12/1/16

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 12/1/2016

This is the latest installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here and all the previous installments in this series here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:
  • The Twins have signed 17 year old Venezuelan C Jeferson Morales and have assigned him to the DSL Twins (11/30)
  • The Twins have talked to the Diamondbacks about their young pitching.  No particular names were mentioned and nothing is imminent (11/29)
  • The Twins have expressed interest in 1B/OF Ben Paulsen and 3B Matt Dominguez as far as minor league free agents go (11/29)
  • The Twins might be interested in RHP Justin Masterson (11/23) as a minor league free agent signing (11/29)
  • Chad Allen and  Joe Vavra are internal candidates for the hitting coach position for the Twins, along with a couple of outside candidates; an announcement might be close (11/29)
  • The Twins have officially hired, former Twins' players, Torii Hunter, Mike Cuddyer, and LaTroy Hawkins as Special Assistants to the Front Office (11/28)
  • The Dodgers have had discussions with the Twins regarding second baseman Brian Dozier (11/11  and reconfirmed on 11/16).  However they seem to be some ways apart (11/20).  The Twins are "aiming high" as far as returns for Dozier go and are "shooting for the stars" (11/25). The Angels and Philies are among the teams interested in Dozier (11/25).
  • It looks like the new Twins' Front Office t is doing the right thing and committing to a full-time rebuild.(11/20)  However, previous reports suggested that the Twins were after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • Twins' 1B Kennys Vargas (who apparently has a fourth option left), has drawn some trade interest, but no teams are named (11/17)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)
From the former Twins' news department:
  • Former Twins GM Terry Ryan has been hired by the Phillies as special assignment scout (11/30)
  • Former Twins' OF Adam Walker has been designated for assignment by the Brewers (11/28)

11/29/16

The Twins new marketing slogan is way out of touch.

The Minnesota Twins after they finally decided to put an end (albeit slow) to the Terry Ryan regime, and the day after they announced that they hired the former player from the malaise era of "almost good enough" of Ron Gardenhire and the Unemployables,  here comes their new marketing campaign.  I received this in my e-mail box this evening:


I get summertime.  I do.  But "memories"?  Really?  What memories?  It has been a full 25 years since memories of the Twins' performance on a ballpark were worthwhile.  

On the other hand, the person who came up with the Twins' new marketing slogan was likely not born then... 

 

11/28/16

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 11/28/2016

This is the latest installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here and all the previous installments in this series here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:

  • Twins' LHP Glen Perkins' rehab activities look like he will be in line for another typical season for him (11/27)
  • It is early but it looks like the Twins are following two High School players, one pitcher and one position player, for their first overall draft pick next summer (11/26)
  • Sounds like the Twins will announce their new hitting and first base coaches this week (11/26)
  • The Dodgers have had discussions with the Twins regarding second baseman Brian Dozier (11/11  and reconfirmed on 11/16).  However they seem to be some ways apart (11/20).  The Twins are "aiming high" as far as returns for Dozier go and are "shooting for the stars" (11/25). The Angels and Philies are among the teams interested in Dozier (11/25).
  • The Twins might be interested in RHP Justin Masterson (11/23)
  • It looks like the new Twins' Front Office t is doing the right thing and committing to a full-time rebuild.(11/20)  However, previous reports suggested that the Twins were after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • Twins' 1B Kennys Vargas (who apparently has a fourth option left), has drawn some trade interest, but no teams are named (11/17)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)

From the former Twins' news department:
  • Former Twins' LHP Pat Dean has signed a contract with the KBO KIA Tigers (11/26)
  • Former Twins' IF Tim Teufel  who has been fired as Mets' third base and catching coach, has accepted a position in that organization as minor league roving instructor (11/26)
  • Former Twins' RHP DJ Johnson signed a minor league contract with the Rockies (11/25)

11/25/16

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 11/25/2016

This is the latest installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here  and all the previous installments in this series here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:

  • The Twins might be interested in RHP Justin Masterson (11/23)
  • The Twins have signed free agent C Jason Castro to a 3 year/ $24.5 million dollar contract (11/22)
  • The name of Nick Hudley has come about as "plan B" for some teams after Castro, as far as catchers go, but it is unclear whether the Twins are one of these teams.(11/22)
  • The Dodgers have had discussions with the Twins regarding second baseman Brian Dozier (11/11  and reconfirmed on 11/16).  However they seem to be some ways apart (11/20).  Also multiple undisclosed teams have been also interested in Dozier (11/10)
  • It looks like the new Twins' Front Office t is doing the right thing and committing to a full-time rebuild.(11/20)  However, previous reports suggested that the Twins were after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • Twins' 1B Kennys Vargas (who apparently has a fourth option left), has drawn some trade interest, but no teams are named (11/17)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)

From the former Twins' news department:
  • Former Twins RHP Neil Ramirez has signed a minor league deal with the Giants (11/23)
  • Former Twins OF Shane Robinson has signed a minor league deal with the Angels (11/23)

11/21/16

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 11/21/2016

This is the latest installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here  and all the previous installments in this series here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:

  • The Dodgers have had discussions with the Twins regarding second baseman Brian Dozier (11/11  and reconfirmed on 11/16).  However they seem to be some ways apart (11/20). 
  • It looks like the new Twins' Front Office t is doing the right thing and committing to a full-time rebuild.(11/20)  However, previous reports suggested that the Twins were after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • La Troy Hawkins has accepted a Front Office role as a special advisor with the Twins; Torii Hunter,  Michael Cuddyer, and Corey Koskie have also had discussions about potential front office roles (11/19)
  • The Twins have made an offer to an undisclosed free agent (11/18)
  • The Twins have outrighted 3B Trevor Plouffe and he elected to be a Free Agent (11/18) 
  • The Twins have outrighted C Juan Centeno  (11/18) 
  • Twins' OF Adam Walker has been claimed by the Brewers (11/18)
  • The Twins added C Mitch Garver, OFs Daniel Palka and Zack Granite; SS Engelb Vielma and RHPs Fernando Romero and Felix Jorge to their 40-man roster. (11/18)
  • Twins' 1B Kennys Vargas (who apparently has a fourth option left), has drawn some trade interest, but no teams are named (11/17)
  • The Twins have talked with the agent of free agent C Jason Castro during the GM meetings.and having another meeting with him this week and still thinking about making an offer (11/16)
  • Multiple undisclosed teams have been also interested in Brian Dozier (11/10)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)

  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)

From the former Twins' news department:
  • Former Twins' RHP Chih-Wei Hu was added to the Rays' 40-man roster (11/18) 
  • Former Twins OF Oswaldo Arcia was DFA'd by the Padres (11/18)
  • Former Twins' C Drew Butera has signed a 2-year contract with the Royals (11/18)

11/18/16

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 11/18/2016

This is the fourth installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous here ,  here, and here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:


From the former Twins' news department:
  • Former Twins 3B coach and manager, Ron Gardenhire, was named the Diamondbacks' bench coach (11/17) 
  • Former Twins 37 year old LHP Johan Santana is playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, preparing for a potential comeback in the majors.
  • Former Twins' OF Shane Robinson who was DFA'd by the Angels, opted for free agency (11/16)
  • Former Twins' C Mike Redmond was named the Rockies' bench coach. (11/16)

11/16/16

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 11/16/2016

This is the third installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the first one here and the second here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:


Not a transaction, but it impacts who the Twins will protect on their 40-man roster, RHP Zack Jones had surgery to correct a torn labrum in September (and the sitting duck Twins' Front Office never bothered to publicize) and will be out of baseball activities for at least 12 months, in what appears like a lost 2017 season.

From the former Twins' news department:

11/14/16

Twins' off-season moves and rumors report: 11/14/2016

This is the second installment of the Twins 2016-2017 off-season rumors and moves report.  You can find the previous one here.

I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come periodically, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:


  •  The Dodgers have had discussions with the Twins regarding second baseman Brian Dozier (11/11)
  • The Twins have had discussions with the agent of RHP Joba Chamberlain, Casey Close.  He also represents who also represents former closers Joe Smith and Shawn Tolleson (11/10)
  • Multiple undisclosed teams are additionally interested in Brian Dozier (11/10)
  • The Twins have talked with the agent of free agent C Jason Castro during the GM meetings.(11/9)
  • The Twins are also reported to be after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)
  • The Twins have re-signed Brazilian minor league infielder Leonardo Reginatto (11/3) 
From the former Twins' news department:
  • Former Twins' third baseman Danny Valencia was traded from the Athletics to the Mariners, for Paul Blackburn.  RHSP Paul Blackburn is 22 and  was a former supplemental first round pick of the Cubs.(11/13)
  • The Blue Jays have signed former Twins' DH Kendrys Morales to a 3 year, $33 million dollar contact (11/11)
  • Former Twins C Josmil Pinto was outrighted off Milwaukee's 40 mam roster (11/8)
  • Former Twins SS Pedro Florimon, elected free agency when removed from the Pirates 40-man roster (11/3) 

11/9/16

Twins' offseason moves and rumors: 11/9/2016

With Derek Falvey and Thad Levine as the new heads of the Twins' baseball operations, the first changes in the Twins' organization and the first interest in certain players has begun.  I will be bringing news for Twins moves and rumored interest as they come, leaving the names of interesting parties as are unless something changes about their status, adding new information as it comes.  As previously, this is actually reported interest, and not "who fits where" hypothetical interest.  I will be adding information about former Twins as it happens, but not rumors, as well.  This is what has happened or rumored to have happened so far:

  • Not many changes are happening at the front office.  It looks like most Assistant GMs under Ryan, esp. Antony, Radcliff, and Johnson will remain for the foreseeable future in their roles, likely to provide a bridge and ensure operational continuity, allowing Falvey and Levine to assess them and make more changes next off-season, or when they deem necessary.  It looks like the new Twins' brass will not make wholesale changes and likely use 2017 and a trial season; they would ever look at Terry Ryan to potentially return in some role.
  • One front office opening: Andrew Ettel, Twins coordinator of baseball research has resigned
  • The first casualties in the Scouting department were East Coast scouts Jay Weitzel and Ricky Taylor.
  • The Twins' brass is also taking a conservative approach with the coaches, announcing that all of them except Butch Davis, the 1st base coach, and Tom Brunansky, the hitting coach, will return.  A lot of people are disappointed that the coach of the worst pitching staff in the majors, who also was arrested for DUI, is retained.  In addition, Butch Davis' dismissal looks too similar to when the Twins scapegoated Jerry and Stelly for their 99 loss season.  With Ryan dismissed, and taking the biggest fall, the statement here, is that the root causes of 2016 were likely because of personnel issues and not field management.
  • Speaking of personnel, the Twins will be talking with the agent of free agent C Jason Castro today.(11/9)
  • The Twins are also reported to be after "experienced" players, without any names mentioned. (11/9)
  • The Twins' have attended the showcase of former Royals' closer RHP Greg Holland. (11/7)
  • Alex Wimmers was outrighted to AAA Rochester.  This brings the Twins' 40-man roster to 37, 21 pitchers and 16 position players.  Expect more removals before the month is over.
  • On the minor league front, the City of Elizabethton, TN, is making a large investment in their ballpark, to keep the Twins-owned Rookie Appalachian League affiliate in town.
From the former Twins' news department:
  • The Marlins have announced former Twins and 1991 World Series champion, Mike Pagliarulo, as their new hitting coach.
  • The Giants have announced that another former Twins' third baseman, Phil Nevin, will be their new third base coach.

11/4/16

Good luck to the new Twins baseball leaders and a piece of advice

A lot of Twins fans have not realized it, after a season with the worst record losses, since the franchise moved to Minnesota, 103, but this week signified too major events for the Twins:

  • The start of the 2016-2017 off-season that finds them tied in the first place in the AL Central with a .500 record
  • The start of a brand new baseball leadership in the faces of Derek Falvey as the first ever Twins' Chief Baseball Officer and Thad Levine as the Twins Senior VP and General Manager.  And, even more importantly, this is the first time that the Twins have hired their baseball leadership from outside the organization, since 1986 when Andy MacPhail, replaced (for practical purposes) Calvin Griffith, as the Twins baseball leader.

Hope runs high and I want to wish the new Twins' leadership good luck, and offer a single piece of advise:

Please do not assume, because the bar is so low and that hope runs high, that the Twins' fan base does not have high expectations.  As a matter of fact, some of us are setting the bar not at the level of who you are replacing, but at the level of what happened the first time new blood infused the franchise.  And that is a very high bar, set at the level of 2 World Championships in 4 seasons.

What would be your one piece advise to the new Twins' baseball leaders, along with your well wishes? 

10/21/16

Twins' second baseman Brian Dozier credits his career season to a dog named pickle.

This interview of Twins' second baseman Brian Dozier by Jason Munz of the Hattiesburg American, is a delightful piece and something that no Twins' fans should miss.

Among the many interesting nuggets on this article, including his desire to be in the US World Baseball Classic team, is the source of Dozier's power surge:

When asked about how things changed for him, since he was so cold early in the season, Dozier replied: “My wife and I got a French Bulldog named ‘Pickle’. Maybe Pickle was a spark.”



10/14/16

The Twins 40-man roster Part 2: Who should be protected from the Rule 5 Draft

The first segment of this series was dedicated to cleaning up the Twins' existing 40-man roster, assuming that the new management will do the right thing and go for a full rebuild.  This second segment, further adjusts the roster by adding players to protect from the draft, and maybe subtracting some of the players on the derived roster.  As a bonus, I will be listing additional Twins minor leaguers who do not need to be protected for the Rule 5 draft, but might merit consideration for a spot on the roster.  This list will give a good overview of the high level minor league talent available currently in the Twins' organization.  I will not proposed to add anyone who does not need to be added on the 40-man roster right now, eg. Steven Gonsalves, Jake Reed etc, but instead, the Twins should invite them as non-roster players to the 2017 Spring Training.  If they win a job there, they should merit a roster spot, but the Twins would need much roster flexibility this off-season.

Here is the 24 man roster, after the clean up.  Noted that if Perkins is moved to the 60-day disabled list, the roster would stand at 23, allowing up to 17 openings:

Jose Berrios 5/27/1994 (RHSP)
Byron Buxton 12/18/1993 (CF)
Juan Centeno 11/16/1989 (C)
J.T. Chargois 12/3/1990 (RHRP)
Tyler Duffey 12/27/1990 (RHRP)
Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 (RHSP)
Eduardo Escobar 1/5/1989 (IF)
Max Kepler 2/10/1993 (RF)
Yorman Landa 6/11/1994 (RHRP)
Pat Light 3/29/1991 (RHRP)
Joe Mauer 4/19/1983 (1B/DH)
Trevor May 9/23/1989 (RHSP)
Adalberto Mejia 6/20/1993 (LHSP)
Mason Melotakis 6/28/1991 (LHRP)
John Ryan Murphy 5/13/1991 (C)
Byungho Park 7/10/1986 (1B/DH)
Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 (LHRP) (*)
Jorge Polanco 7/5/1993 (SS)
Taylor Rogers 12/17/1990 (LHRP)
Eddie Rosario 9/28/1991 (LF)
Randy Rosario 5/18/1994 (LHRP)
Miguel Sano 5/11/1993 (3B)
Kennys Vargas 8/1/1990 (1B/DH)
Adam Walker 10/18/1991 (OF/DH)

Clearly the weakest lings on the roster are the two borderline age-wise position players, Catcher Juan Centeno, and utility infielder Eduardo Escobar.  In addition, Pat Light is the weakest relief pitcher, so borderline players would be compared to these three because they will be fighting for their spots.

Here are the Rule 5 Draft-eligible Position players, by position:

Catchers: 

Kevin Garcia, 9/17/1992, A/A+, 2016: .249/.302/.323, career: .252/.321/.315
Mitch Garver, 1/1/1991, AAA/AA, 2016: .270/.342/.422, career: .267/.359/.406 (*)
Rainis Silva, 3/20/1996 A, 2016: .230/.297/.254, career: .238/.295/.293
Stuart Turner, 12/27/1991, AA, 2016: .239/.322/.363, career: .241/.325/.352

Clearly Mitch Garver should be on the roster, since he will be fighting for a starting job in 2017.  Rainis Silva's glove is the best in the organization at the Catcher position right now, but his bat stinks, and unless that improves (and there is a lot of time, he just turned 20,) there is no risk of losing him.  I do not see Kevin Garcia being selected.  Whether adding Stuart Turner on the roster, is a toss-up.  His bat does not play in the majors, but his glove might.  Which brings the question: who should be on the roster, Turner or Centeno?  I think that Centeno's lefty bat that was not unrespectable in the majors wins here, but it is a close call.  It might be an academic question because the Twins are in dire need of a young good catcher, and if they obtain him this off-season will take the spot now reserved for Centeno.

Additions:  Garver

Infielders: 

Niko Goodrum, 2/28/1992, A+/AA, 2016: .275/.352/.464, career: .247/.339/.368
Levi Michael 2/9/1991, AA, 2016: .215/.293/.291, career: .250/.341/.343
Amaurys Minier, 1/20/1996, RK+, 2016: .222/.318/.449, career: .233/.321/.422
Rafael Valera, 8/25/1994, A, 2016: .261/.366/.409, career: .260/.380/.333
Engelb Vielma, 6/22/1994, A+/AA, 2016: .265/.344/.310, career: .264/.327/.309  
Ryan Walker, 3/26/1992, A+/AA, 2016: .271/.347/.345, career:  .262/.324/.321

Levi Michael had a terrible season after two strong ones, and I am not sure whether he is even in the Twins' plans right now that the administration that picked him in the first round is extinct.  I cannot see Valera or Walker get selected,  I think that Niko's Goodrum's career year and positional versatility (can play both positions on the left side of the infield, and can sub for both Sano and Polanco, plus Centerfield) as well as Engelb Vielma's standout glove and improved to respectability bat, will entice teams and could help the Twins in the future.  As a matter of fact, either would be better as a utility player for the 2017 Twins than Eduardo Escobar. Both in, Escobar traded/non-tendered.  The last player in this list is a wild card.  Amaurys Minier has had superstar potential but been plagued by injuries and inconsistencies.  Has not played above Elizabethton, but I am so afraid that someone could pull a Johan Santana on the Twins and pick him.  Got to protect him for at least another year.

Additions: Goodrum, Minier, Vielma
Subtractions: Escobar

Outfielders:

Edgar Corcino 6/7/1992, AA/A+ 2016: .273/.337/.420, career:  .245/.316/.368
JJ Fernandez, 3/30/1994, A, 2016: .225/.293/.363, career: .239/.293/.363
Zach Granite, 9/17/1992, AA, 2016: .295/.347/.382 (56/70 SB), career: .282/.349/.354 (*)
Max Murphy, 11/17/1992, A/A+, 2016: .236/.289/.358, career: .252/.329/.411
Travis Harrison, 10/17/1992, AA, 2016: .230/.338/.339, career: .254/.360/.380
Daniel Palka, 10/28/1991, AA/AAA, 2016: .254/.327/.521, career: .268/.346/.509 (*)

I think that what I wrote previously regardless Levi Michael, applies to Travis Harrison as well.  This might be his last chance in the Twins' organization.  Fernandez and Murphy are not close to being MLB-ready or selected in the draft.  Corcino is a better player than both, but still ways away.  This leaves the player whom the Twins named minor league player of the year, Zach Granite, and the player they should had named, Daniel Palka.  They both should be protected and added on the 40-man roster.  Palka will fight (or push back to second base) Eduardo Rosario for a corner outfielder job and Zach Granite and his 56 stolen bases might make the best 4th outfielder, pinch runner combination the Twins have had for years.

Additions: Granite, Palka

Notable non-Rule 5 Draft-eligible at A+ and above position players:

Nick Gordon (SS) 10/24/1995, A+, 2016: .291/.335/.386, career: .285/.335/.371
LaMonte Wade (OF) 1/1/1994, A/A+, 2016: .293/.402/.438, career: .297/.409/.459

Both should be invited to the 2017 Spring Training and given the ability to win an MLB job, but they should not be added on the roster unless they need to.

Rule 5 Draft-eligible Pitchers: 

Starters:

Ryan Eades (R), 12/15/1991, AA, 2016: 4.61 ERA, 1.376 WHIP, 7.2 K/9 career:  4.33 ERA, 1.379 WHIP, 6.7 K/9
Felix Jorge.(R) 1/2/1994, A+/AA, 2016: 2.69 ERA, 1.088 WHIP, 5.9 K/9 career:  3.17 ERA, 1.164  WHIP, 7.4 K/9
Aaron Slegers, (R) 9/4/1992, AA,  2016: 3.41 ERA, 1.259 WHIP, 6.4 K/9 career:  3.54 ERA, 1.178 WHIP, 6.5 K/9
Fernando Romero, (R) 12/24/1994, A/A+, 2016: 2.09 ERA, 0.897 WHIP, 9.0 K/9 career:  2.37 ERA, 1.032 WHIP, 8.8 K/9
Lewis Thorpe, (L), 11/23/1995. lost 2015 and 2016 with Tommy John surgery & other ailments. 2012-2014:  2.96 ERA, 1.176 WHIP, 11.2 K/9
Jason Wheeler (L), 10/27/1990, AAA/AA, 2016: 3.30 ERA, 1.163 WHIP, 7.2 K/9 career:  3.66 ERA, 1.325 WHIP, 6.4 K/9

Ryan Eades had a below average season as a starter and I expect him to make the transition to the pen this season, which will be his best opportunity to get to the majors.  Felix Jorge and Fernando Romero are just too good not to add.  Both, especially Romero, have outside chances of wining a position in the Twins' rotation this spring.  They are both no-brainer additions.  Lewis Thorpe was a phenomenal prospect who lost 2 seasons in a row.  Is he back?  Only the Twins know.  I just do not see a chance for anyone to select him, but if the Twins think there is, I can see him add him on the roster.  I won't.  Slegers is an intriguing possibility:  He has been above average his career with above average stuff, but has shown nothing eye opening, in both raw stuff and results. Very intriguing conversion to a reliever who might get a mid to high 90s fastball from this frame.  Should the Twins add him on the roster and do it?  In the expense of Pat Light or any of the other relievers who need protection?  I don't think so. Regardless whether he is selected or not, he should be in a bullpen next season.   This leaves us to Jason Wheeler whom the Twins protected in 2015, unprotected in 2016, and snubbed him for a call up, in a year he was pitching well in both AA and AAA, for the likes of Anrew Albers.  Terrible decision, but I hope that the change in the administration does the right thing and protects him, if for not other reason, because he is lefty and successful and he is second, after Adalberto Mejia, in the Twins LHSP depth chart.  This might change during the off-season if the Twins acquire a LHSP or two better than Mejia, and they should target that.  But until then, Wheeler is in, at least for 2017 to show what he can do.

Additions: Jorge, Romero, Wheeler

Relievers:

Luke Bard (R) 11/13/1990, A+/AA, 2016: 3.74 ERA, 1.400 WHIP, 7.9 K/9 career:  3.23 ERA, 1.310 WHIP, 7.9 K/9
DJ Baxendale (R), 12/8/1990, As a RP only: AAA 2016: 1.29 ERA, 1.029 WHIP, 10.3 K/9
Omar Bencomo (R) 2/10/1989, AA/AAA, 2016: 3.74 ERA, 1.352 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, career:  3.77 ERA, 1.271 WHIP, 6.7 K/9
Cameron Booser (L), 5/4/1992, A/A+, 2016: 8.53 ERA, 2.013 WHIP, 12.1 K/9, career:  4.32 ERA, 1.571 WHIP, 12.1 K/9
Alan Busenitz (R) 8/22/1990, AA/AAA, 2016: 3.54 ERA, 1.262 WHIP, 8.1 K/9 career:  3.55 ERA, 1.320 WHIP, 7.6 K/9 (might protect him for political reasons - he came in the Meyer/Nolasco trade, but there are better players)
C.K. Irby, (R), 5/6/1992, A, 2016: 2.42 ERA, 1.119 WHIP, 10.5 K/9 career:  3.56 ERA, 1.264 WHIP, 11.5 K/9
Zack Jones (R), 12/4/1990, AA/AAA, 2016: 3.47 ERA, 1.294 WHIP, 12.4 K/9 career:  2.97 ERA, 1.218 WHIP, 12.7 K/9
Brandon Peterson, (R), 9/23/1991, A+/AA, 2016: 3.30 ERA, 1.150 WHIP, 11.2 K/9 career:  2.41 ERA, 1.109 WHIP, 12.1 K/9
Brian Gilbert, (R), 8/9/1992, A+, 2016: 5.53 ERA, 2.024 WHIP, 6.2 K/9, career: 3.66 ERA, 1.439 WHIP, 6.6 K/9
Williams Ramirez, (R), 8/8/1992, A, 2016: 2.62 ERA, 1.055 WHIP, 10.8 K/9, career:  1.97 ERA, 1.038 WHIP, 10.1 K/9
Todd Van Steensel (R), 1/14/1991, A+/AA, 2016: 3.88 ERA, 1.324 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, career:  3.42 ERA, 1.291 WHIP, 9.7 K/9

This is a long list of 11 relievers, with only one of them (Booser) a lefty.  Booser had a disappointing season in both High A and A and will not be selected.  The same is true for Brian Gilbert. Bencomo is a last option type of player, and will not be selected. Van Steensel's season was not strong enough to get consideration.  C.K. Irby's was, however it was not at a high enough level.  The same for Williams Ramirez, but watch out if these two repeat their results in high A and/or AA in 2017.  Which brings us to Luke Bard, the Twins' former 1st round pick, who is about to turn 26, and had an average season, but has not been the same after losing 2014 recovering from shoulder surgery.  I think that this will be his last chance to prove that he belongs in the prospect conversation and I will not be surprised if it is not in the Twins' organization.  Alan Busenitz is an interesting case.  He pitched in AA and AAA with average results, that reflect the rest of his minor league career, but the Twins might protect him for political reasons, since he was acquired in the Alex Meyer, Ricky Nolasco trade that also brought Hector Santiago to the Twins.  Maybe the new administration will let the past go and would not protect him.  I wouldn't.  However, I would protect the most successful reliever in the Twins' minor league system, DJ Baxendale, who after transitioning to that role for Rochester upon his promotion from Chatanooga  excelled.  This leaves us two pitchers who might depart via the draft, and one last off-season:  Zach Jones and Brandon Peterson.  Got to add Pat Light to the conversation and it is two out of three.  I'd picke Jones and Light, risking Peterson's departure, mainly because he has played in more junior levels (only 16 games in AA) and might deemed less ready.  But it is a risk.

Additions: Baxendale, Jones.

Notable non-Rule 5 Draft-eligible at A+ and above:

Starters:

Stephen Gonsalves (L) 7/8/1994 A+/AA, 2016: 2.06 ERA, 1.021 WHIP, 10.0 K/9 career:  2.13 ERA, 1.072 WHIP, 9.7 K/9
Tyler Jay (L) 4/19/1994 A+/AA, 2016: 3.33 ERA, 1.231 WHIP, 8.3 K/9 career:  3.44 ERA, 1.265 WHIP, 8.7 K/9
Kohl Stewart (R), 10/7/1994, A+/AA,  2016: 2.88 ERA, 1.343 WHIP, 5.7 K/9 career:  2.84 ERA, 1.284 WHIP, 5.9 K/9

Relievers:

Nick Burdi (R), 1/19/1993, AA, 2016: shut down after 3 games, career: 3.72 ERA, 1.322 WHIP, 12.6 K/9
Trevor Hildenberger (R), 12/15/1990, AA/A+, 2016: 0.75 ERA, 0.792 WHIP, 9.9 K/9 career:  1.47 ERA, 0.823 WHIP, 10.5 K/9
Jake Reed (R), 9/29/1992, AAA/AA,  2016: 3.57 ERA, 1.175 WHIP, 9.2 K/9 career:  3.47 ERA, 1.130 WHIP, 8.8 K/9
Michael Theophanopoulos (L), 8/5/1992, A/A+,  2016: 2.20 ERA, 1.163 WHIP, 11.6 K/9 career:  3.29 ERA, 1.351 WHIP, 10.5 K/9

As with the position players, all of the above, in addition to several Rule 5-eligible players who will remain with the Twins but not added to the roster, and hopefully several new young good players should be invited to the Twins 2017 Spring Training.

This leaves the modified Twins 40-man roster with 34 (33 (*) if Perkins is on the 60-day DL) spots and 6 (or 7) openings, which are enough for the Twins to be flexible in targeting acquisitions in trades and potentially shopping the Rule 5 draft and the waiver wire (and a reminder that they have the right of first refusal, because of the worst record in the majors, for both.)  Here is the modified roster:

DJ Baxendale 12/8/1990 (RHRP)
Jose Berrios 5/27/1994 (RHSP)
Byron Buxton 12/18/1993 (CF)
Juan Centeno 11/16/1989 (C)
J.T. Chargois 12/3/1990 (RHRP)
Tyler Duffey 12/27/1990 (RHRP)
Mitch Garver, 1/1/1991 (C)
Zach Granite, 9/17/1992 (OF)
Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 (RHSP)
Zack Jones 12/4/1990 (RHRP)
Felix Jorge  1/2/1994 (RHSP)
Niko Goodrum, 2/28/1992 (SS/3B/CF)
Max Kepler 2/10/1993 (RF)
Yorman Landa 6/11/1994 (RHRP)
Pat Light 3/29/1991 (RHRP)
Joe Mauer 4/19/1983 (1B/DH)
Trevor May 9/23/1989 (RHSP)
Adalberto Mejia 6/20/1993 (LHSP)
Mason Melotakis 6/28/1991 (LHRP)
Amaurys Minier, 1/20/1996 (1B/OF)
John Ryan Murphy 5/13/1991 (C)
Daniel Palka, 10/28/1991 (OF)
Byungho Park 7/10/1986 (1B/DH)
Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 (LHRP) (*)
Jorge Polanco 7/5/1993 (SS)
Taylor Rogers 12/17/1990 (LHRP)
Fernando Romero 12/24/1994(RHSP)
Eddie Rosario 9/28/1991 (LF)
Randy Rosario 5/18/1994 (LHRP)
Miguel Sano 5/11/1993 (3B)
Kennys Vargas 8/1/1990 (1B/DH)
Engelb Vielma, 6/22/1994 (SS)
Adam Walker 10/18/1991 (OF/DH)
Jason Wheeler 10/27/1990 (LHSP)


Next installment will be a critical view of the roster, assessing weaknesses and looking for potential positions that the Twins should target this off-season.


10/13/16

The Twins 40-man roster Part 1: Who should stay and who should go

After a historically bad season that resulted in the worst record of the Franchise in its current location, Twins' about to be minted (as soon as Cleveland's season is over) new chief baseball officer, Derek Falvey, will have his hands full in turning this team around.  I hope that he has enough flexibility to do a true rebuild.  And a true rebuild is to find enough young talented players that will reach their primes together, and then supplemented by star veterans to close holes as necessary, will compete for a long time.

Looking at the Twins' young talent and how their 40-man roster for 2017 should be built, young is an operating word.  Here is the current Twins' 40-man roster by age groups:  a. Players who will be 26 and younger on 1/1/2017 who should be part of the rebuilt; b. players who will be 28 or older who really do not belong in a rebuilding team, since they will be past their primes when the new Twins' core will reach their primes, and; c. players who are in-between.  The 27 year olds:

 The listing is alphabetical with birthdays

Andrew Albers 10/6/1985
James Beresford 1/19/1989
Jose Berrios 5/27/1994
Buddy Boshers 5/9/1988
Byron Buxton 12/18/1993
Juan Centeno 11/16/1989
J.T. Chargois 12/3/1990
Pat Dean 5/25/1989
Brian Dozier 5/15/1987
Tyler Duffey 12/27/1990
Eduardo Escobar 1/5/1989
Kyle Gibson 10/23/1987
Robbie Grossman 9/16/1989
Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 (60-day DL)
Max Kepler 2/10/1993
Brandon Kintzler 8/1/1984
Yorman Landa 6/11/1994
Pat Light 3/29/1991
Joe Mauer 4/19/1983
Trevor May 9/23/1989
Adalberto Mejia 6/20/1993
Mason Melotakis 6/28/1991
Tommy Milone 2/16/1987
John Ryan Murphy 5/13/1991
Ryan O'Rourke 4/30/1988
Byungho Park 7/10/1986
Glen Perkins 3/2/1983  (60-day DL)
Trevor Plouffe 6/15/1986
Ryan Pressly 12/15/1988
Jorge Polanco 7/5/1993
Taylor Rogers 12/17/1990
Eddie Rosario 9/28/1991
Randy Rosario 5/18/1994
Ervin Santana 12/12/1982
Hector Santiago 12/16/1987
Miguel Sano 5/11/1993
Logan Schafer 9/8/1986
Kurt Suzuki 10/4/1983
Michael Tonkin 11/19/1989
Kennys Vargas 8/1/1990
Adam Walker 10/18/1991
Alex Wimmers 11/1/1988


These 42 players sorted in the 3 age groups:

Young enough:

Jose Berrios 5/27/1994  
Byron Buxton 12/18/1993
J.T. Chargois 12/3/1990
Tyler Duffey 12/27/1990
Max Kepler 2/10/1993
Yorman Landa 6/11/1994
Pat Light 3/29/1991
Adalberto Mejia 6/20/1993
Mason Melotakis 6/28/1991
John Ryan Murphy 5/13/1991
Jorge Polanco 7/5/1993
Taylor Rogers 12/17/1990
Eddie Rosario 9/28/1991
Randy Rosario 5/18/1994
Miguel Sano 5/11/1993
Kennys Vargas 8/1/1990
Adam Walker 10/18/1991

Too old:

Andrew Albers 10/6/1985
Buddy Boshers 5/9/1988
Brian Dozier 5/15/1987
Kyle Gibson 10/23/1987
Phil Hughes 6/24/86
Brandon Kintzler 8/1/1984
Joe Mauer 4/19/1983
Tommy Milone 2/16/1987
Ryan O'Rourke 4/30/1988
Byungho Park 7/10/1986
Glen Perkins 3/2/83
Trevor Plouffe 6/15/1986
Ryan Pressly 12/15/1988
Ervin Santana 12/12/1982
Hector Santiago 12/16/1987
Logan Schafer 9/8/1986
Kurt Suzuki 10/4/1983
Alex Wimmers 11/1/1988

In between: 

James Beresford 1/19/1989
Juan Centeno 11/16/1989
Pat Dean 5/25/1989
Eduardo Escobar 1/5/1989
Robbie Grossman 9/16/1989
Trevor May 9/23/1989
Michael Tonkin 11/19/1989


Let's look at the in between and see who could potentially offer value:

James Beresford 1/19/1989
Juan Centeno 11/16/1989
Pat Dean 5/25/1989
Eduardo Escobar 1/5/1989
Robbie Grossman 9/16/1989
Trevor May 9/23/1989
Michael Tonkin 11/19/1989

Centeno, Escobar, and May can provide some value.  Centeno who might be the weakest of the 3, has options, so he does not preclude the team . So they stay.  Beresford, Dean, Grossman, and Tonkin are designated for assignment.

New Keeper list (with positions) :

Jose Berrios 5/27/1994 (SP)  
Byron Buxton 12/18/1993 (CF)
Juan Centeno 11/16/1989 (C)
J.T. Chargois 12/3/1990 (RP)
Tyler Duffey 12/27/1990 (RP)
Eduardo Escobar 1/5/1989 (IF)
Max Kepler 2/10/1993 (RF)
Yorman Landa 6/11/1994 (RP)
Pat Light 3/29/1991 (RP)
Trevor May 9/23/1989 (SP)
Adalberto Mejia 6/20/1993 (SP)
Mason Melotakis 6/28/1991 (RP)
John Ryan Murphy 5/13/1991 (C)
Jorge Polanco 7/5/1993 (SS)
Taylor Rogers 12/17/1990 (RP)
Eddie Rosario 9/28/1991 (LF)
Randy Rosario 5/18/1994 (RP)
Miguel Sano 5/11/1993 (3B)
Kennys Vargas 8/1/1990 (1B)
Adam Walker 10/18/1991 (OF/DH)

Up to 20 total and most positions of the diamond taken care off.

Let's have a close look to the ones who are too old to belong to a rebuilding team, look into their contract situation, and add potential value to a trade partner:

Andrew Albers 10/6/1985  - no value
Buddy Boshers 5/9/1988  - maybe some value, one option left
Brian Dozier 5/15/1987 - signed until 2018, $15M owed, career season, strong value
Kyle Gibson 10/23/1987 - arbitration eligible, some value
Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 - signed until 2019, $39.6M owed, major surgery
Brandon Kintzler 8/1/1984 - arbitration eligible, some value
Joe Mauer 4/19/1983 - signed until 2018, $46M owed, declining
Tommy Milone 2/16/1987 - abitration eligible, no value
Ryan O'Rourke 4/30/1988 - no value
Byungho Park 7/10/1986 - signed until 2019, $9.3M owed, major investment
Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 - signed until 2017, $7.2M owed
Trevor Plouffe 6/15/1986 - arbitration eligible, some value
Ryan Pressly 12/15/1988 - arbitration eligible, some value
Ervin Santana 12/12/1982 - signed until 2018 + option, $28M owed, close to career season, strong value
Hector Santiago 12/16/1987 - arbitration eligible, medium value
Logan Schafer 9/8/1986  - no value
Kurt Suzuki 10/4/1983 - free agent
Alex Wimmers 11/1/1988  - no value

The ones who do not have value, should go.  Suzuki will depart as a free agent, Albers, O'Rourke, Schafer, and Wimmers are designated for assignment, Milone is not offered arbitration.  The list trims to:


Buddy Boshers 5/9/1988  - maybe some value, one option left
Brian Dozier 5/15/1987 - signed until 2018, $15M owed, career season, strong value
Kyle Gibson 10/23/1987 - arbitration eligible, some value
Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 - signed until 2019, $39.6M owed, major surgery
Brandon Kintzler 8/1/1984 - arbitration eligible, some value
Joe Mauer 4/19/1983 - signed until 2018, $46M owed, declining
Byungho Park 7/10/1986 - signed until 2019, $9.3M owed, major investment
Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 - signed until 2017, $7.2M owed, might not pitch again
Trevor Plouffe 6/15/1986 - arbitration eligible, some value
Ryan Pressly 12/15/1988 - arbitration eligible, some value
Ervin Santana 12/12/1982 - signed until 2018 + option, $28M owed, close to career season, strong value
Hector Santiago 12/16/1987 - arbitration eligible, medium value

The 3 players with most value, Ervin Santana, Brian Dozier, and Hector Santiago should be traded, and the Twins will receive value back, as there will be takers.  The remaining players are in two lists: the arbitration-eligible, and team control players with some value, and the under contract with major questionmarks.  The players in those 2 lists represent 2 opposite sides of the same coin

The arbitration, and team control eligible players:

Buddy Boshers 5/9/1988  - maybe some value, one option left
Kyle Gibson 10/23/1987 - arbitration eligible, some value
Brandon Kintzler 8/1/1984 - arbitration eligible, some value
Trevor Plouffe 6/15/1986 - arbitration eligible, some value
Ryan Pressly 12/15/1988 - arbitration eligible, some value

The Twins should try to trade these players and package them with Dozier, Santana, and Santiago to receive better value.  If no team values them enough to trade for them, the Twins should let them go.  So trade or non-tendering (of DFA in Bosher's situation,)  all 5 will not be Twins in 2017.

Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 - signed until 2019, $39.6M owed, major surgery
Joe Mauer 4/19/1983 - signed until 2018, $46M owed, declining
Byungho Park 7/10/1986 - signed until 2019, $9.3M owed,+ $13M investment
Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 - signed until 2017, $7.2M owed, might not pitch again

The Twins are stuck with these 4 players.  These contracts and their injury or aging situations make them undesirable for any team.  The best case scenario for the Twins is that they all return healthy in 2017, start the season with the team and build enough value to be tradeable during the season.  Perkins will likely not be ready and the Twins have the luxury to add him to the 60-day DL in the beginning of the reason and bring him back slowly if healthy though a series of minor league rehabs, so there is some flexibility there.

So from today's 40-man roster, only the following 24 players (and potentially 23 effectively with a Perkins to the 60-day DL (*) senario) will be there this off-season:

Jose Berrios 5/27/1994 (SP)  
Byron Buxton 12/18/1993 (CF)
Juan Centeno 11/16/1989 (C)
J.T. Chargois 12/3/1990 (RP)
Tyler Duffey 12/27/1990 (RP)
Phil Hughes 6/24/1986 (SP)
Eduardo Escobar 1/5/1989 (IF)
Max Kepler 2/10/1993 (RF)
Yorman Landa 6/11/1994 (RP)
Pat Light 3/29/1991 (RP)
Joe Mauer 4/19/1983 (1B/DH)
Trevor May 9/23/1989 (SP)
Adalberto Mejia 6/20/1993 (SP)
Mason Melotakis 6/28/1991 (RP)
John Ryan Murphy 5/13/1991 (C)
Byungho Park 7/10/1986 (1B/DH)
Glen Perkins 3/2/1983 (RP) (*)
Jorge Polanco 7/5/1993 (SS)
Taylor Rogers 12/17/1990 (RP)
Eddie Rosario 9/28/1991 (LF)
Randy Rosario 5/18/1994 (RP)
Miguel Sano 5/11/1993 (3B)
Kennys Vargas 8/1/1990 (1B/DH)
Adam Walker 10/18/1991 (OF/DH)

This would allow the Twins 16 spots to add several of their prospects for 2017 auditions as well as a good flexibility to include several trade returns.  This list is light on starting pitchers , but the assumption is that they will be targeted in trades and that their number will get supplemented by one or more of the existing prospects in the system.  One note. It is obvious that the Twins are heavy on the DH position.  Park, Mauer, and Vargas can rotate in the first base and DH role, with the ability to have either both lefties or righties, with Vargas being an switch hitter, in a platoon situation, depending on opposing pitchers.  Which means that Adam Walker should be available in a trade at this point.

In the next article of this series will look at who of the existing prospects should move in the 40-man roster to either protect them from the draft or to supplement the MLB-level talent.

10/12/16

Toby Gardenhire has been back with the Twins and nobody knew

After the dearly departed Twins' former General Manager, Terry Ryan, re-hired the Twins' former manager, Ron Gardenhire, who could not find work with any other MLB team, recent news article suggest that as soon as the father was hired, his son, Toby Gardenhire, who has a career .232/.292/.274  slash line in 7 seasons as a Twins' minor leaguer whose best skill was the fact that was Ron Garenhire's son, was also hired by the Twins in 2016.

A hot off the press report by the Dunn County News, says that after school was over for the University of Wisconsin baseball head coach, he was hired by the Twins for the summer as a minor league coach.  From that article:

This summer, Gardenhire had the opportunity to coach for the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club as a hitting and third base coach for the Golf Coast League (GCL) Twins in Fort Myers, Fla.“They called me and asked if I wanted another coaching opportunity,” Gardenhire said. “I said yes and it worked out.”

Not sure whether Terry Ryan, or his interim successor Rob Anthony were the final approvers of the hire, (it was likely Ryan, since college programs end before he was fired,) but the fact that it was never announced is very disappointing.   Not to mention the fact that the Twins looked at another insider (with very low credentials) without going outside the organization looking for excellence.  The hope is that the new Front Office stops running the Twins like a Country Club.

10/2/16

Every single team that made the post season had fromer Twins players help them get there. 18 of them. Let's count them

Boston (David Ortiz, Fernando Abad)
Baltimore (JJ Hardy, Vance Worley, Brian Duensing,)
Toronto (Chris Colabello, R.A Dickey, Fransisco Liriano, Scott Diamond)
Cleveland (Jeff Manship)
Texas (Carlos Gomez)
Wasington (Wilson Ramos, Ben Revere)
Mets (Rene Rivera)
Chicago Cubs (Joe Nathan)
LA Dodgers (Casey Fien)
San Fransisco (Denard Span, Eduardo Nunez, Joe Nathan.)

Joe Nathan played for 2 teams.

10/1/16

There is a single reason for the Twins record loss season

The Twins seemed to turn the corner in 2015 and with a similar, if not improved because the young players would have another year of experience, team, 2016 was, at least on paper, supposed to be better than the 83 win 2015 team.

What happened?

One single event:  The Twins re-hired Ron Gardenhire.   The Gardenhire-less team was the only team with a winning record the past 7 seasons, and likely because the bad karma of the manager of the millennium was not around.

The new Twins President of Baseball Operations, could reverse the curse, by hitting it at the root:

Re-firing Ron Gardenhire.



8/30/16

In Honor of the Twins losing streak: Eleven Today

Eleven Today: By John Carter Brown:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Today you're eleven
That's nine add on two.

Now ten is behind you
And twelve is to come
When riding your bike
Don't fall on your bum.

A six and a five
Make eleven as well
Your maths are so good 
This I don't need to tell.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Legs are eleven
But you've only TWO! 

Eleven is better
Than ten any day
That's what I think
And I'm going to say: 
'Roses are red
Violets are blue, 
Eleven is lovely
And so too are you.'



8/19/16

5 Days, 5 Twins waiver deadline trades: Day 5: Closing this series

The waiver trade activity is about to pick up.  I am starting a new series dealing with potential Twins' trades during this period, but with a bit of outside the box thinking.   The rules around waiver trades are a bit complicated, so if you have not read the Waiver Trade Primer yet, feel free to do it.

This week I will be writing about 5 trades the Twins should do and they should seek out, because they make sense and it is fun to think a bit outside the box.

Day 5: Closing this series

When the Twins signed Brandon Kintzler, among the rest of the parading minor league free agents that Terry Ryan did, in nobody's wildest dreams (or nightmares) the possibility of Brandon Kintzler becoming not even the Twins', but the Red Wings' closer was thought as remotely valid.  But happenstance is stranger than dreams, and Brandon Kintzler is the Twins closer today.  And if this is not enough, to say "sell high", the 1.82 ERA, 0.984 WHIP, and 12/13 saves converted (despite a close to his career average 3.55 FIP, .260 BABIP, and celebrating his 32nd birthday earlier this month,) are more than enough to scream sell high.

There is no way that a rational Front Office (something that the Twins have to see since the MacPhail times, and hopefully will have this off-season) would keep Brandon Kintzer, who is under team control and arbitration-eligible for 2 more seasons, with the team at expensive prices for those two seasons, based on these 2 months of 2017.   However, a team that is competing right now, can use a hot arm like his, betting that it will continue and will be enough to bump them to the post-season.

Who will that team be?  The team that has the worst record among the post-season competitors (thus waiver claim priority,) is just 3 games away from the second wild card spot, has 9 games to play this season against our very own Minnesota Twins, and its bullpen took a couple of huge hits this season:  The defending World Champions Kansas City Royals who just found themselves contending again.

What will it take?  It will not come cheap, but it will not break the bank.  A fair return would be the Royals' 2015 4th round pick, 19 year old LHSP, Garrett Davila. Mid-90 fastball lefties do not grow on trees, but Davila has had durability issues and might become a reliever.  Still, he is a gamble and a project, something that the Twins afford to take on, and the Royals would gladly have someone who will help them make this post-season (because they are a very good post-season team) than a project.

So, after Michael Tonkin was sent to the Rangers, after Suzuki traded to the Orioles,  Grossman to the Astros, and Plouffe to the Indians, this imaginary 5 day trading spree closes with the Twins' closer by happenstance, Brandon Kintzler, to the Royals for Garrett Davila.

8/18/16

5 Days, 5 Twins waiver deadline trades: Day 4: Fits to a T

The waiver trade activity is about to pick up.  I am starting a new series dealing with potential Twins' trades during this period, but with a bit of outside the box thinking.   The rules around waiver trades are a bit complicated, so if you have not read the Waiver Trade Primer yet, feel free to do it.

This week I will be writing about 5 trades the Twins should do and they should seek out, because they make sense and it is fun to think a bit outside the box.

Day 4: Fits to a T

From the 30,000 feet view, the team with the best record in the AL and second best to the Cubs in the majors, the Texas Rangers, has few weaknesses.  Looking closer, they have a glaring weakness:  The Twins have been criticized (and for a good reason) about pitching to contact.  The Rangers, along with the Angels, are the only 2 teams in the majors with K/9 rates less than the Twins, and the Rangers are on the bottom on the category with just 6.9 K/9.  The Twins for comparison have 7.4 K/9.   And strikeouts are nowhere more important than the bullpen.  And if the Rangers want to go far in the postseason, they better fix it.

Enter the Twins leader (among active pitchers, May has more, but is on the DL) in K/9 with 10.4 (the highest in his career in the majors,) 26-year old Michael Tonkin.  Tonkin is under team control for 5 more years and not arbitration-eligible for 2 more season, so apparently he can be an asset for the Twins.  On the other hand, there is a logjam of young RHRP better than Tonkin:  Chargois, Pressly (and even possibly Duffey,  Hughes and the aforementioned May; all 3 could also be considered for the rotation) at the MLB-level, with Burdi, Hildenberger, Baxendale, Wimmers, Cederoth and even Reed and Jones knocking on the door.  So the Twins have to sell high.

And Tonkin has some value to a team like the Rangers, because it fixes an immediate problem and potentially for some time, because of the team control.  So it will take more than someone with just a heartbeat to get him.  But it will not take a top prospect, regardless how inflated prices for relievers are.  Their 29th best prospect according to mlb.com, the 21-year old Dominican RHSP, Pedro Payano, will be a great fit.  Very intriguing prospect:  He was born in New York, an grew up in the Dominican and is one of the few players who made it to the States after 4 full seasons in the DSL.  Currently in the short season A league, has a great changeup, and a good fastball and hammer curve and he is dominating at that level, but he is older for the level and there are question marks about how he will play when he moves higher.  A pretty fair return.

So Mr Tonkin will wear a ballcap with his last name's initial, while the Twins will get a player whose last name Bert Blyleven will pronounce as "Pavano".

Michael Tonkin to the Rangers for Pedro Payano, is the fourth Twins' trade that should happen, after Suzuki traded to the Orioles,  Grossman to the Astros, and Plouffe to the Indians.

8/17/16

5 Days, 5 Twins waiver deadline trades: Day 3: Plouffe! Goes the weasel.

The waiver trade activity is about to pick up.  I am starting a new series dealing with potential Twins' trades during this period, but with a bit of outside the box thinking.   The rules around waiver trades are a bit complicated, so if you have not read the Waiver Trade Primer yet, feel free to do it.

This week I will be writing about 5 trades the Twins should do and they should seek out, because they make sense and it is fun to think a bit outside the box.

Day 3: Plouffe! Goes the weasel.

Arguably, Trevor Plouffe is not the poster-boy of a waiver trade, but the poster-boy of non-tendering: 

He is in the middle of the worst season of his MLB career hitting .245/.279/.382, while getting paid a robust $7.25 M salary, has another year of team control via arbitration that will likely rise his salary in 2017 and he is blocking one of the budding young superstars in the game.  So why should anyone trade for him, and what kind of value does he bring on the table?

To Plouffe's benefit, he has been nursing core muscle injuries all season that have been impacting his swing and when healthy he has been producing at his regular clip.  Also, when healthy his defense is on the top third of the league's third basemen.  Plus he can play a pretty good first base if needed.  All you need is to find a team that is desperate enough and is a good fit.   There are 2 of those, in the Twins' own division, but the one with the second best record in the AL, the league leading Cleveland Indians are the more desperate one:  Their starting third baseman is a double-headed beast of LF Jose Ramirez (who can hit and not field that great at 5'9", but when he plays third base, Abraham Almonde plays the OF who cannot hit) and no-hit/fair glove Michael Martinez.  Add the fact that the Tribe has Michael Napoli whose knees can use rest this time of the season at first, and there might be a match made in heaven here.

What would it take?  The Twins have no motivation of keeping Plouffe; as a matter of fact a rational Front Office will non-tender him this off-season.  A penny for a spool of thread, a penny for a needle. That’s the way the money goes, but it will take a bit more than that.  But it will definitely take another sell low type of guy.  And that would be 25 year old Cuban RHP Antonio Romero, who was signed in 2014 after 2 years of playing hiatus, was successful in 2015, but this season the wheels fell off having a cumulative 8.59 ERA, 1.964 WHIP, 6.1 BB/9, and 7.4 K/9 in high A and AA.

Sell low and hope high situation for both players.

I have no time to plead and pine
I have no time to wheedle
Kiss me quick, and then I'm gone
Plouffe! Goes the weasel

So Trevor Plouffe to the Indians for Antonio Romero, straight up, is the third Twins' trade that should happen, after Suzuki traded to the Orioles and Grossman to the Astros