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glunn

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  1. Like
    glunn reacted to ashbury for a blog entry, Risk vs Reward   
    Disclaimer: Despite the photo, no Byron Buxtons were used in the preparation of this blog entry.
    Do I have to say it? Okay, I will, just to get it out of the way: I love the Correa signing.  Teams should be trying to get good players, and we just got one of the best baseball players on the planet, in the middle of what should be his prime years - a center-cut slice, as they say. 
    But ever since I heard about it, TWO LONG DAYS AGO, there's been something on my mind.  Risk versus reward.  And I don't think I've seen any of the writeups here, or elsewhere, look at it from this angle.  Did we really outmaneuver the Yankees?  I'm not sure that's what happened, or that New York's front office is gnashing their teeth with regret in the slightest.
    Everyone's treating this like it's a one-year contract, and I agree that that's the most likely way it plays out.  But it's not a one-year contract - the Twins committed to three years.  There's the saying that there's no such thing as a bad one-year contract.  The converse is that (because team budgets don't carry over from year to year) everything longer than one year requires the signing team to put its neck into a noose, to one degree or another.
    So, what's the risk with this contract, and what's the reward?  The risk is pretty obvious and pretty easy to define - Correa could get hit by a meteor tomorrow* and the Twins still would be on the hook for the full $105.3M, which by their usual accounting would apply equally to the budgets of those three years and in some way impact their ability to operate.  Probably they'll pay him $35.1M for one year of service and then thank him for his service as he departs.  But they've put $105.3M on the table, and are risking it.  You know how you say you'd "bet your house" on some sure proposition? You don't really ever do that, because you would actually have to put the deed to your house out there to be taken if you are proved wrong, and you'd start thinking about all the ways it could indeed go wrong.  It's like that here.  The Twins haven't bet the (Pohlads') house, but there's a significant chunk of change on the table that wasn't there three days ago.  That aspect still seems underappreciated.
    Now what's the reward?  Much harder to estimate.  There is expected reward and then there's maximum reward.  Let's focus on the maximum here, since I started with maximum risk.  I'll use WAR as a catch-all for how to measure a player's contribution.  If you want to skip the details, jump down to "I'll Do The Homework Later."
    Carlos Correa may not yet have had his "career year" - remember what I said about us getting a center-cut slice?  He might go full-MVP bananas-mode in 2022.  Shohei Ohtani was MVP last year and his pitching/batting WAR on b-r.com added up to 9.0.  So let's go with that.  If Correa has that kind of year, he walks after the season, of course - goodbye and good luck, good sir.
    Let's say he goes out and puts up "only" a season like last year, with a WAR of 7.  Same outcome.  He walks away, with smiles all around.
    But maybe 2021 actually was his career year, and he follows up like that with an all-star level WAR of 5.  Same outcome - maybe he loves his teammates here, but bidness is bidness, amirite - he leaves.
    Maybe he's only above average and his WAR is 3.  Probably he walks, right?  Still can market himself to a big market team for a long contract, certainly for more than the $70.2M he's still owed.
    What if he's average, and/or injured part of the time, and his WAR is 2.  Maybe he stays, maybe he walks.  What if it goes really badly and his WAR is 1?  Same uncertainty - maybe he stays, trying to rebuild value.  WAR can be 0 too, or even negative.  Probably he stays, trying to rebuild value.
    Okay, sorry to belabor, but my point is that if he stays, it's almost certainly tied to low performance relative to expectations.  Reeeeeally low.
    Now, consider Year 2, 2023.  Seems like it's 90% odds that he's gone, and whatever WAR he earned for the Twins this one year is the end of the story.  But in that remaining 10% case, what will be your expectation of WAR for 2023, given that he put up 0 or 1 WAR in 2022?  Depends on why, but probably a WAR of 9 is now off the table - chances of a bounceback like that are just too remote.  Could he return to 2021 levels and deliver 7 WAR?  Sure, maybe.  If he does, then he walks after the year, and his contribution to the Twins is that number plus his (low) 2021 number.  Like around... 8 or 9, for the two years together?  It can't be much higher, because he would have left already.  Of course he might not deliver 7, but only 5 - he still walks after Year Two.  3 WAR - probably he walks.  Lower than that, maybe he stays.
    So if it was 10% that he's staying for Year 2, probably it's also at most 50/50 that he's back for Year 3, or 5%.  And that will be only if he's put up WAR in the neighborhood of 0-2 the first year and followed up with 0-2 WAR the second year.  Now what are the odds that he suddenly goes bananas at last, after 2 straight sub-par years?  Really small, right?  Anything can happen, but an MVP type season really is unlikely.  He could win Comeback Player of the Year with a 5 WAR.  I think that's about the ceiling at that point.  0-2, plus 0-2, plus 5, equals... gee, 9 at most, again.
    There are all kinds of ways to do this kind of analysis, because nothing is certain.  But I've convinced myself that the absolute maximum the Twins can sanely hope for, from this particular contract, is a total WAR of 9, whether in one season or spread across multiple.
    "I'll Do The Homework Later."  Good, I don't blame you.  To recap: the Twins stand to reap 9 WAR as a maximum, by signing Correa - go back and do the homework if you think it should be higher, I really don't think you'll come up with a sound argument.  The Twins' maximum risk is $105.3M.  We don't expect the latter to happen, but that's the risk.
    Now, let's compare.  What if a deep-pockets team had gone ahead and instead given Correa a 10-year $325M contract like some were saying, and let's assume no opt-outs?  Let's do a quick version of the max risk/reward analysis for that - bear with me for one paragraph.  As before, the maximum risk on the contract is simple: $325M is on the line, win lose or Tommy John Surgery.  What's the maximum reward?  If we're allowing a chance at an MVP-like 9 WAR before, we need to do it again.  He might do that in any of the 10 years of the contract, but let's don't go crazy and think he does it every time.  Let's say 1 year of 9 WAR, and a 7 (a second monster year), a couple years of 5 WAR (still a huge asset), three more years of 3 WAR (above average), and then 1 WAR each of the other three years if he hits a steep decline or sprinkles in an injury-plagued season or two earlier in the sequence.  So really, I'm not talking absolute maximum after all, merely an optimistic outlook for a window of contention involving a great player.  Those 10 numbers, they all add up to 38 WAR.  A starry-eyed optimist could look at a potential future hall-of famer and come up with an argument for more, like 50 - meaning inner-circle HoF, which I can't honestly rule out for him at age 27 - he's less than halfway through his career and is more than halfway to HoF status IMO.  But let's go with 38. 
    Estimated performance would likely be lower but remember, this is max risk and max reward.
    So, put yourself in the Yankees' shoes.  Do you risk $105.3M for at most 8 WAR, like the Twins are doing?  Or do you say, **** that, I mean forget that, we're rich, and by tripling our risk, we can more than triple our potential reward.  Isn't that what smart money does?
    So I think they, New York, say no to the smaller contract.  They have deep pockets, and won't risk significant money for modest maximum reward, when they could invest 3X as much in risk and really hit the jackpot.
    Max risk and max reward are not the only analyses a team would make.  Not by a long shot.  Anticipated actual cost and estimated reward also are crucial.  Let's say 4 WAR for 2021 to reward the (very likely) $35.1M he gets from the Twins.  Compare that to maybe 30 WAR over a 10 year contract that costs $325M.  Now the dollars per WAR are much more favorable to the short contract - it is center-cut after all, an advantage not shared by the full 10-year cut of meat.
    But likely outcomes aren't enough.  A front-office that didn't present a solid risk/reward analysis, which I have merely half-assed in this lengthy post, would be laughed out of the room by their higher-ups - if, that is, the higher-ups had an actual sense of humor and were in a forgiving mood and didn't fire them for lack of due diligence.
    Bottom line, this is a mid-market contract, in my estimation.  The expected reward fits the expected price, but the risks are disproportionate.  A big team goes big.  No regrets for the Yankees.  This is the kind of deal the Twins have to embrace, but by no means did they "put one over on them" when they traded Donaldson to the Yanks to free up the cash to make this happen.  The Twins had to, in effect, buy Correa a $70.2M insurance policy, to get him to commit to just one year at $35.1M.  It probably adds $10M to the cost that the team's CPA has to factor in.
    Thanks for your patience.  I welcome nit-picks, or bigger criticisms.
     
     
    * Let's assume a small meteor, and like in Princess Bride he's only mostly dead, yet still slightly alive and expecting direct deposits at his bank to continue
  2. Like
    glunn reacted to Doc Munson for a blog entry, Twins will change MLB in 2022   
    The Minnesota Twins this year are in position to change MLB!!
     
    For a team that has claimed a desire to contend in 2022 it has very little in the way of pitching, and has shown little to no interest in the FA agent crop of pitchers. SO how can a team with current starters slotted in as Dylan Bundy, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober?
     
    Dylan Bundy has only thrown over 162 innings twice in his career and that was 2017-2018. and coming off seasons of 65 (Covid) and 90 innings. He cannot be counted on to take on a bunch of innings.
    Joe Ryan has never thrown over 123 innings... ZERO in 2020 (covid) and just 92 between AAA & MLB last year. even a 50% increase is still less than 150 innings.
    Bailey Ober never threw more than 80 innigns in any season prior to last year when he set a highwater mark of 92 innigns between minors and MLB. again another 50% increase get to only 150 innings.
    So the three pitchers we have on our team assuming 32 starts per year will pitch les than 5 innings on average.
    Our minor league pitching that is near MLB ready or MLB ready are...
    Jordan Balazovic... 23...  coming off career high 97 innings
    Jhoan Duran... 24... coming off injury  100IP in 2018 & 115 IP 2019 but 0 2020 and just 16 in 2021.
    Simeon Woods Richardson... 21... innings max of 106 in 2019 with 0 in 2020 and 53 in 2021
    Josh Winder... 25...  a respectable 125 IP in 2019 but again 0 in 2020 and 72 in 2021
    Matt Canterino... 24... never more than 25 in his 3 seasons including 23 in 2021
    Drew Strotman... 25... finally cracked 100 after never throwing more than 50 IP  with 112 in 2021.
     
    SO... you see most of our prospects are at the age where they should be contributing to a MLB (usualyl 23, 24) this includes. Balazovic, Duran, Winder, Canterino, Strotman.
    This all begs the question...  How do we get these guys to the big leagues before they are "too old" But yet not ONE indiviudally seems fully ready by if nothign else at least pitch/innings count to be a starting pitcher full time?
     
    Sure, we can move a couple to the bullpen.  BUT on a team like the Twins, who love analytics, and seemingly never let their pitchers face a batter a third time, you will see the Twins go with 1, MAYBE 2 traditional starters (once we resign Pineda) and the rest will be piggy backed pitching "teams"
    Twins will have 8 starters. with the #3, #4, #5 starters all pitching in the "buddy system" with each one going a max of 4 innings.  The theory being that if each starter can go 4 innings, then that leaves just 1 inning for the back of the bullpen to take care of, so as a result you do not need a ton of relievers. You just have your top 3 power arms in the bullpen.
    So you have a pitching 13 man pitching staff of 8 starters, 3 back end relievers and 2 "wild cards" or specialists.
     
    This is a move I HATE!!! but this WILL happen in 2022, and the sad thing as I want the Twins to succeed, then I have to want this to succeed, and if it does then in the copy cat league we have, more teams will do it and we will lose more and more of "traditional" ball.
  3. Like
    glunn reacted to Brandon for a blog entry, Competitive Balance Tax Wobbly Floor   
    I was just thinking about the Competitive Balance Tax in Baseball and the negotiations going on and was thinking about the concept that was proposed of a 100 million floor.  for a lot of small market teams that would be too high of a floor as it makes sense to dip down when doing a rebuild.  but the thought that crossed my mind is.... why does it have to be a solid floor?  I mean with the competitive balance tax on the top end of teams payrolls they have an escalating penalty each year they are above a limit.  
    Shouldn't that work if teams drop below a certain limit as well?
    I think a better current floor would be between 70 million and 80 million.  Drop below it once and receive a slap on the wrist 10% drop in revenue sharing revenue.  Do it 2 years in a row make it 40% drop in revenue sharing received and a competitive balance draft pick or have that pick drop a round.  do it 3 years in a row loos all revenue sharing designed to boost small market teams and lose all additional competitive draft picks designed to help low revenue teams.  I am sure the exact amounts can be negotiated.  But I would support a floor built the same way a ceiling has been installed so a team can't be brought down to the studs and receive lots of money....
    This would also make tanking more interesting because how would you do it?  trading for bad contracts and prospects which teams would probably do.  This would help tanking teams get more prospects and get out of the cellar faster.  This would be a new wrinkle in the game and a benefit for the players.
    Weigh in and tell us what you think about a wobbly floor?
  4. Like
    glunn reacted to Greglw3 for a blog entry, OOTP: Acting aggressively to rebuild Twins   
    Frustrated by Falvey and Levine’s approach the last two offseason and with the lockout in effect, I bought OOTP baseball for $4.99 in order to build the Twins my way using trades, free agent signings and keeping the up and coming pitching.
    I set the trade slider a little more to the hard side the the easy side.

    It seemed to carry over to free agent negotiations but I’m not sure. Prime example: I offered Byron Buxton basically the same deal the Twins signed him for and he came back and said, "I’m only entertaining serious offers"! It seemed he ignored the $8M per year for an MVP award and AB bonuses. He was so tough that to get him signed, I had to average over 20M yr. plus he wanted a 9 year deal. I got away with 8 but I had to have him.
    When trying for free agents or making trades, I eschewed any player that I knew had been signed in real life or traded to a new team. I got messages along the way from Jim Pohlad and at one point, he said that I was having such a good offseason that he was raising my allowance from $203M budget (all expenses, not just payroll). At a budget of $203, the player payroll was $160M but he raised the budget to $210M and a player payroll of $170M. He must have seen quickly that I was going to be very aggressive striving to build a 2022 contender.
    Some of the trades and signings saw me moving Max Kepler for Taijuan Walker.
    Signing Jose Iglesias, attempting to sign Michael Pineda and Danny Duffy over extended negotiations (especially with Pineda) only to be spurned by both.
    Trading Bailey Ober and Luis Arraez for Chris Bassit.
    Releasing Dylan Bundy.
    Signing Billy Hamilton to a very reasonable deal to be insurance for Byron Buxton.
    Signing Carlos Rodon, which went surprisingly smoothly. Yes, I did offer him a fair contract.
    Signing Ken Giles was exciting, knowing how it would solidify the bullpen.
    The toughest one was attempting to sign Kris Bryant. I think he had me up to $173M and strung me along, then said the Cubs had a better offer. I ended up cutting it off but after a decent period of time passed, he came back and I was able to sign him at a bargain $15M yr for 5 yrs.
    After spring training had ended, Johnny Cueto, having cut off negotiations, came back to me on the eve of the season opener and said he’d like to try again. I offered him more than he asked for 1 yr plus an option year and he signed in time for the season opener. After all the moves, I decided to promote Cole Sands to work out of the bullpen, a job he earned in OOTP baseball’s spring training.
    Here are some graphics on your new, shiny, division contending 2022 Minnesota Twins!





  5. Like
    glunn reacted to Greglw3 for a blog entry, Danny Duffy for the Twins.   
    In case anybody missed it, here’s the update, credit MLB Trade Rumors, on Danny Duffy’s status.
    I would be strongly in favor of the Twins signing him to a 2 year deal, the first year at a minimum rate to pitch as a lefty out of the bullpen from sometime in July to the end of the season. Then a higher salary a/la Dylan Bundy in the second year for him to pitch out of the rotation.
    And sign Michael Pineda for sure plus trade for a pitcher, possibly from Oakland. Jon Gray would be okay too.
    With the pitching staff they’re going to have, they’ll have to beef up last year’s shaky offense. Castellanos would be be good and if both parties are amenable, Eddie Rosario would be my second choice. 
  6. Like
    glunn reacted to Tim for a blog entry, Jorge Polanco and The Twins   
    For as much as a buzzkill the Twins 2021 season was, Jorge Polanco gave many Twins fans a reason to watch. 
    Breaking out in 2019, Polanco hit 22 HRs and drove in 79 RBI with a slash line of .295/.356/.485. Polanco scuffled during the 2020 covid shortened season but was also playing with an ankle injury that required offseason surgery and ultimately a shift to second base.
    The ankle clean up and position switch seemed to have paid off as Polanco had a career season in 2021. Overall he finished the season with a .269 AVG and an OPS of .826. Oh, and 33 bombs + 98 RBI. That's good for a WAR of 4.8 according to baseballrefrence. 
    One would think now would be a poor time for the Twins to move Jorge Polanco in a trade. The stacked free agent class includes Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, and Javier Baez. Teams looking for a shortstop or second basemen will have plenty of options to chose from.
    But at what cost?
    Carlos Correa and Corey Seager are 1A and 1B in the class. Both are expected to receive contracts upwards of 260 million. Trevor Story had a down year offensively, but still grades out as one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. He also is only 28 and teams will convince themselves he returns to form at the plate... 150-175 million sound right? Marcus Semien's fantastic 2021 campaign probably netted him a deal north of 115 million, as he was a top 5 hitter in baseball for much of the season. Javier Baez is a complete toss up for me. He is incredibly streaky at the plate, but got hot during his stint with the Mets and switched his approach at the plate. His ability to move around the diamond defensively and play a solid shortstop, second, and third is still a huge asset. You can't deny the flair and energy he brings to a team as well, star power means tickets... I'd guess a team buys in and pays close to 100 million.  While there are plenty of options teams can go on the open market, none will sign cheap. Aside from potentially Baez, you aren't bringing any of those players in for less than 100 mil, at the minimum. Fortunately, for the teams hesitant to commit that type of money, there is another option.
    Jorge Polanco
    **Before I'm slandered below for suggesting the Twins should trade their 2021 MVP, consider the facts.**
    Contract - Jorge Polanco, currently 27, is signed through 2025 at what is essentially a 4 year 35.5 million dollar contract. When you stack that up against what the market is going to command for the available options, that deal is an absolute bargain. Internal Replacements -  Second Base is really a position of strength for the Twins. Luis Arraez, still only 24 and under team control until 2026, has a career .313 AVG and .374 OBP over 275 games .. Yes, you are missing out on the power, but baseballreference had his 2021 WAR at 3.4, so by no means is it a massive downgrade. He isn't arb. eligible until 2023 as well.. Nick Gordon or the crown jewel in the Berrios deal, Austin Martin, could also be guys that could step into the position at some point next year. State of The Organization - The Twins need to look at this an opportunity to try and expedite the rebuilding process. Reality is 2022 is going to be a lost year, regardless of whether Polanco is on the roster or not. Is 2023 the year? Who knows, a lot will need to go right for the Twins between now and then .. But at that point you've only lost value on a player that will have 2 years remaining on his steal of a contract.  If you are hesitant to put Polanco in the same tier as the players in this upcoming FA class, Since 2019, here's where Polanco stacks up against the top middle infielders. 

    That's a 3 year sample size of productivity that puts him square in the discussion offensively as a top tier middle infielder. 
    Yes I am aware that some players on the list were injured, but that's apart of the game. Polanco was too.
    Who might be interested?
    The best fit for Polanco would be an organization that is entering their window to compete for a championship. Given how cheap his contract is, teams would have the ability to sign free agent starting pitching, which typically works out better, than say giving a position player like Javy Baez a 5 year / 100 million dollar deal. That model seems to have paid off for the Astros as well as the Dodgers to some extent.
    What teams fit that bill? I highly doubt an organization will trade for Polanco with intentions of playing him at short. So i'll highlight just teams with a second base need, There's a few, here are my favorite options.
    The Mariners, who received a 0.3 WAR from the second base position this past year, would be a great trade partner for the Twins. They don't really have a solidified plan at 2nd and on the prospect side it's slim.  Ranked with Baseball Americas top farm system, they have plenty of intriguing pitching prospects to deal from. Emerson Hancock, Matt Brash, George Kirby, and Brandon Williamson all look to be be starters long-term.. (I believe Brash will be the best) .... What about Noelvi Marte? one can dream.
    Miami has reportedly been getting pressure from ownership to win now and could be a possibility. This would mean they are comfortable moving Jazz Chisholm from 2nd to Short .. If they are, the Marlins hands down have the most pitching prospect depth to deal from in all of baseball. Max Meyer, Edward Cabrera, Eury Perez, and Jack Eder (though recovering from TJ) all could be in play ... (I'll take Perez of the 4 please).
    If the Blue Jays prioritize Robbie Ray over Marcus Semien, count them in as a Polanco fit. Toronto is right in their go for it window and may lean toward having a proven veteran to replace the production rather than banking on a prospect. A package of Orlevis Martinez/Jordan Gorshans and Nate Pearson doesn't sound all too bad. 
    __
    The Twins have a lot of work to do if they wanna get on back on track in the coming years.. This is all speculation, though I think it certainly is a route the Twins have to at least explore this winter. 
    Regardless, of what you want the Twins to do with Polanco, there is no denying he would bring back a haul. That might be the best thing for the Twins sustaining long-term success.
    *Also, don't check Baseballtradevalues.com for the prospects I mentioned. It rarely is correct, as most of us learned with the deals that occurred at the deadline. 
  7. Like
    glunn 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?
  8. Sad
    glunn got a reaction from Minny505 for a blog entry, Saddest sports city   
    Some posters have suggested that Minnesota is the worst sports "city" in North America.
    I did some googling and this was my first hit -- https://mikedropsports.com/ranking-12-saddest-sports-cities-in-north-america/  As you can see, there are many sad stories, but Minnesota is ranked as the saddest city.
    Then I came across a site that rated Detroit #1 and Minnesota # 5 -- https://www.trainwrecksports.com/the-top-10-worst-sports-cities-in-america-1-5/
    I think that the difference boils down to how much weight is given to making the playoffs versus winning championships.  It's been a long time since a Minnesota team won the championship in a major sport -- the 1991 Twins?  And during that time the Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild have been disappointing.  
    All of that said, if there is such a thing as karma -- and I believe that there is -- the negative attitude of fans may be having some effect.  I wish that there was some way to change that.  Any ideas would be appreciated.
     
     
  9. Like
    glunn got a reaction from Brandon for a blog entry, Saddest sports city   
    Some posters have suggested that Minnesota is the worst sports "city" in North America.
    I did some googling and this was my first hit -- https://mikedropsports.com/ranking-12-saddest-sports-cities-in-north-america/  As you can see, there are many sad stories, but Minnesota is ranked as the saddest city.
    Then I came across a site that rated Detroit #1 and Minnesota # 5 -- https://www.trainwrecksports.com/the-top-10-worst-sports-cities-in-america-1-5/
    I think that the difference boils down to how much weight is given to making the playoffs versus winning championships.  It's been a long time since a Minnesota team won the championship in a major sport -- the 1991 Twins?  And during that time the Vikings, Timberwolves and Wild have been disappointing.  
    All of that said, if there is such a thing as karma -- and I believe that there is -- the negative attitude of fans may be having some effect.  I wish that there was some way to change that.  Any ideas would be appreciated.
     
     
  10. Like
    glunn reacted to LA VIkes Fan for a blog entry, Let's Realign the Divisions to Create Regional Rivalries   
    I really like the realignment idea assuming we're going to a universal DH. I made this a comment elsewhere but I also thought I'd also post this as a separate blog. Here's my proposal for realignment. I know it's fantasy but hey, it's the dog days of summer so why not? 
    5 divisions, not 6. 12 teams in the playoffs, The top 2 in each division plus two remaining teams teams with best records make the playoffs so there is a reward for being a little better than average. Four best records get byes while the other 8 play 3 games series down to 4. Lots of playoff games; TV loves it. The remaining 8 teams (4 with byes plus 4 first round winners) re-seed by record, not location.  During the regular season you play all of the teams in three of the other four divisions 6 times each, 3 at home, 3 away.  That's 108 games (6 times 18 - 6 teams in each division). You play the remaining games in your division. You play 11 games each year against your 5 division opponents, except one only 10 times, for 54 games, total 162. Alternatively, add a game and rotate the unbalanced 81 home/82 away schedules in each division. You could rotate through the division the one team that you "only" play 10 times and you'll have to rotate each year which team gets the extra home game, 2 you get the extra, 2 your opponent, to balance the schedule.
    Division are by location to create/enhance rivalries:
    West Coast Division - San Diego, LA Angels, LA Dodgers, San Francisco, Oakland/Vegas, Seattle
    Southwest/Rocky Mountain Division - Houston, Texas (Dallas), Arizona, Kansas City, St. Louis, Colorado (Denver)
    Midwest Division -  Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Detroit, Pittsburg or Toronto (bummer that Twins are in a different time zone, but couldn't figure out a way to fix that)
    Southeast Division -  Miami, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Washington, Cincinnati, Cleveland or Baltimore (depends on whether you want the Ohio or Beltway rivalry)
    Northeast Division - Boston, NY Yankees, NY Mets, Philadelphia, Pittsburg or Toronto, Cleveland or Baltimore     
    You rotate through the other divisions in the regular season. One year, the Twins play the Northeast, Southeast and Southwest, next year the Southeast, Southwest, West Coast, next year the Southwest, West Coast, Northeast, etc. That away the existing rivalries that are being broken up still play 6 games against each other 3 out of every 4 years like the Cubs and Cardinals. Those will fade over time; the Cubs new hated rival will be the White Sox, the Cards, the Royals.  
    What do you guys think?
  11. Like
    glunn 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. 
  12. Like
    glunn reacted to ashbury for a blog entry, 40 Starts a Season   
    Recently a side comment came up about why modern pitchers don't start 40 games a season like they used to.  The question intrigued me so I did a little searching.  The results surprised me.  Mostly I used the Stathead tool at baseball-reference.com, and the most useful table I constructed is this:
    https://stathead.com/tiny/SBDaM
    Since the modern era, 1901 and forward, it's never been the case that pitchers in general were regularly making 40 starts.
    For periods of years, the major league leader would regularly reach 40.  A few years, there would be more than just one, but never ever as many as there were teams, meaning less than one per team.  So it wasn't part of the job description, it was an achievement.
    There was kind of a peak of 40-game starts around 1904-08, another 1914-17, then it picked up again after expansion in 1962 (when the season got a little longer), then quieted down and peaked again around 1973, then basically died out around 1979.  The last 40-game starter was knuckleballer Charlie Hough in 1987, who come to think of it had that in common with other "recent" 40-game-starters Phil Niekro and Wilbur Wood. 
    In those 87 years, there were a total of 140 such pitcher-seasons.  One or two a year.  Zero since then of course.
    The individual pitchers weren't doing it for years and years without end, either.  Only 31 such seasons were logged by pitchers over the age of 30 (despite the myth that that was when a player would enter his prime).  8 by anyone 35 or older.  Starting 40 was always a young man's game.
    For another perspective, Sandy Koufax in 1965 holds the record for season strikeout percentage, 29.5%, among pitchers who started 40 games in a season (and of course Sandy led his entire league in that regard that year, among players who qualified for the ERA title).  By contrast, in 2019 there were 16 ERA qualifiers who had a higher percentage than that.  And even though Sandy was a "unicorn" of his era, and also a prototype for today's pitcher, he was finished before his 31st birthday.  Most of the guys who ever started 40 games weren't striking out the side.
    Today it's 5-man rotations. Divided into 162 games, that's about 32 starts per season.
    Used to be 4-man rotations. Divided into 162, that gives you 40. Divided into the older 154-game schedule, that's 38 or so.
    Of course in really olden days, back into the 19th century, you might have 3 or even 2 workhorses who handled the bulk of the chores.  But back then the schedules could be more erratic too, and the game was just played differently.
    Anyway, major league teams settled into an every-fourth-game routine a lot quicker than people sometimes remember.  Well, remember reading about.  That made 40 an uncommon feat.
    Managers would love to have their best pitcher get as many starts as possible, so they'd be sending someone out 40 times if they could.  The tImes changed, not the intestinal fortitude of the players.
  13. Sad
    glunn reacted to ashbury for a blog entry, After the Royals series, I have only one thing to say   
    /season
  14. Like
    glunn reacted to Tyy1117 for a blog entry, Revisiting Falvine Trades: Part 2, The Jaime García Saga   
    Entering July 24th 2017, the Minnesota Twins were 49-48 coming off a 9-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers the night before. The Twins now stood 2.5 games back of Cleveland, and ready to make a push towards claiming the AL Central crown for the first time in 7 years. "Falvine" decided to push the button, making their first major trade during their Twins tenure, and acquire Atlanta Braves starter, Jaime García . Finally, after years of purely terrible baseball, the Twins were back, and the Front Office was willing to go for it.  
    Now, it's July 28th 2017, the Minnesota Twins are in Oakland, and on a 4 game skid as they sit 49-51. Jaime García takes the mound for the first, and only time as a Minnesota Twin. He pitches well, but unremarkably as he leads the Twins to a 6-3 victory ending the losing streak with a decent stat line: 6.2 IP  7 K  3 BB  8 H 3 ER. Flash forward a bit further to July 30th, the Twins are 50-52, Cleveland has gone on a run, and the Twins are 7 games out. Oh, how the turn tables. Falvine decides they're no longer pushing for that first division title in 7 years, so why hold onto the rental they just acquired? So, after spending less than a week as a Twin, Jaime García packs his bags once again and heads to the Bronx to become a Yankee.
    As the leaves turn from green to wonderful fall colors, the Twins find out it didn't really matter if they bought or sold. Jaime García didn't pitch very well as a Yankee, and the Twins still managed to claw to a 85-77 record, going from the worst team in baseball to a wild card team in just a year. 7 years of terrible baseball. 13 years without a playoff victory, now with a chance to change that. October 3rd 2017, enter: the New York Yankees. We all know how this story goes, there's no point in reliving this one again.
     
    So, okay, the trades themselves, what exactly happened? Looking back, I think we can safely consider Jaime García's performance itself a wash and rather insignificant. But what about the prospects involved?
    Trade 1:
    The Minnesota Twins receive:
    SP Jaime García, C Anthony Recker, Cash Considerations. (Recker was soon released and never played for the Twins)
    The Atlanta Braves receive:
    SP Huascar Ynoa
    Trade 2:
    The Minnesota Twins receive:
    SP Zack Littell , SP Dietrich Enns
    The New York Yankees receive:
    SP Jaime García
     
    So essentially, the Twins gave up Ynoa, to get Littell and Enns. Neither Littell or Enns are with the Twins anymore, and only Littell had marginal success. Meanwhile, I have yet to mention the ginormous horse in the room. Huascar Ynoa has been the ace of the Atlanta Braves pitching staff thus far in 2021 pitching 44.2 Innings while garnering 1.8 bWAR. However, he could be out the rest of this year. That being said, the Braves potentially have a really good pitcher for a long time to come, and Falvine essentially gave Ynoa to them for free. Not every trade works out, many work out great, and many don't, and unfortunately this whole saga is the latter. Perhaps the best part of this whole saga for the Twins is that a day after sending Jaime packing to New York, they signed a guy from Utica with a rad mustache who was driving for Uber, fan fave Randy Dobnak.
     
    Once again, all stats are thanks to Baseball Reference, and the picture thanks to MLB.com. What trades should we revisit next?
  15. Like
    glunn reacted to Greglw3 for a blog entry, My Twins Shakeup   
    Someone posted here on Twins Daily about a sense of a Twins shakeup. I love the Twins too much not to contribute my ideas for an immediate shakeup.
    Here’s a basic lineup that would represent a shakeup. Of course, Buxton would take over CF when he’s available. I’ve got a keen eye on St. Paul and Wichita and there are myriad good prospects. Here’s a take on a new lineup and a fresh start:
    3B- Jose Miranda
    SS- Jorge Polanco
    2B-Nick Gordon
    1B-Josh Donaldson
    LF-Alex Kirilloff
    CF-Aaron Whitefield
    RF-Trevor Larnach
    C-make a trade
    DH-Cruz and Kepler
    Super Utility-Luis Arraez
    Release Jake Cave
    Starting pitching: Release Happ and Shoemaker and replace with Dobnak and Ober. Griffin Jax could be recalled as the next option.
    Bullpen: Bring up Thorpe, Vasquez, Farrell and Yennier Cano, consider Matt Canterino currently with 1.13 ERA in high A Cedar Rapids..
    Replace Falvey, Levine and Baldelli. Bring in a competent veteran baseball manager such as Jim Leyland. I think he would be Franconia-like in incisive in game decisions, which have been sorely lacking from Baldelli.
    Keep an eye on: Balazovic (currently injured), Duran (currently injured), Ernie De La Trinidad (OF, solid start at Wichita), Gilberto Celestino
    The idea here is to create a more balanced roster. My changes could allow a dynamic base stealing element with Gordon, Buxton and Whitefield. The extra speed could be used to garner the Twins some extra inning wins by pinch running Whitefield when Buxton returns. My overhaul also ushers in the era of what promise to be exciting big league careers for Kirilloff and Larnach!
    I see a very talented and exciting player in Nick Gordon. He had an electrifying debut with the Twins, stealing two bases! He also leads St. Paul in hitting with a small sample size. Plus his 2019 body of work was deceptively above average for a second baseman, with 29 doubles in 292 AB and he slashed .298/.342/.459. Current slash at St. Paul .333/.429/.611. Fun fact: Gordon’s OPS+ with the Twins is 246. Obviously mitigated by one game sample size.
    Miranda is off to a sizzling start at Wichita with a .370/.400/.652 slash line. Plus he’s only 22 years old. 
    Sano and Kepler would have to reclaim their jobs. They have had not helped the Twins. Kepler may have been resurgent before his injury, but I would go with my new outfield and find ways to use Kepler where he can actually help the team.
    Twins Daily is my go to place for information on the Twins. I hope my contribution here gets your juices flowing as a Twins fan. We definitely don’t want to tap into the definition of insanity: keep doing the same thing over and over and expect different results. WIN TWINS!!!
     
     
     
     
  16. Like
    glunn reacted to Mill1634 for a blog entry, Ranking Twins Top Trade Pieces - Part 3   
    Today I wrap up the final piece in my mini-blog series where I ranked the Minnesota Twins roster by trade value, as this season has gone downhill quickly. Things haven't gotten any better, as they've just been swept by the division leading White Sox, and now find themselves down 10 games of ChiSox just 35 games into the 2021 campaign. If things continue to travel down this road, which it seems like they will, the Twins may have the most talent of any seller come July. In part 1, I took a look at players who have regressed or have massive contracts. Part 2 featured some names that carried the Twins in 2019, as well as a few players who will see their contract expire after this season. Today, we take a look at the final 6 players in the ranking.

    6. RH DH Nelson Cruz 
    If I was simply ranking the talent on the Minnesota Twins, there is no doubt that Nelson Cruz would be in the top 3, but that isn't what these rankings are. Nelson Cruz is without a doubt one of the top hitters in the MLB, despite being nearly 40 years old. However, he plays at a non-premium position, and there aren't many teams that are in need of a DH. Going through the list of the contenders, you have the Houston Astros who have Yordan Alverez. Cross them off. The White Sox have rookie of the year contender Yermin Mercedes. I don't see it. The New York Yankees have Stanton, the Red Sox have JD Martinez, and the Blue Jays have Rowdy Tellez and a handful of outfielders who can fill in at DH when George Springer is healthy. That leaves me with two teams: Oakland and Tampa Bay. Neither of these teams are known to be big spenders, and I'm not real confident that they'd have DH as their top need come July.  I think the most likely scenario sees Nelson Cruz staying put in Minnesota, and reevaluating his options in the off-season, when the NL is likely to add the DH
    Prediction: Not Moved
     
    5. LH RP Taylor Rogers
    Taylor Rogers has been one of the best relievers over the past 4 seasons, despite his struggles in 2020, the advanced metrics still love Taylor Rogers. I agree with these numbers. Like any reliever, Rogers is violate and certainly prone to going through a rough stretch, but there aren't many who are prone to this. If the Twins decided to move Rogers, I think he would be the best reliever moved mid-season. Rogers is due for his 4th and final year of arbitration in 2022, and then becomes a free agent in 2023. If the Twins decide that they are simply retooling, I think Rogers sticks around. However, if they decide to commit to a rebuild, I think Rogers is certainly moved. However, I'm hesitant to saying the front office will, or should, commit to a rebuild. This is especially true on May 14th. With an already bad bullpen, trading Rogers would make 2022s bullpen abysmal. 
    Prediction: Not Moved
     
    4. RH SS Andrelton Simmons
    Andrelton Simmons was brought in on a one year contract to improve the Minnesota Twins infield defense, and he has certainly succeed at that. Simmons has been credited with saving 2 runs in 200 innings at SS, which puts him on pace to finish the year with between 10-12. We know Simmons isn't a great hitter, but he doesn't need to be to have a positive impact on a game. Much like Byron Buxton of the past, who won games despite struggling mightily at the plate, Simmons is the best of the best at his position, and teams know that. Simmons contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and that makes him attractive to a potential buyer. The Twins could negotiate an extension, but I'm not sure I see that, especially with a loaded free agent class at the position. I'm almost certain that Simba will be moved before the July 30th trade deadline. 
    Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers
    Potential Prospects: RH OF Tristen Lutz (3, AA), LHP Aaron Ashby (5, AAA), RH SS Eduardo Garcia (8, R)
     
    3. RH SP Kenta Maeda
    Kenta Maeda was one of the best starting pitchers in all of the MVP in the 60 game season, and looked like an absolute steal after being brought over for Brusadar Graterol in the 3-team trade which sent Mookie Betts to LA. However, Maeda has been roughed up in his first few starts in 2021, and doesn't look like the same pitcher we saw last season. The most notable difference between his great year last year, and the struggles this year is his control and command. We saw Maeda dissect lineups by throwing pitches exactly where the catcher was set up, and rarely leaving a hittable pitch over the plate. That has all turned on its head this year, and Kenta looks like the same version LA saw. Everyone knew regression was likely, but I don't think Kenta is this bad. Kenta is a top 3 arm on a playoff rotation, with potential to be higher. Kenta is signed for the next 2 years, but at only 3M per. This is a steal of a deal, and I see no reason for the Twins to sell low on King Kenta.
    Prediction: Not Moved
     
    2. RH SP Jose Berrios
    Jose Berrios has been near the top of the Twins rotation for the past 3 years, and has been a top 50 starter every season. He hasn't taken the step from being TOR to an ace that many Twins fans hoped he would, but he's still very, very valuable. Berrios is set for his final year in arbitration following this season, which will likely see him making between 8-10 million. Again, this is a steal for the quality of pitcher Berrios is. We know the Twins have made an offer to extend Berrios contract in the past, but clearly that hasn't come to fruition. I suspect a Berrios extension to be somewhere in the ballpark of 100-110 million dollars over 4 years, which I would offer if I was the Twins. If an extension can't be worked out this offseason, and the Twins are in this same boat next year, it's likely Berrios would be moved at the deadline. However, I see no reason to sell on him now.
    Prediction: Not Moved
     
    1. RH CF Byron Buxton
    The list rounds out with one of the most exciting players in baseball with Byron Buxton. We saw Byron take the MVP-level step forward through a month this season, but like years past, Buxton found himself on the injured list. I don't think you can fault Byron for being an often injured player, nor can you blame the Twins. It's simply part of the game. Some are prone, and some aren't. In a similar boat to Berrios, we know a contract extension has been offered to Buxton, but he felt it was too low. Sitting on top of baseball references leaderboard for WAR 35 games into the season, despite only playing in 24 games, certainly isn't going to make him any cheaper. I hesistate to speculate on what an extension for Buxton would look like, as he's likely a player who won't age well as he relies on both speed, and bat speed to be effective. He doesn't draw walks (nor should he, crushing pitches he can hit is better than trying to draw a walk), and he gets hurt a lot. I think the Twins would want an extension with multiple team options thrown in, and I'm not sure Buck would want that. However, it's a season too early to consider trading Byron.
    Prediction: Not Moved
     
    Recap
    Below I have listed the players that I expect to be traded, as well as who the logical replacement is the rest of the way in what appears to be a "figure out what we have for the future" type of year, rather than a contend for the World Series year. All in all, I expect 7 trades to be made, at least based on these rankings. However, I would be fairly shocked if the Twins traded 7 MLB players off their roster. If I was setting the over/under on such a thing, I would set it at 4.5. 
    Andrelton Simmons - Brewers (Nick Gordon)
    Michael Pineda - Yankees (Randy Dobnak)
    Tyler Duffey - Phillies (Edwar Colina)
    Mitch Garver - Braves (Ryan Jeffers)
    J.A. Happ - Brewers (Lewis Thorpe)
    Hansel Robles - A's (Dakota Chalmers)
    Alex Colome - Giants (Yennier Cano)
    Note: All prospect rankings come from Fangraphs.
     
  17. Like
    glunn reacted to Tyy1117 for a blog entry, Revisiting Falvine Trades: Part 1, Ryan Pressly   
    The 2021 Minnesota Twins have a very bad, beyond terrible, no-good bullpen. We all know that. Let's take a break from the 2021 Minnesota Twins Dumpsterfire Bullpen, and talk about something closely related, the Ryan Pressly trade. As part 1 in a series where we'll take a look back at trades "Falvine" made early in their tenure, and re-evaluate them, what's more fitting for right now than this deal that has an impact on Twins' bullpens of past, present, and future?
    The Trade:
    Houston Astros Receive: RP Ryan Pressly (MLB)
     
    Minnesota Twins Receive: P Jorge Alcala (MiLB), OF Gilberto Celestino (MiLB)
     
    Twins' fans weren't fans of this one at first, especially as Pressly went on to be dominant down the stretch in 2018 posting a 1.49 FIP in 23.1 IP after his arrival in Houston. In 2019 he followed that performance up with an All-Star appearance in a season worth 1.7 WAR. All this and Twins' fans had yet to see Celestino or Alcala in the Majors. So at this point some of y'all may be saying "So if we weren't fans of it at first, why would we be fans now?" The answer, Jorge Alcala. He had a 3.79 xFIP in 2020 and has followed it up with a 3.80 xFIP so far in 2021 (although he has had some home-run-itis lately, but that should regress to the mean according to xFIP). He has started to become a quality reliever, and has just barely hit a year of service time. 
     
    Oh, and don't forget the Twins' number 8 prospect according to MLB.com, and Buxton's heir apparent, Gilberto Celestino. He's not going to be Buxton, but he does profile as an eventual starting center fielder. 
    So let's break down exactly what each team got in terms of production.
     
    Houston Astros:
    --Ryan Pressly
              3.1 WAR paying $2,800,000 and eventually the right to overpay him by a LOT.
     
    Minnesota Twins:
    --Jorge Alcala
              0.5 WAR paying minimum MLB salary, and 5 more years of team control.
    --Gilberto Celestino
              Nothing, yet. However he is the 8th best prospect the Twins have, which holds considerable value for the future
     
    Hey, it all seems okay. A trade where the Twins probably got more value, but the Astros got a reliever that helped them hold on to leads given to them by trash cans, leading them deep into the playoffs. All parties involved come away happy, the makings of a wonderful trade.
     
    All stats are thanks to Baseball Reference and Fangraphs, photo is thanks to MLB.com
  18. Like
    glunn reacted to stringer bell for a blog entry, Ch-ch-changes?   
    The Twins play their 30th game this afternoon and are currently 11-18. They've been beset by bad luck, bad play and have taken a beating with two rule changes (extra-inning runner on second, 7-inning games for doubleheaders). How do they get out of this funk? I'm sure many in the organization will preach patience and they may be right, but that isn't any fun. Here are some possibilities for change that might help the team:
     
    Role change. We've already seen one role change. At least temporarily Alexander Columé is not going to see high-leverage innings. Columé has been a huge disappointment and even when he has worked scoreless innings, he's been shaky. The problem is that taking Columé out of high leverage situations leaves the Twins with few good options, particularly when going 6 or more innings for a starter is a rarity. I think one pitching role change that should be made is to use Taylor Rogers in non-save high leverage situations as happened early in 2019 and sometimes use him for multiple innings. Rogers shouldn't be used in back-to-back days. Moving Alcala to high leverage situations seems to be gradually happening. If things continue to go bad, it makes sense to have him give a shot as a closer. Position players--it seems to me that both Polanco and Kepler should have their roles diminished from full-time regular to something different. Kepler can play a corner and center and Polanco has played short and second, maybe Max should be slotted as the fourth OF or at least platooned with Garlick. I think giving Polanco the role of three-position infielder wouldn't be a stretch. He could get some at-bats as a platoon partner for my choice of regular second baseman (Arraez) and left-handed at-bats in place of Simmons and when Donaldson takes a day off (or is injured).
     
    Promotions/demotions. Assuming that Alex Kirilloff is in the big leagues to stay, when healthy the Twins have one extra position player and someone will have to be sent to the minor leagues or released. Discussion has centered on Jake Cave. Several others could be sent down and that doesn't begin to discuss the pitching staff. Many pitchers'performances could merit their demotion.
     
    Trades. It is unlikely that anyone will make a significant trade this early in the year. However, the Twins would be a good candidate for a major trade nearer the trade deadline. They have some redundancy (left handed hitting corner outfielders) and holes that need patching (bullpen, perhaps catching) and many candidates to trade. They also have a lot of players who would be free agents after this season. I do wonder if someone who was considered a cornerstone (Polanco, Kepler, Sanó) could be traded. None of these guys have performed remotely well so far but an uptick could make them more marketable. I have to believe that the Twins will bring in new pitchers either in the bullpen or the rotation. What they have at this time in the bullpen just hasn't worked.
     
    Personally, I think the Twins will need to do a little bit of everything to turn the corner. I am a proponent of changing roles. I think Kepler and Polanco could be candidates to have limited roles. The Twins need to add at least one strong arm in the bullpen, most likely by trade and Trevor Larnach is reputed to be nearly as much a sure thing as a hitter as Alex Kirilloff, plus he is a better outfielder. There is too much talent for the club to continue to play sub.400 baseball, but I think they need to make changes immediately.
  19. Like
    glunn reacted to Heezy1323 for a blog entry, Rich Hill Elbow Surgery Discussion   
    Rich Hill Elbow Surgery Discussion
    Heezy 1323
     
    Happy Supposed-To-Be Opening Day everyone. Since the baseball season is (unfortunately) on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, about the only recent baseball-related news to report has been that both Chris Sale and Noah Syndergaard (in addition to Luis Severino earlier this spring) are in need of Tommy John surgery. I covered some information about Sale’s injury and some discussion regarding techniques used in UCL reconstruction in previous blog posts. In the comment section of the latter post, TD user wabene asked an astute question about Rich Hill’s surgery and how it is similar or different from typical UCL reconstruction. Hill’s surgery is indeed different from a typical Tommy John surgery, and I thought a post about it might be interesting to some readers.
     
    As usual, my disclaimer: I am not an MLB team physician. I have not seen or examined Hill or reviewed his imaging studies. I am not speaking on behalf of the Twins or MLB. I am only planning to cover general information about this type of surgery and my take on what it might mean.
     
    Twins Daily contributor Lucas Seehafer posted an excellent article about Hill’s surgery back in January that was a good look into the surgery basics and some background about UCL primary repair. There was some additional discussion in the comments as well. Since Lucas did such a nice job covering the surgery, I won’t go into excessive detail in this post, but I’ll give my version of the basics, and then cover how Hill’s surgery is similar and different.
     
    Basics of UCL Primary Repair
     
    As covered in my post about Sale, the UCL is a strong ligament at the inside of the elbow that resists the stretching forces that occur when trying to throw a baseball. Obviously, hurling a baseball 90+ mph can take a toll on this ligament and it can, in some cases, result in a tear. These tears can occur at the top (humeral) end, bottom (ulnar) end or in the middle (called midsubstance).
     


     
    The figure above is from a study we did when I was in fellowship indicating the location of the ligament injury in 302 patients who had undergone surgery with Dr. Andrews. The most common areas of injury are at either end of the ligament, with the humeral end being slightly more common (at least in this series) than the ulnar end. These patients all underwent UCL reconstruction, which is the standard operation to treat these injuries when non-surgery treatments have failed to result in adequate improvement.
     
    More recently (I would say within the past 5-7 years), there has been emerging interest in performing a different operation for a subset of these patients called UCL Primary Repair. This operation differs from UCL Reconstruction in that when the repair is chosen, the injured ligament is reattached back to the bone at the site of the injury using special anchors. There is typically also a strong stitch called an ‘internal brace’ that is passed across the joint along the path of the repaired UCL as well. I often refer to this internal brace as a ‘seat belt’ stitch. The idea behind the internal brace is that early in the healing process, before it has re-developed strong attachments to the bone, the ligament is susceptible to reinjury which could cause failure to heal (or compromised strength of healing). The internal brace (theoretically) helps protect the healing ligament and allows for development of a stronger attachment back to the bone. Once healing has occurred, the internal brace is thought to act like ‘rebar’, adding some strength to the ligament (though the exact magnitude of this contribution is unclear).
     


     
    This figure illustrates the repair technique with the blue ‘internal brace’ also in place.
     
    This is different from UCL reconstruction, where tissue from elsewhere in the body (typically either a forearm tendon called palmaris or a hamstring tendon called gracilis) is passed through bone tunnels and used to create a ‘new’ ligament.
     
    One of the reasons for the interest in primary repair of the UCL has to do with the length of time needed for recovery from UCL reconstruction. As many of us know from having watched numerous pitchers undergo (and subsequently return from) Tommy John surgery, there is usually around 12-18 months needed for full return to pitching at the major league level. There are a number of reasons for this long time frame, but a major contributor is that this is the amount of time needed for the graft to fully heal. Recall, we are taking a tendon (which normally attaches muscle to bone) and putting it in the place of a ligament (which normally attaches one bone to another bone). Though tendons and ligaments are similar, there are differences in their microscopic structure. Over time, as the graft starts to heal and have new stresses placed on it (namely throwing), it begins to change its microscopic structure and actually becomes a ligament. In fact, there have been animal studies done that have shown that a biopsy of a sheep ACL graft (which was originally a tendon) over time evolves into what is nearly indistinguishable from a ligament. We call this process ‘ligamentization’, and it is probably the most important part of what allows the new ligament to withstand the stresses of throwing.
     
    This process, however, takes time. And because of this, the recovery from UCL reconstruction is lengthy. With primary repair of the UCL, this process of conversion of the tendon to ligament is not necessary since we are repairing the patient’s own ligament back to its normal position. Some healing is still required; namely the healing of the detached ligament back to the bone where it tore away. But this process does not typically require the same amount of time as the ligamentization process.
     
    So why, then, wouldn’t everyone who needed surgery for this injury just have a primary repair? In practice, there are a few issues that require consideration when choosing what surgery is most suitable for a particular athlete. The first brings us back to the first graph from this post regarding location of injury to the UCL. It turns out that asking an injured ligament to heal back to bone is a much different thing than asking a torn ligament to heal back to itself. Specifically, trying to heal a tear in the midsubstance of the UCL (which requires the two torn edges of the ligament to heal back together) results in a much less strong situation than a ligament healing to bone. That makes those injuries that involve the midsubstance of the UCL (about 12% in our study) not suitable for primary repair. It can only be realistically considered in those athletes who have an injury at one end of the ligament or the other.
     


     
    In addition, there is significant consideration given to the overall condition of the ligament. One can imagine that repairing a nearly pristine ligament that has a single area of injury (one end pulled away from the bone) is a different situation than trying to successfully repair a ligament that has a poorer overall condition. Imagine looking at a piece of rope that is suspending a swing from a tree branch- if the rope is basically brand new, but for some reason breaks at its attachment to the swing, it seems logical that reattaching the rope to the swing securely is likely to result in a well-functioning swing with less cause for concern about repeat failure. Conversely, if you examine the rope in the same situation and notice that it is thin and frayed in a number of places, but just happened to fail at its attachment to the swing, you would be much less likely to try and repair the existing rope. More likely, you would go to the store and buy a new rope to reattach the swing (analogous to reconstruction). Similarly, when we are considering surgical options, we examine the overall health of the ligament on the MRI scan, and also during the surgery to determine whether repair is suitable or whether a reconstruction is needed. If there is a significant amount of damage to the UCL on MRI, primary repair may not be presented to the athlete as an option.
     
    Also, consideration is given to the particulars of an athlete’s situation. For example, let’s say I see a high school junior pitcher who has injured his elbow during the spring season. Let’s also say that he wants to return to pitching for his senior year but has no interest in playing baseball competitively beyond high school. In this case, the athlete is trying to return relatively quickly (the next spring) and is not planning to place long term throwing stress on the UCL beyond the next season. If this athlete fails to improve without surgery (such that all agree a surgery is needed), and his MRI is favorable- he is a good candidate for UCL primary repair. This would hopefully allow him to return in a shorter time frame (6-9 months) for his senior season, which would not be possible if a reconstruction was performed. Indeed, this is the exact type of patient that first underwent this type of surgery by Dr. Jeff Dugas at American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, AL. Dr. Dugas is a protégé of Dr. James Andrews and has been instrumental in pioneering the research behind UCL primary repair.
     
    As you can probably imagine, the longer players (and pitchers in particular) play baseball, the more likely it is that there is an accumulation of damage to the UCL over time. This is the factor that most commonly eliminates the option of primary repair of the UCL in many of these players.
     
    So how does any of this relate to Twins pitcher Rich Hill? Let’s discuss.
     
    Hill underwent UCL reconstruction of his left elbow in 2011. He was able to successfully return from his surgery but has certainly faced his share of injury concerns since then (as described nicely in Lucas Seehafer’s article). This past season he began to have elbow pain once again and was placed on the 60-day IL as a result. He then underwent surgery on the elbow in October 2019 by Dr. Dugas (noted above). The procedure performed was a repair procedure, but in this case instead of repairing Hill’s own UCL, the repair was performed to reattach the previously placed UCL graft. I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of Hill’s surgery, but my best guess is that the technique was very similar to what was described above for a typical primary repair with internal brace. To my knowledge, this has not been attempted before in a major league pitcher.
     
    There is data showing a relatively good return to play rate with primary repair that is very similar to UCL reconstruction. However, most UCL repair patients are much younger than Hill and the vast majority that have been studied to this point are not major league pitchers. There are a couple of ways you can interpret this data when it comes to Hill. One perspective is that he had a repair of a ‘ligament’ (his UCL graft) that was only 8 years old (since his TJ was done in 2011), and as such it likely doesn’t have as much cumulative damage as his UCL might otherwise have if he had not had any prior surgery. An opposing perspective would be that this is his second UCL operation, and even though his most recent surgery was not a reconstruction, the data that would be most applicable to him would be data regarding athletes who have undergone revision UCL reconstruction (meaning they have had a repeat TJ procedure after the UCL failed a second time). This data is less optimistic. Most studies would put the rate of return to play after normal UCL reconstruction around 85% (depending on exactly how you define successful return to play). In most studies, the rate of return to play after revision UCL reconstruction is much lower, around 60-70%. There are two MLB pitchers that I am aware of that have undergone primary repair of the UCL (Seth Maness and Jesse Hahn). Maness has yet to return to MLB and Hahn didn’t fare very well in 6 appearances in 2019.
     
    Finally, my last input on this topic as it pertains to Hill is to imagine the specific position he is/was in. He is likely nearing the end of his career (he turned 40 in March 2020). He had a significant elbow injury that was not getting better without surgery. Presumably his choices were four:
    1) Continue trying to rehab without surgery and see how it goes, understanding that the possibility exists that rehab may not be successful. (Perhaps a PRP injection could be tried)
    2) Retire.
    3) Undergo revision UCL reconstruction with its associated 12-18 month recovery timeline, likely putting him out for all of 2020 with a possible return in 2021 at age 41.
    4) Undergo this relatively new primary repair procedure with the possibility of allowing him to return to play for part of the 2020 season, but with a much less known track record. In fact, a basically completely unknown track record for his specific situation.
     
    If that doesn’t seem like a list filled with great options, it’s because it isn’t. If I’m being honest, I think Hill probably made the best choice (presuming that he still has a desire to play), even with the unknowns regarding his recovery. He obviously couldn’t have seen this virus pandemic coming, but that would seem to make the choice even better since he is not missing any games (because none are being played).
     
    For Hill’s and the Twins sake, I hope his recovery goes smoothly and he is able to return and pitch at the high level he is used to. He sure seems like a warrior and is certainly the kind of person that is easy to root for. But based on what we know about his situation, there is an element of uncertainty. If I were Hill’s surgeon, I likely would have told him that he had around a 50-60% chance to return and pitch meaningful innings after this type of surgery. Let’s hope the coin falls his way, and also that we can figure out how to best handle this virus and get everyone back to their normal way of life as soon and safely as possible.
     
    Thanks for reading. Be safe everyone. Feel free to leave any questions in the comment section.
  20. Like
    glunn reacted to Heezy1323 for a blog entry, UCL Reconstruction Techniques   
    UCL Reconstruction Surgery
    Heezy1323
     
     
    I recently posted a blog about Chris Sale and the news that he was set to undergo UCL reconstruction. That post covered some questions surrounding the diagnosis and decision-making that occurs when players/teams are faced with this dilemma. That post got a little lengthy, and I chose not to delve into the surgery itself, as I felt that may be better presented as a separate entry. My intention with this post is to discuss some of the different techniques that are used to perform UCL reconstruction. This does get fairly technical, and I apologize in advance if it is more than people would like to know.
     
    First, we should revisit the anatomy. The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is a small but strong ligament on the medial (or inner) part of the elbow. It is around the size of a small paper clip. Ligaments (by definition) connect one bone to an adjacent bone. The UCL spans from the medial epicondyle of the humerus (the bump you can likely feel on the inside of your elbow) to the sublime tubercle of the ulna (one of the two forearm bones). (As an aside, sublime tubercle is one of my favorite terms in all of anatomy).
     




     
    As with nearly any reconstructive surgery in orthopedics, our aim is to recreate the native/normal anatomy as closely as possible. In order to do this, most techniques utilize small tunnels that are drilled into the bone at the ligament attachment sites. The tissue that is used to reconstruct the ligament is then woven through these tunnels and tightened to create a secure new ‘ligament’ that heals and strengthens over time.
     
    The primary differences between different techniques are the ‘approach’ (or how tissues are moved aside to see the damaged areas), the specifics of how the tunnels are made and used, the type of tissue (or graft) that is used to make the new ligament, and the way that the graft is secured in place. There are a number of variations that exist, but I’ll cover a few of the most commonly used methods.
     
    First, some history may be in order. The first UCL reconstruction was, famously, performed on Tommy John. Tommy John was an outstanding pitcher for the LA Dodgers in the early 1970’s, and had compiled a 13-3 record in 1974 when he had a sudden injury to his elbow and was unable to throw. Imaging was performed, and the diagnosis of a UCL tear was made by pioneering orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Frank Jobe (of the famous Kerlan Jobe clinic in LA). Dr. Jobe had an idea to perform a reconstruction of the UCL, and practiced on several cadavers until he felt he had worked out a promising technique. He told Tommy that he thought he had a 1 in 100 chance of a successful return to MLB pitching. John decided to go ahead. The surgery was ultimately successful, and John returned to pitching in 1976. Though Tommy made it back, he did have a temporary palsy of his ulnar nerve after surgery, which is the ‘funny bone’ nerve that is near the UCL. This caused him significant weakness in his hand at first, but fortunately the strength returned over time and Tommy was able to return to pitching. Interestingly, he won more MLB games after surgery than he did before surgery, and pitched until 1989. There is a story that Jose Canseco hit a homer off John late in his career. Apparently Canseco’s father was Tommy’s dentist, and Tommy said something to the effect of “When your dentist’s kid starts hitting home runs off you, it’s time to retire.”
     
    The technique used for this first surgery was termed the Jobe Technique (for obvious reasons). It involved removing the attachment of the muscles to the inner part of the elbow and pulling the muscles toward the wrist to get a good look at the UCL itself. Tunnels were drilled in the bone at the normal attachment sites of the ligament, and a small tendon from the forearm (called the palmaris) was used to weave through the tunnels making a ‘figure-8’ in order to make a new ligament. (The palmaris is a non-necessary tendon that is located in the forearm of about 2/3 of the population. For those patients who don’t have a palmaris, we usually use a hamstring tendon called the gracilis for this procedure.) The old ligament was left in place and sewed into the graft. The nerve was also moved from its normal location (behind the bump) to in front of the bump to take some of the tension off. This is called a ‘transposition’ of the ulnar nerve.
     


     
    This technique was used for a while, but it did have some drawbacks, such as a high percentage of patients having ulnar nerve problems after surgery and some weakness resulting from detaching and reattaching the muscles of the forearm. Because of this, other surgeons sought new ways to perform this surgery.
     
    One commonly used technique was termed the ASMI-modification of the Jobe Technique. ASMI stand for American Sports Medicine Institute (in Birmingham, AL) and this modification was initially described by Dr. James Andrews and colleagues. This involved similar bone tunnels, but the main difference was in the way that the muscles were treated. Rather than detaching the muscle and reattaching at the end of the surgery, in the ASMI technique the muscle was lifted up (and not detached) and the work was done underneath the muscle. The ulnar nerve is transposed when this technique is used (like the Jobe technique). The passing and fixation of the graft is essentially identical to the Jobe Technique as well.
     


     
    Another commonly used technique is called the ‘docking method’. There are a couple of main differences between the docking method and ASMI method. First, the docking method utilizes a ‘muscle-splitting’ approach rather than a ‘muscle-lifting’ approach like the AMSI technique (see figure). This means that the muscle is divided between its fibers and a ‘window’ is created in the muscle in order to see the torn UCL and make the tunnels. There is also a difference in the way the tunnels are made. In the ASMI technique, the tunnels are the same size all the way through, and the graft tissue is passed all the way through the tunnels. In the docking technique, the tunnel on the ulna side is the same. But on the humeral side, the tunnels are sort-of half tunnels with smaller tunnels continuing on through the back side of the bone. This is because the graft is fixed in a different way- there are strong stitches that are attached to the ends of the graft that pull each end into the large tunnels. The stitches then pass through the small portion of the tunnels and are tied behind the bone, which secures the graft in place.
     


     
    This technique does not require transposition of the ulnar nerve, which is an advantage because less handling of the nerve generally means less risk of trouble with the nerve after surgery.
     
    There are a handful of other techniques that are slight variations on these themes, primarily using different devices such as anchors, interference screws or metal buttons to achieve graft fixation. There have been a number of cadaver biomechanical studies done that have compared methods, and they have been found to be largely equivalent. There seems to be a smaller incidence of ulnar nerve symptoms after surgery when the nerve is not handled/transposed (which makes some sense). The return to play rates are very similar regardless of which technique is used, with perhaps a slight favor to docking technique depending on the study.
     
    I trained with Dr. Andrews, and performed nearly 100 UCL reconstruction cases during my fellowship using the ASMI technique. In my own practice, I tend to use the docking technique most commonly. I do this because I would prefer not to transpose the nerve if I don’t have to in order to decrease the likelihood of nerve problems after surgery. We also saw some problems with fracture of the bone near the humeral tunnels when using the ASMI technique, and using the docking technique allows us to make smaller tunnels. This makes fracture in this area less likely. That said, Dr. Andrews has had (and continues to have) tremendous success using this technique. As we have learned more about this type of surgery, it has become clear that it is important that the bone tunnels be made very accurately, as improperly placed tunnels seem to be a risk factor for inability to return to full participation. There has also been some investigation as to whether addition of PRP or other biologics to the reconstruction area at the time of surgery makes a difference in healing speed or strength. At this time, I am not aware that any research has shown a difference.
     
    If anyone has managed to make it this far without falling asleep, I hope you found this discussion interesting. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have additional questions. Thanks for reading. Safe wishes to you and your families.
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    glunn reacted to scottz for a blog entry, Remaining Free Agents (and why they won't sign here)   
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    Ricky Nolasco SP 37
    Logan Kensing RP 37
    Dylan Axelrod RP 34
    Johnny Giavotella 2B 32
    Duane Below RP 34
    J.C. can C 40
    Chris Withrow RP 31
    Nick Franklin LF 29
    Rafael Lopez C 32
    George Kontos RP 35
    Seth Maness RP 31
    Alcides Escobar SS 33
    Grant Green LF 32
    Neftali Feliz RP 32
    J.J. Hoover RP 32
    Wilin Rosario 1B 31
    Chris Hatcher RP 35
    Dan Runzler RP 35
    Collin Balester RP 34
    Brandon Beachy SP 33
    Brandon Hicks 2B 34
    Henderson Alvarez SP 30
    Juan Jaime RP 32
    Alex Torres RP 32
    Robbie Ross RP 31
    Drew Hutchison SP 29
    Zach McAllister RP 32
    Cole Gillespie LF 36
    Stolmy Pimentel RP 30
    Michael Martinez 2B 37
    Dioner Navarro C 36
    Logan Ondrusek RP 35
    Stephen Pryor RP 30
    Fernando Rodriguez RP 36
    Ezequiel Carrera LF 33
    Wilkin Ramirez LF 34
    Emilio Bonifacio CF 35
    Mark Rogers RP 34
    B.J. Rosenberg RP 34
    Justin Sellers SS 34
    Moises Sierra RF 31
    Scott Van Slyke LF 33
    Josh Zeid RP 33
    Zach Putnam RP 32
    Shelby Miller SP 29
    David Lough RF 34
    Brad Boxberger RP 32
    Hector Sanchez C 30
  22. Like
    glunn reacted to TwinsFan268 for a blog entry, Are Homer Bailey and Rich Hill Really A Good Idea?   
    The Twins went into this offseason looking for impact pitching. They'd had a phenomenal offensive season, hitting 307 home runs, but their pitching wasn't so awesome. They were also entering the offseason with a rotation that consisted of Jose Berrios. They quickly extended a qualifying offer to Jake Odorizzi, and he accepted. Then, they resigned Michael Pineda to a 2 year contract. Fans said that the rotation looked "too much like last year" but I didn't think about that. I would think about how they really needed two more pitchers. You can't have a rotation that consists of three people, and especially not 2 people for the first 39 games of the season. (Of course, we did know that they would use Randy Dobnak, or Devin Smeltzer, or Lewis Thorpe in this spot.) So finally, on Tuesday, they signed Homer Bailey and Rich Hill. (ha ha, a pitcher named Homer?) When I was reading Twitter comments on their posts about signing them, a lot of them said things like this is a great signing-from Indians fans and I thought you wanted to keep up with the White Sox. One of the worst things about this signing is that Hill is injured until JUNE! So, in addition to Dobnak, Smeltzer, or Thorpe being used in Pineda's spot, they're going to need one of them to fill Hill's spot. (Now is the part where you should be saying "Oh, God, this was a really bad signing") I will give you the even worse part of it: Hill will be 40 the next time he comes to pitch. Nelson Cruz will also be 40 next season, but he's a designated hitter, not a pitcher! (Now you say "Why the heck did they do this?") And, both their contracts are for only 1 year, so when the Twins enter next offseason, they'll practically be back at square one with Odorizzi also set to enter free agency. Could they have made a worse signing?
     
    Also here's a secret: Homer Bailey looks terrifying and old and like he needs to smile more.
  23. Like
    glunn reacted to Matthew Taylor for a blog entry, How the Twins Can Sign the Next Justin Verlander   
    For the first time in a long time the Minnesota Twins are entering the offseason in a prime position to sign top of the market starting pitchers. While Twins fans are (understandably) fantasizing about the prospect of signing Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg, I’m here to discuss another free agent starting pitcher who I believe would be more likely to come to Minnesota, would cost significantly less, and could be the next Justin Verlander...Madison Bumgarner.
     
    When looking at the peripheral career trajectories of Bumgarner and Verlander, the similarities between the two are undeniable - starting pitchers in their 30s who debuted at a young age and are both multi-year all stars with playoff experience. Verlander was 34 years old with 12 years of big league experience when he was traded to the Astros while MadBum is 30 years old with 10 years of big league experience as he enters free agency. The Verlander acquisition obviously worked out wondrously for the Astros, so in this article I’ll be digging deeper into the careers of these two pitchers to find out if there could be some Verlander-type upside with the Twins signing Madison Bumgarner this offseason.
     


     
    Years 1-10
     
    The first thing I wanted to look at when comparing these two star pitchers was where Verlander was at in his career through his first ten full seasons in the MLB, as Bumgarner just finished his tenth full season. If these numbers showed that Verlander was a drastically better pitcher than Bumgarner, then this whole exercise would be moot, but as you can see in the chart above, this is not the case. The numbers actually show that through their first 10 full seasons, Bumgarner has been the better pitcher, according to ERA, FIP and K/9. That this is the case allows us to further dig into this comparison and see if we can continue to project Verlander’s career arc onto Bumgarner.
     


     
    Years 8-10
     
    The next thing that we should look at when comparing Verlander and Bumgarner was their performance in years 8-10 of their careers. At the time of the trade deadline when Twins fans were discussing the prospect of trading for MadBum, the criticism that I heard from many was that Bumgarner is no longer the pitcher that he used to be and that he has now settled into a new phase of his career. While Bumgarner has experienced a dip in his numbers the past three years, the drop is smaller than what most folks made it out to be, and is a very similar drop to Verlander’s in his years 8-10.
     


     
    Years 11-14
     
    Since the past stats for Verlander and Bumgarner that we analyzed seem to follow a similar trajectory, it’s worth giving a look at how Verlander performed in his years 11-14 to get an idea of what the next three years of Bumgarner could look like if everything breaks right, like they did with Justin. As you can see above, Verlander improved in every way in years 11-14 of his career, dropping his ERA a full run and raising his K/9 a full three strikeouts from the previous three seasons.
     
    What changed for Verlander to cause his numbers to improve so much, so late in his career? Changing teams.
     
    Half way through 2017, Verlander was traded to the Houston Astros, an organization that values numbers and analytics and has shown time and time again it’s ability to work with pitchers and get the very most out of their talent. The new regime of the Twins front office has acted in a very similar way, putting a huge priority into analytics and talent development. While the sample size with Wes Johnson as pitching coach has only been one season, I definitely think it’s reasonable to assume that Johnson could have an impact on Bumgarner similar to the impact that Houston’s organization and pitching coach, Brent Strom, had on Verlander.
     
    Justin Verlander is a future hall-of-fame pitcher that the Astros acquired in spite of him having some down years through the middle of his career. They saw his track record and believed that they could get him back to the Cy Young pitcher that he once was. I truly believe that the Minnesota Twins could do a similar job in using their player development and infrastructure to turn Madison Bumgarner back into a star and earn him another World Series MVP honor. This time in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
  24. Like
    glunn reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, What New York has to say   
    I wondered how the New York Press would describe game 2 - here are some key quotes - and I cannot disagree with any of them:
     
    "Dobnak’s short outing was fairly predictable. A recent Uber driver against this lineup? Rather optimistic of the Twins. The last Twins rookie to start a game in the postseason was Brian Duensing at Yankee Stadium in 2009. Duensing gave up five runs in four and two-thirds innings and his father was hit by a car outside the stadium (he was O.K.)."
     
    "The Yankees did not homer off Dobnak, but they wore him down with hard-hit singles and doubles. Twins Manager Rocco Baldelli hooked Dobnak after the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning and turned to Tyler Duffey, a reliable reliever during the regular season. But Duffey was no better against the Yankees’ buzz-saw of a lineup, which began to pile on the runs."
     
    "The best-of-five series will shift to Minneapolis on Monday, with the Yankees one win away from clinching a berth in the A.L. Championship Series. And if the Twins cannot neutralize even the Yankees’ struggling hitters, they have little hope of extending their postseason."
     
    If you wonder what they wrote after game one - "Yankees fans, spoiled by 27 World Series trophies, might be frustrated by their team’s decade-long drought without adding another title. But consider the plight of Minnesota Twins fans when they learned of their team’s first-round postseason opponent.
    The Twins, who last won a World Series in 1991, have been eliminated in five of their six previous recent playoff appearances — in 2003, ’04, ’09, ’10 and ’17 — by the Yankees. In 15 postseason games between the two teams before this year, the Twins had won only twice — the first games of the American League division series in 2003 and 2004."
     
    "Interspersed between the blasts and runs, the dawdling game, which lasted 4 hours 15 minutes, featured 11 total relievers as both managers tried to navigate through the other’s potent lineup."
     
    I have nothing to add - let's just start by ending this losing streak! A moral victory is at least a victory.
  25. Like
    glunn reacted to mikelink45 for a blog entry, Harmon Killebrew - our classic home run hitter   
    I could not resist putting up this Home Run Derby between Harmon Killebrew and Rocky Colavito. In this contest the two who had tied for the HR championship of the AL faced off.
     
    It is preceded by Harmon taking the crown from Mickey Mantle -
     
    And followed by a contest Harmon lost to Ken Boyer - a third baseman who belongs in the
    Ken did not last long - his next challenge was Hank Aaron who took over the program.  
    It is so amazing to see these greats playing for $2000 - chump change today.
     
    It is also fun to see Harmon, pre-Twins days in his Senator's uniform.
     
    These are great players without the science of today. I love watching them.
     
    Nostalgia - enjoy.
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