FanPost

The Uncanny Extwins

Wasn’t every player move the Twins made over the last decade was really stupid? Ever wish that they’d just get rid of all the bums on today’s team, and bring back everyone they got rid of? Do you pine for days when Juan Castro was still riding the pine? Does Orlando Hudson just remind you of Orlando Cabrera? Do you have a forbidden hunger for more Lamb? Or Bass? Or is your hunger only sated by Humber? Got a major Garrett jones?

Let’s assume for some bizarre reason you answered yes to all those questions. Well, let’s get the band back together, man! We will assemble the uncanny Extwins. The only question left to answer is: How freaking cool would that be?!?

Here are the rules. Your payroll is unlimited, but every player must have appeared in a game for the Twins sometime in his career. Every player also must have played in the major leagues in 2010, but not for the Twins. To assemble a realistic number of plate appearances and innings pitched for this point in the season, no player can play more for the Extwins than he did for his real team, but he can play less or not at all. Position players can only play the positions they played this season, except that you can move players down the defensive spectrum, so, for example, shortstops can play anywhere in the infield or the outfield corners, catchers can play first, and center fielders can play the corners. Starters can pitch in relief, but relievers can’t start. The team plays in the AL in the place of the actual Twins. The team will be evaluated on players’ wOBA (a stat that measures overall offensive value per plate appearance, sort of like a refined version of OPS; it’s on the on-base-percentage scale, so something like .320-.330 is an average MLB hitter) and ERA.

So, what do we have to work with?

Catcher

wOBA

PA

WAR

Chad Moeller (Yankees)

0.321

14

0

A.J. Pierzynski (White Sox)

0.295

457

1.4

Corky Miller (Reds)

0.283

71

0.1

Henry Blanco (Mets)

0.254

139

0.3

Mike Redmond (Indians)

0.231

68

-0.4

A lot of pretty nice pieces right out of the shoot. A real MLB starter and a collection of four respectable backups. Yeah, the offense won’t get you all tingly, but come on, these are catchers. They have more important things to do than hit.

Now for the infield:

1b

wOBA

PA

WAR

Garrett Jones (Pirates)

0.316

588

0.3

Randy Ruiz (Blue Jays)

0.188

40

-0.4

2b

wOBA

PA

WAR

Cristian Guzman (Nats, Rangers)

0.287

396

0

Luis Castillo (Mets)

0.286

295

0.5

SS

wOBA

PA

WAR

Jason Bartlett (Rays)

0.299

481

0.8

Orlando Cabrera (Reds)

0.296

484

1.5

Augie Ojeda (Dbacks)

0.221

86

-0.3

Juan Castro (Dodgers, Phillies)

0.211

140

-1.2

Adam Everett (Tigers)

0.21

89

-0.4

3b

wOBA

PA

WAR

Casey Blake (Dodgers)

0.323

517

2.6

Mike Lamb (Marlins)

0.218

40

-0.3

Not doing too badly in the infield either, although no real strengths emerge here. It would be nice to get more offense from 1st base, but we have an MLB regular in Garrett Jones who also plays a little outfield, which will prove useful. We’re stocked at the keystone. Bartlett and Cabrera are actually pretty decent regulars, which will allow us to use Guzman and Castillo in utility roles. They’re all light hitters, but for middle infielders, a .300 wOBA is actually pretty close to average this year. (Hardy’s .315 wOBA and Hudson’s .324 are pretty easy to appreciate in this light.) Casey Blake is also about an MLB-average hitter for a third baseman and is actually considerably better than what the Twins have averaged from the hot corner this season. With Ruiz, Ojeda, Castro, Everett, and Lamb, we also have a fair amount of filler to help round out the roster.

To the outfield:

CF

wOBA

PA

WAR

Torii Hunter (Angels)

0.363

566

3.5

Darnell McDonald (Red Sox)

0.346

332

1.3

Carlos Gomez (Brewers)

0.287

288

0.6

OF

wOBA

PA

WAR

Mike Ryan (Angels)

0.228

41

-0.2

We’ve got some really nice performances from the outfield, but we’re a little short on playing time. Torii is the first star we’ve seen on the team so far, with big offense, outfield versatility, and that face-of-the-franchise appeal. Darnell McDonald has also hit very well and can play center, but we’re not getting a full season from him. Gomez features fabulous defense, but has been limited by injuries. Mike Ryan brings, well...41 plate appearances to the table. But that’s ok, as I hinted above, since Garrett Jones plays left field as well as first. For the most part it will be Gomez/McDonald in center, Torii in right, and Jones/Ryan in left. A.J. will then be required to man first for much of the season, with our cadre of backup catchers platooning behind the plate.

Designated hitter is a pretty simple equation:

DH

wOBA

PA

WAR

David Ortiz (Red Sox)

0.378

545

2.8

Yeah, that will do nicely. We’ve found our cleanup hitter.

So let’s put this all together. At this point in the season, we’re going to need to assemble about 5400 plate appearances and we’ll have to spread them around the various positions:

Order

wOBA

PA

WAR

1

LF

Darnell McDonald (Red Sox)

0.346

332

1.3

2

3b

Casey Blake (Dodgers)

0.323

517

2.6

3

RF

Torii Hunter (Angels)

0.363

566

3.5

4

DH

David Ortiz (Red Sox)

0.378

545

2.8

5

1b

Garrett Jones (Pirates)

0.316

588

0.3

6

C

A.J. Pierzynski (White Sox)

0.295

457

1.4

7

SS

Jason Bartlett (Rays)

0.299

481

0.8

8

2b

Orlando Cabrera (Reds)

0.296

484

1.5

9

CF

Carlos Gomez (Brewers)

0.287

288

0.6

Bench IF

Cristian Guzman (Nats, Rangers)

0.287

396

0

Bench IF

Luis Castillo (Mets)

0.286

295

0.5

Bench C

Henry Blanco (Mets)

0.254

139

0.3

Bench IF

Augie Ojeda (Dbacks)

0.221

86

-0.3

Bench C

Corky Miller (Reds)

0.283

71

0.1

Bench C

Mike Redmond (Indians)

0.231

68

-0.4

Bench OF

Mike Ryan (Angels)

0.228

41

-0.2

Bench CI

Mike Lamb (Marlins)

0.218

40

-0.3

Bench C

Chad Moeller (Yankees)

0.321

14

0

Team total

0.313

5408

14.5

So, again, we’re going to need Garrett to play a lot of left field, and we’ll probably need some of our infielders to man the outfield corners from time to time too. But overall, I think this actually works. Impressively, we’re not going to need to forfeit for lack of players or even play people ridiculously out of position. And we can even keep Ruiz, Castro, and Everett down in AAA. Sure, it’s not exactly a murderer’s row, but perhaps shockingly, it’s a halfway respectable offense. In the AL, the Extwins’s .313 wOBA is actually better than that of the A’s (.312), Angels (.312), Orioles (.311), Indians (.308), and Mariners (.286...ouch).

Ok, now for the pitchers.

This is where the team starts to really get exciting.

SP

ERA

IP

WAR

Johan Santana (Mets)

2.98

199

3.7

LHP

Livan Hernandez (Nationals)

3.66

194

3

RHP

Matt Garza (Rays)

3.88

186

1.5

RHP

R.A. Dickey (Mets)

2.80

154

2.7

RHP

Carlos Silva (Cubs)

4.22

113

2.1

RHP

Kyle Lohse (Cardinals)

6.85

71

0.7

RHP

Brad Thomas (Tigers)

4.30

61

0

LHP

Ramon Ortiz (Dodgers)

6.30

30

-0.3

RHP

Philip Humber (Royals)

4.50

18

0.6

RHP

That’s some quality there. Johan’s done for the season, but still gave us 199 ace-like innings. Livan “la vida loca” Hernanez is having an incredible season, especially for someone of his age and metabolic profile. Matt Garza gives us a fireballing righty (the contrast of pitching styles is awesome in this rotation), who also pitched the Extwins’s first no-hitter. Carlos Silva bounces back to mid-career form. And then there’s R. (Really?) A. (Are you kidding me?) Dickey! Wow, just soak all that in. Mmm, mmm, mmm. Lohse, Thomas, Ortiz, and Humber won’t get you too excited, but on this team they won’t be needed for more than spot starts and long relief.

Call to the pen!

RP

ERA

IP

WAR

Craig Breslow (As)

3.31

65

0.5

LHP

Grant Balfour (Rays)

2.45

48

1.1

RHP

Joe Beimel (Rockies)

3.19

42

0.03

LHP

Dennys Reyes (Cardinals)

3.97

34

0

LHP

J.C. Romero (Phillies)

3.66

32

-0.4

LHP

Boof Bonser (As, Red Sox)

6.05

19

0

RHP

LaTroy Hawkins (Brewers)

8.44

16

0.1

RHP

Brian Bass (Pirates)

12.27

7

-0.1

RHP

Armando Gabino (Orioles)

13.50

5

-0.3

RHP

Kevin Mulvey (Dbacks)

6.00

3

-0.1

RHP

Juan Rincon (Rockies)

4.50

2

0

RHP

The top names here are actually pretty sexy. Breslow, Balfour, and Beimel would lock games down after 7 innings, earning cult-like status as “the Killer Bs.” After that Reyes and Romero are nice, though they make us overly left handed. As a weak attempt at balance, Boof and LaTroy will kick in 35 innings of not-especially-pretty work in RHP situations.

Here’s how the whole thing comes together, with me figuring we need just under 1300 innings with about 900 of starter work and about 400 out of the pen:

ERA

IP

WAR

Starter1

Johan Santana (Mets)

2.98

199

3.7

LHP

Starter2

Matt Garza (Rays)

3.88

186

1.5

RHP

Starter3

Livan Hernandez (Nationals)

3.66

194

3

RHP

Starter4

R.A. Dickey (Mets)

2.80

154

2.7

RHP

Starter5

Carlos Silva (Cubs)

4.22

113

2.1

RHP

Closer

Grant Balfour (Rays)

2.45

48

1.1

RHP

Setup

Craig Breslow (As)

3.31

65

0.5

LHP

Setup

Joe Beimel (Rockies)

3.19

42

0.03

LHP

Setup

Dennys Reyes (Cardinals)

3.97

34

0

LHP

Setup

J.C. Romero (Phillies)

3.66

32

-0.4

LHP

Setup

LaTroy Hawkins (Brewers)

8.44

16

0.1

RHP

Setup

Juan Rincon (Rockies)

4.50

2

0

RHP

spot/long

Kyle Lohse (Cardinals)

6.85

71

0.7

RHP

spot/long

Brad Thomes (Tigers)

4.30

61

0

LHP

spot/long

Ramon Ortiz (Dodgers)

6.30

30

-0.3

RHP

spot/long

Boof Bonser (As, Red Sox)

6.05

19

0

RHP

spot/long

Philip Humber (Royals)

4.50

18

0.6

RHP

spot/long

Kevin Mulvey (Dbacks)

6.00

3

-0.1

RHP

Team totals

3.84

1287

15.23

A 3.84 ERA! That’s awesome! That’s pitching like the Rays. Only eight teams in baseball have better ERAs, with only two—the A’s and (real) Twins—being better in the AL. And again, I think this actually “works,” with perhaps the exception of an overly left-handed bullpen. I think we’re able to keep Bass’s and Gabino’s inflated ERAs off the books, although without Santana for the rest of the season, we might be stretched pretty thin. (And yes, we have a lot of NL pitchers here who have benefited from pitching against pitchers, but let’s not get too worried about that. We’ll say their ERAs translate without adjustment to the AL.)

The coaches

I suppose we should add a coaching staff too. I’d make Ron Washington the manager, Charlie Manual can be the hitting coach, and even though he didn’t play for the Twins, we’ll bring back Rick Knapp as the pitching coach. I can’t think of a bench coach, but maybe someone can make a suggestion in the comments.

So how good is this team?

Recent teams around a 3.84 ERA have allowed about 4.1-4.2 runs per game. Similarly, teams with about a .313 wOBA score about 4.1-4.3 runs per game. So you’re talking about a team that’s probably just edging over .500. Essentially, we’re looking at the Oakland A’s, with a hair more offense and a hair less run prevention. The Extwins would probably have just had their last playoff hopes stamped out by what everyone would now have to admit was a clearly superior White Sox team. Instead, we’d have to settle for a tight battle with Detroit for second place.

$$$$$$$$$

But I suppose we have to pay these guys too. I’m warning you, some of this ain’t pretty, but I took the zeros out like they do at fancy restaurants so it doesn’t seem so bad:

Player

Salary in millions

Johan Santana (Mets)

21

Torii Hunter (Angels)

18

David Ortiz (Red Sox)

12.5

Carlos Silva (Cubs)

11.5

Kyle Lohse (Cardinals)

8.875

Cristian Guzman (Nats, Rangers)

8

A.J. Pierzynski (White Sox)

6.25

Casey Blake (Dodgers)

6

Luis Castillo (Mets)

6

Jason Bartlett (Rays)

4

J.C. Romero (Phillies)

4

Matt Garza (Rays)

3.35

Orlando Cabrera (Reds)

3.02

LaTroy Hawkins (Brewers)

3

Grant Balfour (Rays)

2.05

Dennys Reyes (Cardinals)

2

Carlos Gomez (Brewers)

1.15

Brad Thomas (Tigers)

1

Ramon Ortiz (Dodgers)

1

Livan Hernandez (Nationals)

0.9

Mike Redmond (Indians)

0.85

Joe Beimel (Rockies)

0.85

Augie Ojeda (Dbacks)

0.825

Henry Blanco (Mets)

0.75

R.A. Dickey (Mets)

0.75

Boof Bonser (As, Red Sox)

0.65

Mike Lamb (Marlins)

0.5

Craig Breslow (As)

0.425

Garrett Jones (Pirates)

0.425

Darnell McDonald (Red Sox)

0.4

mlc

Corky Miller (Reds)

0.4

mlc

Mike Ryan (Angels)

0.4

mlc

Chad Moeller (Yankees)

0.4

mlc

Brian Bass (Pirates)

0.4

mlc

Armando Gabino (Orioles)

0.4

mlc

Juan Rincon (Rockies)

0.4

mlc

Philip Humber (Royals)

0.4

mlc

Kevin Mulvey (Dbacks)

0.4

mlc

Those last few with “mlc” are minor league contracts, so for the most part, we’ll pay only a prorated part of the MLB minimum to them. I’m just going to avoid that calculation and add up only the players with MLB contracts, which gives you...$129,620,000 (I put the zeros back on there to give you the full effect). It’s not so much Johan and Torii that get you, since they actually performed like stars. Really, same thing with Papi and, stunningly, Silva. It’s more the Kyle Lohses, Luis Castillos, and Cristian Guzmans that stick in your craw.

Essentially, the Extwins spent money like the Mets this year. But hey, they’d win about as much as the Mets too! It’s also not so different from what the Tigers did this year spending about $122 million. And they look like a bargain compared to the Cubs! Considering that the actual Twins aren’t big fans of letting cheap talent go, it’s really not doing too badly.

Everybody now: "We're gonna win Extwins, we're gonna score..."

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