Offseason Questions For The AL Central

All the offseason reviews are in the books, and today the AL Central takes the stand.

  • Do White Sox acquisitions Juan Pierre and Mark Teahen deserve starting jobs and multiyear commitments?  Will the Sox suffer subpar production at traditionally offensive spots in left field, third base, and designated hitter?
  • With a respectable offense in place, should the Indians have signed a couple of veteran free agent starters and attempted a run?
  • Will the Tigers moving Curtis Granderson hurt the 2010 club?  Could the Edwin JacksonMax Scherzer component have been facilitated without the Yankees being involved?  Should the Tigers have added a free agent starter, and did they make the right choice in shipping out Nate Robertson instead of Dontrelle Willis?
  • Could the Royals have acquired a similar veteran backstop for significantly less than the $6MM committed to Jason Kendall?  Did they screw up in letting pitching prospect Juan Abreu hit the open market and sign with the Braves?
  • Can the Twins' bullpen get by without a Joe Nathan replacement?  Should they have upgraded at third base?  Though he took less money to sign with the Twins, was Joe Mauer's eight-year, $184MM extension too risky?


87 Responses to Offseason Questions For The AL Central Leave a Reply

  1. melonis_rex 5 years ago

    The Robertson trade was dumb if it guaranteed Willis a spot. Willis is worse than Robertson… if you were getting rid of one, Willis was the one to can. Since the Tigers only saved the league minimum in making this move, it was the wrong move.

    Nate is bad, but at league minimum (what the Tigers saved in the trade, in addition to getting a future LOOGY), he’s an asset.

    and, now you only have one, maybe two, starter who’s likely to give you 200 innings (Verlander, maybe Porcello)…and no depth behind the starting 5.

    • alphabet_soup5 5 years ago

      Scherzer won’t give 200 innings? And if healthy Bonderman and Willis might be horrible, but they can pitch 200 innings.

      • alxn 5 years ago

        I don’t know why you would think that Scherzer is a given to go 200 innings. He’s never done it before and he doesn’t go deep into games at all. He made 30 starts last year and only racked up 170 innings. Even if he lead the league in starts he wouldn’t have gotten 200 innings last year at that rate.

        Any pitcher could pitch 200 innings if they were healthy and allowed to. That’s not the point. Bonderman and Willis are not durable or good enough to throw 200 innings.

        • funkadillo 5 years ago

          “Any pitcher could pitch 200 innings if they were healthy and allowed to.”

          So by that logic as long as Scherzer is healthy he’ll pitch 200 innings this year. He’s obviously much more reliable than Bonderman and Willis so why wouldn’t the Tigers allow him to?

          • alxn 5 years ago

            He hasn’t proven he is capable of going deep into games. He had one of the worst innings/start ratios in the league last year. I never said he wouldn’t pitch 200 innings, I just said he is not a sure thing. The “logic” here is that the Tigers are not going to leave someone in the game when he is getting hammered or has a high pitch count.

  2. Suzysman 5 years ago

    “Will the Sox suffer subpar production at traditionally offensive spots in left field, third base, and designated hitter?”

    Yes. Pierre and Teahen will quickly disappoint the fans (if they havent already) and a real DH was needed.

    “should the Indians have signed a couple of veteran free agent starters and attempted a run?”

    Not “couple”, but one positive Vet starter should have been added. They need to get their kids playing time, but the division might be obtainable so a Vet may have gone a long way (plus in a worst case been trade bait if the team tanks). That said with Carmona making a fair salary and a possibility for some production, maybe he ends up that arm for them.

    “Could the Royals have acquired a similar veteran backstop for significantly less than the $6MM committed to Jason Kendall?”

    You serious? There is only one answer to that… And honestly, they could have signed me to a 1 year, 20K deal and I likely would have provided similar results to what they can probably expect from Kendall.

    “Can the Twins’ bullpen get by without a Joe Nathan replacement?”

    With Rauch, Guerrier, Neshek and a couple others, they still have a very strong pen. Losing Nathan will of course hurt, but it wont be a deathblow and their internal options will likely play out as well as most external options would have.

    That said, Bell would have been much better then internal options but the cost would have been extreme. However, they could have recouped much of the cost next offseason if they were so inclined, so it might not have been a bad move either. Maybe they keep the lines open and Bell is brought in sometime soon.

    • CrisE 5 years ago

      I agree with every single one of your points. Wow.

      Regarding the Twins’ options, anyone with a guy to trade is asking the moon from them right now, so to maintain any leverage at all they have to pretend that the inhouse options are their first choice and see if they can get along. But honestly Smith will keep looking because that bullpen was lined up really, really well when everyone was locked down for innings six through eight leading up to Nathan. The MIN organization has been rolling their own closers for a long time (Aguilara, Nathan, Guardado, etc) so I don’t think they’re afraid to send these guys out there. I think they want a replacement for Joe to preserve the arrangement of the other guys more than to replace his innings.

      • TwinsVet 5 years ago

        Aguilera? C’mon. Hawkins. At least he’s relevant in the past decade.

        But it’s a good point. It’s hard to think of the last time the Twins went out and acquired a closer. They prefer to make them. It’s much cheaper.

        • CrisE 5 years ago

          I went into detail on that point in another reply, but there’s a terrible lag with Discus right now so it isn’t appearing. Short answer: since 82 only two guys have led the Twins in saves and weren’t new to the role, Ron Davis and Jeff Reardon, and the last time Reardon pitched in MIN was twenty years ago.

        • Drew 5 years ago

          For what it’s worth, Nathan didn’t exactly come up through our system. He was a veteran (29 year old) middle-reliever when we got him via trade from SF (for AJ). We might have put him into our closer spot, but I don’t think we can call him “our own.” We didn’t exactly “make” him…

          In that mold, I wouldn’t mind tracking down a good power arm in a middle-relief or setup role somewhere else and acquiring him in a reasonable trade… Seems to fit our MO.

          • TwinsVet 5 years ago

            To be fair, I don’t see anyone saying the Twins make their own closers from A-ball to MLB 9th innings. They simply prefer to convert existing arms into closers, instead of going out and finding a guy who already carries that marquee title (and having to pay top dollar in the process). That’s making them, in my book.

          • Drew 5 years ago

            How is that “making” anyone? Joe Nathan was the reliever he was before he got here. We didn’t DO anything to make him an elite closer except give him a shot in the 9th inning. Joe Nathan was “made” in SF. We just handed him the ball during a specific inning.

          • TwinsVet 5 years ago

            So you’d have us believe “San Fransisco made Joe Nathan a closer”?

            No. Minnesota converted him into the closer role. They identified his potential and gave him the opportunity. SF made him a good relief pitcher; MN made him a closer.

          • Drew 5 years ago

            You know damn well we had this discussion offline and concluded that it was simply a semantic disagreement. You define “make” as “bestow a title upon” while I’m defining it as “developing a skill set.” San Francisco and Joe Nathan made Joe Nathan into a veteran reliever under my definition. Minnesota just gave him the title of “closer.” Which, under your definition, I’ll concede means Minnesota “made” him.

      • 0vercast 5 years ago

        Very good points.

    • thebigdog 5 years ago

      “Yes. Pierre and Teahen will quickly disappoint the fans (if they havent already) and a real DH was needed”

      Really? Four days before the first game and you’ve already determined that Pierre and Teahen are going to have disappointing seasons? Wow, I thought most baseball fans understood that spring training means close to nothing.

      As for the DH being legit. I think the plan is to get Quentin off of the field as much as possible (to keep him healthy), which would give them a very good DH. If that happens, then the real question becomes, is a combo of Kotsay and Jones good enough to cover RF?

      • Suzysman 5 years ago

        “Wow, I thought most baseball fans understood that spring training means close to nothing.”

        Dismiss spring training for all I care – the players careers and abilities (or lack there of) point to the extreme likelyhood of disappointing seasons.

        Oh, and call it a straight DH, part-time DH or DH/Corner-OF – it doesnt change the need for an upgrade.

        • thebigdog 5 years ago

          You don’t think that a healthy Quentin qualifies as a quality DH?

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            No, a healthy Quentin qualifies as a RF – where he is slated to start the season, and the position he is most likely to play on any given day.

            So again, a real DH was needed no matter what you want to call that DH – be it a straight DH, part-time DH or DH/Corner-OF.

  3. HickoryHuskers 5 years ago

    Yes, yes.
    Yes.
    Yes, yes, yes, yes.
    No, yes, no.

  4. TwinsVet 5 years ago

    Sox – Pierre and Teahan are laughable. Everybody knows this; it’s just whether or not they admit it. Offense will suffer (especially if Q doesn’t come back fierce), but pitching upgrades make up for it.

    Cleveland – There weren’t any viable options for SP talent at a reasonable price.

    Tigers – No question Granderson is a loss, and it’s going to be comical watching Dontrelle attempt to pitch again. Poor moves in both decisions.

    Royals – Is it really a question that the Kendall signing was a joke?

    Twins – Nathan will be replaced; just give it a month or two. There’s weren’t many viable options for third; outbid Boston for Beltre? And yes, I’m going to say it; Joe Mauer was a mistake. You ride out his final year and put Ramos in there next year. Fans will forgive you if you win. Twins are on a payroll that still can’t afford many mistakes, and should Mauer get injured, he was be a catastrophic one. No single player is so much greater than his alternative that he justifies 25% of a payroll.

    • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

      ^First Twins fan I’ve seen speak pragmatically re: Mauer. +1

      • TwinsVet 5 years ago

        I’ve been a Mauer contract extension skeptic all off-season. I don’t buy the “fans would revolt” argument; and that’s really the only argument for paying him so much. The fans are going to walk away anyways if you don’t put a winning team on the field. Winning remains the fundamental and foremost way to ensure fan support. No single player has ever been bigger than that.

        • Drew 5 years ago

          First, “ride out his final year” sounds dumb. If you “ride out his final year” and lose him to Free Agency, netting nothing but draft picks, you’ve failed. Epically. If you’re really not gonna sign the contract with him (which I can understand) you’ve gotta trade him midseason…

          Second, I want to learn more about contract insurance. If Joe blows both knees out in 2012, and we can still recoup 75% of his contract because it was insured, it’s not catastrophic. It sucks, but it’s not the end of the world.

          • TwinsVet 5 years ago

            They let Hunter walk, and they would have been better off letting Santana walk and getting draft picks (no doubt their value would have exceeded what they did get). Sometimes, letting a guy walk is the right move – you get a half year of his production in a pennant race.

            Mauer would suffer the same trade market problems that Johan did. His enormous ensuing contract would severely limit potential suitors.

          • 0vercast 5 years ago

            I seriously doubt draft picks would have amounted to a better return than Hardy and Rauch, and it certainly wouldn’t have been immediate.

          • bjsguess 5 years ago

            The Santana trade was a colossal screw up. The Twins could have been sitting with Ellsbury and Lester (or something equivalent) had they made the move early. Instead they waited and were forced to deal with the Mets who had literally nothing to offer.

            The problem wasn’t trading Santana – it was an issue with poorly negotiating an equitable return.

            As for Mauer – I happen to think that fans would revolt. Who can you bring in through a Mauer trade and have fans be happy with it? Sure winning can solve some of those problems – but that’s pretty risky. Watching Mauer leave over money after watching Santana and Hunter walk would be a pretty bitter pill for a city that just build the Twins a new stadium.

          • ReverendBlack 5 years ago

            Yeah, not sure about the better off trading him thing for teams in contention. Draft picks + world series run > prospects & middling rebuild.

        • MLBrainmaker 5 years ago

          Are you guys serious? First, the state and Hennepin County funded the majority of the $500M cost for the new stadium and infrastructure….you don’t think folks would get upset if immediately after that ownership let the reigning AL MVP and 3-time batting champion, who just happens to be born and raised in the St. Paul, walk over money? I guarantee Jim Pohlad would get a call from Gov. Pawlenty at the hint they were letting that guy out of a Twins uniform.

          Just like any big contract its a risk, but did they over-pay? Probably not. If you look at his fangraphs.com page, he’s been worth more than 3-times his salary for every year he’s played and was worth $36M for ’09. Considering the Twins already sold out of season tickets this season, had to stop single-game advance tickets sales for nearly half their games, and already have filled their 2010 waiting list for season tickets, they’ve probably paid the first 5 years of his contract off already….

          • TwinsVet 5 years ago

            Mauer isn’t responsible for the ticket sales. Outdoor baseball is. Lose with mauer and the seats empty anyways. Win without him and fans stay happy. So its illogical to do anything but put the best product on the field, regardless of their city of birth.

          • TwinsVet 5 years ago

            Further, fangraphs is flawed. Market value is what the average team would pay, not what fangraphs says, or even the top bidding team.

            How many clubs would pay $20+ to a single player? You can count them on one hand.

            Yes, every big contract is a risk. That’s why so few teams make them. The twins aren’t in the elite few who can afford risks like this.

          • MLBrainmaker 5 years ago

            If you plan to win without him, where do the 81 runs above a replacement (RAR) come from? Free agency? Thats not a solution, thats paying someone else $23M.

            What part of signing the AL MVP isn’t putting the best product on the field? I’m not following that line of reason. If its that the team can’t afford it, the facts say differently; as of last week the Twins sold more tickets for 2010 than they did for all of 2009, which was a record year for gate revenues (regardless of why the fans bought the tickets). Plus the new seating breakdown, with more box level seats, no lease fees to the Vikings for box seats, and the escape from the Metrodome lease burden are huge operating boons. The money is there so you need to do some research before you argue the team can’t afford it.

            Also, interesting take on market value. Not sure how market value isn’t equal to what the top bidder would pay? Thats pretty much how you value scarce items, but guess its too much to expect you to know econ. Anyway, saying fangraphs is wrong is a pretty weak argument. Its a game of stats, they use stats to get to a value, if you’ve got analysis that shows otherwise, than point me to it…but don’t just say its wrong because you don’t agree with it. Use some facts to backup your argument.

          • TwinsVet 5 years ago

            First, you’re assuming ramos is a typical replacement. He’s not. And 23m next year gets you crawford and then some. So its not simply 80+ lost runs.

            Second, no team, even the yankees, can afford risking 25% of their payroll on one player. Show me where its worked before.

            Third, if you think fair market value is based on the highest any one individual would possibly pay, I have neither the time nor inclination to explain market economics to you.

            But please, keep on with the insult. How dare I suggest 25% of payroll to one player, in an injury prone position, with a history of injuries, is not a risk the twins can afford to take.

          • MLBrainmaker 5 years ago

            Again those pesky facts….

            Where does Ramos rank in BA’s top 50 prospects? How about Keith Law’s? And he’s 21. What part of 30HR in 4 season and avg of .290 in the minors says he’s going to be better than league average?

            To name a few in the 20% plus club, Helton, Carlos Lee, and Manny were all there last year. In fact if you go down the list of highest paid player in ’09 there aren’t too many flops there, and the ones that are flops were noted bad deals universally once they signed (Zito, Ordonez).

            And please explain FMV as you see it. I see it as:
            1. Prospective buyers and sellers are reasonably knowledgeable about the asset; they are behaving in their own best interests and are free of undue pressure to trade.
            2. A reasonable time period is given for the transaction to be completed.
            How does this violate not make his deal FMV? Would there not be a higher offer tomorrow from another team if possible? Asset valuation is part of my job, I assume people pay me for it because I do it right…

            I’m not trying to insult you, but when you don’t do research and don’t back up your assertions that is going to happen. My apologies

          • bjsguess 5 years ago

            Fangraphs exercise to determine WAR (which is then used to calculate value) is interesting. However, it should not be used as a measuring stick for a players actual value in the FA market.

            The highest paid player in baseball is A-Rod at $26-27m (annual average). Most, outside of NY, freely admit that he was overpaid as a FA. Even then, look at the Fangraphs leader board. You have the following offensive players:

            — Zobrist – $38m
            — Pujols – $38m
            — Mauer – $36m
            — Utley – $34m
            — Jeter – $33m
            — Longoria – $32m
            — H Ramirez – $32m
            — Zimmerman – $32m
            — Fielder – $30m
            — Gonzalez – $29m
            — Figgins – $27m
            — F. Gutierrez – $26m

            That’s 12 offensive guys who Fangraphs says are worth as much or more than the richest contract ever handed out in baseball. It’s not like 2009 was an anomaly either. In 2008 there were 16 offensive guys who were worth $26m or more.

            What’s interesting to me on the Fangraphs site is the emphasis on fielding. Out of the top 12 guys you had about half of the players as very solid fielders in baseball (according to UZR/150). Would anyone really take Gutierrez over Ryan Braun? Fangraphs says you should – Gut was worth $5m more than the slugger from Wisconsin.

            BTW – from a pitching perspective you have another 10 players above $26m. That brings the grand total to 22 players whom Fangraphs believes provided more value in 2009 than the richest FA contract ever signed.

          • TwinsVet 5 years ago

            The deal was not Fair Market Value for the Twins precisely because they were not “free of undue pressure”. Look at the frothing on these boards alone – the Twins had a gun to their heads from the fan base.

            If the deal was offered in the vacuum of purely “what helps us win the most games” (which a FMV deal needs to be), there’s zero chance they spend northward of $120m/6yrs. With the prospects of season ticket holders walking away if Baby Jesus isn’t given his golden fleece diapers, they had undue pressure to get a deal done at any cost.

            As for fangraphs – bjguess critiques their evaluations very nicely.

          • 0vercast 5 years ago

            This guy is right. The Twins were put in a very tough position, where they literally were FORCED to sign Mauer, no matter the cost. The Twins would have been abandoned by their fans had they let him walk or traded him to NYY for Joba or Hughes and some prospects. They would have had to settle for some mediocre package like this rather than risk letting him hit FA. Remember Santana, and how tight the Mets, Yanks, and BoSox were with trade proposals?

            I personally would have dumped my season tickets had they done that and moved into Target Field without Joe, and know numerous other long time, full-season ticket holders who would have done the same. Had they let him walk or sent him to the East Coast for a group of bums, I’d say F%$! the Twins and MLB for good. That would be the last straw.

          • TwinsVet 5 years ago

            I agree. They were “FORCED”. You can’t pay fair market value when you’re forced into a transaction; they paid much more, in years and dollars, than they would have if he was John Smith, native of Texas. They ended up making a decision that made sense from a ticket sales perspective (in the short term), but not good baseball logic (to the detriment of the long term).

            I hope I’m wrong and the Twins can manage to remain competitive with 25% of their payroll going to one guy (who happens to have missed good spells of time with injury already, and is in an injury-inducing position). But the organization now rests on one man’s shoulders (and surgically repaired knees, and sliced-open back). If the gamble doesn’t pay off, if the Twins can’t remain competitive, season ticket sales are going to fall off ANYWAYS.

            And that goes to the bigger issue. A club like the Twins can’t afford to be taking big gambles. They haven’t before, and they shouldn’t now. They get by on being thrifty, shrewd, and developing players. The extension accomplishes none of the above.

          • 0vercast 5 years ago

            Yep, I agree. Ironically, even with a $100M payroll for the foreseeable future, the signing forces the Twins to again be on the lookout for cheap production when they can get it. Funny how this works…LOL! Good thing is, the Twins are damn good at that. I think they’ll be just fine. Even if Mauer is lost for the season due to injury, that still leaves roughly $77M in the pot. They’ve been competitive with a $60-75M payroll before.

    • jwsox 5 years ago

      how will one of/ if not the best closer be replaced? pierre wont dissapoint we all know what he can do the guy averages .300 avg and 30+ steals we as sox fans know exactly what we are getting from him, he is the same thing as pods but better at defense and better on the base paths. Teahan is50-50 will either do nothing in what case he will be released or benched and a younger guy brought up(there are back ups in the system) the twins simply cant replace the best closer over the past few years….jon rauch? wow thats some serious hope as their closer…the indians i feel if healthy could surprise everyone..the tigers simply dont know what they are doing…and the royals are one of the best teams in the game when big Z is on the mound and the worst team in the history of baseball when anyone else is out there

      • Suzysman 5 years ago

        “pierre wont dissapoint we all know what he can do… we as sox fans know exactly what we are getting from him, he is the same thing as pods but better at defense and better on the base paths.”

        How can you go from saying you know what he can do then in the next sentence claim he is better in the field and on the basepaths then Pods? Pierre has less power, but is otherwise identical to the end results of Pods across the board.

        “Teahan is50-50 will either do nothing in what case he will be released or benched”

        Do you even follow the White Sox? They extended him with a 3 year, 14 MM contract – he wont be benched and is especially not going to be released.

        Besides, at 3 straight years of being below average production (well, 2 replacement level years with 1 average despite an extreme .359 BAbip masking an overall below average season ability wise) and one of the worst fielding abilities in the game at 3B; how do you get a 50/50 shot of doing nothing? It took an extremely lucky .359 BAbip and his being kept away from Third the entire year in 2007 to avoid “nothing” the last three seasons straight.

        Even if he somehow produces another fluke .360+ BAbip, his horrific fielding at Third will result in overall below average numbers on the season.

        • jwsox 5 years ago

          pierre hits for less power? oh so he will hit 1 home run as opposed to 2 hrs? and he is a better defensive out fielder than pods was, pierre actually knows how to track balls down and knows how to play the out field…he also steals more bases and gets caught alot less than pods does…so that how…also EVEY WHITE SOX FAN KNOWS WHAT THEY ARE GETTING FROM PIERRE…a .300+ avg and 30+ steals while playing avgerage defense in left with no arm….

          as for teahan 3 yrs and 14 mill is pretty team friendly that can easily be absorbed if needed to be benched or traded or released…its not like the whitesox have no money, they are not a small market team. and i got 50/50 at he will either be bad or average not bad or good….plus alot of his hits the past few years at home would be gone at the cell given it much more of a hitters park……

          i as just saying that we as sox fans know what we are getting out of juan and hope that teahan can at least be average and if he is not there are internal options for 3rd or even more beckham back to 3rd and bring in a 2nd basemen

          • jwsox 5 years ago

            also juan pierre in the out field has a uzr/150(career) of 5.6 and pods has a uzr/150(career) in the OF of-1.8 so thats how he is a better out fielder than pods and actually he is alot better…pods projects WAR next season0.2 pierre is 1.4… career WAR 1.4 again much better than pods all of these are from fan graphs

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            Yes he has more power, and no it isn’t only one extra HR a year. On average he provides an extra XBH over Pierre every 100 PA, which is between 6-8 added extra base hits over a full season.

            And No, Pierre doesn’t steal “more bases”, and he doesn’t steal them at a better rate. He has just played more games because Pods has been signing minor league deals. Here are the two players though:

            Pierre career 75% SB ratio with 2165 TOB and 614 SBA – 28.4%
            Pods career 75% SB ratio with 1240 TOB and 353 SBA – 28.5%
            It is absolutely identical, the two are perfectly identical

            “a .300+ avg and 30+ steals while playing avgerage defense in left with no arm….”

            No, you are getting a .330 OBP and .360 SLG with a pitiful 70-75%% SB ratio and average Def in left and no arm. Meanwhile, Pods provides .330 OBP and .380 SLG with a pitiful 70-75%% SB ratio and average Def in left with no arm.

            Oh, and as far as your updated UZR numbers… You are including a Pierre from 2001-2004 that doesn’t exist anymore. Over the last three seasons he has been a 0.7 UZR/150 to Pods at -2.3. It’s a 3 run difference over a three year span, or in other words negateable.

            And apparently you don’t know how to use WAR, do you? First Pods is projected at a 1.0 WAR, and its over 456 PA while playing LF. Pierre is projected at a 1.6 WAR over 538 PA but while playing CF. If you move the projection of Pierre to LF instead of CF, it instantly becomes 6.3 RAR or 0.6 WAR. So, which one of these is better?

            Pierre – 0.6 WAR in 140G/538PA
            Or
            Pods – 1.0 WAR in 123G/456PA

            You would probably take the higher WAR in nearly 100 fewer PA, wouldnt you?

            (Edit: I hadnt removed the CF bonus from Pierre’s LF adjusted line, so the correct 6.3RAR/0.6WAR is now displayed. And in case you dont know what happened above, a CF is worth +2.5 runs positional adjustment because they are hard positions to fill. Meanwhile, a LF is -7.5 positional runs because it is arguably the easiest fielding position on the diamond. Pierre being projected to CF over 140G was at a +2.3 Pos, but in LF he would be receiving a -7.0 Pos adjustment)

          • Suzysman 5 years ago

            “as for teahan 3 yrs and 14 mill is pretty team friendly that can easily be absorbed if needed to be benched or traded or released…”

            Youre talking out your rear there, as the team will never release that only a few months after signing it. It’s the 5th highest salary commitment on the club!

            “hope that teahan can at least be average and if he is not there are internal options for 3rd”

            Yeah, I imagine Jason Nix would be a huge upgrade… Otherwise the club has Justin Fuller and Brent Morel in camp for the position – two players with almost no production shown and a combined 16 PA above High-A on their resume.

            Oh, and don’t you dare say Viciedo as everyone knows he will be a 1B/DH if he even figures out how to hit enough to make it to the majors anyway.

    • alxn 5 years ago

      I completely agree about Mauer. It was a huge mistake by the Twins. They didn’t get a discount at all. Even if Mauer stays healthy and produces like a superstar for his entire contract, he’s going to probably live up to his salary at best.

      This contract was market value. There was no reason for the Twins to sign it this year. Mauer’s stock can’t possibly be any higher than it is right now. Waiting a year would only benefit the Twins. They should have really tested Mauer’s hometown loyalty and seen what kind of deal they could have gotten.

      If Mauer walked to the highest bidder, they could’ve told the fans that they made a respectable offer and the lovable hometown hero decided to turn it down for more money. Who knows which teams would have even been involved.

  5. EdinsonPickle 5 years ago

    The Twins maybe should have looked into some options to shore up third base in case Valencia trips up. Then again there weren’t many smart third base options on the FA market or the trade market that the Twins could have gotten, so it really isn’t their fault.

    The bullpen is a huge worry for the Twins. Nathan has been a rock for the past few years, and in my opinion closer by committee just doesn’t seem like a great idea. Not too mention the guys in that committee Rauch, Crain, Mijares, and Guerrier don’t have a lot of closing experience between them, and none of them really have the make up to be a closer. Granted this whole thing kind of just hit the Twins in the face, and they don’t have the time or assets to go out there and just pick up another All-Star closer. If I had to choose I’d take Guerrier as the closer and let the others set up.

    Mauer’s deal is a fantastic deal. Sure there is a lot of risk involved, but there is a lot of risk for any long term contract. Not to mention there are few guys who deserve this contract more than Mauer. This was the right move to make if you’re the Twins.

    • CrisE 5 years ago

      >>closer by committee just doesn’t seem like a great idea. Not too mention the guys in that committee Rauch, Crain, Mijares, and Guerrier don’t have a lot of closing experience between them<<

      To emphasize what I wrote above, the Twins don't buy closers, they make them. If you look at the baseball-reference.com franchise history the complete list of closers back to 1982 reads Nathan, Guardado, Hawkins, Trombley(!), Aguilera, Dave Stevens (?!?), Reardon, Atherton and Ron Davis. Exactly two, Davis and Reardon, closed before they came to the Twins, and niether has pitched here in twenty years.

      Twenty years.

    • TwinsVet 5 years ago

      “Bullpen by committee” is code for “Whoever proves he can handle it first”.

  6. coolstorybro222 5 years ago

    Willis is a major head case now, and he’s finished if he cannot get past the first inning of his first start of the year. I just cannot believe the dude that had 22 wins one year had a era of 4.50+ last year and the year before.

  7. matchmade 5 years ago

    I think in a more hitter friendly ballpark Mark Teahen has a career year if given the at-bats. I predict .270-.280 avg, 20 – 24 HR. Which obviously isn’t the production you want out of 3B but could be worse.

    As far as for the Indians, I’m sure every team that didn’t wishes they could have picked up a couple of veteran free agent starters. Hind sight being 20/20 Now that the Twins have questions at closer the Indians certainly have potential to contend in a somewhat balanced division.

    The tigers losing Curtis Granderson will absolutely hurt them. How do you lose a player of that caliber and not hurt the production of your team. In regards to trading away Nate Robertson instead of D-Train, I think it was a big mistake. While Willis has had a strong spring showing, how will he handle an unavoidable shellacking in the regular season when their is more pressure. I think he has played well this spring because there is no anxiety associated with losing a spring game, his confidence is likely to be shaken when it counts. I hope for his sake he handles the pressure well and that I am wrong.

    Now for the Royals, where do you start? Kendall was a horrible move! I think they would have been better served to have brought in a veteran with prior starting experience, that is ready to accept a backup/mentoring role and then just sank or swum with Brayan Pena. Someone like Paul Lo Duca, or Brad Ausmus maybe to teach Pena a bit about handling the day to day management of a pitching staff.

    Letting any pitching prospect with any value get away is foolish at best when your major league roster is hurting for pitching so bad.

    The Twins should trade for a quality closer before the season starts! Having a good closer you can count on makes a big difference. The Royals could have won another 15-20 games last year if Soria had stayed healthy. Look at Saves versus Save Opps for the entire Royals staff last year. If you take Soria’s save percentage and replace all those other save opportunities from all the others who tried to close and match his it could have been a different story.

    • Drew 5 years ago

      “The Royals could have won another 15-20 games last year if Soria had stayed healthy.”

      Is that a serious statement?

      • TwinsVet 5 years ago

        Hard to believe, but it indeed looks like they had 20 save opportunities and only 4 saves amongst them.

      • matchmade 5 years ago

        “Is that a serious statement?”

        Yes it is,

        2009
        Soria
        30 Saves / 33 Opportunities
        Save Percentage: 91%

        All other relievers
        4 Saves / 23 Opportunities
        Save Percentage: 17%

        So as I said, take those 23 Opportunites at Soria’s production comes to 20.93 so saying had he taken those 23 Opportunities they would have won 15-20 more games is definitely realistic.

        • matchmade 5 years ago

          Also, several of those blown opportunities would have been Greinke wins, erasing the negative comments people have made about him winning the Cy Young with so few wins. As horrible as their defense and hitting was last year had Soria been 100% healthy the whole season they would have contended. As +15-20 wins would have put them right in the thick of things. Would also be interesting to see how many of those blown 19 saves by the other relievers were against division rivals. But, I wouldn’t want to spend the time to figure that out.

        • Drew 5 years ago

          I’m skeptical of the conclusions drawn from those numbers. I’m not certain that those “unconverted save opportunities” for all other relievers were ACTUALLY 9th inning blown saves. I mean, if a guy comes on in the 8th he can have a “save opportunity” but if his manager pulls me in the 9th to put in someone else, that counts as a “save opportunity” that he didn’t convert into a save.

          Not to mention the fact that technically you could “fail to convert a save” (aka blown save?) in the 7th inning:

          That rule states the official scorer shall credit a pitcher with a save when such pitcher meets all four of the following conditions:

          1. He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his team;
          2. He is not the winning pitcher;
          3. He is credited with at least ⅓ of an inning pitched; and
          4. He satisfies one of the following conditions:
          —1. He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning
          —2. He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, at bat or on deck
          —3. He pitches for at least three innings

          Think of ALL the opportunities that qualify under that rule. Say the starter goes 5 innings without giving up a run, the Royals are up 8-0 and a long relief guy pitches the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings, only to come out in the 9th. Technically, that’s a save opportunity that wasn’t converted.

          Say a LOOGY comes in with the tying run on base and two outs in the top of the 8th. He gets a ground ball and ends the inning. That’s a save opportunity, but not a converted save because in the 9th they probably bring in Soria.

          Say a reliever comes in and pitches the 7th inning with KC up 2-0. That’s also a save opportunity, but if that reliever doesn’t finish the game, it ends up being a non-converted save opportunity.

          And these are all games that KC could have won! But still count as non-converted save opportunities…

          I think you’d have to go back over KC’s game log very carefully before you could say that losing Soria cost them 19 wins.

          • 0vercast 5 years ago

            Well said. Also, not all blown saves lead to losses, either.

            I found this for reference:
            So how many Wins Above Replacement does a dominant closer give to his team? I took arguably the five best closers in recent years, looked at their healthy, full seasons as a closer (since 2002, as this is all I have WAR data for) and averaged their WAR over those seasons. Here are the results:

            Francisco Rodriguez (2004-08) 2.5 WAR

            Brad Lidge (2004, 2005, 2008) 2.8 WAR

            Jonathan Papelbon (2006-08) 2.8 WAR

            Mariano Rivera (2003-08) 2.7 WAR

            Joe Nathan (2004-08) 2.6 WAR

            From this, it appears that the contribution of a dominant closer is about 2.7 WAR. [For comparison’s sake, Soria was at 2.4 WAR in 2007 and 1.5 WAR in 2008, for an average of 2.0]

          • bjsguess 5 years ago

            Those WAR numbers for relievers are pretty subjective. I happen to think that Fangraphs and other calculations are pretty hard on closers. That said, Soria is not a 15 WAR player.

            Blown saves is about the absolute worst way to measure a middle relievers impact. They are brought in on tons of save opportunities but they NEVER get the chance to actually save a game.

          • Drew 5 years ago

            Agreed, and I think those “unconverted save opportunities” (I hate calling them blown saves because they’re NOT really…) are completely unrelated to the question of “How many more games would the Royals have won with Soria healthy.”

            I think the only way to determine that would be to examine games for leads lost IN the 9th inning. I know there were at least 2-3 in the last couple weeks, but certainly not 23 over the period of time that Soria was out.

      • tman89544 5 years ago

        I could see 10 more games, but not 15. After Soria went down the team just collapsed. Farny and Cruz were absolutely terrible trying to fill in closer duties. The bullpen had no depth after that and the royals were forced to stretch Meche, bannister and Davies starts out, causing them to get injured.

        • matchmade 5 years ago

          “The bullpen had no depth after that and the royals were forced to stretch Meche, bannister and Davies starts out, causing them to get injured.”

          I couldn’t agree more, and I believe the damage done to those pitchers both physically and mentally will carry into this year. We’ve already seen health concerns for Meche.

  8. empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

    i’m sorry, but could someone please tell me which part of throwing $6 million at a 35-year-old catcher with a .240 average over the last three seasons isn’t awesome?

    throw 8 million more “leadership dollars” at jarrod washburn and you’ve got yourself a contender.

    • EdinsonPickle 5 years ago

      The part with the 6 mil and the 35 year old part too. Also the .240 avg… I guess when it comes down to it there isn’t anything awesome about it. 😛

      • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

        forgive me, but i think you’re underestimating some of the intangibles kendall brings to the game. handling a pitching staff for example. i’m not going to bother to look any of this up, but i’d venture to guess that milwaukee probably had one of the greatest starting rotations of any team in baseball last year, and that no one from the KC staff contended for the cy young.

        • EdinsonPickle 5 years ago

          Actually they had one of the worst staffs in the game last year. They were last in the NL in Earned Run Average. Everyone except for Gallardo was pretty terrible which is why they made it a priority to grab up some FA pitching this offseason. Don’t get me wrong I like Kendall and he brings some quality tools to the table. But are those tools worth 6 mil over 2 seasons. Not a chance.

          • Koby2 5 years ago

            I think he was being a bit sarcastic, given the “no one from the KC staff contended for the cy young” line.

          • EdinsonPickle 5 years ago

            Yeah I read it again after I posted and picked up on it. Pardon my ignorance :)

          • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

            are you kidding me?

            first, catchers in their late-thrities always dominate in kansas city. sorry, but it’s just a rule. like i said, i’m not going to bother to look any of this up, but as i recall, the benito santiago experiment worked out better than anyone could possibly have hoped. why wouldn’t you try and recapture that magic?

            second, i can’t name a single pitcher on the royals staff. i’m not going to waste my time on google, but that starting rotation is faceless and completely devoid of guidance. as for the bullpen… i’m not going to bother “bing”ing any of this, but i feel pretty good guessing they’ve had some sort of wretched closer-by-committee situation since 2007. kendall will fix all of this.

            third, $6 million for a hoss like kendall is an absolute steal. i’m not going to waste my time “asking jeeves,” but i’m confident comparable players like rod barajas, miguel olivo, chris coste, and paul lo duca probably all singed high-value, long-term pacts this offseason. if you get the chance to sign jason kendall for a mere 6 million ding-dongs– you take it.

            if i were drayton moore i’d be all like “swish.”

    • Koby2 5 years ago

      Is 8 mil what the Royals are offering Washburn? …..sigh.

      • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

        to be fair, i’m just guessing at this number, but let’s “kendallize” it with some math:

        jason kendall deserves: $400k/1yr
        jason kendall signs with the royals for: $ 6 MM/2yr
        ratio: 15x money/ 2x year

        jarrod washburn deserves: $1.5M
        **kendallize it**
        jarrod washburn signs a 2-year contract worth $22.5 million

        alternatively, i suppose you could “guillenize” it, “mahayilate” it, or just simply follow “farnsworth’s law.”

        • Koby2 5 years ago

          I think we’re the only major league team to have so many laws named after our players, it’s astounding!

          *shudders at the thought of guillinizing a deal for Washburn*

          Also, Mahay should have been flipped when he had all that value two trade deadlines ago…if the names being thrown around (Jason Donald) were true.

          • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

            are you insinuating they should have doteled mahay?

          • Koby2 5 years ago

            Oh yes, I’m doing more than insinuating it. I’m stating it.

  9. j6takish 5 years ago

    I was a bit surprised Nate was traded instead of D-Train, but I really don’t think it mattered in the end. Whichever made the rotation wasn’t going to be there for long before the inevitable injury. When D-Train goes down, Bonine gets the call up, and he puts up better numbers than either guy could have.

    As far as Granderson goes, I still don’t know how I feel about it. I honestly think not resigning Polanco is going to be the big disaster of the spring, I don’t really see Sizemroe being all he is cracked up to be.

  10. Professor_Stephanie_Willbanks 5 years ago

    i am surprised that nobody has thus far mentioned that absolutely no teams would have been interested in trading for willis. none. at all. so, it really wasn’t an option.

    • Koby2 5 years ago

      Agreed. The only way Detroit would have gotten rid of him is if they ate just about all of his contract. If they do that, they might as well have gotten rid of the worse of the two(not like there is much of a difference anymore sadly) and go with the guy who was having more success in spring training.

    • matchmade 5 years ago

      He’s left handed and breathing, that seems to be enough to get interest from someone. They just may not have gotten what they wanted in return, especially since they would have had to eaten the majority of his ridiculous contract.

      • Drew 5 years ago

        Agreed. Someone would want to buy low on him with the hopes that his potential upside would show up again. Like Andruw Jones.

    • empathizerightonyourbehind 5 years ago

      i’m sure the nate robertson booth had a line around the block.

  11. matchmade 5 years ago

    Another item I wanted to mention regarding the Royals, since we’re talking AL Central, was the “What the….?” situation regarding signing every mediocre free agent outfielder they could get their money… er hands on. In my opinion this hurts the Royals even more than the Kendall signing. Mitch Maier is ready to be an every day player on the Royals (not any other team) and comes cheap.

    Adding all these outfielders blocks other players than Maier as well. It pushes Guillen into a DH role. Now, before you light the torches and grab the pitchforks, hear me out. Everyone should have known Guillen was going to show up to camp in the best shape he’s been in in a Royals uniform and show hustle and work ethic we’ve never seen from him. Why? It’s a contract year. Guillen at last year’s numbers and ability couldn’t hold Jermaine Dye’s jock strap. He knows he’s going to be unable to find work just like Jermaine is dealing with now unless he has a banner year. Maybe you sign Podsednik to be the 4th outfielder in case someone gets hurt and to give guys a day off.

    So now without Guillen shoved into the DH role you have a spot to put Kila Ka’aihue who, like Maier has proven he’s ready to play every day in a KC roster. Platoon him and Butler DH/1B and now you have a roster that’s not much different than the current but a bit cheaper. It also gives you a full season to see if Mitch and Kila are going to pan out to be MLB players. They have certainly shown themselves to be productive this spring as Kila hit .347 with 4 homers this spring and Mitch has only hit .444 so far! I know these guys wouldn’t produce like that for a full season. But, you never know what you have if you don’t get a look at it.

    • Koby2 5 years ago

      But….but….Kila isn’t aggressive enough at the plate. When need aggressiveness at the plate, not waiting on pitches. You gotta hit the first one that comes to you, we know that’s always the worst pitch from the pitcher! Ankiel, Podesdnik, Anderson (at the time an OF, now our new setup man!), uhh Danny Duberstein, Al Kaline, Jacque Jones, Stuntman Mike…they all bring veteran presence and leadership to the club! World Series baby!

  12. Motor_City_Bombshell 5 years ago

    Why is everyone so down on the Tigers? They are a lot better than the commenters on mlbtraderumors are giving them credit for. I happen to agree not resigning Polanco was their biggest mistake, but that’s one mistake. Believe it or not, of Robertson and Willis, Willis was definitely the better pitcher this spring. Whether or not that holds true the rest of the season is a different story, but his velocity is up and higher than it has been the past two seasons. Granderson was not as big an asset to the Tigers as people make him out to be. Yes, he hit 30 HRs, but a majority of them came with no one on base, and that also caused a drop in batting average to below .250, ugly numbers against lefties, and a staggering strikeout total. Add in suspect defense in key situations in September and leaves you thinking: was Granderson really that important to the Tigers? Austin Jackson is a legit ROY candidate and I expect him to be a better leadoff hitter than Granderson was and play better defense. Valverde is a huge step up from Rodney, Perry will slide into Lyon’s role and be productive, and the rest of the bullpen is pretty solid, especially when Miner and Seay are off the DL. Their rotation could be fantastic, if Verlander, Porcello, and Scherzer put up the numbers they are expected to, then the back of the rotation featuring Bonderman and Willis should be fine, and if the Tigers are still in the running in July and one of them is faltering, they can always go out and get one of the free agent pitchers still out there, or trade for someone. Also, Cabrera has the potential to be an MVP next year, and Ordonez is poised for a rebound to some degree. I think too many people overlook the Tigers, they are a lot better than what they are getting credit for. I know that’s too many “if’s” for one team, but they weren’t even in the AL Central discussion this time last year, and look where they ended up. This division is very winnable, so I wouldn’t count out anyone, but I feel the Tigers deserve just a little more credit.

  13. bjsguess 5 years ago

    Answers:

    Sox: Teahan and Pierre were both bad moves. Not the worst though. Watching Thome succeed in Minnesota will prove to be their worst mistake of the off-season. I think Rios will tank but Peavy will be solid. Great rotation in Chicago as long as Peavy is healthy. Kenny has constructed another 500/100 club – 500 winnings % with a $100m+ payroll.

    Indians: Played it smart. They could win the Central but I put them a good 10 games behind the Twins. If they exceed expectations there should be money to make mid-season trades (salary dumps) and prep for a division run. If they win 75 games then the saved money that could have been spent in 10 can be allocated to the ’11 team or future amateur talent.

    Tigers: I think they saw something in Granderson that they did not like. Really could be a franchise defining trade. If Granderson flourishes in NY then the Tigers absolutely screwed up and probably get set back substantially. I happen to think that Granderson is on a steady decline. Good to move him now and get something in return. Trading E Jackson was trading high. Smart move. Robertson vs Willis – take your pick. Crap shoot either way. I like the Damon signing. Now they just need to sit Ordonez so his next option doesn’t vest.

    Royals: Kendall was a mistake. Not a huge deal since the team isn’t going anywhere. The problem is that the Royals make mistakes like this every year. When you end up with a roster full of Kendall like players you find yourself in the basement.

    Twins: Mauer’s deal is too risky. That said, they really had no choice. Trading him would not return equal talent, especially in the eyes of a casual fan. Nathan going down hurts, really bad. Nathan is an absolute stud and there is a pretty steep drop off between him and the rest of the bullpen. Bet this costs the Twins at least 3-4 games. That said, Hudson, Thome and Hardy were all great acquisitions. The Twinkies win the Central with 88 wins in 2010. Would have been a 90 win team with Nathan.

  14. That is not necessarily true; 40-man roster spots are a lot harder to come by this time of year. The Royals blew it by signing Abreu during the wrong period, similar to Warner Madrigal a few years back.

  15. TwinsVet 5 years ago

    I’m most definitely not annoiting ramos. But between Ramos (who almost made the club out of camp this year) and Morales, our catching spot doesn’t become a black hole without mauer. That was my point; its not “mauer or nobody”, its “mauer or one of two kids who could actually hit .300 over a season” (Valencia has in limited ABs, and Ramos had a sick spring). People talk about 81 RAR for mauer… But that’s flawed logic because it presumes his replacement would perform at average – we don’t know that to be the case.

  16. TwinsVet 5 years ago

    No team sticks with a platoon if a clear everyday starter emerges. Gardys love of LNP has more to do with nicks tangible defense and OBP than a platoon affinity.

    If neshek goes out and shuts people down, gardy sure isn’t going to rotate in rausch just for the sake of “committee”.

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