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  1. Dakota Chalmers was drafted in the third round of the 2015 draft by the Oakland A’s. A highly-touted prep pitcher from Georgia, he signed a seven-figure signing bonus, more than twice the slot number for the 97th overall pick. Immensely talented and strong-armed, Chalmers recorded a lot of strikeouts and a lot of walks. He missed time due to injury. When he returned to Beloit in 2018, he made two appearances and walked eight and struck out ten batters in five innings. He was pitching hurt. Soon after, he had Tommy John surgery. Back home in Georgia, what happened next was completely unexpected. In late August, he was traded to the Twins in exchange for veteran reliever Fernando Rodney. “It wasn’t remotely on my mind at all. I was out sweeping leaves off my back porch when they called me.” Chalmers continued, “It didn’t really settle in until I had all that handled and I was in Ft. Myers rehabbing. And then it was such a smooth transition. Fortunately I was so busy, I didn't have time to think about anything.” There were some difficult logistical changes following the trade. He didn’t know anyone in the Twins organization. He got to Fort Myers to continue his rehabilitation from surgery. Fortunately (or unfortunately, however you chose to look at it), there were several Twins minor leaguers there rehabbing from elbow surgery. “It helps to have guys who have had it already. It’s nice to know you can help and encourage your teammates. It’s such an up and down process. I think it’s good to have players around each other. For me, it’s nice to have guys go through things with you, as much as it sucks. It’s something that’s part of our game, you deal with it and get back as soon as possible.” But for the most part, everything went well throughout his rehab process. He said that there weren’t any physical setbacks in his rehab. Sure, the schedule would have had him throwing for the first time during the holidays, but it was just pushed back as there was no rush. Just before the Florida State League All-Star break, he was added to the Miracle roster and began his rehab with the GCL Twins. On July 2nd, he went 1 1/3 innings. He faced ten batters and gave up six runs (five earned) on two hits, a walk and two hit batters. All four outs were strikeouts. The results didn’t matter at all. He was back on the mound. He made three more starts in the GCL and gave up just one run on six hits over 12 innings. On July 30th, he was added back to Miracle roster and made his first official start in about 15 months. Of course, even that couldn’t be easy. “My first real game, there was lightning everywhere. Everywhere. Every lightning bolt, we thought it would get cancelled. It was a little distracting. Obviously I was a little nervous just getting back into the swing of things. It was a mess. It got cancelled after one inning. It was crazy, but I settled in and had a strong finish to the year.” He went four innings in his next start and then threw at least five innings in his final three starts of the year. In those starts, he gave up three runs (two earned) on nine hits in 16 1/3 innings. He walked seven, but he also struck out 23 batters. And with his stuff and those final starts, he earned a promotion to Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos and he made one playoff start. He threw three no-hit innings. “It was certainly fun pitching in that environment.” He had worked a total of 34 2/3 innings, so the Twins sent him to the Arizona Fall League. Along with just accumulating innings, Chalmers had some goals in mind, including finding more consistency. “Historically in my career, I’ve had ups and downs in starts. I would have a good start, bad start. I had about three or four good, not great,but quality starts to end the year with the Miracle. So I was really just trying to not focus on making any adjustments, just trying to ride out my first season, stay healthy and see how many good ones I could stack on top of each other.” He continued, “Then we ran into some troubles late in the Fall League and those were mechanical problems that we knew that we had to fix. The Fall League was about pitching more innings, and the offseason was for fixing those issues.” Chalmers started the championship game for the Salt River Rafters, helping the team to the Arizona Fall League title. At the end of November, Chalmers received the call that he had been added to the Twins 40-man roster. It hadn’t been something that he had thought about throughout the season and in the rehab process. “I wouldn’t say that I really even thought of it. I was more focused on getting back on the field healthy. I knew it was going to be a short year coming off of Tommy John. I had an inclination that I might go to the Fall League at the beginning of the year. My goal was to finish the Fall League healthy and get a good start on spring training. The 40-man was more of a timing thing. It was out of my control. I pitched as well as I could, had some ups and downs, and that’s what they chose to do.” Chalmers has big-time stuff. He is certainly one to watch especially as his first-full season is set to begin with big-league spring training in a couple of weeks. Chalmers has a big arm. His fastball gets good movement and he throws it anywhere from 92 to 97 mph. He has a curveball that can be sharp.Some days, his best pitch is a changeup with good fade and drop. He spent his offseason back home in Georgia. He worked on adding a cutter. He also worked on throwing strikes.He spent time in the weight room too. “Trying to strengthen my core and lower half so I could stabilize my delivery. Keep my head online and throw my strikes.” He was invited to Twins Fest and enjoyed the opportunity.”It’s cool seeing some faces that you only have seen on the TV, and that’s always cool. Any time you can expand your baseball community, and the baseball world is such a small world. Any time you can add another name to that list it’s good, to have somebody on your side. ” After all the ups and downs, in about two weeks, he will head to Ft. Myers and report to his first big-league spring training. ------------------------------------------------ Get to know more about Dakota Chalmers and about 170 other Twins prospects in the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It is available in paperback or PDF (for immediate download). Order your copies today! Use promo code ONEFIVE to get 15% off of print books through January 30th.
  2. In November, the Minnesota Twins added five players to their 40-man roster. One of those players was right-handed pitcher Dakota Chalmers. This past weekend at Target Field, we caught up with the hard-throwing 23-year-old about the whirlwind of his career since joining the Twins in August 2018.Dakota Chalmers was drafted in the third round of the 2015 draft by the Oakland A’s. A highly-touted prep pitcher from Georgia, he signed a seven-figure signing bonus, more than twice the slot number for the 97th overall pick. Immensely talented and strong-armed, Chalmers recorded a lot of strikeouts and a lot of walks. He missed time due to injury. When he returned to Beloit in 2018, he made two appearances and walked eight and struck out ten batters in five innings. He was pitching hurt. Soon after, he had Tommy John surgery. Back home in Georgia, what happened next was completely unexpected. In late August, he was traded to the Twins in exchange for veteran reliever Fernando Rodney. “It wasn’t remotely on my mind at all. I was out sweeping leaves off my back porch when they called me.” Chalmers continued, “It didn’t really settle in until I had all that handled and I was in Ft. Myers rehabbing. And then it was such a smooth transition. Fortunately I was so busy, I didn't have time to think about anything.” There were some difficult logistical changes following the trade. He didn’t know anyone in the Twins organization. He got to Fort Myers to continue his rehabilitation from surgery. Fortunately (or unfortunately, however you chose to look at it), there were several Twins minor leaguers there rehabbing from elbow surgery. “It helps to have guys who have had it already. It’s nice to know you can help and encourage your teammates. It’s such an up and down process. I think it’s good to have players around each other. For me, it’s nice to have guys go through things with you, as much as it sucks. It’s something that’s part of our game, you deal with it and get back as soon as possible.” But for the most part, everything went well throughout his rehab process. He said that there weren’t any physical setbacks in his rehab. Sure, the schedule would have had him throwing for the first time during the holidays, but it was just pushed back as there was no rush. Just before the Florida State League All-Star break, he was added to the Miracle roster and began his rehab with the GCL Twins. On July 2nd, he went 1 1/3 innings. He faced ten batters and gave up six runs (five earned) on two hits, a walk and two hit batters. All four outs were strikeouts. The results didn’t matter at all. He was back on the mound. He made three more starts in the GCL and gave up just one run on six hits over 12 innings. On July 30th, he was added back to Miracle roster and made his first official start in about 15 months. Of course, even that couldn’t be easy. “My first real game, there was lightning everywhere. Everywhere. Every lightning bolt, we thought it would get cancelled. It was a little distracting. Obviously I was a little nervous just getting back into the swing of things. It was a mess. It got cancelled after one inning. It was crazy, but I settled in and had a strong finish to the year.” He went four innings in his next start and then threw at least five innings in his final three starts of the year. In those starts, he gave up three runs (two earned) on nine hits in 16 1/3 innings. He walked seven, but he also struck out 23 batters. And with his stuff and those final starts, he earned a promotion to Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos and he made one playoff start. He threw three no-hit innings. “It was certainly fun pitching in that environment.” He had worked a total of 34 2/3 innings, so the Twins sent him to the Arizona Fall League. Along with just accumulating innings, Chalmers had some goals in mind, including finding more consistency. “Historically in my career, I’ve had ups and downs in starts. I would have a good start, bad start. I had about three or four good, not great,but quality starts to end the year with the Miracle. So I was really just trying to not focus on making any adjustments, just trying to ride out my first season, stay healthy and see how many good ones I could stack on top of each other.” He continued, “Then we ran into some troubles late in the Fall League and those were mechanical problems that we knew that we had to fix. The Fall League was about pitching more innings, and the offseason was for fixing those issues.” Chalmers started the championship game for the Salt River Rafters, helping the team to the Arizona Fall League title. At the end of November, Chalmers received the call that he had been added to the Twins 40-man roster. It hadn’t been something that he had thought about throughout the season and in the rehab process. “I wouldn’t say that I really even thought of it. I was more focused on getting back on the field healthy. I knew it was going to be a short year coming off of Tommy John. I had an inclination that I might go to the Fall League at the beginning of the year. My goal was to finish the Fall League healthy and get a good start on spring training. The 40-man was more of a timing thing. It was out of my control. I pitched as well as I could, had some ups and downs, and that’s what they chose to do.” Chalmers has big-time stuff. He is certainly one to watch especially as his first-full season is set to begin with big-league spring training in a couple of weeks. Chalmers has a big arm. His fastball gets good movement and he throws it anywhere from 92 to 97 mph. He has a curveball that can be sharp.Some days, his best pitch is a changeup with good fade and drop. He spent his offseason back home in Georgia. He worked on adding a cutter. He also worked on throwing strikes.He spent time in the weight room too. “Trying to strengthen my core and lower half so I could stabilize my delivery. Keep my head online and throw my strikes.” He was invited to Twins Fest and enjoyed the opportunity.”It’s cool seeing some faces that you only have seen on the TV, and that’s always cool. Any time you can expand your baseball community, and the baseball world is such a small world. Any time you can add another name to that list it’s good, to have somebody on your side. ” After all the ups and downs, in about two weeks, he will head to Ft. Myers and report to his first big-league spring training. ------------------------------------------------ Get to know more about Dakota Chalmers and about 170 other Twins prospects in the 2020 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook. It is available in paperback or PDF(for immediate download). Order your copies today! Use promo code ONEFIVE to get 15% off of print books through January 30th. Click here to view the article
  3. Today’s installment begins with an article on a player that the Twins, and probably 90% of the teams in baseball, would love to have on their team. Feel free to discuss these articles. Click into them and read the articles as well as some of the comments in them. 20. Real Deal What would it take to get JT Realmuto - July 9 As the July trade deadline was approaching, Nick Nelson wrote an article attempting to project what it might take for the Twins to acquire JT Realmuto. While the Twins were not traditional buyers, Nick pointed out that Realmuto was a guy who was available for a couple of seasons and potentially for a long-term deal. Of course, he noted that the Marlins would likely request Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol in a deal that would likely include a couple more players as well. Is such a deal still possible this offseason since Realmuto is still a member of the Marlins as their asking price remains exceedingly high? 19. 2018 Top Prospects #7 Brent Rooker - February 12 Twins fans have been intrigued by the power potential of Brent Rooker since the Twins drafted him in the compensation round following the first round in 2017. He debuted and powered his way up to the High-A Ft. Myers Miracle where he continued to mash home runs. Heading into the season, he was the Twins Daily choice for the #7 Twins prospect and there was some talk that he could debut in 2018. That didn’t happen, though he certainly continued to hit with power in the Southern League at Chattanooga. 18. 4 Creative Tweaks the Twins can make to get better - November 27 What role could we see Trevor May or Fernando Romero pitch in during the 2019 season. How much should Willians Astudillo play? When we returned from Thanksgiving, Nick posted this interesting article with some ideas for the Twins brass to consider as they dove into the offseason. 17. The Yu Darvish Contingency Plan - February 10 Well, the Twins were fortunate that Yu Darvish decided to sign with the Cubs. When that news broke, Cody Christie tried to provided readers with options that were still available He wrote about some free agents that were still available, as well as some possible trade targets. As we know, the Twins did get one of those free agents. 16. Breaking News - Twins Trade Rodney to A’s - August 9 The Twins were busy at the end of July, making several trades. That continued into August when their hard-throwing, sometimes erratic closer was dealt to the Oakland A’s in exchange for Dakota Chalmers. Rodney helped the A’s into the playoffs, and the team picked up his 2019 option. Chalmers was the A’s third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Georgia. He throws hard, though he doesn’t always throw strikes. He had Tommy John surgery early in the 2018 season. 15. 2018 Twins midseason top prospect list (1-5) - July 12 At Twins Daily, we publish our choices for the Twins top prospects before the season. Then in late June or early July, we update the rankings. Fans often viewed our top five choices at midseason. The list may look a little bit different again when we do our 2019 Twins Top Prospect Rankings. 14. Where can the Twins find some OBP for their lineup - December 2 Joe Mauer retired and Robbie Grossman was not tendered arbitration for the 2019 season. The two were clearly the Twins most patient, disciplined hitters and guys that could be counted on to put the ball in play most of the time. Nick wondered where the Twins might be able to find some hitters that could make up for the loss in on-base percentage. Have they accomplished this goal yet? 13. 2018 MLB Draft Day 2 thread - June 6 Like I wrote yesterday, Twins Daily covers the Twins draft like no one else, and our readers really enjoy the discussion. In the article, we review the selections from the first night of the draft before updating the site with each of the Twins picks from the third through the tenth rounds. The Twins didn’t have a third-round pick this year, having given it up to sign Lance Lynn. 12. Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects 1 Royce Lewis - February 20 The choice for the Twins top prospect before the 2018 season was pretty easy. Royce Lewis was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft and impressed in his professional debut not only in the Gulf Coast League but also in Cedar Rapids. Lewis continued to play well throughout the 2018 season and moved into the Top 10 prospects in baseball. However, when we put out the Twins Daily Top Prospect rankings (maybe later this month), will Lewis be able to hold off Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol to remain at #1? Well, you’ll just want to come back to see. 11. How soon could Royce Lewis call Target Field home - August 7 Write about Royce Lewis and people will read it. I often get asked either when Lewis will get called up to the Twins, or why the Twins are moving him up so slowly. So, I decided to do a little research. I looked at other top first-round pick shortstops to see what their timeline looked like relative to where Lewis was. To say that Lewis is ahead of the pace of both Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor should be exciting to Twins fans. So there you have it, the 11th-20th ranked Twins Daily articles according to page in 2018. Offseason speculation, an August trade, and top prospects (especially Royce Lewis) certainly lead the way in today’s installment. Be sure to check back in the next couple of days to find out what the Top 10 most-viewed articles on Twins Daily were in 2018.
  4. Yesterday, we reviewed the 21st through 30th most-viewed articles on Twins Daily in 2018. You’ll want to read that, but today, find out which stories or articles ranked 11th through 20th in terms of most viewed on Twins Daily way back in 2018. It’s fun to see which stories were deemed most intriguing. Sometimes it is breaking news, and sometimes it is speculation. Sometimes it is just a topic or a player that we were intrigued by.Today’s installment begins with an article on a player that the Twins, and probably 90% of the teams in baseball, would love to have on their team. Feel free to discuss these articles. Click into them and read the articles as well as some of the comments in them. 20. Real Deal What would it take to get JT Realmuto - July 9 As the July trade deadline was approaching, Nick Nelson wrote an article attempting to project what it might take for the Twins to acquire JT Realmuto. While the Twins were not traditional buyers, Nick pointed out that Realmuto was a guy who was available for a couple of seasons and potentially for a long-term deal. Of course, he noted that the Marlins would likely request Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol in a deal that would likely include a couple more players as well. Is such a deal still possible this offseason since Realmuto is still a member of the Marlins as their asking price remains exceedingly high? 19. 2018 Top Prospects #7 Brent Rooker - February 12 Twins fans have been intrigued by the power potential of Brent Rooker since the Twins drafted him in the compensation round following the first round in 2017. He debuted and powered his way up to the High-A Ft. Myers Miracle where he continued to mash home runs. Heading into the season, he was the Twins Daily choice for the #7 Twins prospect and there was some talk that he could debut in 2018. That didn’t happen, though he certainly continued to hit with power in the Southern League at Chattanooga. 18. 4 Creative Tweaks the Twins can make to get better - November 27 What role could we see Trevor May or Fernando Romero pitch in during the 2019 season. How much should Willians Astudillo play? When we returned from Thanksgiving, Nick posted this interesting article with some ideas for the Twins brass to consider as they dove into the offseason. 17. The Yu Darvish Contingency Plan - February 10 Well, the Twins were fortunate that Yu Darvish decided to sign with the Cubs. When that news broke, Cody Christie tried to provided readers with options that were still available He wrote about some free agents that were still available, as well as some possible trade targets. As we know, the Twins did get one of those free agents. 16. Breaking News - Twins Trade Rodney to A’s - August 9 The Twins were busy at the end of July, making several trades. That continued into August when their hard-throwing, sometimes erratic closer was dealt to the Oakland A’s in exchange for Dakota Chalmers. Rodney helped the A’s into the playoffs, and the team picked up his 2019 option. Chalmers was the A’s third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Georgia. He throws hard, though he doesn’t always throw strikes. He had Tommy John surgery early in the 2018 season. 15. 2018 Twins midseason top prospect list (1-5) - July 12 At Twins Daily, we publish our choices for the Twins top prospects before the season. Then in late June or early July, we update the rankings. Fans often viewed our top five choices at midseason. The list may look a little bit different again when we do our 2019 Twins Top Prospect Rankings. 14. Where can the Twins find some OBP for their lineup - December 2 Joe Mauer retired and Robbie Grossman was not tendered arbitration for the 2019 season. The two were clearly the Twins most patient, disciplined hitters and guys that could be counted on to put the ball in play most of the time. Nick wondered where the Twins might be able to find some hitters that could make up for the loss in on-base percentage. Have they accomplished this goal yet? 13. 2018 MLB Draft Day 2 thread - June 6 Like I wrote yesterday, Twins Daily covers the Twins draft like no one else, and our readers really enjoy the discussion. In the article, we review the selections from the first night of the draft before updating the site with each of the Twins picks from the third through the tenth rounds. The Twins didn’t have a third-round pick this year, having given it up to sign Lance Lynn. 12. Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects 1 Royce Lewis - February 20 The choice for the Twins top prospect before the 2018 season was pretty easy. Royce Lewis was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft and impressed in his professional debut not only in the Gulf Coast League but also in Cedar Rapids. Lewis continued to play well throughout the 2018 season and moved into the Top 10 prospects in baseball. However, when we put out the Twins Daily Top Prospect rankings (maybe later this month), will Lewis be able to hold off Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol to remain at #1? Well, you’ll just want to come back to see. 11. How soon could Royce Lewis call Target Field home - August 7 Write about Royce Lewis and people will read it. I often get asked either when Lewis will get called up to the Twins, or why the Twins are moving him up so slowly. So, I decided to do a little research. I looked at other top first-round pick shortstops to see what their timeline looked like relative to where Lewis was. To say that Lewis is ahead of the pace of both Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor should be exciting to Twins fans. So there you have it, the 11th-20th ranked Twins Daily articles according to page in 2018. Offseason speculation, an August trade, and top prospects (especially Royce Lewis) certainly lead the way in today’s installment. Be sure to check back in the next couple of days to find out what the Top 10 most-viewed articles on Twins Daily were in 2018. Click here to view the article
  5. With the 2020 Offseason Handbook now available for download (grab yours here), I've been recounting the tales of offseasons past through the lenses of previous editions. With Part 1 and Part 2 in the books, our final installment begins with the ending of an era. THE 2015-16 OFFSEASON Download attachment: 2016cover.png Download the 2016 Offseason Handbook (Free) TR's Swan Song For four straight years, Twins general manager Terry Ryan was generous enough to grant us exclusive interviews for the Offseason Handbook, openly sharing his views and perspectives with our avid segment of the fan base. It said a lot about the man: his accessibility, his transparency, and his appreciation for the hardcore types who still visited our site each morning and watched Twins games each night as the team floundered. He didn't owe us anything. We weren't a major media organization. And coming from an analytical fan's mindset, we often asked questions that would – as he so lovably put it – "get at his goat." But without fail, TR stayed engaged through lengthy interviews spanning every hot topic among the base, and he answered every damn question. When you hear people in the game refer to Terry Ryan as one of the greatest people they've ever met (and I've heard it often), that's the kind of thing they're talking about. The guy is gold. Ultimately, this would be his last interview for the Handbook. Ryan was fired before the end of a disastrous 2016 season, in a painful but necessary pivot. As usual, his final conversation with Parker offered plenty of fun moments and still-relevant insights, so I thought I'd highlight a few of my favorite nuggets: On Eddie Guardado, fresh off his first year as bullpen coach (a position he held up until this week, when he was dismissed): "There’s no question that Eddie Guardado I think was a piece in that clubhouse as much as he was on the field. He’s just a good guy and he’s got a knack for keeping people loose. But he also has the knack of teaching. There’s a guy that never coached in his life, and he was certainly aware that, ‘Listen, you’re here more than just a presence. We want you to teach.’ " On Miguel Sano's sky-high strikeout rate as a rookie in 2015: We’ve got to fix that. That just cannot happen. It’s way too often, 37 percent or so, I’m sure that’s probably, maybe even in the history of the game, that’s got to be up there. He’s a young kid, we’ll give him credit for that. And he’s got a fair idea of what he’s looking for. But that last month or so... just way too much of that." (Three years later, Sano has a career strikeout rate of 36.2%) On Byron Buxton's midseason promotion at age 21: "I readily admit that I rushed him the first crack because we got stuck a little bit with that center field spot. Then he hurt the thumb which was the worst thing that could have happened. That was my biggest concern. He gets hurt, that’s not good." On the 2015 season of Aaron Hicks, who would be traded to New York shortly after the Handbook published: "He’s very athletic and he can go and get balls and he’s got a strong arm and all the things that are requisites to play that position. He showed some power. And now we need to see him take the next step. He finally got back to even, I would say. It was a tough, tough haul for him. He’s another one I pushed, and now he’s back to even it looks like." (It took a couple more years, but Hicks definitely did take the next step.) The Plouffe Trade That Never Was Heading into the 2015-16 offseason, a Trevor Plouffe trade felt all but inevitable. Miguel Sano had emerged as a young stud hitter at the same position, and Plouffe seemed moderately value coming off a 22-homer campaign. Our blueprint suggested trading him to Washington for reliever Drew Storen. In reality, Ryan couldn't find a taker for Plouffe, and signed Byung Ho Park to play DH, which led to the bewildering move of Sano to right field. Quiet. Too Quiet. There was probably nothing the front office could've done to steer clear of the Total System Failure that was about to ensue in 2016, but their passive approach during the preceding offseason didn't help. We laid out plenty of ideas and possibilities in the Handbook, but this ended up being one of the most inactive winters in memory. Obviously the Park signing bombed, as did the Hicks-for-JR Murphy trade, which was really the only other move of note. THE 2016-17 OFFSEASON Download attachment: 2017cover.png Download the 2017 Offseason Handbook (Free, just set price to zero) Great Minds Think Alike? "With Ryan being dismissed and new leadership being ushered in," we wrote when introducing the 2017 Offseason Handbook, "the Twins have a chance to reinvent themselves, and chart a new course for the future." Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took the reins shortly after season's end. They did indeed begin charting a new course, and well, suffice to say we found this direction agreeable. In our Offseason Blueprint, we suggested this... Sign free agent catcher Jason Castro for 3 years, $21 million. With the cupboard mostly bare in the minors as far as starting catchers go, the Twins would be wise to lock up a somewhat long-term solution. Castro, at 29, would be a good fit on a reasonably priced three-year deal. He has been a mostly mediocre hitter but there’s enough quality elsewhere in the lineup to make up for his low average. What we really like is his ability to help out the pitching staff. Castro ranked among the top three MLB catchers in pitch framing this season. ... And this... Trade second baseman Brian Dozier to Dodgers for starting pitcher Jose De Leon plus prospects. This is the doozy. Giving up the team’s best player is a tough pill to swallow, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and the need for pitching is beyond desperate. After falling just short of the big show in 2016, the Dodgers are in position to make a bold move for two years of Dozier, who would instantly become their best power hitter. De Leon is a premier pitching prospect who ranked 25th in the game on the Baseball America Midseason Top 100 list, so the “plus” might not be a ton, but you should be able to add in a few younger minor-leaguers with high ceilings. The Twins did the former, signing Castro for just a tad more than we projected (3 years, $24.5m), and came very close to doing the latter. Minnesota's lengthy trade talks with LA, which were known to feature De Leon as a central piece, dragged through much of the winter before eventually fizzling out. The "plus prospects" part never quite added up for Falvey and Levine, and in the end they made the right choice because De Leon's stock has plummeted since. Big Sexy From the Free Agent Starters section: Bartolo Colon (43): Something tells us that if the ageless wonder plays another year it won’t be with a 100-loss team. Little did we know... Familiar Feeling In a feature article he wrote for the 2017 Offseason Handbook entitled "Past & Present: We’ve Been Here Before," John laid out some interesting parallels between the organizational rebuild we were watching unfold, and one that took place some 30 years earlier. In 1985 the Twins had hired 32-year-old Andy MacPhail (the original "Boy Genius") to basically run their baseball operations. And shortly after he came aboard, the Twins would hire a 36-year-old manager by the name of Tom Kelly. Leaders in the front office and dugout both ranking among the game's youngest in their respective positions? That sounds familiar. Bonnes recounted the decision: MacPhail’s mind was made up. He had seen the energy the team played with during Kelly’s short tenure, and he had received personal pleas from players begging him to make Kelly their full-time manager. But Pohlad was worried about having two 30-somethings running his $45 million investment. There needed to be some balance. That balance was Ralph Houk, a 68-year-old retiree who managed the pennant- winning Yankees teams in the early ‘60s. He was hired as “Vice President of Personnel” but really he was a consultant upon whom MacPhail and Kelly could lean. MacPhail says that Houk helped them avoid some rookie mistakes in his first couple of years, but primarily he was around to soothe the Pohlads’ concerns. Reading this passage about Houk was interesting for me, because recently I've had this thought bouncing around in my head: Is that dynamic what's missing with this front office? While I love the infusion of fresh blood and hungry young minds, would the inexperience of Falvey and Levine be better balanced with a seasoned executive – say, if Terry Ryan stayed on in the same advisory role Doug Melvin did in Milwaukee when David Stearns took over? That question is only magnified with Rocco Baldelli stepping in as the game's youngest manager, lacking any practical experience. THE 2017-18 OFFSEASON Download attachment: 2018cover.png Download the 2018 Offseason Handbook Here (Free, just right-click the link) Predicting the Unpredictable As I've paged through past editions of the Handbook to put together this retrospective series, I've noticed something pleasantly surprising (maybe you've noticed too): our contract projections for players signed by the Twins were amazingly accurate. Castro, Ervin Santana, Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Torii Hunter, Josh Willingham... we estimated the correct length on all of them and were usually within a few million in total value. This goes to show that forecasting free agent contracts based on precedent and trendlines is very possible. Or, at least, it was until the 2017-18 offseason. Last year's depressed market was unlike anything we've seen in the lifespan of our Handbook product, and as a result many of our free agent predictions missed the mark. Badly. Here's all you need to know: we estimated Lance Lynn would land a six-year, $150 contract. Speaking of Lynn, who would eventually sign a one-year, $12 million deal with the Twins in mid-March, here was our appraisal: After missing 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, Lynn came back strong in 2017, starting every fifth day and getting better as the season progressed. His velocity trended upward throughout the summer and in the second half he mostly looked like a rotation-fronter. Lynn has a 3.38 career ERA and has been extremely reliable in St. Louis. He’s also two years younger than Arrieta. Estimated Contract: 6 years, $150 million Seemed reasonable at the time? Anyway we all know how that one turned out. Darvish Derby As we put together last year's Handbook, Yu Darvish was clearly an attractive target. He was one of the top free agent starters available for a team in need of a frontliner. His premier strikeout stuff was seemingly the tonic this contact-plagued rotation needed. And the Twins actually had budget, not to mention an "in" via Thad Levine. In the Offseason Blueprint, we posed this suggestion: Trade Ervin Santana to Cincy for prospect Robert Stephenson, and put his cleared salary toward a blockbuster. 3) Sign SP Yu Darvish for 5 years, $135 million. The sum result here is that you are swapping out two years of the 35-year-old Santana in exchange for five years of the 31-year-old Darvish, a superior pitcher with elite stuff that shined on the big stage in October. Then it’s up to someone like Stephenson or Berrios to emerge as that legit No. 2, and others to step as well. It’s a potentially very good rotation. In a year of butchered estimates, this one wasn't actually too far off, as Darvish eventually signed with the Cubs for six years and $122 million. By all accounts, the Twins did seriously pursue the righty, offering five years and $100M+, but they came up short and it's just as well. Hitting the Bullseye In the Free Agent Relievers section, Fernando Rodney was one of the lower names listed, but he did get his picture plastered on a page in another of Brock's classic foreshadowing design choices. Download attachment: hb18rodney.png "Want closing experience?" we asked. "Rodney offers plenty, ranking among the active leaders in saves. But his iffy control makes him a less-than-ideal bet." The Twins did procure that closing experience, adding Rodney on a one-year, $4.5 million deal, and he managed to rein in the control a bit; his 3.9 BB/9 rate with Minnesota was his lowest since a career season in 2014. The results were there for Rodney, who pitched very well for the Twins before an August trade to Oakland. The A's just exercised his 2019 option. (The story of this Twins offseason has yet to be written, but you'll be ready to expertly follow along with the 2020 Offseason Handbook. Order your copy of this digital product now!) Click here to view the article
  6. THE 2015-16 OFFSEASON Download the 2016 Offseason Handbook (Free) TR's Swan Song For four straight years, Twins general manager Terry Ryan was generous enough to grant us exclusive interviews for the Offseason Handbook, openly sharing his views and perspectives with our avid segment of the fan base. It said a lot about the man: his accessibility, his transparency, and his appreciation for the hardcore types who still visited our site each morning and watched Twins games each night as the team floundered. He didn't owe us anything. We weren't a major media organization. And coming from an analytical fan's mindset, we often asked questions that would – as he so lovably put it – "get at his goat." But without fail, TR stayed engaged through lengthy interviews spanning every hot topic among the base, and he answered every damn question. When you hear people in the game refer to Terry Ryan as one of the greatest people they've ever met (and I've heard it often), that's the kind of thing they're talking about. The guy is gold. Ultimately, this would be his last interview for the Handbook. Ryan was fired before the end of a disastrous 2016 season, in a painful but necessary pivot. As usual, his final conversation with Parker offered plenty of fun moments and still-relevant insights, so I thought I'd highlight a few of my favorite nuggets: On Eddie Guardado, fresh off his first year as bullpen coach (a position he held up until this week, when he was dismissed): "There’s no question that Eddie Guardado I think was a piece in that clubhouse as much as he was on the field. He’s just a good guy and he’s got a knack for keeping people loose. But he also has the knack of teaching. There’s a guy that never coached in his life, and he was certainly aware that, ‘Listen, you’re here more than just a presence. We want you to teach.’ " On Miguel Sano's sky-high strikeout rate as a rookie in 2015: We’ve got to fix that. That just cannot happen. It’s way too often, 37 percent or so, I’m sure that’s probably, maybe even in the history of the game, that’s got to be up there. He’s a young kid, we’ll give him credit for that. And he’s got a fair idea of what he’s looking for. But that last month or so... just way too much of that." (Three years later, Sano has a career strikeout rate of 36.2%) On Byron Buxton's midseason promotion at age 21: "I readily admit that I rushed him the first crack because we got stuck a little bit with that center field spot. Then he hurt the thumb which was the worst thing that could have happened. That was my biggest concern. He gets hurt, that’s not good." On the 2015 season of Aaron Hicks, who would be traded to New York shortly after the Handbook published: "He’s very athletic and he can go and get balls and he’s got a strong arm and all the things that are requisites to play that position. He showed some power. And now we need to see him take the next step. He finally got back to even, I would say. It was a tough, tough haul for him. He’s another one I pushed, and now he’s back to even it looks like." (It took a couple more years, but Hicks definitely did take the next step.)The Plouffe Trade That Never Was Heading into the 2015-16 offseason, a Trevor Plouffe trade felt all but inevitable. Miguel Sano had emerged as a young stud hitter at the same position, and Plouffe seemed moderately value coming off a 22-homer campaign. Our blueprint suggested trading him to Washington for reliever Drew Storen. In reality, Ryan couldn't find a taker for Plouffe, and signed Byung Ho Park to play DH, which led to the bewildering move of Sano to right field. Quiet. Too Quiet. There was probably nothing the front office could've done to steer clear of the Total System Failure that was about to ensue in 2016, but their passive approach during the preceding offseason didn't help. We laid out plenty of ideas and possibilities in the Handbook, but this ended up being one of the most inactive winters in memory. Obviously the Park signing bombed, as did the Hicks-for-JR Murphy trade, which was really the only other move of note. THE 2016-17 OFFSEASON Download the 2017 Offseason Handbook (Free, just set price to zero) Great Minds Think Alike? "With Ryan being dismissed and new leadership being ushered in," we wrote when introducing the 2017 Offseason Handbook, "the Twins have a chance to reinvent themselves, and chart a new course for the future." Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took the reins shortly after season's end. They did indeed begin charting a new course, and well, suffice to say we found this direction agreeable. In our Offseason Blueprint, we suggested this... Sign free agent catcher Jason Castro for 3 years, $21 million. With the cupboard mostly bare in the minors as far as starting catchers go, the Twins would be wise to lock up a somewhat long-term solution. Castro, at 29, would be a good fit on a reasonably priced three-year deal. He has been a mostly mediocre hitter but there’s enough quality elsewhere in the lineup to make up for his low average. What we really like is his ability to help out the pitching staff. Castro ranked among the top three MLB catchers in pitch framing this season.... And this... Trade second baseman Brian Dozier to Dodgers for starting pitcher Jose De Leon plus prospects. This is the doozy. Giving up the team’s best player is a tough pill to swallow, but desperate times call for desperate measures, and the need for pitching is beyond desperate. After falling just short of the big show in 2016, the Dodgers are in position to make a bold move for two years of Dozier, who would instantly become their best power hitter. De Leon is a premier pitching prospect who ranked 25th in the game on the Baseball America Midseason Top 100 list, so the “plus” might not be a ton, but you should be able to add in a few younger minor-leaguers with high ceilings.The Twins did the former, signing Castro for just a tad more than we projected (3 years, $24.5m), and came very close to doing the latter. Minnesota's lengthy trade talks with LA, which were known to feature De Leon as a central piece, dragged through much of the winter before eventually fizzling out. The "plus prospects" part never quite added up for Falvey and Levine, and in the end they made the right choice because De Leon's stock has plummeted since. Big Sexy From the Free Agent Starters section: Bartolo Colon (43): Something tells us that if the ageless wonder plays another year it won’t be with a 100-loss team.Little did we know... Familiar Feeling In a feature article he wrote for the 2017 Offseason Handbook entitled "Past & Present: We’ve Been Here Before," John laid out some interesting parallels between the organizational rebuild we were watching unfold, and one that took place some 30 years earlier. In 1985 the Twins had hired 32-year-old Andy MacPhail (the original "Boy Genius") to basically run their baseball operations. And shortly after he came aboard, the Twins would hire a 36-year-old manager by the name of Tom Kelly. Leaders in the front office and dugout both ranking among the game's youngest in their respective positions? That sounds familiar. Bonnes recounted the decision: MacPhail’s mind was made up. He had seen the energy the team played with during Kelly’s short tenure, and he had received personal pleas from players begging him to make Kelly their full-time manager. But Pohlad was worried about having two 30-somethings running his $45 million investment. There needed to be some balance. That balance was Ralph Houk, a 68-year-old retiree who managed the pennant- winning Yankees teams in the early ‘60s. He was hired as “Vice President of Personnel” but really he was a consultant upon whom MacPhail and Kelly could lean. MacPhail says that Houk helped them avoid some rookie mistakes in his first couple of years, but primarily he was around to soothe the Pohlads’ concerns.Reading this passage about Houk was interesting for me, because recently I've had this thought bouncing around in my head: Is that dynamic what's missing with this front office? While I love the infusion of fresh blood and hungry young minds, would the inexperience of Falvey and Levine be better balanced with a seasoned executive – say, if Terry Ryan stayed on in the same advisory role Doug Melvin did in Milwaukee when David Stearns took over? That question is only magnified with Rocco Baldelli stepping in as the game's youngest manager, lacking any practical experience. THE 2017-18 OFFSEASON Download the 2018 Offseason Handbook Here (Free, just right-click the link) Predicting the Unpredictable As I've paged through past editions of the Handbook to put together this retrospective series, I've noticed something pleasantly surprising (maybe you've noticed too): our contract projections for players signed by the Twins were amazingly accurate. Castro, Ervin Santana, Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Torii Hunter, Josh Willingham... we estimated the correct length on all of them and were usually within a few million in total value. This goes to show that forecasting free agent contracts based on precedent and trendlines is very possible. Or, at least, it was until the 2017-18 offseason. Last year's depressed market was unlike anything we've seen in the lifespan of our Handbook product, and as a result many of our free agent predictions missed the mark. Badly. Here's all you need to know: we estimated Lance Lynn would land a six-year, $150 contract. Speaking of Lynn, who would eventually sign a one-year, $12 million deal with the Twins in mid-March, here was our appraisal: After missing 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, Lynn came back strong in 2017, starting every fifth day and getting better as the season progressed. His velocity trended upward throughout the summer and in the second half he mostly looked like a rotation-fronter. Lynn has a 3.38 career ERA and has been extremely reliable in St. Louis. He’s also two years younger than Arrieta. Estimated Contract: 6 years, $150 millionSeemed reasonable at the time? Anyway we all know how that one turned out. Darvish Derby As we put together last year's Handbook, Yu Darvish was clearly an attractive target. He was one of the top free agent starters available for a team in need of a frontliner. His premier strikeout stuff was seemingly the tonic this contact-plagued rotation needed. And the Twins actually had budget, not to mention an "in" via Thad Levine. In the Offseason Blueprint, we posed this suggestion: Trade Ervin Santana to Cincy for prospect Robert Stephenson, and put his cleared salary toward a blockbuster. 3) Sign SP Yu Darvish for 5 years, $135 million. The sum result here is that you are swapping out two years of the 35-year-old Santana in exchange for five years of the 31-year-old Darvish, a superior pitcher with elite stuff that shined on the big stage in October. Then it’s up to someone like Stephenson or Berrios to emerge as that legit No. 2, and others to step as well. It’s a potentially very good rotation.In a year of butchered estimates, this one wasn't actually too far off, as Darvish eventually signed with the Cubs for six years and $122 million. By all accounts, the Twins did seriously pursue the righty, offering five years and $100M+, but they came up short and it's just as well. Hitting the Bullseye In the Free Agent Relievers section, Fernando Rodney was one of the lower names listed, but he did get his picture plastered on a page in another of Brock's classic foreshadowing design choices. "Want closing experience?" we asked. "Rodney offers plenty, ranking among the active leaders in saves. But his iffy control makes him a less-than-ideal bet." The Twins did procure that closing experience, adding Rodney on a one-year, $4.5 million deal, and he managed to rein in the control a bit; his 3.9 BB/9 rate with Minnesota was his lowest since a career season in 2014. The results were there for Rodney, who pitched very well for the Twins before an August trade to Oakland. The A's just exercised his 2019 option. (The story of this Twins offseason has yet to be written, but you'll be ready to expertly follow along with the 2020 Offseason Handbook. Order your copy of this digital product now!)
  7. Cody Christie Closers have started to become a thing of the past in the world of baseball. Organizations and managers are becoming more acutely aware of utilizing their best relievers in high pressure situations. It might not be the best use of a team’s best relief pitcher if the other team’s seven, eight, and nine hitters are due up in the bottom of the ninth inning. That being said, I think Minnesota’s bullpen will get quite the overhaul before the start of next year. This means guys like Trevor Hildenberger, Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, and Oliver Drake need to show they can handle some late inning responsibilities over the season’s final months. If I am picking a closer off the current roster, I would give the May the bulk of the save situations. He’s got a fresh arm since he didn’t pitch in the first half of the season. Hildenberger has been the team’s best relief pitcher at times this season but he might be tipping his pitches. So for me, it’s gonna be May! Jeremy Nygaard I've been anti-closer for very long time. And, hopefully, since the Twins traded their "closer" they are heading towards the anti-closer belief too. The correct answer to this question isn't about who the back of the bullpen guy is, it's a different answer that finally sees the club use their relief pitchers to a) their advantage and to the best of their ability. Alan Busenitz has the highest leverage index of any players who has relieved multiple games and is still in the organization. "So, uh... hey, we have the most confidence in you... but we also don't have enough confidence in you to be on our active roster." What? Tyler Duffey has the lowest leverage index except for Oliver Drake. Both Busenitz and Duffey have FIPs that are really bad. Here's how I'm running the bullpen. The first time I need to face a tough lefthander (with one exception), I'm calling in Taylor Rogers. He's destroyed lefties to the tune of a .408 OPS. The exception is if the tough lefty is followed by a tougher righty. In that case, I'm using Gabriel Moya, who isn't considerably better against lefties than righties, both have a sub-.700 OPS. If I need to face a tough right-handed batter, I'm bringing in Addison Reed. He's not been great lately, but he's getting destroyed by left-handed hitters (OPS over 1.000) this season, so he's not facing those guys. Oliver Drake would be my next choice to face righties and not lefties. The other guys I'd use against batters on either side of the plate at any time. Trevor May and Matt Magill are the two I'd use first. Right now, Hildenberger has seemed to hit a wall, so he (along with Tyler Duffey) would be relegated to lower-leverage situations. The great thing is, these roles are changing as guys have more or less success. If you have a starting pitcher make it through eight innings, but decide he can't pitch the ninth... I'm looking at my opponent’s lineup card before deciding who to warm up. Maybe it's Moya; maybe it's Rogers; maybe it's May... really, it could be anyone. Ted Schwerzler The Twins not having a true closer puts them in a very good situation for the rest of the year. Minnesota needs to figure out what pieces are realistically going to be usable in 2019. If Paul Molitor can work Rogers, Hildenberger, May and Duffey into high leverage, that'd be a great start. Arms like Busenitz, Reed, Curtiss, and Anderson should also see time in the Twins pen over the next month or so. The front office is again going to be in a position to supplement the pen, but giving some consistent run to internal options is a must. Forget who racks up the saves, just make sure to push every arm you have. Steve Lein For once lately, I'm going to agree with the manager’s line of thinking here. There is a "proven closer" option with Addison Reed, but he's been dreadful since returning from the disabled list. Thus, I would go with the matchups in a committee approach and get some experience under multiple pitchers' belts. The options for this include: Trevor Hildenberger, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, and Gabriel Moya. Those names include three righties and two lefties so counteracting any lineup combination in the ninth should be easy on any given night. If I had to pick one guy, however, I'd be putting Trevor May in that spot. He's got the power pitcher profile inherently familiar to closers, and very quickly has appeared to rebound in his recovery from TJS in the majors. He hasn't walked anybody since returning and has picked up some big strikeouts. I also like his fire and mentality on the mound in that role. So closer by committee for now in a lost season, but I'd be giving an inside track to May. If you missed any of the most recent roundtable discussions, here are the links: Prospect Promotions Hall of Fame Impact Baseball in 2028 Floundered Second Half Star
  8. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/2018-08-12_FIXED.mp3 Sponsored by Simple Contacts, Casper Mattresses and Bye, Goff & Rohde.
  9. Aaron and John talk about the Twins trading Fernando Rodney, Logan Morrison's season mercifully coming to an end, Kohl Stewart's surprising call-up and MLB debut, Tyler Austin getting his big chance, Ervin Santana's bad pitching and headline-grabbing quotes, and the upcoming event at Target Field with general manager Thad Levine. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Sponsored by Simple Contacts, Casper Mattresses and Bye, Goff & Rohde. Click here to view the article
  10. The Minnesota Twins have announced that they have traded RHP Fernando Rodney to the Oakland A's in exchange for RHP Dakota Chalmers.The Twins have traded their closer, Fernando Rodney, to the A's. In return, the Twins receive 21-year-old RHP Dakota Chalmers. Chalmers was the A's 3rd round pick in 2015 out of high school in Georgia. He received a seven-figure bonus, well over slot value, to keep him from a commitment to the University of Georgia.. He pitched a couple of games with Beloit this year, but according to Darren Wolfson, he had Tommy John surgery in April. Here is another report on Chalmers from Jeff Johnson of The Gazette in Cedar Rapids: The Twins will make a corresponding roster move tomorrow before their game. Click here to view the article
  11. The Twins have traded their closer, Fernando Rodney, to the A's. In return, the Twins receive 21-year-old RHP Dakota Chalmers. Chalmers was the A's 3rd round pick in 2015 out of high school in Georgia. He received a seven-figure bonus, well over slot value, to keep him from a commitment to the University of Georgia.. He pitched a couple of games with Beloit this year, but according to Darren Wolfson, he had Tommy John surgery in April. Here is another report on Chalmers from Jeff Johnson of The Gazette in Cedar Rapids: Rodney was signed by the Twins before this season. He worked in 46 games for the Twins and went 3-2 with 25 saves and a 3.09 ERA. According to Mike Berardino, the A's had claimed Rodney, which of course gave them less leverage in a trade. https://twitter.com/MikeBerardino/status/1027746200395677697 The Twins will make a corresponding roster move tomorrow before their game.
  12. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Ervin Santana: 27 Game Score, 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 1 K, 2 BB, 68.2% strikes Multi-Hit Games: Miguel Sano (2-for-3, 2B, BB), Mitch Garver (2-for-4, 2B) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Garver .271, Magill .180, Sano .171, Polanco .158, Rodney .147, Moya .131 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Rosario -.156, Santana -.278 Let’s go around the horn … First Base Wooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1024130397867659264 Mitch Garver has been on a tear. This guy needs to be in the lineup as often as he can handle. On the days he’s not behind the plate, the Twins don’t have a better DH option on the team than GarvSauce. One of the funnest things about these next two months will (hopefully) be a lot more moments like this one. Second Base This team needs Miguel Sano, and I’m not just talking about the 2018 Twins. He showed some positive signs in his third game back from the minors tonight. He hit an RBI double in the second inning, singled in the fifth and made a great catch going back on a ball in foul territory. Sano also led off the bottom of the ninth by drawing an eight-pitch walk. Gotta take the good with the bad. Yes, he also struck out. He was also picked off by the catcher at second base. It was an eventful day at the office. Third Base Ervin Santana looks like he’s in survival mode. In his first two starts back, he’s been throwing tons of changeups. He’s gone to that pitch 61 times among the 185 pitches he’s thrown in these two starts. Last year, he only went to the changeup around 10 percent of the time. The fastball’s just not back. Ervin topped out at 90.9 mph. He only got four swinging strikes on his 88 pitches. The fact that he’s been able to limit the damage as much as he has is a credit to his willingness to adjust. Home Plate In case you missed it, the Twins traded Zach Duke to Seattle and dealt Lance Lynn to the Yankees. Adalberto Mejia will take Lynn’s spot in the rotation and Addison Reed was activated off the DL. With the bullpen shuffling and this game being tied late, we got to see some different looks from Paul Molitor. Gabriel Moya bailed out Santana in the sixth inning, recording the final two outs with two runners on base. Then, Molitor went right to Trevor Hildenberger, who worked a scoreless seventh. Taylor Rogers came out for the eighth, but after giving up singles to two of the three batters he faced, Matt Magill came in. Yes, Matt Magill. He came back out of the witness protection program, or where ever he’d been, and pitched in the eighth inning of a tie ballgame. He retired the next two batters to end the threat. With the top of the Cleveland order coming up in the ninth, Molitor turned things over to Fernando Rodney. He was very on brand. He walked leadoff man Francisco Lindor on four pitches. https://twitter.com/Cut4/status/1024128241882132480 Lindor advanced to third with one out and then just when you were convinced it was all going to come crashing down … a strikeout. Then another walk. Then he fell behind the next batter 2-0 … and struck him out. Never a dull moment. This may have been the final time we’ll see Rodney in a Twins jersey. If that’s how it goes down, this was pretty much a signature game to remember him by. Postgame With Molitor https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1024137486656651264 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: AL Central Standings CLE 57-48 MIN 49-56 (-8) DET 45-62 (-13) CHW 37-68 (-20) KC 32-73 (-25) Next Three Games Tue vs. CLE, 7:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Trevor Bauer Wed vs. CLE, 12:10 pm CT: Adalberto Mejia vs. Carlos Carrasco Thu Off Fri at KC, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games BOS 3, MIN 0: Fenway Free Fall Continues BOS 10, MIN 4: Twins Blow Lead in Spectacular Fashion BOS 4, MIN 3: No Escobar, but at Least We Still Have Belisle
  13. Mitch Garver, AKA GarvSauce, delivered a walk-off double to beat Cleveland, clearing a fog that had been surrounding this Twins team since the Eduardo Escobar trade. Miguel Sano showed some signs of life in his third game back from the minors and the bullpen was outstanding.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Ervin Santana: 27 Game Score, 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 1 K, 2 BB, 68.2% strikes Multi-Hit Games: Miguel Sano (2-for-3, 2B, BB), Mitch Garver (2-for-4, 2B) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Garver .271, Magill .180, Sano .171, Polanco .158, Rodney .147, Moya .131 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Rosario -.156, Santana -.278 Download attachment: WinChart730.png Let’s go around the horn … First Base Wooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen730.png AL Central Standings CLE 57-48 MIN 49-56 (-8) DET 45-62 (-13) CHW 37-68 (-20) KC 32-73 (-25) Next Three Games Tue vs. CLE, 7:10 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. Trevor Bauer Wed vs. CLE, 12:10 pm CT: Adalberto Mejia vs. Carlos Carrasco Thu Off Fri at KC, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games BOS 3, MIN 0: Fenway Free Fall Continues BOS 10, MIN 4: Twins Blow Lead in Spectacular Fashion BOS 4, MIN 3: No Escobar, but at Least We Still Have Belisle Click here to view the article
  14. The Minnesota Twins moved Eduardo Escobar and Ryan Pressly over the weekend. One transaction involved a free agent to be, and the other focused around a return that likely was too good to pass up. With the trade deadline quickly approaching, clearing some extra space should be the goal for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. As things stand currently Minnesota has a handful of guys capable of being flipped to another team. The names include Brian Dozier, Zach Duke, Fernado Rodney, and Lance Lynn. If they really wanted to, and were presented with a solid return, Kyle Gibson could also enter this list. It's hard to see Minnesota being able to move Ervin Santana after just one or two healthy starts, but he could be an August trade candidate through the waiver process. Looking at the list of candidates having a potential to be moved, there's something that should jump out as an opportunity. All of them are impending free agents, and there's a relatively small likelihood that any of them return to the Twins in 2019. With that in mind, it's time to start planning for the year ahead. Giving those innings to players that will be around is a must, and it's something that Paul Molitor only has two months left to capitalize on. While it's uncertain as to whether or not Nick Gordon can start at the big league level a year from now, or if Stephen Gonsalves can continue to limit free passes, it's become time to find out some of those answers. Guys like Alan Busenitz, John Curtiss, and Jake Reed deserve some real run in the Twins pen, while Zack Littell and Adalberto Mejia could benefit from a couple of starts being strung together in succession. When the Twins constructed the 2018 roster each of the pieces now available on the block made sense to bring in. This club was expected to be competitive, and without a lack of production across the board (combined with untimely injuries and bad luck), that was a reasonable expectation. Now with the narrative of the season having changed, the goal should be getting a jumpstart on the 2019 season. It's hard to decipher whether or not Minnesota will be able to move all of their expiring pieces. Duke and Rodney have performed well this season, and should have appeal to some contenders. Dozier hasn't looked like himself, but a late season spark is all he'd need to supply in order to provide value to a postseason run. Lynn has been the worst of the bunch, but he's trended better of late and has a strong track record of success in his corner. What may be most interesting is what Minnesota decides to do if they can't move some of the pieces. Looking at the roster construction as it currently stands, there's plenty of reason to question where the front office is prioritizing playing time. A guy like Matt Belisle has been both bad and ineffective for multiple organizations this season. Unfortunately, he's been given ample opportunity with Minnesota and that's to the detriment of the multiple more viable pen arms for the year ahead. A decision like that would suggest there isn't much care when it comes to preparing for what's next. Lynn could be DFA'd and the leftovers could see themselves passed through the waiver process, but we don't really have much evidence to suggest that's what lies ahead. By my estimation, the most unfortunate way for the final two months of the season to play out would be to see all of these players stick around and no one get any real opportunity from the farm. You can't just cut bait on big league guys that are producing, but clearing the way for those you'll need to rely upon next season has to be of the utmost importance. We should have more clarity in the coming days, but the hope should be that the front office is on board with the train of thought as well. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  15. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Lance Lynn: 53 Game Score, 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, 63.1% strikes Multi-Hit Games: Jorge Polanco (2-for-4, R, BB), Eddie Rosario (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBIs) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Rosario .423 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Cave -.105, Dozier -.170, Garver -.190, Rodney -.279, Belisle -350 Let’s go around the horn … First Base Can’t say I’ve ever seen this before: https://twitter.com/MLB/status/1023027124574343169 There’s all sorts of rules regarding how/when a catcher can block the plate, but I don’t ever remember having to thumb through the rulebook to figure out the rules on first basemen sitting on the bag. Second Base PITCHERS FOR SALE! GET YOUR PITCHERS!!! LANCE LYNN, COME GET ‘EM AGAIN! PITCHERS FOR SALE! Lance Lynn has definitely transformed back into a dependable starting pitcher. I mean, if the Twins were to try and acquire a guy like that, I’d definitely give up, say, a top 100 prospect. Was that good? Alright, now let’s blast this out to the other 29 team in baseball Seriously though, Lynn did look good. He only walked one batter over six innings. The only runs he gave up were on a two-run homer by Jackie Bradley Jr. Third Base As in Eddie Rosario played third base. Yep, for real. With the Eduardo Escobar trade, the Twins were forced to play with a two-man bench. Joe Mauer pinch hit for Ehire Adrianza in the eighth inning. In the bottom of the frame, Joe took over at first, Logan Morrison moved out to left field and Eddie came in to play third. Guess what? Rosie is the GREATEST THIRD BASEMAN OF ALL TIME! With the Twins trailing 2-1 in the top of the ninth, Craig Kimbrel walked Robbie Grossman and Jorge Polanco. Down to their last out, Rosario blasted one off the monster to plate both runners, giving the Twins the lead. That was awesome, but this … this play blew my mind: https://twitter.com/TwinsHighlights/status/1023034279675265025 Honestly, how many actual major league third basemen can make that play? Home Plate Paul Molitor went to Fernando Rodney in the ninth. It was the fourth time he was being asked to pitch in five days. Just some background on Mr. Rodney: He has a human arm. Not some kind of a robot arm, I just want to make that clear. He’s also roughly as old as Paul Molitor, soooo ... The Twins should probably be happy that he only gave up one run in the ninth, forcing this game into extra innings. That meant we got to see 38-year-old Matt Belisle, who had thrown 54 pitches the previous four days. What could go wrong? https://twitter.com/FanDuel/status/1023037763208314880 … Oh ... Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: AL Central Standings CLE 56-46 MIN 48-54 (-8) DET 44-61 (-13.5) CHW 36-66 (-20) KC 31-71 (-25) Next Three Games Sat at BOS, 6:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Rick Porcello Sun at BOS, 12:05 pm CT: TBD vs. Nathan Eovaldi Mon vs. CLE, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games MIN 2, BOS 1: Gibby the Great MIN 12, TOR 6: More Like Er-win Sweep-tana!!! MIN 5, TOR 0: All-Star, Indeed
  16. The Twins traded away Eduardo Escobar earlier today, clearly raising the white flag on the 2018 season, yet their first game after it's been made clear that they're sellers they lost because 38-year-old scrap heap veteran Matt Belisle gave up a walk-off home run. I'm pretty sure this is not how rebuilding works.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Lance Lynn: 53 Game Score, 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, 63.1% strikes Multi-Hit Games: Jorge Polanco (2-for-4, R, BB), Eddie Rosario (2-for-5, 2B, 2 RBIs) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Rosario .423 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Cave -.105, Dozier -.170, Garver -.190, Rodney -.279, Belisle -350 Download attachment: WinChart727.png Let’s go around the horn … First Base Can’t say I’ve ever seen this before: … Oh ... Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen727.png AL Central Standings CLE 56-46 MIN 48-54 (-8) DET 44-61 (-13.5) CHW 36-66 (-20) KC 31-71 (-25) Next Three Games Sat at BOS, 6:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Rick Porcello Sun at BOS, 12:05 pm CT: TBD vs. Nathan Eovaldi Mon vs. CLE, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games MIN 2, BOS 1: Gibby the Great MIN 12, TOR 6: More Like Er-win Sweep-tana!!! MIN 5, TOR 0: All-Star, Indeed Click here to view the article
  17. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Kyle Gibson: 80 Game Score, 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 K, 2 BB, 55.8% strikes Multi-hit games: Brian Dozier (2-for-3, R, BB, K) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Gibson .446, Rodney .221 Garver .171 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Escobar -.117, Adrianza -.172 Let’s go around the horn … First Base Hell of a start by Gibson. This is a Red Sox team he was facing that has the best lineup in baseball and he held them to a single run on four hits over eight innings of work. He threw 120 pitches and racked up seven strikeouts against just two walks. https://twitter.com/njrowan/status/1022662382554939392 Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez have been three of the most dangerous hitters in the game, but combined to go just 1-for-11 with a walk and four strikeouts against Gibby the Great. Gibson’s demeanor on the mound also matched the performance. Kyle just looked like he was in control, in the zone. He ended his night by striking out Martinez swinging, the kind of a moment that could send chills up and down your spine and give you goosebumps. Could this be his last start for the Twins? I wouldn’t bet on it, but I’m certain contending teams are hounding the Twins’ front office right now to check in on his availability. Second Base OK, so the Fernando Rodney Experience is the real deal. We’ve certainly seen glimpses of the FRE up to this point, but this was intense. Rodney, who clearly did not have his changeup working at all, labored in the ninth. He also loves to work methodically. You could see where this would be to his benefit, establishing that he is in control, but as a fan, holy cow is it torturous. Rodney gave up a leadoff single, but then managed to retire the next two batters in short order. Things swung completely back the other direction, as the next two batters walked. With the bases loaded and two outs, Rodney fell behind Jackie Bradley Jr. 3-0. Just when you were convinced this was going to end in catastrophe … three-straight strikes, SIT DOWN, GAME OHVAH!!!!! Third Base The Twins made two outs at home. They got three hits and a walk in the first inning, but did not score because of this: https://twitter.com/RedSox/status/1022625783934644225 They got a pair of walks and a hit in the sixth inning, but did not score because of this: https://twitter.com/TwinsHighlights/status/1022653242046590977 Thank goodness none of that ended up mattering in the end, because ... Home Plate Mitch Garver. He was the DH tonight over Logan Morrison and delivered the game-winning hit, an RBI double in the eighth inning. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1022658147008172032 OK, so Robbie Grossman and Brian Dozier deserve some credit too. Grossman led off the seventh inning with a single, went first-to-third on a Max Kepler single and then scored the game-tying run on a double play ball. Dozier drew a one-out walk in the eighth, stole second base and then came around to score on that clutch Garver double. Ehire Adrianza also deserves a tip of the cap for making a great defensive play at shortstop late in this one. Postgame With Gibson https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1022668395299266560 Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: AL Central Standings CLE 55-46 MIN 48-53 (-7) DET 44-60 (-12.5) CHW 36-66 (19.5) KC 31-71 (-24.5) Next Three Games Fri at BOS, 6:10 pm CT: Lance Lynn vs. Chris Sale Sat at BOS, 6:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Rick Porcello Sun at BOS, 12:05 pm CT: TBD vs. Nathan Eovaldi Last Three Games MIN 12, TOR 6: More Like Er-win Sweep-tana!!! MIN 5, TOR 0: All-Star, Indeed MIN 8, TOR 3: Twins Cruise Over Toronto
  18. Up until about 12 months ago, you never really knew what you were going to get out of Kyle Gibson. Who was going to show up? Good Gibby, or bad Gibby? Since, Kyle has been remarkably reliable, until tonight. This was next level. This was Gibson’s transformation in its final form. This was the arrival of Gibby the Great.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Kyle Gibson: 80 Game Score, 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 7 K, 2 BB, 55.8% strikes Multi-hit games: Brian Dozier (2-for-3, R, BB, K) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Gibson .446, Rodney .221 Garver .171 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Escobar -.117, Adrianza -.172 Download attachment: WinChart726.png Let’s go around the horn … First Base Hell of a start by Gibson. This is a Red Sox team he was facing that has the best lineup in baseball and he held them to a single run on four hits over eight innings of work. He threw 120 pitches and racked up seven strikeouts against just two walks. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: Download attachment: Bullpen726.png AL Central Standings CLE 55-46 MIN 48-53 (-7) DET 44-60 (-12.5) CHW 36-66 (19.5) KC 31-71 (-24.5) Next Three Games Fri at BOS, 6:10 pm CT: Lance Lynn vs. Chris Sale Sat at BOS, 6:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Rick Porcello Sun at BOS, 12:05 pm CT: TBD vs. Nathan Eovaldi Last Three Games MIN 12, TOR 6: More Like Er-win Sweep-tana!!! MIN 5, TOR 0: All-Star, Indeed MIN 8, TOR 3: Twins Cruise Over Toronto Click here to view the article
  19. As teams look at the market, it becomes a balance of “what have you done for me lately?” and “who is this player typically?” When the answer to both of those questtions is very good, you’re getting a lot in return. Negotiations become slightly more difficult when the answers don’t match up… especially when the player is on the wrong side of 30. Today, we’re going to look at a few other players who, for one reason or another, stretch those questions a little bit further than Dozier, a top second basemen who is having a down year, and Escobar, a versatile defender with a solid bat. Kyle Gibson is having a great year. He’s got an additional year of control, his slider is nearly unhittable and when he’s not producing outs by strikeouts, he’s getting them on ground balls. He’s a great example of a player who, if he continues pitching the way he has since the second half of last year, could really help the Twins get back into contention in 2019. The Twins, though, appear poised to head into spring training with more viable rotation options than any other year in recent memory. In short, maybe it’s worthwhile to shop Kyle Gibson. Though there isn’t an urgent need to move him - there are worse things than plugging him into an experienced rotation next year - it’s worth taking a look around to see who might be interested. For me, there is one team that sticks out: the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies are in the midst of a NL West battle that may last until the final days of the season and have gotten productive seasons out of four of their five rotation members. Their fifth member, Chad Bettis, is currently on the DL with a blister. In his place, Colorado has been starting Antonio Senzatela, who himself just returned on Sunday from his own blister issues. I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about their rotation, but it seems like blister issues are typically a recurring problem. Enter Gibson, who has made 27 or more starts in each season since returning to health after Tommy John surgery. Colorado, where no free agent pitcher ever wants to go, should be motivated to add a groundball pitcher with another year of team control, even if they don’t stay in contention to win the division. The targeted headliner in a return package from the Rockies should be 23-year-old AAA infield Ryan McMahon. McMahon played almost exclusively at third base until shifting over to first base. The Rockies have all-world Nolan Arenado to man the hot corner for the foreseeable future, so McMahon was moved to help accelerate getting him into the lineup. He's also played quite a bit of second base. McMahon is a good hitter, has a good understanding of the strike zone, hits for power and also can steal some bases. Now here’s where the problem starts. If you’d paid close attention to Gibson over his last calendar year, you think he’s turned the page and is now a mid-rotation starter and his trade value should match that. “Yeah, but…” would be how every other team in baseball responds to that. I would think McMahon isn’t enough. I’d want someone in addition who is closer to MLB ready. The Rockies might think McMahon alone is too much. To move Gibson, though, the offer would need to overwhelm. Fernando Rodney is another example of a player who might not get the value his performance has dictated. Understandably, too, as he’s 41 years old. If not for his age and the rapid decline that will set in at some point - though there is nothing in his peripherals that suggest that decline is going to happen soon - Rodney has value, under contract for $4.25 million next year. The Braves, having recently lost their closer, seems like an excellent match. Would the Twins have interest in 19-year-old RHP Freddy Tarnok, a third-round pick last year who is new to pitching and having success in low-A ball? The Braves didn’t seem to have too much interest in Jeurys Famillia before the Mets dealt him to Oakland. One of the reason had to do with not wanting to deal from the top of their stash of prospects. Tarnok doesn’t fit into that group, but his potential certainly does. I don’t think any return for Rodney is going to include much. Is it worth it to deal away a controlled, affordable, mostly reliable closer for what amounts to a lottery ticket? It might be easy to say no to that from the Twins perspective. At the same time, the Braves might ask if it is worth trading a high-ceiling lottery ticket for a guy who is over twice the lottery ticket’s age. They might pass on that as well. Lance Lynn and Ervin Santana have both done enough (or not enough) to stay safe through the July deadline. Logan Morrison is having such a disastrous season, it’d be hard to merit any return. So I guess that leaves Joe Mauer. I’d accommodate Mauer if he wants to chase a championship. Regardless, I’d consider it more than likely that Mauer is back in a Twins uniform next year. But that might be a conversation for a different day. *** BONUS BITS: Typically trading multiple pieces to the same team will reduce the return. Dealing Escobar and Dozier to the Brewers in the same trade might enable them to ask for one of their top prospects, like Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta or Corey Ray. (I still don't think the Brewers have any desire to move any of those three.) The other thing that adds intrigue to this situation is that the Brewers just lost a starting pitcher for the rest of the season. How much might Milwaukee give up to secure a pitcher like Gibson? Might they be interested in Lance Lynn? There are a number of questions that can only be answered in time. But I certainly wouldn't rule out a creative deal that packages multiple players together. Likely? No. Possible? Sure.
  20. Before returning to action after the All-Star Break, we took a look at potential landing spots for the two biggest trade chips/rentals that the Twins have to offer contenders. Since then, the Twins got swept at Kansas City before getting back on the right track on Monday at Toronto. Dozier has one hit since his walk-off grand slam and a whole bunch of strikeouts. Escobar has gotten a couple hits and looks, hopefully, like he is starting to hit his way out of the slump he previously found himself in. There was also the Ken Rosenthal report that the Brewers had asked the Twins about acquiring both players. This article isn't about Dozier and Escobar... but I'll give you a little dessert after the main course.As teams look at the market, it becomes a balance of “what have you done for me lately?” and “who is this player typically?” When the answer to both of those questtions is very good, you’re getting a lot in return. Negotiations become slightly more difficult when the answers don’t match up… especially when the player is on the wrong side of 30. Today, we’re going to look at a few other players who, for one reason or another, stretch those questions a little bit further than Dozier, a top second basemen who is having a down year, and Escobar, a versatile defender with a solid bat. Kyle Gibson is having a great year. He’s got an additional year of control, his slider is nearly unhittable and when he’s not producing outs by strikeouts, he’s getting them on ground balls. He’s a great example of a player who, if he continues pitching the way he has since the second half of last year, could really help the Twins get back into contention in 2019. The Twins, though, appear poised to head into spring training with more viable rotation options than any other year in recent memory. In short, maybe it’s worthwhile to shop Kyle Gibson. Though there isn’t an urgent need to move him - there are worse things than plugging him into an experienced rotation next year - it’s worth taking a look around to see who might be interested. For me, there is one team that sticks out: the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies are in the midst of a NL West battle that may last until the final days of the season and have gotten productive seasons out of four of their five rotation members. Their fifth member, Chad Bettis, is currently on the DL with a blister. In his place, Colorado has been starting Antonio Senzatela, who himself just returned on Sunday from his own blister issues. I’m not going to pretend I know a lot about their rotation, but it seems like blister issues are typically a recurring problem. Enter Gibson, who has made 27 or more starts in each season since returning to health after Tommy John surgery. Colorado, where no free agent pitcher ever wants to go, should be motivated to add a groundball pitcher with another year of team control, even if they don’t stay in contention to win the division. The targeted headliner in a return package from the Rockies should be 23-year-old AAA infield Ryan McMahon. McMahon played almost exclusively at third base until shifting over to first base. The Rockies have all-world Nolan Arenado to man the hot corner for the foreseeable future, so McMahon was moved to help accelerate getting him into the lineup. He's also played quite a bit of second base. McMahon is a good hitter, has a good understanding of the strike zone, hits for power and also can steal some bases. Now here’s where the problem starts. If you’d paid close attention to Gibson over his last calendar year, you think he’s turned the page and is now a mid-rotation starter and his trade value should match that. “Yeah, but…” would be how every other team in baseball responds to that. I would think McMahon isn’t enough. I’d want someone in addition who is closer to MLB ready. The Rockies might think McMahon alone is too much. To move Gibson, though, the offer would need to overwhelm. Fernando Rodney is another example of a player who might not get the value his performance has dictated. Understandably, too, as he’s 41 years old. If not for his age and the rapid decline that will set in at some point - though there is nothing in his peripherals that suggest that decline is going to happen soon - Rodney has value, under contract for $4.25 million next year. The Braves, having recently lost their closer, seems like an excellent match. Would the Twins have interest in 19-year-old RHP Freddy Tarnok, a third-round pick last year who is new to pitching and having success in low-A ball? The Braves didn’t seem to have too much interest in Jeurys Famillia before the Mets dealt him to Oakland. One of the reason had to do with not wanting to deal from the top of their stash of prospects. Tarnok doesn’t fit into that group, but his potential certainly does. I don’t think any return for Rodney is going to include much. Is it worth it to deal away a controlled, affordable, mostly reliable closer for what amounts to a lottery ticket? It might be easy to say no to that from the Twins perspective. At the same time, the Braves might ask if it is worth trading a high-ceiling lottery ticket for a guy who is over twice the lottery ticket’s age. They might pass on that as well. Lance Lynn and Ervin Santana have both done enough (or not enough) to stay safe through the July deadline. Logan Morrison is having such a disastrous season, it’d be hard to merit any return. So I guess that leaves Joe Mauer. I’d accommodate Mauer if he wants to chase a championship. Regardless, I’d consider it more than likely that Mauer is back in a Twins uniform next year. But that might be a conversation for a different day. *** BONUS BITS: Typically trading multiple pieces to the same team will reduce the return. Dealing Escobar and Dozier to the Brewers in the same trade might enable them to ask for one of their top prospects, like Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta or Corey Ray. (I still don't think the Brewers have any desire to move any of those three.) The other thing that adds intrigue to this situation is that the Brewers just lost a starting pitcher for the rest of the season. How much might Milwaukee give up to secure a pitcher like Gibson? Might they be interested in Lance Lynn? There are a number of questions that can only be answered in time. But I certainly wouldn't rule out a creative deal that packages multiple players together. Likely? No. Possible? Sure. Click here to view the article
  21. I know, I know, the non-waiver trade deadline has not even passed and I am already talking about the offseason. Even with the hot stretch to end the first half, I don’t see the Twins making a run at the playoffs this season, especially after Cleveland’s addition of relief pitchers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber. Minnesota has yet to make a move, but I believe its best bet is to sell some (or maybe all) of their upcoming free agents. Both infielders Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar are set to be free agents at season’s end, but could be in different uniforms by the end of the month. If they are not, they both could accept the qualifying offer from the Twins, and Minnesota could get draft compensation. But if they like a deal for them, they should absolutely be moved. The same can be said about other players, such as pitchers Fernando Rodney, Ryan Pressly, Zach Duke and Lance Lynn. But you’d be better off reading Jeremy Nygaard’s great pieces on who could be targeted in a trade for these guys when it comes to deadline talk. I am here to talk about the offseason. Out of the above six players, I see only Rodney and Pressly as possible players who would come back in 2019. Dozier just turned 31 and I don’t see him getting much of a contract offer from the Twins, especially when Nick Gordon is about ready to take over the position. Gordon has been less than spectacular in his time with Triple-A Rochester, but he has been solid recently, hitting .306 in his last 10 games with the Red Wings. Escobar has had a terrific season, but I don’t see him as a starter next year with Jorge Polanco and Miguel Sano as the left side infielders. I would think Escobar would want to go to a place where he can start, if he is not traded before the deadline. In the rotation, there could be a sizeable shakeup. Lynn will not be back in 2019, even if he is not traded this year. There was a reason he was only signed for one year. Minnesota has some good, young starting prospects they’d like to see more of. Stephen Gonsalves, who has pitched great recently after a poor few starts, could be in the mix, as well as Fernando Romero and Zack Littell, who have both seen action in 2018. Romero got off to a strong start with the Twins, but then he was figured out and hit a wall. In seven games with the Wings, Romero is 2-1 with an ERA of 2.04. Littell has yet to have success with the Twins, but has a 3.38 ERA in 11 games with Rochester. He had a rough last start, but Adalberto Mejia has pitched really well in Rochester as well. All four of those players will fight for a spot in the rotation. That brings me to Ervin Santana, who has yet to appear in a game for the Twins in 2018. Santana has a $14 million club option for next season, so he will need to impress in the final two months in order for the Twins to think about picking up his option. He had a tremendous 2017 season, going 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA, but he will be 36 by the time the next season starts, so Derek Falvey and Thad Levine could look to go younger. They also have Michael Pineda signed for next year as well, so he will likely take up one of the rotation spots. There may be a shuffling of the relievers as well. I don’t think Pressly will be traded, but if a team offered a good deal for him, I’d move him. I could see Rodney traded as well, and Duke is the one who is most likely to be traded. Down in Rochester, there are a number of relievers who are just waiting their turn to either make the big leagues or a return trip to the bigs. If Rodney were traded, I would probably give Pressly the first shot at closing games, but if both are traded, I would see what Trevor Hildenberger can do at the back end of the pen. In Rochester, Luke Bard, who played with the Angels earlier in the season after being drafted in the Rule 5 Draft, could be an option. Even after struggling with the Twins this season, Tyler Duffey and John Curtiss, could be back up. Trevor May is still with the Wings, and could fight for a spot. Gabriel Moya had a rough first month of the season, but struck out four in two perfect innings against Milwaukee earlier this month. His biggest problem is keeping the ball in the park. Despite having a career .212 batting average against, he has a career ERA of 6.08. Moya has allowed just 11 hits in his 13.1 career innings, but an incredible five of them have left the yard. Interestingly, he has just allowed two homers in 40.2 innings in Triple-A this season. And then there is Jake Reed, who has been lights out at every level. He has an ERA of 2.54 with the Red Wings after having just a 2.05 ERA in Rochester last season. Reed is also promotion-worthy. That leaves us with Joe Mauer. The ‘Face of the Franchise’ has only hit above .280 once in the last four seasons (and could be five this year) after not having a batting average under that in any of his first 10 seasons. He still is a great defensive first baseman who helps the Twins in other areas. Mauer is in the last year of his $184 million contract he signed following his 2009 MVP season. I have a hard time seeing the hometown boy in any other uniform. He won’t re-sign at his current $23 million salary, but somewhere in the $7-10 million range on a one-year deal will bring him back to the Twin Cities. If you thought this past offseason was interesting for the Twins, just wait until this upcoming offseason. If the team lets Dozier, Escobar, Lynn, Santana and Mauer hit free agency and trades Rodney and Duke, that is nearly $70 million off the books. It would be even more if they decline the 2019 option on the disappointing Logan Morrison. They’ll have plenty of room to look around if they want to jump into free agency once again. Obviously, it would be awesome to get into the Bryce Harper Sweepstakes, but that is not a Twins-like move, and there is no chance Harper wants to come here anyway. But, if the Twins have Gordon at second and bring back Mauer to play first for one more season until Brent Rooker is ready, the field would look like this: 1B: Mauer, 2B: Gordon, 3B: Sano, SS: Polanco, OF: Rosario, Buxton, Kepler. That would still be a good lineup, especially if they can get one more power bat. I would love the recently-traded Manny Machado, but only if he would move back to third base and I don’t see that happening. I don’t see him wanting to come here anyway. Maybe a one-year contract to Adrian Beltre, if he is willing to come to the Twin Cities. Third base would be nice if you can get a well-rounded one and have Sano be the designated hitter. If I were the Twins, this may be a pipe dream as well, but I would go after Mike Moustakas if he were to become a free agent. He turns 30 in September, but a three-year deal or so averaging between $15-20 million per year would be a good deal to round out the lineup. If the Twins were to try to find an “ace” type pitcher, the pickings are slim, but I would go after Dallas Keuchel. The current Astro has had a bit of a down year, only going 7-8 with a 3.75 ERA before the All-Star break. But three of his previous four seasons ended with him having an ERA of under three. But he turns 31 before the start of the 2019 season, and I am always hesitant to want the Twins to give big deals to players on the wrong side of 30. If they can lock him up to a short-term deal like the one I proposed for Moustakas, I would do it, but if he wants a deal like the one Yu Darvish received last offseason, forget it. Other pitchers who they could have interest in are Trevor Cahill and Garrett Richards, but they could very easily just roll with a couple of the young starters currently in Rochester. As always, trades are a possibility too. Minnesota has one of the deepest farm systems in baseball, and could trade a big prospect or two in order to get another top of rotation type starter to pair Jose Berrios with. That might be the only way they are able to get a front of the rotation type of player. Maybe they try to look at Chris Archer again, who is in the midst of his third consecutive season with an ERA north of four. It will be an interesting offseason once again in Minneapolis, and I don’t think anything will be out of the question. I do think the biggest needs going into the offseason will be to find a third baseman and another starter. If they are able to get players like Moustakas and Archer, the offseason will have been a success. I am not too concerned about the bullpen, as you can find successful ones anywhere. Just look at Brad Hand for example. The Marlins lost him on waivers in April 2016. Now look at him....one of the best relievers in the game and was traded for the No. 15 prospect in all of baseball. Like I said, the Twins have a number of relievers in Triple-A ready to make the jump. Buckle up, Twins fans, it could be an exciting ride once again.
  22. MLB Trade Rumors released its list of the Top 75 MLB Trade Candidates At The All-Star Break, and quite a few Twins were listed. Here's the methodology: "Essentially, we’re ordering players based upon our assessment of both their trade value and likelihood of being dealt." You'll have to click the link above for the full details, but here's where our guys landed: 18. Eduardo Escobar 19. Brian Dozier 20. Fernando Rodney 21. Zach Duke 29. Jake Odorizzi 72. Lance Lynn Also, Addison Reed got a mention under the disabled list section. No mention of Joe Mauer, I'm guessing they don't see it being very likely that he'll be dealt.
  23. A season ago, the Minnesota Twins welcomed Bartolo Colon to the 25 man roster. Big Sexy was 44 years old, and he was determined to pitch at least until he was 45. Paul Molitor got good results from the journeyman a year ago, and the front office went back to the fountain of youth this winter. Fernando Rodney was signed as the club's closer, and at the age of 41 he's been nothing short of a revelation. Long gone are the days that the Twins could immediately pencil in a holdover in the 9th inning. Glen Perkins was an All Star closer that was a well known commodity. Taking the torch from Joe Nathan, the Twins had gone from one 9th inning stalwart to another. As age and ineffectiveness caught up with Perkins however, the cupboard seemed to be bare. Without a "proven closer" waiting in the wings, Minnesota needed to get creative. After Perkins began to find himself on the disabled list, the Twins turned to former scrap heap pickup Brandon Kintzler. It took just a year, and the 32 year old found himself in the All Star Game for the first time in his career. Recording 28 saves along with a 2.78 ERA for Minnesota a year ago, Kintzler was nothing short of a revelation. Having turned to a more established 9th inning presence, Rodney was guaranteed the 9th inning gig from the get go. Following along with a trend, April was a tough month for the 41 year old. Rodney posted a 5.87 ERA and had as many blown saves (3) as he did successful ones (3). At the end of that first month, I found myself as the voice of reason preaching caution. This narrative has played out before, and it's one that bears significant fruit going forward. Since May 1, Rodney owns a 2.19 ERA for the Twins and has allowed opposing batters to compile just a .514 OPS against him. He's 17/19 in save opportunities, and has been the lockdown presence any team would hope for in the late innings. What's maybe most impressive, is that Rodney is putting up numbers that rival some of his best season, despite his advanced age. The 3.3 BB/9 is the second lowest tally of his career, and over a full free pass better than his career average. He's still setting down batters at a 10.0 K/9 rate, and he's kept hitters in check. Across the board, there's really nothing exceptional about the totals that the Twins closer is putting up. What's more important however, is that there's no areas for concern either. Rodney is 41 years old, and still competing at a level that many of his contemporaries would strive for. His velocity still averages out above 95 mph, and he remains virtually the same pitcher he's always been. For the gamble that Minnesota placed in acquiring his services, this is definitely a success story for all parties involved. Time will tell, but the expectation should be that Rodney is moved before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Having worked almost entirely in the closer role, it would stand to reason that a team needing a 9th inning arm would make the most sense. No matter where he goes however, the 41 year old will probably end up being superior to many of the younger arms surrounding him. Whether it be his workout regimen or dedication to the game, continuing to be this good for this long is nothing short of exceptional. This narrative has played out in Twins Territory before. From Jim Thome, to Colon, and now Rodney, seeing guys well past their prime competing at such a high level is something of a marvel. There's no reason for Rodney to be considering calling it quits any time soon, and at this stage in his career, that's something to hang his hat on. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  24. MLBTR: Red Sox Interested In Fernando Rodney https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/07/red-sox-interested-in-fernando-rodney.html (Maybe we need a general Twins trade rumors thread now?)
  25. In the end, it was likely a four-man race for one All-Star spot. Jose Berrios, Eduardo Escobar, Fernando Rodney, and Eddie Rosario were all having strong seasons but Minnesota’s lackluster first half meant that only one would be selected to the initial roster. Who made the cut? And who still has a chance to make it?Jose Berrios will be an All-Star for the first time. In his age-24 season, he has gone 8-7 with a 3.54 ERA. He has 114 strikeouts in 114 1/3 innings pitched and his 26 walks allowed have resulted in a tidy 0.997 WHIP. He leads the league with two complete games. Before the season started, some off-the-wall predictions were made here at Twins Daily. Berrios might be the only one who comes to fruition. He’s been able to do this by cutting his walk rate from 3.0 BB/9 in 2017 to 2.0 BB/9. Berrios has also improved his strikeout rate. Entering the season he had a career 8.3 SO/9 and he has posted a 9.0 SO/9 so far in 2018. Eddie Rosario will have a little more of a challenge to make his first All-Star team. He is part of MLB’s Final Vote, which allows the fans to add one player to the roster of the AL and NL squads. Rosario faces off against Andrew Benintendi, Jean Sugura, Andrelton Simmons, and Giancarlo Stanton. It’s going to be a tough road for the Twins outfielder as many of those names are better known. However, his fWAR ranks as the ninth best in the American League with Simmons being the only Final Vote candidate to rank higher. Rosario leads the Twins in most offensive categories as he seems to be having a coming-of-age season. For now, he needs the help of fans voting him in or an injury to a starting player. Did Major League Baseball get it right? Should Berrios be the team’s selection? Did Rosario get snubbed? What about Escobar and Rodney? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
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