Yesterday afternoon I jumped on KATE 1450am with talk Twins with Mitch, as I do every Wednesday. Click and have a listen.
Twins not targeting Sipp or Bastardo?
Was told by two people that Tony Sipp and Antonio Bastardo are NOT on Twins radar. A trade might be the best route to add a LHP.— LaVelle E. Neal III (@LaVelleNeal) December 10, 2015
This comes as something of a surprise, but perhaps it shouldn't. Terry Ryan has insisted that costs won't be prohibitive in signing a free agent reliever, but so far he's been characteristically slow on the trigger. This stands in contrast to how aggressive the Twins were with the additions of Byung Ho Park and serial killer John Ryan Murphy, but it's still an approach that Twins fans are used to - and frustrated by.
"I’m not going to bring in one just to say, ‘We’ve got a lefty,’ ’’ Ryan said.
That's from LEN III's update late on Wednesday. Ryan wants a lefty who can go more than an inning and not a LOOGY. Considering the potential of pitchers like Sipp and Bastardo, and the state of lefties on the Twins' roster, that could be construed as being a bit short-sighted. I won't blame Ryan for having a blueprint in his head, but there's no doubt that either of those two guys would make Minnesota's bullpen more formidable.
It's worth remembering that the Winter Meetings are not the beginning nor the end of Major League Baseball's off-season. Free agents are flying off the board and trades seem to be happening every two minutes, but there are still eight weeks and change until pitchers and catchers report.
Should Minnesota continue to entertain moves in the trade market, right-handers like Pittsburgh closer Mark Melancon and Nationals closer Drew Storen are available; set-up men from Tampa Bay - Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee - are also on the block. On the left-handed side, which is where the Twins truly do need help, it will be interesting to see if the club targets pitchers like Milwaukee's Will Smith, the Cubs' Travis Wood, or the Yankees' Andrew Miller.
For anyone wishing the Twins would have pulled off that trade for Ken Giles instead of Houston, a similar deal would have cost Minnesota Alex Meyer, Tommy Milone, a toolsy lower-minors outfielder (Tanner English?) and a lower-minors pitcher with average stuff but plus-plus command. That's not an exact replica, obviously, but I don't think it's a ridiculously inaccurate comparison, either.
Glen Perkins will not be moved
A few teams looking for late-inning relief help have asked #MNTwins about 3x all-star closer Glen Perkins. Told they didn't get very far.— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) December 9, 2015
Perkins is due to make $12.8 million in '16-17. Club option for $6.5 million in '18 reverts to player option if traded. Still a bargain.— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) December 9, 2015
And that's about right. You can't blame teams for calling and checking, but the Twins are a club on the cusp of being legitimate contenders and are still two or three arms away from having a bullpen that isn't a major liability. Removing Perkins would only make that issue worse.
Rule 5 draft
Today's Rule 5 starts at 9:00am central. The common sentiment is that the Twins could lose right-handed fireballer Zack Jones, and I'll be surprised if they don't. Jonathan Mayo lists him as one of the draft's top 10 available talents, and he was also highlighted in Baseball America's expanded review recently.
Other prospects who could intrigue other teams include Travis Harrison, Felix Jorge, and Levi Michael. Harrison's stat lines don't impress, but he profiles as a role player. Jorge is young and relatively far away from the Major Leagues, but he has decent stuff and consistently pitched well this summer. Michael has had a couple of injury issues, but over the last couple of years has turned in very nice seasons at the plate. Personally, I'd list Michael as the second-most likely player to be taken today.
As for players the Twins could target, they're not in an advantageous position. They would likely need to trade up to grab a player of consequence, but if they do these are the three players I'd be interested in seeing.
LHP Reymin Guduan, Astros
He can touch 100mph on his fastball and has a pretty good slider, but as with all Rule 5 picks he has his issues. Namely, and again this will be familiar for fire-balling Rule 5 relievers, that's command. BA lists his control problems as "significant." Considering the lack of quality left-handed bullpen arms in Minnesota this would be a low-risk, high-reward maneuver that will say nothing for reliability.
LHP Sam Selman, Royals
A great arm but "inconsistent" control - and I use those quotation marks with prejudice - means that even though he held left-handed hitters to a .211 batting average they still reached base at a .400 clip. That's not supposed to happen. His upper-90s fastball and a slider that flashes plus-plus will seduce somebody.
LHP Michael Heesch, Cubs
Heesch would be a stash, because he hasn't spent any significant time above Advanced A-ball. The sins of his command aren't nearly as great, but any club selecting him would need to bring him along slowly to avoid prolonged exposure at the outset to much, much better hitters than he's used to seeing.
If I had to guess what will happen in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft today, I'd say that Zack Jones would get selected and Minnesota wouldn't make a move. We'll see how that works out in a couple of hours.