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Per a tweet from Yahoo's Jeff Passan:
Source: Atlanta finalizing deal to acquire catcher/outfielder Ryan Doumit from Minnesota.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 18, 2013
The news was later confirmed by the Twins, who sent out this news release:
The Minnesota Twins announced that they have traded catcher/outfielder Ryan Doumit to the Atlanta Braves for left-handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin. Doumit played in 269 games for the Twins from 2012-13, hitting .261 (253-for-969) with 62 doubles, 32 home runs and 130 RBI. He is a career .268 hitter (787-for-2936) with 187 doubles, 99 home runs and 396 RBI in nine major league seasons with the Twins and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Gilmartin, 23, went 3-8 with a 5.74 ERA (91.0 IP, 58 ER), 33 walks and 65 strikeouts in 17 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett (International League) last season. He has a career record of 12-20 with a 4.23 ERA (285.1 IP, 134 ER), 74 walks and 223 strikeouts in 54 games (53 starts) during three seasons in Atlanta’s minor league system.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder was drafted by the Braves in the first round (28th overall) in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Florida State University. Gilmartin will be signed to a minor league contract and will be invited to Twins Spring Training.
The ZiPS player projections for the 2014 Twins, released Friday on FANGRAPHS, can be read a couple different ways, we suppose.
In the short view, it offers a pretty pessimistic look at the potential lineup for 2014, as it stands now -- which of course is only Dec. 16 and not even halfway into the offseason. That's not terribly surprising, we suppose, since the Twins ranked 25th in MLB in runs scored a season ago and their only significant moves so far this offseason have dealt with starting pitching.
Nonetheless, here is what the projections say about the players currently on the 40-man roster: Joe Mauer will be the Twins' best offensive player, but with his move to first base his edge in WAR (Wins Above Replacement) will be diminished. We already knew that, we suppose, but the raw Mauer projections -- a .292 average with 10 homers and 60 RBI -- will not make anyone in Twins country happy. Mauer has a tendency to beat projections on batting average on balls in play; then again, he will be 31 pretty soon after the season starts. Per FANGRAPHS:
Part of that appears to be adjustment for BABIP: no player is reasonably forecast to record one above .350, even though Mauer has exceeded that figure each of the last two seasons. Part of that is likely a product of whatever aging curve Dan Szymborski’s math computer utilizes.
Perhaps more alarming for 2014 -- but encouraging, we suppose for the future, which is the other way to read these projections -- are the players listed directly below Mauer in terms of projected offense. The site lists players ranked in terms of WAR, and the next three are Josmil Pinto, Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton.
That is to say, one player who had a limited 2013 audition and two more who have never taken an MLB at-bat are projected -- if they were in the majors full-time in 2014 -- to be three of the Twins' four best offensive players in 2014. Sano would bat .227 but would hit 30 homers, the site says. Buxton would steal 30 bases. Pinto would hold his own at the plate.
Here is the list of the top 10 Twins players, projected by WAR, for 2014:
The bottom line: If these projections are to be believed or at least used as a starting reference, Terry Ryan still has a lot of work to do this offseason -- unless he and the on-field staff are ready to turn things over on offense to the prospects and ride it out. Or as FANGRAPHS notes, it isn’t great for the 2014 Twins that many of the best projections below are assigned to players unlikely to begin the season on the 25-man roster. What it is good for is the 2015 and 2016 and 2017 Twins, probably.
/Thanks to Aaron Gleeman for the heads up on the ZiPS release.
The Twins' rotation, which has been in a state of flux for two seasons, now at least looks on paper to be fairly well set in most cases.
Kevin Correia, by default the Twins' best and most reliable starter for the duration of 2013, has another year under contract. Mike Pelfrey, who made 29 starts and improved as the season went along in his first year back after Tommy John surgery, is reportedly back with the Twins on a two-year deal.
And, of course, Ricky Nolasco (4 years) and Phil Hughes (3 years) were signed with the expectation that they will bolster the middle-to-top of the rotation for years to come.
If everyone is healthy and productive -- always a big if, but bear with us -- it leaves one spot open in the rotation. And it leaves a rather considerable competition for that one spot.
Our question: If the season started today, who do you think would get that final spot in the rotation? The candidates, as we see them, in the most likely order for the start of 2014.
*Sam Deduno: He had a 3.83 ERA in 100-plus innings as a starter last season. The downside is he hasn't stayed healthy and it's still unclear if he can keep up his good work.
*Scott Diamond: He was the Twins' best starter in 2012, winning 12 games with a 3.54 ERA. His 2013 was a clear regression, with an ERA close of 5.43, more walks, fewer strikeouts and far less command. If he regains his 2012 form, he would be a welcome addition to the rotation as a left-hander among a sea of righties.
*Kyle Gibson: He struggled as a rookie in 2013, but he still appears to be the most ready of the organization's higher-level prospects to break through into the rotation at the start of 2014.
*Brian Duensing: Probably best-suited in the bullpen, but with the emergence of Caleb Thielbar as another lefty to go with Glen Perkins in the pen, Duensing could be considered if the team wants a lefty and Diamond falters. His career ERA in 61 starts is 4.57, a full run higher than his ERA as a reliever. That said, 4.57 is better than what the Twins have experienced for the past couple years from their starters.
*Vance Worley: Remember, Worley was the Twins' OPENING DAY STARTER in 2013. He faltered miserably, was OK in Class AAA and now his status remains unclear.
*Alex Meyer: A long shot, we would imagine, at least at the start of 2014. But if the kid blows people away in spring training, you never know.
*Andrew Albers: Again, the lefty factor and his good work in 2013 could put him in the mix.
The great news: We're not talking about all these guys as candidates for 3-4 spots. Just one spot. Your thoughts, please, in the comments.
The Twins have already committed $20 million per season over the next three years to pitchers Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes. This is a clear sign of progress and attention being paid to the starting rotation, even if there are still gobs of Twins fans out there who will never be satisfied with any offseason unless it includes landing the 10 best free agents.
Nolasco and Hughes were definitely among the top 10-15 starters available on the market this offseason. So are Bronson Arroyo and Matt Garza -- the former being around the same slot as Nolasco, perhaps, and the latter being above all of them because of his potential.
That said, even if the Twins have been linked to Arroyo and Garza, this offseason is not a sudden failure if they can't land another top-of-the-rotation pitcher. That leads us to Mike Pelfrey, who pitched here last season in his first year off of Tommy John surgery.
Most Twins fans are treating a possible two-year deal for Pelfrey as some sort of crime.
Listen: Pelfrey is only 29 years old. Pitchers generally get better the further removed they are from that major elbow surgery, and there were even signs last year that Pelfrey was improving as the year went along. Batters had an .837 OPS against him in the first half of the season; it was .731 in the second half. Before getting hurt, he threw at least 184 innings in four consecutive seasons. Two of those years were quite good -- ERA around 3.70 and at least 200 innings in both.
Bottom line: don't get caught up in 2013 Pelfrey when thinking about the Twins possibly re-signing him. As a mid-to-bottom of the rotation starter, he would be more than fine.
TwinsFest, that annual Winter event, has a new twist this year as it will be at Target Field for the first time. That's a great thing in terms of the niceness of the facility, since the Metrodome always felt like a cave. That said, the charm of the Dome was that admission seemed to be almost limitless and inexpensive -- advance tickets last season were $9 for adults and $5 for kids 14 and under.
This year? Well, tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday, and if you missed earlier announcements there might be a little shock in terms of prices and availability.
Per the Twins:
The Minnesota Twins and the Twins Community Fund today announced additional details for "TwinsFest at Target Field," a new twist on a longstanding Minnesota baseball tradition. "TwinsFest at Target Field" will run from Jan. 24 through Jan. 26, 2014 and will provide a much more exclusive and intimate experience for fans in comparison to the event's storied Metrodome history.
The fundraising event will feature numerous new interactive activities and behind-the-scenes fan experiences that celebrate Twins baseball and Target Field. Based on the event's move to Target Field, TwinsFest '14 tickets will be much more limited than in previous years and will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. Ticket sales will be capped for each day and a sell-out is expected. Tickets will cost $20 for adults and $10 for kids 14 and younger.
The Twins are promising new activities and a "chance to reinvent" the tradition of the event, according to Twins President Dave St. Peter. Among the new twists: The option to purchase a "white glove" tour of the Twins Archive Room, the chance to take batting practice in the Twins batting cages and an opportunity to enjoy the signature food and beverage options which have made Target Field baseball's best dining experience.
Also: No live National Anthem auditions.
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