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  1. I once had a degree in economics - admittedly it was in the 1960s so it is out dated. What I am trying to figure out is how do these intelligent, super rich owners in major league baseball get bamboozled. Okay, the LA Dodgers got Bauer. Wow is that special. Were they not going to win the NL West before they got him? What will he add? What if he gets hurt? How many people/teams were they bidding against? Last year the Angels signed Mike Trout to a $30 million dollars a year contract because he is the best in baseball and he had given them how many championships? I guess it was because their long term investment in Albert Pujols paid off so well. Now we have a $40 million dollar a year pitcher - and of course pitchers are not prone to injuries. Trevor Bauer really blossomed in a short strange Covid year. He is now 75 - 64 in 9 MLB seasons according to BR. Not even 10 victories per year. I know wins don't count (BS). If he starts 40 games (unlikely)he will be paid one million per game - does he have a refund for bad games? So what are they getting? Yes he has talent and will be really good for them, but how good? How much better than if they had signed Jake Odorizzi? Next year we will need a $50 million per year player and on and on. Why? What is the madness? I do not want billionaires to pocket all the profit, but my god is this ridiculous. The dollars are so insane I am losing my ability to watch the ball as it comes across the plate. Sorry for the rant, but I cannot help it. I remember when players got jobs in the off season. But I am sorry to be so old fashioned, poor MLB owners are hurting and want to have some relief from their Covid losses!
  2. Let’s forget for a second about WAR, launch angle, and exit velocity. Push your thoughts of FIP, xFIP, and BABIP to the side, and remember why we all got into baseball in the first place. It’s fun. So, I’ve compiled a short list of potential future Twins, and rated how fun they’d be in Minnesota from Boring to Very Fun. Enjoy. Javier Báez – Very Fun The Twins are in the market for a new shortstop and the Cubs seem to be in fire sale mode, so a move that sends Báez to Minnesota might be in both clubs’ best interests. And, simply put, Báez maxes out the fun meter. He’s a still relatively young, swagger-filled middle infielder that does amazing things in the field and sports a good amount of pop in his bat. Forget about his mediocre 2020 stats for a second – watching Báez play is fun because he has the look and the confidence of the best player on the field even if he really isn’t anymore. He’s been on the cover of The Show, something nobody else on this list can claim. And, I’ve kind of buried the lede here – the coolest part about El Mago (cool nickname too) are his tags. Trevor Story – Kinda Fun Trevor Story, another shortstop trade possibility, gets a Kinda Fun designation because, though he may be the best available option at short, he doesn’t boast the star power and flair of Báez and others. Don’t get me wrong – Story is a star; he’s great in the field and at the plate, but looking at his stats on baseball reference is almost more exciting that watching him play. It doesn’t help that he’s been marooned off in Colorado, but Story just doesn’t have that “it factor” or special skill that sets him above the other great shortstops in the league, at least in terms of fun-ness. He does have a pretty mean bat flip, but there’s no crazy tag compilation out there on YouTube, for example. He’ll be a very welcome addition to the Twins if he comes, but a middle-of-the-road rating on the fun meter feels right. Marcus Semien – Boring Marcus Semien is probably the best shortstop available on the free agency market, but there’s a reason a lot of Twins fans would rather give up young talent in a Báez or Story trade than simply sign the former Oakland shortstop. Signing Semien would just give off the feeling that they needed a shortstop and signed a shortstop, not the shortstop that anybody really wants. Semien has been a top-tier player in the past, but a pretty dismal 2020 makes him feel like a more expensive Jorge Polanco rather than a Polanco replacement, and spending on a player that does little to change the status quo is the opposite of fun. Perhaps if I allowed myself to make a joke about his last name, I could bump him up a few levels, but I’m not going to do that so he’s stays at Boring. Nelson Cruz – Fun Perhaps the Twins’ biggest question of the offseason is whether to bring Nelson Cruz back or not and, while our opinions may vary widely on whether it’s wise to spend on a 40-year-old DH, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. Nelson Cruz is fun. With Cruz, there’s no “shiny new car” feeling because he’s been in Minnesota for two years, but there’s a reason he’s been your dad’s favorite Twins player those two years. He’s been a star in the league for the better part of a decade and we love when stars come to Minnesota, especially when they lead the team to an MLB record for home runs. Even better, Cruz’s locker room personality is the driving force behind the “Bomba Squad” moniker and the team identity that’s the Twins last few years on of the most fun teams in the league. Marcell Ozuna – Fun Should the Twins decide against bringing back Cruz, Marcell Ozuna could serve as a long-term high-end option at DH. Though losing Cruz might be sad for many Twins fans, they’d be getting no downgrade in the fun department with Ozuna. He’s a big, muscular dude who wears a bright chartreuse arm sleeve and hits bombs. Massive bombs. In large quantities. Last year, Ozuna led the league in home runs and runs batted in and, though there are certainly more intelligent stats, big homer and RBI guys are very fun to have in the lineup. Advanced stats fans should like him too, as his exit velocity numbers and hard hit percentage were among the best in the league last year. The only thing keeping Ozuna from rising into the Very Fun tier is the possibility of a regression that could make him a Sanó-esque strikeout frustration. Trevor Bauer – Very Fun Now, the Twins odds acquiring the free agent ace and reigning NL Cy Young winner aren’t that great, but he falls into the Very Fun category, so it’s fun to imagine. Bauer is and always has been controversial, so he may not be every Twins fan’s cup of tea, but that’s exactly why I would love to have him so much. The guy who talks the most and angers the most people is exactly the type of guy you want on your team, as long as he’s playing well. And fresh off a Cy Young year, he’s certainly doing that. Above all else though, Bauer has a curious and innovative baseball mind that, as a fan, is fun to see on your favorite team. His appreciation for the craft of pitching is something that every Twins fan ought to be able to appreciate, even if some don’t like his attitude. Also – He’s a fun follow on YouTube. Sonny Gray – Not That Fun Gray, who was Bauer’s teammate last year in Cincinnati, would also be a good addition to the Twins rotation, but he’s not nearly as exciting. With a career ERA in the threes and a WHIP in the 1.2 range, Minnesota fans would probably be happy to have him, but we also managed to make Carl Pavano seem exciting. The fact is that, since he burst into the bigs as a rookie, nobody has ever called you excitedly to say “Hey, did you see what Sonny Gray did last night?!?!” unless they were a Yankees fan complaining about his poor performance in pinstripes. Gray seems like a fun guy to know and have in the locker room, but that doesn’t make him a fun player to watch. If he signs with Minnesota, he’ll be a mid-rotation out-getter more than a jersey-seller. Trevor Rosenthal – Kinda Fun The Twins haven’t had a true flamethrower in the bullpen (other than Brusdar Graterol’s 10 games) in a long while, but that’s what they would get by bringing in free agent reliever Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal looked on the brink of exiting the league not too long ago but was dominant down the stretch for the Padres last year, and he regularly touched triple-digit velocity. A dominant hard-throwing reliever is one of most exciting players to watch and have on your team, so Rosenthal, should he sign, would be a very entertaining player to have around. However, he’s only a year removed from being an out of control , and those guys are torturous to watch. I’ll hedge my bets and put him at Kinda Fun.
  3. As I read the entries on the TD sight we all imagine getting players in Free agency or big trades. This is especially true when we see the Padres making their moves. What I really liked was the WAR team ratings that MLB.com got from Fangraphs and I used for the Blog photo. This is really significant to me. It shows us ranked fifth, but there are five teams close behind us and only two in the AL ahead of us. So any move we make has to keep us above the teams right behind us like the White Sox. And ideally we would catch Houston and New York. This means any signing has to add WAR to our team and we have to subtract any WAR associated with the player we lose or demote. Trevor Bauer jumps the other teams, but looking at the rest of the top free agents - we do not need another catcher - Realmuto cannot get us there, does LeMahieu replace Arraez with enough positive growth - no. Ozuna could replace Cruz, but would not give us more than Cruz provided so it might be good long term, but it would not make a one year rise in team strength. Springer is great, but Kiriloff might be, Buxton might play a full year. He might give us a rise, but not all the way. Is Siemian enough of a SS and WAR player to lift the team when Polanco is subtracted from the WAR total? No. Sugaro? Who knows? He might be the wild card and maybe he can lift the bottom of the rotation enough to make the difference that we need. Hendriks would definitely give us a boost, especially since we have jettisoned so many, but if we subtract those we lost what would the net gain be? So we are in a rut. We are good, we will stay good, but will we rise? I think Trevor Bauer might be the only one who can do that for us and I do not feel like he is on our radar.
  4. This offseason was always going to be incredibly weird. Coming off a pandemic shortened season, with no fans, and an unprecedented amount of uncertainty still ahead, how teams would tackle preparations for 2021 is a mystery. The Twins are good though, and despite a few holes they want to get better. What if they go all in? This morning at ESPN Jeff Passan penned a piece regarding some rumblings he’s heard around the league. One of them was a note on the Minnesota Twins circling like a shark in the water. Executives had apparently suggested that Minnesota is “lurking” and appears “ready to strike with a big move as they did last season.” That big move alluded to was the signing of Josh Donaldson to a $100 million deal. How could something like that be replicated? On the free agent market there’s only a couple of splashes that would fall into that category in and of themselves. Signing Trevor Bauer, George Springer, or J.T. Realmuto would push dollar signs into that realm. Bauer is arguably the most natural fit of the group, and his next deal could be the most interesting. He’s previously said he’d like to by an assassin for hire and string together lucrative one-year deals. Agent Rachel Luba has commented that they’re open to whatever the best fit is. Bauer makes sense in Minnesota, but I’d imagine there’s other more desirable markets. Looking at the latter two options, the Twins would be in a bit of a weird spot even though both are clear upgrades. Springer plays corner outfield, and despite the departure of Eddie Rosario, the assumption is that top prospect Alex Kirilloff will take over in short order. Mitch Garver had a down and injury plagued year in 2020, but Ryan Jeffers looked the part of a starting quality option. Realmuto would push both to the bench, although he could make the DH spot less of a pressing Nelson Cruz matter. I don’t think anything else on the free agency front would qualify as Donaldson-esque. Maybe signing Didi Gregorious, Marcus Semien, or Andrelton Simmons to be the starting shortstop creates ripples, but none of those guys should break the bank. If it’s not going to happen on the open market, swinging a deal is something Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have done well with. Although the system isn’t as loaded as it once was, the Twins minor league depth right now is in a great place. Royce Lewis probably remains off the table, but he’s less untouchable than I assumed even a year ago. Beyond that, everyone should be under consideration. Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran headline the pitching while Trevor Larnach, Aaron Sabato, and Keoni Cavaco are the offensive gems. Without reading too much into what Passan has reported, there’s certainly a feeling of a silent killer right now. Chicago is looking to load up as the White Sox have their most competitive team in years. The Twins are the clear cream of the crop right now though and remaining there will take legitimate additions. After hearing about payroll decreases and scaled back financial efforts after decreased revenues in 2020, there should have been legitimate fear regarding Minnesota’s opportunity to capitalize. If this is just the beginning of smoke, and we don’t have fire for some time, the hope should be that this is an inkling of the Twins keeping their foot on the gas. The front office and development staff have pushed a largely home-grown roster to the point of opportunity. The window is wide open and continuing to jump through it as long as they can, should be the goal. One Postseason win, or a series victory is where it starts, but this organization has all the makings of a legitimate contender. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  5. The Trevor Bauer Argument Trevor Bauer dominated the 2020 season as he posted a 1.73 ERA with a 0.80 WHIP while leading the National League in ERA, CG, ERA+, WHIP, and H/9. It was a truly dominant season, but he only made 11 starts. To put this in perspective, he was traded from Cleveland to Cincinnati in 2019 and made 10 starts. During that span, his ERA was 6.39 and his WHIP was 1.35. Sample size is an important thing to consider in baseball and all professional sports. Looking at Bauer’s full career, adds a little more intrigue to the argument. Through his first six big-league seasons, he had a 4.36 ERA with a 1.36 WHIP. His ERA+ was 99 and his FIP was 4.15, so there was certainly some room for improvement. Even with his 2018 All-Star season and last year’s Cy Young campaign, he has a career 3.90 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. There’s only been one season where he has thrown over 190 innings and he only has an ERA less than 4.18 in two seasons. Will the team signing Bauer get the 2018 and 2020 version or the version that has been present throughout the rest of his career? The Jose Berrios Argument Minnesota could try and sign Jose Berrios to an extension this winter, but it will likely cost the club north of $100 million. Berrios is under team control for the next two seasons before reaching free agency as a 29-year old. The Twins have approached him about an extension in the past, but he betted on himself and is taking the arbitration process one year at a time. This could be the smart play for Berrios as he has direct control over his future because his future earnings will increase if he plays well. Compared to Bauer, Berrios has plenty of things in his favor. Outside of the abbreviated 2020 season, he had posted sub-3.90 ERA marks in three consecutive seasons. Bauer has only been able to match that total in one season where he made more than 11 starts. For his career, Berrios also has a better strikeout per walk total and a very similar WHIP to Bauer while pitching over 190 innings in 2018 and 2019. Trevor Bauer is a very good pitcher, and he has made some tremendous strides over the last three seasons. However, the Twins already have a similar pitcher under team control. Adding Bauer to the Twins rotation would certainly improve the rotation, but Minnesota also needs to figure out a way to keep a pitcher that has developed in their own organization. Who would you rather have over the next five years, Bauer or Berrios? 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
  6. Jose Berrios 2020 Stats (12 games): 4.00 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 109 ERA+, 4.06 FIP, 0.7 WAR Current Contract (2nd-Year Arbitration Eligible, Free Agent: 2023) In his second year of arbitration, Berrios is slated to make somewhere between $5-7.5 million. Last season, the Twins and Berrios couldn’t agree on a salary, so they had to go through an arbitration hearing. He had requested a salary of $4.4 million and the Twins offered $4.025 million. These hearings can be tough for the player and the team as they argue over a player’s value compared to similar players in previous seasons. It will be interesting to see if the two sides go through the hearing process again this year. Pros of Extending Now Minnesota has struggled to develop starting pitching in the organization for many years and Berrios is one of the lone players to prove he can be an effective starter at the big-league level. He’s already been a two-time All Star and the closer he gets to free agency, the more expensive an extension would cost. An extension this winter would allow Berrios and his family to be set-up for life and it would give the Twins some certainty with their costs moving forward. It isn’t going to be cheap to sign him, so sooner rather than later might be the key. Cons of Extending Now The Twins have previously approached Berrios with potential contract extensions, but he seems satisfied to go year-to-year through the arbitration process and betting on himself improving each season. “Every player wants to sign a multiyear deal, but we know it’s a business,” Berrios told the Star Tribune in spring training 2019. “I have to manage my business, too. … We’re waiting for the best for both sides. If it doesn’t happen this year, maybe next year.” Another year has passed, and an extension has yet to be signed. Possible Extension It’s likely for Berrios to make around $7 million in 2021 and then see a raise to around $10 million for 2022 before heading to free agency. An extension is going to be a little trickier since he has already entered the arbitration process and he is closer to free agency. Berrios isn’t going to take a hometown discount to stay with the Twins so that likely means he will be looking at a contract north of $100 million. According to Baseball Reference, one of the most similar pitchers to him through age 26 is Trevor Bauer and he is headed for a massive payday this winter. How much would you give Berrios in an extension? 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
  7. Free Agent Starting Pitchers at a Glance The Need: The Twins have Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda at the top of their 2021 rotation board. Randy Dobnak had one of the best ERAs in baseball through the first five or six weeks of the season. While the likes of Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer are options for the team’s fifth starter job, and the Twins have some very intriguing, exciting prospects getting closer, there would appear to be a need for one, and maybe two, starting pitchers this offseason. The Market (This list is not comprehensive): Trevor Bauer Masahiro Tanaka Marcus Stroman James Paxton Jake Odorizzi Jose Quintana Robbie Ray Kevin Gausman Mike Minor Alex Wood Julio Teheran Tyler Chatwood Garrett Richards Rick Porcello Rich Hill Mike Fiers Jeff Samardzija Drew Smyly Brett Anderson Taijuan Walker Michael Wacha Brad Peacock Our Targets: Mike Minor Age: 32 Former Team: Oakland 2020 Stats: 56.2 IP, 5.56 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Coming off of an All Star 2019 campaign with the Rangers, Minor struggled to a 1-6 record despite a career high in strikeout rate. The former first-round pick from Vanderbilt features four pitches. He saw his velocity dip a bit in 2020. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Marcus Stroman Age: 29 Former Team: NY Mets 2019 Stats: 184.1 IP, 3.22 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 (opted out in 2020) Why He’s a Fit: Stroman stayed on the Mets roster (Injured List) just long enough so that he could opt out and still become a free agent. The former top pick from Duke debuted in 2014 has consistently put up solid numbers and, when healthy, he eats innings. His 7.8 K/9 in 2019 was easily the best of his career, but he gets good fastball movement and gets a lot of ground balls. Estimated 2021 Salary: $13 million Trevor Bauer Age: 29 Former Team: Cincinnati 2020 Stats: 73.0 IP, 1.73 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 12.3 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Because he is one of the Top 3-4 pitchers in baseball. Bauer should be the NL Cy Young winner for 2020 when he put up the remarkable stats for the Reds. He will still be just 30 years old in 2021. There is the perceived Derek Falvey connection as well. Basically, how would a rotation of Bauer-Maeda-Berrios-Pineda-Dobnak look? That said, could the Twins do anything else this offseason if they signed Bauer? Estimated 2021 Salary: $30 million Drew Smyly Age: 31 Former Team: San Francisco 2020 Stats: 26.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 14.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Smyly came up as a top prospect of the Tigers, got traded and then the injuries came. He missed the entire 2017 and 2018 seasons. He returned in 2019 with a 6.24 ERA over 114 innings, though he struck out 120 batters. He pitch adjust 26 1/3 innings in 2020, but he had an incredible 42 strikeouts. His fastball velocity was up nearly three mph compared to the rest of his career. Estimated 2021 Salary: $4 million Kevin Gausman Age: 29 Former Team: San Francisco 2020 Stats: 59.2 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Gausman was a top pitching prospect from LSU when he was the 4th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He spent years in Baltimore unable to take his talent to a next level. In his time with the O’s, he topped out at 8.7 K/9, a solid number. The last two years, that number has increased to 10.0 K/9 in 2019 and 11.9 K/9 in 2020. He’s always had good control and he still throws 95 mph with the fastball and throws four pitches. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Robbie Ray Age: 29 Former Team: Toronto 2020 Stats: 51.2 IP, 6.62 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 11.8 K/9, 7.8 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Ray had a rough 2020 season posting an ERA and a WHIP well worse than anything previously in his career. However, his K/9 rates since 2016 are 11.3, 12.1, 12.0, 12.1, and it was still 11.9 in 2020. Ray threw 93.7 mph fastballs, consistent with his entire career. He threw 31% sliders and 16% curveballs, so I am quite intrigued by what Wes Johnson and the Twins pitching gurus might be able to do with him. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Brett Anderson Age: 32 Former Team: Milwaukee 2020 Stats: 47.0 IP, 4.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Anderson has always been an intriguing pitcher going way back, but he just was unable to stay healthy most years. In 2019, he made 31 starts. It was just the third season in which he had more than 19 starts since his debut season in 2009. And in 2020, he made ten starts. It sure sees he’s been around forever, but he’ll spend the entire 2021 season at age 33. He rarely hits 90 mph (though that’s not new) and his 6.1 K/9 was higher than all but one of his previous six seasons. Estimated 2021 Salary: $4 million Tyler Chatwood Age: 30 Former Team: Chicago Cubs 2020 Stats: 18.2 IP, 5.30 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 12.1 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: It’s fair to say that things didn’t go as he’d hoped when he signed a big, three-year contract with the Cubs. That first season, he walked way too many. The next season, he worked out of the bullpen. In 2020, he made just five starts before experiencing a forearm/elbow injury. So, why is he a fit? I mean, those strikeouts were nice. Estimated 2021 Salary: $6 million Mike Fiers Age: 35 Former Team: Oakland 2020 Stats: 59.0 IP, 4.58 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 5.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Veteran of 10 big league seasons has gone 21-7 over the past two seasons, though his numbers in 2020 with the A’s were not great. He throws strikes, and he is a veteran. He could be a Homer Bailey type signing for veteran leadership, but will his “tattling” on his former Astros teammates hurt him in the industry now that he is a free agent? Could that bring down his asking price, and if so, he’s not a bad #5 starter for any team. Estimated 2021 Salary: $5 million Let us know in the comments who you like at these positions, or if you'd rather stick with Rosario and Cruz. In the meantime, check out previous episodes of Offseason Live and see what's upcoming: Ep 1: (Thurs, 10/8) Ep 2: (Tues, 10/13) Ep 3: (Thurs, 10/15) Ep 4: (Tues, 10/20) Ep 5: (Thurs, 10/22) Ep 6: (Tues, 10/27) Ep 7: Free Agency – Starting Pitchers (Thurs, 10/29) Ep 8: Free Agency – Relief Pitchers (Thurs, 11/5) Ep 9: Twins Trade Targets (Tues, 11/10) Ep 10: Offseason Blueprints (Thurs, 11/12) https://twitter.com/twinsdaily/status/1321980422570483712 MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  8. At spring training, we were all excited about the Bomba Squad with Josh Donaldson. How many runs would the offense score? Instead, to all of our surprise, the Twins success in 2020 largely came as a result of very good pitching. The team has a Big Three going into the offseason, but how might they replace Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill in their starting rotation? Free Agent Starting Pitchers at a Glance The Need: The Twins have Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda at the top of their 2021 rotation board. Randy Dobnak had one of the best ERAs in baseball through the first five or six weeks of the season. While the likes of Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer are options for the team’s fifth starter job, and the Twins have some very intriguing, exciting prospects getting closer, there would appear to be a need for one, and maybe two, starting pitchers this offseason. The Market (This list is not comprehensive): Trevor BauerMasahiro TanakaMarcus StromanJames PaxtonJake OdorizziJose QuintanaRobbie RayKevin GausmanMike MinorAlex WoodJulio TeheranTyler ChatwoodGarrett RichardsRick PorcelloRich HillMike FiersJeff SamardzijaDrew SmylyBrett AndersonTaijuan WalkerMichael WachaBrad Peacock Our Targets: Mike Minor Age: 32 Former Team: Oakland 2020 Stats: 56.2 IP, 5.56 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Coming off of an All Star 2019 campaign with the Rangers, Minor struggled to a 1-6 record despite a career high in strikeout rate. The former first-round pick from Vanderbilt features four pitches. He saw his velocity dip a bit in 2020. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Marcus Stroman Age: 29 Former Team: NY Mets 2019 Stats: 184.1 IP, 3.22 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 (opted out in 2020) Why He’s a Fit: Stroman stayed on the Mets roster (Injured List) just long enough so that he could opt out and still become a free agent. The former top pick from Duke debuted in 2014 has consistently put up solid numbers and, when healthy, he eats innings. His 7.8 K/9 in 2019 was easily the best of his career, but he gets good fastball movement and gets a lot of ground balls. Estimated 2021 Salary: $13 million Trevor Bauer Age: 29 Former Team: Cincinnati 2020 Stats: 73.0 IP, 1.73 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 12.3 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Because he is one of the Top 3-4 pitchers in baseball. Bauer should be the NL Cy Young winner for 2020 when he put up the remarkable stats for the Reds. He will still be just 30 years old in 2021. There is the perceived Derek Falvey connection as well. Basically, how would a rotation of Bauer-Maeda-Berrios-Pineda-Dobnak look? That said, could the Twins do anything else this offseason if they signed Bauer? Estimated 2021 Salary: $30 million Drew Smyly Age: 31 Former Team: San Francisco 2020 Stats: 26.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 14.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Smyly came up as a top prospect of the Tigers, got traded and then the injuries came. He missed the entire 2017 and 2018 seasons. He returned in 2019 with a 6.24 ERA over 114 innings, though he struck out 120 batters. He pitch adjust 26 1/3 innings in 2020, but he had an incredible 42 strikeouts. His fastball velocity was up nearly three mph compared to the rest of his career. Estimated 2021 Salary: $4 million Kevin Gausman Age: 29 Former Team: San Francisco 2020 Stats: 59.2 IP, 3.62 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 11.9 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Gausman was a top pitching prospect from LSU when he was the 4th overall pick in the 2012 draft. He spent years in Baltimore unable to take his talent to a next level. In his time with the O’s, he topped out at 8.7 K/9, a solid number. The last two years, that number has increased to 10.0 K/9 in 2019 and 11.9 K/9 in 2020. He’s always had good control and he still throws 95 mph with the fastball and throws four pitches. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Robbie Ray Age: 29 Former Team: Toronto 2020 Stats: 51.2 IP, 6.62 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 11.8 K/9, 7.8 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Ray had a rough 2020 season posting an ERA and a WHIP well worse than anything previously in his career. However, his K/9 rates since 2016 are 11.3, 12.1, 12.0, 12.1, and it was still 11.9 in 2020. Ray threw 93.7 mph fastballs, consistent with his entire career. He threw 31% sliders and 16% curveballs, so I am quite intrigued by what Wes Johnson and the Twins pitching gurus might be able to do with him. Estimated 2021 Salary: $10 million Brett Anderson Age: 32 Former Team: Milwaukee 2020 Stats: 47.0 IP, 4.21 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Anderson has always been an intriguing pitcher going way back, but he just was unable to stay healthy most years. In 2019, he made 31 starts. It was just the third season in which he had more than 19 starts since his debut season in 2009. And in 2020, he made ten starts. It sure sees he’s been around forever, but he’ll spend the entire 2021 season at age 33. He rarely hits 90 mph (though that’s not new) and his 6.1 K/9 was higher than all but one of his previous six seasons. Estimated 2021 Salary: $4 million Tyler Chatwood Age: 30 Former Team: Chicago Cubs 2020 Stats: 18.2 IP, 5.30 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 12.1 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: It’s fair to say that things didn’t go as he’d hoped when he signed a big, three-year contract with the Cubs. That first season, he walked way too many. The next season, he worked out of the bullpen. In 2020, he made just five starts before experiencing a forearm/elbow injury. So, why is he a fit? I mean, those strikeouts were nice. Estimated 2021 Salary: $6 million Mike Fiers Age: 35 Former Team: Oakland 2020 Stats: 59.0 IP, 4.58 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 5.6 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 Why He’s a Fit: Veteran of 10 big league seasons has gone 21-7 over the past two seasons, though his numbers in 2020 with the A’s were not great. He throws strikes, and he is a veteran. He could be a Homer Bailey type signing for veteran leadership, but will his “tattling” on his former Astros teammates hurt him in the industry now that he is a free agent? Could that bring down his asking price, and if so, he’s not a bad #5 starter for any team. Estimated 2021 Salary: $5 million Let us know in the comments who you like at these positions, or if you'd rather stick with Rosario and Cruz. In the meantime, check out previous episodes of Offseason Live and see what's upcoming: Ep 1: (Thurs, 10/8)Ep 2: (Tues, 10/13)Ep 3: (Thurs, 10/15)Ep 4: (Tues, 10/20)Ep 5: (Thurs, 10/22)Ep 6: (Tues, 10/27)Ep 7: Free Agency – Starting Pitchers (Thurs, 10/29)Ep 8: Free Agency – Relief Pitchers (Thurs, 11/5)Ep 9: Twins Trade Targets (Tues, 11/10)Ep 10: Offseason Blueprints (Thurs, 11/12) MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  9. The former Blue Jays starter didn’t pitch in 2020, and he used some shrewd maneuvering to benefit himself for 2021. Despite a calf tear during Summer Camp, Stroman had ramped up nearly to the point of return for the New York Mets. Having accumulated just enough time to be eligible for free agency in the upcoming offseason, he opted out of the season citing a “collective family decision.” I’m not at all here to question his motives, but good on him for putting his own situation first in a sport that saw owners look to exploit the talent over and over prior to resumption. On the field there’s plenty to unpack with Stroman. He’ll turn 30 in the year ahead and has made a single All-Star Game while generating Cy Young votes just once. He has compiled a career 3.76 ERA and 2019 was arguably his best season as a big leaguer. When healthy Stroman has been an innings eater, and while his career K/9 is just 7.4, he also doesn’t get bit by the long ball or free passes. What Stroman brings to the table is a very consistent approach. He doesn’t own a big fastball, and the average velocity hovers around 94 mph. His whiff rates have always been right around 9% and he forces the opposition to chase just under one-third of the time. What you’re going to get is very few barreled balls and a ton of ground ball outs. The book on Stroman has read virtually the same for the entirety of his career and it’s why the deal to the Mets made little sense a year ago. New York employed arguably the worst infield in baseball, and predictably Stroman was worse off. He went from a 2.96 ERA and 3.51 FIP with Toronto in 2019 to a 3.77 ERA and 4.15 FIP in the Big Apple. Making sure a pitcher like Marcus is backed by sure handed infielders is imperative. Enter the Minnesota Twins and what 2020 saw them do. Josh Donaldson is a massive upgrade defensively at the hot corner, obviously he needs to remain available there. While Jorge Polanco struggled mightily at the plate, he performed adequately in the field. Luis Arraez was better at second base, and Miguel Sano looks entirely passable at first. In totality the Twins were 10th in baseball in defensive fWAR and 3rd when it came to infield outs above average. The entire aforementioned group will be back, and it’s one capable of supporting a ground ball heavy pitcher. These aren’t the same Twins instructing arms to generate soft contact and allow batters to put the ball on the ground. That said, being able to do so at a high level as Stroman is, allows Wes Johnson an ability to pull more from the rest of his game. It’s hard to imagine a massive overhaul at age-30, but considering his prime, a velocity and strikeout boost even in a slight manner could have Stroman experiencing new heights. 2020 saw Stroman awarded a prorated portion of $12 million through arbitration. His 2019 deal checked in at $7.4 million. He’s going to want a long-term deal, and there’s no denying he’s going to get paid. I’d imagine he’ll be more affordable than Bauer however, and that could make the Twins a serious player for his services. By all accounts it appears that Stroman has been a good clubhouse guy and someone you’d want to have on your team. He’s worn blue previously, knows the northern weather well, and could be Minnesota’s 2021 version of Kenta Maeda. I’m on board with this acquisition, and you’d be hard pressed to make an argument for their not being a fit. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  10. The lineup should remain virtually unchanged going into 2021. Eddie Rosario is a prime non-tender candidate given his production and assume cost. Also noting that both Brent Rooker and Alex Kirilloff appear major league ready, there’s an immediate replacement to be had. If Nelson Cruz is retained, and hopefully only on a reasonable contract, then much of the punch should be back. Where Derek Falvey has work to do is on the pitching front. Minnesota was actually very good on the bump each of the past two seasons, but there’s an exodus of sorts that is taking place this winter. Only three of the rotation spots are accounted for, and finding more pitching is the goal of every organization. For a guy familiar with the former Cleveland Indians pitcher, a reunion between Derek and Trevor Bauer makes a lot of sense. Here’s the deal though, it’s highly unlikely and that’s because every team in baseball could use Trevor Bauer. He knows that, and every front office around the league knows that. Whether a multi-year deal is struck, or he sticks to his guns as a hired assassin on one-year pacts, the payday is going to come. Expected to be named the National League Cy Young winner, Bauer posted a ridiculous 1.73 ERA across 73.0 innings in 2020. He owned a 12.3 K/9 with just a 2.1 BB/9 en route to a 276 ERA+. Arguably no one in the game knows their body better than Bauer knows his, and he’s continued to push the boundaries of what can be expected from him. Turning 30 in January, there’s also expected to be plenty of mileage left on his arm. He wants to extract the most from himself in terms of performance and was able to convince the Reds to allow him an opportunity to pitch on just four days rest. Sustaining that throughout a full season would be a throwback of sorts, but he has it down to a science in order to make it work. Those additional trips to the mound would seemingly provide more value to any suitor, especially if only carrying the risk for a single season at a time. Circling back to what Minnesota has in front of them, they’re coming off inking the largest free agent contract in history. However, prorated pay in a Covid shortened sprint had the total expense checking in just north of $55 million, or 18th in baseball (and two spots shy of league average). Despite the losses in fan generated revenues this season, the reality is no franchises find themselves in a place of struggle, and especially not a Twins team right in the heart of their competitive window. It makes sense for the front office to spend a bit on the bullpen, hand out a nice chunk of change to Nelson Cruz, and maybe find a utility man that requires a little bit more of a monetary commitment. In all of that though, there’s not really an avenue to a significant expense. Minnesota will be up against plenty of competition for Bauer’s services, but handing him a blank check would be ego stroking and potentially enough to get it done. This should be great theater to watch unfold, and Twins Daily Women in Baseball participant Rachel Luba is going to have a field day representing her high-profile client. Where the Twins can allow themselves to enter the ring is in saying the top of the staff is yours, write the amount that will get it done. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  11. While it did seem like we would struggle to have baseball in 2020 for a period of time, Sunday marked the culmination of the regular season. Major League Baseball overcame outbreaks and adverse conditions to reach its destined conclusion. Now, as a member of the IBWAA, I needed to look back and hand out some votes. Just like the BBWAA, the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America votes on all major award categories on a yearly basis. The results will be tabulated and revealed at a later date, but here is what my ballot looked like. American League MVP: Jose Ramirez (runners up: Jose Abreu, Mike Trout, Brandon Lowe, Nelson Cruz) Ramirez posted 3.4 fWAR in 2020 to lead all players in the game. Cleveland made a strong comeback into the AL Central Division race at the end of the season, and it was on the bat of Ramirez that the White Sox met their match. Cleveland’s lineup struggled to produce for much of the season, but it was Ramirez that provided the spark and will be their leader come Postseason play. National League MVP: Freddie Freeman (runners up: Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Mookie Betts, Trea Turner) What a story in the National League. The Atlanta Braves were expected to be good, but Freeman was dealt a tough hand when contracting COVID-19 and dealing with substantial symptoms. He mentioned being extremely fearful in the midst of his illness and got a late start to Summer Camp. He then posted a 3.3 fWAR on the season and trailed only Cleveland’s Ramirez in that category across the entire landscape of the game. American League Cy Young: Shane Bieber (runners up: Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu) Little debate needed to take place here. While there were other strong pitching performances this season, it was Bieber that was the cream of the crop. Not Justin posted double-digit strikeout performances in eight of his 12 starts this season, and he gave up more than two runs in an outing just three times. It was mastery each time he stepped on the mound. National League Cy Young: Trevor Bauer (runners up: Yu Darvish, Jacob deGrom) Cincinnati looked to be a darling team this year, and if they make noise in the Postseason it’ll be in large part due to their pitching staff. Trevor Bauer takes down the ERA title and racked up a career best 12.3 K/9. He led the league in ERA+, WHIP, and H/9. In his final year with the Reds, there’s little denying a nice payday is coming. American League Rookie of the Year: Kyle Lewis (runners up: James Karinchak, Luis Robert) Chicago’s rising star was expected to run away with this, but it was the Seattle Mariners rookie that jumped out to a quick lead and hid. Kyle Lewis has plenty of swing and miss in his profile, but he played a great centerfield while shower tremendous power with his bat as well. Adjustments will be necessary down the line, but there’s little denying he was the cream of the crop in 2020. National League Rookie of the Year: Devin Williams (runners up: Ke’Bryan Hayes, Alec Bohm) Taken in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft, Williams took his time getting to the big leagues. In 27.0 IP this year he racked up a ridiculous 17.7 K/9 and allowed just a single earned run on eight total hits. Dominance is what the Brewers got out of their stud reliever, and it’s that effort that took him from unknown to award winner. American League Manager of the Year: Kevin Cash (runners up: Bob Melvin, Rocco Baldelli) With the Yankees expected to run away in the AL East, the Tampa Bay Rays capitalizing on opportunity was impressive. Reaching 40 wins and posting the best record in the American League, Tampa consistently beat not only New York, but Toronto and the rest of the division as well. Cash got great seasons from more than a handful of players and the Rays have him to thank for their position as the one seed. National League Manager of the Year: Don Mattingly (runners up: Dave Roberts, David Ross) This season was always going to be one of unprecedented proportions, but when you need to replace over half a team due to a virus outbreak, you’ve got another thing coming. Don Mattingly not only overcame that massive hurdle, but he guided an afterthought Marlins team back to the Postseason. Miami could pose a threat in a three-game series, and their skipper is to thank for positioning them there. American League Reliever of the Year: Liam Hendriks (runners up: Brad Hand, James Karinchak) Operating as the closer for one of the best teams in baseball, Hendriks got plenty of opportunity to perform in key situations. He racked up 14 saves while posting a 13.1 K/9. He also owned a 1.78 ERA and had an even better 1.14 FIP. All of the strikeouts, none of the free passes, the Aussie continues to be one of the best in baseball. National League Reliever of the Year: Devin Williams (runners up: Edwin Diaz, Raisel Iglesias) It was nice to see the Mets Edwin Diaz rebound from 2019 and be in the running here, but the Brewers rookie was among the most dominant pitchers the sport has ever seen with his work in 2020. He didn’t pitch the 9th with Milwaukee having the services of Josh Hader, but Williams was often the guy in key spots. His efficiency only fueled his dominance and taking home another award here is only fitting. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  12. The Minnesota Twins came into 2020 having set a Major League record in home runs, had one of the best seasons in franchise history, and with an offense poised to set the world on fire. As with everything else this year, very little has gone as expected. Now on the final day to make some roster swaps, it isn’t time to push the panic button. Major League Baseball bumped the trade deadline back to August 31st this year in order to accommodate a sensible timeline amidst a 60-game sprint. Minnesota currently stands at 20-15 looking up at both the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians in the AL Central division. While division titles are nice, they couldn’t mean less this year. The top seeds will still face a club with a winning record, and they’ll do so in just a three-game series. I love the idea of adding Trevor Bauer to this club, solely because it’s my belief he’s the only pitcher capable of slotting into the top of Minnesota’s rotation. Although he’s a short-term rental and would make something like 5-8 starts, maybe the familiarity helps to re-sign him this offseason. Outside of that, any move should come with a future caveat as well. Next season the Twins will need to replace three-fifths of their Opening Day starting rotation. Trevor May is an impending free agent, and Nelson Cruz’s status remains up in the air. While the core of this club remains strong, there’s certainly pieces that will need to be shuffled around. For Minnesota to target an asset in the midst of a volatile year, and only have eyes on making it pay off immediately, would be a misstep. In any season there’s a relative amount of luck when it comes to winning a World Series. Doing so amongst a 16-team playoff field, with no fans, and potentially no home field to speak of, is a crapshoot at best. That doesn’t water down winning a ring this year, everyone is dealing with the same conditions, but it does make operating in a traditional sense irrational. Maybe a reunion with Lance Lynn works out. He’s a really good pitcher that really didn’t like his situation back in 2018. Maybe Dylan Bundy and his slider are another weapon for Wes Johnson and the Minnesota brain trust to deploy. Those are the types of moves that have future benefit too. Do you go all in on Josh Hader? That’s a great arm in play as well. No matter what the Twins do though, having more benefit than just 2020 has to be part of the outcome. There’s no doubt this club is going to make the Postseason. There’s no doubt the healthy version of their lineup is a force to be reckoned with. The greatest doubt is how it all comes together the rest of the way, and then when 2021 rolls around, what remains when the dust has settled? For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  13. Here’s the deal, Rob Manfred opened the floodgates and is allowing everyone and their dance partner into the Postseason. With a shortened 60-game sprint, there’s not going to be any significant distance between the top and bottom teams (except, well, sorry Pittsburgh). That means that with over 20 games to go teams with poor records aren’t incentivized enough to blow things up. A single hot streak could get you right back in the thick of things. Then you also have the added wrinkle of what is being swapped from the contenders. In a traditional year you’d have prospects moving to new homes in favor of proven big-league veterans. This year only players in the 60-man player pool are available to be traded. Guys outside of that group can be included in deals but must be done so as players to be named later or PTBNL. There’s also the reality that while Major League Baseball is making information from alternate sites available to clubs, there’s been no MiLB season and development in 2020 has likely been lackluster at best. Finally, consider that anyone being swapped could choose to opt out on their own volition, and well, we’re dealing with an incredible amount of volatility here. Now, back to Trevor Bauer. He’s the guy. Not Johnny Cueto, not Matt Boyd, and certainly not Lance Lynn. No, if the Minnesota Twins are set on bolstering their starting rotation for the Postseason the lone avenue to do so is grabbing an ace in the form of Bauer. He’s an impending free agent and currently playing on a prorated portion of a $17.5 million deal. He looks the part of a current National League Cy Young candidate, and he’s nuked 49 batters through his first 32.2 IP in 2020. After being largely mediocre for the first six years of his career, Bauer had a coming out party in 2018. He posted a 2.21 ERA and led the league with a 2.44 FIP. The Indians hurler made his first All-Star game and finished 6th in Cy Young voting. A slight step backwards in 2019 paved the way for where we are now. Bauer owns a dazzling 1.65 ERA, league leading 13.5 K/9, and also holds MLB best marks in WHIP (0.735) and H/9 (4.1). He’s always been a high strikeout guy, but command is now better than ever and he’s honed in on his stuff. Arguably the most interesting pitcher in baseball, Bauer certainly comes with his quirks. He was someone I misunderstood for a time in Cleveland but have now very much come to appreciate. It’s clear his intention is to grow the game and engage with fans. Through his , media company, and social media outlets, you may learn more about Trevor Bauer the person than you could ever understand about Trevor Bauer the baseball player. On top of that, it’s not an accident he’s a very good pitcher.As a Driveline disciple, Bauer works with his stuff as much as anyone in the game. His fastball sits at 93 mph this year, but it’s the spin and movement he puts on it that make him unhittable. He’s a nightly feature on Pitching Ninja peek-ins, and his results light up the Statcast leaderboards. In short, this is the pinnacle of what you seek to acquire or develop on the pitching front. Now let’s throw some water on all of this. The Cincinnati Reds are 11-16, but that’s just two games back in the win column from inclusion as the final Postseason participant in the National League. On top of that, the organization went in hard this offseason signing guys like Nicholas Castellanos and Mike Moustakas. Those moves weren’t made with the idea of blowing it up just over 30 games into the season. If a deal is to be struck, it’s not going to come cheaply. While Bauer is a free agent at the end of the year, and he’s more than made it clear his intention is to go year-by-year the rest of his career, the Reds will want a healthy return right now. Minnesota has significant ammo with top prospects galore at their alternate site, but what price is too steep for a guy that may not be around a few months from now? Derek Falvey certainly has a familiar relationship with Bauer given their time together in the Indians organization. Maybe even Twins Daily can broker the deal with Bauer’s agent Rachel Luba having been featured among the Women in Baseball series. No matter what level of comfort however, the uncertainty regarding a move now, and how little value it may provide down the road, should be reason for all parties to pause. At the end of the day, Bauer is probably a pipe dream. There’s a reason Cueto is seen as the most likely prize on the starting pitching market. However, if it’s the rotation Minnesota wants to work on, there’s only one way for the organization to take a big step forward. It’s with the guy who plays with drones and mows down the opposition. Plus, the season series with the Royals is done, so we won’t have to worry about him sending anything the rest of the way. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  14. You may not yet know Rachel Luba’s name, but you absolutely know who she represents. Former Cleveland pitcher and current Cincinnati Reds hurler Trevor Bauer met the founder of Luba Sports during his time at UCLA. In 2020 Rachel successfully negotiated the second highest contract for an arbitration-eligible pitcher in MLB history. At $17.5 million it was a number that trails only David Price’s $19.75 figure from 2015. Paving a Path Part 1: Britt Ghiroli Paving a Path Part 2: Melanie Newman The former gymnast set out to create her own path in a very male dominated industry and is doing so by taking non-traditional steps to differentiate the experience and set herself apart. With a branding and content strategy pushing the envelope for a connection between clients and fans further on a daily basis, it’s clear to see why she’s among the brightest names in the sport. She took some time to answer a few questions, and there’s a ton to dive into: Twins Daily: Being a former Division 1 gymnast and longtime athlete yourself, it's not surprising that you'd find a career within sports. When did that path become baseball and how did you know being an agent was your calling? Rachel Luba: I was an athlete my entire life, I started gymnastics at the age of two. Unfortunately, gymnastics isn’t a career you can have into adulthood and make money off of, so I knew once I was retired, I needed to find something else to do within sports. I was always drawn towards the individual athlete rather than working for a team, which tends to be the more popular route, but for me being an individual athlete my entire life it was the path I realized that I was passionate about. In college as a student athlete myself, I became good friends with a lot of the UCLA baseball players helping them manage their daily lives and schoolwork. I enjoyed learning about their industry which was very different than anything I had grown up with in the sport of gymnastics. Learning more about it, that’s when I really decided I wanted to work in baseball. TD: With representation I'd imagine the process involves a good deal of networking as well as talent evaluation. What do you feel like drives clients to Luba Sports specifically? RL: It’s a very different type of agency compared to the many others out there. Most agencies offer plenty of services, take a percentage of the contract, and everything is the same across the board. What clients tend to end up feeling is that they aren’t necessarily getting all of those services they were promised prior to the contract. Really the money an agency generates comes from the on-field contract, and once that contract is locked in, that’s all taken care of regardless whether the player leaves the next day. My client Trevor Bauer for example, has additional services that have tied incentives for me as an agent, that then ensure the relationship extends beyond that initial contract. Players create a certain value on the field and then pay a portion of that to an agent when signing a contract. Tying it more into a service provided structure, there’s opportunity to utilize the agency in whatever way best suits the athlete’s needs. As the industry and valuations of play on the field has changed, players see a benefit to pay for the value of services provided by an agent rather than just a set percentage of their negotiated contracts. TD: Trevor Bauer is obviously the most notable player you work with. You both have worked tremendously to create revenue streams and channels of interactivity outside of the game. How important has that diversification been, and where do your creative strategies come from? RL: This is something that we have been tremendously focused on. Trevor’s five-year goal was to be the most internationally recognized name in baseball, which means we needed to start getting his brand out there and expanding his audience. One of the initial hurdles was that Trevor Bauer’s story was often originally told by the media and misrepresented who he was. He has so many different interests and we wanted to find the niche audience where he could express and explore each of those. He needed to start talking more. Without his voice, the media or whoever else, was allowed to create the stories they thought were reflective of him. Trevor is passionate about teaching, and it’s derived from his engineering background. The way in which he uses Twitter, Instagram, and now YouTube as a resource to explore that creativity seemed like the perfect match. Getting his message, values, and personality out there was the goal, and is something we’ve done a great job of thus far. TD: As a female in a male dominated industry have you felt an uphill battle to establish yourself, and is there an additional sense of pride in earning and deserving a seat at the table? RL: It’s been an uphill battle from the very beginning. People told me “that’s cute” and didn’t take seriously that this was what I really wanted to do. Some offered their “advice” in warning me this wasn’t a great path or in an effort to deter me from the decision. A mentor of mine told me that in baseball, when a man walks into a room it’s viewed that he belongs there and knows what he’s doing. When you walk into a room, it will be assumed you’re a secretary, girlfriend, or a wife. You have to prove otherwise. Whether diving in depth into analytics, having a substantial among of arbitration credentials, or something else entirely, I set myself up to be overly qualified in order to prove my worth. I feel like getting Trevor the second highest salary for a starting pitcher in arbitration validates my place, but there will always be people questioning how I got here. The reality is people will always be looking to question my validity. In a specific YouTube video, I found myself unsure of an answer (as did Trevor), and upon checking with the MLBPA, they too told me they’d need to get back after double checking they had the right information. Being a female, my uncertainty was labeled as stupid, wrong, and out of place. Absolutely there’s pride involved. It took me several days to soak it in upon landing my first client and doing my first contract. I reflected a few days later on all of the people up to this point that continue telling me I can’t or it’s not possible. A lot of work went into this and a lot of people doubted you, be proud of yourself. I’m not done though, so while there is pride, it’s just part of the process and we have a long ways to go. TD: Being that baseball is currently shelved, what does that do for the life of an agent. While being involved with the resumption of the sport at least in a secondary sense, is some of the job now playing counselor or therapist and listening to frustrations in a difficult time? RL: It’s been a rollercoaster and you never really know what the days hold for you. Whether calls with the union or discussing implications with players, each day you have a plan and then it can end up being totally different. This isn’t what I expected for my first year of starting an agency, but I’m enjoying all of the curveballs being thrown my way. Being there for your clients, whether daily life situations or the mental aspects of an unprecedented time, was certainly an additional job responsibility no one saw coming. TD: What's next for you? Is the goal to continue creating a larger brand? Expanding into different sports or forms of representation? RL: First and foremost, I want to keep growing my agency and my brand. The latter is a stress I make to players, so it’s something I remain aware of for myself and intend to be an example. I hope to grow in the baseball industry as well as branching into other sports. I want to take Luba Sports and this type of representation to other sports. My vision is that I would have different divisions for each sport all utilizing the same unique financial fee structure. TD: It's not only baseball that's on hold, and with sports paused completely, what have you been doing to keep yourself busy. California obviously lends itself to nice weather, but what are some of your favorite hobbies outside of the game? RL: I’ve been back and forth between California and Arizona. Baseball has kept me busy enough, it has not been slow, and probably has been busier than during the actual season. Lots of work, and a lot of content helping Momentum with some of their things. I’ve done a lot of foundational work for my website and agency as a whole. Working out has always been a huge part of my life and has helped to keep me sane. Follow Rachel and check out her work here. Check back in next week for the final entry in this Women in Baseball series. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  15. Monday represented a day in which Major League Baseball could’ve announced a season. Fed up with the same offer being sliced different ways, the MLBPA had broken off negotiation talks and said simply, “We’re ready, let us know where to be.” The response to that from the owners and Manfred was to threaten a season taking place at all. The impasse here is that any season without a negotiated agreement would come under an imposed ruling from the Commissioner, which was agreed to in the players March discussions. The caveat however was that the season would be implemented with the intention of playing the most games possible, something the owners have actively campaigned against. Right now, Manfred could implement a calendar of roughly 70 games, but that would be roughly 20 more than those paying the checks want to play. We don’t know for certain whether this is another stall tactic or an effort by Manfred to get the sides back at the negotiating table. Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer is calling it like it is, and sees the mandate to withdraw any notion of a grievance as Manfred leveraging a season of baseball to give the owners what they want. https://twitter.com/BauerOutage/status/1272641345941721088 There’s plenty of reasons to believe this is what’s happening. There’s been rumblings that some owners would be fine with no season at all, and the reality for most is that baseball teams are simply another avenue for cash flow within their portfolio. It’s not about being profitable as much as it is how much profit is actually being generated. For the last twenty years revenues have skyrocketed in the sport, and now because the green may not be as large for a calendar year, it’s apparently worth blowing it all up. On Monday night ESPN aired a segment called “The Return of Sports.” Rob Manfred was invited alongside several other league commissioners. It’s only his league that can’t figure out how to get back on the field though. In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s not a health scare that’s keeping baseball on the shelf, but instead one man and the thirty ownership groups he represents. As fans, we’re all the losers here. The Minnesota Twins are set to field one of their best teams since winning the World Series. Mike Trout is in the middle of his prime and could go down as the best to ever play the game. Heck, Albert Pujols is chasing down Babe Ruth at the tail end of his career. Because baseball’s profitability is being impacted, and mind you we don’t know to what extent as books are kept private, those who run it are ready to throw this all away. For the past few years Rob Manfred has set out to increase the popularity of his sport. He’s sought out avenues to draw in new fans and speed up the pace of play. While many of those ideas have been futile at best, he’s found a way to take a large steaming dump on any positive momentum in the matter of a couple weeks. Baseball diehards will return, but the casual fan couldn’t be more apt to throw up their hands at this mess. Over the weekend Long Gone Summer gave us a glimpse into the home run race of 1998. Bud Selig and the owners turned a blind eye to steroids and drug testing because it saved baseball after the 1994 strike. That won’t be an avenue for rebound this time, and nothing suggests Manfred has the capabilities to lead out of this dark time. A mandated 50 game slate in a couple of weeks would prove Bauer right. A cancelled season would drive a nail into the coffin of those running the sport forever. What was once a “both” issue is now squarely on the shoulders of those running the show, and it’s time for MLB to show us that baseball is better than this. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  16. For a while you could make the argument that the resumption of baseball not getting off the ground was a “both” issue. Players and owners were dug in. Now, as Rob Manfred suggests a season may not happen, that’s no longer the case. Is this really all the better Major League Baseball is? It can’t be, right?Monday represented a day in which Major League Baseball could’ve announced a season. Fed up with the same offer being sliced different ways, the MLBPA had broken off negotiation talks and said simply, “We’re ready, let us know where to be.” The response to that from the owners and Manfred was to threaten a season taking place at all. The impasse here is that any season without a negotiated agreement would come under an imposed ruling from the Commissioner, which was agreed to in the players March discussions. The caveat however was that the season would be implemented with the intention of playing the most games possible, something the owners have actively campaigned against. Right now, Manfred could implement a calendar of roughly 70 games, but that would be roughly 20 more than those paying the checks want to play. We don’t know for certain whether this is another stall tactic or an effort by Manfred to get the sides back at the negotiating table. Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer is calling it like it is, and sees the mandate to withdraw any notion of a grievance as Manfred leveraging a season of baseball to give the owners what they want. There’s plenty of reasons to believe this is what’s happening. There’s been rumblings that some owners would be fine with no season at all, and the reality for most is that baseball teams are simply another avenue for cash flow within their portfolio. It’s not about being profitable as much as it is how much profit is actually being generated. For the last twenty years revenues have skyrocketed in the sport, and now because the green may not be as large for a calendar year, it’s apparently worth blowing it all up. On Monday night ESPN aired a segment called “The Return of Sports.” Rob Manfred was invited alongside several other league commissioners. It’s only his league that can’t figure out how to get back on the field though. In the midst of a global pandemic, it’s not a health scare that’s keeping baseball on the shelf, but instead one man and the thirty ownership groups he represents. As fans, we’re all the losers here. The Minnesota Twins are set to field one of their best teams since winning the World Series. Mike Trout is in the middle of his prime and could go down as the best to ever play the game. Heck, Albert Pujols is chasing down Babe Ruth at the tail end of his career. Because baseball’s profitability is being impacted, and mind you we don’t know to what extent as books are kept private, those who run it are ready to throw this all away. For the past few years Rob Manfred has set out to increase the popularity of his sport. He’s sought out avenues to draw in new fans and speed up the pace of play. While many of those ideas have been futile at best, he’s found a way to take a large steaming dump on any positive momentum in the matter of a couple weeks. Baseball diehards will return, but the casual fan couldn’t be more apt to throw up their hands at this mess. Over the weekend Long Gone Summer gave us a glimpse into the home run race of 1998. Bud Selig and the owners turned a blind eye to steroids and drug testing because it saved baseball after the 1994 strike. That won’t be an avenue for rebound this time, and nothing suggests Manfred has the capabilities to lead out of this dark time. A mandated 50 game slate in a couple of weeks would prove Bauer right. A cancelled season would drive a nail into the coffin of those running the sport forever. What was once a “both” issue is now squarely on the shoulders of those running the show, and it’s time for MLB to show us that baseball is better than this. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  17. For the past few years, it has seemed like Major League Baseball’s Commissioner is the only one convinced that the sport is poor in its current state. Maybe you can include certain broadcasters (I’m looking at you John Smoltz), but the decisions suggested and made often have a far-fetched alteration tied to them. Behind the veil defined as pace of play issues, there have been numerous instances in which unnecessary paths have been traversed. Now needing to band together for the greater good, we’re seeing baseball spread its wings. Early on when the shutdown of Major League Baseball was first imposed, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer quickly pulled together a Sandlot-esque game. Intended initially to be more focused around the actual game, it turned into a whiffle ball form of deli. Still, it was broadcast and had participation from multiple players on multiple different teams. Just hours into a new normal, the crave of competition was highlighted. Now multiple weeks into a schedule that isn’t taking place Minnesota Twins Trevor May stepped up and assumed the role of virtual Commissioner. With Sony San Diego Studios and MLB The Show 20, May blazed the trail that has become the MLB Players League. Each club has a representative competing a few nights a week and will play each opponent one time. Games are broadcast on Twitch, MLB Network’s Robert Flores is commentating, and there’s a full league page hosted on MLB.com. https://twitter.com/IamTrevorMay/status/1250063420604506123 If you’ve tuned into any of the streams, we’ve seen everything from players succeeding as their virtual selves, witty banter, and even in-depth breakdowns designed to translate the similarities between the game and real life. What was likely dreamt up as little more than a fun departure from the current monotony has turned into an outlet generating multiple forms of genuine creativity. https://twitter.com/Nationals/status/1250087668345491456 I don’t know when baseball will return, and I’m still not convinced that it’ll happen in 2020. Outlined by John Bonnes earlier this week however, the capacity in which it does will be different. Rob Manfred is currently tasked with doing everything in his power to get creative and make sure the sport lives this season in some sense. While the parameters of play are just one aspect being discussed, it’s also the acceptance and inclusion of creativity born through this time that could breathe new life into the game. We still have regional blackouts in the sport. There are fines handed down for players wearing accessories and equipment that doesn’t directly follow certain color schemes. Major League Baseball imposes copyright on far reaching avenues that would otherwise have the opportunity to grow the fanbase in untapped markets. Whether directly or not, all these things come back to Manfred. It is currently his baby and he has the power to embrace individuality and utilize this creativity. From the guy that , we can only hope some of the lessons learned aren’t immediately forgotten when a return to relative normalcy is reached.An aside: Despite writing this today organically, I stumbled on this video from a few days ago. Trevor Bauer and one of YouTube's largest content creators, Fuzzy, put out a very cool video talking in depth about baseball and content creation. While much of it has to d specifically with the YouTube platform, the overarching theme is still about how far MLB has to go in terms of embracing individuality and engaging fans through creativity. It's most definitely worth a watch. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  18. As I was pondering about the potential rotation for the Twins in 2020, I remembered something. It had been in the back of my mind but it came to the forefront today. Thad Levine, in an interview with Aaron Gleeman, proclaimed that the Twins explored a trade during the season for Trevor Bauer. I can not remember the exact quote, but it went something like this: “We are interested in the player (Bauer), but it is unlikely that the Minnesota Twins will make a deal with the Cleveland Indians.” Of course, a trade between the Twins and Indians is unlikely to take place as they have become bitter division rivals, especially in 2019. Bauer was instead dealt to the Reds at the deadline in a three-team transaction that sent Yasiel Puig and Padres outfielder Franmil Reyes to Cleveland, while prospect Taylor Trammell moved from Cincinnati to San Diego. Bauer seemed excited to get out of Cleveland, later deeming that he “did not have fun there.” In 10 starts with Cincinnati, Bauer posted a 6.39 ERA and 2-5 record. The right-hander gave up 12 home runs in 56 ⅓ innings. Bauer was coming off a phenomenal season in 2018 where his FIP was a miniscule 2.44. Bauer went 12-6 and allowed just 0.5 home runs per nine while making his first All-Star game. He is a proven power pitcher with an average of 9.5 strikeouts per nine in his career. Cleveland has a surplus of pitchers, and dealing Bauer was a smart move. The irony is that Cincinnati does not need him either. The Reds have 2019 breakout Luis Castillo and another All-Star in Sonny Gray. Both are under team control until 2024. Additionally, the Reds top two (and three of their top four) prospects are pitchers. The Reds ranked 11th in the National League in team OPS in 2019 and their main priority will be acquiring impact bats this offseason. They are reportedly in on both Yasmani Grandal and Didi Gregorius. In order for this to happen, they need to shed salary. Bauer is estimated to make $18.6 million in his final year of arbitration. The Reds already have nearly $110 million tied up in 2020, and their total payroll was $128 million in 2019. They should be salivating at the opportunity to pick up someone like Eddie Rosario, who hit 32 home runs and drove in 109 runs in 2019. For the Twins, Rosario is below average, but for a team like the Reds, he would arguably be their second best bat next to Eugenio Suarez and will cost a manageable $9 million or so in 2020. That is where the Twins start. As Bauer only has one year of team control remaining, the Reds may not demand too much. Rosario and 24-year-old Nick Gordon, who hit .298/.342/.459 at Triple-A in 2019, should do the trick. The Reds are losing shortstop José Iglesias to free agency and Gordon seems ready for the big leagues. If Cincinnati misses out on Gregorius, they need a better backup plan than current starter José Peraza, who hit .239/.285/.346 in 2019. If you are doubting that the Reds would do this, I hear you. Remember though that Cincinnati has a below-average farm system, according to MLB Pipeline, and will lose Bauer next winter regardless. They can cash in now while still looking to compete in 2020. They would and should seriously consider this proposition. With this deal, the Twins gain an immediate top of the rotation arm in Bauer and do not strip the premier end of their farm system. Rosario, Gordon and a throw in of second baseman Travis Blankenhorn, who posted a .786 OPS at Double-A in 2019, will get this done. Jake Odorizzi is likely to return in one way or another, and Darren Wolfson confirmed Tuesday that the Twins are talking with Zack Wheeler: https://twitter.com/DWolfsonKSTP/status/1194376558200406018?s=20 The Twins could potentially start with a rotation of Wheeler, Jose Berríos, Odorizzi, and Bauer in 2020 with Brusdar Graterol on his way to starting soon. Yikes. Good luck, MLB. Would you want to face this team in the postseason? I sure would not.
  19. Down in South Beach tonight the Minnesota Twins proved victorious over the hapless Miami Marlins. Sitting at a local brewery for the latest Gleeman and the Geek event, the question was whether or not the away team would cap off the night with a deadline deal. Then it happened, the Cleveland Indians sent Trevor Bauer packing. Much like his heave over the center field wall in Kansas City, Mike Chernoff flipped his pitching asset to the National League. Now, it’s your move Derek Falvey.Seemingly an odd decision for the Indians to move Bauer in hopes of landing immediately usable talent, a situation presented itself in which they were able to do just that. Yasiel Puig comes to Cleveland fresh off a boxing match in Cincinatti, while Franmil Reyes and Logan Allen join from the west coast. The Indians acquire two immediate big league assets at a position of need, and two thirds of the deal brings significant team control. If you’re keeping score at home this one is a big time win for the AL Central division foe. With the ball firmly in Derek Falvey’s court, it’s on the head honcho of the Twins front office to decide what the response looks like. Recent reports suggest Minnesota has bowed out of the starting pitching market, and there’s been ample belief that some of the biggest relief arms are unobtainable. Only touting Sergio Romo to this point, a race again the July 31 3pm CT deadline is officially underway. The Big Guns While Bauer falls in this category he certainly wasn’t a lock to be dealt. Apparently the San Francisco Giants are listening to the Astros on Madison Bumgarner but it’s still undetermined whether the rental swaps teams. Noah Syndergaard turned in an 11 strikeout performance on Tuesday night which suggests that nothing is imminent and that he’s as dominant as ever. Zack Greinke is really the only other pitcher of this ilk and his no-trade clause is going to be a hurdle in almost any negotiations. Dominoes in Relief After the Toronto Blue Jays took pennies on the dollar for starter Marcus Stroman it appeared the market had softened a bit for sellers. Then the Atlanta Braves acquired reliever Chris Martin Tuesday, but it cost them former first round pick, and previous top 25 prospect, Kolby Allard. After a tough, and brief, major league debut last season Allard has spent all of 2019 at Triple-A. He’s just 21 years old and under team control until 2025. That’s an incredibly steep price to pay for a 33-year-old having his first dominant year. The Answer Ahead I don’t know that the Twins will fill all of their current 40 man openings (presently at 37), but there’s zero doubt that a move has to be made. Romo was a nice start, but he seems to represent the floor and is only a single piece for a bullpen that needs to complete a full puzzle. Having been involved on virtually every name the market has flushed out, Falvey and Thad Levine are approaching decision making time. On Wednesday the Twins will need to figure out whether an arm like Edwin Diaz (reportedly an ask of Andrew Benintendi was suggested) or Kirby Yates is the move, or if they can survive with the likes of Daniel Hudson. I’m not sure that either of those avenues are the right answer, with the ideal path lying somewhere inbetween. What certainly can’t happen is that Minnesota whiffs and wastes the opportunity that lies in front of them. The reality is that this is a trade deadline of significant importance for the Minnesota Twins for the first time in nearly a decade. Although it’s understandable to still have a long term vision, nothing is guaranteed and opportunity currently lies in the immediate future. How this front office goes about the next handful of hours will shape 2019 and beyond, but it will also be a chapter in Twins history that we likely revisit often. How would you go about the next few hours? What are some hopes and expectations for the day? Where do you believe the intentions are for what lies ahead? More From Twins Daily Is Alex Kirilloff Expendable?Reviewing MLBTR’s Top 75 Trade CandidatesWhat If The Twins Don't Go Big This Year?Deadline Rewind: A Progress Report on the Twins 2018 Trade Deadline AdditionsTwins Trade Deadline: Final TouchesTwins Moving on From SP Trade Targets?What Sergio Romo Brings to the Twins BullpenCould the Twins Afford to Take on Zack Greinke’s Contract?Trade Deadline Thread: The Rumor Mill is Working OvertimeTrade Deadline Topics: Prospects, Scouting, RumorsTrade Deadline Thread: What To Do About the Rotation?The Gauntlet 1.2; A Complete Breakdown of the Top Relief ArmsFor Enlow and Other Minor Leaguers, “No One Is Safe” At Trade DeadlineJeremy's Deadline SeriesLet's Make A Deal, Part VI: GM For A DeadlineLet's Make A Deal, Part V: Are We Getting Noah Syndergaard or Someone Else?Let's Make A Deal, Part IV: The SellersLet's Make A Deal, Part III: The AmmunitionLet's Make A Deal, Part II: PayrollLet's Make A Deal, Part I: 2020 Click here to view the article
  20. Seemingly an odd decision for the Indians to move Bauer in hopes of landing immediately usable talent, a situation presented itself in which they were able to do just that. Yasiel Puig comes to Cleveland fresh off a boxing match in Cincinatti, while Franmil Reyes and Logan Allen join from the west coast. The Indians acquire two immediate big league assets at a position of need, and two thirds of the deal brings significant team control. If you’re keeping score at home this one is a big time win for the AL Central division foe. With the ball firmly in Derek Falvey’s court, it’s on the head honcho of the Twins front office to decide what the response looks like. Recent reports suggest Minnesota has bowed out of the starting pitching market, and there’s been ample belief that some of the biggest relief arms are unobtainable. Only touting Sergio Romo to this point, a race again the July 31 3pm CT deadline is officially underway. The Big Guns While Bauer falls in this category he certainly wasn’t a lock to be dealt. Apparently the San Francisco Giants are listening to the Astros on Madison Bumgarner but it’s still undetermined whether the rental swaps teams. Noah Syndergaard turned in an 11 strikeout performance on Tuesday night which suggests that nothing is imminent and that he’s as dominant as ever. Zack Greinke is really the only other pitcher of this ilk and his no-trade clause is going to be a hurdle in almost any negotiations. https://twitter.com/TBrownYahoo/status/1156257320659066880 Dominoes in Relief After the Toronto Blue Jays took pennies on the dollar for starter Marcus Stroman it appeared the market had softened a bit for sellers. Then the Atlanta Braves acquired reliever Chris Martin Tuesday, but it cost them former first round pick, and previous top 25 prospect, Kolby Allard. After a tough, and brief, major league debut last season Allard has spent all of 2019 at Triple-A. He’s just 21 years old and under team control until 2025. That’s an incredibly steep price to pay for a 33-year-old having his first dominant year. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1156369227533570048 The Answer Ahead I don’t know that the Twins will fill all of their current 40 man openings (presently at 37), but there’s zero doubt that a move has to be made. Romo was a nice start, but he seems to represent the floor and is only a single piece for a bullpen that needs to complete a full puzzle. Having been involved on virtually every name the market has flushed out, Falvey and Thad Levine are approaching decision making time. On Wednesday the Twins will need to figure out whether an arm like Edwin Diaz (reportedly an ask of Andrew Benintendi was suggested) or Kirby Yates is the move, or if they can survive with the likes of Daniel Hudson. I’m not sure that either of those avenues are the right answer, with the ideal path lying somewhere inbetween. What certainly can’t happen is that Minnesota whiffs and wastes the opportunity that lies in front of them. The reality is that this is a trade deadline of significant importance for the Minnesota Twins for the first time in nearly a decade. Although it’s understandable to still have a long term vision, nothing is guaranteed and opportunity currently lies in the immediate future. How this front office goes about the next handful of hours will shape 2019 and beyond, but it will also be a chapter in Twins history that we likely revisit often. How would you go about the next few hours? What are some hopes and expectations for the day? Where do you believe the intentions are for what lies ahead? More From Twins Daily Is Alex Kirilloff Expendable? Reviewing MLBTR’s Top 75 Trade Candidates What If The Twins Don't Go Big This Year? Deadline Rewind: A Progress Report on the Twins 2018 Trade Deadline Additions Twins Trade Deadline: Final Touches Twins Moving on From SP Trade Targets? What Sergio Romo Brings to the Twins Bullpen Could the Twins Afford to Take on Zack Greinke’s Contract? Trade Deadline Thread: The Rumor Mill is Working Overtime Trade Deadline Topics: Prospects, Scouting, Rumors Trade Deadline Thread: What To Do About the Rotation? The Gauntlet 1.2; A Complete Breakdown of the Top Relief Arms For Enlow and Other Minor Leaguers, “No One Is Safe” At Trade Deadline Jeremy's Deadline Series Let's Make A Deal, Part VI: GM For A Deadline Let's Make A Deal, Part V: Are We Getting Noah Syndergaard or Someone Else? Let's Make A Deal, Part IV: The Sellers Let's Make A Deal, Part III: The Ammunition Let's Make A Deal, Part II: Payroll Let's Make A Deal, Part I: 2020
  21. Here is every move made during this deadline season. It includes prospect rankings per MLB Pipeline. If they weren’t on the top 30 for a team then they are listed as NR (not ranked). 7/27 RP Jake Diekman acquired by Oakland Athletics from Kansas City Royals for OF Dairon Blanco (NR), RHP Ismael Aquino (NR) RP Sergio Romo, SP Chris Vallimont (NR) and PTBNL acquired by the Minnesota Twins from Miami Marlins for 1B Lewin Diaz (#12) 7/28 IF Eric Sogard acquired by Tampa Bay Rays from Toronto Blue Jays for two PTBNL SP Marcus Stroman acquired by the New York Mets from Toronto Blue Jays for LHP Anthony Kay (#5) and RHP Simeon Woods (#7) 7/29 SP Jordan Lyles acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers from Pittsburg Pirates for RHP Cody Ponce (NR) SP Jason Vargas acquired by Philadelphia Phillies from the New York Mets for catcher Austin Bossart (NR) 7/30 RP David Phelps acquired by the Chicago Cubs from the Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Thomas Hatch (NR) RP Chris Martin acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Texas Rangers for LHP Kolby Allard (#16) Three team trade: Indians acquire Franmil Reyes, Yasiel Puig, Logan Allen (#7), Scott Moss (#12), and Victor Nova (NR). Reds acquire Trevor Bauer. Padres acquire Taylor Trammell (#1). 7/31 Catcher Martin Maldonado acquired by the Houston Astros from the Chicago Cubs for IF Tony Kemp. 1B Jesus Aguilar acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays from the Milwaukee Brewers for RHP Jacob Faria. RP Daniel Hudson acquired by the Washington Nationals from the Toronto Blue Jays for prospect Kyle Johnston. SP/RP Drew Pomeranz acquired by the Milwaukee Brewers from the San Francisco Giants for top prospect Mauricio Dubon (#3). SP Tanner Roark acquired by the Oakland Athletics from the Cincinnati Reds for prospect Jameson Hannah (#8). RP Hunter Strickland and RP Roenis Elias acquired by the Washington Nationals from the Seattle Mariners for prospects Elvis Alvarado (NR), Taylor Guilbeau (#15), and Aaron Fletcher (#21) SP Zac Gallen (#5) acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks (#1) from the Miami Marlins for SS prospect Jazz Chisolm OF Corey Dickerson acquired by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Pittsburgh Pirates for international signing money and a PTBNL RP Shane Greene acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Detroit Tigers for prospects LHP Joey Wentz (#7) and OF Travis Demeritte (NR) IF Jedd Gyorko acquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers from the St. Louis Cardinals for a PTBNL RP Joe Biagini and SP Aaron Sanchez acquired by the Houston Astros from the Toronto Blue Jays for Derek Fisher RP Nick Anderson and SP/RP Trevor Richards acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays from the Miami Marlins for OF Jesus Sanchez (#4) and RP Ryne Stanek OF Nicholas Castellanos acquired by the Chicago Cubs from the Detroit Tigers for prospects RHP Alex Lange (#23) and RHP Paul Richtan (NR) SP Mike Leake acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks from the Seattle Mariners for IF Jose Caballero (NR) SP Zack Greinke acquired by the Houston Astros from the Arizona Diamondbacks for prospects Seth Beer (#3), Corbin Martin (#5), J.B. Bukauskas (#4) and Josh Rojas (NR) RP Sam Dyson acquired by the Minnesota Twins for prospects OF Jaylin Davis (NR), SP Kai-Wei Teng (NR) and Prelander Berroa (NR) RP Carl Edwards Jr. acquired by the San Diego Padres from the Chicago Cubs for LHP Brad Wieck IF Scooter Gennett acquired by the San Francisco Giants from the Cincinnati Reds for a PTBNL Winners: Indians, Astros, Nationals, Braves, Athletics Losers: Yankees, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Reds Most confusing: Giants, Mets What did you think about what the Twins did? Go vent in the comments. Let it all out!
  22. Happy Trade Deadline Day, Twins Fans! This should be a fun day as the Twins find themselves Buyers at the deadline for the first time in a decade. I fully expect the Twins to acquire at least one pitcher before today’s 3 p.m. (central time) deadline, but what if they don’t? What if they stand pat?On Tuesday night, Cleveland finally traded All Star starting pitcher Trevor Bauer. Typically that move would be seen as the team selling, but in this case, I do believe that they got better. They have pitching, and seem to keep calling pitchers up who do well. Shane Bieber and Zach Plesac are two guys who fit into that mold. They also should be getting Corey Kluber back in the near future. Their need was offense, and they added two powerful outfielders in Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes in the three-team swap. They also added LHP Logan Allen, a Top 100 prospect, and two more minor leaguers. It was a very creative move for Cleveland. The Twins were very creative in their acquisition of Sergio Romo over the weekend. Not only did the Twins receive the veteran reliever, but they also received hard-throwing RHP Chris Vallimont and a Player to be Named Later for slugging first base prospect Lewin Diaz. On its own, the Twins made a really, creative, savvy move to improve their bullpen and improve the team. Twins fans have generally felt that the trade was good for the Twins, though that thought always comes with the “as long as it isn’t the only move they make by the deadline.” But what if it is? What if Sergio Romo is the only player that the Twins add? What will it mean? Here are my thoughts. DISAPPOINTMENT First and foremost, Twins fans will and rightfully should feel disappointment. On the basic level, it’s always fun to acquire talent. It doesn’t even have to be elite talent, but just make the team better. Let's just say, #TwinsTwitter will not handle it well, for sure! On another level, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have consistently said that when the Twins window to compete for championships opens, they will pounce. Well, the window is wide open. This team has the talent to compete, not only for the American League Central title but also for a World Series. They have won two of six games against the Yankees this year, and probably should have won two more of those games. They won four of their seven matchups with the Astros this year. They currently have an edge on Cleveland this year too. Those are the top teams in the American League, and the team should absolutely feel like they can compete for an American League pennant. And hey, if you get to the World Series, you have a chance. So Twins fans will absolutely have every right to be disappointed and even upset if nothing is done. HOWEVER… This is a very good team as is, as shown by their performance so far this year against the top teams in the league. Their lineup can compete with anyone. They can slug with the best. Pitching has been the issue although even that hasn’t been as bad as we may think. The starters rank in the top the top third of the league in most statistics. Some of that is because their #4 (Perez) and #5 (Pineda) have been better than most 4s and 5s around the league. Jose Berrios is approaching Ace level. Jake Odorizzi was an All Star for his strong start, but he has been more inconsistent of late. Kyle Gibson’s been good at times but also a bit inconsistent. Not adding a starter would just mean that these guys would need to step it up down the stretch. But would the Twins have a top three or top four that you could feel good about going into the playoffs? And the bullpen has been better than expected, though a lot of that is because of Taylor Rogers. Sergio Romo stepped in as the 8th inning guy last night in his Twins debut. Tyler Duffey has returned to an intriguing bullpen option. Ryne Harper has been a big surprise. Trevor May was doing well until the 0-2 curveball in Cleveland, but he has the stuff to dominate and will need to find that again. And then some young guys. Cody Stashak had a moment in the Yankees series. Sean Poppen reeling off 96-97 mph fastballs with a strong slider could be great for the team down the stretch. And if Will Smith and Felipe Vasquez are unavailable, I don’t think there is an available left-handed reliever that I would feel better about than giving Lewis Thorpe an opportunity. And Devin Smeltzer is available as well. The concern with them is their lack of MLB experience, obviously. In addition, Fernando Romero has been much improved of late in Rochester. And as it appears the odds of Cody Allen helping the Twins down the stretch is waning, flamethrower Brusdar Graterol returned to the mound on Monday for his first rehab appearance. Maybe he and his 101-mph fastball can help. Jorge Alcala and his triple-digit fastball pitched out of the bullpen in his most-recent outing. SUMMARY So, while I still think it is very likely that the Twins make one or two moves before the trade deadline, and this article will be all for naught, it is important for Twins fans to stand by a team that has put themselves in this position. Absolutely, be disappointed that nothing was done, but hopefully you’ll be able to quickly shift your attention back to the fact that this team, as it is currently put together, can win the division. And, if you are under the opinion (as I mostly am) that the playoffs are mostly a crapshoot, then you should still believe that the Twins can win in the playoffs too. All that said… Come On, Twins… Make a Move! Click here to view the article
  23. On Tuesday night, Cleveland finally traded All Star starting pitcher Trevor Bauer. Typically that move would be seen as the team selling, but in this case, I do believe that they got better. They have pitching, and seem to keep calling pitchers up who do well. Shane Bieber and Zach Plesac are two guys who fit into that mold. They also should be getting Corey Kluber back in the near future. Their need was offense, and they added two powerful outfielders in Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes in the three-team swap. They also added LHP Logan Allen, a Top 100 prospect, and two more minor leaguers. It was a very creative move for Cleveland. The Twins were very creative in their acquisition of Sergio Romo over the weekend. Not only did the Twins receive the veteran reliever, but they also received hard-throwing RHP Chris Vallimont and a Player to be Named Later for slugging first base prospect Lewin Diaz. On its own, the Twins made a really, creative, savvy move to improve their bullpen and improve the team. Twins fans have generally felt that the trade was good for the Twins, though that thought always comes with the “as long as it isn’t the only move they make by the deadline.” But what if it is? What if Sergio Romo is the only player that the Twins add? What will it mean? Here are my thoughts. DISAPPOINTMENT First and foremost, Twins fans will and rightfully should feel disappointment. On the basic level, it’s always fun to acquire talent. It doesn’t even have to be elite talent, but just make the team better. Let's just say, #TwinsTwitter will not handle it well, for sure! On another level, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have consistently said that when the Twins window to compete for championships opens, they will pounce. Well, the window is wide open. This team has the talent to compete, not only for the American League Central title but also for a World Series. They have won two of six games against the Yankees this year, and probably should have won two more of those games. They won four of their seven matchups with the Astros this year. They currently have an edge on Cleveland this year too. Those are the top teams in the American League, and the team should absolutely feel like they can compete for an American League pennant. And hey, if you get to the World Series, you have a chance. So Twins fans will absolutely have every right to be disappointed and even upset if nothing is done. HOWEVER… This is a very good team as is, as shown by their performance so far this year against the top teams in the league. Their lineup can compete with anyone. They can slug with the best. Pitching has been the issue although even that hasn’t been as bad as we may think. The starters rank in the top the top third of the league in most statistics. Some of that is because their #4 (Perez) and #5 (Pineda) have been better than most 4s and 5s around the league. Jose Berrios is approaching Ace level. Jake Odorizzi was an All Star for his strong start, but he has been more inconsistent of late. Kyle Gibson’s been good at times but also a bit inconsistent. Not adding a starter would just mean that these guys would need to step it up down the stretch. But would the Twins have a top three or top four that you could feel good about going into the playoffs? And the bullpen has been better than expected, though a lot of that is because of Taylor Rogers. Sergio Romo stepped in as the 8th inning guy last night in his Twins debut. Tyler Duffey has returned to an intriguing bullpen option. Ryne Harper has been a big surprise. Trevor May was doing well until the 0-2 curveball in Cleveland, but he has the stuff to dominate and will need to find that again. And then some young guys. Cody Stashak had a moment in the Yankees series. Sean Poppen reeling off 96-97 mph fastballs with a strong slider could be great for the team down the stretch. And if Will Smith and Felipe Vasquez are unavailable, I don’t think there is an available left-handed reliever that I would feel better about than giving Lewis Thorpe an opportunity. And Devin Smeltzer is available as well. The concern with them is their lack of MLB experience, obviously. In addition, Fernando Romero has been much improved of late in Rochester. And as it appears the odds of Cody Allen helping the Twins down the stretch is waning, flamethrower Brusdar Graterol returned to the mound on Monday for his first rehab appearance. Maybe he and his 101-mph fastball can help. Jorge Alcala and his triple-digit fastball pitched out of the bullpen in his most-recent outing. SUMMARY So, while I still think it is very likely that the Twins make one or two moves before the trade deadline, and this article will be all for naught, it is important for Twins fans to stand by a team that has put themselves in this position. Absolutely, be disappointed that nothing was done, but hopefully you’ll be able to quickly shift your attention back to the fact that this team, as it is currently put together, can win the division. And, if you are under the opinion (as I mostly am) that the playoffs are mostly a crapshoot, then you should still believe that the Twins can win in the playoffs too. All that said… Come On, Twins… Make a Move!
  24. Key Additions: Carlos Santana, Jake Bauers Santana played his first eight big league seasons in Cleveland before signing a three-year $60 million deal with Philadelphia. The Phillies traded him back to the Indians this off-season in a deal that sent Edwin Encarnacion to Seattle. Santana offers some more line-up flexibility since he is a switch-hitter and he can play multiple positions. Jake Bauers was also part of the Santana trade. He could start the year in the Indians outfield or split time with Santana at first base. He’s only 23 years old and he hit 11 home runs last year for Tampa. Since Tampa was willing to part with him, one has to wonder if they know something that others do not. Key Departures: Yonder Alonso, Michael Brantley, Edwin Encarnacion, Yan Gomes, Yandy Diaz, Rajai Davis, Brandon Guyer, Lonnie Chisenhall, Josh Donaldson, Melky Cabrera, Cody Allen, Andrew Miller, and Josh Tomlin. A team could field a pretty good squad with the players that left the Indians from the end of last season. Heck, you might be able to win a Wild Card spot with this crew. Cody Allen and Andrew Miller were key late inning pieces for the Cleveland’s recent success. Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez will drive the offense but there are plenty of holes in the rest of the line-up. What if one of their key pieces gets hurt? This club might not score a ton of runs and they are going to rely on their strong starting staff to keep games close. Potential X-Factors: Trevor Bauer Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco are going to be a strong one-two punch at the top of the rotation, but Trevor Bauer could be a difference maker as the club’s number three pitcher. He does some outlandish things on social media and has hurt his hand with a drone, but he could put together some solid numbers that help to prove he belongs with the top two Indians arms. FanGraphs Projected 2019 Record: 92-70 My Projected 2019 Record: 87-76 (Win Game 163 against the Twins) 2018 Record: 91-71 (1st Place AL Central, Lost ALDS to Astros) 2017 Record: 102-60, (1st Place AL Central, Lost ALDS to Yankees) 2016 Record: 94-67, (1st Place in the AL Central, Lost World Series to Cubs)
  25. The Minnesota Twins’ acquisition of second baseman Jonathan Schoop has been considered by most as a low-risk, high-reward move by general manager Thad Levine and president Derek Falvey. It is that, but going ignored is the immediate impact the move has on the Twins’ chances in the American League (AL) Central Division. The AL Central was really bad in 2018. Three teams posted winning percentages below .400, which was one more than the rest of Major League Baseball (MLB). Cleveland, the eventual division champions, were seven wins better than the Twins within the division despite winning the season series over Minnesota 10-9. The Twins just weren’t good enough in games against the AL Central’s worst teams in 2018, especially at the plate. The addition of Schoop for one season at an affordable $7.5 million salary addresses that issue. Schoop Scorches the AL Central The AL Central rosters as of this writing bode well for Schoop and the Twins. Over his career, Schoop has a combined batting average of .357 against Minnesota’s division opponents in 168 at-bats. In fact, the only team in the Central with which he’s “struggled” is the Twins, with a .275 batting average but .833 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS). Let’s look at how Schoop has fared against the AL Central teams the Twins will have to beat to make the playoffs. Kansas City Royals (32 AB, 12 H, .375/.394/.406) The Twins didn’t win nearly enough games against the AL Central’s worst team last season. Minnesota lost the season series to Kansas City 10-9, allowing four more runs than they scored over the course of those games. Minnesota was considerably worse on offense against the Royals than the rest of the league, as evidenced by its sOPS+ of 95. Schoop could make an immediate impact in games against the Royals. Schoop wouldn’t mind if Danny Duffy returns healthy for Kansas City, having accrued eight hits in 16 career at-bats against him. He has two hits in six at-bats against Ian Kennedy, too. While Schoop hasn’t shown much power against the Royals (0 HR, 1 2B) his .394 OBP would be a welcome addition for a team that only reached base at a .347 clip against the Royals last season. Chicago White Sox (28 AB, 12 H, .429/.433/.571) There wasn’t a divisional opponent the Twins struggled with more than the White Sox. Despite winning the season series 12-7, relative to the rest of the league, the Twins were terrible at the plate against the White Sox. The Twins’ sOPS+ of 91 was only better than their performances against five other teams. Schoop again can make an immediate impact. Schoop’s career batting average (.429) and on-base percentage (.433) against the White Sox is better than what he’s posted against any other AL team. Only his slugging percentages against Houston and Texas are better than the .571 slugging percentage he’s posted against White Sox pitching. Schoop especially likes hitting against Carlos Rodon and newly acquired closer Alex Colome, against whom he’s a combined seven of 19 with five RBI. Detroit Tigers (49 AB, 18 H, .367/.404/.531) The Twins were 12-7 against the Tigers in 2018, too, but only hit them as well as they did Cleveland relative to the rest of the league. Schoop, however, has hit Detroit pitching pretty well, especially Michael Fulmer. In eight at-bats, Schoop has four hits including a home run, a double, and four RBI. Schoop also has four hits in 12 at-bats against newly acquired free agent Matt Moore, whom the Tigers intend to use as a starter. Cleveland Indians (59 AB, 18 H, .305/.311/.441) While Schoop hasn’t hit Cleveland pitching like he has the rest of the AL Central, he’s still a potential upgrade at his position against them. With the performance the Twins got out of the second base position last season, it wouldn’t take much. Only production by Twins’ catchers and designated hitters were worse than the production they got from second basemen last season, and Minnesota’s .365 slugging percentage from second basemen was worst amongst its roster of hitters. Schoop will have an immediate impact on games against Cleveland’s ace, Corey Kluber, against whom he is four of 12 with a double and a homer in his career. He’s also six for 11 and has driven in four against Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer. Against Danny Salazar, Schoop has two hits in five at-bats. Coincidence Schoop's now a Twin? I think not.
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