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  1. Many look at Archer's stats while at PIT or maybe they got burned by him on Fantasy Baseball thus saying he's no good. Sometimes we need to look beyond the stats. There hasn't been any doubt in my mind that Chris Archer's problem was PIT coaching staff. Archer had good action on his fastball & slider w/ a circle change up. He`s also a workhorse putting up a lot of innings for both TB & PIT. My only doubt was how he would come back from his surgery. Looking at his twitter post he looks pretty darn good at this stage of his recovery. FO office could sign him to a low contract w/ a lot of incentives. Wes could work w/ him to get his fastball & slider back & Johann Santana could perfect his circle change up. Also there was talk about him telegraphing his pitches, this also could be worked on. He`s low risk/ high reward, FO sign him up
  2. In my recent blog "Diamonds in the Rough" I stated that I believe Chris Archer was a diamond in the rough. Although he always has shown potential & ability to pitch 200 innings, he hasn`t lived up to our high expectations. Many stars takes a while to break out; at TB he had stiff East division competition & wasn`t ready & at PIT, he wasn`t coached properly. Early this fall, I had a gut feeling that 2020 would be his breakout. I was hoping that FO 1st external deal was to call up Shelton & say lets get this done. I remember in an article I read that Chris Archer could be had for Twin`s Severino then. Archer I believe has a lot of up side like top of the rotation. He has pretty good spin rate, fast ball, change up but his best pitch is the slider. He was behind in ST because of neck issues, yesterday was his ST debut. I didn`t expect much because he`s behind most everybody. In the slug fest Pirate`s victory 19-13, Archer in 2 innings had 4 SO, 1 BB, 1 hit & 0 runs while hardly using his slider. He exceeded my expectations! https://www.mlb.com/pirates/news/chris-archer-does-well-in-first-spring-start More I see him, more I believe my gut is right! I see a new maturity in him & w/ new good coaching he`s ready, Wes`s coaching he should be great! Forgive me but I`m not satisfied w/ any of our external pitching deals, they have very little upside, what you see is what you get (if you`re lucky). I know people will say the bus is full which regrettably could be but we should make room & not wait until dead line. Right now we are probably looking at Rosario value in trade or 2 mid prospects or some combinations if we wait longer his stock will continue to rise as he starts to break-out. Pirates should be willing to deal. Twins should pull the trigger! What do you think?
  3. When Cherington sent Marte to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a pair of 19-year-olds, any questions regarding Pittsburgh’s intent were clearly answered. This team is bordering on a payroll lower than Mike Trout’s 2020 salary (sitting at roughly $43MM). In grabbing such young prospects in return, there’s a nice ceiling to dream of, but competition won’t be happening anytime soon. Still reeling from the Chris Archer deal with Tampa this is a club that Cherington needs to resurrect. So, with the major leaguer roster having more holes than a cannonballed Schooner, the former Twins bench coach might as well be given a complete rebuild to orchestrate. If that’s going to happen then names like Josh Bell, Gregory Polanco, Chris Archer, and Joe Musgrove should be on their way to the plank also. The Twins outfield is set, and first base is now covered, but those last two are guys they likely checked in on previously and could now grab as desirable booty. Chris Archer remains more name than ability at this point in his career. He hasn’t posted a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015, and while the FIP (save for 2019) was always strong, the results didn’t follow. Last year the Pirates hurler hopped back into the double-digit K/9 realm but did so while issuing a whopping 4.1 BB/9. It wasn’t there that he got burned however but instead, the longball hurt him to the tune of a 1.9 HR/9. Still sitting in the mid-90’s with his fastball velocity, Archer can remain a power pitcher at 31-years-old. He’s missing as many bats as he ever has, and his chase rates are on par with career averages. The 40% hard hit rate was a career worst, but it’s in line with an increase he’s survived in each of the previous two seasons. Where the numbers jump off the page is just how many fly balls left the yard. Generating ground balls over 44% of the time during his career, dropping all the way down to 36% last season and seeing the HR/FB rise all the way up to 20% did him in. Having an $11MM team option for 2021 and a $9MM salary in the year ahead, it’s a very comparable compensation assumption to what Arizona took on in Marte. Minnesota has some 19-year-olds of their own that could be added to the Pirates harbor. The more enticing option here however is Joe Musgrove. Just 27-years-old and not scheduled to hit free agency until 2023, the price tag will also be heftier. Pittsburgh certainly shouldn’t be overly motivated to move the former Houston Astro, but he doesn’t exactly fit into their window of competitiveness either. Nabbing some high-level prospects to cash in during the future may help make up for the loss of Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow, or Shane Baz. What’s there to like about Musgrove, a guy with a 4.37 career ERA and on his third organization? Well, everything. His FIP has generally outperformed his ERA, and he’s shown a strong ability to both command and control his pitchers. Although not a dominant strikeout guy, he racked up 157 in his first full year starting last season. Working in the low-to-mid-90’s Musgrove sees success predominantly as a fastball-slider guy. Last season his 12% whiff rat was a new career high, and he’s forced opposing batters to expand the zone over one-third of the time through his big-league career. Even in the juiced ball season that was, he largely avoided home run damage, and there wasn’t much of a spike in hard hit rate. https://twitter.com/Nashwalker9/status/1222184462424903680 Allowing yourself to dream on Musgrove is also betting on current infrastructure. You aren’t ponying up the pieces to get what he is today, as much as you are under the belief in what he could become. Twins Daily’s Nash Walker points out some similarities in numbers between Musgrove and Gerrit Cole over their last two seasons with the Pirates. Being of the belief that Minnesota, Wes Johnson, and the Derek Falvey brain trust could work their magic, this is some clay that could be worth molding. At the end of the day it still seems logical that the Twins make a trade for pitching. They were going to be hard pressed on the free agent market for that position anyway, and they have the assets to acquire almost anyone in the game. If Josh Kalk believes in Archer from his Tampa days, they could go that route. If Musgrove is a piece viewed as being on the cusp, he makes a good deal of sense. Maybe it’s neither and a different organization entirely. All I know is the Pirates have some booty, and you don’t even need to board the ship for them to be willing to pass it out. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. Pittsburgh sat with a 56-52 record on July 31, 2018. This was good enough for third in their division and they were trailing multiple teams for a Wild Card spot. Being on the outside looking in, didn’t stop them from making a franchise altering trade. The Pirates wanted right-handed pitcher Chris Archer, so they went and got him. Spoiler alert… Pittsburgh would finish fourth in their own division last season. During his last three seasons in Tampa, Archer posted a 3.77 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP while averaging 245 strikeouts and 205 innings per season. He had one top-5 finish for the AL Cy Young and he represented the Rays in the 2015 and 2017 MLB All-Star Game. He was a workhorse as he led the AL in games started in both of his All-Star campaigns. Archer had seemed to be on the trade block for multiple seasons because Tampa Bay had him signed to a team friendly deal and the two-time All-Star might not have a higher value. Because of their market, the Rays are forced to part with players as their contract costs rise. Tampa has been able to flourish through strong scouting and thinking outside of the box. Tampa certainly knew what they were doing when they dealt Archer for a package that included Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow and Shane Baz. Meadows was elected to his first All-Star Game this season after hitting .289/.364/.502 in the first half with 30 extra-base hits including 12 homers. He currently looks like the biggest piece of the trade for Tampa, but both pitchers could still turn out to be very good. Glasnow has an injury history including currently being on the IL with a right forearm strain. In his eight starts (48 1/3 innings) since being dealt, he has a 1.86 ERA with a 0.91 WHIP and 55 strikeouts and 9 walks. Fans might remember Baz’s name because he was one of the top prospects in the 2017 Draft, when the Twins had the first pick. He’s pitching in the Midwest League and has a 3.45 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 10 starts. Since being traded, Archer has not been the same pitcher that he was in Tampa. He has a brutal 4.97 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 143 innings. His strikeout rate has gone up from 9.7 K/9 in Tampa to 10.4 K/9 in Pittsburgh, but his walk rate has also increased (2.9 to 4.0 BB/9). He’s giving up home runs at almost twice the rate and one of the biggest concerns might be the amount of hard contact he is giving up. His 12.3 Barrel % is in the bottom 4% of the NL. So how can the Twins avoid an Archer style fleecing by another club? In all reality, it’s rarely known this quickly after a trade if one team has gained a significant advantage. Meadows was a consensus top-50 prospect for most of his professional career. In comparison, Minnesota’s closest prospect might be Alex Kirilloff. It seems likely that Kirilloff is on a short list of prospects that Minnesota wouldn’t be willing to trade unless they were floored by a deal. The Twins might not have a comparable pitcher in their farm system to Glasnow. Entering the 2017 season, he was ranked in the top-25 prospects in baseball by all three major rankings and he was big league ready at the time of the trade. Someone like Jordan Balazovic might be the closest as he continues to rise in prospect rankings. He, like Glasnow, was a fifth-round pick, but he isn’t close to being big league ready. Few saw this kind of drop-off coming for Archer and that’s what can happen with some of the big deals that will happen before next week. Back in 2016, Cubs fans saw their club deal future All-Star Gleyber Torres to the Yankees for closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman and the Cubs went on to win the World Series and he returned to New York that winter as a free agent. My guess is Cubs fans will take the World Series flag flying over Wrigley instead of having Torres in the middle of their infield. What are your thoughts as the Twins become buyers? How can they avoid an Archer deal? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. Adding an arm like Noah Syndergaard to the likes of Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi could give the Twins a formidable top of the rotation that will be scary for opposing teams to face in the postseason. Unfortunately, acquiring a pitcher like Syndergaard won’t be cheap, as the Mets are probably not too eager to move him, on top of the fact that if he does become available, nearly every team in the postseason hunt will be looking to acquire him. So, what would it take to land this stud pitcher? Let’s find out. First, we will start by looking at what the Twins would be acquiring if they were to trade for Noah Syndergaard. At 26 years of age, Syndergaard is just now entering the prime of his career and would make a lot of sense to add in with this young Twins core. Syndergaard is currently making $6,000,000 in his second year of arbitration, but since he entered his first year of arbitration as a Super 2, Syndergaard won’t become a free agent until after the 2021 season, which gives the Twins 2 and 1/2 season of team control. This could factor in huge for the Twins this offseason, as the only two pitchers in the current rotation they have coming back next year are Jose Berrios and Martin Perez (if they pick up Perez’s $7,500,000 team option). After making his MLB debut in 2015, Noah Syndergaard quickly established himself as one of the premier starting pitchers in the game. His 100 MPH fastball electrified fans, and his result were nothing short of stellar. However, Syndergaard suffered a setback in 2017 when he torn his right latissimus muscle just a month into the season, causing him to be out for nearly five months. Syndergaard bounced back well from his injury in 2018, posting a 3.03 ERA (2.80 FIP) in 154 and 1/3 innings. 2019 hasn’t quite been the same story for Syndergaard, as he has a 4.55 ERA (3.62 FIP) in 95 innings. The worrisome part for Syndergaard is his strikeout rate has dipped slightly since the injury. Prior to the injury, Syndergaard had a 28.4% strikeout rate (which ranked sixth among starting pitchers with at least 200 IP over that timeframe). Since the injury, however, Syndergaard has a strikeout rate of 23.9% (which ranks 42nd among starting pitchers with at least 200 IP over that timeframe). Syndergaard’s fastball velocity has dipped a tick too, though it still remains among the fastest in baseball. In 2016 and 2017, Syndergaard averaged 98.6 MPH on his fastball. In the two years since, Syndergaard's fastball has averaged 97.6 MPH. Additionally, Syndergaard has been on the IL since June 15th with a hamstring strain but is expected to be back and in the starting rotation on Sunday. Trade Comparisons A good place to start to figure out what it might cost to acquire Noah Syndergaard is by looking at some other trades for big-name starting pitchers with multiple years of control over recent years. We can start by looking at the Chris Archer trade. As many of you remember, the Twins were looking to trade for Archer before the 2018 season, yet luckily for them they didn’t because the Pittsburgh Pirates gave up an arm and a leg to get him. The headliners they sent back to the Tampa Bay Rays were Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows, both of whom were elite prospects who had just graduated to the MLB ranks. They also included right-hander Shane Baz, who at the time was the 95th ranked prospect in baseball, per MLB.com. At the time everyone said the Pirates gave up way too much for Archer, and in the year since looks like it might be one of the most lopsided trades in MLB history. I would be shocked if the Mets get anywhere close to that good of an offer for Syndergaard. Another trade in recent years to compare to is the Jose Quintana trade in 2017. At the time, Quintana was under contract for 3 1/2 more years at a very team friendly rate. To acquire Quintana from the Chicago White Sox, the Chicago Cubs gave up each of their top two prospects: Eloy Jimenez, who at the time was a top-10 prospect in baseball, along with Dylan Cease, who is one now of the top ranked prospects in baseball, and knocking on the MLB door. The Cubs also gave up two lower-tier prospects. At the times of their deals, both Archer and Quintana were similar pitchers in skill level to where Noah Syndergaard is now: not quite dominant aces, but good enough to be the number one starter on a team lacking an ace. Archer and Quintana both also had an additional year of control than Syndergaard would come with, and neither had quite the injury concerns that Syndergaard has. A couple other deals you can look at recently are the trades involving Chris Sale and Gerrit Cole. Though, it’s a little hard to compare a trade for Syndergaard with the Chris Sale trade since Syndergaard isn’t quite the same level pitcher Sale was at the time of that trade. The Gerrit Cole trade is also a little difficult to compare to, as the Astros traded away a bunch of players who were already MLB ready with relatively low upside. As we stand, it is hard to imaging the Twins trading away many MLB ready players with years of team control, unless they look to move someone like Luis Arraez, though I would be surprised if the Twins are at all interested in moving Arraez at this point. Building a Package If the Twins want to build a package to acquire Noah Syndergaard, it will almost certainly have to include either Royce Lewis or Alex Kirilloff. They could potentially try to build a package around Brusdar Graterol, but with him being shelved for over a month now with a shoulder injury, I can’t see the Mets willing to give up their prized pitcher for another pitcher with some shoulder issues. That being said, I’m sure many of you would like to see what a package not involving Lewis or Kirilloff would look like, so I will put one together for argument's sake. Disclaimer: I am not necessarily saying I would be willing to offer these deals for Syndergaard, this is simply an exercise examine what it might take to acquire Syndergaard. Let’s start by looking at a deal around former first overall draft pick Royce Lewis. There was a point earlier this year where Lewis was in the conversation for top prospect in baseball after players like Vlad Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., and the previously mentioned Eloy Jimenez graduated from the prospect rankings. However, a slow start to the season has brought Lewis’s value down a tick. For many Twins fans, a straight up trade Lewis for Syndergaard might be enough (or even too much), but I am here to tell you, that will not be the case. The Mets will most likely require at least one or two mid-to-lower level prospects in addition to Lewis to cover the risk in case he becomes a bust. Offer: Royce Lewis, Jorge Alcala & Chris Williams If the Twins are unwilling to part ways with Royce Lewis, they next place the Mets will turn to is Alex Kirilloff. If a deal were to get done, I see this as the most likely scenario. Kirilloff is without question the best hitting prospect in the Twins system and is arguably the best hitting prospect in the minor leagues right now period. He has had a slow start to 2019, but his bat should still be considered to be plus-plus. Where Kirilloff loses some value is on the defensive side of the ball. It is starting to look more and more that Kiriloff is destined to be either a slightly below-average corner outfielder, or a fulltime first-baseman. If the Twins deal for Syndergaard were to revolve around Kiriloff, they will most likely have to include another top tier prospect in order to get the deal done. Offer: Alex Kirilloff, Jordan Balazovic & Nick Gordon As I mentioned previously, it is unlikely that the Twins get a deal done without trading away either Lewis or Kirilloff, but If the Twins are dead set on not trading away either of those two, but still want to pursue a deal for Syndergaard, it is going to take a large haul of prospects. Fortunately for the Twins, they have a few other top tier prospects in their system, including three players in Brusdar Graterol, Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic who are all currently ranked as Top 100 Prospects by both Baseball America and MLB.com. Asking the Twins to give up all three of these players will be a tall task, but that might be just what it takes if they want to pry Noah Syndergaard away from the Mets, who will without question be receiving offers from other teams that include a prospect or two that are more revered than any of these three. Offer: Brusdar Graterol, Trevor Larnach, Jordan Balazovic & Ben Rortvedt All three of these offers seem like they would be giving up a lot of prospect capital, but that is the nature of trading for All-Star starting pitchers with multiple years of team control. If you want to acquire them, it is going to cost you a lot. Let us know in the comments below what you think. Would you be willing to trade for Noah Syndergaard, and if so, what kind of package would you put together to trade for him? Today on Twins Daily MIN 10, CHW 3: Twins Hit 5 Homers, Kepler Reaches New Career High Potential Twins Bullpen Target: Sergio Romo, RHP, Marlins Adrianza Returns, Hopes To Remain Hot With Bat
  6. Over the past few weeks, we have been spending a lot of time focusing on the multitude of relievers that the Twins could acquire before the July 31st trade deadline, and rightfully so, since that is the biggest need on the team right now. However, that isn’t the only need the Minnesota Twins have, as they could also benefit by adding another arm at the top of the rotation to give them more firepower during a playoff push. One such guy that could be available to fit this role is New York Mets fireballer Noah Syndergaard.Adding an arm like Noah Syndergaard to the likes of Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi could give the Twins a formidable top of the rotation that will be scary for opposing teams to face in the postseason. Unfortunately, acquiring a pitcher like Syndergaard won’t be cheap, as the Mets are probably not too eager to move him, on top of the fact that if he does become available, nearly every team in the postseason hunt will be looking to acquire him. So, what would it take to land this stud pitcher? Let’s find out. First, we will start by looking at what the Twins would be acquiring if they were to trade for Noah Syndergaard. At 26 years of age, Syndergaard is just now entering the prime of his career and would make a lot of sense to add in with this young Twins core. Syndergaard is currently making $6,000,000 in his second year of arbitration, but since he entered his first year of arbitration as a Super 2, Syndergaard won’t become a free agent until after the 2021 season, which gives the Twins 2 and 1/2 season of team control. This could factor in huge for the Twins this offseason, as the only two pitchers in the current rotation they have coming back next year are Jose Berrios and Martin Perez (if they pick up Perez’s $7,500,000 team option). After making his MLB debut in 2015, Noah Syndergaard quickly established himself as one of the premier starting pitchers in the game. His 100 MPH fastball electrified fans, and his result were nothing short of stellar. However, Syndergaard suffered a setback in 2017 when he torn his right latissimus muscle just a month into the season, causing him to be out for nearly five months. Syndergaard bounced back well from his injury in 2018, posting a 3.03 ERA (2.80 FIP) in 154 and 1/3 innings. 2019 hasn’t quite been the same story for Syndergaard, as he has a 4.55 ERA (3.62 FIP) in 95 innings. The worrisome part for Syndergaard is his strikeout rate has dipped slightly since the injury. Prior to the injury, Syndergaard had a 28.4% strikeout rate (which ranked sixth among starting pitchers with at least 200 IP over that timeframe). Since the injury, however, Syndergaard has a strikeout rate of 23.9% (which ranks 42nd among starting pitchers with at least 200 IP over that timeframe). Syndergaard’s fastball velocity has dipped a tick too, though it still remains among the fastest in baseball. In 2016 and 2017, Syndergaard averaged 98.6 MPH on his fastball. In the two years since, Syndergaard's fastball has averaged 97.6 MPH. Additionally, Syndergaard has been on the IL since June 15th with a hamstring strain but is expected to be back and in the starting rotation on Sunday. Trade Comparisons A good place to start to figure out what it might cost to acquire Noah Syndergaard is by looking at some other trades for big-name starting pitchers with multiple years of control over recent years. We can start by looking at the Chris Archer trade. As many of you remember, the Twins were looking to trade for Archer before the 2018 season, yet luckily for them they didn’t because the Pittsburgh Pirates gave up an arm and a leg to get him. The headliners they sent back to the Tampa Bay Rays were Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows, both of whom were elite prospects who had just graduated to the MLB ranks. They also included right-hander Shane Baz, who at the time was the 95th ranked prospect in baseball, per MLB.com. At the time everyone said the Pirates gave up way too much for Archer, and in the year since looks like it might be one of the most lopsided trades in MLB history. I would be shocked if the Mets get anywhere close to that good of an offer for Syndergaard. Another trade in recent years to compare to is the Jose Quintana trade in 2017. At the time, Quintana was under contract for 3 1/2 more years at a very team friendly rate. To acquire Quintana from the Chicago White Sox, the Chicago Cubs gave up each of their top two prospects: Eloy Jimenez, who at the time was a top-10 prospect in baseball, along with Dylan Cease, who is one now of the top ranked prospects in baseball, and knocking on the MLB door. The Cubs also gave up two lower-tier prospects. At the times of their deals, both Archer and Quintana were similar pitchers in skill level to where Noah Syndergaard is now: not quite dominant aces, but good enough to be the number one starter on a team lacking an ace. Archer and Quintana both also had an additional year of control than Syndergaard would come with, and neither had quite the injury concerns that Syndergaard has. A couple other deals you can look at recently are the trades involving Chris Sale and Gerrit Cole. Though, it’s a little hard to compare a trade for Syndergaard with the Chris Sale trade since Syndergaard isn’t quite the same level pitcher Sale was at the time of that trade. The Gerrit Cole trade is also a little difficult to compare to, as the Astros traded away a bunch of players who were already MLB ready with relatively low upside. As we stand, it is hard to imaging the Twins trading away many MLB ready players with years of team control, unless they look to move someone like Luis Arraez, though I would be surprised if the Twins are at all interested in moving Arraez at this point. Building a Package If the Twins want to build a package to acquire Noah Syndergaard, it will almost certainly have to include either Royce Lewis or Alex Kirilloff. They could potentially try to build a package around Brusdar Graterol, but with him being shelved for over a month now with a shoulder injury, I can’t see the Mets willing to give up their prized pitcher for another pitcher with some shoulder issues. That being said, I’m sure many of you would like to see what a package not involving Lewis or Kirilloff would look like, so I will put one together for argument's sake. Disclaimer: I am not necessarily saying I would be willing to offer these deals for Syndergaard, this is simply an exercise examine what it might take to acquire Syndergaard. Let’s start by looking at a deal around former first overall draft pick Royce Lewis. There was a point earlier this year where Lewis was in the conversation for top prospect in baseball after players like Vlad Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., and the previously mentioned Eloy Jimenez graduated from the prospect rankings. However, a slow start to the season has brought Lewis’s value down a tick. For many Twins fans, a straight up trade Lewis for Syndergaard might be enough (or even too much), but I am here to tell you, that will not be the case. The Mets will most likely require at least one or two mid-to-lower level prospects in addition to Lewis to cover the risk in case he becomes a bust. Offer: Royce Lewis, Jorge Alcala & Chris Williams If the Twins are unwilling to part ways with Royce Lewis, they next place the Mets will turn to is Alex Kirilloff. If a deal were to get done, I see this as the most likely scenario. Kirilloff is without question the best hitting prospect in the Twins system and is arguably the best hitting prospect in the minor leagues right now period. He has had a slow start to 2019, but his bat should still be considered to be plus-plus. Where Kirilloff loses some value is on the defensive side of the ball. It is starting to look more and more that Kiriloff is destined to be either a slightly below-average corner outfielder, or a fulltime first-baseman. If the Twins deal for Syndergaard were to revolve around Kiriloff, they will most likely have to include another top tier prospect in order to get the deal done. Offer: Alex Kirilloff, Jordan Balazovic & Nick Gordon As I mentioned previously, it is unlikely that the Twins get a deal done without trading away either Lewis or Kirilloff, but If the Twins are dead set on not trading away either of those two, but still want to pursue a deal for Syndergaard, it is going to take a large haul of prospects. Fortunately for the Twins, they have a few other top tier prospects in their system, including three players in Brusdar Graterol, Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic who are all currently ranked as Top 100 Prospects by both Baseball America and MLB.com. Asking the Twins to give up all three of these players will be a tall task, but that might be just what it takes if they want to pry Noah Syndergaard away from the Mets, who will without question be receiving offers from other teams that include a prospect or two that are more revered than any of these three. Offer: Brusdar Graterol, Trevor Larnach, Jordan Balazovic & Ben Rortvedt All three of these offers seem like they would be giving up a lot of prospect capital, but that is the nature of trading for All-Star starting pitchers with multiple years of team control. If you want to acquire them, it is going to cost you a lot. Let us know in the comments below what you think. Would you be willing to trade for Noah Syndergaard, and if so, what kind of package would you put together to trade for him? Today on Twins Daily MIN 10, CHW 3: Twins Hit 5 Homers, Kepler Reaches New Career High Potential Twins Bullpen Target: Sergio Romo, RHP, Marlins Adrianza Returns, Hopes To Remain Hot With Bat Click here to view the article
  7. Today, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays completed the deal that sent Chris Archer to the Buccos. With a PTBNL up in the air, Shanez Baz ended up being the final piece to the blockbuster. This whole situation remains relevant in the context of the Minnesota Twins due to conversations surrounding the Rays former ace and Minnesota slugger Miguel Sano. Over the summer there were multiple headlines that linked the two organizations with regards to trade talks. Twins fans were down on Sano coming off injury and poor decisions this offseason. Even with those developments however there seemed to be plenty of voices that hoped Sano could be the centerpiece of a swap. 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson quickly shot that down suggesting Tampa had "no interest," and there should've never been a belief to the contrary. Fast forward to where we are today, and we've now seen it took a trip to Single-A Fort Myers for Miguel to once again look motivated in the big leagues. Weight issues aside, his buy in and commitment towards being as great as he can be has long been the crux of his issues. Making the large leap, based on a very small sample size, that he's on the right track now, plenty still remains up in the air for Sano. Regardless of what Sano rounds into though, and even considering that being an All Star level slugger, Tampa was going to command a haul. Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and Shane Baz have all appeared on national top prospect lists. Giving that trio some Minnesota context, the Rays would've been targeting something along the lines of Fernando Romero, Alex Kirilloff, and Stephen Gonsalves. Even if you don't know prospects, that's a group of names that likely ring a bell for most casual Minnesota followers. The reality of the situation is that while Archer hasn't yet reached the pinnacle of what you'd hope he can be, there's a strong possibility that an ace level talent lies within. At 29 years old, he is under contract through 2019 and the combined $20MM in team options through 2021 are more the team friendly. Simply put, there isn't a pitcher on the open market that will equal Archer's level of enticement for the next couple of seasons. This is really a situation where hindsight isn't necessary. Miguel Sano was never going to be enough to land Archer, but it was silly at the time and is now as well. Had the Twins shifted to include the prospect package above, things would be quite dire given the performance throughout 2018. Although this same squad should have a very real opportunity to compete in 2019, it's players like those mentioned in that prospect package that should begin to establish themselves as regular big leaguers in 2020. Having Archer while depleting the system and not seeing the fruits of those labors would be a tough pill to swallow. It'll be interesting to see how this all works out for the Pirates. Pittsburgh still has some nice pieces on the farm, and they've graduated some solid players, but they're in a middle ground that I'm not sure Archer solves. Tampa is chasing the top of a very good division and adding that much talent is going to make the road much easier for them in the future. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  8. Twins fans might not want to hear it but Yu Darvish is heading to the Chicago Cubs on a six-year deal that could be worth up to $150 million. Minnesota had made a formal offer to the top free agent pitcher but Darvish’s camp wanted clubs to stretch the deal to six years. The Cubs were willing to make that jump. Now that Darvish picked another club, Minnesota’s front office is going to have to act fast. There will likely be a domino effect with the first big name comimg off the board. That being said, there are a couple of different paths the Twins could take to solidify their rotation.Other Free Agent Options The second tier options for free agency include names like Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn. National baseball writer Jon Heyman reported that “Alex Cobb is believed to be [the Twins] fallback choice for the rotation” after Darvish passes. Minnesota is reluctant to go past four or five years for any free agent pitcher so that also changes their approach with other free agent arms. Minnesota has been in contact with the other free agent pitchers but MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger says “their interest in Cobb has been a bit overstated.” Plenty of other teams have expressed interest in signing Lynn but most clubs believe his asking price is too high at this point. There may be some other options to add depth to the back-end of Minnesota’s starting rotation. Chris Tillman is coming off of shoulder surgery and could be a strong bounce-back candidate. Another option would be reuniting with Jaime Garcia, who made one start for the Twins last season before being dealt to the Yankees. Searching The Trade Market The Twins are considering a variety of options with Darvish off the market. 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson gave fans an update on the Darvish situation. In his podcast, he mentions the Twins are “maintaining regular trade talk” with the Rays. Tampa Bay has multiple pitchers who could be dealt and each one is going to come at a different cost. Chris Archer is the most coveted Rays pitcher. The former All-Star is signed to a team-friendly deal through 2019 with team options for 2020-21. He won’t turn 30 until next September so Tampa isn’t exactly in a hurry to have him pack his bags. Minnesota might have to deal multiple top prospects and maybe some young major league assets to acquire Archer. Another option could be Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi who has compiled a 3.71 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over the last three seasons. He is in his second year of arbitration eligibility so that means he won’t be a free agent until 2020. According to Wolfson, the Rays have a lot of interest in outfielder Max Kepler. Kepler turned 25 this weekend and he could be poised for a breakout season in 2018. With Darvish heading to Chicago, what’s the team’s next best option? Another free agent pitcher? Making a trade with Tampa Bay? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  9. Other Free Agent Options The second tier options for free agency include names like Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn. National baseball writer Jon Heyman reported that “Alex Cobb is believed to be [the Twins] fallback choice for the rotation” after Darvish passes. Minnesota is reluctant to go past four or five years for any free agent pitcher so that also changes their approach with other free agent arms. Minnesota has been in contact with the other free agent pitchers but MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger says “their interest in Cobb has been a bit overstated.” Plenty of other teams have expressed interest in signing Lynn but most clubs believe his asking price is too high at this point. There may be some other options to add depth to the back-end of Minnesota’s starting rotation. Chris Tillman is coming off of shoulder surgery and could be a strong bounce-back candidate. Another option would be reuniting with Jaime Garcia, who made one start for the Twins last season before being dealt to the Yankees. Searching The Trade Market The Twins are considering a variety of options with Darvish off the market. 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson gave fans an update on the Darvish situation. In his podcast, he mentions the Twins are “maintaining regular trade talk” with the Rays. Tampa Bay has multiple pitchers who could be dealt and each one is going to come at a different cost. Chris Archer is the most coveted Rays pitcher. The former All-Star is signed to a team-friendly deal through 2019 with team options for 2020-21. He won’t turn 30 until next September so Tampa isn’t exactly in a hurry to have him pack his bags. Minnesota might have to deal multiple top prospects and maybe some young major league assets to acquire Archer. Another option could be Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi who has compiled a 3.71 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over the last three seasons. He is in his second year of arbitration eligibility so that means he won’t be a free agent until 2020. According to Wolfson, the Rays have a lot of interest in outfielder Max Kepler. Kepler turned 25 this weekend and he could be poised for a breakout season in 2018. With Darvish heading to Chicago, what’s the team’s next best option? Another free agent pitcher? Making a trade with Tampa Bay? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  10. As we sit here the night before the first Pitchers and Catchers workout for the Minnesota Twins, the starting rotation is at best...uh, incomplete? Ervin Santana's surprising injury news last week left the Twins with basically only two "locks" to break camp at the end of March. Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson. As it stands, the last three spots will have to come from a combination of Adalberto Meija, Phil Hughes, Aaron Slegers, Dietrich Enns, Stephen Gonsalves, and Fernando Romero. The latter two have 4 combined starts in AAA. You may be asking yourself: What is a Dietrich Enns? (Twins received him in the Jaime Garcia trade last season). I thought Phil Hughes retired? (I wish). While the thought of a top prospect contributing at the Major League level right away is enticing, the Twins are probably best suited to let them develop. Adding 1 or better yet, TWO, starters no doubt helps this team try to get back to the postseason in 2018. Yu Darvish signing with the Cubs on Saturday left Twins fans shattered, as their #1 option went off the board. This leaves Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb as the top remaining free agents. While there are many blogs that have speculated on how those three would contribute to the team, I will be focusing on the Twins trade options. Chris Archer Age: 29 Contract status: Signed thru 2019. Team option in ‘20 & ‘21 (AAV $8.415mil) 162 gm Average: 3.63 ERA, 3.46 FIP, 204 IP, 9.7 K/9, 1.214 WHIP Immediately after the Darvish news broke over the weekend, Twins fans began clamoring on Twitter to trade for Chris Archer. It is without question Archer would improve this team but at what cost? Thad Levine stated earlier today that "The prospect of kind of weakening one part of your team to strengthen another is not appealing." He was of course speaking in reference to the Major League 25 man roster. As recently as two weeks ago, the Twins offered a trade for Chris Archer. The package was believed to include Max Kepler. With how favorable Archer’s contract is, the prospect of the Rays building a new stadium, and having several young prospects graduating through their system, they are not in any urgency to get rid of him. A package of Kepler, Nick Gordon (#8 prospect via Baseball America), and Gonsalves (#4 prospect) would most likely not be enough to lure him away. Look at as recently as last season’s Chris Sale trade. It took the Red Sox’s #1 prospect (and #1 prospect in all of baseball) Yoan Moncada, plus Michael Kopech (Boston’s #5 prospect) and two others. The bar has been set. If I were the Rays, my price for Archer starts at either Byron Buxton or Royce Lewis. Seeing as those may be untouchable for the Twins front office, a deal for Archer is unlikely...onto the next option. Jake Odorizzi Age: 27 Contract status: Arb eligible ‘18 & ‘19 162 gm Average: 3.83 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 188 IP, 8.2 K/9, 1.219 WHIP At 27 years old with two years to go before he is a free agent (2020 season), Odorizzi would be a clear upgrade to this rotation. Most likely slotting in right behind Santana & Berrios. Relying mostly on his low 90’s fastball (thrown 48% of the time) and his splitter (23%) to generate swings and misses, Odorizzi has had plenty of success getting American League hitters out. However, both the fastball and splitter have led to more fly balls due to the way Odorizzi mechanics work. His slight armside run and the way he releases the ball create more backspin than most pitchers. He allowed 30 home runs last year. For a right handed pitcher, he has had good success keeping left handed hitters at bay, something Twins pitchers (especially Jose Berrios) struggled with in 2017. Lefties hit just .210 off him with an OPS of .686. He was much improved over the second half of the year with an ERA of 3.47 (first half of 4.63), a K/9 of 8.3, and only 10 homers allowed (20 allowed in first half). That is encouraging to see. It remains to be seen what the market for Odorizzi will be. With only two years remaining of team control, he should fetch at least 2 solid MLB prospects. Cubs, Yankees, Brewers, and Twins have all been connected to Odorizzi in the last week. As a comparison, Gerrit Cole was traded for MLB ready Joe Musgrove and former first round pick Colin Moran plus two additional minor leaguers. Cole is at a higher level than Odorizzi and to some, gathered an underwhelming return. If that is the bar, maybe it wouldn’t take too much for the Twins to pry Odorizzi away? Collin McHugh Age: 30 Contract status: Arb in ‘18 & ‘19 162 gm Average: 3.70 ERA, 3.60 FIP, 195 innings, 8.4 K/9, 1.253 WHIP Like Odorizzi, McHugh would likely slot behind Big Erv and Berrios in the Twins rotation. A serviceable and reliable starting pitcher who threw healthy workloads for the Astros from 2014-16. Last year, he dealt with some arm issues that limited him to 63 innings. A “posterior impingement of his right elbow” led to shutting him down before the season even began. He rebounded for a solid campaign over 12 starts with a 3.55 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning. He only threw 6 innings out of the bullpen last year for the World Champion, Houston Astros. With the addition of Gerrit Cole, the Astros have a bit of a logjam in their rotation. McHugh might be the odd-man out. He has already been rumored in trade discussions, notably with the Orioles. McHugh throws a low 90’s fastball and relies heavily on his curveball (thrown 20% of the time) and in 2017 developed a slider which he used 17% of the time. His slider clocks in at at 83mph and was very successful in a short period of time. Opposing hitters only batted .138 off it, with one homer allowed. A kudos to Astros pitching coach, Brent Storm for the help with that one. What this new pitch means for 2018, only time will tell. It’s hard to see McHugh taking another step at the age of 30. At this point he is what he is. With the Astros seemingly OK entering 2018 with McHugh in their bullpen and an emergency option for the rotation, there isn’t a lot of urgency to move him. If the Twins were willing, I am sure a solid low level prospect (Lewis Thorpe?) combined with a mid-tier minor league player would be enough to get a deal completed. With the Twins internal options less than ideal, it seems the best option will be 1) Sign a free agent and 2) trade for one of these three pitchers. The best case scenario would be a combination of both. There is not doubt Odorizzi and McHugh plus Cobb/Lynn help this team immensely in 2018 and give them a great opportunity to close the gap with the Cleveland Indians in the AL central. There is the issue however that adding two new pitchers could have an effect on the 2019 season. The Twins will add Michael Pineda to the mix. Additionally, Gonsalves/Romero should be ready. Plus don’t forget about Trevor May. None of those are a given and “too many starting pitchers” is never a bad problem to have. But the focus right now is the present. Without a real “ace” the Twins will have to rely on several #2 and #3 starters to get the job done. Already possessing a top 10 offense, upgraded bullpen and above average defense, the Twins would be poised to make a run back to the playoffs. Not making an addition is inexcusable. I do think the Twins do something, but how far do they go? So let me hear you Twins fans: What are your opinions on trading for a starter?
  11. You might have heard the news already, but Yu Darvish followed Chris Gimenez and signed with the Chicago Cubs. There are many contingencies. But at this point, a trade may make more sense for the Twins than signing any of the remaining free agents. There are several trade targets that should be considered. Today, we consider Astros right-hander Collin McHugh. There are still the bigger named free agents from this year’s class, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb. Signing any of them would cost the Twins their third draft pick in 2018. There are the third-tier free agent pitchers like Jaime Garcia and Jason Vargas. They won’t cost a draft pick, but there is minimal upside. There are several other free agent starters that are back end of the rotation types at best.Background Collin McHugh made 15 big league appearances in 2012 and 2013 for the Mets and Rockies. Following that 2013 season, Colorado waived him and the Astros claimed him. As a 27-year-old rookie in 2014, he made 25 starts for Houston and went 11-9 with a 2.73 ERA. In 2015, he went 19-7 with a 3.89 ERA in 32 starts. In 2016, he made 33 starts and went 13-10 with a 4.34 ERA. Last year, he missed a lot of time due to a posterior impingement of his right elbow. He made 12 starts and went 5-2 with a 3.55 ERA. However, last August, the Astros acquired Justin Verlander and went on to win the World Series. Then this offseason, they traded for Gerrit Cole. Their rotation going into spring training is Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Gerrit Cole, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton. McHugh provides depth, but he would be outside of the rotation. McHugh is not a flamethrower. His average fastball is just over 90 mph. He throws a cutter in the mid-80s and also has a good slow curveball. McHugh will turn 31 in mid-June. Last week, he lost his arbitration hearing and will make $4.55 million in 2018. He will have one more year of arbitration in 2019, so acquiring him gives you two years of control. Risk As I see it, there are a few risks with McHugh. First and foremost, the elbow is a concern. I get that as of last season his injury had nothing to do with his ulnar collateral ligament, but sometimes pain in that area can lead to other issues in related structures. Reward Collin McHugh is not Chris Archer. Acquiring him would give the Twins a real solid #3 pitcher (if healthy). A top three of Santana, Berrios and McHugh is pretty solid. Kyle Gibson bumps down to the #4 starter and then you’ve got depth of young pitchers with varying levels of upside competing for the fifth spot in the rotation. That depth then moves down to Rochester where they continue to work to move their way up. Secondly, he provides a quality starter at likely two years and maybe $10-13 million. Despite not having big velocity, McHugh finds a way to miss bats. Over his four previous seasons, his K/9 numbers have been 9.1, 7.6, 8.6 and 8.8. Those numbers would be at the top of Twins starters in recent years. Potential Cost McHugh has two more years of team control, likely in the $10-13 million range. He doesn’t have a spot in the Astros starting rotation. The Astros have used a lot of minor leaguers in the last couple of years to acquire players like Verlander and Cole. They will likely want to acquire prospects for McHugh, but the haul for him should be far less than a trade for Chris Archer. In other words, the Twins should be able to pick any 6-8 prospects that they say are untouchable, and then the conversation can start. That would mean that the Twins may have to give up one quality prospect, but not a top 100 type of prospect. At that point, if I’m the Astros, I’m wanting quantity as much as quality. They should take advantage of the Twins minor league depth. Maybe they would want three prospects in the 16-30 range as opposed to the Twins #11 prospect alone. By comparison, acquiring Chris Archer is likely to cost a young major leaguer, two top five prospects and maybe two more prospects. But instead of getting a guy similar to Ervin Santana, you would be getting an absolute ace who is young and under team control for four more years for about $30 million. It’s an important distinction when comparing two potential trade targets. Is Collin McHugh a guy you think that the Twins should consider acquiring? Click here to view the article
  12. Background Collin McHugh made 15 big league appearances in 2012 and 2013 for the Mets and Rockies. Following that 2013 season, Colorado waived him and the Astros claimed him. As a 27-year-old rookie in 2014, he made 25 starts for Houston and went 11-9 with a 2.73 ERA. In 2015, he went 19-7 with a 3.89 ERA in 32 starts. In 2016, he made 33 starts and went 13-10 with a 4.34 ERA. Last year, he missed a lot of time due to a posterior impingement of his right elbow. He made 12 starts and went 5-2 with a 3.55 ERA. However, last August, the Astros acquired Justin Verlander and went on to win the World Series. Then this offseason, they traded for Gerrit Cole. Their rotation going into spring training is Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Gerrit Cole, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton. McHugh provides depth, but he would be outside of the rotation. McHugh is not a flamethrower. His average fastball is just over 90 mph. He throws a cutter in the mid-80s and also has a good slow curveball. McHugh will turn 31 in mid-June. Last week, he lost his arbitration hearing and will make $4.55 million in 2018. He will have one more year of arbitration in 2019, so acquiring him gives you two years of control. Risk As I see it, there are a few risks with McHugh. First and foremost, the elbow is a concern. I get that as of last season his injury had nothing to do with his ulnar collateral ligament, but sometimes pain in that area can lead to other issues in related structures. Reward Collin McHugh is not Chris Archer. Acquiring him would give the Twins a real solid #3 pitcher (if healthy). A top three of Santana, Berrios and McHugh is pretty solid. Kyle Gibson bumps down to the #4 starter and then you’ve got depth of young pitchers with varying levels of upside competing for the fifth spot in the rotation. That depth then moves down to Rochester where they continue to work to move their way up. Secondly, he provides a quality starter at likely two years and maybe $10-13 million. Despite not having big velocity, McHugh finds a way to miss bats. Over his four previous seasons, his K/9 numbers have been 9.1, 7.6, 8.6 and 8.8. Those numbers would be at the top of Twins starters in recent years. Potential Cost McHugh has two more years of team control, likely in the $10-13 million range. He doesn’t have a spot in the Astros starting rotation. The Astros have used a lot of minor leaguers in the last couple of years to acquire players like Verlander and Cole. They will likely want to acquire prospects for McHugh, but the haul for him should be far less than a trade for Chris Archer. In other words, the Twins should be able to pick any 6-8 prospects that they say are untouchable, and then the conversation can start. That would mean that the Twins may have to give up one quality prospect, but not a top 100 type of prospect. At that point, if I’m the Astros, I’m wanting quantity as much as quality. They should take advantage of the Twins minor league depth. Maybe they would want three prospects in the 16-30 range as opposed to the Twins #11 prospect alone. By comparison, acquiring Chris Archer is likely to cost a young major leaguer, two top five prospects and maybe two more prospects. But instead of getting a guy similar to Ervin Santana, you would be getting an absolute ace who is young and under team control for four more years for about $30 million. It’s an important distinction when comparing two potential trade targets. Is Collin McHugh a guy you think that the Twins should consider acquiring?
  13. Over the weekend, the Minnesota Twins missed out on Yu Darvish as he joined Chris Gimenez and the Chicago Cubs. While I feel a bit disappointed Derek Falvey and Thad Levine didn't position themselves better with a six year offer, it's now a moot point. At this juncture a pivot to available free agents and the trade market has become a new reality. On the latter point, Minnesota's most available asset seems to be Max Kepler. It's worth wondering though, is that a good thing? A season ago, Kepler put up his highest OPS in the big league (.737), and got in his first full major league season. Coming into the 2016 season, Kepler debuted on all three (Baseball America, MLB, and Baseball Prospectus) Top 100 prospect lists, and ranked 30th, 44th, and 60th respectively. After putting together a steady upward trend in the minors, the belief was there that Minnesota had a real big league talent on their hands. While the .737 OPS is more than serviceable, it also leaves a bit to be desired. What I'm nearly certain about, is that Kepler is capable of harnessing that ability. In 2017, Kepler became a platoon player down the stretch. With the Twins in the midst of a postseason race, Paul Molitor decided he simply couldn't have a player with a .453 OPS against left-handed pitching garnering significant at bats. Despite the .828 OPS against righties, only two of Kepler's 19 homers came off of southpaws, and he racked up a 40/7 K/BB ratio. Looking back to 2016, the numbers improve but hardly jump off the page. In his rookie year, Kepler compiled a .595 OPS against lefties with two of his 17 homers and a 34/10 K/BB. In short, Kepler owns a 74/17 K/BB against same-handed pitchers in the big leagues, and he's hit just four of his 36 longballs off of them. You'd be hard pressed to argue Kepler deserves more than a platoon situation with those numbers (though I did find it frustrating at times in 2017). What's also fair to suggest is that he's a 25 year-old unfinished product who's shown an ability much better than what the big leagues have seen. Having never played Triple-A, Kepler's two best seasons in the minors came at Double-A in 2015, and High-A in 2014. Against lefties in those two campaigns he posted an .863 OPS (1 HR 15/12 K/BB) and a .691 OPS (1 HR 26/3 K/BB) respectively. The Double-A numbers are inflated some due to a season with 13 triples, but they are also buoyed by an approach that saw him walk more times than he struck out for the first time in his big league career. During 2017, Kepler slightly decreased his chase rate, with slightly increasing his swinging strike percentage. His contact slipped slightly, but was on par with his career averages. His hard hit rate remained static, and the only notable dip among batted balls was a 3% drop in HR/FB ratio. What could be an untapped area of improvement is one of contention for Kepler, his launch angle. In 2016, the average on base hits fell at 10.4 degrees. That number came in at just 8.8 degrees a year ago. Parker Hageman of Twins Daily actually looked in depth on this topic as it pertain to Kepler last March. Kepler's approach is to line the ball, with backspin, or get right with ground balls. With the power and stroke he has, a heightened launch angle would likely bring a good deal more success. What should be somewhat common sense is that a 25 year-old, highly regarded prospect, is far from a finished product. For Kepler to maximize his output in Minnesota however, the results will first need to change against pitchers attacking him from his side of the plate. There's a few keys for him to get there, with contact and launch angle being two of the avenues. What wouldn't be shocking is if it came together relatively quickly, and the German born big leaguer had a breakout season in front of him. After making his way through Elizabethton at age 19, it took him stops at Cedar Rapids and Fort Myers before truly settling into his own. It wasn't until 2015 as a 22 year-old at Double-A that Kepler posted his first full season .800 OPS on the farm. That's hardly a knock on ability as much as it is a highlight of a growing process. Entering his third season with the Twins, and just the second as a regular out of the gate, seeing another leap forward would hardly be a miracle. That's where the crossroads of what to do next comes in. Although there's still ample arms available on the market, Minnesota has been heavily connected to the trade market. With names like Chris Archer, Julio Teheran, and Jake Odorizzi among those thrown about, Kepler could be an enticing return. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will have to decide what they see going forward however. In any trade scenario, you're going to have to give to get, but is the breakout coming for Max and just how big will it be. For me, I'm still a bigger believer of Kepler's long term future than I am of Eddie Rosario. Kepler's trajectory suggests one of growth, while Rosario's has some gaping holes that can continue to be exploited. If Minnesota is to deal Max for pitching, I'd hope the return is also substantial and that he's viewed as a cornerstone piece. Zack Granite and LaMonte Wade are both nice fallback options, but I'd hesitate to put them in the same realm as Kepler projects to be. With just over a month until meaningful games get started, I assume we'll have clarity which direction this narrative falls soon enough. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  14. Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times reported that the Rays are “open to trading most of their higher-paid players.” Those players would include former All-Star Chris Archer, a starting pitcher, and closer Alex Colome. Both of these players are going to come at a high cost. There are other options in Tampa though and those might be the players Minnesota should target. Archer is under team control for four more years for only $34 million. He has a decent track record and he’s under 30-years old. Colome was an All-Star in 2016 and he is arbitration eligible for the first time in 2018. That means he can be a free agent until 2021. That being said, it is going to take a king’s ransom to pry either of them out of Tampa. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/943917621732397056 Another trade target for Minnesota could be right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi. Over the last three seasons, he’s pitched over 500 innings with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. Compared to the players above, he has fewer years of team control as he will be a free agent in 2020. He could come at a cheaper cost based on his years of control and his 2017 performance. https://twitter.com/MikeBerardino/status/942167855633707011 At the Winter Meetings, the Rays were not in much of a hurry to deal away any assets. However, things have changed with Longoria being dealt. If Tampa wants to capitalize on Odorizzi’s value, this off-season might be the opportunity to trade him. Tampa might run out of options as Odorizzi moves closer to free agency. If the Twins are serious about dealing with Tampa, Odorizzi seems like the most likely target. Archer would instantly become the Twins’ ace but the Twins might not have the prospects to strike a deal. My guess is Royce Lewis would need to be included and Minnesota is unlikely to part with their top prospect. Colome could help the Twins to get closer to a “super bullpen” but he would also come at quite the cost. Tampa isn’t going to be trading away their top assets for peanuts. Small market organization like Tampa are built on being smart with their assets and trading away pieces with value to rebuild. The Rays are open to trades and Minnesota needs to be smart about this opportunity. If the right deal can be struck, Minnesota should pounce on the opportunity. Otherwise, it might be better to look for other available options on the starting pitching market. Should Minnesota target any of Tampa’s trade assets? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  15. The Twins have two options if they would like to acquire a top-level starting pitcher. They can give up money, a lot of money, to acquire a top free agent starter. It would likely also cost a draft pick. The other option to acquire a starting pitcher is via trade which, of course, costs a number of top prospects. FREE AGENTS Yu Darvish is the big name on the free agent market. He's clearly the top starting pitcher available. The cost for Darvish would be either five or six years at somewhere around $23-26 million per year. Jake Arrieta has won a Cy Young, and he's been good, but there are several question marks surrounding him this offseason after a "tough" year with the Cubs in 2017. Regardless, he's going to get three or four years and at least $20 million per season, probably more. Those are the top two free agent starting pitchers, but two others are getting a lot of talk and a lot of interest. Lance Lynn is going to get three or four years and $18-20 million per season. Alex Cobb is also going to get three to five years, and he will get between $17-21 million. The fact that the Cubs are interested in Cobb will likely push those dollars to the upper end of that range. All four of them would cost the Twins a draft pick. THE TRADE MARKET We've heard some of the same trade candidates mentioned since the trade deadline. Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole are, well, if they're not Aces, they're upper tier starters, guys we would be happy to have at the top of the Twins rotation. But what might the cost be? Early on Tuesday morning, a tweet from Pirates Breakdown caught my attention. I don't know much about the site, though a quick glimpse and it looks great. And I don't know whether or not this 'source' is legit of not. What I do know is that it does make sense for a conversation starter. Whether it is for Gerrit Cole, or a similar trade for Chris Archer, it's enough to keep the trade talks going. https://twitter.com/pbcbreakdown/status/940390540998250497 As much as I hate seeing prospects traded, I think even I would make that trade for Gerrit Cole. Nick Gordon is a top three Twins prospect regardless of the ranking source. I had him ranked as the Twins #3 prospect last week. To acquire a pitcher of Gerrit Cole's caliber will require a top prospect. As much as I like Gordon and believe in his future, there are still some question marks about his offensive potential and whether he can stay at shortstop. Likewise, Tyler Jay can be a star bullpen arm if healthy. But again, if his role is going to be out of the bullpen, the Twins can replace those 65 innings per year with other internal options or on the free agent market. Zack Granite can be a solid starter in the outfield and can definitely roam center field for a team. With the Twins current roster, he would be the fourth outfielder, capable of playing all three outfield spots, taking quality at-bats, etc. I don't know if this package would be enough to get the Pirates to pull the trigger, but this is a deal that I would make. What do you think? I generally have this assumption that if I personally would be willing to make a theoretical trade then the other team (the Pirates in this case) would probably want more. For instance, I would think they might want a top pitching prospect (Stephen Gonsalves or Fernando Romero) to go with their current crop of young, talented pitchers (Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Chad Kuhl, Ivan Nova, Trevor Williams, etc.). But maybe they like that young core of pitchers and want to build up their lineup with two guys who could, in time, hit at the top of their lineup. Cole is a Boras client who made $3.75 million in 2017, his first year of arbitration. He will likely make $7-8 million in 2018, and maybe $10-12 million in 2019 before becoming a free agent. So, the Twins would likely need to pay him $17-20 million over two years. Chris Archer will make $6.25 million in 2018 and $7.5 million in 2019. There is a club option for 2020 at $9.0 million ($1.75 million buyout) and a second club option for 2021 at $11.0 million ($0.25 million buyout). The Twins would likely end up paying him $33.75 million over four years. The Twins need pitching and need starting pitching. What direction would you prefer to go, free agency or the trade route? Besides Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole, what other pitchers would you like to see the Twins contemplate acquiring?
  16. The Winter Meetings are an interesting event, particularly for fans. There are a multitude of rumors, and we need to sift through them to find out which are real and which are just talk. Monday was fairly quiet on the Twins rumor front, but maybe Tuesday will get things going. If nothing else, an early-morning tweet got my mind running. It's no secret that the Twins are going to have a lot of discussions in Orlando this week with teams and agents in a search for an upper echelon pitcher. What are the options and what could a trade cost the Twins in terms of prospects?The Twins have two options if they would like to acquire a top-level starting pitcher. They can give up money, a lot of money, to acquire a top free agent starter. It would likely also cost a draft pick. The other option to acquire a starting pitcher is via trade which, of course, costs a number of top prospects. FREE AGENTS Yu Darvish is the big name on the free agent market. He's clearly the top starting pitcher available. The cost for Darvish would be either five or six years at somewhere around $23-26 million per year. Jake Arrieta has won a Cy Young, and he's been good, but there are several question marks surrounding him this offseason after a "tough" year with the Cubs in 2017. Regardless, he's going to get three or four years and at least $20 million per season, probably more. Those are the top two free agent starting pitchers, but two others are getting a lot of talk and a lot of interest. Lance Lynn is going to get three or four years and $18-20 million per season. Alex Cobb is also going to get three to five years, and he will get between $17-21 million. The fact that the Cubs are interested in Cobb will likely push those dollars to the upper end of that range. All four of them would cost the Twins a draft pick. THE TRADE MARKET We've heard some of the same trade candidates mentioned since the trade deadline. Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole are, well, if they're not Aces, they're upper tier starters, guys we would be happy to have at the top of the Twins rotation. But what might the cost be? Early on Tuesday morning, a tweet from Pirates Breakdown caught my attention. I don't know much about the site, though a quick glimpse and it looks great. And I don't know whether or not this 'source' is legit of not. What I do know is that it does make sense for a conversation starter. Whether it is for Gerrit Cole, or a similar trade for Chris Archer, it's enough to keep the trade talks going. As much as I hate seeing prospects traded, I think even I would make that trade for Gerrit Cole. Nick Gordon is a top three Twins prospect regardless of the ranking source. I had him ranked as the Twins #3 prospect last week. To acquire a pitcher of Gerrit Cole's caliber will require a top prospect. As much as I like Gordon and believe in his future, there are still some question marks about his offensive potential and whether he can stay at shortstop. Likewise, Tyler Jay can be a star bullpen arm if healthy. But again, if his role is going to be out of the bullpen, the Twins can replace those 65 innings per year with other internal options or on the free agent market. Zack Granite can be a solid starter in the outfield and can definitely roam center field for a team. With the Twins current roster, he would be the fourth outfielder, capable of playing all three outfield spots, taking quality at-bats, etc. I don't know if this package would be enough to get the Pirates to pull the trigger, but this is a deal that I would make. What do you think? I generally have this assumption that if I personally would be willing to make a theoretical trade then the other team (the Pirates in this case) would probably want more. For instance, I would think they might want a top pitching prospect (Stephen Gonsalves or Fernando Romero) to go with their current crop of young, talented pitchers (Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Chad Kuhl, Ivan Nova, Trevor Williams, etc.). But maybe they like that young core of pitchers and want to build up their lineup with two guys who could, in time, hit at the top of their lineup. Cole is a Boras client who made $3.75 million in 2017, his first year of arbitration. He will likely make $7-8 million in 2018, and maybe $10-12 million in 2019 before becoming a free agent. So, the Twins would likely need to pay him $17-20 million over two years. Chris Archer will make $6.25 million in 2018 and $7.5 million in 2019. There is a club option for 2020 at $9.0 million ($1.75 million buyout) and a second club option for 2021 at $11.0 million ($0.25 million buyout). The Twins would likely end up paying him $33.75 million over four years. The Twins need pitching and need starting pitching. What direction would you prefer to go, free agency or the trade route? Besides Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole, what other pitchers would you like to see the Twins contemplate acquiring? Click here to view the article
  17. As the Winter Meetings kick off, largely the two biggest bombshells of the offseason have already been dropped. With Shohei Ohtani signing with the Los Angeles Angels, and Giancarlo Stanton being traded (see: given) to the New York Yankees, it'll be hard for agent free agent moves to live up to that billing. For the Minnesota Twins however, a line in the sand has been drawn, and now it's on Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to figure out how they'll toe it. In 2017, the New York Yankees matched up with the Twins in a winner take all Wild Card matchup. Tied with three other teams for the next spot (and first one out in the American League) was the Los Angeles Angels. Those two clubs have drastically improved themselves virtually overnight, and it doesn't appear that either is done making waves yet. Coming off an 85 win season, it has to be apparent to Minnesota that a similar total isn't going to get it done a year from now. So, where does that leave the hometown nine? It's an interesting spot to say the least. With a core of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jose Berrios, Eddie Rosario, and Max Kepler all on the 25 man roster, the bulk of the organization's top prospects that rose together have made it. At this point, that would suggest the window for competitiveness has begun to open, and it's on the Twins to supplement that group, and maximize their opportunity. With the AL Central being in a down state (save the Indians), the path to the postseason could come first and foremost through the division. The Hot Stove season started slow, but that lukewarm feeling has now began to ramp up into an intense burn. For the Twins, it seems to make sense that they should get involved. Being reactionary to what other clubs have does is hardly a good plan of action, but using it as motivation to execute on a plan that could've already been put in place seems like a good ask. With that in mind, the Twins can either choose to spend on the open market, or leverage long term assets in favor of immediate impact. On the open market, there's only a handful of true needle movers available. Names like Yu Darvish, Wade Davis, Greg Holland, and Carlos Santana all look like clear upgrades in areas that Minnesota could definitely use. Each of them is going to command a significant chunk of change, and with all free agent contracts, there's a decent bet that the final years of any deal fall short of expectations. However, they'd each pair nicely with a strong core group in the now, and could help to push the water level up to where it needs to be. Looking at the flip side of the coin, the Twins could look to prey on teams needing to move pieces. The Blue Jays and Rays seem out in the cold when it comes to the AL East, making names like Marcus Stroman and Chris Archer intriguing. The Pirates may be inclined to move Gerrit Cole, and even the Mets may be tempted to make guys like Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard available. None of those assets are going to cost a significant amount of money, but prospect collateral isn't going to come cheaply. While the Twins farm system isn't what it was when the MLB core was among it, there's plenty of names that could be packaged to create an enticing offer. Unlike other sports, Major League Baseball not only takes a strong active roster, but also a blossoming farm system to remain competitive. It's hardly a good idea to completely fleece your reinforcements in favor of winning immediately. However, if you can find a way to leverage all of your assets to maximize on opportunity for the longest time possible, that would seem to be the most ideal scenario. As things stand, I'm hardly jumping at one side of the argument or the other. Right now, I hope that both Derek Falvey and Thad Levine get together and find the best course of action to grab what stands in front of them. I'd be all on board with Minnesota spending on Darvish, and I'd be equally supportive of doling out prospects for an Archer type. Whatever path the Twins take, the one that leads to reinforcements, and an enhanced "go get it" message for both the division and a deep postseason run in 2018 and beyond is the one that makes the most sense. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  18. First we dove into what an extension for Brian Dozier. He’s had his first long-term contract, and now he’s one year from free agency. Last week, we contemplated long-term deals for the Twins two mammoth stars, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. They are one year away from arbitration, so now could be the time to get each extended. Today, I’m going to write about another type of potential long-term contract. This one is about a pitcher instead of a hitter, and this one is for a guy who has only a bit over one year of service time, meaning he won’t even be eligible for arbitration until after the 2019 season. Today, I’ll try to come up with a logical, fair long-term deal for RHP Jose Berrios.The case for Jose Berrios is similar to that of Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. The hope of the last four years has been in Buxton and Sano, but also in Berrios because obviously, pitching wins. As much as we need to continue to see big offense, to get to where they all (and we all) want to get, they’ll need pitching. Berrios had a rough debut season in 2016, but when he came up in 2017, he pitched very well, at least for the first two months. But he was so much better and we really started to see what he could become. It’s obviously much more difficult to find long-term contracts for players such as Jose Berrios. He’s two seasons from arbitration and five years from free agency. There just aren’t a lot of examples of this for pitchers. In fact, of American League pitchers, I found just two such examples, Chris Archer and Martin Perez. Both came up, like Berrios, as top prospects. Archer pretty much immediately became an ace-level pitcher in Tampa. Perez was with the Rangers (with Thad Levine involved) and was exciting, but he was hurt some and struggled some. But he has become pretty good. They each had two pre-arbitration seasons, three arbitration season and then there were options to cover some free agent seasons. There are several more players who signed with one season before free agency. That’s obviously more ‘normal.’ Part of the reason for signing players early is for some cost certainty. But also, for teams to provide life-long financial security to the players, the players need to accept the risk that they could be underpaid in arbitration years or free agent years. It’s a trade off. Here is a group of players who chose to go year-to-year with arbitration. Because of the risk, these numbers should be the top of the spectrum, and yet they vary a bit. And, of course, we also have to account for the inflation in the game the last several years. To try to help with that, here is a listing of some pitchers who went through the arbitration cycle for the first time in 2017. Again, I only went through the American League. This is already a bunch, and frankly, you don’t want to go through a list double this size, but it gives us a good range for what the Twins could expect to have to pay. So, with all that as background, here is the contract that I would offer to Jose Berrios this offseason, at least as a starting point for discussion. This works out to a seven year, $46 million contract, and with the option, it would be eight years, $60 million. (I put a $2 million buyout to the option in there.) Seven years and $46 million sure doesn’t sound like a lot, does it? And yet, $46 million for a guy with just over a year of experience is a lot of money. Consider that four years ago around this time, Chris Archer signed a contract for six years and $25.5 million with two option years. That's $20 million additional dollars four years later. If I were to guess, I think that the Berrios side would want it to be a year or two shorter so that he can become a free agent at 29 or 30. In that context, does this deal seem to make some sense for the Twins? For Berrios’s camp? What do you think? Click here to view the article
  19. The case for Jose Berrios is similar to that of Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano. The hope of the last four years has been in Buxton and Sano, but also in Berrios because obviously, pitching wins. As much as we need to continue to see big offense, to get to where they all (and we all) want to get, they’ll need pitching. Berrios had a rough debut season in 2016, but when he came up in 2017, he pitched very well, at least for the first two months. But he was so much better and we really started to see what he could become. It’s obviously much more difficult to find long-term contracts for players such as Jose Berrios. He’s two seasons from arbitration and five years from free agency. There just aren’t a lot of examples of this for pitchers. In fact, of American League pitchers, I found just two such examples, Chris Archer and Martin Perez. Both came up, like Berrios, as top prospects. Archer pretty much immediately became an ace-level pitcher in Tampa. Perez was with the Rangers (with Thad Levine involved) and was exciting, but he was hurt some and struggled some. But he has become pretty good. They each had two pre-arbitration seasons, three arbitration season and then there were options to cover some free agent seasons. There are several more players who signed with one season before free agency. That’s obviously more ‘normal.’ Part of the reason for signing players early is for some cost certainty. But also, for teams to provide life-long financial security to the players, the players need to accept the risk that they could be underpaid in arbitration years or free agent years. It’s a trade off. Here is a group of players who chose to go year-to-year with arbitration. Because of the risk, these numbers should be the top of the spectrum, and yet they vary a bit. And, of course, we also have to account for the inflation in the game the last several years. To try to help with that, here is a listing of some pitchers who went through the arbitration cycle for the first time in 2017. Again, I only went through the American League. This is already a bunch, and frankly, you don’t want to go through a list double this size, but it gives us a good range for what the Twins could expect to have to pay. So, with all that as background, here is the contract that I would offer to Jose Berrios this offseason, at least as a starting point for discussion. This works out to a seven year, $46 million contract, and with the option, it would be eight years, $60 million. (I put a $2 million buyout to the option in there.) Seven years and $46 million sure doesn’t sound like a lot, does it? And yet, $46 million for a guy with just over a year of experience is a lot of money. Consider that four years ago around this time, Chris Archer signed a contract for six years and $25.5 million with two option years. That's $20 million additional dollars four years later. If I were to guess, I think that the Berrios side would want it to be a year or two shorter so that he can become a free agent at 29 or 30. In that context, does this deal seem to make some sense for the Twins? For Berrios’s camp? What do you think?
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