With Friday evening being the pivotal point by which teams have to decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, naturally it’s also a good time to look at which of those players the Twins may look to target, including those the author thinks they ought to.
Manny Parra – P – non-tendered by the Brewers
Quick take: Throws rather hard (92.2 mph average fastball), misses lots of bats (8.4 K/9), but also finds his fair share of sticks (582 hits allowed in 513 career IP). He’s a fine arm to take a chance on, but it’s hard to expect much.
Mike Pelfrey – P – non-tendered by the Mets
Quick take: The draw with Pelf is that at one time, he was a very good pitcher in the NL, including a pair of seasons in the neighborhood of 3.0 WAR. He doesn’t strike anyone out, and the jump to the AL could be difficult, especially since he barely pitched in 2012 and is coming off a major injury. The Twins should aim higher.
Andres Torres – OF – non-tendered by the Mets
Quick take: Torres can field, take a walk, and at times shows some life in his bat. He’ll be 35 on opening day, which could be a good or a bad thing. This is unlikely, but the Twins may want a better backup centerfielder than Darin Mastroianni.
Jair Jurrjens – P – non-tendered by the Braves
Quick take: Jurrjens is a shell of the shell of his former self. He used to be a 3.0-plus win pitcher, but he’s seen his velocity tumble and the injuries pile up. He could be a possible reclamation project, but it’d be aiming rather low.
Jeff Karstens – P – non-tendered by the Pirates
Quick take: Karstens is a decent enough hurler when he’s healthy. Well, we think. He has never thrown more than 165 innings in any season, and only managed a sliver over 90 last season. He’s been pretty effective of late — think high 3.00-low4.00s in the ERA department — but he’s a soft-ish tosser who pitches to contact. The Twins might have been all over this a year ago, though.
Rich Hill – P – non-tendered by the Red Sox
Quick take: Hill reeled off a pretty good 20 inning stretch in Boston this season, but that’s just it: 20 innings doesn’t really represent anything. Hill throws pretty hard (92ish) from the left side, but has control issues. Could be worth a look as a reliever, but he’s not a building block by any means.
Ryan Sweeney – OF – non-tendered by the Red Sox
Quick take: Now almost solely known as being part of the Andrew Bailey – Josh Reddick trade, Sweeney is on the move looking for his third team in as many seasons and fourth overall. In fact, Sweeney should be better known as part of a Nick Swisher and Gio Gonzalez trade before the one that sent him to Boston. This isn’t good for his career prospects. Sweeney might be a passable option as a fourth or fifth outfielder, though center field isn’t his first choice.
Rafael Perez – P – non-tendered by the Indians
Quick take: Perez had some terrific seasons as a lefty out of the Indians pen, but that’s almost a lifetime ago. He was last truly effective in 2008. In baseball, and especially for a reliever, this is an eternity. Add to this the fact that he hasn’t been healthy, and all he’d be is a minor league deal candidate to eventually become bullpen filler. But hey, it’s the bullpen. Anything could happen.
….will update the list if more candidates become known.
John Lannan – P – non-tendered by Nationals
Quick take: Lannan is a soft-tossing lefty who was the odd-man out in Washington with that terrific staff. He spent nearly the entire season in Triple-A despite having four years of service time, which makes his angst about his demotion a bit understandable. At least until you find out he made $5 million to hang out down there. He didn’t really pitch all that well down there, and when he came up to the big club his K/BB rates — both together and each of them over 9 — were uglier than ever. He just may have a little Joe Saunders in him — he gets a lot of grounders — or for a more apt comparison, maybe another Scott Diamond, but he’s not a rotation building block. It would be disappointing if he was one of the big acquisitions this offseason.
Tom Gorzelanny – P – non-tendered by Nationals
Quick take: Gorzelanny has pitched pretty effectively in pretty much whatever role his clubs have asked him to do, whether it’s been relieve in Washington, start in Pittsburgh, or a little of both on the North side of Chicago. Gorzy’s whiff rates are about average, but he’s left-handed, has seen his whiff rates bumped up in the second half of his career, and best of all, he’s free to sign anywhere right now. Of worry with the lefty is that he can struggle with the free pass, as he’s nearing 4 per 9 in his career. He’s a solid swingman that could be helpful to many clubs.
Jesus Flores – C – non-tendered by Nationals
Quick take: At times Flores has shown he can hit a little bit, but not enough in his entire career — .241/.289/.375 in just over 1000 PA — to show he should be much more than a taxi-squad catcher in someone’s organization. He’s been effective at times against opposing running games, but that certainly wasn’t the case this season. If Wilson Ramos’ injury proved one thing, it was that Flores is not a full-time catcher.
Brandon Snyder – C?/1B? – non-tendered by Rangers
Quick take: Snyder’s a former top pick by the Orioles that will somehow still only be 26 — birthday last week — when the 2013 season starts. He showed good pop but almost no discipline in Texas last season, playing all over the diamond including spending an inning behind the dish. In fact, Snyder spent very little time at catcher in the minors — 79 games out of 571 total — so he’s probably needing to be considered a first baseman foremost and an emergency option at third or in the outfield. I could see the outfield bit changing if he spent spring training out there, but now I’m rambling. Snyder never really blew up in the minors, save for a half season at Bowie in Double-A, so it’s truly hard to tell if he’s going to show the power he exhibited with the Rangers in any sort of long-term exposure. I will say this though…he played against the Twins this season and I thought he looked pretty good. He’s a big, strapping kid who looks the part. He’ll convince/dupe some GM into giving him a shot. I just doubt it’ll be the Twins.
Wil Nieves – C – non-tendered by Diamondbacks
Quick take: Nieves is the quintessential ‘catcher with a pulse’. He hit a little in 2012 — .301/.330/.410 but in fewer than 100 PA — but by and large he doesn’t offer a ton behind the dish. To me he seems like the Rene Rivera-type whom you’d keep at Triple-A in case of emergency. Apparently a lot of teams feel that way, as he has fewer than 1000 plate appearances over nine big league seasons, and over 4000 in 15 minor league seasons. It is pretty cool that he’s still plugging away after that long, though.
Brian Wilson – P – non-tendered by the Giants
Quick take: Fat chance here. Even though the Giants wouldn’t pay it, I’m sure Wilson will still command a deal well above $5 million per year, and that’s just too high of a deal for the Twins to take a chance on. Wilson has been an implosion risk the past two seasons anyway, and fans ranting on the Giants and their lack of loyalty just don’t get it; loyalty rarely works out in baseball. I think Wilson will land with Boston or the Dodgers, and maybe work his way back as a set-up guy at first. A good season would likely mean he lands a multi-year deal to close someplace — maybe the Yankees will be looking? — but a bad year at this stage of his career might take him down the Kyle Farnsworth career path (or worse, Derrick Turnbow). Flamethrowers who lose it — and face it, we won’t know if he still has the flames until he’s dealing in game action again — hang around for a bit, but watch those walks. It could get ugly quick.
As an aside, the Twins non-tendered Lester Oliveros. Oliveros was acquired in the Delmon Young trade with Detroit, and has shown terrific velocity and pretty good results spread across the high minors and big leagues. Hopefully/likely the Twins will re-sign him to a minor league deal and let him rehab at the club’s facilities until he’s ready to pitch again, which will probably be 2014. Oliveros simply has too live an arm — in an organization that has very few highly developed ones — to let walk away for nothing.