A second Minnesota Twins reliever is now leaving the team, as Matt Wisler is signing in San Francisco with the Giants.
Despite having a career year for the Minnesota Twins last season, Matt Wisler will be playing baseball in a different city in 2021: San Francisco. The slider specialist became a free agent after the Twins opted to non-tender him, rather than go to arbitration. Twins president Derek Falvey was still hopeful that they could resign him.
Falvey said: “Matt’s somebody, we engaged with the agent, just couldn’t come to that agreement, on terms at this point but it does not rule out the potential for that going forward,” Falvey said Wednesday.
“He’s someone who, we obviously targeted Matt and got him last year, pitched well for us so we’ll stay engaged with his agent and work through him among a number of other relievers that are out there in this class.”
That possibility has now sailed away. On December 8th, the San Francisco Giants signed Wisler to a one-year $1.15 million contract. Right-handed relief was a problem area for the Giants last season and the deal for Matt is probably the first of several for relievers. They likely will acquire a couple of additional veteran pitchers to bolster their bullpen as well.
The Minnesota Twins claimed Wisler off waivers from the Seattle Mariners after the 2019 season. There was a lot of head scratching after his pickup because he had struggled in the majors up to that point, but they acquired him for $725,000 so it was a fairly low risk pickup.
That apprehension quickly dissipated as the season continued and Wisler became a solid and dependable middle reliever. Matt had a fabulous year, striking out 35 batters in 25.1 innings and he ended the year with a 1.07 ERA.
He did all of this almost entirely using one pitch. Minnesota Twins Pitching Coach Wes Johnson convinced him to have confidence in his slider and to throw it more often. The results spoke for themselves. I will miss Matt Wisler not being in a Minnesota Twins uniform next season. He was a consistent and reliable pitcher in 2020 and I believe that the Twins will miss him as well.
With the loss of Wisler to the Giants, Trevor May to the New York Mets, and the possible losses of Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard, the Twins will have to find competent replacements for these key pitchers. Let’s hope they are able to do that and the bullpen remains a strength in the 2021 season.