ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says he is examining the pending blockbuster trade between the Miami Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays and is aware of the fan anger in South Florida.
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In September, Bryan Grosnick wrote a piece on how bad the Minnesota Twins' rotation has been, and found that it was the third worst rotation in the last ten years. The one bright spot was twenty five year old lefty, Scott Diamond. He finished the year with a 3.94 FIP, and appears to be a solid middle of the rotation starter.
The problem though is that you need five guys in order to have a MLB rotation, and at this point Diamond is the only given as we head into 2013. Currently the Twins have $65 million dollars owed to eight players, and by the time the season rolls around they expect that number to sit around $100 million.
I looked at MLB Trade Rumors projected arbitration salaries and they see the Twins giving out roughly $3.9 million dollars in arbitration. The rest of the roster should make the league minimum, so the total comes to $75.62 million dollars.
With roughly $25 million available, the Twins should be able to sign a couple of decent starting pitchers.
Photo credit: Alex Trautwig
If I'm the Minnesota Twins the first pitcher I take a stab at is starting pitcher, Anibal Sanchez. If you've been reading my posts lately, you know that I think that Sanchez could be one of the better bargains in this free agency class. He had a 3.53 FIP in 2012, and walked a career low 5.9% of batters faced. Ever since he returned from his labrum injury he's been a very good pitcher, and would slide in nicely at the top of the Twins pitching rotation.
I thought that he could get a contract around 4 years-$52 million, but last I saw he was asking for 6 years-$90 million. I think this is a pretty big overpay, and at most I would probably go around 4-$60, but would the Minnesota Twins hand out that big of a contract? I find that hard to believe.
Photo credit: Rick Yeatts
Brandon McCarthy is a pitcher who I could easily see the Twins going after. He's coming off of a scary injury, but in 2011 he had a breakout season where he posted a sub-3 FIP, and a 4.8 fWAR. In 2012 McCarthy was off to a solid start, posting 1.8 fWAR in 18 starts. He did miss some time to do a shoulder injury during the summer.
He would fit into the Twins' rotation nicely as well. He doesn't strike out a ton of batters, but does a good job at limiting walks as well as preventing the long ball. According to FanGraphs, Target Field's home run park factor came out at 92 . To put that in perspective, the Coliseum had a home run park factor of 93.
FanGraph's contract crowdsourcing has McCarthy getting 2 years-$20 million, which sounds like a fair deal. I could also see something like 2 years-$24-26 million though. He'd be a nice number two guy for the Twins, but he probably wouldn't go the 200+ innings that the team needs.
Photo credit: Thearon W. Henderson
Joe Blanton is another guy that would fit nicely with the Twins. He isn't exactly someone that will put you over the top, but there's one thing that can't be denied. The man eats innings. In 2011 he missed the majority of the season due to his shoulder, but besides 2010 he's pitched at least 190 innings in every season of his big league career.
As I showed above Target Field wasn't a very home run friendly ballpark, and he fits the Twins mold. He did strike out his fair share of batters this season, but kept walks to a minimum. Target Field could help him as well since he has struggled with the long ball.
Blanton could potentially be fairly cheap as well. FanGraphs crowdsourcing sees him getting 2 years-$14 million dollars, which I see as a fair deal. He could potentially replace what Pavano did, and would be a solid back end of the rotation guy.
Photo credit: Mike McGinnis
This one is somewhat risky, but in the grand scheme of things so is every free agent pitcher signing. Marcum struggled with elbows problems in 2012. His 4.10 FIP left a little to be desired, but from 2010-2011 he was able to keep his FIP in the 3.73 range. He has a history of injury issues though, so if the Twins were to sign him, I think it'd be highly beneficial to land a guy like Joe Blanton as well.
I think Marcum would be someone that could be signed to a 1 year deal for around $7 to $8 million dollars. I don't think I'd feel comfortable going two years, but that's just me.
Photo credit: US PRESSWIRE
It wasn't long that Brett Myers was an average to above average starting pitcher in the bigs. With the Phillies he had a couple 3+ fWAR seasons, but also had his share of 1.5-2 WAR seasons. Now that isn't bad by any means. His best season was in 2010 while pitching for the Houston Astros. He managed to have a 4.1 fWAR and a 3.56 FIP.
In 2012 he became the teams closer, and left much to be desired. In the summer of 2012 he got shipped to the Chicago White Sox Now he's a free agent, and could be someone that could be converted back into the starting rotation. It'd be interesting how he transitions, since he's been a National League pitcher for the majority of his career, but he's certainly worth the gamble. I'd probably look at something like a 1 year deal for around $5 million.
I believe that i have given five solid options that could make the Twins rotation better as we head into 2013. I think that they need to sign at least three free agent pitchers, and out of these I would probably sign McCarthy, Myers, and Blanton. I love Sanchez, but I just don't know how close the Twins are to being legitimate contenders, and the other three are solid pitchers that would help the Twins move in the positive direction.
That would leave the rotation looking like the following:
1) Brandon McCarthy
2) Scott Diamond
3) Joe Blanton
4) Brett Myers
5) Kyle Gibson/Cole De Vries
I alluded to this before, but Scott Diamond is currently the only starting pitcher who's job should be safe. Kyle Gibson has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and should also get time in the rotation, but he'll be on an innings limit. Signing those three would put the club at the top of their budget though, so signing two of those guys might be what ultimately could happen. If they get any at all. As our very own Julian Levine showed, it isn't easy to turn around a ball club though, so patience will be key.
Fergie Jenkins 2005 Donruss Classics – ‘Legend’ I tell you what, I am starting to think that I am running out of Cubs cards to collect of Fergie. With the exception of high-end relic and autographed cards, I am finding … Continue reading →
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The Toronto Blue Jays proved they read Jeff Zimmerman's articles when they became the beneficiaries of the Miami Marlins fire-sale. The Marlins unloaded basically everyone who makes money on their team, except for starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco.
Nolasco and 2011 Twitter celebrity Logan Morrison are the next two Miami players expected to be moved this offseason, according to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. While Morrison is a more attractive trade piece overall, the Kansas City Royals don't have much of a need for a corner outfielder/first baseman. The Royals do have a need for starting pitching, an Nolasco is name we have discussed trading for in the past.
If the choice was up to me, I would be hesitant about acquiring Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco's strikeout numbers and velocity are trending in the wrong direction. Kansas City would likely absorb most of Nolasco's 11.5 million dollar contract for next season, which could potentially make the Nolasco trade the final "big" pitching acquisition of the off-season. The Royals should explore higher impact pitchers before settling on Nolasco.
It's hard to have a discussion about Nolasco without talking about the gap between his FIP/ERA. For the last four seasons, Nolasco has posted an ERA around 4.50 despite having a FIP around 3.50-3.80. Below are some statistics that illustrate the gap:
WAR calculated using FIP thinks that Nolasco has been an above-average pitcher, but if it's calculated using RA, it states he is a below-average pitcher. After four straight seasons of under-performing his peripherals, any team interested in trading for him should expect the same phenomenon to occur. For the sake of argument, I'm going to split the difference between the two win values and describe Nolasco as a league-average pitcher.
There are also warning signs that Nolasco is declining as a pitcher. The starting pitcher has posted a worse K% and a lower average fastball velocity each of the past four seasons.
Not all of Nolasco's peripheral statistics foreshadow a declining pitcher. The righty has raised his ground ball percentage each of the last four seasons, while Mike Podhorzer of Fangraphs points out that Nolasco had a league-average swinging strike percentage, making his low strikeout numbers a bit unlucky. Still, I would advise against gambling on a pitcher with declining strikeouts and velocity.
Finally, Nolasco is set to make $11.5 million this season. Like Ervin Santana, Nolasco's contract expires after this season. The starting pitcher would not limit the Royals spending in the future, but taking on his salary would likely end their spending for this off-season. Scott McKinney estimated that the Royals could spend around $28 million on two pitchers this offseason. With $23.5 million allotted to Nolasco and Santana, their would be little wiggle room for another upgrade.
If you believe that the Royals will magically be able to support an entirely home-grown (plus Paulino) rotation in 2014, then trading for Nolasco might be an attractive option. I would advise against this type of thinking. I think the Royals need to acquire a pitcher who fits in long-term, since expecting an all home-grown pitching staff is unrealistic.
Furthermore, Dayton Moore is (hopefully) feeling the pressure to at least reach .500 this season. Do Ricky Nolasco and Ervin Santana really take this team to .500? If I were Moore, I would not feel comfortable betting my job on it.
Nolasco may have been an interesting gamble before the Santana trade, but not anymore. The Marlins pitcher has some warning signs around his production, and would effectively end the Royals major off-season moves. Miami will continue it's fire-sale, but does not make a great trading partner with Kansas City.
The American League MVP race has gotten all the attention, but the National League race is just as interesting. Several different players led the MVP race over the course of the season, and we have no real idea on who will end up taking home the hardware. For our SB Nation Player of the Year Award, though, our writers only gave first place votes to three players, giving Buster Posey the runaway victory.
Posey, whose playing future seemed in doubt from a gruesome ankle injury in 2011, returned with a vengeance, leading the World Series Champion Giants with a ridiculous .336/.408/.549 line for a catcher. Overall, he led the league in fWAR (8.0), rWAR (7.2), and VORP (68.6). Ryan Braun followed his MVP season with nearly an identical season for Milwaukee, and Andrew McCutchen faded in the second half but still left enough of an impression to finish third. Carlos Gonzalez earned one sixth place vote.
Ah, the race of endless debate. Miguel Cabrera broke the near-half-century drought of the Triple Crown, yet Mike Trout was one of the best players at practically every skill that can be measured. It is likely that BBWAA will name Miguel Cabrera the MVP tonight on the strength of that Triple Crown, which is exceedingly ironic. The older writers at BBWAA have typically woven their arguments on narrative and intangibles - a winning team, baserunning, defense, a good story - while attempting not to be confined by rigid statistics. Instead, it is the statistically-minded championing the intangibles, defense and baserunning, while many members of BBWAA are pointing to numbers as the end of their argument. It is really quite weird.
At any rate, SB Nation tends to have a stable of writers that have risen to their crafts in large part due to Moneyball and the SABR movement. As a result, the Triple Crown did not leave large enough impression on SB Nation voters.
Mike Trout won in a landslide, with four voters going as far as dropping Miguel Cabrera and his triple crown outside the second slot. Congratulations Mike Trout. You might not win the BBWAA MVP, but today, you easily won the SB Nation Player of the Year. Maybe someday, that will be worth something.
Wanted to take a moment to introduce a new writer for the team. I'm sure many of the regular commentors are familiar with kyuss94 particularly in regards to prospects. He's a regular on this site as well as regular on Minor League ball. He'll be helping Brooks out with the Minor League coverage and we're excited to have him. --Tim
Free Agency and the Blue Jays/Marlins trade are dominating most baseball talk these days (as they should), but the AFL is still in full swing and some significant Astros-affiliated players are also getting playing time in the Domincan, Venezuelan and Roberto Clemente winter leagues. Here's a rundown of their performance over last week (games played between November 4th and 10th).
Jonathan Villar- 1/2, R
Rhiner Cruz- 1.2, H, BB, 2 K
Jimmy Paredes- 8/30, 2B, HR, BB, 4 K
Jimmy Paredes is the only player really getting significant burn in the DWL this year, with Villar, Cruz and Jose Cisnero (who is yet to appear in a game) fighting for scraps. Paredes started this week on a tear, putting up 3 consecutive multi-hit games in the first 3 contests which included both of his extra-base hits.
His week is a pretty good representation of the hitter that Jimmy P has become- he shows good contact ability, he strikes out at a manageable rate and has some juice in his bat. However, his impatience at the plate keeps his walk totals dismally low, and his winter ball stint hasn't done anything to assuage the worries about his on-base skills.
Perhaps he can overcome the OBP issues to make an impact with contact and modest pop at a premium defensive position, much like Josh Rutledge did, but as it stands he remains an incomplete player.
Carlos Corporan- 1/4, K, RBI
Rene Garcia- 1/3
Carlos Correa- 1/7, 3 K
Enrique Hernandez- 2/6, 2B, BB, K
The Clemente league is rife with Astros backstops, as Jobduan Morales is also rostered but failed to appear in a game last week. Correa is the big name but is playing alongside players old enough to be his father, so his stats can largely be ignored at this stage.
Enrique Hernandez, a player who has modest success as a minor leaguer stateside and has a shot to be a big leaguer, is playing well south of the border and is a guy to keep an eye on through the rest of the winter season and into 2013.
Marwin Gonzalez- 0/6, 2 BB, K
Brandon Barnes- 9/21, 2B, 2 3B, HR, 2 BB, 4 K
Jose Altuve- 6/13, 2B, 3B, 2 BB, K
On the biggest Latin American stage, some familiar names put up big lines last week. Marwin Gonzalez, struggling with the bat has been used primarily as a defensive replacement and isn't showing a lot of offensive progression to this point, but it's tough to get in a groove when you aren't in the starting lineup day-in, day-out.
Brandon Barnes erupted for two 3-hit efforts and a 2-hit game this week with 4 extra base hits. Barnes is a player who is easy to root for with his center field heroics last year and his unquestionable work ethic, and he's making a good case to join the big club full time next year.
Jose Altuve's 3 appearances last week were his first in the VWL, and he performed as a MLB all star in that environment should. His supreme contact ability and speed showing in full force, it looks like Altuve is primed for another successful campaign.
Jarred Cosart- 4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, BB, 6 K (1 start)
Chia-Jen Lo- 3 IP, 6 H, 5 K (3 appearances)
Alex Sogard- 2 IP, 2 H, K (2 appearances)
Nick Tropeano- IP, 2 H, R (HR), 2 BB, 3 K (1 appearance)
Jiovanni Mier- 2/12, 2B, 5 K
Jonathan Singleton- 2/13, HR, 3 BB, 3 K
George Springer- 6/14, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 3 BB, 2 K, SB
The AFL is obviously the main attraction this time of year, and the Astros' prospects did not disappoint. Jarred Cosart's start should be seen as a huge positive given the 6/1 K/BB ratio- the same can be said for Lo's week with his 5/0 mark.
Alex Sogard survived this week, but is in the midst of a dismal AFL showing. Nick Tropeano had an off outing, but has otherwise been quite impressive, especially considering his lack of high minors experience. Mier has predictably struggled and isn't doing anything to shake his reputation as a glove-only prospect. Jonathan Singleton opened the week with a dreamy line, going 1/1 with a homer and three walks before having three blah games.
George Springer is the star of the week with little contest- he closed the week with two mammoth lines, a 3/3, 2 HR, 2 BB, SB game backed up with another 3 hit effort in 5 at bats, including a double and a triple. Springer makes it tough not to love him with performances like those, but he's still exhibiting the same contact woes that have rightfully slowed down his hype train.