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  1. Cleveland Baseball Team: Payroll Dump The team formerly known as the Indians made a blockbuster deal on Thursday by sending shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets for a package of four players. Lindor rumors had been swirling for the throughout the offseason as he is one year away from free agency and Cleveland wanted to get something for him before he hit the open market. https://twitter.com/baseball_ref/status/1347248176261160962 Cleveland is clearly trying to dump as much payroll as possible. With players currently on their roster, Cleveland’s Opening Day payroll is scheduled to be around $35 million. Last season, the lowest payroll in baseball was Baltimore and their payroll was over $52 million. In the tweet above, there were two teams with a payroll under $35 million in 2001 with the Twins being the lowest at $24 million. Chicago White Sox: Two Team Race Chicago got their offseason started by hiring Tony La Russa to manager their team. Near the time he was hired, word came out that he had been charged with driving under the influence in Arizona. To make matters worse, it wasn’t his first time being charged with this offense. Besides the off the field issues, La Russa turned 76-years old in October, so his hiring seems questionable even for White Sox fans. To put that in perspective for Twins fans, former manager Tom Kelly is six-years younger than La Russa. The White Sox have made some moves to bolster their roster as well. Chicago dealt Avery Weems and Dane Dunning to Texas for starting pitcher Lance Lynn. Twins fans will remember Lynn’s poor season with the club, but he has been one of baseball’s best pitchers over the last two seasons. In December, the White Sox brought back a familiar face to the South Side by signing outfielder Adam Eaton to a one-year, $7 million contract which includes a club option for 2022. Chicago looks to be the Twins biggest challenger in the AL Central, especially after the moves mentioned above. Detroit Tigers: Hinch Hired for Rebuild Former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire retired as Tigers manager before the end of the 2020 season. This left the Tigers looking for a new man to run the show in Motown. AJ Hinch was suspended for the entire 2020 season after the Astros cheating scandal and now, he will be charged with turning around a Tigers club that has a winning percentage under .400 for four consecutive seasons. Last winter, the Tigers brought in two former Twins, CJ Cron and Jonathan Schoop, to bolster their line-up. This winter Detroit turned to another former Twin by signing outfielder Robbie Grossman to a two-year deal worth $10 million guaranteed. He posted a career high 1.3 WAR last year in Oakland and he did this in just 51 games. Detroit also added to their starting pitching depth by signing Jose Urena to a one-year deal worth $3.25 million. It’s still a waiting game in Detroit as their top prospects work their way to the big leagues. Kansas City: Minor Moves Like Detroit, Kanas City is in the midst of a rebuild with plenty of questions about what the future might hold for the franchise. One of their biggest offseason moves was signing Mike Minor to a two-year deal. At the same time, the club agreed to terms with outfielder Michael Taylor to a one-year, $1.75 million contract. His addition helps the team to add some outfield depth, but it certainly isn’t a difference making move. Another familiar name also signed in Kansas City just before the new year. Former Twins pitcher Ervin Santana agreed to a minor league deal to return to Kanas City, a team he called home back in 2013. If he is on the major league roster, he gets a base salary of $1.5 million with a chance to earn an extra $1.75 million in performance bonuses. Santana didn’t pitch in 2020 and he already turned 38-years old. Minnesota’s lone move has been to sign relief pitcher Hansel Robles. There are likely other moves coming, but the landscape of the AL Central continues to evolve. What are your thoughts about the AL Central so far this winter? 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
  2. Remember when Doug Mientkiewicz was really good at first base for the Twins one year, but Rafael Palmiero won the Gold Glove despite barely playing the position that year? Defensive analysis and Gold Glove voting have come a long way since then. Whether we agree with each of them, there are now at least several statistical data to measure defense. SABR Defensive Index is one of those data points and it is used to help select the Rawlings Gold Glove Award ®. According to their site, “The SABR Defensive Index accounts for approximately 25 percent of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award selection process that was added to the votes from the managers and coaches.” A perfect system? No. But a better system? Probably.The Twins defense has been a topic in the second half, particularly in the infield. So I thought it might be fun to take a look at how the Twins stack up by this metric in its most recent analysis (through games of August 18th). Catcher Unfortunately for today’s article, there is a game- or innings-played minimum in this analysis, so the Twins don’t have a player at these positions that qualify. Regarding that Rafael Palmiero Gold Glove, this would have been nice back then! I think that the Twins feel good about their defense behind the plate. Jason Castro may not be quite what he was in previous years, but he’s still strong. And by all accounts, Mitch Garver has vastly improved his defense, specifically his ability to present pitches. While we can probably agree that their time split has probably helped keep them both fresh throughout the season, it means that neither qualifies for this. Pitchers I have always thought that Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson are terrific defensive players. I think both show good range and athleticism. I still believe that, even if this data shows both in the bottom four in the AL, separated only by Lance Lynn. However, it also shows that Martin Perez is second on the list, behind only Mike Leake of the Mariners. First Base CJ Cron comes in at 1.0. I don’t know and won’t take the time to figure out exactly what that means or how it’s calculated. However, it’s a positive number which means he could be considered average or a little better than average. I think that’s fair. He got a lot of credit for some scooping early in the season. He hasn’t picked as many of late, but I generally think he’s more than adequate at the position. And, I think we can all acknowledge that he’s not A’s first baseman Matt Olson with the glove. Second Base Jonathan Schoop comes in at a -2.1 SDI, so again, a little bit below average. That ranks ninth of qualifying second baseman. I think we can all agree that his arm is plus-plus. His range may not be real great as he’s easily the biggest player on this list. Of course, in the last month, Schoop has lost much of his playing time to Luis Arraez. Third Base And, I don’t think any of us have any thought that Miguel Sano would rank terribly high among defensive third baseman. It would be nice to see what his numbers would look like though. Meanwhile, Marwin Gonzalez does show up on the list at 5.1 SDI. Sano has played 66 games at third base. Marwin Gonzalez has played 40 games at third base. In other words, Gonzalez’s numbers must include his time all over the diamond. But, frankly, that makes his 5.1, a decent amount to the positive, even more impressive. Shortstop Jorge Polanco has certainly struggled in the field the last couple of weeks, but until that point, his defense went generally unnoticed, which is a good thing. His SDI is -0.3, which would say that he’s been about average in 2019. I fact, he fits in at seventh out of 12 AL shortstops. Old Friend Niko Goodrum of the Detroit Tigers ranks third at 4.0 SDI. Right Field Max Kepler is tremendous in right field, and good in center field. He comes in at 6.1 SDI, second among AL right fielders behind only Red Sox Mookie Betts (8.9). While Betts will likely win another Gold Glove, Kepler absolutely should be a finalist and get serious consideration. I’m sure having 34 homers already and playing on a winning team help his case. Center Field Despite missing a decent amount of time this season, Byron Buxton’s 8.9 SDI ranks atop the list of 14 American League center fielders. In fact, Rays OF Kevin Keirmaier ranks second at 6.3 SDI and recently-released Billy Hamilton is third at 5.7. In fact, Buxton’s 8.9 SDI ranks fourth among all AL players, regardless of position. He ranks behind only A’s 3B Matt Chapman (13.0), Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez (11.9) and Rays SS Willy Adames (9.9). Left Field Saving the best for last? No, but saving the most interesting - at least to me - for last. Eddie Rosario’s defense has been a bit of a roller coaster throughout his career, and even in the 2019 season there have been plenty of ups and downs. Rosario posts a -2.4 SDI, so again, below zero. But what does that mean? He ranks fifth of ten qualifying left fielders. Only two AL left fielders have a positive SDI, and Royals Alex Gordon has a 0.2 SDI. So, I feel fairly comfortable saying that Rosario’s defense this year hasn’t been good, but it isn’t terrible. But to the big story… The top defensive left fielder according to the SABR Defensive Index is Oakland A’s Robbie Grossman. And not just by a little bit. Grossman has a 5.8 SDI, well ahead of Gordon’s 0.2. So what do we make of that? Does it completely ruin any value that SDI has in your mind? Does it mean that Grossman is actually playing really good defense in 2019? Truly, I don’t know how to read that, and don’t want to read into it. But it is statistical, analytical, based on the same information that every other left fielder is evaluated by. So, what do you think? It feels like - aside from the Grossman thing - this data kind of verifies what we probably thought of the Twins defensive play in 2019. It verifies that Byron Buxton is amazing and that Max Kepler is really good. Marwin Gonzalez has provided defensive value wherever he’s played. Beyond that, there are several very average defenders, and despite his recent struggles, Polanco has been OK for most of the year. What else do you see from this data? Click here to view the article
  3. Seth Stohs

    Getting Defensive

    The Twins defense has been a topic in the second half, particularly in the infield. So I thought it might be fun to take a look at how the Twins stack up by this metric in its most recent analysis (through games of August 18th). Catcher Unfortunately for today’s article, there is a game- or innings-played minimum in this analysis, so the Twins don’t have a player at these positions that qualify. Regarding that Rafael Palmiero Gold Glove, this would have been nice back then! I think that the Twins feel good about their defense behind the plate. Jason Castro may not be quite what he was in previous years, but he’s still strong. And by all accounts, Mitch Garver has vastly improved his defense, specifically his ability to present pitches. While we can probably agree that their time split has probably helped keep them both fresh throughout the season, it means that neither qualifies for this. Pitchers I have always thought that Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson are terrific defensive players. I think both show good range and athleticism. I still believe that, even if this data shows both in the bottom four in the AL, separated only by Lance Lynn. However, it also shows that Martin Perez is second on the list, behind only Mike Leake of the Mariners. First Base CJ Cron comes in at 1.0. I don’t know and won’t take the time to figure out exactly what that means or how it’s calculated. However, it’s a positive number which means he could be considered average or a little better than average. I think that’s fair. He got a lot of credit for some scooping early in the season. He hasn’t picked as many of late, but I generally think he’s more than adequate at the position. And, I think we can all acknowledge that he’s not A’s first baseman Matt Olson with the glove. Second Base Jonathan Schoop comes in at a -2.1 SDI, so again, a little bit below average. That ranks ninth of qualifying second baseman. I think we can all agree that his arm is plus-plus. His range may not be real great as he’s easily the biggest player on this list. Of course, in the last month, Schoop has lost much of his playing time to Luis Arraez. Third Base And, I don’t think any of us have any thought that Miguel Sano would rank terribly high among defensive third baseman. It would be nice to see what his numbers would look like though. Meanwhile, Marwin Gonzalez does show up on the list at 5.1 SDI. Sano has played 66 games at third base. Marwin Gonzalez has played 40 games at third base. In other words, Gonzalez’s numbers must include his time all over the diamond. But, frankly, that makes his 5.1, a decent amount to the positive, even more impressive. Shortstop Jorge Polanco has certainly struggled in the field the last couple of weeks, but until that point, his defense went generally unnoticed, which is a good thing. His SDI is -0.3, which would say that he’s been about average in 2019. I fact, he fits in at seventh out of 12 AL shortstops. Old Friend Niko Goodrum of the Detroit Tigers ranks third at 4.0 SDI. Right Field Max Kepler is tremendous in right field, and good in center field. He comes in at 6.1 SDI, second among AL right fielders behind only Red Sox Mookie Betts (8.9). While Betts will likely win another Gold Glove, Kepler absolutely should be a finalist and get serious consideration. I’m sure having 34 homers already and playing on a winning team help his case. Center Field Despite missing a decent amount of time this season, Byron Buxton’s 8.9 SDI ranks atop the list of 14 American League center fielders. In fact, Rays OF Kevin Keirmaier ranks second at 6.3 SDI and recently-released Billy Hamilton is third at 5.7. In fact, Buxton’s 8.9 SDI ranks fourth among all AL players, regardless of position. He ranks behind only A’s 3B Matt Chapman (13.0), Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez (11.9) and Rays SS Willy Adames (9.9). Left Field Saving the best for last? No, but saving the most interesting - at least to me - for last. Eddie Rosario’s defense has been a bit of a roller coaster throughout his career, and even in the 2019 season there have been plenty of ups and downs. Rosario posts a -2.4 SDI, so again, below zero. But what does that mean? He ranks fifth of ten qualifying left fielders. Only two AL left fielders have a positive SDI, and Royals Alex Gordon has a 0.2 SDI. So, I feel fairly comfortable saying that Rosario’s defense this year hasn’t been good, but it isn’t terrible. But to the big story… The top defensive left fielder according to the SABR Defensive Index is Oakland A’s Robbie Grossman. And not just by a little bit. Grossman has a 5.8 SDI, well ahead of Gordon’s 0.2. So what do we make of that? Does it completely ruin any value that SDI has in your mind? Does it mean that Grossman is actually playing really good defense in 2019? Truly, I don’t know how to read that, and don’t want to read into it. But it is statistical, analytical, based on the same information that every other left fielder is evaluated by. So, what do you think? It feels like - aside from the Grossman thing - this data kind of verifies what we probably thought of the Twins defensive play in 2019. It verifies that Byron Buxton is amazing and that Max Kepler is really good. Marwin Gonzalez has provided defensive value wherever he’s played. Beyond that, there are several very average defenders, and despite his recent struggles, Polanco has been OK for most of the year. What else do you see from this data?
  4. “They’re setting themselves up to fail in the long run,” said Daniel, as his disinterested co-workers poked at their Lean Cuisines. “If you’re not moving runners over and just relying on home runs, you’re not even playing baseball. Give me Whitey Herzog and some classic station-to-station ball any day of the week.” Daniel, who is 37, unmarried, and wears a fedora to chain restaurant bars, often regales trapped employees of a local IT consulting firm with his against-the-grain takes during their half-hour lunch break. “What if you have to manufacture a run, and (Byron) Buxton is up there swinging at fastballs instead of working the count,” pondered Daniel, as at least one employee audibly sighed. “Does Buxton’s allegedly good defense make up for that? All I know is Zach Granite and Robbie Grossman took pitches and weren’t all about flash.” Daniel’s few friends at work say they’ve grown used to his behavior. “It’s like, we get it Barry, you found out about the concept of devil’s advocate when you were in college and quit learning anything else,” said Amanda Molloy, the company’s CFO. “When someone talks about a TV show they like, Barry will be sure to note that the book was better, or that it used to be good but it sucks now, or that he doesn’t own a television.” As the lunchroom quietly emptied, Daniel, who has strident opinions on anime, continued listing his doubts. “The strikeouts and quote-unquote pitch framing may impress the spreadsheet geeks and people who don’t appreciate the real game’s nuances,” said Daniel. “Let’s see ‘em throw strikes, put some balls into play, and let the defense do its job. Maybe then I'll believe it's sustainable.”
  5. Unlikable Chaska man shares opinion on Minnesota’s hot start. Barry Daniel is well aware of the Twins’ MLB-best record, and the power surge that’s propelled it. He’s not about to let anyone within his radius feel good about it.“They’re setting themselves up to fail in the long run,” said Daniel, as his disinterested co-workers poked at their Lean Cuisines. “If you’re not moving runners over and just relying on home runs, you’re not even playing baseball. Give me Whitey Herzog and some classic station-to-station ball any day of the week.” Daniel, who is 37, unmarried, and wears a fedora to chain restaurant bars, often regales trapped employees of a local IT consulting firm with his against-the-grain takes during their half-hour lunch break. “What if you have to manufacture a run, and (Byron) Buxton is up there swinging at fastballs instead of working the count,” pondered Daniel, as at least one employee audibly sighed. “Does Buxton’s allegedly good defense make up for that? All I know is Zach Granite and Robbie Grossman took pitches and weren’t all about flash.” Daniel’s few friends at work say they’ve grown used to his behavior. “It’s like, we get it Barry, you found out about the concept of devil’s advocate when you were in college and quit learning anything else,” said Amanda Molloy, the company’s CFO. “When someone talks about a TV show they like, Barry will be sure to note that the book was better, or that it used to be good but it sucks now, or that he doesn’t own a television.” As the lunchroom quietly emptied, Daniel, who has strident opinions on anime, continued listing his doubts. “The strikeouts and quote-unquote pitch framing may impress the spreadsheet geeks and people who don’t appreciate the real game’s nuances,” said Daniel. “Let’s see ‘em throw strikes, put some balls into play, and let the defense do its job. Maybe then I'll believe it's sustainable.” Click here to view the article
  6. *All projected arbitration salaries are from MLB Trade Rumors. The White Sox did not tender contracts to a couple of their better hitters from the 2018 season: Matt Davidson and Avisail Garcia. Davidson was projected to make $2.4 million while Garcia was tabbed for $8.0 million. Davidson had a .738 OPS in 496 plate appearances and slugged 20 homers for the second straight season. He got most of his reps at DH but has also played first base and third base. Garcia, an All-Star in 2017, had a .719 OPS with 19 home runs in just 385 plate appearances. Both Davidson (.268/.344/.461) and Garcia (.304/.358/.457) have handled left-handed pitching pretty well over their careers. Jeff Passan was first with the Davidson news while Scott Merkin was first to report on Garcia. Also of note in the AL Central: Detroit is expected to non-tender catcher James McCann and reliever Alex Wilson, per Anthony Fenech. McCann made 112 starts behind the plate for the Tigers last year, but had a career-low .581 OPS. McCann was projected to make $3.5 million. Wilson had a 3.36 ERA and 1.05 WHIP last year despite a pitch-to-contact approach that saw him average just 6.3 K/9. The Reds will non-tendered Billy Hamilton (as first reported by C. Trent Rosecrans), one of the most recognizable faces in Cincinnati over the past five seasons. The bat never came around, but Hamilton has averaged 65 stolen bases per 162 games played over his career and provides incredible defense in center field. He was projected to make $5.9 million. The Mets non-tendered infielder Wilmer Flores. He’s posted a 109 OPS+ over the past three seasons combined. Flores has been seeing more time at first base the past couple seasons, but has still got in some reps at second base and third base. He was projected to make $4.7 million. Joel Sherman had that news first. 5:20 p.m. Update The Brewers announced they would not be tendering a contract to second baseman Jonathan Schoop. After hitting 32 home runs with a .841 OPS in 2017, Schoop's numbers plummeted. He was struggling for Baltimore, then really tanked after a trade sent him to Milwaukee. He finished with a .233/.266/.416 (.682) slash line and was pinned to make $10.1 million through arbitration. Milwaukee will also non-tender lefties Dan Jennings and Xavier Cedeno. In parts of seven seasons in the Majors, Jennings has a 2.96 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 7.1 K/9. He's made 70 appearances in each of the past two seasons. Cedeno pitched to a 2.43 ERA in 33 1/3 innings between the White Sox and Brewers last year. He averaged 9.2 K/9 but also walked a batter nearly every other inning (4.3 BB/9). Trade Rumors had Jennings expected to make $1.6 million while Cedeno was at $1.5 million. Mark Feinsand reported that the Royals non-tendered Jason Adam, Samir Duenez, Andres Machado and Bubba Starling. Kansas City is expected to bring all four back on minor league deals. 5:55 p.m. Update Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported that the Twins will non-tender Robbie Grossman. With the addition of C.J Cron, this seemed like a likely move. Jake Cave's emergence and LaMonte Wade being added to the 40-man roster also certainly played a part. In three seasons with the Twins, Grossman hit .266/.371/.400 (.771), but he was projected to make $4 million next season. With the retirement of Joe Mauer and now Grossman's apparent exit the Twins could really use an OBP boost. 6:05 p.m. Update The Diamondbacks announced they have non-tendered Shelby Miller, Brad Boxberger and Chris Owings. A former first-round pick who was a centerpiece in two bit trades, Miller was been a big disappointment in Arizona. He made just 28 starts over thre seasons and had a 6.35 ERA with the Snakes. Boxberger led the AL with 41 saves back in 2015 when he was with the Rays, but has a 4.21 ERA and averaged 5.2 BB/9 in 107 innings since. Owings has played all over the diamond in his six years with the D-Backs. He's coming off a career-worst .574 OPS, but hit .273/.308/.428 (.736) in the two prior seasons. The Blue Jays will not tender a contract to infielder Yangervis Solarte. In his only season with Toronto, Solarte hit .226/.277/.378 (.655) while making 79 starts at third base, 26 at second base and five at shortstop. The Twins originally signed Solarte out of Venezuela back in 2005. 6:20 p.m Update The Twins will avoid going to arbitration with C.J. Cron. He agreed to a $4.8 million deal, slightly below the $5.2 million MLB Trade Rumors had him projected to receive. 6:25 p.m. update Blake Parker will be non-tendered by the Angels, according to Mark Feinsand. This is the most surprising one so far in my book. Parker has pitched to a 2.90 ERA in 138 appearances over the past two seasons with the Angels, racking up 22 saves in the process. He also has an impressive 1.03 WHIP and 4.46 K:BB ratio over that same stretch (10.5 K/9, 2.4 BB/9). Parker, 33, was projected to make a modest $3.1 million. 7:10 p.m. update The Angels have also non-tendered starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker. The runner-up for the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year award, Shoemaker has seen his innings drop and his ERA rise in each of the past three seasons. He made just seven starts and had a 4.94 ERA for the Angels in 2018. The Phillies non-tendered first baseman Justin Bour and left-handed reliever Luis Avilan. Bour had incredible power numbers in 2017, slugging .536. That dipped to .404 last season, but he still had a 110 OPS+. His calling card is the ability to mash right-handed pitching (.269/.354/.499 career). Cleveland's rotation is very much skewed toward righties ... hmm. Avilan has a career 3.09 ERA in more than 300 innings pitched. Over the past three seasons, he's posted a 10.6 K/9. Lefties have hit just .213/.289/.292 (.581) against him. 7:30 p.m. update Another round of non-tenders! Oakland: Mike Fiers, Kendall Graveman and Cory Gearrin. After a couple of poor years with the Astros, Fiers had a nice bounce back. He started the year in Detroit, then was traded to Oakland in early August. Altogether he had a 3.56 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 3.76 K:BB ratio in 172 innings pitched. Graveman has a 4.38 ERA for his career but in seven starts last season that was up to 7.60 ERA. Gearrin, a right-handed reliever, has a 2.80 ERA in 125 1/3 innings over the past two seasons, but he's also averaged 4.0 BB/9. Giants: Hunter Strickland and Gorkys Hernandez. Strickland had an outstanding first three seasons but took a step back in 2018. In 45 1/3 innings, Strickland had a 3.97 ERA and averaged 4.2 BB/9 while only striking out 7.3 K/9. Baltimore: Tim Beckham and Caleb Joseph. Beckham's a long ways away from being the No. 1 overall pick, but he flashed some skills in his time with the O's. He had a career year in 2017, hitting .278/.328/.454 (.782) with 22 home runs, but failed to back that up. Beckham had just a .661 OPS last season. Cubs: Ronald Torreyes. The Cubs acquired Torreyes in a trade from the Yankees on Wednesday for a player to be named later. Hard to figure this one out ... 8:00 p.m. update Texas: Matt Bush Another former No. 1 overall pick! Bush was converted to the mound and had an impressive debut back in 2016. Since then, however, he has a 4.06 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 75 1/3 innings. Still, that 96 mph fastball will surely open some eyes. Houston: Chris Herrmann Old friend alert. Herrmann hit .237/.322/.421 (.743) in 87 plate appearances for the Mariners last year and .250/.385/.425 (.809) in 78 games for their Triple-A affiliate. Final Thoughts Some of these guys could make a lot of sense for the Twins. Blake Parker is a guy who jumps out in particular, mainly because I think bullpen help is probably the biggest need right now. Could Jonathan Schoop be a good bounce back candidate at second base? Love the power, love the arm strength but what happened? Can Mike Fiers back up his bounce back? He could be nice rotation insurance ... or he could turn back into a pumpkin. I think Avisail Garcia could be a great guy to push Max Kepler and also get some DH at bats. Same for Justin Bour and Tyler Austin. Same for Tim Beckham and Ehire Adrianza, but he'd just be pushing him straight off the roster. Not sure if the Twins would have interest in Garcia, Bour or Beckham though. Cleveland also traded away catcher Yan Gomes. All in all, it was a good day for the Twins. The rest of the division got a little worse on the whole and the free agent pool got a little deeper.
  7. Today was the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Ehire Adrianza has agreed to a deal worth $1.3 million for 2019, avoiding arbitration. Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported that the Twins would not be tendering Robbie Grossman a contract. I’ll do my best to update this article with all the players who are non-tendered as news breaks. Any player who is not tendered a contract becomes a free agent.*All projected arbitration salaries are from MLB Trade Rumors. The White Sox did not tender contracts to a couple of their better hitters from the 2018 season: Matt Davidson and Avisail Garcia. Davidson was projected to make $2.4 million while Garcia was tabbed for $8.0 million. Davidson had a .738 OPS in 496 plate appearances and slugged 20 homers for the second straight season. He got most of his reps at DH but has also played first base and third base. Garcia, an All-Star in 2017, had a .719 OPS with 19 home runs in just 385 plate appearances. Both Davidson (.268/.344/.461) and Garcia (.304/.358/.457) have handled left-handed pitching pretty well over their careers. Jeff Passan was first with the Davidson news while Scott Merkin was first to report on Garcia. Also of note in the AL Central: Detroit is expected to non-tender catcher James McCann and reliever Alex Wilson, per Anthony Fenech. McCann made 112 starts behind the plate for the Tigers last year, but had a career-low .581 OPS. McCann was projected to make $3.5 million. Wilson had a 3.36 ERA and 1.05 WHIP last year despite a pitch-to-contact approach that saw him average just 6.3 K/9. The Reds will non-tendered Billy Hamilton (as first reported by C. Trent Rosecrans), one of the most recognizable faces in Cincinnati over the past five seasons. The bat never came around, but Hamilton has averaged 65 stolen bases per 162 games played over his career and provides incredible defense in center field. He was projected to make $5.9 million. The Mets non-tendered infielder Wilmer Flores. He’s posted a 109 OPS+ over the past three seasons combined. Flores has been seeing more time at first base the past couple seasons, but has still got in some reps at second base and third base. He was projected to make $4.7 million. Joel Sherman had that news first. 5:20 p.m. Update The Brewers announced they would not be tendering a contract to second baseman Jonathan Schoop. After hitting 32 home runs with a .841 OPS in 2017, Schoop's numbers plummeted. He was struggling for Baltimore, then really tanked after a trade sent him to Milwaukee. He finished with a .233/.266/.416 (.682) slash line and was pinned to make $10.1 million through arbitration. Milwaukee will also non-tender lefties Dan Jennings and Xavier Cedeno. In parts of seven seasons in the Majors, Jennings has a 2.96 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 7.1 K/9. He's made 70 appearances in each of the past two seasons. Cedeno pitched to a 2.43 ERA in 33 1/3 innings between the White Sox and Brewers last year. He averaged 9.2 K/9 but also walked a batter nearly every other inning (4.3 BB/9). Trade Rumors had Jennings expected to make $1.6 million while Cedeno was at $1.5 million. Mark Feinsand reported that the Royals non-tendered Jason Adam, Samir Duenez, Andres Machado and Bubba Starling. Kansas City is expected to bring all four back on minor league deals. 5:55 p.m. Update Dan Hayes of The Athletic reported that the Twins will non-tender Robbie Grossman. With the addition of C.J Cron, this seemed like a likely move. Jake Cave's emergence and LaMonte Wade being added to the 40-man roster also certainly played a part. In three seasons with the Twins, Grossman hit .266/.371/.400 (.771), but he was projected to make $4 million next season. With the retirement of Joe Mauer and now Grossman's apparent exit the Twins could really use an OBP boost. 6:05 p.m. Update The Diamondbacks announced they have non-tendered Shelby Miller, Brad Boxberger and Chris Owings. A former first-round pick who was a centerpiece in two bit trades, Miller was been a big disappointment in Arizona. He made just 28 starts over thre seasons and had a 6.35 ERA with the Snakes. Boxberger led the AL with 41 saves back in 2015 when he was with the Rays, but has a 4.21 ERA and averaged 5.2 BB/9 in 107 innings since. Owings has played all over the diamond in his six years with the D-Backs. He's coming off a career-worst .574 OPS, but hit .273/.308/.428 (.736) in the two prior seasons. The Blue Jays will not tender a contract to infielder Yangervis Solarte. In his only season with Toronto, Solarte hit .226/.277/.378 (.655) while making 79 starts at third base, 26 at second base and five at shortstop. The Twins originally signed Solarte out of Venezuela back in 2005. 6:20 p.m Update The Twins will avoid going to arbitration with C.J. Cron. He agreed to a $4.8 million deal, slightly below the $5.2 million MLB Trade Rumors had him projected to receive. 6:25 p.m. update Blake Parker will be non-tendered by the Angels, according to Mark Feinsand. This is the most surprising one so far in my book. Parker has pitched to a 2.90 ERA in 138 appearances over the past two seasons with the Angels, racking up 22 saves in the process. He also has an impressive 1.03 WHIP and 4.46 K:BB ratio over that same stretch (10.5 K/9, 2.4 BB/9). Parker, 33, was projected to make a modest $3.1 million. 7:10 p.m. update The Angels have also non-tendered starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker. The runner-up for the 2014 AL Rookie of the Year award, Shoemaker has seen his innings drop and his ERA rise in each of the past three seasons. He made just seven starts and had a 4.94 ERA for the Angels in 2018. The Phillies non-tendered first baseman Justin Bour and left-handed reliever Luis Avilan. Bour had incredible power numbers in 2017, slugging .536. That dipped to .404 last season, but he still had a 110 OPS+. His calling card is the ability to mash right-handed pitching (.269/.354/.499 career). Cleveland's rotation is very much skewed toward righties ... hmm. Avilan has a career 3.09 ERA in more than 300 innings pitched. Over the past three seasons, he's posted a 10.6 K/9. Lefties have hit just .213/.289/.292 (.581) against him. 7:30 p.m. update Another round of non-tenders! Oakland: Mike Fiers, Kendall Graveman and Cory Gearrin. After a couple of poor years with the Astros, Fiers had a nice bounce back. He started the year in Detroit, then was traded to Oakland in early August. Altogether he had a 3.56 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 3.76 K:BB ratio in 172 innings pitched. Graveman has a 4.38 ERA for his career but in seven starts last season that was up to 7.60 ERA. Gearrin, a right-handed reliever, has a 2.80 ERA in 125 1/3 innings over the past two seasons, but he's also averaged 4.0 BB/9. Giants: Hunter Strickland and Gorkys Hernandez. Strickland had an outstanding first three seasons but took a step back in 2018. In 45 1/3 innings, Strickland had a 3.97 ERA and averaged 4.2 BB/9 while only striking out 7.3 K/9. Baltimore: Tim Beckham and Caleb Joseph. Beckham's a long ways away from being the No. 1 overall pick, but he flashed some skills in his time with the O's. He had a career year in 2017, hitting .278/.328/.454 (.782) with 22 home runs, but failed to back that up. Beckham had just a .661 OPS last season. Cubs: Ronald Torreyes. The Cubs acquired Torreyes in a trade from the Yankees on Wednesday for a player to be named later. Hard to figure this one out ... 8:00 p.m. update Texas: Matt Bush Another former No. 1 overall pick! Bush was converted to the mound and had an impressive debut back in 2016. Since then, however, he has a 4.06 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 75 1/3 innings. Still, that 96 mph fastball will surely open some eyes. Houston: Chris Herrmann Old friend alert. Herrmann hit .237/.322/.421 (.743) in 87 plate appearances for the Mariners last year and .250/.385/.425 (.809) in 78 games for their Triple-A affiliate. Final Thoughts Some of these guys could make a lot of sense for the Twins. Blake Parker is a guy who jumps out in particular, mainly because I think bullpen help is probably the biggest need right now. Could Jonathan Schoop be a good bounce back candidate at second base? Love the power, love the arm strength but what happened? Can Mike Fiers back up his bounce back? He could be nice rotation insurance ... or he could turn back into a pumpkin. I think Avisail Garcia could be a great guy to push Max Kepler and also get some DH at bats. Same for Justin Bour and Tyler Austin. Same for Tim Beckham and Ehire Adrianza, but he'd just be pushing him straight off the roster. Not sure if the Twins would have interest in Garcia, Bour or Beckham though. Cleveland also traded away catcher Yan Gomes. All in all, it was a good day for the Twins. The rest of the division got a little worse on the whole and the free agent pool got a little deeper. Click here to view the article
  8. By Friday the Minnesota Twins will need to decide if they are going to tender contracts to all their arbitration eligible players. The names include guys like Kyle Gibson, Eddie Rosario, and Miguel Sano. Among the ten possibilities, nine of them are near-certainties. If there’s a guy with an uncertain future however, it’s none other than Robbie Grossman. Grossman came to the Twins in 2016, under the Terry Ryan regime, after opting out of a minor league deal with the Cleveland Indians. His career had sputtered with the Houston Astros and never really got off the ground. That 2016 Twins team was a bad one (103 losses), and Grossman was brought in for depth purposes. The day after his acquisition, Eddie Rosario was demoted to Triple-A and Grossman made his Minnesota debut on May 20. Robbie’s first season with the Twins was a coming out party. Despite being on a team playing terrible baseball his offensive production was a bright spot. At 26 years-old he’d eclipsed prospect status, but posting an .828 OPS doesn’t get glanced over, and he was every bit the on-base machine expected of him. Now looking back on his production, the narrative hasn’t changed much. In 347 games with the Twins Grossman owns a .711 OPS buoyed by a .371 OBP. Offensively, he’s a guy that has a little pop, takes strong at bats, and gives opportunity to the hitters surrounding him in the lineup. Unfortunately, the offensive prowess is where things end for Grossman. As good as he was in 2016 at the plate, the defensive output was enough to make either Delmon Young or Josh Willingham blush. Being worth -21 DRS with a -13.8 UZR in just 637 innings is nothing short of an abomination. Spending his time patrolling left field for Paul Molitor’s club, there’s no arguing that his abilities in the outfield aided heavily into such a terrible year. Being used more sparingly in 2017, and then making improvements in 2018, Grossman does deserve somewhat of a pass on such an outlier of a year during his debut in Twins Territory. The reality however is that Robbie isn’t someone this Twins squad wants in the outfield, and it’s arguable as to whether any big-league club would see that as an ideal fit. Without a real defensive position, that’s where things get a bit dicey. MLB Trade Rumors projects Grossman’s arbitration value at $4MM. That number isn’t a significant amount in the landscape of salaries today, but it’s also one that makes him more than expendable. Serving primarily as a designated hitter or bench bat, there’s likely better out there equal to or lower than that valuation. The Tampa Bay Rays just DFA’d C.J. Cron coming off a 30 HR season and an .816 OPS. Both players made similar figures in 2018, and Cron is a capable defender. Knowing that the Twins are looking to upgrade their corner infield spots, have depth in the outfield (and recently acquired another OBP guy in Michael Reed), and have some desire to bring in thump to the designated hitter role, there’s plenty of factors working against Grossman. If this is the end, and it’s trending that way, it’s hard to look back at the tenure and not be happy for both sides. Grossman jumpstarted a career that failed to launch, while the Twins got a bat for the lineup that proved more serviceable than anyone could’ve imagine. At some point we all become expendable as the scales tip in favor of opportunity cost. Grossman will find work and the Twins will fill his role. Going forward, there’s just not the same ideal fit. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  9. Other teams Cafardo mentions in the mix for Gray are the A’s, Braves, Padres and Rangers. The main thing that stands out as an advantage for the Twins is they seem to be better suited to take on payroll. So if the Yankees are primarily looking for financial relief, boy does that feel weird to say, the Twins have a great shot. Gray is expected to make somewhere around $9 million through arbitration. La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported that the Twins “have expressed some interest” in DJ LeMahieu. A three-time Gold Glover at second base, former batting champ and two-time All-Star, LeMahieu certainly has an attractive resume. Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs also highlighted his ability to barrel up balls, speculating a power breakout could be possible with an adjustment or two. Still, LeMahieu’s career .264/.311/.362 (.673) line away from Coors Field scares me. I’m pretty surprised the Twins (and every other team in baseball) passed on the opportunity to claim Derek Dietrich. He actually has a higher career OPS+ than Brian Dozier and has hit .272/.351/.465 (.816) away from Marlins Park. One non-tender candidate I could see being a target for the Twins is second baseman Jonathan Schoop. The Brewers acquired Schoop at the trade deadline, but he’s expected to make $10 million ins his final season of arbitration eligibility. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwakee Journal Sentinel wrote that Milwaukee is “believed to be somewhat torn about what to do” and that the decision could go either way. Schoop, 27, had an incredible 2017, blasting 32 home runs while posting an .841 OPS, but he came crashing down to Earth last season, hitting just .233/.266/.416 (.682). Mark Feinsand highlighted one non-teneder candidate for each team for MLB.com. Schoop was among those listed, but there were plenty of other names I could see fitting nicely on the Twins, including relief pitcher Chaz Roe. Give me all the ex-Rays! Roe, 32, had a 3.58 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 9.5 K/9 in 50 1/3 innings last season for Tampa Bay. The Twins added Nick Gordon, LaMonte Wade and Luis Arraez to the 40-man roster and released Alan Busenitz, allowing him to sign with a team in Japan. We could have some further re-shaping of the 40-man roster coming later this week, as Friday marks the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. It’s interesting that the trio of 40-man roster additions could potentially help serve as replacements for the Twins two most logical non-tender candidates. Robbie Grossman and Ehire Adrianza have been fine as role players, but neither offers much upside. It’s not as if those two are expected to break the bank, as they’re expected to cost around $6 million total, but there may be better ways to invest both that money and space on the 25-man roster. Here are the projected arbitration salaries via MLB Trade Rumors. Now that the Twins have added C.J. Cron, things are looking especially bleak for Grossman. Michael Achterling of the Pioneer Press gathered what basically amounted to a scrapbook of Joe Mauer highlights from the publication’s coverage of the homegrown star. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors passed along some notes on both Zack Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt’s market. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Mariners are actively trying to move Robinson Cano. I’d imagine those teams would have to eat a significant amount of the money still owed to those players ($104.5 million to Greinke, $120 million to Cano) in order to make a deal. Another name to note on the trade market: Madison Bumgarner. Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com reported the Giants are “willing to engage teams” in trade talks for MadBum. Bumgarner has built quite the legacy already thanks to postseason heroics, but he’s only under team control for this upcoming season and his FIP has gone up each of the past three seasons. Andrew Simon of MLB.com listed nine sleeper free agents to watch. One name I found particularly interesting was Carson Smith. The right-hander only has one healthy season under his belt, but it was a great one. Back in 2015, Smith saved 13 games for the Mariners while pitching to a 2.31 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 11.8 K/9. Intriguing buy-low option for the bullpen. Also from MLB.com, Mike Petriello took a look at the most extreme home runs of 2018. Guess who homered on the pitch the farthest off the plate? Yup, Eddie Rosario. Another prospect list! Eric Cross of FantraxHQ revealed his top 25 prospect list for the Twins. He’s particularly high on Akil Baddoo, who he has in the sixth spot. It’s a fun list, and Cross goes into some more detail on each player than a lot of other outlets. Just a friendly reminder: The 11th annual Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook will be available later this winter. Over at Twinkie Town, Thomas Reinking did a deep dive on the value of investing in free agents. The results were not encouraging.
  10. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe interviewed new Twins manager Rocco Baldelli and reported that the Twins were among the teams who’ve expressed interest in Sonny Gray (it’s a long article). His bi-polar name is quite fitting. On the “Sonny” side: He’s still only 29, had a 3.17 ERA on the road and won’t take a king’s ransom to acquire. On the “Gray” side: He’s averaged less than 140 innings pitched the past three seasons, had a 6.98 ERA at Yankee Stadium and is only under team control for one more season.Other teams Cafardo mentions in the mix for Gray are the A’s, Braves, Padres and Rangers. The main thing that stands out as an advantage for the Twins is they seem to be better suited to take on payroll. So if the Yankees are primarily looking for financial relief, boy does that feel weird to say, the Twins have a great shot. Gray is expected to make somewhere around $9 million through arbitration. La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported that the Twins “have expressed some interest” in DJ LeMahieu. A three-time Gold Glover at second base, former batting champ and two-time All-Star, LeMahieu certainly has an attractive resume. Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs also highlighted his ability to barrel up balls, speculating a power breakout could be possible with an adjustment or two. Still, LeMahieu’s career .264/.311/.362 (.673) line away from Coors Field scares me. I’m pretty surprised the Twins (and every other team in baseball) passed on the opportunity to claim Derek Dietrich. He actually has a higher career OPS+ than Brian Dozier and has hit .272/.351/.465 (.816) away from Marlins Park. One non-tender candidate I could see being a target for the Twins is second baseman Jonathan Schoop. The Brewers acquired Schoop at the trade deadline, but he’s expected to make $10 million ins his final season of arbitration eligibility. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwakee Journal Sentinel wrote that Milwaukee is “believed to be somewhat torn about what to do” and that the decision could go either way. Schoop, 27, had an incredible 2017, blasting 32 home runs while posting an .841 OPS, but he came crashing down to Earth last season, hitting just .233/.266/.416 (.682). Mark Feinsand highlighted one non-teneder candidate for each team for MLB.com. Schoop was among those listed, but there were plenty of other names I could see fitting nicely on the Twins, including relief pitcher Chaz Roe. Give me all the ex-Rays! Roe, 32, had a 3.58 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 9.5 K/9 in 50 1/3 innings last season for Tampa Bay. The Twins added Nick Gordon, LaMonte Wade and Luis Arraez to the 40-man roster and released Alan Busenitz, allowing him to sign with a team in Japan. We could have some further re-shaping of the 40-man roster coming later this week, as Friday marks the deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. It’s interesting that the trio of 40-man roster additions could potentially help serve as replacements for the Twins two most logical non-tender candidates. Robbie Grossman and Ehire Adrianza have been fine as role players, but neither offers much upside. It’s not as if those two are expected to break the bank, as they’re expected to cost around $6 million total, but there may be better ways to invest both that money and space on the 25-man roster. Here are the projected arbitration salaries via MLB Trade Rumors. Now that the Twins have added C.J. Cron, things are looking especially bleak for Grossman. Michael Achterling of the Pioneer Press gathered what basically amounted to a scrapbook of Joe Mauer highlights from the publication’s coverage of the homegrown star. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors passed along some notes on both Zack Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt’s market. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Mariners are actively trying to move Robinson Cano. I’d imagine those teams would have to eat a significant amount of the money still owed to those players ($104.5 million to Greinke, $120 million to Cano) in order to make a deal. Another name to note on the trade market: Madison Bumgarner. Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com reported the Giants are “willing to engage teams” in trade talks for MadBum. Bumgarner has built quite the legacy already thanks to postseason heroics, but he’s only under team control for this upcoming season and his FIP has gone up each of the past three seasons. Andrew Simon of MLB.com listed nine sleeper free agents to watch. One name I found particularly interesting was Carson Smith. The right-hander only has one healthy season under his belt, but it was a great one. Back in 2015, Smith saved 13 games for the Mariners while pitching to a 2.31 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 11.8 K/9. Intriguing buy-low option for the bullpen. Also from MLB.com, Mike Petriello took a look at the most extreme home runs of 2018. Guess who homered on the pitch the farthest off the plate? Yup, Eddie Rosario. Another prospect list! Eric Cross of FantraxHQ revealed his top 25 prospect list for the Twins. He’s particularly high on Akil Baddoo, who he has in the sixth spot. It’s a fun list, and Cross goes into some more detail on each player than a lot of other outlets. Just a friendly reminder: The 11th annual Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook will be available later this winter. Over at Twinkie Town, Thomas Reinking did a deep dive on the value of investing in free agents. The results were not encouraging. Click here to view the article
  11. You can create your own blueprint using Twins Daily's Offseason Handbook, which you can download immediately and name your own price. Middle Infield Philosophy - This is the easiest position to fill. The Twins have a desperate need, but also have several middle infield prospects approaching the majors. The free agent market is deep, especially with second basemen. It makes sense to sign someone to a short contract, filling the need for the present and giving the future the time it needs to develop. Targets - I’d look to the more competitive shortstop market initially, moving Jorge Polanco to second base. Put shortstop Freddy Galvis at the top of the list, who is 29 years old, cost $15M over two years (per the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook) and brings a solid glove to help out the left side of the infield along with a little (13 HR in 2018) pop. I’d also stay involved in the bidding for shortstops Jose Iglesias and Jordy Mercer. If that doesn’t work, there are a ton of second basemen to consider even if the team is determined not to guarantee more than two years at a cost of $7M or so per year. Candidates include Ascrubal Cabrera, Ian Kinsler and even old friend Brian Dozier. (Hey, he and that left field porch were a good match.) This is the one area it’s almost impossible to screw up. The market will come to the Twins. Corner Infield Philosophy - In an ideal world, this is the area that the Twins will spend a lot of money. They need a middle-of-the-order hitter, and with spots open at first base and designated hitter, they should be thinking bat first and figure out where to play them later. Plus, this free agency has some bats, even beyond Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, that fit that bill. (Nelson Cruz seems like an ideal fit.) But this is supposed to be a frugal list, so I’m going to focus on strategy that leads to a couple of budget options. And those options start in-house, because after a few big names, this free agency class falls off a cliff. Targets - I expect the Twins will keep Tyler Austin in their plans for next year. Acquired from the Yankees, he is 27 years old and has posted a 937 OPS against southpaws over his career. Adding a left-handed bat to pair with him makes sense, even if it costs a bench spot. At the top of my wish list is 30-year-old Matt Adams, who slugged 21 home runs in only 306 AB - and twenty of those came against right-handed pitching. ‘Nuff said. He costs about $8M. A backup plan is Lucas Duda (~$4M), who is 32 years old and posted a 813 OPS against right-handers last year. I’ll tell you who I would’ve liked the second name to be: Joe Mauer. I wish him the best in his next career, but it’s a bummer that he is moving on when he was such a good fit for the Twins. He is cheap ($7M), gets on-base, good defensively, a veteran role model and hungry for the postseason. He would've been a nice fit. Instead, I suspect the Twins could just hang onto Robbie Grossman who can be sort of a Joe Mauer Lite: he gets on base (.355 OBP over his career, .367 last year), is just 29 years old, can play outfield in a pinch, and most importantly for this list, is still relatively cheap (~$4M). Those names likely will not generate any High Fives at your favorite watering hole, but such is the life of the bargain shopper. Tomorrow we'll look at two other markets that look promising as well: starting pitcher and relievers.
  12. The last thing Twins fans want to hear is the benefit of moving forward with a frugal payroll. However, creating an offseason plan around a shoestring budget is at least valuable as a thought exercise. It’s foolish to do all these moves, but identifying a couple could free up money for a more expensive addition. So let’s identify a few bargains to fill some of the holes in the Twins 25-man roster… You can create your own blueprint using Twins Daily's Offseason Handbook, which you can download immediately and name your own price. Middle Infield Philosophy - This is the easiest position to fill. The Twins have a desperate need, but also have several middle infield prospects approaching the majors. The free agent market is deep, especially with second basemen. It makes sense to sign someone to a short contract, filling the need for the present and giving the future the time it needs to develop. Targets - I’d look to the more competitive shortstop market initially, moving Jorge Polanco to second base. Put shortstop Freddy Galvis at the top of the list, who is 29 years old, cost $15M over two years (per the Twins Daily Offseason Handbook) and brings a solid glove to help out the left side of the infield along with a little (13 HR in 2018) pop. I’d also stay involved in the bidding for shortstops Jose Iglesias and Jordy Mercer. If that doesn’t work, there are a ton of second basemen to consider even if the team is determined not to guarantee more than two years at a cost of $7M or so per year. Candidates include Ascrubal Cabrera, Ian Kinsler and even old friend Brian Dozier. (Hey, he and that left field porch were a good match.) This is the one area it’s almost impossible to screw up. The market will come to the Twins. Corner Infield Philosophy - In an ideal world, this is the area that the Twins will spend a lot of money. They need a middle-of-the-order hitter, and with spots open at first base and designated hitter, they should be thinking bat first and figure out where to play them later. Plus, this free agency has some bats, even beyond Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, that fit that bill. (Nelson Cruz seems like an ideal fit.) But this is supposed to be a frugal list, so I’m going to focus on strategy that leads to a couple of budget options. And those options start in-house, because after a few big names, this free agency class falls off a cliff. Targets - I expect the Twins will keep Tyler Austin in their plans for next year. Acquired from the Yankees, he is 27 years old and has posted a 937 OPS against southpaws over his career. Adding a left-handed bat to pair with him makes sense, even if it costs a bench spot. At the top of my wish list is 30-year-old Matt Adams, who slugged 21 home runs in only 306 AB - and twenty of those came against right-handed pitching. ‘Nuff said. He costs about $8M. A backup plan is Lucas Duda (~$4M), who is 32 years old and posted a 813 OPS against right-handers last year. I’ll tell you who I would’ve liked the second name to be: Joe Mauer. I wish him the best in his next career, but it’s a bummer that he is moving on when he was such a good fit for the Twins. He is cheap ($7M), gets on-base, good defensively, a veteran role model and hungry for the postseason. He would've been a nice fit. Instead, I suspect the Twins could just hang onto Robbie Grossman who can be sort of a Joe Mauer Lite: he gets on base (.355 OBP over his career, .367 last year), is just 29 years old, can play outfield in a pinch, and most importantly for this list, is still relatively cheap (~$4M). Those names likely will not generate any High Fives at your favorite watering hole, but such is the life of the bargain shopper. Tomorrow we'll look at two other markets that look promising as well: starting pitcher and relievers. Click here to view the article
  13. Before Friday’s doubleheader, manager Paul Molitor was asked about what he’d like to see from his team over the final weekend of play. Molitor said, “More of the same, in terms of energy. There’s life in the dugout. You know that the win total isn’t critical right now, but it’s certainly more fun to win. Playing another divisional opponent, starting with a doubleheader today, a lot of these guys want to finish on good notes, particularly the pitchers. Hopefully Jose (Berrios) gets us off to a good start.” And Berrios did just that, starting right away in the first inning when he struck out the side. He also struck out the side in the sixth inning including a strikeout of Daniel Palka, his 200th of the season. He became the eighth Twins pitcher to reach the 200 strikeout mark, and it was the 21st time that it has happened in team history. The last time was Francisco Liriano who struck out 201 batters in 2010. Berrios ended with 202 strikeouts which is the highest number of strikeouts by a Twins pitcher since Johan Santana struck out 235 batters in 2007. It was a number that meant a lot to the Twins 2018 All Star. “It means a lot, obviously. That was one of my goals before the season started. That’s when I wrote it down and I accomplished it and I’m thankful to God for that.” In the second game, the Twins offense showed up early, particularly Mitch Garver. The Twins catcher hadn’t been in the Twins starting lineup since September 12th because of his concussion. He started at first base. Through the game’s first five innings, he was 4-for-4 with two doubles and six RBI. As much as the numbers were great, for him it was really important just to get back in the lineup before the season ended. Garver said, “That was definitely in the conversation, that we’re not going to come back at all, and just shut it down and take it into the offseason and get better. but I wanted to end on the right foot, i wanted to come back and get into the offseason knowing that I’m healthy and I can really shoot for 2019 like really feeling great.” But it was important for more than just Mitch Garver as he explained. “Peace of mind for myself and for the people that care about me, my family, my wife. She was pretty concerned about the whole deal, so just to show her I’m healthy and feeling great.” Chase De Jong was the beneficiary of of the big run support. He gave up just two runs over the first six innings to record his first MLB win. As a 23-year-old in 2017, he began the season in the Mariners pitching staff. He made three appearances in April. He made three starts in May, and pitched once against the Twins in mid-April. But his 2017 season ended poorly. So to end 2018 on such a positive note was important. “Last year, technically, I started in the big leagues and ended at Double A. This year was all about re-establishing myself as a quality starter and that I could go out there and put together quality innings. I've done that. I've proven that to myself and now I've proven to the Minnesota Twins. It's WONDERFUL to finish the year on a high note.” This week, pitchers have been making their final starts of the season. On Tuesday night, Kohl Stewart was the “primary” pitcher. He gave up just two hits over six shutout innings. He needed just 75 pitches as he struck out five and did not issue a walk. He gave up zero earned runs in three of his four September starts. He credited his catchers and pitching coach Garvin Alston. Stewart noted, “Short story, I just felt more comfortable.” Stephen Gonsalves was credited with his second big-league win on Thursday night when he threw 3 1/3 innings as the Twins “primary” pitcher. Over his final three appearances, he gave up just three runs (two earned) over 12 1/3 innings, nearly cutting his ERA in half. It’s been a challenging year for Gonsalves in some ways, but it was nice to end the year strong and feeling good about most of his pitches. He said, “This has probably been one of my worst years in my professional career, I mean, other than getting up here (which he called “A dream come true.”). The walks have been a mystery to me this year. I’ve lacked fastball command. Sometimes I’ve lost my velos. So, I think that I need to adjust my delivery a little bit to get rid of some of the inconsistencies. My offspeed feels great. My slider felt really good last night. My changeup, I can feel that and throw it blindfolded. It’s been the one that goes straight, we’ll have to figure out.” For Gonsalves, he’s happy with the end of the season and showed to himself that he can compete at the major league level, but he fully understands what he needs to do to be more successful. For Aaron Slegers, getting back into a game on Friday night, even just for the final three outs, was very important. He had been on the disabled list since July with a shoulder injury. Just getting back on the mound was important. One could argue that Kyle Gibson has been the Twins most consistent starting pitcher in 2018, something that had eluded him in the past. On Saturday night, he’ll have the opportunity finish his season strong. And on Sunday, Zack Littell will pitch for the Twins in their final game of the year. For Robbie Grossman, it’s been all about getting a consistent opportunity, and he’s taken advantage of it. In his past four games, he is 7-for-12 with five walks. Others have noted improved defense through the consistent playing time since Eddie Rosario’s season-ending injury. In his last 15 games, he is hitting .370 with a .988 OPS. Manager Paul Molitor has taken notice, “For him to play as well as he has, it’s going to help him moving forward. I enjoy having a player like that, because when he plays, he’s ready. And when he doesn’t play, he’s ready. What he’s done, he’s caught a lot of people’s attention. The defense, he understands that people have been critical at times, but he has gone about it very meticulously in terms of the drills and the work and the throwing, and angles and everything he can do to try to make himself a better defender. And for the most part, in running him out there all month, he’s held his own. There have been obvious signs of improvement.” And finally, Joe Mauer is ending his season strong. The 35-year-old is all the talk right now because he mentioned that he will contemplate retirement following the season. If this is the end of his (possibly) Hall of Fame career, he’s got some great moments and memories. Since August 31st, he’s hit .308. In his last 15 games, he is hitting .356 (.857). He’s on a seven-game hitting streak. He’s had multi-hit games in four of his last six games. In the five games so far on what could be his final homestand, he’s been nothing short of spectacular. He’s 8-for-21 (.388) with three walks (.458 OBP). There’s no doubt he’ll be in the lineup the next two days. Mauer told reporters before Friday’s doubleheader, “It hit me a little bit today. I’m looking forward to going out there today two times. It’s kind of the thing, the end of the season sneaks up on you. Here are we, the last weekend. Just trying to enjoy.” The Twins have won their past four games and nine of their last 12 games. Two games remain, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, in the 2018 season. There is still a lot to play for despite the team not competing for the playoffs.
  14. The season started in March. They have played 160 games and have a record of 76-84. By almost any definition, it has been a long season for the Minnesota Twins and their fans. But despite not contending throughout the season, as they did in 2017, there are several themes to the end of the season. Whether you ask the players or the manager, the hope is to find a way to finish strong.Before Friday’s doubleheader, manager Paul Molitor was asked about what he’d like to see from his team over the final weekend of play. Molitor said, “More of the same, in terms of energy. There’s life in the dugout. You know that the win total isn’t critical right now, but it’s certainly more fun to win. Playing another divisional opponent, starting with a doubleheader today, a lot of these guys want to finish on good notes, particularly the pitchers. Hopefully Jose (Berrios) gets us off to a good start.” And Berrios did just that, starting right away in the first inning when he struck out the side. He also struck out the side in the sixth inning including a strikeout of Daniel Palka, his 200th of the season. He became the eighth Twins pitcher to reach the 200 strikeout mark, and it was the 21st time that it has happened in team history. The last time was Francisco Liriano who struck out 201 batters in 2010. Berrios ended with 202 strikeouts which is the highest number of strikeouts by a Twins pitcher since Johan Santana struck out 235 batters in 2007. It was a number that meant a lot to the Twins 2018 All Star. “It means a lot, obviously. That was one of my goals before the season started. That’s when I wrote it down and I accomplished it and I’m thankful to God for that.” In the second game, the Twins offense showed up early, particularly Mitch Garver. The Twins catcher hadn’t been in the Twins starting lineup since September 12th because of his concussion. He started at first base. Through the game’s first five innings, he was 4-for-4 with two doubles and six RBI. As much as the numbers were great, for him it was really important just to get back in the lineup before the season ended. Garver said, “That was definitely in the conversation, that we’re not going to come back at all, and just shut it down and take it into the offseason and get better. but I wanted to end on the right foot, i wanted to come back and get into the offseason knowing that I’m healthy and I can really shoot for 2019 like really feeling great.” But it was important for more than just Mitch Garver as he explained. “Peace of mind for myself and for the people that care about me, my family, my wife. She was pretty concerned about the whole deal, so just to show her I’m healthy and feeling great.” Chase De Jong was the beneficiary of of the big run support. He gave up just two runs over the first six innings to record his first MLB win. As a 23-year-old in 2017, he began the season in the Mariners pitching staff. He made three appearances in April. He made three starts in May, and pitched once against the Twins in mid-April. But his 2017 season ended poorly. So to end 2018 on such a positive note was important. “Last year, technically, I started in the big leagues and ended at Double A. This year was all about re-establishing myself as a quality starter and that I could go out there and put together quality innings. I've done that. I've proven that to myself and now I've proven to the Minnesota Twins. It's WONDERFUL to finish the year on a high note.” This week, pitchers have been making their final starts of the season. On Tuesday night, Kohl Stewart was the “primary” pitcher. He gave up just two hits over six shutout innings. He needed just 75 pitches as he struck out five and did not issue a walk. He gave up zero earned runs in three of his four September starts. He credited his catchers and pitching coach Garvin Alston. Stewart noted, “Short story, I just felt more comfortable.” Stephen Gonsalves was credited with his second big-league win on Thursday night when he threw 3 1/3 innings as the Twins “primary” pitcher. Over his final three appearances, he gave up just three runs (two earned) over 12 1/3 innings, nearly cutting his ERA in half. It’s been a challenging year for Gonsalves in some ways, but it was nice to end the year strong and feeling good about most of his pitches. He said, “This has probably been one of my worst years in my professional career, I mean, other than getting up here (which he called “A dream come true.”). The walks have been a mystery to me this year. I’ve lacked fastball command. Sometimes I’ve lost my velos. So, I think that I need to adjust my delivery a little bit to get rid of some of the inconsistencies. My offspeed feels great. My slider felt really good last night. My changeup, I can feel that and throw it blindfolded. It’s been the one that goes straight, we’ll have to figure out.” For Gonsalves, he’s happy with the end of the season and showed to himself that he can compete at the major league level, but he fully understands what he needs to do to be more successful. For Aaron Slegers, getting back into a game on Friday night, even just for the final three outs, was very important. He had been on the disabled list since July with a shoulder injury. Just getting back on the mound was important. One could argue that Kyle Gibson has been the Twins most consistent starting pitcher in 2018, something that had eluded him in the past. On Saturday night, he’ll have the opportunity finish his season strong. And on Sunday, Zack Littell will pitch for the Twins in their final game of the year. For Robbie Grossman, it’s been all about getting a consistent opportunity, and he’s taken advantage of it. In his past four games, he is 7-for-12 with five walks. Others have noted improved defense through the consistent playing time since Eddie Rosario’s season-ending injury. In his last 15 games, he is hitting .370 with a .988 OPS. Manager Paul Molitor has taken notice, “For him to play as well as he has, it’s going to help him moving forward. I enjoy having a player like that, because when he plays, he’s ready. And when he doesn’t play, he’s ready. What he’s done, he’s caught a lot of people’s attention. The defense, he understands that people have been critical at times, but he has gone about it very meticulously in terms of the drills and the work and the throwing, and angles and everything he can do to try to make himself a better defender. And for the most part, in running him out there all month, he’s held his own. There have been obvious signs of improvement.” And finally, Joe Mauer is ending his season strong. The 35-year-old is all the talk right now because he mentioned that he will contemplate retirement following the season. If this is the end of his (possibly) Hall of Fame career, he’s got some great moments and memories. Since August 31st, he’s hit .308. In his last 15 games, he is hitting .356 (.857). He’s on a seven-game hitting streak. He’s had multi-hit games in four of his last six games. In the five games so far on what could be his final homestand, he’s been nothing short of spectacular. He’s 8-for-21 (.388) with three walks (.458 OBP). There’s no doubt he’ll be in the lineup the next two days. Mauer told reporters before Friday’s doubleheader, “It hit me a little bit today. I’m looking forward to going out there today two times. It’s kind of the thing, the end of the season sneaks up on you. Here are we, the last weekend. Just trying to enjoy.” The Twins have won their past four games and nine of their last 12 games. Two games remain, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, in the 2018 season. There is still a lot to play for despite the team not competing for the playoffs. 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  15. Stephen Gonsalves pitched the best game of his young major league career Wednesday afternoon, holding the Tigers scoreless over six one-hit innings. It was also a strong effort from the offense today, as four Twins had multi-hit games. This gave Minnesota a four-game winning streak, just one shy of tying its season high.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Gonsalves: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 69.2% strikes (54 of 78 pitches) Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: Grossman (3-for-5), Adrianza (3-for-4, 2 2B), Austin (2-for-3, SF), Astudillo (2-for-4, 2B) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Austin .164, Gonsalves .157 WPA of -0.1 or lower: None Download attachment: chart.png The Twins used an opener again today, it worked out great, but I still think it’s curious how they’re implementing the strategy. Gabriel Moya made his fourth start of the season and Gonsalves served as the primary pitcher. I don’t really get stacking lefties in this case. Why not go with a right-hander in front of Gonsalves? Also, the only dangerous hitter in Detroit’s lineup right now is Nicholas Castellanos, who hit third today. He’s a right-handed hitter who has an .857 career OPS vs. lefties and a .753 mark against same-sided pitchers. Since that’s the guy you’re most worried about beating you, why not open with a right-hander? All’s well that ends well, I suppose. Moya pitched a scoreless first inning. He hit the No. 2 batter Christin Stewart with a pitch before giving up a single to Castellanos, but then managed to induce an inning-ending double play. The Twins tallied four runs in the top of the second, meaning Gonsalves inherited a 4-0 lead. The most impressive part of Gonsalves’ performance, especially considering how things have gone to this point, is how he went right after Detroit hitters. He walked only one batter and threw nearly 70 percent of his pitches for strikes. Gonsalves leaned a little bit more on his fastball, throwing that pitch 64 percent of the time. He averaged 89.9 mph on that pitch, but maxed out at 94. He also went with the curveball a little bit more over his slider today. That’s a fun pitch, a big looping curve that he throws at 73 mph. He got three swinging strikes on the 10 curveballs he threw, and Detroit hitters were able to put that pitch into play only once, and even that had a wimpy exit velocity of 62.8 mph. Through three and a half innings, the Twins had already built a 6-0 lead in an impressive display of offensive efficiency. They managed to score those six runs on just six hits and a walk, and even did so without the luxury of a home run. Robbie Grossman collected three more hits. He’s 10-for-23 over his last six games (.435 average). Ehire Adrianza also had three hits and living legend Willians Astudillo drove in three runs today. Tyler Austin followed a three-RBI game by driving in two more runs today. Addison Reed, pitching for just the fifth time this month, worked a scoreless eighth. The only downer from this one is that Alan Busentiz surrendered two runs in the ninth. Over his last seven appearances, Busenitz has given up 11 earned runs over just 4 1/3 innings pitched. He gave up only 11 earned runs in his 40 innings with Rochester this year. Next Three Games Thu: Off Fri at OAK, 9:05 pm CT: TBD Sat at OAK, 8:05 pm CT: TBD Sun at OAK, 3:05 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games MIN 5, DET 3: Odorizzi Turns In Another Quality Start MIN 6, DET 1: Stewart Impresses, Rosario Exits Due to Injury MIN 9, KC 6: Twins Swat Four Homers, Avoid Sweep Click here to view the article
  16. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Gonsalves: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 69.2% strikes (54 of 78 pitches) Home Runs: None Multi-Hit Games: Grossman (3-for-5), Adrianza (3-for-4, 2 2B), Austin (2-for-3, SF), Astudillo (2-for-4, 2B) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Austin .164, Gonsalves .157 WPA of -0.1 or lower: None The Twins used an opener again today, it worked out great, but I still think it’s curious how they’re implementing the strategy. Gabriel Moya made his fourth start of the season and Gonsalves served as the primary pitcher. I don’t really get stacking lefties in this case. Why not go with a right-hander in front of Gonsalves? Also, the only dangerous hitter in Detroit’s lineup right now is Nicholas Castellanos, who hit third today. He’s a right-handed hitter who has an .857 career OPS vs. lefties and a .753 mark against same-sided pitchers. Since that’s the guy you’re most worried about beating you, why not open with a right-hander? All’s well that ends well, I suppose. Moya pitched a scoreless first inning. He hit the No. 2 batter Christin Stewart with a pitch before giving up a single to Castellanos, but then managed to induce an inning-ending double play. The Twins tallied four runs in the top of the second, meaning Gonsalves inherited a 4-0 lead. The most impressive part of Gonsalves’ performance, especially considering how things have gone to this point, is how he went right after Detroit hitters. He walked only one batter and threw nearly 70 percent of his pitches for strikes. Gonsalves leaned a little bit more on his fastball, throwing that pitch 64 percent of the time. He averaged 89.9 mph on that pitch, but maxed out at 94. He also went with the curveball a little bit more over his slider today. That’s a fun pitch, a big looping curve that he throws at 73 mph. He got three swinging strikes on the 10 curveballs he threw, and Detroit hitters were able to put that pitch into play only once, and even that had a wimpy exit velocity of 62.8 mph. Through three and a half innings, the Twins had already built a 6-0 lead in an impressive display of offensive efficiency. They managed to score those six runs on just six hits and a walk, and even did so without the luxury of a home run. Robbie Grossman collected three more hits. He’s 10-for-23 over his last six games (.435 average). Ehire Adrianza also had three hits and living legend Willians Astudillo drove in three runs today. Tyler Austin followed a three-RBI game by driving in two more runs today. Addison Reed, pitching for just the fifth time this month, worked a scoreless eighth. The only downer from this one is that Alan Busentiz surrendered two runs in the ninth. Over his last seven appearances, Busenitz has given up 11 earned runs over just 4 1/3 innings pitched. He gave up only 11 earned runs in his 40 innings with Rochester this year. Next Three Games Thu: Off Fri at OAK, 9:05 pm CT: TBD Sat at OAK, 8:05 pm CT: TBD Sun at OAK, 3:05 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games MIN 5, DET 3: Odorizzi Turns In Another Quality Start MIN 6, DET 1: Stewart Impresses, Rosario Exits Due to Injury MIN 9, KC 6: Twins Swat Four Homers, Avoid Sweep
  17. The Twins went toe-to-toe with the postseason-bound A’s but couldn’t contain Khris Davis. Khrush put Oakland up 2-0 in the first inning thanks to his 44th home run of the season, then delivered a walk-off homer for No 45 in the bottom of the 10th inning.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Berrios: 47 Game Score, 5.2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 56.7% strikes (59 of 104 pitches) Home Runs: Grossman (5) Multi-Hit Games: Cave (2-for-4, 2B), Adrianza (2-for-4, 2 2B) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Polanco .307, Adrianza 180, Rogers .165, May .105 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Mauer -.104, Petit -.144, Berrios -.159, Magill -.281, Moya .301 Download attachment: WinChart921.png The Twins fell behind 4-0 in this one but stormed back with six runs in the sixth inning. Robbie Grossman hit a two-run home run, Ehire Adrianza had an RBI double and Jorge Polanco delivered a bases-clearing double in that inning. Jose Berrios walked the leadoff man in the bottom of the sixth on four pitches. He struck out the next two batters, but with lefty Matt Joyce about to come up as a pinch hitter, Paul Molitor decided to turn the game over to lefty Gabriel Moya. The only problem was the A’s had approximately 73 other hitters on their active roster. OK, that’s just a lame September baseball joke, but Oakland did then swap out Joyce for lefty killer Mark Canha. It was a good move, as Canha blasted a game-tying two-run homer. The bullpens kept things locked up over the next three innings. Both Trevor May and Taylor Rogers pitched 1 1/3 innings of no-hit ball before Matt Magill gave up the walk-off home run. On the downside, Berrios is not ending things on a high note. Over his last eight starts, Berrios has a 5.49 ERA (24 earned runs in 39.1 IP). Also, Joe Mauer was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts tonight. On the plus side, Rogers is looking more and more like a relief ace all the time. His scoreless inning streak is up to 23 1/3 innings. Also, the Twins got a taste of what a postseason chase looks like, playing a hard-fought game in front of a rowdy Oakland crowd. Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com relayed a bunch of depressing news via Twitter pregame. Miguel Sano was sent back to Minnesota to have his knee re-evaluated, Logan Forsythe was out with a sore knee of his own and Mitch Garver won’t catch again this year due to post-concussion symptoms. On a brighter note, Eddie Rosario’s MRI came back clean and Addison Reed has left the team to be with his wife, who is expecting their second child. Next Three Games Sat at OAK, 8:05 pm CT: Chase De Jong vs. Mike Fiers Sun at OAK, 3:05 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. TBD Mon: Off Tue vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games MIN 8, DET 2: Gonsalves Stymies Tigers MIN 5, DET 3: Odorizzi Turns In Another Quality Start MIN 6, DET 1: Stewart Impresses, Rosario Exits Due to Injury Click here to view the article
  18. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Berrios: 47 Game Score, 5.2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 8 K, 56.7% strikes (59 of 104 pitches) Home Runs: Grossman (5) Multi-Hit Games: Cave (2-for-4, 2B), Adrianza (2-for-4, 2 2B) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Polanco .307, Adrianza 180, Rogers .165, May .105 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Mauer -.104, Petit -.144, Berrios -.159, Magill -.281, Moya .301 The Twins fell behind 4-0 in this one but stormed back with six runs in the sixth inning. Robbie Grossman hit a two-run home run, Ehire Adrianza had an RBI double and Jorge Polanco delivered a bases-clearing double in that inning. Jose Berrios walked the leadoff man in the bottom of the sixth on four pitches. He struck out the next two batters, but with lefty Matt Joyce about to come up as a pinch hitter, Paul Molitor decided to turn the game over to lefty Gabriel Moya. The only problem was the A’s had approximately 73 other hitters on their active roster. OK, that’s just a lame September baseball joke, but Oakland did then swap out Joyce for lefty killer Mark Canha. It was a good move, as Canha blasted a game-tying two-run homer. The bullpens kept things locked up over the next three innings. Both Trevor May and Taylor Rogers pitched 1 1/3 innings of no-hit ball before Matt Magill gave up the walk-off home run. https://twitter.com/MLB/status/1043373585950285824 If it seems like the Twins have given up a ton of walk-off homers this year, it's because they have! On the downside, Berrios is not ending things on a high note. Over his last eight starts, Berrios has a 5.49 ERA (24 earned runs in 39.1 IP). Also, Joe Mauer was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts tonight. On the plus side, Rogers is looking more and more like a relief ace all the time. His scoreless inning streak is up to 23 1/3 innings. Also, the Twins got a taste of what a postseason chase looks like, playing a hard-fought game in front of a rowdy Oakland crowd. Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com relayed a bunch of depressing news via Twitter pregame. Miguel Sano was sent back to Minnesota to have his knee re-evaluated, Logan Forsythe was out with a sore knee of his own and Mitch Garver won’t catch again this year due to post-concussion symptoms. On a brighter note, Eddie Rosario’s MRI came back clean and Addison Reed has left the team to be with his wife, who is expecting their second child. Next Three Games Sat at OAK, 8:05 pm CT: Chase De Jong vs. Mike Fiers Sun at OAK, 3:05 pm CT: Kyle Gibson vs. TBD Mon: Off Tue vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games MIN 8, DET 2: Gonsalves Stymies Tigers MIN 5, DET 3: Odorizzi Turns In Another Quality Start MIN 6, DET 1: Stewart Impresses, Rosario Exits Due to Injury
  19. The Twins managed to end their series in Kansas City on a high note, combining to score nine runs on 18 hits in a victory that avoided a four-game sweep. Both Jorge Polanco and Johnny field collected four hits and were also contributors to the Twins slugging a season-high four home runs.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Gibson: 43 Game Score, 6.2 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 68.1% strikes (64 of 94 pitches) Home Runs: Kepler (19), Austin (16), Field (7), Polanco (5) Multi-Hit Games: Jorge Polanco (4-for-5, HR), Johnny Field (4-for-5, 2B, HR), Rosario (2-for-4), Forsythe (2-for-5), Gimenez (2-for-5) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Polanco .240, Rogers .136, Field .130, Rosario .117 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Gibson -.151 Download attachment: WinChart916.png Here are all four of the Twins home runs, which came off the bats of Max Kepler, Tyler Austin, Field and Polanco: Kyle Gibson tied a season high by giving up 11 hits and five earned runs. This was also just the second time all season that he didn’t walk a batter. Taylor Rogers retired all four of the batters he faced and Trevor Hildenberger gave up a run in the ninth. So why the Robbie Grossman picture? It was his 29th birthday today (I also thought it was a pretty sweet pic). To celebrate, Robbie had a single and two walks. Next Three Games Mon at DET, 6:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Jordan Zimmermann Tue at DET, 6:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Daniel Norris Wed at DET, 12:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Spencer Turnbull Last Three Games KC 10, MIN 3: It’s a Hard Road KC 8, MIN 4: OH THE HUMANITY!!! KC 6, MIN 4: Coming Down is the Hardest Thing Click here to view the article
  20. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Gibson: 43 Game Score, 6.2 IP, 11 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 68.1% strikes (64 of 94 pitches) Home Runs: Kepler (19), Austin (16), Field (7), Polanco (5) Multi-Hit Games: Jorge Polanco (4-for-5, HR), Johnny Field (4-for-5, 2B, HR), Rosario (2-for-4), Forsythe (2-for-5), Gimenez (2-for-5) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Polanco .240, Rogers .136, Field .130, Rosario .117 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Gibson -.151 Here are all four of the Twins home runs, which came off the bats of Max Kepler, Tyler Austin, Field and Polanco: https://twitter.com/TwinsHighlights/status/1041442707539935232 Austin also made a couple of nice defensive plays, including nice grab in foul territory, spilling over the railing and into an empty suite in the process. https://twitter.com/TwinsHighlights/status/1041438979088764928 Kyle Gibson tied a season high by giving up 11 hits and five earned runs. This was also just the second time all season that he didn’t walk a batter. Taylor Rogers retired all four of the batters he faced and Trevor Hildenberger gave up a run in the ninth. So why the Robbie Grossman picture? It was his 29th birthday today (I also thought it was a pretty sweet pic). To celebrate, Robbie had a single and two walks. Next Three Games Mon at DET, 6:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Jordan Zimmermann Tue at DET, 6:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Daniel Norris Wed at DET, 12:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Spencer Turnbull Last Three Games KC 10, MIN 3: It’s a Hard Road KC 8, MIN 4: OH THE HUMANITY!!! KC 6, MIN 4: Coming Down is the Hardest Thing
  21. The day before the Vikings start their regular season, the Twins went out and nearly gave up a perfect game to rookie Jorge Lopez and the Kansas City LOLoyals, excuse me, Royals. It’s almost as if the Twins are trying to fade into oblivion. They might as well hang up a sign outside of Target Field that says “Nope, nothing to see here.”Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Berrios: 68 Game Score, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 2 BB, 62.8% strikes (59 of 94 pitches) Home Runs: I don’t wanna talk about it, OK? Multi-Hit Games: EVERYTHING IS FINE! WPA of 0.1 or higher: Berrios .197 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Mauer -.104, Duffey -.195 Download attachment: WinChart98.png Lopez, 25, had just six MLB starts heading into tonight. His longest MLB outing came just in his last start when he went seven innings. The last time he recorded an out in the eighth inning at any level was back on Aug. 25, 2016 when he was in Double A. The last time he completed eight innings was Aug. 1, 2015, again at the Double A level. In 197 career games as a professional, Lopez had never recorded an out in the ninth inning. Never ever, at any level. He still hasn’t, thank goodness. Lopez carried a perfect game into the ninth inning, but walked Max Kepler to open the final frame. That was followed by a single up the middle from Robbie Grossman to break up the no-hitter. Crisis averted, I guess. That was it for Lopez, but if tonight was any indication, we’ll be seeing quite a bit more of him over the next several years. The Royals’ defense deserves some recognition, as well. Lopez only struck out four batters, leaving a lot of outs to be made in the field. On the positive side, Jose Berrios went more than five innings for the first time in six starts. In his previous five outings, Berrios had given up 16 earned runs on 26 hits and 13 walks over 21 2/3 innings (6.65 ERA, 1.80 WHIP), so it was great to see Jose back on track Saturday evening. He gave up one run over six innings. Tyler Duffey was the first man out of the bullpen. He faced five batters and managed to give up three runs while recording two outs. Andrew Vasquez (0.2 IP), John Curtiss (0.2 IP) and Addison Reed (1.0 IP) shut out the Royals from there. The Twins even managed to score a run in the ninth inning on an Ehrie Adrianza sacrifice fly (yay!). If you’re still here, bless your heart. If you need to blow off some steam in the comments section go ahead and fire away, but remember: NO YELLING ON THE BUS!!! Next Three Games Sun vs. KC, 1:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Ian Kennedy Mon vs. NYY, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Tue vs. NYY, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games MIN 10, KC 6: It’s a Lot Easier to Beat Bad Teams HOU 9, MIN 1: The Astros Are Really Good At Baseball HOU 5, MIN 2: Rough Opener, Strong Stewart Homecoming Click here to view the article
  22. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Berrios: 68 Game Score, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 2 BB, 62.8% strikes (59 of 94 pitches) Home Runs: I don’t wanna talk about it, OK? Multi-Hit Games: EVERYTHING IS FINE! WPA of 0.1 or higher: Berrios .197 WPA of -0.1 or lower: Mauer -.104, Duffey -.195 Lopez, 25, had just six MLB starts heading into tonight. His longest MLB outing came just in his last start when he went seven innings. The last time he recorded an out in the eighth inning at any level was back on Aug. 25, 2016 when he was in Double A. The last time he completed eight innings was Aug. 1, 2015, again at the Double A level. In 197 career games as a professional, Lopez had never recorded an out in the ninth inning. Never ever, at any level. He still hasn’t, thank goodness. Lopez carried a perfect game into the ninth inning, but walked Max Kepler to open the final frame. That was followed by a single up the middle from Robbie Grossman to break up the no-hitter. Crisis averted, I guess. That was it for Lopez, but if tonight was any indication, we’ll be seeing quite a bit more of him over the next several years. The Royals’ defense deserves some recognition, as well. Lopez only struck out four batters, leaving a lot of outs to be made in the field. On the positive side, Jose Berrios went more than five innings for the first time in six starts. In his previous five outings, Berrios had given up 16 earned runs on 26 hits and 13 walks over 21 2/3 innings (6.65 ERA, 1.80 WHIP), so it was great to see Jose back on track Saturday evening. He gave up one run over six innings. Tyler Duffey was the first man out of the bullpen. He faced five batters and managed to give up three runs while recording two outs. Andrew Vasquez (0.2 IP), John Curtiss (0.2 IP) and Addison Reed (1.0 IP) shut out the Royals from there. The Twins even managed to score a run in the ninth inning on an Ehrie Adrianza sacrifice fly (yay!). If you’re still here, bless your heart. If you need to blow off some steam in the comments section go ahead and fire away, but remember: NO YELLING ON THE BUS!!! Next Three Games Sun vs. KC, 1:10 pm CT: TBD vs. Ian Kennedy Mon vs. NYY, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Tue vs. NYY, 7:10 pm CT: TBD Last Three Games MIN 10, KC 6: It’s a Lot Easier to Beat Bad Teams HOU 9, MIN 1: The Astros Are Really Good At Baseball HOU 5, MIN 2: Rough Opener, Strong Stewart Homecoming
  23. When facing an opposing pitcher such as Justin Verlander, falling behind early is not an ideal strategy. For the second time this week (and ever), the Twins employed the “Opener” concept in Tuesday night’s game. This time, it was Trevor May who started and was replaced in the second inning by the “primary” pitcher, Kohl Stewart, who went to high school at St. Pius X high school, a ten mile commute from Minute Maid Park.Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) May: 18 Game Score, 1.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 K, 0 BB, 69.2% strikes (18 of 26 pitches) Home Runs: Polanco (4) Multi-Hit Games: Grossman (2-for-3) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Grossman (.154), Stewart (.101) WPA of -0.1 or lower: May -0.302 The Sample Size is just two, so making any grand statements about the Opener concept at this point would be silly. The “Openers” have been non-good, but the young pitchers who have come after them have been pretty solid. While Tom has stopped doing the daily reliever pitch count chart, I figured that I would at least update you on the Twins who pitched on Tuesday. In the “Opener” role, Trevor May threw 26 pitches. Oliver Drake came in for the seventh inning and needed 19 pitches. Tyler Duffey had a very nice, tidy, nine-pitch eighth inning. By the way, Ryan Pressly was really good for the Astros. He was throwing hard, spinning it well, and putting up numbers. But he struck out the side against the Twins in the eighth inning. He struck out the pinch-hitting Mitch Garver, Joe Mauer and Logan Forsythe. While the radar gun looked the same, Pressly appeared so much more confident on the mound. He looked smoother, more in control. In his time with the Astros, he has 22 strikeouts without issuing a walk. Next Three Games Wed at HOU, 7:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Framber Valdez Thu: Off Fri vs. KC, 7:10 pm CT: TBD (meaning, Opener to go with “primary” Stephen Gonsalves) Sat vs KC, 6:10 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs Somebody Last Three Games TEX 18, MIN 4: Speechless TEX 7, MIN 4: Is Jose OK? MIN 10, TEX 7: Tex-plosion! HOU 4, MIN 1: Astros Take Advantage of Pivotal Polanco Error Click here to view the article
  24. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) May: 18 Game Score, 1.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 K, 0 BB, 69.2% strikes (18 of 26 pitches) Home Runs: Polanco (4) Multi-Hit Games: Grossman (2-for-3) WPA of 0.1 or higher: Grossman (.154), Stewart (.101) WPA of -0.1 or lower: May -0.302 The Sample Size is just two, so making any grand statements about the Opener concept at this point would be silly. The “Openers” have been non-good, but the young pitchers who have come after them have been pretty solid. https://twitter.com/MikeBerardino/status/1037167887637606400 Gabriel Moya gave up two, first-inning runs on Sunday. In this game, Trevor May gave up four runs in the first inning. Littell performed pretty well on Sunday, and Stewart was terrific for five innings and twice through the Astros lineup. He gave up just three hits and one walk and didn’t allow a run. He struck out three batters. So, did they do better because of the “opener” or did they do better because when they came on in the second inning, the team was already behind and there was, at least theoretically, less pressure. Did Stewart pitch better because he now has three prior starts to learn from? Did Stewart pitch well because he was pitching at home, in front of many friends and family members? How much did pitching to Chris Gimenez help him? Doesn’t really matter why he pitched better, if you ask me (and you probably won’t). The coaches and Stewart will sift through the data tonight and tomorrow. What matters is that he pitched really well. In those five innings, he was more economical than he has been, throwing just 73 pitches (44 strikes, 60%, still not ideal). But as much as young pitchers can learn from their rough outings, it can be equally important for them to experience some success. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3a4q7eB2Yo YouTube video by Mike Berardino, Pioneer Press If nothing else, there is no reason to give up on the Opener concept yet. Aside from Stewart, the only other real positive was Robbie Grossman had a couple of hits including an RBI double. In 13 games since returning from the disabled list, Grossman has hit .342 (13-for-38). In seven games on this current road trip, he has hit .429 (9-for-21). As much as it may make sense for the Twins to move on from Grossman with newer options, he continues to be a reliable guy in taking quality at- bats. He works the counts well, and he is capable of these types of streaks. While he isn’t a great outfielder, he does make nearly all of the plays that he gets to. He is making $2 million in 2018. My guess for what he might make in 2019 would be in the $3-4 million range. For a part-time DH, part-time OF, pinch-hitting option on a team with a lot of young, inexperienced hitters in need of playing time, it might not be out of the realm of possibility to bring him back again. (Though I would still think it’s not terribly likely.) Jorge Polanco added his fourth homer of the season in the ninth, though it was too little, too late. On a roster that includes the reigning AL MVP (Jose Altuve), the reigning World Series MVP (George Springer) and a likely future MVP in Carlos Correa, the Astros best player this year has been third baseman Alex Bregman. In this game, he took over the MLB doubles lead from Eduardo Escobar. With three in this game, Bregman now has 46 two-baggers on the season. Maybe the best news to come out of Houston for the Twins on Tuesday night is that Miguel Sano appears to “only” have a leg bruise. So I don’t have to type out the play-by-play, here is a view of when Sano got injured and Twins fans all over gasped, wondering aloud why we can’t have nice things (again). https://twitter.com/DWolfsonKSTP/status/1037142436290748416 Sano left the game on a cart. Fortunately, x-rays were negative, which is positive for Sano and Twins fans. Instead of likely being done for the year, he could be back in the lineup in the not-too-distant future, though they will certainly be cautious. This is likely the first time that Sano has felt any sort of pain through his left leg, the titanium rod-filled one. Molitor noted after the game that he felt pain up and down his leg, down even to his ankle. He probably got a bit scared, I know I would, and wisely stayed off of it as a precaution. Looking at the video, his leg and knee just stopped at the bag, so if it’s truly just a bruise, it is very lucky. https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1037187188646014977 While Tom has stopped doing the daily reliever pitch count chart, I figured that I would at least update you on the Twins who pitched on Tuesday. In the “Opener” role, Trevor May threw 26 pitches. Oliver Drake came in for the seventh inning and needed 19 pitches. Tyler Duffey had a very nice, tidy, nine-pitch eighth inning. By the way, Ryan Pressly was really good for the Astros. He was throwing hard, spinning it well, and putting up numbers. But he struck out the side against the Twins in the eighth inning. He struck out the pinch-hitting Mitch Garver, Joe Mauer and Logan Forsythe. While the radar gun looked the same, Pressly appeared so much more confident on the mound. He looked smoother, more in control. In his time with the Astros, he has 22 strikeouts without issuing a walk. Next Three Games Wed at HOU, 7:10 pm CT: Jake Odorizzi vs. Framber Valdez Thu: Off Fri vs. KC, 7:10 pm CT: TBD (meaning, Opener to go with “primary” Stephen Gonsalves) Sat vs KC, 6:10 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs Somebody Last Three Games TEX 18, MIN 4: Speechless TEX 7, MIN 4: Is Jose OK? MIN 10, TEX 7: Tex-plosion! HOU 4, MIN 1: Astros Take Advantage of Pivotal Polanco Error
  25. Snapshot (chart via FanGraphs) Jake Odorizzi: 27 Game Score, 4.1 IP, 6 R, 5 ER, 3 K, 1 BB, 58.4% strikes Bullpen: 4.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 K, 1 BB Lineup: 6-for-13 w/RISP, 7 LOB WPA of 0.1 or higher: Grossman .125, Cave .124, Mauer .100 WPA of -0.1 or lower: None Things got off to such a wonderful start. The Twins scored four runs on six hits in the first inning. They added four more runs in the third, with the big blow coming in the form of a Joe Mauer three-run homer. You build an 8-1 lead in the third and it should be easy sailing from there, right? The Rays did not go down quietly. Not. Even. Close. They added a run in the fourth before putting together a four-run inning of their own in the fifth. Another run in the sixth brought them back within a run. The Twins’ lineup just kept on rolling, however, as Brian Dozier hit a leadoff double, was driven in on an Eduardo Escobar single and then Esky scored on a Robbie Grossman double to give Minnesota a three-run cushion. Then, Trevor Hildenberger delivered what the Twins really needed: A clean inning. After Tampa Bay had scored in four consecutive frames, Hildy came in and struck out the side. Obviously this was a night where the offense shined, but Trevor coming in and slamming the door like that really seemed to represent the stomping out of any comeback the Rays were going to mount. Zach Duke followed with a clean eighth. These last three games have reminded me a lot of the 2017 second half Twins. Tons of crooked numbers coming from the bats. They’re not stringing together single runs in innings or just scoring on homers, they’re stringing things together and delivering with runners on. There were a ton of contributors, as you’d expect from a game in which 11 runs are scored on 15 hits, but Jake Cave was particularly impressive. He hit an RBI single over the shortstop in the first, a double to the left-center gap that plated another run in the third and then led off the seventh with a triple he pulled into the right-center gap. He’s now hitting .324 with a .928 OPS. Mauer drove in four and Grossman reached base safely four times, going 3-for-3 with a walk. Bullpen Usage Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: AL Central Standings CLE 51-42 MIN 43-49 (-7.5) DET 40-56 (-12.5) CHW 31-61 (-19.5) KC 26-66 (-24.5) Next Three Games Sat vs. TB, 1:10 pm CT: Jose Berrios vs. Chris Archer Sun vs. TB, 1:10 pm CT: TBD All-Star Break Fri, July 20 at KC Last Three Games MIN 5, TB 1: Who’s the Snub? MIN 8, KC 5: Twins Recover from Rough Start KC 9, MIN 4: Slegers Slayed by Royals
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