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  1. The trade deadline is fast approaching, and Twins Daily has explored many of the teams that the Twins could potentially trade with. Let's take a shot at putting all of those puzzle pieces together and preview what the organization could look like when the dust settles. The Twins made their first big move sending Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay in exchange for two pitching prospects. There were reports over the weekend that Byron Buxton won't be signing a contract extension with the club and rumors of willingness to listen on team-controlled players such as Jose Berrios, Taylor Rogers, and Max Kepler. So, where do we go from here? We're going to start with the players on expiring contracts. Trade Andrelton Simmons to the Reds for SS Gus Steiger. Steiger, who is from Minnetonka and played collegiately at South Dakota State, signed with the Reds as an undrafted free agent in 2020 and would provide organizational depth in Fort Myers. The Twins would send no cash in the deal, leaving the Reds on the hook for the remaining $3.5 million on Simmons' contract. Trade Michael Pineda to the Astros for P Misaell Tamarez. Tamarez has less than 75 professional innings under his belt and has a walk rate over six, but he also strikes out more than a hitter per inning and has some ceiling. Tamarez would join the Fort Myers staff, where he could start or relieve. The Twins would get all of next year to evaluate Tamarez before deciding whether or not to add him to the 40-man roster. Pineda has $3.4 million left on his contract, which the Astros would pick up. I'd also expect Big Mike to be back with the Twins on a two-year deal this offseason. Trade Hansel Robles to the Red Sox for RP Durbin Feltman. Boston will give up Feltman, who may help in a bullpen someday, for Robles, who will help them in the bullpen for the rest of the year. Robles is owed less than $700,000 for the remainder of the year. Feltman, who has seen his velocity dip since turning pro in 2018, is the type of prospect on who the Twins could take a chance. If they can unlock some of that lost velocity, there is a chance he could be added to the 40-man when first eligible this upcoming offseason. Trade J.A. Happ to the Phillies for a PTBNL or cash. Happ broke into the big leagues with Philadelphia in 2007 and can provide rotational depth. The return for Happ would likely be a little bit of cash to offset his contract. He's still owed just shy of $3 million. The Twins would stay on the hook for almost all of that. The only other impending free agent is Alex Colome, who has been bad this year. If there's a team interested, he could be had for a meager price. Even if the Twins pay the remainder of his salary, the return will be low… in fact, it would be a win if someone else would be responsible for buying out his option. Before going on to the next - and definitely more debatable - part, one thing that needs to be discussed (because it will get a lot of consideration) is the 40-man roster. Except for Drew Strotman, none of the actual or projected returns to this point include someone on the 40-man roster. The Twins also have five players on the 60-day IL that will need to be activated this offseason. Now, granted, the roster has several fringe-40-man players that can be removed, but the organization has to be very careful about the position they put themselves in with acquiring players. Part of the reason Tampa Bay was ok giving up two of their top prospects for Cruz likely had to do with the crunch they were going to face this offseason. (They probably would have lost Strotman on outright waivers.) Just by my quick estimation, there are eight players (seven pitchers!) that I think are more likely to get added to the 40-man than not either later this season or in the offseason. If the Twins are going to rebuild, they would be wise to acquire prospects who are at least a year away from needing to be added to the 40-man roster. Whatever Taylor Rogers did to his finger last night puts his status on the trade market in question. If healthy - and if I were calling the shots - I would have him very available. But for this exercise, he will remain with the Twins. I'm not going to trade Josh Donaldson either. My stance would be that I would make him available, but I want a fair prospect return. The money complicates that. The Twins, in my opinion, will move Donaldson if someone is willing to take on the remainder of his contract. That will minimize the return. Josh Donaldson is too good of a baseball player just to give away. I'll listen on Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco, but I don't see either getting moved. Kenta Maeda as well. For an overpay, I'd move every one of them. Now for the big dogs… Not only do I think Byron Buxton will not be moved, I believe a whirlwind Trade Deadline Week is going to be capped off with a Byron Buxton extension. Maybe it won't be Friday because the front office will be busy. But soon enough that the fanbase won't be able to check out for the year. Jose Berrios is a different story. Even a week ago, I wasn't convinced that Berrios was going anywhere. Now I've done a complete 180 and think there is no way he's not traded. And there's going to be a market. Take your pick… San Diego is aggressive, has prospects, and is forward-thinking enough to pull off another blockbuster. Would they include any of their four top prospects? Would MacKenzie Gore, who's been a mess lately, even be enough? Or would the Twins shoot for the injured CJ Abrams or Robert Hassell? Could the Twins bring back Eric Hosmer's bad contract to help the Padres out financially and ask for another top prospect too? The Dodgers don't want to share the spotlight. Is it really a possibility that they offer Dustin May? If so, that is a conversation that needs to be had. Maybe the Giants won't want to be outdone, and though they can't offer a top-end pitching prospect, they do have prospect currency, including SS Marco Luciano and C Joey Bart. There should be enough interest that the Twins don't have to settle for prospects that aren't in the top tier. The AL East is also worth watching. Toronto (P Nate Pearson and SS Austin Martin) and New York (P Deivi Garcia) would both be able to move the needle. The NL East is just as interesting. The Mets have the prospects, but all are a few promotions from the major yet. (Plus, Kevin Mulvey is no longer available.) The Braves could be a match. So what would I do….? I'd call Trader Jerry and make a deal with the Mariners. The basic framework would be Jose Berrios for P George Kirby. Kirby is a Top 20 prospect and hasn't reached AA yet (but will soon). The Mariners are also in the market for an infielder. Does expanding the deal to include Jorge Polanco make sense? Would the Mariners have any interest in taking on Josh Donaldson? Does DiPoto want to roll the dice on Taylor Rogers being ready soon and helping out down the stretch? It would be hard to bet against the Mets, Dodgers, Padres, or Yankees in a bidding war, but the Mariners are a longshot who could make the best deal for both teams. Maybe the holes these trades would create would have to be filled internally, which may not seem to scream "we're competing in 2022," but in a season with so many questions and so few answers, do we really want to be tricked into thinking that's possible anyway? View full article
  2. The Twins made their first big move sending Nelson Cruz to Tampa Bay in exchange for two pitching prospects. There were reports over the weekend that Byron Buxton won't be signing a contract extension with the club and rumors of willingness to listen on team-controlled players such as Jose Berrios, Taylor Rogers, and Max Kepler. So, where do we go from here? We're going to start with the players on expiring contracts. Trade Andrelton Simmons to the Reds for SS Gus Steiger. Steiger, who is from Minnetonka and played collegiately at South Dakota State, signed with the Reds as an undrafted free agent in 2020 and would provide organizational depth in Fort Myers. The Twins would send no cash in the deal, leaving the Reds on the hook for the remaining $3.5 million on Simmons' contract. Trade Michael Pineda to the Astros for P Misaell Tamarez. Tamarez has less than 75 professional innings under his belt and has a walk rate over six, but he also strikes out more than a hitter per inning and has some ceiling. Tamarez would join the Fort Myers staff, where he could start or relieve. The Twins would get all of next year to evaluate Tamarez before deciding whether or not to add him to the 40-man roster. Pineda has $3.4 million left on his contract, which the Astros would pick up. I'd also expect Big Mike to be back with the Twins on a two-year deal this offseason. Trade Hansel Robles to the Red Sox for RP Durbin Feltman. Boston will give up Feltman, who may help in a bullpen someday, for Robles, who will help them in the bullpen for the rest of the year. Robles is owed less than $700,000 for the remainder of the year. Feltman, who has seen his velocity dip since turning pro in 2018, is the type of prospect on who the Twins could take a chance. If they can unlock some of that lost velocity, there is a chance he could be added to the 40-man when first eligible this upcoming offseason. Trade J.A. Happ to the Phillies for a PTBNL or cash. Happ broke into the big leagues with Philadelphia in 2007 and can provide rotational depth. The return for Happ would likely be a little bit of cash to offset his contract. He's still owed just shy of $3 million. The Twins would stay on the hook for almost all of that. The only other impending free agent is Alex Colome, who has been bad this year. If there's a team interested, he could be had for a meager price. Even if the Twins pay the remainder of his salary, the return will be low… in fact, it would be a win if someone else would be responsible for buying out his option. Before going on to the next - and definitely more debatable - part, one thing that needs to be discussed (because it will get a lot of consideration) is the 40-man roster. Except for Drew Strotman, none of the actual or projected returns to this point include someone on the 40-man roster. The Twins also have five players on the 60-day IL that will need to be activated this offseason. Now, granted, the roster has several fringe-40-man players that can be removed, but the organization has to be very careful about the position they put themselves in with acquiring players. Part of the reason Tampa Bay was ok giving up two of their top prospects for Cruz likely had to do with the crunch they were going to face this offseason. (They probably would have lost Strotman on outright waivers.) Just by my quick estimation, there are eight players (seven pitchers!) that I think are more likely to get added to the 40-man than not either later this season or in the offseason. If the Twins are going to rebuild, they would be wise to acquire prospects who are at least a year away from needing to be added to the 40-man roster. Whatever Taylor Rogers did to his finger last night puts his status on the trade market in question. If healthy - and if I were calling the shots - I would have him very available. But for this exercise, he will remain with the Twins. I'm not going to trade Josh Donaldson either. My stance would be that I would make him available, but I want a fair prospect return. The money complicates that. The Twins, in my opinion, will move Donaldson if someone is willing to take on the remainder of his contract. That will minimize the return. Josh Donaldson is too good of a baseball player just to give away. I'll listen on Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco, but I don't see either getting moved. Kenta Maeda as well. For an overpay, I'd move every one of them. Now for the big dogs… Not only do I think Byron Buxton will not be moved, I believe a whirlwind Trade Deadline Week is going to be capped off with a Byron Buxton extension. Maybe it won't be Friday because the front office will be busy. But soon enough that the fanbase won't be able to check out for the year. Jose Berrios is a different story. Even a week ago, I wasn't convinced that Berrios was going anywhere. Now I've done a complete 180 and think there is no way he's not traded. And there's going to be a market. Take your pick… San Diego is aggressive, has prospects, and is forward-thinking enough to pull off another blockbuster. Would they include any of their four top prospects? Would MacKenzie Gore, who's been a mess lately, even be enough? Or would the Twins shoot for the injured CJ Abrams or Robert Hassell? Could the Twins bring back Eric Hosmer's bad contract to help the Padres out financially and ask for another top prospect too? The Dodgers don't want to share the spotlight. Is it really a possibility that they offer Dustin May? If so, that is a conversation that needs to be had. Maybe the Giants won't want to be outdone, and though they can't offer a top-end pitching prospect, they do have prospect currency, including SS Marco Luciano and C Joey Bart. There should be enough interest that the Twins don't have to settle for prospects that aren't in the top tier. The AL East is also worth watching. Toronto (P Nate Pearson and SS Austin Martin) and New York (P Deivi Garcia) would both be able to move the needle. The NL East is just as interesting. The Mets have the prospects, but all are a few promotions from the major yet. (Plus, Kevin Mulvey is no longer available.) The Braves could be a match. So what would I do….? I'd call Trader Jerry and make a deal with the Mariners. The basic framework would be Jose Berrios for P George Kirby. Kirby is a Top 20 prospect and hasn't reached AA yet (but will soon). The Mariners are also in the market for an infielder. Does expanding the deal to include Jorge Polanco make sense? Would the Mariners have any interest in taking on Josh Donaldson? Does DiPoto want to roll the dice on Taylor Rogers being ready soon and helping out down the stretch? It would be hard to bet against the Mets, Dodgers, Padres, or Yankees in a bidding war, but the Mariners are a longshot who could make the best deal for both teams. Maybe the holes these trades would create would have to be filled internally, which may not seem to scream "we're competing in 2022," but in a season with so many questions and so few answers, do we really want to be tricked into thinking that's possible anyway?
  3. The Braves find themselves in a precarious position after losing one of the game’s young superstars, Ronald Acuna, to a season-ending injury right before the All-Star break. They may end up tempted to move some of their pending free agents as the month comes to a close. But with only a handful of games separating them from the East-leading Mets, they are currently one of the few teams in baseball already aggressively buying. What’s Their Situation? Atlanta is the three-time defending division champs and came one game short of the World Series last year. They currently find themselves behind the Mets and neck-and-neck with the Phillies. Their odds to win the division, though, trail only New York, according to Vegas Insider. What Do They Need? Down all three outfield starters from Opening Day, the Braves would need to start there. Acuna is out for the season (at least), Marcell Ozuna’s status in society needs to be resolved before a Major League team even considers playing him again and Christian Pache, recovered from injury, is back in the minor leagues after struggling. The Braves started out their second half by acquiring Joc Pederson from the Cubs. Pederson fills a spot for this season, but has a hefty mutual option for next year that will likely lead to the Braves choosing to let Pederson head to free agency Looking ahead, you can’t confidently place a single player in their 2022 Opening Day outfield. The pitching staff is in pretty good shape. While it’s possible they add some reinforcements, the priority for the Braves - if they choose to add - is the outfield. Which Twins Are the Best Fit? Max Kepler, under contract for around $20 million and three more seasons after this one, is the most obvious fit. He’s both versatile and affordable and could be viewed as expendable with the emergence of Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach. In 2019, Austin Riley, currently manning third base for the Braves, primarily played left field. The reason: Josh Donaldson. Donaldson had a great year (124 OPS+) and used it to sucker a team into committing at least $90 million to him. The Braves didn’t want to commit the years and cash to Donaldson in free agency, so it would require the Twins to kick in a large amount of money. Hansel Robles could be a cheap bullpen option for any team looking to make a bullpen upgrade. Especially if that team isn’t sure where it’s going to stand in August. Jose Berrios and Taylor Rogers could help out any team who plans to compete in 2022, though if the Twins were motivated to move them, that market would probably grow in the off-season. Who Could The Twins Get Back? Kyle Muller, RHP, 23yo - Muller is MLB-ready and has spent time both with the Braves and at AAA. He may not project as more than a mid- to late-rotation contributor if he can’t bring his walk rate down. But at 23, Muller still has upside. Freddy Tarnok, RHP, 22yo - Tarnok is a prospect who comes with both a high-ceiling and a low-floor. The fastball that nearly reaches triple-digits is something to like. His slider and changeup are still works in progress. If both improve, you have a starter with a lot of potential. If neither become a usable pitch, you likely end up with someone who never cracks the big-league roster. Ambioris Tavarez, SS, 17yo - The Twins have added a number of shortstops to their system over the last ten years, yet there is no obvious answer to the question, “Who is the Twins shortstop of the future?” Tavarez has yet to make his professional debut. But if the Twins are building for the future, adding another shortstop would make sense. View full article
  4. What’s Their Situation? Atlanta is the three-time defending division champs and came one game short of the World Series last year. They currently find themselves behind the Mets and neck-and-neck with the Phillies. Their odds to win the division, though, trail only New York, according to Vegas Insider. What Do They Need? Down all three outfield starters from Opening Day, the Braves would need to start there. Acuna is out for the season (at least), Marcell Ozuna’s status in society needs to be resolved before a Major League team even considers playing him again and Christian Pache, recovered from injury, is back in the minor leagues after struggling. The Braves started out their second half by acquiring Joc Pederson from the Cubs. Pederson fills a spot for this season, but has a hefty mutual option for next year that will likely lead to the Braves choosing to let Pederson head to free agency Looking ahead, you can’t confidently place a single player in their 2022 Opening Day outfield. The pitching staff is in pretty good shape. While it’s possible they add some reinforcements, the priority for the Braves - if they choose to add - is the outfield. Which Twins Are the Best Fit? Max Kepler, under contract for around $20 million and three more seasons after this one, is the most obvious fit. He’s both versatile and affordable and could be viewed as expendable with the emergence of Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach. In 2019, Austin Riley, currently manning third base for the Braves, primarily played left field. The reason: Josh Donaldson. Donaldson had a great year (124 OPS+) and used it to sucker a team into committing at least $90 million to him. The Braves didn’t want to commit the years and cash to Donaldson in free agency, so it would require the Twins to kick in a large amount of money. Hansel Robles could be a cheap bullpen option for any team looking to make a bullpen upgrade. Especially if that team isn’t sure where it’s going to stand in August. Jose Berrios and Taylor Rogers could help out any team who plans to compete in 2022, though if the Twins were motivated to move them, that market would probably grow in the off-season. Who Could The Twins Get Back? Kyle Muller, RHP, 23yo - Muller is MLB-ready and has spent time both with the Braves and at AAA. He may not project as more than a mid- to late-rotation contributor if he can’t bring his walk rate down. But at 23, Muller still has upside. Freddy Tarnok, RHP, 22yo - Tarnok is a prospect who comes with both a high-ceiling and a low-floor. The fastball that nearly reaches triple-digits is something to like. His slider and changeup are still works in progress. If both improve, you have a starter with a lot of potential. If neither become a usable pitch, you likely end up with someone who never cracks the big-league roster. Ambioris Tavarez, SS, 17yo - The Twins have added a number of shortstops to their system over the last ten years, yet there is no obvious answer to the question, “Who is the Twins shortstop of the future?” Tavarez has yet to make his professional debut. But if the Twins are building for the future, adding another shortstop would make sense.
  5. Philadelphia fans' pinnacle isn't that they threw snowballs at Santa Claus. It's that they will defend it to this day because Santa was too skinny. The lesson? Don't disappoint the City of Brotherly Love. Well, the Phillies are. And the Twins can help with their most significant need. What's Their Situation? The Phillies declared themselves contenders before the 2019 season when they signed Bryce Harper to a 13-year(!) $330M contract. They backed it up with the fourth-highest payroll in MLB this year. And yet, they haven't made the postseason the last two years and are in danger of missing it again. This year, the NL Wild Card already looks out of reach, but the NL East is a four-team slugfest (or maybe more of a slap fight?) with the Mets, Phillies, Braves, and Nationals all firmly determined to remain within arm's reach of .500. Whichever team makes the right moves at the deadline could eke out a postseason spot. Plus, the Phillies' needs are relatively straightforward, and the Twins are a good fit for several of them. What Do They Need? It is remarkable that the Phillies somehow need the same thing every year: bullpen help. You think the Twins' bullpen has been brutal? The Phillies are twice as bad. And I mean that objectively – their relievers have a collective WPA of -3.33, almost doubling the Twins mark of -1.78. The Twins have 12 blown saves on the year, while the Phillies lead the majors in that dubious category with 22. Which Twins Are the Best Fit? All the relievers, obviously. No, not Alex Colome – even Philly's behavior at the 2018 NFC Championship game doesn't justify that level of punishment. But Hansel Robles, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and even Caleb Thielbar would be of interest. The fact that several are team-controlled for multiple years would help the Phillies solve a seemingly perennial problem. And the fact that the Twins can offer multiple arms is even more valuable, giving them the flexibility to get numerous arms by giving up a single more valuable prospect. Every team could use some more help in their starting rotation, and the Phils are no exception. They have Zack Wheeler as an ace so far this year, and Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin have been serviceable, but a healthy Michael Pineda or Jose Berrios would obviously be of interest. Offensively, you would think a lineup with a core of Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hopkins, and Andrew McCutchen would be elite. Yet the Phils' offense is only slightly above average. Still, it's hard to find a fit. The best fit might be Josh Donaldson taking over at third base: the Phils certainly can spend money, and Alec Bohm is posting just a 641 OPS this year, has struggled defensively, and tested positive for Covid on July 11th. However, he's also just 24 years old and a legit prospect who hit .338 last year in his rookie season. It's unlikely the Phils want to block him for the next two years at third base. Other than that, the biggest weakness is at shortstop (veteran Didi Gregorius) and center field (injured Odubel Herrera). But the Twins don't have a great replacement for either unless they get an offer they can't refuse for Byron Buxton. Who Could The Twins Get Back? This is always a shot in the dark, but let's review some candidates... Alec Bohm, 3B, 24yo – The aforementioned Bohm is the Phillies' top young player, but he's their everyday third baseman. Could the Twins replace him with Donaldson and throw in some salary or arms (or both) to find a workable package? Seems a lot of moving pieces to arrange. Spencer Howard, RHP, 24yo – It's hard to say what Howard's value is these days. This offseason, he was still considered a top 50 overall starting pitching prospect. But now he's spent portions of two seasons in the majors, posted a 5.87 ERA, and was shut down with shoulder soreness in between. This is where scouting matters. Rafael Marchan, C, 22yo – It's hard to tell what the Phils' strategy was with Marchan. He was clearly rushed to the majors, meaning he's already burned two option years. He's shown no power, but he's also just 22. He's a switch-hitter, but stronger from his left side, which seems like a good fit. He just seems like the kind of guy the Twins believe they can coach up and shouldn't cost a lot. View full article
  6. What's Their Situation? The Phillies declared themselves contenders before the 2019 season when they signed Bryce Harper to a 13-year(!) $330M contract. They backed it up with the fourth-highest payroll in MLB this year. And yet, they haven't made the postseason the last two years and are in danger of missing it again. This year, the NL Wild Card already looks out of reach, but the NL East is a four-team slugfest (or maybe more of a slap fight?) with the Mets, Phillies, Braves, and Nationals all firmly determined to remain within arm's reach of .500. Whichever team makes the right moves at the deadline could eke out a postseason spot. Plus, the Phillies' needs are relatively straightforward, and the Twins are a good fit for several of them. What Do They Need? It is remarkable that the Phillies somehow need the same thing every year: bullpen help. You think the Twins' bullpen has been brutal? The Phillies are twice as bad. And I mean that objectively – their relievers have a collective WPA of -3.33, almost doubling the Twins mark of -1.78. The Twins have 12 blown saves on the year, while the Phillies lead the majors in that dubious category with 22. Which Twins Are the Best Fit? All the relievers, obviously. No, not Alex Colome – even Philly's behavior at the 2018 NFC Championship game doesn't justify that level of punishment. But Hansel Robles, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and even Caleb Thielbar would be of interest. The fact that several are team-controlled for multiple years would help the Phillies solve a seemingly perennial problem. And the fact that the Twins can offer multiple arms is even more valuable, giving them the flexibility to get numerous arms by giving up a single more valuable prospect. Every team could use some more help in their starting rotation, and the Phils are no exception. They have Zack Wheeler as an ace so far this year, and Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin have been serviceable, but a healthy Michael Pineda or Jose Berrios would obviously be of interest. Offensively, you would think a lineup with a core of Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Rhys Hopkins, and Andrew McCutchen would be elite. Yet the Phils' offense is only slightly above average. Still, it's hard to find a fit. The best fit might be Josh Donaldson taking over at third base: the Phils certainly can spend money, and Alec Bohm is posting just a 641 OPS this year, has struggled defensively, and tested positive for Covid on July 11th. However, he's also just 24 years old and a legit prospect who hit .338 last year in his rookie season. It's unlikely the Phils want to block him for the next two years at third base. Other than that, the biggest weakness is at shortstop (veteran Didi Gregorius) and center field (injured Odubel Herrera). But the Twins don't have a great replacement for either unless they get an offer they can't refuse for Byron Buxton. Who Could The Twins Get Back? This is always a shot in the dark, but let's review some candidates... Alec Bohm, 3B, 24yo – The aforementioned Bohm is the Phillies' top young player, but he's their everyday third baseman. Could the Twins replace him with Donaldson and throw in some salary or arms (or both) to find a workable package? Seems a lot of moving pieces to arrange. Spencer Howard, RHP, 24yo – It's hard to say what Howard's value is these days. This offseason, he was still considered a top 50 overall starting pitching prospect. But now he's spent portions of two seasons in the majors, posted a 5.87 ERA, and was shut down with shoulder soreness in between. This is where scouting matters. Rafael Marchan, C, 22yo – It's hard to tell what the Phils' strategy was with Marchan. He was clearly rushed to the majors, meaning he's already burned two option years. He's shown no power, but he's also just 22. He's a switch-hitter, but stronger from his left side, which seems like a good fit. He just seems like the kind of guy the Twins believe they can coach up and shouldn't cost a lot.
  7. Each contending team has holes to fill as the deadline approaches. Here is how the Twins can help each contending AL team. White Sox, Relief Pitcher Trades within the division can be tough, but every contending team needs bullpen help down the stretch. With the Twins wanting to contend next year, it doesn’t seem likely for the club to send Taylor Rogers or Tyler Duffey to a division rival. This makes Robles more of a logical choice with his late inning work this season. He will need to show he can be back to the player he was earlier this season before a deal can get done. Potential Fit: Hansel Robles Cleveland, Starting Pitcher Derek Falvey came to the Twins from Cleveland’s front office, so he is likely well familiar with many of the players still in their system. Cleveland’s pitching staff has dealt with plenty of injuries, so more starting pitching depth might be at the top of their list. Pineda is on an expiring deal, and he won’t cost that much to acquire. His performance will need to improve now that he is back from injury. Potential Fit: Michael Pineda Red Sox, Left-Handed Bat MLB.com identified first base as a need for Boston, but their bigger need might be adding a left-handed bat. Only two everyday players, Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo, are lefties. There’s no question that Kepler has struggled this season, but lately there have been some signs of life with his bat. Kepler is on a very team friendly deal, and he has some defensive flexibility. The emergence of Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach makes Kepler expendable, but the team can also wait until the off-season to trade him. Potential Fit: Max Kepler Rays, Designated Hitter At the beginning of last month, I wrote about the Twins trading Cruz to the Rays. Tampa has previously been interested in him and he adds a big bat to the middle of their line-up. He’s having one of the best seasons ever for a player over 40 and there is likely a small market of contending teams vying for his services. Tampa has one of baseball’s best farm systems so that makes things even more intriguing. Potential Fit: Nelson Cruz Blue Jays, Relief Pitcher Realistically, Toronto might be interested in multiple players on the Twins roster. Besides relievers, the Blue Jays are likely interested in adding starting pitching (Jose Berrios) or designated hitter (Cruz) This is a team that wants to win now, and the AL East is baseball’s toughest division. It’s not out of the question to think the Twins might ship multiple players to Toronto before the deadline. Potential Fit: Taylor Rogers Astros, Relief Pitcher Minnesota’s current front office has previously completed a trade with the Astros that involved a reliever with team control. Ryan Pressly has gone on to a tremendous career in Houston, but he is currently one of the team’s only late-inning options. Adding Rogers to the mix is the kind of one-two punch teams need for deep October runs. Potential Fit: Rogers Athletics, Designated Hitter Minnesota might be able to create a small bidding war, if they can pit Toronto, Oakland, and Tampa against each other for Cruz’s services. Oakland is very familiar with Cruz from his time in Seattle and their line-up can use the powerful upgrade that he can provide. One of the biggest questions is if teams like Tampa and Oakland can take on the remaining salary on his contract or will the Twins have to send cash to pay down his expiring contract. Potential Fit: Cruz Which of these deals is most likely to happen? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  8. White Sox, Relief Pitcher Trades within the division can be tough, but every contending team needs bullpen help down the stretch. With the Twins wanting to contend next year, it doesn’t seem likely for the club to send Taylor Rogers or Tyler Duffey to a division rival. This makes Robles more of a logical choice with his late inning work this season. He will need to show he can be back to the player he was earlier this season before a deal can get done. Potential Fit: Hansel Robles Cleveland, Starting Pitcher Derek Falvey came to the Twins from Cleveland’s front office, so he is likely well familiar with many of the players still in their system. Cleveland’s pitching staff has dealt with plenty of injuries, so more starting pitching depth might be at the top of their list. Pineda is on an expiring deal, and he won’t cost that much to acquire. His performance will need to improve now that he is back from injury. Potential Fit: Michael Pineda Red Sox, Left-Handed Bat MLB.com identified first base as a need for Boston, but their bigger need might be adding a left-handed bat. Only two everyday players, Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo, are lefties. There’s no question that Kepler has struggled this season, but lately there have been some signs of life with his bat. Kepler is on a very team friendly deal, and he has some defensive flexibility. The emergence of Alex Kirilloff and Trevor Larnach makes Kepler expendable, but the team can also wait until the off-season to trade him. Potential Fit: Max Kepler Rays, Designated Hitter At the beginning of last month, I wrote about the Twins trading Cruz to the Rays. Tampa has previously been interested in him and he adds a big bat to the middle of their line-up. He’s having one of the best seasons ever for a player over 40 and there is likely a small market of contending teams vying for his services. Tampa has one of baseball’s best farm systems so that makes things even more intriguing. Potential Fit: Nelson Cruz Blue Jays, Relief Pitcher Realistically, Toronto might be interested in multiple players on the Twins roster. Besides relievers, the Blue Jays are likely interested in adding starting pitching (Jose Berrios) or designated hitter (Cruz) This is a team that wants to win now, and the AL East is baseball’s toughest division. It’s not out of the question to think the Twins might ship multiple players to Toronto before the deadline. Potential Fit: Taylor Rogers Astros, Relief Pitcher Minnesota’s current front office has previously completed a trade with the Astros that involved a reliever with team control. Ryan Pressly has gone on to a tremendous career in Houston, but he is currently one of the team’s only late-inning options. Adding Rogers to the mix is the kind of one-two punch teams need for deep October runs. Potential Fit: Rogers Athletics, Designated Hitter Minnesota might be able to create a small bidding war, if they can pit Toronto, Oakland, and Tampa against each other for Cruz’s services. Oakland is very familiar with Cruz from his time in Seattle and their line-up can use the powerful upgrade that he can provide. One of the biggest questions is if teams like Tampa and Oakland can take on the remaining salary on his contract or will the Twins have to send cash to pay down his expiring contract. Potential Fit: Cruz Which of these deals is most likely to happen? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. Offense has been down across baseball this year as pitchers have dominated for much of the 2021 campaign. This can be directly related to an increase in pitch velocity, movement, and spin rates. Some of these increases are tied to sticky substances used by pitchers to increase their control and spin rate. Minnesota’s pitchers haven’t been taking advantage of this decrease in offense, so how does spin rate factor into their results? Starting in 2020, Statcast posted an active spin leaderboard, which can also include an active spin %. They offer a longer explanation at their site, but the nuts-and-bolts description is the spin that contributes to movement including up or down and side to side. Twins Four-seam Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Hansel Robles (99 %), Cody Stashak (98 %), Alex Colome (97 %) Currently, Robles ranks as the player getting the 12th most active spin on his four-seam fastball. Batters have posted a .200 BA and a .360 SLG when facing this pitch, which are far superior to the numbers he saw last year (.355 BA, .742 SLG). Stashak’s fastball hasn’t been as effective this year and he has switched to using his slider more than his four-seamer. Colome uses his cutter almost twice as much as his four-seamer, but opponents have combined for a .500 SLG when getting a fastball to hit. Twins Changeup Leaderboard (Active Spin %) J.A. Happ (98 %), Jose Berrios (95%), Hansel Robles (94%) For the second consecutive season, Happ is using his changeup less often, but opponents are hitting about 90 points lower against this pitch. Berrios has been known for the movement on his pitches since he was an amateur so it’s no surprise to see him near the top of the leaderboard when it comes to multiple pitches in his repertoire. Berrios uses his changeup mainly against lefties as batters have posted a .636 SLG against it so far in 2021. Robles uses his changeup 44% of the time and he has generated a 26% Whiff% with this pitch. Twins Slider Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Taylor Rogers (43%), Caleb Thielbar (42%), Jorge Alcala (32%) Even though these are the leaders on the Twins, none of these pitchers rank in the top-100 compared to the rest of baseball. Rogers and his lanky frame/delivery make for a slider that is tough for both righties and lefties in the batter’s box. For the first time in his career, Rogers is using his slider more than his sinker. Alcala ranks well on the Twins, and he might be the team’s closer of the future if he can continue to develop another pitch. Twins Sinker Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Jose Berrios (95%), Taylor Rogers (95%), Matt Shoemaker (92%) At this point, Minnesota fans might want to avoid any leaderboard with Matt Shoemaker. However, Berrios and Rogers have been two of the most consistent Twins pitchers this season as they rank near baseball’s top-30 in this category. Also, Berrios has seen increased sinker usage in each of the last two seasons. Batters posted a .561 SLG against Rogers’ sinker last season and he has improved that number by nearly 160 points in 2021. The Twins don’t have a pitcher in the mold of Gerrit Cole or Trevor Bauer that rely heavily on spin to be effective. Maybe this crackdown will help level the playing field for Twins pitchers and batters. Will baseball’s crackdown on sticky substances impact the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. Major League Baseball is in a bit of a self-made crisis when it comes to pitchers and their use of substances to generate spin. With baseball starting to crack down, are the Twins not using enough spin to try and win? Offense has been down across baseball this year as pitchers have dominated for much of the 2021 campaign. This can be directly related to an increase in pitch velocity, movement, and spin rates. Some of these increases are tied to sticky substances used by pitchers to increase their control and spin rate. Minnesota’s pitchers haven’t been taking advantage of this decrease in offense, so how does spin rate factor into their results? Starting in 2020, Statcast posted an active spin leaderboard, which can also include an active spin %. They offer a longer explanation at their site, but the nuts-and-bolts description is the spin that contributes to movement including up or down and side to side. Twins Four-seam Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Hansel Robles (99 %), Cody Stashak (98 %), Alex Colome (97 %) Currently, Robles ranks as the player getting the 12th most active spin on his four-seam fastball. Batters have posted a .200 BA and a .360 SLG when facing this pitch, which are far superior to the numbers he saw last year (.355 BA, .742 SLG). Stashak’s fastball hasn’t been as effective this year and he has switched to using his slider more than his four-seamer. Colome uses his cutter almost twice as much as his four-seamer, but opponents have combined for a .500 SLG when getting a fastball to hit. Twins Changeup Leaderboard (Active Spin %) J.A. Happ (98 %), Jose Berrios (95%), Hansel Robles (94%) For the second consecutive season, Happ is using his changeup less often, but opponents are hitting about 90 points lower against this pitch. Berrios has been known for the movement on his pitches since he was an amateur so it’s no surprise to see him near the top of the leaderboard when it comes to multiple pitches in his repertoire. Berrios uses his changeup mainly against lefties as batters have posted a .636 SLG against it so far in 2021. Robles uses his changeup 44% of the time and he has generated a 26% Whiff% with this pitch. Twins Slider Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Taylor Rogers (43%), Caleb Thielbar (42%), Jorge Alcala (32%) Even though these are the leaders on the Twins, none of these pitchers rank in the top-100 compared to the rest of baseball. Rogers and his lanky frame/delivery make for a slider that is tough for both righties and lefties in the batter’s box. For the first time in his career, Rogers is using his slider more than his sinker. Alcala ranks well on the Twins, and he might be the team’s closer of the future if he can continue to develop another pitch. Twins Sinker Leaderboard (Active Spin %) Jose Berrios (95%), Taylor Rogers (95%), Matt Shoemaker (92%) At this point, Minnesota fans might want to avoid any leaderboard with Matt Shoemaker. However, Berrios and Rogers have been two of the most consistent Twins pitchers this season as they rank near baseball’s top-30 in this category. Also, Berrios has seen increased sinker usage in each of the last two seasons. Batters posted a .561 SLG against Rogers’ sinker last season and he has improved that number by nearly 160 points in 2021. The Twins don’t have a pitcher in the mold of Gerrit Cole or Trevor Bauer that rely heavily on spin to be effective. Maybe this crackdown will help level the playing field for Twins pitchers and batters. Will baseball’s crackdown on sticky substances impact the Twins? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  11. I wrote a few days ago on starting pitchers that we are likely to see in the dog days of summer. This of course assumes that the Twins are going to continue down the horrid path that they've gotten off to in the first 40 games of the season, and expiring deals like Michael Pineda and J.A. Happ are moved. The bullpen also contains two names who were brought in on one year deals, one throwing very well, and the other getting off to a horrid start. If someone told you that one would be good and one would be bad, you may not be shocked, but the fact that Robles has outperformed Colome is surprising. If the Twins do decide that they are going to sell, those two will certainly be moved. Some other names like Tyler Duffey or Taylor Rogers could also find themselves being traded, but as I'm writing this I don't foresee it happening. Either way, with injuries, taxing bullpen arms, or relievers not performing, there will be plenty of chances for the Twins brass to bring up some young, intriguing arms. RHP Yennier Cano Cano was signed as an older international free agent in 2018 for 750,000 dollars, just before the international period was about to end. The Twins essentially traded OF Zack Granite to the Rangers for Cano, as 750,000 in international money is what the Twins received in compensation. Cano was ranked as the #2 player in the international class, behind OF Victor Victor Mesa. Cano features a unique three-quarters delivery in which he features a fastball sitting in the mid-90's, topping out at 97 MPH. Cano also features a heavy sinker which induces a lot of ground balls, and works a slider and splitter for strikeouts. Cano is currently in AA Wichita, and has gotten off to a torrid start. At the time of this writing, he's worked 6.2 innings with 12 strikeouts, no walks, and no home runs. Cano is likely going to be called up to Saint Paul in the near future, and if things go well, there is no doubt that the 27 year old will be up with the Twins. Due to his age, the ceiling is limited, but Cano could prove to be a useful middle reliever on a team the could badly use one. RHP Dakota Chalmers Chalmers was acquired as a lottery ticket arm in the 2018 trade that sent Fernando Rodney to the Oakland A's, after being a 3rd round pick in the 2015 draft, being signed way over slot at 1.2M. Chalmers battled injury issues early in his career, and received the dreaded Tommy John Surgery in 2018. Due to Chalmers missing much of the 2018 season, the Twins sent Chalmers to the Arizona Fall League in 2019, where things didn't go according to plan. Chalmers made 6 starts, totaling 17.2 IPs, allowing 17 hits and 12 walks. However, Chalmers, who has always had 80 grade stuff, struck out 25 batters. Despite the rough outing in 2019, the Twins added Chalmers to the 40 man roster. Chalmers has continued to work as a starter in 2021 at AA Wichita, but the results still haven't turned around. Chalmers has walked 4 in 8.2 innings, and given up 8 hits, including 4 home runs. Due to Chalmers having 20 or 25 grade control, his chances at starting seem slim to none. Getting Chalmers in the bullpen as an effectively wild pitcher is the best hope for both him and the Twins brass. RHP Tom Hackimer Hackimer is an under the radar pitcher within the Twins organization, not appearing on any top prospect list on any site. However, Hackimer has been a very effective reliever in the minors, largely due to his unique delivery. The Twins righty throws with a submarine type wind-up, which he compares to former Astros reliever Joe Smith. Hackimer doesn't have blow you away type stuff, with a fastball that sits around 90 MPH, topping out at 94 MPH, but due to the spin rate and unique arm angle, it plays faster than it is. He also features a big, sweeping slider that can get right handed hitters out. He is also working on developing a changeup in order to get left handed hitters out more effectively, but it's a work in progress. If Hackimer is ever going to crack the big leagues, at least with the Twins, this is going to be the year he does so. He is not on the 40 man roster as of now, but with the expected trades, the Twins can make a move to get him a look if they feel like he can succeed. Hackimer is currently at AAA Saint Paul, putting up a scoreless 7.1 innings pitched, and 11 strikeouts. During his minor league career, he's thrown 176.1 innings of 2.65 ERA, while striking out 204 batters.
  12. Minnesota didn’t make an offseason splash like the previous winter’s signing of Josh Donaldson. However, the Twins added multiple pieces to supplement the roster. So how have those free agents done so far this year?Andrelton Simmons, SS Contract: 1-year/$10.5 million Minnesota signed Simmons for his elite defensive skills, but he has provided plenty of offensive value so far in 2021. In 10 games, he has hit .355/.474/.452 with three extra-base hits. His 0.6 WAR ranks fourth on the team and that total is already higher than his entire 2020 season. Obviously, his positive COVID test puts a damper on his start to the year, but hopefully he comes out of it healthy, and he can continue to produce at a high level. Alexander Colomé, RP Contract: 1-year/$6.25 million Things haven’t exactly gone smoothly so far during Colomé’s Twins tenure as he has posted a 5.68 ERA. He’s allowed four earned runs and seven runs have scored with him on the mound. Minnesota’s bullpen has struggled through much of the season’s early innings especially in the last week when the bullpen’s ERA was north of 9.00. He has been a very successful closer in the past so Twins’ fans have to hope he finds his former form in the weeks ahead. J.A. Happ, SP Contract: 1-year/$8 million Happ missed time at the beginning of spring training as he tested positive for COVID. This set him back a little in his preparation, but his early results have been good, especially for a back of the rotation starter. Through two starts, he has allowed three runs on seven hits in 8 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and four walks. This is more than adequate for a 38-year-old in his 15th big league season. Happ won’t light the world on fire, but he fills a role nicely for the Twins that can be supplemented by the likes of Randy Donak or Lewis Thorpe at different parts of the season. Matt Shoemaker, SP Contract: 1-year/$2 million Like Happ, Shoemaker was slated to be penciled into the back of the rotation with a hope that he could add some rotational depth. Randy Dobnak had a chance to fill in the final rotation spot, but many teams are struggling with how they will cover innings in 2021. So far in 2021, he has allowed five earned runs across 11 innings, which isn’t terrible for a number five starter. He hasn’t pitched over 78 innings since 2016, so the team will need to continue to monitor his health. Hansel Robles, RP Contract: 1-year/$2 million Robles was a little bit of a wild card when the Twins signed him as he struggled with a 10.26 ERA last year. This year he has made six appearances and allowed three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. His role with the Twins might not yet be fully defined, but the Twins took a flyer on him. If the bullpen continues to struggle, Robles might get an opportunity to pitch in some higher leverage situations. The bullpen has been a mess, so Robles certainly hasn’t been the team’s biggest concern. What have been your impressions of these players so far in 2021? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  13. Andrelton Simmons, SS Contract: 1-year/$10.5 million Minnesota signed Simmons for his elite defensive skills, but he has provided plenty of offensive value so far in 2021. In 10 games, he has hit .355/.474/.452 with three extra-base hits. His 0.6 WAR ranks fourth on the team and that total is already higher than his entire 2020 season. Obviously, his positive COVID test puts a damper on his start to the year, but hopefully he comes out of it healthy, and he can continue to produce at a high level. Alexander Colomé, RP Contract: 1-year/$6.25 million Things haven’t exactly gone smoothly so far during Colomé’s Twins tenure as he has posted a 5.68 ERA. He’s allowed four earned runs and seven runs have scored with him on the mound. Minnesota’s bullpen has struggled through much of the season’s early innings especially in the last week when the bullpen’s ERA was north of 9.00. He has been a very successful closer in the past so Twins’ fans have to hope he finds his former form in the weeks ahead. J.A. Happ, SP Contract: 1-year/$8 million Happ missed time at the beginning of spring training as he tested positive for COVID. This set him back a little in his preparation, but his early results have been good, especially for a back of the rotation starter. Through two starts, he has allowed three runs on seven hits in 8 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and four walks. This is more than adequate for a 38-year-old in his 15th big league season. Happ won’t light the world on fire, but he fills a role nicely for the Twins that can be supplemented by the likes of Randy Donak or Lewis Thorpe at different parts of the season. Matt Shoemaker, SP Contract: 1-year/$2 million Like Happ, Shoemaker was slated to be penciled into the back of the rotation with a hope that he could add some rotational depth. Randy Dobnak had a chance to fill in the final rotation spot, but many teams are struggling with how they will cover innings in 2021. So far in 2021, he has allowed five earned runs across 11 innings, which isn’t terrible for a number five starter. He hasn’t pitched over 78 innings since 2016, so the team will need to continue to monitor his health. Hansel Robles, RP Contract: 1-year/$2 million Robles was a little bit of a wild card when the Twins signed him as he struggled with a 10.26 ERA last year. This year he has made six appearances and allowed three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. His role with the Twins might not yet be fully defined, but the Twins took a flyer on him. If the bullpen continues to struggle, Robles might get an opportunity to pitch in some higher leverage situations. The bullpen has been a mess, so Robles certainly hasn’t been the team’s biggest concern. What have been your impressions of these players so far in 2021? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  14. Projected Bullpen: Taylor Rogers, Alex Colomé, Tyler Duffey, Hansel Robles, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Alcalá, Cody Stashak, Lewis Thorpe Depth: Shaun Anderson, Ian Hamilton, Brandon Waddell, Ian Gibaut Prospects: Jhoan Duran, Edwar Colina, Dakota Chalmers, Josh Winder THE GOOD The top of Minnesota's bullpen is well stocked with proven high-caliber arms. Taylor Rogers (3rd), Tyler Duffey (13th) and newcomer Hansel Robles (19th) all rank among the top 20 major-league relief pitchers in fWAR since 2019. Alex Colomé isn't rated quite as highly by that metric (42nd), but is a more conventionally appealing back-end arm: 15th in ERA, fourth in saves (with a 91% conversion rate), and seventh in Win Probability Added. The team's second tier of relievers also offers plenty of prowess. Jorge Alcalá posted a 2.63 ERA and 10.1 K/9 rate as a rookie in 2020, flashing the potential to join the tier above. Cody Stashak has a 3.15 ERA and 42-to-4 K/BB ratio in 40 major-league innings. Caleb Thielbar put up a 2.25 ERA and 9.9 K/9 rate last year in his triumphant resurgence at age 33. On the fringe of the reliever mix are a number of interesting waiver adds and fixer-upper projects. Names like Shaun Anderson, Brandon Waddell, Ian Gibaut, Derek Law, Luke Farrell, Juan Minaya and Ian Hamilton give Minnesota considerable depth – all pitchers with some big-league experience and intriguing traits pinpointed by the front office. Given the success we've seen the Twins have with guys like Matt Wisler and Ryne Harper, none of those names can be discounted as potential impact relievers in the coming year. And that's before you get to the prospect pipeline, which packs some serious punch. The Twins have a deep well of relief pitchers, rich with impressive track records, closing experience, and appealing strengths. They'll have a lot of options to get them through a long season, in which much will likely be asked of the bullpen. It's easy to have faith in the people running this ship to keep it sailing smoothly. THE BAD By parting with Trevor May, Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard, and Wisler during the offseason, the Twins lost 95 of their 231 bullpen innings from 2020. That's about 40% of the unit's total output, and a much higher share of the high-leverage work. With the help of those key contributors, Minnesota ranked fourth in the American League in bullpen ERA and second in fWAR. Now the relief corps will be looking to build upon that success through major turnover. It's hard to make a case on the surface that the Twins' incoming talent comes anywhere close to matching what exited; those four combined last year for a 2.85 ERA while averaging 11.6 K/9. May, in particular, was a flamethrowing strikeout machine whose dominant edge will be tough to replace. Backfilling May's overpowering presence, along with the functional reliability of Clippard and Wisler (who ranked first and second among MN relievers in innings pitched), will be a tall task. While the Twins have a large quantity of talented arms for the task, there are legit question marks surrounding most of them. Rogers is coming off a tough year, in which hitters seemingly caught on to his previously baffling repertoire. Robles is trying to rebound from an unmitigated disaster that got him non-tendered by the Angels. Colomé was ditched by the White Sox and generated little demand in free agency, despite the gaudy numbers. It's hard to look at any of these pitchers with the same confidence as Rogers, May and Romo a year ago. THE BOTTOM LINE Great bullpens are requisite for transcendent teams, especially in the modern game. Year after year, when you look at MLB's leading teams in bullpen fWAR, you find clubs that made the playoffs and often made deep runs. (Last year, the Dodgers and Rays ranked first and second, respectively.) The Twins ranked third, for a second consecutive year, and they've achieved all this success by following their own model. They identify impact relievers (often below-the-radar types), develop customized plans, and execute. They've done it time and time again, and for that reason they've earned a good amount of faith. But leaps of faith are definitely required to see this bullpen maintaining the elite level of performance that's now become the norm. They lost a lot of quality during the offseason, and are gambling heavily on their secret sauce in this 2021 bullpen recipe. READ OTHER 2021 POSITION ANALYSIS ARTICLES Catcher First Base Second Base Third Base Shortstop Left Field Center Field Right Field Designated Hitter Starting Pitcher
  15. There's no two ways about it: on paper, Minnesota's bullpen picture is high on risk and low on assurance. Strategizing around a series of rebound performances and coaching-related glow ups, the message being sent to fans by the front office is essentially: trust us, we got this. Frankly, they've earned some faith.Projected Bullpen: Taylor Rogers, Alex Colomé, Tyler Duffey, Hansel Robles, Caleb Thielbar, Jorge Alcalá, Cody Stashak, Lewis Thorpe Depth: Shaun Anderson, Ian Hamilton, Brandon Waddell, Ian Gibaut Prospects: Jhoan Duran, Edwar Colina, Dakota Chalmers, Josh Winder THE GOOD The top of Minnesota's bullpen is well stocked with proven high-caliber arms. Taylor Rogers (3rd), Tyler Duffey (13th) and newcomer Hansel Robles (19th) all rank among the top 20 major-league relief pitchers in fWAR since 2019. Alex Colomé isn't rated quite as highly by that metric (42nd), but is a more conventionally appealing back-end arm: 15th in ERA, fourth in saves (with a 91% conversion rate), and seventh in Win Probability Added. Backfilling May's overpowering presence, along with the functional reliability of Clippard and Wisler (who ranked first and second among MN relievers in innings pitched), will be a tall task. While the Twins have a large quantity of talented arms for the task, there are legit question marks surrounding most of them. Rogers is coming off a tough year, in which hitters seemingly caught on to his previously baffling repertoire. Robles is trying to rebound from an unmitigated disaster that got him non-tendered by the Angels. Colomé was ditched by the White Sox and generated little demand in free agency, despite the gaudy numbers. It's hard to look at any of these pitchers with the same confidence as Rogers, May and Romo a year ago. THE BOTTOM LINE Great bullpens are requisite for transcendent teams, especially in the modern game. Year after year, when you look at MLB's leading teams in bullpen fWAR, you find clubs that made the playoffs and often made deep runs. (Last year, the Dodgers and Rays ranked first and second, respectively.) The Twins ranked third, for a second consecutive year, and they've achieved all this success by following their own model. They identify impact relievers (often below-the-radar types), develop customized plans, and execute. They've done it time and time again, and for that reason they've earned a good amount of faith. But leaps of faith are definitely required to see this bullpen maintaining the elite level of performance that's now become the norm. They lost a lot of quality during the offseason, and are gambling heavily on their secret sauce in this 2021 bullpen recipe. READ OTHER 2021 POSITION ANALYSIS ARTICLES CatcherFirst BaseSecond BaseThird BaseShortstopLeft FieldCenter FieldRight FieldDesignated HitterStarting Pitcher Click here to view the article
  16. Aaron and John talk about the Twins signing Hansel Robles, the remaining free agent reliever market and how high they should be shooting, Luis Arraez trade speculation, Terry Ryan's promotion in Philadelphia, and the wisdom of long-term deals. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. To Listen, Click Here Click here to view the article
  17. After signing reliever Hansel Robles for $2 million on Tuesday (more on that shortly) here's a snapshot of Minnesota's projected 2021 roster and payroll: This accounting does not include the $5+ million that Kenta Maeda is likely to make in incentives, but even still, the Twins are a long way from the $138.3 million mark I had them pegged for in the final update last winter. (They ended up spending a prorated portion of that in the 60-game season.) While it's generally believed that 2021 payroll will be down a shade, there have been no indications the Twins intend to scale back dramatically. They might not have $50 million to spend, but they've got absolutely got the means to make some noise. They haven't yet. And that's hardly unique among major-league teams. But with spring training (ostensibly) less than two months away, and with the San Diego Padres lighting the Hot Stove afire this week, it's time to start getting serious. Here's a rundown on the Twins, and where they stand on several fronts at year's end. Hansel Robles Joins Back End of Bullpen After non-tendering Matt Wisler and letting three key veteran right-handed relievers walk via free agency, the Twins finally made an offsetting addition on Tuesday, signing former Angels closer Hansel Robles to a one-year, $2 million deal plus incentives. The nature of those incentives probably tells us something about how they plan (or hope) to use him. Robles can earn bonuses based on how many games he finishes, all the way up to 40. This suggests the Twins will open a path for the 30-year-old to do so – presumably, by filling a role similar to Sergio Romo, and splitting closer duties with Taylor Rogers situationally. That's not a bad bet for the Twins if they're confident Robles' abbreviated 2020 season was an anomaly, and he can get back to the form he showed in 2019 as an All-Star caliber bullpen weapon for the Angels. Robles has the stuff, headlined by an upper-90s fastball, and the Twins have a recent track record that inspires confidence. But this is hardly the kind of slam-dunk move that screams "ALL IN!" for a club seemingly on the cusp. Is that yet to come? Rumblings of a Shortstop Splash Where there's smoke, there's often fire, and the flumes surrounding Minnesota's pursuit of an impact addition at shortstop are hard to ignore. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, who's as plugged in as any reporter covering the game, wrote recently about the possibility of a Twins trade for Francisco Lindor or Trevor Story (both those possibilities were discussed in our ). Rosenthal mentioned another shortstop target for Minnesota: free agent Marcus Semien. More recently, KSTP's Darren Wolfson reported over the weekend of the Twins having "real interest" in Semien. In the event they were to acquire a Semien or Story, it's unclear how the Twins would shift their existing pieces of accommodate. The simplest answer is moving Polanco into the utility role formerly occupied by Marwin Gonzalez. But Rosenthal also hinted at the idea of Minnesota trading Luis Arráez and moving Polanco to second. Something tells me this would be a tough sell for the fan base. All Quiet on the Nelson Cruz Front In many ways, Minnesota's offseason strategy appears to hinge on the Cruz decision. So far, there's been little known movement. He wants to wait to sign until MLB provides clarity on the DH rule for next year, but there's no sign of getting any in the immediate future. How long can the Twins wait, with their offseason plans mired in limbo? Baldelli made his pitch to the free agent slugger during a media Zoom session earlier this month. "Nelson, if you're watching, which I know you're not, we'd love to see you in spring training, and I'll talk to you soon," he said into the camera with a grin. Goofing around? Sure. But it felt like there was almost a knowingness to Baldelli's casual advance. I'm not saying the Twins and Cruz have a handshake agreement in place that any competing offer on a one-year contract will be matched ... but it wouldn't shock me if they did. We'll keep covering the news here at Twins Daily as it arises. I hope everyone has a happy, safe and healthy New Year. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. As we prepare to flip the calendar to a new year, the Minnesota Twins haven't yet added many new faces to the fold in an offseason defined more by subtraction than addition up to this point. They have made a few pickups, and been involved in some notable rumors, so let's get up to speed as we say goodbye to 2020.After signing reliever Hansel Robles for $2 million on Tuesday (more on that shortly) here's a snapshot of Minnesota's projected 2021 roster and payroll: Download attachment: twinsroster122920.png This accounting does not include the $5+ million that Kenta Maeda is likely to make in incentives, but even still, the Twins are a long way from the $138.3 million mark I had them pegged for in the final update last winter. (They ended up spending a prorated portion of that in the 60-game season.) While it's generally believed that 2021 payroll will be down a shade, there have been no indications the Twins intend to scale back dramatically. They might not have $50 million to spend, but they've got absolutely got the means to make some noise. They haven't yet. And that's hardly unique among major-league teams. But with spring training (ostensibly) less than two months away, and with the San Diego Padres lighting the Hot Stove afire this week, it's time to start getting serious. Here's a rundown on the Twins, and where they stand on several fronts at year's end. Hansel Robles Joins Back End of Bullpen After non-tendering Matt Wisler and letting three key veteran right-handed relievers walk via free agency, the Twins finally made an offsetting addition on Tuesday, signing former Angels closer Hansel Robles to a one-year, $2 million deal plus incentives. The nature of those incentives probably tells us something about how they plan (or hope) to use him. All Quiet on the Nelson Cruz Front In many ways, Minnesota's offseason strategy appears to hinge on the Cruz decision. So far, there's been little known movement. He wants to wait to sign until MLB provides clarity on the DH rule for next year, but there's no sign of getting any in the immediate future. How long can the Twins wait, with their offseason plans mired in limbo? Baldelli made his pitch to the free agent slugger during a media Zoom session earlier this month. "Nelson, if you're watching, which I know you're not, we'd love to see you in spring training, and I'll talk to you soon," he said into the camera with a grin. Goofing around? Sure. But it felt like there was almost a knowingness to Baldelli's casual advance. I'm not saying the Twins and Cruz have a handshake agreement in place that any competing offer on a one-year contract will be matched ... but it wouldn't shock me if they did. We'll keep covering the news here at Twins Daily as it arises. I hope everyone has a happy, safe and healthy New Year. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
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