Archive for the ‘Minnesota Twins’ category

The Minnesota Candy-Asses

April 2, 2018

Occasionally, MLB’s unwritten rules really annoy me.

Some members of the Minnesota Twins were reportedly annoyed that the Orioles’ Chase Sisco bunted for a base hit against the shift in the 9th inning of a game the Twins were winning 7-0.  Since when are teams supposed to stop trying to win when they are way behind in the late innings?

Brian Dozier particularly comes across as looking like an ass, by letting himself be quoted in the espn.com article I read.  If you don’t like players bunting against the shift in blow-outs, don’t f@#$ing shift!

One out in the 9th inning, you’re down by seven runs and nobody’s on base.  It isn’t honorable to take a hit if the defense is giving it to you?  Give me a break!

Chance Sisco is a rookie, so he probably won’t say anything, but if I were in his shoes, I’d tell Dozier and the Twins and anybody else who doesn’t like what he did to go f#$% themselves in no less uncertain terms.  If teams are going to engage in these exaggerated shifts in any circumstances, players should bunt against it if the situation calls for it. Chance wasn’t going to hit a 7-run homer, so his job was to get on base, pure and simple, end of story.

Sisco (and every other hitter in MLB capable of pushing a bunt) should bunt every single time against the shift every single time that his team needs a base-runner, which is most of the time.  Sisco is no kind of power hitter, so why are the Twins even shifting him in the first place?

Dozier and the Twins are probably just trying to get inside Sisco’s head.  Hopefully, none of the veteran Orioles’ players Dozier mentioned in the article will do anything more than give Sisco a pat on the bum, and a “Smart move, Kid!”

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Philadelphia Phillies To Sign Jake Arrieta for Three Years at $75 Million

March 12, 2018

The Phillies and Jake Arrieta have reportedly reached a deal that guarantees Arrieta $75 million over three seasons.  This is perhaps the contract for Arrieta that could have been predicted much earlier this off-season, as teams showed a strong preference for shelling out big bucks but for fewer seasons during the first half of this free agency period.  Arrietta receives well less than expected, but he certainly didn’t take a beating like Mike Moustakas.

Aside from the term and the guarantee, Arietta’s contract is interesting and full of the kind of crafty, creative terms we’ve come to expect from Steve Boras.  The deal is heavily front loaded, with Arietta receiving $30M in 2018, $25M in 2019 and $20M in 2020.  More evidence of many teams’ new preference for paying players the most when they reasonably predict the player’s performance value will be highest and paying less for the anticipated decline seasons.  This makes budgeting in future seasons easier, but loses the time value of money of the traditional back-loaded multi-year deals.

After two seasons, Arrieta has an opt-out, except that the Phils can void the opt-out by guaranteeing two additional years (2021-2022) at $20 million per.  The $20M per can be elevated up to $25M per based on games started or up to $30M per based on Cy Young Award finishes in 2018-2019, meaning, I suppose, that Arrieta could earn as much as $60M or $70M more than the $75M guarantee if he wins the Cy Young Award in either 2018 or 2019.

Arrieta and Boras didn’t get what they were expecting, but it’s still hard to have much sympathy for either.  Arrieta is still guaranteed a pile of money, which could nearly double if Arrieta is as good going forward as Boras claims he will be.

For a team that lost 96 games last off-season, the Phillies sure spent a lot of money on free agents this off-season.  None of the deals is longer than three years, so the Phillies must think they can be competitive by 2019, or the deals don’t appear to make much sense.

However, the Phillies play in a big and potentially lucrative market, and I definitely think it’s easier to develop young players on a good team than a terrible one.  It’s nice to see at least one MLB team this off-season — and you also have to give credit to both the Twins and the Brewers for doing the same — really trying to make itself better for 2018 this off-season.

Minnesota Twins Now Cherry Pick Lance Lynn

March 11, 2018

The Twins have reportedly reached a one-year deal with Lance Lynn that guarantees Lynn $12 million and comes with an additional $2 million in performance incentives.  It’s the latest of the Twins’ cost-effective off-season moves that should give the Twins a real chance to challenge the Indians for the 2018 AL Central flag.

While Lynn’s one-year deal isn’t nearly as much of a shocker as Mike Moustakas’ one-year $6.5 million contract with the Royals, Lynn will ultimately receive more than $5 million less guaranteed than the qualifying offer from the Cardinals Lynn rejected earlier in the off-season.  More evidence that more free agents receiving qualifying offers next off-season will accept them than did this off-season.  It’s one-and-done for qualifying offers now, meaning that any free agent who has ever previously received a qualifying offer can’t receive another one in the future.

There’s clearly a fight brewing over the next collective bargaining agreement (CBA), particularly because I am doubtful that owners will agree to eliminate the qualifying offer/compensation system in the next CBA.  The owners have agreed to limit to one qualifying offer per player per career, but it looks like they have found a way (maybe as a result of collusion, but can it be proven?) to effectively force a significant percentage of the free agents receiving qualifying offers to accept them.  I don’t see owners giving that up without a fight.

One thing worth noting, however, is that fewer free agents may receive qualifying offers next season precisely because more free agents are likely to accept them.  The qualifying offer is high enough that acceptance limits a team’s ability to find the funds to add other free agents the off-season a qualifying offer is accepted, at least unless any other free agent deals are heavily back-loaded.  If players are more likely to accept qualifying offers, teams will be less likely to offer them unless they really believe the player is worth the qualifying offer amount for the additional year of control.

Is the Atlantic League an Option for Free Agents Tied to Draft Pick Compensation?

March 8, 2018

I read a post on mlbtraderumors.com today stating that Scott Boras and Mike Moustakas might be comfortable waiting until after the June Draft to sign a contract so that Moustakas will no longer be tied to loss of draft picks and international bonus money by any team that signs him.  I don’t really believe that’s true, because missing 60+ games is going to cause Moustakas’ value to drop more than it will be increased by de-coupling him from draft pick compensation.

I also well remember Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew were both pretty dreadful in 2014 when they waited until June of that season to sign contracts after not receiving the free agent contracts they wanted.  In fact, it arguably sent Drew’s career into a fatal tailspin.  I can’t believe that teams and agents haven’t reached the obvious conclusion that it’s extremely difficult to start the season two months after all the other major leaguers have begun playing every day.

For that reason, if any of the remaining free agents tied to draft pick compensation fail to sign contracts before well into the 2018 MLB season, I wonder if it would make sense for them to sign to play with Atlantic League teams until a major league deal comes along.  At least they’d be playing baseball and getting up to speed for MLB, even if the level of play is substantially lower.

Obviously, Atlantic League teams would love the idea and would certainly allow MLB players to leave as soon as an MLB deal along, even if it means the MLBer only plays for few weeks or less.  Nothing would boost the Atlantic League’s profile and attendance better than being to play MLB stars, even if only briefly.

Problems here, of course, are that the Atlantic League season doesn’t begin until late April, which is already more than three weeks into the MLB season.  Also, MLB free agents probably aren’t going to be willing to risk injury playing baseball for at most $3,000 a month, particularly if they are over 30 and thus more prone to possible injury.  Still, playing in the Atlantic League would at least allow them to stay sharp and show off their talents until an MLB team comes calling.

At the end of the day, the best possible option is for these free agents to sign a major league contract for only one season like Nelson Cruz did in late February 2014 for $8M after turning down a $14M qualifying offer earlier in the off-season.  He had a great season in 2014, and signed a four-year $57M deal which turned out to be a bargain for the signing Mariners.

In Moustakas’ case, another 30+ home run season might well get him the pay day next off-season he was hoping for this off-season.

Minnesota Twins Sign Logan Morrison Cheap

February 26, 2018

The Twins have reportedly reached a deal for Logan Morrison that guarantees him $6.5 million with a possibility of $16.5 million over two seasons if Morrison plays as well in 2018 and 2019 as he did in 2017.  That is a real bargain, at least compared to the three years at $36 million guarantee mlbtraderumors.com predicted.

Logan Morrison is expected to mainly DH for the Twins, since Joe Mauer, the better fielder, will be playing almost every game in the field he’s healthy enough to do so.  Looking at their roster, it’s doesn’t look like the Twins really needed Morrison, but at this price, why not?

Paid as a well-paid veteran platoon player, Morrison surely makes the Twins stronger against right-handed pitching this year.  If Morrison plays well and the Twins go deep in the post-season, the Twins will likely execute his option even if he doesn’t get to the 600 plate appearances he needs for the second year at $8 million guaranteed plus escalator clauses and plate appearance bonuses that could bring the second year amount up to $10 million.  The Twins are loyal by MLB standards to players who have played well for them and helped them win, particularly if they are of Morrison’s complexion.

I’m surprised the Royals didn’t sign Morrison.  He was born in Kansas City, although his family then traveled around a lot, and the Royals were certainly in need of a 1Bman once Eric Hosmer committed to the Padres.

Apparently, the Royals are so committed to “rebuilding” that both Frank Schwindel and Ryan O’Hearn have serious shots at making the major league club out of Spring Training.  It hadn’t even registered until now that the Royals had traded Brandon Moss and $4 million of his 2018 salary to the A’s along with LHP Ryan Buchter for RHPs Jesse Hahn and Heath Fillmyer.

If the Royals don’t surprise everyone and sign one of the remaining top free agents, it’s pretty clear that going into the 2018 season, they are determined to be as bad as possible as fast as possible, so that they can start getting top draft picks again.  That’s basically the formula that got them all the top draft picks that were the core of the 2015 World Series Champs.

San Diego Padres Reportedly Reach Agreement with Eric Hosmer for $144 Million

February 18, 2018

The San Diego Padres have reportedly reached a deal with Eric Hosmer that will give him $144 million over eight seasons with an opt-out after year five.  The deal is front-loaded, paying Hosmer a $5 million signing bonus and $20 million a year for the first five years, but only $13 million a year for the final three.

The deal is two years and $12 million guaranteed more than mlbtraderumors.com predicted for Hosmer, and in my mind it tends to support management’s claims that the slow free agency period this year has more to do with advanced analytics than collusion.  Hosmer is younger than most of this off-season’s free agents and his big contract suggests that teams are just a lot more leery of over-30 free agents who are likely entering the down-phase of their careers right quick.

The biggest winners of the Hosmer, even more than Hosmer himself, are next year’s young free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.  They will be two years younger than Hosmer is now, and they’re better players.  If Harper and Machado have typically strong seasons in 2018, I would expect both to beat the $325 million deal that Giancarlo Stanton received from the Marlins three off-seasons ago.

Even with Hosmer’s apparent signing, six of mlbtraderumors’ top ten free agents remain on the board.  Hosmer had the Padres and the Royals bidding against each other for his services.  Now that Hosmer has signed with San Diego, the Royals may decide they need to bring back Mike Moustakas to prevent their fans from revolting.  However, there hasn’t been much chatter about Moustakas or the four remaining top pitchers, and one team obviously in the market for pitching, the Minnesota Twins, just traded not a whole lot for Jake Odorizzi in what appears to be a straight salary dump by the Rays.

With Yu Darvish signing for much less than expected, it looks like Jake Arrieta is going to have to come to terms with the fact that no team is likely to give him a $100 million offer.  My guess is that Arrieta will have to accept a three year offer for a $80 million guarantee with a team option for fourth season.  As for Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, teams will probably wait to see which of the two is the first to crack and accept what interested teams are willing to pay him.

The Virtual Travels of Engelb Vielma

January 26, 2018

Engelb Vielma‘s virtual odyssey this off-season continued today as the San Francisco Giants traded Vielma to the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later or cash considerations.  Vielma finished the 2017 season in the Twins’ minor league system.  He was claimed by the Giants off waivers, then by the Phillies, then by the Pirates, then by the Giants again, and after the Giants designated Vielma for assignment for the fifth time this off-season, the Orioles presumably claimed him and a modest deal was worked out.

Of course, all of this movement has been solely on paper, as Vielma played winter ball in Venezuela, his homeland, and almost certainly hasn’t left Venezuela since the winter season began there.  He’ll instead just wait until Spring Training until his agent or his then team tells him where to report.

Vielma’s “come here-come here-come here-go away-go away-go away” status is almost entirely due to his specific situation.  He is an excellent defensive middle infielder who doesn’t turn 24 until late June 2018.  In 508 AA level plate appearances, Vielma has slashed .275/.350/.321, which is just fine for a quick middle infielder who defends as well as he does.  However, in 314 plate appearances at the AAA level in 2017, Vielma slashed an absolutely brutal .206/.233/.260.

A player his age with his glove who has proven he can hit AA pitching is still a prospect.  That’s why teams keep claiming him off waivers.  The reason why teams keep designating him for assignment is because he will almost certainly become a minor league free agent after the 2018 season if he is not on a major league roster at that time.  He’s thus not a guy that’s worth keeping on the 40-man roster, because the odds aren’t particularly good that he can contribute at the major league level in 2018 before he may well become a free agent.

The reason he’s moved around so much this off-season is that teams keep trying to slip him through waivers in order to protect somebody else on the 40-man roster, but another team with roster space keeps coming in and claiming him.  From Vielma’s perspective, it’s good to know that many teams want him enough to keep claiming him, because it means that when/if he becomes a minor league free agent, there will be multiple teams competing to sign him to minor league deal, at least so long as he shows some meaningful improvement with the bat (an OPS of at least .590 or .600) at the AAA level in 2018.