December 16, 2012
More Twins-focused content

The Twins continued search for pitching has led them to right hander Mike Pelfrey. The former Met signed a one-year deal worth $4 million, with another $1.5 million available in incentives. Though Pelfrey underwent Tommy John surgery last May, he’s expected to be ready to start the season.

Pelfrey’s career numbers are similar to other recent signee, Kevin Correia. Pelfrey’s career ERA and FIP are slightly lower, but their underlying peripherals are incredibly similar. They both strike out about five batters per nine innings, and both walk about three. They both get groundballs on about half the batted balls they allow. The main thing accounting for their differences in ERA and FIP is home runs allowed. Correia, even when he pitched in Petco, has been plagued by home run balls. Pelfrey has allowed home runs at a rate much closer to league average. Though Correia struggled in Petco as well, his last two seasons have come in PNC Park, one of the easiest parks to homer in for left-handed batters. Luckily for him (and Pelfrey) Target Field plays as one of the toughest home run parks for left handers.

While most of the Internet was underwhelmed by the Correia signing, I’ve heard generally positive things about the Pelfrey deal. While I’m certainly not doing somersaults with the news of this signing, I’m relatively pleased with it. Pelfrey figures to be a decent back-end starter—he and Correia, both actually—but Pelfrey’s modest price tag and the one-year commitment make this look like a much better deal for the Twins. One imagines Pelfrey holding down a rotation spot until Alex Meyer can debut for a much improved 2014 Twins squad. Though Pelfrey has little upside, this is a good low-risk signing for the 2013 Twins.

December 11, 2012
The one where I start writing about the Twins here, because I’ve forgotten the password to the blog where I used to write about them

The prominent Twins-related news of this week: they signed Kevin Correia! Or perhaps, if we’re more honest with ourselves and our punctuation: they signed Kevin Correia?* It’s not an altogether surprising development, as the Twins have a number of rotation holes left to fill (somewhere between one and three, depending on how much stock you put in guys like Liam Hendriks, Sam Deduno and Kyle Gibson). The Twins figured to be in on every pitcher with a pulse this offseason. Signing Kevin Correia wasn’t a surprise. Signing Kevin Correia to a two-year contract for eight figures was.

*Is there a better punctuation mark to convey disappointment? Let me know, and I’ll insert it straight away. 

Correia comes to Minnesota from Pittsburgh, where he produced decidedly mediocre results. Last season, he posted a 4.21 ERA and 4.43 FIP (his lowest marks since 2009!) in 171 innings as a mostly starter. He struck out about 12% of the hitters he faced, the third-lowest mark among qualified starters in the majors (one below Scott Diamond!). He doesn’t walk a ton of batters, but his control isn’t what you’d call excellent. He gets a lot of ground balls, but negates that advantage by giving up lots of home runs. If he sounds to you like most pitchers who’ve donned Twins uniforms, don’t worry. You aren’t crazy. He is very similar. He’s essentially the NL version of Nick Blackburn.

That type of pitcher isn’t the worst thing in the world. Lots of them (like Nick Blackburn!) have put together solid back-of-the-rotation type years. But, speaking realistically, Kevin Correia isn’t a good pitcher. It’s easy to imagine scenarios where Kevin Correia could be outpitched by Liam Hendriks or Sam Deduno or even B.J. Hermsen for a fraction of the money.

Ultimately though, it doesn’t much matter how Correia pitches next year. The chances the Twins contend in 2013 are slim-to-none. For one, they’re giving Kevin Correia a spot in their starting rotation. Winning teams tend to avoid that kind of thing. For two, besides Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham (who himself is coming off a career year that he’s unlikely to repeat next season at age 34) their lineup is full of zeros and question marks. The Twins appear to be building (to some extent) for 2014 and beyond.

Where this gets to be a bummer is that second year on Correia’s contract. I have trouble believing the Twins really want Correia around for two years. I know there’s some really easy “Twins Hate Strikeouts” jokes out there, but most of the pitching moves they’ve made over the last year would suggest they’ve discovered that this is a silly line of thinking. My guess is that the Twins know Correia is lousy, but they felt they were going to have trouble attracting free agents to such a poor team. They looked at the market for starters this offseason, and decided they needed to overpay, just to get any sort of live body to come pitch for them. I can see some merit to this line of thinking. There’s a lot of money flying around this offseason.

However, another notably crappy team, the Cubs, managed to bring in Scotts Baker and Feldman on one year deals for just a little bit more in AAV than Corriea got. Baker even seemed to want to come back with the Twins. There really is no risk at all to a one year deal. That’s even more true with a team that doesn’t plan to contend. If we concede that the Baker and Feldman deals were anomalies—the product of moving quickly before the market established itself—and assume that the Twins couldn’t bring anybody in on a one-year deal we’re left with two questions. First, why not pony up little more cash, say $4 million, for a guy like Brandon McCarthy who’s actually a good pitcher? Second, why do it at all. Why not roll with league-minimum guys like Hendriks, Deduno, Hermsen, P.J. Walters and the dozens of other guys out there like them? 

By giving Correia two years, the Twins FO has guaranteed him a roster spot (or that they’re going to just flush their money down the toilet) when there are probably a number of cheap, in house options that approximate or exceed Correia’s performance. It’s not a deal that’s going to truly handicap the Twins, but the chances it even pays off at all are minimal. 

While the Denard Span and Ben Revere trades showed signs of a plan! and brought about some degree of optimism for the future, this signing is a reminder that 2013 is still going to be a very long season indeed.

December 1, 2012
hermitologist:

That’s right, folks. Just buy these goofy lookin’ balls and you’ll be pitching in the big leagues and making $10 million in no time. #skymall

hermitologist:

That’s right, folks. Just buy these goofy lookin’ balls and you’ll be pitching in the big leagues and making $10 million in no time. #skymall

November 16, 2012
Triple Crown

I think it’s odd. It’s arbitrary. Three random (probably not the most random) statistics combine to become this Herculean feat. Why not steals or runs or hits? Why even three? Why isn’t it the Quadruple Crown or the Double Crown? 

September 14, 2012
Hat tip to CBS/NotGraphs’ Dayn Perry for the photo.

Hat tip to CBS/NotGraphs’ Dayn Perry for the photo.

September 1, 2012

August 29, 2012

Never before have I seen the left fielder involved in a collision during a relay throw.

Really a bummer it had to feature the Giants. This has to be the most Houston Astros .gif ever. 

August 29, 2012
Yu Darvish throws a lot of pitches.
Update: As I’ve been informed that it isn’t entirely clear, what you see here is Geo Soto removing (in frustration one presumes) his glove to place down a sixth finger after Yu Darvish shook him off about seven times.

Yu Darvish throws a lot of pitches.

Update: As I’ve been informed that it isn’t entirely clear, what you see here is Geo Soto removing (in frustration one presumes) his glove to place down a sixth finger after Yu Darvish shook him off about seven times.

August 24, 2012
Misleading Tweet of the Day

Regarding this tweet, how I would edit it for a quote:

"Huge names are in mix in red sox-dodgers talks. Including… [world series champion] punto."—Jon Heyman, Purveyor of the Tweets


August 2, 2012
Ryan Lochte: Brolympian

Bros! Bros! Bros! Bros!

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