Minnesota Twins: 10 possible undervalued free agent pitchers to pursue
Wily Peralta, RHRP
Age on Opening Day: 28
2017 Salary: $4.275 million
2017 Stats: 19 G, 8 GS, 57 1/3 IP, 5-4, 7.85 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 11.9% BB, 19.3%
Info: Peralta is a bit of cheating. He’s primarily been a starter throughout his career, having made 120 starts over his 132 appearances in the majors. Peralta has used an incredible fastball/slider mix to flash as a starter, but his combination could tick up in effectiveness even further in the bullpen, and could be an absolutely dominant reliever with time to prepare and get used to the role rather than being “demoted” to the bullpen in mid-season as he has been in previous stints.
Peralta has had one of the highest average fastball velocities in the major leagues in the last few seasons, flashing his highest average in 2017, with a 96.5 MPH average. He also works with a mid-80s slider that has very sharp break at its best. However, poor feel for his change has limited Peralta’s effectiveness.
Out of the bullpen, Peralta has seen his velocity bump up to triple digits, and his sinker is even more effective out of the bullpen when he seems to be able to get on top of the pitch better, getting more effective movement low in the zone. He can then use his four-seam fastball up in the zone to adjust eye level and get plenty of swing-and-miss.
Peralta earned just over $4 million in 2017 primarily due to his being a starter. As a reliever, he could be a guy that could end up being a premier closer while likely taking a contract in the 3 years, $15M range, which would be much cheaper than any similarly skilled reliever on the market with “closer experience”.
Michael Pineda, RHSP
Age on Opening Day: 29
2017 Salary: $7.4 million
2017 Stats: 17 GS, 96 1/3 IP, 8-4, 4.39 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 5.1% BB, 22.4% K
Info: Pineda’s a guy who has always had peripherals that didn’t match up to his final numbers, and a big reason was his home park, so getting him out of New York could make him an absolutely elite starter. Of course, he’s going to miss most of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery, so the opportunity for a creative deal with Pineda is ripe.
This season was an aberration compared to his previous years in New York for Pineda as he had an even split of home runs allowed between home and away starts before the injury that ended up costing him the rest of his season. Typically his season looks more like his 2016, when he allowed 20 home runs at home versus just 7 on the road.
Pineda works with a mid-90s cut fastball, mid-90s sinker, upper-80s change, and a mid-80s slider. I’ve always thought Pineda would benefit with something that was outside of the 10 MPH range he sits in with most of his pitches.
A contract that could work with Pineda could be an option-laden deal with something for a base like 2 years, $7-10 million, with a $1-2 million 2018 contract as he heals from Tommy John, then a base of $6-8 million for 2019 with incentives based on how high the base salary is. I’d personally structure the contract after that with a pair of vesting options, one for 2020 based on 150 innings in 2019 and a 2021 vesting option based on combined innings between 2019 and 2020. A player option could even be added for 2022 that is only achievable if both vesting options were met, which would indicate not only is Pineda healthy, but he’s throwing well enough that the team wants him out there.