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  1. In this week’s AL Central Division update we see the consistency of play across the division that may go unmatched the rest of the way. Four of five teams are 5-5 over their last 10 with the Guardians being just 4-6. Minnesota still leads the division as we look to close out the second month of the season. The Standings: Minnesota 22-16 Chicago 19-19 Cleveland 16-19 Kansas City 14-23 Detroit 13-25 No team in the division currently has a winning streak going, while Cleveland is bringing up the rear holding a three-game losing streak. The Guardians have a +2 run differential despite being in third place while the White Sox have outperformed expectations given their -27 run differential. The Stories: While not to the level of Boston, the White Sox slow start is at least somewhat surprising. They’ve dealt with injury and been on the wrong side of some unfortunate games. Ultimately though, the White Sox have an ugly run differential and play some of the worst defense in the league. Tim Anderson is still hitting, but his work in the field has been atrocious. Jose Abreu has just a .625 OPS thus far and is well off his .832 mark from 2021. Despite the solid average, Luis Robert just crossed the .800 OPS threshold on Thursday. There should be plenty of room for that number to rise. Thus far, Tony La Russa’s management of a young star like Andrew Vaughn has been perplexing to say the least. This team has the talent to rush to the top, but it will be interesting to see how they manage their way forward. I’d wager that Terry Francona expected this Guardians team to be a bit better. Andres Gimenez has hit the ball well, and Jose Ramirez continues to be among baseball’s best at the hot corner. Cal Quantrill was solid again on Thursday but took a no-decision as Cleveland lacked run support. Shane Bieber hasn’t been the 2020 version of himself and Steven Kwan has come back down to earth a bit. Ramirez is the one to watch over the next week as he left Thursday’s game with a bruised shin and is being called day-to-day. Kansas City wasn’t expected to be good this year, but I don’t know if they were pegged to be this bad. Bobby Witt Jr. is settling into life as a Major Leaguer, and despite bumps in the road, has shown why his prospect stock was so high. Salvador Perez was recently placed on the injured list with a thumb sprain which opened the door for star prospect M.J. Melendez to enter the lineup. He and Witt both homered for the Royals against the White Sox on Wednesday night. Veteran outfielder Michael A. Taylor was placed on the Covid-IL before Wednesday’s game after being scratched from the lineup. There was reason to believe A.J. Hinch could take the Tigers a step forward this season but the results haven’t materialized. Eduardo Rodriguez is expected to be placed on the injured list with what’s being called a “left-side” injury. Michael Pineda broke a finger last Saturday, and Casey Mize has been on the injured list since April 15 due to a right elbow strain. Matt Manning, already on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation, is working his way back through a rehab assignment. Meanwhile, key free-agent signing Javier Baez is batting just .204 with a .554 OPS, and last year’s Rule 5 darling Akil Baddoo was optioned to Triple-A. The Week Ahead: Minnesota kicks off a weekend series against Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium before returning home to host both Detroit and those same Royals. The Twins will be looking to exact revenge on the Royals after they dropped two of three during the season’s first month. Rocco Baldelli’s club already has a series sweep of the Tigers and owns a +12 run differential against the divisions cellar dwellers. Looking to close the gap at the top, Chicago has a tough test going out east to play the New York Yankees over the week. Aaron Boone has the Bronx Bombers currently going as one of baseball’s best teams. The White Sox do get a reprieve following an off day as the Red Sox come to town. Boston has failed to meet expectations thus far, and Tony La Russa’s club could be getting them at the right time. Similar to what Minnesota is seeing from a schedule construction standpoint, Cleveland hosts the Tigers for three at home before traveling to Houston for a three-game set. They’ll then close out the road trip with another series against Detroit. Between hosting and traveling to face the Twins, Kansas City gets a quick two-game set against the NL West Arizona Diamondbacks. What are you looking forward to for the Twins this week? How are you evaluating the competition? Share your thoughts in the comments below! View full article
  2. The Standings: Minnesota 22-16 Chicago 19-19 Cleveland 16-19 Kansas City 14-23 Detroit 13-25 No team in the division currently has a winning streak going, while Cleveland is bringing up the rear holding a three-game losing streak. The Guardians have a +2 run differential despite being in third place while the White Sox have outperformed expectations given their -27 run differential. The Stories: While not to the level of Boston, the White Sox slow start is at least somewhat surprising. They’ve dealt with injury and been on the wrong side of some unfortunate games. Ultimately though, the White Sox have an ugly run differential and play some of the worst defense in the league. Tim Anderson is still hitting, but his work in the field has been atrocious. Jose Abreu has just a .625 OPS thus far and is well off his .832 mark from 2021. Despite the solid average, Luis Robert just crossed the .800 OPS threshold on Thursday. There should be plenty of room for that number to rise. Thus far, Tony La Russa’s management of a young star like Andrew Vaughn has been perplexing to say the least. This team has the talent to rush to the top, but it will be interesting to see how they manage their way forward. I’d wager that Terry Francona expected this Guardians team to be a bit better. Andres Gimenez has hit the ball well, and Jose Ramirez continues to be among baseball’s best at the hot corner. Cal Quantrill was solid again on Thursday but took a no-decision as Cleveland lacked run support. Shane Bieber hasn’t been the 2020 version of himself and Steven Kwan has come back down to earth a bit. Ramirez is the one to watch over the next week as he left Thursday’s game with a bruised shin and is being called day-to-day. Kansas City wasn’t expected to be good this year, but I don’t know if they were pegged to be this bad. Bobby Witt Jr. is settling into life as a Major Leaguer, and despite bumps in the road, has shown why his prospect stock was so high. Salvador Perez was recently placed on the injured list with a thumb sprain which opened the door for star prospect M.J. Melendez to enter the lineup. He and Witt both homered for the Royals against the White Sox on Wednesday night. Veteran outfielder Michael A. Taylor was placed on the Covid-IL before Wednesday’s game after being scratched from the lineup. There was reason to believe A.J. Hinch could take the Tigers a step forward this season but the results haven’t materialized. Eduardo Rodriguez is expected to be placed on the injured list with what’s being called a “left-side” injury. Michael Pineda broke a finger last Saturday, and Casey Mize has been on the injured list since April 15 due to a right elbow strain. Matt Manning, already on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation, is working his way back through a rehab assignment. Meanwhile, key free-agent signing Javier Baez is batting just .204 with a .554 OPS, and last year’s Rule 5 darling Akil Baddoo was optioned to Triple-A. The Week Ahead: Minnesota kicks off a weekend series against Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium before returning home to host both Detroit and those same Royals. The Twins will be looking to exact revenge on the Royals after they dropped two of three during the season’s first month. Rocco Baldelli’s club already has a series sweep of the Tigers and owns a +12 run differential against the divisions cellar dwellers. Looking to close the gap at the top, Chicago has a tough test going out east to play the New York Yankees over the week. Aaron Boone has the Bronx Bombers currently going as one of baseball’s best teams. The White Sox do get a reprieve following an off day as the Red Sox come to town. Boston has failed to meet expectations thus far, and Tony La Russa’s club could be getting them at the right time. Similar to what Minnesota is seeing from a schedule construction standpoint, Cleveland hosts the Tigers for three at home before traveling to Houston for a three-game set. They’ll then close out the road trip with another series against Detroit. Between hosting and traveling to face the Twins, Kansas City gets a quick two-game set against the NL West Arizona Diamondbacks. What are you looking forward to for the Twins this week? How are you evaluating the competition? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
  3. A potential Minnesota Twins free agent target went off the board Monday as Eduardo Rodriguez agreed to sign with the Detroit Tigers. Here are three things we now know about the Twins and the division. Monday morning, one of the first free-agent dominoes fell. As reported, free-agent starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez has found a new home with the division rival Detroit Tigers. The reports have the deal at 5 years and $77 million dollars. Rodriguez was certainly a pitcher that made sense for the Twins. At 28, the lefty represents a young free agent who is now controlled on a five-year contract with an opt-out after two years. Rodriguez is coming off a season in Boston that was likely better than his 4.74 ERA suggests. Instead, he finds a home with Detroit. A team the Twins were looking up at in the standings when the 2021 season came to a close. As the dust settles on the news of the Rodriguez signing, here are some things we know. The Twins were not in on Rodriguez. As referenced above, a Twins-Rodriguez union made all the sense in the world. The Twins, at best, need to fill three rotation spots, and Rodriguez has a good mix of experience and youth to be part of a competing rotation for the life of his five-year deal. The union made so much sense that two out of three MLBTR writers predicted that the Twins would be the team to sign Rodriguez in their look at the top-50 free agents this winter. Darren Wolfson reported quickly that the Twins and Rodriguez camp had not been talking about a deal. While this news will disappoint some, it will take time before we know exactly what happened behind the scenes when it came to the Twins view of Rodriguez. That something could have been a talent or makeup issue or a contract commitment. Whatever it was, it left the Twins not interested in the lefty. The Tigers aren’t bluffing One of the most significant talking points of the young offseason is that the Tigers are poised and ready to spend. Most of the attention ends up going the way of the Tigers signing a shortstop like Carlos Correa, but five years and $77 million to Rodriguez is another significant chunk of money that Detroit has now spent this offseason. The Tigers are no strangers to opening up the pocketbook to bring in high-priced free agents. It just has been a while since it made sense for them to do so. The signing also shows that not only are the Tigers willing to spend on free agents this offseason, but at least one free agent has shown he is willing to choose Detroit as his new home. That may be more important than anything for a team looking to build on a young core, and a third-place finish in the AL Central as the 2022 season ushers in. The Twins have work to do The Twins should see a better 2022 than 2021 simply because everything can’t go wrong again like it did in 2021. If the goal is to unseat the White Sox, the Tigers are at least going to make other AL Central teams think about them on their way to the division crown. If the Twins want to be the 2022 AL Central Division champs, this move by the Tigers only further confirms they will need to go and be active in acquiring major league-ready talent through some avenue soon. In past years, when it has been a two-team race, it is easier to sneak into that top spot. With the Tigers making their push, there are at least two other teams in the division ready to make something happen. Thankfully there are still free-agent starting pitchers on the board. With two (Rodriguez and Andrew Heaney) already off the board, the club may not want to wait too long if they have their eye on one of the free-agent starting pitchers that are available. Of course, there is always the route of trading for starting pitching talent as well. Something that Wolfson mentioned several times today as reactions were made on Twitter to the Twins lack of interest in Rodriguez. How are you feeling about the state of the division after Detroit has added Rodriguez to their already talented rotation? Should the Twins have been in on Rodriguez? Let us know below! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  4. Minnesota is expected to be active on the free-agent market, and MLB Trade Rumors predicts five of the top-50 free agents possibly ending up in Minnesota. Who are the players, and what will it take to sign them? MLB Trade Rumors gathered their top three writers to make predictions about this year's free-agent class. At least one of the writers picked the names below to sign with the Twins. Marcus Stroman MLB TR Estimate: Five-Years, $110 million Even at Twins Daily, most of the community is predicting the Twins to actively pursue Marcus Stroman this winter. Out of the top-tier starters, he will likely cost the least because he has the lowest ceiling, but he might have the highest floor. Twins fans may worry about Stroman's lack of strikeouts and his pitch-to-contact tendencies. Since Stroman accepted the qualifying offer last offseason, the Mets can't offer it again, which may make the Twins more likely to sign him. Eduardo Rodriguez MLB TR Estimate: Five-Years, $70 million Eduardo Rodriguez seemed like a good fit for the Twins, but word came out early on Monday that he had signed for five years and $77 million with the Detroit Tigers. It also sounds like the Twins were not in on Rodriguez. He's coming off a career-worst 4.74 ERA, but some of the peripheral numbers point to that being an outlier. Rodriguez looked like one of the best buy-low candidates on the market. Now Minnesota will have to face Rodriguez for the next half of a decade as the Tigers continue to improve. Alex Wood MLB TR Estimate: Three-Years, $30 million If the Twins miss out on Stroman and Rodriguez, there are a few other candidates the team can turn to for rotational depth. Wood pitched very effectively for the Giants last season, but he threw fewer than 50 innings from 2019-20. In recent years, he has missed time with back injuries and shoulder inflammation. Last season, Wood struck out 9.9 batters per nine innings, which might pair well with Stroman's lack of strikeouts at the top of the rotation. Corey Knebel MLB TR Estimate: Two-Years, $18 million When it comes to Knebel, the biggest question is: Would the Twins sign a reliever to a multi-year deal? After returning from injury last season, he posted some strong numbers, but he was also limited to less than 30 innings. Relief pitching is an area of need, but it doesn't seem likely for the Twins to allocate this much of their offseason spending on a late-inning reliever. Corey Kluber MLB TR Estimate: One-Year, $12 million Twins fans are familiar with Kluber after he dominated the AL Central for half a decade. He won multiple Cy Young awards, but this isn't the same version of Kluber. Last season, the Yankees signed him to a one-year deal to prove himself, but his season was full of ups and downs, including an early-season no-hitter. However, he was limited to 16 starts and spent time on the injured list. Kluber and Derek Falvey have ties to their time in Cleveland, so maybe a Minnesota reunion brings back some vintage Kluber. Which of these players do you feel is most likely to wind up in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  5. Monday morning, one of the first free-agent dominoes fell. As reported, free-agent starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez has found a new home with the division rival Detroit Tigers. The reports have the deal at 5 years and $77 million dollars. Rodriguez was certainly a pitcher that made sense for the Twins. At 28, the lefty represents a young free agent who is now controlled on a five-year contract with an opt-out after two years. Rodriguez is coming off a season in Boston that was likely better than his 4.74 ERA suggests. Instead, he finds a home with Detroit. A team the Twins were looking up at in the standings when the 2021 season came to a close. As the dust settles on the news of the Rodriguez signing, here are some things we know. The Twins were not in on Rodriguez. As referenced above, a Twins-Rodriguez union made all the sense in the world. The Twins, at best, need to fill three rotation spots, and Rodriguez has a good mix of experience and youth to be part of a competing rotation for the life of his five-year deal. The union made so much sense that two out of three MLBTR writers predicted that the Twins would be the team to sign Rodriguez in their look at the top-50 free agents this winter. Darren Wolfson reported quickly that the Twins and Rodriguez camp had not been talking about a deal. While this news will disappoint some, it will take time before we know exactly what happened behind the scenes when it came to the Twins view of Rodriguez. That something could have been a talent or makeup issue or a contract commitment. Whatever it was, it left the Twins not interested in the lefty. The Tigers aren’t bluffing One of the most significant talking points of the young offseason is that the Tigers are poised and ready to spend. Most of the attention ends up going the way of the Tigers signing a shortstop like Carlos Correa, but five years and $77 million to Rodriguez is another significant chunk of money that Detroit has now spent this offseason. The Tigers are no strangers to opening up the pocketbook to bring in high-priced free agents. It just has been a while since it made sense for them to do so. The signing also shows that not only are the Tigers willing to spend on free agents this offseason, but at least one free agent has shown he is willing to choose Detroit as his new home. That may be more important than anything for a team looking to build on a young core, and a third-place finish in the AL Central as the 2022 season ushers in. The Twins have work to do The Twins should see a better 2022 than 2021 simply because everything can’t go wrong again like it did in 2021. If the goal is to unseat the White Sox, the Tigers are at least going to make other AL Central teams think about them on their way to the division crown. If the Twins want to be the 2022 AL Central Division champs, this move by the Tigers only further confirms they will need to go and be active in acquiring major league-ready talent through some avenue soon. In past years, when it has been a two-team race, it is easier to sneak into that top spot. With the Tigers making their push, there are at least two other teams in the division ready to make something happen. Thankfully there are still free-agent starting pitchers on the board. With two (Rodriguez and Andrew Heaney) already off the board, the club may not want to wait too long if they have their eye on one of the free-agent starting pitchers that are available. Of course, there is always the route of trading for starting pitching talent as well. Something that Wolfson mentioned several times today as reactions were made on Twitter to the Twins lack of interest in Rodriguez. How are you feeling about the state of the division after Detroit has added Rodriguez to their already talented rotation? Should the Twins have been in on Rodriguez? Let us know below! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  6. MLB Trade Rumors gathered their top three writers to make predictions about this year's free-agent class. At least one of the writers picked the names below to sign with the Twins. Marcus Stroman MLB TR Estimate: Five-Years, $110 million Even at Twins Daily, most of the community is predicting the Twins to actively pursue Marcus Stroman this winter. Out of the top-tier starters, he will likely cost the least because he has the lowest ceiling, but he might have the highest floor. Twins fans may worry about Stroman's lack of strikeouts and his pitch-to-contact tendencies. Since Stroman accepted the qualifying offer last offseason, the Mets can't offer it again, which may make the Twins more likely to sign him. Eduardo Rodriguez MLB TR Estimate: Five-Years, $70 million Eduardo Rodriguez seemed like a good fit for the Twins, but word came out early on Monday that he had signed for five years and $77 million with the Detroit Tigers. It also sounds like the Twins were not in on Rodriguez. He's coming off a career-worst 4.74 ERA, but some of the peripheral numbers point to that being an outlier. Rodriguez looked like one of the best buy-low candidates on the market. Now Minnesota will have to face Rodriguez for the next half of a decade as the Tigers continue to improve. Alex Wood MLB TR Estimate: Three-Years, $30 million If the Twins miss out on Stroman and Rodriguez, there are a few other candidates the team can turn to for rotational depth. Wood pitched very effectively for the Giants last season, but he threw fewer than 50 innings from 2019-20. In recent years, he has missed time with back injuries and shoulder inflammation. Last season, Wood struck out 9.9 batters per nine innings, which might pair well with Stroman's lack of strikeouts at the top of the rotation. Corey Knebel MLB TR Estimate: Two-Years, $18 million When it comes to Knebel, the biggest question is: Would the Twins sign a reliever to a multi-year deal? After returning from injury last season, he posted some strong numbers, but he was also limited to less than 30 innings. Relief pitching is an area of need, but it doesn't seem likely for the Twins to allocate this much of their offseason spending on a late-inning reliever. Corey Kluber MLB TR Estimate: One-Year, $12 million Twins fans are familiar with Kluber after he dominated the AL Central for half a decade. He won multiple Cy Young awards, but this isn't the same version of Kluber. Last season, the Yankees signed him to a one-year deal to prove himself, but his season was full of ups and downs, including an early-season no-hitter. However, he was limited to 16 starts and spent time on the injured list. Kluber and Derek Falvey have ties to their time in Cleveland, so maybe a Minnesota reunion brings back some vintage Kluber. Which of these players do you feel is most likely to wind up in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  7. By Sunday afternoon, teams had to decide whether or not to submit qualifying offers to eligible free agents. Minnesota has its eyes on multiple free agent players, so how does the qualifying offer impact their spending options? According to MLB.com, here is a reminder of the qualifying offer process. “When an eligible player reaches free agency, his former team has the option to extend a one-year offer worth the average salary of the highest-paid 125 players in baseball, which this year is $18.4 million. Players have 10 days to accept or decline; if they accept, they return for 2022 for that $18.4 million; if they decline, they head off into the market as a free agent, with his former team receiving compensation in the form of a Draft pick if they sign elsewhere." Last winter, Kevin Gausman and Marcus Stroman were the only two players to accept the qualifying offer. Both Gausman and Stroman will enter free agency in a much better position than last winter. However, in the previous nine offseasons, only 10 out of 96 players have accepted the deal. For the Twins, their penalty for signing a player is in a group that faces the smallest draft pick penalty. Minnesota is one of 13 teams that receive revenue sharing, so that means they would forfeit their third-highest pick in next year’s draft if they sign a player that received a qualifying offer. If Minnesota signed two qualified free agents, they would forfeit their next highest available draft pick. Some players the Twins might be interested in are not eligible for a qualifying offer because they were traded last season or have previously received a qualifying offer. SS Javier Baez and DH Nelson Cruz were both traded last year, so they are ineligible. Starting pitchers Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman, Zack Greinke, and Alex Cobb previously received a qualifying offer. With no qualifying offer attached to these players, more teams will likely be interested in their services since draft pick compensation is not tied to their signing. Many of this year’s top free agents had their teams submit a qualifying offer, including names at positions of need for the Twins. Shortstops Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, and Corey Seager all received an offer and are expected to decline. Starting pitchers in that same category include Robbie Ray, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Justin Verlander. Ray will decline the offer as he is headed for a big payday, while Verlander and Rodriguez may consider accepting. Last week, I wrote about how the Twins might be interested in gambling on signing two pitchers coming off of injuries. Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Rodón are both entering this winter in different positions. Syndergaard is just making his way back from Tommy John surgery, which might mean he is interested in a one-year deal to prove he is healthy. Rodón is coming off a career year, but shoulder injuries limited him in the second half. It seems likely for Syndergaard to accept a qualifying offer while Rodón was not issued a qualifying offer. It also sounds like the White Sox are ready to move on from Rodón. Besides Rodon, two other starting pitchers might be surprised that they didn’t receive qualifying offers. Colorado’s Jon Gray and San Francisco’s Anthony DeSclafani are in the second free agent tier that the Twins front office will likely focus on to fill out the rotation. It sounds like Gray was open to accepting a qualifying offer, and that may have persuaded the Rockies from issuing it. DeSclafani is coming off a tremendous season, but some of his StatCast numbers show that he may regress. Many of the qualifying offers mentioned above were likely expected, so nothing should be surprising for Minnesota’s front office. Now the teams will wait to see what players accept or decline the offers. From there, teams can start making their offseason spending plan. Will MLB’s qualifying offer system impact the Twins this winter? Will MLB change their qualifying offer rules? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  8. According to MLB.com, here is a reminder of the qualifying offer process. “When an eligible player reaches free agency, his former team has the option to extend a one-year offer worth the average salary of the highest-paid 125 players in baseball, which this year is $18.4 million. Players have 10 days to accept or decline; if they accept, they return for 2022 for that $18.4 million; if they decline, they head off into the market as a free agent, with his former team receiving compensation in the form of a Draft pick if they sign elsewhere." Last winter, Kevin Gausman and Marcus Stroman were the only two players to accept the qualifying offer. Both Gausman and Stroman will enter free agency in a much better position than last winter. However, in the previous nine offseasons, only 10 out of 96 players have accepted the deal. For the Twins, their penalty for signing a player is in a group that faces the smallest draft pick penalty. Minnesota is one of 13 teams that receive revenue sharing, so that means they would forfeit their third-highest pick in next year’s draft if they sign a player that received a qualifying offer. If Minnesota signed two qualified free agents, they would forfeit their next highest available draft pick. Some players the Twins might be interested in are not eligible for a qualifying offer because they were traded last season or have previously received a qualifying offer. SS Javier Baez and DH Nelson Cruz were both traded last year, so they are ineligible. Starting pitchers Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman, Zack Greinke, and Alex Cobb previously received a qualifying offer. With no qualifying offer attached to these players, more teams will likely be interested in their services since draft pick compensation is not tied to their signing. Many of this year’s top free agents had their teams submit a qualifying offer, including names at positions of need for the Twins. Shortstops Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, and Corey Seager all received an offer and are expected to decline. Starting pitchers in that same category include Robbie Ray, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Justin Verlander. Ray will decline the offer as he is headed for a big payday, while Verlander and Rodriguez may consider accepting. Last week, I wrote about how the Twins might be interested in gambling on signing two pitchers coming off of injuries. Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Rodón are both entering this winter in different positions. Syndergaard is just making his way back from Tommy John surgery, which might mean he is interested in a one-year deal to prove he is healthy. Rodón is coming off a career year, but shoulder injuries limited him in the second half. It seems likely for Syndergaard to accept a qualifying offer while Rodón was not issued a qualifying offer. It also sounds like the White Sox are ready to move on from Rodón. Besides Rodon, two other starting pitchers might be surprised that they didn’t receive qualifying offers. Colorado’s Jon Gray and San Francisco’s Anthony DeSclafani are in the second free agent tier that the Twins front office will likely focus on to fill out the rotation. It sounds like Gray was open to accepting a qualifying offer, and that may have persuaded the Rockies from issuing it. DeSclafani is coming off a tremendous season, but some of his StatCast numbers show that he may regress. Many of the qualifying offers mentioned above were likely expected, so nothing should be surprising for Minnesota’s front office. Now the teams will wait to see what players accept or decline the offers. From there, teams can start making their offseason spending plan. Will MLB’s qualifying offer system impact the Twins this winter? Will MLB change their qualifying offer rules? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. Starting pitching is at the top of Minnesota’s off-season wish list, and there are plenty of arms to consider. Here are three buy-low candidates the Twins can consider for the rotation’s back end. Minnesota will have money to spend on the free-agent market, but that doesn’t mean the club has unlimited funds to spend. Finding value in the free-agent market is something successful organizations do well, and it is an area this front office needs to improve. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP Projected Cost: $12 million At 28-years old, Rodriguez is relatively young to be reaching free agency, and there are multiple factors to consider when looking at his recent seasons. He missed all of 2020 after contracting COVID and later being diagnosed with myocarditis. His 2021 season was underwhelming as he posted a 4.74 ERA with a 1.39 WHIP in 157 2/3 innings. Even with these poor numbers, there were some positive signs. Rodriguez strikes out a ton of batters as he posted a career-high 10.6 SO/9 in 2021. Over the last four seasons, he has combined to post a 113 ERA+ with nearly 10 K/9. He has a 3.71 FIP compared to a 4.13 ERA, so there may be signs of some bad luck impacting his numbers. Getting out of the gauntlet that is the AL East can also help a pitcher to improve. Michael Pineda, RHP Projected Cost: $8 Twins fans are very familiar with Pineda after he has spent the last four seasons as a member of the organization. He isn’t someone to get overly excited about, but he is a constant veteran pitcher. During his Twins tenure, he posted a 3.80 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP in 282 innings. However, those numbers came with time missed due to injury and suspension. Pineda may seem like he has been around forever, but he is still only 32-years-old. Minnesota will need rotational depth, and Pineda can help a young pitching staff adjust to the big-league level. That being said, fans may be significantly underwhelmed by bringing back Pineda if it hinders the team’s ability to sign more significant free-agent options. Andrew Heaney, LHP Projected Cost: $5 million Heaney might be the lowest buy-low candidate as the Yankees designated him for assignment last year, and he went unclaimed. New York had acquired him from Los Angeles at the trade deadline for a pair of minor leaguers. His time in the Bronx was rough after he allowed 13 home runs in 12 appearances. His time with the Angels was slightly better as he posted a 5.27 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP. Like Rodriguez, Heaney has strong strikeout numbers even amid his 2021 struggles. Over the last four seasons, he has posted a 9.9 K/9 mark with a 1.25 WHIP, and his 4.81 ERA is nearly half a run higher than his FIP. His fastball spin and his chase rate both rank in the 90th percentile or higher. Heaney clearly isn’t a top of the rotation starter, but finding a new organization might help him refocus his career. To read more about this year’s crop of free-agent pitchers, make sure to order your copy of the 2022 Offseason Handbook. If you order today, it will be sent directly to your email. Which pitcher do you think the Twins are most likely to target? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  10. Minnesota will have money to spend on the free-agent market, but that doesn’t mean the club has unlimited funds to spend. Finding value in the free-agent market is something successful organizations do well, and it is an area this front office needs to improve. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP Projected Cost: $12 million At 28-years old, Rodriguez is relatively young to be reaching free agency, and there are multiple factors to consider when looking at his recent seasons. He missed all of 2020 after contracting COVID and later being diagnosed with myocarditis. His 2021 season was underwhelming as he posted a 4.74 ERA with a 1.39 WHIP in 157 2/3 innings. Even with these poor numbers, there were some positive signs. Rodriguez strikes out a ton of batters as he posted a career-high 10.6 SO/9 in 2021. Over the last four seasons, he has combined to post a 113 ERA+ with nearly 10 K/9. He has a 3.71 FIP compared to a 4.13 ERA, so there may be signs of some bad luck impacting his numbers. Getting out of the gauntlet that is the AL East can also help a pitcher to improve. Michael Pineda, RHP Projected Cost: $8 Twins fans are very familiar with Pineda after he has spent the last four seasons as a member of the organization. He isn’t someone to get overly excited about, but he is a constant veteran pitcher. During his Twins tenure, he posted a 3.80 ERA with a 1.19 WHIP in 282 innings. However, those numbers came with time missed due to injury and suspension. Pineda may seem like he has been around forever, but he is still only 32-years-old. Minnesota will need rotational depth, and Pineda can help a young pitching staff adjust to the big-league level. That being said, fans may be significantly underwhelmed by bringing back Pineda if it hinders the team’s ability to sign more significant free-agent options. Andrew Heaney, LHP Projected Cost: $5 million Heaney might be the lowest buy-low candidate as the Yankees designated him for assignment last year, and he went unclaimed. New York had acquired him from Los Angeles at the trade deadline for a pair of minor leaguers. His time in the Bronx was rough after he allowed 13 home runs in 12 appearances. His time with the Angels was slightly better as he posted a 5.27 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP. Like Rodriguez, Heaney has strong strikeout numbers even amid his 2021 struggles. Over the last four seasons, he has posted a 9.9 K/9 mark with a 1.25 WHIP, and his 4.81 ERA is nearly half a run higher than his FIP. His fastball spin and his chase rate both rank in the 90th percentile or higher. Heaney clearly isn’t a top of the rotation starter, but finding a new organization might help him refocus his career. To read more about this year’s crop of free-agent pitchers, make sure to order your copy of the 2022 Offseason Handbook. If you order today, it will be sent directly to your email. Which pitcher do you think the Twins are most likely to target? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. Brief Overview: The Red Sox are nearing the point of the season in which a Hail Mary becomes the necessary tactic. They are well out of the AL East race and trail the second wild card spot by five games. After winning a World Series in 2018, Boston gambled on a bad bullpen and some questionable-at-best additions. Mookie Betts hasn’t been Mike Trout-esque and while still a formidable foe, this isn’t the same juggernaut the big leagues saw last season. What They Do Well: A team with as much talent as Alex Cora’s club has is likely going to hit. As you can imagine, the numbers agree with that notion as well. The Red Sox own the fourth best offensive fWAR in baseball (one spot behind the Twins), and are tied with the New York Yankees. A .317 BABIP is third in the sport and Boston is one of just four teams with a slugging percentage north of .480. Although the Red Sox are not a home run juggernaut (with just 216 to their credit thus far) this team picks up bases in bunches. With 308 doubles, they lead the majors by over twenty two-baggers. The 752 RBI is third in the big leagues and is indicative of a team that can assure those runners cross the plate. Boston is also ninth in fielding fWAR this season, keeping them just inside the top third of the sport. Being able to score runs, while avoiding additional opportunities for the competition, is a pretty good recipe for success. What They Do Not Do Well: Good teams rarely have glaring issues and the deficiencies are typically evident in more of a mediocre form. Case in point would be Alex Cora’s pitching staff. It’s not that the group is a dumpster fire, but they also are clearly not up to par. Despite the Red Sox pen owning the fourth best fWAR in baseball this year, there have been some shaky moments. The rotation has been the bigger issue, and dealing with injuries has not helped things either. Once again David Price has been shelved this season, Nathan Eovaldi has been both bad and hurt, and now Chris Sale has called his 2019 season quits. That’s a lot of firepower to try to make up, all while Rick Porcello has plodded his way to a career worst 5.42 ERA. Individuals Of Note: As is generally the case, Boston remains a who’s who of studs in the big names department. Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez are still having nice years and Eduardo Rodriguez has broken out some to become the second best starter behind the injured Sale. It’s in the emergence of youth that the Red Sox have seen the two best 2019 stories come from however. Both Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers should be expected to garner MVP votes this season. Bogaerts is sitting at 6.4 fWAR with career highs across the board. The shortstop has blasted 31 dingers and has made up for abysmal fielding with a bat that won’t quit. Devers was a highly-touted prospect who came on slowly but certainly looks the part at this stage. He’s batting .321 with 28 longballs and an fWAR of 5.4 (1.8 total in two previous seasons). These two batters make the middle of the Boston lineup one of the toughest in the sport. Recent History: These two clubs met in Minnesota during mid-June with the Red Sox taking two of three. The Twins last won a series in Boston during 2016, but they haven’t taken a season series since 2015. Rocco Baldelli’s club would need a sweep to accomplish that feat in 2019. Recent Trajectories: Minnesota has won three straight series and is currently riding a 6-1 road trip. Boston is returning home from a West Coast swing that they won three series and went 6-2 on. Pitching Matchups: Tuesday: Dobnak vs Porcello Wednesday: Berrios vs Rodriguez Thursday: Perez vs Eovaldi Ending Thoughts: Although the Red Sox have generally been at the top of the AL East class, this team provides Minnesota with plenty of opportunity. There isn’t a game in this set that the Bomba Squad shouldn’t be licking their chops over the opposing pitcher, and there’s little denying the Twins are the better team. Going to Fenway and winning is never easy, so I’d call it a big boost if Minnesota can take two, and all circumstances appear to line up in their favor. Arguably the most intriguing game here is Wednesday’s tilt. Rodriguez is currently Boston’s ace, and Berrios starts on an extra day of rest. Does his velocity return and how sharp does he look. I think one win is guaranteed before returning home, but flying high right now, give me Minnesota getting the series victory as well.
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