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  1. Earlier this offseason the Minnesota Twins started to reconstruct their bullpen. Losing Trevor May was always going to be a big blow, and there hasn’t been much in the form of names yet, but it’s a process the front office has earned trust in. A pair of big-name free agents with Minnesota ties have already come off the board but deals for either Liam Hendriks or Brad Hand always seemed far-fetched for the Twins. It’s not that they don’t have the money to spend, or need in relief, but nothing about either of those players fits the process of what this organization has done of late. Hendriks got $54 million from the White Sox over three years, while Hand got $10.5 million from the Washington Nationals. The last time Minnesota paid big on a reliever was Addison Reed, and it went up in smoke. It would be silly to suggest that every reliever be viewed through the same lens as the failed Reed deal, but more realistically there’s the reality of what Minnesota has done with less. Look at some of the names from recent seasons, and the ERA’s posted by players on deals all at $2.75 million or less. It’s not that the Twins purposely set out to be bargain shoppers, but instead identify outliers very well and get the most out of castoffs from elsewhere. This season Ian Gibault and Brandon Waddell were both claimed off of waivers at the end of October. They each claim a current 40-man spot and feature a slider. It’s a pitch that Wes Johnson and the coaching staff has targeted for some time, and it’s sensible to believe both are currently penciled into the bullpen. Hansel Robles is the lone larger expense thus far, and the former Angels closer was inked to a one-year deal paying him just $2 million. There’s probably at least one more spot open, and you can bet that Minnesota has a type rather than a name in mind. From my vantage point Trevor Rosenthal looks like the best option remaining, and I loved the fit last year as he returned from injury. He’s going to come with a price tag near the upper levels of single digits however, so that may not be the way they go. There should be a solid grouping of guys like Tyler Clippard and Alex Colome left at the end however, and those pacts should fall within the same range as the Colome deal. Dating back to 2015 Major League Baseball has shifted a pitching philosophy to a construction of an elite bullpen. How teams get there or create that though, are all made differently. The reality is that often times the mega deals for relievers go up in smoke (hello Wade Davis), and understanding how to best utilize what’s in front of you is the easiest path to success. There’s no denying that a group including Hand or Hendriks has a safer floor on paper, but it all comes down to execution. On their own the Twins organization has turned Tyler Duffey into one of the best relievers in baseball. Taylor Rogers has looked the part of a lock down piece, and it was his recent seasons in the pen that got Trevor May paid. Edwar Colina could join this group, and Jorge Alcala has already flashed that promise. Sure, Minnesota hasn’t made any big splashes for their bullpen, but it’s probably more about what’s going on behind the scenes and the execution of who the tab, rather than the exciting names, that get the job done. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  2. Aaron and John talk about the Twins signing Hansel Robles, the remaining free agent reliever market and how high they should be shooting, Luis Arraez trade speculation, Terry Ryan's promotion in Philadelphia, and the wisdom of long-term deals. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. To Listen, Click Here Click here to view the article
  3. Brad Hand, LHP, 29-years-old Cleveland Indians (38-34, 2nd in AL Central) Under team control through 2020, with a team option in 2021. 2019: 0.88 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 13.5 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 in 30.2 IP 2018: 2.28 ERA, 1.157 WHIP, 13.3 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 in 27.2 IP What’s to Like? Everybody loves left-handed pitching coming out of their bullpen. Brad Hand is not just a left-handed specialist, he’s tough on both right and left-hand batters. Lefties are hitting .115 off him while righties are only hitting slightly better at .154. Hand reminds me of Taylor Rogers, he’s a left-handed reliever who can be brought in whenever you need outs. Hand is tied the AL lead in saves (20), is the AL leader in FanGraphs’ WAR (1.4) for relievers, is a perfect 20/20 on saves this season, and 2nd in ERA (0.88) for AL relievers. According to Statcast, Hand has an average spin rate of 2,529 RPMs on his four-seam fastball, which is about the same as former Twin Ryan Pressly, and good for about 12th best in the league. Pressly left Minnesota, increased his spin rate and has been very good for the Houston Astros since. A higher spin rate means hitters will have a harder time hitting a fastball as it will have more “life” to it. Hand also was born in Minneapolis and drafted out of Chaska High School, so it would be a nice homecoming. Concerns The largest concern with landing Hand would be the sheer cost to obtain him. With Hand being on a Cleveland Indians team that is not in rebuild mode, the Twins would have to give up more than one top prospect. Add to that fact that Hand is still under team control through 2021, and you have one of the most expensive targets the Twins could consider. Another concern with Hand would be the number of innings he’s pitched over the last four seasons. Since 2016 Hand has logged 271.1 innings pitched. While he’s not old by any means, there is always concern that a reliever will fall apart with too much use. With Hand being a starter early in his career though, this might not be much of an issue. See Also Oliver Perez, LHP Cleveland Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds John Gant, RHP, Cardinals Alex Colome, RHP, White Sox Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets Greg Holland, RHP, Diamondbacks Sean Doolittle, LHP, Nationals Kirby Yates, RHP, Padres 10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target
  4. Taylor Rogers is currently the only left-handed pitcher in the Minnesota Twins bullpen. With the coaching staff embracing analytics and matchups, the team would love to add another southpaw to come out of the pen in any given situation. They could add that lefty arm while also taking something away from division rival Cleveland Indians if they make a play for reliever Brad Hand.Brad Hand, LHP, 29-years-old Cleveland Indians (38-34, 2nd in AL Central) Under team control through 2020, with a team option in 2021. 2019: 0.88 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 13.5 K/9, 2.3 BB/9 in 30.2 IP 2018: 2.28 ERA, 1.157 WHIP, 13.3 K/9, 4.2 BB/9 in 27.2 IP What’s to Like? Everybody loves left-handed pitching coming out of their bullpen. Brad Hand is not just a left-handed specialist, he’s tough on both right and left-hand batters. Lefties are hitting .115 off him while righties are only hitting slightly better at .154. Hand reminds me of Taylor Rogers, he’s a left-handed reliever who can be brought in whenever you need outs. Hand is tied the AL lead in saves (20), is the AL leader in FanGraphs’ WAR (1.4) for relievers, is a perfect 20/20 on saves this season, and 2nd in ERA (0.88) for AL relievers. According to Statcast, Hand has an average spin rate of 2,529 RPMs on his four-seam fastball, which is about the same as former Twin Ryan Pressly, and good for about 12th best in the league. Pressly left Minnesota, increased his spin rate and has been very good for the Houston Astros since. A higher spin rate means hitters will have a harder time hitting a fastball as it will have more “life” to it. Hand also was born in Minneapolis and drafted out of Chaska High School, so it would be a nice homecoming. Concerns The largest concern with landing Hand would be the sheer cost to obtain him. With Hand being on a Cleveland Indians team that is not in rebuild mode, the Twins would have to give up more than one top prospect. Add to that fact that Hand is still under team control through 2021, and you have one of the most expensive targets the Twins could consider. Another concern with Hand would be the number of innings he’s pitched over the last four seasons. Since 2016 Hand has logged 271.1 innings pitched. While he’s not old by any means, there is always concern that a reliever will fall apart with too much use. With Hand being a starter early in his career though, this might not be much of an issue. See Also Oliver Perez, LHP Cleveland Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds John Gant, RHP, Cardinals Alex Colome, RHP, White Sox Seth Lugo, RHP, Mets Greg Holland, RHP, Diamondbacks Sean Doolittle, LHP, Nationals Kirby Yates, RHP, Padres 10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target Click here to view the article
  5. LHP Jake Diekman, Kansas City 2019 Stats: 4.10 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 39 K, 26.1 IP Diekman’s 13.3 K/9 rate seems made for the post-season and some of his other peripheral numbers look better than his high ERA and WHIP. He has a $5.75 million club option for 2020, so he wouldn’t have to be a rental player. He also seems to be healthy after dealing with ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease of the colon. Since Diekman is on an AL Central squad, it could be tough to swing a deal. Does Minnesota want to send prospect that they could end up facing multiple times a season? RHP Ken Giles, Toronto 2019 Stats: 1.08 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 42 K, 25.0 IP Giles has been closing games for Houston and Philadelphia for the last five seasons and he might be amid the best season of his career. He entered the year with a career mark of 11.9 K/9 and he has exploded to 15.1 K/9 this season. Giles has one more year of arbitration as he signed this year for $6.3 million. Back in 2017, he struggled with the Astros on the way to the World Series title. This still doesn’t mean he can’t help a team win in 2019. RHP Mychal Givens, Baltimore 2019 Stats: 5.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 37 K, 27.0 IP Givens might not have the eye-popping numbers of some of the other names on this list but that doesn’t mean he should be ignored. His 12.3 K/9 total is a career high. Over the last three seasons, he has posted a 3.29 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP with 10.3 K/9. This season, he has struggled with the long ball as he has surrendered six home runs in 23 appearances. He is still arbitration eligible and the earliest he can be a free agent is 2022. RHP Shane Greene, Detroit 2019 Stats: 1.04 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 28 K, 26.0 IP Minnesota got a close-up look at Greene this weekend and has an AL leading 19 saves. He’s putting up career numbers, which might seem like a surprise when looking at the last three seasons. Since switching to the bullpen full-time in 2016, he has a 4.47 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP and 9.3 K/9. He will still be arbitration eligible in 2020 as he signed this season for $4 million. He’s a member of another AL Central foe, so Minnesota might look to other options. LHP Brad Hand, Cleveland 2019 Stats: 0.98 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 40 K, 27.2 IP Some of the names on this list would be rental players, but Hand doesn’t fit into that category. He is signed through 2020 with a club option for 2021. This will make him very intriguing to contending clubs. Minnesota needs another lefty to go with Taylor Rogers in the bullpen and Hand could fit that mold. Over the last three seasons, he’s posted a 2.62 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP with a 12.0 K/9. Since he’s with Cleveland, Minnesota might not want to make an in-division trade and Cleveland’s asking price could be high. RHP Greg Holland, Arizona 2019 Stats: 1.31 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 28 K, 20.2 IP Holland is a familiar name to Twins fans as he was Kansas City’s closer for the first half of this decade. Tommy John surgery cost him the 2016 season and this year might be the first time he is back to his pre-surgery form. His 12.2 K/9 rate is his highest total since 2014. He has playoff experience as part of Kansas City’s trip to the 2014 World Series and he pitched in the 2017 NL Wild Card Game with Colorado. He’s a free agent at season’s end, so he could be a cheaper option than some of the other names on this list. RHP Sergio Romo, Miami 2019 Stats: 5.48 ERA, 1.43 ERA, 21 K, 23.0 IP Romo has the most playoff experience of anyone on this list. He was part of three World Series titles in San Francisco and has pitched in 27 playoff games. From 2016-2018, he posted a 3.63 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP and 9.8 K/9. Romo signed a cheap one-year, $2.5 million contract with Miami this off-season so there would be very little financial commitment to him. He also wouldn’t cost a lot to acquire. However, his decreased strikeout rate from 10.0 K/9 to 8.2 K/9 is concerning. LHP Will Smith, San Francisco 2019 Stats: 2.19 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 35 K, 24.2 IP Smith is in his second season back from Tommy John surgery and his performance seems to have seen few ill-effects. Over the last two seasons, he has posted a 2.43 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP with a 12.3 K/9. Even though he’s left-handed, Smith has been successful against righties and lefties as he has held righties to a .487 OPS and lefties to a .399 OPS. Smith will be a free agent this winter so it will be interesting to see what kind of deal the Giants will be able to get for him. LHP Felipe Vazquez, Pittsburgh 2019 Stats: 2.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 43 K, 27.1 IP Vazquez might come with one of the highest asking prices on this list. He is potentially under team control through 2023. This means, Pittsburgh would need to be overwhelmed in any kind of offer for their left-handed closer. He took over as the Pirates full-time closer in 2017. During that stretch, he has compiled a 2.19 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and a 11.5 K/9. Minnesota has some depth in their system, but it seems unlikely for them to deal an elite prospect. LHP Tony Watson, San Francisco 2019 Stats: 2.55 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 21 K, 24.2 IP Watson might be a name that is a little more unfamiliar to Twins fans. He’s pitched his entire career in the NL for the Pirates, Dodgers, and Giants. As a lefty, Watson is more than just a LOOGY. He has averaged over 70 innings pitched from 2013-2018 and he posted a career high 9.8 K/9 last season. His strikeout numbers have dipped a little this season (7.7 K/9) so that might be a cause for concern. Watson has a $2.5 million player option for 2020 or he could test the free agent waters. Who do you think the Twins should target? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  6. The National League team I root for is the San Diego Padres, so it hurt even more when the Cleveland Indians traded catching prospect Franciso Mejia to San Diego for All Star closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber to bolster their most glaring weakness headed into the “second half” of the season. Remember, Cleveland was the team that didn’t think Matt Belisle was fit to stay in their reliever corps. Why the Twins made a move for Belisle is beyond me, but we’re already getting off topic. Hand was the subject of many trade rumors last July, and after the season had ended. The Padres apparently waited for the right opportunity and got a very good prospect from the Indians’ minor league system. Getting a pitcher of Cimber’s caliber is just the icing on top for Cleveland, still missing Cody Allan, Josh Tomlin, and Andrew Miller from their bullpen as they deal with injuries. Dan and I were not large proponents of the Twins selling this trade deadline on the last two Supershows, mentioning Brian Dozier as the one player we’d be okay with leaving to get a chance to win on a contender. With a bolstered bullpen, and an offense slowly waking up from a first-half slumber, the Indians may make another improbable run and find themselves twenty games ahead of Minnesota and Detroit if their production stays consistent, and their players stay healthy. People were quick to point out Brad Hand as the best piece in the trade, but Adam Cimber is actually having a slightly better season than Minnesota’s own, though not by much: Cimber – 48.1 IP, 3.17 ERA, 10 BB, 51 SO, 2.32 FIP, and a 1.076 WHIP Hand – 44.1 IP, 3.05 ERA, 15 BB, 65 SO, 3.17 FIP, and a 1.083 WHIP Cimber also owns a .4 WAR in 2018, to Hand’s -0.1. Not much is separating these two pitchers, and their numbers are far and away better than just about anything Cleveland trotted out before the All Star Break. Twins fans should be worried about the arrival of Hand and Cimber to Cleveland, but is it a forgone conclusion that the Tribe will run away with the AL Central? Should Cleveland fans be gearing up for a ticker tape parade come October? I’m not so sure. Here’s what Cleveland did in the win/loss column for the first 95 games of their season: 28-13 vs. AL Central 24-30 vs. rest of league As much as I’ll hold out hope that the Twins make one of the most impressive runs in August and September, I will concede that it doesn’t look great for the Twin Cities Twins. However, winning the division isn’t everything. Here’s how Cleveland stacks up against their potential playoff partners: 2-5 vs. NYY 2-5 vs. SEA 3-4 vs. HOU 7 games remaining against BOS With 67 games remaining in their schedule, Cleveland will get DET (6 total / 3 @ home) KC (10 total / 3 @ home) MIN (10 total / 7 @ home) and CHW (9 total / 3 @ home). 35 of Cleveland’s remaining games are vs. AL Central opponents. 19 at home vs. 16 on the road. The Indians’ front office is hoping that Hand and Cimber bolster bullpen, that the rest of the team stays healthy, and that they win more on road; especially against non-AL Central opponents. The Indians would have the 3rd best record in the AL East and the 4th best in the AL West. Yikes. Let’s break down what Cleveland’s AL Central record looks like: KC 4-2 (H) 3-0 (A) DET 4-0 (H) 3-3 (A) MIN 2-1 (H) 2-4 (A) CHW 6-0 (H) 2-2 (A) That’s a record of 16-3 at home vs. 10-9 away against AL Central opponents. Clearly the Indians are better at home than on the road, and if not for the Twins taking 4 of 6 from them at Target Field, the ratio would look a lot better. It’s hard for me to sit down and look at Cleveland’s roster and point and scream that they’ll have a chance at making it out of the ALDS, let alone winning the ALCS or the World Series. They’re a good team being floated by a bad division, something Twins fans are all too familiar with. Even with Corey Kluber, Francisco Lindor, and the newly acquired Brad Hand; Cleveland will still have a tall task ahead of them once/if they make it out of the AL Central. The Indians do not have winning records against New York, Seattle, and Houston during the regular season; and I can’t see Boston losing more than they win in their upcoming 7 games. Stranger things have happened in baseball, but the path to the World Series in the AL Central will almost be impossible to navigate in 2018. - Panda Pete (Originally posted on TwinsAndLosses.com)
  7. March 18, 1977 Twins Sign Zahn The Twins sign free agent pitcher Geoff Zahn. The lefty, who had won a total of six games during his first four years in the majors, recorded double-digit wins in each of his four seasons in Minnesota, going 53-53 from 1977 to 1980. Zahn earned a complete game 8-1 victory over the Angels in the Home Opener at Met Stadium on April 22, 1980. Hosken Powell, Ron Jackson, and Roy Smalley each homered, but the most noteworthy thing about this game is that it was a balmy 89 degrees at first pitch! That fun meteorological fact is courtesy of Halsey Hall SABR member John Swol‘s great site TwinsTrivia.com. Zahn one-hit Toronto at Met Stadium on June 6, 1980, with John Mayberry singling in the seventh for the Blue Jays’ only hit. March 18 Happy 41st Birthday, Fernando Rodney It’s the birthday of three-time All-Star and new Twins closer Fernando Rodney, born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1977. The 15-year veteran has held Twins hitters to a .214 average in 57 games. In nine appearances at Target Field, Twins hitters have gone 1-for-22 with three walks and seven strikeouts against Rodney. He has only given up three home runs to Twins hitters: Justin Morneau (9/25/03 and 5/11/07), and Joe Mauer (4/28/07). Former Red Sox DH David Ortiz is the only other player with two homers off Rodney. It is also, incidentally, the birthday of Corky Miller, born in Yucaipa, CA in 1976. The catcher went 0-for-12 in five games with the Twins in 2005. He played 216 major league games over parts of 11 seasons overall. March 19 Nothing Happened Today Nothing happened today, unless you count the births of Paul Powell in San Angelo, TX in 1948, and Tim Corcoran in Glendale, CA in 1953. The two hit a combined .171 in 42 total games with the Twins. Powell went 5-for-31 as a rookie in 1971. Corcoran, who played parts of nine seasons in the majors, went 9-for-51 for the Twins in 1981. March 20 Happy 28th Birthday, Brad Hand It’s the birthday of 2008 Chaska High School graduate and 2017 National League All-Star Brad Hand. His senior season at Chaska the 6-foot-3 lefty went 8-2 with two saves, allowing only six earned runs in 68 innings for a 0.61 ERA. At the plate he hit .352 with eight home runs and 24 RBI. That summer he was drafted in the second round (52nd overall) by the Florida Marlins. Hand made his major league debut on June 27, 2011 at age 21 in Miami versus Atlanta. He walked the first big league batter he faced, Jordan Schafer, who would play for the Twins in 2014 and ‘15. The second batter he faced was Adrian Gonzalez, who struck out swinging. Hand would allow only one hit over six innings. That one hit, however, was a solo home run by Adrian Gonzalez leading off the fourth in an eventual 1-0 Atlanta win. Hand’s first major league win came in his fifth start, on July 7 at home versus Houston as he held the Astros scoreless on two hits and three walks over seven innings in a 5-0 victory. Hand only pitched in one game in 2012, giving up seven runs on six hits and six walks in the first 3 ⅔ innings of a doubleheader in Washington on August 3. He appeared in only seven games in 2013. He pitched in a combined 70 games between 2014 and ’15 with mediocre results. Then, during the first week of the 2016 season, Hand was claimed off waivers by the Padres. That season he led the majors with 82 appearances, posting a 2.92 ERA and 1.108 WHIP. How cool is that? How do you think he introduced himself to people that winter? “Hi, I’m Brad. I pitched in more major league baseball games last season than anyone else.” He was even better in 2017, posting a 2.16 ERA, 0.933 WHIP, earning 21 saves, and making his first All-Star team. As a batter, Hand has five major league hits, all with the Marlins, including hits off All-Stars Johnny Cueto and Stephen Strasburg. I’m sure he’d want me to mention that he did hit three home runs as a minor leaguer. March 21 Happy 53rd Birthday, Tim McIntosh It’s the birthday of 1983 Hopkins High School graduate and University of Minnesotaalumnus Tim McIntosh. After three seasons with the Gophers, McIntosh was taken by the Brewers in the third round of the 1986 draft. McIntosh made his major league debut in Milwaukee in a game versus the Minnesota Twins on September 3, 1990 at age 25, going 0-for-3 as Mark Guthrie hurled a shutout. Fellow Minnesotan Paul Molitor went 0-for-4 in the game. On September 28, with the Yankees leading the Brewers 6-1, McIntosh entered the game in the seventh as a defensive replacement for catcher B.J. Surhoff. McIntosh led off the bottom of the eighth, and hit a home run for his first major league hit, and his only hit in five games during the 1990 season. He was a September call-up in 1991, going 4-for-9 with a home run in his first two games. He played only as a defensive replacement, however, in five subsequent games, making only two plate appearances. McIntosh, in fact, only started 25 of the 71 major league games he played in, and 20 of those starts came in 1992 when he played in a total of 35 games, collecting 14 of his 21 career hits while batting .182. McIntosh appeared in one game as a late-inning defensive replacement for Milwaukee in 1993 before being claimed off waivers by the Montreal Expos on April 14. He played in 20 games for the Expos, collecting two hits and zero walks in 21 plate appearances for an .095 batting average. He became a free agent after the season and was signed by the Minnesota Twins. He spent the 1994 season with Triple-A Salt Lake, hitting .338 with 18 home runs. After the 1994 season, his contract was purchased by the Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan where he hit just .220. In February 1996, McIntosh signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees. He played in three games for the big league club that season. He appeared in his final major league game on June 12, 1996 at age 31, entering in the ninth as a defensive replacement at third in a 7-4 Yankee loss in Toronto. March 21 Happy 40th Birthday, Cristian Guzmán It’s the birthday of former Twins shortstop Cristian Guzmán, born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1978. The Twins acquired Guzman along with Eric Milton, Brian Buchanan, Danny Mota and $3 million of George Steinbrenner’s cold hard cash in exchange for four-time All-Star second baseman Chuck Knoblauch on February 6, 1998. Guzmán was the Twins’ starting shortstop for six seasons (1999-2004), leading the majors in triples three times, including a Twins record 20 in 2000. He was an All-Star in 2001, hitting .302, though only playing in 118 games, his lowest total as a Twin. He made a second All-Star team when he hit .316 for the Washington Nationals in 2008. Guzmán spent 11 seasons in the majors altogether, playing his final games with Texas in 2010. March 21, 1970 Twins Trade Gzrenda and Walters for Alyea The Twins trade pitchers Joe Grzenda and 1965 Minneapolis Edison High School graduateCharley Walters to the Washington Senators for outfielder Brant Alyea. Alyea’s career had gotten off to an Eddie Rosario-esque start, homering on his first major league pitch on September 11, 1965. His Twins career, too, got off to a hot start, driving in a Twins record seven runs to back Jim Perry on Opening Day. He went on to drive in 21 runs in the Twins’ first 12 games, with a remarkable 19 of those RBI coming in Jim Perry’s first four starts. Alyea matched his own record on September 7, 1970, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and driving in all seven Twins runs in a 7-6 win. Glenn Adams broke Alyea’s record with eight RBI on June 26, 1977. Randy Bush matched that on May 20, 1989. Though Walters didn’t make the same splash in the major as Alyea, his story is nonetheless interesting. The Twins signed Walters out of their annual open tryout at Met Stadium in 1965. He went 7-2 with a 1.94 ERA for the 1967 Northern League Champion St. Cloud Rox. He broke camp with the Twins in 1969 at age 22, and made six appearances between April 11 and May 14. He held opponents scoreless over his first five appearances (5.1 innings) on just three hits and a walk. He struggled in his final major league appearance versus Baltimore, giving up four runs on three hits and a walk over 1.1 innings. Walters has been a sportswriter at the Pioneer Press since 1975. Stew Thornley wrote about Walters for the Halsey Hall SABR book Minnesotans in Baseball (click here). March 21, 2010 Nathan Needs Tommy John The defending Central Division champion Twins announce that 4x All-Star closer Joe Nathan needs Tommy John surgery. He had saved a career-high 47 games the previous season. 6-foot-11 righty Jon Rauch saved 21 games for the 2010 Twins. On July 29, the Twins traded catcher Wilson Ramos and minor league pitcher Joe Testa to the Nationals for closer Matt Capps, who had been the winning pitcher at the All-Star game on July 13. Capps saved 16 games down the stretch as the Twins won their second consecutive Central Division championship, and sixth in the last nine seasons. The Twins were swept by the Yankees in the Division Series. Nathan came back in 2011, pitching 48 games and surpassing Rick Aguilera as the Twins’ all-time saves leader (260). Following the season he signed with Texas where he was an All-Star in 2012 and 2013. March 22, 2010 Mauer Gets Paid 2001 Cretin-Derham Hall graduate, three-time batting champion, and 2009 American League Most Valuable Player Joe Mauer signs an eight-year, $184 million extension during a press conference at the Twins’ Spring Training facility in Ft. Myers, FL. The contract, which locked the hometown kid up through 2018, was the fourth-richest in major league history at the time. March 23, 2015 Molitor and Sanberg Face-Off The Paul Molitor-managed Twins lose 3-0 to Ryne Sandberg’s Phillies. It is believed to be the first time that current Hall of Famers have managed against each other. Such an occurrence has never happened in the regular season. March 24, 1988 Twins Trade Beane The Twins trade outfielder Billy Beane to the Tigers for pitcher Balvino Galvez. Beane, who was the Mets’ first-round draft choice in 1980, played 80 games with the Twins in 1986, and 12 games in 1987. He went 1-for-6 over six games with the Tigers in 1988. He played in 37 games with Oakland in 1989. Galvez, who pitched 10 games for the Dodgers in 1986, never made it back to the majors. The Twins had originally acquired Beane from the Mets on January 16, 1986 in a five-player trade featuring Tim Teufel. Billy Beane was the General Manager of the Athletics from 1998 until after the 2015 season when he was promoted to Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. Keep in touch with the Twins Almanac on Facebook and Twitter.
  8. We are less than two weeks away from the July 31 trade deadline. It is still fair to question whether the Twins are going to be buyers or sellers, both or neither at the deadline. They are 3-3 in six games against the Astros (1-2) and Yankees (2-1) and have stayed above .500. They are a half a game behind Cleveland in the American League Central, and they are half a game behind the Yankees for the second wild card spot. So who are the players that might be available in a trade?Over the coming week we’ll take a look which teams are buyers and sellers and who the Twins could look to acquire. We’ll start with the teams in the National League West division. STANDINGS Los Angeles Dodgers - 66-29 Colorado Rockies - 56-41 (11 games back) Arizona Diamondbacks - 54-40 (11.5 games back) San Diego Padres - 40-54 San Francisco Giants - 37-59 As things sit right now, the Rockies and Diamondbacks are the two Wild Card teams. The Cubs are currently five games out of the second Wild Card spot. We know they’ll make some moves, so will Colorado and Arizona be willing to add some players? THE BUYERS If the Twins decide to sell, which would be disappointing as things stand today (but may be different in a week), the Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks could be calling. Brian Dozier, Brandon Kintzler and Ervin Santana will be the primary names tossed around (no surprise). The Dodgers wouldn’t trade Cody Bellinger for Brian Dozier in the offseason. I’m guessing he’s not available at this point either. THE SELLERS As of right now, the Twins should be leaning toward buying, and if that’s the case, the Padres and the Giants are teams that should be looking to sell. I assume that the Twins have already had discussions with the GMs from both teams. So, who could be on the table? The Padres While the Twins front office has indicated that it isn’t as interested in acquiring rental players (guys who will be free agents at the end of the season), those types of players can be had without getting rid of as big of a prospect, so they can’t be completely ignored. The Padres have a few starters who are likely very available. All three are free agents at the end of the season. Clayton Richard (33), who the Twins were said to be at least somewhat interested in before the season, has been terrible. He’s got a 4.75 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP through 19 starts. Jhoulys Chacin (29) has been mediocre. He’s got a 4.33 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP .He’s got 92 strikeouts in 108 innings. Trevor Cahill (29) missed two months earlier in the season, but he’s been pretty good since his return. He’s got a 3.38 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. In 50.2 innings, he walked 19 and struck out 63. I mean, if you want, you could go after Jered Weaver who has an ERA way over 7 and a WHIP near 1.50. He’s also been on the disabled list. He also throws 82 mph. Of course, the Big Fish of the Padres is Chaska native, left-handed reliever Brad Hand. He was a deserving All-Star this year and he’s controllable for at least another two years beyond 2017. Recently, the Padres made it known that they want and expect a return for Hand similar to what the Phillies got to Ken Giles. That is to say a package of three or four players, including a top prospect or two. The Giants The Giants have probably been the biggest disappointment in baseball this season. They have a top-5 payroll and have been unable to get things rolling at all in 2017. So they would likely love to make some trades and push toward 2018. While there will be some position players, like Denard Span or even Brandon Crawford at the right price, the Twins focus should primarily be pitching. The Giants have pitchers with names, and big contracts. Johnny Cueto’s name has not really surfaced in rumors, but he would cost a team approximately $22 million a year through the 2021 season (and a team option for 2022) along with a haul of prospects. The 31-year-old is 6-7 with a 4.59 ERA and a career-high (by a long shot) 3.2 walks per nine innings. Jeff Samardzija’s name has been discussed in rumors as several teams have inquired about him. He is owed about $19.5 million for the next two seasons. He is 4-11 with a 4.86 ERA this season. While he hasn’t been particularly good for the last three seasons (posting ERA+ of 79, 104 and 85), he does eat a ton of innings. He’s posted over 200 innings four straight years and is on pace to be close to that number again. Speaking of long-term contracts that didn’t work out well, Matt Cain was a top pitcher for the Giants for several years. Then he signed a six-year, $127.5 million contract and has been hurt a majority of the time since. He’s healthy this year, and his 5.49 ERA would be his lowest in three years. However, his 1.67 WHIP makes the 32-year-old pretty Colon-like. He can become a free agent at season’s end. The intriguing name in the Giants rotation might just be Matt Moore. He was one of the top prospects in baseball (he, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were consensus Top 3 guys) with the Rays. He went 17-4 in 2013. They signed him to a team-friendly deal soon after he debuted. early in 2014, he needed Tommy John surgery and missed most of that season and over half of 2015 as well. Last year, the Rays traded him to the Giants. This year, he is 3-10 with a 5.81 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP. He’s got options for 2018 at $9 million and 2019 at $10 million. So, while he’s been pretty bad this year, he just turned 28 in June. If pro scouts believe that he is healthy and still has some stuff, Moore could be a relatively inexpensive option for two more years. I can’t imagine the prospect-return on any of these guys would be real high due to their contract size and/or performance this year. Evaluators just need to determine what they have left and whether or not they could help the team. Personally, Moore is the only one that is relatively intriguing. As for bullpen arms, the one interesting name might be Sam Dyson. He was good last year, but he began this year just terrible for the Texas Rangers. They let him go, and the Giants signed him. In 15 games, he has an ERA of 2.76 in 16.1 innings in San Francisco. He’s recorded five saves, taking over closer duties since Mark Melancon has been on the DL. Could he be available for cheap? Other Relievers: George Kontos, Cory Gearrin. SUMMARY There is a clear team at the top in the Dodgers who have proven they aren’t afraid to spend money. They have a smart front office that hasn’t been willing to just hand away prospects, but they could be buyers. Both the Diamondbacks and Rockies have been surprises in 2017. If the season ended now, which would be unfortunate for fans, they would both be wild card teams. They may have some interest in acquiring some additional talent at the deadline, particularly bullpen help. Meanwhile, winning teams will be frequently calling the Giants and Padres as those teams have been out of contention for quite some time already. Players are available. There are some big names who will be in the rumors, but the clear choice for best player available from the division is Brad Hand, and the steep asking price illustrates that well. What do you think? Could there be a match with the Twins somewhere in the NL West? Click here to view the article
  9. Over the coming week we’ll take a look which teams are buyers and sellers and who the Twins could look to acquire. We’ll start with the teams in the National League West division. STANDINGS Los Angeles Dodgers - 66-29 Colorado Rockies - 56-41 (11 games back) Arizona Diamondbacks - 54-40 (11.5 games back) San Diego Padres - 40-54 San Francisco Giants - 37-59 As things sit right now, the Rockies and Diamondbacks are the two Wild Card teams. The Cubs are currently five games out of the second Wild Card spot. We know they’ll make some moves, so will Colorado and Arizona be willing to add some players? THE BUYERS If the Twins decide to sell, which would be disappointing as things stand today (but may be different in a week), the Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks could be calling. Brian Dozier, Brandon Kintzler and Ervin Santana will be the primary names tossed around (no surprise). The Dodgers wouldn’t trade Cody Bellinger for Brian Dozier in the offseason. I’m guessing he’s not available at this point either. THE SELLERS As of right now, the Twins should be leaning toward buying, and if that’s the case, the Padres and the Giants are teams that should be looking to sell. I assume that the Twins have already had discussions with the GMs from both teams. So, who could be on the table? The Padres While the Twins front office has indicated that it isn’t as interested in acquiring rental players (guys who will be free agents at the end of the season), those types of players can be had without getting rid of as big of a prospect, so they can’t be completely ignored. The Padres have a few starters who are likely very available. All three are free agents at the end of the season. Clayton Richard (33), who the Twins were said to be at least somewhat interested in before the season, has been terrible. He’s got a 4.75 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP through 19 starts. Jhoulys Chacin (29) has been mediocre. He’s got a 4.33 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP .He’s got 92 strikeouts in 108 innings. Trevor Cahill (29) missed two months earlier in the season, but he’s been pretty good since his return. He’s got a 3.38 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. In 50.2 innings, he walked 19 and struck out 63. I mean, if you want, you could go after Jered Weaver who has an ERA way over 7 and a WHIP near 1.50. He’s also been on the disabled list. He also throws 82 mph. Of course, the Big Fish of the Padres is Chaska native, left-handed reliever Brad Hand. He was a deserving All-Star this year and he’s controllable for at least another two years beyond 2017. Recently, the Padres made it known that they want and expect a return for Hand similar to what the Phillies got to Ken Giles. That is to say a package of three or four players, including a top prospect or two. The Giants The Giants have probably been the biggest disappointment in baseball this season. They have a top-5 payroll and have been unable to get things rolling at all in 2017. So they would likely love to make some trades and push toward 2018. While there will be some position players, like Denard Span or even Brandon Crawford at the right price, the Twins focus should primarily be pitching. The Giants have pitchers with names, and big contracts. Johnny Cueto’s name has not really surfaced in rumors, but he would cost a team approximately $22 million a year through the 2021 season (and a team option for 2022) along with a haul of prospects. The 31-year-old is 6-7 with a 4.59 ERA and a career-high (by a long shot) 3.2 walks per nine innings. Jeff Samardzija’s name has been discussed in rumors as several teams have inquired about him. He is owed about $19.5 million for the next two seasons. He is 4-11 with a 4.86 ERA this season. While he hasn’t been particularly good for the last three seasons (posting ERA+ of 79, 104 and 85), he does eat a ton of innings. He’s posted over 200 innings four straight years and is on pace to be close to that number again. Speaking of long-term contracts that didn’t work out well, Matt Cain was a top pitcher for the Giants for several years. Then he signed a six-year, $127.5 million contract and has been hurt a majority of the time since. He’s healthy this year, and his 5.49 ERA would be his lowest in three years. However, his 1.67 WHIP makes the 32-year-old pretty Colon-like. He can become a free agent at season’s end. The intriguing name in the Giants rotation might just be Matt Moore. He was one of the top prospects in baseball (he, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper were consensus Top 3 guys) with the Rays. He went 17-4 in 2013. They signed him to a team-friendly deal soon after he debuted. early in 2014, he needed Tommy John surgery and missed most of that season and over half of 2015 as well. Last year, the Rays traded him to the Giants. This year, he is 3-10 with a 5.81 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP. He’s got options for 2018 at $9 million and 2019 at $10 million. So, while he’s been pretty bad this year, he just turned 28 in June. If pro scouts believe that he is healthy and still has some stuff, Moore could be a relatively inexpensive option for two more years. I can’t imagine the prospect-return on any of these guys would be real high due to their contract size and/or performance this year. Evaluators just need to determine what they have left and whether or not they could help the team. Personally, Moore is the only one that is relatively intriguing. As for bullpen arms, the one interesting name might be Sam Dyson. He was good last year, but he began this year just terrible for the Texas Rangers. They let him go, and the Giants signed him. In 15 games, he has an ERA of 2.76 in 16.1 innings in San Francisco. He’s recorded five saves, taking over closer duties since Mark Melancon has been on the DL. Could he be available for cheap? Other Relievers: George Kontos, Cory Gearrin. SUMMARY There is a clear team at the top in the Dodgers who have proven they aren’t afraid to spend money. They have a smart front office that hasn’t been willing to just hand away prospects, but they could be buyers. Both the Diamondbacks and Rockies have been surprises in 2017. If the season ended now, which would be unfortunate for fans, they would both be wild card teams. They may have some interest in acquiring some additional talent at the deadline, particularly bullpen help. Meanwhile, winning teams will be frequently calling the Giants and Padres as those teams have been out of contention for quite some time already. Players are available. There are some big names who will be in the rumors, but the clear choice for best player available from the division is Brad Hand, and the steep asking price illustrates that well. What do you think? Could there be a match with the Twins somewhere in the NL West?
  10. Seth Stohs

    Two Of Us

    Two relievers are believed to be on the market already, playing on teams that are clearly playing for the future. They are relief pitchers who could make the Twins bullpen stronger during the second half. In addition to their tremendous on-field statistics, these two players are #OneOfUs. Brooklyn Park grad Pat Neshek and Chaska High School alum Brad Hand are having great seasons. On Sunday, both were named to the National League All-Star squads, and not just because their teams had to have one representative. Today we consider why these are guys who could help the Twins, and what it might cost to get them. DISCLAIMER: I know there is a sentiment among many Twins Daily readers that ‘bringing back the band’ or acquiring guys who are “one of us” is a bad thing. However, I tend to believe that if the player remains good and can help a team win, then it just doesn’t matter. If Pat Neshek and/or Brad Hand can help the Twins win games in 2017, I don’t care if they’re from Minnesota or Texas. Australia or Venezuela. They happen to be from Minnesota. In the Twins history, we’ve seen both sides of this. Terry Steinbach and Dave Winfield being brought back worked out. Bringing back Jason Kubel and Jason Bartlett didn’t pan out. We’ve seen how Twins fans can turn on players when they don’t become what we thought they might, or they didn’t measure up in some way. We’ve seen one of the top five hitters in the organization’s history and a Minnesotan bashed to a crazy, unfair degree, in part because he’s from Minnesota. Imagine the scrutiny Kent Hrbek might have endured had he played during the age of Twitter. PAT NESHEK Let’s start with Pat Neshek since he’s got a bit of a double whammy. Not only is he from Minnesota, he was drafted by the Twins in 1999 and 2002, and played in the big leagues for the Twins between 2006 and 2010. He came up and used his funky delivery to dominate hitters immediately. He had Tommy John and missed most of 2008, all of 2009, and most of 2010. The Twins let him go in the spring of 2011 and he bounced around a bit. He took off again in 2014 with the Cardinals. In fact, that’s the year that he made his first All-Star appearance, ironically in Target Field. He signed a two-year deal with the Astros, with an option for 2017. After he was traded to the Phillies, they picked up his option for this year at $6.5 million. He will be a free agent at the end of the season. Neshek will turn 37 in September. This year, he has worked 32.1 innings for the Phillies. He’s struck out 8.2 per nine, a K-rate of 26.1%. He’s walked just 2.1 per nine. He’s given up just two home runs this season. He has a 1.39 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP. If you enjoy FIP and xFIP, his numbers are 2.41 and 3.59. He has a WAR of 1.1 already this season. From sidearm, Neshek has thrown 49.7% fastballs with an average velocity of 90.1. He has also thrown 47% sliders at 83.1 mph. He throws a changeup too, but just 3% of the time. 73% of his 491 pitches have been strikes. The Phillies are 28-55, so there is little reason for them to hold on to a veteran with an expiring contract in the second half. BRAD HAND Likewise, the Padres are just 36-48 at the halfway point of the season. They have three Rule 5 players on their roster and a plan to continue adding more young talent. Brad Hand was the second-round pick of the Marlins way back in 2008 out of high school. He signed and by June of 2011, he was a 21-year-old in the big leagues. He struggled with the Marlins, particularly as a starter. Last spring, the Marlins DFAd him and he ended up with the Padres. He’s become one of the better, and most used, relievers in baseball. Last year, he posted a 2.92 ERA over a league-leading 82 games. This year, he’s already pitched in 40 games and has a 2.42 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. He has struck out 11.2 per nine innings while walking just 2.4 per nine. He’s given up less than a home run per nine innings. His FIP is 2.88, with an xFIP of 2.96. He’s pitched to a WAR of 1.0. Hand throws 49% fastballs at an average of 93.3 mph. He also throws his slider about 45% of the time, at 82 mph. His third pitch is more of a slow curve ball, which he throws just six percent of the time. Hand turned 27 in spring training. 2017 was his first year of arbitration and he’s making just shy of $1.4 million. In 2018, he will again be arbitration-eligible for the second time.He’ll have his third and final arbitration in 2019 before having the potential to become a free agent after the 2019 World Series. WHAT IT MIGHT TAKE There are reportedly several teams evaluating and considering acquiring Neshek including the Nationals. The belief is that it won’t take a ton to get Neshek, a “low level prospect.” Because there are other teams interested, the price could get raised a bit. I would guess it would take a top 20 prospect. To acquire Hand, it is likely to cost the Twins (or another team) much more. He’s nearly ten years younger and has two-and-a-half years under a team’s control. There is value in that. There is no other reason for the Padres to trade him, other that they can ask for the world for him and sell very high. He would likely require a top 10 prospect and a second or even a third piece. Do the Twins have the pieces to make these moves? No question. Do they want to outbid other teams and match the requirements of the teams? That we don’t know. Would the Twins have any desire to acquire One of Us, maybe even Two of Us? What would you do? How much (and name names) would you be willing to give up for these two guys?
  11. The bullpen has been an issue for the Twins during the first half of the 2017 season. While expectations were not high going into the season coming off of a 103-loss season, the Twins are above .500 as the All-Star Game approaches. Following the All-Star break, Twins Daily will be a great place for Twins fans to keep up with the rumors. Who are some of the players that the Twins could acquire from other organizations if they are buyers? How about if they become sellers? Which prospects might the Twins be willing to trade?Two relievers are believed to be on the market already, playing on teams that are clearly playing for the future. They are relief pitchers who could make the Twins bullpen stronger during the second half. In addition to their tremendous on-field statistics, these two players are #OneOfUs. Brooklyn Park grad Pat Neshek and Chaska High School alum Brad Hand are having great seasons. On Sunday, both were named to the National League All-Star squads, and not just because their teams had to have one representative. Today we consider why these are guys who could help the Twins, and what it might cost to get them. DISCLAIMER: I know there is a sentiment among many Twins Daily readers that ‘bringing back the band’ or acquiring guys who are “one of us” is a bad thing. However, I tend to believe that if the player remains good and can help a team win, then it just doesn’t matter. If Pat Neshek and/or Brad Hand can help the Twins win games in 2017, I don’t care if they’re from Minnesota or Texas. Australia or Venezuela. They happen to be from Minnesota. In the Twins history, we’ve seen both sides of this. Terry Steinbach and Dave Winfield being brought back worked out. Bringing back Jason Kubel and Jason Bartlett didn’t pan out. We’ve seen how Twins fans can turn on players when they don’t become what we thought they might, or they didn’t measure up in some way. We’ve seen one of the top five hitters in the organization’s history and a Minnesotan bashed to a crazy, unfair degree, in part because he’s from Minnesota. Imagine the scrutiny Kent Hrbek might have endured had he played during the age of Twitter. PAT NESHEK Let’s start with Pat Neshek since he’s got a bit of a double whammy. Not only is he from Minnesota, he was drafted by the Twins in 1999 and 2002, and played in the big leagues for the Twins between 2006 and 2010. He came up and used his funky delivery to dominate hitters immediately. He had Tommy John and missed most of 2008, all of 2009, and most of 2010. The Twins let him go in the spring of 2011 and he bounced around a bit. He took off again in 2014 with the Cardinals. In fact, that’s the year that he made his first All-Star appearance, ironically in Target Field. He signed a two-year deal with the Astros, with an option for 2017. After he was traded to the Phillies, they picked up his option for this year at $6.5 million. He will be a free agent at the end of the season. Neshek will turn 37 in September. This year, he has worked 32.1 innings for the Phillies. He’s struck out 8.2 per nine, a K-rate of 26.1%. He’s walked just 2.1 per nine. He’s given up just two home runs this season. He has a 1.39 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP. If you enjoy FIP and xFIP, his numbers are 2.41 and 3.59. He has a WAR of 1.1 already this season. From sidearm, Neshek has thrown 49.7% fastballs with an average velocity of 90.1. He has also thrown 47% sliders at 83.1 mph. He throws a changeup too, but just 3% of the time. 73% of his 491 pitches have been strikes. The Phillies are 28-55, so there is little reason for them to hold on to a veteran with an expiring contract in the second half. BRAD HAND Likewise, the Padres are just 36-48 at the halfway point of the season. They have three Rule 5 players on their roster and a plan to continue adding more young talent. Brad Hand was the second-round pick of the Marlins way back in 2008 out of high school. He signed and by June of 2011, he was a 21-year-old in the big leagues. He struggled with the Marlins, particularly as a starter. Last spring, the Marlins DFAd him and he ended up with the Padres. He’s become one of the better, and most used, relievers in baseball. Last year, he posted a 2.92 ERA over a league-leading 82 games. This year, he’s already pitched in 40 games and has a 2.42 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP. He has struck out 11.2 per nine innings while walking just 2.4 per nine. He’s given up less than a home run per nine innings. His FIP is 2.88, with an xFIP of 2.96. He’s pitched to a WAR of 1.0. Hand throws 49% fastballs at an average of 93.3 mph. He also throws his slider about 45% of the time, at 82 mph. His third pitch is more of a slow curve ball, which he throws just six percent of the time. Hand turned 27 in spring training. 2017 was his first year of arbitration and he’s making just shy of $1.4 million. In 2018, he will again be arbitration-eligible for the second time.He’ll have his third and final arbitration in 2019 before having the potential to become a free agent after the 2019 World Series. WHAT IT MIGHT TAKE There are reportedly several teams evaluating and considering acquiring Neshek including the Nationals. The belief is that it won’t take a ton to get Neshek, a “low level prospect.” Because there are other teams interested, the price could get raised a bit. I would guess it would take a top 20 prospect. To acquire Hand, it is likely to cost the Twins (or another team) much more. He’s nearly ten years younger and has two-and-a-half years under a team’s control. There is value in that. There is no other reason for the Padres to trade him, other that they can ask for the world for him and sell very high. He would likely require a top 10 prospect and a second or even a third piece. Do the Twins have the pieces to make these moves? No question. Do they want to outbid other teams and match the requirements of the teams? That we don’t know. Would the Twins have any desire to acquire One of Us, maybe even Two of Us? What would you do? How much (and name names) would you be willing to give up for these two guys? Click here to view the article
  12. I’ve mentioned Brad Hand as a trade target for the Minnesota Twins in two previous blogs, and now that we know the Twins’ surprising performance has Thad Levine targeting trades for long-term assets prior to the July 31 trade deadline, it seems Brad Hand is the Twins’ perfect trade target. Here are the reasons: This was originally published at FoulPlaybyPlay.com, a community of foul-mouthed, sports broadcasters providing uncensored, commercial-free play-by-play and color commentary during select games. Follow us @FoulPlaybyPlay. The Twins need relievers Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers have worked out nicely in high-leverage situations, and the Twins have struck gold with closer Brandon Kintzler. But Kintzler’s a free agent at the end of the season, and is likely trade bait. Glen Perkins has a team option for 2018 that won’t be picked up, and while the Twins expect to get Trevor May back next year, they have no idea what to expect from him after Tommy John surgery (his recovery from which he’s documenting at MLBTradeRumors.com). Hand has the stuff to close, and the Twins could trade Kintzler and transition to Hand without damaging their chances to contend this season. Depending on who they give up, they could actually improve their chances. Plus, Perkins won’t have to pitch in high-leverage situations upon his return. Hand’s controllable Hand won’t be a free agent until 2020, and while he’ll make more in arbitration next year than the $1.375 million he’s making this year, he’s still a steal given his .984 WHIP this season. Hand’s really good Hand not only limits runners on the bases, but he misses a lot of bats. His K/9 (10.8) is down slightly from last year (11.2), but his K:BB ratio is better this year (4.25) than last (3.08). Hand’s affordable Glen Perkins will make $6.5 million this year. Hand will be lucky to make half that next season. The Twins' budget of $108 million is one of the highest in Minnesota's history, too. Hand won’t cost the Twins a ton of prospects, either. While he’s one of the top relievers on the trading block, he’s not a closer and won’t command a return like Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller did. The trade market is also deep with relievers, so the Twins could probably part with a pair of prospects that are a few years away from contributing at the major league level. Hand’s local Hand attended Chaska High School in Chaska, Minnesota. While the local talent angle was taken by Levine’s predecessor, Terry Ryan (Joe Mauer, Glen Perkins, Caleb Thielbar, Cole DeVries, Pat Neshek, Michael Restovich, Terry Steinbach and Paul Molitor all graduated from Minnesota high schools), Andy MacPhail seemed to make it work (Kent Hrbeck, Jack Morris and Dave Winfield). Plus, fans love cheering for locals. The Twins have what the Padres need We all know the Padres have a giant hole at shortstop, but the Twins shouldn’t move Nick Gordon to get Hand. They don’t have to, either, as the Padres are fielding two outfielders 22 or under -- Manuel Margot and Allen Cordoba. I don’t know if that means the Padres would be interested in Eddie Rosario or Eduardo Escobar, but if they are, that might be a deal the Twins could make with Zach Granite knocking down the door to the majors with his bat. The Padres need help at the lower levels of the minors, too. Shortstop Javier Guerra (22) has struggled at high-A this season and last, as has outfielder Taylor Kohlwey (22) this year. And Peter Van Gansen (23) might not make it out of high-A, so there are some holes in San Diego’s lower affiliates that could be filled by Twins talent like Jermaine Palacios or Max Murphy. My guess is the Padres feel they’re probably three or more years away from contending, so a couple of 20-year-old prospects with high upside might be a perfect fit. Twins fans might not like the idea of letting go of a young player with promise, but that’s what you have to give up to get someone who’s good right now and will be good for quite some time.
  13. This was originally published at FoulPlaybyPlay.com, @FoulPlaybyPlay on Twitter. Last week I urged the Minnesota Twins front office to acquire pitching — any pitching — and not to wait too long in doing so. Well, here are five pitchers the Twins could target if they want to remain competitive this season, but most of them will cost something you might not like to lose. Pat Neshek Neshek is familiar to Twins fans, and his side-armed delivery should play well out of a Twins bullpen that can’t miss bats. He misses plenty (8.4 K/p) despite going on 37. He’s a free agent at year’s end and playing on a bad team in rebuilding mode. I can’t imagine Philadelphia would have interest in bringing back Neshek, so the Twins should bring him home. It’s only money after all (over $6 million per year, so $4 million as of this writing). But with the year Neshek’s having (.797 WHIP), the Phillies could ask for a lot. So what do they need? Well, starting pitching, which the Twins can’t afford to lose. The Phillies seem set on letting 22-year-old, third baseman Maikel Franco work through his struggles (68 OPS+). But the Phillies also have a 30-year-old, light-hitting, bad defensive right fielder who will be a free agent at the end of the year. Michael Saunders (73 OPS+) is not the future. Of Philly’s minor league outfielders, center fielder Cameron Perkins (26) is closest, and he’s more likely to take light-hitting, center fielder Odubel Herrera’s place (82 OPS+). Nick Williams fits the bill as a power-hitting right fielder (11 HRs and 10 2Bs for a .515 slugging percentage). He’s even got okay range and has logged quite a few innings in right field. Anyways, it’s going to be hard to find something to pluck from Rochester unless you’re talking about Daniel Palka, and I doubt that’d be enough. So now we’re looking at something more complicated than a one-for-one deal, which isn’t really a problem. David Phelps Phelps is another one who will cost the Twins plenty because Miami won’t want to give up his final arbitration year for anything less than young, starting pitching. I got nothing. Drew Storen Storen is quietly having a pretty good year (196 ERA+) but a regression is on the horizon given the massive difference between his ERA (2.25) and FIP (3.80). He can still miss bats, though (7.5 K/9). But the Reds need the same thing as everyone else: starting pitching. Brad Hand San Diego is a most interesting trade partner because they have glaring need at shortstop, and the Twins have a really good, young one in Nick Gordon. He’s untouchable, however. Sam Dyson It sure seems like the Twins are the perfect landing spot for Texas Ranger relief pitcher Sam Dyson. The Twins are in the mix and the Rangers are nearing a deal, according to Darren Wolfson. GM Thad Levine came over from Texas, and Dyson could probably use a change of scenery (10.80 ERA, 9.05 FIP). He’s given up more homers this season (6) than last (5) for a HR/9 of 3.2, but maybe the depths of Target Field, where nothing but rain drops, will help Dyson get back on track. It’s pretty sad that the best the Twins front office might be able to do to fix a broken bullpen and bending rotation is picking up a guy allowing 16.7 hits per nine innings, but trading for any kind of pitching is expensive. I can’t imagine any team with a competent reliever giving him up for anything else than high-upside, starting pitchers (think Kevin Jepsen for Chih-Wei Hu). Hey, the Twins should get Glen Perkins back in mid-June, though, which will be nice now that Brandon Kintzler is becoming Brandon Kintzler. And Joe Nathan is available. He only allowed 10.7 hits per nine innings in AAA before being released by the Nationals. He was striking out 8.4 batters per nine, though. I guess I’m saying the options suck, and the Twins are stuck. Hey, at least they claimed Chris Heston, right (12.66 FIP, 23 ERA+, 5.4 HR/9, 25.2 H/9, 5.4 K/9 this year and last)?
  14. March 19 Nothing happened today, except for the births of Paul Powell in San Angelo, Texas in 1948, and Tim Corcoran in Glendale, California in 1953. The two hit a combined .171 in 42 total games as Twins. Powell went 5-for-31 as a Twins rookie in 1971. Corcoran, who played parts of nine season in the majors, went 9-for-51 for the Twins in 1981. March 20 Happy 27th Birthday to Brad Hand It’s the birthday of 2008 Chaska High School graduate and current Padres pitcher Brad Hand. Nobody pitched in more major league games last season than Hand who made 82 relief appearances for San Diego. His senior season at Chaska the lefty went 8-2 with two saves, allowing only six earned runs in 68 innings for a 0.61 ERA. At the plate he hit .352 with eight home runs and 24 RBI. He was drafted by the Miami Marlins in 2nd round (52nd overall) out of high school. Brad Hand made his major league debut on June 27th, 2011 in Miami vs. the Atlanta Braves. He walked the first big league batter he faced, Jordan Schafer, who would play for the Twins in 2014 and ‘15. The second batter he faced was Adrian Gonzalez, who struck out swinging. Hand would allow only one hit over six innings. That one hit, however, was a solo home run by Adrian Gonzalez to lead off the fourth in a 1-0 Braves win. Hand's first major league win came in his fifth start, on July 7th at home vs. Houston as he held the Astros scoreless, giving up two hits and three walks over seven innings in a 5-0 Marlins victory. Hand only pitched in one game in 2012, starting the first game of a doubleheader in Washington on August 3rd. He allowed seven runs on six hits and six walks over 3 ⅔ innings in a 7-4 loss. He appeared in only seven games in 2013. Between 2014 and ‘15, Hand pitched in a combined 70 major league games, starting 28, compiling a 7-15 record. He was 9-25 over parts of five big league seasons entering 2016 when he was claimed off waivers during the first week of the season by the San Diego Padres. Hand went 4-4 with a save and 2.92 ERA in his aforementioned major league-leadeing 82 appearances last season. As a batter, Hand has five major league hits, one each off of Johnny Cueto and Stephen Strasburg. He hit three home runs as a minor leaguer. March 21 Happy 52nd Birthday to Tim McIntosh It’s the birthday of 1983 Hopkins High School graduate Tim McIntosh. He played three seasons at the University of Minnesota before being selected in the 3rd round of the ‘86 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. He played in 71 major league games over the course of five seasons, primarily at catcher and in the outfield. His first major league hit was a home run. McIntosh got into five games with the Brewers in 1990, making his major league debut on September 3rd in Milwaukee vs. the Minnesota Twins. He went 0-3 as the Twins’ Mark Guthrie hurled a complete game shutout. Paul Molitor (Cretin High School class of ‘74) went 0-4. On September 28th, with the Yankees leading the Brewers 6-1, McIntosh entered the game in the 7th as a defensive replacement for catcher B.J. Surhoff. McIntosh led off the bottom of the 8th, hitting a home run for his first major league hit and his only hit of the 1990 season. McIntosh was a September call-up in 1991, going 4-9 with a HR in his first two games. He played only as a defensive replacement, however, in five subsequent games, making only two plate appearances. McIntosh, in fact, only started 25 of the 71 major league games that he played in, and 20 of those starts came in 1992 when he played in a total of 35 games, collecting 14 of his 21 career hits while batting .182. McIntosh appeared in one game as a late-inning defensive replacement for Milwaukee in ‘93 before being claimed off waivers by the Montreal Expos on April 14th. He played in 20 games for the Expos, collecting two hits and zero walks in 21 plate appearances for an .095 batting average. He became a free agent after the season and was signed by the Minnesota Twins. He spent the 1994 season with Triple-A Salt Lake, hitting .338 with 18 HRs. After the ‘94 season, his contract was purchased by the Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan where he hit only .220. In February of ‘96, McIntosh signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees. He played in three games for the big league club that season. Tim McIntosh appeared in his last major league game on June 12, 1996, entering in the ninth as a defensive replacement at third in a 7-4 Yankee loss in Toronto. March 21, 1970 Twins Trade Gzrenda & Charley Walters for Brant Alyea The Twins trade pitchers Joe Grzenda and 1965 Minneapolis Edison High School graduate Charley Walters to the Washington Senators for outfielder Brant Alyea. Alyea’s career had gotten off to an Eddie Rosario-esque start, homering on the first big league pitch he saw on September 11, 1965. His Twins career also got off to a hot start, driving in a Twins record seven runs to back Jim Perry on Opening Day. He will go on to drive in 21 runs in the Twins’ first 12 games. Quite remarkably, 19 of those 21 RBI come in Jim Perry’s first four starts. Alyea matched his own record, going 3-for-4 with two home runs and driving in all seven Twins runs in a 7-6 win on September 7, 1970. Glenn Adams broke Alyea’s record with 8 RBI on June 26, 1977. Randy Bush matched that on May 20, 1989. Though Walters didn’t make the same splash in the major as Alyea, his story is nonetheless interesting. The Twins signed Walters out of their annual open tryout at Met Stadium in 1965. He went 7-2 with a 1.94 ERA for the 1967 Northern League Champion St. Cloud Rox. Walters broke camp with the Twins in ‘69 and pitched 6.2 innings over six games between April 11-May 14. He did not allow a run in his first five outings. He allowed four, however, in his sixth and final major league appearance. Walters has been a sportswriter for the Pioneer Press since well before I was born. March 21 Happy 39th Birthday to Cristian Guzman It’s the birthday of former Twins shortstop Cristian Guzman, born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1978. The Twins acquired Guzman along with Eric Milton, Brian Buchanan, Danny Mota and three millions dollars of George Steinbrenner’s cold hard cash in exchange for Chuck Knoblauch on February 6, 1998. Guzman was the Twins’ starting shortstop for six seasons, leading the league in triples three times. He never realized his full potential, but Twins fans sure saw some sparks from the exciting speedster. March 21, 2010 Nathan Needs Tommy John Surgery The defending Central Division Champion Minnesota Twins announce that 4x All-Star closer Joe Nathan needs Tommy John surgery. He had saved a career-high 47 games the previous season. Nathan would make two more All-Star teams post-surgery in 2012 and '13 as a Texas Ranger. March 22, 2010 Joe Mauer’s Big Payday 2001 Cretin-Derham Hall graduate and 2009 American League Most Valuable Player Joe Mauer officially signs his eight-year, $184 million extension during a press conference at the Twins’ Spring Training facility in Ft. Myers, Florida. The contract, which locks the hometown kid up through 2018, is the fourth-fattest in major league history at the time. March 23, 2015 Molitor and Sanberg Face-Off The Paul Molitor-managed Twins lose 3-0 to Ryne Sandberg’s Phillies. It is believed to be the first time that current Hall of Famers have managed against each other. Such an occurrence has never happened in the regular season. On a side note, who in the audience saw Hall of Fame player Ted Williams manage the Senators and Rangers when they'd come to Bloomington to play the Twins? The Splendid Splinter had a lot of friends in Minnesota dating back to his 1938 season with the Minneapolis Millers. Williams famously spent his first major league off season in Minnesota rather than return home to see his mom in sunny San Diego. Obviously there was a girl involved. Ted's first wife was Doris Soule from Princeton, MN. My grandma, for the record, thought Ted was a vile man. I, however, was more interested in grandpa's stories of fishing with the Kid. March 24, 1988 Twins Trade Billy Beane The Twins trade outfielder Billy Beane to the Detroit Tigers for pitcher Balvino Galvez. Beane, who was the Mets’ first-round draft choice in 1980, played 80 games for the 1986 Twins, and 12 games for the ‘87 World Series Championship team. Galvez, who pitched 10 games for the Dodgers in ‘86, never made it back to the majors. The Twins had originally acquired Beane from the Mets on January 16, 1986 in a five-player trade featuring Tim Teufel. Billy Beane was the General Manager of the Oakland Athletics from 1998 until after the 2015 season when he was promoted to Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. March 25, 1983 Twins Trade Sal Butera The Twins and Tigers swap catchers, with Minnesota sending Salvatore Butera to Detroit for minor leaguer Stine Coole and straight cash, homie. Sal had made Minnesota Twins history on May 29, 1982 by throwing out four baserunners in a 6-4 loss to the Yankees at him in the Dome. Sal and Drew Butera are the only father-son combination to play for the Twins. They have pretty impressive big league pitching resumes, too. Sal did not allow a hit in his two major league pitching appearances. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning in his big league pitching debut for Montreal in 1985. In 1986 he pitched a scoreless ninth for the Cincinnati Reds, walking one and striking out one. Drew, meanwhile, pitched a hitless bottom of the eighth for the Twins on May 20, 2012, walking one Brewer and striking out Carlos Gomez. While playing with the Dodgers in 2014, Drew pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning versus the Miami Marlins. He pitched again for Los Angeles just three days later, this time giving up a 2-run HR to Paul Goldschmidt as he recorded the final two outs of the game. The Twins re-signed Sal Butera as a free agent on May 22, 1987. They would go on to win the World Series... Keep in touch with @TwinsAlmanac on Twitter, and on Facebook.
  15. It's the birthday of 2008 Marlins 2nd round draft pick, Brad Hand. See my blog post on Hand here: Major Minnesotans: Brad Hand. If anyone has any cool stories or trivia about Brad Hand, please share. I'd love more information to incorporate the next time I write about him. It sounds like he's on the bubble with Miami this spring. Fingers crossed. Thanks, Matt http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160316_173242_zpsw33tqxhy.jpg
  16. Miami Marlins pitcher, Brad Hand, was born on March 20th, 1990. The Marlins drafted Hand in 2008 in the 2nd round (52nd overall) out of Chaska High School. In his senior season at Chaska, the lefty went 8-2 with 2 saves, allowing only 6 earned runs in 68 innings for an 0.61 ERA. At the plate, Hand hit .352 with 8 HRs and 24 RBI. Brad Hand made his Major League debut on June 27th, 2011 in Miami vs. the Atlanta Braves. He walked the first big league batter he faced, Jordan Schafer, who would play for the Minnesota Twins in 2014 and ‘15. The second batter he faced was Adrian Gonzalez, who struck out swinging. Hand would allow only 1 hit over 6 innings. That one hit, however, was a solo home run by Adrian Gonzalez to lead off the fourth in a 1-0 Braves win. http://stmedia.startribune.com/images/two0604hand.jpg Hand's first Major League win came in his 5th start, on July 7th at home vs. Houston as he held the Astros scoreless, giving up 2 hits and 3 walks over 7 innings in a 5-0 Marlins victory. Hand only pitched in 1 game in 2012, starting the first game of a doubleheader in Washington on August 3rd. He allowed 7 runs on 6 hits and 6 walks over 3 ⅔ innings in a 7-4 loss. He appeared in only 7 games in 2013. Between 2014 and ‘15, Hand pitched in a combined 70 Major League games, starting 28, compiling a 7-15 record. He is 9-25 over parts of five big league seasons. As a batter, Hand has 5 Major League hits, one each off of Johnny Cueto and Stephen Strasburg. He hit 3 HRs as a minor leaguer. Brad Hand, who is out of options, is fighting to earn a spot on the Marlins’ 2016 roster. For more stories about the Major Leaguers who grew up in Minnesota, like Major Minnesotans on Facebook and follow @MajorMinnesota on Twitter. http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w413/mjohnso9/20160316_173242_zpsw33tqxhy.jpg
  17. Brad Hand was one of the most highly sought after high school pitchers in Minnesota's history. In 2008, the Minnesota Twins were rumored to take the hard throwing lefty from Chaska High School within the first three rounds - but before the Twins reached their second pick he was selected no.52 overall, by the Florida Marlins. After making his major league debut, three years to the day he was drafted, he has been utilized primarily as a SP and has spent some time in the bullpen as a long-reviler for the Marlins. His numbers don't highlight his filthiness, as he has a career 4.45 ERA through almost 200 innings pitched, not missing many games due to injury. His work ethic, dedication, and skill set have made it tough for the Marlins to part ways with Hand, despite being rumored in trade talks over the past few months. He hasn't been an ace, but his ability to control a ball game mixed with his array of 80+ to 93 MPH pitches, has kept him up in the big leagues for the majority of the past four season. With the Twins in need of additional pitching resources (SP or RP) - I think the Minnesota-native, Hand, could be a great, low risk, trade target. His contract is sub $1MM and he could provide the inning-eating, major-league-ready depth the Twins need. I haven't heard any rumors about the Twins talking with Miami, but I hope this post somehow makes it's way to Terry Ryan to remind him of his 2008 "great white buffalo". The way the fish have moved players around since changing their name to the Miami Marlins, gives me hopes that Hand could land back in Minnesota (maybe the Twins could give Miami the rights to Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Ricky Nolasco - both players seem to be right up their ally.......) What are your thoughts on the Twins looking into trading for the 25 year old?
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