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

8/16/16

5 Days, 5 Twins waiver deadline trades: Day 2: Homeward bound (sort of)

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. 

Today and the next 4 days (working days), 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 2: Homeward bound (sort of)

Robbie Grossman has been with the Houston Astros organization for 3 seasons before he was released after last season.  The Astros have lost Colby Rasmus to vertigo spells, have cut Carlos Gomez and have a catcher (Evan Gattis) who can maybe hit his weight, spiting time with a non-prospect (Jake Marisnick) who cannot hit his, between LF and DH.  They have a 23-year old Rookie (Teoscar Hernandez) manning center.

They do not only need Robbie Grossman, they need him desperately. And the fact that they have the worst record from any AL post-season contender means that they have a good opportunity to land him, since they have priority in waiver trade claims.

What would it take for the Twins to pull the trigger?  First of all they do not really have to trade Grossman, but with the emergency of Daniel Palka, they really do not need him.  Nice waiver wire pickup for the Twins and it is great that they turn him into a very young Catcher who really does not figure in Houston's plans:  The diminutive 21 year old Venezuelan Gabriel Bracamonte.   Bracamote is playing in short season A ball right now, moving up from Rookie ball (Greenville, in the Appalachian league, so the Twins had a chance to see him play) where he started this season and finished the last.  He is still a project, but has a couple things going on for him:  Very strong arm and great judgement of the strike zone as a hitter.  Has shown periodic flashes with the bat, which makes him a pretty intriguing prospect.  Small, but another small catcher (nicknamed Pudge) is hitting on the Hall of Fame's door...

So Robbie Grossman to the Astros for Gabriel Bracamonte, straight up, is the second Twins' trade that should happen, after Suzuki traded to the Orioles 

8/15/16

5 Days, 5 Twins waiver deadline trades: Day 1: Let's play catch

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.  

Today and the next 4 days (working days), 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 1: Let's play catch

Kurt Suzuki is a player who a. is pretty hot (since he picked that axe-handled bat) and b. is a free agent after this season, which make him getting traded a no-brainer.  As a matter of fact, if the Twins interim GM Rob Antony does not trade Kurt Suzuki, he should not have a job in the organization.  That's how much of a no-brainer this trade is.

Where is the best landing spot for Kurt Suzuki? 

5 Contending teams can use a catcher (including the losers in the Lucroy sweepstakes Cleveland and Mets) :  Houston, Detroit, Cleveland, Mets and Mystery Team.

The Mets are on the wrong side of the claim priority list.  Detroit will think that Saltalamacchia will be alright for them (and they will be right, he might be as good as Suzuki.) Houston will look at the 3-4 teams above them in the wild card race and might want to invest in other places.  So Cleveland will place a claim for Suzuki.  But will be intersected by Mystery Team, whose record is just a couple games worse than theirs, and will be the team that will be awarded that claim:

The Baltimore Orioles.

Matt Wieters, their All-Star catcher this season,  has been struggling of late, but his struggles are mainly against LHP (.561 OPS, vs. .737 OPS against RHPs and .693 overall.)   Suzuki and his .803 OPS against LHP and an occasional righty will be a huge improvement for a team that is half a game behind it's division lead and leading the AL wild-card race.  

So what would the Twins get as a return?  

Let's not be greedy here, and try to buy low.

1. Garrett Cleavinger LHRP, 22 years old, Orioles' 3rd round pick in 2015.  Closer for the Oregon Ducks. Major Control issues.  Mid 90s FB, above average curve, deceptive delivery, about 11 K/9, but still at A ball with so and so results, but improved control.  Just moved up to high A and not doing too well. And about 10th in the Orioles LHRP depth.  Done deal.

2. Cedric Mullins, Switch hitting CF. 21. Orioles 13th round pick in 2015. 5'8" with cleats on.  Throws left. Speedster.  Lots like a former Twins' first round pick, but much better arm, but he never really made the transition to the wood bat.  Good plate discipline.  Not in anyone's radar.

So here you have it.  Kurt Suzuki for Garrett Cleavinger and Cedric Mullins.  What says you?

MLB Waiver Trade Primer

It is this time of the year, and the waiver trade landscape is about to get hot again, the waiver situation is pretty complex and there are several misconceptions (eg. that there is a trade deadline of August 31,) so here is a MLB Waiver Trade  Primer:

- All players unless on the DL, can be put on trade waivers (and most are put through)
-Teams can chose to claim a player or not

-Claims award priority:

a. same league, team with worse record
b. other league team with worse record
(e.g for a Twins' player the best AL team, currently the Rangers, has priority in a claim over the worst NL team, currently the Braves, but the Marlins have priority over the Dodgers)

-Once a player is claimed (there is a 2 day from the claim time limit for these outcomes) :

a. His team can pull him back and keep him
b. Negotiate a trade with the claiming team
c. Let him go for nothing to the claiming team (and the claiming team pays his full salary)

-If a player is not claimed within 2 days after he is placed, the team can trade him to any other team (unless there is a no-trade clause 10/5 rights etc.)  through the regular season; however, players traded after August, cannot be part of a post-season roster (thus the source of the misconception for an August 31st deadline.)

-A team can put a player through waivers multiple times, but can pull him back only once.   So if a player was claimed by a team and then pulled back, if he is put on waivers again and gets claimed, the other team gets him for nothing (other than paying his full salary, ie. option c. above.)

7/30/16

Twins trade rumors and activity 7/30

Keeping track with the various Twins trade rumors to date, as well as their trade activty.  I will add to this on a daily basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.  Another thing not listed will be negations by Twins' officials that they are not shopping anyone (like this one.)

This is the list of rumors up to 7/30:

The Twins are said to be shopping, Ricky Nolasco, Tommy Milone and Fernardo Abad, per Jerry Crasnick

The Texas Rangers are interested in Kurt Suzuki, per Jeff Passan.

Add the San Fransisco Giants in the list of  Eduardo Núñez' suitors, per Jon Heyman via Tyler Jennings, who were actually the team that received him, for LHP Adalberto Mejia, their number 5 prospect, according to Baseball America

There looks to be some action around Brandon Kintzler and Fernando Abad, per Jon Heyman

Eduardo Escobar is auditioning tonight, in request of un-named teams, per Mike Berardino

The Marlins, Orioles, Blue Jays, Pirates and Giants are the 5 teams that have the most talks about starting pitching, according to un-named seller team executives per Joel Sherman.  All 3 but the Jays and Giants have been scouting the Twins and the Twins have been scouting the Marlins recently.

The Twins interim manager Rob Antony has indicated that he will be looking for starting pitching as a return in a trade per Derek Wetmore.

Nunez, Kurt Suzuki, Fernando Abad and Brandon Kintzler are the names that other clubs have been calling the Twins about, per Ken Rosenthal.

An unnamed contenting club has shown interest in Kyle Gibson, but the Twins are only listening, per Mike Berardino.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are monitoring relievers, according to LaVelle E. Neal, were scouting the Twins game with Atlanta yesterday that Ervin Santana started and finished.   The Cubs and Pirates also scouted yesterday's Twins' game, per Darren Wolfson

For some reason the Twins are scouting the Florida Marlins, per LaVelle E. Neal,

The Florida Marlins and Baltimore Orioles had scouts in the Twins games in Fenway, started by Ricky Nolasco and Tommy Milone, per Darren Wolfson.

The Twins have talked to the Red Sox, about undisclosed player(s), but no matches were found, per Mike Berardino.

7/29/16

Twins trade rumors 7/29

Keeping track with the various Twins trade rumors to date.  I will add to this on a daily basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.  Another thing not listed will be negations by Twins' officials that they are not shopping anyone (like this one.)

This is the list of rumors up to 7/29:

Add the San Fransisco Giants in the list of  Eduardo Núñez' suitors, per Jon Heyman via Tyler Jennings, who were actually the team that received him, for LHP Adalberto Mejia, their number 5 prospect, according to Baseball America

There looks to be some action around Brandon Kintzler and Fernando Abad, per Jon Heyman

Eduardo Escobar is auditioning tonight, in request of un-named teams, per Mike Berardino

The Marlins, Orioles, Blue Jays, Pirates and Giants are the 5 teams that have the most talks about starting pitching, according to un-named seller team executives per Joel Sherman.  All 3 but the Jays and Giants have been scouting the Twins and the Twins have been scouting the Marlins recently.

The Twins interim manager Rob Antony has indicated that he will be looking for starting pitching as a return in a trade per Derek Wetmore.

Nunez, Kurt Suzuki, Fernando Abad and Brandon Kintzler are the names that other clubs have been calling the Twins about, per Ken Rosenthal.

An unnamed contenting club has shown interest in Kyle Gibson, but the Twins are only listening, per Mike Berardino.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are monitoring relievers, according to LaVelle E. Neal, were scouting the Twins game with Atlanta yesterday that Ervin Santana started and finished.   The Cubs and Pirates also scouted yesterday's Twins' game, per Darren Wolfson

For some reason the Twins are scouting the Florida Marlins, per LaVelle E. Neal,

The Florida Marlins and Baltimore Orioles had scouts in the Twins games in Fenway, started by Ricky Nolasco and Tommy Milone, per Darren Wolfson.

The Twins have talked to the Red Sox, about undisclosed player(s), but no matches were found, per Mike Berardino.

Complete profile and scouting report of the newest Twins' pitcher LHP Adalberto Mejia

The Twins acquired LHP Adalberto Mejia, from the San Fransisco Giants, in exchange for Eduardo Núñez.   Núñez came to the Twins from the Yankees for Miguel Sulbaran who came to the Twins from the Dodgers for Drew Butura who came from the Mets for Louis Castillo who came from the Marlins for RHPs Scott Tyler the Twins 2001 2nd round draft pick and Travis Bowyer the Twins 1999 20th round draft pick.

Mejia was signed as international free agent from the Dominican Republic by the Giants in 2011.  Mejia last played for the Giants in AAA Sacramento River Cats (Pacific Coast League,) and was invited to their 2016 MLB camp for his first time.  He is on the Twins' 40-man roster, and likely September callup.

Mejia was born on 6/20/1993 in Bonao, Dominican Republic and was a late bloomer signing by the Giants as an eighteen year old.  That season in the Dominican Summer League he impressed, starting 13 games for 76 innings with 71 K (8.4 K/9) and only 8 BB, with a 0.868 WHIP, 1.42 ERA and 1.75 FIP.  This was enough for him to skip the Giants' US-based Rookie leagues, jumping right on full season A in 2012, playing for the Augusta GreenJackets of the Southern Atlantic League. He participated in 30 games, among them 14 starts. His final numbers for that season were:  106.7 IP  with 79 K (6.7 K/9) 21 BB (1.8 BB/9), with a 1.341 WHIP, 3.97 ERA and 3.29 FIP.  He started the season in the pen, with limited success and moved into the rotation in June, where he found success, finishing the season with a 6-3 record, 3.00 ERA and 1.13 WHIP, post All Star break.

The next season he moved up to the San Jose Giants of the High A California League.  He started 16 games (87 IP) with 89 K (9.2 K/9) and 23 BB (2.4 BB/9) for a 3.31 ERA,  4.20 FIP and 1.126 WHIP.  He miss 48 games that season in May and June with shoulder issues, but came back okay.  He was called to AAA Fresno to start a single game (5 IP, 5 H, 2 HR, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) and participated in the Arizona Fall League playing in 7 games, 3 as a starter for 8.47 ERA, 1.529 WHIP, 7.4 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 in 17 innings.  In 2014 he moved up to AA Richmond Flying Squirrels (Eastern League) where he started 21 games and relieved in one, pitching 108 innings with 82 K (6.8 K/9) and 31 BB (2.6 BB/9), for a 1.389 WHIP, 4.67 ERA and 3.78 FIP. He went to the DL three times for 6 days with a leg bruise after a ball hit him in April and for 8- and 12-days in July with finger blisters.   His weight that season went up to 240 lbs (he is 6'3") and needed to be reduced.  Unfortunately he took a banned weight loss supplement that contained stimulants and tested positive, receiving a 50 day suspension, very much like current Twins' DH/1B Kennys Vargas.

He repeated AA in 2015 after he served his suspension. He appeared in 12 games (9 GS), pitching 51.3 innings with 38 K (6.7 K/9) and 18 BB (3.2 BB/9), for a 1.091 WHIP, 2.45 ERA and 3.41 FIP.  Despite the nice performance, he needed innings so he returned to the AFL (7 GS, 31 IP , 1.258 WHIP, 3.48 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 4.1 K/BB) and also appeared in the Dominican Winter League (playing for the Gigantes, coinsidentally: 5 GS, 18.3 IP , 1.091 WHIP, 3.44 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 1.5 K/BB).  After he was invited to his first MLB spring training as part of the Giants' 40-man roster, he was caught in the numbers games and started against at AA Richmond where he excelled after he trimmed down this season (11 GS, 65 IP , 0.985 WHIP, 1.94 ERA, 8.0 K/9, 2.2 K/BB) forcing his promotion to AAA in his age 23 season (he was 22 at the time.)  His numbers (7 GS, 40.7 IP , 1.303 WHIP, 4.20 ERA, 9.5 K/9, 2.4 K/BB) are fairly impressive, especially for the Pacific Coast League.

He has an above average to borderline plus fastball that has increased in velocity this season, sitting at 92-94 and touching 95 as a starter.  Average to above average command and improving and the pitch is projecting to be plus pitch in the near future.  Natural cutting action on the pitch.  His slider is his best pitch.  Siting at 83-84 mph and up to 86.  Nice biting motion, great command and above average control.  This is a pitch that he throws anywhere on the count, pretty much like current Twins' starter Tyler Duffey does with his curve ball.   He also throws a changeup that is an average to above average pitch that can improve.  Nice fluid mechanics.

Weight is a consideration for him, and it currently is under control, listed at 195 lbs.  His ceiling is that of a number 3 starter, but he has a high floor. His floor is of a 8th inning reliever.  He held lefties to a .216/.273/.275 slash line and had 11.3 K/9 against them, which is pretty impressive for the PCL.

Mejia was listed as the 5th best Giants' prospect by Baseball America and 7th best by MLB.com.  He would be among the top 10 in my Twins' list if I had to do this list now, but likely he will be called up in September and that will disqualify him.  Very good return for the Twins.








7/28/16

Twins trade rumors 7/28

Keeping track with the various Twins trade rumors to date.  I will add to this on a daily basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.  Another thing not listed will be negations by Twins' officials that they are not shopping anyone (like this one.)

This is the list of rumors up to 7/28:

Add the San Fransisco Giants in the list of  Eduardo Núñez' suitors, per Jon Heyman via Tyler Jennings.

Eduardo Escobar is auditioning tonight, in request of un-named teams, per Mike Berardino

The Marlins, Orioles, Blue Jays, Pirates and Giants are the 5 teams that have the most talks about starting pitching, according to un-named seller team executives per Joel Sherman.  All 3 but the Jays and Giants have been scouting the Twins and the Twins have been scouting the Marlins recently.

The Twins interim manager Rob Antony has indicated that he will be looking for starting pitching as a return in a trade per Derek Wetmore.

Eduardo Núñez, has been evaluated by the Cleveland Indians, per Buster Olney.

Nunez, Kurt Suzuki, Fernando Abad and Brandon Kintzler are the names that other clubs have been calling the Twins about, per Ken Rosenthal.

An unnamed contenting club has shown interest in Kyle Gibson, but the Twins are only listening, per Mike Berardino.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are monitoring relievers, according to LaVelle E. Neal, were scouting the Twins game with Atlanta yesterday that Ervin Santana started and finished.   The Cubs and Pirates also scouted yesterday's Twins' game, per Darren Wolfson

For some reason the Twins are scouting the Florida Marlins, per LaVelle E. Neal,

The Florida Marlins and Baltimore Orioles had scouts in the Twins games in Fenway, started by Ricky Nolasco and Tommy Milone, per Darren Wolfson.

The Twins have talked to the Red Sox, about undisclosed player(s), but no matches were found, per Mike Berardino.

7/27/16

Twins trade rumors 7/27

Keeping track with the various Twins trade rumors to date.  I will add to this on a daily basis, when news appear.   Hypothetical trades and "good fits" are not in the list, only reports of actual interest by a particular team for a particular player.  Another thing not listed will be negations by Twins' officials that they are not shopping anyone (like this one.)

This is the list of rumors up to 7/27:

Eduardo Núñez, has been evaluated by the Cleveland Indians, per Buster Olney.

Nunez, Kurt Suzuki, Fernando Abad and Brandon Kintzler are the names that other clubs have been calling the Twins about, per Ken Rosenthal.

An unnamed contenting club has shown interest in Kyle Gibson, but the Twins are only listening, per Mike Berardino.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, who are monitoring relievers, according to LaVelle E. Neal, were scouting the Twins game with Atlanta yesterday that Ervin Santana started and finished.   The Cubs and Pirates also scouted yesterday's Twins' game, per Darren Wolfson

For some reason the Twins are scouting the Florida Marlins, per LaVelle E. Neal,

The Florida Marlins and Baltimore Orioles had scouts in the Twins games in Fenway, started by Ricky Nolasco and Tommy Milone, per Darren Wolfson.

The Twins have talked to the Red Sox, about undisclosed player(s), but no matches were found, per Mike Berardino.

7/26/16

By the numbers: How bad have Deron Johnson's Twins' drafts been?

As the Minnesota Twins are evaluating their front office, I would like to take the opportunity to objectively evaluate the performance of certain parts of their front office for which there might be appropriate objective evaluation criteria.  Deron Johnson, the Twins scouting director since 2008, who came into the organization when the dearly departed Terry Ryan became the General Manager in 1994, as a regional scout, has been primarily responsible for the Rule 4 amateur draft.  There is a feeling that the Twins do not draft and develop players well.  But drafting and developing are two different things, and need to see how each of them might be performing against the rest of the league. 

How has Johnson done against the league, in the draft?

Here is the data:  I looked at the overall WAR for each team for each draft for all players selected by that team in the first 10 rounds of that draft.   Calculated the average WAR for each draft and the teams better are indicated with green.  The teams are listed alphabetically and the Twins are bolded.  Averages in yellow indicate small sample size, because simply not enough players made it to the bigs in the last few seasons to make any conclusions, but the ones who made it, count to the total team WAR numbers, since Deron Johnson was responsible for the Twins draft.



Long story short:

During the time that Johnson has been in charge of the Twins draft the Twins did better than only 6 other teams in the league: The Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies and the Rangers who all are willing to open their wallets and buy players drafted and developed by others and, surprisingly, the Rays, who are more than willing to sell everyone high to restock their system with players that other teams drafted to develop.  The Twins do neither, so that it a pretty big problem.  And yes Deron Johnson has been performing way below average, and D students should go home...

Few notes:

  • This is pretty interesting data about where the Twins can look to stock their front office.  Surprisingly, the Diamondbacks', Padres', Jays', White Sox', and Nationals' systems might be good sources of scouting talent to replace at least Deron and some of his scouts.
  • If it were not for 2009 where Dozier and Gibson account for most of the Twins' WAR, the numbers would be really pathetic.
  • If you look at teams like the White Sox, that have had the fourth best draft WAR in the period and really nothing to show about it in the majors, you can make easy conclusions about problems with their development and management systems
  • Yes, there are up and downs in most teams, but with the Twins other than 2009, it has been mostly downs, and the other teams, have done something about it (replacing under-performing Front Office pieces.)  Will the Twins have the guts to do the same?

7/18/16

Finally Pohlad fires Ryan but he acts like is not sure that it is the right move

There has been a lot reported about the fact that the General Manager with the worst record in the Twins' history, is history himself and a lot of it has to be digested.   I promise that I will write extensively what I think about this, when things have settled a bit, but here is my reaction:

  • Despite feeling that Terry Ryan should not be the General Manager of my favorite team, since he architected the miserable teams to support daddy Pohlad's contraction plans (and, yes, lot's of people who are reading this do not remember that, because they were not following the Twins back then - and I don't blame you,) I did not have Champagne to celebrate his firing.
  • Been there, done that.  Ryan went away, said that 21st century baseball is way over his head and was hired back 5 years after the fact, and after a hiatus from baseball, presumably making it way way over his head.  And that hiring worked really well for the Twins and Ryan.  It made Ryan the General Manager with the worst winning record since the Twins moved to MN. Actually with the worst record ever, because until Andy MacPhail was hired, the Twins/Senators did not have a GM, but the owner acted as the GM.
  • That press release read way too much like a retirement thing and the Twins have already been there done that with Ryan.  And then he came back.  Like Michael Corleone in Godfather III.  People give too much kudos to Ryan for choosing harakiri now vs. firing in the off-season (and he had a freaking month to make that choice, in addition to have the choice ??!!)   Selfish move.  His way was the highway.  But he wanted it to be his way (pretty sure that someone car write a C&W song for that, and David St Peter might even his/her concern hosted at Target Field.)
  • And everyone in the press is exalting Ryan and saying that he will be hired by someone else soon.  And: a. we have seen this before with Gardenhire (who was only hired by the person who fired him, the aforementioned Ryan, who just got fired), b. I hope he gets hired by an AL Central team and c. How good is he with a broom?
  • Rob Antony is on the spot.  Do or die role.  Probably the only GM (acting - which is about right) in the MLB whose only qualification is Public Relationships.  He's got to do, otherwise the new GM will send him Ryan's way.  Hope he surfaces and trades everyone he should trade (Mr Plouffe, Dozier, Santana, Suzuki, Santana, Nolasco, Milone, Abad, Kintzer, etc, that's you.)
  • Molitor's interview after the fact was enlightening.  And the Twins' reporters did not report it in its entirety.  Among other things he said that: a. he wants to be part of the solution (but he said it in a way too weak way) and b. that now he can do some things that he wanted to do.  Which makes the obvious more obvious:  Molitor and Ryan never saw eye to eye.  And Pohlad imposed Molitor to Ryan.  And likely the Sano to RF idiocy was imposed to Molitor by Ryan
  • But I would not read too much into the Pohlad vote of confidence for Molitor in 2017.  In so many words he told the press that Ryan will be the Twins' GM for as long as he wanted to, the same time he was informing him that he will be gone next season.  About a month ago.  And he did the same for Gardenhire in the middle of the 2014 season.  So Pohlad's word are worth... well not so much.  His vote of confidence is more akin to a dagger in the back.
  • And you will hear a lot about the "great relationship between Terry and Paul"  Look at actions, do not believe at words

More on this later, these are just my first thoughts on the subject... 

7/2/16

The 2016 Minnesota Twins are inching up to a historic record

.252

That's the number the 2106 Twins are reaching towards in winning percentage.  It is the franchise's worst record (1904 Senators) and the modern era's 4th worst for all baseball.

The Twins' current .316 winning percentage (that translates to a 51-111 record) is the 4th worst of the franchise trailing only the aforementioned 1904 (.252) and the 1909 (.276) and 1903 (.314) teams.
 
In its time in Minnesota this is by far the Twins' worst losing clip.  Second worst was that of the 1982 squad (.370, 102 losses)

Another feather in Terry Ryan's and Paul Molitor's caps...

5/26/16

So how do you fix this Twins' mess? Or The more that things change...

I just stumbled upon one of the posts I wrote almost 5 years to date (5/25/2011) and I am just fascinating by how things seem to be the same with these Twins.   It was this post  and pretty much everything I said there, still stands.  Some of the faces have changed, but the story is the same.  Which is another indication that the "Total Systemic Failure" is congenital and really need to look outside the organization for a fix.

Here are some highlights from that post:

May 25th and the Twins are 14.5 games behind the Cleveland Indians, the way to climb up from that hole looks more and more slippery every day, and the light out of the tunnel is as bright as Camping's predictions about the end of the world (as we know it.) So what you do, if you are the Twins' brass to move on and start preparing for the 2012 season? And I know that throwing the 2011 season under the bus, the same way the Manager of the Millennium threw Slowey under the bus, in May is somewhat of a hubris, but I am trying to be realistic...

So, here is what I would do, if I were the Twins' owner (Dream on and Daydream Believer time: )



This team is misfiring in all cylinders, so you gotta re-build the whole engine (think Marlins' tune ups blowing up the whole thing and winning world championships.) So (starting from the top, and these things do not have to happen stimultaneously, but they have to happen before the Winter meetings next fall: )


  • Bill Smith has to go, along with the rest of the "Twins' way" (read: old school) people in the front office. This includes "special advisors", scouts in their golden years, hangovers who care more about horse racing or their personal enterprises and such (ouch). A new front office that includes a holistic player evaluation team that uses computers as well as eyes (hey, it is the 21st century, last time I checked) should be installed in place.

  • (I guess that this might come as a surprise: ) Get rid of the manager and the coaches and start fresh. Everyone who ever read my opinions here knows who I feel about the love of complacency and mediocrity by the media and fans, which embrace the current Twins' field regime, even though they have fallen short since 1991, create cronyism, favoritism and schism in the clubhouse and making lineup and game decisions based on gut feelings that are in a dire need of Pepto (yes, the pink stuff.) So a new manager should be installed, someone with fire who would not take the compliments of being second-(and third- and fourth- and fifth-) best as accolades displayed in a Fargo agricultural show, but would think that an also-ran team is a failure and install this fire to his players. Someone like him (old news that I like him and he is a former Twin.) Also get at least one hispanic coach. This team is blessed to have the pitching coach who made Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Johan Santana who there are now, but he is rotting in the minors (again, old news, sue me.) and has the manager's buddies as coaches.

  • The players. Sigh... I gotta get a tad financially sensitive here, since a bunch of ill-advised contracts were handed out, decisions on who stays and goes and who gets extended were made based on favoritism or the previously mentioned sorts and the like... Realistically, there are few players with any trade value right now (unless some of them would have a mirage-like performance before the trading deadline, which, under the current regime, would make it more likely to keep them long term - see how that Twins' vicious cycle works? Keep high, sell low.) Anyways... back to the business. I would try to trade (mind you not all at once, but up to the trading deadline) the following (and absorb some salary $; and this is quasi-sorted based on descending trade value, pending a miracle of the aforementioned sort):  
 (and I name names of certain players most of them not with the Twins right now.)

I am just totally amazed by how the more that things change with this organization, the more remain the same.   Different names, same feelings, same suggestions that Pohlad will never do.

Maybe it is time for a new owner.

5/17/16

The Twins sign Robbie Grossman, who is he and what can he do?

Today the Minnesota Twins have signed OF Robbie Grossman who has opted out from his minor league deal with Cleveland.  Details on a roster spot are not out yet, but the Twins have an open spot on their 40-man roster.  

Who is Robbie Grossman?

Grossman is a lefty throwing switch-hitting outfielder, listed at 6 feet even and 215 lbs.  He was drafted by the Pirates with the second pick of the 6th round of the 2008 draft out of Cy Fair High School in Cypress TX.  He turned 26, a few months ago. In 2012, when he was ranked the 76th overall prospect in baseball by Baseball America, Grossman was the star prospect who went to Houston in the trade that brought then 33 year old and effective starter Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates for their pennant run.

Grossman was seen as part of Houston's rebuilding, and he was given opportunities to win a starting job in the majors in 2013 (63 games,) 2014 (104 games,) and 2015 (24 games.)  After last season, Grossman was not in the contending Astros' plans, was not offered arbirtation and released in November and singed with the Cardinals who had assigned him to their AAA Columbus Clippers team.  The Clippers are playing in the same league the Twins' AAA team, but they have not yet met this season, thus Grossman was not heavily scouted by the Twins.

He hit .256/.370/.453 with 6 HRs, 21 BBs and 25 Ks in 139 AAA PAs this season before he opted out and played 19 games at CF, 10 at LF and 1 at RF.  During his whole MLB and MiLB career he has played 391 games at CF, 314 at LF and 259 at RF.   How good of an outfielder is he?  In the majors he spent most of his time at LF (1018.7 innings) rated +2 with plus minus, saved 2 defensive runs and had a -0.4 UZR.   His time in CF (250.3 innings, -5 plus/minus, -7 DRS, -9.4 UZR) and RF (278.7 innings, +2 plus/minus, 6 DRS, 4.8 UZR,) are less significant but indicate an average to slightly above average corner OF who could play CF, but not that great.   The level of his Centerfield play is at or slightly below of that of Danny Santana (708.1 inn, -5 plus/minus, -3 DRS, -7.3 UZR,) who is the Twins current Centerfielder.

His career MLB slash line is .240/.327/.341, including a .143/.222/.245 2015 campaign that (along with his .254/.354/.349 AAA PCL numbers) moved him off the Astros' future plans.  He hits equally well left and right hand pitching, has moderate gap power and slightly above average speed, which does not translate into stolen base success (career 65% success rate.)

Bottom line:  I think that the Twins are seeing Grossman as an upgrade with the bat over both Danny Santana (who is hitting .250/.268/.338 in 2016 with the Twins) and Darin Mastroianni (his current backup,) and not much of a drop on the field, in the Centerfield position.  And they are probably right. He will likely get the open 40-man spot and Mastroianni's  25-man roster spot soon, performing as the Twins starting Centerfielder for the foreseeable future.

What the Twins fans have to ask themselves is whether Grossman is a Centerfielder that any competitive team would have (the Astros gave that answer last off-season) and, if not, whether the Twins are served better in the long term by giving the spot to the man who they plan to hold it for a long while, Byron Buxton.  But this is for Terry Ryan to answer.


5/13/16

Exclusive: The Twins Design a New Logo in Hope the Season Turns Around (First Reveal Inside)

We have learned that based on Jim Pohlad's recent remarks about the Twins' 2016, he wanted to create a new team logo that reflects the situation, in hopes the season will turn around.  Here is an exclusive first look at the new handsome Twins logo that will decorate their hats and jerseys: