The Twins have signed right-hander Hansel Robles, The Athletic’s Dan Hayes reports (Twitter link). The deal has been officially announced by the team. Robles will earn $2MM on the one-year contract, as per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (Twitter links). He could make up to $500K more in incentives, Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News tweets.
Robles was non-tendered by the Angels on December 2, as the team chose to cut Robles loose rather than pay him a projected arbitration salary in the $4MM range. The decision wasn’t entirely surprising in the wake of a pretty disastrous 2020 season for the 30-year-old, as Robles posted a 10.26 ERA over 16 2/3 innings for the Halos, in large part due to a 2.2 HR/9.
Though Robles has been somewhat susceptible to the long ball throughout his career, he still posted some solid numbers for the Mets from 2015-18, and it seemed like Robles had turned a corner after the Angels claimed him off waivers in June 2018. Robles had a 2.97 ERA in 36 1/3 frames for Anaheim during the remainder of the 2018 campaign, and then seemed to fully break out during a 2019 season that saw him emerge as the Angels’ closer.
Robles had a 2.48 ERA, 4.69 K/BB rate, and 9.3 K/9 over 72 2/3 innings for Los Angeles in 2019, and he racked up 23 saves. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams observed back in April, Robles thrived after greatly increasingly the use of his changeup, and altering his approach when challenging right-handed batters with his fastball. According to Statcast, Robles’ change was still an effective pitch in 2020, but batters absolutely teed off on his four-seamer to the tune of a .447 xwOBA.
Minnesota certainly hopes its coaching staff can get Robles back on track next season, as the Twins bullpen has some holes to fill. The Twins have already lost a couple of notable names in Trevor May and Matt Wisler, and Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard are still free agents. It has been a pretty quiet offseason overall for the reigning AL Central champions, perhaps due to the ongoing uncertainty around whether or not Nelson Cruz could re-sign with the Twins, a situation that may not be resolved until it is known if the DH will be used in the National League next season.