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If you pick up a copy of the TwinsCentric 2010-11 Offseason GM Handbook, you’ll note that one area with a lot of quality free agent options is in the bullpen. When the World Series comes to an end, several members of the Twins bullpen will file for free agency. They are Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes, Randy Flores, Ron Mahay and Clay Condrey. How many of them will be back? How many would you want back? I am confident that Pat Neshek will come back with a vengeance in 2010. But what will Joe Nathan be capable of? How much will Matt Capps cost? Despite several ups and downs, I am a big believer in Jose Mijares. I believe in Alex Burnett and Anthony Slama, Kyle Waldrop and Rob Delaney. Where do Glen Perkins, Jeff Manship and other your arms fit into the equation? I’ve already spent a lot of words this offseason discussing the bullpen. It is going to be a lot of fun to watch it evolve over the offseason.
Today, I want to look at the Twins free agent bullpen arms and play a game of Over/Under. Hopefully many of your will head to the comments and put your guesses out there. I’ll put the name of the pitcher, a couple of thoughts, and then the contract I expect them to get this offseason, from someone… And what I’d like you to do is tell me if you think that the contract is too high or too low. That could be too many years, or too many dollars per year. Here we go:
Jesse Crain – 3 years, $11 million. He’s still young. He throws hard. That slider and curveball combination took off after a slow start. He could be a dominant set up guy and some team could see him as a closer.
Matt Guerrier – 1 year, $2.5 million – I think the fact that he’s a Type A Free Agent actually hurts him. I can’t imagine a team willing to give up a pick in the bottom half of the first round for a non-strikeout reliever. Maybe a team that is going to pick up a couple more Type A free agents could, and it would cost them a 2nd or 3rd round pick? So I think that the Twins have some room to work here.
Jon Rauch – 1 year, $3 million – He has more closing experience. Outside of the time from the All Star break until after the trade deadline, Rauch was pretty solid. But it’s hard for me to imagine any team’s GM thinking that Rauch should get a closer’s contract.
Brian Fuentes – 1 year, $6 million – Fuentes has a lot of closer experience and he absolutely dominates left-handers. He has a ton of value to a team either as a closer or as a set up man. He seems to be in some strange middle ground place now. At his age, he may not be paid quite like a closer, and yet, his closer experience could get him paid more than even the top free agent closers. He’s also already in his upper 30s.
Ron Mahay – Minor League Deal – $850,000 if in big leagues – This is basically what he got this year from the Twins when he signed in spring training. He is a veteran. He is left-handed. His numbers were significantly better than the level of confidence most Twins had in him.
Randy Flores – Minor League Deal – $800,000 if in big leagues – Yeah, he was pretty bad for the Twins, but his numbers in Colorado were solid when they put him on waivers. He’ll get a shot somewhere.
Clay Condrey – Minor League Deal – $800,000 if in big leagues – Condrey’s 2010 season was lost due to injury and set back and more injury. But I think that it could make sense to bring in a veteran ground ball machine on a minor league deal. There is almost no risk in such a deal, and they could keep him in the minor leagues early in the season if appropriate. I would have no problem if the Twins brought him into spring training.
So there you go. Obviously the primary discussion players would be Crain, Guerrier, Rauch and Fuentes. Would you go with the Over or the Under compared with my projections? What would you do with those players? Feel free to Discuss and Comment here.