#AskBW (2/13): Nintendo Games, Lineups & the No. 5 Starter

Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

I wish I could blame the weather for how long it’s been since I’ve done one of these — but the desktop is just in the other room. But absence makes the heart grow fonder, so let’s put that to the test here.

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I would say I was a little late to the Nintendo party. When my mom remarried in 1991, her husband brought with his NES system and we played a lot of RC Pro-Am, Excitebike, Double Dribble and those sorts of games.

But I think my favorites are a two-way tie between these classics:

Blades of Steel

-and-

John Elway’s Quarterback

I would say your boys are obviously too young to play either of those classics, so I’d stick with Super Mario Bros. for now.

I really think it still makes sense for them to sign another starter — either Dallas Keuchel or Gio Gonzalez.

With that said, I think Perez makes a lot more sense out of the bullpen to start the season — where he was hitting 97-98 mph late last season with Texas — and then to go from there.

When I asked Twins general manager Thad Levine about Perez this winter, he said the team plans to be creative on how he’ll be used. Might that be as The Opener or with one? Maybe.

But if he can follow the Carlos Carrasco plan, that wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

Through his age-26 season, Carrasco had a career ERA of 5.29 and a WHIP of 1.53. He didn’t strike anyone out (6.2 K/9) and looked like another prospect bust.

Then the Indians sent him to the bullpen during the 2014 season, and brought him back as a starter later that year with incredible results. From 2014 on, Carrasco has posted a 3.27 ERA, 10.1 K/9 and a 1.09 WHIP.

Perez turns 28 in April — so he’s a year further down the road than Carrasco was — but his numbers, as bad as they seem, aren’t completely unsalvagable when compared to the Cleveland righty’s: 4.63 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 5.5 K/9.

The arm talent is there, and the Twins are going to try some unusual stuff this season. I think people might be pleasantly surprised with Perez.

I don’t know what “Noel” means in this context — maybe autocorrect of bowl? — but my go-to was vanilla or cake batter fro-yo with Oreos, M&Ms and hot fudge. Whipped topping and a cherry to go with as well, of course.

Ugh, this is even more pertinent now than when it was sent in. I swear I’ve shoveled five-plus inches of snow off my driveway at least three times in the last week.

More like #SnowOffseason.

But I would say your best bet would have been Jose Berrios.

When I saw him at TwinsFest he looked rather small, but he’s in great shape. I just think his frame is going to be tough to add weight to at any time. To me, he looks substantially taller than his brother Dee — though the two are listed just one inch apart online — and the elder Gordon turned out to be a perfectly fine big league player.

I understand the concern about him wearing out late in the season, but I also think he’s still trying to figure out the grind of a full minor-league season. I’ll be exponentially more concerned if he isn’t around a .760-.780 OPS this year with Rochester.

Let’s see, they open with Cleveland, so they’re seeing a righty no matter what — and almost certainly Corey Kluber.

So:

  1. Jorge Polanco SS
  2. Eddie Rosario LF
  3. Nelson Cruz DH
  4. Max Kepler RF
  5. Miguel Sano 3B
  6. CJ Cron 1B
  7. Jonathan Schoop 2B
  8. Jason Castro C
  9. Byron Buxton CF

Put me in the camp of “not as many as everyone thinks.”

I’d set the over/under at about 75, which is fewer than he got last year. His numbers look good, but I just don’t see a fit on this roster with everyone healthy.

More homers than strikeouts though.

Of course, this came in before J.T. Realmuto was dealt to the Phillies, but we can have some fun with hypotheticals.

No, I wouldn’t have traded Alex Kirilloff — or Royce Lewis, of course — in a deal for Realmuto, but I’d have put just about anything else on the table.

I think my initial offer would have been something like Max Kepler, Brusdar Graterol, Gordon and Mitch Garver. None of these guys are as highly-regarded as Sixto Sanchez, but the deal goes a little deeper and adds a cheap, competent MLB catcher on the back end as well. Garver isn’t close to Jorge Alfaro behind the plate, but with five years of control and a pretty good bat, that’s still a nice chess piece.

  1. Jose Berrios
  2. Eddie Rosario
  3. Jorge Polanco

End of list.

I’m probably the most bullish on Polanco in this market, but he’s a steady player who always seems to keep cool under pressure and has an underrated office skill set of hitting line drives all over the field with a bit of power.

With Berrios, I think I’d probably offer something like a five-year deal and with Rosario maybe something to get cost certainty for his arbitration years. I don’t know, though, because outfield is a position of reasonable depth in the system.

I think the team’s traveling secretary takes care of a lot of the logistics. I wrote a story on what it’s like to be traded at the deadline — from the point of view of Mike Herman, who handles that role for the Twins — so maybe just read that in reverse?

Kidding.

A lot of it has to do with finding a hotel to stay in for the short- to medium-term, and if it’s an apartment — think a more established short-term player like Lance Lynn or Zach Duke, especially if they have a family — there’s furniture rental and getting their stuff transported up here from either spring training or wherever they live in the offseason.

Yes, they do use TwinsFest for some of this — at least I observed one player doing so.

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From Phil Wiese: Twins 2019 record (if you get it within four games, I owe you Chipotle)?

I think they’ll go 86-76. I think the pitching staff will be more sturdy — some help from youth, and don’t sleep on Michael Pineda — and the offense has a lot of young guys who can make things go with the help of Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop and CJ Cron. It’s going to be a “Bombs Away!” offense — in a good way.

From Adam Fuchs: If the Twins ever got in a position to make a postseason run, would the Pohlads ever approve the signing or trading for a highly-paid player to help push us over the top?

I’m not sure, but the company line is yes. The suggestion right now is that if they don’t do anything else this offseason — signing Craig Kimbrel or Keuchel, for instance — they’ll use the remaining flexibility as the ability to make a move later this season if the need arises based on how the team plays well into the season.

So if the Twins are, say, 65-55 entering the final stretch, they’d be in position to trade some of their prospect cupboard for, say, whatever they feel is holding the team back — most likely a No. 2 starter with some years of control, I think.

From George Murphy: What possible trades do the Twins do (that are possible) to add another power bat and a middle of the rotation SP?

I really don’t see anything right now bats-wise, especially from a standpoint of where that player would play defensively. People have asked me who might be the Jake Odorizzi trade target this offseason, and I’m not really sure I see one. I think a buy-low on Marcus Stroman makes a ton of sense, but I don’t think the Blue Jays see it the same way — especially with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette on the way.

So you have to look at teams not super interested in contending and who they might have that fits that profile:

  • Baltimore – You’d have to really like Dylan Bundy for a fit here.
  • Detroit –  You could go with Michael Fulmer here or maybe Matt Boyd.
  • Rangers – Later in the year someone like Mike Minor, Shelby Miller or Drew Smyly could be interesting, but not right now.
  • Mariners – Mike Leake could be interesting as a poor man’s Rick Porcello, but how interesting is that, really?
  • Marlins – Jose Urena might be the guy to watch here, but after he threw at Ronald Acuna Jr. last year it’s worth wondering what his perception is around the league.
  • Pirates – This is a tough spot to read. They’re probably the fifth-best team in the NL Central — or jockeying for fourth with Cincinnati — and aren’t spending any money, but they also just traded a ton for Chris Archer just a few months ago. Do you wait a while and try get Archer or pay big for Jameson Taillon? Or aim a little — but not much, actually — lower with Trevor Williams? Hard to say, but that wouldn’t be at this time.
  • Padres – Nobody knows what the Padres are doing, but there isn’t much here. They aren’t moving anyone like Matt Strahm, Dinelson Lamet (hurt) or Luis Perdomo, and that is about all that would make sense at this point.

So…that’s about it for now. It might make more sense for a team to fall out of the race — like the NL Central or NL West, both of which are deep, strong races — or to look for some kind of player who pops up and shows they’re better than before. With that said, that’s buying high — and that’s not a good proposition either.


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Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

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