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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Luis Arraez, Sui Generis

The 2019 Minnesota Twins hit, roughly speaking, all of the home runs. That’s not precisely accurate of course, but it’s close enough for government work; they set an all-time record for home runs. Of the 12 Twins who came to the plate 300 times in 2019, 11 hit 10 or more bombs. Bomba Squad isn’t just a nickname; it’s an accurate description of a team filled to the brim with home run hitters.

This article is about that 12th Twin. Luis Arraez had 366 plate appearances last year. He hit just four home runs. That was the sixth-lowest home run total among players with 350 or more PA, and the names below him aren’t inspiring; Billy Hamilton, Tony Wolters, Yolmer Sánchez, Nicky Lopez, and Dee Gordon weren’t exactly offensive powerhouses.

All told, only 29 batters hit less than 10 home runs in 350 or more plate appearances. That reflects the democratization of home runs, but it also means that it’s difficult to contribute offensively without dingers. In fact, 27 of those 29 players had a wRC+ below 100. The only two exceptions? Nick Markakis, who squeaked over the finish line with nine bombs and a 102 wRC+ — and Arraez, who batted .334/.399/.439 on his way to a scintillating 125 wRC+.

It’s not weird, not even a little bit, that players who don’t hit home runs are generally bad at offense. There’s no single outcome as helpful to a team’s cause as a home run. If you had to predict a player’s offensive output and you could only have access to one outcome type, you’d pick home runs, right? Walks might be okay, and doubles might be as well, but singles? Triples? Heck, throw in BABIP and strikeouts if you want. Nothing comes close to home runs.

Some remarks on a man who didn’t get a bunch of dingers when everyone around him was accumulating them by the truckload.

 

QLE Posted: March 12, 2020 at 01:39 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, luis arraez, twins

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Who is Josh Kalk? To appreciate Twins’ pitching architect, ask everyone but him – The Athletic

You can’t walk two feet in the clubhouse before another Twins pitching coach gushes about the impact Kalk has had on both the team’s players and coaches. A player development enthusiast since his days with the Tampa Bay Rays, Kalk is regarded as a savant when it comes to information.

What began as writing for his own blog and eventually The Hardball Times after he found a backdoor into Major League Baseball’s Pitch F/X data and researched the numbers has developed into a critical skillset required by one of MLB’s most innovative teams. A benefactor of MLB’s information age, Kalk, in the eyes of Twins general manager Thad Levine, personifies the sport’s evolution.

“Five to 10 years ago, people with Josh’s background would not have had immediate access to major-league coaches, to major-league players, to game planning,” Levine said. “He now is one of the chief architects of our pitching planning throughout our whole minor-league and major-league systems. He is a consigliere to (pitching coach) Wes Johnson, (senior pitching advisor) Bob McClure, (minor-league pitching coordinator) Pete Maki and (manager) Rocco Baldelli.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2020 at 07:12 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: pay site, twins

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Maeda gives up leadoff HR in 1st start for Twins, settles in

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Kenta Maeda got off to a memorable start for the Minnesota Twins, that’s for sure.

The Twins newcomer gave up a home run to Boston’s Andrew Benintendi to begin the game Monday, prompting the Japanese pitcher to laugh later.

“First time facing hitters so I just wanted to get that feel back,” Maeda said through an interpreter. “And I wasn’t scheduled to give up a home run on the first hitter, just so you know.”

Maeda threw 37 pitches in two innings, allowing two hits with one walk and one strikeout. The Twins won 3-2.

 

QLE Posted: February 25, 2020 at 01:01 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: kenta maeda, twins

Friday, February 14, 2020

Dodgers pay Maeda $1M trade bonus as part of trade to Twins

NEW YORK (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers agreed to pay Kenta Maeda’s $1 million assignment bonus as part of their trade of the pitcher to the Minnesota Twins.

Los Angeles also agreed to pay the Twins $3 million to cover part of Maeda’s salary and reimburse Minnesota for up to $7 million of his earned bonuses, according to information obtained by The Associated Press.

Meada’s maximum cost to the Twins would be $3,713,500 this year if he earns $13.15 million, his total if he reaches all his roster and performance and bonus levels. His maximum to Minnesota would be $12,586,500 in 2021 and $13.15 million in both 2022 and ’23, a total exposure to the Twins of $42.6 million.

Los Angeles will pay $2,436,500 this year split into in 12 installments on the 15th and last day of each month from April through September. The first four installments are $203,041.66 and the last eight $203,041.67.

We’ve discussed the financials of this trade as it relates to Boston- here are aspects to it as it relates to the Twins.

 

QLE Posted: February 14, 2020 at 01:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dollah dollah bills, y'all, kenta maeda, twins

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Mookie Betts on way to L.A.—again (source)

DODGERS GET: OF Mookie Betts, LHP David Price, cash (all from BOS); RHP Brusdar Graterol, 67th pick in 2020 Draft (both from MIN)
RED SOX GET: OF Alex Verdugo, SS Jeter Downs, C Connor Wong (all from LA)
TWINS GET: RHP Kenta Maeda, cash (both from LA)


Thursday, February 06, 2020

Twins, Tigers to play in Dominican Republic on March 7

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Major League Baseball is returning to the Dominican Republic for the first time in 20 years, with the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers playing a spring training game in Santo Domingo on March 7.

MLB has never played a regular-season game in the Dominican Republic. The last exhibition there was between Boston and Houston in 2000 at Estadio Quisqueya Juan Marichal, also the site of this year’s game.

 

QLE Posted: February 06, 2020 at 01:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dominican republic, spring training, tigers, twins

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Twins To Sign Jhoulys Chacin

The Twins have reached an agreement to sign free-agent right-hander Jhoulys Chacin, according to Robert Murray. Chacin, who is represented by GSE Worldwide, will join the team on a minor league contract with an invite to big league camp, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman confirms. Per Daniel Alvarez of El Extrabase, Chacin will earn $1.6MM with an additional $1.5MM in incentives if he makes the Major League team.

Although Chacin, 32, is coming off a dreadful season that resulted in his release from the Brewers, he is only a year removed from a solid 2018 season in which he anchored the Milwaukee rotation. And while a minor league deal doesn’t guarantee anything, Chacin seems like a solid bet to crack the Twins’ opening day roster. The Minnesota club has made it known that they set out this offseason to bolster the rotation, but after striking out on top-tier arms like Hyun-Jin Ryu and Madison Bumgarner, they’ve had to settle for the more modest combination of Rich Hill and Homer Bailey.

 

 

QLE Posted: February 02, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, jhoulys chacin, twins

Monday, January 27, 2020

Rich Hill, Twins have sights set on World Series together

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — After four playoff appearances, including two trips to the World Series, in four years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Rich Hill was a 39-year-old free agent coming off another elbow surgery.

Unlikely to return until at least June, Hill wanted to find a team to get him back to the World Series. The Minnesota Twins came calling, seeking Hill for just for that reason.

“He’s coming back from an injury, but I think we feel the reward is significant because, qualitatively, he has been a stellar pitcher when he’s been healthy,” Minnesota general manager Thad Levine said. “He’s pitched down the stretch in very tough situations and he’s pitched in the postseason, so I think we’re viewing him as a guy that has every bit a chance to start in a playoff series and that’s important for us.”

Hill signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Twins. Speaking to reporters at the team’s annual fan festival this weekend, Hill said he will start throwing next week with a goal of joining the Twins on the mound in June.

Well, given both the events of the last few weeks and the condition of the AL Central generally, it’s not that unreasonable a goal…..

 

QLE Posted: January 27, 2020 at 12:50 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: playoff implications, rich hill, twins

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Slugger Josh Donaldson agrees to $92 million deal with Twins

Frustrated in their attempts to land an established ace in free agency, the Twins on Tuesday acquired a player who will help the team’s pitching staff in an underrated way:

They won’t have to face Josh Donaldson anymore.

Donaldson, who owns the highest batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage of any opponent in Twins history, on Tuesday accepted the largest free-agent contract the team has ever agreed to - a four-year deal that guarantees the 34-year-old third baseman $92 million.

Those terms — an average annual salary of $21 million, plus an option for a fifth year in 2024 that could bring the total to more than $100 million, or a buyout worth $8 million — dwarf the $54 million guarantee that Ervin Santana received five years ago, which stood until now as the priciest deal lavished on an outsider.

Am I missing anyone important, or does this mean that we’re out of players to discuss around the hot stove?

 

QLE Posted: January 15, 2020 at 12:30 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, hot stove, josh donaldson, twins

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Miguel Sano agrees to three-year contract; five other Twins avoid arbitration

The Twins finally agreed to a long-term contract with a slugging All-Star third baseman on Friday, but it wasn’t the one they’ve been pursuing for the past month.

Miguel Sano, who figures to move across the diamond to first base if Josh Donaldson accepts the Twins’ month-old free-agent offer, signaled his apparently willingness to do so by agreeing to a three-year contract with a team option for a fourth, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the deal.

Sano is guaranteed $30 million over the next three seasons, pending a physical, the sources confirmed, a number that jumps to $41 million over four years if the Twins pick up his option for the 2023 season. The deal capped a day in which the Twins also agreed to spend $18.68 million on five other arbitration-eligible veterans in 2020 — but failed to negotiate a deal with All-Star righthander Jose Berrios.

Berrios and the Twins have three weeks to work out a deal, or an arbitrator will choose from among the sides’ proposals in February. Berrios, who won 14 games and pitched in an All-Star Game for the second time in 2019 while earning $620,000, is seeking a $4.4 million salary this summer, while the Twins offered $4.025 million, a seemingly paltry gap to bridge in a payroll that totaled $119 million last year.

 

QLE Posted: January 11, 2020 at 12:25 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, miguel sano, twins

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Twins sign Homer Bailey and Rich Hill

The Minnesota Twins signed two free agent pitchers just before the end of 2019, inking Rich Hill and Homer Bailey to one-year deals.

Hill, who will turn 40 during spring training, is still recovering from “primary and revision surgery” on his left elbow he underwent back in October and won’t be ready for the start of the 2020 season. It’s most likely that, barring setbacks, he’ll be ready to go at or maybe just before the All-Star break.

Despite that, Hill should be able to help the Twins. He dealt with a flexor strain during the 2019 campaign but still posted a 2.45 ERA with excellent peripherals over 13 starts with the Dodgers. Basically, when he felt good he was still effective, when he didn’t, he couldn’t go. Given that he wasn’t losing it when he could pitch, there is reason to believe that he will be an asset for Rocco Baldelli in the second half of the season.

 

 

QLE Posted: December 31, 2019 at 11:37 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: homer bailey, rich hill, twins

Twins Have Made 4-Year Offer To Josh Donaldson

The Twins entered the offseason seeking “impact” starting pitching, but it doesn’t appear they’ll succeed in that quest. They agreed to one-year deals with Rich Hill and Homer Bailey on Tuesday, and with no high-end starters left on the market, their heavy lifting could be done in that area after also retaining Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda.

Although the Twins may be finished picking up notable starters, that doesn’t mean the reigning AL Central champions are content to enter next season without adding at least one more established contributor to the roster. On the contrary, they’re still chasing the premier free agent available, Josh Donaldson, and have made the third baseman a four-year offer, Dan Hayes of The Athletic reports (subscription link).

Financial details of the Twins’ proposal are unknown, but it could well be in the neighborhood of $90MM. As of two weeks ago, the Nationals were reportedly willing to go to that range for Donaldson, who has also drawn attention from his previous team, the Braves, as well as the Dodgers, Phillies and Rangers this winter. All of those clubs could still conceivably make a splash at the position.

The hot stove doesn’t take time off to prepare for the return of the Roaring Twenties.

 

QLE Posted: December 31, 2019 at 11:32 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: hot stove, josh donaldson, twins

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Twins to add more safety netting at Target Field

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins announced Thursday they will make further extensions to safety netting at Target Field next season, the third such enhancement they’ve made in five years.

The new netting along the left-field line will extend an additional 85 feet from the previous endpoint and 8 feet from the previous height, making that side about 275 feet long and 22 feet high.

Along the right-field line, the net will stretch 65 feet longer and 7 feet higher, to about 255 feet long and 21 feet high.

 

QLE Posted: December 05, 2019 at 10:14 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: netting, twins

Report: Twins, Michael Pineda agree to two-year, $20 million contract

Pierre Noujaim of Fox9 Minneapolis reports that the Twins and free agent starter Michael Pineda have agreed on a two-year contract. The Athletic’s Dan Hayes confirms Noujaim’s report and adds that the deal is for $20 million.

Is it just me, or is the hot stove a little hotter than it has been the last couple of years?

 

QLE Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:55 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: contracts, michael pineda, twins

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Red Sox among five teams under pressure for MLB hot-stove splash

Red Sox: They won it all in 2018, missed the playoffs in 2019, fired Dave Dombrowski (head of their baseball operations), have a manager in Alex Cora who might be tied up in the Astros’ electronic pitch-stealing scandal from when he was their bench coach in 2017, owners calling for major pay reductions, and a great, popular homegrown player in his prime in Betts, who has given no indications he will re-sign in Boston before free agency.

So Chaim Bloom, who replaced Dombrowski, has a full plate at what feels like a pivotal moment for the organization to try not to get so caught up in maximizing this year’s team as to mess up the near future. Can Bloom trade Price or Eovaldi? What can be gotten for Betts, whose value is hurt by having just one year of control and a 2020 salary that will at least approach $30 million?

Jim Furtado Posted: December 01, 2019 at 09:34 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, nationals, phillies, red sox, twins

Monday, November 25, 2019

Twins will sometimes wear baby blue uniforms in 2020

The Twins will wear a baby blue alternate uniform for 2020, replicating the team’s road uniform worn from 1973-86.

The team will also wear a special logo commemorating their 60th season in Minnesota.

The alternate uniforms can be worn in home and road games and will paired with the team’s navy blue cap.

“No uniform in the history of Minnesota Twins baseball drives more fan engagement than the old-school baby blues,” Twins President and CEO Dave St. Peter said in a release.

And the return of retro elements to contemporary uniforms continues.

 

QLE Posted: November 25, 2019 at 02:03 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: twins, uniforms

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Twins give contract extensions to front office brass

The Twins announced today that they have agreed to contract extensions with Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and General Manager Thad Levine. The new deals lock up Falvey and Levine through 2024. They were already under contract through 2021.

For those wondering who gets contract extensions rapidly in this time…..

 

QLE Posted: November 14, 2019 at 12:27 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: contract extensions, derek falvey, twins

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Braves’ [stuff] doesn’t work in the playoffs, either

The Athletics have been something of a punching bag over the years because executive vice president and president of baseball operations Billy Beane was famously quoted in Moneyball saying, “My [stuff] doesn’t work in the playoffs. My job is to get us to the playoffs. What happens after that is […] luck.”

Since 2000, the A’s have reached the playoffs 10 times. They have advanced into the ALCS just once, in 2006, when they were swept out by the Tigers. They’re 1-6 in the Division Series and 0-3 in the AL Wild Card game, accounting for their last three playoff losses (2014, ’18-19). To call their performance in the playoffs disappointing would be an understatement.

The A’s, however, are not the only team whose [stuff] doesn’t work in the playoffs. The Twins, who were just swept out of the ALDS by the Yankees, haven’t reached the ALCS since 2002. They have failed in their last six appearances in the ALDS — mostly against the Yankees — and lost the AL Wild Card game in 2017 as well (to the Yankees).

A consideration of losing streaks in the playoffs, albeit one that has gone out of date since between when I found it and when I posted it…..

QLE Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:44 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, braves, nationals, playoff streak, playoffs, the agony of defeat, twins

Twins To Exercise Club Option Over Nelson Cruz

In one of the more predictable items of early offseason business, the Twins have decided to exercise their club option over designated hitter Nelson Cruz, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter). That decision will not need to be made formally until after the conclusion of the World Series, but it seems the Minnesota organization has already chosen a path.

When Cruz was asked recently about his contract situation, he responded in a manner that almost suggested he would be waiting with baited breath: “I don’t have that call,” he said, “but hopefully they can pick up the option.” But it didn’t take an act of benevolence, or even require much deliberation, for the Minnesota organization to settle upon a return.

 

 

QLE Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:19 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: nelson cruz, options, twins

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Driven out: Twins rookie _ and ex-Uber guy _ tagged by Yanks

NEW YORK (AP) — Just too much traffic for Twins rookie Randy Dobnak.

The feel-good story of the Uber driver-turned-big league pitcher came to a screeching halt Saturday when the New York Yankees tagged him from the get-go in an 8-2 rout, putting Minnesota in a serious jam in the AL Division Series.

“Nerves were fine,” Dobnak said. “I don’t know what it was.”

A week removed from his in-season wedding in Maryland, and with new bride Aerial in the stands, Dobnak soaked in the mocking, taunting cheers of “Uber, Uber” from the bleacher crowd at Yankee Stadium when he limbered up in the outfield before Game 2.

Yankees fans, showing (as they have so often this season) the sort of class and dignity that explains why so many people root for anyone else…..

QLE Posted: October 06, 2019 at 12:36 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs, randy dobnak, twins, yankees-no-fun-as-usual

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Yanks, Twins epitome of baseball’s 3 True Outcomes

NEW YORK (AP) — Not until the 42nd pitch of the night was a ball was put in play to a fielder.

There were five home runs, 25 strikeouts, 14 walks, 13 pitchers and just 15 hits.

The New York Yankees’ 10-4 win over the Minnesota Twins in their AL Division Series opener on Friday was the epitome of what Major League Baseball has evolved into in 2019.

A 4-hour, 15-minute meeting between power-packed offenses was dominated by the Three True Outcomes — homers, walks, strikeouts — when the defense is superfluous other than the pitcher and catcher.

And yet this was still faster than when the Yankees play the Red Sox…..

 

QLE Posted: October 05, 2019 at 12:18 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: three true outcomes, twins, yankees

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Mold-breaking Twins pitching coach makes positive impression

“If we’re doing it the same as everyone else, by definition that’s league average,” Falvey said. “If we do things in a league-average way, we shouldn’t expect to be better than league average as a team, so in my mind, we have to be open to new ideas.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 03, 2019 at 03:29 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: twins

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Orlando Cabrera To Retire From Baseball

OH NO, EXPO!

Last season, Orlando Cabrera batted .238 with the Indians and Giants, posting a 61 OPS+. The season before that, he posted a 76 OPS+. The season before that, he posted an 85 OPS+. Orlando Cabrera has been declining, and just turned 37 years old. As a free agent, Cabrera didn’t drum up much interest, which I’m guessing is why he’s intending to hang ‘em up. Enrique Rojas:

  “Orlando Cabrera to retire from baseball, he said in Colombia radio station. Thanks for memories!”

Cabrera had a long career that’ll be difficult to forget. He debuted with the Expos in 1997, and remained there until the giant Nomar Garciaparra three-way trade in 2004. That year, with the Red Sox, Cabrera won a World Series. He wound up with the Angels, earning the unfortunate nickname “The Wizard of O.C.”, and then he wound up with the White Sox, and the A’s, and the Twins, and the Reds, and the Indians, and the Giants ... He remained a shortstop to the end, and collected 2,055 hits. He will always be remembered as a pest. An absolute pest.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2012 at 09:06 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, athletics, expos, giants, indians, red sox, reds, twins, white sox

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Zumaya agrees to deal with Twins

Game on!

The Tigers could end up seeing a lot of Joel Zumaya this year after all. It’ll just be in a different uniform, albeit an awfully familiar one.

After throwing for teams in December and holding out for a roster spot and the right situation, Zumaya has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Twins, the reliever told MLB.com. The two sides spent Saturday putting together a deal that could pay him anywhere from $800,000 to $1.7 million if he reaches incentives.

A Twins official would neither confirm nor deny the deal to MLB.com, but said they’ve been in negotiations since December.

Zumaya weighed what he called “good offers” from three other clubs,  but the Twins included guaranteed money rather than a minor-league deal with a Spring Training invite. If he’s healthy, they’ll bring him to the same mound at Target Field where he last threw a Major League pitch. He fractured his elbow throwing for the Tigers against the Twins on June 28, 2010.

Repoz Posted: January 15, 2012 at 03:00 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: tigers, twins

MLB Trade Rumors: Bartolo Colon Agrees to Sign With Unknown Team

Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with an unknown club reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The right-hander wouldn’t divulge the team because he has not yet passed his physical.

Pretty sure it’s either the All-Stars or the Champs.


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