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  1. Although the Minnesota Twins had a lackluster showing in 2021 it doesn’t stop the from nearing a completion. As competing teams look towards the postseason, it’s first time to take a look at the individual standouts. Each year I have the privilege of voting through the IBWAA and sharing the selections creates transparency. This season we saw a return to normalcy following an abbreviated run during a global pandemic a year ago. The treat was a two-way player doing unprecedented things within the sport, and some utterly dominant stars. When handing out the hardware, here’s who I went with: American League MVP - Shohei Ohtani (Runner Up: Vladimir Guerrero Jr) In what otherwise would be considered an unmatchable season, the Blue Jays slugger gets trumped by the Angels star that brings something to the sport we will likely never see again. Shohei Ohtani has paced the sport in longballs while being in the middle of a Cy Young conversation. Add his blistering speed to the equation and you’ve got some sort of a robot. National League MVP - Bryce Harper (Runner Up: Fernando Tatis Jr.) Maybe the quietest of the star performances this season, Bryce Harper has been a catalyst for the Phillies. His 1.032 OPS leads the league and his 32 longballs have a chance to threaten his previous MVP season with a strong finish. Tatis Jr. looked like he may run away with this award in the early going, but Harper has been steady and gets the nod here. American League Cy Young - Gerrit Cole (Runner Up: Robbie Ray) The Yankees ace has had little trouble without the use of sticky substances and being good before seems to have continued with the new set of rules. He’s still dominant, striking everyone out, and keeping runs against to a minimum. Blue Jays free agent acquisition Robbie Ray has made plenty of noise and is a worthy choice, but it’s just not quite enough to unseat the man in pinstripes. National League Cy Young - Max Scherzer (Runner Up: Corbin Burnes) Being as dominant as Mad Max has been on two different teams this year is a feat in and of itself. Despite being dealt, the former Nationals ace has relocated and picked up right where he left off. Recently joining the 3,000 strikeout club, Scherzer has earned every bit of his fourth Cy Young. Burnes has been exceptional for the Brewers, and would be a fine choice as well, but I had to side with Scherzer on the coin flip. American League Rookie of the Year - Randy Arozarena (Runner Up: Adolis Garcia) After starring in the postseason last year for Tampa Bar, Arozarena continued to be an incredible asset on the American League’s best team. He’s got the ability to contribute in so many different categories and has been consistent in a lineup needing him to produce. Texas saw plenty of power production from Adolis Garcia, and he’ll be fun to watch as his game develops more in years to come. National League Rookie of the Year - Jonathan India (Runner Up: Patrick Wisdom) A former 5th overall pick, India debut and hasn’t disappointed. With nearly an .850 OPS his power has been on full display. He’s already got 20 longballs and has a shot to finish with 10 steals. At second base the production is a massive boost for Cincinnati, and he’s rounded into a cornerstone type player. The Cubs Wisdom has been a great story, and the home run production has been off the charts. He too has been very fun to watch. American League Manager of the Year - Kevin Cash (Runner Up: Dusty Baker) What more can you say about a man that continues to do more with less? Cash has been given teams requiring managerial talent and positioning. Players needing to develop and be utilized in the correct situations, the man voted as “best looking” continues to push all of the right buttons. What the Astros have returned to is impressive, but they’re still looking up at the Rays. National League Manager of the Year -Gabe Kapler (Runner Up: Dave Roberts) Cast off from the Phillies and coming off a near-.500 mark in his first season with the Giants, Kapler took a team with no considerable shot for the postseason and turned them into arguably the National League’s best team. Having added veteran talents at the deadline, he’s continued to massage egos, time, and talents in an effort for the winning to continue. Part of the new wave, he’s fended off the Dodgers and their loaded roster under Dave Roberts. American League Reliever of the Year - Liam Hendriks (Runner Up: Ryan Pressly) Signed to a big deal over the winter, Liam Hendriks has delivered for the only competitive team in the AL Central. Working as Tony La Russa’s closer, he’s been used traditionally and has held down the role even past the acquisition of Craig Kimbrel. Hendriks has been elite for some time now, but his 34 saves lead the league, and his 14.0 K/9 is a new career high. The Astros Ryan Pressly has pushed himself up into a similar realm. National League Reliever of the Year - Josh Hader (Runner Up: Kenley Jansen) Milwaukee has pitched their way to dominance this season and it’s been in both the rotation and bullpen. Hader has been as good as ever, and Devin Williams was in consideration here as well. The lanky fireballer has racked up 31 saves and complied a whopping 15.3 K/9. Los Angeles has gotten consistent run from Jansen, but it hasn’t quite been a career year. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  2. As a former first round pick, Musgrove is now a part of his third organization. Drafted by the Blue Jays in 2011, he was dealt to the Houston Astros prior to now having spent the bulk of his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The career 4.33 ERA doesn’t do much to jump off the page, but as a guy about to enter his age 28 season with two more years of team control, a prime before the breakout could be just the recipe for a strong organization to exploit. Since joining the Pirates in 2018 Musgrove has compiled a 4.23 ERA. In those three seasons however, he’s posted FIP’s of 3.58, 3.82, and 3.42, respectively. The strikeout rates have risen each year going from 7.8 in 2018 to 12.5 in what was a muted 2020 season. He’s generally been a guy that’s tough on free passes, middle of the road when it comes to the longball, and relatively difficult to generate base hits. Taking a look at some of the deeper dive numbers, there’s even more to like with Musgrove. He posted a career best 3.19 xFIP in 2020 while still holding onto a consistent 93 mph average fastball velocity. He gave up a career low 24% hard hit rate this past season and the 48% ground ball rate is plenty productive. Missing barrels is something he’s done often throughout his career and generating a new career high 14.4% whiff rate this season was nice to see as well. Musgrove doesn’t rely a ton on deception. In each of his five big league seasons he’s been right around a 33% chase rate. Rather than forcing batters out of the zone, he’s been able to confuse them within it. Despite the rising swinging strike rates, he hasn’t done it as a by-product of his zone profile. Opposing hitters have generated less overall contact and suffered a career worst contact within the strike zone against Musgrove this past season. Clearly some of the developments Musgrove has experienced are helping take his game to new heights. Seeing what some of his counterparts have experienced when going to more well-regarded organizations, however, begs the question if there’s not more to be unearthed. Minnesota’s brain trust, and the tutelage of Wes Johnson could be the thing that takes him to the highest level. Pitching doesn’t come cheap, and a guy with team control still in arbitration isn’t going to be had for nothing. Expecting the Pirates to continue making the same missteps on the swap front also isn’t a good plan of action. On the basis of its own merit however, finding an amicable deal for both sides is certainly a worthy venture. A lot of how Minnesota sets themselves up for 2021 will be reliant upon what internal decisions the organization makes. After all, the 2020 club was very good and simply fell short of even moderate expectations at the worst time. The turnaround in that performance needs to come from within. On the mound though, there’s now some holes and openings that need to be filled. Addressing at least one of them with an arm this good, and a possibility to be even better, would be a great place to start. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  3. I feel like I may have written something like this a year ago, but it rings true again today, and Rocco Baldelli’s club certainly has more to build on. Every time the Twins face New York in the playoffs there will be talk about the futility embedded in the matchup. That’s not a team problem however, and it isn’t even an organizational one. The reality is that the Yankees are often good, and they are often in the Postseason. This current group doesn’t care how things went for Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer. Short of a colossal collapse from the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota will finish second in the AL Central and host New York in the Postseason. Nash Walker recently penned a great piece as to why it may make sense to welcome the Evil Empire. Beyond that, the only history that matters in 2020 is what can be gleaned from the 2019 sweep. Let’s get into that. Where are the bats? After setting a Major League record 307 single-season home runs in 2019, the offensive prowess went in the tank when it mattered most. Minnesota pushed across just seven runs in three games during the ALDS, and they led for a grand total of two innings throughout the series. The trio of Max Kepler, Mitch Garver, and Miguel Sano all became nonexistent, while 39-year-old Nelson Cruz failed to produce anything of substance as well. In 2020 the offense hasn’t been at all what was expected. Thinking they’d light up the scoreboard every night, it just hasn’t been the case. The Twins have missed significant time from sluggers like Garver and Josh Donaldson, while the lineup hasn’t really clicked for any substantial period of time. Even still the results have shown up in the win column, and capable is a good descriptor for what Minnesota can do on any given day. The Yankees lineup is again daunting, but pitching won’t matter if the Twins can’t score. Pitching, Pitching, Pitching Going into the Postseason a year ago there were plenty of concerns about the Twins pitching, and it seemed like a lofty task to keep the Yankees in check. Jose Berrios struggled down the stretch, and Randy Dobnak was given the ball in game two as a matchup play instead of Jake Odorizzi. When the dust settled New York had plated 23 runs across three games against the Twins and Minnesota was swept in quick fashion. The bullpen had gone from massive question mark on Opening Day, to becoming a relative force by season’s end. It didn’t factor much as the Twins were behind early and often in these tilts, and any ability from that group was thwarted pretty quickly. This season the Twins have gotten great efforts from a handful of guys. Jose Berrios has been rolling through his last six turns, while Kenta Maeda looks worthy of Cy Young votes. Michael Pineda returned and picked up right where he left off, and Rich Hill has rounded into form of late. If Jake Odorizzi’s finger is healed in time for October baseball, he too could provide a lift despite such an unfortunate string of luck in 2020. There are few question marks when it comes to the “who” on Rocco’s staff, and he should feel good about choosing any of them for the “when.” Oh, Byron Where Art Thou? A shoulder injury ended Byron Buxton’s season in 2019 and it was a crushing blow for the Twins. Their record in games he played was better to a lopsided degree, and his .827 OPS was as much an indicator as to why as his glove was. Max Kepler posted a breakout season defensively, but centerfield wore on him down the stretch and there’s no denying the upgrade Byron brings all over the diamond just by being in the middle of the grass. Buxton has missed time in 2020 as well, but his 36-game sample has provided a banner year. Currently he owns an .880 OPS and has swatted 12 homers. His plate discipline could use work still as evidenced by the 29/2 K/BB, but he’s getting off an “A” swing plenty, and he’s making sure to do damage when he connects. Still the fastest man in baseball and one of the game’s best defenders, having him patrolling the outfield against any opponent is an upgrade that can’t be overstated. It will never matter to the current collection of players what history has dealt to a franchise, and it shouldn’t. Recent history is something this collection likely wants to overcome however, and each side loaded up with one big new piece. Gerrit Cole was always destined for New York, and Josh Donaldson made a surprise splash in Minnesota. It’s time to tango, and Minnesota is as well positioned as ever. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  4. A little after 11:00 central time, news broke that Gerrit Cole had agreed to a nine-year, $324 million contract. Yes, that is not a typo. Nine years. At $36 million per season... For a total of $324 million. Not a bad payday. Now the Twins were never really involved in Cole talks. Sure, they have been in regular contact with Cole's agent, Scott Boras. However, those conversations likely had more to do with Hyun-Jin Ryu or other Boras clients. However, not long before the Cole announcement, we saw this tweet from Jon Heyman: https://twitter.com/JonHeyman/status/1204605545576943617 Hurdle #1: Location... Read that as Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. We are where we are. Not much we can do about that. Hurdle #2: League... Bumgarner wants to hit. That's why he wants to stay in the National League. And frankly, good for him to want to participate in all aspects of the game. Again, the Twins can't really do anything about that one either. However, less than 90 minutes later, the Cole news brought: Hurdle #3: Gerrit Cole signs with the Yankees. Not the Angels. Not the Dodgers. So there is news such as this from Ken Rosenthal. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1204628472359833600 The Dodgers will be willing to overpay. The Dodgers are in Los Angeles. So, the Bumgarner rumors were fun while they lasted, right? Oh, and they're in the National League. However, if you're looking for a little consolation, here is a more positive tweet for Twins fans: https://twitter.com/Jeeho_1/status/1204629469673050112 Hyun-Jin Ryu is really good, just as good as Bumgarner, just a couple of years older. Could he be the Twins target if Bumgarner goes elsewhere? Or as we mentioned yesterday, could the Twins shift their attention toward Dallas Keuchel? White Sox Make Another Move The White Sox have been active this offseason, having added catcher Yasmani Grandal and offering a lot of money for Zack Wheeler. Moments after the Cole news broke, news came from Rangers beat writer Evan Grant that right fielder Nomar Mazara had been acquired in a trade with the Rangers. Mazara hit .268 with 19 homers in 2019 for the Rangers. But the reason that he is intriguing is because he is still just 24 years old. Add him to the crop of very young hitters and pitchers that could help the White Sox compete in the AL Central very soon. More News Twins Killer Didi Gregorius signed a one-year deal with the Phillies. He will be reunited with manager Joe Girardi. After missing the first half of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery and struggling some in the second half, Gregorius will hope to have a big season and cash in next offseason. Last week, I wrote about Kevin Gausman potentially being a buy-low option for the Twins after being DFAd by the Reds. On Tuesday he signed a one year, $9 million contract with the San Francisco Giants with another $1 million available in incentives. Next up on my list of potential buy-low options would be Julio Teheran, formerly of the Atlanta Braves. Twins Looking at Trade Targets While Bumgarner, Ryu and Keuchel are all still available, and the Twins are interested in all three, if they are unable to convince any of them to take their money, they are also making calls to teams about young pitchers. We've been hearing Tigers LHP Matt Boyd's name for awhile now, but the Twins also have talked to the Marlins about one of their talented young starters. https://twitter.com/JonHeyman/status/1204617020890742784 Baldelli Speaks to Media Rocco Baldelli met with media at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday night, and you can watch and listen here. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1204568084087853056 Cruz Named First Team Nelson Cruz received another honor on Tuesday. He was named First-Team DH on the inaugural All-MLB Team. https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1204515860162973696 Rogers Goes (to the) Wild (game) Taylor Rogers was at the XCel Energy Center for the Wild game tonight. He was there in support of the Rogers Family Foundation for the mental health of St. Paul Firefighters. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1204589987947106304 He (and Devin Smeltzer) joined Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau earlier in the day at the Gillette Children's hospital for a visit with the kids. https://twitter.com/GilletteChildrn/status/1204468008929910784 What will Day 3 at the Winter Meetings bring? The two big pitchers got their paydays. Now that second tier or Bumgarner, Ryu and Keuchel is next. Anthony Rendon is the top free agent overall, but Josh Donaldson is going to get paid too. Will there be any more trades? And will the Twins be involved in any of the transactions? Stop by and add your thoughts on any rumors below.
  5. Day 2 of the Winter Meetings ended with a flurry of activity, ending a busy day. However, the Twins did not consummate any moves on Tuesday. Will Day 3 bring a transaction to the Twins?A little after 11:00 central time, news broke that Gerrit Cole had agreed to a nine-year, $324 million contract. Yes, that is not a typo. Nine years. At $36 million per season... For a total of $324 million. Not a bad payday. Now the Twins were never really involved in Cole talks. Sure, they have been in regular contact with Cole's agent, Scott Boras. However, those conversations likely had more to do with Hyun-Jin Ryu or other Boras clients. However, not long before the Cole announcement, we saw this tweet from Jon Heyman: What will Day 3 at the Winter Meetings bring? The two big pitchers got their paydays. Now that second tier or Bumgarner, Ryu and Keuchel is next. Anthony Rendon is the top free agent overall, but Josh Donaldson is going to get paid too. Will there be any more trades? And will the Twins be involved in any of the transactions? Stop by and add your thoughts on any rumors below. Click here to view the article
  6. Last night the baseball world watched in awe of the contract that Gerrit Cole was handed by the New York Yankees. He signed the for the largest AAV and total contract value ever given to a pitcher. New York spending money isn’t surprising at all, but there’s a tickle down effect and how it impacts a team like the Twins remains to be seen. It’s a great thing that the Minnesota Twins have significant funds and a real opportunity ahead of them. What is less than great is there’s only so many desirable commodities. When Cole came off the board, teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels immediately pivoted to the likes of Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Just hours before, those arms looked like targets Minnesota may be able to wrangle in. Now, the competition just became more fierce. This exact scenario is one that we can consider during the regular season as well. Although many teams like to wait until closer to the deadline providing an ability to determine their fate, acquiring organizations obviously benefit by earlier action. We can assume somewhat of a premium is paid for early swaps, but the desired result could outweigh that cost when it results in additional wins. During the offseason games aren’t being immediately impacted, but the game of musical chairs gets more intense with each spot pulled from the circle. Zack Wheeler went from reports suggesting he’d accept something south of $100 million to signing for $18 million north of it. That contract upped Madison Bumgarner’s ask, and both Stephen Strasburg and Cole being gone dwindled the list of worthy assets. Does all of that equate to an opportunity being missed? We’ll never directly know what contract negotiations sound like on an individual basis, but early action could seem to hold some weight. Rather than being worried about setting the market to high, a team could be sitting pretty having nabbed their desired talent prior to feeling pressure of commodities being unavailable. A team like the Twins is now faced with the proposition of outbidding either Los Angeles franchise if Ryu or Bumgarner was their man, and that creates a higher level of stress than was initially desired. Although we’re discussing these principles within the realm of baseball, it’s applicable across so many facets of life. As human beings we’re all out for our best interests and looking to snipe a deal. Is the coupon at Target going to save us the most money, or should we save the additional five miles by going to Walmart and buying it first? The fear of missing out can cause us to make rash decisions but being comfortable in our evaluations may afford the opportunity to overlook the result. I’d imagine Derek Falvey and Thad Levine aren’t going to tip their hand as to which pitching assets they had ranked highest. Maybe everyone was lumped together and they truly do not care who winds up in Twins Territory, a true test of their internal development staff. We can draw some conclusions or generate educated guesses once all the chips are on the table, but the waiting and guessing game is all we have for now. In a vacuum it seems the Twins may be best suited to approach a high value target with a strong offer and a deadline. Maybe it doesn’t work that way and maybe they tried, but maybe being the one without a dance partner at the end of the song isn’t so great either. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  7. Jake Odorizzi didn’t experience much of free agency, having accepted the Twins qualifying offer of $17.8 million. Minnesota immediately secured one of the better available arms and did so with a high level of familiarity. Now they still should be attempting to sign one of the top free agent arms available, but with a plethora of prospects at their disposal, swinging a trade makes a ton of sense. https://twitter.com/jeremynygaard/status/1197322836307857408 When the club made five additions to their 40-man roster, protecting those players from being subject to the Rule 5 draft, there was a handful of takeaways regarding the names in play. Four of the five guys added were acquired via trade in the last calendar year. Getting significant value from veterans like Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Ryan Pressly, and Fernando Rodney only solidified how well the front office had done in identifying talent. Although they parted with good big leaguers, they did so while outside of a competitive window and by nailing the return. It’s absolutely true that not all prospects pan out, and development isn’t linear, but realizing these commodities needing to be protected and were on a big-league trajectory less than a year later is a significant development. It’s one thing to acquire additional team control or roster flexibility but doing so while also making sure to identify usable and high-performing assets is not an easy task. We may have known the return was strong through production on the farm over the last year, but Wednesday night’s decisions solidified it for us. Going forward, the acumen displayed by Falvey and Levine will be integral to the next step Minnesota takes. On the free agent market, the expectation is that both Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg would have little interest in the Twins. Zack Wheeler and Madison Bumgarner are hardly slouches, but through a player swap, the front office can hope to identify their own version of an ace. Regardless of the name on the back of the jersey, any top tier arm is going to have a league’s worth of options on a yearly basis. When making a deal with another club, it’s a one-on-one discussion that revolves around player development and the knowledge you possess in both what you currently have and who you hope to acquire. At this point in Minnesota’s competitive arc they aren’t in a position to piece out veterans for prospects. Although a big leaguer could be moved, the emphasis will be on a return that strengthens the major league roster. Finding assets that improve postseason posturing is the plan and doing so while mixing the ideal exchange is something every Twins fan should deem the front office capable of. There was a time that the Twins made reactionary moves to trade for positional needs or up-and-coming prospects. Now the Twins should be seen as an organization that can both identify and execute swaps that both help and don’t substantially hurt the overall goals of the club. I don’t foresee Royce Lewis or Alex Kirilloff going anywhere in the immediate future, but you can bank on Minnesota’s brain trust having an iron clad blueprint when working out any deal on the horizon. Knowing how important and valuable that avenue of asset addition is, it’s a skill that puts another feather in the cap of a front office responsible for an exceptional turnaround. More from Twins Daily Jhoan Duran Headlines Twins Roster Additions Should the Twins Look to Add to the Bullpen? Every Team Wants Zack Wheeler
  8. Yesterday, Nick wrote an article talking about how the Twins deserve creditfor acquiring Jake Odorizzi and working with him to find his best self in 2019. Today, I wanted to continue the “Finding the Next Gerrit Cole” theme by literally trying to find someone who could possibly provide the type of impact that Cole had on the Astros. Maybe there is one potential trade candidate out there who fits that mold.Twins fans (at least those who read Twins Daily) have known about Jon Gray and his pitching talents since before the Colorado Rockies made him the third overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft. The Twins Geek wrote up a Draft Profile on the flame-thrower from Oklahoma. That year, Gray was taken after the Astros took Mark Appel and the Cubs selected Kris Bryant. One pick after the Rockies drafted Gray, the Twins used the fourth overall pick on Kohl Stewart. Gerrit Cole, of course, was the first overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of UCLA. Cole is listed at 6-foot-4. Gray is listed at 6-foot-4. Cole is listed at 225 pounds. Gray is listed at 227 pounds. Of course, height and weight are important in scouting, but in this analysis, it means nothing. There are dozens of MLB (and minor league) pitchers that are 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds or so. I thought it would be interesting to compare more to see how similar the two might be. To do so, I looked at Gerrit Cole in 2017. He was 26 years old and had two more years of arbitration remaining. In 2019, Jon Gray was 27 years old, and as we look forward, he has two more years before he can become a free agent. So let’s take a look at how Gerrit Cole performed for the Pirates in 2017 and compare it to how Jon Gray pitched for the Rockies in 2019. And hey, just for fun, let’s throw Cole’s 2019 numbers in there too. What does it show us? Obviously we know that Win-Loss record doesn’t tell us anything. Gray’s ERA was better, but Cole held a slight advantage in xFIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). Cole had the better WHIP. It might surprise people to see that Gray actually struck out more batters, though it’s statistically close enough, especially when strikeouts continue to increase across the league. Cole had better control. The biggest difference is that Cole topped 200 innings in 2017 while Gray pitched just 150 innings in 2019. Gray went on the injured list in mid-August with a fractured left foot. He had surgery and should be ready in advance of spring training. He had a similar foot/ankle injury in 2017 that cost him two-and-a-half months. Gray gets more ground balls, though I can’t help but wonder if that’s due to how he chooses to pitch in Colorado.The two had very similar strikeout rates. Again, comparing those numbers to what Cole became in 2019 is more just fun than anything else, something to dream on. Some will say that Gray isn’t as good as Cole was in 2017. I think that the numbers above show that they are more similar statistically than we may have even thought. But I think it’s more important to look at how they pitch to see whether or not they are similar. Is their stuff comparable? Here are some numbers, again comparing Gray in 2019 with Cole in 2017. And, of course, I needed to add Cole in 2019 to the chart for fun, but also for a point. (SETH CORRECTION: Jon Gray threw 33.5% sliders, not 13.5% Sorry if that created confusion.) I happen to think this chart is really interesting. Again, comparing Gray in 2019 with Cole in 2017, there are a lot of similarities. They both had an average fastball of 96 mph. They both throw 88 mph sliders. Gray’s curveball came in just a little slower, and so did his changeup. Cole threw more fastballs. Gray threw a lot of sliders and didn’t throw many changeups. Cole gave up less contact and got a higher percentage of swing-and-misses on strikes. It all speaks to his stuff being right on par with Garret Cole’s in 2017. The Big Question In my mind, the big question is - and should be with any pitcher the Twins consider with trades or free agency: Do the Twins pitching coaches, coordinators and evaluators think that Jon Gray can take it a step up from his 2019 numbers the same way that Cole’s performance jumped from 2017 to 2019? Cole added one mph on his fastball and on his slider. He did so while throwing a fewer fastballs and changeups and a few more sliders and curveballs. Can Jon Gray add a tick or two to his velocity? Can his pitch mix be altered in such a way to reduce his contact rate and improve his swing-and-miss stuff? Ultimately that’s what the Twins brass needs to consider. What Might it Take? If they do consider Gray to be a guy that could take a step forward in performance and possibly be an elite starting pitcher, well, then they need to figure out what they are willing to give up to acquire him from the Rockies. So again, let’s look at Gerrit Cole for a comparison. The Houston Astros acquired Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for four players: RHP Michael Feliz - He was 24 years old and spent two-plus seasons with the Astros before the trade. He had a 5.13 ERA over that time period before the deal.OF Jason Martin - He was a 22-year-old at the time of the deal. He split 2017 between High-A and AA and hit 35 doubles and 18 home runs that season.1B/3B Colin Moran - He was 25 and had been a high draft pick. He was a Top 100 prospect in previous years but no longer at the time of the deal.RHP Joe Musgrave - He was a 24-year-old, a first-round pick in 2011. He spent time as a part-time starter with the Astros in 2016 and 2017.So what might a similar deal look like for the Twins.Obviously this is a hypothetical, but I think it would take something similar to the below. I think that the package should be similar, but still a little less than what was required to acquire Cole.RHP Fernando Romero - Romero is currently 24-years-old and has spent parts of 2018 and 2019 in the big leagues. While his numbers in 2019, his first year as a bullpen arm, didn’t do great, his potential is still high.IF Travis Blankenhorn - He was just added to the 40-man roster, but like Martin, he split 2019 between High-A and AA and hit 19 home runs despite missing a bit more than a month with a broken finger.OF/1B - Brent Rooker - Can you imagine what Brent Rooker could do to baseballs in the Mile High City? Rooker had been in the Top 100 prospects last year but injuries cost him time in 2019. But his power is legit.RHP Griffin Jax - Now, when I put this together, I wasn’t sure if Jax would be added to the 40-man roster. The Denver (area) native wasn’t added to the 40-man roster, so he’s less likely to be tradable until after the Rule 5 draft. But there are any number of similar pitchers in the organization that the Rockies might have an interest in as well. If I were to keep the theme of Denver-area people, Bailey Ober might be a candidate. Or, might it take a pitcher with some big-league service time like a Devin Smeltzer or even Lewis Thorpe to be a sufficient final piece?Let’s be honest. There’s no way to know what the Rockies would ask for. Maybe instead of four similar prospects, they may ask for one big prospect with one lesser prospect, or maybe the fourth player in this deal could be two other players. SUMMARY The Twins - and every team in baseball - want to find the next Gerrit Cole.Rockies ace Jon Gray has a lot of similarities to Gerrit Cole pre-trade, both statistically and in terms of stuff.The Twins - and every team in baseball - will need to attempt to evaluate if they have ways that could make Gray take the next step toward becoming an elite starter.Determine how much your team is willing to trade in exchange for Jon Gray (and then go-ahead and try to convince the Rockies that it is enough).Hope! Hey, just because there are similarities between pitchers (age, size, stats and stuff) does not necessarily mean that they will have the same success. There is a lot of luck involved. But Derek Falvey has a reputation for developing pitchers. Wes Johnson got a lot of credit for some of the Twins pitching successes and improvements in 2019.If nothing else, it’s fun to think about. Finding the next Gerrit Cole is half the battle. Helping him develop into that pitcher is another thing. Maybe there are red flags, concerns about Jon Gray specifically. Maybe there are other issues that the Twins need to factor and consider. We can’t know it all, but as fans, we’ve been waiting for a true Ace since Johan Santana. Click here to view the article
  9. Twins fans (at least those who read Twins Daily) have known about Jon Gray and his pitching talents since before the Colorado Rockies made him the third overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft. The Twins Geek wrote up a Draft Profile on the flame-thrower from Oklahoma. That year, Gray was taken after the Astros took Mark Appel and the Cubs selected Kris Bryant. One pick after the Rockies drafted Gray, the Twins used the fourth overall pick on Kohl Stewart. Gerrit Cole, of course, was the first overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of UCLA. Cole is listed at 6-foot-4. Gray is listed at 6-foot-4. Cole is listed at 225 pounds. Gray is listed at 227 pounds. Of course, height and weight are important in scouting, but in this analysis, it means nothing. There are dozens of MLB (and minor league) pitchers that are 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds or so. I thought it would be interesting to compare more to see how similar the two might be. To do so, I looked at Gerrit Cole in 2017. He was 26 years old and had two more years of arbitration remaining. In 2019, Jon Gray was 27 years old, and as we look forward, he has two more years before he can become a free agent. So let’s take a look at how Gerrit Cole performed for the Pirates in 2017 and compare it to how Jon Gray pitched for the Rockies in 2019. And hey, just for fun, let’s throw Cole’s 2019 numbers in there too. What does it show us? Obviously we know that Win-Loss record doesn’t tell us anything. Gray’s ERA was better, but Cole held a slight advantage in xFIP (Fielding Independent Pitching). Cole had the better WHIP. It might surprise people to see that Gray actually struck out more batters, though it’s statistically close enough, especially when strikeouts continue to increase across the league. Cole had better control. The biggest difference is that Cole topped 200 innings in 2017 while Gray pitched just 150 innings in 2019. Gray went on the injured list in mid-August with a fractured left foot. He had surgery and should be ready in advance of spring training. He had a similar foot/ankle injury in 2017 that cost him two-and-a-half months. Gray gets more ground balls, though I can’t help but wonder if that’s due to how he chooses to pitch in Colorado.The two had very similar strikeout rates. Again, comparing those numbers to what Cole became in 2019 is more just fun than anything else, something to dream on. Some will say that Gray isn’t as good as Cole was in 2017. I think that the numbers above show that they are more similar statistically than we may have even thought. But I think it’s more important to look at how they pitch to see whether or not they are similar. Is their stuff comparable? Here are some numbers, again comparing Gray in 2019 with Cole in 2017. And, of course, I needed to add Cole in 2019 to the chart for fun, but also for a point. (SETH CORRECTION: Jon Gray threw 33.5% sliders, not 13.5% Sorry if that created confusion.) I happen to think this chart is really interesting. Again, comparing Gray in 2019 with Cole in 2017, there are a lot of similarities. They both had an average fastball of 96 mph. They both throw 88 mph sliders. Gray’s curveball came in just a little slower, and so did his changeup. Cole threw more fastballs. Gray threw a lot of sliders and didn’t throw many changeups. Cole gave up less contact and got a higher percentage of swing-and-misses on strikes. It all speaks to his stuff being right on par with Garret Cole’s in 2017. The Big Question In my mind, the big question is - and should be with any pitcher the Twins consider with trades or free agency: Do the Twins pitching coaches, coordinators and evaluators think that Jon Gray can take it a step up from his 2019 numbers the same way that Cole’s performance jumped from 2017 to 2019? Cole added one mph on his fastball and on his slider. He did so while throwing a fewer fastballs and changeups and a few more sliders and curveballs. Can Jon Gray add a tick or two to his velocity? Can his pitch mix be altered in such a way to reduce his contact rate and improve his swing-and-miss stuff? Ultimately that’s what the Twins brass needs to consider. What Might it Take? If they do consider Gray to be a guy that could take a step forward in performance and possibly be an elite starting pitcher, well, then they need to figure out what they are willing to give up to acquire him from the Rockies. So again, let’s look at Gerrit Cole for a comparison. The Houston Astros acquired Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for four players: RHP Michael Feliz - He was 24 years old and spent two-plus seasons with the Astros before the trade. He had a 5.13 ERA over that time period before the deal. OF Jason Martin - He was a 22-year-old at the time of the deal. He split 2017 between High-A and AA and hit 35 doubles and 18 home runs that season. 1B/3B Colin Moran - He was 25 and had been a high draft pick. He was a Top 100 prospect in previous years but no longer at the time of the deal. RHP Joe Musgrave - He was a 24-year-old, a first-round pick in 2011. He spent time as a part-time starter with the Astros in 2016 and 2017. So what might a similar deal look like for the Twins.Obviously this is a hypothetical, but I think it would take something similar to the below. I think that the package should be similar, but still a little less than what was required to acquire Cole. RHP Fernando Romero - Romero is currently 24-years-old and has spent parts of 2018 and 2019 in the big leagues. While his numbers in 2019, his first year as a bullpen arm, didn’t do great, his potential is still high. IF Travis Blankenhorn - He was just added to the 40-man roster, but like Martin, he split 2019 between High-A and AA and hit 19 home runs despite missing a bit more than a month with a broken finger. OF/1B - Brent Rooker - Can you imagine what Brent Rooker could do to baseballs in the Mile High City? Rooker had been in the Top 100 prospects last year but injuries cost him time in 2019. But his power is legit. RHP Griffin Jax - Now, when I put this together, I wasn’t sure if Jax would be added to the 40-man roster. The Denver (area) native wasn’t added to the 40-man roster, so he’s less likely to be tradable until after the Rule 5 draft. But there are any number of similar pitchers in the organization that the Rockies might have an interest in as well. If I were to keep the theme of Denver-area people, Bailey Ober might be a candidate. Or, might it take a pitcher with some big-league service time like a Devin Smeltzer or even Lewis Thorpe to be a sufficient final piece? Let’s be honest. There’s no way to know what the Rockies would ask for. Maybe instead of four similar prospects, they may ask for one big prospect with one lesser prospect, or maybe the fourth player in this deal could be two other players. SUMMARY The Twins - and every team in baseball - want to find the next Gerrit Cole. Rockies ace Jon Gray has a lot of similarities to Gerrit Cole pre-trade, both statistically and in terms of stuff. The Twins - and every team in baseball - will need to attempt to evaluate if they have ways that could make Gray take the next step toward becoming an elite starter. Determine how much your team is willing to trade in exchange for Jon Gray (and then go-ahead and try to convince the Rockies that it is enough). Hope! Hey, just because there are similarities between pitchers (age, size, stats and stuff) does not necessarily mean that they will have the same success. There is a lot of luck involved. But Derek Falvey has a reputation for developing pitchers. Wes Johnson got a lot of credit for some of the Twins pitching successes and improvements in 2019. If nothing else, it’s fun to think about. Finding the next Gerrit Cole is half the battle. Helping him develop into that pitcher is another thing. Maybe there are red flags, concerns about Jon Gray specifically. Maybe there are other issues that the Twins need to factor and consider. We can’t know it all, but as fans, we’ve been waiting for a true Ace since Johan Santana.
  10. Initially saddled with a holdover manager, Falvey and Levine weren’t going to be able to make their mark from the start. They waded in the shallow end and allowed an acclimation process of sorts to take place. Prior to the 2019 season they jumped right off the high dive straight into the deep end. Regardless of the fanfare created by roster reinforcements, it was the infrastructure that seemed so valuable last winter. Having spent time down in Fort Myers for Spring Training, it was immediately evident that this collection was going to do things differently. The Twins can’t change how they’re viewed by potential free agents overnight, but they can position themselves as an industry leader other teams will quickly want to emulate. The former carries a significant monetary cost while the latter is generally accompanied by a level of commitment towards a strong belief in process. Over the past year Minnesota’s front office has reinvigorated the organization to levels it’s likely never seen. Without having yet signed any free agents, there’s been a flurry of activity from the Twins ranks this offseason. Something like five coaches will have been poached when the dust settles, and a five-year extension will have been handed out to the two head men. Those two combining realities are the defining moments of where Minnesota is now, and how they’ll want to operate in the future. Talent has been plucked from the organization to take promotions elsewhere, while the men who picked them for those roles are now tasked with getting it right again. There’s no denying that the Twins have a substantial amount of money to spend this offseason, and coming off a 101-win season, a responsibility to write those checks. What they also must get right is the replacements for the now goner developers of that talent, and a blueprint that continues to make the overall infrastructure an environment conducive of producing success. Minnesota should be looking to add everyone from Gerrit Cole to Anthony Rendon on the diamond over the next handful of months. Jim Pohlad also realizes that it’s equally important Falvey finds the next James Rowson, Jeremy Hefner, or Tanner Swanson as well. Coming over from an Indians organization that generated some steam as being progressive, the Twins head man has left no stone unturned. Plucking a pitching coach from the collegiate ranks and adding support staff based on success rather than tenure, it’s been in the advancements Minnesota has made that ultimately generated hot commodities for other big-league clubs. I’ll be the first to admit disappointment if a certain payroll threshold isn’t reached before Opening Day in 2020. I also believe that the Twins front office duo of Falvey and Levine are the best equipped to construct a process-oriented blueprint both on the field and off it. The Twins seem to believe this as well, evidenced by the lengthy pact made to the tandem, and that’s a very key development. With a window open, and execution at the forefront, I’m not sure we’ve ever had reason to feel so confident in a Minnesota Twins management group at any point in history. It will be on Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to hit on those beliefs, but for now, there’s no stopping this train. More from Twins Daily: Should the Twins Be In on Cole Hamels? Multiple Teams Are Interested in Kyle Gibson. Should the Twins Be? Quick Hitter: New Rules for 2020
  11. Despite Gerrit Cole putting together one of the greatest pitching performances of the last decade, he was defeated in the BBWAA award voting system by a numerically inferior pitcher. Should the BBWAA do away with their awards to avoid being repeatedly embarrassed by a small group of journalists who are unable to use basic resources such as Fangraphs? I am interested in all opinions!
  12. There should be no expense spared by the Minnesota front office this winter. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have suggested they’ll target impact pitching. Both Cole and Strasburg could be handed blank checks, and the end result may still be in them thumbing their nose at the prospect of playing in the Midwest. I’m very much a fan of what Zack Wheeler could be under the tutelage of Wes Johnson, but it’s the staff ace role that presents the most intrigue. Jose Berrios’ offseason workouts have become the thing of legend. From pulling trucks to flipping tires and doing rigorous beach circuits, there’s nothing that the Puerto Rican native won’t turn into an opportunity to break a sweat. This offseason though, the Twins have presented a new directive. As he left Twins Territory and headed home the plan was for a new training regimen to be instituted. While I have no idea what the specifics of that are, my guess would be that the intensity is likely decreased just a little bit. With the Twins pointed towards a division title as the 2019 season came to an end, Berrios went into August with a 2.80 ERA and capped off the year with a 3.68 mark. The final 10 starts included a 5.83 ERA and .835 OPS against. He surrendered 10 of his 26 homers and gave up an underwhelming 68 hits in 58.2 innings. Certainly, an ugly set of statistics, but it’s become relatively par for the (August) course for the 25-year-old. Now four years into his major league career Berrios owns a 5.96 August ERA and a 4.64 mark in September. Those months also include opposing slugging percentages of .811 and .741 respectively. Despite being from a much warmer climate, his career 3.69 ERA and .627 OPS against before May is light years more impressive. It doesn’t take much analysis to understand that the end of the season is when Berrios is at his absolute worst. From a conceptual standpoint I’d imagine that Minnesota’s plan for Jose this offseason is to find a routine that breeds sustainability. Rocco Baldelli doesn’t want to see his staff ace coming out of the gates flat, but he also needs to know that he’ll take the ball and be just as dominant down the stretch. Working on a routine that allows for endurance and an ability to avoid a breakdown will give pitching coach Wes Johnson a pitcher much more able to pave the way for the starting rotation. Avoiding velocity dips and ineffectiveness for significant periods, the pitcher Berrios was through July represented a talent worthy of Cy Young consideration. I don’t believe we’ve seen the best of Berrios yet, and that shouldn’t be groundbreaking given his youth. It’s on Minnesota to develop him toward taking the next step, and with Falvey’s track record in Cleveland, there should be belief they have the right man for the job. The Twins need to spend and acquire pitching this winter, but the sooner they can unlock their own ace, the better. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Not registered? Click here to create an account. To stay up to date, follow Twins Daily on Twitter and Facebook. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY The 2020 Offseason Handbook Is Now Available for Preorder! Dealing with Wheeler Gets Minnesota an Ace Twins Trade Targets: 4 Potential Starting Pitching Upgrades
  13. Everyone knows what the top of the market will look like. Gerrit Cole is going to command a return that could make even Mike Trout and Bryce Harper blush. He’s been nothing short of exceptional, just turned 29-years-old, and may still have another gear to reach. There’s no guarantee that Stephen Strasburg becomes the second premiere arm, but logic suggests he’ll opt out of the final four years and $100 million of his current deal. Every team in baseball should be tripping over themselves to offer these guys a payday. If the Twins aren’t in on them it’s a problem, but if they get turned down anyway, they’ll need to pivot. For the sake of this argument let’s assume that Derek Falvey offers either of those pitchers a blank check and neither takes the bait. All is not lost with Zack Wheeler still being in the picture. He’s not the arm either of those pitches is, and he is older than Cole, but the former Mets hurler may be the most underappreciated talent looking for a new home. A former first-round pick, Wheeler has been a model of consistency when healthy. In his three full seasons he’s pitched at least 180 innings with strong strikeout numbers and an ERA firmly in the mid-3’s. For New York in 2019 his ERA crept up to a 3.96 mark, but the 3.48 FIP suggests he was likely victimized by one of the worst defensive teams in baseball. Over the course of his career Wheeler has avoided the long ball and kept baserunners to a minimum. He’s not going to challenge for the league lead in strikeouts but the 195 in 2019 was a new career high. With the Mets he was consistently a 10% whiff rate thrower, and he’s expanded his chase rates each of the past two seasons. With an average fastball of 97.1 mph this past season, Wes Johnson should be salivating at the opportunity to take him to the next level. You can bet that the Twins have done a decent amount of background work on Wheeler already. They were in talks with Brodie Van Wagenen regarding Noah Syndergaard, and there’s no doubt that Zack’s name likely was added into the mix. Now costing only dollars, he doesn’t come with the price tag of coveted pieces from within the system. The ability to add a starter with his repertoire and upward projectability is a rare scenario, and one that Minnesota can’t miss on. Paying for pitching on the open market is largely a landmine of failed opportunity. Teams either find themselves looking to overextend for the best option or having to settle for a patchwork piece that doesn’t fit the mold. Developing pitching is the greatest path to sustainable success and being able to acquire someone like Wheeler who provides a fair mix of pay and future potential looks like a slam dunk. Gerrit Cole or Stephen Strasburg represent the outlier opportunity to add one of the 5-10 aces in baseball to your staff. Someone like Wheeler gives the Twins an avenue to have two aces of their staff and allow them to battle each other for that top spot.
  14. To set up some initial parameters here, we need to understand the financial situation. The Twins are coming off a $120MM payroll after a $130MM payroll in 2018. A 2020 payroll should check in at no less than $135MM, and more realistically hover around $140MM. From a commitment standpoint there’s only a first base and backup catcher role open for position players, and then there’s something like one or two bullpen opportunities. As was the title of his article, John pointed out that Minnesota has around $70 million to hand out in the form of starting pitching contracts. So, how does that break down? Looking at what is available on the market, and a baseline understanding of what acquisition cost will be, there’s certainly not an abundance of players that will command more than $25 million annually. Although there is never a shortage of Martin Perez-types that can be had for less than $10 million, Minnesota must be aiming higher. With Jose Berrios as a given, and one spot tabbed for an internal candidate (think Devin Smeltzer, Randy Dobnak, or Lewis Thorpe), the rotation gets remade with projectable talent. To break down options I categorized the three opportunities into different salary buckets. This is what I’ve come up with. SP1 ($25 million and up AAV)- Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Madison Bumgarner I believe this group to be completely represented by the names above. Strasburg is not a lock to opt out of his current deal, but with just $100 million left over the next four years he should cash in for a final big payday. Cole is the premiere target on the market, and while even a blank check may be thwarted by a more enticing market, there’s no excuse for Minnesota not to make their best effort. Bumgarner was not an appealing trade option at the deadline given the estimated return for a rental. He’s still not the pitcher he once was, but he’s only 30-years-old and proved his durability again this season. Competition for three arms that every team needs will be substantial, but the Twins are as well positioned as anyone to make it happen. SP2 ($15-25 million AAV)- Zack Wheeler, Dallas Keuchel, Hyun-Jin Ryu The youngster of this group is the former Mets pitcher Wheeler. He’ll pitch next season at the age of 30 and was one of the most intriguing names at the deadline. He wasn’t moved but posted strong numbers across the board and looks to be knocking on the door of another level. If the Twins are convinced Wes Johnson can provide the breakthrough, they should be all in. Keuchel has given Atlanta about what was expected, but most importantly has calmed health concerns. He’s not a velocity guy but saw and uptick in strikeouts. The new ball has burned him more than ever, but this is the type of two or three starter that a really good rotation employs. Eldest of the bunch is Ryu, who was fully healthy for the first time since 2013. Getting below 1.0 HR/9 in the toughest season to do so implies he really has no flaws, but it also comes down to belief in him going forward despite a track record of unavailability due to injuries. SP3 ($10-20 million AAV)- Alex Wood, Julio Teheran, Jose Quintana Only Wood is truly a free agent among this trio. Both Teheran and Quintana have team options that the Braves and Cubs respectively could pick up. For Wood, 2019 was a throwaway season due to back issues, so he comes with caution tape unless the medicals all check out. Teheran is a bigger name than he is talent, but there’s workable ability in his repertoire. Quintana would be returning to a familiar division, and while the Cubs could move on, his 3.80 FIP suggests the 4.58 ERA wasn’t truly indicative of the stuff. The Twins have two parting options that would both fit in this group as well. Michael Pineda pitched himself into a decent payday even with his suspension, and because of the games missed, he’ll likely offer an immediate discount. Jake Odorizzi could be handed a QO which would put him at the top of this range, but he should have no problem finding a longer-term pact that falls somewhere in the middle. I don’t believe the Twins will sign an arm from all three of these buckets given the likelihood for a trade being swung. If they did only hand out paychecks though, a strong trio can be formed from the group above. To say Cole is immediately out because he’d have to chose Minnesota seems dismissive. He’s a long shot, but money talks. If Gerrit turns you down, I’m more into Strasburg than Bumgarner, but I’d make sure one of them is cashing a check from 1 Twins Way. Wheeler is the most exciting name from the second group, and I believe he’s got another level yet to unlock. I’d round out the options by making sure that Jake Odorizzi never gives up the lease on whatever rental property he calls home in Minneapolis. Who would be the three arms you’re targeting to accomplish an acquisition from each pool above?
  15. On Monday, Rhett Bollinger of MLB wrote that the Minnesota Twins are still more likely to upgrade their pitching rotation for 2018 through free agency than by trade. And on Tuesday, MLB Trade Rumors reported off of a 1500 ESPN tweet that pitchers’ agents were getting the sense that the Twins (i.e., Derek Falvey and Thad Levine) were putting off talks until Yu Darvish announces his decision to sign. Reading between the lines, one can interpret these reports to mean that the Twins have not been in much communication with free agent pitchers waiting to sign contracts this offseason. But does an absence of communication mean that the Twins are failing to communicate? A story Thursday in the New York Times (h/t dougd) suggests that Levine is one of the more skilled baseball executives in using alternative means to communicate (such as text messaging) with players, agents, or other major league personnel. "...today, we negotiate hundreds of millions of dollars of contracts and make massive trades without ever picking up the phone and speaking directly with one another, let alone meeting face to face,” Levine said. “You kind of learn the personalities of guys—who needs a phone call, who can do it on text, who prefers emails, who likes to be lighthearted. "The art of the negotiation has almost been trumped by the art of communication." This makes the news that the Twins have not met in person with Darvish much easier to take. Meanwhile, back in December, the Twins were reportedly offered Gerrit Cole in exchange for prospects Nick Gordon, Zack Granite, and Tyler Jay, according to the news site Pirates Breakdown. https://twitter.com/pbcbreakdown/status/940390540998250497 Many Twins fans, including myself, liked this trade idea. (See here, here, here, or here —and the proposals offered by Twins fans in these threads were actually not far off the mark in terms of value.) The stat we know as WAR is not how we evaluate pitchers during the season, but it can be a good, broad gauge of general value. In terms of fWAR, the two sides of a Cole/Gordon/Granite trade match up well. Fangraphs projects Cole to provide 3.8 fWAR in 2018; let's add 3.8 fWAR more for 2019. That makes 7.6 fWAR for the final two team-controlled seasons of Cole coming from Pittsburgh. How much fWAR will the Twins prospects provide? The 2017 midseason KATOH+ projections estimate that Granite will contribute 6.8 fWAR through his six team-controlled MLB seasons, while Gordon will accumulate 6.3 worth of fWAR across his six seasons. Throw in a generous 2.0 fWAR for Jay as a relief pitcher, and the total contribution of the prospects coming from the Twins is 15.1 fWAR. In such a Gerrit Cole trade as proposed above, the Twins would trade away a future 15.1 fWAR in exchange for Cole’s 7.6 fWAR as a starter for the next two seasons. That looks unequal, but posters on the Dozier trade discussion threads last winter found that MLB-for-prospect trades often lean heavily to one side in this way. A risk premium on the speculative nature of unpredictable prospects, perhaps. In any case, the barstool argument in favor of the trade may be more effective than the mathematical or financial analysis. Gordon and Granite are good players, but their production can be replaced. The Twins have Jermaine Palacios and Royce Lewis playing shortstop in the minors behind Nick Gordon, and have Jorge Polanco and other capable shortstops on the Major League team already. As for Granite, I would not count on him getting enough playing time to contribute much fWAR anyway, the maturing young Twins outfield being what it is. And the bottom line is the Twins badly need starting pitching in 2018. Now compare Cole to Darvish. Fangraphs projects Cole for 3.8 fWAR in 2018, while Darvish is projected only for 3.6 fWAR in 2018. Consider that Darvish’s contract will fetch more than $20 million per season for each of the next five or six seasons; Cole will not earn $20 million over the next two seasons together. Moreover, Cole might be motivated to pitch his best in order to increase his value in free agency following 2019. Through the quiet offseason to this point, and assuming Pittsburgh is still interested in a trade, Cole has looked like a solid alternative to Yu Darvish, maybe even better. Cole is younger and will not tie up salary beyond 2019, and might even present a July trade opportunity for the Twins if the 2019 season goes sideways. Beyond 2018 and 2019, the success of the Twins will depend on their ability to develop their own starting pitching. Darvish might help win some games in future seasons, but those wins will cost a lot of money, and possibly at the expense of extending one or two of the Twins young outfielders. Levine’s "negotiation" with Darvish this winter has put me at ease somewhat. Levine's knowledge of Darvish from their days in Texas suggests to me that the Twins are not concerned about Darvish’s health, nor his motivation to pitch after he signs this nine-figure deal. And a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow; figure on that annual salary at the end of Darvish’s contract to not look so bad as it does now, once those latter years finally arrive. I still prefer a trade for Cole, combined perhaps with a signing of Alex Cobb. But if the Twins really do sign Darvish — and my gut gives them a better than 50/50 chance at it — I imagine I will be amazed, thrilled, and fired up for the 2018 season. Such a signing will instantly put Minnesota almost on par with most other teams in the American League, and will give them a dependable arm for the next several seasons. But it's Darvish’s decision to make. If Levine has misjudged Darvish and Darvish chooses to sign with another team, and other subsequent options fail to break for the Twins, the Twins would find themselves going into 2018 without the addition of a single starting pitcher. For a young, talented team that made a strong run in 2017, this would be quite a blow. To borrow a great metaphor from another TwinsDaily poster in another thread, the Twins are playing a game of musical chairs, and if Darvish signs with another team, the Twins might find themselves without a chair when the music stops. Let's hope the personal relationship and commitment Thad Levine and Yu Darvish have together is real. My gut tells me it is.
  16. Two avenues exist when it comes to acquiring external talent in baseball. After you’ve developed your own players, bringing in reinforcements requires some sort of capital. Organizations can decide if that’s done through a cash transaction on the free agent market, or if it makes more sense to utilize a farm system and explore a swap including prospect capital. The Twins have now been presented with opportunities to go down both paths in the past calendar year and have taken neither thus far. That decision looms but isn’t yet one they should be criticized for not making. Prior to 2018 theTwins' front office offered a $100 million contract to former Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish. It went terribly in year one with the Chicago Cubs for the 31-year-old, and aside from the current stretch of strength, year two has followed a similar path. Bullet dodged or otherwise, Darvish was representative of a free agent ace that Minnesota pursued. The second path came in the form of a controllable starter. The ask for Marcus Stroman was both top Twins prospects, while the Mets wanted Byron Buxton to headline a return for Thor. Both of those proposals were intelligently declined, but the conversations are indicative of the timing trending right. Looking at the 2019 season so far, it’s fair to suggest that the Twins push all their chips forward. That notion would be shortsighted however and effectively negate much of the strong foundation built by Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. The AL Central is a poor division, and Minnesota is on a collision course with 100 wins, but opportunity doesn’t seem to be tied solely to the current season. Postseason baseball is about good teams getting hot and spurning a consistent seasons-long run for the sake of an impulse buy doesn’t seem a smart move. Blueprints designed by good teams like the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros are often referenced when hoping for that next World Series trophy. It’s in truly understanding how those teams were built that outlines a process Minnesota can follow. Joe Maddon took over as Cubs manager in 2015. He was coming to an organization that had the fifth best farm system in baseball the year prior and was ready to take the next step. The North-Siders won 97 games that year (good enough for just third in the NL Central) en route to an appearance in the NLCS. They were swept in four games by the New York Mets and had a winter to mull things over. A 63-41 record at the 2016 trade deadline saw them get better as they swung a massive trade to nab Aroldis Chapman from the Yankees for Gleyber Torres. That team went on to win 103 games and take the World Series by a tally of four games to three. They have won 90+ games in the two years since and are well positioned for a fifth straight postseason in 2019. Houston went from Bo Porter to A.J. Hinch prior to the 2015 season. Hinch joined an organization coming off a 92-loss season, but with the third best farm system in baseball. The Astros popped up with an ALDS defeat following an 86-win campaign in his first year. 2016 was a slight step back winning just 84 games, and then 2017 opportunity knocked again. Owning a 69-36 record with a mature big-league roster, Jeff Lunhow struck a trade to acquire Justin Verlander. Houston won 101 games and the World Series in 2017. Another big move was made that winter when Gerrit Cole was netted from the Pirates, and Houston turned their 103-win season into an ALCS defeat. During 2019 the Astros look like the odds-on favorites in the American League. In both of those examples we can see a successful organization making an impact move. Neither of them did so prior to a strong infrastructure being in place, a level of consistency being established, and future benefit also being somewhat certain. Even after the Astros swung the third straight blockbuster, this year for Zack Greinke, they have just a 27.9% chance to win the World Series. Obviously, that’s exponentially more than most of the competition, but it still places them at less than a one in three opportunity. What that highlights is that banking on postseason success still involves a significant amount of luck. Minnesota’s front office is still going to need to decide which avenue of player acquisition they’ll be committing to. There’s a good deal of roster turnover expected to take place over the offseason, and while the core remains intact, figuring out the key additions is a must. The Twins probably aren’t ever going to be able to outspend the competition, and Gerrit Cole is likely the only arm worthy of a big payday. They could absolutely swing a big trade though, and by showing patience this year they’ll have the assets necessary at a much more opportune time. Rocco Baldelli will return as an established manager next season, his support system will remain strong, and Minnesota will have aspirations raised substantially higher than they were entering the 2019 season. Assuming everything follows suit, it’s year two in a window of prolonged contention that a dive into the deep end should be explored. Hoarding prospects is great until the system bears fruit, but then graduating or utilizing them to extend a championship window as long as possible becomes the focus. Being a team like the Astros or Cubs is far more fulfilling for a fanbase than the prospects of a pop-up title and years back in the doldrums (a la Kansas City). The time is coming for the big splash. It wasn’t this summer, but it very well may be the next.
  17. Respond to as many as you like. Just curious what people think is an expected return for the below players (All have some degree of availability via trade). SP Gerrit Cole – 2 Years of Team Control 2018 (28) – Arbitration 2 2019 (29) – Arbitration 3 SP Chris Archer – 4 Years of Team Control 2018 (30) - $6.25 M 2019 (31) - $7.50 M 2020 (32) - $8.25 M Team Option 2021 (33) - $8.25 M Team Option SP Jake Odorizzi – 2 Years of Team Control 2018 (28) – Arbitration 2 2019 (29) – Arbitration 3 SP Dan Straily – 3 Years of Team Control 2018 (29) – Arbitration 1 2019 (30) – Arbitration 2 2020 (31) – Arbitration 3 SP Marcus Stroman – 3 Years of Team Control 2018 (27) – Arbitration 2 2019 (28) – Arbitration 3 2020 (29) – Arbitration 4 RP Kelvin Herrera – 1 Year of Team Control 2018 (28) – Arbitration 4 RP Raisal Iglesias - 3 Years of Team Control 2018 (28) - $4.5 M 2019 (29) - $5.0 M 2020 (30) - $5.0 M RP Zach Britton - 1 Year of Team Control 2018 (30) – Arbitration 3 RP Justin Wilson - 1 Year of Team Control 2018 (31) – Arbitration 3 RP Dellin Betances – 2 Years of Team Control 2018 (30) – Arbitration 2 2019 (31) – Arbitration 3 RP Felipe Rivero – 4 Years of Team Control 2018 (27) – Arbitration 1 2019 (28) – Arbitration 2 2020 (29) – Arbitration 3 2021 (30) – Arbitration 4 RP Brad Brach – 1 Year of Team Control 2018 (32) – Arbitration 3 RP Brad Hand – 2 Years of Team Control 2018 (28) – Arbitration 2 2019 (29) – Arbitration 3 RP Ken Giles – 3 Years of Team Control 2018 (28) – Arbitration 1 2019 (29) – Arbitration 2 2020 (30) – Arbitration 3
  18. The Twins have two options if they would like to acquire a top-level starting pitcher. They can give up money, a lot of money, to acquire a top free agent starter. It would likely also cost a draft pick. The other option to acquire a starting pitcher is via trade which, of course, costs a number of top prospects. FREE AGENTS Yu Darvish is the big name on the free agent market. He's clearly the top starting pitcher available. The cost for Darvish would be either five or six years at somewhere around $23-26 million per year. Jake Arrieta has won a Cy Young, and he's been good, but there are several question marks surrounding him this offseason after a "tough" year with the Cubs in 2017. Regardless, he's going to get three or four years and at least $20 million per season, probably more. Those are the top two free agent starting pitchers, but two others are getting a lot of talk and a lot of interest. Lance Lynn is going to get three or four years and $18-20 million per season. Alex Cobb is also going to get three to five years, and he will get between $17-21 million. The fact that the Cubs are interested in Cobb will likely push those dollars to the upper end of that range. All four of them would cost the Twins a draft pick. THE TRADE MARKET We've heard some of the same trade candidates mentioned since the trade deadline. Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole are, well, if they're not Aces, they're upper tier starters, guys we would be happy to have at the top of the Twins rotation. But what might the cost be? Early on Tuesday morning, a tweet from Pirates Breakdown caught my attention. I don't know much about the site, though a quick glimpse and it looks great. And I don't know whether or not this 'source' is legit of not. What I do know is that it does make sense for a conversation starter. Whether it is for Gerrit Cole, or a similar trade for Chris Archer, it's enough to keep the trade talks going. https://twitter.com/pbcbreakdown/status/940390540998250497 As much as I hate seeing prospects traded, I think even I would make that trade for Gerrit Cole. Nick Gordon is a top three Twins prospect regardless of the ranking source. I had him ranked as the Twins #3 prospect last week. To acquire a pitcher of Gerrit Cole's caliber will require a top prospect. As much as I like Gordon and believe in his future, there are still some question marks about his offensive potential and whether he can stay at shortstop. Likewise, Tyler Jay can be a star bullpen arm if healthy. But again, if his role is going to be out of the bullpen, the Twins can replace those 65 innings per year with other internal options or on the free agent market. Zack Granite can be a solid starter in the outfield and can definitely roam center field for a team. With the Twins current roster, he would be the fourth outfielder, capable of playing all three outfield spots, taking quality at-bats, etc. I don't know if this package would be enough to get the Pirates to pull the trigger, but this is a deal that I would make. What do you think? I generally have this assumption that if I personally would be willing to make a theoretical trade then the other team (the Pirates in this case) would probably want more. For instance, I would think they might want a top pitching prospect (Stephen Gonsalves or Fernando Romero) to go with their current crop of young, talented pitchers (Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Chad Kuhl, Ivan Nova, Trevor Williams, etc.). But maybe they like that young core of pitchers and want to build up their lineup with two guys who could, in time, hit at the top of their lineup. Cole is a Boras client who made $3.75 million in 2017, his first year of arbitration. He will likely make $7-8 million in 2018, and maybe $10-12 million in 2019 before becoming a free agent. So, the Twins would likely need to pay him $17-20 million over two years. Chris Archer will make $6.25 million in 2018 and $7.5 million in 2019. There is a club option for 2020 at $9.0 million ($1.75 million buyout) and a second club option for 2021 at $11.0 million ($0.25 million buyout). The Twins would likely end up paying him $33.75 million over four years. The Twins need pitching and need starting pitching. What direction would you prefer to go, free agency or the trade route? Besides Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole, what other pitchers would you like to see the Twins contemplate acquiring?
  19. The Winter Meetings are an interesting event, particularly for fans. There are a multitude of rumors, and we need to sift through them to find out which are real and which are just talk. Monday was fairly quiet on the Twins rumor front, but maybe Tuesday will get things going. If nothing else, an early-morning tweet got my mind running. It's no secret that the Twins are going to have a lot of discussions in Orlando this week with teams and agents in a search for an upper echelon pitcher. What are the options and what could a trade cost the Twins in terms of prospects?The Twins have two options if they would like to acquire a top-level starting pitcher. They can give up money, a lot of money, to acquire a top free agent starter. It would likely also cost a draft pick. The other option to acquire a starting pitcher is via trade which, of course, costs a number of top prospects. FREE AGENTS Yu Darvish is the big name on the free agent market. He's clearly the top starting pitcher available. The cost for Darvish would be either five or six years at somewhere around $23-26 million per year. Jake Arrieta has won a Cy Young, and he's been good, but there are several question marks surrounding him this offseason after a "tough" year with the Cubs in 2017. Regardless, he's going to get three or four years and at least $20 million per season, probably more. Those are the top two free agent starting pitchers, but two others are getting a lot of talk and a lot of interest. Lance Lynn is going to get three or four years and $18-20 million per season. Alex Cobb is also going to get three to five years, and he will get between $17-21 million. The fact that the Cubs are interested in Cobb will likely push those dollars to the upper end of that range. All four of them would cost the Twins a draft pick. THE TRADE MARKET We've heard some of the same trade candidates mentioned since the trade deadline. Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole are, well, if they're not Aces, they're upper tier starters, guys we would be happy to have at the top of the Twins rotation. But what might the cost be? Early on Tuesday morning, a tweet from Pirates Breakdown caught my attention. I don't know much about the site, though a quick glimpse and it looks great. And I don't know whether or not this 'source' is legit of not. What I do know is that it does make sense for a conversation starter. Whether it is for Gerrit Cole, or a similar trade for Chris Archer, it's enough to keep the trade talks going. As much as I hate seeing prospects traded, I think even I would make that trade for Gerrit Cole. Nick Gordon is a top three Twins prospect regardless of the ranking source. I had him ranked as the Twins #3 prospect last week. To acquire a pitcher of Gerrit Cole's caliber will require a top prospect. As much as I like Gordon and believe in his future, there are still some question marks about his offensive potential and whether he can stay at shortstop. Likewise, Tyler Jay can be a star bullpen arm if healthy. But again, if his role is going to be out of the bullpen, the Twins can replace those 65 innings per year with other internal options or on the free agent market. Zack Granite can be a solid starter in the outfield and can definitely roam center field for a team. With the Twins current roster, he would be the fourth outfielder, capable of playing all three outfield spots, taking quality at-bats, etc. I don't know if this package would be enough to get the Pirates to pull the trigger, but this is a deal that I would make. What do you think? I generally have this assumption that if I personally would be willing to make a theoretical trade then the other team (the Pirates in this case) would probably want more. For instance, I would think they might want a top pitching prospect (Stephen Gonsalves or Fernando Romero) to go with their current crop of young, talented pitchers (Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Chad Kuhl, Ivan Nova, Trevor Williams, etc.). But maybe they like that young core of pitchers and want to build up their lineup with two guys who could, in time, hit at the top of their lineup. Cole is a Boras client who made $3.75 million in 2017, his first year of arbitration. He will likely make $7-8 million in 2018, and maybe $10-12 million in 2019 before becoming a free agent. So, the Twins would likely need to pay him $17-20 million over two years. Chris Archer will make $6.25 million in 2018 and $7.5 million in 2019. There is a club option for 2020 at $9.0 million ($1.75 million buyout) and a second club option for 2021 at $11.0 million ($0.25 million buyout). The Twins would likely end up paying him $33.75 million over four years. The Twins need pitching and need starting pitching. What direction would you prefer to go, free agency or the trade route? Besides Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole, what other pitchers would you like to see the Twins contemplate acquiring? Click here to view the article
  20. First and foremost, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine sent a message that they intend to be active in the coming weeks and months. In leaving prospects like Jake Reed, Kohl Stewart and Lewin Diaz unprotected from the Rule 5 draft, they also kept four open spots on the 40-man roster. It stands to reason that those spots could be used on more immediate solutions, and potentially, players with higher ceilings. Suggesting that the Twins have four free agents in mind to take the openings is a bad bet, but the flexibility tells us the ball is rolling. Guys like Cole and Odorizzi aren’t going to come cheap. They’ve had real success at the big league level and remain under team control going forward. There’s no doubt other names are being talked about, and if they are cut from the same cloth, the Twins won’t be able to simply pry away, at low cost, a player or two. Despite the farm system not being what it was a year or two ago, Minnesota actually has a nice stockpile of options to move, so let’s take a look at some of them. The Shortstops: This group may be among the most impressive collections in all of baseball. Both Nick Gordon and Royce Lewis are top 100 prospects, while Wander Javier is going to quickly shoot up prospect lists in the next few months. Add in names like Jermaine Palacios and Luis Arraez (more of a 2B), and you’ve got a quality collection of talent. If I’m an opposing club, this is a group that provides plenty of intrigue. If I’m the Twins, Lewis is probably the only player that’s off limits. The Arms: Although the Twins need pitching at the big league level, you can bet any deal for a true MLB starter is going to cost a prospect in return. Stephen Gonsalves and Fernando Romero are the cream of the Minnesota crop, while Felix Jorge and Brusdar Graterol may be the next men up. The Twins added to the system in the form of names like Enlow, Littell, Leach and Watson over the past year, but it remains an area that any club is looking to build out. Gonsalves appears MLB ready now, and Romero should command a hefty ransom, but an acquisition with a proven track record may be enticing enough to move any of these names. The Bats: If we’re excluding the depth the Twins have in the middle of the infield on the farm, the offensive side of things takes a bit of a dip. Brent Rooker looks like a stud, and should soon be penciled in to big league lineups in Minnesota. Behind him however, things get a bit more uncertain. Diaz could skate through the Rule 5 draft having not played above Single-A, or the club could look to deal him first. Alex Kirilloff is a presence at the plate, but is coming off a lost season due to injury. Travis Blankenhorn looks the part of a sleeper prospect, and he could be joined by LaMonte Wade or 2017 pick Andrew Bechtold. Kirilloff seems like the most expendable asset here given the likelihood he moves the needle for an opposing club, but in this group there likely is not a cornerstone in any potential deal. The Bigs: Should the Twins be targeting major league ready talent, they may find themselves needing to give up some proven commodities as well. On such a young team, that’s a scary proposition, as the vast majority see their prime’s lying ahead of them. Eddie Rosario was a trade candidate prior to his breakout 2017, and Max Kepler may still be despite seeing his value sag. Minnesota could flip Jorge Polanco if there’s more belief in the farm options as well. As a whole however, plucking from this group seems like it could definitely come back to bite the hometown team. No matter what moves the Twins make, there’s no such thing as getting talent without giving it up. Falvey and Levine are going to have to make hard decisions in acquiring players from another organization. While it’s just money on the free agent market, there’s more to be had through a potential trade. Trusting in evaluations of both their internal assets as well as what they’ll be receiving is obviously integral to the process. Personally, I’d prefer to see the Twins dangle some combination built around Gordon or Kirilloff, maybe even getting interesting with international bonus money used. While doling out big paydays has become the norm, finding competitive advantages will always need to be the Twins plan of attack. The hot stove is warming up, and I’d be surprised if we don’t hear some of these scenarios begin to be speculated upon.
  21. Recent reports have suggested that the Twins may be interested in using the trade market to handle some roster moves this winter. Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reported that Minnesota has called on names like Gerrit Cole and Jake Odorizzi. Meanwhile, Darren Wolfson of KSTP noted that he sees it more likely Minnesota will use the trade market to strike a deal. With these reports in mind, what do the Twins have to offer?First and foremost, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine sent a message that they intend to be active in the coming weeks and months. In leaving prospects like Jake Reed, Kohl Stewart and Lewin Diaz unprotected from the Rule 5 draft, they also kept four open spots on the 40-man roster. It stands to reason that those spots could be used on more immediate solutions, and potentially, players with higher ceilings. Suggesting that the Twins have four free agents in mind to take the openings is a bad bet, but the flexibility tells us the ball is rolling. Guys like Cole and Odorizzi aren’t going to come cheap. They’ve had real success at the big league level and remain under team control going forward. There’s no doubt other names are being talked about, and if they are cut from the same cloth, the Twins won’t be able to simply pry away, at low cost, a player or two. Despite the farm system not being what it was a year or two ago, Minnesota actually has a nice stockpile of options to move, so let’s take a look at some of them. The Shortstops: This group may be among the most impressive collections in all of baseball. Both Nick Gordon and Royce Lewis are top 100 prospects, while Wander Javier is going to quickly shoot up prospect lists in the next few months. Add in names like Jermaine Palacios and Luis Arraez (more of a 2B), and you’ve got a quality collection of talent. If I’m an opposing club, this is a group that provides plenty of intrigue. If I’m the Twins, Lewis is probably the only player that’s off limits. The Arms: Although the Twins need pitching at the big league level, you can bet any deal for a true MLB starter is going to cost a prospect in return. Stephen Gonsalves and Fernando Romero are the cream of the Minnesota crop, while Felix Jorge and Brusdar Graterol may be the next men up. The Twins added to the system in the form of names like Enlow, Littell, Leach and Watson over the past year, but it remains an area that any club is looking to build out. Gonsalves appears MLB ready now, and Romero should command a hefty ransom, but an acquisition with a proven track record may be enticing enough to move any of these names. The Bats: If we’re excluding the depth the Twins have in the middle of the infield on the farm, the offensive side of things takes a bit of a dip. Brent Rooker looks like a stud, and should soon be penciled in to big league lineups in Minnesota. Behind him however, things get a bit more uncertain. Diaz could skate through the Rule 5 draft having not played above Single-A, or the club could look to deal him first. Alex Kirilloff is a presence at the plate, but is coming off a lost season due to injury. Travis Blankenhorn looks the part of a sleeper prospect, and he could be joined by LaMonte Wade or 2017 pick Andrew Bechtold. Kirilloff seems like the most expendable asset here given the likelihood he moves the needle for an opposing club, but in this group there likely is not a cornerstone in any potential deal. The Bigs: Should the Twins be targeting major league ready talent, they may find themselves needing to give up some proven commodities as well. On such a young team, that’s a scary proposition, as the vast majority see their prime’s lying ahead of them. Eddie Rosario was a trade candidate prior to his breakout 2017, and Max Kepler may still be despite seeing his value sag. Minnesota could flip Jorge Polanco if there’s more belief in the farm options as well. As a whole however, plucking from this group seems like it could definitely come back to bite the hometown team. No matter what moves the Twins make, there’s no such thing as getting talent without giving it up. Falvey and Levine are going to have to make hard decisions in acquiring players from another organization. While it’s just money on the free agent market, there’s more to be had through a potential trade. Trusting in evaluations of both their internal assets as well as what they’ll be receiving is obviously integral to the process. Personally, I’d prefer to see the Twins dangle some combination built around Gordon or Kirilloff, maybe even getting interesting with international bonus money used. While doling out big paydays has become the norm, finding competitive advantages will always need to be the Twins plan of attack. The hot stove is warming up, and I’d be surprised if we don’t hear some of these scenarios begin to be speculated upon. Click here to view the article
  22. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/Ep_345_Protected_Prospects_and_Extension_Candidates.mp3
  23. Aaron and John talk about 40-man roster additions and unprotected prospects, a couple of juicy baseball trade rumors for young aces, the Minnesota Twins' history in the Rule 5 MLB draft, targeting contract extensions for Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and more, what to do with Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer after next season, payroll optimism and pessimism, Jason Castro one year later, and remembering Terry Doyle. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Click here to view the article
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