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  1. The Minnesota Twins need to scour the free-agent market to upgrade the bullpen. One under-the-radar option may be a former Twin coming off a solid second half. Image courtesy of Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports In 2012, the Twins made a series of moves to rebuild a rotation that had struggled for two consecutive seasons. At the beginning of December, Minnesota sent Ben Revere to Philadelphia for starter Vance Worley and prospect Trevor May. Worley and Revere haven't played at the MLB level since 2017, so May will end up being the last active player associated with the deal. May debuted in 2014 as a starter for the Twins but struggled in his first taste of the majors. He allowed 40 earned runs in 45 2/3 innings (7.88 ERA) with 44 strikeouts and 22 walks. May started the 2015 season in Minnesota's rotation, and there continued to be ups and downs. He had a 4.37 ERA as opponents posted a .753 OPS in 15 starts. The Twins decided it was time for a change, and he moved to the bullpen for the remainder of the season. As he adjusted to his new role, May saw improved results. In 34 1/3 innings, he had a 3.15 ERA and a 39-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio while earning seven holds. The 2016 season marked May's first full year as a reliever, but he dealt with multiple injuries on the way to a 5.27 ERA in 44 appearances. Minnesota decided that May should switch back to a starter role heading into 2017, and his performance looked to have him on track to be the fifth starter. Unfortunately, an elbow injury meant he needed Tommy John surgery, and he missed the entire season. May returned in 2018 and became one of Minnesota's best relievers. From 2018-20, he made 113 appearances with a 3.19 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 113 innings. The Twins won over 100 games in 2019, and May was an integral bullpen piece on one of the best teams in Twins' history. Also, May struck out a career-high 14.7 batters per nine innings during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Following the campaign, May headed to free agency as one of the best available relievers, and the Mets signed him for two years and $15.5 million. His first season in New York was his best as he compiled a 3.59 ERA with an 11.9 K/9 in 68 appearances. May suffered multiple injuries during the 2022 season, including an arm injury and a triceps injury. He was limited to 26 starts, but he finished the year strongly. In his final 18 appearances (16 2/3 innings), he posted a 3.24 ERA (2.75 FIP) while striking out 25. When healthy, May proved he is still an effective big-league reliever. May used his slider and changeup more regularly in 2022 and saw improved results. He held batters to a .182 BA versus his slider and a .222 BA against his changeup. His four-seam fastball had been a dominant pitch for him in 2021, but his arm injuries this season made it less effective. Batter's slugging percentage increased from .371 in 2021 to .582 in 2022. May's results at the season's end might point to his fastball being back on track, and that can help him as he heads to free agency for the second time in his career. Now 33 years old, May is in a very different free agent position. He is likely looking for a one-year deal that pays significantly less than he made over the last two seasons. Relievers can be inconsistent, with some burning bright before quickly flickering out. Minnesota should consider adding him on a one-year deal that allows May to prove he can return to his dominant self. Does a reunion with Trevor May fit Minnesota's offseason plan? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  2. When the Twins have looked outside for late-inning relief help, it hasn't generally gone so well. (See: Emilio Pagán, Alex Colomé, Addison Reed.) This year's free agent market presents some opportunities to reconnect with a few former Twins who represent some of the brightest moments for bullpens of years past. Image courtesy of Thomas Shea and David Berding-USA TODAY Sports In our latest chapter of the Offseason Handbook, "Scouring Free Agency for Late-Inning Relief Help," we zoomed in on a dozen different options from this year's class who could help relieve Jhoan Durán's burden in crunch time. Among them are three former Twins relievers who will be available on the open market, and could be strong fits at the right price. Caretakers can read about all 12 targets in the full chapter – now available along with our previously released Handbook installments – but here are the blurbs on three familiar names: Michael Fulmer, RHP Age: 29 (DOB: 3/15/93) Former Team: Twins Career fWAR: 10.1 An appealing target for several reasons, beginning with the fact that he pitched (well) for the Twins in the second half and has some familiarity here. Fulmer was the most low-profile of Minnesota's three deadline pitcher acquisitions, but the only one that panned out. While not at the dominance level of the above pitchers, he's been consistently good since transitioning from starter to reliever, and as a 29-year-old coming off his first full-time relief campaign, he still might have room for growth. I'd consider him a worthy top bullpen pickup. Estimated Contract: 2 years, $14 million Taylor Rogers, LHP Age: 31 (DOB: 12/17/90) Former Team: Brewers Career fWAR: 8.1 Now here's an interesting case. It's essentially an opportunity to reverse the trade from last spring, swapping Rogers back in for Emilio Pagán. That might not sound terribly enticing given that Rogers actually had a worse ERA (4.76) than Pagán (4.43) in 2022, but Rogers' secondary numbers painted a much brighter picture: 11.8 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 3.32 FIP. Granted, Twins fans have heard that story before, but the lefty's finger seems fine and his down year could create the opportunity to bring him back at a bargain. Estimated Contract: 2 years, $12 million Trevor May, RHP Age: 33 (DOB: 9/23/89) Former Team: Mets Career fWAR: 5.5 May's two-year, $15 million deal with the Mets yielded 87.2 IP, a 4.00 ERA, and 14 home runs allowed. Not too impressive. It also yielded a 3.78 FIP and 11.6 K/9 rate as he continued to pump gas in the upper 90s. Injuries ravaged his 2022 campaign – a familiar story, as Twins fans know – so he might be had at a bargain. May's absence in Minnesota's bullpen the past two years has been noticeable; they miss his fire, his energy, his premium stuff. If he's open to returning, the hard-throwing righty would offer some nice López insurance. Estimated Contract: 1 year, $5 million Which of these reunions appeals most to you? Share your thoughts, and make sure to grab the full Handbook chapter and research all of the best available options. From there, you can build your own offseason blueprint. View full article
  3. In 2012, the Twins made a series of moves to rebuild a rotation that had struggled for two consecutive seasons. At the beginning of December, Minnesota sent Ben Revere to Philadelphia for starter Vance Worley and prospect Trevor May. Worley and Revere haven't played at the MLB level since 2017, so May will end up being the last active player associated with the deal. May debuted in 2014 as a starter for the Twins but struggled in his first taste of the majors. He allowed 40 earned runs in 45 2/3 innings (7.88 ERA) with 44 strikeouts and 22 walks. May started the 2015 season in Minnesota's rotation, and there continued to be ups and downs. He had a 4.37 ERA as opponents posted a .753 OPS in 15 starts. The Twins decided it was time for a change, and he moved to the bullpen for the remainder of the season. As he adjusted to his new role, May saw improved results. In 34 1/3 innings, he had a 3.15 ERA and a 39-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio while earning seven holds. The 2016 season marked May's first full year as a reliever, but he dealt with multiple injuries on the way to a 5.27 ERA in 44 appearances. Minnesota decided that May should switch back to a starter role heading into 2017, and his performance looked to have him on track to be the fifth starter. Unfortunately, an elbow injury meant he needed Tommy John surgery, and he missed the entire season. May returned in 2018 and became one of Minnesota's best relievers. From 2018-20, he made 113 appearances with a 3.19 ERA and 153 strikeouts in 113 innings. The Twins won over 100 games in 2019, and May was an integral bullpen piece on one of the best teams in Twins' history. Also, May struck out a career-high 14.7 batters per nine innings during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Following the campaign, May headed to free agency as one of the best available relievers, and the Mets signed him for two years and $15.5 million. His first season in New York was his best as he compiled a 3.59 ERA with an 11.9 K/9 in 68 appearances. May suffered multiple injuries during the 2022 season, including an arm injury and a triceps injury. He was limited to 26 starts, but he finished the year strongly. In his final 18 appearances (16 2/3 innings), he posted a 3.24 ERA (2.75 FIP) while striking out 25. When healthy, May proved he is still an effective big-league reliever. May used his slider and changeup more regularly in 2022 and saw improved results. He held batters to a .182 BA versus his slider and a .222 BA against his changeup. His four-seam fastball had been a dominant pitch for him in 2021, but his arm injuries this season made it less effective. Batter's slugging percentage increased from .371 in 2021 to .582 in 2022. May's results at the season's end might point to his fastball being back on track, and that can help him as he heads to free agency for the second time in his career. Now 33 years old, May is in a very different free agent position. He is likely looking for a one-year deal that pays significantly less than he made over the last two seasons. Relievers can be inconsistent, with some burning bright before quickly flickering out. Minnesota should consider adding him on a one-year deal that allows May to prove he can return to his dominant self. Does a reunion with Trevor May fit Minnesota's offseason plan? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  4. In our latest chapter of the Offseason Handbook, "Scouring Free Agency for Late-Inning Relief Help," we zoomed in on a dozen different options from this year's class who could help relieve Jhoan Durán's burden in crunch time. Among them are three former Twins relievers who will be available on the open market, and could be strong fits at the right price. Caretakers can read about all 12 targets in the full chapter – now available along with our previously released Handbook installments – but here are the blurbs on three familiar names: Michael Fulmer, RHP Age: 29 (DOB: 3/15/93) Former Team: Twins Career fWAR: 10.1 An appealing target for several reasons, beginning with the fact that he pitched (well) for the Twins in the second half and has some familiarity here. Fulmer was the most low-profile of Minnesota's three deadline pitcher acquisitions, but the only one that panned out. While not at the dominance level of the above pitchers, he's been consistently good since transitioning from starter to reliever, and as a 29-year-old coming off his first full-time relief campaign, he still might have room for growth. I'd consider him a worthy top bullpen pickup. Estimated Contract: 2 years, $14 million Taylor Rogers, LHP Age: 31 (DOB: 12/17/90) Former Team: Brewers Career fWAR: 8.1 Now here's an interesting case. It's essentially an opportunity to reverse the trade from last spring, swapping Rogers back in for Emilio Pagán. That might not sound terribly enticing given that Rogers actually had a worse ERA (4.76) than Pagán (4.43) in 2022, but Rogers' secondary numbers painted a much brighter picture: 11.8 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 3.32 FIP. Granted, Twins fans have heard that story before, but the lefty's finger seems fine and his down year could create the opportunity to bring him back at a bargain. Estimated Contract: 2 years, $12 million Trevor May, RHP Age: 33 (DOB: 9/23/89) Former Team: Mets Career fWAR: 5.5 May's two-year, $15 million deal with the Mets yielded 87.2 IP, a 4.00 ERA, and 14 home runs allowed. Not too impressive. It also yielded a 3.78 FIP and 11.6 K/9 rate as he continued to pump gas in the upper 90s. Injuries ravaged his 2022 campaign – a familiar story, as Twins fans know – so he might be had at a bargain. May's absence in Minnesota's bullpen the past two years has been noticeable; they miss his fire, his energy, his premium stuff. If he's open to returning, the hard-throwing righty would offer some nice López insurance. Estimated Contract: 1 year, $5 million Which of these reunions appeals most to you? Share your thoughts, and make sure to grab the full Handbook chapter and research all of the best available options. From there, you can build your own offseason blueprint.
  5. Last season, Eddie Rosario was a key player for the Braves on their way to a World Series title. Can any other former Twins help their club find postseason glory in 2022? Image courtesy of Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports Plenty of former fan favorites populate the rosters of the National League’s best teams this season. Not all of these players have performed admirably this season, but the playoffs allow for players to shine on the biggest stage. Here are eight former Twins to watch on the NL’s playoff teams. Mets: Trevor May, Eduardo Escobar Escobar is in his 12th big league season with his fifth different organization. During the 2022 campaign, he has been the primary third baseman for the Mets in their fight for the NL East title. However, his defense at third ranks among the NL’s worst for third basemen, as only Alec Bohm has a lower SDI. Escobar provides other dynamics to a club as he has an OPS+ above 100 for the fifth consecutive season, where he has played more than 60 games. The Mets haven’t made the playoffs since 2016, so the club has pressure to win in October. May is heading to free agency at the season’s end, so he wants to end his Mets tenure on a high note. In 23 appearances, he has an ERA north of 5.50 with a 1.57 WHIP. He is striking out more than ten batters per nine innings for the sixth consecutive season. He’s had multiple IL stints this year for a stress reaction on the lower portion of his humerus and a COVID situation. In September, he has a 3.14 ERA while holding opponents to a .694 OPS, so the Mets hope this carries over to the postseason. Braves: Jake Odorizzi, Ehire Adrianza, Eddie Rosario, Robbie Grossman Odorizzi was pitching well for the Astros to start the season, but the Braves traded for him at the deadline for reliever Will Smith. Since joining Atlanta, Odorizzi has posted a 5.66 ERA with a 1.67 WHIP in nine starts. Odorizzi isn’t guaranteed to make the playoff rotation with other strong pitchers, but Spencer Strider’s injury may give Odorizzi an opportunity. Adrianza made ten playoff appearances during the Braves’ 2021 World Series run, and the club found a way to bring him back for 2022. He started the year in the Nationals organization, but the Braves traded Trey Harris to Washington for Adrianza. So far in 2022, Adrianza has hit .174/.267/.207 (.473) in limited action. He will likely serve as a bench option for Atlanta as a late-inning defensive replacement. Rosario was a playoff hero for the Braves last season, winning the NLCS MVP before heading to free agency. Atlanta re-signed the outfielder to a 2-year, $18 million contract, and he’s having a career-worst offensive season. In 76 games, he has posted a 69 OPS+ with 18 extra-base hits. Rosario has missed time this season with an eye injury and a hamstring problem. Can Rosario make Braves fans forget his poor season with another October to remember? After leaving the Twins, Grossman revitalized his career in the A’s and Tigers organizations. Since 2019, he has posted a 99 OPS+ while playing strong outfield defense. The Braves acquired Grossman from the Tigers at the trade deadline for Kris Anglin, and he has raised his OPS by 61 points since moving to the NL. Atlanta has multiple outfield injuries that may push Grossman into a more critical role. Dodgers: Brusdar Graterol Graterol is having his best big-league season as he has set career-best marks in ERA, strikeouts, H/9, and ERA+. Los Angeles continued to use him in late-inning situations as he earned the first three saves of his career. His postseason numbers are even better than his regular season totals. In 18 appearances, he has a 2.04 ERA with a 0.62 WHIP and a 13-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. The Dodgers look like one of baseball’s best teams, and Graterol will be asked to get some big outs in October. Phillies: Kyle Gibson The Phillies are fighting for their playoff lives, and Gibson might be one of the players to push them into the postseason. Gibson is heading to free agency this winter, so October is an opportunity for him to shine. Last season, he was a first-time All-Star but struggled after being traded to the Phillies (5.09 ERA). In 2022, he posted a 4.84 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP across 30 starts. Gibson was terrific in August with a 2.30 ERA as he held batters to a .637 OPS. Philadelphia will need that version of Gibson to make a deep October run. Can any of these players have an Eddie Rosario-type October in 2022? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. View full article
  6. Plenty of former fan favorites populate the rosters of the National League’s best teams this season. Not all of these players have performed admirably this season, but the playoffs allow for players to shine on the biggest stage. Here are eight former Twins to watch on the NL’s playoff teams. Mets: Trevor May, Eduardo Escobar Escobar is in his 12th big league season with his fifth different organization. During the 2022 campaign, he has been the primary third baseman for the Mets in their fight for the NL East title. However, his defense at third ranks among the NL’s worst for third basemen, as only Alec Bohm has a lower SDI. Escobar provides other dynamics to a club as he has an OPS+ above 100 for the fifth consecutive season, where he has played more than 60 games. The Mets haven’t made the playoffs since 2016, so the club has pressure to win in October. May is heading to free agency at the season’s end, so he wants to end his Mets tenure on a high note. In 23 appearances, he has an ERA north of 5.50 with a 1.57 WHIP. He is striking out more than ten batters per nine innings for the sixth consecutive season. He’s had multiple IL stints this year for a stress reaction on the lower portion of his humerus and a COVID situation. In September, he has a 3.14 ERA while holding opponents to a .694 OPS, so the Mets hope this carries over to the postseason. Braves: Jake Odorizzi, Ehire Adrianza, Eddie Rosario, Robbie Grossman Odorizzi was pitching well for the Astros to start the season, but the Braves traded for him at the deadline for reliever Will Smith. Since joining Atlanta, Odorizzi has posted a 5.66 ERA with a 1.67 WHIP in nine starts. Odorizzi isn’t guaranteed to make the playoff rotation with other strong pitchers, but Spencer Strider’s injury may give Odorizzi an opportunity. Adrianza made ten playoff appearances during the Braves’ 2021 World Series run, and the club found a way to bring him back for 2022. He started the year in the Nationals organization, but the Braves traded Trey Harris to Washington for Adrianza. So far in 2022, Adrianza has hit .174/.267/.207 (.473) in limited action. He will likely serve as a bench option for Atlanta as a late-inning defensive replacement. Rosario was a playoff hero for the Braves last season, winning the NLCS MVP before heading to free agency. Atlanta re-signed the outfielder to a 2-year, $18 million contract, and he’s having a career-worst offensive season. In 76 games, he has posted a 69 OPS+ with 18 extra-base hits. Rosario has missed time this season with an eye injury and a hamstring problem. Can Rosario make Braves fans forget his poor season with another October to remember? After leaving the Twins, Grossman revitalized his career in the A’s and Tigers organizations. Since 2019, he has posted a 99 OPS+ while playing strong outfield defense. The Braves acquired Grossman from the Tigers at the trade deadline for Kris Anglin, and he has raised his OPS by 61 points since moving to the NL. Atlanta has multiple outfield injuries that may push Grossman into a more critical role. Dodgers: Brusdar Graterol Graterol is having his best big-league season as he has set career-best marks in ERA, strikeouts, H/9, and ERA+. Los Angeles continued to use him in late-inning situations as he earned the first three saves of his career. His postseason numbers are even better than his regular season totals. In 18 appearances, he has a 2.04 ERA with a 0.62 WHIP and a 13-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. The Dodgers look like one of baseball’s best teams, and Graterol will be asked to get some big outs in October. Phillies: Kyle Gibson The Phillies are fighting for their playoff lives, and Gibson might be one of the players to push them into the postseason. Gibson is heading to free agency this winter, so October is an opportunity for him to shine. Last season, he was a first-time All-Star but struggled after being traded to the Phillies (5.09 ERA). In 2022, he posted a 4.84 ERA with a 1.32 WHIP across 30 starts. Gibson was terrific in August with a 2.30 ERA as he held batters to a .637 OPS. Philadelphia will need that version of Gibson to make a deep October run. Can any of these players have an Eddie Rosario-type October in 2022? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  7. It feels like it may be time to shake things up with this Minnesota Twins roster. One way to accomplish that would be by making a challenge trade, swapping big league pieces for big league pieces. It’s a risky endeavor. Let’s take a look back at some of these deals. There are quite a few of these challenge trades in fairly recent Twins history, but this current Twins front office really hasn’t explored this avenue. The Kenta Maeda deal was close, but Brusdar Graterol only had 10 big league appearances to his credit. He was still a prospect. Possibly the LaMonte Wade Jr. trade qualifies as a minor challenge trade, as he had 113 plate appearances and Shaun Anderson had 46 career games pitched at the time of the swap. Considering how that one went, maybe it’s good there haven’t been more challenge trades of late … These deals are risky, but when a team has a surplus or is motivated to make room at the MLB level for a younger player they can make sense. With Josh Donaldson, Jorge Polanco and Luis Arraez already in the third base/second base equation and Jose Miranda waiting in the wings, this current Twins roster could be ripe for a challenge trade. There’s another possible option but I don’t want to ruin your day quite yet. Let’s take a look back at some of these types of deals from past Twins seasons. All of the trades below were completed during the offseason and included established MLB regulars on both sides of the deal. Nov. 14, 2003: A.J. Pierzynski traded to the San Francisco Giants for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser We’re starting out this list on a high note. One of the ironic elements to this deal is part of its motivation backfired to a degree. In moving AJ Pierzynski, the Twins were making room behind the plate for 20-year-old Joe Mauer. He ended up playing just 35 games in 2004 due to injuries and Henry Blanco ended up as the primary catcher. The Twins still won 92 games that year in part due to Joe Nathan saving 44 games. He had 128 MLB games to his credit at the time of this deal. We’re focusing on the MLB pieces, but I’d say the prospect side of this package also worked out pretty darn nicely for the Twins. Dec. 3, 2003: Eric Milton traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Carlos Silva, Nick Punto and Bobby Korecky Milton was only a year away from free agency and Carlos Silva had pitched 130 games for the Phillies. Though he only had one career start prior to the trade, Silva was actually a better rotation piece than Milton right out the gate. I’d say that worked out pretty well. Toss in Punto, who also had some MLB experience at the time of the trade (though only 111 plate appearances) and this one was also a success. Kinda nuts that after back-to-back division championships the Twins made these two big trades and took the central again in ‘04. Nov. 28, 2007: Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza and Eddie Morlan to the Tampa Bay Rays for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie This was a pretty crazy trade under new GM Bill Smith. A starting shortstop and budding rotation piece for the former No. 1 overall pick and reigning runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting. Plus Brendan Harris and all of his Brendon Harris-ness! This was an incredible trade … for the Rays. They went from 96 losses to 97 wins and a World Series appearance. Delmon had a great 2010 season with the Twins but was dealt away the next year after fizzling out. Nov. 6, 2009: Carlos Gomez traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for J.J. Hardy Gomez went from centerpiece of the Johan Santana deal to trade bait in just two seasons. If you thought that tenure was short, Hardy only lasted one season in Minnesota before being dealt to Baltimore. Both players found much more success with their new orgs than they had in Minnesota. Man, the Twins made a lot of trades back during this time. Dec. 6, 2012: Ben Revere traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Vance Worley and Trevor May Terry Ryan was back in the GM role and cleared room for another former first-round pick. The Twins traded both Revere and Denard Span that offseason to open the door for Aaron Hicks in center field. Worley made 46 starts for the Phillies prior to the trade. His Twins tenure was, uh, less impressive. May ended up developing into a nice bullpen piece, of course, but Hicks struggled to take advantage of his opportunity. Speaking of which ... Nov. 11, 2015: Aaron Hicks traded to the New York Yankees for John Ryan Murphy The hope was Murphy would be the long-term solution behind the plate. He was not. I guess I don’t really remember the motivation to move Hicks. Byron Buxton missed most of the previous season and started the year in Double-A, so it was a bit premature to make room for him. The Twins opened the season with Jordan Schafer and Shane Robinson platooning in center. Ugh. Looking back, it’s kinda funny how many of these deals revolved around the center field position. I know most Twins fans don’t want to think about this, but it’s time to ruin your day. There’s a possibility of a Buxton challenge trade this winter. We all know it, but most of us don’t want to acknowledge it. I’m on team Pay Byron, but if they don’t extend him … who knows? What do you think? Should the Twins try to pull off a challenge trade this offseason? View full article
  8. There are quite a few of these challenge trades in fairly recent Twins history, but this current Twins front office really hasn’t explored this avenue. The Kenta Maeda deal was close, but Brusdar Graterol only had 10 big league appearances to his credit. He was still a prospect. Possibly the LaMonte Wade Jr. trade qualifies as a minor challenge trade, as he had 113 plate appearances and Shaun Anderson had 46 career games pitched at the time of the swap. Considering how that one went, maybe it’s good there haven’t been more challenge trades of late … These deals are risky, but when a team has a surplus or is motivated to make room at the MLB level for a younger player they can make sense. With Josh Donaldson, Jorge Polanco and Luis Arraez already in the third base/second base equation and Jose Miranda waiting in the wings, this current Twins roster could be ripe for a challenge trade. There’s another possible option but I don’t want to ruin your day quite yet. Let’s take a look back at some of these types of deals from past Twins seasons. All of the trades below were completed during the offseason and included established MLB regulars on both sides of the deal. Nov. 14, 2003: A.J. Pierzynski traded to the San Francisco Giants for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser We’re starting out this list on a high note. One of the ironic elements to this deal is part of its motivation backfired to a degree. In moving AJ Pierzynski, the Twins were making room behind the plate for 20-year-old Joe Mauer. He ended up playing just 35 games in 2004 due to injuries and Henry Blanco ended up as the primary catcher. The Twins still won 92 games that year in part due to Joe Nathan saving 44 games. He had 128 MLB games to his credit at the time of this deal. We’re focusing on the MLB pieces, but I’d say the prospect side of this package also worked out pretty darn nicely for the Twins. Dec. 3, 2003: Eric Milton traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Carlos Silva, Nick Punto and Bobby Korecky Milton was only a year away from free agency and Carlos Silva had pitched 130 games for the Phillies. Though he only had one career start prior to the trade, Silva was actually a better rotation piece than Milton right out the gate. I’d say that worked out pretty well. Toss in Punto, who also had some MLB experience at the time of the trade (though only 111 plate appearances) and this one was also a success. Kinda nuts that after back-to-back division championships the Twins made these two big trades and took the central again in ‘04. Nov. 28, 2007: Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza and Eddie Morlan to the Tampa Bay Rays for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris and Jason Pridie This was a pretty crazy trade under new GM Bill Smith. A starting shortstop and budding rotation piece for the former No. 1 overall pick and reigning runner-up in Rookie of the Year voting. Plus Brendan Harris and all of his Brendon Harris-ness! This was an incredible trade … for the Rays. They went from 96 losses to 97 wins and a World Series appearance. Delmon had a great 2010 season with the Twins but was dealt away the next year after fizzling out. Nov. 6, 2009: Carlos Gomez traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for J.J. Hardy Gomez went from centerpiece of the Johan Santana deal to trade bait in just two seasons. If you thought that tenure was short, Hardy only lasted one season in Minnesota before being dealt to Baltimore. Both players found much more success with their new orgs than they had in Minnesota. Man, the Twins made a lot of trades back during this time. Dec. 6, 2012: Ben Revere traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Vance Worley and Trevor May Terry Ryan was back in the GM role and cleared room for another former first-round pick. The Twins traded both Revere and Denard Span that offseason to open the door for Aaron Hicks in center field. Worley made 46 starts for the Phillies prior to the trade. His Twins tenure was, uh, less impressive. May ended up developing into a nice bullpen piece, of course, but Hicks struggled to take advantage of his opportunity. Speaking of which ... Nov. 11, 2015: Aaron Hicks traded to the New York Yankees for John Ryan Murphy The hope was Murphy would be the long-term solution behind the plate. He was not. I guess I don’t really remember the motivation to move Hicks. Byron Buxton missed most of the previous season and started the year in Double-A, so it was a bit premature to make room for him. The Twins opened the season with Jordan Schafer and Shane Robinson platooning in center. Ugh. Looking back, it’s kinda funny how many of these deals revolved around the center field position. I know most Twins fans don’t want to think about this, but it’s time to ruin your day. There’s a possibility of a Buxton challenge trade this winter. We all know it, but most of us don’t want to acknowledge it. I’m on team Pay Byron, but if they don’t extend him … who knows? What do you think? Should the Twins try to pull off a challenge trade this offseason?
  9. While it seems to have been a slow offseason so far, there have been and will soon be several more bits of information around the Minnesota Twins. Here is a list of nine things for you to consider as a Twins fan today.I haven't done one of these Nine Innings bits in awhile... I wasn't sure how I would fill all nine innings, but we've done it. This has topics all across the board. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. First Inning - Eddie Rosario Outrighted Listen. No one thought that the #MNTwins were going to tender Eddie Rosario at the deadline Wednesday evening. But tonight, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Twins have put Rosario on outright waivers. I got to know JP when he was the pitching coach in Cedar Rapids in 2017. Had some great conversations with him. He went to the same high school in New Orleans that the Mannings went to. More important to his role as a coach, he knows how to pitch. He reached AAA as a player. He’s coached as well as been the assistant pitching coordinator the last couple of seasons with the Twins. He also speaks Spanish (and English) fluently which is helpful too.He was also placed in charge of the Twins alternate site this summer in St. Paul. The Twins have certainly lost their fair share of player development staff. Derek Falvey has talked about not only player development but coaching development, front office development, and providing opportunities for people to move up the ladder with the Twins or elsewhere. Derek Shelton went from Twins bench coach to Pirates manager. James Rowson went from Twins hitting coach to Marlins bench coach and hitting coordinator. Jeremy Hefner went from assistant pitching coach with the Twins to pitching coach of the Mets. Tanner Swanson went from Twins minor league catching coordinator to Yankees MLB coach. Peter Fatse went from Twins minor league hitting coordinator to Red Sox assistant hitting coach. Edgar Varela went from Twins minor league coordinator to Twins hitting coach. Sixth Inning - (Trevor) May to the Mets Reports started coming out mid-afternoon on Tuesday that the Mets were close to a deal with Trevor May. It wasn’t long after that we had verification that, pending a physical, the Mets and Trevor May had agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract. May is one of the team bullpen arms available on the free agent market, and with this move, he sets the tone for that market. In 2020, May struck out 14.6 batters per nine innings and that number has been over 11 the past two years. He clearly has great stuff and could thrive in the Big Apple where he will be reunited with former Twins bullpen coach Jeremy Hefner. May has been a great ambassador for Twins baseball throughout his tenure with the team, but this is a good opportunity for him and hopefully it works out well for him. Seventh Inning - Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Seasons in Minnesota E-Book Available In Case You Missed It… over the past month, I have been working with “Nate Tubbs Rules” on an e-book. NTR updates his Top 300 Twins Player rankings after every season and it is enjoyable to read through those updates each year. With the Twins having just completed their 60th season in Minnesota in 2020, we wrote The Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Season in Minnesota, and it is available now for just $7.99 (immediate download). It includes fun profiles of the Top 60 players on his list and yes, it does name all of his Top 300 players. Yes, my personal Top 60 rankings is in the back of the book too. Please consider this e-book. If you are interested, you can order here. Last night, we spent about 40 minutes on a bonus Twins Spotlight discussing some of the fun topics of the rankings. Please enjoy. (Seth on WJON in St. Cloudtoday.) Eighth Inning - Kirilloff Bumps Lewis from Baseball America Top Spot On Monday, Baseball America released its updated Minnesota Twins Prospect rankings. Of note, they have now bumped Alex Kirilloff up from #2 to the #1 Twins prospect, a spot Royce Lewis has held for the past three offseasons. And no surprise, the two have always been kind of a 1a and 1b. Kirilloff certainly was the talk of the alternate site, and when he became the first player in MLB history to make his MLB debut by starting in a playoff game, more people started talking about him. I think the key is that Lewis’s star hasn’t diminished as much as Kirilloff has now been talked about more, and deservedly so. That said, I will continue to say that Trevor Larnach should be discussed in the same range as Kirilloff and Lewis. Carlos Collazo, who worked on the rankings for Baseball America, wrote in the Twins chatthat he has Larnach lumped into a group that includes Ryan Jeffers, Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic. I personally have Larnach just a bit above that group, but that is a very good group. Literally all six of those guys should be in their Top 100 Prospect rankings when those come out in the spring. He then noted that there is a group from #7 through #12 or 13 that could be inter-changeable too, and I agree with that. That is an exciting group as well with both power hitters, strong offense/defense guys and about three more pitchers that all profile as potential big-league starters. Ninth Inning - A Minor Signing The Royals signed veteran lefty Mike Minor to a two-year, $18 million with a $13 million option for a third year. The Royals are adding a veteran to a staff that includes youngsters like Brady Singer and Kris Bubic and a plethora of pitching prospects that are potentially available in the next year or two. Danny Duffy becomes a free agent after the 2021 season. I have been a little surprised by the number of starting pitcher free agents who have already signed. Not sure what that will mean over the long course of an offseason, but it is encouraging. That’s all I’ve got. Nine innings worth. Hopefully you have enjoyed it, and I welcome any questions or comments that you have below. Click here to view the article
  10. I haven't done one of these Nine Innings bits in awhile... I wasn't sure how I would fill all nine innings, but we've done it. This has topics all across the board. Please feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. First Inning - Eddie Rosario Outrighted Listen. No one thought that the #MNTwins were going to tender Eddie Rosario at the deadline Wednesday evening. But tonight, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Twins have put Rosario on outright waivers. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1333948164244647937 I know I held out some hope that some team would be willing to give up a Low A pitching prospect for Rosario, and certainly the Twins tried, but they couldn’t find a taker. https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/1333948257819631618 Instead of just non-tendering him tomorrow, and making him a free agent, the Twins are hoping to find a team that will take whatever number they agree to in arbitration. Rosario has been a controversial player. Ultimately, since he debuted in 2015, he has been a very productive player. While he comes with flaws that he just hasn’t been able to overcome, he has also produced in the middle of the Twins lineup. I know it has become cliche for me to do so, but I truly have enjoyed watching Eddie Rosario in a Twins uniform. He is absolutely entertaining when you just sit back and take the good with the bad. Most likely, he will go unclaimed by the 1:00 deadline on Wednesday and become a free agent. Second Inning - Wednesday is Decision Day Teams have until 7:00 central time on Wednesday night to decide whether to tender a 2021 contract for its arbitration eligible players. If they are non-tendered, they become a free agent. Taylor Rogers is the one other Twins player who some think could be non-tendered, but I think it’s most logical for the Twins to bring him back for 2021. The other players who are arbitration-eligible are: Jose Berrios, Byron Buxton, Tyler Duffey, Mitch Garver, Caleb Thielbar, and Matt Wisler. I would be surprised if any of them were non-tendered. However, it is possible that the team agrees to terms with a player or two before the deadline as well. Of that group, which if any are most likely to sign a deal ahead of the deadline? Third Inning - Offseason Live TONIGHT (Reacting to the Non-Tender Deadline) Tonight at 8:00 central time, Nick Nelson, Seth Stohs and David Young will react to the day in Twins news, specifically to the arbitration decisions that are made. Join us live on Twins Daily’s Twitter, Facebook or YouTube pages. Fourth Inning - Realigning the Minor Leagues The Star Tribune is reporting that the Twins and MLB will be announcing their re-aligned minor league system in the near future. In the worst kept secret in baseball, the St. Paul Saints will become the Twins Triple-A affiliate. The Wichita Wind Surge will become the Twins new Double-A affiliate. The two Twins Class A affiliates will switch levels. The Midwest League and the Cedar Rapids Kernels will move from Low-A to High-A with the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels and the rest of the Florida State League moving to a Low-A affiliation. For much more on these changes, check out Tom’s Minor League Realignment article tonight. My thoughts? First and foremost, I will miss conversations with some really good people at both Rochester and at Pensacola. The Red Wings have such an incredible baseball history going back well over a century. The Blue Wahoos were only a Twins affiliate for two seasons, but their stadium is remarkable and the people there were so helpful. That said, there are obvious reasons for wanting their Triple-A affiliate in St. Paul, a dozen miles from Target Field. It’ll be much easier to call people up or send them down. It will be great for rehab assignments. And, with the Twins in a position to win and so many exciting prospects, it is great for baseball in Minnesota. As for Wichita, they built a new $75 million stadium just a year ago. It was supposed to be the Marlins AAA affiliate, but then came COVID, a missed season and re-alignment. Seems like it would be a great facility for Twins prospects. I am happy that Cedar Rapids remains an affiliate, and it’s exciting - I would think - for them and their fans to move up a level, to get a higher level of play with a more advanced league. I will always encourage baseball fans from the Twin Cities to try to make a trip or two each season to watch the Kernels. And, with the Twins player development site and the academy in Ft. Myers, it makes sense to keep players there for their first step up rather than sending them to Cedar Rapids right away. That will be good especially for transactions at that Low-A level. Easy to call guys up from across the parking lot. So overall, I am very comfortable with how this has played out, and over time I think it will prove itself to be a good thing for the organization. I just still feel bad about losing the Elizabethton affiliate and the great history of that team. And I feel worse that the Twins have just let go of long-time leaders and coaches in Ray Smith and Jeff Reed. Fifth Inning - Twins Lose Another Player Development Leader to Big-League Job JP Martinez was announced on Tuesday night as the new assistant pitching coach of the San Francisco Giants. A week earlier we had heard rumblings that he was seen as a favorite. Now it isi Twitter official. https://twitter.com/SFGiants/status/1333936170024140802 I got to know JP when he was the pitching coach in Cedar Rapids in 2017. Had some great conversations with him. He went to the same high school in New Orleans that the Mannings went to. More important to his role as a coach, he knows how to pitch. He reached AAA as a player. He’s coached as well as been the assistant pitching coordinator the last couple of seasons with the Twins. He also speaks Spanish (and English) fluently which is helpful too.He was also placed in charge of the Twins alternate site this summer in St. Paul. The Twins have certainly lost their fair share of player development staff. Derek Falvey has talked about not only player development but coaching development, front office development, and providing opportunities for people to move up the ladder with the Twins or elsewhere. Derek Shelton went from Twins bench coach to Pirates manager. James Rowson went from Twins hitting coach to Marlins bench coach and hitting coordinator. Jeremy Hefner went from assistant pitching coach with the Twins to pitching coach of the Mets. Tanner Swanson went from Twins minor league catching coordinator to Yankees MLB coach. Peter Fatse went from Twins minor league hitting coordinator to Red Sox assistant hitting coach. Edgar Varela went from Twins minor league coordinator to Twins hitting coach. Sixth Inning - (Trevor) May to the Mets Reports started coming out mid-afternoon on Tuesday that the Mets were close to a deal with Trevor May. It wasn’t long after that we had verification that, pending a physical, the Mets and Trevor May had agreed to a two-year, $15 million contract. May is one of the team bullpen arms available on the free agent market, and with this move, he sets the tone for that market. In 2020, May struck out 14.6 batters per nine innings and that number has been over 11 the past two years. He clearly has great stuff and could thrive in the Big Apple where he will be reunited with former Twins bullpen coach Jeremy Hefner. May has been a great ambassador for Twins baseball throughout his tenure with the team, but this is a good opportunity for him and hopefully it works out well for him. Seventh Inning - Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Seasons in Minnesota E-Book Available In Case You Missed It… over the past month, I have been working with “Nate Tubbs Rules” on an e-book. NTR updates his Top 300 Twins Player rankings after every season and it is enjoyable to read through those updates each year. With the Twins having just completed their 60th season in Minnesota in 2020, we wrote The Top 60 Twins Players in 60 Season in Minnesota, and it is available now for just $7.99 (immediate download). It includes fun profiles of the Top 60 players on his list and yes, it does name all of his Top 300 players. Yes, my personal Top 60 rankings is in the back of the book too. Please consider this e-book. If you are interested, you can order here. Last night, we spent about 40 minutes on a bonus Twins Spotlight discussing some of the fun topics of the rankings. Please enjoy. (Seth on WJON in St. Cloud today.) Eighth Inning - Kirilloff Bumps Lewis from Baseball America Top Spot On Monday, Baseball America released its updated Minnesota Twins Prospect rankings. Of note, they have now bumped Alex Kirilloff up from #2 to the #1 Twins prospect, a spot Royce Lewis has held for the past three offseasons. And no surprise, the two have always been kind of a 1a and 1b. Kirilloff certainly was the talk of the alternate site, and when he became the first player in MLB history to make his MLB debut by starting in a playoff game, more people started talking about him. I think the key is that Lewis’s star hasn’t diminished as much as Kirilloff has now been talked about more, and deservedly so. That said, I will continue to say that Trevor Larnach should be discussed in the same range as Kirilloff and Lewis. Carlos Collazo, who worked on the rankings for Baseball America, wrote in the Twins chat that he has Larnach lumped into a group that includes Ryan Jeffers, Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic. I personally have Larnach just a bit above that group, but that is a very good group. Literally all six of those guys should be in their Top 100 Prospect rankings when those come out in the spring. He then noted that there is a group from #7 through #12 or 13 that could be inter-changeable too, and I agree with that. That is an exciting group as well with both power hitters, strong offense/defense guys and about three more pitchers that all profile as potential big-league starters. Ninth Inning - A Minor Signing The Royals signed veteran lefty Mike Minor to a two-year, $18 million with a $13 million option for a third year. The Royals are adding a veteran to a staff that includes youngsters like Brady Singer and Kris Bubic and a plethora of pitching prospects that are potentially available in the next year or two. Danny Duffy becomes a free agent after the 2021 season. I have been a little surprised by the number of starting pitcher free agents who have already signed. Not sure what that will mean over the long course of an offseason, but it is encouraging. That’s all I’ve got. Nine innings worth. Hopefully you have enjoyed it, and I welcome any questions or comments that you have below.
  11. On Thursday night's episode of Offseason Live, I chatted with fellow Twins Daily writers Matthew Taylor and David Youngs about the players hitting free agency this winter. The Twins are facing the prospect of losing eight players to the market, or possibly nine, depending on what they decide to do with Sergio Romo's team option. You can watch the episode below, or scroll down for a quick overview of the nine players in question, their situations, and a key stat to keep in mind for each. Feel free to share your opinions on who should stay or go in the comments. Sergio Romo, RP 2020 Stats: 20 IP, 4.05 ERA, 4.34 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 The Situation: The Twins traded for Romo at the 2019 deadline as a pending free agent, and then brought him back last winter on a one-year deal with a $5 million option for 2021. Activating that option seemed like a no-brainer midway through the season, as he was dominating with his slider and siphoning save opportunities from Taylor Rogers, but Romo faltered down the stretch and in the playoffs. He turns 38 in March, and $5 million is a pretty penny for a relief pitcher if you don't think he'll be a major asset. Declining Romo's option would give the Twins more flexibility to try and retain the following players. Key Stat: 1.03 WHIP and 10.4 K/9 in 51 appearances with Twins Alex Avila, C 2020 Stats: 62 PA, .184/.355/.286, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 0.2 fWAR The Situation: The Twins tabbed Avila as Mitch Garver's backup last offseason, signing him to a one-year deal worth $4.75 million. The veteran ended up playing a fairly minor role for the Twins, accruing only 30% of PAs among catchers, and he didn't hit a lick. That said, he was reliable defensively and his .355 OBP tied for fourth-best on the team (50+ PA). If the Twins want to carry three catchers in 2021, they could do a lot worse than bringing Avila back on a cheap one-year deal. Key Stat: Started 19 of 63 games (including playoffs) for Twins and batted .184 Ehire Adrianza, UTIL 2020 Stats: 101 PA, .191/.287/.270, 0 HR, 3 RBI, -0.1 fWAR The Situation: Adrianza heads into free agency for the first time with a thud. He seemed to be shaking his rep as a no-hit utilityman over three seasons in Minnesota, posting a respectable .260/.321/.391 slash line from 2017 through 2019 and enjoying a career year in the latter (.765 OPS). But Adrianza fell apart at the plate in a 2020 season where he appeared in 44 of the team's 60 games. The 31-year-old may struggle to find a major-league league deal, though his ability to play a quality shortstop is a differentiating strength. Key Stat: Career-low .557 OPS in 2020 Marwin Gonzalez, UTIL 2020 Stats: 199 PA, .211/.286/.320, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 0.2 fWAR The Situation: Playing out the last year of his two-year, $21 million contract with the Twins, Gonzalez was an all-out disaster in 2020. Injuries forced the team to lean on him heavily – he started 51 of 60 games, and ranked fifth on the team in PAs – but he let them down in a big way, grading as one of the worst regulars in all of baseball. He turns 32 in March, has seen his OPS+ drop in three consecutive seasons, and his athleticism is rapidly declining (his sprint speed has fallen from the 39th to 27th to 20th percentile). Add in the taint of involvement with the cheating Astros, and it seems very unlikely Gonzalez will have a remotely welcoming offseason market. Key Stat: Ranked 137th out of 142 qualified MLB players in OPS in 2020 Tyler Clippard, RP 2020 Stats: 26 IP, 2.77 ERA, 2.65 FIP, 0.89 WHIP, 9.0 K/9, 1.4 BB/9 The Situation: Signed to a $2.75 million deal last offseason, Clippard was an unheralded hero of the Twins bullpen. He led all relievers in innings, started two games as opener, finished another, and was altogether an incredibly versatile and reliable arm. Minnesota signed him to be a weapon against lefties, and he was, but he also shut down right-handed hitters. Given the valuable role he played on this year's club, Clippard would seemingly be very appealing to the Twins (and other teams) on a similar contract. Key Stat: Held LH batters to .213 average (.479 OPS) in 2020. Held RH batters to .191 average (.607 OPS). Trevor May, RP 2020 Stats: 23.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 1.16 WHIP, 14.7 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 The Situation: In his career as a reliever, May has averaged 12.0 K/9 with a 3.49 ERA over 188 ⅓ innings. He's one of the best strikeout pitchers in the league, and in 2019 he set new personal records for strikeout rate, whiff rate, and fastball velocity. His proneness to home runs (five allowed in 23 ⅓ frames) was the lone blemish on a remarkably dominant season out of the bullpen. A top-tier power arm hitting his stride just as he hits free agency at 31, May is likely to be in high demand. Can the Twins afford to keep him around? ... Can they afford not to? Key Stat: His career 10.5 K/9 rate is 2nd-highest in Twins history (min. 300 IP), behind Joe Nathan Rich Hill, SP 2020 Stats: 38.2 IP, 3.03 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 7.2 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 The Situation: At times, it looked like Hill might not have it anymore. The Twins knew they were gambling on the left-hander, who signed an incentive-laden one-year contract coming off elbow surgery at age 40. He had his rough patches. His control worsened, his strikeout and whiff rates plummeted, and at one point his shoulder acted up. But by the time September rolled around, Hill had rounded into form, looking every bit like the gritty difference-maker of repute. Whether he can do it again, at age 41 in what figures to be a more full-length season, is very much an open question. Key Stat: In 4 September starts, posted 2.38 ERA and .190 BAA Jake Odorizzi, SP 2020 Stats: 13.2 IP, 6.59 ERA, 6.12 FIP, 7.9 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 The Situation: Returning to the Twins after accepting a qualifying offer for $17.8 million a year ago, the 2020 season was a complete wash for Odorizzi. He opened on the Injured List, and saw two attempted comebacks stymied by misfortune: first, a line drive to the ribs, and then a bloody blister opened on his finger. His ability and talent have been plain to see when healthy, but it's going to be hard for Odorizzi to command what he probably deserves coming off a lost season. If the Twins can find a sensible way to bring him back, he'd be a hell of a fourth starter. Key Stat: Holds lowest overall FIP (3.88) of any Twins SP since 2011 Nelson Cruz, DH 2020 Stats: 214 PA, .303/.397/.595, 16 HR, 33 RBI, 2.0 fWAR The Situation: He's been the Twins' best hitter for two years running, and one of the most feared hitters in the major leagues. He's also a clubhouse leader and beloved teammate, credited for helping players around him develop and mature. The thought of losing Cruz is tough, but he'll turn 41 next summer and historically, performance drop-offs have hit rapidly and without warning for players at this age. He also figures to have a fairly favorable offseason market, with the universal DH doubling his potential suitors. If the Twins have ~$30 million to spend this offseason (as our ballparked) can they afford to spend half of it on Cruz with other needs to address? Key Stat: 57 HR and 141 RBIs in 173 games with Twins Offseason Live Schedule Ep 1: (Thurs, 10/8) Ep 2: (Tues, 10/13) Ep 3: (Thurs, 10/15) Ep 4: Twins Arbitration Decisions (Tues, 10/20) Ep 5: Free Agency – Catchers & Infield (Thurs, 10/22) Ep 6: Free Agency – Outfield & DH (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) Follow us on social media to catch the live shows (they're broadcast via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) and subscribe to our podcast to receive the audio versions of any episodes you miss. We'll also be featuring the content and embedding the videos in articles here on the site. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  12. October is going to look different this season with no off days in scheduled in each of the first three rounds. There is some time off between each round, but bullpens are going to be even more important in this tight schedule. These power rankings aren’t about who should be used in a specific spot because the manager can be creative in the playoffs. The rankings below are about who is pitching well and who has the best stuff to succeed in October. 10. Sean Poppen (4.70 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 10 K, 7 2/3 IP) Poppen has seen limited time for the Twins this year and it seems unlikely that he would be called on in October. His lone role might be to eat some innings if there was a blowout. He also hasn’t pitched in a game in nearly two weeks. Twins fans don’t want to see him on the mound in the playoffs, because that likely means something went wrong in the game. 9. Caleb Thielbar (1.69 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 20 K, 16 IP) Thielbar has been a feel-good story for the Twins this season as his pitching performance certainly has matched a player that hasn’t pitching in the big leagues since 2015. If you take out his first appearance, he has a 0.66 ERA while holding batters to a .149/.259/.149 (.408) slash-line. Also, he has been asked to get more than three outs four of his fourteen games, which is likely something he wouldn’t be asked to do in the postseason. On other teams, he’d rank much higher. 8. Cody Stashak (3.09 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 15 K, 11 2/3 IP) Stashak has been really good and him being this low shows the depth of the Twins bullpen. He’s only allowed runs in two of his nine appearances and he has multiple strikeouts in over half of his outings. His one bad appearance was an inning where he allowed three runs to Kansas City. Rocco Baldelli has shown faith in using him in the late innings of close games. With few off days in each series, Stashak might be needed for some big outs. 7. Jorge Alcala (2.91 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 27 K, 21 2/3 IP) Alcala might have helped Twins fans to forget about Brusdar Graterol since he is basically filling the same role on the team. He’s also been better than Graterol this season. His fastball will certainly play in October and he’s used his slider nearly as often. His Baseball Savant page is also the thing of dreams as he ranks as ranks higher than the 80th percentile in all but one category. He could be the team’s closer of the future and October could be his month to shine on the big stage. 6. Matt Wisler (1.11 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 34 K, 24 1/3 IP) Wilser has been the Twins diamond in the rough this year. Claimed off waivers, the Twins have helped him to morph into one of the American League’s best relief pitchers. According to Baseball Reference, he is tied with Jose Berrios for the fourth highest WAR on the team behind Byron Buxton, Kenta Maeda, and Nelson Cruz. He’s been used as an opener, earned a save, and has five holds to his name. His versatility could be useful with how effective he continues to be. 5. Tyler Clippard (2.78 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 22 K, 22 2/3 IP) Minnesota saw plenty of Clippard last year in Cleveland and he’s been nearly as good so far this year. He could actually move down this list with some recent poor performances. In three of his last four appearances, runs have been scored against him, so his worst stretch of the season might be coming at the wrong time. Baldelli will likely continue to turn to him because he is a 14-year veteran with 14 playoff appearances during his career. 4. Sergio Romo (2.89 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 22 K, 18 2/3 IP) Since the Twins acquired him last year, Romo has been getting plenty of late inning opportunities out of the Twins bullpen. Taylor Rogers has struggled at times this year and this has led the Twins to continue to use Romo in late inning situations. Fans saw this as recently as Sunday night in Chicago with Rogers getting the eighth and Romo getting the ninth. Things got a little shaky in that game, but he has a long playoff track record and he’s going to be trusted to get outs in the eighth and ninth inning. 3. Taylor Rogers (4.58 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 22 K, 17 2/3 IP) Rogers and his struggles have been well documented throughout this season. In such a small sample size, luck might be accounting for some of his poor performance. His BABIP is one of the highest among all relief pitchers and his 4.58 ERA comes with a 2.84 FIP. Some of his issues this year might also be tied to the use of his breaking pitches. As Nick wrote about last week, his curve spin rate has flattened out and this could be one reason for more solid contact against him. Whether it’s luck or a poor breaking ball, the Twins need Rogers to be in peak form by the start of next week. 2. Trevor May (4.35 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 34 K, 20 2/3 IP) Back on September 6, May blew up in a loss to Detroit as he allowed three runs on four hits and saw his ERA rise to 5.74. In his last five appearances, he has been nearly unhittable with opponents limited to two hits, both singles. He has struck out eight in five innings and nearly 60% of his WPA for the season has come during this recent stretch. Even though his season hasn’t been perfect, he’s been Minnesota’s hottest reliever to end the season. 1. Tyler Duffey (1.69 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 28 K, 21 1/3 IP) Duffey is the Twins best relief pitcher and it might not be close. If an opponent’s heart of the line-up is coming up in a key spot, Duffey gets the call in the bullpen. These types of situations will only be more amplified in the upcoming postseason. So far this season, he has pitched in any inning from the fourth to the eighth, because Baldelli trusts him in any situation. He isn’t the Twins closer, because he is better than any of the closing options for the Twins. How would you rank the Twins bullpen? 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
  13. Trevor May May will turn 31-years old later this month and this winter will mark his first chance to be a free agent. Over the last two seasons, he has developed into one of the team’s best and most trusted relief arms. In just over 78 innings, he’s posted a 3.22 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and 101 strikeouts. His high leverage usage also means he is in the top-20 for win probability added among AL relief arms. It stinks that May is hitting free agency for the first time during the current financial situation. He has been one of the league’s best relievers and he deserves to be paid appropriately. Likely, this won’t happen with the way free agency is going to be approached by many front offices. Jake Odorizzi Odorizzi could have been a free agent last off-season, but he decided to take the team’s one-year qualifying offer and head back to Minnesota. He was coming off an All-Star season, so the time seemed right to hit the open market, but last year’s free agent pitching class had a lot of names ahead of Odorizzi. At the time, it seemed like a good decision for him and the Twins with the one-year deal. It would give him the chance to stay with a coaching staff he liked and to build off his 2019 campaign. Unfortunately, he and his agent didn’t have a crystal ball to see everything that would happen in 2020. MLB’s season was delayed, and this gave Odorizzi fewer opportunities to showcase his abilities. He’s also been on the injured list multiple times and he hasn’t performed well on the mound. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and now free agency is waiting for him. Ehire Adrianza Adrianza is in an interesting spot, because his skill set is readily available on the open market. In fact, Minnesota had a similar player in Ildemaro Vargas on the roster this season before he was claimed by the Cubs. In his first three seasons with the Twins, he averaged 89 games and slashed .260/.321/.391 with decent defense at multiple infield positions. Basically, what a team would want from a utility infielder. The 2020 season hasn’t been kind to Adrianza as he has been limited to a .466 OPS with 14 strikeouts in 59 at-bats. He’s making $1.6 million this season and it seems like his role on the team could be filled by a similar player in the organization like Nick Gordon. Adrianza is a superior defender to other internal options, but his value continues to be limited and he will be 31-years old next season. He seems like a player that might be forced to take a minor league deal before forcing his way onto a big-league roster. What do you think about this free agent trio? What will their market be this winter? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  14. Next winter’s MLB free agency is going to take on a very different look and feel. Clubs have seen their revenues drastically cut and teams aren’t going to want to deal out big contracts with such an uncertain future facing the sport. Players like Nelson Cruz and Alex Avila will likely do fine in free agency because of their skill set and the role they can fill on multiple clubs, but other Twins players are going to have a little tougher time finding the right free agent deal.Trevor May May will turn 31-years old later this month and this winter will mark his first chance to be a free agent. Over the last two seasons, he has developed into one of the team’s best and most trusted relief arms. In just over 78 innings, he’s posted a 3.22 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP and 101 strikeouts. His high leverage usage also means he is in the top-20 for win probability added among AL relief arms. It stinks that May is hitting free agency for the first time during the current financial situation. He has been one of the league’s best relievers and he deserves to be paid appropriately. Likely, this won’t happen with the way free agency is going to be approached by many front offices. Jake Odorizzi Odorizzi could have been a free agent last off-season, but he decided to take the team’s one-year qualifying offer and head back to Minnesota. He was coming off an All-Star season, so the time seemed right to hit the open market, but last year’s free agent pitching class had a lot of names ahead of Odorizzi. At the time, it seemed like a good decision for him and the Twins with the one-year deal. It would give him the chance to stay with a coaching staff he liked and to build off his 2019 campaign. Unfortunately, he and his agent didn’t have a crystal ball to see everything that would happen in 2020. MLB’s season was delayed, and this gave Odorizzi fewer opportunities to showcase his abilities. He’s also been on the injured list multiple times and he hasn’t performed well on the mound. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong and now free agency is waiting for him. Ehire Adrianza Adrianza is in an interesting spot, because his skill set is readily available on the open market. In fact, Minnesota had a similar player in Ildemaro Vargas on the roster this season before he was claimed by the Cubs. In his first three seasons with the Twins, he averaged 89 games and slashed .260/.321/.391 with decent defense at multiple infield positions. Basically, what a team would want from a utility infielder. The 2020 season hasn’t been kind to Adrianza as he has been limited to a .466 OPS with 14 strikeouts in 59 at-bats. He’s making $1.6 million this season and it seems like his role on the team could be filled by a similar player in the organization like Nick Gordon. Adrianza is a superior defender to other internal options, but his value continues to be limited and he will be 31-years old next season. He seems like a player that might be forced to take a minor league deal before forcing his way onto a big-league roster. What do you think about this free agent trio? What will their market be this winter? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email Click here to view the article
  15. Aaron and John talk about an up-and-down week that saw the Twins snap a long losing streak, go on a winning streak, welcome back Josh Donaldson, Byron Buxton, and Michael Pineda, and call up Brent Rooker and Willians Astudillo. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Listen Here Click here to view the article
  16. From the start of the 2017 season to the end of the 2019 season, Taylor Rogers had been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball. Over that timespan, Rogers ranked 15th in baseball in ERA (2.75) and 15th in fWAR (4.3). In what had been rollercoaster season for the Twins’ various relief groups, Rogers had been the steady force who could be counted on in the highest of leverage situations. Down the stretch run of 2019 and into the 2020 season, though, there have been some chinks in the armor. After an outstanding first half of the 2019 season (1.82 ERA), Taylor Rogers stumbled a bit down the stretch, posting a second half ERA of 3.68. Rogers has continued that poor stretch into the 2020 season as he now owns a 4.82 ERA through the first third of the season, while batters own a batting average north of .300 against him. Thus far in the 2020 season, the biggest difference in Taylor Rogers struggles have been the ability for opposing batters to square up and make hard contact on his pitches. In 2018 and 2019, Rogers ranked in the top 25% of baseball in limiting hard contact for opposing batters. Thus far in 2020, though, Rogers ranks in the bottom third in baseball in limiting hard contact, allowing a hard hit percentage of 40.7. The hard hits have led to some tough outings for Rogers, who has allowed runs in three of his 10 outings, two of them resulting in multiple runs, and all three of them blowing a tie or a lead. In addition to the runs allowed, Rogers has seemingly had to work his way through every outing. In 2019, Taylor Rogers got through 42% of his appearances without allowing a hit, while in 2020 he has allowed a hit in seven of his 10 outings. While Taylor Rogers has taken a small step back from his "eliteness" over the past 13 months, there have been several other arms in the Minnesota Twins bullpen that have made the leap forward to being outstanding relief options. https://twitter.com/MatthewTaylorMN/status/1296527817153421313?s=20 As you can see above, Taylor Rogers still has a very respectable 3.82 ERA since last July, but other arms have simply been better — namely, Trevor May and Tyler Duffey. Trevor May has the best pure “stuff” of anyone on the Minnesota Twins bullpen, utilizing a 98 MPH fastball and a slider that completely fools batters at the plate. Tyler Duffey, in the meantime, has developed into one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball, becoming practically unhittable every time he takes the mound. May and Duffey both tout right handedness in an American League where the majority of the best hitters come from the right side of the plate. Taylor Rogers still has the command and the stuff to work his way back up the bullpen pecking order, but Trevor May and Tyler Duffey have done enough over what has worked out to be a half-season sample size to become the high leverage arms in this relief group. In a shortened season in which every game (theoretically) means 2.7 times more than it normally would, it’s time for the pecking order to be rearranged and for the Twins bullpen stars to get their time to shine. Do you think Taylor Rogers should be moved down the bullpen pecking order? Would you rather see Trevor May or Tyler Duffey as the “highest” leverage arm? Leave a comment below and start the conversation! MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  17. So far in his two seasons as manager, Rocco Baldelli has shown a preference for giving players time off and allowing pitchers to throw in situations that best fit their role. He adjusted his bullpen usage last season because the team’s relief core was struggling through parts of the first half. In fact, that was one of the team’s biggest needs at the trade deadline last season (See the team’s trade for Sam Dyson and Sergio Romo). Luckily for the Twins players like Tyler Duffey and Trevor May have emerged and the team went out and signed a veteran arm like Tyler Clippard while resigning Romo. This leaves the Twins with one of the baseball’s best bullpens, but their second-year manager could approach the team’s bullpen usage in a different way than he has through the team’s first third of the season. There are two different ways to rank the bullpen when it comes to effectiveness and how the manager views the hierarchy. Taylor Rogers is clearly at the back end of any bullpen configuration for the Twins. From there, things get a little dicey. Baldelli is inclined to use Romo as the team’s alternate closer, but it can be argued that he is the team’s fifth best relief option. The players that should be ahead of Romo in the bullpen pecking order are Tyler Duffey, Trevor May and Tyler Clippard. Duffey has turned himself into one of the most dominant right-handed relief pitchers in the American League. He might be even better than Taylor Rogers, the team’s closer, and that’s quite the honor. May tends to allow some home runs and Clippard is on the backend of his career. So, how could the Twins do a better job of using these pitchers? Minnesota’s offense hasn’t been performing at the same level as the 2019 team and it would be hard to live up to the same level as the record-setting “Bomba Squad.” Still, the trend so far this season has been to turn to less established relief arms when the team is trailing in a game. The names mentioned above are saved for if/when the team takes the lead and other players like Cody Stashak, Matt Wisler and Caleb Theilbar are trusted to keep the team in the game. https://twitter.com/AaronGleeman/status/1292951071556374530?s=20 Twins manager Rocco Baldelli seems to be in the frame of mind that using his best pitchers in deficit games is will have negative results. This seems like a logical response for a manager if the season is 162-games. Unfortunately, the team isn’t in the midst of a season that long. Even the best teams this season will only win around 35 games. This is going to force managers with good bullpens, like Baldelli, to use his good relief arms when the team is trailing. Unless a starting pitcher is pulled after three innings, there is little chance to use Rogers, Duffey, May, Clippard and Romo all in the same game. If the Twins go on a winning streak, this type of bullpen usage could help the team. The team could have a better chance to win by spreading the team’s five best relief pitchers over the course of multiple games. There has also been a plethora of pitching injuries so far this year so allowing pitchers to rest could help the team to stay healthy down the stretch. Out of bullpen arms, Clippard and Wisler have the most innings and that includes Clippard making multiple starts as an opener. Romo, Duffey, Stashak and May have all pitched more than Rogers. In fact, Rogers has barely pitched more than rookie Jorge Alcala. In the grand scheme of a shortened schedule, bullpen usage might not matter until the games count in the playoffs. It is still perplexing to consider the way Baldelli has approached his relief options so far in 2020. Are you concerned with the team’s bullpen usage so far this season? 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
  18. When headed to Spring Training prior to the 2019 season, the Twins were coming off of two years in which they finished 24th and 18th as a bullpen respectively. Garvin Alston had been shown the door, and so too had skipper Paul Molitor. In an age where rotations had become simply a means to an end, it was the power bullpens that reigned supreme. Breaking camp to head north Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson took a relief corps that included Taylor Rogers, Adlaberto Mejia, Trevor May, Blake Parker, Trevor Hildenberger, and Ryne Harper. Just two of those names remain for the 2020 squad, and they’ve now been developed into absolute studs. Coming out of the 2019 season, Johnson and Baldelli had orchestrated a relief group that posted the third best fWAR (7.3) across baseball. Rogers and May were joined by Tyler Duffey in hitting career marks, and Zack Littell was groomed into a solid back end arm. Though this group may not have the names of some other top units, their creating household numbers on their own. Johnson helped Rogers to produce the 11th best single season reliever fWAR (2.1) in Twins history. It was the best single-season performance since 2006 when Joe Nathan recorded the second-best mark (3.1) in club history, and it was a step up from Taylor’s already impressive 2018 season. It isn’t just about what Johnson got out of an already good arm, however. Acquired in the Ben Revere trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, Trevor May never worked out as a starter. Injuries mounted, and after sorting out his back issues, relief work became the way to go. He posted a career best FIP in 2018 and ratcheted up the strikeout numbers. Last year though, he became a true shutdown type while posting 11.1 K/9, and career lows in both H/9 (6.0) and HR/9 (1.1). Joining May in taking a step forward was Tyler Duffey. The former Rice closer went down the starting path and we nearly cast aside after a disastrous 7.20 ERA in 2018. Over 57.2 IP a year ago, he turned in a 2.50 ERA, 12.8 K/9 (nearly double the 2018 number), and a 3.06 FIP. With one of the best curveballs on the staff, the guy known as Doof certainly can mow 'em down in big moments. Minnesota identified Sergio Romo in an astute trade during last year’s deadline, and the fan favorite was brought back this year after posting a 146 ERA+ and 10.6 K/9. Looking great in Cleveland a year ago, 35-year-old Tyler Clippard and his strong career numbers over 13 years were added to the veteran presence. Being able to add Littell, who posted a 0.88 ERA and 27/8 K/BB over his final 30.2 IP, was one of the Twins great accomplishments a season ago. Matt Wisler is a former Top-100 prospect that hasn’t seen big league success, but there’s no denying Johnson sees something he likes there. Minnesota gave him a guaranteed contract, and the slider is a pitch to work with. Then there’s phenom Brusdar Graterol. It’s hardly a death sentence to send a 21-year-old kid to the bullpen (ask Johan Santana). Still looking to develop a complete repertoire, Graterol’s triple-digit heater should be plenty useful when attacking the opposition. Baldelli being able to go there in earlier innings is something a luxury only a pen this good could afford. Maybe his role is tweaked down the line, but there’s something to be said about adding arguably the best available relief arm by simply picking from your own organization. Things never go according to plan, so being able to rest on depth like Cody Stashak and his nutty 25/1 debut K/BB, or Jorge Alcala and his big fastball are certainly realities new to the organization. When hired from the Indians organization it was consistently noted that Derek Falvey’s calling card was developing pitching. It’s not hard to see how powerful the infrastructure he’s blueprinted now is, and the fruit that it continues to bear. Minnesota was topped by the Rays (7.6 fWAR) and Yankees (7.5) last year. Jumping to that top spot isn't at all unlikely. This ain’t your grandad’s Minnesota Twins bullpen. They have to go out and perform, but this is a unit that is going to be an absolute problem in the best way possible. MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  19. Rewind a year and the talk around this time was how poor the Minnesota Twins bullpen looked going into 2019. The team was coming off a down year, and relievers looked capable of ceding leads. New pitching coach, new manager, many similar faces, then. The narrative is entirely different for 2020.When headed to Spring Training prior to the 2019 season, the Twins were coming off of two years in which they finished 24th and 18th as a bullpen respectively. Garvin Alston had been shown the door, and so too had skipper Paul Molitor. In an age where rotations had become simply a means to an end, it was the power bullpens that reigned supreme. Breaking camp to head north Rocco Baldelli and Wes Johnson took a relief corps that included Taylor Rogers, Adlaberto Mejia, Trevor May, Blake Parker, Trevor Hildenberger, and Ryne Harper. Just two of those names remain for the 2020 squad, and they’ve now been developed into absolute studs. Coming out of the 2019 season, Johnson and Baldelli had orchestrated a relief group that posted the third best fWAR (7.3) across baseball. Rogers and May were joined by Tyler Duffey in hitting career marks, and Zack Littell was groomed into a solid back end arm. Though this group may not have the names of some other top units, their creating household numbers on their own. Johnson helped Rogers to produce the 11th best single season reliever fWAR (2.1) in Twins history. It was the best single-season performance since 2006 when Joe Nathan recorded the second-best mark (3.1) in club history, and it was a step up from Taylor’s already impressive 2018 season. It isn’t just about what Johnson got out of an already good arm, however. Acquired in the Ben Revere trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, Trevor May never worked out as a starter. Injuries mounted, and after sorting out his back issues, relief work became the way to go. He posted a career best FIP in 2018 and ratcheted up the strikeout numbers. Last year though, he became a true shutdown type while posting 11.1 K/9, and career lows in both H/9 (6.0) and HR/9 (1.1). Joining May in taking a step forward was Tyler Duffey. The former Rice closer went down the starting path and we nearly cast aside after a disastrous 7.20 ERA in 2018. Over 57.2 IP a year ago, he turned in a 2.50 ERA, 12.8 K/9 (nearly double the 2018 number), and a 3.06 FIP. With one of the best curveballs on the staff, the guy known as Doof certainly can mow 'em down in big moments. Minnesota identified Sergio Romo in an astute trade during last year’s deadline, and the fan favorite was brought back this year after posting a 146 ERA+ and 10.6 K/9. Looking great in Cleveland a year ago, 35-year-old Tyler Clippard and his strong career numbers over 13 years were added to the veteran presence. Being able to add Littell, who posted a 0.88 ERA and 27/8 K/BB over his final 30.2 IP, was one of the Twins great accomplishments a season ago. Matt Wisler is a former Top-100 prospect that hasn’t seen big league success, but there’s no denying Johnson sees something he likes there. Minnesota gave him a guaranteed contract, and the slider is a pitch to work with. Then there’s phenom Brusdar Graterol. It’s hardly a death sentence to send a 21-year-old kid to the bullpen (ask Johan Santana). Still looking to develop a complete repertoire, Graterol’s triple-digit heater should be plenty useful when attacking the opposition. Baldelli being able to go there in earlier innings is something a luxury only a pen this good could afford. Maybe his role is tweaked down the line, but there’s something to be said about adding arguably the best available relief arm by simply picking from your own organization. Things never go according to plan, so being able to rest on depth like Cody Stashak and his nutty 25/1 debut K/BB, or Jorge Alcala and his big fastball are certainly realities new to the organization. When hired from the Indians organization it was consistently noted that Derek Falvey’s calling card was developing pitching. It’s not hard to see how powerful the infrastructure he’s blueprinted now is, and the fruit that it continues to bear. Minnesota was topped by the Rays (7.6 fWAR) and Yankees (7.5) last year. Jumping to that top spot isn't at all unlikely. This ain’t your grandad’s Minnesota Twins bullpen. They have to go out and perform, but this is a unit that is going to be an absolute problem in the best way possible. 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
  20. I am always curious about trades – do they work in the short run, long run or not at all? How do we judge the Twins trades? I am not interested in the end of the career moves of Killebrew and Thome, but rather the movement of players who will have a career that goes on for a few years after the trade. Most likely the balance between good and bad will even out after a number of years, although David Ortiz will always be a thorn in the Minnesota Twins field. But then Ortiz was not traded - we cut him (and you still think Kelly was a good manager?) and so we got nothing for him. Lucky Boston. So I will ignore that stupid move and look at real trades. And the Twins can always counter with - Liriano, Nathan and Bonser for Pierzynski. Joe Nathan is our greatest closer and he was with us for seven years accumulating 260 saves and 18.4 WAR. Liriano was also with us for seven years and was 50 – 52 with 4.33 ERA. For one year he was the best, but then injuries took him from HOF to great potential. He had 9 War for the seven years. Boof gave us our best name and played for us for three years. 18 – 25 with 5.12 era and -0.1 WAR. The three of them gave us 27.3 WAR. Pierzynski was with us 6 years and played 13 more after leaving us. He had 9.5 WAR with us and 14.3 after he left. I know we consider this a big Twins victory and it is, but maybe not as large as we like to claim. In 1989 we acquired Tapani and Aguilera for Viola. Tapani played seven terrific years for the Twins and was terrific. 75 – 63 with 4.06 ERA and 19.1 WAR. Aguilera was with us 11 years 40 – 47 and 254 saves with 3.50 ERA and 15.5 WAR – that is 34.6 total WAR. Frank Viola was a stud for us for 8 years, but his career was not long after leaving. A total of 15 years with 64 – 57 record in his years with the Mets, Red Sox, Reds, and Blue Jays. His WAR was 11.4 with us, 11.8 with the Red Sox and Mets and -1.1 his last two years. We won that trade for sure. Milton and Guzman and Buchanan for Knoblauch in 1998. Knoblauch was with us seven great years and is second to Carew in our 2B rankings. He accumulated 38 WAR in those year and then in 4 years with the Yankees he had 7.5 WAR until the yips ended his career. With the Yankees he also posted great post season numbers. Brian Buchanan was with us three years and had 0.3 WAR. Christian Guzman was with us 6 years and was one of the fastest and most exciting players we have had. He had 7.6 WAR before being traded. Eric Milton was with us six years and posted a record of 57 – 51 with 4.76 ERA. His WAR for us was -0.6. Put it all together and it is a wash, but NY was happy to have Knoblauch on their championship teams. 1976 Smalley, Singer, Gideon, and Cubbage for Blyleven Of course Bert would come back to the Twins and Smalley would go away and come back too. In all Smalley would play 10 years for us – seven after this trade and three more to end his career. He had 18.7 WAR in his seven years after this trade and 2.1 for his last stint with the team. Bill Singer was 9 – 9 in his one year with the team and had 0.4 WAR. Gideon did nothing for us or anyone else – he had one year in Texas. Mike Cubbage had five years with the Twins and 6.6 WAR. Blyleven had 11 years with the Twins out of 22 and seven came before the trade and 4 more in his last stint with us. He had 49.1 WAR with the Twins – 10.5 in his return so 38.6 before the trade. He had 47.1 WAR with other teams which would mean that we lost that trade! In 1979 thanks to Calvin Griffiths big mouth we had to trade Rod Carew for OF Ken Landreaux, C/OF Dave Engle, RHP Paul Hartzell, LHP Brad Havens. Rod had 63.8 WAR with the Twins when we traded him and 17.4 with the Angels afterward. Ken Landreaux was with the Twins for two years and had 1.8 WAR. Dave Engle played five years for us and had 3.9 WAR. Paul Hartzell was with us one year for 0.4 WAR. Brad Havens was with us three years for 0.3 WAR. We lost that one. In 1963 we pulled off one of our best trades – Jack Kralick for Jim Perry. Kralick pitched five years for Cleveland and had a 6.6. WAR. Jim Perry pitched for us for 10 years and won 128 games. He had a 26.3 WAR. That was a steal! In 2008 we got OF Carlos Gómez, RHP Deolis Guerra, RHP Philip Humber, RHP Kevin Mulvey for Johann Santana. Yes we lost this one. In the four years before his injuries ended a HOF career he had 15.3 WAR with the Mets. Gomez in his two years was exciting and posted 2.6 WAR. Guerra did not pitch for us. Philip Humber had no wins or losses in two years and a WAR of -0.1. Kevin Mulvey had -0.2 in his one year. Yes we lost that one. And if you are thinking – we traded Gomez for J J Hardy so we won, think again, we kept him one year and traded for Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson. If you are keeping track, we are 3 – 3 – 1 in the trades so far. 1969 we got RHP Luis Tiant, RHP Stan Williams for 3B Graig Nettles, RHP Dean Chance, RHP Bob Miller, CF Ted Uhlaender! Tiant had a 2.84 ERA in six seasons with Cleveland before the trade, and Williams was thought of as an ace reliever. Tiant, only threw 92 2/3 innings with the Twins because of a shoulder issue and was released after the season. Williams had a 1.99 ERA in 68 relief appearances in 1970 but was traded to the Cardinals the next year. Tiant then caught on with the Red Sox as one of their star starters and Nettles went on to play 19 years. Tiant had 1.2 WAR with the Twins out of 66.1 for his career and was 7 -3 before his injury and went on to win 229 games. We lost because we could not wait for his injury to heal. Stan Williams was 14 – 6 with 19 saves. He was a terrific relief pitcher but we only kept him 2 years and he had 2.3 WAR for us.Craig Nettles would play 22 years. He had 1.1 WAR in three years with the Twins, but as an excellent glove man and power hitter he would amass 68 WAR in his career. Chance was terrific for us with 13 WAR in three years but had a total of zero war his last three years. Ted Uhlander played only three more years for 1.1 WAR. Bob Miller pitched 17 years – nine after we traded him. He gained 5.7 WAR in that time, but served as a valuable relief pitcher. With Nettles alone we lost this one. And with our impatience for Tiant we doubly lost. 2007 OF Delmon Young, INF Brendan Harris, OF Jason Pridie for Matt Garza, Jason Barlett, and Eddie Morlan. Young was such a disappointment it would have been a good trade if we had given up only Eddie Morlan (who?). Delmon was here 4 years and teased us with his potential each year. His WAR for those years totaled – 1. He played 10 years total. Jason Barlett totaled 10.4 WAR for Tampa. Do I need to go on? Well we did get Brendan Harris and for three years he played for us and accumulated -0.6 WAR. For his career he ended with -0.3. Jason Pridie was with us 2 years and had -0.2 WAR. And then there was Matt Garza who won 93 games in 12 years and had 13.5 WAR after leaving us. WE DEFINITLY LOST THIS ONE. In 2010 there was the trade of Wilson Ramos to the Washington Nationals for Matt Capps and we also through in Joe Testa. I believe this was an unpopular trade! So far Ramos has 15.4 WAR. Matt was with us three years – I forgot that – and somehow got 1.9 WAR. So we lost that one too. THAT BRINGS THE RECORD TO 3 – 6 – 1 Now we come to the Centerfielder trades. Aaron Hicks for John Ryan Murphy – do I have to go into the details? We lost. Denard Span for Alex Meyer – okay, let’s move on – we lost that one too. Ben Revere for Vance Worley (not good) and Trevor May – great! We won. It just took a while. Recently Eduardo Escobar was traded for Jhoan Duran and outfielders Gabriel Maciel and Ernie De La Trinidad. Escobar has been a stud for AZ and the minor leaguers are not here yet. Duran looks like he could be special and is listed as our number 5 prospect by MLB.com. Maciel is listed at number 27 and Tinidad is not on the list. Too early to judge, but AZ is happy! What about relief pitchers. Ryan Pressly traded for Acala (25) and Celestino (15). Both great prospects, but I think we would have liked to have Pressly in the pen. He was a star for Houston. Still too early for a final judgment. Nick Anderson for Brian Schales – Tampa Bay would do this trade any day. Anderson had 1.4 WAR last year and 3.32 era for Tampa as a rookie. Liam Hendriks was not really a trade but we DFA’d him so we could sign Phil Hughes. I suspect we would like him back too since he is now one of the best of all RPs. So I treat that as a default loss. The tally as I have it is 4 – 10 – 3. Maybe the desire to make trades is something we might want to think about.
  21. Best Fastball: Trevor May FBv: 95.6, wFB: 17.4 With Brusdar Graterol no longer on the roster, there’s a new sheriff in town. Trevor May was supposed to evolve into a middle of the rotation starter when the Twins traded for him, but now he has become a shutdown late-inning relief pitcher. One of the biggest reasons for his improved performance… a lights-out fastball that has continue to improve since he switched to the bullpen. Back in 2014 May was a starter, trying to find himself on a struggling Twins squad. His fastball wasn’t hitting 93 and it didn’t seem like the rotation was a spot where he would thrive. Fast-forward to 2019 and his fastball has jumped to 95.5 mph and he is using it almost 62% of the time. The transition to the bullpen can be tough for some players, but opponents compiled a .150 batting average against his heater and most fans will take that every day of the week. Honorable Mention: Jake Odorizzi (20.8 wFB), Jose Berrios 11.5 (wFB) Best Slider: Taylor Rogers SLv: 82.3, wSL: 7.4 Taylor Rogers is good. Let me restate that, Taylor Rogers is really good, and I don’t think the rest of baseball realizes how good he was last season. One of the biggest changes for him last season was using his curveball less often and relying more on his slider. Spoiler alert… his slider is unhittable when paired with his other off-speed pitches. Outside of Jose Berrios, Rogers might have been the most enjoyable Twins pitcher to watch last season. His calm demeanor on the mound separates him from more recent Twins closers, but his pitching repertoire certainly puts him in the same class as his successors. Having a shortened 2020 season is depriving fans of another stellar year from Rogers. Honorable Mention: Sergio Romo (wSL 3.6), Lewis Thorpe (wSL 3.9) Best Curveball: Devin Smeltzer CBv: 76.6, wCB: 3.0 Smeltzer doesn’t have the velocity most would expect from a big-league pitcher, but the movement on his pitches helps to separate him from others on the staff. Fans are constantly in awe of the movement he is able to create from his lanky frame, especially when the pitches aren’t coming in at triple-digits on the radar gun. One of the biggest reasons for his success is his ability to change pitches and alter the batter’s vantage point. Last season, his spin on his curveball ranked in the 80th percentile across baseball. He only threw the pitch 24.5% of the time so it could be a pitch that see increase usage in the years ahead. Smeltzer is never going to blow away other batters. He has to rely on movement to be successful and he could rely on his unique abilities to be a back of the rotation starter. Honorable Mention: Jose Berrios (wCB -1.8), Tyler Duffey (wCB -0.8) Best Change-Up: Michael Pineda CHv: 87.2, wCH: 4.9 Twins fans might not appreciate how good Michael Pineda was for the team last season. He was once a top prospect, but he has evolved as a pitcher with more big-league experience. His fastball and slider might be below league average but his change-up is on another tier. He threw it more with the Twins than in any other season during the StatCast era. Opponents were held to a .238 batting average and a .253 WOBA on his change-up last season. Compare that to previous seasons and opponents were hitting over .290 with a .318 WOBA. Granted he missed a season due to Tommy John, but it takes nothing away from how he was able to adapt last season. Honorable Metnion:Trevor May (wCH: 2.2), Sergio Romo (wCH: 1.6) Do you agree with these rankings? What is the best pitch in the Twins organization? 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
  22. 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
  23. Projected Bullpen: Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, Tyler Clippard, Sergio Romo, Zach Littell, Matt Wisler, Cody Stashak Depth: Fernando Romero, Sean Poppen, Danny Coulombe, Ryan Garton, Blaine Hardy, Cory Gearrin, Caleb Thielbar Prospects: Edwar Colina, Dakota Chalmers, Jake Reed THE GOOD September 14th was perhaps the most memorable day of the 2019 season. On this date, the Twins swept a doubleheader in Cleveland, effectively putting the division on ice. While Miguel Sano's splashy grand slam dominated the highlight reels, there's no question who was the star of this show: Minnesota's blossoming bullpen. The games were "started" by Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe, and featured a total of nine different pitchers deployed by Rocco Baldelli. Smeltzer and Thorpe combined with Zack Littell, Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo, Taylor Rogers, Cody Stashak, Brusdar Graterol and Trevor May to hold Cleveland to five runs on 13 hits in 18 innings. The seven pitchers who appeared as relievers totaled 14 strikeouts and zero walks. This immaculate collective performance epitomized the bullpen's brilliant second half. Even with top deadline addition Sam Dyson completely fizzling, the Twins relief corps ranked third among MLB teams in fWAR after July 31st, trailing only the Yankees and Rays. While the closer Rogers continued to excel, he was surrounded by strong performers, with May, Duffey, Romo, and Littell all contributing in major ways. Meanwhile, Stashak and Graterol joined the fray as impact rookies. Graterol won't return, but everyone else will, along with waiver gamble Matt Wisler and free agent acquisition Tyler Clippard, whose reverse splits make him the weapon Baldelli needs against southpaws. Minnesota is about seven-deep with quality big-league relievers, and that's before you account for long-relief options such as Thorpe and Smeltzer, or ready-to-go reinforcements such as Sean Poppen and Fernando Romero. Even with the inherent volatility of MLB bullpens, and the inevitability of at least a few injuries, this relief unit is poised to be one of the American League's finest. THE BAD Graterol is a big loss. While he was the least established among this entire crop, he undoubtedly offered the most upside, which was set to be unleashed after the team's acknowledgement he was slated for a relief role in 2020. The Twins bolstered their rotation by trading the young flamethrower for Kenta Maeda, but there's a clear trade-off in bullpen caliber. By no means were the Twins counting on Graterol to be an essential fixture in this year's bullpen, but that was the beauty of his presence: a total bonus and a wild-card, with serious "ace in the hole" potential in this season and many to come. It may not be felt as strongly since we were only beginning to acclimate ourselves to the idea of him as a long-term relief pitcher, but make no mistake: Graterol's absence creates a spacious void in the bullpen's outlook going forward. The Twins will have to hope a rebounding Romero or an emerging Jhoan Duran can fill it in some way. Ultimately, the most evident weakness in Minnesota's bullpen is a lack of established track records beyond Rogers. As good as May, Duffey, and Littell were last year, none had a substantive history of MLB relief success prior. Wisler is still searching for his first above-average season in the majors. Signing Clippard and Romo helps in this regard, of course, but they are middle relief types. The Twins are counting heavily on May and Duffey to repeat their dominant performances from 2019. There's no specific reason to think either one won't but... relievers are relievers. THE BOTTOM LINE Bullpen is undoubtedly a differentiating asset for the Twins heading into 2020, as they've retained all the top performers in a unit that progressively emerged last year as one of the league's best and deepest. Rogers ranks among the position's elite, and is surrounded by a couple setup men who could easily join the closer in this distinction. Reliable options abound for Baldelli, who shouldn't find himself running short on trusted relievers barring an abundance of injuries and setbacks. Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Catcher Twins 2020 Position Analysis: First Base Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Second Base Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Third Base Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Shortstop Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Left Field Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Center Field Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Right Field Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Designated Hitter Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Starting Pitcher MORE FROM TWINS DAILY — Latest Twins coverage from our writers — Recent Twins discussion in our forums — Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
  24. Last year when I previewed this unit, a lack of proven depth was the overarching story. Today, we'll be unpacking a 180-degree turnaround. The emergence of Minnesota's bullpen as a top-tier group was one of the 2019 season's most astonishing, and promising, developments.Projected Bullpen: Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May, Tyler Clippard, Sergio Romo, Zach Littell, Matt Wisler, Cody Stashak Depth: Fernando Romero, Sean Poppen, Danny Coulombe, Ryan Garton, Blaine Hardy, Cory Gearrin, Caleb Thielbar Prospects: Edwar Colina, Dakota Chalmers, Jake Reed THE GOOD September 14th was perhaps the most memorable day of the 2019 season. On this date, the Twins swept a doubleheader in Cleveland, effectively putting the division on ice. While Miguel Sano's splashy grand slam dominated the highlight reels, there's no question who was the star of this show: Minnesota's blossoming bullpen. The games were "started" by Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe, and featured a total of nine different pitchers deployed by Rocco Baldelli. Smeltzer and Thorpe combined with Zack Littell, Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo, Taylor Rogers, Cody Stashak, Brusdar Graterol and Trevor May to hold Cleveland to five runs on 13 hits in 18 innings. The seven pitchers who appeared as relievers totaled 14 strikeouts and zero walks. This immaculate collective performance epitomized the bullpen's brilliant second half. Even with top deadline addition Sam Dyson completely fizzling, the Twins relief corps ranked third among MLB teams in fWAR after July 31st, trailing only the Yankees and Rays. While the closer Rogers continued to excel, he was surrounded by strong performers, with May, Duffey, Romo, and Littell all contributing in major ways. Meanwhile, Stashak and Graterol joined the fray as impact rookies. Graterol won't return, but everyone else will, along with waiver gamble Matt Wisler and free agent acquisition Tyler Clippard, whose reverse splits make him the weapon Baldelli needs against southpaws. Minnesota is about seven-deep with quality big-league relievers, and that's before you account for long-relief options such as Thorpe and Smeltzer, or ready-to-go reinforcements such as Sean Poppen and Fernando Romero. Even with the inherent volatility of MLB bullpens, and the inevitability of at least a few injuries, this relief unit is poised to be one of the American League's finest. THE BAD Graterol is a big loss. While he was the least established among this entire crop, he undoubtedly offered the most upside, which was set to be unleashed after the team's acknowledgement he was slated for a relief role in 2020. The Twins bolstered their rotation by trading the young flamethrower for Kenta Maeda, but there's a clear trade-off in bullpen caliber. By no means were the Twins counting on Graterol to be an essential fixture in this year's bullpen, but that was the beauty of his presence: a total bonus and a wild-card, with serious "ace in the hole" potential in this season and many to come. It may not be felt as strongly since we were only beginning to acclimate ourselves to the idea of him as a long-term relief pitcher, but make no mistake: Graterol's absence creates a spacious void in the bullpen's outlook going forward. The Twins will have to hope a rebounding Romero or an emerging Jhoan Duran can fill it in some way. Ultimately, the most evident weakness in Minnesota's bullpen is a lack of established track records beyond Rogers. As good as May, Duffey, and Littell were last year, none had a substantive history of MLB relief success prior. Wisler is still searching for his first above-average season in the majors. Signing Clippard and Romo helps in this regard, of course, but they are middle relief types. The Twins are counting heavily on May and Duffey to repeat their dominant performances from 2019. There's no specific reason to think either one won't but... relievers are relievers. THE BOTTOM LINE Bullpen is undoubtedly a differentiating asset for the Twins heading into 2020, as they've retained all the top performers in a unit that progressively emerged last year as one of the league's best and deepest. Rogers ranks among the position's elite, and is surrounded by a couple setup men who could easily join the closer in this distinction. Reliable options abound for Baldelli, who shouldn't find himself running short on trusted relievers barring an abundance of injuries and setbacks. Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Catcher Twins 2020 Position Analysis: First Base Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Second Base Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Third Base Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Shortstop Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Left Field Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Center Field Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Right Field Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Designated Hitter Twins 2020 Position Analysis: Starting Pitcher 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
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