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  1. Update: It appears that the Padres will be also landing Yu Darvish from the Cubs. While that takes a target away from the Twins, they have less competition on the Reds front. Arms like Joe Musgrove and Jon Gray also remain enticing. Late on Sunday night the market for starting pitching pursuits took a drastic change. After the Tampa Bay Rays had announced they’d make Blake Snell available, the San Diego Padres decided to cap off their Christmas weekend with a blockbuster trade. This provides a blueprint for the Minnesota Twins, and also removes some potential competition. Thus far during the offseason things have been quit from the Derek Falvey and Thad Levine camp. Minnesota has made a few smaller moves on the reliever front, but they have not addressed their rotation or lineup. For what seems like weeks we’ve now heard about the Twins being a team potential waiting in the weeds and ready to strike. One big name discussed has been that of Marcus Semien, but it remains true that starting pitching is a must. You can probably bet on veteran Rich Hill not being a guy brought back for 2021, and while Jake Odorizzi looks like one of the best arms not named Trevor Bauer, he will have some options. For Minnesota, sustainability could be the key and finding a trade partner with an arm having some team control could be as enticing as anything. Although it’s not known to what extent Minnesota may have been intrigued by Snell, the reality is he’s a good pitcher and was available. At the very least that made the two organizations a match. Following that logic, the Cubs and Yu Darvish as well as the Reds and their arms Luis Castillo or Sonny Gray could all be fits. Darvish comes with the hefty price tag, while both Gray and Castillo are more affordable options that should command a premium in prospect capital. It’s fine to still call this relatively early in the offseason, but the reality is that we’re over the halfway point. Despite the fact that Rob Manfred still hasn’t solidified the 2021 Major League Baseball schedule and we still have no idea what the exact set of rules are going to be, time is not waiting, and Spring Training will soon be around the corner. Minnesota’s front office hasn’t been afraid of being a last-minute suitor, but getting guys acclimate could hold some weight given how the Lance Lynn and Logan Morrison moves ultimately worked out. When the Padres decided to spring for Snell with a package centered around their second-best pitching prospect, they effectively took themselves out of any discussion regarding another deal. The money is still there for them to target Trevor Bauer, but they don’t seem likely to move Mackenzie Gore or C.J. Abrams, so swapping for another top arm would be difficult. This benefits the Twins as it’s one less club vying for the same prizes. Given the organization he played for it was probably a near-guarantee that Snell would be moved. I think Chicago still flips Darvish, but Jed Hoyer will want to get his first big move right. Castillo and Gray don’t necessarily need to be shipped out, but Cincinnati appears intent on tearing it down after a one-year run at going for it. Asking Minnesota to be engaged on all of those fronts is hardly a leap. It’s not yet clear where the Twins will turn, but I’d bet a decent amount that they have plenty of irons in the fire, and it’s clear there’s a decent amount of smoke. Having a better bargaining position than they did yesterday, and also a representative idea of a framework, Falvey and Levine have more clarity now than they may have a few days ago. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  2. Aaron and John explain why Eddie Rosario will probably not be a Minnesota Twin next week, other impacts of Wednesday's non-tender deadline, and a couple impact starting pitchers reportedly available in trades. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeartRadio or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link. Click Here To Listen Now Click here to view the article
  3. After bringing back Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda the Minnesota Twins should be turning their focus solely to the top of their rotation. Madison Bumgarner is the presumed name, but Jon Heyman recently reported that former Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu could be the target. What if Minnesota wanted to go a different route entirely? There’s no denying that Bumgarner and Ryu are the best (see: only) arms left in the second tier of available starters. Bumgarner has been dissected plenty, and Ryu is essentially the flip side of what he brings to the table. Injury concerns are abundant and could be an immediate issue. He won’t command the same length in a contract, but that may not matter if you get burned on the front end. Ryu is a really nice arm, but there’s plenty of risk regarding how much time he’ll miss. For a while I’ve contended the Twins plan this winter should be to acquire a top-tier arm through free agency while also dealing for an option with some nice team control. What if it they decided to deal for the top-tier arm as well, and spend by taking on someone else’s contract? Enter Yu Darvish. Minnesota came up a year short in signing Darvish before he eventually landed a six-year deal with the Chicago Cubs. Thad Levine has in-depth knowledge of the arm having worked in the front office that originally signed him in Texas, and the parallels with Ryu run pretty deep. Chicago’s starter is roughly six months older than Ryu. He could be had on a four-year, $81 million contract today assuming the Cubs take on no salary. Although Ryu may not get four years, he’ll probably wind up somewhere between the $60-75 million range. Darvish was injury and bad a season ago, and then started slow in 2019. Across his final 20 starts last year he allowed just a .629 OPS and had a 162/18 K/BB ratio. When looking at Darvish and Ryu it comes down to what path you prefer (and if Chicago is truly motivated to move him). Ryu costs dollars and brings a strong amount of command while lacking the strikeouts. Darvish would require prospect capital, involves a similar level of injury risk, but brings arguably the best strikeout numbers Minnesota would have ever employed. If you’re hoarding prospects, and there’s reason to suggest that the Twins should be at least until the deadline this season, then spending money on Ryu or Bumgarner should be the obvious decision. If Darvish is seen as the superior option to Ryu, then engaging the Cubs in meaningful discussion is absolutely a conversation worth having. We’re at the point in roster construction where big moves are going to involve a certain level of skepticism. Knowing that there’s nothing certain about any of the options involved, a level of belief will be required with any asset acquired. I’m not sure which path the Twins will choose, and I don’t know what the right one is. I am glad we’re at the crossroads where it becomes a necessity, and these are the real discussions that we’re having. For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz
  4. On Monday, Rhett Bollinger of MLB wrote that the Minnesota Twins are still more likely to upgrade their pitching rotation for 2018 through free agency than by trade. And on Tuesday, MLB Trade Rumors reported off of a 1500 ESPN tweet that pitchers’ agents were getting the sense that the Twins (i.e., Derek Falvey and Thad Levine) were putting off talks until Yu Darvish announces his decision to sign. Reading between the lines, one can interpret these reports to mean that the Twins have not been in much communication with free agent pitchers waiting to sign contracts this offseason. But does an absence of communication mean that the Twins are failing to communicate? A story Thursday in the New York Times (h/t dougd) suggests that Levine is one of the more skilled baseball executives in using alternative means to communicate (such as text messaging) with players, agents, or other major league personnel. "...today, we negotiate hundreds of millions of dollars of contracts and make massive trades without ever picking up the phone and speaking directly with one another, let alone meeting face to face,” Levine said. “You kind of learn the personalities of guys—who needs a phone call, who can do it on text, who prefers emails, who likes to be lighthearted. "The art of the negotiation has almost been trumped by the art of communication." This makes the news that the Twins have not met in person with Darvish much easier to take. Meanwhile, back in December, the Twins were reportedly offered Gerrit Cole in exchange for prospects Nick Gordon, Zack Granite, and Tyler Jay, according to the news site Pirates Breakdown. https://twitter.com/pbcbreakdown/status/940390540998250497 Many Twins fans, including myself, liked this trade idea. (See here, here, here, or here —and the proposals offered by Twins fans in these threads were actually not far off the mark in terms of value.) The stat we know as WAR is not how we evaluate pitchers during the season, but it can be a good, broad gauge of general value. In terms of fWAR, the two sides of a Cole/Gordon/Granite trade match up well. Fangraphs projects Cole to provide 3.8 fWAR in 2018; let's add 3.8 fWAR more for 2019. That makes 7.6 fWAR for the final two team-controlled seasons of Cole coming from Pittsburgh. How much fWAR will the Twins prospects provide? The 2017 midseason KATOH+ projections estimate that Granite will contribute 6.8 fWAR through his six team-controlled MLB seasons, while Gordon will accumulate 6.3 worth of fWAR across his six seasons. Throw in a generous 2.0 fWAR for Jay as a relief pitcher, and the total contribution of the prospects coming from the Twins is 15.1 fWAR. In such a Gerrit Cole trade as proposed above, the Twins would trade away a future 15.1 fWAR in exchange for Cole’s 7.6 fWAR as a starter for the next two seasons. That looks unequal, but posters on the Dozier trade discussion threads last winter found that MLB-for-prospect trades often lean heavily to one side in this way. A risk premium on the speculative nature of unpredictable prospects, perhaps. In any case, the barstool argument in favor of the trade may be more effective than the mathematical or financial analysis. Gordon and Granite are good players, but their production can be replaced. The Twins have Jermaine Palacios and Royce Lewis playing shortstop in the minors behind Nick Gordon, and have Jorge Polanco and other capable shortstops on the Major League team already. As for Granite, I would not count on him getting enough playing time to contribute much fWAR anyway, the maturing young Twins outfield being what it is. And the bottom line is the Twins badly need starting pitching in 2018. Now compare Cole to Darvish. Fangraphs projects Cole for 3.8 fWAR in 2018, while Darvish is projected only for 3.6 fWAR in 2018. Consider that Darvish’s contract will fetch more than $20 million per season for each of the next five or six seasons; Cole will not earn $20 million over the next two seasons together. Moreover, Cole might be motivated to pitch his best in order to increase his value in free agency following 2019. Through the quiet offseason to this point, and assuming Pittsburgh is still interested in a trade, Cole has looked like a solid alternative to Yu Darvish, maybe even better. Cole is younger and will not tie up salary beyond 2019, and might even present a July trade opportunity for the Twins if the 2019 season goes sideways. Beyond 2018 and 2019, the success of the Twins will depend on their ability to develop their own starting pitching. Darvish might help win some games in future seasons, but those wins will cost a lot of money, and possibly at the expense of extending one or two of the Twins young outfielders. Levine’s "negotiation" with Darvish this winter has put me at ease somewhat. Levine's knowledge of Darvish from their days in Texas suggests to me that the Twins are not concerned about Darvish’s health, nor his motivation to pitch after he signs this nine-figure deal. And a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow; figure on that annual salary at the end of Darvish’s contract to not look so bad as it does now, once those latter years finally arrive. I still prefer a trade for Cole, combined perhaps with a signing of Alex Cobb. But if the Twins really do sign Darvish — and my gut gives them a better than 50/50 chance at it — I imagine I will be amazed, thrilled, and fired up for the 2018 season. Such a signing will instantly put Minnesota almost on par with most other teams in the American League, and will give them a dependable arm for the next several seasons. But it's Darvish’s decision to make. If Levine has misjudged Darvish and Darvish chooses to sign with another team, and other subsequent options fail to break for the Twins, the Twins would find themselves going into 2018 without the addition of a single starting pitcher. For a young, talented team that made a strong run in 2017, this would be quite a blow. To borrow a great metaphor from another TwinsDaily poster in another thread, the Twins are playing a game of musical chairs, and if Darvish signs with another team, the Twins might find themselves without a chair when the music stops. Let's hope the personal relationship and commitment Thad Levine and Yu Darvish have together is real. My gut tells me it is.
  5. How often does spending big in free agency actually result in winning more games the next year? Thank you for asking this question, voice in my head, because I was wondering the same thing. What I want to look at are the teams that spent the most money in the offseason and then how they did the year following with their new toys.Given that we’re Twins fans here, payroll has never been a topic of discussion. No one has ever been annoyed at the lack of big spending in free agency and is always perfectly OK with how the front office allocates their resources, especially this year. Free agency is supposed to be an opportunity to right the sinking ship through veteran additions to a low-talent roster (Texas), to fortify a good roster to take their team over the top (Boston), or to sit around and talk about how good the farm system is (San Diego). Every year, we see the offseason as a chance for teams to flex on small market franchises by throwing money at players like drunken pirates. Nowadays it isn’t as prevalent, but teams are still paying players for their services for the next year or beyond. But is that a recipe for success? The process is quite simple: Find the top 10 spending teams in an offseason over the last five years and then see where they ended up the following year. I’ll rank them by total money spent so that the Padres’ brilliant Eric Hosmer contract screws them over a lot because they deserve to be ridiculed. Information will be used from Spotrac, let’s see what it says! 2018 offseason shopping sprees Download attachment: Spending1.png A few things are already looking interesting here! The Cubs slide into the top spot because they handed out contracts to pitchers like Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood who both probably are sleeping in their beds of money, grateful for their agents, while the Ricketts continue to try to print money in order to scrape together a hitting coach that they won’t throw under the bus. Other than that, a great number of the top teams are up there because of financial promises to a single player. Some were great (J.D. Martinez with Boston), some were very good (Lorenzo Cain with Milwaukee), and some were terrible the second they were signed (everyone with the Rockies). Altogether, the top 10 in spending netted +6 wins overall or +34 if you want to ignore Baltimore, which is a good plan for just about everything. Only 3 teams went negative in wins the year after spending like a redneck at a gas station with one of them being, of course, the Twins... great luck there. Let’s go back one more year now. 2017 offseason shopping spree Download attachment: Spending2.png Ah, 2017, a simpler time, a time where Dexter Fowler received the third-most expensive contract of the offseason and Ian Desmond got the fifth. I have to say, I like seeing the spread of typically smaller spending teams here like Miami, Cleveland, and Colorado. It really just warms my cold, frozen heart. Overall the top ten spending teams netted a whole -1 more wins than the year prior but that number becomes +22 if you throw out the massive outlier in the Giants. The Dodgers were by far the biggest spenders but most of it was them keeping players they already had like Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner, and Rich Hill, leaving Sergio Romo and his $3 million payday as their highest paid free agent who came from another team. All in all, this list translates fairly well to success when considering the context of which players were brought in for which team. Houston added a few veterans who turned them into a World Series champion, Cleveland added Edwin Encarnacion to legitimize their lineup and lead them straight into and out of the playoffs after the first round, and the Yankees added back Aroldis Chapman after swindling the Cubs into trading yet another top prospect for pitching. Although, someone should have told St. Louis not to invest over $110 million into Brett Cecil and Dexter Fowler, yikes. 2016 shopping spree Download attachment: Spending3.png The first obvious thing to note, what the hell was going on in this offseason? Are you guys seeing the amount of money that teams were spending here? We talk about the horrible offseason in 2018, but it looks like free agency actually started going downhill a year before that. Maybe it was a fluke year, but teams were dropping money like upper-class toddlers at Toys R' Us on their birthday. All for elite names like Chris Davis, Jason Heyward, Ian Kennedy, and Jordan Zimmermann. Freakin' Jeff Samardzija got $90 million this offseason. What was going on back then? Luckily, there isn’t some massive outlier team, so adding up the wins gained/lost results in a cool +9 overall. I do love how the Twins biggest signing that offseason was David Murphy, who decided that he would rather not play baseball the rest of his life than play for the Twins. And this was after an 83 win season! The next biggest acquisition was Carlos Quentin who you definitely forgot was technically a Twin, leaving the only impactful addition being Fernando Abad who was signed to a minor league deal, great stuff Terry Ryan, it’s a wonder that it took him that long to be canned. Despite that Heyward contract looking like the albatross to end all albatrosses, the Cubs dropping nearly the GDP of the Republic of Palau that offseason brought them to the promised land thanks to other veteran signings like Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler, and John Lackey. 2015 shopping spree Download attachment: Spending4.png We finally reach the infamous 2015 offseason where Max Scherzer and Jon Lester got paid handsomely and actually provided good value for their team while Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez also got paid well and did whatever the opposite of providing value would be. Overall, the top spending teams netted +38 wins overall which still stays a +14 even if you throw out the outlier Cubs. There isn’t too much to really report here, spending was about what it typically is. The Royals added some garnish to their eventually World Series-winning club with the signings of Edinson Volquez and Twins legend Kendrys Morales. Hell, they even gave Alex Rios $11 million that offseason to kind of just hang around and do Alex Rios things. This was also the year where the Twins handed out their biggest contract ever to Ervin Santana which went pretty well and they also decided to bring back Torii Hunter for old times sake, which went less well, but who cares? Torii was back! 2014 shopping spree Download attachment: Spending5.png What a strange offseason this was, the Mariners absolutely shocked the world when they gave a 31-year-old Robinson Cano a 10 year, $240 million contract and then later shocked no one by not keeping him through the whole deal. The Rangers gave Shin-Soo Choo $130 million and then lost 24 more games than the year prior. The Yankees decided to back the dump truck of money up for veterans like Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran and I’m sure that they would still do that Ellsbury contract again if they could. The Twins slot in as the fourth-highest spending team mostly thanks to the elite three-headed Nolasco-Hughes-Pelfrey starting trio. They also tried to bring back Kubel, Bartlett, and Guerrier, all of whom failed miserably and proved that you do in fact become the villain if you live long enough. Kurt Suzuki was a nice cheap find here who made the All-Star Game despite being signed for less than $3 million in the offseason and is still kicking after getting a nice deal from the Nationals this offseason. Overall the top 10 spending teams netted +16 more wins than the year prior and there is something kind of hilarious about the second highest spending team going +26 while the third highest went -24. Interestingly enough, the Giants won the World Series that year despite their biggest signing that offseason being a Tim Hudson who was collecting social security at that point and needed a walker to get to the mound. All right, that’s a lot of information, but what narratives can we draw from this? Overall, through five years of data covering 50 individual team seasons, the top 10 spending teams netted 68 more wins or an average of 1.36 more games won than the year before. Throwing out any season that ended in a +20 or -20 to control for outliers brings the number to 93 more wins total, or an average of 2.07 more games won than the prior year. So, there is a very slight positive correlation between spending money and winning more games than the year before. Let’s get even more specific here: The top spending team over each offseason overall won eight more games than the year before, or an average of 1.6 more games won. Teams that were top three in spending in a given year won 41 more games than the year before overall, or an average of 2.73 more games. Teams that spent more than $200 million in an offseason overall netted 45 more wins the next year, or 4.5 more games on average. For me, this data is certainly interesting, but nothing really groundbreaking or astonishing. Spending more does indeed have a general slight positive correlation with winning the next year, but the numbers weren’t exactly eye-popping to me. Just an average of one to two more games won than the year prior. That total is certainly an improvement, but not such an incredible one that spending becomes such an obscene advantage over other teams that it isn’t even fair. I also find it hilarious that the top spending team on average barely won more games than the year before... so much for a competitive advantage. I suppose if I had any other major conclusions, it would be that spending more than $200 million in an offseason without being the highest spending team would be the best plan of attack for teams who are inclined to do such things. As it pertains to the Twins, spending more would improve the team, but context is more important when considering how much a team spends. Yes, in general spending more will win a team more games, but it has been and will always be about how that money is spent more than how much of that money is spent. Spending will never save a bad team from the depths of irrelevance, but it can certainly lift a team up into the glories of the Postseason. Click here to view the article
  6. Given that we’re Twins fans here, payroll has never been a topic of discussion. No one has ever been annoyed at the lack of big spending in free agency and is always perfectly OK with how the front office allocates their resources, especially this year. Free agency is supposed to be an opportunity to right the sinking ship through veteran additions to a low-talent roster (Texas), to fortify a good roster to take their team over the top (Boston), or to sit around and talk about how good the farm system is (San Diego). Every year, we see the offseason as a chance for teams to flex on small market franchises by throwing money at players like drunken pirates. Nowadays it isn’t as prevalent, but teams are still paying players for their services for the next year or beyond. But is that a recipe for success? The process is quite simple: Find the top 10 spending teams in an offseason over the last five years and then see where they ended up the following year. I’ll rank them by total money spent so that the Padres’ brilliant Eric Hosmer contract screws them over a lot because they deserve to be ridiculed. Information will be used from Spotrac, let’s see what it says! 2018 offseason shopping sprees A few things are already looking interesting here! The Cubs slide into the top spot because they handed out contracts to pitchers like Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood who both probably are sleeping in their beds of money, grateful for their agents, while the Ricketts continue to try to print money in order to scrape together a hitting coach that they won’t throw under the bus. Other than that, a great number of the top teams are up there because of financial promises to a single player. Some were great (J.D. Martinez with Boston), some were very good (Lorenzo Cain with Milwaukee), and some were terrible the second they were signed (everyone with the Rockies). Altogether, the top 10 in spending netted +6 wins overall or +34 if you want to ignore Baltimore, which is a good plan for just about everything. Only 3 teams went negative in wins the year after spending like a redneck at a gas station with one of them being, of course, the Twins... great luck there. Let’s go back one more year now. 2017 offseason shopping spree Ah, 2017, a simpler time, a time where Dexter Fowler received the third-most expensive contract of the offseason and Ian Desmond got the fifth. I have to say, I like seeing the spread of typically smaller spending teams here like Miami, Cleveland, and Colorado. It really just warms my cold, frozen heart. Overall the top ten spending teams netted a whole -1 more wins than the year prior but that number becomes +22 if you throw out the massive outlier in the Giants. The Dodgers were by far the biggest spenders but most of it was them keeping players they already had like Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner, and Rich Hill, leaving Sergio Romo and his $3 million payday as their highest paid free agent who came from another team. All in all, this list translates fairly well to success when considering the context of which players were brought in for which team. Houston added a few veterans who turned them into a World Series champion, Cleveland added Edwin Encarnacion to legitimize their lineup and lead them straight into and out of the playoffs after the first round, and the Yankees added back Aroldis Chapman after swindling the Cubs into trading yet another top prospect for pitching. Although, someone should have told St. Louis not to invest over $110 million into Brett Cecil and Dexter Fowler, yikes. 2016 shopping spree The first obvious thing to note, what the hell was going on in this offseason? Are you guys seeing the amount of money that teams were spending here? We talk about the horrible offseason in 2018, but it looks like free agency actually started going downhill a year before that. Maybe it was a fluke year, but teams were dropping money like upper-class toddlers at Toys R' Us on their birthday. All for elite names like Chris Davis, Jason Heyward, Ian Kennedy, and Jordan Zimmermann. Freakin' Jeff Samardzija got $90 million this offseason. What was going on back then? Luckily, there isn’t some massive outlier team, so adding up the wins gained/lost results in a cool +9 overall. I do love how the Twins biggest signing that offseason was David Murphy, who decided that he would rather not play baseball the rest of his life than play for the Twins. And this was after an 83 win season! The next biggest acquisition was Carlos Quentin who you definitely forgot was technically a Twin, leaving the only impactful addition being Fernando Abad who was signed to a minor league deal, great stuff Terry Ryan, it’s a wonder that it took him that long to be canned. Despite that Heyward contract looking like the albatross to end all albatrosses, the Cubs dropping nearly the GDP of the Republic of Palau that offseason brought them to the promised land thanks to other veteran signings like Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler, and John Lackey. 2015 shopping spree We finally reach the infamous 2015 offseason where Max Scherzer and Jon Lester got paid handsomely and actually provided good value for their team while Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez also got paid well and did whatever the opposite of providing value would be. Overall, the top spending teams netted +38 wins overall which still stays a +14 even if you throw out the outlier Cubs. There isn’t too much to really report here, spending was about what it typically is. The Royals added some garnish to their eventually World Series-winning club with the signings of Edinson Volquez and Twins legend Kendrys Morales. Hell, they even gave Alex Rios $11 million that offseason to kind of just hang around and do Alex Rios things. This was also the year where the Twins handed out their biggest contract ever to Ervin Santana which went pretty well and they also decided to bring back Torii Hunter for old times sake, which went less well, but who cares? Torii was back! 2014 shopping spree What a strange offseason this was, the Mariners absolutely shocked the world when they gave a 31-year-old Robinson Cano a 10 year, $240 million contract and then later shocked no one by not keeping him through the whole deal. The Rangers gave Shin-Soo Choo $130 million and then lost 24 more games than the year prior. The Yankees decided to back the dump truck of money up for veterans like Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, and Carlos Beltran and I’m sure that they would still do that Ellsbury contract again if they could. The Twins slot in as the fourth-highest spending team mostly thanks to the elite three-headed Nolasco-Hughes-Pelfrey starting trio. They also tried to bring back Kubel, Bartlett, and Guerrier, all of whom failed miserably and proved that you do in fact become the villain if you live long enough. Kurt Suzuki was a nice cheap find here who made the All-Star Game despite being signed for less than $3 million in the offseason and is still kicking after getting a nice deal from the Nationals this offseason. Overall the top 10 spending teams netted +16 more wins than the year prior and there is something kind of hilarious about the second highest spending team going +26 while the third highest went -24. Interestingly enough, the Giants won the World Series that year despite their biggest signing that offseason being a Tim Hudson who was collecting social security at that point and needed a walker to get to the mound. All right, that’s a lot of information, but what narratives can we draw from this? Overall, through five years of data covering 50 individual team seasons, the top 10 spending teams netted 68 more wins or an average of 1.36 more games won than the year before. Throwing out any season that ended in a +20 or -20 to control for outliers brings the number to 93 more wins total, or an average of 2.07 more games won than the prior year. So, there is a very slight positive correlation between spending money and winning more games than the year before. Let’s get even more specific here: The top spending team over each offseason overall won eight more games than the year before, or an average of 1.6 more games won. Teams that were top three in spending in a given year won 41 more games than the year before overall, or an average of 2.73 more games. Teams that spent more than $200 million in an offseason overall netted 45 more wins the next year, or 4.5 more games on average. For me, this data is certainly interesting, but nothing really groundbreaking or astonishing. Spending more does indeed have a general slight positive correlation with winning the next year, but the numbers weren’t exactly eye-popping to me. Just an average of one to two more games won than the year prior. That total is certainly an improvement, but not such an incredible one that spending becomes such an obscene advantage over other teams that it isn’t even fair. I also find it hilarious that the top spending team on average barely won more games than the year before... so much for a competitive advantage. I suppose if I had any other major conclusions, it would be that spending more than $200 million in an offseason without being the highest spending team would be the best plan of attack for teams who are inclined to do such things. As it pertains to the Twins, spending more would improve the team, but context is more important when considering how much a team spends. Yes, in general spending more will win a team more games, but it has been and will always be about how that money is spent more than how much of that money is spent. Spending will never save a bad team from the depths of irrelevance, but it can certainly lift a team up into the glories of the Postseason.
  7. Today’s installment begins with an article on a player that the Twins, and probably 90% of the teams in baseball, would love to have on their team. Feel free to discuss these articles. Click into them and read the articles as well as some of the comments in them. 20. Real Deal What would it take to get JT Realmuto - July 9 As the July trade deadline was approaching, Nick Nelson wrote an article attempting to project what it might take for the Twins to acquire JT Realmuto. While the Twins were not traditional buyers, Nick pointed out that Realmuto was a guy who was available for a couple of seasons and potentially for a long-term deal. Of course, he noted that the Marlins would likely request Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol in a deal that would likely include a couple more players as well. Is such a deal still possible this offseason since Realmuto is still a member of the Marlins as their asking price remains exceedingly high? 19. 2018 Top Prospects #7 Brent Rooker - February 12 Twins fans have been intrigued by the power potential of Brent Rooker since the Twins drafted him in the compensation round following the first round in 2017. He debuted and powered his way up to the High-A Ft. Myers Miracle where he continued to mash home runs. Heading into the season, he was the Twins Daily choice for the #7 Twins prospect and there was some talk that he could debut in 2018. That didn’t happen, though he certainly continued to hit with power in the Southern League at Chattanooga. 18. 4 Creative Tweaks the Twins can make to get better - November 27 What role could we see Trevor May or Fernando Romero pitch in during the 2019 season. How much should Willians Astudillo play? When we returned from Thanksgiving, Nick posted this interesting article with some ideas for the Twins brass to consider as they dove into the offseason. 17. The Yu Darvish Contingency Plan - February 10 Well, the Twins were fortunate that Yu Darvish decided to sign with the Cubs. When that news broke, Cody Christie tried to provided readers with options that were still available He wrote about some free agents that were still available, as well as some possible trade targets. As we know, the Twins did get one of those free agents. 16. Breaking News - Twins Trade Rodney to A’s - August 9 The Twins were busy at the end of July, making several trades. That continued into August when their hard-throwing, sometimes erratic closer was dealt to the Oakland A’s in exchange for Dakota Chalmers. Rodney helped the A’s into the playoffs, and the team picked up his 2019 option. Chalmers was the A’s third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Georgia. He throws hard, though he doesn’t always throw strikes. He had Tommy John surgery early in the 2018 season. 15. 2018 Twins midseason top prospect list (1-5) - July 12 At Twins Daily, we publish our choices for the Twins top prospects before the season. Then in late June or early July, we update the rankings. Fans often viewed our top five choices at midseason. The list may look a little bit different again when we do our 2019 Twins Top Prospect Rankings. 14. Where can the Twins find some OBP for their lineup - December 2 Joe Mauer retired and Robbie Grossman was not tendered arbitration for the 2019 season. The two were clearly the Twins most patient, disciplined hitters and guys that could be counted on to put the ball in play most of the time. Nick wondered where the Twins might be able to find some hitters that could make up for the loss in on-base percentage. Have they accomplished this goal yet? 13. 2018 MLB Draft Day 2 thread - June 6 Like I wrote yesterday, Twins Daily covers the Twins draft like no one else, and our readers really enjoy the discussion. In the article, we review the selections from the first night of the draft before updating the site with each of the Twins picks from the third through the tenth rounds. The Twins didn’t have a third-round pick this year, having given it up to sign Lance Lynn. 12. Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects 1 Royce Lewis - February 20 The choice for the Twins top prospect before the 2018 season was pretty easy. Royce Lewis was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft and impressed in his professional debut not only in the Gulf Coast League but also in Cedar Rapids. Lewis continued to play well throughout the 2018 season and moved into the Top 10 prospects in baseball. However, when we put out the Twins Daily Top Prospect rankings (maybe later this month), will Lewis be able to hold off Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol to remain at #1? Well, you’ll just want to come back to see. 11. How soon could Royce Lewis call Target Field home - August 7 Write about Royce Lewis and people will read it. I often get asked either when Lewis will get called up to the Twins, or why the Twins are moving him up so slowly. So, I decided to do a little research. I looked at other top first-round pick shortstops to see what their timeline looked like relative to where Lewis was. To say that Lewis is ahead of the pace of both Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor should be exciting to Twins fans. So there you have it, the 11th-20th ranked Twins Daily articles according to page in 2018. Offseason speculation, an August trade, and top prospects (especially Royce Lewis) certainly lead the way in today’s installment. Be sure to check back in the next couple of days to find out what the Top 10 most-viewed articles on Twins Daily were in 2018.
  8. Yesterday, we reviewed the 21st through 30th most-viewed articles on Twins Daily in 2018. You’ll want to read that, but today, find out which stories or articles ranked 11th through 20th in terms of most viewed on Twins Daily way back in 2018. It’s fun to see which stories were deemed most intriguing. Sometimes it is breaking news, and sometimes it is speculation. Sometimes it is just a topic or a player that we were intrigued by.Today’s installment begins with an article on a player that the Twins, and probably 90% of the teams in baseball, would love to have on their team. Feel free to discuss these articles. Click into them and read the articles as well as some of the comments in them. 20. Real Deal What would it take to get JT Realmuto - July 9 As the July trade deadline was approaching, Nick Nelson wrote an article attempting to project what it might take for the Twins to acquire JT Realmuto. While the Twins were not traditional buyers, Nick pointed out that Realmuto was a guy who was available for a couple of seasons and potentially for a long-term deal. Of course, he noted that the Marlins would likely request Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol in a deal that would likely include a couple more players as well. Is such a deal still possible this offseason since Realmuto is still a member of the Marlins as their asking price remains exceedingly high? 19. 2018 Top Prospects #7 Brent Rooker - February 12 Twins fans have been intrigued by the power potential of Brent Rooker since the Twins drafted him in the compensation round following the first round in 2017. He debuted and powered his way up to the High-A Ft. Myers Miracle where he continued to mash home runs. Heading into the season, he was the Twins Daily choice for the #7 Twins prospect and there was some talk that he could debut in 2018. That didn’t happen, though he certainly continued to hit with power in the Southern League at Chattanooga. 18. 4 Creative Tweaks the Twins can make to get better - November 27 What role could we see Trevor May or Fernando Romero pitch in during the 2019 season. How much should Willians Astudillo play? When we returned from Thanksgiving, Nick posted this interesting article with some ideas for the Twins brass to consider as they dove into the offseason. 17. The Yu Darvish Contingency Plan - February 10 Well, the Twins were fortunate that Yu Darvish decided to sign with the Cubs. When that news broke, Cody Christie tried to provided readers with options that were still available He wrote about some free agents that were still available, as well as some possible trade targets. As we know, the Twins did get one of those free agents. 16. Breaking News - Twins Trade Rodney to A’s - August 9 The Twins were busy at the end of July, making several trades. That continued into August when their hard-throwing, sometimes erratic closer was dealt to the Oakland A’s in exchange for Dakota Chalmers. Rodney helped the A’s into the playoffs, and the team picked up his 2019 option. Chalmers was the A’s third-round pick in 2015 out of high school in Georgia. He throws hard, though he doesn’t always throw strikes. He had Tommy John surgery early in the 2018 season. 15. 2018 Twins midseason top prospect list (1-5) - July 12 At Twins Daily, we publish our choices for the Twins top prospects before the season. Then in late June or early July, we update the rankings. Fans often viewed our top five choices at midseason. The list may look a little bit different again when we do our 2019 Twins Top Prospect Rankings. 14. Where can the Twins find some OBP for their lineup - December 2 Joe Mauer retired and Robbie Grossman was not tendered arbitration for the 2019 season. The two were clearly the Twins most patient, disciplined hitters and guys that could be counted on to put the ball in play most of the time. Nick wondered where the Twins might be able to find some hitters that could make up for the loss in on-base percentage. Have they accomplished this goal yet? 13. 2018 MLB Draft Day 2 thread - June 6 Like I wrote yesterday, Twins Daily covers the Twins draft like no one else, and our readers really enjoy the discussion. In the article, we review the selections from the first night of the draft before updating the site with each of the Twins picks from the third through the tenth rounds. The Twins didn’t have a third-round pick this year, having given it up to sign Lance Lynn. 12. Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects 1 Royce Lewis - February 20 The choice for the Twins top prospect before the 2018 season was pretty easy. Royce Lewis was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft and impressed in his professional debut not only in the Gulf Coast League but also in Cedar Rapids. Lewis continued to play well throughout the 2018 season and moved into the Top 10 prospects in baseball. However, when we put out the Twins Daily Top Prospect rankings (maybe later this month), will Lewis be able to hold off Alex Kirilloff and Brusdar Graterol to remain at #1? Well, you’ll just want to come back to see. 11. How soon could Royce Lewis call Target Field home - August 7 Write about Royce Lewis and people will read it. I often get asked either when Lewis will get called up to the Twins, or why the Twins are moving him up so slowly. So, I decided to do a little research. I looked at other top first-round pick shortstops to see what their timeline looked like relative to where Lewis was. To say that Lewis is ahead of the pace of both Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor should be exciting to Twins fans. So there you have it, the 11th-20th ranked Twins Daily articles according to page in 2018. Offseason speculation, an August trade, and top prospects (especially Royce Lewis) certainly lead the way in today’s installment. Be sure to check back in the next couple of days to find out what the Top 10 most-viewed articles on Twins Daily were in 2018. Click here to view the article
  9. In Part 1 today, find out which articles ranked 21 - 30 in terms of most viewed articles of 2018. 30. Twins to Hire Rocco Baldelli as Manager - October 24 Late on the night of October 24th, reports started trickling out that the Twins had made their decision. Derek Shelton had been informed that he would not be the next Twins manager, and Rocco Baldelli would be named manager. The next morning, the Twins made it official. It is interesting to me that a managerial hire would fall this far down the list, but generally speaking, articles on players or strategies, etc., get more discussion. 29. Twins Select Trevor Larnach in First Round - June 4 Drafting 20th overall is a little different than having the first overall pick. It’s much more difficult to know who the Twins might have available to them, much less who they will take. When their pick came, they selected outfielder Trevor Larnach out of the Oregon State. Following the draft, he played hero in his team’s march toward the College World Series championship. After signing, he played briefly in Elizabethton before joining the Cedar Rapids Kernels to end the season. https://twitter.com/TwinsHighlights/status/1003827872627294209 28. 2018 MLB Draft Day 3 Thread - June 6 At Twins Daily, we take a lot of pride in the draft coverage that we have provided in recent years. It started with Jeremy Nygaard’s hard work and great sources. In 2018, Andrew Thares took over the draft coverage and did a great job. The draft is clearly a major event for Twins Daily readers as even our Day 3 of the draft article made the Top 30. Maybe it is because we update the article after each of the Twins 30 Day 3 selections (Rounds 11-40). You never know when you’ll find a late-round sleeper. 27. The Wall of Ground Ball Prevention - February 15 While most articles in this Top 30 are Twins-related, this Parker Hageman feature doesn’t mention the Twins. What it is a a very interesting article on how teams (professional and college) are working to help hitters increase launch angle. 26. Why I believe the Twins are going to sign Yu Darvish - January 8 A year ago at this time the Twins had made some bullpen moves (Zack Duke, Fernando Rodney). But most Twins fans coveted Yu Darvish, the ace-right-hander who finished the 2017 season with the Dodgers after five-and-a-half with the Texas Rangers. That was a big part of why Twins fans were hopeful that Darvish might sign with the Twins, the Rangers connection between Darvish and Thad Levine. Nick Nelson wrote an article pointing out several reasons that he felt the Twins were the favorites to sign Yu Darvish. Of course, one year into his six year, $126 million with the Cubs, Twins fans are thankful that the Twins did not acquire him. 25. Ryan LaMarre just might make the Twins opening day roster - March 24 Ryan LaMarre was one of the best stories of spring training. He was coming off of an injury and the Twins signed him to a minor league contract. He had made several adjustments to his swing, and he hit well all spring. His speed and defense made him the choice for the team’s fourth/fifth outfielder on Opening Day. In spring training, I had the chance to chat with him for a while about why the Twins were the right choice for him last offseason. 24. Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #2 Fernando Romero - February 19 Each year, Twins Daily provides our choice for the Twins top 20 prospects before spring training. Romero has been a top prospect for several years, even through his two missed years of development time due to Tommy John surgery. That didn’t change coming into the 2018 season. Just a few months later, Romero made his major league debut with a strong showing. 23. Twins Sign Anibal Sanchez No Really - February 16 Just as spring training was about to start, the Twins announced the signing of Anibal Sanchez. It was a non-guaranteed deal that could have been worth $2.5 million. Admittedly, most - if not all - Twins fans hated (or at least didn’t understand) the signing and specifically why it needed to be a MLB deal. Maybe that’s why this was a Top 25 article in 2018. Over his final three seasons of a six-year deal with the Tigers, Sanchez went 20-30 with a 5.67 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. As we now know, Sanchez didn’t stick around long. The Twins soon signed Lance Lynn to a one-year contract. We were all excited, and Sanchez was released. Atlanta claimed him and he went 7-6 with a 2.83 ERA this year. He turned that into a two-year, $19 million deal (with a third-year option) with the Nationals. 22. 5 Things the Twins absolutely must accomplish this offseason - September 20 As the disappointing 2018 Twins season came to an end, Nick Nelson wrote up a set of five Must-Do’s for the Twins front office in this offseason. To this point, none of the five have happened, but to be fair, a couple of those things have not yet needed to be done. For me, if #3 is completed this offseason, I will call the offseason a success. 21. Is Paul Molitor the right man to lead the Twins? - June 18 While Paul Molitor was the easy choice or AL Manager of the Year in 2017, 2018 started out badly, and by mid-June, Nick Nelson penned this article wondering aloud if Molitor was the right choice for the Twins. There is no doubting Molitor’s intelligence and baseball IQ, along with his willingness to use new analytics and new thinking. Well, as we now know, soon after the completion of the season, the Twins announced that Paul Molitor had been fired. It was very interesting to me to see that the article announcing the Molitor dismissal barely made the Top 50 articles of the year at Twins Daily. Not sure I can really explain that. In the coming days, we’ll continue to count down the Top 30 most viewed Twins Daily articles of 2018. They are fun to look back at, to read what we wrote, and to read the comments of what people thought at that time. Hopefully you will enjoy this look back as we now look forward to 2019.
  10. Happy New Year!! As we transition from 2018 to 2019, let’s take a quick look back. Over the next couple of days, we will go through the 30 Most-Viewed Twins Daily articles of 2018. I personally find this very interesting. It is interesting to see which articles captured our attention at the time and think about why. Some are obvious, and some might surprise you.In Part 1 today, find out which articles ranked 21 - 30 in terms of most viewed articles of 2018. 30. Twins to Hire Rocco Baldelli as Manager - October 24 Late on the night of October 24th, reports started trickling out that the Twins had made their decision. Derek Shelton had been informed that he would not be the next Twins manager, and Rocco Baldelli would be named manager. The next morning, the Twins made it official. It is interesting to me that a managerial hire would fall this far down the list, but generally speaking, articles on players or strategies, etc., get more discussion. 29. Twins Select Trevor Larnach in First Round - June 4 Drafting 20th overall is a little different than having the first overall pick. It’s much more difficult to know who the Twins might have available to them, much less who they will take. When their pick came, they selected outfielder Trevor Larnach out of the Oregon State. Following the draft, he played hero in his team’s march toward the College World Series championship. After signing, he played briefly in Elizabethton before joining the Cedar Rapids Kernels to end the season. 28. 2018 MLB Draft Day 3 Thread - June 6 At Twins Daily, we take a lot of pride in the draft coverage that we have provided in recent years. It started with Jeremy Nygaard’s hard work and great sources. In 2018, Andrew Thares took over the draft coverage and did a great job. The draft is clearly a major event for Twins Daily readers as even our Day 3 of the draft article made the Top 30. Maybe it is because we update the article after each of the Twins 30 Day 3 selections (Rounds 11-40). You never know when you’ll find a late-round sleeper. 27. The Wall of Ground Ball Prevention - February 15 While most articles in this Top 30 are Twins-related, this Parker Hageman feature doesn’t mention the Twins. What it is a a very interesting article on how teams (professional and college) are working to help hitters increase launch angle. 26. Why I believe the Twins are going to sign Yu Darvish - January 8 A year ago at this time the Twins had made some bullpen moves (Zack Duke, Fernando Rodney). But most Twins fans coveted Yu Darvish, the ace-right-hander who finished the 2017 season with the Dodgers after five-and-a-half with the Texas Rangers. That was a big part of why Twins fans were hopeful that Darvish might sign with the Twins, the Rangers connection between Darvish and Thad Levine. Nick Nelson wrote an article pointing out several reasons that he felt the Twins were the favorites to sign Yu Darvish. Of course, one year into his six year, $126 million with the Cubs, Twins fans are thankful that the Twins did not acquire him. 25. Ryan LaMarre just might make the Twins opening day roster - March 24 Ryan LaMarre was one of the best stories of spring training. He was coming off of an injury and the Twins signed him to a minor league contract. He had made several adjustments to his swing, and he hit well all spring. His speed and defense made him the choice for the team’s fourth/fifth outfielder on Opening Day. In spring training, I had the chance to chat with him for a while about why the Twins were the right choice for him last offseason. 24. Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #2 Fernando Romero - February 19 Each year, Twins Daily provides our choice for the Twins top 20 prospects before spring training. Romero has been a top prospect for several years, even through his two missed years of development time due to Tommy John surgery. That didn’t change coming into the 2018 season. Just a few months later, Romero made his major league debut with a strong showing. 23. Twins Sign Anibal Sanchez No Really - February 16 Just as spring training was about to start, the Twins announced the signing of Anibal Sanchez. It was a non-guaranteed deal that could have been worth $2.5 million. Admittedly, most - if not all - Twins fans hated (or at least didn’t understand) the signing and specifically why it needed to be a MLB deal. Maybe that’s why this was a Top 25 article in 2018. Over his final three seasons of a six-year deal with the Tigers, Sanchez went 20-30 with a 5.67 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. As we now know, Sanchez didn’t stick around long. The Twins soon signed Lance Lynn to a one-year contract. We were all excited, and Sanchez was released. Atlanta claimed him and he went 7-6 with a 2.83 ERA this year. He turned that into a two-year, $19 million deal (with a third-year option) with the Nationals. 22. 5 Things the Twins absolutely must accomplish this offseason - September 20 As the disappointing 2018 Twins season came to an end, Nick Nelson wrote up a set of five Must-Do’s for the Twins front office in this offseason. To this point, none of the five have happened, but to be fair, a couple of those things have not yet needed to be done. For me, if #3 is completed this offseason, I will call the offseason a success. 21. Is Paul Molitor the right man to lead the Twins? - June 18 While Paul Molitor was the easy choice or AL Manager of the Year in 2017, 2018 started out badly, and by mid-June, Nick Nelson penned this article wondering aloud if Molitor was the right choice for the Twins. There is no doubting Molitor’s intelligence and baseball IQ, along with his willingness to use new analytics and new thinking. Well, as we now know, soon after the completion of the season, the Twins announced that Paul Molitor had been fired. It was very interesting to me to see that the article announcing the Molitor dismissal barely made the Top 50 articles of the year at Twins Daily. Not sure I can really explain that. In the coming days, we’ll continue to count down the Top 30 most viewed Twins Daily articles of 2018. They are fun to look back at, to read what we wrote, and to read the comments of what people thought at that time. Hopefully you will enjoy this look back as we now look forward to 2019. Click here to view the article
  11. The Minnesota Twins reportedly offered Yu Darvish $100 million over four years to be the ace of their starting pitching staff. Instead, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine invested almost the same amount of money in three players who make them better than Darvish could have. This was originally published at FoulPlaybyPlay.com. Darvish signed with the Cubs for five years and $126 million guaranteed and for good reason. He’s projected to be worth 2.8 WARP for the Cubs. And the Cubs are one of those teams, along with the Astros, with their championship window wide open. The Twins’ championship window is just opening, but thanks to some clever spending, that window is expected to open up even more for the Twins this season. On March 4, Jim Bowden reported that the Twins would be unlikely to sign any of the top remaining free agent starters on the market, including Lance Lynn, who declined a qualifying offer from the Cardinals in the amount of $17.4 million. Six days later the Twins signed Lynn for one year at $12 million. Lynn called the two-year, $12-million offer from the Twins “non-starter” just days earlier, but a lack of long-term offers with Spring Training in full swing made a one-year deal worth $12 million look pretty good for a pitcher entering his second season removed from Tommy John surgery. Overnight, according to Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA projections, the Twins went from 82 wins and out of the playoffs to 83 wins and in. But despite an appearance in the American League Wild Card game last season, the Twins were projected as a .500 team prior to spending the money they had reserved for Darvish. In another affordable surprise, Falvey and Levine scored free agent first baseman and designated hitter Logan Morrison for one year and $5.5 million. Morrison hit a career high 38 home runs last season -- good for 2.8 WARP. He’s been projected to be worth one win more than a replacement player. The Twins wouldn’t have likely traded for Jake Odorizzi had they landed Darvish, either. He’s been projected to be worth .7 wins above a replacement player at a measly $6.3 million this season and is still eligible for arbitration next year. Add it all up and you’ll find Morrison, Odorizzi and Lynn to be worth just a tenth of a win less than Darvish at $1.2 million less than the Twins were willing to pay Darvish. Consider the 1.2 wins added by the combination of Fernando Rodney and Addison Reed at the back of the Twins’ bullpen, and you not only have a playoff-bound roster, but a formidable playoff foe that can shock an American League divisional champion. Remember, they could get Michael Pineda back for the playoffs. They’re paying him just $2 million this season while he recovers from Tommy John surgery. If Jose Berrios becomes the ace arm the Twins expect entering the playoffs, they’ll have a starting pitcher who can win them a Wild Card game. And even if he isn’t the ace the Twins expect, Ervin Santana or Lance Lynn could win that game. The Twins’ rotation can now hang with anyone in a five- or seven-game series. A playoff rotation of Santana, Berrios, Lynn and Odorizzi can finally hang with the Yankees’ Tanaka, Severino, Gray and Sabathia or the Astros’ Keuchel, Verlander, Cole and McCullers. The Twins are going to be one of the top three teams in runs scored with the addition of Morrison. They were second in runs scored in the second half last year without Morrison. They’re also going to be one of the top three defensive teams in baseball, which will make Lynn, Odorizzi, Reed and Rodney very happy to be in Minnesota. Falvey and Levine won the offseason for the Twins. They recognized the perceived values of free agents were inflated for whatever reason -- whether it be collusion or analytical analism -- and they were rewarded for not overpaying Darvish. They managed to do all this without adding a single contract beyond 2019. The Twins enter the season with a franchise-record payroll around $130 million, but will have just under $56 million on the books entering the epic offseason that will likely feature free agents Clayton Kershaw, Josh Donaldson, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Nelson Cruz, Charlie Blackmon, Dallas Keuchel, Zach Britton, Cody Allen, Craig Kimbrel and Andrew Miller.
  12. Change of Heart? When the Twins traded for Jake Odorizzi, the message from the front office was pretty clear. It didn’t sound like the Twins were happy having only Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi leading the rotation. https://twitter.com/DerekWetmore/status/965240120256417793 Santana will miss the first month of the following surgery on his finger. This means the rotation would currently be rounded out with the likes of Kyle Gibson, Phil Hughes, and Adalberto Mejia. With extra off-days built into the early schedule, the Twins only need a fifth starter a handful of times while Santana is on the DL. With some of the best free agent pitchers still unemployed, the Twins front office might have had a change of heart in recent weeks. Lowballing Lance Lynn Mike Beradino of the Pioneer Press is reporting the Twins made Lance Lynn a 2-year, $20 million deal. This is seems like a lowball offer from Minnesota as the front office continues to try and be “opportunistic.” Beradino makes it sound like the deal didn’t gain any traction and rightfully so if you’re in Lynn’s shoes. https://twitter.com/MikeBerardino/status/971148035920158721 Lynn missed all of 2016 following Tommy John surgery. In his first year back, he had a 3.42 ERA and a 124 ERA+. Those numbers were a little higher than his career 3.38 ERA but that can be expected coming off major elbow surgery. With expected improvements in his second year removed from surgery, Lynn could slide into the back of Minnesota’s rotation and add some depth to the rotation. Show Me The Money Coming off a playoff appearance, the Twins are currently set to open the year with a club-record $118 million payroll. Minnesota lost out on the Yu Darvish sweepstakes but they were rumored to have offered him a contract worth over $100 million. This could mean the team still has money in the bank to put towards adding other pieces. With big contracts from Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier coming off the books, the club has little invested in guaranteed money beyond next season. Phil Hughes, Addison Reed, Michael Pineda and Jason Castro are the only players with guaranteed money for 2019. There is currently no guaranteed money for 2020. Obviously, young players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Jose Berrios will start to get more expensive. Buxton might already be in the beginnings stages of a long-term deal. Young talent is cheap but it doesn’t stay cheap forever. Do the Twins need to add another starting pitcher? Will Lynn even negotiate with the Twins after they lowballed him? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  13. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are in the midst of a pretty good offseason. They’ve rebuilt the bullpen, added a starting pitcher, and bolstered the line-up with a powerful left-handed bat. In fact last week, I wondered if the addition of Logan Morrison might have fixed Minnesota’s biggest flaw. It’s under three weeks until Opening Day and the Twins might not be done adding pieces. Is the front office pitching to add some more pitching?Change of Heart? When the Twins traded for Jake Odorizzi, the message from the front office was pretty clear. It didn’t sound like the Twins were happy having only Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi leading the rotation. Santana will miss the first month of the following surgery on his finger. This means the rotation would currently be rounded out with the likes of Kyle Gibson, Phil Hughes, and Adalberto Mejia. With extra off-days built into the early schedule, the Twins only need a fifth starter a handful of times while Santana is on the DL. With some of the best free agent pitchers still unemployed, the Twins front office might have had a change of heart in recent weeks. Lowballing Lance Lynn Mike Beradino of the Pioneer Press is reporting the Twins made Lance Lynn a 2-year, $20 million deal. This is seems like a lowball offer from Minnesota as the front office continues to try and be “opportunistic.” Beradino makes it sound like the deal didn’t gain any traction and rightfully so if you’re in Lynn’s shoes. Lynn missed all of 2016 following Tommy John surgery. In his first year back, he had a 3.42 ERA and a 124 ERA+. Those numbers were a little higher than his career 3.38 ERA but that can be expected coming off major elbow surgery. With expected improvements in his second year removed from surgery, Lynn could slide into the back of Minnesota’s rotation and add some depth to the rotation. Show Me The Money Coming off a playoff appearance, the Twins are currently set to open the year with a club-record $118 million payroll. Minnesota lost out on the Yu Darvish sweepstakes but they were rumored to have offered him a contract worth over $100 million. This could mean the team still has money in the bank to put towards adding other pieces. With big contracts from Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier coming off the books, the club has little invested in guaranteed money beyond next season. Phil Hughes, Addison Reed, Michael Pineda and Jason Castro are the only players with guaranteed money for 2019. There is currently no guaranteed money for 2020. Obviously, young players like Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Jose Berrios will start to get more expensive. Buxton might already be in the beginnings stages of a long-term deal. Young talent is cheap but it doesn’t stay cheap forever. Do the Twins need to add another starting pitcher? Will Lynn even negotiate with the Twins after they lowballed him? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  14. “I’ll Be A Free Agent” Dozier made it clear to the assembled media last week that he is heading into free agency. When the Twins signed Dozier, it was certainly a unique contract. He signed a four-year contract for $20 million that bought out the remainder of his arbitration years. For the Twins, it created some cost certainty. For Dozier, it allowed him some financial stability, he got to avoid the messy arbitration process, and he knew he could enter free agency in his early 30’s. This offseason’s free agency period has been strange to say the least. Yu Darvish, the biggest name on the free agent market, took his time in selecting a new home. Even after his signing, the market has been moving slowly despite spring training being well underway. While the free agent class wasn’t one of the best classes in recent memory, there were some names that should have drawn interest. There were very few second baseman on the free agent market and not many of them were of the same caliber as Dozier. Players like Neil Walker and Brandon Phillips aren’t exactly going to be huge difference makers for a team. Former Twin Eduardo Nunez is the lone second baseman to sign. A year after hitting .313/.341/.460, Nunez was able to sign only a one-year, $4 million deal. According to FanGraphs, Brian Dozier has been worth 14.2 WAR over the last three seasons. That means he’s been worth roughly $113 million over that span. Nunez has been worth 5.9 WAR and $47.4 million during the same time period. Dozier is one of the best offensive players at his position and he won his first Gold Glove last season. Since 2006, there have been few second basemen who have been able to score big free agent contracts. Baseball Prospectus found five second basemen to get more than $25 million as free agents. Only Ben Zobrist (4 years, $56 million) and Robinson Cano (10 years, $240 million) brought in over $40 million. It’s clear to see Dozier’s value but his age going to start playing a factor. Better With Age? Dozier fits the definition of a late-bloomer. His breakout season came at Double-A when he was 24 years old. He wouldn’t make his big league debut until age 25 and he wouldn’t play a full big league season until he was 26. He hit under .245 in each of his first three big league seasons and never had an OPS higher than .762. Over the last two seasons, his OPS has jumped to .886 (2016) and .856 (2017) while averaging 38 home runs per year. I’ve been critical of Dozier’s defense in the past but his defense made remarkable strides last season. According to SABR’s Defensive Index, only Ian Kinsler ranked better than Dozier among AL second basemen. Moving On Many of Minnesota’s top prospects currently play shortstop and Jorge Polanco is coming off a strong second half. Royce Lewis, Nick Gordon and Wander Javier all could shift to second base if Dozier finds another home for 2019. If Polanco can continue to play well this year, a starting middle infield of Nick Gordon and Jorge Polanco seems a likely scenario for next season. Considering Dozier’s age, and other options in the system, it seems likely for the Twins to say goodbye to Mr. Dozier. Younger players are going to be ready for the big league level. I believe Dozier’s veteran presence is something that also can’t be overlooked. A team trying to contend can’t be made of all young and unproven players. However, the front-office still has a difficult Dozier decision. Do you think it’s time for the Twins to say bye-bye to Brian Dozier? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  15. http://traffic.libsyn.com/gleemangeek/Ep_356_Jake_Odorizzi_and_Anibal_Sanchez.mp3?dest-id=74590
  16. Aaron and John talk about the Minnesota Twins signing Jake Odorizzi and Anibal Sanchez, not signing Yu Darvish, Jermaine Palacios' scouting report, the value of reverse splits, old friends Trevor Plouffe and Hector Santiago finding new MLB homes, projected payroll levels, the impact of Josh Kalk, and the state of the Twins' starting rotation. Sponsored by Pick and Shovel Wear and Casper Matresses. You can listen by downloading us from iTunes, Stitcher or find it at GleemanAndTheGeek.com. Or just click this link.http://traffic.libsy...3?dest-id=74590 Click here to view the article
  17. Let’s take a quick look back at all the articles from the front page in the order they were published. This edition of Twins Weekly covers Friday, Feb. 9 to Thursday, Feb. 15. The Darvish Contingency Plan | Cody Christie The Twins Almanac for February 11–17 | Matt Johnson Gleeman & The Geek, Ep 355: General Malaise | John Bonnes Don't Panic Over Bad Breaks For Twins Rotation | Nick Nelson Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #8 Blayne Enlow | Nick Nelson Trade Target: Collin McHugh (McWho?) | Seth Stohs Spring Training Storylines: Pitchers And Catchers | Cody Christie Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #7 Brent Rooker | Seth Stohs Seth's Twins On Deck Podcast (Episode 6) | Seth Stohs Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #6 Wander Javier | Nick Nelson Scouting Target Field’s Biggest Games of 2018 | Tom Froemming Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #5 Alex Kirilloff | Cody Christie The Wall Of Ground Ball Prevention | Parker Hageman Minnesota's Winter Of Discontent | Nick Nelson Minnesota and Mauer Facing Important 2018 | Ted Schwerzler Twins Daily 2018 Top Prospects: #4 Stephen Gonsalves | Seth Stohs Twins Daily Bloggers on the Darvish Fallout State of the Twins - Pitching Rotation edition By JohnOlson So, where does that leave us? Well, there was always an opportunity for in-house competition for the 5th starting pitching spot, we'll start there. Phil Hughes, off of his second rib surgery, will be in the mix, along with a post-Tommy John Trevor May. Among those who had a cup of coffee in the majors last year, Aaron Slegers and probably to a lesser extent Felix Jorge, and exciting young pitchers Stephen Gonsalves, Fernando Romero and Zach Littell. Adalberto Mejia, who had a fairly up and down 2017, also projects to be competing for a spot - he would be the lone left hander in the rotation, with his experience in 2017 and flashes of ability, I expect him to be among the favorites.We should Be Happy Darvish Signed Elsewhere By Twins in 6 Now that we Twins fans have had a few days to take in (and get over) the fact that Yu Darvish signed with the Cubs we can start thanking the Falvey and Levine brain-trust for saving the Pohlad dollars. It’s easy to say “Darvish was never going to come here” or “the Pohlads were never going to cough up what it takes to sign a real star” but let’s think about this for a moment… Not signing Darvish was the smart move.To Trade or not to Trade? That is the Question By TwinsO’Holic Adding 1 or better yet, TWO, starters no doubt helps this team try to get back to the postseason in 2018. Yu Darvish signing with the Cubs on Saturday left Twins fans shattered, as their #1 option went off the board. This leaves Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb as the top remaining free agents. While there are many blogs that have speculated on how those three would contribute to the team, I will be focusing on the Twins trade options.Video of the Week Good news: Actual Baseball things are happening!!! https://twitter.com/RhettBollinger/status/964157473811820544 Item of the Week Single-game tickets for all the Twins home games become available for purchase tomorrow morning, and there are some sweet bobblehead giveaways.With that in mind, check out this sweet lot of three Twins bobbleheads from the early 2000s: Corey Koskie, Doug Mientkiewicz and Cristian Guzman. At the time of posting, these babies could be had for just $19.99. Free shipping even! That’s it for this edition of Twins Weekly. Have a wonderful weekend.
  18. Twins fans might not want to hear it but Yu Darvish is heading to the Chicago Cubs on a six-year deal that could be worth up to $150 million. Minnesota had made a formal offer to the top free agent pitcher but Darvish’s camp wanted clubs to stretch the deal to six years. The Cubs were willing to make that jump. Now that Darvish picked another club, Minnesota’s front office is going to have to act fast. There will likely be a domino effect with the first big name comimg off the board. That being said, there are a couple of different paths the Twins could take to solidify their rotation.Other Free Agent Options The second tier options for free agency include names like Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn. National baseball writer Jon Heyman reported that “Alex Cobb is believed to be [the Twins] fallback choice for the rotation” after Darvish passes. Minnesota is reluctant to go past four or five years for any free agent pitcher so that also changes their approach with other free agent arms. Minnesota has been in contact with the other free agent pitchers but MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger says “their interest in Cobb has been a bit overstated.” Plenty of other teams have expressed interest in signing Lynn but most clubs believe his asking price is too high at this point. There may be some other options to add depth to the back-end of Minnesota’s starting rotation. Chris Tillman is coming off of shoulder surgery and could be a strong bounce-back candidate. Another option would be reuniting with Jaime Garcia, who made one start for the Twins last season before being dealt to the Yankees. Searching The Trade Market The Twins are considering a variety of options with Darvish off the market. 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson gave fans an update on the Darvish situation. In his podcast, he mentions the Twins are “maintaining regular trade talk” with the Rays. Tampa Bay has multiple pitchers who could be dealt and each one is going to come at a different cost. Chris Archer is the most coveted Rays pitcher. The former All-Star is signed to a team-friendly deal through 2019 with team options for 2020-21. He won’t turn 30 until next September so Tampa isn’t exactly in a hurry to have him pack his bags. Minnesota might have to deal multiple top prospects and maybe some young major league assets to acquire Archer. Another option could be Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi who has compiled a 3.71 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over the last three seasons. He is in his second year of arbitration eligibility so that means he won’t be a free agent until 2020. According to Wolfson, the Rays have a lot of interest in outfielder Max Kepler. Kepler turned 25 this weekend and he could be poised for a breakout season in 2018. With Darvish heading to Chicago, what’s the team’s next best option? Another free agent pitcher? Making a trade with Tampa Bay? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. Click here to view the article
  19. Other Free Agent Options The second tier options for free agency include names like Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn. National baseball writer Jon Heyman reported that “Alex Cobb is believed to be [the Twins] fallback choice for the rotation” after Darvish passes. Minnesota is reluctant to go past four or five years for any free agent pitcher so that also changes their approach with other free agent arms. Minnesota has been in contact with the other free agent pitchers but MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger says “their interest in Cobb has been a bit overstated.” Plenty of other teams have expressed interest in signing Lynn but most clubs believe his asking price is too high at this point. There may be some other options to add depth to the back-end of Minnesota’s starting rotation. Chris Tillman is coming off of shoulder surgery and could be a strong bounce-back candidate. Another option would be reuniting with Jaime Garcia, who made one start for the Twins last season before being dealt to the Yankees. Searching The Trade Market The Twins are considering a variety of options with Darvish off the market. 1500 ESPN’s Darren Wolfson gave fans an update on the Darvish situation. In his podcast, he mentions the Twins are “maintaining regular trade talk” with the Rays. Tampa Bay has multiple pitchers who could be dealt and each one is going to come at a different cost. Chris Archer is the most coveted Rays pitcher. The former All-Star is signed to a team-friendly deal through 2019 with team options for 2020-21. He won’t turn 30 until next September so Tampa isn’t exactly in a hurry to have him pack his bags. Minnesota might have to deal multiple top prospects and maybe some young major league assets to acquire Archer. Another option could be Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi who has compiled a 3.71 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over the last three seasons. He is in his second year of arbitration eligibility so that means he won’t be a free agent until 2020. According to Wolfson, the Rays have a lot of interest in outfielder Max Kepler. Kepler turned 25 this weekend and he could be poised for a breakout season in 2018. With Darvish heading to Chicago, what’s the team’s next best option? Another free agent pitcher? Making a trade with Tampa Bay? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.
  20. Now that we Twins fans have had a few days to take in (and get over) the fact that Yu Darvish signed with the Cubs we can start thanking the Falvey and Levine brain-trust for saving the Pohlad dollars. It’s easy to say “Darvish was never going to come here” or “the Pohlads were never going to cough up what it takes to sign a real star” but let’s think about this for a moment… Not signing Darvish was the smart move. C.C. Sabathia could be a good comparison to look at as a predictor for what to expect from Darvish over the life of his new $126 million contract. Six seasons ago, Sabathia was entering his age 31 season (Darvish will be 31 the majority of this season) and had thrown 2,135 professional innings, roughly 100 fewer than Darvish has to this point. He had just finished fourth in the Cy Young voting the season prior and was widely regarded as one of the best pitchers in the game. Sabathia went on to throw exactly 200 innings, went 15-6 and had a 3.38 ERA. His peripheral stats showed that he earned those marks as his FIP was a solid 3.34 and his SO/W rate was the second best of his career at 4.48. Okay, we can chalk that one up as a win. So what’s the point here? Well how about C.C.’s next five seasons. Sabathia has averaged 173 innings over the past five seasons. Not terrible, but a far cry from what you’d expect from your frontline horse who’s making $20+ million a year. His Average ERA of 4.48 and FIP of 4.46 are okay for your fourth of fifth guy in the rotation (especially for our Twins) but are you going to live with that from your biggest free agent signing of all time? In the last five years, C.C. has only bested his career K/9 rate once, in 2014, but he also saw his WHIP balloon to 1.48 that season too. So looking over Sabathia’s past six seasons, one of them was what you’d expect from your ace, and the rest showed more like a guy at the back end of a lousy rotation. Felix Hernandez, another long time ace, entered his 30 year old season with 2263 major league innings and had just wrapped up his eighth season in a row of 200+ innings. He’s thrown 153 and 86 innings respectively the past two season with career worst FIP’s of 4.63 and 5.02. Even Jon Lester, Darvish’s new teammate took a step back to a 180 inning, 4.10 FIP season last year. He entered last season with 2004 innings pitched. There is something to be said about the usage of these players. It’s one the reasons why Jake Arrieta could be argued to be a better free agent option than Yu Darvish was (1669 professional innings pitched). Players break down eventually, and Darvish has already shown signs that his arm may be nearing the end of its effective pitching life. Let’s not forget he had Tommy John in 2016. Okay fine, comparisons aside there has got to be more reasons why not signing Darvish was a great decision. Darvish is his own guy, Tommy John isn’t the career ender that it used to be and there were plenty of good stats to pull from Darvish’s 2017. Fine, I get that. I’ll even concede that I would have loved to have Darvish on the Twins…. For a three year deal, four at most. Yu Darvish will be 37 years old when this deal with the Cubs is over. Go ahead and tell me a current 37 year old starter in the league today that you’d pay $18 million…. I’ll wait…. Zach Greinke is 34, and a case could be made for him to be worth that number in three years. Justin Verlander is 35 and could also have a case made to be worth that as well. Those guys are also Cy Young award winners who have not had Tommy John. On top of that Verlander just married Kate Upton, and having her at the ballpark alone has to sell a few seats, further lifting his value. Let’s finish this talking about the Twins payroll situation. The Twins currently sit with just under $100 million committed, so clearly there is room to spend money. Not only that, but it’s been a big talking point for the last 6 months that they only have $39 million committed for 2019 and nothing in 2020. That’s the flexibility that a General Manager and President of Baseball Operations would drool over, and I’m sure somewhere Falvey and Levine are doing just that. But there’s a problem underlying all of that payroll flexibility. The Twins have guys by the names of Buxton, Rosario, Kepler, Berrios, and Polanco that will all need to be signed to contracts as some point. That doesn’t even include Sano, who could very well be at the top of the expense list depending on the results of his investigation and where the Twins decide to go with him (that’s for another post). On top of that, a decision has to be made with Dozier, and if that decision is to sign him, he won’t be on the same, ultra team friendly contract he’s currently signed to. This is still Minnesota, the Market hasn’t changed just because we have a new front office. The owners are the same and unless I missed something there haven’t been any signs that prove they are truly willing to aggressively increase spending. Teams with spending limits can’t afford to sign a guy to a six year deal that sees them making $18 million in the last year of the deal, they just can’t. Never mind the fact that Darvish will be at the end of his career by the time his new deal expires. Look at Joe Mauer’s contract. Say what you want, but his $23 million a year deal crippled the Twins flexibility. His deal made the Phil Hughes contract extension, and the Nolasco deal hurt that much more. When a guy takes up 20% or more of your payroll, you better hope he lives up to that contract for its entirety, or you end up with what we watched for the last handful of seasons at Target field. Maybe Falvey and Levine are kicking themselves for not getting Darvish. Maybe they’re thinking, “shoot, we should have given that guy 8 years and the key to the city”. If they are, then my bad for believing we should thank them for not making the deal, but the fact of the matter is we should be happy they didn’t over invest in a guy who will no doubt under perform his contract. The Twins have saved themselves the payroll flexibility everyone covets and can now go after other options and sign their own players. Will they make this team better with the money that didn’t go to Darvish? Only time will tell but for now, lets be happy that 6 year $126 million contract is property of the Chicago Cubs.
  21. According to google, one definition of the word paradox is "a situation, person, or thing that combines contradictory features or qualities." Looking back on it, thinking the Twins were going to end up with Yu as their Opening Day starter was quite the paradox. History tells us that the Minnesota Twins and huge contracts are quite the contradiction. Of course there are some who won't ever let us forget the counterexample which would be the Joe Mauer contract that he never lived up to. Outside of that lone example the Twins have rarely given a player whether through an extension or through free agency their big payday. I'm writing this to deliver one message: It's okay for you to feel frustrated, disappointed, let down, [enter whatever adjective you want] by the Twins not landing Darvish. It's okay. It really is. Furthermore, it's okay to feel that way and still be a diehard Twins fan. You're not a bad person or a bad fan for having this opinion. Contrary to what others say, it is completely fair and logical for this "narrative" to exist and for fans to share this opinion. At the end of the day, we are all allowed to have our own opinions. This is America after all! Here's my opinion on the "narrative", which you may have seen stated in the comments of a different article. I will say that I agree that there are endless amounts of example of players who get big paydays and then never live up to it. I'm aware of that. But saying that big contracts are "risky" and/or "irresponsible" in Major League Baseball is a complete and utter fallacy in my opinion. Baseball has no salary cap. Missing on a big contract doesn't hinder your ability to hand out another big contract to another star. After all, the Yankees are the "evil empire" for a reason. As of 2015, the Pohlad family was worth $3.8 billion. That's A LOT of money. Furthermore, they bought the Twins for $36 million and the franchise is estimated to be worth $1.025 billion which amounts to a profit of $989 million. As much as people want to talk small markets and television contracts, money is of little concern to the Pohlad family. Of course an argument to the second point is that the only way you are worth that much money is by being financially responsible. To which I would say that since giving out the Mauer contract the Minnesota Twins increased their net worth from $405 million to the $1.025 billion mentioned above. That is, they got no where near the production they were hoping for and increased the net worth of the franchise $620 million since then. Not to beat a dead horse, but again there seems to be absolutely no "risk" and/or "irresponsibility" in handing out a big contract. It would be very one-sided of me to not address the 100% possible case that maybe we offered Yu a key to the city, a 15 year $1 billion contract, and whatever else he wanted but it all still wasn't enough to lure him to the bold north. If it were the case that he just didn't want to come here, then that would obviously be out of control of the Pohlad family. To which I would say, if not now...when? We have so much potential and talent, some of which isn't even in the big leagues yet, and if that can't draw a superstar looking for a ring then when will we ever be able to appeal to a superstar? Not only is our organization at a great spot in potential and talent, but we were just able to show off how great Minnesota can be with the international coverage of the Super Bowl. We were able to show people that, despite the frigid temperatures, Minnesota is a great place to live with great people. So the thought that our organization being where it is and our city recently being surrounded by some major hype can't appeal to a superstar is a saddening reality. Maybe the reality is that Minnesota won't ever appeal to non-homegrown superstars no matter how much money the Pohlads offer them. So yes, I am frustrated. I'm disappointed. I'm sad. I'm [enter whatever adjective you want] that the Twins weren't able to sign yet another superstar to bring them to the next level. But I love the Twins and will continue to cheer them on. I will continue to follow them once this crop of talent is gone. I'm not only here when things are good, but I'm also here when things are bad. I may not be happy with every decision made, but that doesn't make me (or you) a bad fan. That's just my opinion, at least. What do you think?
  22. You might have heard the news already, but Yu Darvish followed Chris Gimenez and signed with the Chicago Cubs. There are many contingencies. But at this point, a trade may make more sense for the Twins than signing any of the remaining free agents. There are several trade targets that should be considered. Today, we consider Astros right-hander Collin McHugh. There are still the bigger named free agents from this year’s class, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb. Signing any of them would cost the Twins their third draft pick in 2018. There are the third-tier free agent pitchers like Jaime Garcia and Jason Vargas. They won’t cost a draft pick, but there is minimal upside. There are several other free agent starters that are back end of the rotation types at best.Background Collin McHugh made 15 big league appearances in 2012 and 2013 for the Mets and Rockies. Following that 2013 season, Colorado waived him and the Astros claimed him. As a 27-year-old rookie in 2014, he made 25 starts for Houston and went 11-9 with a 2.73 ERA. In 2015, he went 19-7 with a 3.89 ERA in 32 starts. In 2016, he made 33 starts and went 13-10 with a 4.34 ERA. Last year, he missed a lot of time due to a posterior impingement of his right elbow. He made 12 starts and went 5-2 with a 3.55 ERA. However, last August, the Astros acquired Justin Verlander and went on to win the World Series. Then this offseason, they traded for Gerrit Cole. Their rotation going into spring training is Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Gerrit Cole, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton. McHugh provides depth, but he would be outside of the rotation. McHugh is not a flamethrower. His average fastball is just over 90 mph. He throws a cutter in the mid-80s and also has a good slow curveball. McHugh will turn 31 in mid-June. Last week, he lost his arbitration hearing and will make $4.55 million in 2018. He will have one more year of arbitration in 2019, so acquiring him gives you two years of control. Risk As I see it, there are a few risks with McHugh. First and foremost, the elbow is a concern. I get that as of last season his injury had nothing to do with his ulnar collateral ligament, but sometimes pain in that area can lead to other issues in related structures. Reward Collin McHugh is not Chris Archer. Acquiring him would give the Twins a real solid #3 pitcher (if healthy). A top three of Santana, Berrios and McHugh is pretty solid. Kyle Gibson bumps down to the #4 starter and then you’ve got depth of young pitchers with varying levels of upside competing for the fifth spot in the rotation. That depth then moves down to Rochester where they continue to work to move their way up. Secondly, he provides a quality starter at likely two years and maybe $10-13 million. Despite not having big velocity, McHugh finds a way to miss bats. Over his four previous seasons, his K/9 numbers have been 9.1, 7.6, 8.6 and 8.8. Those numbers would be at the top of Twins starters in recent years. Potential Cost McHugh has two more years of team control, likely in the $10-13 million range. He doesn’t have a spot in the Astros starting rotation. The Astros have used a lot of minor leaguers in the last couple of years to acquire players like Verlander and Cole. They will likely want to acquire prospects for McHugh, but the haul for him should be far less than a trade for Chris Archer. In other words, the Twins should be able to pick any 6-8 prospects that they say are untouchable, and then the conversation can start. That would mean that the Twins may have to give up one quality prospect, but not a top 100 type of prospect. At that point, if I’m the Astros, I’m wanting quantity as much as quality. They should take advantage of the Twins minor league depth. Maybe they would want three prospects in the 16-30 range as opposed to the Twins #11 prospect alone. By comparison, acquiring Chris Archer is likely to cost a young major leaguer, two top five prospects and maybe two more prospects. But instead of getting a guy similar to Ervin Santana, you would be getting an absolute ace who is young and under team control for four more years for about $30 million. It’s an important distinction when comparing two potential trade targets. Is Collin McHugh a guy you think that the Twins should consider acquiring? Click here to view the article
  23. Background Collin McHugh made 15 big league appearances in 2012 and 2013 for the Mets and Rockies. Following that 2013 season, Colorado waived him and the Astros claimed him. As a 27-year-old rookie in 2014, he made 25 starts for Houston and went 11-9 with a 2.73 ERA. In 2015, he went 19-7 with a 3.89 ERA in 32 starts. In 2016, he made 33 starts and went 13-10 with a 4.34 ERA. Last year, he missed a lot of time due to a posterior impingement of his right elbow. He made 12 starts and went 5-2 with a 3.55 ERA. However, last August, the Astros acquired Justin Verlander and went on to win the World Series. Then this offseason, they traded for Gerrit Cole. Their rotation going into spring training is Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Gerrit Cole, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton. McHugh provides depth, but he would be outside of the rotation. McHugh is not a flamethrower. His average fastball is just over 90 mph. He throws a cutter in the mid-80s and also has a good slow curveball. McHugh will turn 31 in mid-June. Last week, he lost his arbitration hearing and will make $4.55 million in 2018. He will have one more year of arbitration in 2019, so acquiring him gives you two years of control. Risk As I see it, there are a few risks with McHugh. First and foremost, the elbow is a concern. I get that as of last season his injury had nothing to do with his ulnar collateral ligament, but sometimes pain in that area can lead to other issues in related structures. Reward Collin McHugh is not Chris Archer. Acquiring him would give the Twins a real solid #3 pitcher (if healthy). A top three of Santana, Berrios and McHugh is pretty solid. Kyle Gibson bumps down to the #4 starter and then you’ve got depth of young pitchers with varying levels of upside competing for the fifth spot in the rotation. That depth then moves down to Rochester where they continue to work to move their way up. Secondly, he provides a quality starter at likely two years and maybe $10-13 million. Despite not having big velocity, McHugh finds a way to miss bats. Over his four previous seasons, his K/9 numbers have been 9.1, 7.6, 8.6 and 8.8. Those numbers would be at the top of Twins starters in recent years. Potential Cost McHugh has two more years of team control, likely in the $10-13 million range. He doesn’t have a spot in the Astros starting rotation. The Astros have used a lot of minor leaguers in the last couple of years to acquire players like Verlander and Cole. They will likely want to acquire prospects for McHugh, but the haul for him should be far less than a trade for Chris Archer. In other words, the Twins should be able to pick any 6-8 prospects that they say are untouchable, and then the conversation can start. That would mean that the Twins may have to give up one quality prospect, but not a top 100 type of prospect. At that point, if I’m the Astros, I’m wanting quantity as much as quality. They should take advantage of the Twins minor league depth. Maybe they would want three prospects in the 16-30 range as opposed to the Twins #11 prospect alone. By comparison, acquiring Chris Archer is likely to cost a young major leaguer, two top five prospects and maybe two more prospects. But instead of getting a guy similar to Ervin Santana, you would be getting an absolute ace who is young and under team control for four more years for about $30 million. It’s an important distinction when comparing two potential trade targets. Is Collin McHugh a guy you think that the Twins should consider acquiring?
  24. Oh you didn't know? Your ass better call somebody! Dan and Panda are back, talking about Ervin Santana's finger surgery, what the starting rotation might look like now that Yu Darvish has signed, why we might be without baseball in 2020, and that the Twins should sign a healthy Tim Lincecum. Check out the newest episode on Spreaker, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and Pocket Casts; search "Twins And Losses." https://www.spreaker.com/show/twins-and-losses-supershow
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