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  • Twins Avoid Arbitration with Duensing, Plouffe, Swarzak

    The Minnesota Twins have reached agreements on one-year contracts with all three of their arbitration eligible players, according to Phil Miller of the Star Tribune. Brian Duensing, who was in his second turn at arbitration, will earn $2 million in 2014. Trevor Plouffe and Anthony Swarzak, both eligible for the first time, will earn $2.5 million and $935K, respectively.

    With that, the Twins have wrapped up one of their last internal procedures of the offseason. Now, the focus shifts to remaining free agent targets and preparing for spring training, which is suddenly only about a month away.

    The salaries for Minnesota's three arbitration eligible players are basically in line with expectations. The agreements serve as a reminder that in many cases compensation is determined more by role than effectiveness. Duensing and Swarzak both had better seasons than Plouffe, but as full-time relievers they received much smaller raises than the regular third baseman.

    One interesting wrinkle is that Swarzak's contract includes a $25,000 bonus if he makes 10 or more starts this year, another indication that the Twins may still view him as a starter despite his success in the bullpen.
    Comments 47 Comments
    1. Twins Daily Admin's Avatar
      Twins Daily Admin -
      You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.com/content.php/26...bitration-with
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Well I think hanging on to Duensing is the right move because he may have some trade value and $2 million isn't going to scare off a potential suitor.
      That's kind of what I was getting at. Trade him for something of value and equivalently replace him for less $... seems quite plausible. Mid-season might be the better time for a trade involving Duensing though.
    1. edavis0308's Avatar
      edavis0308 -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Non-tendering a generally effective reliever seems like a poor decision to me.
      Just wait until the whole 'getting another chance to start' gains more traction!!!!11!!
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      I would've asked for $25,000 per each start. $2,500 seems...well, rather small. If a real starter started 33 games the total would be...help me, Bert, with my California math,,,,,,,
    1. Twins Twerp's Avatar
      Twins Twerp -
      Quote Originally Posted by jay View Post
      That's kind of what I was getting at. Trade him for something of value and equivalently replace him for less $... seems quite plausible. Mid-season might be the better time for a trade involving Duensing though.
      I hate to hear the "trade Duensing for value" argument. Duensing has NO value for other teams. For 2 mil, why not keep him, but you aren't going to trade him for a top 30 prospect in another system. Just because a guy has a good salary, doesn't mean teams are going to give up "value" (and I assume by value you mean prospects) for him.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      I don't understand the Plouffe hate, the guy isn't the greatest but he is clearly worth a one year 2.3 mil deal.

      The comparable price on the FA market nets you Mark Reynolds.

      I'm personally not a huge fan of offering Duensing a contract, but that is just me. $2 mil for him is fine, especially if he bounces back.
      I don't understand it at all. I had a guy go off on me on Twitter when I suggested the non-tender thing was a dumb idea. He became the biggest troll I've ever encountered on the Internet about it. I had to ask Twitter to suspend him. It seems, he'd rather have nothing than a positive WAR player at the position.

      What does getting rid of guys like that accomplish, unless it's to make room for someone who is clearly ready and clearly better? Sano is not clearly ready. Romero projects at replacement level at best. All getting rid of Plouffe does is save the Twins money and makes them worse. The same people who want to non-tender Plouffe also rant about how cheap the Twins are. They have no clue about how inconsistent those two positions are.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      Quote Originally Posted by Twins Twerp View Post
      I hate to hear the "trade Duensing for value" argument. Duensing has NO value for other teams. For 2 mil, why not keep him, but you aren't going to trade him for a top 30 prospect in another system. Just because a guy has a good salary, doesn't mean teams are going to give up "value" (and I assume by value you mean prospects) for him.
      No, you're not going to get a top prospect by trading Duensing. The Twins have some other LH relief options that could take Duensing's place at a quarter of the cost, however, so the "value" would be the freed-up money + whatever player you could get.
    1. old nurse's Avatar
      old nurse -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      I don't understand it at all. I had a guy go off on me on Twitter when I suggested the non-tender thing was a dumb idea. He became the biggest troll I've ever encountered on the Internet about it. I had to ask Twitter to suspend him. It seems, he'd rather have nothing than a positive WAR player at the position.

      What does getting rid of guys like that accomplish, unless it's to make room for someone who is clearly ready and clearly better? Sano is not clearly ready. Romero projects at replacement level at best. All getting rid of Plouffe does is save the Twins money and makes them worse. The same people who want to non-tender Plouffe also rant about how cheap the Twins are. They have no clue about how inconsistent those two positions are.
      There is nothing written in the laws of the universe that states you have to be consistent with an emotional attachment.
    1. jay's Avatar
      jay -
      Quote Originally Posted by Twins Twerp View Post
      I hate to hear the "trade Duensing for value" argument. Duensing has NO value for other teams. For 2 mil, why not keep him, but you aren't going to trade him for a top 30 prospect in another system. Just because a guy has a good salary, doesn't mean teams are going to give up "value" (and I assume by value you mean prospects) for him.
      Yeah, that may be true. Either way, non-tendering him doesn't make sense. If that "value" does end up appearing at some point, I'd hope the Twins take it.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Twins Twerp View Post
      I hate to hear the "trade Duensing for value" argument. Duensing has NO value for other teams. For 2 mil, why not keep him, but you aren't going to trade him for a top 30 prospect in another system. Just because a guy has a good salary, doesn't mean teams are going to give up "value" (and I assume by value you mean prospects) for him.
      I'm fine with keeping him as he was possibly the 2nd best bullpen arm the 2nd half of last year, but saying he has no value isn't true. He's a lefty the Twins are clearly trying to bill as a swingman who put up a 3.08 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 8.9 K/9 and 4.33 K/BB in the second half of last season. Plenty of teams are looking for that. Could the Twins get a top 10 prospect? No, but they would get a top 30 guy for him.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
      Even a guy like Plouffe would be harder for the Twins to immediately replace than Duensing.
      As others have said, Duensing represents potential trade value. If his salary isn't above 4M, he might at least command something intriguing. It's certainly not worth dumping that potential over 2 million.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      No, you're not going to get a top prospect by trading Duensing. The Twins have some other LH relief options that could take Duensing's place at a quarter of the cost, however, so the "value" would be the freed-up money + whatever player you could get.
      The only other left hand relief options as good as Duensing are either the closer or in A ball. Thielbar's .175 BABIP and 89 mph fastball will get exposed next season if he is in the bigs. Albers, Diamond are soft tossers as well. Ibarra had an .167 BABIP in Rochester and .244 overall. Corey Williams regressed and he is at least a year away. Dean and Darnell are starters. Aaron Thompson is non-reliable.

      Who is as good a LHP in the organization right now as Duensing? I do not see anyone not named Perkins fit the bill...

      I just don't get the Duensing hate here...
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      The only other left hand relief options as good as Duensing are either the closer or in A ball. Thielbar's .175 BABIP and 89 mph fastball will get exposed next season if he is in the bigs. Albers, Diamond are soft tossers as well. Ibarra had an .167 BABIP in Rochester and .244 overall. Corey Williams regressed and he is at least a year away. Dean and Darnell are starters. Aaron Thompson is non-reliable.

      Who is as good a LHP in the organization right now as Duensing? I do not see anyone not named Perkins fit the bill...

      I just don't get the Duensing hate here...
      I don't hate Duensing and they would have been foolish to non-tender him (but his lefty split advantage did evaporate quite a bit in 2013), but there's a fighting chance they can get a mid-level prospect for him with proper timing of the potential deal and try out Kris Johnson for the primary LHRP role at a fraction of the cost. His MiLB split against lefties looks pretty dominant.
      And there are always going to be a few decent lefty arms on the waiver wire in late March.
    1. Heimer's Avatar
      Heimer -
      Duensing has a slim chance being on the next good twins team, I want to see younger players this year that have a better chance helping us in the future
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      The only other left hand relief options as good as Duensing are either the closer or in A ball. Thielbar's .175 BABIP and 89 mph fastball will get exposed next season if he is in the bigs. Albers, Diamond are soft tossers as well. Ibarra had an .167 BABIP in Rochester and .244 overall. Corey Williams regressed and he is at least a year away. Dean and Darnell are starters. Aaron Thompson is non-reliable.

      Who is as good a LHP in the organization right now as Duensing? I do not see anyone not named Perkins fit the bill...

      I just don't get the Duensing hate here...
      I agree with this. Duensing is probably the best left handed reliever at or close to the majors not named Perkins. Thielbar, Albers, and possibly Ibarra might help a bullpen in some role, but Duensing has better velocity and better stuff than any of them. He is also not that old, their is a good chance he will be pitching in in the majors for a long time.
    1. DocBauer's Avatar
      DocBauer -
      I am very gratified to see the love for Deunsing especially. The young man has decent stuff, especially when allowed to just know his role in the pen and be allowed to pitch there. And I really think he proved that this year, especially in the second half of the season.

      I know there have been debates of varying degree as to how good the bullpen actually was this past season. And I feel various metrics can say whatever you want them to say, but when I look at the state of the rotation last season, and the IP of our pen, and the basics of record, ERA, etc. I see an overworked pen that was fairly balanced, and did a very solid job despite their vast overuse. And I feel the could be even better this year, and Deunsing is a big part of the equation, and at a relatively cheap price when one considers the dearth of solid LH relievers that have any sort of proven record. There is a reason teams scramble to find LH's who are upright and breathing for their teams.

      I've been a bit frustrated by those who simply and arbitrarily announce the Twins should just up and trade so and so out of the pen this off season. To what end? A strong bullpen is paramount to a competitive club and a winning club (eventually). And as I have stated, I believe the Twins have filler pieces that might prove themselves worthy, providing depth, from both sides of the mound. And not just those prospects in the lower minors, but even at AAA. But give me the guys who have shown what they can do, for now at least, instead of just removing proven commodities and plugging someone in and hoping they can do the job.
    1. DocBauer's Avatar
      DocBauer -
      Also want to agree with Dave and cmathewson on Plouffe.

      Yes Plouffe is frustrating. No he hasn't lived up to expectations or seeming talent level to this point. Yes he has teased us. No he may not be a long term solution anywhere, or the second coming of Cuddyer to this point.

      But what else would you have the Twins do at this point? Dump a decent 3B with power and some potential still to replace him with ____________? What? Teams clamor to find someone to play a half-way decent 3B with some offense, and the Twins have someone there to hold the position until Sano is ready.

      We would all like Sano to win the job in ST, or by the all star break, but you can't count on that. Perhaps this year, with a full two seasons plus now under his belt, that Plouffe starts to round in to a more consistent form. Perhaps not. But at least he can keep the position warm for now with some contributions, and might still prove to be a valuable utility guy.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by DocBauer View Post
      But what else would you have the Twins do at this point? Dump a decent 3B with power and some potential still to replace him with ____________? What? .
      This is kind of interesting. Rewind a couple seasons ago. After the 2011 season. Replace "Plouffe" with "Valencia" and this sentence still stands. The Twins are notorious about doing this to their players who are not first round draft picks. I think that this is what might save Plouffe and Parmelee this season. And I do like Plouffe. I like him more than I ever liked Cuddyer. I think that Plouffe has great power and is a much better OF than most on the Twins' roster right now.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
      I agree with this. Duensing is probably the best left handed reliever at or close to the majors not named Perkins. Thielbar, Albers, and possibly Ibarra might help a bullpen in some role, but Duensing has better velocity and better stuff than any of them. He is also not that old, their is a good chance he will be pitching in in the majors for a long time.
      I agree. It's telling they didn't add a veteran lefty reliever, as they normally do. Several were available, but they preferred to stick with Duensing and Thielbar. I don't like Albers as a reliever. Ibarra has a chance, but not until he proves it in AAA. Darnell is another option later in the year, I suppose, as are Kennedy and Gilmartin.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      None of these guys have salaries that will prevent the Twins from releasing them when a clearly better solution presents itself. It is on them to play well or be pushed out.
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