The best part of this most recent off-season, for me as a Twins fan, was taking part in SB Nation's Mock Winter Meetings. It was three days of mayhem and endless emails, but it was brilliant. Here's what I had to say in my wrap up, which I recommend in order to see the scope of the process:
"Ultimately this was a fun exercise. It was definitely a learning experience. I don't want anyone to think that this is, in any way, a blueprint for what I would prefer to do or what I think the Twins should do - it's more or less what happened in spite of the guidelines I'd set out for myself. I think I did fairly well with the trades, and I think I did okay in free agency although there's the potential for mistakes (particularly with Baker and Youkilis)."
Yeah. I signed Scott Baker. To a really bad contract, too, considering his current state. All I'll say is that I paid market rate based on what everyone else was offering.
Anyway, now that you have had a chance to see the moves I made, here is how my additions have performed with their own teams this season.
|2013 - Jeurys Familia||0-0||8||0||0||0||1||0||10.1||10||4||4||2||7||7||3.48||1.65|
The Mets #2 prospect in 2012 came to Minnesota as one of the two players in return for Denard Span. In spite of some command issues, Familia was showing some promise as a 23-year old relief option. He was a starter in the minor leagues, and when I acquired him I did so with an eye to giving him a shot at the rotation.
Montero is a 22-year old right-hander signed by the Mets out of the Dominican Republic (and #9 prospect coming out of 2012), and is the second half of the return for Span. Now in his third year with the Mets organization, he finished 2012 in Advanced-A and started 2013 in Double-A. He made eight starts with Double-A Binghamton before a recent promotion, and made his first Triple-A start of his career on Tuesday. Montero struck out five, walked one, allowed four hits and two runs in 6.1 innings of work. There's a good chance he'll have a shot at New York's rotation later this year.
|2013 - Jonathan Pettibone||3-0||6||6||0||0||0||0||36.0||36||13||12||5||11||21||3.00||1.31|
A third-round pick in 2008, Pettibone is a rookie with the Phillies this season and is one half of the return for my agreement to trade Ryan Doumit. He was Philadelphia's #10 prospect at the time of this deal, having climbed through their system without much of a hiccup. Solid command and a history of limiting base runners made him appealing to me, and so far this season he's done pretty well in his first six starts.
The second half of the Doumit trade, the real life Rodriguez was traded in March to Baltimore in a swap of minor leaguers. As you can see he has only pitched in one game so far this season, and is currently on the 7-Day DL. He was Philadelphia's #13 prospect at the time of this trade, was selected to the 2012 Futures Game, and in 2012 was also a mid-season Eastern League All-Star.
The #3 prospect for the Rangers at the time, Perez is the first half of my return on Ben Revere. After a couple of spins around the mound in Double-A, he's now made his first two starts at Triple-A for the season. He hit Double-A as a teenager in 2009 for the first time, so hopefully this is his last crack at Triple-A before making the Majors full time. He spent 38 innings with the Rangers in 2012, and should be ready for another chance at their rotation later this year.
|2013 - Justin Grimm||3-3||7||7||0||0||0||0||40.1||44||19||18||5||14||36||4.02||1.44|
Grimm was the Rangers' #11 prospect at the time of this deal, and is also the second half of the return on Revere. He saw 14 innings with Texas last season, and while he's had some issues in his second MLB go-round he seems to mostly be holding his own. Certainly he's doing well for a 24-year old at the beginning of his career.
I'll be honest: I think I did pretty damn well in the trade department. I know, I know - you can't take numbers from a player on another team and drop them into your own hypothetical world - but that's what a shadow team is all about. Three of the six pitchers I traded for have made an impact on their MLB squad immediately following my transactions, and two more (Montero and Perez) are right on the cusp. Some of them will flame out, and none of them are the caliber of Alex Meyer, but I feel like my moves gave the Minnesota pitching staff a real chance to improve this season and in the long run.
2013 Prospect Rankings
- Familia: Mets #5
- Montero: Mets #8
- Pettibone: Phillies #4
- Rodriguez: Orioles unranked
- Perez: Rangers #6, Baseball America #81, MLB.com #95
- Grimm: Rangers #10
Scott Baker: 3 years, $24 million
Just shoot me now. I desperately needed starting pitching, the market was skyrocketing for every single talented pitcher around, almost as if people didn't care about payroll restrictions. Which I tried to do. Baker actually had a higher offer but took a bit less to stay in Minnesota. I was wary of this move at the time, and probably would have given myself a D for the signing and an F on decision making; fast-forward and I'd give myself an F all around. Maybe he comes around, but right now this just looks like I flushed away $8 million a year through 2015.
Ervin Santana: 2 years, $16 million
|2013 - Ervin Santana||3-3||8||8||0||0||0||0||55.1||51||18||17||6||9||44||2.77||1.08|
I was banking on a bounce-back from Santana, who certainly had a couple of red flags. But I knew I had some money to spend as the Mock Twins GM and took a calculated risk. As of right now it looks like it's really paying off, as Santana is having one of the better seasons of his career thus far. Clearly this is an incomplete experiment, but at the time I would have given myself a C grade. At this point I'd give myself a slightly better grade with an asterisk for caution.
Carlos Villanueva: 2 years, $8 million
|2013 - Carlos Villanueva||1-3||9||8||0||0||0||0||53.2||46||23||23||7||15||36||3.86||1.14|
Having been a swing man for his entire MLB career, Villanueva wanted an opportunity to start this season. The Cubs gave him that shot, but with all of the moving parts in their pitching staff (including the activation of Matt Garza), Villanueva is now back in the bullpen. He's cooled a bit in May, but had a fantastic April. For his ability to start and his ability to be a solid late inning reliever, this was and still is a move I'm very happy with. I'd grade it a B.
Manny Parra: 1 year, $800,000
|2013 - Manny Parra||0-1||6||0||0||0||0||0||6.2||15||7||6||2||3||7||8.10||2.70|
It's hard to take Parra's numbers too seriously, considering he hit the disabled list with a strained left pectoral (never good for a southpaw) and was likely pitching hurt in most of his six appearances. He's just now returned to Triple-A, and will at some point be back with the Reds' bullpen. A low-cost move with a potentially high reward is more than worth the monetary risk.
Juan Cruz: 2 years, $4 million
Cruz signed with the Phillies in January, but was released by mutual agreement just before spring training began. I'm not sure whether or not you'd be able to void a contract in such a situation.
Will Ohman: 1 year, $1 million
Ohman signed a minor league contract with the Nationals just before spring training, but was released on March 5. I probably could have gotten away with a similar deal, but at the time of the signing the pitching market was still going through the roof, and one of my biggest priorities was giving the relief corps a few additional options. One million is too much to spend on a flyer for a guy who won't throw a single pitch at any level, but I thought he'd at least give the MLB team a few innings.
Kevin Youkilis: 2 years, $16 million
|2013 - Kevin Youkilis||17||64||10||17||4||0||2||7||4||18||0||0||.266||.347||.422|
Youk hit the disabled list in late April, and just went back into extended spring training on Tuesday. So he's not far from returning to the Yankees. Prior to his stint on the DL, Youkilis started the season exceptionally hot before cooling off. That, combined with a very un-Youk-like strikeout-to-walk ratio all pointed to something being wrong. If he comes back healthy he still has more than a fair opportunity to be a productive hitter with New York, and he'd definitely make the Minnesota lineup better. Until he started hitting for power, though, I'd probably have him leading off.
Freddy Sanchez: 1 year, $500,000 (incentives up to $2 million)
Sanchez hasn't seen a Major League pitch since 2011, and took just ten rehab at-bats in 2012 for the Giants. He's still a free agent. Clearly baseball teams knew something about Sanchez that didn't sit right, but I'm not too worried about spending $500,000 on a flyer. If he had been healthy this could have been a good buy-low opportunity, and Sanchez could have been one more veteran to tutor some of the Twins' younger infielders.
Rod Barajas: 1 year, $2 million
The Diamondbacks signed Barajas in February, just before spring training, but released him in late March. 2013 would have been his age-37 season, so maybe he's just done, but I wanted a MLB-ready backup to rest Mauer in the absence of the traded Ryan Doumit.
Free Agency Wrap
The biggest hit here is obviously Baker, even if we hope for a better future in 2014 and 2015. Some of the smaller signings (Cruz, Ohman, Sanchez, Barajas) may not have happened if I'd been in possession of the same information as a real GM, but even though they clearly didn't work out I still think they're defendable signings considering the circumstances. For Youkilis and Parra the jury is still out. But with Villanueva and Santana, it seems like both have been solid signings so far.
All things considered, how do you think I did?