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  1. There has been a flurry of free-agent signings with the looming lockout. Let’s revisit the top-five remaining free-agent starting pitcher options for the Twins. Minnesota’s current rotation is expected to include Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan. Other rotational options include Randy Dobnak, Griffin Jax, and Lewis Thorpe. Some of the team’s top prospects are also on the 40-man roster, including Jordan Balazovic, Cole Sands, Drew Strotman, Chis Vallimont, and Josh Winder. Each of the players below is still available with the looming lockout on the horizon. Included with each player is his projected salary, according to the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook. 5. RHP Michael Pineda TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $8 million/season Twins fans are well familiar with Pineda, and he likely won’t get the fanbase excited about what he can bring to the rotation. He seems like an excellent candidate to be the team’s number three starter, but that would mean the Twins need to acquire two other arms to put ahead of him in the rotation. Pineda is a known quantity, and he has been a strong veteran presence during his time in Minnesota. He can add rotational depth, but he can’t be the team’s only offseason move. 4. LHP Yusei Kikuchi TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $15 million/season Kikuchi was an All-Star last season, but he struggled mightily in the second half with an ERA close to 6.00. He surrendered the hardest average exit velocity in baseball last season because he leaves too many pitches over the middle of the plate. He will be a project for any team that signs him, but he’s left-handed and has a three-pitch mix, so that’s intriguing. 3. LHP Clayton Kershaw TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $18 million/season Kershaw is a future inner-circle Hall of Fame member, so it seems unlikely for him to sign with a Twins team coming off a last-place finish. In the twilight of his career, Kershaw can pick the right destination for him and his family. That destination won’t be in Minnesota. 2. LHP Carlos Rodon TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $18 million/season Earlier this week, KSTP reported that the Twins were taking a serious run at Carlos Rodon, an intriguing name. He was one of the American League’s best starters last season, but shoulder issues kept him out near the season’s end. Another item to consider is the White Sox didn’t make him a qualifying offer. Chicago knows Rodon’s health better than anyone, and they may believe his injury will continue to linger. 1. RHP Marcus Stroman TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $20 million/season Stroman is one of the last men standing out of the tier one starting pitchers. Twins fans may be suspicious of another pitch-to-contact arm at the top of the team’s rotation. He doesn’t have some of the injury question marks surrounding some of the other top names on this list. Also, his market is likely more extensive than the beginning of the offseason because the supply of top-tier pitchers is running low. Stroman seems like an excellent fit for the Twins, but will they outbid other teams to get an ace. There isn’t much left on the shelf for the Twins to spend money on this winter. Likely, this points to the team needing to make multiple trades to fill numerous rotation spots. Do you think the Twins will be able to add any of these starters? 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. Minnesota’s current rotation is expected to include Bailey Ober and Joe Ryan. Other rotational options include Randy Dobnak, Griffin Jax, and Lewis Thorpe. Some of the team’s top prospects are also on the 40-man roster, including Jordan Balazovic, Cole Sands, Drew Strotman, Chis Vallimont, and Josh Winder. Each of the players below is still available with the looming lockout on the horizon. Included with each player is his projected salary, according to the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook. 5. RHP Michael Pineda TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $8 million/season Twins fans are well familiar with Pineda, and he likely won’t get the fanbase excited about what he can bring to the rotation. He seems like an excellent candidate to be the team’s number three starter, but that would mean the Twins need to acquire two other arms to put ahead of him in the rotation. Pineda is a known quantity, and he has been a strong veteran presence during his time in Minnesota. He can add rotational depth, but he can’t be the team’s only offseason move. 4. LHP Yusei Kikuchi TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $15 million/season Kikuchi was an All-Star last season, but he struggled mightily in the second half with an ERA close to 6.00. He surrendered the hardest average exit velocity in baseball last season because he leaves too many pitches over the middle of the plate. He will be a project for any team that signs him, but he’s left-handed and has a three-pitch mix, so that’s intriguing. 3. LHP Clayton Kershaw TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $18 million/season Kershaw is a future inner-circle Hall of Fame member, so it seems unlikely for him to sign with a Twins team coming off a last-place finish. In the twilight of his career, Kershaw can pick the right destination for him and his family. That destination won’t be in Minnesota. 2. LHP Carlos Rodon TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $18 million/season Earlier this week, KSTP reported that the Twins were taking a serious run at Carlos Rodon, an intriguing name. He was one of the American League’s best starters last season, but shoulder issues kept him out near the season’s end. Another item to consider is the White Sox didn’t make him a qualifying offer. Chicago knows Rodon’s health better than anyone, and they may believe his injury will continue to linger. 1. RHP Marcus Stroman TD Offseason Handbook Prediction: $20 million/season Stroman is one of the last men standing out of the tier one starting pitchers. Twins fans may be suspicious of another pitch-to-contact arm at the top of the team’s rotation. He doesn’t have some of the injury question marks surrounding some of the other top names on this list. Also, his market is likely more extensive than the beginning of the offseason because the supply of top-tier pitchers is running low. Stroman seems like an excellent fit for the Twins, but will they outbid other teams to get an ace. There isn’t much left on the shelf for the Twins to spend money on this winter. Likely, this points to the team needing to make multiple trades to fill numerous rotation spots. Do you think the Twins will be able to add any of these starters? 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
  3. Minnesota is expected to be active on the free-agent market, and MLB Trade Rumors predicts five of the top-50 free agents possibly ending up in Minnesota. Who are the players, and what will it take to sign them? MLB Trade Rumors gathered their top three writers to make predictions about this year's free-agent class. At least one of the writers picked the names below to sign with the Twins. Marcus Stroman MLB TR Estimate: Five-Years, $110 million Even at Twins Daily, most of the community is predicting the Twins to actively pursue Marcus Stroman this winter. Out of the top-tier starters, he will likely cost the least because he has the lowest ceiling, but he might have the highest floor. Twins fans may worry about Stroman's lack of strikeouts and his pitch-to-contact tendencies. Since Stroman accepted the qualifying offer last offseason, the Mets can't offer it again, which may make the Twins more likely to sign him. Eduardo Rodriguez MLB TR Estimate: Five-Years, $70 million Eduardo Rodriguez seemed like a good fit for the Twins, but word came out early on Monday that he had signed for five years and $77 million with the Detroit Tigers. It also sounds like the Twins were not in on Rodriguez. He's coming off a career-worst 4.74 ERA, but some of the peripheral numbers point to that being an outlier. Rodriguez looked like one of the best buy-low candidates on the market. Now Minnesota will have to face Rodriguez for the next half of a decade as the Tigers continue to improve. Alex Wood MLB TR Estimate: Three-Years, $30 million If the Twins miss out on Stroman and Rodriguez, there are a few other candidates the team can turn to for rotational depth. Wood pitched very effectively for the Giants last season, but he threw fewer than 50 innings from 2019-20. In recent years, he has missed time with back injuries and shoulder inflammation. Last season, Wood struck out 9.9 batters per nine innings, which might pair well with Stroman's lack of strikeouts at the top of the rotation. Corey Knebel MLB TR Estimate: Two-Years, $18 million When it comes to Knebel, the biggest question is: Would the Twins sign a reliever to a multi-year deal? After returning from injury last season, he posted some strong numbers, but he was also limited to less than 30 innings. Relief pitching is an area of need, but it doesn't seem likely for the Twins to allocate this much of their offseason spending on a late-inning reliever. Corey Kluber MLB TR Estimate: One-Year, $12 million Twins fans are familiar with Kluber after he dominated the AL Central for half a decade. He won multiple Cy Young awards, but this isn't the same version of Kluber. Last season, the Yankees signed him to a one-year deal to prove himself, but his season was full of ups and downs, including an early-season no-hitter. However, he was limited to 16 starts and spent time on the injured list. Kluber and Derek Falvey have ties to their time in Cleveland, so maybe a Minnesota reunion brings back some vintage Kluber. Which of these players do you feel is most likely to wind up in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  4. MLB Trade Rumors gathered their top three writers to make predictions about this year's free-agent class. At least one of the writers picked the names below to sign with the Twins. Marcus Stroman MLB TR Estimate: Five-Years, $110 million Even at Twins Daily, most of the community is predicting the Twins to actively pursue Marcus Stroman this winter. Out of the top-tier starters, he will likely cost the least because he has the lowest ceiling, but he might have the highest floor. Twins fans may worry about Stroman's lack of strikeouts and his pitch-to-contact tendencies. Since Stroman accepted the qualifying offer last offseason, the Mets can't offer it again, which may make the Twins more likely to sign him. Eduardo Rodriguez MLB TR Estimate: Five-Years, $70 million Eduardo Rodriguez seemed like a good fit for the Twins, but word came out early on Monday that he had signed for five years and $77 million with the Detroit Tigers. It also sounds like the Twins were not in on Rodriguez. He's coming off a career-worst 4.74 ERA, but some of the peripheral numbers point to that being an outlier. Rodriguez looked like one of the best buy-low candidates on the market. Now Minnesota will have to face Rodriguez for the next half of a decade as the Tigers continue to improve. Alex Wood MLB TR Estimate: Three-Years, $30 million If the Twins miss out on Stroman and Rodriguez, there are a few other candidates the team can turn to for rotational depth. Wood pitched very effectively for the Giants last season, but he threw fewer than 50 innings from 2019-20. In recent years, he has missed time with back injuries and shoulder inflammation. Last season, Wood struck out 9.9 batters per nine innings, which might pair well with Stroman's lack of strikeouts at the top of the rotation. Corey Knebel MLB TR Estimate: Two-Years, $18 million When it comes to Knebel, the biggest question is: Would the Twins sign a reliever to a multi-year deal? After returning from injury last season, he posted some strong numbers, but he was also limited to less than 30 innings. Relief pitching is an area of need, but it doesn't seem likely for the Twins to allocate this much of their offseason spending on a late-inning reliever. Corey Kluber MLB TR Estimate: One-Year, $12 million Twins fans are familiar with Kluber after he dominated the AL Central for half a decade. He won multiple Cy Young awards, but this isn't the same version of Kluber. Last season, the Yankees signed him to a one-year deal to prove himself, but his season was full of ups and downs, including an early-season no-hitter. However, he was limited to 16 starts and spent time on the injured list. Kluber and Derek Falvey have ties to their time in Cleveland, so maybe a Minnesota reunion brings back some vintage Kluber. Which of these players do you feel is most likely to wind up in Minnesota? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  5. The Minnesota Twins flopped in 2021, and it was primarily due to a lack of performance from those expected to contribute. There were injuries as well, but the hope is that development promotes production in 2022. Needing to add, this blueprint focuses almost entirely on two areas. If there’s something the Twins need to address, it’s pitching. There’s no denying that a rotation with just two current arms needs a severe jolt. Dealing Jose Berrios and watching Kenta Maeda go under the knife leaves the group on life support. No matter Minnesota’s intended direction for the year ahead, stockpiling pitching assets for the future is beyond necessary. With that in mind, let’s start the spending in a big way. The front office hands out another $100 million contract, this time to Marcus Stroman, over five years. Stroman will be 31 in 2022 and has been as consistent as they come throughout his career. His 3.63 ERA is solid, and while he’s not a strikeout pitcher, he limits damage by forcing hitters to get themselves out on the ground. The career 0.8 HR/9 rate is solid, and he walks just over two per nine. Stroman has been both durable and reliable. While he may not have the top-tier stuff of a traditional ace, this is a guy you can be confident in each time you hand him the ball. A caveat here is that Stroman will be most effective with a strong infield defense behind him. Dropping down a rung, a second arm joins the rotation in the form of Jon Gray. Former Rockies first-round pick Gray is entering free agency with no draft pick compensation tied to him. This seems like a misstep by Colorado but is a place where the Twins can capitalize. Gray has strikeout stuff, and while he doesn’t induce much in the form of chasing, the big righty blows it by opposing hitters. Gray has a plus-slider and could be further unlocked with a diminishing home run rate, leaving Coors Field's elevation permanently. A three or four-year deal around $10 million annually seems like a pretty fair pact. Rounding out the rotation additions requires a swap with a team open for business. The Cincinnati Reds appear determined to tear it all down, and that’s a party Minnesota should invite themselves to. While Luis Castillo is the big pitching prize there, I’d prefer seeing them hang onto the assets a swap like that would need to part with. Instead, Tyler Mahle draws my attention. He’s just 27-years-old and isn’t a free agent until 2024. Mahle owns a 3.72 ERA and 10.7 K/9 the past two seasons. You’d like to see him get the walks down and allow a few less homers, but there’s plenty to work with here. If you can make this trade by giving up Jhoan Duran, Cole Sands, and Alerick Soularie, I think you have to consider that. Before flipping it over to the offense, we will spend just over one million on a bullpen addition, right-handed veteran Greg Holland The former Kansas City Royals arm has had up and down seasons since 2017. He’s often rebounded following a poor showing, and the upswing would be scheduled for 2022. It’s entirely fair to assume he may be cooked, but the velocity and effectiveness have remained essentially unchanged over the past few seasons. He walked too many batters and got burned by the long ball last season, but a few command tweaks could have him back on track. He’d be a veteran arm with little cost that could shore up a bullpen largely reliant on internal talent. If things go belly up, the hope would be that an internal depth piece has stepped up out of the gate. I’m mainly gambling on holdovers such as Juan Minaya and Ralph Garza Jr. being enough to round out the stable when it comes to relievers. Taylor Rogers and Tyler Duffey need to be the horses, and Jorge Alcala continuing to look like he did down the stretch is a must. The final considerable expense comes at the other position needing serious help, shortstop. Jorge Polanco has established himself as a solid second baseman and needs to stay there. Much will be told about the belief and direction of Minnesota’s future with how the front office handles this role over the winter. A one-year deal means Royce Lewis or Austin Martin could be the next option. A long-term deal suggests uncertainty about an heir from within and may dictate how a Byron Buxton extension is handled (though that, too, should be a part of this offseason’s tasks). If there’s a shortstop in this class that looks for a strong one-year deal before cashing in, I think it’s former Cub, Javier Baez. He posted a strong .886 OPS with the Mets down the stretch, but I still think he could do better coming off a complete season of production. Giving him just north of $20 million for a year gets him paid and allows Minnesota flexibility over what they’d like to do with the roster in another offseason. He’s a great defender and brings a bat at the position that most organizations could only dream on. With the dust beginning to settle, you can see that the vast majority of open opportunities fall on guys already in the organization. Brent Rooker is your de facto designated hitter, with Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff making the Opening Day roster. Jose Miranda is a utility guy, and Luis Arraez joins him. If you don’t like the prognosis of a lineup mainly filled with internal talent, then it’s hard to have expected much out of 2021, either. Kirilloff and Larnach have been expected to make the leap. Josh Donaldson, Max Kepler, Polanco, and Buxton are supposed to carry the water. Miguel Sano can be there in bursts, and emerging talents like Miranda can step in as well. A complete lineup overhaul would represent a teardown, and doing so would be an admittance of failed development for this core. Coming off lackluster results and being stuck between what was and what is to come leaves this offseason as one of the most important this front office has ever faced. We’re in for some answers, and it should be a wild ride. Get pitching. Get a shortstop. Let the chips fall where they may. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this potential offseason. Please share in the comments below. 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
  6. If there’s something the Twins need to address, it’s pitching. There’s no denying that a rotation with just two current arms needs a severe jolt. Dealing Jose Berrios and watching Kenta Maeda go under the knife leaves the group on life support. No matter Minnesota’s intended direction for the year ahead, stockpiling pitching assets for the future is beyond necessary. With that in mind, let’s start the spending in a big way. The front office hands out another $100 million contract, this time to Marcus Stroman, over five years. Stroman will be 31 in 2022 and has been as consistent as they come throughout his career. His 3.63 ERA is solid, and while he’s not a strikeout pitcher, he limits damage by forcing hitters to get themselves out on the ground. The career 0.8 HR/9 rate is solid, and he walks just over two per nine. Stroman has been both durable and reliable. While he may not have the top-tier stuff of a traditional ace, this is a guy you can be confident in each time you hand him the ball. A caveat here is that Stroman will be most effective with a strong infield defense behind him. Dropping down a rung, a second arm joins the rotation in the form of Jon Gray. Former Rockies first-round pick Gray is entering free agency with no draft pick compensation tied to him. This seems like a misstep by Colorado but is a place where the Twins can capitalize. Gray has strikeout stuff, and while he doesn’t induce much in the form of chasing, the big righty blows it by opposing hitters. Gray has a plus-slider and could be further unlocked with a diminishing home run rate, leaving Coors Field's elevation permanently. A three or four-year deal around $10 million annually seems like a pretty fair pact. Rounding out the rotation additions requires a swap with a team open for business. The Cincinnati Reds appear determined to tear it all down, and that’s a party Minnesota should invite themselves to. While Luis Castillo is the big pitching prize there, I’d prefer seeing them hang onto the assets a swap like that would need to part with. Instead, Tyler Mahle draws my attention. He’s just 27-years-old and isn’t a free agent until 2024. Mahle owns a 3.72 ERA and 10.7 K/9 the past two seasons. You’d like to see him get the walks down and allow a few less homers, but there’s plenty to work with here. If you can make this trade by giving up Jhoan Duran, Cole Sands, and Alerick Soularie, I think you have to consider that. Before flipping it over to the offense, we will spend just over one million on a bullpen addition, right-handed veteran Greg Holland The former Kansas City Royals arm has had up and down seasons since 2017. He’s often rebounded following a poor showing, and the upswing would be scheduled for 2022. It’s entirely fair to assume he may be cooked, but the velocity and effectiveness have remained essentially unchanged over the past few seasons. He walked too many batters and got burned by the long ball last season, but a few command tweaks could have him back on track. He’d be a veteran arm with little cost that could shore up a bullpen largely reliant on internal talent. If things go belly up, the hope would be that an internal depth piece has stepped up out of the gate. I’m mainly gambling on holdovers such as Juan Minaya and Ralph Garza Jr. being enough to round out the stable when it comes to relievers. Taylor Rogers and Tyler Duffey need to be the horses, and Jorge Alcala continuing to look like he did down the stretch is a must. The final considerable expense comes at the other position needing serious help, shortstop. Jorge Polanco has established himself as a solid second baseman and needs to stay there. Much will be told about the belief and direction of Minnesota’s future with how the front office handles this role over the winter. A one-year deal means Royce Lewis or Austin Martin could be the next option. A long-term deal suggests uncertainty about an heir from within and may dictate how a Byron Buxton extension is handled (though that, too, should be a part of this offseason’s tasks). If there’s a shortstop in this class that looks for a strong one-year deal before cashing in, I think it’s former Cub, Javier Baez. He posted a strong .886 OPS with the Mets down the stretch, but I still think he could do better coming off a complete season of production. Giving him just north of $20 million for a year gets him paid and allows Minnesota flexibility over what they’d like to do with the roster in another offseason. He’s a great defender and brings a bat at the position that most organizations could only dream on. With the dust beginning to settle, you can see that the vast majority of open opportunities fall on guys already in the organization. Brent Rooker is your de facto designated hitter, with Trevor Larnach and Alex Kirilloff making the Opening Day roster. Jose Miranda is a utility guy, and Luis Arraez joins him. If you don’t like the prognosis of a lineup mainly filled with internal talent, then it’s hard to have expected much out of 2021, either. Kirilloff and Larnach have been expected to make the leap. Josh Donaldson, Max Kepler, Polanco, and Buxton are supposed to carry the water. Miguel Sano can be there in bursts, and emerging talents like Miranda can step in as well. A complete lineup overhaul would represent a teardown, and doing so would be an admittance of failed development for this core. Coming off lackluster results and being stuck between what was and what is to come leaves this offseason as one of the most important this front office has ever faced. We’re in for some answers, and it should be a wild ride. Get pitching. Get a shortstop. Let the chips fall where they may. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this potential offseason. Please share in the comments below. 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
  7. One of Minnesota's top free-agent targets is a pitcher with characteristics that have bothered fans in the past. In an era dominated by strikeouts, can Twins fans handle another pitch to contact starter? Earlier in the week, Nick Nelson reviewed the Twins Daily community's plans for the offseason. Out of the top-tier starting pitchers, Marcus Stroman was the name most regularly included on writer's blueprints. He seems like a natural fit for the Twins, especially since he can't have a qualifying offer tied to him this winter. However, he might not fit the ace mold that some fans have clamored for in recent years. Stroman is coming off a season where he made the most starts in the National League while posting a 3.02 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP. Since 2016, he has averaged 174 innings per season with a 116 ERA+ and a 3.73 FIP. Those are all numbers that teams would love to have near the top of their rotation, but he doesn't strike out many batters. The lack of strikeouts and pitch to contact mantra may give Twins fans a case of PTSD. Among qualified starters, Stroman's 7.9 K/9 ranks as baseball's 13th lowest strikeout rate. To put this in some perspective, that ranks him one spot better than Kyle Gibson. There have been comparisons between Stroman and former Twins starter Jose Berrios, but Berrios strikes out 9.56 batters per nine innings. Many Twins fans never saw Berrios as an ace, and Stroman fits the mold of a playoff-caliber starter that isn't viewed as a number one pitcher on a team with World Series aspirations. Even with low strikeout totals, Stroman has been remarkably consistent by using his pitches effectively and inducing weak contact. His fastball spin ranks in the 78th percentile, and he posted a chase rate in the 84th percentile. Batters could only post a .184 batting average and a .309 slugging percentage when facing his slider. Last season, five of his six pitches had a Whiff% of 26.8 or higher. The numbers above look good, but he throws his sinker over 42% of the time and this is a pitch that generates a lot of contact. Last season, batters posted a .294 batting average and a .426 slugging percentage when facing his sinker. Because he generates ground balls, he can keep his pitch count low and consistently pitch over five innings. Last year, he averaged 5.42 innings per start and he pitched six innings or more in over half of his appearances. For Stroman to be most effective, he needs a solid defense behind him. Last winter, the Twins focused on improving the team's infield defense by signing Andrelton Simmons and sliding Jorge Polanco over to second base. Both players were finalists for the Gold Glove at their position, but now the Twins have questions about shortstop moving forward. There are plenty of shortstop options on the free-agent market, but there's at least a slight chance the team reunites with Simmons. To sign Stroman, it will take a five or six-year commitment in the range of $20 million per season. That type of contract would take him into his mid-to-late 30s, and it would be a significant chunk of the team's overall payroll. However, many of the team's top pitching prospects are close to the big-league level and will make a minimum salary for multiple years. This might make his contract more palatable in the years ahead. For the most part, teams know what they are getting with Stroman. He might not have the upside of the other high-end starting pitchers, but he's a proven pitcher with a quality track record. Do you think Twins fans can handle another pitch to contact starter? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  8. Earlier in the week, Nick Nelson reviewed the Twins Daily community's plans for the offseason. Out of the top-tier starting pitchers, Marcus Stroman was the name most regularly included on writer's blueprints. He seems like a natural fit for the Twins, especially since he can't have a qualifying offer tied to him this winter. However, he might not fit the ace mold that some fans have clamored for in recent years. Stroman is coming off a season where he made the most starts in the National League while posting a 3.02 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP. Since 2016, he has averaged 174 innings per season with a 116 ERA+ and a 3.73 FIP. Those are all numbers that teams would love to have near the top of their rotation, but he doesn't strike out many batters. The lack of strikeouts and pitch to contact mantra may give Twins fans a case of PTSD. Among qualified starters, Stroman's 7.9 K/9 ranks as baseball's 13th lowest strikeout rate. To put this in some perspective, that ranks him one spot better than Kyle Gibson. There have been comparisons between Stroman and former Twins starter Jose Berrios, but Berrios strikes out 9.56 batters per nine innings. Many Twins fans never saw Berrios as an ace, and Stroman fits the mold of a playoff-caliber starter that isn't viewed as a number one pitcher on a team with World Series aspirations. Even with low strikeout totals, Stroman has been remarkably consistent by using his pitches effectively and inducing weak contact. His fastball spin ranks in the 78th percentile, and he posted a chase rate in the 84th percentile. Batters could only post a .184 batting average and a .309 slugging percentage when facing his slider. Last season, five of his six pitches had a Whiff% of 26.8 or higher. The numbers above look good, but he throws his sinker over 42% of the time and this is a pitch that generates a lot of contact. Last season, batters posted a .294 batting average and a .426 slugging percentage when facing his sinker. Because he generates ground balls, he can keep his pitch count low and consistently pitch over five innings. Last year, he averaged 5.42 innings per start and he pitched six innings or more in over half of his appearances. For Stroman to be most effective, he needs a solid defense behind him. Last winter, the Twins focused on improving the team's infield defense by signing Andrelton Simmons and sliding Jorge Polanco over to second base. Both players were finalists for the Gold Glove at their position, but now the Twins have questions about shortstop moving forward. There are plenty of shortstop options on the free-agent market, but there's at least a slight chance the team reunites with Simmons. To sign Stroman, it will take a five or six-year commitment in the range of $20 million per season. That type of contract would take him into his mid-to-late 30s, and it would be a significant chunk of the team's overall payroll. However, many of the team's top pitching prospects are close to the big-league level and will make a minimum salary for multiple years. This might make his contract more palatable in the years ahead. For the most part, teams know what they are getting with Stroman. He might not have the upside of the other high-end starting pitchers, but he's a proven pitcher with a quality track record. Do you think Twins fans can handle another pitch to contact starter? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  9. Minnesota's current front office has been in this position before, with the team focused on adding a front-line starter. This winter is the time to outbid other clubs to get a top-tier pitcher in a Twins uniform. Minnesota will need to hit on some cheaper rotation options to be competitive in 2022, and these buy-low candidates all fit that bill. However, affordable rotation options aren't going to help the team to contend. In recent years, the current front office has targeted some of the top free-agent pitchers, but none have accepted Minnesota's offer. Leading into the 2019 season, Minnesota targeted Zach Wheeler and offered him a contract north of $100 million. He eventually signed with Philadelphia for $118 million. Minnesota looked into Madison Bumgarner that same winter, but he took a below-market deal to pitch close to his ranch in Arizona. The Twins had to pivot that winter and ended up signing Josh Donaldson, but that didn't help their starting pitching deficiency. Trading for Kenta Maeda was undoubtedly a move that bolstered the rotation for multiple seasons. Unfortunately, he is likely out for all of 2022 following Tommy John surgery. Minnesota signed Randy Dobnak to a unique contract extension last winter, and he followed that up with the worst season of his career. The front office has tried different avenues to build the starting staff even if they haven't worked out. Some fans may point to Jose Berrios as one player the Twins could have overpaid to stay at the top of the team's rotation. Some of the top-tier starting pitchers this year compare very similarly to Berrios. However, he and his team have gone through the arbitration process with the goal of him hitting free agency and capitalizing on his value. Minnesota was right to trade him away when his value was highest, and they have the same opportunity as the other clubs to sign him following the 2022 campaign. Free-agent starting pitching is something the Twins haven't spent a lot on in the past, and now the timing may be right. Some of the available veteran starting pitchers aren't going to consider Minnesota as a viable option. They see their careers as coming to a close, and there's no guarantee the Twins will be relevant in 2022. This crosses Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw off the list, but there are other names to consider. Two other top-tier free agents, Carlos Rodon and Noah Syndergaard have injury concerns that teams will want to avoid. There is certainly the upside potential with these two players, but the risk may not be worth the reward. This leaves players like Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray, and Marcus Stroman as the remaining top tier starting pitcher targets. Based on Minnesota's previous track record, the only way to get an ace to Minnesota is to overpay. All three of the pitchers mentioned above will cost over $20 million per season, with Gausman and Ray having the potential to make even more. Even if the Twins are out of contention in 2022, these three players can be part of the franchise's next winning window. Other pitching will be needed, but Minnesota needs to outbid other teams to get a name penciled at the top of the rotation. To read more about this year's crop of free-agent pitchers, make sure to order your copy of the 2022 Offseason Handbook. If you order today, it will be sent directly to your email. Which pitcher do you think the Twins are most likely to target? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email View full article
  10. After unloading Jose Berrios at the trade deadline, watching Kenta Maeda go under the knife, and seeing Michael Pineda hit free agency, the Twins starting rotation is bare. Who is the top choice to bolster it? As of right now you’d have to bank on either Bailey Ober or Joe Ryan being the Opening Day starter in 2022 for Rocco Baldelli. Both showed well in their rookie seasons, but if that’s the top of the rotation, there’s cause for concern in the year ahead. Minnesota failed tremendously on the mound, and depth was exposed quickly as both J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker flopped. For the Twins to make a turnaround in the year ahead, the focus must be on a resurgence from the bump. Similarly to the 2021 season, the hope is that Minnesota will see graduations from the farm. Top arms like Jordan Balazovic, Jhoan Duran, and Matt Canterino all posted mixed results with injuries sprinkled in. Another year back from the cancelled 2020 season, and the hope would be that a clean bill of health is parlayed into peak effectiveness. Before banking on the youth though, the Twins need to give Wes Johnson some workable ammunition for a group that is essentially bare. The free agent crop this offseason is a who’s who of big names, and while not all may make it to the open market, there should be one or two that fit to Minnesota’s liking. Here’s how I’d categorize the options: The Injured - Clayton Kershaw and Justin Verlander There’s a known commodity and a more unknown question here. Kershaw represents the unknown as he’s dealing with an elbow injury that cost him multiple months this season. He is avoiding surgery for the time being but could be ticketed for a much longer time on the shelf if he goes under the knife. The career-Dodger will be 34 next season but has a ton of miles on his arm. Production has never been the issue and if he can avoid back and elbow concerns for the next year or so, there’s reason to like him on a short term deal. On the flip side you’ve got a guy in Verlander who will be returning from Tommy John surgery having last pitched in 2020. He’ll be 39 next season and has thrown just six innings since 2019. There’s hardly been a time in which you’ve questioned his ability though, and a clean elbow could have him looking like an appetizing option on a one-year deal. The Astros will likely give him a qualifying offer should that still exist, but Verlander definitely has familiarity with the AL Central. The Aging - Max Scherzer and Zack Greinke Having just turned 37, that’s about the only reason to define Scherzer as aging. He’s still every bit the dominant pitcher he has been over the course of his career, and he’s attempting to carry a Dodgers staff through the Postseason. Of the options available, I think he’s probably the most likely to be retained by the current team, and while I wouldn’t expect Los Angeles to give him a long extension, they certainly have the money to persuade him to stay. With the Astros having rotational issues this Postseason it’s clear they have work to do in that department. I’m not sure they hang onto a guy in Greinke that has hit somewhat of a decline. His 4.16 ERA was the highest mark since 2016 and he’s clearly struggled down the stretch. If another team believes they can work through the current ineffectiveness, this is probably the best bet for a good starter on a one-year deal. He seems like a fit for Minnesota but comes with plenty of uncertainties. The Youth - Marcus Stroman and Kevin Gausman If you want to secure a long-term pact with a rotation anchor this is where you’re turning. Starting with Stroman, you’ve got a guy in the midst of his prime and coming off a very strong season. Not a big strikeout guy, Stroman needs to be backed by a good infield as he’s a ground ball maestro. Someone that appears to be a very good leader and clubhouse presence, this is a personality that could mesh well with the Twins plans for quite some time. The breakout finally happened for Gausman, and it came in a big way. With the Giants being baseball’s best team, the 30-year-old posted a career best 2.81 ERA. He racks up strikeouts, limits walks, and looks every bit the ace you’d hope for. 2020 is where things seemed to click for the former Orioles pitcher, so you’ll need to make sure there’s a belief in the results going forward, but nothing he’s put up recently is anything an organization would want to avoid. A positive this winter is that pitching options are plentiful. Those above just barely scratch the surface considering names like Syndergaard, Bundy, and even Pineda are all available. The Twins need to find a path forward, and for a transitional time it might make sense to focus on short term deals. There should be any number of options that are within their wheelhouse, and while the big names are there as always, this might be an opportunity to land the right fit without breaking the bank. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  11. Minnesota will need to hit on some cheaper rotation options to be competitive in 2022, and these buy-low candidates all fit that bill. However, affordable rotation options aren't going to help the team to contend. In recent years, the current front office has targeted some of the top free-agent pitchers, but none have accepted Minnesota's offer. Leading into the 2019 season, Minnesota targeted Zach Wheeler and offered him a contract north of $100 million. He eventually signed with Philadelphia for $118 million. Minnesota looked into Madison Bumgarner that same winter, but he took a below-market deal to pitch close to his ranch in Arizona. The Twins had to pivot that winter and ended up signing Josh Donaldson, but that didn't help their starting pitching deficiency. Trading for Kenta Maeda was undoubtedly a move that bolstered the rotation for multiple seasons. Unfortunately, he is likely out for all of 2022 following Tommy John surgery. Minnesota signed Randy Dobnak to a unique contract extension last winter, and he followed that up with the worst season of his career. The front office has tried different avenues to build the starting staff even if they haven't worked out. Some fans may point to Jose Berrios as one player the Twins could have overpaid to stay at the top of the team's rotation. Some of the top-tier starting pitchers this year compare very similarly to Berrios. However, he and his team have gone through the arbitration process with the goal of him hitting free agency and capitalizing on his value. Minnesota was right to trade him away when his value was highest, and they have the same opportunity as the other clubs to sign him following the 2022 campaign. Free-agent starting pitching is something the Twins haven't spent a lot on in the past, and now the timing may be right. Some of the available veteran starting pitchers aren't going to consider Minnesota as a viable option. They see their careers as coming to a close, and there's no guarantee the Twins will be relevant in 2022. This crosses Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Clayton Kershaw off the list, but there are other names to consider. Two other top-tier free agents, Carlos Rodon and Noah Syndergaard have injury concerns that teams will want to avoid. There is certainly the upside potential with these two players, but the risk may not be worth the reward. This leaves players like Kevin Gausman, Robbie Ray, and Marcus Stroman as the remaining top tier starting pitcher targets. Based on Minnesota's previous track record, the only way to get an ace to Minnesota is to overpay. All three of the pitchers mentioned above will cost over $20 million per season, with Gausman and Ray having the potential to make even more. Even if the Twins are out of contention in 2022, these three players can be part of the franchise's next winning window. Other pitching will be needed, but Minnesota needs to outbid other teams to get a name penciled at the top of the rotation. To read more about this year's crop of free-agent pitchers, make sure to order your copy of the 2022 Offseason Handbook. If you order today, it will be sent directly to your email. Which pitcher do you think the Twins are most likely to target? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. The ongoing joke about the Twins is how often they’re rumored to be in on a player but don’t wind up with them. This winter they have a chance to make good on their past links with three such pitchers. Corey Kluber Kluber was heavily linked to the Twins last winter before the Yankees threw $11m at the right hander. Kluber pitched quite well in his first year in the Bronx with a sub 4.00 ERA. Unfortunately after throwing just one inning in 2020, Kluber missed significant time and only reached 80 frames. Kluber is likely a candidate for another one year deal at age 36. He still looked like a valuable pitcher in a tough stadium and division, and a move back to the soft AL Central would do him wonders. He may not be counted on for a significant amount of innings, but pairing him with a pitcher like Michael Pineda would be valuable. There’s upside to be had similar to the Twins 2020 Rich Hill signing, upside the Twins will surely be looking for in order for a bounce back in their pitching staff. Marcus Stroman The Twins were bullish on Stroman in 2019 when the Blue Jays eventually shipped him to the Mets. The Twins claimed Toronto never returned their call for a counter offer. Stroman wasn’t much help in 2020 but performed exceptionally well in 2021 with a 3.02 ERA in almost 180 innings. Stroman would definitely require a long term deal with some good money attached. He may not be a flat out ace, but he’s a durable, experienced arm. His reliance on movement, location, and weak contact should make him a valuable pitcher for the foreseeable future now that he’s surpassed 30 years of age. He’d also immediately slot in as an Opening Day starter and top of the rotation anchor. Noah Syndergaard Digging way into the well here, remember when the Twins were in on Noah Syndergaard in 2019 and the Mets wanted Byron Buxton in exchange? I’m sure no fans were angry at the Twins for not pulling the trigger, right? Syndergaard has a storied past when it comes to injury, most recently returning from Tommy John just this year. The result of this being there isn’t much of a body of work to see since 2019. It’s hard to forget the arm they call “Thor” throwing one 100 mph fastball after another. While never quite an ace, it’s hard to deny that the upside is there. With Syndergaard's recent history, he’s another candidate for a one year “show me” deal. It may be high risk, but there may not be a pitcher on the market with a higher potential payoff. The Twins will be looking high and low on both the free agent and trade market this winter to try to fix a pitching staff that straight up cost them any shot at contending in 2021. It wouldn’t be the most surprising development to go back to the well and revisit some arms they were previously interested in. Is there any one of this trio that stands above the rest? Should these three be avoided altogether? Let us know below! — 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
  13. Corey Kluber Kluber was heavily linked to the Twins last winter before the Yankees threw $11m at the right hander. Kluber pitched quite well in his first year in the Bronx with a sub 4.00 ERA. Unfortunately after throwing just one inning in 2020, Kluber missed significant time and only reached 80 frames. Kluber is likely a candidate for another one year deal at age 36. He still looked like a valuable pitcher in a tough stadium and division, and a move back to the soft AL Central would do him wonders. He may not be counted on for a significant amount of innings, but pairing him with a pitcher like Michael Pineda would be valuable. There’s upside to be had similar to the Twins 2020 Rich Hill signing, upside the Twins will surely be looking for in order for a bounce back in their pitching staff. Marcus Stroman The Twins were bullish on Stroman in 2019 when the Blue Jays eventually shipped him to the Mets. The Twins claimed Toronto never returned their call for a counter offer. Stroman wasn’t much help in 2020 but performed exceptionally well in 2021 with a 3.02 ERA in almost 180 innings. Stroman would definitely require a long term deal with some good money attached. He may not be a flat out ace, but he’s a durable, experienced arm. His reliance on movement, location, and weak contact should make him a valuable pitcher for the foreseeable future now that he’s surpassed 30 years of age. He’d also immediately slot in as an Opening Day starter and top of the rotation anchor. Noah Syndergaard Digging way into the well here, remember when the Twins were in on Noah Syndergaard in 2019 and the Mets wanted Byron Buxton in exchange? I’m sure no fans were angry at the Twins for not pulling the trigger, right? Syndergaard has a storied past when it comes to injury, most recently returning from Tommy John just this year. The result of this being there isn’t much of a body of work to see since 2019. It’s hard to forget the arm they call “Thor” throwing one 100 mph fastball after another. While never quite an ace, it’s hard to deny that the upside is there. With Syndergaard's recent history, he’s another candidate for a one year “show me” deal. It may be high risk, but there may not be a pitcher on the market with a higher potential payoff. The Twins will be looking high and low on both the free agent and trade market this winter to try to fix a pitching staff that straight up cost them any shot at contending in 2021. It wouldn’t be the most surprising development to go back to the well and revisit some arms they were previously interested in. Is there any one of this trio that stands above the rest? Should these three be avoided altogether? Let us know below! — 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
  14. Hiring Tony La Russa When the White Sox hired Tony La Russa, it was a bit of a shock. He hasn’t managed since 2011 with the Cardinals and his tenure with that club didn’t exactly end on the highest note. He’s been elected to MLB’s Hall of Fame and there is no question that he has changed the game with managerial style. He approached relief pitching in a different way and he helped to lead multiple franchises to a World Series. That can’t be said for many mangers. Based on many reports, it sounds like the front office for the White Sox had little interest in La Russa becoming the White Sox manager. This was a decision driven by the ownership group. The White Sox have a diverse, young core on their roster and baseball has greatly changed since the last time he was a manager. Former Astros manager AJ Hinch seed like a better option, but the White Sox never offered him an interview after learning the ownership group was offering the position to La Russa. DUI Arrest Since La Russa was hired, ESPN has reported that he was arrested for a DUI shortly before he was hired. This is his second arrest for this offense and the recent details are grim. He told officers, “Do you see my ring? I’m a Hall of Famer baseball person. I’m legit. I’m a Hall of Famer, brother.” It was his second known drunken driving arrest after falling asleep at the wheel during spring training in 2007. At the time he said, “It was an embarrassment, so I apologize to anyone who is close to me, members of the Cardinals organization, our fans, I regret it, take responsibility and I’m not sure there is anything else I can say.” Free Agent Ramifications Their manager has made raciest comments in the past, he has struggled with alcohol issues, and he hasn’t managed in nearly a decade. Stroman’s reaction might be indicative to a larger reaction from the free agent pool this season. Regularly, free agents might be willing to sign with an upstart White Sox team, buy the current organization doesn’t meet their core values. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1326209173659463681?s=20 For the overall good of baseball, this might be a dark cloud. For teams in the AL Central, this might be an opening that allows the Twins to contend for multiple seasons while keeping other teams out of contention. How do you feel about the White Sox’s recent issues? 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
  15. Free Agent Starting Pitchers at a Glance The Need: The Twins have Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda at the top of their 2021 rotation board. Randy Dobnak had one of the best ERAs in baseball through the first five or six weeks of the season. While the likes of Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer are options for the team’s fifth starter job, and the Twins have some very intriguing, exciting prospects getting closer, there would appear to be a need for one, and maybe two, starting pitchers this offseason. The Market (This list is not comprehensive): Trevor Bauer Masahiro Tanaka Marcus Stroman James Paxton Jake Odorizzi Jose Quintana Robbie Ray Kevin Gausman Mike Minor Alex Wood Julio Teheran Tyler Chatwood Garrett Richards Rick Porcello Rich Hill Mike Fiers Jeff Samardzija Drew Smyly Brett Anderson Taijuan Walker Michael Wacha Brad Peacock Our Targets: Mike Minor Age: 32 Former Team: Oakland 2020 Stats: 56.2 IP, 5.56 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Coming off of an All Star 2019 campaign with the Rangers, Minor struggled to a 1-6 record despite a career high in strikeout rate. The former first-round pick from Vanderbilt features four pitches. He saw his velocity dip a bit in 2020. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Marcus Stroman Age: 29 Former Team: NY Mets 2019 Stats: 184.1 IP, 3.22 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 (opted out in 2020) Why He’s a Fit: Stroman stayed on the Mets roster (Injured List) just long enough so that he could opt out and still become a free agent. The former top pick from Duke debuted in 2014 has consistently put up solid numbers and, when healthy, he eats innings. His 7.8 K/9 in 2019 was easily the best of his career, but he gets good fastball movement and gets a lot of ground balls. Estimated 2021 Salary: $13 million Trevor Bauer Age: 29 Former Team: Cincinnati 2020 Stats: 73.0 IP, 1.73 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 12.3 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Because he is one of the Top 3-4 pitchers in baseball. Bauer should be the NL Cy Young winner for 2020 when he put up the remarkable stats for the Reds. He will still be just 30 years old in 2021. There is the perceived Derek Falvey connection as well. Basically, how would a rotation of Bauer-Maeda-Berrios-Pineda-Dobnak look? That said, could the Twins do anything else this offseason if they signed Bauer? Estimated 2021 Salary: $30 million Drew Smyly Age: 31 Former Team: San Francisco 2020 Stats: 26.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 14.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Smyly came up as a top prospect of the Tigers, got traded and then the injuries came. He missed the entire 2017 and 2018 seasons. He returned in 2019 with a 6.24 ERA over 114 innings, though he struck out 120 batters. He pitch adjust 26 1/3 innings in 2020, but he had an incredible 42 strikeouts. His fastball velocity was up nearly three mph compared to the rest of his career. Estimated 2021 Salary: $4 million Kevin Gausman Age: 29 Former Team: San Francisco 2020 Stats: 59.2 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Gausman was a top pitching prospect from LSU when he was the 4th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He spent years in Baltimore unable to take his talent to a next level. In his time with the O’s, he topped out at 8.7 K/9, a solid number. The last two years, that number has increased to 10.0 K/9 in 2019 and 11.9 K/9 in 2020. He’s always had good control and he still throws 95 mph with the fastball and throws four pitches. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Robbie Ray Age: 29 Former Team: Toronto 2020 Stats: 51.2 IP, 6.62 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 11.8 K/9, 7.8 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Ray had a rough 2020 season posting an ERA and a WHIP well worse than anything previously in his career. However, his K/9 rates since 2016 are 11.3, 12.1, 12.0, 12.1, and it was still 11.9 in 2020. Ray threw 93.7 mph fastballs, consistent with his entire career. He threw 31% sliders and 16% curveballs, so I am quite intrigued by what Wes Johnson and the Twins pitching gurus might be able to do with him. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Brett Anderson Age: 32 Former Team: Milwaukee 2020 Stats: 47.0 IP, 4.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Anderson has always been an intriguing pitcher going way back, but he just was unable to stay healthy most years. In 2019, he made 31 starts. It was just the third season in which he had more than 19 starts since his debut season in 2009. And in 2020, he made ten starts. It sure sees he’s been around forever, but he’ll spend the entire 2021 season at age 33. He rarely hits 90 mph (though that’s not new) and his 6.1 K/9 was higher than all but one of his previous six seasons. Estimated 2021 Salary: $4 million Tyler Chatwood Age: 30 Former Team: Chicago Cubs 2020 Stats: 18.2 IP, 5.30 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 12.1 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: It’s fair to say that things didn’t go as he’d hoped when he signed a big, three-year contract with the Cubs. That first season, he walked way too many. The next season, he worked out of the bullpen. In 2020, he made just five starts before experiencing a forearm/elbow injury. So, why is he a fit? I mean, those strikeouts were nice. Estimated 2021 Salary: $6 million Mike Fiers Age: 35 Former Team: Oakland 2020 Stats: 59.0 IP, 4.58 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 5.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Veteran of 10 big league seasons has gone 21-7 over the past two seasons, though his numbers in 2020 with the A’s were not great. He throws strikes, and he is a veteran. He could be a Homer Bailey type signing for veteran leadership, but will his “tattling” on his former Astros teammates hurt him in the industry now that he is a free agent? Could that bring down his asking price, and if so, he’s not a bad #5 starter for any team. Estimated 2021 Salary: $5 million Let us know in the comments who you like at these positions, or if you'd rather stick with Rosario and Cruz. In the meantime, check out previous episodes of Offseason Live and see what's upcoming: Ep 1: (Thurs, 10/8) Ep 2: (Tues, 10/13) Ep 3: (Thurs, 10/15) Ep 4: (Tues, 10/20) Ep 5: (Thurs, 10/22) Ep 6: (Tues, 10/27) Ep 7: Free Agency – Starting Pitchers (Thurs, 10/29) Ep 8: Free Agency – Relief Pitchers (Thurs, 11/5) Ep 9: Twins Trade Targets (Tues, 11/10) Ep 10: Offseason Blueprints (Thurs, 11/12) https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/1321980422570483712 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. At spring training, we were all excited about the Bomba Squad with Josh Donaldson. How many runs would the offense score? Instead, to all of our surprise, the Twins success in 2020 largely came as a result of very good pitching. The team has a Big Three going into the offseason, but how might they replace Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill in their starting rotation? Free Agent Starting Pitchers at a Glance The Need: The Twins have Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda at the top of their 2021 rotation board. Randy Dobnak had one of the best ERAs in baseball through the first five or six weeks of the season. While the likes of Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer are options for the team’s fifth starter job, and the Twins have some very intriguing, exciting prospects getting closer, there would appear to be a need for one, and maybe two, starting pitchers this offseason. The Market (This list is not comprehensive): Trevor BauerMasahiro TanakaMarcus StromanJames PaxtonJake OdorizziJose QuintanaRobbie RayKevin GausmanMike MinorAlex WoodJulio TeheranTyler ChatwoodGarrett RichardsRick PorcelloRich HillMike FiersJeff SamardzijaDrew SmylyBrett AndersonTaijuan WalkerMichael WachaBrad Peacock Our Targets: Mike Minor Age: 32 Former Team: Oakland 2020 Stats: 56.2 IP, 5.56 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Coming off of an All Star 2019 campaign with the Rangers, Minor struggled to a 1-6 record despite a career high in strikeout rate. The former first-round pick from Vanderbilt features four pitches. He saw his velocity dip a bit in 2020. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Marcus Stroman Age: 29 Former Team: NY Mets 2019 Stats: 184.1 IP, 3.22 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 (opted out in 2020) Why He’s a Fit: Stroman stayed on the Mets roster (Injured List) just long enough so that he could opt out and still become a free agent. The former top pick from Duke debuted in 2014 has consistently put up solid numbers and, when healthy, he eats innings. His 7.8 K/9 in 2019 was easily the best of his career, but he gets good fastball movement and gets a lot of ground balls. Estimated 2021 Salary: $13 million Trevor Bauer Age: 29 Former Team: Cincinnati 2020 Stats: 73.0 IP, 1.73 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 12.3 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Because he is one of the Top 3-4 pitchers in baseball. Bauer should be the NL Cy Young winner for 2020 when he put up the remarkable stats for the Reds. He will still be just 30 years old in 2021. There is the perceived Derek Falvey connection as well. Basically, how would a rotation of Bauer-Maeda-Berrios-Pineda-Dobnak look? That said, could the Twins do anything else this offseason if they signed Bauer? Estimated 2021 Salary: $30 million Drew Smyly Age: 31 Former Team: San Francisco 2020 Stats: 26.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 14.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Smyly came up as a top prospect of the Tigers, got traded and then the injuries came. He missed the entire 2017 and 2018 seasons. He returned in 2019 with a 6.24 ERA over 114 innings, though he struck out 120 batters. He pitch adjust 26 1/3 innings in 2020, but he had an incredible 42 strikeouts. His fastball velocity was up nearly three mph compared to the rest of his career. Estimated 2021 Salary: $4 million Kevin Gausman Age: 29 Former Team: San Francisco 2020 Stats: 59.2 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Gausman was a top pitching prospect from LSU when he was the 4th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He spent years in Baltimore unable to take his talent to a next level. In his time with the O’s, he topped out at 8.7 K/9, a solid number. The last two years, that number has increased to 10.0 K/9 in 2019 and 11.9 K/9 in 2020. He’s always had good control and he still throws 95 mph with the fastball and throws four pitches. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Robbie Ray Age: 29 Former Team: Toronto 2020 Stats: 51.2 IP, 6.62 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 11.8 K/9, 7.8 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Ray had a rough 2020 season posting an ERA and a WHIP well worse than anything previously in his career. However, his K/9 rates since 2016 are 11.3, 12.1, 12.0, 12.1, and it was still 11.9 in 2020. Ray threw 93.7 mph fastballs, consistent with his entire career. He threw 31% sliders and 16% curveballs, so I am quite intrigued by what Wes Johnson and the Twins pitching gurus might be able to do with him. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Brett Anderson Age: 32 Former Team: Milwaukee 2020 Stats: 47.0 IP, 4.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Anderson has always been an intriguing pitcher going way back, but he just was unable to stay healthy most years. In 2019, he made 31 starts. It was just the third season in which he had more than 19 starts since his debut season in 2009. And in 2020, he made ten starts. It sure sees he’s been around forever, but he’ll spend the entire 2021 season at age 33. He rarely hits 90 mph (though that’s not new) and his 6.1 K/9 was higher than all but one of his previous six seasons. Estimated 2021 Salary: $4 million Tyler Chatwood Age: 30 Former Team: Chicago Cubs 2020 Stats: 18.2 IP, 5.30 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 12.1 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: It’s fair to say that things didn’t go as he’d hoped when he signed a big, three-year contract with the Cubs. That first season, he walked way too many. The next season, he worked out of the bullpen. In 2020, he made just five starts before experiencing a forearm/elbow injury. So, why is he a fit? I mean, those strikeouts were nice. Estimated 2021 Salary: $6 million Mike Fiers Age: 35 Former Team: Oakland 2020 Stats: 59.0 IP, 4.58 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 5.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Veteran of 10 big league seasons has gone 21-7 over the past two seasons, though his numbers in 2020 with the A’s were not great. He throws strikes, and he is a veteran. He could be a Homer Bailey type signing for veteran leadership, but will his “tattling” on his former Astros teammates hurt him in the industry now that he is a free agent? Could that bring down his asking price, and if so, he’s not a bad #5 starter for any team. Estimated 2021 Salary: $5 million Let us know in the comments who you like at these positions, or if you'd rather stick with Rosario and Cruz. In the meantime, check out previous episodes of Offseason Live and see what's upcoming: Ep 1: (Thurs, 10/8)Ep 2: (Tues, 10/13)Ep 3: (Thurs, 10/15)Ep 4: (Tues, 10/20)Ep 5: (Thurs, 10/22)Ep 6: (Tues, 10/27)Ep 7: Free Agency – Starting Pitchers (Thurs, 10/29)Ep 8: Free Agency – Relief Pitchers (Thurs, 11/5)Ep 9: Twins Trade Targets (Tues, 11/10)Ep 10: Offseason Blueprints (Thurs, 11/12) MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  17. The former Blue Jays starter didn’t pitch in 2020, and he used some shrewd maneuvering to benefit himself for 2021. Despite a calf tear during Summer Camp, Stroman had ramped up nearly to the point of return for the New York Mets. Having accumulated just enough time to be eligible for free agency in the upcoming offseason, he opted out of the season citing a “collective family decision.” I’m not at all here to question his motives, but good on him for putting his own situation first in a sport that saw owners look to exploit the talent over and over prior to resumption. On the field there’s plenty to unpack with Stroman. He’ll turn 30 in the year ahead and has made a single All-Star Game while generating Cy Young votes just once. He has compiled a career 3.76 ERA and 2019 was arguably his best season as a big leaguer. When healthy Stroman has been an innings eater, and while his career K/9 is just 7.4, he also doesn’t get bit by the long ball or free passes. What Stroman brings to the table is a very consistent approach. He doesn’t own a big fastball, and the average velocity hovers around 94 mph. His whiff rates have always been right around 9% and he forces the opposition to chase just under one-third of the time. What you’re going to get is very few barreled balls and a ton of ground ball outs. The book on Stroman has read virtually the same for the entirety of his career and it’s why the deal to the Mets made little sense a year ago. New York employed arguably the worst infield in baseball, and predictably Stroman was worse off. He went from a 2.96 ERA and 3.51 FIP with Toronto in 2019 to a 3.77 ERA and 4.15 FIP in the Big Apple. Making sure a pitcher like Marcus is backed by sure handed infielders is imperative. Enter the Minnesota Twins and what 2020 saw them do. Josh Donaldson is a massive upgrade defensively at the hot corner, obviously he needs to remain available there. While Jorge Polanco struggled mightily at the plate, he performed adequately in the field. Luis Arraez was better at second base, and Miguel Sano looks entirely passable at first. In totality the Twins were 10th in baseball in defensive fWAR and 3rd when it came to infield outs above average. The entire aforementioned group will be back, and it’s one capable of supporting a ground ball heavy pitcher. These aren’t the same Twins instructing arms to generate soft contact and allow batters to put the ball on the ground. That said, being able to do so at a high level as Stroman is, allows Wes Johnson an ability to pull more from the rest of his game. It’s hard to imagine a massive overhaul at age-30, but considering his prime, a velocity and strikeout boost even in a slight manner could have Stroman experiencing new heights. 2020 saw Stroman awarded a prorated portion of $12 million through arbitration. His 2019 deal checked in at $7.4 million. He’s going to want a long-term deal, and there’s no denying he’s going to get paid. I’d imagine he’ll be more affordable than Bauer however, and that could make the Twins a serious player for his services. By all accounts it appears that Stroman has been a good clubhouse guy and someone you’d want to have on your team. He’s worn blue previously, knows the northern weather well, and could be Minnesota’s 2021 version of Kenta Maeda. I’m on board with this acquisition, and you’d be hard pressed to make an argument for their not being a fit. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. Randy Dobnak burst onto the scene in 2019 riding a heavy sinker/slider combo to success in his short debut. I’m just going to say it, Randy Dobnak can be a Marcus Stroman-esque pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. Do you think that’s ridiculous? What’s ridiculous is how similar the two pitcher’s profiles are. Check out the pair’s pitch usage and performance: Dobnak: Stroman: Dobnak considers his breaking ball to be a slider despite Statcast categorizing it as a curve. Taking this into consideration, the main difference is Stroman’s consistent use of a cut fastball. Dobnak instead relies on his changeup and four seamer a bit more whereas Stroman rarely uses these pitches. Both pitchers' bread and butter however is their sinker/slider combo. Both use their sinkers around 36% of the time and rely on their breakers for whiffs. Now let’s look at batted-ball profile: Dobnak: Stroman: The parity in GB and FB rates are what I find most important. Both pitchers rely on the ground ball in the age of rising strikeouts. Stroman struck out 20.5% of hitters in 2019, while Dobnak struck out 19.5%. Stroman had a walk rate of 7.5%, while Dobnak only walked 4.2% of his opponents. Both pitchers are also exceptional at avoiding barrels, which are determined in part by achieving a launch angle between 26-30 degrees. Both pitchers' sinkers produced launch angles in the negatives in 2019. Dobnak’s 0.32 HR/9 is unrepeatable, but why can’t it plateau around the 0.88 HR/9 Stroman put up in 2019 with such a similar profile? We saw it at last year’s trade deadline, many people believed Marcus Stroman to be a bona fide ace. The fact of the matter is, 2019 was Stroman’s most valuable season according to Fangraphs WAR and it would have ranked behind Berrios and Odorizzi’s 2019. Comparing Stroman and Dobnak may partially be an argument that Stroman is a bit overrated, but it’s hard to ignore just how much the two pitchers overlap with their strategy and results on the mound in 2019. The elephant in the room is obvious. Randy Dobnak has just 28.1 innings under his belt at the major league level. He’s also taken an unlikely path to the majors and was never considered the prospect that Stroman was when he was taken 22nd overall in 2012. His 1.59 ERA in 2019 is not going to happen again. Even his 2.90 FIP seems ambitious. The skills Dobnak showed are fairly sticky historically however. While he certainly overperformed, things like walk rate and groundball rate don’t typically just disappear from year to year, especially since they’re both skills he showed all through the minors. Randy Dobnak is due for regression in 2020, but his performance in 2019 leaves a lot of room for it while still being an impressive pitcher. He gets ground balls at an elite rate and has a slider that induces a healthy amount of swings and misses just as Marcus Stroman does. In fact, you could take the pair's underlying peripherals and they would be nearly indistinguishable. Because of that, I don’t think it’s crazy to say that Randy Dobnak could put together a season that matches up closely with Marcus Stroman. What do you think? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — 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
  19. In 2019, Marcus Stroman had a career year with a 3.22 ERA and 3.72 FIP. He was traded at the deadline to the Mets in frustrating fashion, as the Twins felt they could have matched the return for the Blue Jays. The rest is history, as the Twins starting pitching depth fell apart down the stretch. In 2020 however, the Twins not only have the depth to fill the shoes of a Marcus Stroman, they may have a version of him themselves.Randy Dobnak burst onto the scene in 2019 riding a heavy sinker/slider combo to success in his short debut. I’m just going to say it, Randy Dobnak can be a Marcus Stroman-esque pitcher for the Minnesota Twins. Do you think that’s ridiculous? What’s ridiculous is how similar the two pitcher’s profiles are. Check out the pair’s pitch usage and performance: Dobnak: Download attachment: Dobnak Pitch Mix.PNG Stroman: Download attachment: Stroman Pitches.PNG Dobnak considers his breaking ball to be a slider despite Statcast categorizing it as a curve. Taking this into consideration, the main difference is Stroman’s consistent use of a cut fastball. Dobnak instead relies on his changeup and four seamer a bit more whereas Stroman rarely uses these pitches. Both pitchers' bread and butter however is their sinker/slider combo. Both use their sinkers around 36% of the time and rely on their breakers for whiffs. Now let’s look at batted-ball profile: Dobnak: Download attachment: Dobnak Batted Ball Profile.PNG Stroman: Download attachment: Stroman Batted Ball Profile.PNG The parity in GB and FB rates are what I find most important. Both pitchers rely on the ground ball in the age of rising strikeouts. Stroman struck out 20.5% of hitters in 2019, while Dobnak struck out 19.5%. Stroman had a walk rate of 7.5%, while Dobnak only walked 4.2% of his opponents. Both pitchers are also exceptional at avoiding barrels, which are determined in part by achieving a launch angle between 26-30 degrees. Both pitchers' sinkers produced launch angles in the negatives in 2019. Dobnak’s 0.32 HR/9 is unrepeatable, but why can’t it plateau around the 0.88 HR/9 Stroman put up in 2019 with such a similar profile? We saw it at last year’s trade deadline, many people believed Marcus Stroman to be a bona fide ace. The fact of the matter is, 2019 was Stroman’s most valuable season according to Fangraphs WAR and it would have ranked behind Berrios and Odorizzi’s 2019. Comparing Stroman and Dobnak may partially be an argument that Stroman is a bit overrated, but it’s hard to ignore just how much the two pitchers overlap with their strategy and results on the mound in 2019. The elephant in the room is obvious. Randy Dobnak has just 28.1 innings under his belt at the major league level. He’s also taken an unlikely path to the majors and was never considered the prospect that Stroman was when he was taken 22nd overall in 2012. His 1.59 ERA in 2019 is not going to happen again. Even his 2.90 FIP seems ambitious. The skills Dobnak showed are fairly sticky historically however. While he certainly overperformed, things like walk rate and groundball rate don’t typically just disappear from year to year, especially since they’re both skills he showed all through the minors. Randy Dobnak is due for regression in 2020, but his performance in 2019 leaves a lot of room for it while still being an impressive pitcher. He gets ground balls at an elite rate and has a slider that induces a healthy amount of swings and misses just as Marcus Stroman does. In fact, you could take the pair's underlying peripherals and they would be nearly indistinguishable. Because of that, I don’t think it’s crazy to say that Randy Dobnak could put together a season that matches up closely with Marcus Stroman. What do you think? MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — 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 Click here to view the article
  20. Here is every move made during this deadline season. It includes prospect rankings per MLB Pipeline. If they weren’t on the top 30 for a team then they are listed as NR (not ranked). 7/27 RP Jake Diekman acquired by Oakland Athletics from Kansas City Royals for OF Dairon Blanco (NR), RHP Ismael Aquino (NR) RP Sergio Romo, SP Chris Vallimont (NR) and PTBNL acquired by the Minnesota Twins from Miami Marlins for 1B Lewin Diaz (#12) 7/28 IF Eric Sogard acquired by Tampa Bay Rays from Toronto Blue Jays for two PTBNL SP Marcus Stroman acquired by the New York Mets from Toronto Blue Jays for LHP Anthony Kay (#5) and RHP Simeon Woods (#7) 7/29 SP Jordan Lyles acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers from Pittsburg Pirates for RHP Cody Ponce (NR) SP Jason Vargas acquired by Philadelphia Phillies from the New York Mets for catcher Austin Bossart (NR) 7/30 RP David Phelps acquired by the Chicago Cubs from the Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Thomas Hatch (NR) RP Chris Martin acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Texas Rangers for LHP Kolby Allard (#16) Three team trade: Indians acquire Franmil Reyes, Yasiel Puig, Logan Allen (#7), Scott Moss (#12), and Victor Nova (NR). Reds acquire Trevor Bauer. Padres acquire Taylor Trammell (#1). 7/31 Catcher Martin Maldonado acquired by the Houston Astros from the Chicago Cubs for IF Tony Kemp. 1B Jesus Aguilar acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays from the Milwaukee Brewers for RHP Jacob Faria. RP Daniel Hudson acquired by the Washington Nationals from the Toronto Blue Jays for prospect Kyle Johnston. SP/RP Drew Pomeranz acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers from the San Francisco Giants for top prospect Mauricio Dubon (#3). SP Tanner Roark acquired by the Oakland Athletics from the Cincinnati Reds for prospect Jameson Hannah (#8). RP Hunter Strickland and RP Roenis Elias acquired by the Washington Nationals from the Seattle Mariners for prospects Elvis Alvarado (NR), Taylor Guilbeau (#15), and Aaron Fletcher (#21) SP Zac Gallen (#5) acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks (#1) from the Miami Marlins for SS prospect Jazz Chisolm OF Corey Dickerson acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Pittsburgh Pirates for international signing money and a PTBNL RP Shane Greene acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Detroit Tigers for prospects LHP Joey Wentz (#7) and OF Travis Demeritte (NR) IF Jedd Gyorko acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers from the St. Louis Cardinals for a PTBNL RP Joe Biagini and SP Aaron Sanchez acquired by the Houston Astros from the Toronto Blue Jays for Derek Fisher RP Nick Anderson and SP/RP Trevor Richards acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays from the Miami Marlins for OF Jesus Sanchez (#4) and RP Ryne Stanek OF Nicholas Castellanos acquired by the Chicago Cubs from the Detroit Tigers for prospects RHP Alex Lange (#23) and RHP Paul Richtan (NR) SP Mike Leake acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks from the Seattle Mariners for IF Jose Caballero (NR) SP Zack Greinke acquired by the Houston Astros from the Arizona Diamondbacks for prospects Seth Beer (#3), Corbin Martin (#5), J.B. Bukauskas (#4) and Josh Rojas (NR) RP Sam Dyson acquired by the Minnesota Twins for prospects OF Jaylin Davis (NR), SP Kai-Wei Teng (NR) and Prelander Berroa (NR) RP Carl Edwards Jr. acquired by the San Diego Padres from the Chicago Cubs for LHP Brad Wieck IF Scooter Gennett acquired by the San Francisco Giants from the Cincinnati Reds for a PTBNL Winners: Indians, Astros, Nationals, Braves, Athletics Losers: Yankees, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Reds Most confusing: Giants, Mets What did you think about what the Twins did? Go vent in the comments. Let it all out!
  21. Per La Velle in his latest at the Star Trib: Denied a top-line starter in trade talks, Twins turn to Plan B I gotta say, the notion that Syndergaard is "no longer viable" seems dubious to me. There's still a ways to go until Wednesday afternoon's deadline. Posturing and misdirection are common around this time. The Mets are dreaming if they think they're going to get an established young big-leaguer of Buxton's caliber. However, if the report is indeed true, it sounds like the Twins are fully swinging their focus to the bullpen. Thoughts?
  22. The first question I’d like to ask is should the Twins add a starting pitcher to the rotation? As of Thursday, there were 58 American League pitchers with 70 innings. In terms of FIP, Twins starters ranked 13th (Berrios), 17th (Odorizzi), 21st (Gibson), 24th (Perez) and 27th (Pineda). In other words, the entire rotation was in the top half of that sample. To put that into perspective, the Astros have three guys inside the top 27 (Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Brad Peacock), Cleveland has two (Shane Bieber and Trevor Bauer) and the Yankees only have one (James Paxton). Sounds really good right? I agree, however, this only tells us what has happened so far. FIP is a good predictor of future success (well, at least better than ERA), but the unknown element is whether or not the other contending teams in the AL will make significant additions to their rotations over the coming week. While the Twins rotation flexes in terms of depth, the other top teams in the AL have much more formidable pieces at the top. Can that still work? Yes, I think it can. We only need to look back to last year’s Milwaukee Brewers for proof. That team had a similar solid but unspectacular rotation that relied more on its depth. Jhoulys Chacin was the ace of that staff, though Wade Miley was very good when healthy. Neither of those guys can hold a candle to Berrios. That Milwaukee team managed to beat the Cubs in a Game 163 to take the NL Central with 96 wins. The pitching matchup was Chacin vs. Jose Quintana. The Brewers then swept the Rockies, giving up just two total runs in those three games. They even pushed the Dodgers all the way to a Game 7 in the NLCS behind a rotation of Miley, Chacin and Gio Gonzalez. The big difference is Milwaukee had an excellent bullpen, though it wasn't comprised of costly big-name arms. The Twins will need to upgrade their pitching staff, nobody is going to argue with that, but I’m not so convinced they really need to add a starter. Let me know what you think. The second thing I’d love to year your opinion on is if the Twins do acquire a starting pitcher, who gets booted to the bullpen? I think this is a tricky question. Might it actually come down to matchups? Berrios is clearly the No. 1 guy on the staff, but things get very fuzzy after that. Odorizzi went to the All-Star Game, but he has a 7.99 ERA over his past seven starts. On the other end of the spectrum, Pineda has a 2.93 ERA in his last seven outings. Gibson has been steady, but never spectacular. Perez has by far the worst WHIP on the staff, but he's also the only lefty starter. Deadline Discussion The big news of the day was that Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirmed the Mets are considering offers on Noah Syndergaard. Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote that "The hardest sell for the Mets baseball operations department leading up to the trade deadline is not persuading suitors to make substantial offers for Edwin Diaz and Noah Syndergaard. It will be convincing ownership to accept such a deal if it reaches a level perceived acceptable." La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune confirmed the Twins not only have interest in Snydergaard, but according to his sources, the Mets are asking for both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff. Rosenthal also made reference to "the growing possibility" that Trevor Bauer and Matthew Boyd would not be traded in a recent piece for The Athletic. Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported that "according to a source with knowledge of the team's plans" the Giants are poised to be buyers and "it's all but certain" Madison Bumgarner will not be traded. Cody wrote about how it's important to avoid impulse trades, such as the one Pittsburgh made to acquire Chris Archer last year. Cody also tabbed Zack Greinke as the starting pitching target of his ideal deadline. Andrew took a look at what it would take to acquire Marcus Stroman and made the case that the Twins should make a deal for Mike Minor. Cooper offered up a couple of under the radar options for the rotation: Sonny Gray and Robbie Ray. Should the Twins be aggressive on the starting pitching market? Would you trade Lewis and Kirilloff for Syndergaard? Who transitions to the bullpen if there is an addition? And if you hear any more rumors today, please feel free to pass them along.
  23. Have you missed the earlier parts of this series? Part 1: 2020 Part 2: Payroll Part 3: The Ammunition Part 4: The Sellers ********** At the top of the Twins - and every other team’s - wish list is a front-end starting pitcher who has team control. By adding one of these players, the Twins would take a current starter (probably Martin Perez) and move him to the bullpen for the remainder of the year. I’m also being more than generous lumping some of these guys into the “front-end” conversation. These guys are starters and would be inserted into the rotation if acquired. Zack Greinke, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks. Turns 36 in October, 4.7 bWAR, 3.15 FIP, 8.2 K/9; owed a boatload of money over this season and the next two, also has a lot of deferred money he is owed and the Twins are on his no-trade list. Will he be a Twin? No, he won’t. But it would be really fun. Marcus Stroman, RHP, New York Mets. Turned 28 in May, 3.2 bWAR, 3.52 FIP, 7.1 K/9; owed ~$2.5 million over the rest of 2019 and will command around $14m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Stroman would slot in perfectly behind Berrios despite not having overpowering stuff. He’s survived the AL East and performed heroically in the World Baseball Classic. The Mets traded for him Sunday afternoon, and appear to be keeping him rather than flipping him. Will he be a Twin? The Twins certainly had the pieces to deal with Toronto, but couldn't/didn't beat the Mets package. The Mets now have the most intriguing rental (Zach Wheeler), player with one year of control (Stroman) and player with two years of control (Syndergaard). Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets. Turns 27 in August, 1.2 bWAR, 3.64 FIP, 9.0 K/9; owed ~$2 million over the rest of the 2019 season and has two more years of arbitration left before heading to free agency. Syndergaard has not been as good this year as in the past, but the price is still incredibly high. The Padres and Braves sound like the most interested trade partners, with the Astros and Yankees showing interest as well. After adding Stroman, maybe the Mets are going for it. Will he be a Twin? We can dream, right? At this point, that’s what it is, despite having the ammunition to get it done. Matthew Boyd, LHP, Detroit Tigers. Turns 29 in February, 3.0 bWAR, 3.57 FIP, 12.0 K/9; owed ~$850,000 over the rest of the 2019 season and has three years of arbitration remaining. Not the youngest on this list, but is the one with the most team control, which makes him the most valuable. Will he be a Twin? Because he’s in the division, there is a very slim chance the Twins acquire Boyd. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians. Turns 29 in January, 2.4 bWAR, 4.19 FIP, 10.6 K/9; owed ~$4.3 million over the rest of 2019 and will command around $18m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Do the Indians move Bauer? And would they move him to the team they competing directly with for a playoff spot? Will he be a Twin? Extremely unlikely, despite his Sunday meltdown. Robbie Ray, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks. Turns 28 in October, 1.1 bWAR, 4.27 FIP, 11.9 K/9; owed ~$2 million over the rest of 2019 and will command around $11m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Ray is probably a step below many of the other available. Will he be a Twin? They’ve kicked the tires on Ray and the teams were able to match up on a deal last year. Will a team not in on the big names try to strike early? It’s possible. I don’t consider Ray to be one of their top choices, so I don’t see this being a match unless it happens very late in the process. Lance Lynn, RHP, Texas Rangers. Turned 32 in May; 5.0 bWAR, 2.94 FIP, 10.2 K/9; owed ~$3.1 million over the rest of the 2019 season and is under contract for two more years at $20.7m. Lynn has been an above-average pitcher for his entire career, except for his time with the Twins, when he couldn’t throw strikes. Will he be a Twin? It would be a nightmarish reunion for fans, especially if he doesn’t perform well. But he’s been really good this year, the cost wouldn’t be excessive and he would help with the playoff push. If he keeps playing like he has so far this year, all fans would get over his 2018 performance. Mike Leake, RHP, Seattle Mariners. Turns 32 in November, 2.0 bWAR, 4.71 FIP, 6.7 K/9; owed ~3.6 million over the rest of the 2019 season and acquiring team would be on the hook for $11m of his $15m contract in 2020 as well as a $5m buyout on a $18m mutual option in 2021. The Twins could afford to take on the $20 still owed to Leake and, in doing so, could avoid moving their better prospects. He’d also help fill a need in next year’s rotation… but is he an upgrade on anyone in the current rotation? That’s a big question. Will he be a Twin? If the Twins are convinced they’d be better with Leake in the rotation and Perez in the bullpen than with Perez in the rotation and a new acquisition in the bullpen, then this is a move I could certainly see the team making. Mike Minor, LHP, Texas Rangers. Turns 32 in December, 5.8 bWAR, 4.20 FIP, 9.1 K/9; owed ~$3.3 million over the rest of 2019 and under contract for $9,833,333 next season. Minor will be a free agent following the 2020 season. Despite how good he’s been this year - he’s been great - his track record isn’t. Will he be a Twin? There is definitely familiarity between Thad Levine and Rangers GM Jon Daniels. And though he’s been arguably the best pitcher who is available, the cost shouldn’t be as high as others. Next on the Twins list would be a controllable, dependable back-of-the-bullpen type. Shane Greene, RHP, Detroit Tigers. Turns 31 in November; 1.5 bWAR, 3.74 FIP, 10.0 K/9; owed ~$1.3 million over the rest of the 2019 season and will command around $8m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Greene is having his best season by far and the Tigers are looking to cash in. Will he be a Twin? Fortunately, the Twins and Tigers don’t appear likely to connect on a trade, saving the Twins from trading for someone who has a very short track record despite being a relief pitcher for the last three seasons. Jake McGee, LHP, Colorado Rockies. Turns 33 in August; 0.8 bWAR, 4.92 FIP, 7.3 K/9; owed ~$2.8 million over the rest of the 2019 season with $11.5m more guaranteed over the next two years, including a likely-to-vest option for 2021, increasing the guarantee to $18.5m. McGee is not the same performer he was with Tampa Bay, but has dominated left-handed hitters this year (which he did not do last year). Will he be a Twin? There are better, less expensive options available currently. But if it gets close to the deadline and the Twins are still in the market for another left-handed option, they could do worse. Edwin Diaz, RHP, New York Mets. Turned 25 in March; 0.0 bWAR, 3.50 FIP, 14.0 K/9; owed ~$200,000 over the rest of the 2019 season and has three years of arbitration left before free agency. Diaz was the best reliever in baseball in 2018 and the Mets paid for it. He hasn’t been good this year, yet the Mets are still asking for a ton, as they should. Will he be a Twin? The cost will be super high. The Twins appear most interested in Diaz of all the potential Mets trade chips, but that still doesn’t make this move more likely. Kirby Yates, RHP, San Diego Padres. Turned 32 in March; 2.4 bWAR, 1.07 FIP, 14.7 K/9; owed ~$1 million over the rest of the 2019 season and will command around $7m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. The Padres turned a waiver-wire claim in Brad Hand into a Top 100 prospect in Francisco Mejia. They’re likely to try to do the same thing with Yates. Yates has been great, don’t get me wrong. But he’s a great example of how elite relievers don’t always take the path that begins with being a top prospect. Will he be a Twin? His price will be high, but if the Twins insist on moving big-time prospects for a controllable reliever, Yates is one of the better options. Felipe Vasquez, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates. Turned 28 in July; 2.0 bWAR, 1.96 FIP, 14.1 K/9; owed ~$1.5 million over the rest of the 2019 season, with two more guaranteed years ($13.5m) before two team options ($10m each). Vasquez would certainly change the complexion of the bullpen, wouldn’t he? Will he be a Twin? Like Diaz, the cost will be extreme, which makes the likelihood of a trade small. Ian Kennedy, RHP, Kansas City Royals. Turns 35 in December; 0.9 bWAR, 2.16 FIP, 11.1 K/9; owed ~$5.5 million over the rest of the 2019 season and $16.5m in 2020. Kennedy’s career has been rejuvenated by a move to the bullpen. He’s walking less and striking out more hitters than ever before. Will he be a Twin? This is a move the team should make. With financial flexibility to take on salary, which would offset the need to part with top prospects, the Twins and Royals can match up nicely. That is, if the Royals are ok sending their closer to an in-division team. Ken Giles, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays. Turns 29 in September; 1.8 bWAR, 1.60 FIP; 14.9 K/9; owed ~$2.1 million over the rest of the 2019 season and will command around $10m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Giles should be high on the priority list for the Twins and others. You can definitely find reasons to not like Giles - he’s basically a two-years-younger-version of Cody Allen. But there’s a lot to like too. Will he be a Twin? The Twins will go as far down this path as they can. Will it end with Giles in Minnesota? We’ll find out soon. We're getting down to it... who are the Twins going to add?
  24. To figure out what it might take to acquire Marcus Stroman, let’s start by looking at what he brings to the table. Stroman is currently 28 years of age and is under team control through the 2020 season. Stroman currently possess a 3.06 ERA (3.62 FIP) in 117 and 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays so far in 2019. For his career, Stroman has a 3.78 ERA (3.62 FIP) through his first six MLB seasons. Stroman isn’t a heavy strikeout pitcher, as his career 19.3% strikeout rate is quite low for today’s standards. From a control perspective, Stroman is solid, as his career 6.7% walk rate is slightly above average for an MLB starting pitcher. What makes Stroman so effective is his extremely high groundball rate. In a era where hitters are trying to hit the ball in the air more than ever, Stroman does an excellent job of preventing them from doing so. Since his debut in 2014, Stroman has a 59.6% groundball rate and a 22.1% flyball rate. Among the 152 starting pitchers with at least 400 innings pitched over that span, those numbers rank as the second highest and third lowest respectively. The next step is to look at the deal the Blue Jays are reportedly asking for. The blockbuster trade of last summer was the deal that sent Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz. At the time Archer was still a highly thought of starting pitcher, with three and a half years of team control remaining. More than double of what is left on Marcus Stroman’s contract. Glasnow and Meadows were both highly touted prospects in the Pirates system who were up with MLB team, but hadn’t shown much at the MLB level quite yet. Still they were prized possessions, who many believed were ready to break out sooner rather than later, which is exactly what happened. Meadows has gotten off to a great start to 2019 and was named to the American League All-Star team. Glasnow was on his way there too with a 1.86 ERA (2.32 FIP) in eight starts before getting shut down with forearm inflammation. In addition to those two, Baz was the Pirates first round pick in 2017, and was ranked as the 95th best prospect in baseball by MLB.com at the time of the trade. Baz currently sits as MLB.com’s 91st best prospect in baseball, right around where they have Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic ranked, for context. If the Twins were to match that offer, they would be looking at giving up a package deal that includes Alex Kirilloff, Brusdar Graterol and Jordan Balazovic. It is probably safe to assume that the Blue Jays won’t be getting any offers for Marcus Stroman that are remotely in the range of that Chris Archer deal that a year later is already considered on of the worst deals in MLB history. Especially given the fact that Stroman has less trade value now than Archer did at this point last summer given the length of control each player has/had. If the Blue Jays don’t get a package that they like for Stroman, they could always hang onto him. However, they have little leverage to use that in a negotiation right now because MLB teams know the Blue Jays won’t be competitive again until after his contract is up, and from this point on, his trade value is only diminishing as the number of starts he can give the team that acquires him goes down. So, if the Blue Jays want to maximize their value for Stroman, they need to make a deal happen before the July 31st trade deadline. If we want to look at a more realistic trade to comparison for a Marcus Stroman deal, a better trade to look at might be the Sonny Gray trade in 2017. At the time of his trade, Gray still had two and 1/2 years of control left before free agency, and like Stroman, was considered a young arm that would slot right into the top of the rotation on a postseason contender. While this is more than Stroman has left on his deal, it is a lot closer comparison than the Chris Archer deal. In that trade the Yankees gave up Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo and James Kaprielian, who were their fourth, eighth and twelfth ranked prospects respectively according to MLB.com. However, both Fowler and Kaprielian’s trade values had been significantly diminished at the time of the trade due to injury. Kaprielian was only a few months removed from Tommy John surgery and Fowler had torn his right patellar tendon after crashing into the while during the first inning of his MLB debut. At the time of the deal, the Yankees were considered to have a top farm system, like the Twins do now. So, if the Twins were to offer up their fourth, eighth and twelfth ranked prospects, according to MLB.com, the deal would include Trevor Larnach, Jhoan Duran and Stephen Gonsalves. To me, this seems like a much more realistic trade proposal for the Blue Jays to receive than one that would match the Chris Archer deal. However, since Gray still had an entire extra year of control remaining, it still stands to question that a fair trade for Stroman would be a little less expensive than that. With all those factors laid out, we can start to make a more accurate prediction as to what it should cost to acquire Marcus Stroman. While this isn’t an exact science, because we don’t know exactly how the Twins and Blue Jays value the players in the Twins farm systems, and we don’t know exactly what other teams are willing to offer, we can probably get pretty close to a fair market value for Stroman. Personally, I think both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff should not be on the table in trade discussions for Stroman, as each carries much more value to the organization than acquiring Stroman for one and a half years would. Additionally, I find it hard to believe that the Twins will look to move Brusdar Graterol right now with his value being diminished due to his shoulder injury. This leaves both Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic to injclued as the headliner in the return package back to the Blue Jays. I think it will take at least one of these two, plus one or two other mid-level prospects to get the deal done. My Offer: Trevor Larnach, Lewis Thorpe and Nick Gordon What do you think? Is this package enticing enough to convince the Blue Jays to trade Marcus Stroman to the Twins, or is this offer too much to give up for him? What would you be willing to trade away to get Stroman? Let us know in the comment section down below.
  25. As the trade deadline draws near, the Minnesota Twins still haven’t made any substantial moves to support either the bullpen or the starting rotation. There has been a lot of speculation on a number of pitchers the Twins could acquire here at Twins Daily. One of those pitchers is Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman. The Blue Jays are said to have a high asking price on Stroman, and would like a deal similar to the one the Tampa Bay Rays received in return for Chris Archer last season. Will the Blue Jays get their wish and bring in a gigantic haul for Stroman, or will they need to settle for a lesser offer?To figure out what it might take to acquire Marcus Stroman, let’s start by looking at what he brings to the table. Stroman is currently 28 years of age and is under team control through the 2020 season. Stroman currently possess a 3.06 ERA (3.62 FIP) in 117 and 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays so far in 2019. For his career, Stroman has a 3.78 ERA (3.62 FIP) through his first six MLB seasons. Stroman isn’t a heavy strikeout pitcher, as his career 19.3% strikeout rate is quite low for today’s standards. From a control perspective, Stroman is solid, as his career 6.7% walk rate is slightly above average for an MLB starting pitcher. What makes Stroman so effective is his extremely high groundball rate. In a era where hitters are trying to hit the ball in the air more than ever, Stroman does an excellent job of preventing them from doing so. Since his debut in 2014, Stroman has a 59.6% groundball rate and a 22.1% flyball rate. Among the 152 starting pitchers with at least 400 innings pitched over that span, those numbers rank as the second highest and third lowest respectively. The next step is to look at the deal the Blue Jays are reportedly asking for. The blockbuster trade of last summer was the deal that sent Chris Archer to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows and Shane Baz. At the time Archer was still a highly thought of starting pitcher, with three and a half years of team control remaining. More than double of what is left on Marcus Stroman’s contract. Glasnow and Meadows were both highly touted prospects in the Pirates system who were up with MLB team, but hadn’t shown much at the MLB level quite yet. Still they were prized possessions, who many believed were ready to break out sooner rather than later, which is exactly what happened. Meadows has gotten off to a great start to 2019 and was named to the American League All-Star team. Glasnow was on his way there too with a 1.86 ERA (2.32 FIP) in eight starts before getting shut down with forearm inflammation. In addition to those two, Baz was the Pirates first round pick in 2017, and was ranked as the 95th best prospect in baseball by MLB.com at the time of the trade. Baz currently sits as MLB.com’s 91st best prospect in baseball, right around where they have Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic ranked, for context. If the Twins were to match that offer, they would be looking at giving up a package deal that includes Alex Kirilloff, Brusdar Graterol and Jordan Balazovic. It is probably safe to assume that the Blue Jays won’t be getting any offers for Marcus Stroman that are remotely in the range of that Chris Archer deal that a year later is already considered on of the worst deals in MLB history. Especially given the fact that Stroman has less trade value now than Archer did at this point last summer given the length of control each player has/had. If the Blue Jays don’t get a package that they like for Stroman, they could always hang onto him. However, they have little leverage to use that in a negotiation right now because MLB teams know the Blue Jays won’t be competitive again until after his contract is up, and from this point on, his trade value is only diminishing as the number of starts he can give the team that acquires him goes down. So, if the Blue Jays want to maximize their value for Stroman, they need to make a deal happen before the July 31st trade deadline. If we want to look at a more realistic trade to comparison for a Marcus Stroman deal, a better trade to look at might be the Sonny Gray trade in 2017. At the time of his trade, Gray still had two and 1/2 years of control left before free agency, and like Stroman, was considered a young arm that would slot right into the top of the rotation on a postseason contender. While this is more than Stroman has left on his deal, it is a lot closer comparison than the Chris Archer deal. In that trade the Yankees gave up Dustin Fowler, Jorge Mateo and James Kaprielian, who were their fourth, eighth and twelfth ranked prospects respectively according to MLB.com. However, both Fowler and Kaprielian’s trade values had been significantly diminished at the time of the trade due to injury. Kaprielian was only a few months removed from Tommy John surgery and Fowler had torn his right patellar tendon after crashing into the while during the first inning of his MLB debut. At the time of the deal, the Yankees were considered to have a top farm system, like the Twins do now. So, if the Twins were to offer up their fourth, eighth and twelfth ranked prospects, according to MLB.com, the deal would include Trevor Larnach, Jhoan Duran and Stephen Gonsalves. To me, this seems like a much more realistic trade proposal for the Blue Jays to receive than one that would match the Chris Archer deal. However, since Gray still had an entire extra year of control remaining, it still stands to question that a fair trade for Stroman would be a little less expensive than that. With all those factors laid out, we can start to make a more accurate prediction as to what it should cost to acquire Marcus Stroman. While this isn’t an exact science, because we don’t know exactly how the Twins and Blue Jays value the players in the Twins farm systems, and we don’t know exactly what other teams are willing to offer, we can probably get pretty close to a fair market value for Stroman. Personally, I think both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff should not be on the table in trade discussions for Stroman, as each carries much more value to the organization than acquiring Stroman for one and a half years would. Additionally, I find it hard to believe that the Twins will look to move Brusdar Graterol right now with his value being diminished due to his shoulder injury. This leaves both Trevor Larnach and Jordan Balazovic to injclued as the headliner in the return package back to the Blue Jays. I think it will take at least one of these two, plus one or two other mid-level prospects to get the deal done. My Offer: Trevor Larnach, Lewis Thorpe and Nick Gordon What do you think? Is this package enticing enough to convince the Blue Jays to trade Marcus Stroman to the Twins, or is this offer too much to give up for him? What would you be willing to trade away to get Stroman? Let us know in the comment section down below. Click here to view the article
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