Could Smoltz Be A Fit For The Twins?

The Twins are looking at a giant hole in their bullpen with closer Joe Nathan on the shelf thanks to a torn elbow ligament, though they haven't rushed into finding a replacement. ESPN's Buster Olney notes (via Twitter) that there is some hope Nathan will be able to pitch though the injury, but they won't know for sure until he tries to throw. 

In a second tweet, Olney opines that there's an experienced, veteran closer available on the free agent market that might be a good fit for Minnesota, and his name is John Smoltz. The caveat is that he and his surgically repaired shoulder/elbow would work a Trevor Hoffman-like schedule, pitching just 50 or so innings, far below the 70 IP per season Nathan has averaged since joining the team.

The now 42-year-old Smoltz last worked out of the bullpen full-time in 2004, and as you know his performance while pitching in relief is quite good. He has said he's content to wait for the right deal, even if that means waiting until mid-season. Minnesota has some decent in-house options with Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, Jose Mijares, and even Francisco Liriano, so they have the luxury of letting things play out early in the season. If no one steps up, Smoltz could be attractive to pass up during the summer.


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27 Comments on "Could Smoltz Be A Fit For The Twins?"


Guest
5 years 4 months ago

I think that there is nothing wrong with “trying out” the in-house guys. If anything, they could bring up a middle reliever from AA or AAA and make either Guerrier or Rauch the closer. They may find a diamond in the rough aka, a David Aardsma or Leo Nunez.

5 years 4 months ago

This is nothing wrong with trying out the in-house guys first. Good relievers literally come out of nowhere every single year,

Guest
5 years 4 months ago

Thats what I’m saying. I really think the Joe Nathan injury just created the possibility of either Guerrier, Liriano, Rauch, maybe even Gutierrez being one of the really possitive success stories of this season.

I’m going to put my money on Rauch. Maybe Duensing. But I think Liriano will get the 5th spot in the rotation. Are you dealing with that crazy wind Mike?

0vercast
5 years 4 months ago

And there’s Slama, too.

Ferrariman
5 years 4 months ago

the obvious answer, yes smoltz would be a good fit. but not if he wants like 3-4mil+. in that case, let rauch close for the season.

jeff7602
5 years 4 months ago

I think that the best move is no move for now, letting the in house guys compete for it. But if they get insurance money for Nathan that could offset the cost of signing Smoltz.

BentoBox
5 years 4 months ago

Smoltz would be a fit for the Twins. Still, they should try Rauch to close.
I already have him in fantasy baseball, thats why.

bbxxj
5 years 4 months ago

I really think Smoltz would be a great fit. With multiple quality arms like Rauch and Guerrier able to pitch the ninth, Smoltz wouldn’t have to go two or three nights in a row and Smoltz’s stuff is still nasty in short stints.

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

Having watched Guerrier pitch for several years, I don’t like the prospects of using him in the 9th.

He’s the most reliable 6th-7th inning guy we’ve had over the past few years. He logs ALOT of innings and appearances in that role. I hate pulling him out of those innings, where his strong performance provides save opportunities later in the game.

0vercast
5 years 4 months ago

Exactly. Although Guerrier is the Twins best reliever with Nathan out, the Twins need him in that early relief role. He’s often the first one out of the bullpen, useful shutting down rallies and stopping the bleeding.

5 years 4 months ago

You must be joking, Smoltz can’t hack it in the AL! That would be money down the toilet.

bomberj11
5 years 4 months ago

It could work though because he’d be pitching in a weak AL Central.

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

Nonsense. Smoltz still has the stuff and the makeup to excel anywhere — for one inning, anyway.

His problem in the AL was that he had to execute 80 to 100 times per outing, which he just can’t pull off very well anymore against quality lineups.

Getting three outs is an entirely different situation; Smoltz knows that. And there would be no learning curve as he already knows how to be that kind of pitcher.

KC_KID_22
5 years 4 months ago

As a Royals fan…I’d LOVE to see Smoltz in the 9th. The guy can’t hack in the AL, that was exposed in Boston. On top of that, his arm isn’t as healthy and his stuff isn’t near as nasty as it was 5-6 years ago. So go for it Twinkies!

ReverendBlack
5 years 4 months ago

I think the only question is his price.

0vercast
5 years 4 months ago

I don’t like it for the reason that someone has to get traded or go to the minors to make room. Is there anybody you would rather have Smoltz over, aside from maybe Jesse Crain or Condrey?

Rotation:
•Baker
•Liriano
•Pavano
•Slowey
•Blackburn

Bullpen:
•Rauch
•Guerrier
•Duensing
•Mijares
•Neshek
•Crain
•Condrey

So who gets the boot to free up a spot for Smoltz?

Ferrariman
5 years 4 months ago

i think joe mauer guy could use a little seasoning. he needs a little work.

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

That’s the important question.

And I’m not so quick to give up on Crain – before injury-derailment, he was the heir-apparent as closer just a few short years ago. The kid has talent – I’m willing to give him a chance to prove it this year, being further removed from surgery. Seems at least as likely, if not more, that a healthy Crain demonstrates his potential from a couple years ago, than Smoltz somehow returns to his 35-yr-old version.

Condrey? I’m excited to see him as well. All the reports out of Philly over the past two years on him sound encouraging. One wildcard to consider is Rick Anderson. It’s not often that a pitcher comes to MN and does worse – though it seems all-too-common a guy leaves MN and does worse. I attribute this to Rick Anderson’s coaching. So I certainly don’t see Clay doing worse than his already-respectable Philly track record.

0vercast
5 years 4 months ago

I’m not giving up on Crain either. He’s the dark horse to take over for Nathan. He looked really good after that stint in AAA fixed his mechanics. He actually had movement on that 4 seamer! :-0

Here is bit of the MLBTR article from when the Twins signed Condrey. Sounds like a good fit with that ground ball rate.

“Condrey, 34, posted a 3.00 ERA, 5.4 K/9, and 3.0 BB/9 in 42 innings for the Phillies this year, missing time with an oblique strain. Condrey’s 55.3% groundball rate was among the best for free agent relievers.”

Drew
5 years 4 months ago

More importantly, isn’t Condrey also our current plan for “mop up” guy? If we’re down 10-2 and our starter’s out, which of those guys is going 4 innings? We had Dickey last year for part of it, Bonser for the rest. But now we have neither. One of those guys has to be durable enough to throw 3-4 innings once every couple weeks. And I don’t like that being anyone but Condrey right now.

Drew
5 years 4 months ago

More importantly, isn’t Condrey also our current plan for “mop up” guy? If we’re down 10-2 and our starter’s out, which of those guys is going 4 innings? We had Dickey last year for part of it, Bonser for the rest. But now we have neither. One of those guys has to be durable enough to throw 3-4 innings once every couple weeks. And I don’t like that being anyone but Condrey right now.

stl_cards16
5 years 4 months ago

If Smoltz is willing to pitch out of the bullpen is there really a team that he isn’t a good fit for? Pretty lame news, but what do you expect from Olney?

sploorp
5 years 4 months ago

They’ve also been considering a possible trade with Toronto for Jason Frasor.

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

Based on… 1 speculative “maybe this would make sense” article by LEN3, and the appearance of a Toronto scout at a Twins game?

Or is there a better source that indicates the Twins (i.e., not just reporters and bloggers) have actually given consideration to Frasor?

sploorp
5 years 4 months ago

And the Twins being interested in Smoltz is based on stronger sources?

Read the article again. Take a look at Olney’s original comments. He is basically saying, “the Twins need a closer and Smoltz is available – why don’t they sign Smoltz?”

Even if it was only a couple of scouts showing up at a spring training game, that would still be infinitely more to base a statement on than, “Olney thinks the Twins should check out Smoltz.”

There is also a bit more going on behind the scenes than just a couple of scouts showing up at a spring training game. The Twins have Perkins and Casilla on the trading block. A closer like Jason is a luxury a rebuilding team like the Blue Jays don’t need.

There is a lot more to support a trade for Jason than the team signing Smoltz to replace Nathan.

TwinsVet
5 years 4 months ago

Don’t get me wrong, this smoltz chatter is baseless as well.

But based on what you’re saying, it sounds like frasor is equally unfounded speculation.

Toronto scouts at Hammond stadium doesn’t mean they were looking at someone to get for frasor, let alone that they were even scouting the twins.

5 years 4 months ago

I would prefer they go in house unless they can get Smoltz super cheap. He just isn’t an AL pitcher. It is time to hang em up Smoltzy.