Saturday, December 8, 2012

Notes, quotes and comment

Jared Burton had
career highs in games,
innings, saves and
holds in 2012.
One aspect of the Twins' busy end-of-the-winter-meetings I hadn't commented on (until now) was the new multi-year contract for Jared Burton — two years for $5.5 million, plus a club option for 2015.

Burton turns 32 in June and he's had a career threatening injury, so it's no surprise he'd take such a deal.  $5.5 million is life-changing money, and if he stays healthy and effective enough to make it worthwhile for the Twins to pick up that 2015 option, the whole package exceeds $9 million.

For the Twins, even with the third year, it's basically what they used to pay middle relievers Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier before they hit free agency.

The only question is if they can keep Burton healthy. Ron Gardenhire handled Burton carefully in 2012; it will be interesting to see if he continues to avoid using Burton on back-to-back days next year. Terry Ryan has tried to deepen the bullpen with the additions of Josh Roenicke, Tim Wood and Ryan Pressley to holdovers Casey Fien, Alex Burnett and Anthony Swarzak; that should help protect Burton.

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The free agent starter who was highest on my wish list for the Twins, Brandon McCarthy, signed Friday with Arizona — pending a physical, which, with his injury history, may not be a matter of routine.

McCarthy got essentially the same deal as Joe Blanton did with Anaheim: two years, $15.5 million. They are rather different pitchers. McCarthy's career highs for starts and innings are 25 and 170; Blanton has had only one year under 175 innings since 2005. McCarthy's innings are generally of higher quality. Blanton provides more innings.

The market values each evenly. In the specific case of the Twins, who need quality innings more than bulk innings, McCarthy would have been more valuable.

Obviously, the Twins landed neither. Still out there from my three names are John Lannan and Shawn Marcum.

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How good a prospect is Trevor May?

The initial reaction in the Twins blogosphere to the Ben Revere trade was to view May as roughly equivalent to Alex Meyer, the prospect the Twins got in in the Denard Span trade. May and Vance Worley, the quasi-established starter the Twins got for Revere, would thus be a better return.

But ... Jim Callis of Baseball America tweeted Friday that May, who was in BA's Top 100 prospects last spring, won't be in the list when it comes out. May's command is a big enough problem to knock his status down considerably.

I still like the deal for the Twins; Worley alone is probably worth surrendering Revere, and May is a decent lottery ticket. If he harnesses his stuff, it becomes a very good trade.

But Meyer is easily the better prospect.



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