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  1. Every trade deadline, teams are declared winners or losers. So, how did the Twins fare on a whirlwind day? DH Nelson Cruz to Rays for RHPs Joe Ryan and Drew Stotman Many of the Twins' moves project to have positive results. On an expiring contract, Nelson Cruz was dealt for two pitchers that are close to big-league ready. There are plenty of questions about the team’s rotation for 2022, so adding two more pitchers to the mix can only help the organization’s pitching depth. The Cruz deal was far from the only one that made headlines. RHP Jose Berrios to Blue Jays for SS/OF Austin Martin and RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson José Berríos was dealt for a pair of top-100 prospects, which seems like a high price to pay for just over a year of Berríos. The Dodgers traded for starting pitcher Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner and received a similar trade package in return. Even the website, Baseball Trade Values believes the Blue Jays overpaid. LHP J.A. Happ to Cardinals for RHP John Gant and LHP Evan Sisk Speaking of teams that overpaid, the Twins found a taker for JA Happ, as the Cardinals were willing to trade for him. He’s been bad for most of the season, and his recent numbers don’t point to him improving. It seemed more likely for the Twins to designated him for assignment instead of finding a trade partner, but it was a crazy trade deadline, to say the least. RHP Hansel Robles to Red Sox for RHP Alex Scherff Robles, like Cruz, was on an expiring contract and plenty of contenders were looking for relief help. Minnesota signed Robles for $2 million this off-season and he's had some up-and-down moments as part of a Twins bullpen that has struggled for the majority of the season. Relief pitching can be fickle and Boston hopes Robles can find some of his previous successes. From Minnesota's perspective, the front office has to be happy to get any value back for a player that wasn't part of the team's long-term plans. Who Wasn't Traded? Not every part of the trade deadline was positive for the Twins. Minnesota had multiple players on expiring contracts that stayed with the team, including Michael Pineda and Andrelton Simmons. Pineda is the biggest head-scratcher as the trade market seemed hot for starting pitching. As the smoke cleared, the front office said the right things, but there doesn’t seem to be much value in keeping him around until season’s end. There were plenty of other rumors circulating on Friday, including some big names for the Twins. There was a chance of a Byron Buxton deal with multiple teams interested in the centerfielder. For good reasons, Minnesota’s price was likely high, and there will still be an opportunity to revisit trades this winter. There may also be a chance to revisit a contract extension with Buxton, especially with the young core the organization has built in the minor leagues. Another missed opportunity was parting ways with Josh Donaldson, as his name had been out in the rumor mill throughout the last few weeks. Minnesota signed Donaldson to his four-year deal, knowing that he may decline toward the backend of the contract. He has been relatively healthy this year and producing as one of the league’s best third basemen. This trade deadline might have been his peak trade value, especially since it’s tough to imagine the Twins contending in 2022. Overall, this might go down as a franchise-altering day in Twins history. However, there were some missed opportunities along the way. Now it might be a couple of years before fans know if the team indeed won or lost the 2021 trade deadline. Do you think the Twins were winners or losers at the trade deadline? 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
  2. Over the weekend, Derek Falvey flipped 2021 1st round pick Chase Petty to the Cincinnati Reds for Sonny Gray. Minnesota needed a top-end starter, and they wound up with a guy who profiles very similar to someone Twins Territory is familiar with, Jose Berrios. Last season the front office decided against extending Berrios and flipped him to the Toronto Blue Jays for Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson. Getting two-top 100 prospects for a guy under team control for just one more year was an excellent come-up for Minnesota. If they had decided against paying him, that level of return is certainly a welcomed one. They had to replace Berrios, though. Going back to 2019, Berrios owns a 3.66 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 2.4 BB/9. He’d put up dominant outings at times and then see late-season slides. Home runs got him every once in a while, but he was every bit a staff ace for Minnesota. After passing on virtually all of the free-agent starting pitching market, they found something of a clone. Looking back to 2019 for Gray, the Reds hurler owns a 3.49 ERA, 10.6 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9. It's almost as if the Twins had determined they had a "type" when it comes to a frontline starter. Minnesota had squeezed more out of Berrios under pitching coach Wes Johnson, and while Grady is older, it's not crazy to think they may be able to teach him some new tricks. Gray exits a Reds team looking to tear everything down, and he also has the benefit of escaping a hitters paradise in Cincinnati. Berrios is the slightly harder thrower of the two, averaging 94 mph on his fastball. Gray has seen diminished velocity as he ages but still sits at 92.6 mph. Gray gives up less hard contact, but we’re splitting hairs on the differences between the two when it comes to whiff rates as well as CSW% (Called+Swinging Strike Percentage). Looking at each of their Statcast profiles from 2021, it’s actually Gray that sees the scales tilted his way when diving into more analytically based outputs. Another interesting note on Gray is that while he has seen diminished velocity, his stuff ranks extremely well. Highlighted multiple times by Rob Friedman's Pitching Ninja account, and noted in a tweet by The Athletic's Eno Sarris, there's more to pitching than simply pumping velocity. For Gray, as the fastball might have dipped, he's added substantial shape through movement to his pitches. In attempting to keep batters off balance Gray has worked on crafting pitches that miss bats. Although Minnesota's Johnson is seen as a velocity guru, it's the analytical additions to pitching development that have pushed guys to get more from their overall repertoire. Gray will have a whole new pool of information to work with. At the end of the day, Minnesota accomplished a few things in the entirety of their starting pitching scenario. They dealt a guy they weren’t going to pay and got peak value for him. They then acquired an older starter for a highly volatile return and have to pay him substantially less. All of that takes place while the on-field returns could very comfortably be projected to be even. Fangraphs’ ZiPS projects Gray for a 3.78 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in 2022. The same projection system has Berrios at a 3.84 ERA and 9.3 K/9. If the track records of similarity don't provide something to key in on, there's at least an upcoming season in which both are expected to provide similar levels of value. What do you think about the Twins swap of top starters? Would you rather have Berrios purely from a pitching perspective, or are you good with Gray, the similarities, and all of the additional prospect capital? 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
  3. Last season the front office decided against extending Berrios and flipped him to the Toronto Blue Jays for Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson. Getting two-top 100 prospects for a guy under team control for just one more year was an excellent come-up for Minnesota. If they had decided against paying him, that level of return is certainly a welcomed one. They had to replace Berrios, though. Going back to 2019, Berrios owns a 3.66 ERA, 9.2 K/9, and 2.4 BB/9. He’d put up dominant outings at times and then see late-season slides. Home runs got him every once in a while, but he was every bit a staff ace for Minnesota. After passing on virtually all of the free-agent starting pitching market, they found something of a clone. Looking back to 2019 for Gray, the Reds hurler owns a 3.49 ERA, 10.6 K/9, and 3.5 BB/9. It's almost as if the Twins had determined they had a "type" when it comes to a frontline starter. Minnesota had squeezed more out of Berrios under pitching coach Wes Johnson, and while Grady is older, it's not crazy to think they may be able to teach him some new tricks. Gray exits a Reds team looking to tear everything down, and he also has the benefit of escaping a hitters paradise in Cincinnati. Berrios is the slightly harder thrower of the two, averaging 94 mph on his fastball. Gray has seen diminished velocity as he ages but still sits at 92.6 mph. Gray gives up less hard contact, but we’re splitting hairs on the differences between the two when it comes to whiff rates as well as CSW% (Called+Swinging Strike Percentage). Looking at each of their Statcast profiles from 2021, it’s actually Gray that sees the scales tilted his way when diving into more analytically based outputs. Another interesting note on Gray is that while he has seen diminished velocity, his stuff ranks extremely well. Highlighted multiple times by Rob Friedman's Pitching Ninja account, and noted in a tweet by The Athletic's Eno Sarris, there's more to pitching than simply pumping velocity. For Gray, as the fastball might have dipped, he's added substantial shape through movement to his pitches. In attempting to keep batters off balance Gray has worked on crafting pitches that miss bats. Although Minnesota's Johnson is seen as a velocity guru, it's the analytical additions to pitching development that have pushed guys to get more from their overall repertoire. Gray will have a whole new pool of information to work with. At the end of the day, Minnesota accomplished a few things in the entirety of their starting pitching scenario. They dealt a guy they weren’t going to pay and got peak value for him. They then acquired an older starter for a highly volatile return and have to pay him substantially less. All of that takes place while the on-field returns could very comfortably be projected to be even. Fangraphs’ ZiPS projects Gray for a 3.78 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in 2022. The same projection system has Berrios at a 3.84 ERA and 9.3 K/9. If the track records of similarity don't provide something to key in on, there's at least an upcoming season in which both are expected to provide similar levels of value. What do you think about the Twins swap of top starters? Would you rather have Berrios purely from a pitching perspective, or are you good with Gray, the similarities, and all of the additional prospect capital? 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. Since they developed Jose Berrios, the Minnesota Twins have been looking for their next starting pitching talent. This time around, it may come from an arm that hails from north of the border. Age: 23 (DOB: 9/17/1998) 2021 Stats: (Double-A): 97 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.402 WHIP, 102 K, 38 BB ETA: 2022 2021 Ranking: 3rd National Top 100 Rankings BA: 85 | MLB: 95 | ATH: 43 | BP: 78 What’s To Like Velocity has long been the name of the game on the mound, and it’s something the Twins haven’t seen from a starter they developed in a long time, maybe ever. Balazovic was sitting at 95 mph last year on his fastball, even after missing time to start the season due to injury. He pushed it up to 97 mph at times, and the electricity behind the pitch is something to drool over. With a starter’s mix, Balazovic also has a strong slider and has turned the changeup into an out pitch as well. Double-A was a new test for Balazovic last season, and he did take a slight step backward in terms of numbers, but the elite stuff is still all there. A rough three-start stretch at the end of July made things look more mediocre than they were. Over his final eight starts, Balazovic posted a 2.72 ERA allowing just a .672 OPS against. What’s Left To Work On It’s not to say that Balazovic is a finished product, but he’s very close. Even with the time missed due to the pandemic, the Canadian is knocking on the door to the big leagues. A return to Double-A could be in the cards at the beginning of 2022, but he should quickly move up to Triple-A St. Paul. Balazovic has done a good job repeating his delivery, and continuing down a path of sustained success is a must for him. Minnesota would probably like to see a trend back towards the 2019 numbers, but that’s also not a showstopper. The strikeouts were down slightly, and the walks rose, but both happened in minor increments. Settling back in with a clean bill of health should lead to more dominating performances than not. What’s Next It would be far from shocking if Balazovic was pitching for the Twins by mid-summer. He’s near ready as a prospect, and while he’s probably not the type to be called upon before ready in a spot-start role, he’s got the talent to force his way into sustained action. Minnesota should have a middle-of-the-rotation arm at worst here, and seeing him add even more would be a welcomed sight. The Twins have been longing for a guy that can mow down the opposition, and Balazovic has the makings of someone capable of doing just that. If he can be a staff ace, the organization will have its next piece to build around. Previous Rankings Honorable Mentions Prospects 16-20 Prospects 11-15 #10: Josh Winder, RHP #9: Chase Petty, RHP #8: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP #7: Jhoan Duran, RHP #6: Matt Canterino, RHP #5: Joe Ryan, RHP #4: Jordan Balazovic, RHP #3: Coming tomorrow View full article
  5. Age: 23 (DOB: 9/17/1998) 2021 Stats: (Double-A): 97 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.402 WHIP, 102 K, 38 BB ETA: 2022 2021 Ranking: 3rd National Top 100 Rankings BA: 85 | MLB: 95 | ATH: 43 | BP: 78 What’s To Like Velocity has long been the name of the game on the mound, and it’s something the Twins haven’t seen from a starter they developed in a long time, maybe ever. Balazovic was sitting at 95 mph last year on his fastball, even after missing time to start the season due to injury. He pushed it up to 97 mph at times, and the electricity behind the pitch is something to drool over. With a starter’s mix, Balazovic also has a strong slider and has turned the changeup into an out pitch as well. Double-A was a new test for Balazovic last season, and he did take a slight step backward in terms of numbers, but the elite stuff is still all there. A rough three-start stretch at the end of July made things look more mediocre than they were. Over his final eight starts, Balazovic posted a 2.72 ERA allowing just a .672 OPS against. What’s Left To Work On It’s not to say that Balazovic is a finished product, but he’s very close. Even with the time missed due to the pandemic, the Canadian is knocking on the door to the big leagues. A return to Double-A could be in the cards at the beginning of 2022, but he should quickly move up to Triple-A St. Paul. Balazovic has done a good job repeating his delivery, and continuing down a path of sustained success is a must for him. Minnesota would probably like to see a trend back towards the 2019 numbers, but that’s also not a showstopper. The strikeouts were down slightly, and the walks rose, but both happened in minor increments. Settling back in with a clean bill of health should lead to more dominating performances than not. What’s Next It would be far from shocking if Balazovic was pitching for the Twins by mid-summer. He’s near ready as a prospect, and while he’s probably not the type to be called upon before ready in a spot-start role, he’s got the talent to force his way into sustained action. Minnesota should have a middle-of-the-rotation arm at worst here, and seeing him add even more would be a welcomed sight. The Twins have been longing for a guy that can mow down the opposition, and Balazovic has the makings of someone capable of doing just that. If he can be a staff ace, the organization will have its next piece to build around. Previous Rankings Honorable Mentions Prospects 16-20 Prospects 11-15 #10: Josh Winder, RHP #9: Chase Petty, RHP #8: Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP #7: Jhoan Duran, RHP #6: Matt Canterino, RHP #5: Joe Ryan, RHP #4: Jordan Balazovic, RHP #3: Coming tomorrow
  6. Acquired by trade last July, Austin Martin has quickly found himself at the center of trade talks once again for a Twins team short on pitching. The Twins, however, shouldn’t be so quick to flip their newly-acquired top prospect. It’s reasonable to look at Austin Martin and see a valuable piece that the Twins could use to acquire some pitching, but there are several reasons they shouldn’t be looking to do so. Redundancy is Overrated One argument that can be made is that Martin doesn’t appear to be a future shortstop and his future in center field is blocked by the Buxton extension. This could wind up leaving Martin in a utility role. The Twins already have Luis Arraez in a similar position, however, with other players like Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis coming up who could find themselves in a similar spot. It makes sense to deal from a place of depth, but Martin could bring a lot of value backing up Byron Buxton in center field and Jorge Polanco at second, two players with significant injury histories who could very well miss time at any point moving forward. Luis Arraez can’t fill in for Buxton in center and is stretched at second, not to mention his own injury worries as well. Martin is a younger, healthier, higher floor and likely higher ceiling option than most players that find themselves in a possible platoon role. Not to mention these issues that involve “too much depth” always find a way to work themselves out when it comes to baseball. His Value Isn’t That High Potential MLB caliber shortstops are one of the more valuable assets a team can have in their farm system. It’s a big part of what led to Martin being chosen so high in the draft and what could make him an enormous trade piece moving forward. Tom makes a good point in regards to Martin’s trade value: Tom’s reasoning behind this is solid. Austin Martin’s 2021 has gone a long way in proving he’s not a future shortstop. Twins fans should be on board with trading him if a team still looks at him as one, as the return would be that much better for a player that’s unlikely to reach that ceiling. Martin was a longshot to be a future shortstop at the trade deadline, however, and didn't do much to change that idea after the fact. I’d be shocked if a team is still all in on this idea. A team such as the Reds who are in need of a shortstop of the future would likely be more open to paying a higher price to gamble on Royce Lewis panning out at the position because he hasn’t proven otherwise yet. Trading Austin Martin to a team that believes him to be an outfielder or second baseman wouldn’t bring back all that much relative value. Musical Chairs There isn’t a lot of baseball logic that goes into this one, but it just feels unproductive to trade the Twins best pitcher for two prospects and turn around and trade the biggest name for a different pitcher who likely won’t be any better than Berrios. Sure, the Twins will have gotten Simeon Woods-Richardson out of the deal, but it’ll cost other prospects in addition to Austin Martin to acquire any of the big names on the market. If there was any enthusiasm about extending one of these arms after acquiring them then it could be worth the price. It’s hard to find that enthusiasm however and the likelier outcome is trading such a pitcher away at the 2022 trade deadline if the team finds themselves in a similar situation as last year. It runs the risk of beginning a cycle that doesn’t sound all that fun to be honest. The Twins liked Martin enough to acquire him as a big piece of the Jose Berrios trade and he’s been about as advertised since then. To turn around and trade him for another pitcher with two years of control (the majority of the high-end pitchers on the market) just seems like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. It essentially just swaps out a couple of prospects for a new pitcher who’s likely on Berrios’ level and still leaves a gaping hole in the rotation. It’s possible Austin Martin doesn’t become the star he was projected to be when drafted. He’s still an MLB-bound player with incredible pure hitting skills and versatility. He could easily settle into a position for the next 5-6 years and be an example of how not quite everything in 2021 went wrong. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Twins front office tries to wriggle out of their own self-inflicted mess with the pitching staff. Players on the verge of bringing some much needed excitement to Twins Territory such as Martin should be off the table unless there are extenuating circumstances. Austin Martin should be wearing a Twins jersey by 2022 season’s end. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  7. It’s reasonable to look at Austin Martin and see a valuable piece that the Twins could use to acquire some pitching, but there are several reasons they shouldn’t be looking to do so. Redundancy is Overrated One argument that can be made is that Martin doesn’t appear to be a future shortstop and his future in center field is blocked by the Buxton extension. This could wind up leaving Martin in a utility role. The Twins already have Luis Arraez in a similar position, however, with other players like Jose Miranda and Royce Lewis coming up who could find themselves in a similar spot. It makes sense to deal from a place of depth, but Martin could bring a lot of value backing up Byron Buxton in center field and Jorge Polanco at second, two players with significant injury histories who could very well miss time at any point moving forward. Luis Arraez can’t fill in for Buxton in center and is stretched at second, not to mention his own injury worries as well. Martin is a younger, healthier, higher floor and likely higher ceiling option than most players that find themselves in a possible platoon role. Not to mention these issues that involve “too much depth” always find a way to work themselves out when it comes to baseball. His Value Isn’t That High Potential MLB caliber shortstops are one of the more valuable assets a team can have in their farm system. It’s a big part of what led to Martin being chosen so high in the draft and what could make him an enormous trade piece moving forward. Tom makes a good point in regards to Martin’s trade value: Tom’s reasoning behind this is solid. Austin Martin’s 2021 has gone a long way in proving he’s not a future shortstop. Twins fans should be on board with trading him if a team still looks at him as one, as the return would be that much better for a player that’s unlikely to reach that ceiling. Martin was a longshot to be a future shortstop at the trade deadline, however, and didn't do much to change that idea after the fact. I’d be shocked if a team is still all in on this idea. A team such as the Reds who are in need of a shortstop of the future would likely be more open to paying a higher price to gamble on Royce Lewis panning out at the position because he hasn’t proven otherwise yet. Trading Austin Martin to a team that believes him to be an outfielder or second baseman wouldn’t bring back all that much relative value. Musical Chairs There isn’t a lot of baseball logic that goes into this one, but it just feels unproductive to trade the Twins best pitcher for two prospects and turn around and trade the biggest name for a different pitcher who likely won’t be any better than Berrios. Sure, the Twins will have gotten Simeon Woods-Richardson out of the deal, but it’ll cost other prospects in addition to Austin Martin to acquire any of the big names on the market. If there was any enthusiasm about extending one of these arms after acquiring them then it could be worth the price. It’s hard to find that enthusiasm however and the likelier outcome is trading such a pitcher away at the 2022 trade deadline if the team finds themselves in a similar situation as last year. It runs the risk of beginning a cycle that doesn’t sound all that fun to be honest. The Twins liked Martin enough to acquire him as a big piece of the Jose Berrios trade and he’s been about as advertised since then. To turn around and trade him for another pitcher with two years of control (the majority of the high-end pitchers on the market) just seems like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. It essentially just swaps out a couple of prospects for a new pitcher who’s likely on Berrios’ level and still leaves a gaping hole in the rotation. It’s possible Austin Martin doesn’t become the star he was projected to be when drafted. He’s still an MLB-bound player with incredible pure hitting skills and versatility. He could easily settle into a position for the next 5-6 years and be an example of how not quite everything in 2021 went wrong. It’s going to be interesting to see how the Twins front office tries to wriggle out of their own self-inflicted mess with the pitching staff. Players on the verge of bringing some much needed excitement to Twins Territory such as Martin should be off the table unless there are extenuating circumstances. Austin Martin should be wearing a Twins jersey by 2022 season’s end. — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  8. The 2021 season didn't go precisely as the Twins envisioned, but the calendar will shortly turn to 2022. Here is a look back at some of the biggest stories at Twins Daily over the last year. Below is a rundown of the back half of the top-20 stories here at Twins Daily over the last calendar year. Take a look back at some of the most significant events and stop back later to look at the top-10 stories. 20. José Berríos Traded to Blue Jays Published: July 30 Author: Matthew Taylor After the season went south, the José Berríos trade was one of the biggest stories of the year. Not only did it impact the second half of the 2021 season, but the trade also has ramifications felt into the current off-season as the team looks to rebuild the pitching staff. Minnesota was able to get two top-100 prospects, and the Blue Jays eventually signed Berríos to a long-term deal. 19. Trade Deadline Tracker: Twins' News and Rumor Roundup Published: July 29 Author: Matthew Taylor There's no question that Twins fans were interested in the 2021 trade deadline as Minnesota had multiple big-league assets tied into the rumor mill. One of the day's biggest stories was the Brewers trading for old friend Eduardo Escobar. Rumors also swirled about a potential José Berríos trade that happened the next day. 18. Nelson Cruz Saga Illuminates Shrewdness of Falvine Published: February 5 Author: Nash Walker Last winter, one of the team's most significant decisions was whether or not to bring back Nelson Cruz. Minnesota's front office was patient, and the National League never added the designated hitter. This left few contending teams in need of Cruz's services. Falvine got Cruz to sign on their terms, and he'd be part of another big story later in the year. 17. Potential Trade Packages for José Berríos Published: May 29 Author: Matthew Lenz Even at the end of May, it was clear the Twins would be in sell mode before the trade deadline. Not only did Matthew connect the Blue Jays as a potential suitor for a Berríos trade, but he also hit on one of the prospects the team got as part of the return. 16. Are the Twins About to Build a Radically Unconventional Pitching Staff? Published: November 11 Author: Nick Nelson The Twins didn't sign any of the top-tier free-agent starting pitchers, and this article gives insight into what the team might be planning. Thad Levine and the front office may consider a nontraditional approach to filling the rotation. When the lockout ends, this approach will be something to keep an eye on as the roster comes together. 15. End of the Line for Brent Rooker? Published: September 25 Author: Cody Pirkl Brent Rooker finished his age-26 season, and he has yet to put it all together at the big-league level. He has little left to prove at Triple-A, and now the question remains as to what his future may hold with the Twins moving forward. Can he be a bench option for the Twins in 2022, or has he reached the end of the line? 14. Twins Trade Nelson Cruz to the Rays for Two AAA Starting Pitchers Published: July 22 Author: Seth Stohs Tampa Bay didn't wait around until the trade deadline to make their move as they wanted Cruz on their roster for an extra week and a half. Even with Cruz on an expiring deal, the Twins acquired two pitchers that are close to big-league ready. It was Minnesota's first big trade before the deadline, and it wouldn't be their last move. 13. Do the Twins Already Have the Next Brian Dozier? Published: March 1 Author: Cody Christie Brian Dozier was a late bloomer that came through the Twins system to have some monster seasons at the plate. Nick Gordon made his debut in 2021, and he also fits into the late-bloomer category. He may never develop Dozier's power, but he seemed to fit nicely into a utility role in the season's second half. 12. Twins Finalize Opening Day Roster Published: March 29 Author: Seth Stohs Minnesota was coming off of back-to-back AL Central titles, so there was plenty of hope associated with the Opening Day roster. One of the team's final decisions was to keep Kyle Garlick over Rooker. Garlick led the team in home runs throughout the spring, so it took an impressive showing for him to make the squad. 11. Ranking the Top-5 Remaining Free Agent Starters Published: December 1 Author: Cody Christie Minnesota had yet to acquire any starting pitching outside of Dylan Bundy, with the lockout looming. There were some clear names at the top of the free-agent rankings, but things dropped off in a hurry. One of the players has already signed, but the other four players are still available if Minnesota wants to pursue them for 2022. Stop back and check out the top stories of the year. Which of these stories will you remember the most? 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
  9. Below is a rundown of the back half of the top-20 stories here at Twins Daily over the last calendar year. Take a look back at some of the most significant events and stop back later to look at the top-10 stories. 20. José Berríos Traded to Blue Jays Published: July 30 Author: Matthew Taylor After the season went south, the José Berríos trade was one of the biggest stories of the year. Not only did it impact the second half of the 2021 season, but the trade also has ramifications felt into the current off-season as the team looks to rebuild the pitching staff. Minnesota was able to get two top-100 prospects, and the Blue Jays eventually signed Berríos to a long-term deal. 19. Trade Deadline Tracker: Twins' News and Rumor Roundup Published: July 29 Author: Matthew Taylor There's no question that Twins fans were interested in the 2021 trade deadline as Minnesota had multiple big-league assets tied into the rumor mill. One of the day's biggest stories was the Brewers trading for old friend Eduardo Escobar. Rumors also swirled about a potential José Berríos trade that happened the next day. 18. Nelson Cruz Saga Illuminates Shrewdness of Falvine Published: February 5 Author: Nash Walker Last winter, one of the team's most significant decisions was whether or not to bring back Nelson Cruz. Minnesota's front office was patient, and the National League never added the designated hitter. This left few contending teams in need of Cruz's services. Falvine got Cruz to sign on their terms, and he'd be part of another big story later in the year. 17. Potential Trade Packages for José Berríos Published: May 29 Author: Matthew Lenz Even at the end of May, it was clear the Twins would be in sell mode before the trade deadline. Not only did Matthew connect the Blue Jays as a potential suitor for a Berríos trade, but he also hit on one of the prospects the team got as part of the return. 16. Are the Twins About to Build a Radically Unconventional Pitching Staff? Published: November 11 Author: Nick Nelson The Twins didn't sign any of the top-tier free-agent starting pitchers, and this article gives insight into what the team might be planning. Thad Levine and the front office may consider a nontraditional approach to filling the rotation. When the lockout ends, this approach will be something to keep an eye on as the roster comes together. 15. End of the Line for Brent Rooker? Published: September 25 Author: Cody Pirkl Brent Rooker finished his age-26 season, and he has yet to put it all together at the big-league level. He has little left to prove at Triple-A, and now the question remains as to what his future may hold with the Twins moving forward. Can he be a bench option for the Twins in 2022, or has he reached the end of the line? 14. Twins Trade Nelson Cruz to the Rays for Two AAA Starting Pitchers Published: July 22 Author: Seth Stohs Tampa Bay didn't wait around until the trade deadline to make their move as they wanted Cruz on their roster for an extra week and a half. Even with Cruz on an expiring deal, the Twins acquired two pitchers that are close to big-league ready. It was Minnesota's first big trade before the deadline, and it wouldn't be their last move. 13. Do the Twins Already Have the Next Brian Dozier? Published: March 1 Author: Cody Christie Brian Dozier was a late bloomer that came through the Twins system to have some monster seasons at the plate. Nick Gordon made his debut in 2021, and he also fits into the late-bloomer category. He may never develop Dozier's power, but he seemed to fit nicely into a utility role in the season's second half. 12. Twins Finalize Opening Day Roster Published: March 29 Author: Seth Stohs Minnesota was coming off of back-to-back AL Central titles, so there was plenty of hope associated with the Opening Day roster. One of the team's final decisions was to keep Kyle Garlick over Rooker. Garlick led the team in home runs throughout the spring, so it took an impressive showing for him to make the squad. 11. Ranking the Top-5 Remaining Free Agent Starters Published: December 1 Author: Cody Christie Minnesota had yet to acquire any starting pitching outside of Dylan Bundy, with the lockout looming. There were some clear names at the top of the free-agent rankings, but things dropped off in a hurry. One of the players has already signed, but the other four players are still available if Minnesota wants to pursue them for 2022. Stop back and check out the top stories of the year. Which of these stories will you remember the most? 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. The Minnesota Twins have 38 players on their 40 man roster, and the most glaring hole is in the starting rotation. They’re missing at least two pieces and have $40 million or so to spend. So let’s go crazy. They need to spend…on a bat. If you’ve been reading Twins Daily lately, I hope you haven’t missed Nick Nelson's piece on the front office avoiding free-agent starters. Derek Falvey has largely missed on the names he’s targeted, and he’s sat out on most of them. Length has been this club’s sticking point, and as Nick points out, it’s also been the track record of this front office. Cleveland sustained winning through pitching. The arms were developed internally, inexpensively, and near-peak of their projections. Given the success Falvey has seen using this blueprint and operating with the same parameters that Minnesota is not a sought-after destination, it’s understandable for him to get creative. That leaves opportunity on the trade market, like sending a high-end reliever in Brusdar Graterol to the Dodgers for an established arm like Kenta Maeda. I believe at least one trade will bring in a top-of-the-rotation starter, but dollars still need to be allocated. How about looking at this route. Come on down, Kris Bryant. Going into 2021, I had made a couple of points to suggest dealing for the former Cubs third basemen made a lot of sense. He can play left field and first base and had just a year left on his deal while fully intending to hit free agency. Minnesota declined, and the San Francisco Giants utilized him for their stretch run. Now a free agent, Bryant is a better fit for the Twins than you imagine. Even with the Cubs manipulation of the Vegas natives’ service time, Bryant will play 2022 at just 30 years old. His “injuries” have been largely overstated in that he’s missed significant time in just two of his seven big league seasons. When healthy, he’s been among the best in the sport. Coming off a 2021 in which he posted an .835 OPS with 25 homers, Bryant flashed his versatility played every position except for second base and catcher. He’s best suited on the corners, either in the infield or outfield, and that’s where the fit lies with the Twins. Josh Donaldson was mostly fine last season, posting an .827 OPS. He played in 135 games but was immediately on the Injured List with a leg issue to start the season. Donaldson needed significant time in the designated hitter spot to be eased back in, and he’s now another year older. Luis Arraez plays second base for Minnesota, but not well, and has bulky knees. Jose Miranda has forced his way into time, but that could come anywhere. What version of Miguel Sano shows up in his final contract year remains to be seen. Alex Kirilloff figures to play more first base than anything, and Trevor Larnach’s rebound is uncertain. Maybe the most significant linchpin here is if and when Max Kepler is moved. That’s a ton of moving pieces, but just one (with Kepler being the most likely), needs to be moved for a perfect set of musical chairs. Spending on bats seems to be much more fruitful on the free-agent market, and giving Bryant a three-to-five-year deal may be enough to have him call Twins Territory home. This lineup should already do plenty of damage when on, and adding Bryant to it only helps to supplement a pitching staff that would leave plenty to be desired. Spending dollars on his bat gets easier as the top of the Twins farm assumes rotation spots, and his versatility doesn’t hamstring any single player. With the Giants interested in retaining his services, the Seattle Mariners lurking, and Scott Boras angling for the biggest deal, there’s plenty of reasons this won’t happen before even considering the Twins. That all being said, the fit is there, and spending needs to happen regardless. Rather than continuing to do nothing with the funds freed up in trading Jose Berrios, it certainly makes sense to grab a player of impact instead of spreading them out between roster filler. Kris Bryant doesn’t pitch, and he isn’t a shortstop, but somehow this still seems to work. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  11. If you’ve been reading Twins Daily lately, I hope you haven’t missed Nick Nelson's piece on the front office avoiding free-agent starters. Derek Falvey has largely missed on the names he’s targeted, and he’s sat out on most of them. Length has been this club’s sticking point, and as Nick points out, it’s also been the track record of this front office. Cleveland sustained winning through pitching. The arms were developed internally, inexpensively, and near-peak of their projections. Given the success Falvey has seen using this blueprint and operating with the same parameters that Minnesota is not a sought-after destination, it’s understandable for him to get creative. That leaves opportunity on the trade market, like sending a high-end reliever in Brusdar Graterol to the Dodgers for an established arm like Kenta Maeda. I believe at least one trade will bring in a top-of-the-rotation starter, but dollars still need to be allocated. How about looking at this route. Come on down, Kris Bryant. Going into 2021, I had made a couple of points to suggest dealing for the former Cubs third basemen made a lot of sense. He can play left field and first base and had just a year left on his deal while fully intending to hit free agency. Minnesota declined, and the San Francisco Giants utilized him for their stretch run. Now a free agent, Bryant is a better fit for the Twins than you imagine. Even with the Cubs manipulation of the Vegas natives’ service time, Bryant will play 2022 at just 30 years old. His “injuries” have been largely overstated in that he’s missed significant time in just two of his seven big league seasons. When healthy, he’s been among the best in the sport. Coming off a 2021 in which he posted an .835 OPS with 25 homers, Bryant flashed his versatility played every position except for second base and catcher. He’s best suited on the corners, either in the infield or outfield, and that’s where the fit lies with the Twins. Josh Donaldson was mostly fine last season, posting an .827 OPS. He played in 135 games but was immediately on the Injured List with a leg issue to start the season. Donaldson needed significant time in the designated hitter spot to be eased back in, and he’s now another year older. Luis Arraez plays second base for Minnesota, but not well, and has bulky knees. Jose Miranda has forced his way into time, but that could come anywhere. What version of Miguel Sano shows up in his final contract year remains to be seen. Alex Kirilloff figures to play more first base than anything, and Trevor Larnach’s rebound is uncertain. Maybe the most significant linchpin here is if and when Max Kepler is moved. That’s a ton of moving pieces, but just one (with Kepler being the most likely), needs to be moved for a perfect set of musical chairs. Spending on bats seems to be much more fruitful on the free-agent market, and giving Bryant a three-to-five-year deal may be enough to have him call Twins Territory home. This lineup should already do plenty of damage when on, and adding Bryant to it only helps to supplement a pitching staff that would leave plenty to be desired. Spending dollars on his bat gets easier as the top of the Twins farm assumes rotation spots, and his versatility doesn’t hamstring any single player. With the Giants interested in retaining his services, the Seattle Mariners lurking, and Scott Boras angling for the biggest deal, there’s plenty of reasons this won’t happen before even considering the Twins. That all being said, the fit is there, and spending needs to happen regardless. Rather than continuing to do nothing with the funds freed up in trading Jose Berrios, it certainly makes sense to grab a player of impact instead of spreading them out between roster filler. Kris Bryant doesn’t pitch, and he isn’t a shortstop, but somehow this still seems to work. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Order the Offseason Handbook — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. Right now, the Minnesota Twins have failed to do much of anything on the free-agent market. Despite the feeding frenzy leading up to the lockout, the only player they brought in was pitcher Dylan Bundy. It’s now slim pickings out there, but there’s one guy they have no excuse not to sign. There’s no denying that Derek Falvey has a ton of work to do when filling out Rocco Baldelli’s pitching staff. Jose Berrios has been traded. Kenta Maeda is on the shelf. Michael Pineda is gone. Bundy joins holdovers Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan as the only arms currently penciled into the big league rotation. Minnesota needs someone to own the designation of staff ace. The Twins also currently have a projected payroll of just $91 million. Put those two realities together, and you get an equation that results in needing to spend something like $40 million and find a top-tier arm. Come on down Carlos Rodon. The former Chicago White Sox lefty has been through quite the past few seasons. After pitching just seven and ⅔ innings in 2020, the White Sox non-tendered their former third overall pick. His season-best innings total came way back in 2016 when he threw 165. Often injured, Rodon has thrown just an average of 58 innings per season from 2017-2020. Then came 2021, and Rodon responded by putting up a breakout campaign. Named to his first All-Star Game, Rodon also finished 5th in the Cy Young voting. His 2.37 ERA was bolstered by a 2.65 FIP and a 0.957 WHIP. Dropping a full walk per nine off his career average and jumping his strikeouts per nine by more than three, it was every bit the dominant performance you’d hope to see. Rodon got there by allowing the lowest hard-hit rate of his career and gave up his second-lowest home run rate. Looking through his peripherals, there’s plenty to be excited about as well. Rodon generated a career-best 34% chase rate and another career-best 14.9% whiff rate. He’d never generated a CSW% (called and swinging strikes) better than 29.3% until he hit 30.3% last season. Those realities coincide with a velocity boost that Rodon saw an average fastball sitting at 95.4 mph, nearly a mile and a half bump on his career average. That’s where things also get sticky for Rodon. Dealing with a shoulder injury defined simply as “fatigue” in August, his velocities saw a decline down the stretch. Following a return from the IL, Rodon worked five games for Chicago, going 23 total innings, or an average of roughly four and ⅔ per start. The results were promising in that he posted a 2.35 ERA and held opposing batters to a .536 OPS with a 25/6 K/BB. An average fastball velocity that sat at 96-97 mph from June 8 through July 18 got back above 95 mph just once the rest of the way and averaged just 93.3 mph once he returned from the Injured List. Therein lies the rub and why Rodon is both available and a perfect fit for the Twins. This front office has avoided being locked into long-term pacts, especially with pitchers. They wanted no part of a seven-year deal with Jose Berrios, and even Kevin Gausman’s five-year contract may have been too much. There’s no denying they should’ve been a big player for Marcus Stroman on a three-year deal, but this is a spot to right that. Because Rodon has been hurt and Minnesota likes to keep risk relatively low, the two should be made for each other. Rather than getting the $20+ million annually or five-year deal Rodon may have earned in a normal situation, he likely should be available for something around $30 million on a two-year deal. The contention has remained that if the Twins want to avoid the market trends of length, they must be willing to spend above value on shorter-term opportunities. This is a perfect spot for Minnesota to strike, whether a one or two-year deal. Rodon gives the club an ace, and if the injuries persist, there’s no real setback with the short agreement. We won’t know how things work out for Rodon or Minnesota until the lockout is lifted. The landscape could change for players and ownership going forward, but it’s hard to see these two sides fitting any less perfect than they appear at this moment. Leaving just one option on the table gives Derek Falvey little room for error, but this is a situation where he needs to put his best foot forward and not miss. 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
  13. There’s no denying that Derek Falvey has a ton of work to do when filling out Rocco Baldelli’s pitching staff. Jose Berrios has been traded. Kenta Maeda is on the shelf. Michael Pineda is gone. Bundy joins holdovers Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan as the only arms currently penciled into the big league rotation. Minnesota needs someone to own the designation of staff ace. The Twins also currently have a projected payroll of just $91 million. Put those two realities together, and you get an equation that results in needing to spend something like $40 million and find a top-tier arm. Come on down Carlos Rodon. The former Chicago White Sox lefty has been through quite the past few seasons. After pitching just seven and ⅔ innings in 2020, the White Sox non-tendered their former third overall pick. His season-best innings total came way back in 2016 when he threw 165. Often injured, Rodon has thrown just an average of 58 innings per season from 2017-2020. Then came 2021, and Rodon responded by putting up a breakout campaign. Named to his first All-Star Game, Rodon also finished 5th in the Cy Young voting. His 2.37 ERA was bolstered by a 2.65 FIP and a 0.957 WHIP. Dropping a full walk per nine off his career average and jumping his strikeouts per nine by more than three, it was every bit the dominant performance you’d hope to see. Rodon got there by allowing the lowest hard-hit rate of his career and gave up his second-lowest home run rate. Looking through his peripherals, there’s plenty to be excited about as well. Rodon generated a career-best 34% chase rate and another career-best 14.9% whiff rate. He’d never generated a CSW% (called and swinging strikes) better than 29.3% until he hit 30.3% last season. Those realities coincide with a velocity boost that Rodon saw an average fastball sitting at 95.4 mph, nearly a mile and a half bump on his career average. That’s where things also get sticky for Rodon. Dealing with a shoulder injury defined simply as “fatigue” in August, his velocities saw a decline down the stretch. Following a return from the IL, Rodon worked five games for Chicago, going 23 total innings, or an average of roughly four and ⅔ per start. The results were promising in that he posted a 2.35 ERA and held opposing batters to a .536 OPS with a 25/6 K/BB. An average fastball velocity that sat at 96-97 mph from June 8 through July 18 got back above 95 mph just once the rest of the way and averaged just 93.3 mph once he returned from the Injured List. Therein lies the rub and why Rodon is both available and a perfect fit for the Twins. This front office has avoided being locked into long-term pacts, especially with pitchers. They wanted no part of a seven-year deal with Jose Berrios, and even Kevin Gausman’s five-year contract may have been too much. There’s no denying they should’ve been a big player for Marcus Stroman on a three-year deal, but this is a spot to right that. Because Rodon has been hurt and Minnesota likes to keep risk relatively low, the two should be made for each other. Rather than getting the $20+ million annually or five-year deal Rodon may have earned in a normal situation, he likely should be available for something around $30 million on a two-year deal. The contention has remained that if the Twins want to avoid the market trends of length, they must be willing to spend above value on shorter-term opportunities. This is a perfect spot for Minnesota to strike, whether a one or two-year deal. Rodon gives the club an ace, and if the injuries persist, there’s no real setback with the short agreement. We won’t know how things work out for Rodon or Minnesota until the lockout is lifted. The landscape could change for players and ownership going forward, but it’s hard to see these two sides fitting any less perfect than they appear at this moment. Leaving just one option on the table gives Derek Falvey little room for error, but this is a situation where he needs to put his best foot forward and not miss. 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. If the Minnesota Twins should have been doing something before the lockout, it was paying for pitching. Dealing with a plethora of pitching injuries, building a rotation of short-term deals made a ton of sense. Now the club will have to decide how the group is built. After signing Dylan Bundy to a one-year deal with a 2023 option, Minnesota effectively has three of the five spots filled in their rotation. Kenta Maeda will be out for the season due to Tommy John surgery, and Jose Berrios is long gone. This group includes Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan, but it was intended to be more flush with homegrown talent. The 2020 Minor League Baseball season being non-existent was always going to hurt the development of prospects, but the ripple effect that lacking game action had on injuries was crippling. All of the Twins top arms dealt with time on the shelf last season, which halted any of them being options for the 2022 Opening Day roster. Derek Falvey is supposed to be a pitching guru, and developing arms was his calling card with the Cleveland Guardians. That’s yet to bear any fruit in Minnesota, but there’s a group very close to bursting through. Take your pick from this lot: Jhoan Duran, Jordan Balazovic, Matt Canterino, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, and Blayne Enlow. All of them are expected to provide varying degrees of rotational talent. Each of them has also been on the injured list during the past year, and whatever projection for a debut is further away than it once seemed. This is where opportunity presented itself for the Twins. In 2021 the big league roster was intended to again compete for an AL Central Division title. That fell flat because the pitching wasn’t good. With essentially the same roster intact, a re-do on the rotation is a quick way for Rocco Baldelli’s club to regain its status among the best in the sport. Bundy isn’t enough to do that on his own, and the options left available are now bare. Carlos Rodon is essentially a must for Minnesota. His shoulder issues are concerning, but there’s no denying he’s the ace-level pitching that could anchor the rotation. If the front office wants to play in those waters, they have to be willing to outspend the competition, especially when they shy away from duration. Trades also make sense for this club and worrying about how all the arms fit shouldn’t be part of the equation. As we just established, there’s been a run on injuries throughout the system and last year's depth was hardly the asset it once seemed. Much like position prospect Royce Lewis, the pitchers being shelved for long enough to delay debuts changed the plans for Minnesota. However, that’s been established for months, and the club did little to play in the free-agent waters. It’s now time that a substantial step forward is taken on pitching, spending and dealing, to establish a group capable of supporting what should be a strong lineup. It’s too bad that Falvey’s farm system hasn’t yet developed from the top group, but there are plenty of names that could stick. In the meantime, giving the big league club the additional firepower should be of the utmost importance. MORE TWINS CONTENT — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  15. After signing Dylan Bundy to a one-year deal with a 2023 option, Minnesota effectively has three of the five spots filled in their rotation. Kenta Maeda will be out for the season due to Tommy John surgery, and Jose Berrios is long gone. This group includes Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan, but it was intended to be more flush with homegrown talent. The 2020 Minor League Baseball season being non-existent was always going to hurt the development of prospects, but the ripple effect that lacking game action had on injuries was crippling. All of the Twins top arms dealt with time on the shelf last season, which halted any of them being options for the 2022 Opening Day roster. Derek Falvey is supposed to be a pitching guru, and developing arms was his calling card with the Cleveland Guardians. That’s yet to bear any fruit in Minnesota, but there’s a group very close to bursting through. Take your pick from this lot: Jhoan Duran, Jordan Balazovic, Matt Canterino, Josh Winder, Cole Sands, and Blayne Enlow. All of them are expected to provide varying degrees of rotational talent. Each of them has also been on the injured list during the past year, and whatever projection for a debut is further away than it once seemed. This is where opportunity presented itself for the Twins. In 2021 the big league roster was intended to again compete for an AL Central Division title. That fell flat because the pitching wasn’t good. With essentially the same roster intact, a re-do on the rotation is a quick way for Rocco Baldelli’s club to regain its status among the best in the sport. Bundy isn’t enough to do that on his own, and the options left available are now bare. Carlos Rodon is essentially a must for Minnesota. His shoulder issues are concerning, but there’s no denying he’s the ace-level pitching that could anchor the rotation. If the front office wants to play in those waters, they have to be willing to outspend the competition, especially when they shy away from duration. Trades also make sense for this club and worrying about how all the arms fit shouldn’t be part of the equation. As we just established, there’s been a run on injuries throughout the system and last year's depth was hardly the asset it once seemed. Much like position prospect Royce Lewis, the pitchers being shelved for long enough to delay debuts changed the plans for Minnesota. However, that’s been established for months, and the club did little to play in the free-agent waters. It’s now time that a substantial step forward is taken on pitching, spending and dealing, to establish a group capable of supporting what should be a strong lineup. It’s too bad that Falvey’s farm system hasn’t yet developed from the top group, but there are plenty of names that could stick. In the meantime, giving the big league club the additional firepower should be of the utmost importance. MORE TWINS CONTENT — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. The Minnesota Twins dealt Jose Berrios to the Toronto Blue Jays during the 2021 Major League Baseball season. Today he signed a seven year deal worth $140 million to stay in Canada for the bulk of his career. The wound is opened again. When the Twins flipped Berrios to the Blue Jays, they did a great job acquiring prospect capital. Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson are both top-100 prospects. Despite Martin looking more like a centerfielder than a shortstop, his talent still plays up the middle. Woods-Richardson will get a shot to re-establish himself after competing in the Olympics last season. If Minnesota wasn’t going to sign Berrios, then getting that type of haul was nice. In seeing the deal get struck with Toronto, it’s very clear that Minnesota’s sticking point was the duration. As Darren Wolfson points out, the front office is not keen on offering seven year pacts to players. That’s a fair stance, even with someone who’s been as durable as Jose, and even though he’s just 27-years-old. What remains to be seen is how they will compete for those top talents otherwise. If you’re taking a hard and fast approach on avoiding length, then you must make a more aggressive push on value. A $20 million average annual value for Berrios seems like a fair amount. That’s below what Noah Syndergaard will get, albeit on a one year deal, despite pitching just two innings since 2019. Should Minnesota look to mitigate risk by avoiding length, they’ll need to tack on a percentage above market rate to lure free agents into their organization. We’ll very quickly get an idea how this plays out for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. Ultimately, they “saved” the money on Berrios by flipping him for outstanding prospects. Instead of breaking up the $20 million annually across two or three pitchers, they must be willing to spend that type of coin on one arm that fills the void. They’ll be hoping the length of the deal is shorter, but banking that salary flexibility, or trying to patch it together through multiple players is not something that should be met with praise. As I’ve harper on for months, this offseason is going to be the most important in determining the true ability of the front office, and they should be judged accordingly. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  17. Last week, I was ready to write this piece with three things the Twins could be tagged with failure for the offseason should the tasks remain incomplete. They extended Byron Buxton; that was a big number one. There’s still work to be done, and the heavy lifting is yet to come. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine needed to extend Byron Buxton. It was paramount for the franchise. The organization preached Target Field being a vehicle to keep homegrown talent, and Jose Berrios had already departed. Losing Buxton would’ve opened the door to the flip side of Joe Mauer’s situation, and having the power to negotiate singularly with a mega-talent on depressed dollars was unfathomable. Thankfully they pulled through and agreed. Seven years, $100 million. He’s here to stay. Now, what’s next? I’m the “freaking offseason” guy, and if there’s a way for Minnesota to have anything but this winter, it’s by failing to complete these two tasks: 1. Spending Must Remain Constant Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over the Twins front office for the 2017 Major League Baseball season. The 2016 Twins were coming off a disastrous 103-loss campaign, and organizational upheaval was afoot. Roster turnover immediately began, and despite being saddled with Paul Molitor as an incumbent manager, the front office spent to the tune of $100.7 million, slightly behind the $104 million a year prior. A step backward is expected when competitiveness wanes. However, the opposite is true when you’re on an upswing, even when results are not necessarily indicative of expectations. After winning 85 games in 2017 and finishing second in the AL Central, Minnesota spent roughly $125 million for the 2018 season. A new franchise record payroll had been established. That team failed to live up to expectations. Despite finishing second in the division, they were 78-84 on the year. Falvey and Levine saw what they had and needed to push forward. Welcome to the Bomba Squad. The 2019 Twins pushed the payroll north of $125 million and were one of the best teams in franchise history. Setting a single-season record for home runs, this group was bounced early from the Postseason but looked poised for more. Covid then gave us a truncated 2020 season, and owners suggested revenues were down. While they may not have turned the same profit, the assumption should be that many organizations still operated in the green. The Twins signed veteran Josh Donaldson to a $100 million contract before Spring Training and essentially held serve from where their 2019 spend ended. For 2021 the commentary was about decreased payrolls for owners to make up the lost dollars. The Twins cut back to $118 million, just over a 5% decrease from the year prior. Regardless of the misstep in record, it’s clear that this club is on the precipice. Donaldson is here for two more seasons. Buxton has been locked up to a ridiculously affordable pact. The prospects are near the top of the system, and the graduations have all been meaningful ones. It’s time to take another step forward this season and push the bottom line. A bare minimum spend for Minnesota this season should be $130 million. Going to $135 or even $140 million makes a good deal of sense as well. They’d have to splurge pretty heavily to account for that amount, but the rotation remains bare, and a top free agent could certainly be had. That brings us to the second point. 2. Allocate the Berrios Dollars There’s no denying that Minnesota easily could’ve matched the seven-year, $131 million deal that Jose Berrios just got from the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s hardly bank-breaking and would’ve been an excellent opportunity to keep their homegrown talent. The problem seems to be in length; this front-office isn’t giving a pitcher anything over five years. So be it, that’s a fine and understandable stance considering the uncertainty that comes with arms (even if Berrios has been an incredibly durable one). What that means is the money needs to be ticketed elsewhere and on the same scale. $18 million per year is roughly what Berrios got from Toronto. I’m not interested in types like J.A. Happ and Michael Pineda combining to make that money. A true frontline starter has to be acquired in hopes of carrying Berrios’ load. Understandably, the name may come via trade, be under team control, and cost more in prospect capital than dollars. Should that be the case, a strong foot forward for starters number two and three should be shown. This front office has to be willing to overpay on shorter deals if they’re unwilling to hand out the length of their competitors. Last season the largest misstep was acquiring arms filling the back of the rotation rather than finding a middle-to-upper tier talent that could bolster the top half. Pineda would be a nice get to return, but he should be the worst starter they acquire. The goal needs to be setting Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan up for no more than a 4th and 5th option in a competition as we careen towards Opening Day. Falvey has established an infrastructure that supports talented arms when they’re available. Minnesota’s starters ranked 5th and 7th in 2020 and 2019 by fWAR, and that was without a splash for Wes Johnson. Go get him a great piece or two and let him work. Is there’s another area that’s a must this offseason for you to believe in the 2022 Twins chances? Any deal breakers for you? 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
  18. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine needed to extend Byron Buxton. It was paramount for the franchise. The organization preached Target Field being a vehicle to keep homegrown talent, and Jose Berrios had already departed. Losing Buxton would’ve opened the door to the flip side of Joe Mauer’s situation, and having the power to negotiate singularly with a mega-talent on depressed dollars was unfathomable. Thankfully they pulled through and agreed. Seven years, $100 million. He’s here to stay. Now, what’s next? I’m the “freaking offseason” guy, and if there’s a way for Minnesota to have anything but this winter, it’s by failing to complete these two tasks: 1. Spending Must Remain Constant Derek Falvey and Thad Levine took over the Twins front office for the 2017 Major League Baseball season. The 2016 Twins were coming off a disastrous 103-loss campaign, and organizational upheaval was afoot. Roster turnover immediately began, and despite being saddled with Paul Molitor as an incumbent manager, the front office spent to the tune of $100.7 million, slightly behind the $104 million a year prior. A step backward is expected when competitiveness wanes. However, the opposite is true when you’re on an upswing, even when results are not necessarily indicative of expectations. After winning 85 games in 2017 and finishing second in the AL Central, Minnesota spent roughly $125 million for the 2018 season. A new franchise record payroll had been established. That team failed to live up to expectations. Despite finishing second in the division, they were 78-84 on the year. Falvey and Levine saw what they had and needed to push forward. Welcome to the Bomba Squad. The 2019 Twins pushed the payroll north of $125 million and were one of the best teams in franchise history. Setting a single-season record for home runs, this group was bounced early from the Postseason but looked poised for more. Covid then gave us a truncated 2020 season, and owners suggested revenues were down. While they may not have turned the same profit, the assumption should be that many organizations still operated in the green. The Twins signed veteran Josh Donaldson to a $100 million contract before Spring Training and essentially held serve from where their 2019 spend ended. For 2021 the commentary was about decreased payrolls for owners to make up the lost dollars. The Twins cut back to $118 million, just over a 5% decrease from the year prior. Regardless of the misstep in record, it’s clear that this club is on the precipice. Donaldson is here for two more seasons. Buxton has been locked up to a ridiculously affordable pact. The prospects are near the top of the system, and the graduations have all been meaningful ones. It’s time to take another step forward this season and push the bottom line. A bare minimum spend for Minnesota this season should be $130 million. Going to $135 or even $140 million makes a good deal of sense as well. They’d have to splurge pretty heavily to account for that amount, but the rotation remains bare, and a top free agent could certainly be had. That brings us to the second point. 2. Allocate the Berrios Dollars There’s no denying that Minnesota easily could’ve matched the seven-year, $131 million deal that Jose Berrios just got from the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s hardly bank-breaking and would’ve been an excellent opportunity to keep their homegrown talent. The problem seems to be in length; this front-office isn’t giving a pitcher anything over five years. So be it, that’s a fine and understandable stance considering the uncertainty that comes with arms (even if Berrios has been an incredibly durable one). What that means is the money needs to be ticketed elsewhere and on the same scale. $18 million per year is roughly what Berrios got from Toronto. I’m not interested in types like J.A. Happ and Michael Pineda combining to make that money. A true frontline starter has to be acquired in hopes of carrying Berrios’ load. Understandably, the name may come via trade, be under team control, and cost more in prospect capital than dollars. Should that be the case, a strong foot forward for starters number two and three should be shown. This front office has to be willing to overpay on shorter deals if they’re unwilling to hand out the length of their competitors. Last season the largest misstep was acquiring arms filling the back of the rotation rather than finding a middle-to-upper tier talent that could bolster the top half. Pineda would be a nice get to return, but he should be the worst starter they acquire. The goal needs to be setting Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan up for no more than a 4th and 5th option in a competition as we careen towards Opening Day. Falvey has established an infrastructure that supports talented arms when they’re available. Minnesota’s starters ranked 5th and 7th in 2020 and 2019 by fWAR, and that was without a splash for Wes Johnson. Go get him a great piece or two and let him work. Is there’s another area that’s a must this offseason for you to believe in the 2022 Twins chances? Any deal breakers for you? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. When Jose Berrios was traded last season, the front office described the next chapter as a retool rather than a rebuild. Now rumors swirl of a Byron Buxton trade. Make no mistake, if these rumors come to fruition, there is no such thing as a retool. The Twins find themselves in a difficult situation this winter. After trading their #1 starting pitcher in Jose Berrios, they’re left with only two rotation spots tentatively spoken for, each by a rookie. A pitching staff that sunk the former back-to-back AL Central champs has to be completely reworked on the front end with significant needs in a bullpen that struggled as well. Shortstop, the quarterback of the infield, is also vacant and will require a legitimate impact addition in order to help propel the team back into contention. In addition to on-field tangibles, they’ve also lost the leader of their pitching staff in Berrios, as well as the leader of the team as a whole in Nelson Cruz. A path to a comeback in 2022 is a bumpy one, but it could certainly be done. What can’t be recovered from, however, is adding center field to the list of vacancies. Center field is one of the most important everyday players on any baseball team. In Minnesota, the player manning the position has been the reason the team has sunk or swam. Since the Twins rise to success in 2019, they’ve been 100-64 with Buxton on the field and 106-106 without him. Correlation does not equal causation, but there’s no denying those numbers are indicative of Buxton’s impact when you watch him on the field. Some have called for Buxton to be traded in the past, mainly due to his long list of injuries. There’s no stopping such an opinion, but those who hold it have to realize what they’re advocating. The Twins almost certainly surpass the point of no return if they choose to field a team without Byron Buxton. The best case scenario following a Buxton trade, regardless of the return, is to sell off literally everyone else. Pay part of Josh Donaldson’s contract to get the best possible return. Take advantage of the need for catchers across the league and get a haul for Mitch Garver. See if anyone is willing to make an offer for Taylor Rogers. 2022 will certainly be a wash, and these players would offer more value on the trade market than on a losing team. Does that reality sound painful? Try the alternative where the Twins trade one of the best players in baseball and try to compete in 2022. The path to doing so without emptying the farm system or spending an unrealistic amount in free agency simply doesn’t exist. Pretending that the team marches into the playoffs in 2022 without Buxton manning center field would set Twins baseball back years. At least Option A gives full attention to collecting young talent to try to develop a new core for the near future. The team still has a path to contention in 2022, and even if that doesn’t work out, their upcoming prospects should position them well for 2023. Extending Byron Buxton is a vote of confidence not only in the front office's ability to rebound, but in the current core that’s in place. Trading Byron Buxton is waving a white flag on both fronts. The next move by the front office won’t be forced. It’s a choice. Byron Buxton isn’t asking for anything near record-setting money. There is no better player they’ll ever find to man center field, and the one they have is a home-grown fan favorite. Such a move by the front office would be giving up on a two-year window that earned them so much praise despite it never having been capitalized on. In six years this front office has inherited a stinker of a team and converted it into a core of players that once had fans thinking the stars are the limit. Now they sit on the edge of a decision that would rightfully leave fans wondering “What was it all for?”. For more Twins content: — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here View full article
  20. José Berríos is staying in Toronto for the long term as he is signing a seven-year extension that will pay him a reported $131 million. With Berríos locked up, Twins fans may be wondering why a similar contract wasn’t worked out in Minnesota. The Toronto Blue Jays are a team on the rise in one of baseball’s toughest divisions. On Tuesday, they committed to keeping José Berríos in their starting rotation for most of the next decade. For the 2022 season, his $18.71 million average salary would rank 13th in baseball among all starting pitchers currently under contract. He was due to make around $11 million in arbitration this winter, so this is essentially a 6-year, $120 million extension. Since 2017, Berríos has been one of the American League’s best and most durable pitchers. He ranks fourth in fWAR over the last five seasons as he trails only Gerrit Cole, Chris Sale, and Justin Verlander. He’s started 12 more games than any other AL pitcher during that time and pitched nearly 100 more innings. That kind of reliability is valuable to teams as starting pitcher usage continues to evolve. At July’s trade deadline, the Twins had a choice to make when it came to Berríos as he had a year and a half left of team control. Minnesota had the option to hang on to him for 2022 hoping that the team rebounded from a poor 2021. Instead, the Twins were overwhelmed with an offer by the Blue Jays that included top prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson. Minnesota is in an interesting position looking back on the type of deal Berríos was able to secure from Toronto. Berríos wanted to be paid like a front-line starter, and the Twins disagreed on his value. Much of the narrative in Minnesota was that Berríos and his representatives wanted him to be able to reach the open market. Toronto paid him market value without other teams competing for his services. Because of the Berríos trade, the Twins are in the market for multiple starting pitchers this winter. Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober are the two names penciled into next year’s rotation, but fans may need to temper their expectations when it comes to these young pitchers. If Minnesota is going to sign any of the top-tier free agents, it will likely take more money per year than Berríos received from Toronto. For the Twins, they will hope that they were right regarding their evaluation of Martin and Woods Richardson, but it may be years before they know that answer. In the end, maybe the Twins weren’t willing to go to seven years, or they possibly didn’t want to pay Berríos as much as he thought he was worth. View full article
  21. The Twins find themselves in a difficult situation this winter. After trading their #1 starting pitcher in Jose Berrios, they’re left with only two rotation spots tentatively spoken for, each by a rookie. A pitching staff that sunk the former back-to-back AL Central champs has to be completely reworked on the front end with significant needs in a bullpen that struggled as well. Shortstop, the quarterback of the infield, is also vacant and will require a legitimate impact addition in order to help propel the team back into contention. In addition to on-field tangibles, they’ve also lost the leader of their pitching staff in Berrios, as well as the leader of the team as a whole in Nelson Cruz. A path to a comeback in 2022 is a bumpy one, but it could certainly be done. What can’t be recovered from, however, is adding center field to the list of vacancies. Center field is one of the most important everyday players on any baseball team. In Minnesota, the player manning the position has been the reason the team has sunk or swam. Since the Twins rise to success in 2019, they’ve been 100-64 with Buxton on the field and 106-106 without him. Correlation does not equal causation, but there’s no denying those numbers are indicative of Buxton’s impact when you watch him on the field. Some have called for Buxton to be traded in the past, mainly due to his long list of injuries. There’s no stopping such an opinion, but those who hold it have to realize what they’re advocating. The Twins almost certainly surpass the point of no return if they choose to field a team without Byron Buxton. The best case scenario following a Buxton trade, regardless of the return, is to sell off literally everyone else. Pay part of Josh Donaldson’s contract to get the best possible return. Take advantage of the need for catchers across the league and get a haul for Mitch Garver. See if anyone is willing to make an offer for Taylor Rogers. 2022 will certainly be a wash, and these players would offer more value on the trade market than on a losing team. Does that reality sound painful? Try the alternative where the Twins trade one of the best players in baseball and try to compete in 2022. The path to doing so without emptying the farm system or spending an unrealistic amount in free agency simply doesn’t exist. Pretending that the team marches into the playoffs in 2022 without Buxton manning center field would set Twins baseball back years. At least Option A gives full attention to collecting young talent to try to develop a new core for the near future. The team still has a path to contention in 2022, and even if that doesn’t work out, their upcoming prospects should position them well for 2023. Extending Byron Buxton is a vote of confidence not only in the front office's ability to rebound, but in the current core that’s in place. Trading Byron Buxton is waving a white flag on both fronts. The next move by the front office won’t be forced. It’s a choice. Byron Buxton isn’t asking for anything near record-setting money. There is no better player they’ll ever find to man center field, and the one they have is a home-grown fan favorite. Such a move by the front office would be giving up on a two-year window that earned them so much praise despite it never having been capitalized on. In six years this front office has inherited a stinker of a team and converted it into a core of players that once had fans thinking the stars are the limit. Now they sit on the edge of a decision that would rightfully leave fans wondering “What was it all for?”. For more Twins content: — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email — Follow Cody Pirkl on Twitter here
  22. As Derek Falvey and Thad Levine continue to drag their feet when it comes to a potential contract extension for Byron Buxton, we are becoming increasingly more likely to see the alternative to what happened with Joe Mauer. In March of 2010, Minnesota inked hometown hero Joe Mauer to an eight-year, $184 million contract extension. He’d played in 699 games to that point and tallied three batting titles along with an MVP. With free agency looming, the Twins did the right thing and signed him to a deal that kept him from being paid by the Boston’s or New York’s of the baseball world. Because we know that we can’t have nice things as Twins fans, Mauer’s career would be forever changed due to injuries. He’s still a Hall of Famer, and he was still underpaid, but what could’ve been is something we can always wonder about. Due to those injuries changing production Mauer’s contract was long a point of consternation for fans. Working through revisionist history, detractors will often suggest a desire to have let Mauer walk and watch larger markets pay him more. As luck would have it, those same people may now have their day. Coming into 2022, Byron Buxton will have played 493 games for the Minnesota Twins. He’s owned an .897 OPS over the past three seasons and has a Platinum Glove to his credit before turning 28-years-old. An expected prime still ahead of him, this is a player that’s one of the ten best in the sport when he’s healthy. That’s where we pick up this story. Unlike Mauer, Buxton has experienced injury issues early on in his career. Also, unlike Joe, those injuries are the only reason Minnesota has a chance to sign the superstar in the first place. Reportedly offering an $80 million deal, Minnesota has not yet pushed to the $100 million asking price even with a valuation that would far exceed that number with an average bill of health. Instead of being asked to pay $250 million or more to keep their home-grown talent, the Twins are being asked to pay pennies on the dollar to factor in the availability, or lack thereof, that comes with Buxton. Instead of jumping at that chance, they are said to be leaning in the opposite direction. This isn’t a scenario in which history can be aligned to Terry Ryan’s ultimate gaffe regarding David Ortiz. No one is getting released, and the Twins will undoubtedly get something in exchange for Byron. The problem is that no player as valuable can be had for the same dollar amount, and a move regarding someone so intertwined with the fan base will forever cause ripple effects that only Mauer could’ve mirrored. We should know soon how the front office is going to play this situation. Maybe they’ve purposely been leaking misinformation to increase their negotiating stance. However, time is running out on wondering what may happen as we are less than a year from knowing what will. Byron Buxton might not be from St. Paul, Minnesota. Still, the Baxley, Georgia, native is every bit as Twins Territory as it gets and there isn’t an opportunity to put the band-aid back on this bullet wound once the trigger is pulled. Target Field was sold as an opportunity to keep the internal stars. That rung hollow when flipping Jose Berrios, and it hits rock bottom in moving on from Buxton. Whether he stays healthy or not isn’t the question for now. It’s whether or not you are willing to keep your best talent or continually recycle it. 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
  23. Earlier this week, the Toronto Blue Jays extended former Twins pitcher Jose Berrios on a seven-year deal. On that same day, The Athletic reported an update in regards to Byron Buxton. Neither looks great for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine. For years the Minnesota Twins organization has suggested that the goal would be to keep homegrown stars. Yes, they paid Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, and Miguel Sano. None of those deals were substantial, however. Instead of paying Jose Berrios, who was reportedly intent on reaching free agency, they flipped him for two top-100 prospects. Now with the Blue Jays handing out a seven-year deal worth $140 million, it’s clear that it wasn’t about paying Berrios, but probably more about how long they would. Despite Berrios suggesting he wanted to reach free agency, he was perhaps more interested in finding a deal that compensated him correctly. That’s where this begins to break down. Before getting into what the front office is trying to do, or more appropriately failing to do, we need to look at Buxton. Dan Hayes and Ken Rosenthal reported, “Talks about an incentive-laden extension in July broke down because of the Twins’ unwillingness to push the potential total value to $100 million.” That’s an awful look for the front office as well. Seven years or not, Minnesota is looking to nickel and dime a superstar they are only invited to the table because he’s been injured. Assuming Buxton was a free agent, Minnesota wouldn’t be in the realm of his possible destinations, and if an injury bug hadn’t hit him, the price tag would be well north of $250 million. Trying to piece together a salary that goes long on years and short on average annual value for a talent like Buxton is the exact opposite of the message sent to Berrios. The needle Falvey and Levine are trying to thread is a seemingly hopeless one. They appear intent on avoiding long-term deals but also are expecting to play at or below market value. There’s no give and take in that negotiating style, and the alternative is one we’ve yet to hear them dabble in. Should you opt to avoid length, the result has to be higher than the market average annual value. No player will take fewer years for the same amount of money, but they might be lured by a more lucrative deal that makes up for the lacking security. There’s no denying that this front office has done a great job establishing a strong culture and organizational structure. Minnesota’s farm system may not be as loaded as it’s ever been, but it’s undoubtedly as deep. The developmental talent is there to push players towards realizing their potential, but there has not been a good enough job done supplementing the talent at the top. Now faced with the opportunity to keep some of their best, Falvey already chose to forgo length on one and is seemingly leaning towards passing up on dollars for the other. Should Minnesota sign a top-tier pitcher with the money ticketed for Berrios, then the addition of two top prospects makes a ton of sense as an alternative. There isn’t a situation where Buxton will be replaceable at a similar valuation, though, and skimping on dollars to contradict their length stance could be something that looks like a David Ortiz-esque mistake. It’s time to stop stepping toes in the water when filling out the roster and make more than one splash move, then suggesting it’s enough. 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
  24. Teams try to find any possible way to gain an advantage. One pitch is taking the league by storm, and the Twins look like they are ahead of the curve. Over at the Athletic, Eno Sarris wrote about an intriguing pitch being used more regularly across the league. Some people call it the Dodger Slider, while others refer to it as the Sweeper. A sweeper is a breaking pitch that is thrown faster than 77 mph with more than 6.5 inches of glove side movement and -2 inches of depth from 40 feet. Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson is known for his focus on sliders, and this might be one reason the Twins have been so successful with this pitch. So how do the Twins compare to the rest of the league? Los Angeles is the clear leader when it comes to using the Sweeper, but the Twins rank as the second-best AL team when it comes to this pitch usage. The Yankees are not far behind the Twins, but the AL Central is much further behind. No other AL Central clubs rank in baseball's top-15. To rank this highly, Minnesota has seen multiple pitchers evolve their slider over the last handful of seasons. Jorge Alcala ranks as the Twins' best pitcher when it comes to Stuff+, where he ranks higher than Shohei Ohtani, Julio Urias, and Max Scherzer. Also, his slider ranks better than league average when it comes to horizontal movement. He uses his slider more than any of his other pitches, and he held batters to a .181 batting average and .277 slugging percentage on that pitch. His slider will be critical if Alcala is going to be part of the long-term bullpen solution. Taylor Rogers is another Twins pitcher that threw his slider more this season. He increased his slider usage from 43.3% to 54%. Both of his primary pitches, his sinker, and slider, rank well above the league average when it comes to horizontal movement. His unique arm action allows for a lot of natural horizontal movement, but what about a more obvious name? One name fans might expect to use a Dodger Slider is Kenta Maeda since he spent the majority of his career in the Dodgers organization. Three of his primary pitches get more horizontal movement than average, including his sinker, splitter, and four-seamer. However, his slider ranks below average (-2.5 inches) compared to the rest of the league. Former Twin Jose Berrios is known for the movement he can generate on his pitches, so he impacted the team's overall numbers this season. Three of his pitches (four-seamer, sinker, and curveball) all get more horizontal movement than the league average, with his curveball getting 5.2 more inches than average. Griffin Jax is one name that might surprise fans to appear on the leaderboards. When it comes to Stuff+, they rank ahead of Shane Bieber, Lucas Giolito, and Madison Bumgarner. Jax saw his slider and four-seamer get four more inches of horizontal movement compared to the average. Jax may also have seen some bad luck this year as his xBA and xSLG were both lower than the batting average and slugging percentage he allowed. There were plenty of reasons to criticize Minnesota's pitching staff this season, but there may be a silver lining beneath it all. If the Twins focus on developing the Sweeper, the highly anticipated pitching pipeline might finally arrive at Target Field. Do you think the Twins can continue to use the Sweeper? 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
  25. In March of 2010, Minnesota inked hometown hero Joe Mauer to an eight-year, $184 million contract extension. He’d played in 699 games to that point and tallied three batting titles along with an MVP. With free agency looming, the Twins did the right thing and signed him to a deal that kept him from being paid by the Boston’s or New York’s of the baseball world. Because we know that we can’t have nice things as Twins fans, Mauer’s career would be forever changed due to injuries. He’s still a Hall of Famer, and he was still underpaid, but what could’ve been is something we can always wonder about. Due to those injuries changing production Mauer’s contract was long a point of consternation for fans. Working through revisionist history, detractors will often suggest a desire to have let Mauer walk and watch larger markets pay him more. As luck would have it, those same people may now have their day. Coming into 2022, Byron Buxton will have played 493 games for the Minnesota Twins. He’s owned an .897 OPS over the past three seasons and has a Platinum Glove to his credit before turning 28-years-old. An expected prime still ahead of him, this is a player that’s one of the ten best in the sport when he’s healthy. That’s where we pick up this story. Unlike Mauer, Buxton has experienced injury issues early on in his career. Also, unlike Joe, those injuries are the only reason Minnesota has a chance to sign the superstar in the first place. Reportedly offering an $80 million deal, Minnesota has not yet pushed to the $100 million asking price even with a valuation that would far exceed that number with an average bill of health. Instead of being asked to pay $250 million or more to keep their home-grown talent, the Twins are being asked to pay pennies on the dollar to factor in the availability, or lack thereof, that comes with Buxton. Instead of jumping at that chance, they are said to be leaning in the opposite direction. This isn’t a scenario in which history can be aligned to Terry Ryan’s ultimate gaffe regarding David Ortiz. No one is getting released, and the Twins will undoubtedly get something in exchange for Byron. The problem is that no player as valuable can be had for the same dollar amount, and a move regarding someone so intertwined with the fan base will forever cause ripple effects that only Mauer could’ve mirrored. We should know soon how the front office is going to play this situation. Maybe they’ve purposely been leaking misinformation to increase their negotiating stance. However, time is running out on wondering what may happen as we are less than a year from knowing what will. Byron Buxton might not be from St. Paul, Minnesota. Still, the Baxley, Georgia, native is every bit as Twins Territory as it gets and there isn’t an opportunity to put the band-aid back on this bullet wound once the trigger is pulled. Target Field was sold as an opportunity to keep the internal stars. That rung hollow when flipping Jose Berrios, and it hits rock bottom in moving on from Buxton. Whether he stays healthy or not isn’t the question for now. It’s whether or not you are willing to keep your best talent or continually recycle it. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
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