Monthly Archives: January 2021

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Catcher J.T. Realmuto and the Philadelphia Phillies are in agreement on a five-year, $115.5 million contract, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

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The $23.1 million average annual value in Realmuto’s deal is the highest for any catcher in Major League Baseball history. Realmuto also is just the third catcher in MLB history to sign a contract worth more than $100 million, joining Joe Mauer (eight-year, $184 million extension with the Minnesota Twins in 2010) and Buster Posey (nine-year, $167 million extension with the San Francisco Giants in 2013). Mauer previously held the record for highest average annual value, at $23 million, with his deal in 2010.

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Realmuto is the first catcher to sign a contract worth over $100 million in free agency.

Realmuto, 29, continues to be one of the best all-around catchers in the majors, hitting .266 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs with the Phillies during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He did not accept an $18.9 million, one-year qualifying offer, instead seeking a longer-term deal on the free-agent market.

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Realmuto Setting Standard for Catchers

Twins sign Simba
The Twins added four-time Gold Glove Award-winning shortstop Andrelton Simmons on a one-year, $10.5 million deal. Check out our full write-up here. Below is a replay of a live stream Twins Daily’s Seth Stohs, Matthew Taylor and Nate Palmer recorded shortly after the move was announced.

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Hall of Fame results announced… zero players make it in

No one makes it into the Hall of Fame which has been expected for a while, but still weird to see. Barry Bonds, the home run king, remains outside the hall for another year with just one chance left. Should players like Bonds and Schilling be voted in despite their actions? Leave a comment below and let us know!

If you’re in need of a laugh…

Marcus Semien lands in Toronto

Shortstop Marcus Semien signed a one year, $18 million contract with the Blue Jays today. Semien was a known target for the Twins basically all offseason. Didn’t take them long to pivot to Simmons.

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J.T. Relmuto breaks a Joe Mauer record

Another free agent deal was announced today, as catcher J.T. Realmuto re-signed with the Phillies on a five year, $115.5 million contract. The annual salary will be $23.1 million, which breaks Joe Mauer’s $23 million per year as a catcher. It always seemed inevitable that Realmuto ended up back in Philly, but it’s a shorter contract than what he wanted.

Goodbye Ehire Adrianza

Infielder Ehire Adrianza and the Twins officially said goodbye after four seasons together. Adrianza signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves after the Twins seemingly had little to no interest.

Adrianza had a pretty productive time in Minnesota for what he was asked to do. His best season was 2019 when he hit .272/.349/.416 (.765) with five home runs, but one big one that we can remember.

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J.T. Realmuto has been one of the best all-around catchers since 2018, the year he was selected to his first All-Star Game. Since that season, Realmuto’s 10.1 WAR leads all catchers by more than 3 points and he ranks top-3 in many offensive categories (minimum 500 plate appearances).

RANK
WAR 10.1 1st
RBI 189 1st
SB 16 1st
Slug pct. .489 2nd
OPS .825 2nd
HR 57 3rd
— ESPN Stats & Information
Since 2018, Realmuto leads all MLB catchers in WAR (10.1), RBIs (189) and stolen bases (16) and is second in slugging percentage (.489) and OPS (.825). His 57 home runs during that span ranks third among MLB catchers.

Defensively, he has 11 runs saved over the past two seasons, which ranks fourth among catchers who have played more than 1,000 innings.

Realmuto hit .275 with 25 homers and 83 RBIs while earning his second consecutive All-Star selection in 2019, leading the National League with 43 runners thrown out in his first season in Philadelphia. He was acquired in February 2019 in a deal that sent catcher Jorge Alfaro, two pitching prospects and international signing bonus pool money to the rebuilding Miami Marlins.

Realmuto lost his arbitration case with the Phillies before last season and received a raise from $6.05 million to $10 million; he had requested $12.4 million. He said he didn’t harbor any resentment.

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“I love this organization,” he said. “They’ve been great to me and my family since I showed up. From top to bottom, they’re good people and they care about baseball. That’s important to me.”

Realmuto, a career .278 hitter, was a first-time All-Star in his fourth season in 2018 when he hit .277 and set career highs with 21 homers, 74 RBIs and an OPS of .825.

The news of Realmuto’s deal was first reported by MLB reporter Craig Mish.

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The Minnesota Twins signed former Los Angeles Angels closer Hansel Robles to a one-year contract on Tuesday.

The deal is worth $2 million, according to The Associated Press.

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Robles saved 23 games in 27 chances in 2019 when he went 5-1 with a 2.48 ERA in a 71 appearances. Last season, however, he struggled with a 10.26 ERA in 18 appearances, finishing 0-2 with one save in three chances.

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The Angels recently designated Hansel Robles for assignment and he will pursue another bullpen gig with the Minnesota Twins.
28-year-old right-handed reliever Hansel Robles has signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Minnesota Twins with the potential for an additional $500,000 in incentives, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

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Hansel Robles was the closer for a short period of time with the Halos and was fantastic in the 2019 season. Robles posted a 2.48 ERA and 2.88 FIP across the campaign, with an excellent strikeout to walk ratio that ended around 4.69 strikeouts per walk. The right-hander saw a tremendous fall from grace in the shortened 2020 season as his walk rate ballooned 6.8 percent and his strikeout rate dipped a bit. He ended the season with just 16 2/3 innings to his ledger, but he allowed a whopping 19 earned runs in his limited work.

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While Robles was great in 2019 and horrifyingly bad in 2020, he is still a pitcher with a world of potential in the back end of a bullpen. The Minnesota Twins will now try and revitalize his career and capitalize on the Angels designating him for assignment.

There is still a lot to like about Robles. While many fans saw his 2020 and dreaded when he came on the mound, many also remember his lockdown ninth inning presence in 2019. If Robles could have returned to form in 2021 like his 2019 season, the Angels could have used him as a setup man behind the recently-acquired right-hander Raisel Iglesias.

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Robles is only 30 years old so he still has some time to correct himself after a so-so start to his major league career with the New York Mets.

The Angels’ top options behind Raisel Iglesias at the moment are Mike Mayers, Ty Buttrey, and Alex Claudio. Mayers had a solid 2020 season, Buttrey has a ton of upside, and Claudio has been a very steady relief presence the past few seasons. The Angels bullpen is not star-studded by any means, but it is not something to be afraid of as a fan. Moves need to be made to improve it, but signing a handful of relievers to too-expensive contracts is not the way to go. Finding bargain bin relievers with loads of potential and then spending money on free agent starting pitching is it.

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He wasn’t tendered a contract by the Angels this offseason, making him a free agent. The Angels traded for Cincinnati Reds closer Raisel Iglesias this offseason.

Robles will join the back end of a Twins bullpen led by closer Taylor Rogers, who has 39 saves in 47 chances over the past two seasons.

Robles, 30, has a 3.91 ERA in his career over 313 appearances with the New York Mets and Angels in six major league seasons.

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Jan. 22: Happ’s deal has been formally announced by the Twins. Their 40-man roster is now up to 37 players.

Jan. 20, 4:22pm: Happ will earn $8MM, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets.

4:00pm: The Twins and free-agent left-hander J.A. Happ have reached a one-year agreement, pending a physical, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. Happ is a client of Rogers Sports Management, LLC.

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Last week, the Minnesota Twins announced signing disgraced Yankees’ starter JA Happ to a 1-year deal worth $8 million. Not only will Happ make $8 million, but the Twins even gave him some incentives…that he will never reach.

JA Happ: $8M plus awards bonuses (100K Cy Young, 100K WS MVP, 50K LCS MVP, etc.) #MNTwins

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— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 22, 2021

While $8 million might not be a ton for a Major League Baseball player, it probably could have been better spent.

1. Chicken Buckets from Yankees Stadium
Everyone knows the most famous food at Yankees Stadium is the famed chicken bucket. Not only do you get chicken, but you also get fries and a pretty cool bucket for only $20. Instead of getting one year of JA Happ, the Twins instead could have bought 400,000 buckets of chicken from Yankee Stadium. As of 2020, Google estimates the population of Minneapolis to be just over 420,000 meaning the Twins could have, and probably should have, bought just about the entire city chicken buckets instead of getting JA Happ.

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2. Babe Ruth….64 Times
Back on Jan. 25, 1920, the Yankees purchased Babe Ruth for a whopping sum of $125,000. JA Happ is apparently worth 64 more times than the Sultan of Swat. Now granted, inflation does change things as Ruth’s sale price would be $1.62 million as of 2020. At that rate, the Twins could have bought four Babe Ruths and had just over 1.5 million left over.

3. Stock in Amazon
As of Sunday afternoon, the price for one stock in Amazon is $3,292.23. The Minnesota Twins could have instead purchased 2,429 shares in Amazon and had $3,173 leftover. I guess since Minneapolis has Target’s headquarters, they didn’t consider this smarter option.

4. Jose Quintana
Later on the same day that the Twins signed JA Happ, the Los Angeles Angels signed Jose Quintana for the exact same amount of money. Despite playing in 70 fewer games than Happ, Quintana has accumulated a total of 1.5 more WAR according to Baseball Reference. While both are bounce-back candidates, Quintana is eight years younger and statistically been a better pitcher.

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5. 207 Washington Nationals’ World Series Rings
Following the 2019 World Series, the Washington Nationals spent $38,500 per World Series ring to celebrate their players’ accomplishments. At that price, the Twins could have simply designed their own rings and given them out to their players, front office, the entire staff, and just random people on the street. Yes, the rings wouldn’t have really meant anything but it’s hard to see the Twins winning a World Series with these types of decisions.

6. Jay-Z’s Car
Last year, Jay-Z announced that he had purchased a Maybach Excelero for $8 million. The car was famously featured in Jay-Z’s 2006 music video for Lost One and is still one of the rarest cars in the world.

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See also

Yankees News and Rumors1 day ago
2021 BP Team Hall of Fame Ballot

7. Money for Bronx Pinstripes’ Fans
Watching Happ struggle for the last two seasons was extremely frustrating for Yankees fans. Not only did Happ fail to live up to his contract, but his consistent poor attitude earned him the wrath of Yankees fans everywhere. Instead of wasting their money on Happ, the Twins could have instead sent every follower of Bronx Pinstripes on Twitter $72 for pain and suffering.

8. Nothing at All
Sometimes the best investments we make in life are the times we hold onto our cash. Instead of getting Happ, the Twins should have simply just kept the money in their pockets. Maybe buried it in the backyard or in a shoebox under a mattress.

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Conclusion
Look, I get the Twins trying to find a bounce-back candidate to improve their rotation. But after constantly watching Happ flail around on the mound, I can’t help but feel bad for fans of the Twins. Now with that said, I am so excited for facing them in the playoffs again and hearing the Boo Birds in the Bronx as Happ walks out to the mound.

Minnesota will be the seventh different organization for Happ, who spent time with the Phillies, Astros, Blue Jays, Mariners, Pirates and Yankees from 2007-20. The well-traveled 38-year-old has put together a solid career in the majors, where he owns a 3.98 ERA/4.21 SIERA and a 20.9 percent strikeout rate against an 8.4 percent walk rate through 1,741 1/3 innings.

For the most part, Happ’s numbers last year as a Yankee aligned with his career totals. He put up 49 1/3 frames of 3.47 ERA ball with a 21.4 percent strikeout rate and a 7.7 percent walk rate, also averaging about 91 mph on his fastball. He was also somewhat of a Statcast favorite, as he ranked better than average in several of its categories and recorded a .270 expected weighted on-base average against that outdid the .280 wOBA hitters logged when facing him. However, the 4.53 SIERA that Happ notched does count among the worst of his career.

Based on what he has done to this point, Happ should be a respectable back-end starter for the Twins, who have seen 2020 rotation members Jake Odorizzi and Rich Hill reach free agency since the offseason opened. The back-to-back AL Central champions now have Happ set to slot in behind Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda in their starting staff.

From a payroll vantage point, Happ puts Minnesota just north of $100MM on the books in 2021. That’s still about $30MM shy of where they would’ve been in 2020, prior to the league-wide prorating of salaries, so there’s still room for the Twins to add. The organization’s priority has been squarely focused on Nelson Cruz for much of the winter, though the 40-year-old slugger has been hoping for a two-year deal and is waiting until there’s definitive word on the universal DH before making any decisions.

The Twins could still make further moves to bolster the starting staff between now and Opening Day, but at the moment, Randy Dobnak looks like the front-runner to serve as their No. 5 starter. Lefty Devin Smeltzer is also on hand as a fifth-starter candidate, and prospects Jhoan Duran and Jordan Balazovic aren’t far behind in the upper minors.