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  1. With the acquisition of Pablo López, the Minnesota Twins confirmed their favorite style of starting pitcher to acquire: a troubled, perhaps underperforming arm capable of becoming something more with a few tweaks. Image courtesy of Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports Broadly speaking, that outline covers Chris Paddack, Tyler Mahle, and now López; one could argue that Kenta Maeda fits the mold as well. The idea probably stems from two sources: first, the Twins acknowledging themselves as an undesirable home for arms. Big-name starters have eschewed Minnesota for years. Despite recent infamous twirls with Yu Darvish and Zack Wheeler, Michael Pineda remains the richest starter to brace the cold under Derek Falvey’s watch. Realizing that players have no say in trades, Falvey and Co. decided to force the issue, utilizing the lack of consent involved in deals to pool together talented arms. The second part is the more interesting one—and its assumptions will likely decide how successful the Twins are with their strategy. Pitching in the modern baseball landscape is—and this is the technical term for it—absolutely bonkers. Arms become studs overnight—hello, Evan Phillips—as hefty advancements in technology make adjustments a science, no longer an art only understood by a few masters of the craft; a good pitching coach must communicate what the computer knows. Good teams aren't alone in claiming these resources; every team in MLB has them. But the most consistent franchises identify players most capable of breaking out, freeing them from the clutches of an ignorant team while reaping the rewards of a flourishing arm. The pickpocketed squad has no clue what happened. The Pirates lose 100 games. Looking beyond the horrifying societal implications of technological modernity, the scientific pitching movement hasn’t created an abundance of frustratingly talented pitchers—those will always exist—but it has made it tantalizingly irresistible to acquire them. “I can fix him,” thinks a team watching a guy with an ideal fastball get crushed for a 4.70 ERA. Phil Maton has pitched for three teams over six seasons. Phil Maton’s career rWAR is negative. Phil Maton will continue to have a bullpen spot on one of the smartest teams in baseball. Perhaps hearing the same information from a new source proves to be the catalyst. Or, as sports fans have known for decades, a guy just needs a change of scenery. If it doesn't work, the team may look silly, but that's the price of doing business. Minnesota took this concept and ran with it in 2021. They acquired Paddack, one of the more notorious problems in baseball, pulled some strings on his pitching package, and came out with a renewed starter… until he got injured. Players still have ligaments, after all. They then acquired Mahle, watched him be exactly as maddening as he was in Cincinnati for 16 1/3 innings, and failed to help him realize his potential… because he, too, got injured. This pitching business sounds hazardous. Whether López’s tale differs is up to him and whatever sacrifices the baseball gods choose to accept. While Minnesota hasn’t yet experienced success with the plan, other teams have reaped great riches. Perhaps most famously, Houston understood that Gerrit Cole should not be throwing sinkers, thank you very much, and they enjoyed two years of some of the most dominating starting pitching baseball has seen in recent years. Toronto somehow didn’t give up on Robbie Ray, transforming him into a Cy Young winner after a year where he walked nearly 18% of all hitters. Kevin Gausman evolved from pitching in relief for Cincinnati in 2019 into a legitimate Cy Young candidate. Minnesota hasn’t yet seen a transformation like the previous arms, but it injuries are the culprit, not poor targeting. Rather than tinker with potential, why not shoot for the best of the best? For starters, the most impactful arms in the game command a royal ransom in return, something that few teams are ok with meeting these days. You can criticize Minnesota for not going after Zac Gallen, but remember that no team yet has met Arizona's asking price for him; the Twins aren't an anomaly. Also, there just aren't many available aces these days. Sandy Alcántara is going to remain a Marlin for a few years, Milwaukee shut down trade noise, and Oakland is currently a picked-over walrus carcass. Is Cole Irvin your fallback plan? This isn’t to say that all their pitchers will figure it out eventually because, well, if everyone is super, then no one is. The game is in upside: what can you do in the future with your raw stuff? A player’s past hardly defines them; their measurables reign supreme and the Twins have gathered a hearty assortment of players with fascinating under-the-hood numbers. We shall see if the plan works. View full article
  2. Broadly speaking, that outline covers Chris Paddack, Tyler Mahle, and now López; one could argue that Kenta Maeda fits the mold as well. The idea probably stems from two sources: first, the Twins acknowledging themselves as an undesirable home for arms. Big-name starters have eschewed Minnesota for years. Despite recent infamous twirls with Yu Darvish and Zack Wheeler, Michael Pineda remains the richest starter to brace the cold under Derek Falvey’s watch. Realizing that players have no say in trades, Falvey and Co. decided to force the issue, utilizing the lack of consent involved in deals to pool together talented arms. The second part is the more interesting one—and its assumptions will likely decide how successful the Twins are with their strategy. Pitching in the modern baseball landscape is—and this is the technical term for it—absolutely bonkers. Arms become studs overnight—hello, Evan Phillips—as hefty advancements in technology make adjustments a science, no longer an art only understood by a few masters of the craft; a good pitching coach must communicate what the computer knows. Good teams aren't alone in claiming these resources; every team in MLB has them. But the most consistent franchises identify players most capable of breaking out, freeing them from the clutches of an ignorant team while reaping the rewards of a flourishing arm. The pickpocketed squad has no clue what happened. The Pirates lose 100 games. Looking beyond the horrifying societal implications of technological modernity, the scientific pitching movement hasn’t created an abundance of frustratingly talented pitchers—those will always exist—but it has made it tantalizingly irresistible to acquire them. “I can fix him,” thinks a team watching a guy with an ideal fastball get crushed for a 4.70 ERA. Phil Maton has pitched for three teams over six seasons. Phil Maton’s career rWAR is negative. Phil Maton will continue to have a bullpen spot on one of the smartest teams in baseball. Perhaps hearing the same information from a new source proves to be the catalyst. Or, as sports fans have known for decades, a guy just needs a change of scenery. If it doesn't work, the team may look silly, but that's the price of doing business. Minnesota took this concept and ran with it in 2021. They acquired Paddack, one of the more notorious problems in baseball, pulled some strings on his pitching package, and came out with a renewed starter… until he got injured. Players still have ligaments, after all. They then acquired Mahle, watched him be exactly as maddening as he was in Cincinnati for 16 1/3 innings, and failed to help him realize his potential… because he, too, got injured. This pitching business sounds hazardous. Whether López’s tale differs is up to him and whatever sacrifices the baseball gods choose to accept. While Minnesota hasn’t yet experienced success with the plan, other teams have reaped great riches. Perhaps most famously, Houston understood that Gerrit Cole should not be throwing sinkers, thank you very much, and they enjoyed two years of some of the most dominating starting pitching baseball has seen in recent years. Toronto somehow didn’t give up on Robbie Ray, transforming him into a Cy Young winner after a year where he walked nearly 18% of all hitters. Kevin Gausman evolved from pitching in relief for Cincinnati in 2019 into a legitimate Cy Young candidate. Minnesota hasn’t yet seen a transformation like the previous arms, but it injuries are the culprit, not poor targeting. Rather than tinker with potential, why not shoot for the best of the best? For starters, the most impactful arms in the game command a royal ransom in return, something that few teams are ok with meeting these days. You can criticize Minnesota for not going after Zac Gallen, but remember that no team yet has met Arizona's asking price for him; the Twins aren't an anomaly. Also, there just aren't many available aces these days. Sandy Alcántara is going to remain a Marlin for a few years, Milwaukee shut down trade noise, and Oakland is currently a picked-over walrus carcass. Is Cole Irvin your fallback plan? This isn’t to say that all their pitchers will figure it out eventually because, well, if everyone is super, then no one is. The game is in upside: what can you do in the future with your raw stuff? A player’s past hardly defines them; their measurables reign supreme and the Twins have gathered a hearty assortment of players with fascinating under-the-hood numbers. We shall see if the plan works.
  3. Minnesota's front office continues to collect players with injury concerns. Will these distressed assets come back to haunt the Twins? Image courtesy of Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have followed different trends since taking the Twins' front office reins. Those trends include the types of players they target in the draft process, using a patient approach in the offseason, and acquiring players that some may consider distressed assets. Some distressed assets have provided value for the Twins, but others have been unmitigated disasters. Can the Twins find a way to be successful while following this player acquisition trend? Reasons for this Trend The current front office has placed a premium value on acquiring players on good contracts or with multiple years of team control. There is risk involved with long-term deals for free-agent players, and the Twins typically aren't swimming in the deep end of the free-agent market. However, there have been multiple instances when a player's value had dropped enough that the Twins were comfortable offering multi-year deals. Minnesota was willing to make the highest offer because the front office felt the player would provide enough value in the contract's early years to make up for the back end. On the pitching side, Minnesota has recently traded for multiple arms, and there have been injury concerns with some of those acquisitions. Trading for any pitching asset comes with some level of trepidation. Last season, Twins fans clamored for the team to acquire Frankie Montas, but he was traded to the Yankees and will start the 2023 season on the injured list because of a shoulder injury. Only some pitchers can perform at a high level after a trade. Also, the Twins value the prospects this regime has accumulated, so they have shown a hesitancy to deal top prospects for pitching assets. That made last year's trade deadline so intriguing because it looked like the front office was putting the team in the best position to win. Unfortunately, recent seasons haven't played out in the team's favor. Distressed Assets: Pitchers Sam Dyson was one of this front office's first significant trade deadline deals in 2019. His Twins' tenure was disastrous as he allowed nine earned runs in 11 1/3 innings while making multiple trips to the Injured List. Eventually, he revealed that he had been pitching through shoulder discomfort for multiple weeks. The Twins tried to investigate if the Giants knew anything about his injury before the trade. There were no signs of his injury or poor performance before the trade, so this deal looks like bad luck for the Twins. He hasn't pitched in professional baseball since 2019 because of sexual assault allegations and a suspension. Leading into the 2020 season, the Twins traded for Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers. Los Angeles expressed concerns about Maeda's elbow when he initially signed in 2016, and that's why he signed an incentive-laden contract. He pitched nearly 590 innings with the Dodgers before being traded and showed no signs of his elbow being an issue. His first season in Minnesota couldn't have gone much better, as he posted a 2.70 ERA while leading baseball with a 0.75 WHIP. Maeda's performance declined in 2021, forcing him to undergo Tommy John surgery. He pitched over 760 big-league innings before his elbow gave out, so this wasn't a red flag before the trade. Minnesota recently finished an extension with Chris Paddack to keep him with the organization through the 2025 season and delay free agency by one year. The Twins acquired Paddack leading into the 2022 season after he dealt with a sprained UCL at the end of the 2021 season. He pitched well in limited action last season, and the Twins are hoping he can return in 2023 following his second Tommy John surgery. His extension gives the Twins some cost certainty and has the potential for Paddack to provide the team upside over the next three seasons. Tyler Mahle was arguably the Twins' most prominent trade deadline acquisition in 2022. The front office attempted to add a playoff-caliber starter to the rotation, but it came at a cost. Shortly before the trade, Mahle missed time with a shoulder injury, and those issues continued with the Twins. He couldn't help the team down the stretch, and now there are questions about his health entering the 2023 campaign. Mahle is a free agent at season's end, and the Twins hope his off-season regime has built up his shoulder enough to provide value at the rotation's front end. Distressed Assets: Position Players Entering the 2020 season, the Twins planned to target free-agent starting pitching, but the market didn't work out in the club's favor. Instead, Josh Donaldson was still available because of lingering injury concerns and the fact that he was in his mid-30s. Minnesota hoped that Donaldson could be an asset to help push the team to postseason success. However, he didn't appear in either playoff game during his Twins tenure. Luckily, the Twins were able to trade Donaldson, which helped pave the way for signing Carlos Correa. Carlos Correa 's free agent journey has been well documented in recent weeks, but there's no question he remains with the Twins because of long-term health concerns. Minnesota offered a front-loaded contract that is very team friendly, but there are risks involved with any free-agent signing. Even Byron Buxton 's extension can be viewed as a distressed asset, because of his long-running injury concerns. The Twins' success is now tied to Correa and Buxton staying healthy. Minnesota's line-up should have two of baseball's best hitters if both players perform up to expectations. Are you concerned with Minnesota's trend of acquiring distressed assets? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  4. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have followed different trends since taking the Twins' front office reins. Those trends include the types of players they target in the draft process, using a patient approach in the offseason, and acquiring players that some may consider distressed assets. Some distressed assets have provided value for the Twins, but others have been unmitigated disasters. Can the Twins find a way to be successful while following this player acquisition trend? Reasons for this Trend The current front office has placed a premium value on acquiring players on good contracts or with multiple years of team control. There is risk involved with long-term deals for free-agent players, and the Twins typically aren't swimming in the deep end of the free-agent market. However, there have been multiple instances when a player's value had dropped enough that the Twins were comfortable offering multi-year deals. Minnesota was willing to make the highest offer because the front office felt the player would provide enough value in the contract's early years to make up for the back end. On the pitching side, Minnesota has recently traded for multiple arms, and there have been injury concerns with some of those acquisitions. Trading for any pitching asset comes with some level of trepidation. Last season, Twins fans clamored for the team to acquire Frankie Montas, but he was traded to the Yankees and will start the 2023 season on the injured list because of a shoulder injury. Only some pitchers can perform at a high level after a trade. Also, the Twins value the prospects this regime has accumulated, so they have shown a hesitancy to deal top prospects for pitching assets. That made last year's trade deadline so intriguing because it looked like the front office was putting the team in the best position to win. Unfortunately, recent seasons haven't played out in the team's favor. Distressed Assets: Pitchers Sam Dyson was one of this front office's first significant trade deadline deals in 2019. His Twins' tenure was disastrous as he allowed nine earned runs in 11 1/3 innings while making multiple trips to the Injured List. Eventually, he revealed that he had been pitching through shoulder discomfort for multiple weeks. The Twins tried to investigate if the Giants knew anything about his injury before the trade. There were no signs of his injury or poor performance before the trade, so this deal looks like bad luck for the Twins. He hasn't pitched in professional baseball since 2019 because of sexual assault allegations and a suspension. Leading into the 2020 season, the Twins traded for Kenta Maeda from the Dodgers. Los Angeles expressed concerns about Maeda's elbow when he initially signed in 2016, and that's why he signed an incentive-laden contract. He pitched nearly 590 innings with the Dodgers before being traded and showed no signs of his elbow being an issue. His first season in Minnesota couldn't have gone much better, as he posted a 2.70 ERA while leading baseball with a 0.75 WHIP. Maeda's performance declined in 2021, forcing him to undergo Tommy John surgery. He pitched over 760 big-league innings before his elbow gave out, so this wasn't a red flag before the trade. Minnesota recently finished an extension with Chris Paddack to keep him with the organization through the 2025 season and delay free agency by one year. The Twins acquired Paddack leading into the 2022 season after he dealt with a sprained UCL at the end of the 2021 season. He pitched well in limited action last season, and the Twins are hoping he can return in 2023 following his second Tommy John surgery. His extension gives the Twins some cost certainty and has the potential for Paddack to provide the team upside over the next three seasons. Tyler Mahle was arguably the Twins' most prominent trade deadline acquisition in 2022. The front office attempted to add a playoff-caliber starter to the rotation, but it came at a cost. Shortly before the trade, Mahle missed time with a shoulder injury, and those issues continued with the Twins. He couldn't help the team down the stretch, and now there are questions about his health entering the 2023 campaign. Mahle is a free agent at season's end, and the Twins hope his off-season regime has built up his shoulder enough to provide value at the rotation's front end. Distressed Assets: Position Players Entering the 2020 season, the Twins planned to target free-agent starting pitching, but the market didn't work out in the club's favor. Instead, Josh Donaldson was still available because of lingering injury concerns and the fact that he was in his mid-30s. Minnesota hoped that Donaldson could be an asset to help push the team to postseason success. However, he didn't appear in either playoff game during his Twins tenure. Luckily, the Twins were able to trade Donaldson, which helped pave the way for signing Carlos Correa. Carlos Correa 's free agent journey has been well documented in recent weeks, but there's no question he remains with the Twins because of long-term health concerns. Minnesota offered a front-loaded contract that is very team friendly, but there are risks involved with any free-agent signing. Even Byron Buxton 's extension can be viewed as a distressed asset, because of his long-running injury concerns. The Twins' success is now tied to Correa and Buxton staying healthy. Minnesota's line-up should have two of baseball's best hitters if both players perform up to expectations. Are you concerned with Minnesota's trend of acquiring distressed assets? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  5. A pitcher with a blown elbow ain’t as bad as it used to be. Image courtesy of © Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports Less than eight months removed from his second career Tommy John surgery, The Twins signed Chris Paddack to a three-year extension. The why is simple: Locking Paddack into a three-year deal at a low cost could provide them with rotation depth when he recovers. While there is always a risk, $4 million per year would be a deal for a starter with his upside. Beyond the ability to save a few dollars, in his limited time with the Twins, Paddack showed real progress. When the Twins acquired him alongside reliever Emilio Pagan in exchange for closer Taylor Rogers, the move bought bewilderment from the Twins faithful. After all, Minnesota’s bullpen had been an epic disaster in 2021, and in one transaction, they traded one of the few effective arms they had. Not only was Rogers a good pitcher, but he was also a good guy. When the pandemic shuttered spring camps in 2020 and reduced media access to clubhouses, Rogers would meet reporters outside and speak on behalf of the players. Hard to fault people for this reaction. Rogers was a replacement All-Star in 2021 and the team’s union representative. He had performed well and carried himself even better. The two new Twins were question marks. Paddack had long been an exciting prospect. Drafted by the Marlins and traded to the Padres for Fernando Rodney. He had dominating numbers in his age-20 season but required Tommy John for the first time. He recovered, commenced dominating again, and ended up in San Diego in 2019. Paddack’s rookie season showed much promise. He finished with 140.2 innings over 26 starts. He struck out 27% of batters faced, held opponents to a .204 average, and posted an excellent 126 ERA+. The 2020 season was weird for everybody. Considering the conditions, it’s not a stretch to think it was mentally exhausted by, you know, everything. Expecting players to perform at their best in team isolation is problematic. For Paddack, his fastball moved slightly differently, like a two-seam fastball. On average, he got two more inches of run out of it. They would be thrilled if you told most pitchers they had gained two inches of horizontal movement on a pitch. Paddack, however, struggled to command it. He couldn’t elevate it like he had the previous season and missed the zone more often. And he was walloped when left middle-down. He surrendered ten home runs, a .308 average, and got 9.5% swinging strikes versus 12% the year before. Maybe it was a sophomore slump or just the effects of a weird, shortened season. Perhaps in the next regular season, Paddack would be ready to continue where his rookie season left off. Paddack worked diligently heading into 2021 to command his new moving fastball, locating it more in the zone. While he showed improvement there, hitters also continued to thwack whatever didn’t elevate (.314 batting average against), and the overall season was ugly, punctuated with a 5.07 ERA (77 ERA+). He quickly became a buy-low type of candidate, with the hyper-competitive Padres ready to upgrade their rotation. That’s where the Twins come in. It looks like the Twins concentrated their efforts on a few specific areas: pitch selection, pitch location, and Paddack’s core mechanics. The results was more consistency, and more swing-and-miss. We can see that in a deeper dive, but that deeper dive is reserved for Twins Daily Caretakers’ eyes only. Fear not: You too can become a Caretaker for as low as $4/month. In addition to getting to read the rest of the Paddack story, you can also meaty stories, plus get perks like, Winter Meltdown tickets, and other special recognition. You can read all about it and signup here. Those benefits are all nice, but the real reason to sign up is this: 100% of all Caretaker money is channeled directly back into the site. By signing up to be a caretaker, you’re supporting writers you value, and enabling deeper dive Twins-specific content like this that isn’t dependent on ad revenue. We hope you’ll consider it. We expect you’ll love the benefits, and we would love to have you take the next step in supporting the Twins Daily community. View full article
  6. Less than eight months removed from his second career Tommy John surgery, The Twins signed Chris Paddack to a three-year extension. The why is simple: Locking Paddack into a three-year deal at a low cost could provide them with rotation depth when he recovers. While there is always a risk, $4 million per year would be a deal for a starter with his upside. Beyond the ability to save a few dollars, in his limited time with the Twins, Paddack showed real progress. When the Twins acquired him alongside reliever Emilio Pagan in exchange for closer Taylor Rogers, the move bought bewilderment from the Twins faithful. After all, Minnesota’s bullpen had been an epic disaster in 2021, and in one transaction, they traded one of the few effective arms they had. Not only was Rogers a good pitcher, but he was also a good guy. When the pandemic shuttered spring camps in 2020 and reduced media access to clubhouses, Rogers would meet reporters outside and speak on behalf of the players. Hard to fault people for this reaction. Rogers was a replacement All-Star in 2021 and the team’s union representative. He had performed well and carried himself even better. The two new Twins were question marks. Paddack had long been an exciting prospect. Drafted by the Marlins and traded to the Padres for Fernando Rodney. He had dominating numbers in his age-20 season but required Tommy John for the first time. He recovered, commenced dominating again, and ended up in San Diego in 2019. Paddack’s rookie season showed much promise. He finished with 140.2 innings over 26 starts. He struck out 27% of batters faced, held opponents to a .204 average, and posted an excellent 126 ERA+. The 2020 season was weird for everybody. Considering the conditions, it’s not a stretch to think it was mentally exhausted by, you know, everything. Expecting players to perform at their best in team isolation is problematic. For Paddack, his fastball moved slightly differently, like a two-seam fastball. On average, he got two more inches of run out of it. They would be thrilled if you told most pitchers they had gained two inches of horizontal movement on a pitch. Paddack, however, struggled to command it. He couldn’t elevate it like he had the previous season and missed the zone more often. And he was walloped when left middle-down. He surrendered ten home runs, a .308 average, and got 9.5% swinging strikes versus 12% the year before. Maybe it was a sophomore slump or just the effects of a weird, shortened season. Perhaps in the next regular season, Paddack would be ready to continue where his rookie season left off. Paddack worked diligently heading into 2021 to command his new moving fastball, locating it more in the zone. While he showed improvement there, hitters also continued to thwack whatever didn’t elevate (.314 batting average against), and the overall season was ugly, punctuated with a 5.07 ERA (77 ERA+). He quickly became a buy-low type of candidate, with the hyper-competitive Padres ready to upgrade their rotation. That’s where the Twins come in. It looks like the Twins concentrated their efforts on a few specific areas: pitch selection, pitch location, and Paddack’s core mechanics. The results was more consistency, and more swing-and-miss. We can see that in a deeper dive, but that deeper dive is reserved for Twins Daily Caretakers’ eyes only. Fear not: You too can become a Caretaker for as low as $4/month. In addition to getting to read the rest of the Paddack story, you can also meaty stories, plus get perks like, Winter Meltdown tickets, and other special recognition. You can read all about it and signup here. Those benefits are all nice, but the real reason to sign up is this: 100% of all Caretaker money is channeled directly back into the site. By signing up to be a caretaker, you’re supporting writers you value, and enabling deeper dive Twins-specific content like this that isn’t dependent on ad revenue. We hope you’ll consider it. We expect you’ll love the benefits, and we would love to have you take the next step in supporting the Twins Daily community.
  7. When last we checked in with a status update, mum was the word. Despite some hiccups, Carlos Correa appeared destined to sign with the Mets, and it was unclear how the Twins could still find a way to make a splash. Ten days later, the narrative has been flipped upside down. They found a way. Twins Sign Correa to Franchise-Record Free Agent Deal As negotiations with New York continued to stall, Scott Boras turned his attention back to Minnesota, and the Twins were able to offer a deal that got it done, locking up Correa throughout his prime. The particulars of the contract are quite favorable to the Twins, protecting against the perceived breakdown risks that scrapped his agreements with San Francisco and New York. Correa gets six years and $200 million guaranteed – shattering Josh Donaldson's precedent ($92M) for largest free-agent commitment in Twins history – with a series of team options that can vest via playing time. The deal could max out at 10 years and $270 million. Interestingly, Correa's salaries decrease dramatically in the latter years, which almost seems to reflect a shared understanding that he'll likely cease to be a major factor in his late 30s. It's a high-risk move on its face. Following the signing, I shared some thoughts about the implications of Correa's ankle issue and more recently, Lucas Seehafer wrote a great piece on the underlying divide within the orthopedic community that Boras lamented during his client's introductory presser. I highly recommend it for insight on the situation. The bottom line is that any such concerns are hopefully a long way from coming into play. Correa was very healthy last year and there's little reason to expect anything else in 2023. His addition to a roster that was looking needy in his absence and solidifies the Twins as verified contenders in the AL Central, now and going forward. Twins and Paddack Agree to 3-Year Contract With an eye on the "going forward" view, Minnesota struck a contract extension with right-hander Chris Paddack – another Boras client – to lock him up through 2025 (a move that was first reported here at Twins Daily!). It's a fairly minor move with some significant upside. The Twins were already set to pay Paddack around $2.5 million this year as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery, so now they're buying into a little upside on the other end if things go well. The righty will again be inexpensive in 2024 ($2.5M), when he should be back to full strength, and the Twins are also buying out his first year of free agency at a mere $7.5M. Even if Paddack can't return to form after a second elbow reconstruction, the team risk here is nominal. Club and Arraez Unable to Agree on Arbitration Terms Prior to last Friday's deadline, the Twins agreed to terms with Paddack and all of their other arbitration-eligible players, finalizing their 2023 salary figures. That is, all except for Luis Arraez. The two sides are said to be divided by more than a million dollars, with Arraez filing at $6.1 million and the Twins countering at $5 million. By the standard of arbitration exchanges, that is a sizable chasm. I think this situation speaks to a bigger issue in play with Arraez, which has rippling effects. There is SO MUCH room for disagreement in his valuation. I saw it in the comments when recently ranking him as the organization's 10th-most valuable player asset. I see it in everyday conversations with fans. And we may be seeing it play out in protracted trade talks with the Marlins, which have been the subject of rumors dating back many weeks. On the one hand, Arraez is a clear star property. He's beloved by the fanbase, still only 25 and coming off a breakthrough year that brought an All-Star nod, batting title, and Silver Slugger award. On the other hand, he's already slid to the bottom of the defensive spectrum, with balky knees and a 3-WAR ceiling (i.e. good, not great). The differing opinions on Arraez factor into more than a looming case before the arbitration panel. Twins and Marlins Said to Be Continuing Trade Discussions It's no secret that Miami, loaded in the rotation after signing Johnny Cueto, is open for business on their starting pitchers, with Pablo Lopez topping the list of available names. It's also no secret the Twins could use one more surefire option in their starting mix. So it comes as no surprise the Marlins, still seeking some added offensive punch, have been in contact with the Twins ... which also hasn't been much of a secret. The two sides were linked here by Ted Schwerzler back in December and more recently by Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Heyman mentions Max Kepler and Arraez as names that have come up, but adds the Twins aren't interested in moving Arraez. (Aren't they, though?) Lopez is moderately interesting. He's a good-not-great arm befitting the middle of the rotation, which I suppose would make him a fair swap for Arraez. Except it sounds like if any deal were to materialize, it'd be much more complex than a 1-to-1 exchange. As JD Cameron notes, there are other potential trade partners still out there offering higher-upside opportunities, though the cost to acquire such coveted talent will be exorbitant. Roster & Payroll Projection v. 6 The arbitration agreements reached last week give us more clarity on the payroll for 2023. We're now only guessing on Arraez, and for the time being I'm going with the team-submitted figure out $5 million as that seems more likely. With Correa on board at $36 million for this year ($32M salary and half of an $8M signing bonus), the Twins have suddenly shot up near $150 million in total payroll. I'm keeping Kyle Garlick in as the fourth outfielder for now, but he was DFA'ed to make room for Correa on the 40-man, and could be lost on waivers. Either way, that looks like the clearest spot the Twins need to address before Opening Day: a righty-swinging outfielder. The team is said to be "tire-kicking" on Adam Duvall (per Darren Wolfson) as he remains one of the few intriguing free agent options suited for the role.
  8. With the slow holiday season behind us, Hot Stove action has kicked back into high gear. The past week brought Twins fans a Carlos Correa reunion, a Chris Paddack contract extension, and reignited trade rumors. Here we'll get you caught up on all the latest. Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports When last we checked in with a status update, mum was the word. Despite some hiccups, Carlos Correa appeared destined to sign with the Mets, and it was unclear how the Twins could still find a way to make a splash. Ten days later, the narrative has been flipped upside down. They found a way. Twins Sign Correa to Franchise-Record Free Agent Deal As negotiations with New York continued to stall, Scott Boras turned his attention back to Minnesota, and the Twins were able to offer a deal that got it done, locking up Correa throughout his prime. The particulars of the contract are quite favorable to the Twins, protecting against the perceived breakdown risks that scrapped his agreements with San Francisco and New York. Correa gets six years and $200 million guaranteed – shattering Josh Donaldson's precedent ($92M) for largest free-agent commitment in Twins history – with a series of team options that can vest via playing time. The deal could max out at 10 years and $270 million. Interestingly, Correa's salaries decrease dramatically in the latter years, which almost seems to reflect a shared understanding that he'll likely cease to be a major factor in his late 30s. It's a high-risk move on its face. Following the signing, I shared some thoughts about the implications of Correa's ankle issue and more recently, Lucas Seehafer wrote a great piece on the underlying divide within the orthopedic community that Boras lamented during his client's introductory presser. I highly recommend it for insight on the situation. The bottom line is that any such concerns are hopefully a long way from coming into play. Correa was very healthy last year and there's little reason to expect anything else in 2023. His addition to a roster that was looking needy in his absence and solidifies the Twins as verified contenders in the AL Central, now and going forward. Twins and Paddack Agree to 3-Year Contract With an eye on the "going forward" view, Minnesota struck a contract extension with right-hander Chris Paddack – another Boras client – to lock him up through 2025 (a move that was first reported here at Twins Daily!). It's a fairly minor move with some significant upside. The Twins were already set to pay Paddack around $2.5 million this year as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery, so now they're buying into a little upside on the other end if things go well. The righty will again be inexpensive in 2024 ($2.5M), when he should be back to full strength, and the Twins are also buying out his first year of free agency at a mere $7.5M. Even if Paddack can't return to form after a second elbow reconstruction, the team risk here is nominal. Club and Arraez Unable to Agree on Arbitration Terms Prior to last Friday's deadline, the Twins agreed to terms with Paddack and all of their other arbitration-eligible players, finalizing their 2023 salary figures. That is, all except for Luis Arraez. The two sides are said to be divided by more than a million dollars, with Arraez filing at $6.1 million and the Twins countering at $5 million. By the standard of arbitration exchanges, that is a sizable chasm. I think this situation speaks to a bigger issue in play with Arraez, which has rippling effects. There is SO MUCH room for disagreement in his valuation. I saw it in the comments when recently ranking him as the organization's 10th-most valuable player asset. I see it in everyday conversations with fans. And we may be seeing it play out in protracted trade talks with the Marlins, which have been the subject of rumors dating back many weeks. On the one hand, Arraez is a clear star property. He's beloved by the fanbase, still only 25 and coming off a breakthrough year that brought an All-Star nod, batting title, and Silver Slugger award. On the other hand, he's already slid to the bottom of the defensive spectrum, with balky knees and a 3-WAR ceiling (i.e. good, not great). The differing opinions on Arraez factor into more than a looming case before the arbitration panel. Twins and Marlins Said to Be Continuing Trade Discussions It's no secret that Miami, loaded in the rotation after signing Johnny Cueto, is open for business on their starting pitchers, with Pablo Lopez topping the list of available names. It's also no secret the Twins could use one more surefire option in their starting mix. So it comes as no surprise the Marlins, still seeking some added offensive punch, have been in contact with the Twins ... which also hasn't been much of a secret. The two sides were linked here by Ted Schwerzler back in December and more recently by Jon Heyman of the New York Post. Heyman mentions Max Kepler and Arraez as names that have come up, but adds the Twins aren't interested in moving Arraez. (Aren't they, though?) Lopez is moderately interesting. He's a good-not-great arm befitting the middle of the rotation, which I suppose would make him a fair swap for Arraez. Except it sounds like if any deal were to materialize, it'd be much more complex than a 1-to-1 exchange. As JD Cameron notes, there are other potential trade partners still out there offering higher-upside opportunities, though the cost to acquire such coveted talent will be exorbitant. Roster & Payroll Projection v. 6 The arbitration agreements reached last week give us more clarity on the payroll for 2023. We're now only guessing on Arraez, and for the time being I'm going with the team-submitted figure out $5 million as that seems more likely. With Correa on board at $36 million for this year ($32M salary and half of an $8M signing bonus), the Twins have suddenly shot up near $150 million in total payroll. I'm keeping Kyle Garlick in as the fourth outfielder for now, but he was DFA'ed to make room for Correa on the 40-man, and could be lost on waivers. Either way, that looks like the clearest spot the Twins need to address before Opening Day: a righty-swinging outfielder. The team is said to be "tire-kicking" on Adam Duvall (per Darren Wolfson) as he remains one of the few intriguing free agent options suited for the role. View full article
  9. Chris Paddack has agreed to a contract extension with the Minnesota Twins that will keep him pitching for the Twins through the 2025 season. The three-year contract will delay Paddack becoming a free agent by one-year. Image courtesy of © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports After coming to terms with the Twins earlier today on a one-year $2.4M deal to avoid arbitration, Chris Paddack agreed to a contract extension that will allow the team to keep him pitching for the Twins for 2+ more years when he returns from Tommy John surgery later this season, Twins Daily has learned. Financial details of the contract have not been disclosed, but it is expected to be worth $10-15M in total value. Remember Chris Paddack? Of everything that went wrong with the 2022 Twins, Paddack’s early-season promise and immediate surgery happened so quickly that an adept gaslighter could convince one that he never existed in the first place. Paddack’s career arc is well-documented. The 27-year-old former starting pitching phenom traveled to San Diego from Miami in a trade for—you're going to love this—Fernando Rodney. From there, he shot up prospect lists and became a popular pick to become a major league regular. His 2019 rookie season proved promising, as the youngster made the opening day roster by surprise and accrued 140 ⅔ quality innings. The future seemed bright. The future is also mean. Paddack’s fastball/changeup combo went from electric to the little shock that emanates from one of those fake gum gimmick toys. Paddack's numbers dropped with no useful third pitch in sight; however, his home runs continued to stay high, and both 2020 and 2021 were a wash. Feeling the itch to trade someone, A.J. Preller moved Paddack, Emilio Pagán, and Brayan Medina for Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker, announcing that it would be someone else’s problem to fix the former future ace. Minnesota may have done that. Paddack carried a hilarious 1.72 FIP through five games—not giving up a homer will do that—and even appeared to have worked in an adequate slider to pair with his fastball and changeup. Then the elbow started barking. the Paddack now enjoys company in the double Tommy John club. No one wants to be a part of such a gathering. Three members of the Twins' projected starting rotation will be free agents at the end of the year. The Twins are gambling that, in an age where high schoolers undergo the operation, a second Tommy John surgery simply means a pair of scars, and Paddack can return to being a promising pitcher on a staff in need of younger blood. John Bonnes contributed to this story. View full article
  10. After coming to terms with the Twins earlier today on a one-year $2.4M deal to avoid arbitration, Chris Paddack agreed to a contract extension that will allow the team to keep him pitching for the Twins for 2+ more years when he returns from Tommy John surgery later this season, Twins Daily has learned. Financial details of the contract have not been disclosed, but it is expected to be worth $10-15M in total value. Remember Chris Paddack? Of everything that went wrong with the 2022 Twins, Paddack’s early-season promise and immediate surgery happened so quickly that an adept gaslighter could convince one that he never existed in the first place. Paddack’s career arc is well-documented. The 27-year-old former starting pitching phenom traveled to San Diego from Miami in a trade for—you're going to love this—Fernando Rodney. From there, he shot up prospect lists and became a popular pick to become a major league regular. His 2019 rookie season proved promising, as the youngster made the opening day roster by surprise and accrued 140 ⅔ quality innings. The future seemed bright. The future is also mean. Paddack’s fastball/changeup combo went from electric to the little shock that emanates from one of those fake gum gimmick toys. Paddack's numbers dropped with no useful third pitch in sight; however, his home runs continued to stay high, and both 2020 and 2021 were a wash. Feeling the itch to trade someone, A.J. Preller moved Paddack, Emilio Pagán, and Brayan Medina for Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker, announcing that it would be someone else’s problem to fix the former future ace. Minnesota may have done that. Paddack carried a hilarious 1.72 FIP through five games—not giving up a homer will do that—and even appeared to have worked in an adequate slider to pair with his fastball and changeup. Then the elbow started barking. the Paddack now enjoys company in the double Tommy John club. No one wants to be a part of such a gathering. Three members of the Twins' projected starting rotation will be free agents at the end of the year. The Twins are gambling that, in an age where high schoolers undergo the operation, a second Tommy John surgery simply means a pair of scars, and Paddack can return to being a promising pitcher on a staff in need of younger blood. John Bonnes contributed to this story.
  11. Minnesota's front office might need to shift to trading players to complete the 2023 roster. However, their recent track record with deals isn't spotless. Let's look back at the Twins and Padres trade from last off-season. Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports In spring training, the Twins had Taylor Rogers and Jhoan Duran scheduled to be a dominant back-end duo in the Twins' bullpen. On April 7th, the Twins sent Rogers and Brent Rooker to the Padres for Chris Paddack, Emilio Pagan, and Brayan Medina. San Diego wanted an upgrade to their bullpen, while the Twins got a controllable starting pitcher and a reliever with late-inning experience. The deal made sense for both teams on paper, but the players involved struggled through much of the season. Chris Paddack's Struggles Paddack's Twins tenure started well as he posted a 3.15 ERA with a 16-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first four starts. Something wasn't right in his fifth start as he allowed three runs while only recording seven outs. He walked off the mound on May 8th and didn't pitch another inning in 2022. In the middle of May, he underwent his second Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Paddack's recovery sidelines him until the middle of next season, but there is hope the Twins can get him back for the stretch run. He is under contract for two more seasons, so the team hopes he can provide value over the end of his team control. Emilio Pagan's Struggles Pagan's first season with the Twins couldn't have gone much worse. In 59 appearances (63 innings), he posted a 4.43 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Minnesota continued to use Pagan in high-leverage situations, even with his struggles. Pagan's -0.4 WAR ranked fourth lowest on the team, with only Yennier Cano, Joe Smith, and Trevor Megill ranking lower. According to Win Probability Added (WPA), Pagan ranked 33rd out of 38 Twins pitchers with a -0.99 WPA. Minnesota tendered Pagan a contract for 2023, which might tie to his improved performance in the second half. In 25 games, he posted a 3.56 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP and 10.7 K/9. Barring a trade, Pagan will be part of Minnesota's bullpen in 2023. Taylor Rogers' Struggles Rogers started the year strongly before struggling mightily down the stretch. He posted a 3.82 ERA in the first half with a 0.98 WHIP and 10.5 K/9. San Diego continued to use him in a late-inning role, and he accumulated 26 saves. In July, his performance declined as he allowed ten earned runs on 17 hits in 9 2/3 innings. With the Padres, Rogers was worth -0.68 WPA and a -0.2 WAR. At the beginning of August, the Padres sent Rogers to the Brewers for a package that included Josh Hader. He struggled after the trade with a 5.48 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Relievers work in small sample sizes, and it was the first time Rogers struggled for most of a season. He's left-handed and has a proven track record, so a team will sign him and look for him to bounce back in 2023. Rogers is a free agent searching for a new home for 2023, so that portion of the trade is done from the Padres' perspective. Minnesota will hope for an improved performance from Pagan in 2023 and that Paddack can be part of the 2024 rotation. The Twins have a chance to recoup some value, but both teams look like losers at this point. Which team was hurt more by the trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  12. In spring training, the Twins had Taylor Rogers and Jhoan Duran scheduled to be a dominant back-end duo in the Twins' bullpen. On April 7th, the Twins sent Rogers and Brent Rooker to the Padres for Chris Paddack, Emilio Pagan, and Brayan Medina. San Diego wanted an upgrade to their bullpen, while the Twins got a controllable starting pitcher and a reliever with late-inning experience. The deal made sense for both teams on paper, but the players involved struggled through much of the season. Chris Paddack's Struggles Paddack's Twins tenure started well as he posted a 3.15 ERA with a 16-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first four starts. Something wasn't right in his fifth start as he allowed three runs while only recording seven outs. He walked off the mound on May 8th and didn't pitch another inning in 2022. In the middle of May, he underwent his second Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Paddack's recovery sidelines him until the middle of next season, but there is hope the Twins can get him back for the stretch run. He is under contract for two more seasons, so the team hopes he can provide value over the end of his team control. Emilio Pagan's Struggles Pagan's first season with the Twins couldn't have gone much worse. In 59 appearances (63 innings), he posted a 4.43 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Minnesota continued to use Pagan in high-leverage situations, even with his struggles. Pagan's -0.4 WAR ranked fourth lowest on the team, with only Yennier Cano, Joe Smith, and Trevor Megill ranking lower. According to Win Probability Added (WPA), Pagan ranked 33rd out of 38 Twins pitchers with a -0.99 WPA. Minnesota tendered Pagan a contract for 2023, which might tie to his improved performance in the second half. In 25 games, he posted a 3.56 ERA with a 1.35 WHIP and 10.7 K/9. Barring a trade, Pagan will be part of Minnesota's bullpen in 2023. Taylor Rogers' Struggles Rogers started the year strongly before struggling mightily down the stretch. He posted a 3.82 ERA in the first half with a 0.98 WHIP and 10.5 K/9. San Diego continued to use him in a late-inning role, and he accumulated 26 saves. In July, his performance declined as he allowed ten earned runs on 17 hits in 9 2/3 innings. With the Padres, Rogers was worth -0.68 WPA and a -0.2 WAR. At the beginning of August, the Padres sent Rogers to the Brewers for a package that included Josh Hader. He struggled after the trade with a 5.48 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Relievers work in small sample sizes, and it was the first time Rogers struggled for most of a season. He's left-handed and has a proven track record, so a team will sign him and look for him to bounce back in 2023. Rogers is a free agent searching for a new home for 2023, so that portion of the trade is done from the Padres' perspective. Minnesota will hope for an improved performance from Pagan in 2023 and that Paddack can be part of the 2024 rotation. The Twins have a chance to recoup some value, but both teams look like losers at this point. Which team was hurt more by the trade? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  13. Friday was the next key moment of the offseason as Major League teams needed to make decisions on their arbitration eligible candidates. Minnesota had already handled some of these situations, but the front office handed out contracts to seven players prior to the 7pm deadline. Image courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports Although the morning on Friday was spent unveiling the Minnesota Twins new uniforms, the evening was about exactly who would be playing in them. With a full 40-man roster, the Twins had seven arbitration-eligible candidates left to make decisions on. Earlier in the afternoon, they avoided a decision (or, very clearly made their decision) on third baseman Gio Urshela when they sent him to the Los Angeles Angels for Single-A right-handed pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo. Urshela was set to make nearly $10 million this year, and with Jose Miranda looking like the Opening Day third basemen, there simply was not enough playing time to be had for that kind of investment. Before Friday’s deadline, Danny Coulombe, Jake Cave, and Cody Stashak were all dealt with. Each was arbitration-eligible, currently have been left out of the Twins plans in 2023. Emilio Pagan’s outcome was left until the last minute, and although there was talk of a team-friendly extension, nothing ultimately came to fruition. That left Tyler Mahle, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Lopez, Luis Arraez, Jorge Alcala, and Chris Paddack, and Emilio Pagan as the only players yet outstanding. Earlier this week Nick Nelson went through the looming decisions for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, ranking them in order. Urshela checked in at the top and ultimately was the choice for someone else. Of those remaining, only Paddack found himself with a bit of hand-wringing. As Nick pointed out, it’s a wait-and-see scenario for the former San Diego Padres starter. When dealing Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker to the Padres prior to Opening Day, Pagan was likely seen as more of a throw-in for the bullpen. Paddack, and his additional year of control, was the prize. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, a second one at that, it remains to be seen what type of pitcher returns, and when. MLB Trade Rumors has Paddack projected at just under a $2.5 million deal for 2023, hardly a substantial amount of a good starter. The problem is that Minnesota will have a dead spot on their 40-man roster until spring training. They can and will place Paddack on the 60-day injured list at that point, but are limited in their construction by one roster spot until then. Coming over from the Reds, Mahle was the Twins prize at the trade deadline and should be expected to be relied upon heavily in the rotation this season. New head trainer Nick Paparesta will look to get and keep him healthy, but Mahle has the makings of a breakout ace if he can get there. Like Mahle, Lopez was acquired at the deadline and left a Baltimore team that he represented as an All-Star closer during the Midsummer Classic. Since returning to professional baseball, Thielbar has been among the most overlooked yet dominant lefties in the game. He’s not exciting, but it doesn’t matter when he’s getting the job done. Rocco Baldelli will hope to have Alcala be the arm he was undoubtedly counting on in the bullpen last season, but a full year off makes that a game of wait-and-see. There was certainly questions as to whether Pagan would be retained after a tumultuous start to his Minnesota tenure. After working with Twins coaching a bit more as the season went on, Pagan was able to find success to the tune of a 2.16 ERA in his final 16 2/3 innings. The Twins front office did work to hammer out a multi-year deal but ultimately just agreed on avoiding a non-tender. The stuff has always profiled well as evidenced by a strong K/9. Presumably, the sides will stick it out for a few months into 2023 to see if there's a turnaround. Rounding out the group was the easiest one of the bunch to call. Arraez is fresh off his first batting title, won a Silver Slugger award, was named an All-Star, and has his sights set on a Gold Glove next. As a reminder, the arbitration deadline is one in which Minnesota had to decide if they would tender a player a contract or not. The sides will then exchange numbers. If the number is agreed to, that will be reported and updated below. If the sides remain apart on their valuations, a hearing could take place at a later date. View full article
  14. Although the morning on Friday was spent unveiling the Minnesota Twins new uniforms, the evening was about exactly who would be playing in them. With a full 40-man roster, the Twins had seven arbitration-eligible candidates left to make decisions on. Earlier in the afternoon, they avoided a decision (or, very clearly made their decision) on third baseman Gio Urshela when they sent him to the Los Angeles Angels for Single-A right-handed pitcher Alejandro Hidalgo. Urshela was set to make nearly $10 million this year, and with Jose Miranda looking like the Opening Day third basemen, there simply was not enough playing time to be had for that kind of investment. Before Friday’s deadline, Danny Coulombe, Jake Cave, and Cody Stashak were all dealt with. Each was arbitration-eligible, currently have been left out of the Twins plans in 2023. Emilio Pagan’s outcome was left until the last minute, and although there was talk of a team-friendly extension, nothing ultimately came to fruition. That left Tyler Mahle, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Lopez, Luis Arraez, Jorge Alcala, and Chris Paddack, and Emilio Pagan as the only players yet outstanding. Earlier this week Nick Nelson went through the looming decisions for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine, ranking them in order. Urshela checked in at the top and ultimately was the choice for someone else. Of those remaining, only Paddack found himself with a bit of hand-wringing. As Nick pointed out, it’s a wait-and-see scenario for the former San Diego Padres starter. When dealing Taylor Rogers and Brent Rooker to the Padres prior to Opening Day, Pagan was likely seen as more of a throw-in for the bullpen. Paddack, and his additional year of control, was the prize. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, a second one at that, it remains to be seen what type of pitcher returns, and when. MLB Trade Rumors has Paddack projected at just under a $2.5 million deal for 2023, hardly a substantial amount of a good starter. The problem is that Minnesota will have a dead spot on their 40-man roster until spring training. They can and will place Paddack on the 60-day injured list at that point, but are limited in their construction by one roster spot until then. Coming over from the Reds, Mahle was the Twins prize at the trade deadline and should be expected to be relied upon heavily in the rotation this season. New head trainer Nick Paparesta will look to get and keep him healthy, but Mahle has the makings of a breakout ace if he can get there. Like Mahle, Lopez was acquired at the deadline and left a Baltimore team that he represented as an All-Star closer during the Midsummer Classic. Since returning to professional baseball, Thielbar has been among the most overlooked yet dominant lefties in the game. He’s not exciting, but it doesn’t matter when he’s getting the job done. Rocco Baldelli will hope to have Alcala be the arm he was undoubtedly counting on in the bullpen last season, but a full year off makes that a game of wait-and-see. There was certainly questions as to whether Pagan would be retained after a tumultuous start to his Minnesota tenure. After working with Twins coaching a bit more as the season went on, Pagan was able to find success to the tune of a 2.16 ERA in his final 16 2/3 innings. The Twins front office did work to hammer out a multi-year deal but ultimately just agreed on avoiding a non-tender. The stuff has always profiled well as evidenced by a strong K/9. Presumably, the sides will stick it out for a few months into 2023 to see if there's a turnaround. Rounding out the group was the easiest one of the bunch to call. Arraez is fresh off his first batting title, won a Silver Slugger award, was named an All-Star, and has his sights set on a Gold Glove next. As a reminder, the arbitration deadline is one in which Minnesota had to decide if they would tender a player a contract or not. The sides will then exchange numbers. If the number is agreed to, that will be reported and updated below. If the sides remain apart on their valuations, a hearing could take place at a later date.
  15. Friday marks the deadline for MLB teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. The Minnesota Twins have a number of decisions to make, ranging from no-brainer to head-scratcher. Let's review each arbitration tender candidate case by case, in order from easiest to most difficult stay-or-go calls. Image courtesy of Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports Minnesota's front office got a few of these decisions out of the way early by waiving Jake Cave (claimed by Baltimore), Danny Coulombe, and Cody Stashak. All would have been eligible for arbitration, albeit with fairly modest projected salaries. They also took care of business already with Kyle Garlick, agreeing on a one-year, $750,000 contract. It's barely above the league minimum, but the move to strike an early deal does signal at least some level of intent for the Twins to stick with Garlick as a right-handed complement to their LH-heavy corner outfield mix. Eight players remain who are in the designated service-time range – between three and six years – where they can start to negotiate their own salary. On Friday the Twins will need to commit to tendering a contract and keeping them for 2023 (barring a trade) or letting them go. Here's a case-by-case breakdown, starting with the easiest of easy decisions. (Salary projections courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.) 8. Luis Arraez, 1B Year 2 of 4 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $5 million The reigning All-Star and batting champ is a lovely bargain in the $5 million range. He still has three years of team control remaining so the Twins do have some leverage for extension talks, but there's not a ton of incentive to pursue one for a 25-year-old with bad knees. 7. Jorge Alcalá, RHP Year 1 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $800K The right-hander technically accrued a year of service in 2022 while making only two appearances due to an elbow issue that never got right. He didn't need surgery and is expected back at full strength next spring, so there's no reason to think twice about bringing back Alcalá, owner of a career 3.39 ERA and 1.06 WHIP through 87 ⅔ MLB innings, at essentially the league minimum. 6. Caleb Thielbar, LHP Year 2 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $2.4 million You don't see many guys entering their second year of arbitration at the age of 35. But then, you don't see many stories like Caleb Thielbar. His mildly escalating cost is the only reason you'd have slight pause in extending a contract, but $2.4 million is a paltry sum for the kind of performance Thielbar provided last year. He'll be a cost-efficient centerpiece of bullpen planning. 5. Jorge López, RHP Year 2 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $3.7 million Here's where the decisions start to get a little thornier. I'm not going to say keeping López is a tough call, because they'll do it without hesitation, but nearly $4 million could be viewed as a hefty price tag based on what he did for the Twins (4.37 ERA) and in his career prior to 2022 (6.04 ERA). Alas, his first spectacular four months in Baltimore compelled the Twins to part with three prospects for him at the deadline, and will compel them to tender a contract – especially since he has another year of team control in 2024. 4. Tyler Mahle, RHP Year 3 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $7.2 million It's hard to imagine how Mahle's post-trade time with the Twins could've gone worse in 2022. If he merely performed badly, you'd chalk it up as a rough second half or adjustment to new scenery, and hope for a rebound to previous form. If he tore a labrum in his shoulder or elbow ligament, you'd non-tender without a second thought. Instead, his mysterious recurring shoulder fatigue kept him from being able to pitch at all, leaving the front office with no choice but to gamble $7 million on this issue disappearing in the offseason. They'll do it, especially because of what they gave up to get him, but it's really hard to plan confidently around him at this point. 3. Emilio Pagán, RHP Year 3 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $3.7 million I'm not saying this decision should be remotely difficult. But ... there's a reason the Twins kept Pagán around all year despite having ample reason to jettison him. The guy has legitimately excellent stuff. He averaged 12 K/9 with a 14% swinging strike rate. But he also got crushed, for a third straight season, because he has shown no ability to consistently execute. With such a long-running sample of failure, the choice to move on at almost $4 million should be obvious. But I don't get the sense it's viewed that way. 2. Chris Paddack, RHP Year 2 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $2.4 million The righty's past standing as one of the game's better young pitchers, and his three remaining seasons of team control, were key reasons the Twins pulled the trigger on a deal that brought him over alongside Pagan in exchange for Taylor Rogers just ahead of Opening Day. Paddack only lasted five starts before his partially torn UCL gave way, requiring a second Tommy John surgery that will knock him out for almost all of next year. Essentially, the Twins would be paying about $2.5 million for the opportunity to try and get one more season out of Paddack, in 2024 when he'll be in his final year of arbitration. That's probably worth it, but hardly a lock, especially when you consider the opportunity cost of needing to dedicate a 40-man roster spot all winter before you can move him to the 60-day IL next spring. While the upside was once easy to see, you now really have to squint: he's got a 97 career ERA+ and in 2024 he'll be a 28-year-old coming off his second TJ surgery. The track record for pitchers who've undergone it twice is not promising. 1. Gio Urshela, 3B Year 3 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $9.2 million A funny story: In mid-September I tweeted a 2023 roster projection that didn't include Urshela, and Athletic beat writer Dan Hayes challenged me by saying the veteran third baseman should be considered a lock for at least a tender. Dan tends to be pretty plugged into what's going on and instinctually sound, so I started to adjust my thinking. I even came around on the idea as Urshela finished strong with a .333/.404/.425 slash line in the final month while Jose Miranda failed to impress much at third base. Then, after the season ended, Dan informed me he'd softened his stance and was no longer so sure Urshela would be tendered. (He expressed this view on a recent Gleeman and the Geek appearance.) It seems the consensus on Urshela is that while he's a good and desirable player, that price tag is a tad more than you'd like to pay when you've already got some options. For the Twins, this decision hinges on a few factors. Are they confident enough in Miranda and his defense (or the depth behind him) to commit as a full-time third baseman? Do they have other offseason plans, like signing Brandon Drury or Jose Abreu, that would negate any need for Urshela on the roster? Does the front office believe they could tender and trade him, to keep their options open? I lean toward the last one, so I do think he'll be tendered. But it's far from a lock. View full article
  16. Minnesota's front office got a few of these decisions out of the way early by waiving Jake Cave (claimed by Baltimore), Danny Coulombe, and Cody Stashak. All would have been eligible for arbitration, albeit with fairly modest projected salaries. They also took care of business already with Kyle Garlick, agreeing on a one-year, $750,000 contract. It's barely above the league minimum, but the move to strike an early deal does signal at least some level of intent for the Twins to stick with Garlick as a right-handed complement to their LH-heavy corner outfield mix. Eight players remain who are in the designated service-time range – between three and six years – where they can start to negotiate their own salary. On Friday the Twins will need to commit to tendering a contract and keeping them for 2023 (barring a trade) or letting them go. Here's a case-by-case breakdown, starting with the easiest of easy decisions. (Salary projections courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors.) 8. Luis Arraez, 1B Year 2 of 4 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $5 million The reigning All-Star and batting champ is a lovely bargain in the $5 million range. He still has three years of team control remaining so the Twins do have some leverage for extension talks, but there's not a ton of incentive to pursue one for a 25-year-old with bad knees. 7. Jorge Alcalá, RHP Year 1 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $800K The right-hander technically accrued a year of service in 2022 while making only two appearances due to an elbow issue that never got right. He didn't need surgery and is expected back at full strength next spring, so there's no reason to think twice about bringing back Alcalá, owner of a career 3.39 ERA and 1.06 WHIP through 87 ⅔ MLB innings, at essentially the league minimum. 6. Caleb Thielbar, LHP Year 2 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $2.4 million You don't see many guys entering their second year of arbitration at the age of 35. But then, you don't see many stories like Caleb Thielbar. His mildly escalating cost is the only reason you'd have slight pause in extending a contract, but $2.4 million is a paltry sum for the kind of performance Thielbar provided last year. He'll be a cost-efficient centerpiece of bullpen planning. 5. Jorge López, RHP Year 2 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $3.7 million Here's where the decisions start to get a little thornier. I'm not going to say keeping López is a tough call, because they'll do it without hesitation, but nearly $4 million could be viewed as a hefty price tag based on what he did for the Twins (4.37 ERA) and in his career prior to 2022 (6.04 ERA). Alas, his first spectacular four months in Baltimore compelled the Twins to part with three prospects for him at the deadline, and will compel them to tender a contract – especially since he has another year of team control in 2024. 4. Tyler Mahle, RHP Year 3 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $7.2 million It's hard to imagine how Mahle's post-trade time with the Twins could've gone worse in 2022. If he merely performed badly, you'd chalk it up as a rough second half or adjustment to new scenery, and hope for a rebound to previous form. If he tore a labrum in his shoulder or elbow ligament, you'd non-tender without a second thought. Instead, his mysterious recurring shoulder fatigue kept him from being able to pitch at all, leaving the front office with no choice but to gamble $7 million on this issue disappearing in the offseason. They'll do it, especially because of what they gave up to get him, but it's really hard to plan confidently around him at this point. 3. Emilio Pagán, RHP Year 3 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $3.7 million I'm not saying this decision should be remotely difficult. But ... there's a reason the Twins kept Pagán around all year despite having ample reason to jettison him. The guy has legitimately excellent stuff. He averaged 12 K/9 with a 14% swinging strike rate. But he also got crushed, for a third straight season, because he has shown no ability to consistently execute. With such a long-running sample of failure, the choice to move on at almost $4 million should be obvious. But I don't get the sense it's viewed that way. 2. Chris Paddack, RHP Year 2 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $2.4 million The righty's past standing as one of the game's better young pitchers, and his three remaining seasons of team control, were key reasons the Twins pulled the trigger on a deal that brought him over alongside Pagan in exchange for Taylor Rogers just ahead of Opening Day. Paddack only lasted five starts before his partially torn UCL gave way, requiring a second Tommy John surgery that will knock him out for almost all of next year. Essentially, the Twins would be paying about $2.5 million for the opportunity to try and get one more season out of Paddack, in 2024 when he'll be in his final year of arbitration. That's probably worth it, but hardly a lock, especially when you consider the opportunity cost of needing to dedicate a 40-man roster spot all winter before you can move him to the 60-day IL next spring. While the upside was once easy to see, you now really have to squint: he's got a 97 career ERA+ and in 2024 he'll be a 28-year-old coming off his second TJ surgery. The track record for pitchers who've undergone it twice is not promising. 1. Gio Urshela, 3B Year 3 of 3 in arbitration Projected 2023 Salary: $9.2 million A funny story: In mid-September I tweeted a 2023 roster projection that didn't include Urshela, and Athletic beat writer Dan Hayes challenged me by saying the veteran third baseman should be considered a lock for at least a tender. Dan tends to be pretty plugged into what's going on and instinctually sound, so I started to adjust my thinking. I even came around on the idea as Urshela finished strong with a .333/.404/.425 slash line in the final month while Jose Miranda failed to impress much at third base. Then, after the season ended, Dan informed me he'd softened his stance and was no longer so sure Urshela would be tendered. (He expressed this view on a recent Gleeman and the Geek appearance.) It seems the consensus on Urshela is that while he's a good and desirable player, that price tag is a tad more than you'd like to pay when you've already got some options. For the Twins, this decision hinges on a few factors. Are they confident enough in Miranda and his defense (or the depth behind him) to commit as a full-time third baseman? Do they have other offseason plans, like signing Brandon Drury or Jose Abreu, that would negate any need for Urshela on the roster? Does the front office believe they could tender and trade him, to keep their options open? I lean toward the last one, so I do think he'll be tendered. But it's far from a lock.
  17. The Minnesota Twins are soon going to be looking at decisions for 2023 with their offseason underway. They’ll have plenty of new faces for the upcoming year, but it’s one decision that could present the biggest head-scratcher of the past nine months. Image courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports Right before Opening Day 2022 Derek Falvey and Thad Levine sent Taylor Rogers to the San Diego Padres (along with Brent Rooker) in exchange for Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan (as well as Brayan Medina). Without them ever suggesting as much, I think there’s a few reasons this deal was made. Rogers was coming off an injury and lacking performance in 2021. He wasn’t going to be re-signed and was in the final year of his contract. Minnesota saw an opportunity to buy low on a high-ceiling starter pitcher, and they assumed risk, likely knowing his medical issues. Without Rogers in the fold, and Joe Smith being the only bullpen addition last winter, Pagan was targeted as a necessary add to the relief unit. He hadn’t been good for a while, but the stuff suggested it could play, and previous success with Tampa Bay was just two years away. So, the decision (at least in a vacuum) to swing the deal from Minnesota’s perspective made sense. Now though, we know exactly how this has gone. Rocco Baldelli was saddled with Pagan as his closer from the get-go. He made a negative impact in his second outing of the year, taking a loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Minnesota’s fifth game. His ERA ballooned to 5.34 by his 30th outing, and he wound up responsible for six losses and seven blown saves. Pagan was demoted from the closer role all the way to mop-up duty, and he constantly struggled even there. It was a complete disaster. Bought into by the front office, Baldelli had to deploy an arm that was at his disposal, even when the result became predictable. From a few different sources within the front office and connected to the team, I have been told there had been some initial pushback from Pagan in regard to change. The Twins clearly saw an opportunity to get him right, or at least tap into analytically-driven numbers suggesting his stuff could play. Rather than embracing the information, he leaned on the belief that what he was doing could work, and the definition of insanity continued to play out for a period. I don’t know whether a lacking connection with former pitching coach Wes Johnson, or current coach Pete Maki, was ever an issue, but something changed. Over his last 13 outings, dating back to August 23rd, Pagan has allowed a run just four times and none of those instances were crooked numbers. He owns a 2.16 ERA across 16 2/3 innings with an 21/8 K/BB and, most notably, just one home run. It seems he’s deployed a new pitch, and if it helps to keep the ball in the yard while limiting walks, everyone is better for it. I’m not here to suggest that 13 outings is reason to keep Pagan around for 2023. What would make absolutely zero sense though, is to cut bait over the winter after hanging on through what the Twins did. The front office all but allowed Pagan to sink their season at critical junctures this season, and even with the cloud of dust that was 2022, his statistics are better than what they were when he was traded for. Making just $2.3 million this year, he’ll be due for a bump in arbitration, but the results should mute just how far it goes. The Twins focus over the winter has to be figuring out how to marry their starting and relief pitching plans. Either acquire and develop better starters or create a lockdown bullpen. Keeping Pagan, at least to start the year, as a middle reliever would make sense. There’s no downside to that move, as long as there is a quicker hook when things go sideways. There’s no reason the Twins should feel compelled to carry Pagan all of 2023, but in doing so through 2022, dumping him where he’ll likely be claimed on recent success alone at this point would be a suggestion of process gone entirely wrong. View full article
  18. Right before Opening Day 2022 Derek Falvey and Thad Levine sent Taylor Rogers to the San Diego Padres (along with Brent Rooker) in exchange for Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan (as well as Brayan Medina). Without them ever suggesting as much, I think there’s a few reasons this deal was made. Rogers was coming off an injury and lacking performance in 2021. He wasn’t going to be re-signed and was in the final year of his contract. Minnesota saw an opportunity to buy low on a high-ceiling starter pitcher, and they assumed risk, likely knowing his medical issues. Without Rogers in the fold, and Joe Smith being the only bullpen addition last winter, Pagan was targeted as a necessary add to the relief unit. He hadn’t been good for a while, but the stuff suggested it could play, and previous success with Tampa Bay was just two years away. So, the decision (at least in a vacuum) to swing the deal from Minnesota’s perspective made sense. Now though, we know exactly how this has gone. Rocco Baldelli was saddled with Pagan as his closer from the get-go. He made a negative impact in his second outing of the year, taking a loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Minnesota’s fifth game. His ERA ballooned to 5.34 by his 30th outing, and he wound up responsible for six losses and seven blown saves. Pagan was demoted from the closer role all the way to mop-up duty, and he constantly struggled even there. It was a complete disaster. Bought into by the front office, Baldelli had to deploy an arm that was at his disposal, even when the result became predictable. From a few different sources within the front office and connected to the team, I have been told there had been some initial pushback from Pagan in regard to change. The Twins clearly saw an opportunity to get him right, or at least tap into analytically-driven numbers suggesting his stuff could play. Rather than embracing the information, he leaned on the belief that what he was doing could work, and the definition of insanity continued to play out for a period. I don’t know whether a lacking connection with former pitching coach Wes Johnson, or current coach Pete Maki, was ever an issue, but something changed. Over his last 13 outings, dating back to August 23rd, Pagan has allowed a run just four times and none of those instances were crooked numbers. He owns a 2.16 ERA across 16 2/3 innings with an 21/8 K/BB and, most notably, just one home run. It seems he’s deployed a new pitch, and if it helps to keep the ball in the yard while limiting walks, everyone is better for it. I’m not here to suggest that 13 outings is reason to keep Pagan around for 2023. What would make absolutely zero sense though, is to cut bait over the winter after hanging on through what the Twins did. The front office all but allowed Pagan to sink their season at critical junctures this season, and even with the cloud of dust that was 2022, his statistics are better than what they were when he was traded for. Making just $2.3 million this year, he’ll be due for a bump in arbitration, but the results should mute just how far it goes. The Twins focus over the winter has to be figuring out how to marry their starting and relief pitching plans. Either acquire and develop better starters or create a lockdown bullpen. Keeping Pagan, at least to start the year, as a middle reliever would make sense. There’s no downside to that move, as long as there is a quicker hook when things go sideways. There’s no reason the Twins should feel compelled to carry Pagan all of 2023, but in doing so through 2022, dumping him where he’ll likely be claimed on recent success alone at this point would be a suggestion of process gone entirely wrong.
  19. It's no secret: The top imperative for 2023 is a healthier season that enables the Twins to keep their best players on the field more often. Unfortunately, several of this year's injury concerns will spill over into the next thanks to a series of ambiguous, challenging situations afflicting key fixtures in the team's planning. Image courtesy of Bruce Kluckhohn, USA Today Usually, the end of a season like this one – promising but sabotaged to the core by an outrageous abundance of injuries – brings sweet relief. The offseason, theoretically, provides an opportunity for banged-up players to get right and return in the spring at 100% physically. In the cases of many Twins, it's difficult to envision things going so smoothly. Here's a look at seven players – all varying levels of vital to the 2023 outlook – who will have their unusual injury concerns and uncertainties ripple forward into next year. Tyler Mahle, SP No one could seem to figure out what was wrong with Mahle's shoulder this year. Not the Reds, not the Twins, not the pitcher himself ... certainly not any outside observer. His issue was described in different ways at different points – strain, soreness, fatigue, inflammation – but throughout out it all, repeated exams showed no structural damage. So, we don't know what's going on. What we do know is that Mahle's final two attempts to pitch this season saw him induce three swinging strikes on 74 pitches while flashing significantly reduced velocity, getting removed after two innings in each. Now he's got an offseason to rest up and get right. But, what does "getting right" mean when no one could pinpoint what was wrong to begin with? This is one scenario where I feel like the Twins front office and medical staff are getting a bit of an unfair shake. They gambled on Mahle because his scans were clean and he was pitching well at the time. He kept pitching well for a bit. Then the shoulder troubles resurfaced, yet the scans remained clean. Pointing fingers at team doctors is easy but misguided. It's not like they aren't consulting outside specialists at the top of their field. The reality is that for all of our advances, sports medicine remains an inexact and often mysterious science. Mahle is a good example. He's hardly the only one. Byron Buxton, CF I'm not going to act like this is anything new. Buxton, obviously, has to be viewed as an availability question mark heading into every season. But at least last year he didn't carry any blatant health burdens directly into the offseason. In 2021, Buxton played through the end of the schedule and flat-out mashed down the stretch, posting a 1.001 OPS with nine homers after September 1st. His broken hand had healed, and he was seemingly past the hip strain that earlier cost him six weeks. This year, that same hip forced him back to the injured list. That's in addition to a persistent right knee tendinitis, with both trending toward the dreaded "chronic" category of classification. These dark clouds will hover over Buxton, recipient of a new $100 million contract, for the foreseeable future. Outside of an ostensibly minor procedure conducted last week to clean up scar tissue and frayed ligaments in his knee, there's nothing but hope to guide us toward a significantly better outcome for Buxton next year. "What ends up typically happening is the scar tissue and otherwise creates more of that inflammation when you pound on it. So, now let's clear out some of that and hopefully that'll alleviate some of that stress going forward," said chief baseball officer Derek Falvey. Hopefully. Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B Perhaps the most perplexing and inscrutable health situation among many faced by the Twins franchise. In August of 2021, Kirilloff underwent season-ending surgery to address a torn wrist ligament, with the hope that creating more spacing would alleviate the pain experienced while engaging his elite swing. It didn't work. Or at least not for long. Kiriloff battled more pain in spring training and the early season, took a short break, went to Triple-A, dominated for a month, returned to the majors, and then it all came roaring back. The pain, the warped swing mechanics, the endless ground balls. Cortisone injections offered only brief respite from his performance-draining affliction. Thus, Kirilloff and the Twins turned to a last-ditch option: a more invasive surgery that involves "breaking the ulna and shortening it before the insertion of a metal plate and screws," another effort to create space in his wrist. "I really hope it doesn’t get to that," the 24-year-old had lamented earlier in the season. While relatively common for the general population, this procedure is rare for professional athletes and there aren't many past examples to reference. In a recent update to the media, Falvey mentioned that Kirilloff "hasn't ramped up his hitting progression yet," adding that there have been no setbacks or delays but "we just don't want him to hit yet." Kirilloff had undergone the surgery six weeks prior, for whatever that's worth. I want so badly to feel optimistic about Kirilloff because his talent level and upside can be game-changing for this franchise – if only he could tap them for a prolonged period on the field. But it's getting really difficult to find that optimism, and his wayward status creates all sorts of planning headaches for the front office. Royce Lewis, SS Speaking of planning headaches, we have the shortstop position. Lewis showed the makings of a long-term fixture during his brief audition this year, but unfortunately that concluded in late May when he re-tore the very same knee ligament he'd just spent a year rehabbing from reconstructive surgery. In somewhat positive news, he only partially tore the ACL this time, and surgeons put a novel twist on his second knee operation; mentions of a "brace" being involved in this variation led Lucas Seehafer to conclude they employed a technique called lateral tenodesis. While promising in its potential to prevent another injury, Lucas framed this technique as somewhat experimental, adding that "the long-term outcomes for this procedure in the athletic population, and specifically the MLB population, [are] unknown." Even if he's able to come back with a structurally sound, twice-repaired knee ligament, it remains to be seen whether Lewis will be able to maintain the full speed, quickness, and lateral agility that were on display even after his first surgery. Like Kirilloff, Lewis brings much to the table as a building block for this franchise, which makes his uncertainty all the more unfortunate, surfarcing some difficult short-term decisions for the front office with regards to the future at shortstop. Chris Paddack, SP The Twins knew they were taking on risk when they acquired Paddack as the centerpiece of the Taylor Rogers trade, but even in that context, they've pretty much stumbled into a worst-case scenario. Paddack made it through five starts before the partial tear in his UCL, already once repaired via Tommy John surgery, gave way and necessitated to a second TJ procedure. The history of pitchers who have undergone this ligament replacement surgery twice is not the most encouraging. Mike Clevinger, one of the most accomplished pitchers to undergo a Tommy John revision surgery (in November 2020), returned to action this year and while he's managed to throw more than 100 innings, Clevinger is nowhere near his pre-surgery form. There are complicated realities at play with getting this repair a second time that have diminished the rate of success. "On average, the typical TJ revision isn’t as successful as the typical primary TJ,” said Dr. Andrew Cosgarea, an orthopedic surgeon and professor, in a story for the San Diego Union-Tribune. "The first time you drill a hole in the bone it is fresh and clean, but if it happens again you already have a hole there and that hole is filled with scar tissue. … Scar tissue isn’t as healthy as original tissue. It doesn’t have the same blood supply; (it is) not as durable.” Paddack has already acknowledged that he's realistically targeting an August return next year, setting expectations for a 14-month recovery time and reducing the likelihood he'll be able to make a significant impact in 2023. We probably should collectively drop the notion of Paddack pitching in the Twins rotation again before his team control expires after 2024. Kenta Maeda, SP Relatively speaking, Maeda's outlook is less complicated than Paddack's since he's coming off his first Tommy John surgery. However, the veteran righty still hasn't taken the mound 13 months after his own procedure "with a twist" – an internal brace designed to shorten the recovery timetable from the typical 12-16 months down to 9-12. Alas, he'll be nearly 18 months removed by the time he hits the mound again next spring in Ft. Myers. That Maeda didn't make it back this year isn't a big deal – the timing of his surgery late last year was always going to make it tough, and the Twins being out of contention in September rendered it a moot point. The bigger concern here is that he'll be a 35-year-old coming back from significant elbow surgery and a very long layoff, with 173 total innings pitched over the past three seasons. It's hard to foresee him successfully taking on a full starter's workload in his final year under contract, so I'll be curious to see how he fits into the 2022 plan. Josh Winder, SP Winder was limited to 72 innings last year, and will finish near the same total this year, because of recurring "shoulder impingement" issues that he and the club appear unable to fully diagnose or solve. “He’s felt good for periods of time. He’s thrown the ball well for periods of time. There’s no singular reason why we’re looking at this and thinking, ‘Well, this is why this is happening,’ to be honest,” manager Rocco Baldelli said in late July, shortly after Winder had been placed on IL for a second time with what was by then being termed impingement syndrome. “It’s just soreness that keeps creeping back in there.” Winder wouldn't make it back to the big-league mound for another seven weeks after that, and while he was able to return for four starts in September, he wasn't very effective, posting a 5.59 ERA in 19 ⅓ innings. Much like with Mahle, it's difficult to feel confident in an injury clearing up when nobody can get to the bottom of it. Winder, for his part, has suggested he "might just be at a predisposition for this type of injury." Which makes him pretty challenging to plan around, and that's a big hit because he showed the makings of a signature product of this front office's pitching pipeline. The Twins liked him so much they went out of their way to keep him on the Opening Day pitching staff this year. They were envisioning him as an integral part of their rotation mix this year. I don't see how they can keep doing so going forward. An Uncertain Future In the recent media scrum where he updated a litany of injury situations, Falvey remarked on the avalanche of IL stints that buried the team this year, reasoning that – to some extent – you're at the mercy of fate. Like all things in baseball, injuries ebb and flow. "I'm hopeful, for a lot of reasons that this is our spike-up year and that there's some regression built in going forward," Falvey said. A reasonable mindset, from a basic analytical standpoint. And yet, as these seven examples show, many of the dismal developments in the spike-up year that was 2022 could prove thorny going forward. View full article
  20. Usually, the end of a season like this one – promising but sabotaged to the core by an outrageous abundance of injuries – brings sweet relief. The offseason, theoretically, provides an opportunity for banged-up players to get right and return in the spring at 100% physically. In the cases of many Twins, it's difficult to envision things going so smoothly. Here's a look at seven players – all varying levels of vital to the 2023 outlook – who will have their unusual injury concerns and uncertainties ripple forward into next year. Tyler Mahle, SP No one could seem to figure out what was wrong with Mahle's shoulder this year. Not the Reds, not the Twins, not the pitcher himself ... certainly not any outside observer. His issue was described in different ways at different points – strain, soreness, fatigue, inflammation – but throughout out it all, repeated exams showed no structural damage. So, we don't know what's going on. What we do know is that Mahle's final two attempts to pitch this season saw him induce three swinging strikes on 74 pitches while flashing significantly reduced velocity, getting removed after two innings in each. Now he's got an offseason to rest up and get right. But, what does "getting right" mean when no one could pinpoint what was wrong to begin with? This is one scenario where I feel like the Twins front office and medical staff are getting a bit of an unfair shake. They gambled on Mahle because his scans were clean and he was pitching well at the time. He kept pitching well for a bit. Then the shoulder troubles resurfaced, yet the scans remained clean. Pointing fingers at team doctors is easy but misguided. It's not like they aren't consulting outside specialists at the top of their field. The reality is that for all of our advances, sports medicine remains an inexact and often mysterious science. Mahle is a good example. He's hardly the only one. Byron Buxton, CF I'm not going to act like this is anything new. Buxton, obviously, has to be viewed as an availability question mark heading into every season. But at least last year he didn't carry any blatant health burdens directly into the offseason. In 2021, Buxton played through the end of the schedule and flat-out mashed down the stretch, posting a 1.001 OPS with nine homers after September 1st. His broken hand had healed, and he was seemingly past the hip strain that earlier cost him six weeks. This year, that same hip forced him back to the injured list. That's in addition to a persistent right knee tendinitis, with both trending toward the dreaded "chronic" category of classification. These dark clouds will hover over Buxton, recipient of a new $100 million contract, for the foreseeable future. Outside of an ostensibly minor procedure conducted last week to clean up scar tissue and frayed ligaments in his knee, there's nothing but hope to guide us toward a significantly better outcome for Buxton next year. "What ends up typically happening is the scar tissue and otherwise creates more of that inflammation when you pound on it. So, now let's clear out some of that and hopefully that'll alleviate some of that stress going forward," said chief baseball officer Derek Falvey. Hopefully. Alex Kirilloff, OF/1B Perhaps the most perplexing and inscrutable health situation among many faced by the Twins franchise. In August of 2021, Kirilloff underwent season-ending surgery to address a torn wrist ligament, with the hope that creating more spacing would alleviate the pain experienced while engaging his elite swing. It didn't work. Or at least not for long. Kiriloff battled more pain in spring training and the early season, took a short break, went to Triple-A, dominated for a month, returned to the majors, and then it all came roaring back. The pain, the warped swing mechanics, the endless ground balls. Cortisone injections offered only brief respite from his performance-draining affliction. Thus, Kirilloff and the Twins turned to a last-ditch option: a more invasive surgery that involves "breaking the ulna and shortening it before the insertion of a metal plate and screws," another effort to create space in his wrist. "I really hope it doesn’t get to that," the 24-year-old had lamented earlier in the season. While relatively common for the general population, this procedure is rare for professional athletes and there aren't many past examples to reference. In a recent update to the media, Falvey mentioned that Kirilloff "hasn't ramped up his hitting progression yet," adding that there have been no setbacks or delays but "we just don't want him to hit yet." Kirilloff had undergone the surgery six weeks prior, for whatever that's worth. I want so badly to feel optimistic about Kirilloff because his talent level and upside can be game-changing for this franchise – if only he could tap them for a prolonged period on the field. But it's getting really difficult to find that optimism, and his wayward status creates all sorts of planning headaches for the front office. Royce Lewis, SS Speaking of planning headaches, we have the shortstop position. Lewis showed the makings of a long-term fixture during his brief audition this year, but unfortunately that concluded in late May when he re-tore the very same knee ligament he'd just spent a year rehabbing from reconstructive surgery. In somewhat positive news, he only partially tore the ACL this time, and surgeons put a novel twist on his second knee operation; mentions of a "brace" being involved in this variation led Lucas Seehafer to conclude they employed a technique called lateral tenodesis. While promising in its potential to prevent another injury, Lucas framed this technique as somewhat experimental, adding that "the long-term outcomes for this procedure in the athletic population, and specifically the MLB population, [are] unknown." Even if he's able to come back with a structurally sound, twice-repaired knee ligament, it remains to be seen whether Lewis will be able to maintain the full speed, quickness, and lateral agility that were on display even after his first surgery. Like Kirilloff, Lewis brings much to the table as a building block for this franchise, which makes his uncertainty all the more unfortunate, surfarcing some difficult short-term decisions for the front office with regards to the future at shortstop. Chris Paddack, SP The Twins knew they were taking on risk when they acquired Paddack as the centerpiece of the Taylor Rogers trade, but even in that context, they've pretty much stumbled into a worst-case scenario. Paddack made it through five starts before the partial tear in his UCL, already once repaired via Tommy John surgery, gave way and necessitated to a second TJ procedure. The history of pitchers who have undergone this ligament replacement surgery twice is not the most encouraging. Mike Clevinger, one of the most accomplished pitchers to undergo a Tommy John revision surgery (in November 2020), returned to action this year and while he's managed to throw more than 100 innings, Clevinger is nowhere near his pre-surgery form. There are complicated realities at play with getting this repair a second time that have diminished the rate of success. "On average, the typical TJ revision isn’t as successful as the typical primary TJ,” said Dr. Andrew Cosgarea, an orthopedic surgeon and professor, in a story for the San Diego Union-Tribune. "The first time you drill a hole in the bone it is fresh and clean, but if it happens again you already have a hole there and that hole is filled with scar tissue. … Scar tissue isn’t as healthy as original tissue. It doesn’t have the same blood supply; (it is) not as durable.” Paddack has already acknowledged that he's realistically targeting an August return next year, setting expectations for a 14-month recovery time and reducing the likelihood he'll be able to make a significant impact in 2023. We probably should collectively drop the notion of Paddack pitching in the Twins rotation again before his team control expires after 2024. Kenta Maeda, SP Relatively speaking, Maeda's outlook is less complicated than Paddack's since he's coming off his first Tommy John surgery. However, the veteran righty still hasn't taken the mound 13 months after his own procedure "with a twist" – an internal brace designed to shorten the recovery timetable from the typical 12-16 months down to 9-12. Alas, he'll be nearly 18 months removed by the time he hits the mound again next spring in Ft. Myers. That Maeda didn't make it back this year isn't a big deal – the timing of his surgery late last year was always going to make it tough, and the Twins being out of contention in September rendered it a moot point. The bigger concern here is that he'll be a 35-year-old coming back from significant elbow surgery and a very long layoff, with 173 total innings pitched over the past three seasons. It's hard to foresee him successfully taking on a full starter's workload in his final year under contract, so I'll be curious to see how he fits into the 2022 plan. Josh Winder, SP Winder was limited to 72 innings last year, and will finish near the same total this year, because of recurring "shoulder impingement" issues that he and the club appear unable to fully diagnose or solve. “He’s felt good for periods of time. He’s thrown the ball well for periods of time. There’s no singular reason why we’re looking at this and thinking, ‘Well, this is why this is happening,’ to be honest,” manager Rocco Baldelli said in late July, shortly after Winder had been placed on IL for a second time with what was by then being termed impingement syndrome. “It’s just soreness that keeps creeping back in there.” Winder wouldn't make it back to the big-league mound for another seven weeks after that, and while he was able to return for four starts in September, he wasn't very effective, posting a 5.59 ERA in 19 ⅓ innings. Much like with Mahle, it's difficult to feel confident in an injury clearing up when nobody can get to the bottom of it. Winder, for his part, has suggested he "might just be at a predisposition for this type of injury." Which makes him pretty challenging to plan around, and that's a big hit because he showed the makings of a signature product of this front office's pitching pipeline. The Twins liked him so much they went out of their way to keep him on the Opening Day pitching staff this year. They were envisioning him as an integral part of their rotation mix this year. I don't see how they can keep doing so going forward. An Uncertain Future In the recent media scrum where he updated a litany of injury situations, Falvey remarked on the avalanche of IL stints that buried the team this year, reasoning that – to some extent – you're at the mercy of fate. Like all things in baseball, injuries ebb and flow. "I'm hopeful, for a lot of reasons that this is our spike-up year and that there's some regression built in going forward," Falvey said. A reasonable mindset, from a basic analytical standpoint. And yet, as these seven examples show, many of the dismal developments in the spike-up year that was 2022 could prove thorny going forward.
  21. Under the current regime, Minnesota has acquired multiple pitchers that have suffered an injury after being acquired. Is this bad luck, or is this something the front office can avoid in the future? Image courtesy of Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports Many teams struggled to find enough pitching to make it through the season, and the Twins are no stranger to this problem. Minnesota has been in the middle of a winning window over the last four seasons, requiring the front office to be active in the trade market. Unfortunately, multiple pitchers acquired by the team have ended up dealing with injuries after being acquired. Is this something the team can avoid? Sam Dyson, RP Acquired: 2019 Trade Deadline from the Giants Minnesota’s line-up was firing on all cylinders during the 2019 season, and the team looked to bolster the Bomba Squad at the trade deadline. Minnesota traded for relievers Sam Dyson and Sergio Romo, but Dyson’s Twins tenure was short-lived. He allowed nine earned runs in 11 1/3 innings while also making multiple trips to the IL. Eventually, he revealed that he had been pitching through shoulder discomfort for multiple weeks. The Twins eventually investigated if the Giants knew anything about his injury before the trade. There were no signs of his injury or poor performance before the trade, so this deal looks like bad luck for the Twins. Kenta Maeda, SP Acquired: Before the 2020 Season from the Dodgers The Twins were looking to build off the 2019 season, and acquiring Maeda helped to put them back in contention for 2020. His first season in Minnesota couldn’t have gone much better as he posted a 2.70 ERA while leading baseball with a 0.75 WHIP. Maeda’s second season in Minnesota didn’t go as smoothly as his ERA rose to 4.66, and he eventually needed to undergo Tommy John surgery. There were some concerns with Maeda’s elbow when he originally signed with the Dodgers, and that’s why Los Angeles was able to sign him to a team-friendly deal. He pitched over 760 innings before needing Tommy John surgery, so it doesn’t seem like the Twins should have noticed this red flag. Chris Paddack, SP Acquired: Before the 2022 Season from the Padres The trade that brought Paddack to Minnesota will be discussed for quite some time. In the end, both teams aren’t happy with the results, with all players struggling or dealing with an injury. One of the reasons the Twins were able to acquire Paddack was because of some of his lingering injury concerns. As a prospect in the Padres system, Paddack underwent Tommy John surgery, and his 2021 season ended after he sprained his UCL last September. It was a tough blow for Minnesota because of how well he’d pitched in 2022, but it wasn’t much of a surprise that his season ended with a second Tommy John procedure. Tyler Mahle, SP Acquired: 2022 Trade Deadline from the Reds Mahle was arguably Minnesota’s most prominent trade deadline acquisition, but he hasn’t been able to stay on the field. He has struggled with velocity in his last two starts, which have required stints on the injured list. Now there is no guarantee he will be able to help the team for their most important games in September. Before the trade deadline, Mahle had been on the injured list because of his shoulder, but he had returned and pitched well. Even in 2021, Mahle led all of baseball with 33 games started, so he has been a consistent starter for multiple seasons. His injuries can be even more frustrating when looking at the other names mentioned above. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are forced to be creative when it comes to making baseball decisions. They aren’t going to surrender the prospect capital needed to acquire a top-tier pitcher because of the long-term ramifications of emptying a farm system. This forces the team to examine trades for players with flaws, including previous injury concerns. Nearly every MLB pitcher deals with injuries at some point in their career, so Minnesota has gotten unlucky with some players mentioned above. In retrospect, Dyson’s deal looks the worst, but the other three pitchers have the potential to impact the 2023 Twins. Do you think the Twins can avoid these types of pitchers in the future? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  22. Many teams struggled to find enough pitching to make it through the season, and the Twins are no stranger to this problem. Minnesota has been in the middle of a winning window over the last four seasons, requiring the front office to be active in the trade market. Unfortunately, multiple pitchers acquired by the team have ended up dealing with injuries after being acquired. Is this something the team can avoid? Sam Dyson, RP Acquired: 2019 Trade Deadline from the Giants Minnesota’s line-up was firing on all cylinders during the 2019 season, and the team looked to bolster the Bomba Squad at the trade deadline. Minnesota traded for relievers Sam Dyson and Sergio Romo, but Dyson’s Twins tenure was short-lived. He allowed nine earned runs in 11 1/3 innings while also making multiple trips to the IL. Eventually, he revealed that he had been pitching through shoulder discomfort for multiple weeks. The Twins eventually investigated if the Giants knew anything about his injury before the trade. There were no signs of his injury or poor performance before the trade, so this deal looks like bad luck for the Twins. Kenta Maeda, SP Acquired: Before the 2020 Season from the Dodgers The Twins were looking to build off the 2019 season, and acquiring Maeda helped to put them back in contention for 2020. His first season in Minnesota couldn’t have gone much better as he posted a 2.70 ERA while leading baseball with a 0.75 WHIP. Maeda’s second season in Minnesota didn’t go as smoothly as his ERA rose to 4.66, and he eventually needed to undergo Tommy John surgery. There were some concerns with Maeda’s elbow when he originally signed with the Dodgers, and that’s why Los Angeles was able to sign him to a team-friendly deal. He pitched over 760 innings before needing Tommy John surgery, so it doesn’t seem like the Twins should have noticed this red flag. Chris Paddack, SP Acquired: Before the 2022 Season from the Padres The trade that brought Paddack to Minnesota will be discussed for quite some time. In the end, both teams aren’t happy with the results, with all players struggling or dealing with an injury. One of the reasons the Twins were able to acquire Paddack was because of some of his lingering injury concerns. As a prospect in the Padres system, Paddack underwent Tommy John surgery, and his 2021 season ended after he sprained his UCL last September. It was a tough blow for Minnesota because of how well he’d pitched in 2022, but it wasn’t much of a surprise that his season ended with a second Tommy John procedure. Tyler Mahle, SP Acquired: 2022 Trade Deadline from the Reds Mahle was arguably Minnesota’s most prominent trade deadline acquisition, but he hasn’t been able to stay on the field. He has struggled with velocity in his last two starts, which have required stints on the injured list. Now there is no guarantee he will be able to help the team for their most important games in September. Before the trade deadline, Mahle had been on the injured list because of his shoulder, but he had returned and pitched well. Even in 2021, Mahle led all of baseball with 33 games started, so he has been a consistent starter for multiple seasons. His injuries can be even more frustrating when looking at the other names mentioned above. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are forced to be creative when it comes to making baseball decisions. They aren’t going to surrender the prospect capital needed to acquire a top-tier pitcher because of the long-term ramifications of emptying a farm system. This forces the team to examine trades for players with flaws, including previous injury concerns. Nearly every MLB pitcher deals with injuries at some point in their career, so Minnesota has gotten unlucky with some players mentioned above. In retrospect, Dyson’s deal looks the worst, but the other three pitchers have the potential to impact the 2023 Twins. Do you think the Twins can avoid these types of pitchers in the future? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  23. Every single year we hear about the reality that every Major League Baseball club is dealing with injury. There’s absolutely no denying that notion, especially given the grind of a 162-game season. It is worth wondering, are the Minnesota Twins in a league of their own in 2022? Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson-USA TODAY Sports The American League Central Division has been nothing short of an abomination this season. The Cleveland Guardians have done little to assert themselves as favorites, despite having overtaken the lead late in the year. Tony La Russa’s Chicago White Sox may have the most talented roster, but it’s certainly been the most poorly managed thus far. Rocco Baldelli has been given an opportunity for his team to rebound from 2021, but they’ve struggled to break through. Looking at the state of the division it’s easy to suggest that any of the three clubs in contention to take it will be wiped off the map come Postseason action. Diving into the Twins specifically, however, it’s worth trying to understand why September returns seem so immeasurable. As of September 3rd, the Twins had been forced to use 24 different position players and had 33 separate pitchers on the mound. Despite operating just from a 40-man roster, the Twins had a total of 17 players on varying injured lists after putting deadline acquisition Tyler Mahle on it. To say every team goes through injury waters down a bit of what Minnesota has been dealing with. Early on this season the club’s most important player, Byron Buxton, seemingly suffered a season-ending knee injury. Sliding against the Boston Red Sox on Jackie Robinson Day, Buxton looked to have suffered something gruesome. Instead, he never hit the injured list and played into late August while routinely getting his knee drained. There were multiple instances where a shutdown seemed likely. Concerns as to whether an infection could develop were real. What level of pain tolerance even the best athlete could endure was a question. All of that was taking place despite Buxton posting a team-leading 4.0 fWAR. The front office dealt for Chris Paddack, and Emilio Pagan, right before Opening Day. The former made just five starts but the stuff was so good his 0.9 fWAR remains 6th among pitchers still into September. Carlos Correa, the superstar shortstop, missed time with a hand that appeared to be broken. A superstar prospect in Royce Lewis stepped up before suffering a second straight ACL tear. Again, it may be sugarcoating it to suggest that every team goes through injury. It’s probably fair to understand there’s varying degrees of maladies suffered throughout a season, but it certainly seems as though Minnesota has been bit harder than most. For a team looking to reverse course following a bad 2021 season, far more has to go right from a health perspective alone to push the envelope. The Twins front office never viewed this season as one in which they’d push all the chips in, and that was evident at the deadline when they doubled-down dealing almost exclusively for players under team control. There’s still hope the clubhouse can continue responding to the adversity they’ve been dealt but each new name to hit the shelf seems like another knockout punch. View full article
  24. The American League Central Division has been nothing short of an abomination this season. The Cleveland Guardians have done little to assert themselves as favorites, despite having overtaken the lead late in the year. Tony La Russa’s Chicago White Sox may have the most talented roster, but it’s certainly been the most poorly managed thus far. Rocco Baldelli has been given an opportunity for his team to rebound from 2021, but they’ve struggled to break through. Looking at the state of the division it’s easy to suggest that any of the three clubs in contention to take it will be wiped off the map come Postseason action. Diving into the Twins specifically, however, it’s worth trying to understand why September returns seem so immeasurable. As of September 3rd, the Twins had been forced to use 24 different position players and had 33 separate pitchers on the mound. Despite operating just from a 40-man roster, the Twins had a total of 17 players on varying injured lists after putting deadline acquisition Tyler Mahle on it. To say every team goes through injury waters down a bit of what Minnesota has been dealing with. Early on this season the club’s most important player, Byron Buxton, seemingly suffered a season-ending knee injury. Sliding against the Boston Red Sox on Jackie Robinson Day, Buxton looked to have suffered something gruesome. Instead, he never hit the injured list and played into late August while routinely getting his knee drained. There were multiple instances where a shutdown seemed likely. Concerns as to whether an infection could develop were real. What level of pain tolerance even the best athlete could endure was a question. All of that was taking place despite Buxton posting a team-leading 4.0 fWAR. The front office dealt for Chris Paddack, and Emilio Pagan, right before Opening Day. The former made just five starts but the stuff was so good his 0.9 fWAR remains 6th among pitchers still into September. Carlos Correa, the superstar shortstop, missed time with a hand that appeared to be broken. A superstar prospect in Royce Lewis stepped up before suffering a second straight ACL tear. Again, it may be sugarcoating it to suggest that every team goes through injury. It’s probably fair to understand there’s varying degrees of maladies suffered throughout a season, but it certainly seems as though Minnesota has been bit harder than most. For a team looking to reverse course following a bad 2021 season, far more has to go right from a health perspective alone to push the envelope. The Twins front office never viewed this season as one in which they’d push all the chips in, and that was evident at the deadline when they doubled-down dealing almost exclusively for players under team control. There’s still hope the clubhouse can continue responding to the adversity they’ve been dealt but each new name to hit the shelf seems like another knockout punch.
  25. San Diego acquired the former Cy Young Award winner from the Tampa Bay Rays in a 4-for-1 swap. Blake Snell has been with the Padres for two seasons now, but is a free agent after the 2023 campaign. While he wasn’t one of the 49 names previously discussed as a trade candidate, it’s becoming more evident that even a winner like San Diego may be open to moving him. Dennis Lin covers the Padres for The Athletic and had this to say in his latest mailbag, “If the Padres trade a starting pitcher, they likely would prefer to move Blake Snell. He’s making $5 million more than Mike Clevinger, and unsurprisingly, the team has been frustrated with the left-hander’s lack of performance. It would be selling low on Snell, but the Padres want to clear payroll for other needs.” After posting a 1.89 ERA with the Rays during his Cy Young season in 2018, he’s since failed to post an ERA below 3.00. With the Padres, Snell has made 36 starts and owns a 4.32 ERA. His ERA+ in that time sits at only 90. The good news is that Snell has continued to be a dominant strikeout arm, and he’s actually been better at limiting the longball. His 3.75 FIP also suggests that he’s also a bit better than the ERA picture paints. San Diego has an embarrassment of riches on the mound right now, and that affords them the luxury of moving someone like Snell. While he’s not in a great place from a production standpoint, he’s still plenty capable of being a top-of-the-rotation arm. Mike Clevinger could be a name teams are interested in as well, but San Diego dumping Snell’s salary would be a benefit to a team dealing with Luxury Tax ramifications. Looking at Snell’s advanced analytics and underlying numbers, much of what made him a Cy Young winner still remains. His hard hit rate hasn’t fluctuated, and he’s actually shaved roughly eight percent from his line drive rate. The velocity is as good as it’s ever been and his swing rates are also strong. By virtually all measurements, there’s no reason why Snell can’t contribute to a higher level than he has been. Although San Diego would be selling low given the current performance, I’d imagine much of a return for Snell would be reflective of the money a team needs to take on. Under contract for $13.1 million this season, Snell is set to be paid $16.6 million next year. That’s a good amount of salary to take on in the middle of the season, and is also a motivating factor for him to be moved by the Padres. The more San Diego eats, the better their expected return should be. That works on the flip side too, however, in that an acquiring team like the Twins may need to give up considerably less if they take on the entirety of his bill. The reality is that high-level starters are going to be highly-coveted on the trade market and there aren’t a ton of options to work with. Luis Castillo remains amazing for the Reds, but teammate Tyler Mahle is now on the injured list. Frankie Montas had a scare for Oakland, and his arm now has plenty of questions around it. Teams could dip down a level to the Pirates Jose Quintana, but the emergence of other options is beneficial. The Twins dealt with San Diego prior to Opening Day this season when they acquired Chris Paddack and Emilio Pagan for Taylor Rogers. Maybe the two front offices get together again and can work out another pact for a second starter. What do you think? Would you be interested in the Twins adding Blake Snell? What level of a prospect are you comfortable giving up?
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