Minnesota Twins: Grading the Hansel Robles Signing

Hansel Robles, formerly of the Los Angeles Angels pitches against the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Hansel Robles, formerly of the Los Angeles Angels pitches against the Texas Rangers. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Twins made their first free agent signing of the 2020-2021 offseason and it’s…Hansel Robles? We grade the new deal.

For the Minnesota Twins fans looking for a big signing, keep waiting. For Twins fans looking for a savvy, inexpensive move that should be a big lift for the bullpen, the team made a deal for you in the signing of Hansel Robles.

According to Darren Wolfson, the Twins signed Robles to a one year, $2 million deal. The deal includes the following incentives for finishing games:

While this isn’t the splashiest signing the team could have made, this is a helpful one. With Tyler Clippard, Sergio Romo, Trevor May, Sergio Romo, and Matt Wisler out the door, the team needs some help. Robles can be that help.

In 2020, Robles struggled mightily to the tune of a 10.49 ERA (5.89 FIP) last year, but that only came in 16.2 innings last year. This led to the Angels deciding to non-tender him rather than pay his estimated $4 million arbitration salary.

It wasn’t all bad for the 30-year-old though. Robles put together a career high 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings in 2020 and his 30-10 strikeout to walk ratio was really good over just 16.2 innings. He struggled, but there were some good things there.

The fact that he has some positives from his shortened 2020 season should be a positive for Twins fans, but an even bigger positive should be looking back at his career before his truly tough 2020.

Prior to 2020, Robles had a 3.52 career ERA, 340-124 K-BB ratio, 96 games finished, and 26 saves. Those are really good numbers for a reliever under 30. This all culminated in his truly dominant 2019.

As the Angels’ closer in 2019, the last full MLB season, Robles saved 23 games, put together a 2.48 ERA (2.88 FIP), and a 75-16 K-BB ratio. Those are really good numbers for a reliever, and if he puts together anything close to that, the Twins got the steal of free agency.

He has an excellent changeup, but his fastball gets destroyed. Wes Johnson will likely help him fix that, while encouraging more changeup use. This is a really smart, low-risk, high-reward move that small market championship teams make.

If we know anything, it’s that the Minnesota Twins can help talented relievers put together a new gear (Trevor May, Matt Wisler, and Caleb Thielbar come to mind as great examples). This is not the big money deal for an elite reliever the team needs (or that the fans were looking for), but it’s a smart move for a good bullpen piece. Grade: A-.

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