Fire Gardy

Mismanaging games since 2002

Twins Smartly Reject Gagne

According to Joe C, the Twins have cut off their talks with Gagne.

This is excellent news. He was worth -$4.6M last year. That’s negative dollars. He hasn’t been worth more than he’s been paid since 2004. This is absolutely not the kind of pitcher you want to sign in free agency for any amount of money, much less “market value,” which is invariably higher than actual value.

I’m not terrified of the bullpen this year — I’d like an addition to replace Neshek, who really would have helped in the second half last year and probably gotten us into the playoffs, but it’s absolutely not worth panicking and signing someone like Gagne.

This is a great non-move. Let someone else make a mistake on this disaster of a former-pitcher. It has nothing to do with being cheap.


26 Comments so far

  1. Kushnick January 29th, 2009 7:26 am

    I’m terrified of the bullpen…And, you’re right, this has nothing to do with being cheap. It has to do with Bill Smith being gunshy about doing anything to address the needs of this team.

    Gagne has had some rough patches recently. But has good upside as a set-up man and could pay off dividends under the guidance of Anderson and Co. in that role.

    Crain, Guerrier, and Bonser have shown NOTHING that indicates they can competently compliment the inexperienced Mijares in the setup role.

    Ah, well…maybe it was about being cheap. Surprise, surprise.

  2. sirsean January 29th, 2009 9:03 am

    Crain has been successful in the past, and is now two years removed from his surgery. It’s more than possible that he has a workable season.

    Guerrier is still a good pitcher, despite his fatigue-induced collapse in the second half. I doubt he’ll ever be as good as he was in 2006-2007, but he’ll probably be good enough to be a 7th inning guy. I don’t really see a Rincon-like collapse in the offing.

    Bonser has shown a mid-90s fastball and a great curveball. Once he accepts bullpen duties and learns to attack hitters, he could turn into a force in the pen. And it won’t matter as much that he’s a big fat horse.

    And while I like Mijares a lot, I seriously doubt he’ll drop a 1.00 ERA for a whole season. The other guys aren’t complementing him, he’s complementing them.

    None of this screams “get your hands on a washed up veteran for millions of dollars” to me. Why is everyone so excited to repeat the mistakes of the past? Weren’t we perennially pissed off that the Twins would sign some piece of crap free agent who was good five years ago rather than give time to our own guys? Now they’re doing exactly that, and we’re still mad? Seriously?

  3. Erica January 29th, 2009 9:28 am

    I completely agree. I don’t like Gagne for various reasons, and I don’t want him on the team. I’d rather bring those young pitchers up, introduce them to the starting rotation, and say, “These guys got the job done last year- now you can get it done this year.”

  4. FunBobby January 29th, 2009 9:54 am

    I have no problem with signing washed up vets and giving them a chance to compete for a job. The problem the Twins have had is they all but guaranteed each and every one of them a starting job, and stuck with them for too long. If we signed Gagne (or Crede) to a cheap deal and they didn’t show anything in spring training and we cut them loose, I would be upset that we lost a few million. However, I get more upset when the sole reason for keeping a guy is because we are paying him. I’d rather pay a terrible player not to play, than pay him to lose us games. Of course this can all be solved by not signing bad players, but I think the Twins are beyond that as an organization.

  5. sirsean January 29th, 2009 10:01 am

    It’s true that it’s annoying when guys get to play just because of their paycheck.

    Cutting Mike Lamb while he still had a year on his contract may have been a step in the right direction in that regard.

    But paying them not to play rather than paying them to lose is treating the symptom. It’s much better to cut such a situation off at the pass — by avoiding overpaid mediocre veterans in the first place.

    And I think that’s what we’re seeing here.

  6. FunBobby January 29th, 2009 10:03 am

    I hope so. And its tough to get players like Crede and gagne to sign minor league deals. and that isn’t just because boras is their agent. Although maybe if we wait around long enough we can get them for a minor league deal and if they blow in spring training we can send them backing. If for no other reason than to tell Boras to suck it and his players blow.

  7. sirsean January 29th, 2009 10:57 am

    It’d be nice if we could get one of them on a minor league deal — I just don’t see it happening.

  8. MarkW January 29th, 2009 11:00 am

    I got some catching up to do, just read all the posts/comments from the last couple days…

    Thoughts: Signing Kubel – good, great, grand! No really, this is something they really needed to do, I think it’s been said over and over that he needs to get more ABs and they need to come against all RHP this year and even some vs LHP… I think he’ll hit 28 HRs this year (not asking for much)

    On Rob Neyer: Idiot. Who doesn’t write the Twins off every year before the season starts? and then we find ourselves in a pennant race at the end of it? I do however still feel we lack power (3B and LF) but maybe D. Young will contribute more this year, as well as Buscher…

    On NOT signing Gagne OR Crede: Waste of money, totally agree… Gagne sucks, My buddy is a Dodger fan and said he’ll never be good again after the got hurt, and he hasn’t been… why would we pay $5M for 1 year of him? I fully believe we’ll have 1 or 2 guys from AAA come in and pitch in the bullpen, why not? Crede, same thing… if we can invite him to Spring Training and say, if you make it we have a $2M deal for 1 year for you, then sure, but otherwise, stay away. I would like to go over (since we know our team know, basically) lineups vs pitching and what would be preferred. I guess I’ll get to mine in a minute…

  9. MarkW January 29th, 2009 11:04 am

    Couple of spelling errors in that one, my bad.

    So here’s our roster for Position Players:

    1B Morneau C Mauer, Redmond 2B Casilla SS Punto 3B Harris/Buscher DH Kubel

    OF Span, Cuddyer, Gomez, Young

    That’s 12 guys, 1st question: Who’s the 13th guy? because I imagine we’ll have 12 pitchers, 7 in the pen, do you see 8 in the pen at all?

  10. sirsean January 29th, 2009 11:08 am

    I’m sure we’ll see 8 in the pen at some point this season, as guys get banged up and/or overused by Gardy and need some help. Hopefully the rotation can throw some more innings this year and take some of the pressure off the bullpen.

    I’d say Tolbert would probably be the 13th position player. We don’t need another guy who can play in the outfield, and since Punto has been promoted from utility infielder to shortstop, we find ourselves short a utility infielder.

    It could also be Alejandro Machado, though he’ll probably start in AAA and wait for Punto to falter before coming in to replace him. In June. As always.

  11. MarkW January 29th, 2009 11:11 am

    My Lineup vs RHP

    Span LF Casilla 2B Mauer C Morneau 1B Kubel DH Young RF Buscher 3B Punto SS Gomez CF

    My Lineup vs LHP

    Span LF Casilla 2B Mauer C Morneau 1B Young RF Cuddyer DH Harris 3B Punto SS Gomez CF

    I would also sit Gomez vs RHP some, move Span to CF and start Cuddyer in RF… this would also work sitting Young as well, moving Span to LF in his place.

  12. FunBobby January 29th, 2009 11:14 am

    I know this has been said before, but the only two decent years punto has had are when he has to fight for a job midseason. When he is handed the job he drops the ball and is terrible. Doesn’t seem to be many other solutions, but just something to think about as the season starts.

  13. sirsean January 29th, 2009 11:17 am

    That’s why I hope Machado is healthy. So Punto knows that if he’s not playing well, we’ve got a replacement in the wings who’s an actual shortstop with a bit of potential.

  14. MarkW January 29th, 2009 11:18 am

    Agree, I was thinking Tolbert as well, since he can play all the infield positions if needed… I like Machado coming up for Punto after Punto goes 0-124 to start the season… maybe he’ll be up in May!

    Okay, so 5 starters: Baker, Slowey, Liriano, Blackburn, and Perkins

    7 in the Bullpen: Bonser, Breslow, Grrrr, Crain, Mijares, and Nathan – that’s 6, who’s the 7th for now?

  15. sirsean January 29th, 2009 11:19 am

    Either Korecky or Humber.

  16. FunBobby January 29th, 2009 11:26 am

    I’d hate to lose Humber, since he was part of the Santana deal. And i’m sure Smith is using that logig (whether or not its sound) and give Humber a shot first, and if he fails, we let him go and call up someone else. I know Mijares was lights out, but is anyone else nervous that we are assuming he will continue to be awesome, and not Denny Reyes reincarnate? Maybe its just me being a pessimist, but why should i be OK with the team relying on a pitcher with less than 20 big league innings to be a key part of an already weak bullpen?

  17. sirsean January 29th, 2009 11:33 am

    I’m sure we won’t just cut Humber loose even if he fails.

    And you’re right — we should be a lot more wary about Mijares than we are. He certainly showed promise, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be successful THIS year.

  18. MarkW January 29th, 2009 11:39 am

    Yeah, Humber and I would imagine we see Korecky at some point during the year…

    I’m not as worried having a young guy w/ little experience struggle as opposed to bringing in someone you know will fail and over pay for them as well (Livan H.) ahem

  19. FunBobby January 29th, 2009 11:41 am

    What I’m worried about is we are assuming Mijares won’t struggle and therefore have no plan B is he sucks right off the bat.

  20. sirsean January 29th, 2009 11:42 am

    Well I’m sure plan B is sending Mijares to the minors and bringing up Korecky, giving the full load against lefties to Breslow.

    The backup plan for Humber and Bonser is scarier, because they’re stuck on the roster and we can’t send them down.

  21. Erica January 29th, 2009 1:41 pm

    Breslow can handle it if Mijares can’t- I’m not worried about the lefties in the pen (knock on wood). I really hope Boof accepts the role he has been given and decides to concentrate on becoming a lights-out reliever. He needs to realize that 8th-inning guys and closers are just as cool and valuable as starters (hello, Joe Nathan).

  22. FunBobby January 29th, 2009 1:51 pm

    I really hope Boof isn’t worried about being “cool”. If he is I am going to have to slap him upside the head and remind him he isn’t in middle school. I think all that can be accomplished before the hired goons drag me out of the clubhouse.

  23. sirsean January 29th, 2009 1:52 pm

    Hired goons?

  24. sirsean January 29th, 2009 1:54 pm

    Also, aside from “coolness,” starters make the most money. Because they’re the most valuable to the team. Closers can also make a bunch of money, though that part of the market may be drying up. Middle relievers make jack shit.

    That’s probably a significant reason why Boof (and all other pitchers) don’t want to be kicked out of the rotation, especially by a team with a dominant closer.

    That said, his contract says he has to do what the Twins say. So he’d better suck it up and pitch out of the bullpen. And if he continues to suck, he’ll be out of baseball pretty quickly.

  25. Erica January 29th, 2009 3:09 pm

    Exactly. Boof failed as a starter- he needs to accept it and move on, even if the bullpen feels like a demotion. Joe Nathan signed a pretty lucrative contract before last season, so Boof can get paid if he just PITCHES.

    Actually, Boof could learn a lot from Joe, since Joe was a struggling starter who became wildly successful in a relief role.

  26. sirsean January 29th, 2009 3:29 pm

    I’ve read that Nathan did try to explain that to Boof and is doing what he can to help him adjust and accept his new responsibility.

    But even Nathan recognizes his limitations here — at the end of the day, it is Boof and only Boof that can make a real difference. HE has to make the adjustment and accept his role. Only then can success come.

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