Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum
  • What To Do With Mike Pelfrey?

    With six innings of one-run ball against the Angels on Wednesday, Mike Pelfrey lowered his ERA to 5.15 ERA, the lowest it has been since April 9. During the first couple months of the season, Pelfrey was pretty clearly the worst starting pitcher in baseball, at least among those to hold onto their jobs. Not surprising in light of the fact that May 1st marked his one-year anniversary from Tommy John surgery.

    Looking at historical timelines for recovery from the notorious procedure, Pelfrey's initial struggles were to be expected. But his improvement since the start of June has been stark. Don't take my word for it; check out the numbers side-by-side:

    April and May June and July
    Games Started 11 7
    Quality Starts 2 5
    ERA 6.66 3.35
    K/BB 26/19 29/9
    Opp AVG/OBP/SLG .332/.387/.521 .263/.308/.363

    The contrast is remarkable. In April and May, Pelfrey was a hittable mess, almost incapable of getting through six innings. Since then, however, he's been extremely solid, completing six or more innings in all but one start (in which he went 5 2/3) and consistently giving his team a good chance to win. It seems safe to say that he's gotten over the hump.

    Unfortunately, the turnaround may have come too late to help the Twins. My expectation from the beginning was that Pelfrey would start slow and improve in the latter part of the season, but as a player on a one-year contract with a non-competitive team (in other words, a trade candidate), that's a problem because potential trade partners will assess his value based on his performance in the first half.

    Pelfrey is almost certainly among the commodities Terry Ryan is shopping with the deadline rapidly approaching, but will other teams focus on his steady performance these past couple months or his numbers for the season as a whole, like an ERA that ranks as the sixth-worst in the majors, or a strikeout rate that is fourth-worst?

    Because he missed time with an injury in late June, Pelfrey hasn't had quite enough time to rebuild his value and now he'll have just one more start before next Wednesday's trade deadline. It would seem that the market for him might not be especially hot, and for his part, Pelf says he would be "crushed" if he were to be dealt.

    So what's the alternative? Let him continue taking the mound every fifth day in August and September and then use his improved second half as grounds to score a healthy contract in free agency?

    Or should the Twins take a proactive approach and look to lock the veteran up with a contract extension before season's end?

    Back in May, that notion would have been laughable, but Pelfrey has undeniably been a high-quality fixture over the past two months and, in light of his circumstances, it's not hard to believe his transformation has been legitimate. He's still only 29 years old, and while he was by no means a dominant pitcher in New York prior to the elbow injury, he was a workhorse who occasionally produced stellar seasons.

    The Twins are trying to rebuild around youth, but the disheartening developments this year for Scott Diamond and Vance Worley have cast serious doubt on Minnesota's ability to piece together a workable rotation configured with internal parts. We all know the likelihood of Ryan fishing for impact arms in free agency.

    Of course, Pelfrey might be eager to play out the rest of the year and test the market, since he's never really had a chance to do so (last year was his first foray into free agency and obviously he had much going against him). Then again, if his numerous quotes about enjoying his time in Minnesota and really wanting to stay are to be believed, the righty might be open to agreeable terms.

    With the way the free agent pitching market has spiraled out of control in recent years, and with the uncertainty surrounding young hurlers that the Twins hoped might figure into their 2013 rotation (Diamond, Worley, Alex Meyer, Trevor May), if Pelfrey can be signed for anything resembling a discount, Ryan would probably be crazy not to do it.
    This article was originally published in blog: What To Do With Mike Pelfrey? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 98 Comments
    1. Major Leauge Ready's Avatar
      Major Leauge Ready -
      Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
      It's an intriguing idea. It would definitely be an overpay, but by how much? If he takes it, so what, it's not like they don't have some money to throw out there. If he doesn't take it, the absolute worst thing is the Twins are able to resign him or another teams signs him and we get the draft picks out of the deal. Would Pelfrey be worth a supplemental draft pick? I would say absolutely.
      Very intriguing option, Jeremy. I agree with James in that it is only a slight overpay. Heck, if he keeps up the pace he has been on lately a qualifying offer would be market rate. This could explain why TR agreed to this one-year deal which is for all practical purposes a rehab. If TR thought of this angle when he signed him, I am impressed.

      IF, Pelfrey continues to pitch this well or even close to this well, he is going to get a 3-year offer from someone. He is not going to take a 1-year deal and that nets us a supplemental pick. Very nice.

      Man, I am going to be cheering for Pelfey in every start. The Twins still need more pitching prospects. How great would it be if the Twins could come up with 3 picks in the top 50? I have two words ... College SPs.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Ok, maybe I'm missing something....qualifying offers are still around 13M for one season right?

      There is no way in hell he doesn't snatch that up. I'd like to think we could use that 13M much more effectively as part of a long-term deal rather than on Mike Pelfrey.
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Great article Nick, and a hell of a question?

      The good news is that we will know a lot more in six days. I think it is a given, if he isn't traded and they don't work out an extension that Mr. Ryan will make a qualifying offer and pick up the draft picks if he does sign elsewhere.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Ok, maybe I'm missing something....qualifying offers are still around 13M for one season right?

      There is no way in hell he doesn't snatch that up. I'd like to think we could use that 13M much more effectively as part of a long-term deal rather than on Mike Pelfrey.
      He probably would accept which would keep him off of the market. Not the way Boras wants to go, especially if he's pitching well. That would give Boras some incentive to work out a multi-year deal.

      It's a risk, sure... but not a huge one. He's very Pavano-like, which would command $10m plus on the open market, especially if he can stay healthy and good for the next two months.
    1. James's Avatar
      James -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Ok, maybe I'm missing something....qualifying offers are still around 13M for one season right?

      There is no way in hell he doesn't snatch that up. I'd like to think we could use that 13M much more effectively as part of a long-term deal rather than on Mike Pelfrey.
      If he could get $6-9M per season (wild guess) for three years or more, he might pass up the $13 for one year. Who knows how well he throws next year. Next offseason might end up being the peak of his value. He will be 30 all next season, so this offseason might be his only chance to get that 3-4 year bigger money deal. So there's a chance that he would go for years over money for one season.

      There also nothing stopping the Twins from making the QO and also offer him a 2-3 year deal for less money at the same time. Of course, this is all dependent on Pelf continuing to pitch like he has in June/July. If he doesn't... well, we're probably not getting anything of value in trade anyway.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jham View Post
      Do they still grade out FAs in order to receive picks?
      Nope. Basically all the teams that lost a guy are lined up from worse to best and get to pick right at the end of the first round. So if he turned it down, Twins would be in line for a pick in the 26-30 range (assuming at least a couple of teams forfeit their pick to sign a guy).

      So the Twins, who would finish worse than, say, the Yankees, would get a pick higher than the Yankees would get if Cano walked.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
      If he could get $6-9M per season (wild guess) for three years or more, he might pass up the $13 for one year.
      I think that's very much the truth, but the big factor is finding a team that will give up the pick along with it. If Big Pelf could be convinced to not sign until after the draft to get that multi-year contract, the signing team wouldn't lose a pick (and the Twins wouldn't get one back.)

      Calculated risk no matter how you look at it.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      $13MM for Pelfrey? Ridiculous!
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      13m kept Lohse unsigned for much of the offseason. Sanchez made 15M per season last offseason. Is 6 very solid starts making us this delusional about Pelfrey?
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Pelfrey may be tempted to turn down a qualifying offer, but no team will be willing to pay him AND give the Twins a draft pick. How disappointed would we be if the free agent signing the Twins made this offseason was Pelfrey, and it cost them a high pick?

      He would surely be forced to accept the offer. I think the QO is too much for a #4 starter, but I could care less either way. It's not like the Twins are going to be spending that money elsewhere. Overpaying for a #4 starter I suppose is preferable to what happens here most offseasons. At the very least we'd get to hear Boras cry about how unfair the system is. That would be a bonus.

      I'd vote no, but only because I still want to hold out some false hope this fall that the Twins would actually spend some money one a front end starter.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
      Great article Nick, and a hell of a question?

      The good news is that we will know a lot more in six days. I think it is a given, if he isn't traded and they don't work out an extension that Mr. Ryan will make a qualifying offer and pick up the draft picks if he does sign elsewhere.
      I don't see the evidence that it is a given Mr Ryan will make a QO for Pelfrey.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      13m kept Lohse unsigned for much of the offseason. Sanchez made 15M per season last offseason. Is 6 very solid starts making us this delusional about Pelfrey?
      I would think Boras would be thrilled to get a 3/$20M plus incentives for Pelfrey.
    1. Major Leauge Ready's Avatar
      Major Leauge Ready -
      Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
      If he could get $6-9M per season (wild guess) for three years or more, he might pass up the $13 for one year. Who knows how well he throws next year. Next offseason might end up being the peak of his value. He will be 30 all next season, so this offseason might be his only chance to get that 3-4 year bigger money deal. So there's a chance that he would go for years over money for one season.

      There also nothing stopping the Twins from making the QO and also offer him a 2-3 year deal for less money at the same time. Of course, this is all dependent on Pelf continuing to pitch like he has in June/July. If he doesn't... well, we're probably not getting anything of value in trade anyway.
      I could be wrong but you have to believe the additional TV revenues are going to drive up prices, especially for SPs. The big IF here is can he perform close to the way he has in June and July for the rest of the season. He will only be 30 and a 3 year offer does seems fairly likely. If his ERA from June to the end of the season, he probably gets 3/24, maybe even more if he really looks sharp the rest of this year.

      What do you guys think Phil Hughes gets. His ERA was 4.19 in 2012 and 4.33 so far this year. WHIP of 1.26 / 1.29. Roughly 1.6HRs/9.
    1. Smcginnity's Avatar
      Smcginnity -
      If you can get a Taylor Rogers, Baxendale, Tyler Duffey, or Matt Summers type return for Pelfrey...you jump on it. Those pitchers are all "potential" 4 or 5 starters in the future with the chance of being as high as a #3 starter...that's what you'd hope for. But, otherwise, sign Pelfrey to a 3 year deal (in my opinion)
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      This was all prefaced with "if he continues to trend up". So the six starts aren't making anyone delusional. He could fall on his face at any point which would make this whole thread moot.

      Jorge DeLaRosa got a 2-yr/$21.5m deal with an $11m player option in the fall of the 2010 (so basically 3 yr/$33.5m) and he really wasn't any better than the pre-surgery Pelfrey. That could be a deal that Pelfrey could get if he continues to pitch well.

      People like to complain about the Twins spending money (I get that), but when overpaying for someone is suggested, they go equally nuts.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      I have no problem with the Twins "over-spending" - my problem is the thinking behind the QO. If you want to overpay Pelfrey for a few years, fine. I'm not going to take issue there, but you don't do it on a one year qualifying offer. You totally remove any leverage you might have.

      On the QO - if he's offered 3/20 or 2/16 - the one year 13M still is by far the best offer on the table unless he believes his arm is due to fall off at some very near date. We won't even have to worry about someone giving up a draft pick, he'll sign it before the ink dries.
    1. Carlos Danger's Avatar
      Carlos Danger -
      They should absolutely look into signing him if the price is reasonable. He has a nice arm. According to FanGraphs he and Gibson average over 92 mph and the rest of the starters fall in around 89 or 90. Not that velocity is everything, but it's nice to have a few guys that can break a pane of glass with their fastball. I'm not sure I'd want anything more than a two year deal though. The TJ guys come with high risk/inconsistency. I seem to recall Liriano looked good for a while after TJ, then sucked and now looks good again. And Philip Humber teased with one good year and then sucked. It seems like an every other year thing...
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      I think that 3/20 or 2/16 will be low if he continues to pitch well. If you get a decent offer trade him, else offer him like 3/24 or 27 and see. We need starting pitching the next 2 years and Pelfrey may be the best priced pitcher we can sign without breaking the bank(and I hope they sign one major FA pitcher(need to excite the fan base)).
    1. twinsnorth49's Avatar
      twinsnorth49 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thegrin View Post
      We have the $$ available. Lets re-sign Pelfrey now. Secure him through 2015. The worst that can happen is he becomes Nick Blackburn.
      If that's the worst case scenario, pass
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      This was all prefaced with "if he continues to trend up". So the six starts aren't making anyone delusional. He could fall on his face at any point which would make this whole thread moot.

      Jorge DeLaRosa got a 2-yr/$21.5m deal with an $11m player option in the fall of the 2010 (so basically 3 yr/$33.5m) and he really wasn't any better than the pre-surgery Pelfrey. That could be a deal that Pelfrey could get if he continues to pitch well.

      People like to complain about the Twins spending money (I get that), but when overpaying for someone is suggested, they go equally nuts.
      de la Rosa Yr/ERA+: '09/108 (@ age 28), '10/110, '11/130, '12/surgery year. '13/150

      Pelfrey Yr/ERA+: '09/81 (@ age 25), '10/107, '11/78, '12/surgery year, '13/80

      And de la Rosa's numbers are in Colorado. I would be outraged if Pelfrey got 3/$33M, there is little evidence to suggest that Pelfrey would ever post an ERA+ of 150. And I'm supporting the Twins in exploring the option of re-signing him.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.