#AskBW (5/22): Openers, Bullpen Help & What Would Buck Get on the Open Market?

Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Intros are pointless, let’s roll.

I think something around…$120 million maybe? I was initially thinking $20 million per year, but that’s a bit steep and there’s still gotta be some risk baked in. At this rate, he’d be getting $15 million per year — assuming we’re voiding/avoiding his remaining years of club control.

Frankly, I think I’d probably do this if I was a team. There’s so much raw talent here, and the downside is still lots of value on the bases and defensively.

Not really. Last year it was more about the dearth of available pitching talent, and the fact that Kohl Stewart — who was more or less a rotation mainstay down the stretch — fared better as a primary pitcher than he did as a starter, albeit in a small sample size.

I really only see The Opener as experimental right now, and that’s not really something the Twins need to think about unless they end up tinkering with Michael Pineda, who has a significant third time through the order penalty — granted, he’s still working his way back from Tommy John surgery and has looked better of late.

The team has an air of confidence around it right now. I won’t name names, but I spoke to one player in Fort Myers who said, “We’re going to the playoffs this year, I’ll tell you that.” It was a young guy, too.

But I think he speaks for a lot of his teammates when he says there’s plenty of confidence this team can get to the playoffs. From there, you just let the chips fall where they may.

This is an organization that is very well synchronized from the top down. In the past, I’d say they were decently well in lockstep with one another, but I think this current regime has them on a completely different level. It’s pretty visible with how they run drills in spring training and that sort of thing, and I’m very sure it trickles down to the minor leagues, where guys are preparing for their MLB futures.

Good question.

Jorge Polanco and one of Martin Perez, Jose Berrios or Jake Odorizzi.

I wanted to give one of the catchers the nod — and still might since it’s such a shallow position in the American League — but Mitch Garver missing as much time as he will with his high ankle sprain seems to put a fairly big crimp in his chances.

It’d be pretty neat to see three or four guys go to the game though, wouldn’t it?

I did some legwork on that here but the main thing you’re looking for is “good reliever, bad team.” Mychal Givens comes up a lot — and for good reason, because he’s the exact prototype of this theory — and the odds are good that Jonathan Schoop could give the Twins the lowdown on what kind of guy he is, etc.

If I had to power rank the arms that I’d look at to add to this bullpen via trade, I’d go like this:

  1. Will Smith, San Francisco
  2. Givens, Baltimore
  3. Shane Greene, Detroit
  4. Greg Holland, Arizona
  5. Ian Kennedy, Kansas City

Certainly some other guys will become available as the season goes on, but for now, that’s where I’m at.

I’ll give you two:

Max Kepler on offense. He came into Tuesday night’s game hitting .244/.321/.457, and I just feel like there’s more in there. He’s taking his walks, has more to show against lefties and has been a slow burn at every point in his development. He’s not a star if he can get his batting average to .270, but he’d be a damn fine player at that level.

On the pitching side, I still think Pineda has a lot more to show than he has so far this season. I know that’s not a popular take, but he’s a thoroughbred physically — in terms of big and strong in his trunk, rather than more slightly built like a Jose Berrios, for instance — and at his peak he did everything you could want a starter to do: strike guys out, no walks, get grounders and keep the ball in the park. The last one is key. If he can do that, and his velo ticks up as the weather continues to warm up, it could be a nice second half of the season for him.

I listed him up above, but privately I do wonder how long Pittsburgh can stay in the race. Entering Tuesday the Pirates were just 2.5 games out of first place, but the Cubs are starting to sizzle and the Brewers and Cardinals, in my opinion, are just clearly better-built teams.

So if the Pirates fizzle rather than sizzle down the stretch, I think the 35-year-old Liriano his the market, and he’s done a darn good job setting up for Felipe Vasquez this year: 0.81 ERA, 11.3 K/9, 1.08 WHIP and a FIP of 2.51.

Does that mean the Twins will have interest? I don’t know, but it would seem like a really cool storyline and he can still get guys out, too.

Brusdar Graterol as a high-octane reliever down the stretch. The Twins are going to have to fill rotation spots next year unless they somehow retain all of Odorizzi, Gibson and Pineda, and if you want Graterol in that mix, you get his feet wet in August and September throwing darts out of the bullpen.

I get the sense that reliever will be the higher priority. They really like their 1-4 and there’s enough reason to believe that Pineda will come around that I don’t think they’re actively shopping for rotation pieces — especially with guys like Zack Littell, Stephen Gonsalves and Stewart able to fill in whenever needed.

It wouldn’t be hard to justify adding a bullpen arm — perhaps Kimbrel — but it’s hard to know where he’s at in terms of if he’d really sign with Minnesota. Money talks. Would I get your hopes up? No. But is it out of the realm of possible? Not at all.

  1. Trade for Marcus Stroman
  2. Trade for Will Smith
  3. That’s it. A bullpen with Pineda and Smith in it would be absolutely filthy, the rotation would be stocked 1-5 and I really don’t see any needs on offense that they didn’t address already. If I wanted to get greedy, maybe keep tabs on Jose Abreu if C.J. Cron doesn’t have a good season, but so far he’s doing quite well.

Maybe a little. Reed was one of the better relievers available that offseason, and whether it was overuse to start 2018, a career worth of innings pitched or something else altogether, he appears to be far from the guy we saw just one year ago.

But if anything, it just underscores why the Twins have been among the most hesitant teams to hand out multi-year deals to outside relievers. Prior to Reed, the Twins had never done it.

Will they do it again? I’m sure they will, but they aren’t going four years on Kimbrel. Two years and $35 million? That might get it done.

As he’s performing now. Anything higher on a sustained basis would put him in that Mike Trout stratosphere, or just beneath it, but I think the gamble would be too high.

And he’s so good right now.

Fairly aggressive. I think he’ll be in Rochester by midseason and could get a look up here late. I’m probably among the most bullish on that, however, but again — I think that’s more likely than them throwing a bunch of cash at Kimbrel, for instance.

You’re in luck. I broke that down in-depth here.

  1. Berrios
  2. Perez
  3. Gibson
  4. Pineda
  5. OPEN (Stewart/Gonsalves/Graterol)

I think they get something done with two of their three impending free agents, though they could try to really muscle up in free agency and grab a Gerrit Cole or someone of that ilk. It’s still too early to have any idea.

Has to be the Dodge Ram doesn’t it….?

I have no idea. Time to enjoy the journey rather than the destination, in my opinion.

I really don’t know. I run so hot and cold on that idea. He’s got a big personality and I’m not sure how that would be received in the Twins clubhouse, but he’s clearly one of the game’s best big-game pitchers and who wouldn’t like to have him in October?

My guess is this probably wouldn’t be quite enough, as they’d probably want three pieces — none of them Gordon. Maybe the Twins could convince them to take three top-10 prospects not named Royce Lewis, Alex Kirilloff or Graterol, but that’d be a mighty tall order, I think.

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