Minnesota Twins Offseason Weekly Reaction: Joakim Soria and Trevor Plouffe
Writers Note: A weekly review of the Minnesota Twins offseason transactions, including reaction and opinions from fans and myself. Look for future polls on my Twitter account to share your opinions.
The Minnesota Twins offseason transaction rate has slowed down significantly.
A week after several rapid fire acquisitions, this week has been awfully quiet. However, Terry Ryan continues to engage in conversation with free agent Joakim Soria.
As free agency began we identified players that fit the Twins needs, one of them being Soria. He pitched well for the Detroit Tigers and the Pittsburgh Pirates last season. Soria, 31, is one of the better relievers on market, and is considered to be the second best to Darren O’Day. So I asked whether fans would rather pursue O’Day or Soria.
I agree with the results here. O’Day is the best reliever on the free agent market and will demand the biggest contract. MLB Trade Rumors listed O’Day’s asking price in the range of four years, $28 to $36 million and Soria’s at three years, $27 million.
O’Day was an all-star for the first time in his career last season. He pitched in 68 games posting a 2.49 FIP. He also had an 11.3 SO9, 1.9 BB9, 0.7 HR9 and 0.934 WHIP. His incredible numbers are better than Soria’s in 2015. However, Soria has better career numbers than O’Day, narrowly.
The statistic to key on is FIP. O’Day’s career FIP is 3.36 while Soria’s is 2.98. Both have pitched for eight years. Both have pitched in late inning situations. Both are equally effective. The cause for this, O’Day has hit more batters. But Soria has unleashed more wild pitches.
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Both are receiving plenty of interest from teams. The Twins should pursue O’Day. He is the most consistent option between the two. He has pitched in at least 68 games in a season during the last four years. His WHIP has been 1.00 or lower in the same time span.
Soria has been traded twice in as many seasons. So maybe that has something to do with his consistency.
Regarding the contract requests from the two pitchers, O’Day’s asking price seems high for an eighth inning reliever. If he were to sign for four years and $32 million, he would be making an average of $8 million per season. If Soria signed for his asking price he would make an average of $9 million per season.
O’Day could be the cheaper option. But with all the bidding, Soria is not much of a downgrade.
The Odd Man Out
The Twins have not signed Byung-ho Park to a contract yet. Regardless, rumors still remain about Trevor Plouffe‘s status. He continually shows up in trade talks and would seem to be the odd man out if Park does sign with the Twins.
It has been stated many times that the Twins intend to have Miguel Sano in the outfield during the upcoming season. If he did move to the outfield, it would still create a logjam. He can’t overtake third base because Plouffe has earned the spot. If he does in fact play in the outfield, Sano would be blocking others looking to earn a spot.
Oswaldo Arcia is one of those looking to earn a spot with the team out of Spring Training. Last season Arcia seemed to take a step back in his progression. He stands to be the odd man out in the Twins outfield rotation that could feature Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler. Even Danny Santana and Eduardo Escobar could be possibilities.
It is hard for me to come to a conclusion on this. On one hand Plouffe makes more sense trade wise, but Arcia could be dealt as well.
Plouffe had another productive season. He smacked 35 doubles and 22 home runs while driving in a career high 86 RBIs. He also continued to improve on his defense at third. 2015 was the first year Plouffe had over a .970 fielding percentage. It was also the first year he made fewer than 12 errors at third base. His stock has been on the rise since his breakout year in 2012.
Sep 13, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; It is still unclear what the Minnesota Twins offseason plans are for right fielder Oswaldo Arcia (31). Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
Arcia does not have the same value as Plouffe. After last season, Arcia would be lucky to make the active roster in 2016. He played in 19 games before landing on the disabled list. The rehab assignment in triple-A became his permanent destination for the rest of 2015.
In triple-A, Arcia slashed .199/.257/.372. For whatever reason, he could not hit well enough to constitute a call-up. As it stands, he appears to be the odd man out in the outfield mix as stated earlier.
Plenty of teams would be willing to trade a reliever for a power-hitting outfielder. Right? Maybe. If they did it would not be anywhere near the quality that the Twins could get if they traded Plouffe instead.
I am a fan of Plouffe and have been since 2012. But fandom aside, it would be wiser for the Twins to trade Plouffe. His value is clearly higher than Arcia. If Park signs with the Twins, a Plouffe trade would much more likely than a trade involving Arcia. Who knows, Arcia could surprise in Spring Training.
On Friday, Josmil Pinto and A.J. Achter were claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies respectfully.
Pinto spent all of 2015 in triple-A. His career as a catcher is over due to his defensive struggles and concussion issues. Acther pitched 24.1 innings combined in 2014 and 2015 with a 5.18 ERA. He has been performed well in the minors but not in the majors.
They are two players who might catch on somewhere else but the chances of that are slim to none. With Pinto and Achter gone, the Twins had room to protect more players from the Rule 5 draft. On the same day, they added the following players to the 40-man roster.
The Rule 5 draft will take place in December during the winter meetings. Last year the Twins received J.R. Graham in the Rule 5 draft.