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  1. With the 2022 trade deadline approaching, has the current front office shown any trade deadline trends over the last five seasons? Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over Minnesota’s baseball operations department leading into the 2017 season. Each season has taken on a different feel, but they have a track record of making moves at the trade deadline. This series will look back at each trade deadline under this regime. The 2017 season was an interesting trade deadline because it looked like the front office couldn’t decide if they were buyers or sellers. Minnesota started the deadline by dealing for a starting pitcher who they traded away after only one start. Only five AL teams finished with winning records, so they all made the playoffs, including the Twins, who lost to the Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game. Minnesota ended up being a contender, and here is how the trade deadline played out. Trade 1 (July 24, 2017) Twins Receive: P Jaime Garcia, C Anthony Recker Braves Receive: P Huascar Ynoa Garcia infamously pitched one game in a Twins uniform before being part of the trade package mentioned below. He allowed three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings in one start as the Twins defeated Oakland 6-3. Recker was a seven-year veteran at the time of the deal, but he never appeared in a big-league game with the Twins. Ynoa was a 19-year-old in rookie ball when the Braves acquired him. He’s made 31 big-league appearances over the last four seasons and posted a 5.22 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP. At the time, it looked like a strong trade for the Twins to help bolster their rotation for the stretch run. Trade 2 (July 27, 2017) Twins Receive: P Gabriel Moya Diamondbacks Receive: C John Ryan Murphy Murphy was the lone player the Twins received from the Yankees in the Aaron Hicks deal, but his Twins tenure only lasted one season. In 2017, Arizona dealt for him, and he played parts of three seasons with a 62 OPS+. Moya made all of his big-league appearances with the Twins as he posted a 4.64 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP. His 7.6 K/9 wasn’t enough to be effective as a reliever, and he was out of affiliated baseball after the 2019 season. Trade 3 (July 30, 2017) Twins Receive: P Zack Littell, P Dietrich Enns Yankees Receive: P Jaime Garcia, Plus $4 million Garcia’s Twins tenure was almost non-existent as Minnesota sent him to the Yankees, who would be the team’s eventual Wild Card opponent. Following the trade, Garcia made eight starts and posted a 4.82 ERA with a 1.63 WHIP. Evaluators viewed Littell as a strong pitching prospect, but the Twins moved him to the bullpen. He posted a 4.52 ERA with a 1.48 WHIP in 63 2/3 innings with Minnesota. Enns only appeared in two games (4 IP) for the Twins and allowed three earned runs on seven hits. In less than a week, the Twins had gone from buyers to sellers, which didn’t sit well with some players in the clubhouse. Trade 4 (July 31, 2017) Twins Receive: P Tyler Watson, Plus $500,000 in international bonus pool money Nationals Receive: P Brandon Kintzler Kintzler had been an All-Star for the Twins in 2017, so this move was another poor signal to a contending clubhouse. In 45 games before the trade, Kintzler had a 2.78 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and 28 saves. Last season, Watson topped out at High-A in the Twins organization as a 24-year-old. He posted a 4.78 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 69 2/3 innings with the Kernels. What do you remember most about the 2017 trade deadline? Did all the moves motivate the team to become a contender? Should the team have kept Garcia and Kintzler? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  2. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over Minnesota’s baseball operations department leading into the 2017 season. Each season has taken on a different feel, but they have a track record of making moves at the trade deadline. This series will look back at each trade deadline under this regime. The 2017 season was an interesting trade deadline because it looked like the front office couldn’t decide if they were buyers or sellers. Minnesota started the deadline by dealing for a starting pitcher who they traded away after only one start. Only five AL teams finished with winning records, so they all made the playoffs, including the Twins, who lost to the Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game. Minnesota ended up being a contender, and here is how the trade deadline played out. Trade 1 (July 24, 2017) Twins Receive: P Jaime Garcia, C Anthony Recker Braves Receive: P Huascar Ynoa Garcia infamously pitched one game in a Twins uniform before being part of the trade package mentioned below. He allowed three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings in one start as the Twins defeated Oakland 6-3. Recker was a seven-year veteran at the time of the deal, but he never appeared in a big-league game with the Twins. Ynoa was a 19-year-old in rookie ball when the Braves acquired him. He’s made 31 big-league appearances over the last four seasons and posted a 5.22 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP. At the time, it looked like a strong trade for the Twins to help bolster their rotation for the stretch run. Trade 2 (July 27, 2017) Twins Receive: P Gabriel Moya Diamondbacks Receive: C John Ryan Murphy Murphy was the lone player the Twins received from the Yankees in the Aaron Hicks deal, but his Twins tenure only lasted one season. In 2017, Arizona dealt for him, and he played parts of three seasons with a 62 OPS+. Moya made all of his big-league appearances with the Twins as he posted a 4.64 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP. His 7.6 K/9 wasn’t enough to be effective as a reliever, and he was out of affiliated baseball after the 2019 season. Trade 3 (July 30, 2017) Twins Receive: P Zack Littell, P Dietrich Enns Yankees Receive: P Jaime Garcia, Plus $4 million Garcia’s Twins tenure was almost non-existent as Minnesota sent him to the Yankees, who would be the team’s eventual Wild Card opponent. Following the trade, Garcia made eight starts and posted a 4.82 ERA with a 1.63 WHIP. Evaluators viewed Littell as a strong pitching prospect, but the Twins moved him to the bullpen. He posted a 4.52 ERA with a 1.48 WHIP in 63 2/3 innings with Minnesota. Enns only appeared in two games (4 IP) for the Twins and allowed three earned runs on seven hits. In less than a week, the Twins had gone from buyers to sellers, which didn’t sit well with some players in the clubhouse. Trade 4 (July 31, 2017) Twins Receive: P Tyler Watson, Plus $500,000 in international bonus pool money Nationals Receive: P Brandon Kintzler Kintzler had been an All-Star for the Twins in 2017, so this move was another poor signal to a contending clubhouse. In 45 games before the trade, Kintzler had a 2.78 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and 28 saves. Last season, Watson topped out at High-A in the Twins organization as a 24-year-old. He posted a 4.78 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 69 2/3 innings with the Kernels. What do you remember most about the 2017 trade deadline? Did all the moves motivate the team to become a contender? Should the team have kept Garcia and Kintzler? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  3. Wednesday was about as ugly as it gets. After giving away the game to Houston on Tuesday, Minnesota watched their Postseason hopes go up in flames, for an 18th consecutive loss. Now out of the end-of-season-tournament, how can we put a Twins spin on the great baseball action still left? If you missed what the San Diego Padres did yesterday afternoon and into the evening, that’s really too bad. It’s performances like those that define October baseball. The Twins are out of it, and so are countless other teams. In fact, the entirety of the AL Central is now eliminated. That doesn’t mean there aren’t avenues to pull for guys that once made an impact in a Minnesota uniform. Ryan Pressly – Houston Astros This one is tough personally because Ryan and his wife Kat are people I’ve gotten to know. They are both awesome individuals, and Ryan evolving into one of the game’s best relievers has been fun to see. Watching him take his abilities to a whole new level in embracing different techniques in Houston was also exciting. The downside is that he’s teammates with Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and Jose Altuve. I can get past them having just beaten the Twins, and I can even move on from the fact that those guys cheated so substantially. What rubs me the wrong way is that the trio remains brazen, unapologetic, and completely aloof when it comes to their public perception. Ryan, go shove, but the rest of the Astros can shove it. Liam Hendriks and Robbie Grossman – Oakland Athletics Hendriks is hardly a secret anymore. He’s been one of baseball’s best relievers for a number of years, and some new hardware should be coming his way for the performance in 2020. Recently fresh off defeating the Chicago White Sox, there’s plenty to like about that outcome as well. Grossman went from a disaster year defensively with the Twins to a complete turnaround and one of the better glue guys in baseball. He’s not a household name, and while he’s always going to be an OBP-guru, he’ll never rack up the accolades. Both are extremely easy to root for, however. Go Athletics! Aaron Hicks – New York Yankees It’ll be a cold day in hell before I every cheer for the Yankees in a baseball game. That said, former top prospect Aaron Hicks remains among my favorite to follow around the game. He’s been great with New York when healthy, and although it crushed the Twins, the diving catch he made to steal a game winning hit from Max Kepler last summer was nothing short of amazing. Go Aaron, boo Yankees. Nick Anderson – Tampa Bay Rays A first-class organization is always easy to pull for, and the Rays are in the driver’s seat this season as a one seed. Nick Anderson is someone I touch on constantly through Twitter as it still irks me that Derek Falvey let this one get away. The former Twins prospect was tearing up Triple-A and was never given a chance to even flash his stuff at the big-league level. Instead he’s gone on to become one of the nastiest relievers in all of baseball. He’s a Minnesota native, and would’ve looked great in the Twins baby blues. Hopefully, he’s part of a Rays squad that downs the Evil Empire. Brandon Kintzler – Miami Marlins What a season it has been for this team. They needed to basically reconstruct an entire roster just days into an already weird year, and then made the Postseason despite being expected to perform as somewhat of a bottom feeder. Kintzler closed out games for the Twins a couple of years ago and is now doing the same for Miami. He was under-appreciated here and always seemed like a good due. Certainly not going to blow the ball by anyone, but he can serve up ground balls with the best of them. This is a Cinderella story I can get behind. Brusdar Graterol – Los Angeles Dodgers Kenta Maeda came over to the Twins and performed like an absolute ace. There’s nothing wrong with both teams benefitting from a good trade, and it seems like that’s what at play here. Minnesota’s former top pitching prospect closed out a series win following Clayton Kershaw last night. He throws 100 and is always smiling. The Bazooka is a level-headed kid that’s going to see plenty more success. The Dodgers are the favorites, and with good reason. If you want to get behind a near sure thing, this is your team. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  4. A few popular Twins targets have come off the market this week, with Pat Neshek (Phillies), Brandon Morrow (Cubs), Bryan Shaw (Rockies) and Tommy Hunter (Phillies) all reaching agreements. And while you may be feeling bummed to miss out on some of these names – especially a hometown guy like Neshek, or a reliable stalwart like Shaw – it should be negated by these two facts: One, there are still plenty of options left in a deep class. And two, these particular hurlers signed at very steep rates. Morrow got $21 million over two years. Neshek got $16.25 million over the same term. Shaw is looking at "three years, somewhere in the range of $9 million annually." These are hefty prices to pay for relief pitchers, the most notoriously volatile of baseball assets. Brian Dozier will make $9 million in 2018 and is in line to be the fourth-highest paid player on the roster. The Twins are coming into some financial flexibility, but they still need to be thoughtful about how they're allocating payroll and committing money. While we'll all agree this bullpen could use some outside help, I don't think the Twins are well served in their current position to gamble on reliever roulette with those kinds of stakes. Dollars aren't the only finite resource for the Twins. There's also innings – this year and beyond. It seems safe to assume that (barring injury) Trevor Hildenberger, Ryan Pressly, Taylor Rogers and Tyler Duffey will be locks for the Opening Day pen. Gabriel Moya, Alan Busenitz and JT Chargois will all have very good cases for spots, if not at the start of the year then shortly after. Tyler Jay and John Curtiss are close. And then there are whichever members of the bloated starter mix end up converting to relief roles. This shouldn't preclude Minnesota from signing a veteran to a guaranteed contract, but it does temper the desire to hand out an expensive multi-year deal. The early action on the free agent market seems to reflect a growing trend – relievers are gaining prominence in the game, and their salaries are rising accordingly. As such, promising MLB-ready bullpen arms like the ones listed above are becoming especially valuable commodities. I honestly wouldn't feel terrible going into 2018 with the group they have, plus a few low-wattage signings with upside, but the primary issue is this: The Twins presently have no closing experience. While GM Thad Levine says he's "open-minded" that his closer of the future might be on the roster, he made clear he isn't keen on throwing any of his young arms directly into the fire. So the Twins are pursuing someone who can at least temporarily occupy the ninth inning from the outset next season. It's not going to be Wade Davis or Greg Holland. It probably won't even be someone in the range of Morrow and Shaw. A trade remains possible, but the same logic applies – are you going to forfeit significant assets for a piece you're not totally positive you need? The equation changes if we're talking about a potential bullpen ace like Raisel Iglesias, but I like to think the Twins are smart enough to avoid overpaying for, say, Alex Colome's 47 saves this year. At the Winter Meetings, Minnesota has been connected to three different veteran right-handed relievers, and all seem fairly sensible to me: 1) Brandon Kintzler. The familiarity factor is there, he has a strong bond with Paul Molitor, and he has proven he can handle the job. Kintzler isn't a prototypical closer, and I'd argue that he is more useful pitching earlier in games when his heavy sinker can be deployed on-demand in tough spots. But this is part of the reason he makes sense; he's a valuable bullpen piece even if someone else steps in as closer, and despite his All-Star showing this year he probably will cost less than the likes of Morrow, Shaw, and even Neshek. 2) Fernando Rodney. He ranks third among active pitchers in saves, and performed the job well enough as closer in Arizona this year, especially in the second half: 17/18 SV, 2.55 ERA, 11.3 K/9. Rodney's age (40) and history of wildness (career 4.4 B/9) make him a bit of a risky proposition but he can probably be had on a one-year deal and that's attractive to the Twins, even at an inflated cost. Multiple reports have connected Minnesota to Rodney, so there's definitely some smoke here. 3) Juan Nicasio. It sounds like the Twins have talked to Nicasio's agent, signaling distinct interest following a breakout year for the Dominican. Bringing mid-90s heat, he posted a 2.85 ERA and 72-to-20 K/BB over 72 innings. He doesn't have much closing experience but did finish the year in that role for the Cardinals and there's really no reason to think he wouldn't be up to the task. Given his momentum heading into free agency, Nicasio will not be cheap (Morrow money isn't unrealistic), but if the Twins believe his 2017 was legit he'd be a piece worth building around with the youngsters. Feel free to share your own thoughts on the veteran relief market in the comments section, as well as any updates and rumors as they arise on Wednesday.
  5. The free agent relief market is finally beginning to take shape at the Winter Meetings. The Minnesota Twins, for now, are biding their time. And while they clearly have a need, early developments on this front are proving them wise to wait things out.A few popular Twins targets have come off the market this week, with Pat Neshek (Phillies), Brandon Morrow (Cubs), Bryan Shaw (Rockies) and Tommy Hunter (Phillies) all reaching agreements. And while you may be feeling bummed to miss out on some of these names – especially a hometown guy like Neshek, or a reliable stalwart like Shaw – it should be negated by these two facts: One, there are still plenty of options left in a deep class. And two, these particular hurlers signed at very steep rates. Morrow got $21 million over two years. Neshek got $16.25 million over the same term. Shaw is looking at "three years, somewhere in the range of $9 million annually." These are hefty prices to pay for relief pitchers, the most notoriously volatile of baseball assets. Brian Dozier will make $9 million in 2018 and is in line to be the fourth-highest paid player on the roster. The Twins are coming into some financial flexibility, but they still need to be thoughtful about how they're allocating payroll and committing money. While we'll all agree this bullpen could use some outside help, I don't think the Twins are well served in their current position to gamble on reliever roulette with those kinds of stakes. Dollars aren't the only finite resource for the Twins. There's also innings – this year and beyond. It seems safe to assume that (barring injury) Trevor Hildenberger, Ryan Pressly, Taylor Rogers and Tyler Duffey will be locks for the Opening Day pen. Gabriel Moya, Alan Busenitz and JT Chargois will all have very good cases for spots, if not at the start of the year then shortly after. Tyler Jay and John Curtiss are close. And then there are whichever members of the bloated starter mix end up converting to relief roles. This shouldn't preclude Minnesota from signing a veteran to a guaranteed contract, but it does temper the desire to hand out an expensive multi-year deal. The early action on the free agent market seems to reflect a growing trend – relievers are gaining prominence in the game, and their salaries are rising accordingly. As such, promising MLB-ready bullpen arms like the ones listed above are becoming especially valuable commodities. I honestly wouldn't feel terrible going into 2018 with the group they have, plus a few low-wattage signings with upside, but the primary issue is this: The Twins presently have no closing experience. While GM Thad Levine says he's "open-minded" that his closer of the future might be on the roster, he made clear he isn't keen on throwing any of his young arms directly into the fire. So the Twins are pursuing someone who can at least temporarily occupy the ninth inning from the outset next season. It's not going to be Wade Davis or Greg Holland. It probably won't even be someone in the range of Morrow and Shaw. A trade remains possible, but the same logic applies – are you going to forfeit significant assets for a piece you're not totally positive you need? The equation changes if we're talking about a potential bullpen ace like Raisel Iglesias, but I like to think the Twins are smart enough to avoid overpaying for, say, Alex Colome's 47 saves this year. At the Winter Meetings, Minnesota has been connected to three different veteran right-handed relievers, and all seem fairly sensible to me: 1) Brandon Kintzler. The familiarity factor is there, he has a strong bond with Paul Molitor, and he has proven he can handle the job. Kintzler isn't a prototypical closer, and I'd argue that he is more useful pitching earlier in games when his heavy sinker can be deployed on-demand in tough spots. But this is part of the reason he makes sense; he's a valuable bullpen piece even if someone else steps in as closer, and despite his All-Star showing this year he probably will cost less than the likes of Morrow, Shaw, and even Neshek. 2) Fernando Rodney. He ranks third among active pitchers in saves, and performed the job well enough as closer in Arizona this year, especially in the second half: 17/18 SV, 2.55 ERA, 11.3 K/9. Rodney's age (40) and history of wildness (career 4.4 B/9) make him a bit of a risky proposition but he can probably be had on a one-year deal and that's attractive to the Twins, even at an inflated cost. Multiple reports have connected Minnesota to Rodney, so there's definitely some smoke here. 3) Juan Nicasio. It sounds like the Twins have talked to Nicasio's agent, signaling distinct interest following a breakout year for the Dominican. Bringing mid-90s heat, he posted a 2.85 ERA and 72-to-20 K/BB over 72 innings. He doesn't have much closing experience but did finish the year in that role for the Cardinals and there's really no reason to think he wouldn't be up to the task. Given his momentum heading into free agency, Nicasio will not be cheap (Morrow money isn't unrealistic), but if the Twins believe his 2017 was legit he'd be a piece worth building around with the youngsters. Feel free to share your own thoughts on the veteran relief market in the comments section, as well as any updates and rumors as they arise on Wednesday. Click here to view the article
  6. MLB Networks’ Jon Morosi reports that the Twins have checked in with the Reds about a potential deal for closer Raisel Iglesias. In his first full season as a relief pitcher, Iglesias posted a 2.49 ERA with a 10.89 K/9 and a 3.41 K/BB. His fastball hits in the mid-90s and his slider helped to generate a 13.9% swinging strike rate. https://twitter.com/jonmorosi/status/929840824761937927 One of the benefits of Iglesias is that he is not a rental part. He is under control through 2021 so the Reds can demand a high price. His seven-year, $27 million deal gives him the right to opt out at any point when he qualifies for arbitration. This could mean a larger pay-day if he continues to pile up strong numbers. He would be a Super Two player following the 2020 season. Iglesias isn’t the only option for the Twins. According to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson, the Twins are calling on a number of guys. Minnesota’s farm system ranks in the middle of the pack since so many top tier prospects have made their debuts in recent years. This could make it hard to package a deal for Iglesias. Last summer, the Reds listened to offers for Iglesias but they were looking for a package that would “blow them away.” Minnesota has also expressed interest in bringing back former closer Brandon Kintzler. Over the past two seasons, Kintzler recorded 45 saves on the way to being named a 2017 AL All-Star. Kintzler was traded to the Nationals last season and they have also expressed interest in re-signing him. Do the Twins want to send multiple top prospects to the Reds for one of baseball’s best relief pitchers? Should the club look to the free agent market for players like Kintzler? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. It’s no secret that the Twins bullpen was a weakness in 2017. With a largely unproven group of arms, Minnesota fans were left pulling their hair out in late-inning situations. There is no doubt the Twins will be looking for some upgrades this offseason as the club looks to build off of their 2017 success. Could the Reds have a piece the Twins are interested in acquiring? Do the Twins have what it would take to bring in one of baseball’s best relief arms?MLB Networks’ Jon Morosi reports that the Twins have checked in with the Reds about a potential deal for closer Raisel Iglesias. In his first full season as a relief pitcher, Iglesias posted a 2.49 ERA with a 10.89 K/9 and a 3.41 K/BB. His fastball hits in the mid-90s and his slider helped to generate a 13.9% swinging strike rate. One of the benefits of Iglesias is that he is not a rental part. He is under control through 2021 so the Reds can demand a high price. His seven-year, $27 million deal gives him the right to opt out at any point when he qualifies for arbitration. This could mean a larger pay-day if he continues to pile up strong numbers. He would be a Super Two player following the 2020 season. Iglesias isn’t the only option for the Twins. According to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson, the Twins are calling on a number of guys. Minnesota’s farm system ranks in the middle of the pack since so many top tier prospects have made their debuts in recent years. This could make it hard to package a deal for Iglesias. Last summer, the Reds listened to offers for Iglesias but they were looking for a package that would “blow them away.” Minnesota has also expressed interest in bringing back former closer Brandon Kintzler. Over the past two seasons, Kintzler recorded 45 saves on the way to being named a 2017 AL All-Star. Kintzler was traded to the Nationals last season and they have also expressed interest in re-signing him. Do the Twins want to send multiple top prospects to the Reds for one of baseball’s best relief pitchers? Should the club look to the free agent market for players like Kintzler? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  8. It’s not often that I allow someone in my mentions to get me so wound up that I devote an entire, stand-alone article to a single person, but here we are. The tweet in question — feel free to click and read the mind-bending thread in all its glory — appears as follows: http://zonecoverage.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Capture-1.jpg NOTE: This person has since blocked me for reasons that don’t entirely make sense. He has also deleted the tweets, so I have saved this screenshot to remember his weird rant, which also included alluding to the Twins not going after Shohei Otani because of how poorly ByungHo Park and Tsuyoshi Nishioka panned out. Bad takes all around! It’s not often that baseball provides irrefutable evidence in a discussion. Nobody can rationally debate that the Houston Astros won the World Series or who won the Gold Glove awards which were handed out on Tuesday night. Those are set in stone. But in debates, there can always be varying levels of certainty, different angles being pursued by those involved and a number of other situations at play. In this case, the general debate is that the Twins front office messed up at the trade deadline. And quite frankly, there is no evidence to back that up. None. The back story to the debate centers around the Twins having the second-most available in their July 2 pool to sign international free agents. This looms especially large this offseason with Japanese phenom Shohei Otani petitioning to come over. Part of the reason the Twins have that much money is that they received some back from the Washington Nationals in the Brandon Kintzler trade. This is where that debate begins, as the party in question says the Twins “had no business trading legitimate major-league pitching at the deadline last year.” The simplest — and possibly laziest — form of logical fallacy is revisionism. In other words, looking at a situation and how it plays out, then saying “Well I wouldn’t have done THAT” without offering anything in the way of a solution. Even that isn’t in Mr. Papas’ favor. Why? Please click through to Zone Coverage here to read this story in its entirety.
  9. The 2017 Twins season was, in some ways, a banner example of the closer label's fungibility. In the past, Minnesota has been guilty of vastly overrating the importance of ninth-inning experience, to its own detriment (*coughMATTCAPPScough*). But this past season, we saw Brandon Kintzler, a veteran with zero career MLB saves prior to overtaking the role midway through 2016, excel as an extremely reliable door-slammer. He converted 28 of 32 saves and made the All-Star team before being traded to Washington. Good reliever = fine closer. After Kintzler went to the Nationals, Belisle took over in the ninth. The 37-year-old had never in his career served as a regular closer. During the final two months, he converted nine of 11 saves. Good reliever = fine closer. These instances seem to confirm something most of us already knew: there's nothing supernatural about pitching in the ninth inning. And with this in mind, the urgency of adding a reliever with such experience during the offseason is lowered. The Twins have at least one player who could plausibly open the 2018 season as closer, with others in line to get a shot in the near future. READY NOW? Trevor Hildenberger: Hildenberger was fantastic as a rookie in 2017, with his stellar mix of strikeouts and grounders proving extremely reliable. He rose to the occasion time and time again in big spots. He got both righties and lefties out. And he has plenty of experience closing in the minors. But he's also 26 with only 42 innings logged in the big leagues. This, too, is problematic: pigeonholing him in the ninth stops him from being available to Paul Molitor in those key mid-game high-leverage spots where Hildenberger was a godsend this year. I'm not sure you can make a strong case for anyone else internally being ready to take on the closer job now. But as soon as mid-season in 2018, several others could emerge as legit options. READY SOON? Tyler Duffey: The 2017 season was a frustrating one for Duffey, who flashed overpowering stuff at times and posted solid peripherals (3.72 FIP) but could never get into a prolonged groove in terms of results. It's important to remember, though, that he hadn't previously pitched out of the bullpen since 2013 and was in the Twins rotation mix all the way up until the end of spring camp. If he prepares for 2018 as a reliever, and comes back with an extra tick or two on his fastball to complement his power curve, he's certainly got the makings of a closer. He was a dominant one in college at Rice University. JT Chargois: Duffey's co-closer at Rice has been on the path to a late-inning role in the majors ever since being drafted, and looks to me like a closer in waiting. He has the pedigree and potency, no doubt. But he lost almost his entire 2017 campaign to an elbow injury, so he'll need to come back and prove himself effective before any kind of high-leverage assignment is on the table. Ryan Pressly: It was a weird year for Pressly. You look at so many elements of his game and see the profile of someone who could close. His fastball burns in at 96 with a complementary slider at 90. His 3.2 K/BB ratio, 1.16 WHIP, and 50% grounder rate all signaled a quality bullpen weapon. If he could translate his second-half performance (2.62 ERA, .582 opp OPS) over a full season he'd be a perfectly suitable closer. But he's gotten in his own way too often to be counted on. A sustained run of setup excellence in April and May next year could change the narrative. Gabriel Moya: Acquired for John Ryan Murphy in a late-July trade, Moya had a phenomenal season closing at Double-A, saving 24 games with a 0.77 ERA and 0.77 WHIP, plus a 13.4 K/9 rate. The stuff played in his first taste of the majors, producing a 12.4% swinging strike rate (tied with Pressly for highest in pen) and holding opponents to a .206 average, albeit in a small sample of seven appearances. He performed very well against righties. Moya is definitely a sleeper for the gig but won't be in the mix until midseason. Tyler Jay: The true sleeper in this discussion. Like Chargois, Jay endured a lost season in 2017, but now he's back in the Arizona Fall League and proving he's healthy. After dealing with shoulder and neck issues again this summer, there were rumblings he'd need thoracic outlet surgery, but has repeatedly tested negative for that condition. Like Chargois, he has the stuff and pedigree; it's just a matter of staying healthy and showing what he can do. FINDING A PLUG The six players listed above are realistic candidates to be good relievers, and as our earlier arithmetic suggests: Good reliever = fine closer. But no matter how much you want to downplay it, there is an added element when it comes to pitching in the ninth. There's unique pressure as a hurler faces the reality that small mistakes can turn a win into a loss very quickly. Any team, especially one with an offense like Minnesota's, can bounce back from a bullpen hiccup in the middle innings. When you're at the very end of the game? Not so much. Kintzler and Belisle converting a combined 86% of their save chances is an underrated factor in Minnesota's 2017 success, and the Twins need to try to replicate that efficacy in late lead protection. While neither Kintzler nor Belisle had history as a closer, or even a particularly dominant relief pitcher, they did have this arguably essential attribute: lots of experience in the big leagues. So if the Twins want to hold off on anointing one of the relatively inexperienced relievers as closer, it would make sense to find at least an interim veteran plug. Ideally, they'd do so without paying the premium for closer experience. Who on this year's market could be the next Kintzler? In our upcoming 2018 Offseason Handbook (preorder now!), we lay out the free agent reliever landscape. Wade Davis, of course, sits at the top of the pack, and is really the only bona fide "Proven Closer" in the group. Others like Seung-hwan Oh and Fernando Rodney have the experience but are somewhat shaky bets. These are some names that catch my eye as I survey what's going to be out there: Brandon Kintzler, RHP: If you're looking for a Brandon Kintzler type, you could always sign... Brandon Kintzler. The Twins will have an opportunity to re-sign the 33-year-old right-hander after sending him to Washington for the final two months of the season. He's familiar and well liked in the clubhouse. But they'd also be buying high on a guy coming off his best MLB season – also a season where his 4.9 K/9 rate ranked third-lowest out of 155 qualified relievers. Steve Cishek, RHP: Cishek has a very similar profile to Hildenberger. He's a right-handed sidearmer who gets lots of ground balls and strikeouts. He has been a very consistent performer over the course of his career, with an ERA+ of 109 or above in each of his seven seasons. Though he served exclusively in a setup role for the Mariners and Rays this year, the 31-year-old has plenty of closing experience with 121 saves and an 83% conversion rate in the big leagues. The distinguished track record will make him a pricey commodity. Jake McGee, LHP: There are many things to like about McGee. He's a strikeout pitcher with excellent control (four times as many K's as walks in his career). He's a left-hander who shuts down righties. He has experience in the ninth inning (44 saves), as well as in the playoffs (six postseason appearances). He's been durable and fairly reliable. It'd take a sizable multi-year deal to get him, but the 31-year-old could be a great veteran anchor in a young bullpen going forward. Luke Gregerson, RHP: Over the course of his career – spent with the Padres, A's and Astros – Gregerson has mostly been a fantastic reliever. But he's coming off his worst season, so it's possible he could be had at a relative discount. In the Offseason Handbook, we suggest Gregerson could be viewed as a "rich man's Belisle." He's got tons of experience (623 MLB appearances) and has a rep as a strong clubhouse guy, but he also has been much better all-around, and gets tons of strikeouts with a heavily deployed slider. Koji Uehara, RHP: It's entirely possible that Uehara decides to hang up the cleats. He turns 43 next April, and had the second half of his 2017 season ruined by knee and back issues. But if he wants to give it one more go, he'd be a welcome addition for the Twins on a one-year deal. When healthy, he's as reliable as they come, and was lights-out in the first half this year. He could hold down the closer role until one of the young guys emerges. What's your view of the closer situation as we head into the offseason? Are you comfortable with an internal option? Would you aim high for a name like Wade Davis? Or does one of the other free agents listed (or another) make more sense to you?
  10. Last week, the Minnesota Twins announced that they would not be activating the contract option for Glen Perkins, making him a free agent. Matt Belisle will soon join him. At that point, the Twins will have a total of three major-league saves on their entire roster (one apiece for Trevor Hildenberger, Tyler Duffey and Gabriel Moya). If experience is at all a weighty factor for this team, then we have a pretty clear idea of what they'll be looking for on the relief market.The 2017 Twins season was, in some ways, a banner example of the closer label's fungibility. In the past, Minnesota has been guilty of vastly overrating the importance of ninth-inning experience, to its own detriment (*coughMATTCAPPScough*). But this past season, we saw Brandon Kintzler, a veteran with zero career MLB saves prior to overtaking the role midway through 2016, excel as an extremely reliable door-slammer. He converted 28 of 32 saves and made the All-Star team before being traded to Washington. Good reliever = fine closer. After Kintzler went to the Nationals, Belisle took over in the ninth. The 37-year-old had never in his career served as a regular closer. During the final two months, he converted nine of 11 saves. Good reliever = fine closer. These instances seem to confirm something most of us already knew: there's nothing supernatural about pitching in the ninth inning. And with this in mind, the urgency of adding a reliever with such experience during the offseason is lowered. The Twins have at least one player who could plausibly open the 2018 season as closer, with others in line to get a shot in the near future. Download attachment: CTA-Banner.jpg READY NOW? Trevor Hildenberger: Hildenberger was fantastic as a rookie in 2017, with his stellar mix of strikeouts and grounders proving extremely reliable. He rose to the occasion time and time again in big spots. He got both righties and lefties out. And he has plenty of experience closing in the minors. But he's also 26 with only 42 innings logged in the big leagues. This, too, is problematic: pigeonholing him in the ninth stops him from being available to Paul Molitor in those key mid-game high-leverage spots where Hildenberger was a godsend this year. I'm not sure you can make a strong case for anyone else internally being ready to take on the closer job now. But as soon as mid-season in 2018, several others could emerge as legit options. READY SOON? Tyler Duffey: The 2017 season was a frustrating one for Duffey, who flashed overpowering stuff at times and posted solid peripherals (3.72 FIP) but could never get into a prolonged groove in terms of results. It's important to remember, though, that he hadn't previously pitched out of the bullpen since 2013 and was in the Twins rotation mix all the way up until the end of spring camp. If he prepares for 2018 as a reliever, and comes back with an extra tick or two on his fastball to complement his power curve, he's certainly got the makings of a closer. He was a dominant one in college at Rice University. JT Chargois: Duffey's co-closer at Rice has been on the path to a late-inning role in the majors ever since being drafted, and looks to me like a closer in waiting. He has the pedigree and potency, no doubt. But he lost almost his entire 2017 campaign to an elbow injury, so he'll need to come back and prove himself effective before any kind of high-leverage assignment is on the table. Ryan Pressly: It was a weird year for Pressly. You look at so many elements of his game and see the profile of someone who could close. His fastball burns in at 96 with a complementary slider at 90. His 3.2 K/BB ratio, 1.16 WHIP, and 50% grounder rate all signaled a quality bullpen weapon. If he could translate his second-half performance (2.62 ERA, .582 opp OPS) over a full season he'd be a perfectly suitable closer. But he's gotten in his own way too often to be counted on. A sustained run of setup excellence in April and May next year could change the narrative. Gabriel Moya: Acquired for John Ryan Murphy in a late-July trade, Moya had a phenomenal season closing at Double-A, saving 24 games with a 0.77 ERA and 0.77 WHIP, plus a 13.4 K/9 rate. The stuff played in his first taste of the majors, producing a 12.4% swinging strike rate (tied with Pressly for highest in pen) and holding opponents to a .206 average, albeit in a small sample of seven appearances. He performed very well against righties. Moya is definitely a sleeper for the gig but won't be in the mix until midseason. Tyler Jay: The true sleeper in this discussion. Like Chargois, Jay endured a lost season in 2017, but now he's back in the Arizona Fall League and proving he's healthy. After dealing with shoulder and neck issues again this summer, there were rumblings he'd need thoracic outlet surgery, but has repeatedly tested negative for that condition. Like Chargois, he has the stuff and pedigree; it's just a matter of staying healthy and showing what he can do. FINDING A PLUG The six players listed above are realistic candidates to be good relievers, and as our earlier arithmetic suggests: Good reliever = fine closer. But no matter how much you want to downplay it, there is an added element when it comes to pitching in the ninth. There's unique pressure as a hurler faces the reality that small mistakes can turn a win into a loss very quickly. Any team, especially one with an offense like Minnesota's, can bounce back from a bullpen hiccup in the middle innings. When you're at the very end of the game? Not so much. Kintzler and Belisle converting a combined 86% of their save chances is an underrated factor in Minnesota's 2017 success, and the Twins need to try to replicate that efficacy in late lead protection. While neither Kintzler nor Belisle had history as a closer, or even a particularly dominant relief pitcher, they did have this arguably essential attribute: lots of experience in the big leagues. So if the Twins want to hold off on anointing one of the relatively inexperienced relievers as closer, it would make sense to find at least an interim veteran plug. Ideally, they'd do so without paying the premium for closer experience. Who on this year's market could be the next Kintzler? In our upcoming 2018 Offseason Handbook (preorder now!), we lay out the free agent reliever landscape. Wade Davis, of course, sits at the top of the pack, and is really the only bona fide "Proven Closer" in the group. Others like Seung-hwan Oh and Fernando Rodney have the experience but are somewhat shaky bets. These are some names that catch my eye as I survey what's going to be out there: Brandon Kintzler, RHP: If you're looking for a Brandon Kintzler type, you could always sign... Brandon Kintzler. The Twins will have an opportunity to re-sign the 33-year-old right-hander after sending him to Washington for the final two months of the season. He's familiar and well liked in the clubhouse. But they'd also be buying high on a guy coming off his best MLB season – also a season where his 4.9 K/9 rate ranked third-lowest out of 155 qualified relievers. Steve Cishek, RHP: Cishek has a very similar profile to Hildenberger. He's a right-handed sidearmer who gets lots of ground balls and strikeouts. He has been a very consistent performer over the course of his career, with an ERA+ of 109 or above in each of his seven seasons. Though he served exclusively in a setup role for the Mariners and Rays this year, the 31-year-old has plenty of closing experience with 121 saves and an 83% conversion rate in the big leagues. The distinguished track record will make him a pricey commodity. Jake McGee, LHP: There are many things to like about McGee. He's a strikeout pitcher with excellent control (four times as many K's as walks in his career). He's a left-hander who shuts down righties. He has experience in the ninth inning (44 saves), as well as in the playoffs (six postseason appearances). He's been durable and fairly reliable. It'd take a sizable multi-year deal to get him, but the 31-year-old could be a great veteran anchor in a young bullpen going forward. Luke Gregerson, RHP: Over the course of his career – spent with the Padres, A's and Astros – Gregerson has mostly been a fantastic reliever. But he's coming off his worst season, so it's possible he could be had at a relative discount. In the Offseason Handbook, we suggest Gregerson could be viewed as a "rich man's Belisle." He's got tons of experience (623 MLB appearances) and has a rep as a strong clubhouse guy, but he also has been much better all-around, and gets tons of strikeouts with a heavily deployed slider. Koji Uehara, RHP: It's entirely possible that Uehara decides to hang up the cleats. He turns 43 next April, and had the second half of his 2017 season ruined by knee and back issues. But if he wants to give it one more go, he'd be a welcome addition for the Twins on a one-year deal. When healthy, he's as reliable as they come, and was lights-out in the first half this year. He could hold down the closer role until one of the young guys emerges. What's your view of the closer situation as we head into the offseason? Are you comfortable with an internal option? Would you aim high for a name like Wade Davis? Or does one of the other free agents listed (or another) make more sense to you? Click here to view the article
  11. The dust has settled on the trade deadline and Twins fans might be left with a feeling of wanting more. Minnesota made multiple trades as the deadline approached but no major moves to shake-up the organization. Fans were left wondering, Why wasn't the front office more active? For Twins fans, the last week and a half has been a disaster. With the team looking like they were in contention, the front office dealt for Jaime Garcia. He would be in another organization less than a week later as the Twins have found themselves falling out of contention. Garcia is gone and the Twins are left wondering what happened in their recent road trip. With the Twins falling to the wayside, many fans pivoted into the mindset of being sellers. Most of the comments I have seen on social media revolve around what could the Twins get for some of their top trade pieces. Unfortunately, the value for Minnesota's top pieces isn't as high as some fans would like it to be.Brandon Kintzler In the midst of his first all-star season, Brandon Kintzler seemed like a logical trade candidate. His value was high (maybe the highest it has ever been) and he would become a free agent at season's end. Reports had multiple teams being interested in his services but the Twins were "remaining patient" as the likes of Brad Hand and Zach Britton were yet to be dealt. As the deadline came and passed, the Twins pulled the trigger and sent Kintzler to Washington for left-handed pitching prospect Tyler Watson, the Nationals' 17th best prospect according to MLB.com. Teams can see through the cobwebs. Kintzler isn't the same type of closer as last year's big trade pieces, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. Kintzler doesn't have the same type of relief pitching resume but he has been very efficient since taking over the as the Twins closer last season. He wasn't going to bring back a top tier prospect but the Twins did well to get something for a rental piece. Ervin Santana Santana's first half of 2017 made it seem like he would be a strong trade candidate if the Twins became sellers. Through his first 13 starts, he posted a 2.20 ERA while holding opponents to a .154 batting average. During that stretch, he had three complete games and other teams were still looking for their first complete game. His last eight starts have seen him come back down to earth. In them he has a 5.63 ERA while opponents are hitting .315/.366/.579. One positive surrounding Santana is the fact that he isn't a rental player. He is under contract through 2018 for $13.5 million with a $14 million team option for 2019. During the final year of the contract, Santana would be in his age-36 season so he isn't exactly in the prime of his career. However, it did seem conceivable for him to be a difference-making piece for a team looking for rotation depth. Brian Dozier Dozier seemed destined for a trade last off-season as the new regime was set to make their mark on the organization. The Dodgers seemed like the most likely landing spot but the deal never got done. Most reports had Los Angeles offering Jose De Leon, one of the club's best pitching prospects, for Dozier. Minnesota didn't budge as they wanted more than one prospect for Dozier and the deal fell through. Eventually, De Leon was dealt to the Rays for second baseman Logan Forsythe. While Dozier's 2016 campaign was one for the record books, 2017 has been average. His batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage are all back down to his career averages. He's on pace to hit over 22 home runs for the fourth consecutive season but he would need to go on quite the tear to get anywhere near his 42 home runs from a year ago. I've also been critical of his defense in the past and those numbers haven't made major improvements this season. While Twins fans waited patiently for the club to sell, the real truth might be that the club's pieces weren't as valuable as fans had hoped. The Twins will be closer to contending during the 2018 campaign so the front office's real test might come this off-season as the club builds for the next handful of seasons. What are your thoughts on the Twins key trade pieces? Should the team have tried to sell more? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  12. Brandon Kintzler In the midst of his first all-star season, Brandon Kintzler seemed like a logical trade candidate. His value was high (maybe the highest it has ever been) and he would become a free agent at season's end. Reports had multiple teams being interested in his services but the Twins were "remaining patient" as the likes of Brad Hand and Zach Britton were yet to be dealt. As the deadline came and passed, the Twins pulled the trigger and sent Kintzler to Washington for left-handed pitching prospect Tyler Watson, the Nationals' 17th best prospect according to MLB.com. Teams can see through the cobwebs. Kintzler isn't the same type of closer as last year's big trade pieces, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. Kintzler doesn't have the same type of relief pitching resume but he has been very efficient since taking over the as the Twins closer last season. He wasn't going to bring back a top tier prospect but the Twins did well to get something for a rental piece. Ervin Santana Santana's first half of 2017 made it seem like he would be a strong trade candidate if the Twins became sellers. Through his first 13 starts, he posted a 2.20 ERA while holding opponents to a .154 batting average. During that stretch, he had three complete games and other teams were still looking for their first complete game. His last eight starts have seen him come back down to earth. In them he has a 5.63 ERA while opponents are hitting .315/.366/.579. One positive surrounding Santana is the fact that he isn't a rental player. He is under contract through 2018 for $13.5 million with a $14 million team option for 2019. During the final year of the contract, Santana would be in his age-36 season so he isn't exactly in the prime of his career. However, it did seem conceivable for him to be a difference-making piece for a team looking for rotation depth. Brian Dozier Dozier seemed destined for a trade last off-season as the new regime was set to make their mark on the organization. The Dodgers seemed like the most likely landing spot but the deal never got done. Most reports had Los Angeles offering Jose De Leon, one of the club's best pitching prospects, for Dozier. Minnesota didn't budge as they wanted more than one prospect for Dozier and the deal fell through. Eventually, De Leon was dealt to the Rays for second baseman Logan Forsythe. While Dozier's 2016 campaign was one for the record books, 2017 has been average. His batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage are all back down to his career averages. He's on pace to hit over 22 home runs for the fourth consecutive season but he would need to go on quite the tear to get anywhere near his 42 home runs from a year ago. I've also been critical of his defense in the past and those numbers haven't made major improvements this season. While Twins fans waited patiently for the club to sell, the real truth might be that the club's pieces weren't as valuable as fans had hoped. The Twins will be closer to contending during the 2018 campaign so the front office's real test might come this off-season as the club builds for the next handful of seasons. What are your thoughts on the Twins key trade pieces? Should the team have tried to sell more? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  13. Brandon Kintzler's baseball story is a great one. He spent time with the St. Paul Saints. He was signed by the Brewers where he spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues. A knee injury got him removed from the 40-man roster, and he became a free agent. Terry Ryan and the Twins quickly swooped in and signed him to a minor league deal. He spent about a month in Rochester before coming up to the Twins. Since then, he has been a remarkably consistent big league pitcher. In 54 games last year for the Twins, he posted a 3.15 ERA with a 1.23 WHIP. He became the team's closer and recorded 17 saves. This year, he has a 2.78 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. He's recorded 28 saves and leads the league in games finished. But he is a free agent at the end of the season, so now that the Twins have decided to be a seller, he becomes an obvious choice. Because of that, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have been fielding a lot of calls regarding their closer. Rumors started swirling late on Monday morning, but the team practiced patience and the deal was consummated moments before (and announced minutes after) Monday's 3:00 deadline.. Tyler Watson is a 6-5, 200 pound kid who is 6-4 with a 4.35 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) in Hagerstown, the Low A affiliate of the Nationals. In 93 innings he has 24 walks and 98 strikeouts. Most indicate that his prospect status has risen. He's a low-90s guy now, but is projectable, so he could add more velocity as he grows. He's also got a good curveball.
  14. Brandon Kintzler was signed to a minor league deal, became a closer, became an All-Star, and now the Twins have traded him to the Washington Nationals. In return, the Twins will receive 20-year-old left-handed pitcher Tyler Watson. Watson is a late-teens prospect, depending upon which site you look at. The Twins also received $500,000 in International signing bonus money in the deal.Brandon Kintzler's baseball story is a great one. He spent time with the St. Paul Saints. He was signed by the Brewers where he spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues. A knee injury got him removed from the 40-man roster, and he became a free agent. Terry Ryan and the Twins quickly swooped in and signed him to a minor league deal. He spent about a month in Rochester before coming up to the Twins. Since then, he has been a remarkably consistent big league pitcher. In 54 games last year for the Twins, he posted a 3.15 ERA with a 1.23 WHIP. He became the team's closer and recorded 17 saves. This year, he has a 2.78 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. He's recorded 28 saves and leads the league in games finished. But he is a free agent at the end of the season, so now that the Twins have decided to be a seller, he becomes an obvious choice. Because of that, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have been fielding a lot of calls regarding their closer. Rumors started swirling late on Monday morning, but the team practiced patience and the deal was consummated moments before (and announced minutes after) Monday's 3:00 deadline.. Tyler Watson is a 6-5, 200 pound kid who is 6-4 with a 4.35 ERA in 18 games (17 starts) in Hagerstown, the Low A affiliate of the Nationals. In 93 innings he has 24 walks and 98 strikeouts. Most indicate that his prospect status has risen. He's a low-90s guy now, but is projectable, so he could add more velocity as he grows. He's also got a good curveball. Click here to view the article
  15. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/Episode_326_Trade_Deadline_2017.mp3?dest-id=74590
  16. Aaron and John talk about the Twins' trade deadline, including moves that were made (Brandon Kintzler, Jaime Garcia) and moves that weren't (Ervin Santana, Brian Dozier), all while gorging themselves at Iron Door Pub. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link.http://traffic.libsy...3?dest-id=74590 Click here to view the article
  17. Update 2:00 p.m. - Jerry Crasnick says the Twins may be nearing a trade of Brandon Kintzler... well, yeah, there's under one hour to go until the deadline! --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Update 11:11 a.m. - In response to Feinsand, Mike Berardino tweeted that the Twins expect a Kintzler deal to go "down to the wire." Darren Wolfson tweeted that the Nationals, Rays and Rockies have shown a lot of interest in Kintzler. Wolfson added the idea that Kintzler could be brought back in the offseason, even if he is traded. https://twitter.com/DWolfsonKSTP/status/892054929610866688 ------------------------------------------------------------------ Update 10:30 a.m. - Mark Feinsand from MLB.com notes that as Justin Wilson and Addison Reed have come off the board, the Twins are getting more interest in Kintzler... https://twitter.com/Feinsand/status/892045429466116096 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Update (9:30 a.m.) - It's been remarkably quiet on the Twins Trade rumor front so far this morning. Addison Reed was just traded from the Mets to the Red Sox. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/892029770443231232 Does this remove the Red Sox as a potential landing spot for Brandon Kintzler? There are likely still many other teams involved in discussions as well, but having the Red Sox involved can't hurt. https://twitter.com/ChrisCotillo/status/892034185426325504 The Red Sox gave up three prospects for him, but none higher than their 18th ranked prospect. So, this, like the Neshek deal last week, sets an expectation that the Twins might be able to get quantity, but they probably won't get high-ranking prospects for Kintzler. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- We all woke up on Sunday morning and soon learned that the Twins and Yankees had agreed to a trade that sent LHP Jaime Garcia to New York in exchange for RHP Zack Littell and LHP Dietrich Enns. The Twins went on to lose to the Oakland A's for the second straight game in walk-off fashion. While the front office had essentially acknowledged a day earlier that they were now in sell mode, the two losses in the Bay Area should have made it official. We tried to keep up with Twins rumors the rest of Sunday. There were some rumors on the likely trade candidates, and we know that many times there is a trade of an unlikely player. Who will that player be for the Twins tomorrow, if there is one? I think we can all agree that Brandon Kintzler is the player most likely to be traded tomorrow. Because he can fill so many roles for a team, from seventh inning reliever to closer (if needed), any playoff contender could find a role for him. Also, he is an impending free agent. https://twitter.com/NickNelsonMN/status/891848263451783168 It's hard to disagree with Nick's tweet from Sunday night. Because he can be a free agent, it seems wise for the Twins to get whatever they can for him as opposed to getting nothing for him at the end of the season. I can't imagine the Twins would make him a qualifying offer at approximately $18 million for 2018. Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray have yet to be traded. Maybe they won't be. Either way, it would seem that Ervin Santana is more of a fall-back plan for those teams like the Dodgers or Astros. There doesn't seem to be a lot of rumors swirling around Brian Dozier. A home run in his first at-bat on Sunday was followed by five strikeouts, which probably isn't what a potential trade suitor would want to see. Then again, Dozier's got five years worth of data points that teams are fully aware of. Matt Belisle is currently the Twins most reliable reliever. He also is a free agent at the end of the season. He is another guy that teams will consider as a sixth or seventh inning guy since they know that he won't buckle under the pressure of big-game situations. The return would certainly be small, but since he's a free agent, getting anything back would be good. And again, there will be plenty of rumors throughout the day, and this article will be updated as we hear them. Updates will happen at the top of the body of the article, so be sure to check back often and discuss.
  18. Happy July 31st Trade Deadline Day!! This article will be updated throughout Monday with any rumors associated with the Minnesota Twins. Be sure to check back frequently for discussion of rumors. Obviously any Twins transactions will get a new article for deeper discussion on it. The Twins gave us fans a great run of some really exciting baseball for the season's first 100 games. It's clear that they need to be sellers at this time, and they have several players that teams should be interested in. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine's phones (and they may have multiple phones each) will be busy. Hopefully they remember to bring their chargers to work! More important for fans to remember, the Twins have a core of players on their roster, and some younger players who should get opportunities the rest of the way. This team should be fun to watch the rest of this season as we look toward a 2018 in which we will have hope. Hope is a good thing!Update 2:00 p.m. - Jerry Crasnick says the Twins may be nearing a trade of Brandon Kintzler... well, yeah, there's under one hour to go until the deadline! It's hard to disagree with Nick's tweet from Sunday night. Because he can be a free agent, it seems wise for the Twins to get whatever they can for him as opposed to getting nothing for him at the end of the season. I can't imagine the Twins would make him a qualifying offer at approximately $18 million for 2018. Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray have yet to be traded. Maybe they won't be. Either way, it would seem that Ervin Santana is more of a fall-back plan for those teams like the Dodgers or Astros. There doesn't seem to be a lot of rumors swirling around Brian Dozier. A home run in his first at-bat on Sunday was followed by five strikeouts, which probably isn't what a potential trade suitor would want to see. Then again, Dozier's got five years worth of data points that teams are fully aware of. Matt Belisle is currently the Twins most reliable reliever. He also is a free agent at the end of the season. He is another guy that teams will consider as a sixth or seventh inning guy since they know that he won't buckle under the pressure of big-game situations. The return would certainly be small, but since he's a free agent, getting anything back would be good. And again, there will be plenty of rumors throughout the day, and this article will be updated as we hear them. Updates will happen at the top of the body of the article, so be sure to check back often and discuss. Click here to view the article
  19. On Saturday, we learned that the Twins front office was definitely working as sellers at this point. Another late-inning tough loss for the Twins, this one at the hands of the A's, and it's all but certain that is the appropriate decision. In this article, we will discuss some of the rumors that have been out there about the Twins. It will be updated throughout the day as we hear more. Consider this your place to discuss rumors. Obviously any actual trades will have their own article within moments of the deal's completion.7:20 p.m. - Ken Rosenthal says that the Diamondbacks are not looking to add an infielder as they have plenty of depth. Littell has split this season between High-A Tampa and AA Trenton. Combined, he is 14-1 with a 1.87 ERA. He's also 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA in seven starts in AA. Seems intriguing at least. The 21-year-old was the Mariners 11th round pick in 2013 out of high school in North Carolina and traded to the Yankees in a minor deal in 2016. And... just because it's fun... his middle name is Stuart... It appears that Jaime Garcia will likely be the guy we remember for making one start with the Twins, and it was a Quality Start and a Win. Garcia is a free agent at the end of the season. Likewise, Brandon Kintzler is also, and there are several teams showing interest in his services. Of course, when the Twins had a save situation on Saturday night, Kintzler was left in the bullpen. He has pitched a lot of late, including 26 pitches a night earlier. So that was the reasoning given for him not coming into the game, and it is certainly real. But, if the Twins are looking to deal him, not pitching him is likely the best strategy. The Twins will not face Sonny Gray on Sunday in the series finale with the A's. The team says that he's being pushed back to Monday, but we all know it is because he's going to be traded by then. Along with Kintzler and Garcia, it's possible that teams will be interested in Matt Belisle as well since he is a free agent at season's end too. Ervin Santana rumors slowed down some on Saturday. Houston still seems like the one team that might make some sense. It feels to me like Santana is the fall back plan for the teams to go after when they realize that they won't get one of the big fish (like Gray, Darvish). And, there has been little talk of Brian Dozier at this point. That, of course, could change at any point. (Again, this article will be updated as any rumors about the Twins come out. Please use the comments to discuss said rumors and your thoughts on them. If nothing else, the trade deadline should be very interesting for Twins fans.) Click here to view the article
  20. 7:20 p.m. - Ken Rosenthal says that the Diamondbacks are not looking to add an infielder as they have plenty of depth. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4:55 p.m. - Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Chris Owings fractured a finger today. He's out for the year. The Diamondbacks may have a need at second base. https://twitter.com/ScottMillerBbl/status/891777882682302464 -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1:05 p.m. - Jon Morosi reports that the Twins and Mariners have had at least some level of discussions regarding Ervin Santana. https://twitter.com/jonmorosi/status/891718371418484736 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 11:40 a.m. - Twins GM Thad Levine was on MLB Radio on Sunday morning, talking about where the Twins are in terms of the trade deadline. Said that Cleveland and Kansas City "did us a favor" by going on their winning streaks when they did. Also, "we've probably had our highest volume of calls on Kintzler and some of our other relievers." Also mentions that he hopes the Twins and Kintzler have good enough of a relationship to extend him. So, you never know exactly what to believe and what is posturing, etc. In reality, both things are likely true. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Update (8:30 a.m.) Early Sunday morning, the Twins and Yankees announced that Jaime Garcia (along with Cash) has been traded to New York in exchange for RHP Zack Littell and LHP Deitrich Enns. (For more discussion, click here) https://twitter.com/morsecode/status/891653191158444033 The Twins also announced that lefty Craig Breslow has been released. I'm sure today will be busy, fully of Twins-related rumors as we anticipate Monday afternoon's trade deadline. https://twitter.com/Feinsand/status/891662940738289664 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On Friday, I posted my thoughts on which Twins players could be traded, and a percent-likelihood that they were dealt. Earlier on Saturday, it was youngster Chris Cotillo who first let us know that the Twins were having conversations with buyers about some of their veterans. https://twitter.com/ChrisCotillo/status/891426876488593411 The above tweet also indicates that Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are not going to wait until the deadline to start dealing. In fact, shortly after the Twins loss in Oakland, Jeff Passan said that the Twins may be nearing a deal already. https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/891532696412983296 Now, I don't know if that is another Twins trade involving Jaime Garcia that is "close" or not, but the wording certainly indicates that it should happen relatively quickly, probably even on Sunday. Passan followed up by saying that if the Yankees acquire Garcia, it won't stop them from pursuing the A's Sonny Gray. According to Jon Morosi, the Twins might be interested in RHP Zack Littell. MLB.com has him ranked as the Yankees #22 prospect. https://twitter.com/jonmorosi/status/891536180663025664 Littell has split this season between High-A Tampa and AA Trenton. Combined, he is 14-1 with a 1.87 ERA. He's also 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA in seven starts in AA. Seems intriguing at least. The 21-year-old was the Mariners 11th round pick in 2013 out of high school in North Carolina and traded to the Yankees in a minor deal in 2016. And... just because it's fun... his middle name is Stuart... It appears that Jaime Garcia will likely be the guy we remember for making one start with the Twins, and it was a Quality Start and a Win. Garcia is a free agent at the end of the season. Likewise, Brandon Kintzler is also, and there are several teams showing interest in his services. Of course, when the Twins had a save situation on Saturday night, Kintzler was left in the bullpen. He has pitched a lot of late, including 26 pitches a night earlier. So that was the reasoning given for him not coming into the game, and it is certainly real. But, if the Twins are looking to deal him, not pitching him is likely the best strategy. The Twins will not face Sonny Gray on Sunday in the series finale with the A's. The team says that he's being pushed back to Monday, but we all know it is because he's going to be traded by then. Along with Kintzler and Garcia, it's possible that teams will be interested in Matt Belisle as well since he is a free agent at season's end too. Ervin Santana rumors slowed down some on Saturday. Houston still seems like the one team that might make some sense. It feels to me like Santana is the fall back plan for the teams to go after when they realize that they won't get one of the big fish (like Gray, Darvish). And, there has been little talk of Brian Dozier at this point. That, of course, could change at any point. (Again, this article will be updated as any rumors about the Twins come out. Please use the comments to discuss said rumors and your thoughts on them. If nothing else, the trade deadline should be very interesting for Twins fans.)
  21. I can't think of a better way to tee up Trade Deadline day! Aaron and John talk about the short but sweet Jaime Garcia era, the odds of Brandon Kintzler, Ervin Santana, and Brian Dozier also being on the move, what to expect from prospects Zack Littell and Dietrich Enns, the collapse of Taylor Rogers, Eddie Rosario's future role, building a statue of Zack Granite, MLB's latest lawsuit with Bye, Goff, and Rhode, and trading John Ryan Murphy for Gabriel Moya. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link.http://traffic.libsy...3?dest-id=74590 Click here to view the article
  22. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/730_GATG_FINAL.mp3?dest-id=74590
  23. Morosi says the Twins could possibly shop the recently acquired Jaime Garcia, who is scheduled to start Friday in Oakland, as well as veteran starter Ervin Santana. Garcia is a free agent at the end of the season and is owed an estimated $4.5 million on the remainder of the year. The Twins surrendered very little in Huescar Ynoa in order to get Garcia from the Braves so the team would likely have to assume some of his salary if they want to gain a superior prospect. Meanwhile, the 34-year-old Santana is owed another $13.5 million for 2018 and has a $14 million option for 2019 (or a $1 million buyout). Given the fact that he has pitched extremely consistent in addition to leading baseball in complete games and shutouts, Santana’s return would be significantly higher. Furthermore, if the Twins are willing to part ways with Santana and Garcia, it almost certainly means All Star closer Brandon Kintzler, who is a free agent at the season’s end, will also be on the trading block as well. The Twins have a three-game series starting tomorrow in Oakland and the future whereabouts of those pitchers sounds like it is contingent on the performance. Stay tuned.
  24. That’s what Jon Morosi’s sources have told him. According to the MLB Network reporter, the Minnesota Twins are contemplating unloading several key players if the current skid continues up until Monday’s trade deadline.Morosi says the Twins could possibly shop the recently acquired Jaime Garcia, who is scheduled to start Friday in Oakland, as well as veteran starter Ervin Santana. Garcia is a free agent at the end of the season and is owed an estimated $4.5 million on the remainder of the year. The Twins surrendered very little in Huescar Ynoa in order to get Garcia from the Braves so the team would likely have to assume some of his salary if they want to gain a superior prospect. Meanwhile, the 34-year-old Santana is owed another $13.5 million for 2018 and has a $14 million option for 2019 (or a $1 million buyout). Given the fact that he has pitched extremely consistent in addition to leading baseball in complete games and shutouts, Santana’s return would be significantly higher. Furthermore, if the Twins are willing to part ways with Santana and Garcia, it almost certainly means All Star closer Brandon Kintzler, who is a free agent at the season’s end, will also be on the trading block as well. The Twins have a three-game series starting tomorrow in Oakland and the future whereabouts of those pitchers sounds like it is contingent on the performance. Stay tuned. Click here to view the article
  25. The Twins acquired lefty Jaime Garcia from the Braves on Monday. That night, the Twins lost their second straight game. They lost the next two in Los Angeles as well. Garcia finally made his Twins debut on Friday night in Oakland. He had some shaky moments, but he showed an ability to get big outs, and ended his night with a quality start. More important to the Twins, he ended their losing streak at four games.In Jaime Garcia’s first inning, he struck out two in a 1-2-3 innings. In the second, things didn’t go as smoothly. He walked the first two batters, and then he gave up a line drive single to load the bases. That’s when he showed what he is capable of. He started by striking out Ryan Lavarnway. Next, veteran Matt Joyce grounded into a double play to end the inning, end the threat. Same thing in the third inning, Adam Rosales led off with a double. Again, Garcia was up to the challenge. He struck out the next two batters before getting the third out on a pop out. The Twins bats showed up in the top of the fourth inning, though some with the help of the A’s defense. Jason Castro had an RBI double. It was followed by a Brian Dozier RBI single to make it 3-0. Castro scored from third on a very wild pitch. With two outs, Miguel Sano grounded toward shortstop. Marcus Semien fielded but airmailed the throw. The first baseman Ryan Healy had to leap and Sano reached the bag safely. Meanwhile, Dozier rounded third and kept going. Healy threw a strike home, but Lavarnway just dropped the ball. Dozier was out easily if the ball was caught. Those extra, bonus runs are always appreciated. They are appreciated because Garcia wasn’t able to work out of a mess in the fourth, however, A lead off double was followed by a walk. Garcia did get a strikeout, but then Jason Castro had a bad passed ball, allowing the runners to move up. Lavarnway came up again, and this time he doubled in two runs. Castro helped get one of the runs back in the fifth inning when he added another RBI double to give the Twins their sixth run. After that, it was Garcia and the Twins bullpen. Garcia gave up a run on three hits in the bottom of the fifth, but he was again able to get a big double play ball to end that inning. But in the sixth frame, he got a fly out followed by two strikeouts. Because he was still at just 90 pitches, he went out to start the seventh inning too. He got the first two outs of the inning, but after a single, Matt Belisle came on and got the final out. Belisle added another scoreless inning in the eighth. His streak of games without allowing an earned run is now at 12 games, and he’s allowed an earned run in just one of his last 17 appearances. Brandon Kintzler came on to protect a 6-3 lead in the ninth inning. It took some work. He threw a lot of pitches, but he was able to get out of it without allowing a run to record his 28th save. Jaime Garcia is now 1-0 as an American League pitcher. More important, that Twins losing streak stops at four games. It was the Twins 50th win of the year, and it came much, much earlier in the season than it did a year ago. Click here to view the article
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