Friday, November 30, 2012

Interesting Non-Tenders

Midnight tonight, the final day of November, is the last chance for teams to tender contracts to eligible players. Eligibility is based on service time and generally includes any players with less than 6 years in the major leagues.

Leading up to midnight, news will be coming in regarding team's decisions on these players, many of whom are very interesting. Be it injuries or unrealistic salary expectations, there are going to be a lot of players with bright futures ahead of them searching for jobs. Because I'm cooped up in the library tonight, I'll periodically check in and comment on noteworthy transactions and analyze how some of these players could help the Twins (or any team). Players below the page break:

Starting Pitchers

  • Jair Jurrjens: Jair posted a 120 career ERA+ over 115 starts before 2012. Looking like an anchor in the Braves rotation going into last season, Jurrjens struggled mightily, spending the majority of the year in AAA. His velocity and strikeout rates have been trending down, which is never a good sign. However, he has been plagued with knee and groin injuries that could potentially be the root of the problem. Jurrjens was ultimately non-tendered because he would have almost certainly earned $5.5 million (equal to his 2012 pay) had the Braves taken him to arbitration. As a result, there should be significant interest in his services for next season and will have an outside shot at whichever team's rotation he chooses.
  • Mike Pelfrey: He's been an inconsistent pitcher for the Mets, looking like a top of the rotation guy in 2008 and 2010 and looking like a #5 at best in 2009 and 2011. Most low-strikeout pitchers will have a wide distribution of success as their margin for error is relatively smaller. The biggest issue here is that Pelfrey will be returning from Tommy John surgery that occurred last April. Obviously there is a ton of uncertainty when you're dealing with such an injury, however, so many pitchers are returning as healthy as ever that Pelfrey is certainly worth a shot for a team like the Twins who could use any help they can get.
  • Jeff Karstens: Karstens is interesting for a couple of reasons; first of all, DERP and second of all his numbers show he's actually been productive. Jeff's K/9 has been increasing as his BB/9 has steadily declined; in 2012 he reached 6.6 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9. Granted, a switch from the National League isn't a nudge in the right direction, Karstens absolutely deserves a shot at the back of some manager's rotation.
  • John Lannan: Lefty starter, similar story to Pelfrey. Lannan has the potential to be a passable #4, but more likely a decent #5.
  • Jacob Brigham: He's been passed back and forth from the Rangers to the Cubs back to the Rangers in exchange for Geo Soto and Barret Loux. Brigham has hit 97 mph in the past, but now sits in the lower 90's. I'm not sure what to think about him, but Brigham is a name to keep your eye on as a potential minor league deal with an outside shot at the rotation
  • Andres Torres: One of the older players on this list, Torres, 34, presents an interesting skillset the Twins would be wise to try out. Torres has a little pop (.130 ISO career), good wheels (73% career base-stealer) and very good glove (Postitive UZR's in left, right and center). In addition, Torres shows good patience, with a 10% walk rate. However, all this comes with significant questions about his bat, he's hit  .221 and .230 over the past two seasons. I would expect a slight uptick in the batting average, perhaps into the .240 range, which would really tie a nice bow on the package that is Andres Torres. I'm mentioning him as a target for the Twins, because with Span gone, they will be counting Chris Parmelee in right field; I love Parmelee's bat, but he's a terrible outfielder. Torres, a switch-hitter who mashes lefties, would be an ideal platoon partner with Parmelee, or at the very least, a fourth-outfielder to push Parmelee and Revere every day and spell Willingham when he has his inevitable DL stint.
  • Ben Francisco: A long Indian, Francisco profiles as a third-division right fielder. That is, if you disregard 2012 when he spent time in Toronto, Houston and Tampa Bay. Francisco, a right-handed hitter, has shown decent power and on-base skills. Despite troubles in 2011 and 2012, I view Francisco as bounce back candidate in 2013. 

So that's it for the night. No huge shockers. A couple relievers to keep your eye on are Brian Wilson and Peter Moylan, not that either will land in the Twin Cities, but they will be interesting to watch regardless. Here's looking forward to the Winter Meetings on Monday! Cheers!

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