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  1. #361
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Blog Entries


    Quote Originally Posted by Breakin' The Plane View Post
    1. Machado
    2. Harper
    153. Kimbrel. I'm not paying big time bucks to a guy that appears in less than half the games.
    Kimbrel feels like Tommy John waiting to happen. But if we're talking one year deals, I would take him. Long-term no.

  2. #362


    Machado is better than Harper. It isn't even close in my mind. We are not getting either. Kimbrel is fantastic but not worth it.

  3. #363


    **** Harper, he’s an asshole.
    by station19 - Quit talking stupid.

  4. #364


    STrib: This weekend's TwinsFest means spring training isn't far behind

    Twins players and coaches will report to sunny Fort Myers, Fla., for spring training by mid-February.

    But this weekend, most of them will gather in frigid Minneapolis for TwinsFest at Target Field.

    New manager Rocco Baldelli has been on the team’s northern caravan this week, awaking to subzero temperatures Thursday morning in Bemidji before heading to Duluth.

    One player who will be absent is pitcher Kyle Gibson, who is recovering from an E. coli infection. Gibson will remain at his home in Fort Myers to recuperate, and indications are that Gibson should be fine by the time pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 13.

    “TwinsFest is an event that my wife & I really enjoy being a part of, so to make the decision to skip it was very difficult,” Gibson (kgib44) wrote on Twitter. “Last week I thought I was progressing enough to be able to come up, but the last couple days have not gone as well as I hoped.”

    Gibson did mission work in the Dominican Republic and Haiti during the offseason, but it is not clear if he was infected during those trips.

    Third baseman Miguel Sano also is missing TwinsFest to play for his Estrellas de Oriente team in the Dominican Winter League. Estrellas won the league championship for the first time in 51 years to qualify for the Caribbean World Series in Venezuela.

    Win Twins!!

  5. #365
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Corn Field


    Quote Originally Posted by dpodoll68 View Post
    Three questions/comments:

    1. Do you value defense or offense more in the acquisition? Machado has been the better defender (and mostly at a premium position), while Harper is a better hitter.
    2. Are you bidding on Machado's services as a SS or 3B? If SS, I would go Machado, Harper, Kimbrel. If 3B, I would go Harper, Machado, Kimbrel. Much like moving Mauer to 1B was a total waste of a Hall of Fame catcher, Machado at 3B is an All-Star, while Machado at SS is a HOFer.
    3. Machado has been far more durable. Harper plays about 132 games per year on average, and has only exceeded 150 games twice in 7 years.
    1. Combination of both.
    2. I think at either SS or 3B he's more valuable than Harper as an OF. Good hitting infielders that are not 1B is not as easy to find. Then you consider there's Kirilloff and Larnach who could be close to being MLB ready along with the OF already on the team that are still young. Some think Royce Lewis could end up being an OF also.

  6. #366


    STrib: Jonathan Schoop, Twins betting on a bounce-back season for him

    While putting on the finishing touches of a one-year, $14 million contract for Nelson Cruz, Twins General Manager Thad Levine and Cruz’s agent, Bryce Dixon, had a laugh over Jonathan Schoop’s role in the process.

    “Cruz’s agent was asking me what part of the take he had to give to Schoop because he was recruiting Cruz,” Levine said.

    Spring training hasn’t even started yet. The Twins haven’t stepped out on sun-soaked fields in Fort Myers, Fla., to see the glovework and power bat that made Schoop an All-Star in 2017. But he’s already impressing them by registering a slick assist — touting the impact Cruz, his teammate with Orioles in 2014, would make.

    And while Schoop told the Twins how great of a teammate Cruz was, he sold Cruz on the potential of the young Twins. Plus they would be teammates again.

    “I love the guy so much,” Schoop said. “I know he will get everybody better. He got me better since I played with him in 2014. So if I can talk good about him five years later, this guy is really good. He will make everyone around him better. He’s a hard worker. He’s a funny guy.”

    So Schoop already had Brownie points as he met Levine and his new teammates for the first time this weekend at TwinsFest. Schoop spent a few minutes on Friday chatting with Levine and Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey in the visitor’s clubhouse at Target Field — the staging area for players since the home clubhouse is being toured by about 10,000 fans this weekend.

    Thanks to Schoop, Levine is now adept at using the WhatsApp messaging app.

    “He left me a few impassioned voice mails through WhatsApp, saying he had Nelson when he was cutting his teeth in the big leagues and he had a huge impact on he and Manny Machado,” Levine said. “If we could get Nelson here, not only would it positively impact him, he felt with the complexion of the team he would be a perfect fit. He didn’t have to sell us, but I think he did a really nice job of recruiting Nelson.”

    Win Twins!!

  7. #367


    Sid: Twins leader Derek Falvey says more free-agent moves are possible

    It’s hard to believe that with just two months to go before Opening Day of the major league baseball season March 28 that such top-tier free agents as Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel are still on the market.

    The Twins have made a number of moves this offseason to try to bolster their roster. They have signed designated hitter Nelson Cruz, infielder Ronald Torreyes, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, starter Martin Perez and reliever Blake Parker.

    Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said the second straight season of slower-than-usual free-agent movement means the Twins are still looking at potential roster moves.

    “I think naturally now the free-agency season has bled a little bit further and further into the year,” he said. “We’re expecting January and February will both have conversations for us, but we’re excited about what we’ve added so far.”

    Is he surprised at the lack of movement on some of the biggest names on the market?

    “I think that certainly there have been a lot of rumors around both Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, and I think that’s the focus of the industry, for good reason,” Falvey said. “Those are great players, no question. Once those guys maybe find homes you can typically see some follow-up after that, but realistically for us we’ve been able to target some of the guys we wanted early at key positions and then add as we went along. In our minds we have moved things along relatively normally.”

    Win Twins!!

  8. #368


    per Shooter:

    While the Twins are trying to get 6-foot-4 third baseman Miguel Sano, who finished last season at 297 pounds, to lose weight, they are trying to get minor league shortstop prospect Nick Gordon, 6-0, 160 pounds, to gain weight.

    Win Twins!!

  9. #369


    STrib: Twins outfielder Byron Buxton 'took workouts more seriously,' added 21 pounds in offseason

    He can’t put more padding on the center field fence, so noted wall-crasher Byron Buxton is doing the next best thing.

    He’s putting more padding on himself.

    Buxton has added 21 pounds to his still-skinny frame during an extra-long winter workout schedule, the Gold Glove outfielder said Saturday, and believes the extra muscle will help keep him healthy in 2019.

    “I just took my workouts a little bit more seriously. [When I was] younger, I figured that I wouldn’t have to work out as much because I’m young. My bones would have held up,” said Buxton, who played only 64 games, just 28 of them in the majors, during an injury-ruined 2018. “This year, it was more like, I actually have to put on some weight. If I want to play the way that I want to play and run into walls, I’ve got to have a little bit more cushion. So I just put it in the back of my head to put on some pounds.”

    Buxton figures he’ll lose seven to 10 pounds during spring training, but he’ll still weigh above 200 pounds for the first time in his career. After battling migraines, a broken toe and a strained wrist, he’s determined to bounce back and stay healthy. “People tell you to take that frustration as fuel,” he said of his lost season, “and that’s something I did to help me do what I want to do.”

    His physical conditioning, plus some encouraging words from new manager Rocco Baldelli, who flew to Georgia last month to meet him in person, has Buxton eager to get started. “On a level of one to 10, I’m a 10. I’m beyond excited to get things going and see where we are,” Buxton said. “I’m pumped.”

    Win Twins!!

  10. #370


    Reusse: Enticing Twins prospect Brusdar Graterol throws 100 mph

    Has there been a prominent big-leaguer from Brusdar Graterol's hometown in Venezuela? His answer: "Not yet. Maybe soon.'

    Win Twins!!

  11. #371


    RandBall: Should you be mad at the Twins for their decreased payroll?


    The major point of contention this year is that the Twins aren’t just poised to miss the 50 percent mark by a little … they’re going to miss it by a lot. Even if revenue was flat and the Twins took in $261 million in 2018 (same as 2017, the last year for which figures are available), they’re on pace this year to have a payroll of about $100 million unless they do some more free agent shopping. That would be just 38 percent of revenue, and that’s assuming flat revenue.

    That certainly reflects a business/philosophical decision — one that can be justified (more on that in a minute) but one that also has some fans justifiably irked. Miller got to the heart of it in an excellent story over the weekend with the perfect intro: Twins critics who grumbled for years about Joe Mauer’s $23 million annual salary aren’t going to be happy about who will cash those big checks in 2019, either: Jim Pohlad.

    Quotes from within that story shed light on the Twins’ outlook for 2019 and beyond. Said Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey: “For teams that are outside the top few teams in payroll, when you look at it year to year, there’s a lot of variation in those clubs, in terms of performance. A lot of it has to come from your young players. Buying wins just through free agency is a little bit of fool’s gold. You need to invest in the group that you have, and I feel really good about ours.”

    Added General Manager Thad Levine: “The best moves are made not when you’re trying to open the window to contend, but when the window is wide open. We’re very eagerly waiting for this window to be opened, and when it is, we plan on striking.”

    Translation: They don’t know how good the Twins are going to be, and they’re using 2019 as a period of evaluation before making long-term commitments. If the team improves, they’ll add more players (and theoretically have even greater revenue if attendance improves along with the team).

    This makes a good deal of sense, and it’s not an uncommon strategy — particularly for a team with a lot of young core players. Not only are the Twins waiting to see how the likes of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario and Jose Berrios develop, but also they’re being mindful of not bogging down future payrolls with expensive free agents on long-term contracts because those core young players will get a lot more expensive as they get older.

    Take the Astros, for example. After years of being awful (by their own design mostly), they had a big year in 2015. They won 86 games and made the postseason. Their revenues jumped up to $270 million. But they were still pretty young and had low-cost core players. They were also probably unsure whether their success was a trend or mirage. So their payroll in 2016 was just $103 million — 38 percent of the previous year’s revenue.

    By 2018, revenues had continued to climb — but so did their payroll as they added expensive players (like Justin Verlander at the deadline in 2017) and some of their young core players reached arbitration. Their payroll last year was $163 million. It might just keep going up; Jose Altuve, who made $3.7 million in 2016, will start his five-year deal at $29 million per season in 2020. Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman will see their salaries rise with arbitration.

    The Twins are essentially budgeting for future spending on core players — or their replacements if they don’t pan out. But for now, a lot of those core players are still cheap.


    Any payroll limitations are self-imposed in baseball, of course, since there is no salary cap. Even if the Twins set a goal of spending 50 percent of revenue on payroll, they could spend 60 or 70 percent if they wanted.

    Here, though, it’s also important to remember that free agency is a two-way street. The Twins might want to make a serious run at Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, but do those players really want to come here? It can be cold at the start and end of the season, and it’s certainly cold in the offseason. There are plenty of nice summer days, but there are also plenty of hot and humid ones. If players are being honest, this is not a top free agency destination.

    That said, there are ways around that beyond just drafting and developing players — most notably trading for a big-ticket player on a long-term contract and supplementing with mid-level free agents.

    If the Twins start being consistently competitive, revenues should climb. Per Forbes, they took in just $70 million in gate receipts in 2017, compared to $100 million in 2010 when Target Field opened (equivalent to $112 million in 2017 dollars).

    I could see seasons when the Twins’ payroll reaches $140-150 million if Buxton and Sano become stars, and I think fans would be justifiably mad if Falvey and Levine didn’t make bolder moves in those seasons.

    This year feels like an in-between season and a promise made about the future. How you feel about that in the present is a matter of perspective.

    Win Twins!!

  12. #372


    RandBall: Comeback candidates illustrate Twins' boom or bust volatility

    So let’s start the day with a leftover thought from TwinsFest and associated activities last weekend and this quote from General Manager Thad Levine: “We see a chance for massive improvement on this team if some combination of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, Jonathan Schoop and Michael Pineda return to their previous performance levels,” Levine said. “We really have perhaps an unusual abundance of variance and volatility on this team.

    Levine went on to say that if all or most of those players are contenders for Comeback Player of the Year, the Twins will be in great shape.

    You can read this one of two ways — either as wishful (almost desperate) thinking or as realistic optimism. I would say it’s at least unusual for a team to have so many viable comeback player candidates, but the numbers at least show the potential is there — and that Levine is spot on when he talks about “variance and volatility.”

    Consider that in 2017, Buxton (5.2), Schoop (5.2) and Sano (2.5) combined for 12.9 wins above replacement (per Baseball Reference). And that in 2018, they combined for a WAR of 0.6 (with Buxton and Sano both in negative territory).

    Also figure in that Pineda, when healthy, historically has delivered a WAR of between 2 and 2.5 over a full season and that he didn’t pitch at all in 2018. Throw in Jason Castro if you want. The Twins catcher probably isn’t accomplished enough to be a comeback candidate, but he posted a 2.5 WAR in 2017 and 0.0 in a mostly injury-filled 2018.

    That’s 17 wins the Twins could add from five players. Now, that’s not the same as just projecting 17 more wins and penciling in the Twins for 95 victories should those players return to previous levels of performance, since the players who stood in their places for the 2018 Twins delivered some value.

    But they do speak to the boom-or-bust potential of the 2019 Twins, a team that could win 70 or 90 games and not be surprising in either case.

    Win Twins!!

  13. #373


    Reusse: Former Maryland baseball star LaMonte Wade climbs the Twins ladder

    Last year, Wade was given an invitation to big-league spring training and stayed until mid-March. This time, with four years of minor league service, he was placed on the 40-player roster. He’s a corner outfielder, and if there are numbers as a pro to notice, it’s more walks than strikeouts (241 to 211) and an on-base percentage of .391.

    Wade had hit his way through the minors, until last season, when he was promoted to Class AAA Rochester on June 9 and wound up batting .229.

    That was two points higher than the team batting average, by the way, so there are a lot of Red Wings hitters who would like to blot out their numbers from last summer.

    “You have to learn from it,’’ Wade said. “You can’t let a bad summer knock you down.’’

    Wade comes from Owings Mills, Md., in suburban Baltimore. He was a baseball and basketball standout at St. Paul’s, a small all-boys private school.

    His brother Jamal was two years behind him in high school and also at Maryland. When LaMonte missed that month with the wrist injury in 2015, Jamal replaced him in the Terps lineup.

    Jamal made a switch to pitching as a junior and was signed as a 17th-rounder by Seattle in 2017. “He’s a big dude and throws hard,’’ LaMonte said.

    The athletic rivalry between the Wade brothers — as well as parents LaMonte Sr. and Emily — was on the pingpong table in the basement.

    “Our parents used to clobber us, but I wound up becoming the pingpong king of the family,’’ LaMonte said. “I have a pingpong robot my mom gave me: Load it up and it hits 200 balls at you.’’

    Brian Maloney ran the Twins’ minor league operations in Fort Myers and was the undisputed champ of the pingpong table located in the dormitory/academy building.

    One fall evening at instructional camp, players and staff assembled for a Maloney-Wade showdown, two of three games to 11 points, with these stakes: If Maloney won, there would be a long morning workout the next day; if Wade won, there would be no morning workout.


    “There was no third game,’’ Wade said. “And there was no workout.’’

    Win Twins!!

  14. #374


    STrib: Bottom line: Twins didn't make any major offseason deals

    The Twins were the most active team in baseball at last year’s trade deadline, pulling off five swaps in the final days of July and another in early August. And that was just a precursor, the team’s front office hinted and the MLB community assumed, to a winter spent bartering for major league upgrades in Minnesota.

    “We may actually shift our attention to the trade market,” Twins General Manager Thad Levine said, when asked at a public forum in August about the team’s plans for pursuing free agents. “This might not be the perfect time for us to invest in a guy who’s 30 years old and would need to perform today in order for us to realize his true potential.”

    It hasn’t happened. The Twins filled their most gaping holes through a waiver claim and by signing four reduced-price free agents. They haven’t dealt or acquired a major league player in a trade since flipping Bobby Wilson to the Cubs in August.

    That the Twins, like about 20 other teams, sat out the retail-priced free agent market is not a surprise. That they never shook up their roster with a trade ranks as a shock — and that rummage sale they conducted last summer is part of the reason. As one scout mused in September about the Twins’ offseason plans, the team had acquired an extraordinary number of “packing peanuts” — intriguing but embryonic prospects, the sort of lottery tickets that can turn “maybe” into “yes” during trade negotiations — during their deadline spree.

    The Twins received 13 players in their various deals, 10 of them minor leaguers and six who have never played above Class A, arming them with unusual depth to offer trading partners. And they tried, Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said.

    “It’s been a little bit hard to find matches, Seattle notwithstanding,” Falvey said last month, referencing the Mariners’ trade-heavy teardown. “We explored the market. We made a lot of inquiries, and we just didn’t find fits. There were prices to be paid for players — painful prices. And we chose not to” pay them.

    Win Twins!!

  15. #375


    STrib: Five questions to ponder surrounding Twins as spring training approaches

    1. Are they done signing free agents?

    This one is tricky. The Twins signed Lance Lynn and Logan Morrison after camp started last year, and didn’t like the results. They would prefer to be finished before camp opens and are in monitor mode at the moment. They could bring in a couple more pitchers, such as Ryan Madson or Jake Diekman, on minor league deals with invites to camp. Or someone else might fall into their laps. According to Sportrac, the Twins spent $27.6 million on free agency this offseason, tops among AL Central teams and 13th in baseball. But they certainly can take on more payroll if they choose.

    2. What does Roccoball look like?

    The new manager believes players will perform better when they are relaxed and having fun. Baldelli comes to the Twins with the reputation of being able to connect with all types of players. His communication skills as head of a team with several developing players will be critical to any progress the Twins make this season. “You have discipline, you do things the right way, you get your work in,” Baldelli said during the winter meetings in December. “But when you are out there, you find ways to have a good time with the people you’re with.” One subtle change already is in play: Workouts will begin later in the morning.

    3. How long will that chip stay on Byron Buxton’s shoulder?

    This is a massive spring for the young center fielder, who was not happy about not being called up to the Twins in September. Buxton didn’t sound pleased during a charity appearance in December, and he still sounded like a man on a mission during TwinsFest last month. He has added just over 20 pounds of muscle during the offseason, and he looks determined to prove that he was worth all the hype as one of baseball’s top prospects. The Twins could use a leadoff hitter. With a better eye at the plate — paired with his supersonic speed — Buxton could give Baldelli one less thing to worry about.

    4. Does less weight equal more production?

    Let’s be honest: Fat people have produced in baseball. From the Bambino to Prince Fielder to CC Sabathia, big bellies have not stopped players from putting up numbers. But when something goes wrong, weight is labeled the problem. By all accounts, Miguel Sano is in noticeably better shape than last season, when he weighed in at 290 pounds. Will Svelte Sano perform closer to 2015, when he posted a .916 OPS as a 22-year-old rookie? Or will it be more like the next three seasons, during which he struck out 466 times in 301 games with a .787 OPS?

    5. What does the new pitching setup look like?

    Wes Johnson takes over as the third Twins pitching coach in as many seasons, and he is attempting to make the jump from the college ranks to the majors — the first time it has ever been done. The Twins like Johnson’s enthusiasm and his ability to develop pitchers. That will be put to the test with a staff that has a few veterans but a bunch of arms in their mid-20s. Eddie Guardado has moved on to become a special assistant to the club president, so Jeremy Hefner comes in as bullpen coach. It’s about as creative as a club can be in handling the most important commodity in baseball, pitching.

    Win Twins!!

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