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  1. My proposal; send Berrios, Buxton, Rogers, and Sano (while also paying for the rest of his contract, including buyout. If the Padres pick up the option, they send the buyout back to the Twins). The Twins get from the Padres Gore, Abrams, Hassell, Haynes, and Lizarraga. The Padres immediately increase their chances to win the West (it seems likely the two wild cards will come from the NL West; do you really want to worry about having to beat the Dodgers in a 50-50 game?). They also keep all of those guys for next year, giving them a nice two year window to win a title. The Twins signal they are in rebuilding mode, but get a potential front-line starter, a guy who should be their starting shortstop next year, a replacement for Buxton in center, and two lottery ticket arms. If this hits, the Twins will have a core of Kiriloff, Polanco, Abrams, Miranda, Arraez, Hassell, Larnach, and Jeffers in the field, with Gore, Maeda, Duran, Balazovic, and Winder in the rotation in 2023 (if they trade Donaldson, which they should, even if they have to eat some money). With that core, and all kinds of money to spend, the Twins could be a dark horse in 2023, and a serious contender in 2024 (think the 2020/2021 White Sox timeline).
  2. The Twins play their 30th game this afternoon and are currently 11-18. They've been beset by bad luck, bad play and have taken a beating with two rule changes (extra-inning runner on second, 7-inning games for doubleheaders). How do they get out of this funk? I'm sure many in the organization will preach patience and they may be right, but that isn't any fun. Here are some possibilities for change that might help the team: Role change. We've already seen one role change. At least temporarily Alexander Columé is not going to see high-leverage innings. Columé has been a huge disappointment and even when he has worked scoreless innings, he's been shaky. The problem is that taking Columé out of high leverage situations leaves the Twins with few good options, particularly when going 6 or more innings for a starter is a rarity. I think one pitching role change that should be made is to use Taylor Rogers in non-save high leverage situations as happened early in 2019 and sometimes use him for multiple innings. Rogers shouldn't be used in back-to-back days. Moving Alcala to high leverage situations seems to be gradually happening. If things continue to go bad, it makes sense to have him give a shot as a closer. Position players--it seems to me that both Polanco and Kepler should have their roles diminished from full-time regular to something different. Kepler can play a corner and center and Polanco has played short and second, maybe Max should be slotted as the fourth OF or at least platooned with Garlick. I think giving Polanco the role of three-position infielder wouldn't be a stretch. He could get some at-bats as a platoon partner for my choice of regular second baseman (Arraez) and left-handed at-bats in place of Simmons and when Donaldson takes a day off (or is injured). Promotions/demotions. Assuming that Alex Kirilloff is in the big leagues to stay, when healthy the Twins have one extra position player and someone will have to be sent to the minor leagues or released. Discussion has centered on Jake Cave. Several others could be sent down and that doesn't begin to discuss the pitching staff. Many pitchers'performances could merit their demotion. Trades. It is unlikely that anyone will make a significant trade this early in the year. However, the Twins would be a good candidate for a major trade nearer the trade deadline. They have some redundancy (left handed hitting corner outfielders) and holes that need patching (bullpen, perhaps catching) and many candidates to trade. They also have a lot of players who would be free agents after this season. I do wonder if someone who was considered a cornerstone (Polanco, Kepler, Sanó) could be traded. None of these guys have performed remotely well so far but an uptick could make them more marketable. I have to believe that the Twins will bring in new pitchers either in the bullpen or the rotation. What they have at this time in the bullpen just hasn't worked. Personally, I think the Twins will need to do a little bit of everything to turn the corner. I am a proponent of changing roles. I think Kepler and Polanco could be candidates to have limited roles. The Twins need to add at least one strong arm in the bullpen, most likely by trade and Trevor Larnach is reputed to be nearly as much a sure thing as a hitter as Alex Kirilloff, plus he is a better outfielder. There is too much talent for the club to continue to play sub.400 baseball, but I think they need to make changes immediately.
  3. The Twins Trade: Byron Buxton, Royce Lewis, and Alex Kiriloff The Twins Receive: Mike Trout and Albert Pujols Why the Angels do it--they get out from under $66M in salary this year, and $67M next year. If they use that space to sign Cole and Rendon, they can add 15-20 WAR to the 2020 team (when Buxton is included), while only giving up 8-10 WAR, and all for about the same cost. Not to mention they catapult their farm system into the top 5, with 3 near MLB ready hitters. Why the Angels don't do it--they give up the franchise icon, who may be the best player in baseball history, at the height of his powers. Why the Twins do it--the 101 win 2019 team loses less than 3 WAR, while picking up 8-10. An Arraez/Cruz/Trout/Kepler/Garver/Sano/Polanco Top 7 of the lineup is as good as anything in baseball. With 4 first division regulars (Kepler/Polanco/Garver/Arraez) under contract for (probably) $11M, $16M, $22M, and $35M over the next 4 years, you can afford to stomach the two massive contracts, particularly since Pujols' deal expires after 2021. Butts in seats. Why the Twins don't do it--the Twins and $300M contracts don't really go together. While Pujols only has two years left, it's two years of negative value for a team trying to win now. It leaves little to no money for pitching, which means at best one of Odorizzi and Pineda--if at least 2 of the Graterol/Balazovic/Thorpe/Dobnak/Smeltzer group can't become good MLB starters, the Twins will lose a lot of 9-8 ballgames.
  4. On Monday, Rhett Bollinger of MLB wrote that the Minnesota Twins are still more likely to upgrade their pitching rotation for 2018 through free agency than by trade. And on Tuesday, MLB Trade Rumors reported off of a 1500 ESPN tweet that pitchers’ agents were getting the sense that the Twins (i.e., Derek Falvey and Thad Levine) were putting off talks until Yu Darvish announces his decision to sign. Reading between the lines, one can interpret these reports to mean that the Twins have not been in much communication with free agent pitchers waiting to sign contracts this offseason. But does an absence of communication mean that the Twins are failing to communicate? A story Thursday in the New York Times (h/t dougd) suggests that Levine is one of the more skilled baseball executives in using alternative means to communicate (such as text messaging) with players, agents, or other major league personnel. "...today, we negotiate hundreds of millions of dollars of contracts and make massive trades without ever picking up the phone and speaking directly with one another, let alone meeting face to face,” Levine said. “You kind of learn the personalities of guys—who needs a phone call, who can do it on text, who prefers emails, who likes to be lighthearted. "The art of the negotiation has almost been trumped by the art of communication." This makes the news that the Twins have not met in person with Darvish much easier to take. Meanwhile, back in December, the Twins were reportedly offered Gerrit Cole in exchange for prospects Nick Gordon, Zack Granite, and Tyler Jay, according to the news site Pirates Breakdown. https://twitter.com/pbcbreakdown/status/940390540998250497 Many Twins fans, including myself, liked this trade idea. (See here, here, here, or here —and the proposals offered by Twins fans in these threads were actually not far off the mark in terms of value.) The stat we know as WAR is not how we evaluate pitchers during the season, but it can be a good, broad gauge of general value. In terms of fWAR, the two sides of a Cole/Gordon/Granite trade match up well. Fangraphs projects Cole to provide 3.8 fWAR in 2018; let's add 3.8 fWAR more for 2019. That makes 7.6 fWAR for the final two team-controlled seasons of Cole coming from Pittsburgh. How much fWAR will the Twins prospects provide? The 2017 midseason KATOH+ projections estimate that Granite will contribute 6.8 fWAR through his six team-controlled MLB seasons, while Gordon will accumulate 6.3 worth of fWAR across his six seasons. Throw in a generous 2.0 fWAR for Jay as a relief pitcher, and the total contribution of the prospects coming from the Twins is 15.1 fWAR. In such a Gerrit Cole trade as proposed above, the Twins would trade away a future 15.1 fWAR in exchange for Cole’s 7.6 fWAR as a starter for the next two seasons. That looks unequal, but posters on the Dozier trade discussion threads last winter found that MLB-for-prospect trades often lean heavily to one side in this way. A risk premium on the speculative nature of unpredictable prospects, perhaps. In any case, the barstool argument in favor of the trade may be more effective than the mathematical or financial analysis. Gordon and Granite are good players, but their production can be replaced. The Twins have Jermaine Palacios and Royce Lewis playing shortstop in the minors behind Nick Gordon, and have Jorge Polanco and other capable shortstops on the Major League team already. As for Granite, I would not count on him getting enough playing time to contribute much fWAR anyway, the maturing young Twins outfield being what it is. And the bottom line is the Twins badly need starting pitching in 2018. Now compare Cole to Darvish. Fangraphs projects Cole for 3.8 fWAR in 2018, while Darvish is projected only for 3.6 fWAR in 2018. Consider that Darvish’s contract will fetch more than $20 million per season for each of the next five or six seasons; Cole will not earn $20 million over the next two seasons together. Moreover, Cole might be motivated to pitch his best in order to increase his value in free agency following 2019. Through the quiet offseason to this point, and assuming Pittsburgh is still interested in a trade, Cole has looked like a solid alternative to Yu Darvish, maybe even better. Cole is younger and will not tie up salary beyond 2019, and might even present a July trade opportunity for the Twins if the 2019 season goes sideways. Beyond 2018 and 2019, the success of the Twins will depend on their ability to develop their own starting pitching. Darvish might help win some games in future seasons, but those wins will cost a lot of money, and possibly at the expense of extending one or two of the Twins young outfielders. Levine’s "negotiation" with Darvish this winter has put me at ease somewhat. Levine's knowledge of Darvish from their days in Texas suggests to me that the Twins are not concerned about Darvish’s health, nor his motivation to pitch after he signs this nine-figure deal. And a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow; figure on that annual salary at the end of Darvish’s contract to not look so bad as it does now, once those latter years finally arrive. I still prefer a trade for Cole, combined perhaps with a signing of Alex Cobb. But if the Twins really do sign Darvish — and my gut gives them a better than 50/50 chance at it — I imagine I will be amazed, thrilled, and fired up for the 2018 season. Such a signing will instantly put Minnesota almost on par with most other teams in the American League, and will give them a dependable arm for the next several seasons. But it's Darvish’s decision to make. If Levine has misjudged Darvish and Darvish chooses to sign with another team, and other subsequent options fail to break for the Twins, the Twins would find themselves going into 2018 without the addition of a single starting pitcher. For a young, talented team that made a strong run in 2017, this would be quite a blow. To borrow a great metaphor from another TwinsDaily poster in another thread, the Twins are playing a game of musical chairs, and if Darvish signs with another team, the Twins might find themselves without a chair when the music stops. Let's hope the personal relationship and commitment Thad Levine and Yu Darvish have together is real. My gut tells me it is.
  5. That being said, the Twins did land two arms that Falvey and company are excited about. Pitching prospects are notoriously volatile and the attrition rate is high but it doesn't hurt to stockpile as many as you can. I mean, even Alcala was immediately placed on the DL with a tricep strain. Still, given their ages and radar readings, both Duran and Alcala are sexy AF right now. Until they are not. Remember when the Twins traded for Alex Meyer? So -- for now -- these arms are sexy. In addition to the trades, Falvey was also pressed about the team's future, especially in light of the numerous expiring contracts, leaving the Twins with an estimated $30 million-to-$55 million coming off the payroll heading into 2019. It's a non-answer answer but an obvious one. Will the Twins be active in the free agent market this offseason? Sure, why not? Will they target someone they want to sign to a long-term deal or will they try to piecemeal creative one-year deals with various options? Who knows? The 2018 season was disappointing, yes. There were high expectations. Hell, I would have lost my house hammering the over on the Vegas-set 83-win mark had I followed through with my own proclamation. Now, based on Baseball Prospectus' current projections, the Twins are currently on a 76-win pace and even that feels like a best-case scenario going forward. This does not mean 2019 will be a continuation of this dreck. The team still has a young, talented core albeit one that stumbled this season. Eddie Rosario, Jose Berrios, Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Byron Buxton (when not hurt) and Miguel Sano (when properly conditioned and not hurt) are still a solid foundation. Find the right combination of bodies to add to that mix and you can have yourself a contender quickly. For their part the front office is trying to build a sustainable model. The long-term goal means loading the system with potential impact players, putting the right development process in place, and begin cranking out guys who can contribute when the window closes on the current core. In the interim, depending on the expiring contract decision, the Twins have a base and flexibility to potentially reload as a contender for next season. As you follow along with the development of the prospects as well as the team, remember, progress is never a straight line.
  6. The venerable Sid Hartman spoke with Derek Falvey following the flurry of moves at the trade deadline. Obviously no baseball executive is going to say "we screwed up, we screwed up real bad, Sid" while banging their head on the desk, sobbing lightly into the sleeve of their favorite blazer in front of a live microphone. So it should go without saying that Falvey is currently happy with what the team acquired. As far as we know.That being said, the Twins did land two arms that Falvey and company are excited about. Pitching prospects are notoriously volatile and the attrition rate is high but it doesn't hurt to stockpile as many as you can. I mean, even Alcala was immediately placed on the DL with a tricep strain. Still, given their ages and radar readings, both Duran and Alcala are sexy AF right now. Until they are not. Remember when the Twins traded for Alex Meyer? So -- for now -- these arms are sexy. In addition to the trades, Falvey was also pressed about the team's future, especially in light of the numerous expiring contracts, leaving the Twins with an estimated $30 million-to-$55 million coming off the payroll heading into 2019. It's a non-answer answer but an obvious one. Will the Twins be active in the free agent market this offseason? Sure, why not? Will they target someone they want to sign to a long-term deal or will they try to piecemeal creative one-year deals with various options? Who knows? The 2018 season was disappointing, yes. There were high expectations. Hell, I would have lost my house hammering the over on the Vegas-set 83-win mark had I followed through with my own proclamation. Now, based on Baseball Prospectus' current projections, the Twins are currently on a 76-win pace and even that feels like a best-case scenario going forward. This does not mean 2019 will be a continuation of this dreck. The team still has a young, talented core albeit one that stumbled this season. Eddie Rosario, Jose Berrios, Max Kepler, Jorge Polanco, Byron Buxton (when not hurt) and Miguel Sano (when properly conditioned and not hurt) are still a solid foundation. Find the right combination of bodies to add to that mix and you can have yourself a contender quickly. For their part the front office is trying to build a sustainable model. The long-term goal means loading the system with potential impact players, putting the right development process in place, and begin cranking out guys who can contribute when the window closes on the current core. In the interim, depending on the expiring contract decision, the Twins have a base and flexibility to potentially reload as a contender for next season. As you follow along with the development of the prospects as well as the team, remember, progress is never a straight line. Click here to view the article
  7. Just read Bleacher reports grading for all the teams at this point in the year. Obviously after the trading period. https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2789031-mlb-report-card-grades-for-all-30-teams-entering-august?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=mlb#slide4 "Minnesota Twins (49-57) If we pretended 2017 never happened, this season might feel like a moral victory for the Minnesota Twins. In 2016, Minnesota lost 103 games. In light of that, a sub-.500 second-place standing wouldn't sting too badly. The Twins vaulted past expectations in 2017, however, and grabbed the AL's second wild-card spot. As such, it's tough to view their injury-marred, regression-filled 2018 showing as anything less than a crash-to-Earth splash of ice-cold water. Grade: D" I tried to think about this as I do with my graduate courses - although those students are much easier to grade. So how do I think about a grade for the team - which is the entire team - players, Front Office, Management. Of course a world series position would make it easy to give them an A. But they need not have gone that far - they could have matched or just increased on last years performance and we would have had at least an A-. But they didn't. So what is next? In the B range we could have forgiven them for some set backs that they could not have anticipated - injuries, suspensions and if they came close to last year, if they had gotten to 500 it could be a B. If they had filled holes, had the players showing advances and given us a sense that things were in place if the missing returned I could have gone B. But they did not. It is hard to see that we are not suffering more than other teams, but the fact is other teams, good teams overcome the loss of Yu Darvish, Justin Turner, Aaron Judge...and they keep playing and keep winning. If the Front Office gave us a really good player out of Odorizzi, Lynn, Morrison, Rodney, Reed, Duke, Motter, LaMarre who looked like a piece to give us a shot at a run next year we could say that would be a C despite the record. But they did not. Maybe Cave will rise to be a super star. Or if all the players hit their marks from last year - Kepler, Buxton, Sano, Dozier we could feel pretty good, but Polanco and Rosario and Escobar and Berrios were the shining stars and the others fell far short. If we had a third catcher with some talent and promise for when Castro went down I would feel better, or if the manager did not fall in love with a hitless 35 year old back up catcher and play him more than the young guy who can hit and has promise I would like it. Or if we were not bringing out a 38 year old relief pitcher who averages a run an inning pitcher it would give me more confidence. In fact, if I were not seeing the fact that he does not let inherited runners score (very much) it would be fine, but the fact that he likes to let his own batters score does not help the team win. If the manager did not fall in love with the hot bullpen pitcher the way the NHL falls in love with the hot goal tender I would like it too. A pitcher cannot throw every night - alternate their appearances Paul. So put all this together and I am afraid there is no C here. I am afraid that I agree with Bleacher Report. This is a D. A "D" means that we all made it through the motions. We put a team on the field every day. Occasionally a good play or a good hit or a well pitched game will give us great joy, but too often we drift away before the game is over, we start to read about the other sports, maybe check out for a few days. In fact the D is a reflection of the fact that the trade deadline was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the summer game and now that it is over I guess I need to shift to the September call ups, although I would enjoy them more if we DFA'd deadwood and starting calling them up now. Okay, what would be an F? If in this Central Division we did not finish second in the standings. That would be an F.
  8. Okay it is August and the Twins have kept us around and speculating since Spring Training. Who will be cut, what FA will be brought in, will the minor leaguers get a chance, will Dozier's 1/2 year of brilliance begin soon? Are we buyers or sellers, who will be our all-star, will anyone take our deadwood at Trade Deadline. Now what? The Twins are 9 games back in the Central and perhaps even more telling they are 13.5 back in the wild card. At 49 - 57 the Twins now have 56 games left. Being just an 8 fame winning streak from 500 what are the chances of strong finish? Yawn - does it matter. The new acquisitions are ready to contribute to the big club in about 5 years, the best players in the minors in 2 years. The Twins still have Belisle taking innings. Why? They still have slugger Morrison and his 193 BA taking regular ABs - Why? I believe DFA was created for these two. Any reason that Romero and Gonsalves are not in the rotation for the rest of this waste year? Is there some logic that it is better to go with Belisle, Rodney, and Reed than some of our minor league arms? Is there any reason Rooker should not get a preview rather than Morrison? Is there no one in the minors who could benefit from removing Wilson at Catcher? Other than seeing new talent and getting a preview of better times what does the rest of the season mean? I know the Vikings are about to start playing exhibitions that are even more pathetic than our chances to catch Cleveland, but at least there are individual goals for the players on the Twins. Or we can watch Thibodeau in daily debates with his best player as we wait the highly anticipated (cough-cough) Timberwolves, or switch over to the 8th place United. Maybe a trip to the lake, a walk in the woods (my choices) are the best choices. Meditation about what it means to be a Twins fan. Our all-time record puts us 101 games below 500 - maybe that is our destiny. The state parks await. Or the state fair with everything on a stick can take away our baseball blues. A concert or two, or a trip to the minor leagues to see what the young Twins look like (and please do not repeat that we have built up our minors so we can use them for trades). Look for hope before the leaves turn, the wind shifts and the flakes fall. We know that there are a lot of fans with the same doldrums. Most of them entered the season without hope and that is the hardest part. Baseball is such a tease. And, of course, there are the teams like the Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers, Yankees that should be put in one division so that they can beat each other up and give the rest of us a real chance. Enjoy the sunshine, harvest your garden, check Twins Daily for new stories and let the radio put the Twins in the background while you sit on the deck and remember what a gorgeous place we live in.
  9. The other guy is always better than what you have – right? Well that is the thought that dominates the off-season and so we are sad that we did not sign Yu Darvish (actually if you saw my posts you know I did not want him). Since we had an article looking at the first ten days and projecting the season I thought it might be good to see what we missed. Yu Darvish just had a memorable melt down over a balk, but even more exciting are his statistics during a stretch that was supposed to be the easy part of the cubs schedule. His line – 0 – 1, 6.00 ERA for three starts, 1.533 WHIP and a -0.1 WAR (yes minus). Then there was the idea of the big trade for Chris Archer – who has a -0.3 WAR, a 5.94 ERA, and 1.50 WHIP, but he is 1 – 0! And all we had to do was give up on Kepler and some other young assets. Of course we did sign some assets because they are better than our minor league prospects – Logan Morrison and his -0.5 WAR is hitting .088, slugging .118 with an OPS of 3.23 and it was worth giving up Chargois and other relief prospects to get Zach Duke with a -0.4 WAR 11.25 ERA and 2.25 Whip and Fernando Rodney with a 0.0 WAR 3.86 ERA, and 1.929 WHIP. The last piece to the puzzle was Lance Lynn who has 0.1 WAR with a 5.00 ERA and 1.778 Whip so we did not have to use Mejia, Romero, or Gonsalves. To be fair that is only 4 of 6 players we picked up and Addison Reed 0.5 WAR, 1.13 ERA is the real thing in the bullpen and Odorizzi has 0.8 WAR and 2.20 ERA and 1.347 WHIP. I guess .333 is a good average in baseball, not sure that applies to signing players. As a person who always prefers the young players I think I would have liked to see Odorizzi and Reed with the other money going to sign Dozier and extend our young players. I would have liked one of our young players instead of Lynn, Duke, and Rodney and maybe kept Chargois who has 0.2 WAR and a 0.00 Era in 5 games and I just might have left Vargas at DH until one of our prospects steps up.
  10. Decades ago I worked as a tax accountant for Honeywell and National Car Rental Corporation. Taxes are complicated and state and federal laws impacted the businesses and decisions. Baseball is an interstate commerce and has had many laws passed to protect the teams. Now the new tax law creates another obstacle with unexpected consequences that could play into the teams ability to trade and move players. As we look at the Twins and their prospects we often think of assets that can be acquired. Read the following quote from the New York Times and you will see that things have gotten more complicated for everyone. "WASHINGTON — As President Trump congratulated the World Series champion Houston Astros at a White House ceremony last week, he also heaped praise on himself and congressional Republicans for passing a sweeping tax cut last year. He hailed Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the House’s chief tax writer and an Astros superfan, as “the king of those tax cuts.” What he did not mention is that the new tax law Mr. Brady helped draft, and which Mr. Trump signed, levies a large new tax on the Astros, and similar franchises across professional sports. The law changed a corner of the tax code that mostly applies to farmers, manufacturers and other businesses that until recently could swap certain assets like trucks and machinery tax-free. But by adding a single word to the newly written tax code — “real” — the law now allows only real estate swaps to qualify for that special treatment. That change is meant to capture more federal revenue, in order to partly offset reductions in business and personal income tax rates. It forces manufacturers, farmers and others to pay more in capital gains taxes, if they trade an asset for something more valuable. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the change will raise $31 billion over the next decade. It also means that the Astros and other sports franchises could now face capital gains taxes every time they exchange or trade their highly paid players." There is more to this, but this gives you an idea of what could happen and how confused GMS must be at this time. http://mlb.nbcsports.com/2018/03/19/new-tax-law-could-affect-mlb-trades/ http://www.businessinsider.com/gop-tax-law-make-mlb-nba-trades-harder-2018-3
  11. Players are the lifeblood of your team. Acquire them well and often. The Minnesota Twins are finally at a point where they have built a team with a lot of talent. Most of that talent is young and still developing into what they could potentially be. They will go a long way towards making the Minnesota Twins a perennial playoff team now and in the future. All those years of losing are...uhh...finally paying off? Wait...that doesn’t sound right. They are finally seeing the fruits of having the higher draft picks as a result of all those losing seasons. This is part 2 of our “Trusting the Process” series on what it takes to build a perennial playoff and championship contending team. The first part, simply called Trusting the Process, was about how the Twins Front Office and CBO Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have helped or let the Minnesota Twins compete this season and why what they did, or didn’t do, at the trade deadline was actually showing how they are trusting the process. At the end of the series, we’ll go over how the Minnesota Twins have done in each area. Maybe we’ll find why they struggled for so many of the last 6 seasons. Today, though, we will continue the series with how a team acquires players and what tools are available to each organization to do it. 4-Tool Player Acquisition There is a process to developing a team into a champion. The front office of any organization needs to trust that process to become a championship caliber team, not just for one season, for every season. That is every team’s goal, to contend for a championship every season. Acquiring and developing players is how teams compete, how they improve and ultimately, how they win. Every team has the same tools at their disposal to acquire players. The major tools are the Draft/Drafting, Free Agency, International Signings, and Trades. They have to use any means necessary to acquire players. If they lose focus or don’t do very well on any one of them, they’re probably not going to become that perennial championship-caliber team. If a team doesn’t draft well, they won’t have many prospects. If they don’t sign good players in Free Agency, they’ll be stuck with bad contracts which will affect payroll and not allow them the flexibility to get other free agents or acquire the players they want or need in trades. If they get nothing from International Signings, they aren’t getting anything from all the time and money they put into their baseball academies and their international scouting and if they don’t make good trades, they’ll either get rid of their best players for nothing or trade their best prospects for very little return. A team may need to make a few moves to help push an already contending team to the brink of winning a championship but, those moves could also change their team for the worse in the future and if they don’t win that season, they may set themselves back because of it. If they’ve done well in all areas of acquiring players, they should be able to recover from those trades.* *One name….Matt Capps! Ughh! First Draft The best way to get players is through the draft. It happens every year and every organization picks and signs about 30+ players and they don’t have to give anything up to acquire these players. Obviously, the biggest problem with the draft is having to wait for 3-6 years or more for most of those drafted players to reach the majors but, if you’ve consistently drafted well, there should always be players coming or close to ready to contribute to the big club. Of course, if the organization has done well in the other 4 areas of player acquisition, they won’t need to rely on rookies as much. If they do have players coming consistently every season, they have the opportunity to trade other pieces to either improve the club now by adding a good veteran or in the future by adding more prospects. We can’t cover acquiring players without talking about scouting. Without scouting or a team’s scouts, they would have no idea how good a player is right now or how good they might be in the future. The movie, Moneyball, taught a lot of us that scouting is now a lot more than just watching a player and seeing their skills in person. Analytics now play a big part in evaluating a player and their talent. Another area probably not talked about enough is a player’s makeup and how he’ll look on television and in a team’s promotional videos. Noooo….not that kind of makeup! Makeup as in what makes each player tick, how hard they compete, how good of a teammate they are and how they handle adversity. It’s not talked about very much because the fans rarely see that side of a player, especially when it comes in the dugout or in the clubhouse but a player can change the whole team with his makeup. The draft is the easiest way to acquire players but it might be the hardest way to produce players. You can get a lot of players at one time but, of the 30 or so a team signs, very few of them make it to the majors at all or become impact players once they get there. That being said, the years a team has control over a player and their salary is a big reason why they need to get players from the draft. Free Agency isn’t Free at All Free agency is the quickest way for a team to improve. Teams can simply negotiate with a player and give them a better deal or more money than any other team. It’s not that simple, of course, and it doesn’t always work the way teams would like it to. Maybe a player just doesn’t fit or wasn’t as good as advertised so there are risks involved with every signing. There is the problem of not getting the player you want and then having to go to further down your list and/or maybe overspending to get the player you want. Free agent contracts in Major League Baseball are getting crazier by the year. Because of how long teams have control of their players, the majority don’t hit actual free agency until they are in the high 20s or early 30s. Obviously part of that also has to do with teams re-signing their players and buying out some of their free agent years but it may make free agency even more of a risk. Depending on many factors, players hit their peak sometime around 30 years old, give or take a year or two. That’s also when most of them hit the free agent market. So, teams are signing players to gigantic multi-year contracts and it’s very likely they end up paying more money as they age and as their play declines. Yoenis Cespedes signed the biggest contract last offseason at 4 years/$110M and he was 31 years old when he signed that contract. Will he get better in the span of that contract or will his play decline as he gets even older? That’s up for debate and it’s different for every player but you might want to keep that receipt just in case.* *”Umm...this didn’t work like it was supposed to. Can I get a refund?” Free agency is a great tool to use to quickly strengthen an area of weakness or to get that player a team might need to get them over the hump but it might not work as well as they'd like it to work. I’m sure that won’t matter when the General Managers get their owner’s checkbooks out next offseason, though. Foreign Signatures The MLB International Signing Period is how teams sign players born outside of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico because there isn’t an International Draft. So, it’s basically International Free Agency but it’s for prospects and players who are as young as 16 years old. That means every team has to trust their international scouts but every team also has Baseball Academies in the Dominican Republic and other countries so they can develop these players and get them into their system. Look no further than the current Twins roster as proof that International Signings work. 2009 was a good year for the Minnesota Twins on the International market as they signed current players, OF Max Kepler, SS Jorge Polanco and 3B Miguel Sano*. Those players are a part of the core of this young Twins team and it shows how big of a part international signings are for every team. *Pelotero: Ballplayer (2012) is a highly recommended documentary that is mainly about the signing of Miguel Sano and all of the problems that occurred through that process. A sequel, The Miguel Sano Story, is on the way. No release date is available at this time. Trading Place There is also the possibility for any team’s General Manager to pick up the phone and call another team’s General Manager, tell them they’re interested in a player and ask if he’s available. The answer could be no, he’s untouchable, what would you give us or this is what we’d need coming back to us if we were to trade him. It could get done right away. It could take a week, a month or even more. They could get really close to making a deal and then something makes it go wrong. Look at the Brian Dozier saga from last offseason. The Los Angeles Dodgers were looking for a 2nd baseman. The Minnesota Twins have Brian Dozier and the whole league knew he was on the trading block. Did the Twins want to trade him? Not necessarily but he was the player with the most value at that time. The Twins need pitching. Starting, relieving, sales, any kind of pitching. They need it. They wanted a significant return for their All-Star 2nd Baseman who had 2 years left on a contract at a good salary. The Dodgers did not want to give up more than one of their top pitching prospects, Jose De Leon. The talks seemed to go on forever. The Twins wanting another top prospect added to the deal. The Dodgers, not wanting to give up another prospect or, at least, a prospect as high as the Twins may have wanted, decided to go in another direction and trade Jose De Leon to the Tampa Bay Rays for 2B Logan Forsythe. Some have said the Dodgers basically traded for Brian Dozier because of how similar they are but, as the season has gone on, you have to wonder if the Dodgers will be kicking themselves if the postseason doesn’t work out like they want it to. Just like in Free Agency, there’s risk involved in making trades. It’s almost the same thing except teams are giving up prospects instead of money to acquire players in a trade. They can acquire almost any level of player in a trade so if they believe there’s a diamond in the rough and they can get him on the cheap for a low prospect or two, the risk isn’t nearly as steep. Closing Time You may already be home and you can stay here! There aren’t many other ways to acquire players but they shouldn’t be considered major tools. Waiver claims are another way to acquire players but I’d consider that either under trades or free agents. Teams may have to waive one of their own players to get the player claimed on the roster or not so that’s pretty much a player for player trade if they do lose the player or signing a free agent if they don’t. There’s also the Rule 5 Draft. Yes, it’s another way to acquire players but it hasn’t really shown to be a very consistent way to find good players. In the next article, we’ll delve into Trusting the Process of Player Development. After the series, we’ll see how the Twins have done in all these areas of Acquiring Players and Trusting the Process. There has to be a reason they’ve had such a terrible run since 2010. Was it because they didn't trust the process? Thanks for reading our TwinsTakes on Trusting the Process of Acquiring Players! We’d love to hear your TwinsTakes on the subject! Please comment below or on the posts of this article on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Google+! After all, it is... Our 'Takes, Your 'Takes... TwinsTakes.com
  12. There was a time, particularly during his first stint as Twins GM, that Terry Ryan was a trading partner to be feared, largely because of his ability to turn throw-in prospects into major league contributors. There are stories -- likely apocryphal -- of opposing GMs deeming a low-level prospect untouchable because Ryan had been inquiring as to his availability. The reputation wasn’t without merit: Dave Hollins became David Ortiz; Chuck Knoblauch turned into Eric Milton, Cristian Guzman, Buck Buchanan (who was later spun for Jason Bartlett), Danny Mota, and cash; and Milton was subsequently dealt for Carlos Silva, Nick Punto, and Bobby Korecky. Not every deal came out perfectly, but Ryan consistently extracted enough extra value in trades to give his colleagues pause. It’s easy to look back at the deal that brought Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser to the Twins for A.J. Pierzynski as an obvious one to make. Joe Mauer was coming off a solid season between A and AA, and it was a foregone conclusion that he would take over behind the plate sooner rather than later. For that to happen, Pierzynski needed to clear out or change positions, and the latter wasn’t happening, so of course Ryan would deal him to clear space for Mauer. But while Mauer was hitting well in the minors -- particularly for his age level -- he wasn’t beating down the doors. As a 20 year old, he hit .338/.398/.434 including a stint in the Arizona Fall League; Pierzynski hit .312/.360/.464 in the majors that season, earning a deserved All-Star selection. And at 26, it isn’t as though Pierzynski was at the end of his career, or even at the end of his prime, so Ryan’s decision to move him after back-to-back great season could have backfired badly had Mauer not made the jump as well as he did. As it turned out, Ryan moved Pierzynski at the absolute peak of his value. While he remained a solid catcher through his age-38 season -- which shouldn’t be glossed over, that’s an incredible achievement -- he never returned to the All-Star game and only twice put up above-average offensive numbers. In return for this desirable asset, Ryan got a once-prized prospect who had lost a bit of his luster (Bonser), a converted outfielder who was coming off back-to-back seasons of injury issues (Liriano), and a former shortstop who wasn't far removed from shoulder surgery himself (Nathan). A former first round pick, Bonser had the pedigree to succeed, and (just like many of Ryan’s other finds) he did make contributions to the major league team, even if he was clearly the worst of the acquired players. He gave the 2006 Twins 18 starts and ended the year fractionally above average by ERA+ and with a 1.0 fWAR. Great? Hardly. But he was just 24, so it would have been a solid foundation for him to build on as he rose to being a mid-rotation piece...except that those 18 starts marked the best year of his career. Even if he wasn’t spectacularly bad, Bonser neither generated enough groundballs nor missed enough bats to make it in the majors and a torn labrum in 20009 ended his time with the Twins. Liriano’s arm had already been an issue when the Twins acquired him and it would continue to plague him throughout his career, though to his credit, he has continued to rehab and make it back to the majors every time he has gone under the knife. Still, his career would be typified by terms like “serviceable” and “solid” were it not for his unforgettable rookie season in 2006. His 2006 line is staggering: 3.6 fWAR, 1.00 WHIP, 2.16 ERA, and 10.71 K/9, but that actually undersells how good he was that year. Liriano wasn’t well-suited to pitching out of the bullpen, but that’s how he began the season (even recording a three-out save in a game which the Twins won by 10 runs, because of course he did) which included a three-inning relief appearance after the Tigers bombed Carlos Silva out of an April game. Liriano fared little better, giving up 5 ER in just 3 IP. Look at his numbers once he joined the rotation full time in May, and they’re even better: 1.92 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 112/28 K/BB ratio, and opposing hitters hit a pathetic .181/.244/.281 off of him. But the arm issues caught up to him once again. He threw just six innings after July 28 and would miss all of the 2007 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. His 2010 season showed glimpses of the form that had made him so unbelievably dominant in 2006, and the fact that he had 31 healthy starts means his counting stats look better, but he never did fully recover the form he had shown. He gave everyone a season to dream on and enough flashes of brilliance to bounce around the league for another decade and counting, but the consistent excellence he showed once seems to be part of his legend rather than his actual legacy. The Baseball Prospectus comment on Nathan prior to the 2003 season began “Nathan continued his comeback from shoulder surgery in 2000, with a year that was impressive only relative to the year before. He was never a great prospect, even before the shoulder woes, but he could be a serviceable innings-eater in middle relief.” Put another way: If you don’t have a player like this in your minor league system, the cupboard is so impossibly bare, it beggars belief. You don’t trade for players like this, they just appear on your AAA roster as if placed there by an occult hand. And to be fair, eating innings is exactly what Nathan did in 2003: His first year as a full-time reliever in the majors, Nathan appeared in just shy of half the Giants’ games, racking up 79 innings in 78 starts. Prior to the 2004 season, Prospectus noted that Nathan had looked leaps and bounds better the previous year than he ever had before -- and how right they were! -- but cautioned that this could be an aberration because it seemingly came out of nowhere. Here, too, they were right: 2003 was an aberration for Nathan, because for the decade following, he never again had a season as bad as 2003 when he was healthy for a full year. 2004 started with a closer-by-committee set-up with Nathan, Juan Rincon, and even a fleeting appearance from Joe Roa before he was relegated to mop-up duty, but by mid-April, the job was Nathan’s to lose. The next time someone besides Nathan would lead the team in saves was 2010, when Jon Rauch stepped in while Nathan was recovering from Tommy John surgery. Like Liriano, there were serious concerns about Nathan’s ability to stay healthy during his time in the minors, but after he moved to the bullpen, those concerns all but vanished. He finished his career with the 8th most saves of all time and appeared in the 54th most games. Of the three players acquired for Pierzynski following the 2003 season, Nathan had by far the best career; taking everyone involved in the deal, only Mauer has a claim at being a better player than Nathan. Whatever the Twins thought they were getting in Nathan, no matter how much Ryan and his staff believed that 2003 was indicative of what he could be, Nathan exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. He filled a hole that had existed since the end of Rick Aguilera’s second stint with the team (Mike Trombley notwithstanding) and held it down through some of the team’s best years post-1991. It’s fitting to see him end such a stellar career as a Twin. The Pierzynski-for-prospects deal is widely considered a heist, Ryan’s Robbery if you will. Some of that is due to Pierzysnki’s decline and some is due to Liriano’s apotheosis in 2006, but given that Bonser added almost nothing and Liriano was more frustration than fulfillment, the idea that the trade was as lopsided as it was confirms just how good Nathan was: If the deal had been a straight Nathan-for-Pierzynski swap, would the reviews be all that much less glowing?
  13. At the All-Star break, the Twins sit with a terrible 32-56 record and it is only that good because they've won the last three series against three AL West clubs. For most of the season, the Twins have scored the fewest runs in the AL while allowing the most. I wasn't totally surprised that the Twins pitching staff was bad, but it just doesn't seem right that they would be last in runs scored justifiably because they weren't getting on base and not hitting when they did manage to get runners in scoring position. With good work of late from their offense, the Twins have improved in offensive categories. They rank 10th in runs scored, 8th in OPS and slugging, 9th in OBP and 10th in homers. I would expect those numbers to continue to rise. There's plenty of talent and a lot of them are starting to realize their potential. Certainly, the pitching needs to improve, both the rotation and the back end of the bullpen. However, some guys have stepped up. Fernando Abad was brilliant for the first quarter of the season, but has faded. Brandon Kinzler was signed to a minor league contract, but recalled this spring and has been pretty good. Taylor Rogers looks like he belongs in the bullpen and Ryan Pressly and Michael Tonkin have shown enough to hold spots in the Twins bullpen. There is enough offense to be a good team soon. There isn't enough pitching. The Twins don't have an ace and their most consistent veteran is supposedly on the block. I am of the opinion that every trade made by the Twins from now until they are a true contender has to bring back pitching or catching. It is my belief that the Twins will be good again when their staff is better than average. I'm willing to bet the members of that staff will be homegrown or acquired in minor deals or the Rule V Draft. Signing free agent pitchers is like going against the house in Vegas. You might win once in a while, but long term the house always wins. Ryan has attempted to sign pitchers to eight figure (per year) contracts and it hasn't worked out. I expect the Twins to be more competitive in the second half of the season. I sincerely hope they trade a couple of veterans to allow the kids to play. Chargois and Berrios can cut their teeth in the major leagues. Some of Suzuki, Plouffe, Nuñez, Santana, Nolasco, and Abad should be sold off. I really don't think they are that far away, if they can get middle of the pack pitching. The other factor, which I think is overlooked in the Twins demise this year is defense. The pitching staff has enough trouble getting three outs in an inning and too often, because of misplays, a fourth or fifth out has been donated to the opponent. If the Twins get a new catcher or catching tandem, I would hope they get a solid defender who can limit opponent's running game. Also, another glaring deficiency has been shortstop. Eduardo Nuñez is below average as a shortstop and Eduardo Escobar has had a poor year playing short IMHO. A trade of Nuñez would probably net better defense at short
  14. The bright spots for the Twins have been few and far between this season, but they have been there. Joe Mauer’s hot start, Byung-Ho Park’s chase for the Golden Sledgehammer -- HitTrackerOnline’s award for the longest average HR distance -- and the beginning of Robbie Grossman’s Hall-of-Fame run have been unexpected joys. None of these, however, can hold a candle to Eduardo Nunez’s start. Going into Friday’s game, Nunez was hitting .328/.355/.531 with 12 SB, 9 HR, and a team-best 1.5 fWAR. His 139 wRC+ means he’s nearly 40 percent better than the league-average hitters and while his defense isn’t well-liked by the advanced metrics, he has looked better than previous seasons and has been acceptable filling in for Trevor Plouffe and Eduardo Escobar as needed. More than just being one of the most fun players the Twins have on the roster right now, Nunez is one of the very few producing value above what was expected of them. Which, of course, means that he’s the hottest piece of trade bait the Twins have, or so many believe. Nunez has been better in the first 10 weeks of this season than he has been in the rest of his career. Combined. Prior to joining the Twins, Nunez had been worth about -1.7 fWAR due in large part to his terrible defense, though he was consistently about 15-20 percent below league average offensively as well, albeit in very limited playing time. Last season, he was surprisingly effective as a bench bat, hitting .282/.327/.431 in 204 PAs, but he’s taken another leap forward this year, driven largely by 54 point rise in his Isolated Power. Sustainability is an odd question when it comes to Nunez. His hard-hit rate is up three percentage points, which is good to see, but it’s not enough to explain the fact that his BABIP is nearly 50 points above his career average. He’s hitting more flyballs, and using more of the field, which is always a good thing, but again, it’s not setting the kind of foundation that makes the changes in his game feel like they’ll hold long term. Maybe he sustains it for a full season -- weird seasons like this happen -- or maybe he starts regressing in the summer heat after the best half-season he’s ever had, but either way, it’s hard to look at the first two-plus months of the season and say “this time next season, he’ll probably a similar player.” To understand what the return from trading Nunez would look like, consider a player moved at last year’s deadline. Gerardo Parra was hitting well for the Brewers, .328/.369/.517 with 9 SB and 9 HR. His defense had slipped a bit from it’s previously Gold Glove-caliber level, but probably wasn’t as bad as the advanced numbers said he was. A year younger than Nunez is now, with a far better pedigree, and shockingly similar half-season numbers to Nunez’s current line, Parra was dealt from last-place Milwaukee to a contender that needed help, the Baltimore Orioles. This is pretty much the best case scenario for the selling team, and it netted them... Zach Davies. Even though he was just a 26th round pick, Davies entered the 2015 season as the Orioles’ 6th ranked prospect according to Baseball America -- though he was just the 15th best prospect in the Brewers’ system heading into this year. He’s been serviceable, just a touch below league-average in his 10 starts this season, and he’s 23, so there’s room to project growth. His average fastball velocity sits a hair below 90 mph; one of his top comparables according to Baseball Prospectus is former Twin Anthony Swarzak. So to recap: This trade went about as well as it could have for the Brewers, they gave up a better player than Nunez, and the piece they got back is interesting but ultimately the type of player that can be acquired a number of different ways. To get a player with a higher ceiling means taking on more risk and getting a player further from the majors. Trades like that happen every year -- my passable known quantity for your potentially interesting dice roll -- and the outcome can generally be summed up with “prospects will break your heart.” Good, bad, and indifferent, Nunez’s profile isn’t unknown in baseball. His career with the Yankees was underwhelming and well-televised, and while his value has risen a fair bit since coming to the Twins, it isn’t as though he has become Yoenis Cespedes. If a team needs a super-utility player that can hit reasonably well, Nunez is definitely on their radar, but that isn’t the profile you give up a top prospect for, and maybe not even a B-level prospect if the team doesn’t have a specific need he’s filling. This is not to say that the Twins definitely should keep Nunez; if Dave Stewart wants to continue emptying out the Diamondbacks’ farm system for questionable returns, by all means the Twins should be willing to facilitate that. Even if someone offers a Davies-caliber player, the team should make that move in an effort to set up for 2017 and beyond. The point is simply that trading Nunez isn’t a pathetically obvious move to make and only a brain-dead fool would miss this chance. The return is likely to be either underwhelming or risky and that assumes there’s a market for him at all. Major league GMs aren’t dumb. Usually. They’re not going to be so dazzled by Nunez’s performance over 210 PAs that they forget to look at the preceding five lines on his Baseball-Reference page. If they do move him, great, there’s nothing better than capitalizing on an asset at peak value. If they don’t, enjoy the fact that he’s allergic to batting helmets and that he has been consistently fun to watch, even when the rest of the team has not.
  15. Buried deep in the MLB Rumors, Twins section: November 21, 2015 at 6:39pm CST Here’s the latest from The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo… down down down 2 more..... "The Twins are another team looking for relief help and they’ve also received a lot of interest about third baseman Trevor Plouffe. There has been speculation that Plouffe could be moved to make way for Miguel Sano at third base, especially if the Twins come to an agreement with Byung-Ho Park." Oh to be a be a fly on Terry Ryan's wall.......
  16. Later, GopherHole.com’s Nadine Babu joins the show to provide an insider’s perspective to the happenings of the University of Minnesota’s football program. The takeaway? The Tim Brewster Era was a mess. Listen below, on iTunes or on Stitcher: NO JUICE PODCAST, EPISODE #75: EARLY OFFSEASON BONANZA
  17. On this week's NO JUICE PODCAST, Dan Anderson and Parker Hageman discuss how the Twins entered the offseason like a person hopped up on angel dust jumping out of a four-story building. They landed a Korean superstar, they traded a backup catcher and they flipped their starting center fielder to the New York Yankees. Will this make the Twins better in 2016? LISTEN UP.Later, GopherHole.com’s Nadine Babu joins the show to provide an insider’s perspective to the happenings of the University of Minnesota’s football program. The takeaway? The Tim Brewster Era was a mess. Download attachment: img_2057.jpg Listen below, on iTunes or on Stitcher: NO JUICE PODCAST, EPISODE #75: EARLY OFFSEASON BONANZA Click here to view the article
  18. This might be the offseason where Terry Ryan finally decides to do his job. The Twins have a plethora of talent at some positions, while having gaping holes at others. Catcher seems to be the biggest hole as there is little to no minor league depth. Shortstop and bullpen are other needs but there will be options at the minor league level in the future. I expect this to be the busiest offseason by the Twins in a long time. Here are some trade candidates: Trevor Plouffe Plouffe is currently one of the best players on the Twins roster. However, the third baseman is currently blocking the way for future all-star Miguel Sano. People have been talking about a Plouffe trade for years and it seems the time is finally now. I could see the Twins possibly waiting to trade Plouffe until the 2016 deadline, just to make sure Sano is ready at third with his glove. Plouffe seems the most likely player to be traded. Oswaldo Arcia The slugging lefty outfielder is coming off a very disappointing 2015 campaign. He is out of minor league options and must remain in the majors going forward. Whether or not that is with the Twins is still unknown. It seems as if there is no longer room for him in the Twins outfield. He could possibly have a future as a DH. The Angels could be a good fit. Danny Santana The shortstop was expected to regress a bit following his stellar rookie season. It's safe to say he did just that, and much more. After hitting leadoff for the Twins on opening day, the athletic speedster has spent much of 2015 between the bottom of the Twins order, and triple A. He could have a future with the Twins as a super utility player; having spent time at shortstop, second base, and the outfield. A trade could be more likely. Kyle Gibson After putting up great numbers in the first half of 2015, Gibson has finally shown he is capable of being a quality bottom of the rotation starter. He will never be an ace, and he will always be a below average strikeout pitcher. However, Gibson has shown a great ability to get ground ball outs. The Rockies showed interest in Gibson before the 2015 trade deadline. Tommy Milone Milone has put up decent numbers in 2015. He has excellent controll, but don't expect him to overpower anyone. He could be the odd man out if the Twins decide some of their starting pitching prospects are ready for the majors in 2016. Ricky Nolasco At this point, his trade value is zero. His contract is just horrendous and he looks to be shut down for the rest of 2015. The only way the Twins could possibly unload him would be to take on a worse contract. The were rumors at the deadline that the he might possibly be included in a package for James Shields. Kennys Vargas Like Danny Santana, Vargas was also expected to regress a bit following his terrific rookie season. He was a unanimous pick for DH of the future. Unfortunately, he fell tremendously short of expectations, and he is now back at Double A; right where he started in 2014. The Twins will have to sell Vargas on his potential alone, not his 2015 production. Trevor May The Denard Span trade might have finally have paid off. Well, half of it anyways. May has had a terrific 2015 season following a disappointing 2014. Although bright, his future with the team is unknown as he could be a great bottom of the rotation starter, or dominant setup man. He was moved to the bullpen following the return of Ervin Santana. He could be a great sell high candidate in the coming offseason. Rosario/Kepler/Hicks It is thought that eventually one of these players will be traded to set up the outfield of the future. I think it is more likely that the Twins opt to go into 2016 with all three on the roster. They could excel in some sort of platoon system, at least for 2016. What are some realistic examples of trades you guys see the Twins making this offseason? Who do the Twins give up? Who do they get in return?
  19. Many of you may be looking at the Twins roster for opening day and wondering: "where the hell are the prospects?" Sure, we've been told again and again that we're about to get a huge influx of talent. And sure, we've been told that the children are our future. But the young players coming north: Danny Santana, Kennys Vargas, Oswaldo Arcia, Kyle Gibson...we've seen them all before...and the people we haven't seen: Blaine Boyer? Kurt Suzuki? Tim Stauffer? Are not the world changing prospects we've been asked to bank on. So, you may be a little frustrated. I'm a little frustrated. Until I realized that this is all part of Terry Ryan's Secret Plan. We at Peanuts from Heaven have found a secret ad written, directed and produced by Terry Ryan. What follows is a transcript of that ad. TWINS SECRET COMMERCIAL http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-sHUQsYurfT8/VRsVnQZM0oI/AAAAAAAADHA/325H98WUK7c/s1600/SaneTerry.jpg [Ext. Day, Terry Ryan, wearing a completely respectable suit is walking toward the camera from Right Field] SANE TERRY. Hi. I'm Sane Terry, from Sane Terry's House of Fiscally Viable Veterans here with totally reasonable deals on all your veteran baseball player needs. [Cut to. Int. Twins Clubhouse, Sane Terry walks past empty lockers] SANE TERRY. For years, the Minnesota Twins have been giving the aging and seemingly ineffective baseball players of America a chance to hit rock bottom. Once they do that, they are ripe for the picking...your picking. [Cut to. Close Up, Terry Ryan turned to face new camera] SANE TERRY. Are you a team with six valid starting pitchers? Why not trade for one of our many rotation candidates as insurance in case of injury, theft, or spontaneous combustion? [Cut to. Opposite angle Terry Ryan turned to face new camera] SANE TERRY. Are you a team who wishes their young players could learn from a cautionary example? Why not trade for one of our jaded-former-prospects whose shattered dreams has left them a shell of their former selves? [Cut to. Original Angle Terry Ryan turned to face new camera] SANE TERRY. You can get all your valuable veterans for low, low prices. Just ask these satisfied customers. [Cut to Neal Huntington smiling in front of PNC Park in Pittsburgh] HUNTINGTON. Our team used to be a joke, but once we just started picking Terry's discarded pitchers off the scrap heap, we had all the support we could ever need! [Cut to Buck Showalter at the dugout railing of Camden Yards] SHOWALTER. If someone has "former-Twin" on their resume, you can bet that they'll be a below-average starter, but an irrationally great resource for your post season run! Thanks to Sane Terry, I might not be fired right before my team wins the World Series! [Cut to Sane Terry reclining in his office at Target Field, the camera takes in a view of the field] SANE TERRY. We know you can get brand new ballplayers from many sources. But Crazy Billy's Coliseum of Deals always seems to have ulterior motives, and the next Miami Marlins Fire Sale isn't scheduled until November 2016, so why not come on down to Sane Terry's House of Fiscally Viable Veterans and see what we have on offer? [Cut to, reverse Angle, the camera takes in a view of the hallway] SANE TERRY. You don't have to give up the farm, just a young kid with upside, or downside, or cash...we like cash. And we like to give these veteran ball players a new lease on life. That's why we'll always have them on the roster, and always have them available, because that's what made us successful all these years. ANONYMOUS INTERN [While walking by Terry's door]. Huh? What do you mean? We haven't been successful. And the older players rarely if ever help us. And when we trade them we almost never get anything of value. SANE TERRY. Well, you know what they say, "the definition of sanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result." ANONYMOUS INTERN. Actually I think that's the definition of insanity. SANE TERRY. Ha. Ha. If that were true, I would be Crazy Terry...and I am clearly Sane Terry. It says so on this ad. ANONYMOUS INTERN. What ad? And who are you talking to? SANE TERRY. Sane Terry's House of Fiscally Viable Veterans. Call now and get Mike Pelfry right before he finalizes his deal with the devil for one more good season. [Fin.]
  20. Dear Mr. Ryan Let's start out on some common ground. The last four years have been very disappointing. We've heard these numbers in one form or another for years now, so I won't drag it out, but I want to highlight just a couple of the most disappointing statistics: In four seasons 383 losses.. A pitching staff whose ERA ranked 29th, 28th, 29th and 29th out of 30 from 2011-2014. A starting rotation that ranked last in the league in ERA from 2011-2014. And all of this coming as we moved into the publicly-funded Target Field. It has not been fun.Sadly, these last four years did not come out of nowhere. They have been years in the making. The farm system stopped producing in the late '00s and early '10s. Payroll has been cut, despite revenues that the organization has never before seen (more on this later). Significant trades have failed to yield productive players or prospects, and those who have found success, have done so only after leaving the organization. The clubhouse seemed to get stale as losing year after year took its toll on the players, yet the same voices remained in charge. Many see the firing of Ron Gardenhire as a token gesture meant to save your own job and to try to placate the masses, but I do not. I think your loyalty and your camaraderie with Gardy made it very difficult and very painful for you to do. That loyalty is to be commended, but know that loyalty cuts both ways. Holding on to the status quo for the sake of allegiance and friendship breeds stagnation and can inhibit progress. It is with this sentiment in mind that many, myself included, hope that you are truly considering managers from outside the organization. I have no doubt that there may be very good major league managers already employed within the organization. People who, though currently working with the Twins organization, have experience with many other clubs. But know that many will be skeptical of a promotion from within, no matter how deserving it may be. I do not envy the balancing act that will be required as you move forward. It's this skepticism that is dangerous. You recently discussed how you sense a lot of anger from the fan base. This may have been true, but I think it may be more dire than you believe. There is no doubt there is a die-hard fan base that is not pleased with the direction the organization has taken since moving into Target Field. But these fans are likely not going anywhere and will remain vocal and committed to the Twins no matter how long the team continues to struggle. They are not the concern. The more troubling aspect, however, is that the casual fan base is losing interest in the organization. The combination of a steep decline in the on-field product along with moving into Target Field has left many casual fans cynical of the organization's commitment to producing a competitive on-field product. Is this completely fair? I don't believe so. As was said earlier, these four years are a product of many decisions and many years. I believe it's more unfortunate than anything else that it came about as we moved into Target Field. Whether it's fair or not though, the perception is just as damaging, because worse than anger is disinterest. The disinterest of the casual fan, not the anger of the diehard fan, will be what continues to drive attendance down. So the question is, what's to be done. How can you stem the growing tide of malaise and get people excited to come back out to Target Field. The simple answer is, make a splash. With the All-Star game come and gone, the only thing left to draw interest is the product on the field. Fortunately, you have some things working in your favor. Thanks to Target Field, the organization has the revenues and the payroll flexibility to go out and be aggressive this offseason. On top of this, the free agent market for starting pitching is fairly saturated, with several impact players at the top of the list. These two factors make this an ideal time to step out on that ledge and make the splashy move that has been the antithesis of the Twins modus operandi for so long. Do not let past errors, the fear of failure or the idea that our prospects aren't ready, dissuade you from making a bold move. Nearly 2 years ago, the Royals, with a team that was young and unaccomplished, went out, took a risk and added James Shields. It was a move that was widely criticized. "This team isn't ready to compete," was the rallying cry of the masses. But here they are, competing in the World Series. And here we stand: A young developing core of talent with a smattering of veterans, reinforcements working their way up, resources to use, and players available who fit our needs. I've watched this organization from the Gulf Coast League to the Majors very closely during your tenure, Mr. Ryan, and I believe there's a method to the madness. But at this crucial juncture, with public support waning, when you sit down with Dave St. Peter, I believe that you can come to one, and only one conclusion. Spend Baby, Spend. Signed A Loyal Twins Fan Click here to view the article
  21. Sadly, these last four years did not come out of nowhere. They have been years in the making. The farm system stopped producing in the late '00s and early '10s. Payroll has been cut, despite revenues that the organization has never before seen (more on this later). Significant trades have failed to yield productive players or prospects, and those who have found success, have done so only after leaving the organization. The clubhouse seemed to get stale as losing year after year took its toll on the players, yet the same voices remained in charge. Many see the firing of Ron Gardenhire as a token gesture meant to save your own job and to try to placate the masses, but I do not. I think your loyalty and your camaraderie with Gardy made it very difficult and very painful for you to do. That loyalty is to be commended, but know that loyalty cuts both ways. Holding on to the status quo for the sake of allegiance and friendship breeds stagnation and can inhibit progress. It is with this sentiment in mind that many, myself included, hope that you are truly considering managers from outside the organization. I have no doubt that there may be very good major league managers already employed within the organization. People who, though currently working with the Twins organization, have experience with many other clubs. But know that many will be skeptical of a promotion from within, no matter how deserving it may be. I do not envy the balancing act that will be required as you move forward. It's this skepticism that is dangerous. You recently discussed how you sense a lot of anger from the fan base. This may have been true, but I think it may be more dire than you believe. There is no doubt there is a die-hard fan base that is not pleased with the direction the organization has taken since moving into Target Field. But these fans are likely not going anywhere and will remain vocal and committed to the Twins no matter how long the team continues to struggle. They are not the concern. The more troubling aspect, however, is that the casual fan base is losing interest in the organization. The combination of a steep decline in the on-field product along with moving into Target Field has left many casual fans cynical of the organization's commitment to producing a competitive on-field product. Is this completely fair? I don't believe so. As was said earlier, these four years are a product of many decisions and many years. I believe it's more unfortunate than anything else that it came about as we moved into Target Field. Whether it's fair or not though, the perception is just as damaging, because worse than anger is disinterest. The disinterest of the casual fan, not the anger of the diehard fan, will be what continues to drive attendance down. So the question is, what's to be done. How can you stem the growing tide of malaise and get people excited to come back out to Target Field. The simple answer is, make a splash. With the All-Star game come and gone, the only thing left to draw interest is the product on the field. Fortunately, you have some things working in your favor. Thanks to Target Field, the organization has the revenues and the payroll flexibility to go out and be aggressive this offseason. On top of this, the free agent market for starting pitching is fairly saturated, with several impact players at the top of the list. These two factors make this an ideal time to step out on that ledge and make the splashy move that has been the antithesis of the Twins modus operandi for so long. Do not let past errors, the fear of failure or the idea that our prospects aren't ready, dissuade you from making a bold move. Nearly 2 years ago, the Royals, with a team that was young and unaccomplished, went out, took a risk and added James Shields. It was a move that was widely criticized. "This team isn't ready to compete," was the rallying cry of the masses. But here they are, competing in the World Series. And here we stand: A young developing core of talent with a smattering of veterans, reinforcements working their way up, resources to use, and players available who fit our needs. I've watched this organization from the Gulf Coast League to the Majors very closely during your tenure, Mr. Ryan, and I believe there's a method to the madness. But at this crucial juncture, with public support waning, when you sit down with Dave St. Peter, I believe that you can come to one, and only one conclusion. Spend Baby, Spend. Signed A Loyal Twins Fan
  22. Maybe I'm cranky because I have to be to work early this morning, maybe it's because the coffee isn't the right temperature, maybe it's because it's late October and we know what kind of weather is coming in the next couple months, but I'm tired of a few things posted here on Twins Daily. 1) Spell the names right! If you don't like Milone, don't like Milone, not Millone or Malone or whatever. Same for Herrmann, Pressly, Schafer or Parmelee. It is May, not Mays and Meyer not Myer, Meyers or Myers. 2) Every roster vacancy can't and won't be solved by bringing back an ex-Twin. Further, their successes at different locations might be a matter of timing, luck or circumstance. Also, there needs to be a statute of limitations on ex-Twins. Goodness, it's been well over a decade since they let Papi go. I don't want to go back to Graig Nettles about regrets for letting good players go. 3) I'll probably and perhaps rightly get ripped for this, but let's see what guys who had injuries can do when they are healthy. Three pitchers come to mind--Pelfrey, Nolasco, and Milone. All three pitched poorly, all three later revealed they were pitching with injuries and all three are question marks. I am in favor of all three getting their chance to show what they can do when healthy in the spring and perhaps beyond. 4) The narrative of "four straight ninety-loss seasons" is well established. While we all want better, it isn't that front office (including the GM) is sitting on its hands. By my count, there are seven players remaining from the 2011 team and four of them (Plouffe, Parmelee, Oliveros, and Swarzak) were bit players in '11. Mauer (as a catcher), Duensing (mostly rotation), and Perkins (set-up guy) were with the team in different roles than they are now. Just because they have turned over the roster doesn't eliminate the FO from criticism, but there has been change. So far, it hasn't worked out on the W-L ledger. Rant concluded. Have a wonderful day!
  23. MLB Trade Rumors has a free agency writeup for Melky Cabrera, who would appear to be a good fit for the Twins. The article points out the lack of good options for teams looking for outfielders in free agency, putting Melky head and shoulders above all other traditional free-agent options. http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2014/09/free-agent-stock-watch-melky-cabrera.html I don't know if Cabrera is worth multiple years that far north of $10M per year. Most of the rest of the others listed look to be flawed candidates, as well. It may be that the Twins won't bite on any free-agent outfielders. I am beginning to believe that might even be the right decision.
  24. Jim Souhan posted four moves he'd make right now if he was in charge. What say you to each? I give the first three (especially 1 and 3) my full support. I'm not on board with #4, not until spring next year at the soonest.
  25. Like Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby or the Narrator in Proust's In Search of Lost Time the Twins are party-goers without an ounce of composure or self-reliance. Hidden away in a corner of their stadium until the final moments, they emerge just in time to see the celebration end. Yet when everyone leaves, the team collapses into a disheartened funk. Pulling themselves out of the doldrums to win just 3 of the next 10 games, leaving their fans disappointed and the team itself broken. But, in a cruel twist of fate, the team is not allowed to creep back into anonymity, awaiting another spring and fresh start. Instead they are subjected to an extended August road trip, through the repeated self-flagellation of sporadic hitting and consistently implosive pitching. Moments of triumph (including an outburst of 32 runs against a vaunted Tigers team) are tempered by the now blatantly inverted hierarchy of the team's past glory, as former fools and patsies the Kansas City Royals repeatedly batter the squad. Character Development Kendrys Morales/Sam Fuld/Kevin Correia/Josh Willingham--These chapters are often paired together because they feature the departures of four previously significant characters. Each of these characters was fraught with contradictions that are both enticing to some readers and maddening to others (witness the previously mentioned Morales and his dualism: i.e. symbol of contender status/presence on a losing team). Tellingly, when each character exits the team clubhouse these moments aren't regarded with celebration, despair, or even much surprise. Instead they appear to be the annual sacrifices to whatever deity drives Twins' Baseball operations: a constant memento mori for their teammates and a simple transaction to their fans. http://cache1.asset-cache.net/gc/453420426-kennys-vargas-and-danny-santana-of-the-gettyimages.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=GkZZ8bf5zL1ZiijUmxa7Qbr3ZJ4V4kmpG%2Bmu7qkubMtcEetrC9464mFqVoA11h8k Bam-Bam & Dan-San Kennys Vargas/Danny Santana--While all the fixation on veterans around the trade deadline, and in the departure gates of the Minnesota airports serves to bring a glowering gloom over everyone, two of the most prominent replacements offer hope and opportunity. Kennys Vargas and Danny Santana (substituting in for Kendrys Morales/Sam Fuld respectively) also feature prominently in this volume's awareness of cultural differences, shifting the clubhouse away from non-descript veteran white guys to young latino players, a mirroring of the nation's demographics as a whole. Trevor May--While Vargas and Santana emerge as options within the line-up, May is an intriguing study in the cyclical nature of expectations and reactions. Prior to the expulsion of Correia, a great many fans were clamoring for May's ascendency to the major league roster. Upon his arrival, May sputters, gags, and behaves precisely as you would expect an uncertain young man to behave. In his (admittedly small) sample of performance, he appears to be every bit the mockable man that the aforementioned Correia was, providing the clearest link between this team and the second section of TS Eliot's "Portrait of a Lady "--from which the title came. Kurt Suzuki--The other figure with the clearest gain from these two months is new catcher Kurt Suzuki. One of the two Twins to attend the aforementioned awkward all-star party, Suzuki parlayed his early success to fondness from fans and a long term contract. However, these moments of growth and personal victory are balanced by the knowledge that many other longer-term Twins signing (including the recently departed Willingham) have collapsed. Key Quotes/Stats Explained Cumulative WAR for Morales/Fuld/Correia/Willingham-- 1.1 Cumulative WAR for Vargas/Santana/May/Schafer-- 2.7 WAR (or Wins Above Replacement) is often the go to quote/stat for fans to trot out, yet the creation of the number is a rather complicated and differ depending on which equation (or translation of the equation you cite). http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/1696891/War_Magazine.jpg Generally speaking, things that positions players do to create runs (including drawing walks, getting various kinds of hits, and stealing bases) are multiplied by their relative weight or importance (home runs matter more than singles, etc.) and adjusted in relationship to their position on the field (with center fielders/short stops getting greater credit than first basemen and DHs). Those positive numbers are compared to the average player in the league to create a viable means of judging one player against another. [Meanwhile pitchers are judged almost entirely on preventing runs, largely through runs allowed during their innings pitched]. While the best players might have a +8 WAR, the average starter would be around 2, while the average bench player would be between 0 and 1.9 Within these chapters the Twins removed four players from consistent play and gave their time to four others. The four who left totaled 1.1 (though Kendrys Morales' -0.7 pulled that down significantly), while the four who stepped up totaled 2.7 (again undermined by Trevor May's -0.9). The broad take away is that, even though it does not translate into immediate results in the "win column", this shift is for the best for the Twins and their team. However, the net gain amongst hitters (+2.5) fails to compensate for the net loss from Correia to May (-0.7). Literary Term to Impress your Teacher/Attractive English Major Friend: http://cmclaughlin658.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/url1.jpeg Mmm...that's a good pastiche Our recent literary and cultural history has leaned heavily on satire and parody. The Daily Show uses satire to deliver a pointed critique on common styles of tv news programs. The "Scary Movie" franchise uses parody to expand on cliches and tropes in horror movies to the point of making them explode in absurdity. But the Twins' use neither of these, preferring instead to use pastiche, which again uses styles and habits of others, but does so for the purpose of honoring and complimenting the initial creator, rather than mocking them. Like TS Eliot--whose "Portrait of a Lady" poem builds off of Henry James, Christopher Marlowe and Jules Lafourge--these chapters of the Twins' 2014 season pay homage to the wealth of talented athletes who played on the field during the all-star game, and the restarted franchises who regained their talent through creative destruction.
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