Twins Notes

21 Jan

Also available at www.SethSpeaks.net -

It seems like it has been awhile since I’ve thrown some Twins thoughts and opinions into a blog for readers to discuss. To say things have been a bit busy would be a major understatement. But hey, it’s supposed to be 30 degrees below zero tonight, so it’s not like I plan on going anywhere.  I do appreciate your continued readership and support. Today, I am just going to talk a little bit about several Twins topics and as always welcome your thoughts and comments on any of the topics.

Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook – 2011

My intent is not to bombard you with sales pitches for my Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook – 2011. However, I will only be taking pre-orders through the weekend (changed from Friday as I will place the initial order on Monday). There have been a few pre-orders so far, and again, I won’t put it all here, but if you want to know all about what is in the book, scroll down on this page. To pre-order, you can send me money through Paypal. If you don’t have Paypal, send me an e-mail and we’ll come up with a plan to get you a book too.

$7.15 Million for Matt Capps?

It’s OK for people to change their opinions without being hypocritical, right? When the Twins acquired Matt Capps from the Washington Nationals in exchange for Wilson Ramos and Joe Testa, I did not like the move. Capps was terrible in 2009 and primarily he gave up a lot of hits. Sure, he was a closer but Wilson Ramos was a guy I thought could do a lot for the Twins. I laid out my plan many times here and on podcasts. I said that Joe Mauer could catcher 110 or so games a year, and DH another 40-45. Ramos could have caught those 52 games that Mauer didn’t, plus he could be the right-handed designated hitter and pinch hitter. Drew Butera could still be the backup catcher to either of the starting catchers on a given day, to take away the concern about playing both Ramos and Mauer. With the Twins need for a right-handed bat in its lineup, I really wish Ramos was part of the organization. But he’s not. He hasn’t been since July 31. That’s five-and-a-half months ago, so it can’t factor in to decision making any more.

Now let’s just take the Ramos Factor out of the equation… Matt Capps was terrible in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite 27 saves, he went 4-8 with a 5.80 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP. Terrible, and hence, the Pirates gave up on the then-25 year old and did not tender him a contract.

Now, let’s get over the Bad 2009 Factor… Look at the rest of his career. He was very good in 85 games as a 22 year old in his first full-season in 2006. He was even better in 2007 when he posted a 2.28 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP in 76 games. He became the closer during that season and in 2008, he posted a 3.02 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. So again, we’re removing the 2009 factor so we jump to 2010. He was an All-Star with the Washington Nationals in 2010. Yes, every team needs to be represented, but the Nationals also had Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn and even Stephen Strasburg who were considered for a spot. Following the trade to the Twins, he was 2-0 with 16 saves in 27 games.

However… he isn’t a prototypical, Nathan-like closer. Sure, that is true, but frankly, he has put up very good numbers in four of his five full seasons. However, Capps only strikes out an average of seven batters per nine innings. He also has a career WHIP of 1.20 which is good, but it’s not dominant. I understand these concerns. But as the great Crash Davis once so eloquently stated, “Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls – it’s more democratic.”

I 100% agree with Phil Mackey who said that, although he may be making $1-2 million more than we’d like, there is a $115 million payroll, so, who cares? Secondly, take a look at his track record and contract and compare it against Heath Bell or Brian Wilson, or even Bobby Jenks and others. He got market value.

I know a lot of people are saying that they could have brought back two relievers for the $7.15 million. Technically yes, but in reality no. I was willing to give Jesse Crain three years and $12 million. He got more than that, but there is a big difference between a one year deal and a three year deal, especially among relief pitchers. Matt Guerrier got three years. Jon Rauch? Well, he wasn’t going to come back anyway. Matt Capps’ only guarantee was one year. It’s a little high. But he’s 26, and he can get better. The reality is that as well as all of the Nathan reports have made it sound, he did have Tommy John surgery. Right now, Matt Capps is the one sure-thing in the Twins bullpen.

‘Nuf said!

Carl Pavano Signs

As I mentioned yesterday, I was at the Twins Winter Caravan in Thief River Falls on Wednesday night when the news came out on Twitter that Pavano and the Twins had reached an agreement on a two year, $16.5 million. Early in the offseason, I often stated that I would rather have two draft picks than bring back Pavano, but that was when the assumption that he would either get three years or $10 million or more. The Twins ended up getting him for an average of $8.25 million for two years. He will be 35 years old and then 36 years old. He has thrown 200 innings the last two years, and although I do not believe he’ll have an ERA under 4.20 again, I think that he can eat innings and be league average or so. There is value in that. The Twins retain six starting pitchers instead of five. Depth is a very good thing.

I really don’t have a lot to say about the Pavano signing because it is very fair. It’s a positive and not very controversial at all.

DFA Updates

In the last couple of days, a couple of Twins 40 man roster guys have been designated for assignment by other teams. To make room for Brian Fuentes, the Oakland A’s let go of Steve Tolleson (who I would say is much better than Matt Tolbert!). The Mets signed Chris Young, and to make room, OF Jason Pridie was designated.

STRANGE STAT

Yorman Bazardo was signed as a minor league free agent last month. He’s young, but despite very good minor league numbers, it has not transferred to the big leagues yet. He is pitching for Aragua this winter. In 12 starts, he has gone 7-2 with a 2.38 ERA. In 72 innings, he has just 17 walks, and he has struck out 28. Twenty-eight. How has he struck out so few and still been so good?

Have a great weekend!! If you would like, please feel free to e-mail me or leave your comments here.

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11 Responses to “Twins Notes”

  1. jeff g January 21, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    what do you think of Jorge Cantu? I think he would fit in very good with the Twins. Right handed stick that can fill in at the infield spots.

  2. Dave January 21, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    Sounds very much as if the Twins are satisfied with what they have. Heck, I’ve been whining for years that they don’t trust their own young players. They may be calling my bluff.

  3. tpetter January 21, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Thanks Seth for bringing some sanity to the Matt Capps discussion.

  4. joelthing January 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Don’t the Twins have to remove someone from the 40-man for Pavano?

    We talk about other signings, but who is expendable on the 40-man roster. Swarzak? Hughes? Repko?

    Any future signings have to be minor league contracts…….

  5. John T January 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    “I know a lot of people are saying that they could have brought back two relievers for the $7.15 million. Technically yes, but in reality no.” But in reality the Twins could, and should, have offered arbitration. If Crain and Guerrier had accepted they would have been back for one year only, and if they had not accepted the Twins would have gotten draft picks. So cleary the Twins played that situation wrong.

    • TT January 23, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

      ” in reality the Twins could, and should, have offered arbitration. ”

      Crain and Gurrier combined would have got more than 7.1 million in arbitration. I doubt Crain would have accepted. Guerrier probably would have. The Twins bullpen would be a lot more unsettled with Guerrier instead of Capps. If Nathan isn’t ready to close, they have a huge hole that isn’t going to be filled by a rookie. By contrast, they have a lot of candidates to take on Guerrier’s role.

      “if they had not accepted the Twins would have gotten draft picks.”

      Which does nothing to help the Twins bullpen next season.

      Even in the long run, draft picks aren’t really worth all that much. Chances are only one or two of the players taken would ever have appeared in the big leagues, much less made a major contribution to winning.

      Its not unlikely Capps will be a legitimate type A free agent that teams will be willing to sacrifice a draft choice to sign. Non-tendering him in favor of gambling on signing Crain and/or Guerrier makes little sense.

  6. tpetter January 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    And if they would have accepted arbitration the Twins wouldn’t have had the salary or roster space to sign Pavano.

  7. Peterb18 January 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    I think there is more upside to Capps than many believe. He has a real good, live arm, and all needs is more of an effective off-speed pitch, whether a curve ball, or change-up. Hopefully, the Twins(Anderson) will develop this pitch and many bullpen problems will be solved.

  8. ScottyB January 21, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    Seth,

    I totally agree with you about Steve Tolleson. If I were the Twins, I’d jump all over that. He is a much better option than Tolbert.

  9. Jim H January 22, 2011 at 3:23 pm #

    I think the Twins already have Tolleson and his name is either Singleton or Dinkleman. Tolleson never put up any better offensive numbers than those two and like Dinkleman especially, probably does not field well enough to be a big league regular at either short or second.

    Tolbert is likely the first choice as back up infielder this year, because of his glove. Since the the Twins could of probably had Punto back for less than a million dollars for one year, and didn’t do it, I think the Twins are fairly confident in their back up options.

    The Twins seem to prefer good glove-no hit over can hit some-shaky glove, as their main back up. Personally, I am pretty comfortable with that. Even when a guy can hit a little, it is pretty easy to go stale with the bat when you don’t play much(Look at Harris). A good glove man is more reliable and I would say, more important in a back up.

  10. Luke January 24, 2011 at 3:46 pm #

    See my thing isnt about the Twins team going into the season. Offensivly we will score and Mauer I think will have better power numbers now that he is getting accustomed to the new ballpark.My question is the same its been for awhile now, is the Twins philosophy of throwing strikes no matter what, costing them ? The Twins staff was the only staff in the majors to give up less than 400 walks as a team. However they were right up their with the Orioles, Diamondbacks and the Pirates for hits allowed. The Twins treat the walk as a sickness they need to stamp out, but the problem is, if you know you are going to get strikes, you become predictable. Liriano is the only exception to this rule, because he is the only “stuff” pitcher on the staff.Look at the Giants, they gave up the fourth most walks in the majors…yet had the best team ERA.You cannot give into hitters all of the time and Slowey,Blackburn,Duensing, and Baker dont have the movement like a Lincecum,Cain,Sanchez, or even Bumgarner to make hitters miss on good pitches. Lincecum can throw a strike and they miss it, Slowey cant, Blackburn cant, Duensing cant. Billy Beane had Moneyball but in the end he had to adapt and he started drafting high school players and non Moneyball players, the Twins have to adapt and realize the walk isnt always the enemy.

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