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  • Pelfrey Excited about Meyer, Twins Future

    After many rumors, the Minnesota Twins announced their third free agent signing of the offseason in mid-December. After signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, the Twins re-signed Mike Pelfrey to a two-year contract that has several achievable incentives. He is excited to be back, and so are a couple of the Twins young pitchers.

    According to Pelfrey, I had another offer on the table. It wasnt where I wanted to be. Also, Terry Ryan was pretty tough at negotiations. He said take it or leave it. I said, Hey Terry, Im going to take it. I want to come back. I told you that all along.


    His teammates were encouraging him throughout the process and excited when he finally signed. He said, Id get texts from guys saying How come you havent signed yet?, and Id say, Hey, if they wanted to sign me back, they would have done it by now, OK. So, wed be go back and forth and joke around.

    Why did Pelfrey want to return to the organization? There were several reasons, but the people had a lot to do with it. This organization is great. A lot of very good dudes to be around. So Im obviously excited to come back and see those guys.

    However, that isnt enough for him. He has goals for himself, but also for his team. The only other thing is weve got to win. Thats the thing that were missing. We had fun last year, but winning is fun. We need to get that back.

    So, why does he think that winning may be on the horizon? I honestly believe that were heading in the right direction. We have Buxton. We have Sano.

    He also singled out one prospect that he is really excited about. We have Alex Meyer, who I think that, when he is ready, hell be the ace of the staff. His stuff is that good. Im a huge believer in him.

    So, what is it that he likes about Meyer and how good he can become? Pelfrey commented, Hes got the best stuff on the team. No offense to anyone else on the team. Hes got the best stuff. He just does. I think when he realizes that, and harnesses that a little bit, hes going to be dominant. Hes 6-9, throws downhill, mid-to-upper-90s. Hes got a pretty good breaking ball, but just needs to harness it and pull it together which is going to happen with a little more seasoning. You know, that power-strikeout guy that this organization has been wanting and fans have been wanting, I think hes coming. I think when hes ready, which is maybe in spring, maybe later on the year, that theyre going to make room for him and hes going to be an impact guy.

    Meyer also spoke highly of Pelfrey. Meyer said, I was really happy about Pelfrey coming back. I really liked Mike a lot. He talked to me a lot in spring training. He took me out to dinner a couple of times, just to talk. We have the same agent. Thats kind of how it fell into place. It was good for me to be out there and be around him. Im excited to go out there and learn from him. When Rick Anderson called me and told me I put you in the same group in spring training as Mike Pelfrey so he can show you the way.

    Meyer isnt the only young Twins pitcher who has leaned on Pelfrey. Kyle Gibson had some ups and downs in his first big league campaign, but Pelfrey was the guy he leaned on too. I think some of it was he went through the same surgery, pretty similar timelines. Maybe because hes just a funny guy and likes to talk a lot and thats how I am too. He was really helpful. Hes real easy to talk to, real easy to ask questions to.

    Pelfrey is looking forward to starting over after a rough return from Tommy John surgery in 2013 with the Twins. What is his personal goal for 2014? I think you go in, your goal is always 200 innings. Even last year, coming off surgery. They said they were going to put me on an innings limit. Save it. My goal was 200 innings. But my goal was 200 innings and I fell way short of it. At the end of the year, there was no other way to put it. I had a bad year. Coming off surgery or not coming off surgery, whatever, I had a bad year. I definitely need to get back to what I had done years before.

    He acknowledged that although he is a competitor and wanted to come back, he may have come back too quickly. The mental aspect of his return may have been just as difficult as the physical. I think the mental part is fully trusting that youre ok, that you can let it go and snap it at the end. I thought I got through that. Its all mental. I talked about the physical part of it, the feel, which I couldnt get until month 13. I think its a little bit of both (physical and mental) and getting that assurance back that youre really OK.

    With the additions the team has made this offseason, Pelfrey feels good about the 2014 Twins. Obviously going into the offseason having the highest ERA in baseball as a starting staff is definitely not acceptable or what we expected. I think they knew that was an area of need and they went out and addressed it. The inner competition that you can create among each other is good and brings out the best out of people. Itll be good. I think, looking at the rotation, well have a chance to win every night. Guys are going to give us a chance to be in the ball game and have a chance. Hopefully well go and do that and win a lot more games.

    It goes back to why Pelfrey wanted to return to the Twins. This organization is going to turn it around in a hurry as long as everything works out. I think things are changing and were heading in the right direction.

    Fans of the Minnesota Twins who have endured the past three seasons certainly hope that is true too!
    Comments 58 Comments
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I always used to ask this.....which players would play worse if Cuddeyer was not on the roster? I mean, if his leadership mattered, who did it matter to? I agree, culture matters. I firmly believe that. I actively work to change my company's culture through a formal effort we have going on. But if it doesn't literally make other players better, should it matter to fans?
    1. Halsey Hall's Avatar
      Halsey Hall -
      I liked the "take it or leave it" from Ryan.
    1. Twins Twerp's Avatar
      Twins Twerp -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      Great article, Seth. I am convinced that Pelfrey means well, and wants to do better.... way better......... than he did last season. In fact, what he says about it reminds me eerily of Matt Capps' return - wanting to come back and show the team and the fans he is better than he had regressed to, and feeling a lot of guilt. Just because with Capps that was pure hope and no performance doesn't mean Pefrey's return will be the same.

      When thinking about how the Twins are such great guys and it is such a great place to play (and for the last three years, lose and play), the story makes me think of a high school age young person that has had their parents divorce, and now has two homes. At that age, the child can pretty much pick and chose who they will live with, and they gravitate toward the household that lets them get away with more, that is less demanding, that has less consequences for not performing well. Having a great clubhouse led by Gardenhire may have had it's time and be in the past, as well as picking a team without utilizing the sabermatics that are now available. Time will tell if this feel good story results in more fun....... like winning.
      With all do respect, this is not a great, good, or even OK analogy. Kubel was kind of anti-Twins when he left (Target Field at least), but he found out quick that the Twins are a model franchise who have fallen on rough times.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I always used to ask this.....which players would play worse if Cuddeyer was not on the roster? I mean, if his leadership mattered, who did it matter to? I agree, culture matters. I firmly believe that. I actively work to change my company's culture through a formal effort we have going on. But if it doesn't literally make other players better, should it matter to fans?
      I'm curious, Mike. Why do you actively work to change your company's culture? Do you believe it will make your employees better, more productive, if they are spending their work hours in a more positive environment? I think most of us, as humans, are more productive when we feel positive about the people we work for and with and genuinely enjoy going to work and being around them. I feel that way and I don't have to spend near the time around my peers that professional athletes do during the season.

      Often, in business, we can apply metrics to demonstrate that employees are more productive if we improve the culture. They produce more widgets if they're happy, etc. It's probably more difficult to "prove" that effect on a ballplayer and that causes some to dismiss its importance completely.

      I don't think it's a stretch to believe players can perform better if they like the environment they're in. Is it THE most important thing? No. Just like it's not the most important thing at the office. A positive environment won't magically turn an incompetent worker in to a good one.

      But I think most of us are better at whatever we do if we like the people we are working for/with and genuinely look forward to working with them. I believe that probably applies to ballplayers, too, even if it's not something you can easily quantify.
    1. JB_Iowa's Avatar
      JB_Iowa -
      I'm of mixed mind about the comfort level thing.

      I'm happy with Pelfrey wanting to mentor Meyer and I hope that it works out. The mentoring factor was one I mentioned early on in the off-season in reference to Carl Pavano 2010 -- Pelfrey would seem to fit that mould (although I'm not sure we saw evidence of it in 2013 but with better health and performance for him, and a 2 year contract, it may become more apparent).

      And I definitely don't believe in a fear-driven workplace but over the last few years, I've often had questions about whether the Twins were being "comfort zoned" into hibernation. It's probably still one of the biggest reasons I'd like to see a new manager. While I believe Gardenhire could go elsewhere and be successful, I'm just not convinced that Minnesota is still the best fit for him. It really seems like they need a jolt of some kind.

      There has to be some distinction between a happy workplace and a totally comfortable workplace.
    1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
      Hosken Bombo Disco -
      Quote Originally Posted by h2oface View Post
      Great article, Seth. I am convinced that Pelfrey means well, and wants to do better.... way better......... than he did last season. In fact, what he says about it reminds me eerily of Matt Capps' return - wanting to come back and show the team and the fans he is better than he had regressed to, and feeling a lot of guilt. Just because with Capps that was pure hope and no performance doesn't mean Pefrey's return will be the same.

      When thinking about how the Twins are such great guys and it is such a great place to play (and for the last three years, lose and play), the story makes me think of a high school age young person that has had their parents divorce, and now has two homes. At that age, the child can pretty much pick and chose who they will live with, and they gravitate toward the household that lets them get away with more, that is less demanding, that has less consequences for not performing well. Having a great clubhouse led by Gardenhire may have had it's time and be in the past, as well as picking a team without utilizing the sabermatics that are now available. Time will tell if this feel good story results in more fun....... like winning.
      Good article on Pelfrey and also a good analogy here, IMO.

      I can't agree right now that the Twins are a model franchise fallen on tough times, not until they start winning again. They're basically just another team right now. Kudos to Terry Ryan who has taken full responsibility for this mess, as the other bigger names associated with the Twins don't appear willing or capable of doing that. I think giving the identity of the team over to Sano/Buxton/Meyer will be the big boost and if Pelfrey can help do that, as the article suggests, then great.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Jim, I do believe people are more effective, yes. And, we institute measures to show that. And we assess what is working and not in changing things......

      My question has always been, what measure for what type of player, do we think leadership matters at all? Because signing a guy that is not as talented, but is better for the culture, is a risky endeavor. You should have measures/something that shows why outcomes are worse/better based on both competency and cultural fit. As a matter of fact, I'm trying to get a competent contractor off my project, because he does not fit the culture. But, I have measures that show that effect. that's what I'm curious about.....

      how do we think leadership/winner manifests itself in others, and how would we know?

      It is likely the Twins know more than we ever will about culture and fit......but as fans, how do we judge that? That's an interesting conversation to me.

      Also, what is the delta you are willing to tolerate? A great culture fit/mediocre player vs a mediocre culture fit/great player. Where do you draw the lines? those are kind of interesting....but since we have so little experience in their culture, it probably won't tell us much that is real.
    1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
      Hosken Bombo Disco -
      Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
      I'm of mixed mind about the comfort level thing.

      I'm happy with Pelfrey wanting to mentor Meyer and I hope that it works out. The mentoring factor was one I mentioned early on in the off-season in reference to Carl Pavano 2010 -- Pelfrey would seem to fit that mould (although I'm not sure we saw evidence of it in 2013 but with better health and performance for him, and a 2 year contract, it may become more apparent).

      And I definitely don't believe in a fear-driven workplace but over the last few years, I've often had questions about whether the Twins were being "comfort zoned" into hibernation. It's probably still one of the biggest reasons I'd like to see a new manager. While I believe Gardenhire could go elsewhere and be successful, I'm just not convinced that Minnesota is still the best fit for him. It really seems like they need a jolt of some kind.

      There has to be some distinction between a happy workplace and a totally comfortable workplace.
      said better than I could say it -- thanks

      It also sounds like Meyer is keen on working with Pelfrey and not just Pelfrey wanting to mentor, so this could turn out good.
    1. gil4's Avatar
      gil4 -
      Quote Originally Posted by brvama View Post
      Gimme a break. Is it so difficult to find something good about this story? At least take what a major league veteran pitcher has to say about the future of Meyer as a positive and hope.
      I enjoyed the story and I agree with most of the positive comments, but I still got a pretty good laugh out of that post. I just hope Pelfrey doesn't give Meyer the 20 page checklist he runs though before every pitch.
    1. Jim H's Avatar
      Jim H -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Jim, I do believe people are more effective, yes. And, we institute measures to show that. And we assess what is working and not in changing things......

      My question has always been, what measure for what type of player, do we think leadership matters at all? Because signing a guy that is not as talented, but is better for the culture, is a risky endeavor. You should have measures/something that shows why outcomes are worse/better based on both competency and cultural fit. As a matter of fact, I'm trying to get a competent contractor off my project, because he does not fit the culture. But, I have measures that show that effect. that's what I'm curious about.....

      how do we think leadership/winner manifests itself in others, and how would we know?

      It is likely the Twins know more than we ever will about culture and fit......but as fans, how do we judge that? That's an interesting conversation to me.

      Also, what is the delta you are willing to tolerate? A great culture fit/mediocre player vs a mediocre culture fit/great player. Where do you draw the lines? those are kind of interesting....but since we have so little experience in their culture, it probably won't tell us much that is real.
      So you are trying to fire or at least remove a competent contractor because he doesn't fit your culture? I have a hard time understanding what this even means. If he is good at his job, does he somehow make others worse at theirs? How do you measure that? Now if he is an ass, well I understand that, and an ass can certainly make others worse at their jobs. But you don't seem to be saying that.

      I guess if we are applying this to baseball, well I would rather spend time around good guys than not so good guys. On the other hand I really prefer to work with people who are good at what they do and continue to work to make themselves better. I expect that is true in baseball as well.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      This helps with understanding why he was re-signed. There has to be the hope that by 2015 he is not going to be in the starting rotation (Nolasco, Hughes, Gibson, Meyer, May).
      2015 is a long way away and things will happen by then. Having too much SP (and good SP) is an excellent place to be, because you can actually fill needs in other places of your team with it. I can see someone like May or Gibson being the centerpiece of a trade for a MLB-ready good young SS, for example...

      Have always been a Perlfrey fan, since his Mets' years for all he brings on the table and not only on the mound... And he just turned 30 couple weeks ago, so there is a lot left in him.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I always used to ask this.....which players would play worse if Cuddeyer was not on the roster? I mean, if his leadership mattered, who did it matter to? I agree, culture matters. I firmly believe that. I actively work to change my company's culture through a formal effort we have going on. But if it doesn't literally make other players better, should it matter to fans?
      Cuddyer and Pelfrey are totally different people in the way they are interacting with the public and within the clubhouse. Cuddyer was a mouthpiece, Pelfrey is a clubhouse guy. Pelfrey would have not been all smiles on the TV saying "we'll get them next year" moments after the Twins lost game 163 in Chicago (and they lost that game in part because Cuddyer did not slide to break the play at the plate.)

      Not fair to Pelfrey to compare those 2.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by Hosken Bombo Disco View Post
      Kudos to Terry Ryan who has taken full responsibility for this mess, as the other bigger names associated with the Twins don't appear willing or capable of doing that. .
      a. How exactly did Terry Ryan take "full responsibility for this mess"? Last I remember, 2012 was because of Jerry and Stelly and the luck of someone with catching background on the coaching staff and 2013 was because they did not have an infield and base running coach. Because those are the only changes he made.

      b. How do you know, that those "bigger names" (I assume you mean Pohlad) did not give him an ultimatum to spend money to win for 2014, or else? His 180 degree change in his philosophy and what he says even this season (e.g. you cannot build a winner with FAs) versus what he did (get a bunch of FAs) is indicative that something is going on here...
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Pelfrey also has some decent upside IMO....
      I liked the signing too, on the merits of Pelfrey's 2nd half.

      I don't care if he brings a beret or a do-rag to the clubhouse culture.
    1. dgwills's Avatar
      dgwills -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I always used to ask this.....which players would play worse if Cuddeyer was not on the roster? I mean, if his leadership mattered, who did it matter to? I agree, culture matters. I firmly believe that. I actively work to change my company's culture through a formal effort we have going on. But if it doesn't literally make other players better, should it matter to fans?
      For me it's not really a question of leadership, but I really prefer to root for good people. When I find out a player I've been rooting for is a d-bag or a violent criminal, it makes me furious. That's why I like to see these kind of articles . I'm also happy to hear that Buxton and Meyer are quality people since they will be important to the Twins. I'm a little worried about some of the things I've read about Kohl Stewart and Eddie Rosario. They are still very young though.
    1. zchrz's Avatar
      zchrz -
      I was very against bringing Pelfry back and still don't have real high hopes for it going that well, this was a side to it I had never considered however. There are not many guys with Meyer's size that succeed and having one that has carved out a decent major league career on the roster can only help that development. Added bonus he seems like he is really into the organization and willing to do the extra things to help it grow. I am willing to drink this kool aid and take a rosier view towards big Pelf, though I promise nothing after I have to watch him pitch (or should I say stand around on the mound and lick his fingers) again.
    1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
      Hosken Bombo Disco -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      a. How exactly did Terry Ryan take "full responsibility for this mess"? Last I remember, 2012 was because of Jerry and Stelly and the luck of someone with catching background on the coaching staff and 2013 was because they did not have an infield and base running coach. Because those are the only changes he made.

      b. How do you know, that those "bigger names" (I assume you mean Pohlad) did not give him an ultimatum to spend money to win for 2014, or else? His 180 degree change in his philosophy and what he says even this season (e.g. you cannot build a winner with FAs) versus what he did (get a bunch of FAs) is indicative that something is going on here...
      I did not mean Pohlad, actually. If Jim Pohlad issued a win-or-else ultimatum to Ryan, then good. It would hurt to see Ryan go, though, as he deserves credit for putting together those good teams and by all accounts he's a stand up guy. I actually do have faith that the team he is putting together can win in a couple of years.

      That said, many people on these boards would be curious to know more about his 180 degree reversal on free agents. I haven't seen any of our beat writers press for an answer yet, so until someone does we are left to speculate.
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      I love Mike Pelfrey's approach to pitching. It's exactly the way you want kids to learn it. His poise and economical delivery from the set is just about ideal. Other pitchers may have a hotter heater and a little more bend in their curve, but Pelfrey knows how to pitch.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      how do we think leadership/winner manifests itself in others, and how would we know?

      It is likely the Twins know more than we ever will about culture and fit......but as fans, how do we judge that? That's an interesting conversation to me.

      Also, what is the delta you are willing to tolerate? A great culture fit/mediocre player vs a mediocre culture fit/great player. Where do you draw the lines? those are kind of interesting....but since we have so little experience in their culture, it probably won't tell us much that is real.
      We can't "know" much for certain, unless/until the local beat reporters start to let hints seep in to their reporting. Even then, you're right that it's not likely we'll know much about the clubhouse culture, good or bad.

      And as I wrote earlier, the "fits with our culture" thing is not the most important factor in signing a guy. But, just hypothetically, if TR was trying to decide between signing Pelfrey and another veteran, back of the rotation, pitcher, knowing that Pelfrey has been a guy the young pitchers gravitate to and he fits well in your clubhouse is certainly a fair reason to bring him back rather than sign the other guy who you just don't know.

      I think you originally asked whether it should matter to us as fans, since we can't really know much about the culture. I think it's appropriate to matter to us, so long as we don't pretend we know for sure how much of a factor it is with any particular player. At the very least, I think we should accept that it is a consideration. And it's also fair to be critical if it starts to look like it's too much of a consideration and the GM starts filling the roster with great guys who throw 85 mph fastballs or can't hit their weight.
    1. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Willihammer View Post
      I liked the signing too, on the merits of Pelfrey's 2nd half.

      I don't care if he brings a beret or a do-rag to the clubhouse culture.
      Compare Pelfreys contract and stats to Bruce Chen, who just signed a one year deal at $4.25M, with a mutual option at $5.5M and a $1M buyout.

      Chen and Pelfrey have essentially the same career ERA. Chen's ERA over the last four years:

      4.17, 3.77, 5.07, and 3.27.
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