great at slinging sliders in the bullpen during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but the Twins cut him last offseason in a puzzling move. C.J. Cron and the currently-injured Kyle Garlick have been the largest "successes" outside of Adrianza and Wisler, each account for 0.3 fWAR as right-handed hitters that were acquired to mash left-handed pitching. 
    Most of these players did not remain on the 40-man roster for a long time. Quite a few were lost to waivers shortly after the Twins acquired them, which include Kenny Vargas, Johnny Field, Oliver Drake, and Brandon Waddell. Such is the life on the waiver wire for many MLB players. 
    Players Lost Via Waiver Claim
     
    Date of Claim Player Position Team Claimed By fWAR after Minnesota 11/18/2016 Adam Brett Walker LF Milwaukee Brewers - 8/26/2017 Tim Melville RHP San Diego Padres -0.2 9/14/2017 Engelb Vielma SS San Francisco Giants -0.1 11/3/2017 Randy Rosario LHP Chicago Cubs -0.3 11/3/2017 Daniel Palka OF Chicago White Sox -0.7 11/6/2017 Nik Turley LHP Pittsburgh Pirates 0.2 1/22/2018 Buddy Boshers LHP Houston Astros 0.1 2/23/2018 JT Chargois RHP Los Angeles Dodgers 0.5 3/22/2018 Kenny Vargas 1B Cincinatti Reds - 7/9/2018 Ryan LaMarre CF Chicago White Sox 0.4 10/10/2018 Juan Graterol C Cincinatti Reds -0.2 11/1/2018 Johnny Field RF Chicago Cubs - 11/1/2018 Oliver Drake RHP Tampa Bay Rays 0.4 1/11/2019 Aaron Slegers RHP Pittsburgh Pirates 0.4 5/26/2019 Austin Adams RHP Detroit Tigers -0.1 7/20/2019 Adalberto Mejia LHP Los Angeles Angels 0.0 8/14/2019 Ryan Eades RHP Baltimore Orioles -0.2 9/16/2019 Marcos Diplan RHP Detroit Tigers - 11/4/2019 Stephen Gonsalves LHP New York Mets - 9/5/2020 Ildemaro Vargas 2B Chicago Cubs -0.5 10/1/2020 Sean Poppen RHP Pittsburgh Pirates -0.1 5/8/2021 Brandon Waddell LHP Baltimore Orioles 0 5/14/2021 Travis Blankenhorn 2B Los Angeles Dodgers -0.1 6/5/2021 Dakota Chalmers RHP Chicago Cubs - 6/18/2021 Shaun Anderson RHP Texas Rangers -           Total fWAR -0.5 You'll immediately notice this list of players lost via waivers during the Falvyey/Levine regime is a lot longer than the list of players they've acquired via waivers. All together, they have lost 25 players, which is 9 more players than they've claimed from other teams. 
    The good news for the organization, is that this cumulative list has not come back to bite them. 10 of the 25 claimed players provided negative value for their new teams, after departing Minnesota. Daniel Palka's 2017 season really sunk this group, as he posted a -1.4 fWAR in only 93 plate appearances for the White Sox (after he provided 0.7 fWAR and a 109 wRC+ in 2018). 
    The largest losses from this group have definitely been in the relief category, highlighted by JT Chargois, Oliver Drake, and Aaron Slegers. However, most of these players have had inconsistent careers, injuries, or both, in their time after playing for Minnesota. 
    Even when factoring in some bullpen pieces this organization might regret losing, the total fWAR from these players after departing the Twins is -0.5 fWAR. The current front office has been right far more than wrong, when deciding how to churn the 40-man roster. 
    Yearly Trends And Overall Takeaway
    Year Players Claimed From Other Teams Players Claimed By Other Teams 2016/2017 3 6 2018 7 7 2019 1 6 2020 2 2 2021 3 4 Total Players 16 25       Total fWAR 2.6 -0.5 fWAR Difference   3.1 Overall, the Twins have gained 3.1 fWAR from their decisions to gain and lose players from the waiver wire. That's a pretty decent result for a type of front office transaction that is often overlooked. It averages out to about 0.69 fWAR per season, factoring in the 4.5 seasons of the Falvey/Levine regime. 
    Most of that waiver activity came in 2017 and 2018, when the front office was still adjusting to their inherited players from the previous front office. Successful teams don't always gamble roster spots on players exposed to outright waivers, which is evident in the 2019 team. 
    One major caveat to point out across the yearly trend is that teams were probably hesitant to claim players from other organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, so 2020 and early 2021 should be viewed through that lens.
    However, that didn't stop the Twins from claiming 3 bullpen arms (Ian Gibault, Brandon Waddell, and Ian Hamilton), and Kyle Garlick this offseason. The jury is still out on these claims, but Waddell did not go well. 
    The most interesting thing about 2021 is that the Twins lost 4 players during their early season free-fall (Brandon Waddell, Travis Blankenhorn, Dakota Chalmers, and Shaun Anderson), before claiming Beau Burrows a few weeks ago from the Detroit Tigers.
    Is former first-round draft pick Beau Burrows the tip of the iceberg? Now that 2021 is officially kaput, will the front office be more aggressive? 
    I sure hope so. Moves will be made in the next few weeks, and this 40-man roster will be significantly different as we approach the trade deadline. The 40-man roster will likely be smaller, and the Twins will be in front of the line when contenders have to cut players to account for their deadline additions. 
    Waiver claims are rarely sexy transactions, but sometimes you stumble into a Ehire Adrianza or a Matt Wisler. The Twins have proven to be more successful than not when it comes to their waiver claim game. It's time to play, because there's simply nothing to lose. 
  5. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Our foundational players - the big six   
    We were excited when our prospects came up and the future looked bright - in 2019 that future arrived and it was great, but we expected a longer run.  The foundation was going to be Berrios - I know all the arguments that he is not a true Ace, but he has been our best pitcher and is a solid middle of the rotation arm that we did not build around.  53 - 40 with a 4.11 era for his six years 8.1 WAR. 
    The expected stars on offense were Sano and Buxton
    Miguel Sano - who is in his 7th year (7.8 WAR).  He has played in 100+ games three times.  236/329/489 is his seven year slash line, but look at the trends - BA - 269, 236, 264, 199, 247, 204, 158.  His last three OPS - 923, 757, 656.  BR offensive War (defense is negative so I won't bother.  He is here for his bat.) 2.4, 1.7, 3.1 0.1, 3.7, 0.5, 0.1.  Miguel seems like he plateaued and is lost. 
    Byron Buxton - 7 years and 14.5 WAR - if only he could stay healthy.  No doubt his hitting is on the rise - here is his yearly OPS 576, 714, 728, 383, 827, 844, 1.180.   Buxton has found his bat, but he has played in 456 games out of a possible 922.  He has missed half his possible games.  This does not diminish his quality when he is on the field, but makes it hard to cover CF when your other option is moving Kepler or using Cave. 
    The next three foundation pieces did not have the same star power potential, but they were expected to be solid pieces to round out the team 
    Jorge Polanco - no longer a SS his value has diminished in the field.   He has contributed 8.8 WAR.  His career slash is 274/333/430/762 and he has been fairly steady, but in 2019 his OPS was 841 after a career streak of 700s+, but then 2020 and 2021 that OPS mark dropped below 700 and with his fielding not being an asset any longer he career seems to have flattened out and his value may have peaked.
    Max Kepler shocks me with a 13.2 WAR.  A slash line of 236/318/443/761 does not seem to warrant such a good WAR grade. When I look at his OWar 9.7 and his DWar 2.1 they add up to 11.8 so someone will have to explain BR math to me.  He peaked in 2019 like so many did and had his only year with more than 20 HRs,  It was the only year he hit more than 250.  And it was the only year he slugged more than 500.  Surrounding 2019 his BA was 224 in 2018, 228, and 212 the last two years.  
    Eddie Rosario is the last of the big six and they have already given up on him and let him shuffle off to Cleveland, so he was the first of the six to disappoint enough to be moved on.  His seven year slash line is 274/308/469/777.  His peak was 2017/2018.

    Buxton 14.5According to BR WAR Rosario had a total of 12 which means it we rank the six by WAR it would be 
    Kepler 13.2
    Rosario 12
    Polanco 8.8
    Berrios 8.1 (he is the only one with six seasons instead of seven)
    Sano 7.8
     
     
  6. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to ashbury for a blog entry, Woo! Worcester   
    Mrs Ash and I went to Worcester last night to see their brand-new AAA team, the Worcester Red Sox (known almost exclusively as the Woo Sox).  It's part of our farewell tour in New England as we prepare to move back to Nevada.
    We took a train scheduled to arrive an hour early, so as to have time to take in the sights, but mechanical troubles had us traveling about 5 MPH for the last 5 miles, meaning we arrived about when the next train was supposed to (though it became delayed too, in a ripple effect), and we found our seats only in time for the first pitch.
    Polar Park, named for a local soft-drink maker, is a nice modern ballpark.  Most of the food tends toward mundane hot dogs and nachos, but we did pass up the long line for the George's Coney Island hot dog stand (which is a satellite of a Worcester landmark that Mrs Ash and I ate at on one previous trip to the city) and likewise long line at a BBQ stand.  The park was pretty close to a sellout crowd on this Wednesday night, not too surprising for a brand new team/park but the waning of the pandemic makes everything hard to predict.
    The game itself was not much better than the train ride, a 18-5 drubbing at the hands of the visiting Rochester Red Wings, who apparently took the Twins' snub personally when St Paul came into the league, as they have aligned themselves with another franchise, the Nationals. What ingrates.  The visitors had the losing record (7-18) coming in, whereas the home team was 15-10, but the game didn't reflect the past.
    Daniel Palka was in the lineup as DH for the Wings, and Chris Herrmann subbed in at catcher for the Woo Sox. Twins fans may recall they were once swapped for each other in a trade with Arizona.  Both have bounced around a bit since then, still seeking another chance in the majors. Palka had much the better of it last night, launching home runs in two consecutive innings; I don't remember Herrmann doing anything except look tall behind the plate.  Palka was aided by a very short porch in right field, with an outfield wall insufficiently high to moderate the advantage to a dead-pull lefty bat.  Kind of the opposite layout to Fenway Park in that regard, and the AAA decision makers apparently chose to not even try to draw comparisons to the major league counterpart 40 miles to the east. (Although, they do play Sweet Caroline during the 8th inning, because Red Sox.)
    Among young talent in the lineups, Rochester had only Luis Garcia, a highly-regarded 21-year old second baseman, and Carter Kieboom, who I thought was a "perennial prospect" but turns out to be still only 23.  Worcester had a broader smattering of starters 25 and under,  I'm not sure anyone really stood out for me - I saw various bad reads and weak arms in the outfield, and a strange decision by third-baseman Yairo Munoz to not dive for a grounder than looked reachable. 
    Until about the 8th inning or so, none of the pitchers for either side registered higher than about 90 on the radar gun.  Not many sharp breaking pitches diving into the dirt, for that matter.  Made it nearly through the entire first inning before a walk and then a strikeout.  Coincidentally or not, 26-year old Wings starter Sterling Sharp was the youngest of ten men (five for each team) to take the mound.  For pitchers, AAA seems to be the graveyard of dreams, and few with a live fastball or good sliders stay there for long.  AAA is really kind of my least favorite level of baseball, but oh well.  On a less grouchy note, Rochester hurler Joan Baez came into the game for the sixth inning; if they played Diamonds & Rust on the PA system when he was introduced, I missed it.
    I snapped a few photos at the park but none came out as anything interesting. Here's a routine shot of Josh Ockimey striking out against Wings starter Sharp in the fourth inning.

     
  7. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to Chris Spicer for a blog entry, A Nostalgic Favorite: Revisiting Major League II   
    What’s the worst that could happen bringing back an iconic baseball classic back for more hijinks and fun 5 years later? When this movie came out back in 1994 and I was 11 years old and I remember this being the movie that got me most excited to watch anything baseball. I saw this in a 2-screen theater in Grand Forks, ND (where I’m from) with my friends with no parents and we enjoyed everything about this movie. But does it hold up today?
     
    ​Major League II brings back director David S. Ward along with most of the cast from the original movie. Most noticeably missing is Wesley Snipes who by that time had built up a string of box office hits and was in to high of demand to get in this sequel. Omar Epps steps in as Willie Mays Hayes and does a good job but Snipes would have helped draw a bigger audience at the time. The movie was made for 25 million dollars but only squandered a mere 30 million dollars at the box office. The biggest change the studio made was going from rated R in the original to PG in this sequel. The change clearly did not pay off and left this movie struggling to connect with the adults who loved the first movie. The humor was a little more dried up and the themes were a lot less adult driven. Charlie Sheen does become the movies star and at this time in his career, he was at his peak.
     
    ​ The plot brings the team back as World Series contenders who are coming off winning the division title and then were beat by the Chicago White Sox. All the success from last season has changed the players in different ways. Rick Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) cares more about his public image over his pitching, Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysbert) than becomes a Buddhist becoming more carefree which hurts in game play, Willie Mays Hayes (Omar Epps) gets into making Hollywood movies to which makes him want to be more of a power hitter, and Jake Taylor (Tom Berenger) returns dealing with knee injuries and is too old to play baseball. Every single player from the first movie is dealing with something and they all have their own hurtles to overcome. Some of these seem very realistic and then there are some that seem forced just to build some internal conflict. How each one over comes their strife’s has their own issues, but they all really seemed very rushed. This movie comes off very much like a sitcom and not as much of a theatrical movie.

    ​To this movie’s credit, it does introduce some fun characters that help make this a better movie. The films highlight is the bad guy or the new player they bring in as an off-season signing in Jack Parkman (David Keith). Parkman is there to build conflict with the whole team and eventually a final confrontation with Rick Vaughn. He is a power hitting catcher who is arrogant and loves to be more about himself. He than eventually gets traded to the Cleveland’s rival the White Sox building up to a dramatic ALCS series between the two teams. David Keith does a really good job of selling that cocky and charisma that makes this character so unlikable. Another fun new character in this movie is also a catcher in Rube Baker (Eric Bruskotter) and he eventually becomes the heart of the movie. He start’s off the movie being talented and has one issue and that’s getting the ball to the pitcher. It’s played for laughs and is quickly fixed by new coach Jake Taylor who decides to give up his cleats to help the team in a new way. He has him recite articles from Playboy magazines to help him take his mind off the pressure of getting the ball back to the pitcher and it works. Rube also has a lot of good dialogue in this movie and you can tall that the screen writers wanted his character to come off a little dumb but with a big heart. Eric Bruskotter does a good job of pulling it off and deliver’s some of these lines with ease. The last new character they bring in is outfielder Isuro Tankaka (Takaaki Ishibashi) and he comes in with the trade for Jack Parkman. He absolutely is played for laughs and comes in with a temper and eventually helps break Pedro Cerrano of his hitting slump by getting under his skin and get him angry again. It is a fun pairing between the two and their chemistry plays out nicely.
     
    ​Although this movie was panned by critics and audiences in 1994. This movie isn’t all that bad. I had some issues with how they wrapped up Rick Vaughn’s love story and his character ark and how they wrapped it way too neat and unearned along with how the wrapped up a lot of other character’s arks and how they put Tom Berenger’s character on the backburner after being the lead character in the first movie. If you put aside all the PG humor this turns out to be an entertaining baseball movie. It has some cheesy dialogue, and it does a good job of building up the stakes. I had the excited feeling today as I did when I was 11 when Ricky Vaughn comes out at the end of the movie with his original hair cut and the stadium is blaring Wild Thing. The buildup for that moment in the movie paid off and watching the matchup between Ricky Vaughn and Jack Parkman is entertaining. This sequel is not a classic by any means, but it does a good job of entertaining baseball fans and having fun for an hour and 40 minutes.
     
    Rating: Triple! 3 out of 5 stars.
  8. Like
    Vanimal46 got a reaction from snap4birds for a blog entry, Minnesota Twins Off-Season Timeline Fortune Telling   
    Over the off-season there will be PLENTY of chatter about the Twins. They're primed to be BOLD and make a YUGE splash in free agency.
     
    As a seasoned Twins fan I'm here to save you a bunch of time! The off-season is already predetermined, and your friend Vanimal found the transcript for the most DRAMATIC off-season yet...
     
    10/9: Twins exercise Nelson Cruz' option
     
    10/14: Jim Pohlad quoted in a Sid Hartman column "there will be no restrictions on payroll"
     
    11/1: Ken Rosenthal tweets the Twins are one of several teams interested in free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole.
     
    11/10: Jeff Passan tweets the Twins are attempting to schedule a meeting with Zach Wheeler's representation.
     
    11/11: Zach Wheeler signs 4/$72 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
     
    11/12: Lavelle E Neal writes rushed blog post saying Wheeler's representation never returned the Twins' call.
     
    12/1: Twins add 5 minor Leaguers to 40 man roster. Twins Daily writes that every player added has a floor of an average major league player, and a ceiling of a perennial all star.
     
    12/4: Jake Odorizzi signs a 5/$75 million contract with the Houston Astros.
     
    12/6: Pat Reusse writes column that the Twins gave an honest attempt to sign Odorizzi. Didn't want to commit to 5th guaranteed year.
     
    1/13: Twins sign SP Homer Bailey to minor league contract with invite to spring training.
     
    1/14: Twins season ticket holders receive automated email informing them prices will increase for the 2020 season.
     
    1/27: Jon Heyman tweets the Twins make Gerrit Cole their top priority.
     
    2/1: Dave St. Peter announces a new bar will be constructed 30 feet above the pitcher's mound held up by suspension cables! For $15,000 you can be RIGHT ON TOP of the action drinking your favorite local craft brew!
     
    2/11: Lavelle E Neal reports Jose Berrios has turned down extension offer from the Twins.
     
    2/15: Twins announce NEW FOOD offerings at Target Field.
     
    2/26: Gerrit Cole signs 8/$275 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
     
    3/4: Twins sign free agent SP Tanner Roark to 1/$12 million contract with a team option for 2nd year.
     
    3/13: Lavelle E Neal reports SP Brusdar Graterol is in team's plans to make opening day rotation.
     
    3/14: Brusdal Graterol optioned to AAA spring training.
     
    3/28: Twins realize they're still short 1 starting pitcher, re-sign Kyle Gibson to minor league contract with "opt-out" on May 1.
     
    You're welcome!
  9. Like
    Vanimal46 got a reaction from Huskertwin for a blog entry, Minnesota Twins Off-Season Timeline Fortune Telling   
    Over the off-season there will be PLENTY of chatter about the Twins. They're primed to be BOLD and make a YUGE splash in free agency.
     
    As a seasoned Twins fan I'm here to save you a bunch of time! The off-season is already predetermined, and your friend Vanimal found the transcript for the most DRAMATIC off-season yet...
     
    10/9: Twins exercise Nelson Cruz' option
     
    10/14: Jim Pohlad quoted in a Sid Hartman column "there will be no restrictions on payroll"
     
    11/1: Ken Rosenthal tweets the Twins are one of several teams interested in free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole.
     
    11/10: Jeff Passan tweets the Twins are attempting to schedule a meeting with Zach Wheeler's representation.
     
    11/11: Zach Wheeler signs 4/$72 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
     
    11/12: Lavelle E Neal writes rushed blog post saying Wheeler's representation never returned the Twins' call.
     
    12/1: Twins add 5 minor Leaguers to 40 man roster. Twins Daily writes that every player added has a floor of an average major league player, and a ceiling of a perennial all star.
     
    12/4: Jake Odorizzi signs a 5/$75 million contract with the Houston Astros.
     
    12/6: Pat Reusse writes column that the Twins gave an honest attempt to sign Odorizzi. Didn't want to commit to 5th guaranteed year.
     
    1/13: Twins sign SP Homer Bailey to minor league contract with invite to spring training.
     
    1/14: Twins season ticket holders receive automated email informing them prices will increase for the 2020 season.
     
    1/27: Jon Heyman tweets the Twins make Gerrit Cole their top priority.
     
    2/1: Dave St. Peter announces a new bar will be constructed 30 feet above the pitcher's mound held up by suspension cables! For $15,000 you can be RIGHT ON TOP of the action drinking your favorite local craft brew!
     
    2/11: Lavelle E Neal reports Jose Berrios has turned down extension offer from the Twins.
     
    2/15: Twins announce NEW FOOD offerings at Target Field.
     
    2/26: Gerrit Cole signs 8/$275 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
     
    3/4: Twins sign free agent SP Tanner Roark to 1/$12 million contract with a team option for 2nd year.
     
    3/13: Lavelle E Neal reports SP Brusdar Graterol is in team's plans to make opening day rotation.
     
    3/14: Brusdal Graterol optioned to AAA spring training.
     
    3/28: Twins realize they're still short 1 starting pitcher, re-sign Kyle Gibson to minor league contract with "opt-out" on May 1.
     
    You're welcome!
  10. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to Mike Sixel for a blog entry, Why Didn't the Twins Make a Trade Already?   
    Edit to note: the tables are now fixed, I believe.
     
    Fans, we are a demanding bunch! We want fixes now, and we want them cheap, so our favorite teams can do more fixing. I maybe spend too much time on Twins Daily, and I post a lot. That makes me wrong a lot……or maybe I’m just not all that good at this baseball thing, who knows. One of the main things being discussed right now is that the Twins should add some pitching, and I’ve been wondering just how realistic that is.
     
    What does it cost to get pitching? What kind of pitchers are actually traded before the deadline? When are they traded?
     
    Basically, in this series of blogs, I want to know what seems realistic in terms of trades, because I’d rather be informed when posting than not. Because baseball seems to have changed, I’ll be using data from 2013 on.
    First up in the analysis? So, how soon can we realistically expect trades in MLB?
     
    We’ll be looking at trades in June and July to see when players change hands, and the kinds of players that change teams. Given that the August deadline has gone away, we will be ignoring those trades, which admittedly may or may not change how one views the analysis…….
     
    June 1-15
     
    There isn’t much action in the first two weeks of June involving major league players.
     
    [table]


    Year
    Number of Trades
    MLB Pitchers
    MLB HItters
    Impact Trades


    2013
    2
    1
    1
    0


    2014
    1
    0
    1
    1*


    2015
    3
    3
    2
    1


    2016
    2
    0
    3
    1


    2017
    2
    1
    1
    1


    2018
    1
    0
    1
    1


    2019
    2
    1
    2
    1


    Total[td15][/td]

    6
    11
    6
    [/table]
     
    The MLB hitter and pitcher columns show the number of major league players involved. Impact trades could be either the major league player was good the year of the deal and/or after the deal, or one or more the minor league players is/was. Good is subjective, but I’m going for more than 1 fWAR in any given year as the litmus test.
     
    Not surprisingly, there just aren’t that many trades in the first half of June. Teams aren’t sure if they are in or out of the race, and those that are sure aren’t certain what they really need yet. More importantly, most articles and analyses on the internet indicate that teams wait until later to deal, in hopes of having more leverage (and getting a better deal). This aligns well with options theory, but we’ll have to do more analysis to see if waiting works or not.
     
    *In 2014, Manny Pina was traded. He was not a major league player at the time, so he doesn’t appear in the table above. But, he was pretty good for Milwaukee in 2017 and 2018.
     
    Mark Trumbo was part of a deal in 2015. He put up decent numbers after the trade, then a good season in the next year. Now? Not so much. But, he put up half a fWAR after the deal, and 2.2 in 2016. The other side of that deal? Welington Castillo went to Arizona. He was good that year, and in 2016 and 2017. Luckily for Twins fans, he’s not been as good in Chicago! Dominic Leone also went to AZ. He had one good year, but it wasn’t for them…..
     
    Chris Coghlan was traded in 2016, back to the Cubs. He put up .9 fWAR after the deal, but was hitless in 9 post season at bats. He fell off a cliff after that year. The player traded for him played parts of two seasons, and has bounced around the minors.
     
    2017 saw a name that might be in trade talks again in 2019 move in early June….Sam Dyson. He and cash were dealt for a player that is currently 26 and in AAA. Dyson has been good, but not great, though this year he has put up .5 fWAR in half a season. His traditional numbers are more impressive, probably, than his WAR would show…..Why was he so cheap? He was awful in Texas. Did his current team fix something, or is it the park/league?
     
    Last year? One reason C. J. Cron was available this off season is that Tampa traded for Ji-Man Choi in early June of 2018. They got him for cash and Brad Miller. I bet Milwaukee would like to have that trade back…….
     
    Edwin Encarcion was recently traded for a minor leaguer, but mostly because the Yankees absorbed a good chunk of EE’s salary. The Mariners are all in on the all-important financial flexibility thing right now….
     
    I’m actually surprised that six years in a row there were some impactful major league players traded. Now, not one of those had been consistently good, but it does show that some good players move in early June. Not many of those were pitchers, btw.
     
     
    June 16-30
     
    [table]


    Year
    Number of Trades
    MLB Pitchers
    MLB HItters
    Impact Trades


    2013
    5
    0
    5
    3


    2014
    2
    2
    1
    1


    2015
    3
    1*
    2
    0


    2016
    3
    1
    2
    1


    2017
    3
    0
    4
    0


    2018
    2
    0
    2
    1


    2019
    0
    0
    0
    0


    Total
    18
    [4
    16
    6
    [/table]
     
    In 2013, Colin McHugh was traded (not to the Astros) and he became quite good with the Astros. But, it was not an impactful deal for either team involved in the deal. He is an impactful player in the deal, so it counts. Eric Thames was also dealt that year, and put up a couple decent years after that. No one else in those five deals has done much, though Colin Cowgil managed to barely clear the 1 fWAR line in 2014…..so three impactful players were dealt that year!
     
    2014 saw a rare pitcher for pitcher trade. One of them just cleared 1 fWAR the following year, but neither did anything much. Neither did the hitter traded that year. Really, calling 1 year of fWAR impactful seems like maybe too low a bar…….I’d call it almost useful for 1 year, but barely.
     
    In 2015 AZ sent the injured *Bronson Arroyo and Touki Toussaint to Atlanta for a guy. Touki could be a real piece for Atlanta. This was clearly a salary dump situation, where Atlanta basically bought Toussaint for Arroyo’s contract. So far, though, he’s not produced even one half WAR, so maybe not.
     
    Chris Paddack and Fernando Rodney were traded for each other (so maybe pitcher for pitcher trades aren't rare?) in 2016. This looks like a great trade for the Padres for sure. Rodney, of course, has been ok to effective after that but was terrible in Miami. I’m still trying to figure out what Miami was doing…..No other trade that year mattered, unless you still pine for Oswaldo Arcia….
     
    There were no interesting trades in 2017 in the second half of June.
     
    Steve Pearce was quite good last year for Boston. He was traded for an ok AA player. The other trade last year was not all that interesting.
     
    This year? Well….there were zero trades in the second half of June.
     
    So, the second half of June saw one really good player change hands, plus Steve Pearce who was quite good last year for Boston. Other than that, not many players/trades mattered all that much. It’s an odd coincidence that there were six trades that cleared the approximately 1 fWAR barrier in both parts of June, but it’s just a coincidence.
     
    What did we learn?
     
    That depends on what you already knew, I guess……But here’s a summary of what I learned!
     
    Some good players have been traded in June. Most of those involved salary dumps, or odd decisions by poorly run teams (Miami, for example). There just are not many trades in June at all, and most of them amount to nothing much. It’s hard to criticize any team for not making deals before July, given this data. The best players were either picked up in salary dumps, or were near MLB ready minor league players (admittedly, those in the lower minors have not had a chance to do much yet. That said, in a quick glance, none look like big time prospects either).
     
    In other words, I'm not surprised nothing has happened much this year, given what has happened in recent history.
     
    In the next post, we’ll look at the first three weeks of July…..
  11. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to diehardtwinsfan for a blog entry, 2019 Season FA relievers at the half way point   
    This is my second installment tracking all of the FA relievers. This was a personal nit to pick with the front office given the team's need and the plethora of available options. At the quarter pole though, the results were not as good as I'd have liked personally. At this point, the sample sizes are large enough that we should be able to get a feel for who was worth it, or if FA relievers really are just a crap shoot.
     
     
    The cream of the Crop:
     
    Kelvin Herrera - Herrera signed a 2/17 deal with Chicago and has so far been a complete bust, posting an ERA north of 7 out of the pen in 35 appearances so far this season. His K rate has been acceptable, but his BB rate has risen along with his WHIP which sits close to 1.2. His HR rate has also skyrocketed sitting at around 1.5 per 9 innings.
     
    Andrew Miller - Miller has turned it around a bit since the quarter pole, but even now it's hard to say his 2/25 deal with an additional option is what the Cards hoped it would be. His numbers are currently sitting around his career average as opposed to the 2014-2017 version that we had all hoped he'd do. I cannot really call this a bust anymore, but I'm not sure he'd be a name highly talked of if he was pitching here. To put it in perspective, his ERA sits right around where the much maligned Blake Parker sits. Granted, his peripherals are much better which tells me he may continue to positively regress.
     
    Adam Ottavino - I hate the Yankees. He's been a stud. His walk rate seems to be the only negative. He's striking out 12+ per 9 innings and walking 6+... That said, his WHIP is a healthy 1.3 as batters cannot make contact with him.
     
    Craig Kimbrel - This was a name we all watched closely. He's only managed 3 appearances for the Cubs since signing, so it's a bit too early to track this one. He has been shelled so far... but then again, it's 3 appearances.
     
    Jeurys Familia - Familia thus far hasn't rewarded the 3/30 contract he signed. His K rate is in line with his career norms, but he's walking more, giving up more hits, and giving up more home runs. His peripherals are pretty ugly right now and he sports a sparking 7.76 ERA in 31 appearances.
     
    Zach Britton - Britton signed a 3/39 deal with the Yankees and has pitched reasonably well, though I'm not sure why. His K rate is pretty bad for a reliver and below his 7.34 career average. His walk rate is up as well. He's managed to lower his H/9 rate as well as keep the ball in the park. If he was pitching for MN, I think most of us would be on pins and needles, but he's gotten results thus far in his 37 innings of work.
     
    Joe Kelly - Kelly signed a 3/25 deal with the LAD and has improved substantially on his results this quarter. Despite that, he hasn't been that good. His K rate remains good, but he's still allowed more walks, hits, and home runs over his career average. And I'd add that his career marks aren't very good for a RP. LA has him for another two years.
     
    David Robertson - Robertson signed a 2/23 deal with Philly and has been a bust so far. He's pitched in only 7 innings and has been shelled. He's currently on the shelf with elbow soreness where he has been all season.
     
    In all, there has been only one real hit here in Ottavino. Miller is making a case for being added to this list as he's improved substantially over his numbers earlier this season. Britton has gotten results as well, but he appears to be on borrowed time.
     
    The Second Tier:
     
    Justin Wilson - Wilson was a cheap grab for the Mets, signing a 2/10 deal. It appears that he spent most of the second half of the quarter on the DL, as he's only logged 10.2 innings of work with a 4.22 ERA. He's got time to redeem himself, but this deal hasn't gone well.
     
    Joakim Soria - Soria signed a 2/15 deal with Oakland, and has improved a bit on his numbers at the quarter turn. His ERA has dropped and his peripherals all look pretty good. Oakland has worked him hard as he's got 41.2 innings under his belt already this season. I'd say at this point that the signing has been good. I'm not sure the cause of the bloated ERA, but if I was guessing it would be the occasional big game as his peripherals say he's been pretty good.
     
    Cody Allen - Allen signed a 1 year deal with the Angels and so far has not lived up to his 8.5M salary. His HR and BB rates have skyrocketed though he still maintains a sexy K rate. His 5.54 ERA is something we can all live without. He's now in our minor league system. I'd say this is a good deal for the Twins getting him at the minimum if they can fix him, not so much for the Angels who will pay the rest of the 8M owed. Time will tell if we can do something, but this was no risk to us. He was a bust though for the Angels.
     
    Jesse Chavez - Chavez signed a 2/8 deal with Texas, and is trying to reinvent himself as a reliever. At the quarter pole, the results weren't all that good, but they've moved into respectable territory at the half way mark. I'd say at this point, this is a good signing, especially for the price. Chavez could replace a few arms in our pen, but we'd be happy to upgrade him. His K rate is below average for a good reliever, but he does minimize walks and hits.
     
    Trevor Rosenthal - Rosenthal has under performed his 1/7 deal and has been a complete disaster managing only 6 innings of very ugly baseball in the majors.
     
    There are only 5 names in this tier, and it has improved a bit as the season wore on. At the quarter pole, there
    wasn't a name on this tier that we'd be clamoring for. Now, Chavez and Soria both fall into a range of acceptable. That's not really high praise, but they appear to be trending in the right direction and could be reliable going forward.
     
    Cheap Fliers:
     
    Brad Brach - At the quarter pole, he wasn't that bad. At the half way mark, he's been horrible. The K rate is nice, but he's walking guys like crazy as well and still gives up hits. His ERA sits over 6 in 35 innings of work, and I'm sure he's part of the reason the Cubs went out and got Kimbrel.
     
    Zach Duke - yes, that Zach Duke. He signed a 2M deal with the Reds and has been so bad that they've only given him an additional 5 innings since the last time I wrote this piece. He's been injured for parts of it and largely ineffective when healthy.
     
    Cory Gearrin - the Mariners have, thus far, gotten a bargin with Gearrin for the 1.4M value of his contract. He has regressed a bit since the quarter pole but has notched over 30 innings of OK work. He really needs to cut down on his walk rate a bit. This isn't a bad value signing, but he doesn't have a place on a contending team. He's been worse than Parker to put that in perspective.
     
    Greg Holland - Holland has regressed a bit from the quarter pole, and his numbers currently sit in line with his more recent 2015-2017 marks. He still doesn't look like the Holland of old, but for 3.25M, he's been cheap and effective. This is definitely still a win for AZ, and he'll likely be flipped for a lotto ticket by teams looking to replace busts on this list, but he's not pitching like a late pen option either.
     
    Shawn Kelley - Another nice find for the bargain price of 2.75M. Kelley has only pitched 32 innings at this point and would be a decent option in our pen. He's not elite, but he's gotten results to the tune of a 3.09 ERA. His biggest draw back has been the long ball. He'd be an upgrade over several members in our pen currently.
     
    Aaron Loup - The Padres got him for 1.4M and he's been perfect so far this season. The only real problem is that it's a 4 inning sample as he hit the IL in early April with elbow soreness.... and he's still there. I have to call this a bust at this point.
     
    Blake Parker - At the time of signing, I simply noted that I didn't mind it if this was not the main RP piece we've added. Sadly, it was, and it wasn't even the best move. I'm not tracking Ryne Harper here as he was signed to a minor league deal, but he's out performed Parker. Parker, on the other hand, has out performed most of the people I'm tracking. This is technically a win for the front office, but literally everyone here wants him upgraded. Parker's biggest problem has been home runs, though his peripherals are all well below what they were when he was a successful MLB reliever. I think he might be adequate if kept in lower leverage situations/mop up duty, but relying on him with any kind of consistency in high leverage situations would be a mistake.
     
    Oliver Perez - Perez signed a 2.5M deal with Cleveland. He has only pitched in 24 innings thus far. A quick search didn't find any injuries, but Cleveland is clearly not heavily using him. He's been acceptable for them with some pretty good peripherals backing an ERA of 3. His HR rate is a bit higher than one would like. This again is a great value signing and would be better than just a mop up guy.
     
    David Phelps - The Blue Jays signed him in hopes that he recovers from TJS at some point this year and pitches. He went under the knife last spring. Not a bad risk for 2.5M. He hadn't pitched at the quarter pole but now has 9.2 innings notched. This may end up being a good signing, time will tell. He hasn't pitched well enough to warrant someone giving up much in terms of prospects for him. Perhaps that changes in the next couple of weeks given the SSS issues at play here.
     
    Tony Sipp - Sipp signed for 1.25 for the Nats and has not been good. He's improved a bit on his quarter pole results, but he's pitched in only 16 innings thus far.
     
    Hunter Strickland - Strickland signed a 1.3M deal and has pitched all of 2 innings, and poorly only to hit the IL with an injury. He appears to be starting rehab at this point. Not a bad gamble, but a bust.
     
    Adam Warren - Warren has been a bust in 28.2 bad innings for SD. He's gotten worse as the season went on and is costing 2.5M. I doubt he fetches much value at the deadline.
     
    Summarizing the fliers, there were some good finds here. No one in this group falls into a late inning option, but several would be perfectly acceptable in the next tier. I count 5 guys that are successful and that would be desired by a number of teams if they were available. None of those guys, however, would be that elite help they needed, but would be acceptable tier 2 BP options. There are 5 busts here and one guy in the too soon to tell.
     
    In all, my conclusion hasn't changed much. FA relievers haven't been an option. Only Ottavino has lived up to his status at the top, though through the half way point there are a number of names that would fit nicely into the tier 2 mark. Statistically speaking, the fliers have performed the best so far... and that's not high praise. The front office might have been right in not plunking down good money for help here. The problem is that they will now shell out some decent prospects for help here.
  12. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to Patrick Wozniak for a blog entry, End of the Rope for Schoop?   
    With the trade deadline quickly approaching Twins fans are rightly focused on adding pitching to the major league roster. The offensive is still on a record setting home run pace and has great major and minor league depth, so any offensive additions would be superfluous. However, the Twins may be able to add by subtraction.
     
    Jonathan Schoop may have been the least significant off season offense upgrade the Twins added due to the savvy additions of Nelson Cruz and Marwin Gonzales. However, the front office still had high hopes for Schoop who was signed on a one year deal. Schoop, of course was an all-star in 2017, when he had a career year with Baltimore slashing .293/.338/.503 for an OPS of .841. He mashed 32 long balls and 105 RBI in a 160 games. Schoop came crashing back down to earth in 2018 with and ugly .682 OPS between Baltimore and Milwaukee. While Falvey and company many have been dreaming of a return to 2017, it certainly wasn’t out of the question to expect something closer to Schoop's career averages.
     
    And to be fair to Schoop this is what he has done. He is currently slashing .256/.305/.458 for an OPS of .763 while playing slightly above average second base. This is even slightly better than Schoop’s career averages. He has been good for 1.5 Bref WAR and by all accounts is a beloved member in the clubhouse. However, while Schoop looked like his former 2017 self coming out of the gate (OPS of .819 through May 31), more recently he has looked like the Schoop of 2018 (OPS of .672 since June 1). More frustrating to fans, Schoop seems to excel in blowout games (how many garbage time HRs has he hit?) while consistently striking out in “clutch” situations. The numbers seem to back up the eye as Schoop is hitting .163/.230/.438 with RISP and .205/.279/.231 in late inning pressure situations. The problem is with a lineup full of power hitters, Schoop becomes a bit redundant, and more importantly the Twins have better options for second base. Plenty of them as it turns out. Let’s take a look.
     
    All Arraez
     
    Luis Arraez has been nothing short of amazing in his first big league stint. He is currently slashing .385/.444/.510 for an OPS of .955. In 29 games he has already accumulated 1.1 Bref WAR. Arraez is obviously playing a bit over his head right now, but he has been a good hitter throughout his minor league career and between AA-AAA this year he hit .344/.409/.401. He is not going to hit .400 or slug over .500 long term but his plate approach is very refreshing. On a team of free swingers and power hitters Arraez looks like a nice table setter and in his short time with the twins has come up with several “clutch” hits. His rather twitchy batting style is also extremely entertaining to watch. Arraez has played all over the field for the Twins, including third base, short stop, and left field, but he is clearly best suited for second base where he has spent the majority of his minor league career. Arraez is firmly implanted as the front runner for second base next year and it is also becoming increasingly apparent that he is the answer now.
     
    The Others
     
    Both Marwin Gonzales and Ehire Adrianza currently appear to be better options than Schoop at second base as well. A large part of the value in both of these players is their versatility, so sticking Arraez at second clearly makes the most sense. However, were something to happen to Arraez both of these players are more than capable of filling in. Both players started the year ice cold so their stats took a bit of a dip because of this (pretty much the opposite of Schoop). Gonzales currently has an OPS of .748 with a 1.9 Bref War and Adrianza has a .788 OPS with a 1.1 Bref War in only 148 plate appearances. If one of them were to fill in at second for Schoop (or Arraez) the other would still be available for the utility role.
     
    What to do with Schoop?
     
    Cutting Schoop is probably ill advised. Although it would give more at bats to the previously mention trio, Schoop has played well enough that cutting him wouldn’t really make sense. Could he be traded for pitching? This is very unlikely as he is on a one-year deal and the Twins will most likely be trading with non-contenders who are uninterested in a rental. There are, however, a couple of long-shot possibilities. One would be a three-way trade with Schoop going to another contender (presumably because of an injuring to the team’s second baseman) and a pitcher from the third non-contending club coming to the twins. Another possibility could be Schoop being a thrown-in to offshoot an incoming player’s salary (similar to the Twins acquiring Logan Forsythe from the Dodgers in the Dozier trade). Again, this is unlikely.
     
    The best course of action is probably just to keep Schoop and relegate him to a bench role with less and less playing time. He could occasionally fill in against lefties and seems like the ideal guy to have around the clubhouse (assuming he doesn’t become bitter about his decreased roll). He would also be a valuable depth piece as we have seen how hard injuries can hit.
     
    What do you think? Should Schoop be our starting second baseman, a role player, or be removed from the team all together?
  13. Like
    Vanimal46 got a reaction from Dman for a blog entry, My Aggressive Plan to Sign Manny Machado   
    Let me preface this post by acknowledging that the odds are low Machado signs with the Twins in real life. With low odds, we need to be BOLD and aggressive right upfront to schedule a meeting with him.
     
    Mr. Machado, I want you to remember 3 numbers. 60, 40, and 3. We'll go into more detail what those numbers represent.
     
    Let's start with the first number, 60. That's the number (in millions) I'm willing to offer you to play for the Twins in 2019. The organization is in a great spot financially with little to no extensive contract commitments after 2019. No one in baseball will be within $20 million of your annual salary. I hope this gets your attention.
     
    The second number is 40. And that will be your AAV of your contract with the Twins for the first 3 years of the contract. After the first year where you make $60 million, you'll drop down to $30 million and still be one of the top paid players in the game. Not even Mike Trout has an AAV of $40 million. I hope this gets your attention, Mr. Machado.
     
    Now let's talk about the last number, 3. This number is especially important because it allows you to control your own destiny. I'm willing to offer 3 opt-out clauses for you after your the 3rd year of your contract. If the team is failing to contend, it's your prerogative to opt-out and play somewhere else. However, we're confident the next wave of prospects in our system will compliment you very well from years 4-6 of the contract.
     
    So what do you think Mr. Machado? Is this bold enough for you to spend the next 6 years of your career with the Twins?
  14. Like
    Vanimal46 got a reaction from Squirrel for a blog entry, Whine Line Investigation: Explanation for a Boring Off-season   
    http://gentlemint-media.s3.amazonaws.com/images/2012/04/18/6745f59b.jpg.505x650_q85.jpg

     
     
    ANND Welcome! To Minnesota Twins Whine Line: Detective Edition! I'm your LEAD Investigator, Vanimal, along with my trusty sidekick, the intern. Since we last checked in, both of us set down the PS4 controllers, put MLB The Show back in the case, and studied for our Private Investigator license! In the real world, we noticed that it's January 30th, and 8 out of the top 10 free agents have still yet to sign! It's a strange, boring off-season... There's been several STRONG takes about why this is happening... And we're no different! We decided to put on our Deerstalker, and dive deep into the REAL reason why recent off-seasons are boring...
     
    Collusion: It happened once before, so it could happen again, right? That's what we thought too! Until we put it to the test using real world examples... Have you ever arranged a conference call with 30 busy people before? It's NEARLY impossible to do! Plus, they would waste countless hours of time! Owners will be talking over each other, waiting for others to take themselves off mute, jumping on the line 25 minutes late, and needing to "circle back at a later time." All of that sounds exhausting....
     
    Whine Line Verdict: False.
     
    Waiting for a Sale: As consumers, we're accustomed to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, 4th of July BLOWOUTS, or "just because!" sales. Doesn't it feel good to purchase what you wanted, for a 30% discount! Of course it does! General Managers are humans too, and they want to feel like they got a discount... Now these days he could look at MLBTradeRumors, FanGraphs, even the Twins Daily Handbook to find salary projections of free agents. Where's the excitement?! The THRILL of the hunt?! Perhaps they're waiting for their Cyber Monday sale....
     
    Whine Line Verdict: Certainly possible!
     
    Too Many Options: Typically at this time of year, 1 or 2 of the top free agents are left unsigned... If that! This year, there are 4 to 8 times as many options! Is it possible that General Managers are frozen in fear because there's too many players to choose from? We took our investigation on the road to get to the bottom of it!
     
    ANNND Welcome back! We're broadcasting LIVE from the Cheesecake Factory! That's right, the home of a 20 page menu.... If you can't find something to eat here, you're not looking hard enough! In order to test this theory, the intern and I gave ourselves a 30 minute window to decide what to order...
     
    WAITER: "Here are your waters, gentleman. Do you have any questions about the menu? Or know what you want?"
    VAN: "I think we need a little bit of time. There's so many options here. Any specials?"
    WAITER: "Today's soup of the day is split-pea, and we also have a Philly cheese steak with your choice of fries, salad, fruit, onion rings, or vegetable."
    VAN: "Wow, even the sides have a bunch of options to choose from... Okay, we need some time."
     
    8 minutes later...
     
    WAITER: "Are you ready to order? Questions at all?"
    VAN: "Yeah, a few questions. I'm debating between the Avocado BLT, Philly cheese steak, Chicken Parmesan, or Chicken Enchiladas. What would you choose?"
    WAITER: "Hmm, well, our Philly is one of the most popular orders today. The Chicken Parmesan is okay, but I would recommend our Spaghetti and Meatballs over that. And frankly, you're better off going somewhere else for Mexican food."
    VAN: "That helps... And the Cobb Salad?"
    WAITER: "I mean, it's a salad.... So... How about you sir, are you ready?"
    INTERN: "I'll have the uh, chi.... No. Not that. Umm.... Can you come back to me?"
    WAITER: "Guys, I do have other tables to tend to. I'll come back later."
     
    13 minutes later....
     
    WAITER: "Okay, how about now?"
    INTERN: "I.... I...... I JUST CAN'T DECIDE! Please, come back to me, okay?"
    WAITER: "Are you crying, sir?"
    INTERN: "It's your fault! There isn't a perfect option to order... EVERYTHING has flaws!"
    WAITER: "Okay, this is getting weird. What about you, sir?"
    VAN: "I have narrowed it down to 2 items, and I will get back to you by the end of the week."
    WAITER: "This ISN'T how this works, sir. Look, guys, it's only lunch. You're just spending some money now... It's not like you're trading me your watch, or I don't know... a top prospect like Nick Gordon in order to eat. So what do you say? Let's figure this out before my shift is over, okay?"
    VAN & INTERN: "Wow... This HAS to be how Falvine feels signing free agents.... I've seen the light!"
     
    Whine Line Verdict: TRUE
  15. Like
    Vanimal46 got a reaction from birdwatcher for a blog entry, Whine Line Investigation: Explanation for a Boring Off-season   
    http://gentlemint-media.s3.amazonaws.com/images/2012/04/18/6745f59b.jpg.505x650_q85.jpg

     
     
    ANND Welcome! To Minnesota Twins Whine Line: Detective Edition! I'm your LEAD Investigator, Vanimal, along with my trusty sidekick, the intern. Since we last checked in, both of us set down the PS4 controllers, put MLB The Show back in the case, and studied for our Private Investigator license! In the real world, we noticed that it's January 30th, and 8 out of the top 10 free agents have still yet to sign! It's a strange, boring off-season... There's been several STRONG takes about why this is happening... And we're no different! We decided to put on our Deerstalker, and dive deep into the REAL reason why recent off-seasons are boring...
     
    Collusion: It happened once before, so it could happen again, right? That's what we thought too! Until we put it to the test using real world examples... Have you ever arranged a conference call with 30 busy people before? It's NEARLY impossible to do! Plus, they would waste countless hours of time! Owners will be talking over each other, waiting for others to take themselves off mute, jumping on the line 25 minutes late, and needing to "circle back at a later time." All of that sounds exhausting....
     
    Whine Line Verdict: False.
     
    Waiting for a Sale: As consumers, we're accustomed to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, 4th of July BLOWOUTS, or "just because!" sales. Doesn't it feel good to purchase what you wanted, for a 30% discount! Of course it does! General Managers are humans too, and they want to feel like they got a discount... Now these days he could look at MLBTradeRumors, FanGraphs, even the Twins Daily Handbook to find salary projections of free agents. Where's the excitement?! The THRILL of the hunt?! Perhaps they're waiting for their Cyber Monday sale....
     
    Whine Line Verdict: Certainly possible!
     
    Too Many Options: Typically at this time of year, 1 or 2 of the top free agents are left unsigned... If that! This year, there are 4 to 8 times as many options! Is it possible that General Managers are frozen in fear because there's too many players to choose from? We took our investigation on the road to get to the bottom of it!
     
    ANNND Welcome back! We're broadcasting LIVE from the Cheesecake Factory! That's right, the home of a 20 page menu.... If you can't find something to eat here, you're not looking hard enough! In order to test this theory, the intern and I gave ourselves a 30 minute window to decide what to order...
     
    WAITER: "Here are your waters, gentleman. Do you have any questions about the menu? Or know what you want?"
    VAN: "I think we need a little bit of time. There's so many options here. Any specials?"
    WAITER: "Today's soup of the day is split-pea, and we also have a Philly cheese steak with your choice of fries, salad, fruit, onion rings, or vegetable."
    VAN: "Wow, even the sides have a bunch of options to choose from... Okay, we need some time."
     
    8 minutes later...
     
    WAITER: "Are you ready to order? Questions at all?"
    VAN: "Yeah, a few questions. I'm debating between the Avocado BLT, Philly cheese steak, Chicken Parmesan, or Chicken Enchiladas. What would you choose?"
    WAITER: "Hmm, well, our Philly is one of the most popular orders today. The Chicken Parmesan is okay, but I would recommend our Spaghetti and Meatballs over that. And frankly, you're better off going somewhere else for Mexican food."
    VAN: "That helps... And the Cobb Salad?"
    WAITER: "I mean, it's a salad.... So... How about you sir, are you ready?"
    INTERN: "I'll have the uh, chi.... No. Not that. Umm.... Can you come back to me?"
    WAITER: "Guys, I do have other tables to tend to. I'll come back later."
     
    13 minutes later....
     
    WAITER: "Okay, how about now?"
    INTERN: "I.... I...... I JUST CAN'T DECIDE! Please, come back to me, okay?"
    WAITER: "Are you crying, sir?"
    INTERN: "It's your fault! There isn't a perfect option to order... EVERYTHING has flaws!"
    WAITER: "Okay, this is getting weird. What about you, sir?"
    VAN: "I have narrowed it down to 2 items, and I will get back to you by the end of the week."
    WAITER: "This ISN'T how this works, sir. Look, guys, it's only lunch. You're just spending some money now... It's not like you're trading me your watch, or I don't know... a top prospect like Nick Gordon in order to eat. So what do you say? Let's figure this out before my shift is over, okay?"
    VAN & INTERN: "Wow... This HAS to be how Falvine feels signing free agents.... I've seen the light!"
     
    Whine Line Verdict: TRUE
  16. Like
    Vanimal46 got a reaction from MN_ExPat for a blog entry, Whine Line Investigation: Explanation for a Boring Off-season   
    http://gentlemint-media.s3.amazonaws.com/images/2012/04/18/6745f59b.jpg.505x650_q85.jpg

     
     
    ANND Welcome! To Minnesota Twins Whine Line: Detective Edition! I'm your LEAD Investigator, Vanimal, along with my trusty sidekick, the intern. Since we last checked in, both of us set down the PS4 controllers, put MLB The Show back in the case, and studied for our Private Investigator license! In the real world, we noticed that it's January 30th, and 8 out of the top 10 free agents have still yet to sign! It's a strange, boring off-season... There's been several STRONG takes about why this is happening... And we're no different! We decided to put on our Deerstalker, and dive deep into the REAL reason why recent off-seasons are boring...
     
    Collusion: It happened once before, so it could happen again, right? That's what we thought too! Until we put it to the test using real world examples... Have you ever arranged a conference call with 30 busy people before? It's NEARLY impossible to do! Plus, they would waste countless hours of time! Owners will be talking over each other, waiting for others to take themselves off mute, jumping on the line 25 minutes late, and needing to "circle back at a later time." All of that sounds exhausting....
     
    Whine Line Verdict: False.
     
    Waiting for a Sale: As consumers, we're accustomed to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, 4th of July BLOWOUTS, or "just because!" sales. Doesn't it feel good to purchase what you wanted, for a 30% discount! Of course it does! General Managers are humans too, and they want to feel like they got a discount... Now these days he could look at MLBTradeRumors, FanGraphs, even the Twins Daily Handbook to find salary projections of free agents. Where's the excitement?! The THRILL of the hunt?! Perhaps they're waiting for their Cyber Monday sale....
     
    Whine Line Verdict: Certainly possible!
     
    Too Many Options: Typically at this time of year, 1 or 2 of the top free agents are left unsigned... If that! This year, there are 4 to 8 times as many options! Is it possible that General Managers are frozen in fear because there's too many players to choose from? We took our investigation on the road to get to the bottom of it!
     
    ANNND Welcome back! We're broadcasting LIVE from the Cheesecake Factory! That's right, the home of a 20 page menu.... If you can't find something to eat here, you're not looking hard enough! In order to test this theory, the intern and I gave ourselves a 30 minute window to decide what to order...
     
    WAITER: "Here are your waters, gentleman. Do you have any questions about the menu? Or know what you want?"
    VAN: "I think we need a little bit of time. There's so many options here. Any specials?"
    WAITER: "Today's soup of the day is split-pea, and we also have a Philly cheese steak with your choice of fries, salad, fruit, onion rings, or vegetable."
    VAN: "Wow, even the sides have a bunch of options to choose from... Okay, we need some time."
     
    8 minutes later...
     
    WAITER: "Are you ready to order? Questions at all?"
    VAN: "Yeah, a few questions. I'm debating between the Avocado BLT, Philly cheese steak, Chicken Parmesan, or Chicken Enchiladas. What would you choose?"
    WAITER: "Hmm, well, our Philly is one of the most popular orders today. The Chicken Parmesan is okay, but I would recommend our Spaghetti and Meatballs over that. And frankly, you're better off going somewhere else for Mexican food."
    VAN: "That helps... And the Cobb Salad?"
    WAITER: "I mean, it's a salad.... So... How about you sir, are you ready?"
    INTERN: "I'll have the uh, chi.... No. Not that. Umm.... Can you come back to me?"
    WAITER: "Guys, I do have other tables to tend to. I'll come back later."
     
    13 minutes later....
     
    WAITER: "Okay, how about now?"
    INTERN: "I.... I...... I JUST CAN'T DECIDE! Please, come back to me, okay?"
    WAITER: "Are you crying, sir?"
    INTERN: "It's your fault! There isn't a perfect option to order... EVERYTHING has flaws!"
    WAITER: "Okay, this is getting weird. What about you, sir?"
    VAN: "I have narrowed it down to 2 items, and I will get back to you by the end of the week."
    WAITER: "This ISN'T how this works, sir. Look, guys, it's only lunch. You're just spending some money now... It's not like you're trading me your watch, or I don't know... a top prospect like Nick Gordon in order to eat. So what do you say? Let's figure this out before my shift is over, okay?"
    VAN & INTERN: "Wow... This HAS to be how Falvine feels signing free agents.... I've seen the light!"
     
    Whine Line Verdict: TRUE
  17. Like
    Vanimal46 got a reaction from Blake for a blog entry, Whine Line Investigation: Explanation for a Boring Off-season   
    http://gentlemint-media.s3.amazonaws.com/images/2012/04/18/6745f59b.jpg.505x650_q85.jpg

     
     
    ANND Welcome! To Minnesota Twins Whine Line: Detective Edition! I'm your LEAD Investigator, Vanimal, along with my trusty sidekick, the intern. Since we last checked in, both of us set down the PS4 controllers, put MLB The Show back in the case, and studied for our Private Investigator license! In the real world, we noticed that it's January 30th, and 8 out of the top 10 free agents have still yet to sign! It's a strange, boring off-season... There's been several STRONG takes about why this is happening... And we're no different! We decided to put on our Deerstalker, and dive deep into the REAL reason why recent off-seasons are boring...
     
    Collusion: It happened once before, so it could happen again, right? That's what we thought too! Until we put it to the test using real world examples... Have you ever arranged a conference call with 30 busy people before? It's NEARLY impossible to do! Plus, they would waste countless hours of time! Owners will be talking over each other, waiting for others to take themselves off mute, jumping on the line 25 minutes late, and needing to "circle back at a later time." All of that sounds exhausting....
     
    Whine Line Verdict: False.
     
    Waiting for a Sale: As consumers, we're accustomed to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, 4th of July BLOWOUTS, or "just because!" sales. Doesn't it feel good to purchase what you wanted, for a 30% discount! Of course it does! General Managers are humans too, and they want to feel like they got a discount... Now these days he could look at MLBTradeRumors, FanGraphs, even the Twins Daily Handbook to find salary projections of free agents. Where's the excitement?! The THRILL of the hunt?! Perhaps they're waiting for their Cyber Monday sale....
     
    Whine Line Verdict: Certainly possible!
     
    Too Many Options: Typically at this time of year, 1 or 2 of the top free agents are left unsigned... If that! This year, there are 4 to 8 times as many options! Is it possible that General Managers are frozen in fear because there's too many players to choose from? We took our investigation on the road to get to the bottom of it!
     
    ANNND Welcome back! We're broadcasting LIVE from the Cheesecake Factory! That's right, the home of a 20 page menu.... If you can't find something to eat here, you're not looking hard enough! In order to test this theory, the intern and I gave ourselves a 30 minute window to decide what to order...
     
    WAITER: "Here are your waters, gentleman. Do you have any questions about the menu? Or know what you want?"
    VAN: "I think we need a little bit of time. There's so many options here. Any specials?"
    WAITER: "Today's soup of the day is split-pea, and we also have a Philly cheese steak with your choice of fries, salad, fruit, onion rings, or vegetable."
    VAN: "Wow, even the sides have a bunch of options to choose from... Okay, we need some time."
     
    8 minutes later...
     
    WAITER: "Are you ready to order? Questions at all?"
    VAN: "Yeah, a few questions. I'm debating between the Avocado BLT, Philly cheese steak, Chicken Parmesan, or Chicken Enchiladas. What would you choose?"
    WAITER: "Hmm, well, our Philly is one of the most popular orders today. The Chicken Parmesan is okay, but I would recommend our Spaghetti and Meatballs over that. And frankly, you're better off going somewhere else for Mexican food."
    VAN: "That helps... And the Cobb Salad?"
    WAITER: "I mean, it's a salad.... So... How about you sir, are you ready?"
    INTERN: "I'll have the uh, chi.... No. Not that. Umm.... Can you come back to me?"
    WAITER: "Guys, I do have other tables to tend to. I'll come back later."
     
    13 minutes later....
     
    WAITER: "Okay, how about now?"
    INTERN: "I.... I...... I JUST CAN'T DECIDE! Please, come back to me, okay?"
    WAITER: "Are you crying, sir?"
    INTERN: "It's your fault! There isn't a perfect option to order... EVERYTHING has flaws!"
    WAITER: "Okay, this is getting weird. What about you, sir?"
    VAN: "I have narrowed it down to 2 items, and I will get back to you by the end of the week."
    WAITER: "This ISN'T how this works, sir. Look, guys, it's only lunch. You're just spending some money now... It's not like you're trading me your watch, or I don't know... a top prospect like Nick Gordon in order to eat. So what do you say? Let's figure this out before my shift is over, okay?"
    VAN & INTERN: "Wow... This HAS to be how Falvine feels signing free agents.... I've seen the light!"
     
    Whine Line Verdict: TRUE
  18. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to Hosken Bombo Disco for a blog entry, Too-late idea for stretching out Berrios   
    On Saturday, the Twins announced that young pitcher Jose Berrios would be demoted to Rochester to start the season. The reason, according to manager Paul Molitor, was "that the lack of work and consistency of work ... to try and rush the buildup here in the last ten days to try and get him ready to try and be in that spot didn’t make a lot of sense to me.”
     
    Does this explanation pass muster?
     
    Consider Phil Hughes is a given for the rotation, and that Berrios and Hughes have been on roughly the same pitching schedule this spring:
     
    Feb 25, Hughes: 2.0 innings
    Feb 26, Berrios: 2.0 innings
     
    March 2, Hughes: 2.0 innings
    March 3, Berrios: 2.0 innings
     
    It was at this point that Berrios went to play for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic. Meanwhile, Hughes pitched in an intra-squad game on March 7. I will assume Berrios stayed loose or played some catch during that same time.
     
    Berrios and Hughes then made starts on the same day:
     
    March 12, Hughes: 5.0 innings
    March 12, Berrios: 5.0 innings
     
    After this, Berrios did not pitch again until the final, while Hughes made a start on March 17 for 5.0 more innings. However, Hector Santiago, teammate of Berrios on Puerto Rico, did say that Berrios threw a 55-pitch session of live batting practice during this time.
     
    Interestingly, both pitchers pitched again on the 22nd:
     
    March 22, Hughes: 2.0 innings
    March 22, Berrios: 1.2 innings
     
    This was the game Berrios struck out Giancarlo Stanton and Jonathan Lucroy with the nasty slurve-curve he throws:
     

     
    And here we sit, heading into Monday March 27. Both Berrios and Hughes would figure to pitch again in a day or two. In my opinion, if anyone needs to be stretched out, it's Hughes, who reported tingling in his fingers between innings last season, then had shoulder surgery.
     
    Obviously we are not privy to some of the things that goes on within the clubhouse and in private. I am also no pitching coach and do not know how pitchers prepare except for what I read on the Internets. However, the explanation that Berrios can't get "stretched out" does not hold up, in my opinion. Will Molitor and the Twins name a date for Berrios's return or the number of starts they plan to give him, or when the expect him to finally be stretched out?
     
    Berrios threw 40 pitches in his last outing the 22nd. How much more stretching out would Berrios need?
     
    How about something like this:
    March 22, 40 pitches (already complete)
    Tues. March 28, starting pitcher vs. Tampa Bay (50 or so pitches)
    Sun. April 2, no game, but a vigorous bullpen session (50-75 pitches - continue scaling upwards)
    Regular season: Sat. April 8, makes start against the White Sox, with a limit of 5 innings or 75 pitches

    That April 8 start is the turn of the fifth starter in the rotation. After that point, wouldn't Berrios be stretched out and ready to take his regular turn in the rotation? Yes? No? Thoughts?
  19. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to Ben Remington for a blog entry, Joe Mauer's New Hobby Is Lighting Cigars With $100 Bills   
    -Shtickball-



    An Euphus Pitch of Truth


     
    Minnesota Twins First Baseman is in the later years of his career, and says he's finally finding some of the finer things in life as a well paid veteran.
     
    "You grow up, you get old, and you find things that you really enjoy." Mauer said after finally showing up to Spring Training "I've had a blast watching my kids grow up, I've had a good time trimming my lawn with scissors, and now I've started smoking cigars lit with hundred dollar bills, and let me tell you, it's just fantastic."
     
    Mauer said that he wasn't into cigars in his twenties, believing that they were "yucky", but now that he's 32 and is able to finally afford some of the finer things in life, he came across cigar smoking and found that it was even better when he lit the cigar with a spare hundred.
     
    "I was watching the Simpsons, and I saw Krusty the Klown do it, and I was like, hey, that guy had a bunch of extra money laying around like I do, and he's doing that, I should give it a try, it looks like fun." Mauer added, chuckling at the thought of the pasty cartooned celebrity. "It's been extra fun lighting them in front of all the minor league guys at camp this spring. Their faces when they see that hundred just go to waste is priceless. They must think it's so funny they're speechless."
     
    Mauer has been known as a quiet type, and not the flashy and flamboyant type that you would typically see lighting cigars with hundreds, but perhaps this is a new Joe Mauer. Mauer says he feels more comfortable in his place in the world as a super rich baseball player, and it's led to more confidence for him to do things he would've consider silly in his younger years.
     
    Some of his teammates were perturbed by the news, but ultimately didn't have anything bad to say about the former AL MVP.
     
    "I mean, he's got more money than God, why would he not do that?" One Twins player said, choosing to remain anonymous. "It's weird seeing him do something like this, like he's a kid who just discovered breaking the rules or something, but hey, he's happy as hell, so whatever."
     
    Mauer said he hasn't really thought about other new hobbies yet, but he's hoping that he might come across some more fun things like this in the future. It's also been said that he's considering getting an Instagram account just so he can follow Dan Bilzerian at the recommendation of a teammate, but he hasn't gotten around to downloading any apps on his phone in the three years he's had it. This very well could be a new Joe Mauer though, a cigar smoking rebel without a cause, and who knows where it could go from here.
  20. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to Jon Marthaler for a blog entry, Terry Ryan Getting Real Tired Of Putting On Derek Falvey Disguise Every Morning   
    According to sources, Twins general manager Terry Ryan is getting more and more tired of having to dress up as former Indians executive Derek Falvey every morning at spring training, and is considering other options. Ryan, 63, hatched the deception last year as the Twins slid to the worst season in franchise history, but reportedly is tired of the extra work that the disguise involves.
     
    Friends say that Ryan now grouses throughout his daily two-hour makeup session, which transforms him into a reasonable facsimile of Falvey, who until recently served as the general manager in Cleveland, where his partnership with manager Terry Francona helped return the woebegone franchise to the World Series in 2016. Ryan is also increasingly worried about the potential legal ramifications of kidnapping Falvey, former Rangers executive Thad Levine, and Minnesota director of baseball research Jack Goin, locking the three in a basement, and hiring actors to portray the latter two.
     
    "Terry just wonders if he's doing the right thing here, what with the three counts of felony kidnapping he'll no doubt face," said a source. "Plus, the disguise is really starting to irritate his skin, especially the hairpiece."
     
    Sources say that Twins president Dave St. Peter okayed the scheme midway through the 2016 season, allowing Ryan and company to keep control of the Twins' dealings for future seasons, while portraying a changing front office to disgruntled fans. St. Peter and others have been concerned about Ryan's offseason dealings, which were so Ryan-like as to raise questions from a fanbase that has long been used to the GM's over-cautious, cheap strategies.
     
    Insiders say that Ryan is considering hiring a third actor to portray Falvey, while officially returning to the team as a "special advisor," thus removing the need for the morning disguise routine. Ryan has also toyed with the idea of "outing" himself by awarding a roster spot to a terrible veteran pitcher at the expense of a prospect, but - after signing Hector Santiago, Matt Belisle, and Ryan Vogelsong - is unsure how much more he could do.
     
    "He's just getting tired," said the source. "If he signs Jason Bartlett again, then you'll know - he wants people to find him out. Until then, he'll have to keep going with the ruse."
  21. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to glunn for a blog entry, Perhaps the Twins should be run more like a business   
    There has been lots of discussion of Jim Pohlad's diagnosis of "total system failure." The owners are business people who rely on baseball experts to run the team, In one interview, Mr. Pohlad said the following:
     
    "I’m the type to stand back and let the manager do his job. That’s something I learned from my dad, he would find people he could relate to and had confidence in, and then he let them go and run a business....I believe in that....n this case, I don’t know more about baseball that Paul Molitor (manager), Terry Ryan (general manager) and Dave St. Peter (president). So I try to put that lesson from my dad in practice." https://thatisgreat.co/category/interviews/
     
    From a business perspective, this hands-off approach makes sense to me, but only there is a system in place that promotes accountability, particularly when the end product is failure.
     
    Based on the interview, it appears that Mr. Pohlad made an effort to figure out what's going wrong and identified three possible explanations:
     
    1. "One theory: the team isn’t as good as we thought it was."
     
    2. "Maybe we’re doing something wrong in developing players."
     
    3. Maybe last year was just a fluke. Maybe they appeared to play better than they really did. When you look at it, they only had one winning month last year, May, they were something like 20-7, and that kind of carried the whole season. Maybe we had unrealistic expectations for this year."
     
    In my mind, explanation #1 and explanation #3 are two sides of the same coin, and explanation #2 is a red flag from a business perspective.
     
    As a businessperson, these statements suggest to me that the Twins organization needs greater accountability. Obviously it's difficult to measure something like player development, because every player is unique. On the other hand, it seems to me that the two most important factors for a successful organization are player evaluation (scouting for the draft, scouting international players and scouting potential trades) and player development (coaching and decisions regarding promotion). If a team can excel at player evaluation and player development, then that team will likely succeed over the long run.
     
    Obviously, there is a luck factor. Sometimes a team drafts a diamond in the rough (Mike Trout) and often a great looking prospect flops. But I think that there should be accountability for scouts who tag prospects who fail and who pass on prospects like Trout. I would hope that the Twins have scouts file detailed reports as to the prospects who they are scouting and that such reports are in a format that promotes intelligent evaluation of each scout's ability to predict success.
     
    For example if a scout notes that a prospect has below average bat speed, then the development people should focus on that. Such records promote accountability and improvement. If the scout failed to note poor bat speed than that can be identified as the scout's mistake. If the coaches failed to help the player compensate for poor bat speed, then they should be able to show what they tried after reading the scout's report and why they failed.
     
    From a business perspective, I would think that once a player comes into the system there should be a detailed computer record as to the player's strengths and weaknesses in every relevant category and that detailed records should be maintained showing what is being done and what needs to be done to improve every aspect of that player's game. For example, in the case of Buxton, every coach, manager and player development executive should have had access to reports going back to the first day that Buxton was scouted that include evaluations as to his ability to deal with curveballs and reports as to every effort made to improve this aspect of his game. I don't know whether the Twins maintain such a database or whether it is sufficiently detailed to promote accountability. Mr. Pohlad's use of the word "maybe" in the context of player development suggests to me that the Twins are not effectively using computer databases to create accountability.
     
    Not to pick on Buxton, but another example is his seeming inability to bunt. This is based on my subjective eye test, but I have seen little league players who seem to have better fundamentals. In particular, if the ball is high then a player should pull the bat back,, and jabbing at the ball is a bad technique. In my ideal world, the Twins would have been tracking Buxton's bunting skills from the beginning and there should be records as to who worked with him on bunting, what they did and what they reported to the next set of coaches every time that Buxton moved up the ladder. There are lots of bunting drills. Which ones were used with Buxton and what has been done to help him with bunting? It seems to me that considering the financial investment that the team has made in Buxton, as well as the opportunity cost, the people running the team should be able to track every aspect of his development and make sure that all future speedsters have an excellent grasp on bunting fundamentals.
     
    When I coached little league there was one team whose infielders all had great hands. At the end of the season, I asked their coach about this. His secret was using tennis balls for infield practice so that the kids could get used to weird hops without fear of getting hit in the face. There are some drills that are better than others. A a good database could give the Twins an edge over other teams by identifying the drills that pay off the most.
     
    Hopefully, there is a lot of accountability that we are not seeing and there will be meaningful changes in the organization's practices and personnel. Ideally, the team will bring in high level people from more consistently successful organizations like the Cardinals who can suggest proven strategies that work better than what the Twins are doing now. With Buxton's speed, bunting should have been a priority from day 1.
     
    In my mind, maintaining accountability is very important to maintaining long term success in any organization. If something is working then it should be repeated and enhanced. If something is not working, then a change of approach and/or personnel should be made promptly. Without accountability, mistakes are repeated and ineffective personnel injure the business.
     
    Computer databases can promote accountability, but only if they are carefully designed to track relevant information. I would hope that the Twins are investing enough in this. Mr. Pohlad portrays himself as a business person who delegates to baseball people and I have no problem with that. But it seems to me that as a business person, Mr. Pohlad would be wise to insist on a very high level of accountability within the business.
     
    If I were a team owner and had a Buxton who could not bunt, I would like to know that someone in the organization can look at a detailed record of Buxton's development and identify what happened. Did coaches try like hell to help Buxton learn the fundamentals of bunting? Or did coaches drop the ball on this? There should be a record within the organization so that if a player is having a problem with a fundamental skill then every coach and the relevant people in the FO can track the efforts to remedy this.
     
    Perhaps, the Twins' performance is ultimately attributable to not employing cutting edge business strategies.
     
    Fans sometimes complain that the owners run the team too much like a business. Perhaps the opposite is true?
     
    Perhaps the key is to start tracking players from the first day that they are scouted and maintaining a database that allows the relevant coaches and executives to evaluate which scouts are doing the best job and which coaches are getting the best results.
     
    Maybe the Twins are doing a lot of this already, but I am not seeing it on the field or in the media.
  22. Like
    Vanimal46 reacted to Thrylos for a blog entry, Terry Ryan said that the Twins will do nothing in the deadline. Why are you upset?   
    Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch
    -------
     
    After the trading deadline passed and with the Twins' having the league's worst record in the last couple of months and their lead for the first and then the second wild-card position was getting smaller and smaller, there was hope that Terry Ryan will do something to improve the team in the 3 biggest positions of need, shortstop, catcher and the bullpen.
     
    But he did nothing, other than trading the teams' 18th and 25th prospects (and that is from this off-season) for a 30 year old middle reliever with another year of arbitration in the middle of a 4.22 FIP and 1.333 WHIP season (and aided by a .254 BABIP.)
     
     
    The Twins' fans feel that have every reason to be upset because of Ryan's inactivity. On the other hand, they should not be, because Ryan himself said exactly what he was going to do.
     
    “I have every intention of trying to improve this club and find a piece here and a piece there,” 7/31
     
    The "a piece here and a piece there" should had clinched that Ryan will be up to his usual dumpster diving.
     
     
    “There’s nobody that’s more sensitive about that than me. They’ve done a hell of a job getting to this point, and we’re in a good position, and now it’s my responsibility to help the cause,” 7/31
     
    It was his responsibility, but if nobody holds him accountable for not doing things he is responsible, might well be anyone's responsibility...
     
    “I’m aware that one correct move by me could help that cause immensely because it’s going to change that attitude in the clubhouse. I don’t want them thinking a white knight is coming around the corner, because it might not be. But it also is a possibility that you don’t have to tinker with this too much to get us going back in the right direction.” 7/31
     
    Here you have it. Clearly; "might not be". And you don't have to tinker too much, just get a mediocre reliever who is slightly better that the awful ones that are with the club. "a piece here"; not a white knight; not an All-Star reliever. That would be too much tinkering.
     
    And here is the kicker:
     
    “We’re not going to mess around much with this major league team,” 7/31
     
    And he didn't. True to his word. And you don't have to read between lines.
     
    It was all there. Why hope that Ryan will not be Terry Ryan in 2015, since he had been Terry Ryan since 1994 (with the small break of "retiring" to let someone else deal with the Santana and Mauer contract and the Ballpark situation, before returning.)
     
    This is Terry Ryan.
     
    And unless he goes away, the Twins' fans will not see another parade downtown Minneapolis. And if the Twins' owner cares about the Country Club more than winning, he should tell the team to one who cares about winning.
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