Sunday, December 14, 2008

Don't Overlook Joe

There is plenty of debate and watchfulness around Astros third baseman Ty Wiggington suddenly joining the free agent market, and that's appropriate. But for the Twins, Wigginton should only be their second priority today.

The top priority should be another surprise addition to the free agent ranks, this one courtesy of the Marlins. In a somewhat baffling move, they non-tendered right-handed reliever Joe Nelson. Nelson has only thrown 103 innings over four major league seasons and doesn't look like an especially shiny acquisition until you look at his numbers last year: 2.00 ERA, 60K in 54 IP, 1.185 WHIP in 59 games. Those are numbers you look for in a closer, let alone a right-handed setup man.

Nelson had labrum surgery which cost him all for 2007, but he sure looked to have recovered last year, He is also 34 years old, so this is his chance to finally cash in. With about $25 million in spending power for this upcoming year, the Twins should be able to help him with that. A two-year contract for $5 million, with a $2 million singing bonus and a reachable option for a third year would bring this team a piece that they have been missing since - well, all of last year and maybe as far back as September of 2006 when Pat Neshek started reporting his elbow issues.

Nelson has a chance to be the perfect piece to the Twins puzzle and has literally fallen into their laps. I'm hoping they show an aggresiveness we have yet to see this offseason and land this one into the boat.


John said...

The Geek is dramatically overstating the value of Nelson, but I do think he would be a solid pickup, if cheap.

Nelson's a changeup pitcher with good deception but poor control... his ERA last season was a fluke (his FIP was 3.45) and he did not fare nearly so well in the AL Central, where he campaigned in '06 with the Royals (ERA of 4.43). He isn't a true setup guy but would add depth and pitch some good innings.

Craig said...

I read somewhere that Nelson was considering resigning with the Marlins anyway, for less than he would have gotten in arbitration. If that's remotely true, it shouldn't take near what TG is suggesting to get him, unless he really really loves South Florida. He's definitely an intriguing option.

Anonymous said...

The Twins will more then likely offer a 1 year contract for $2.5 million, not get him, and brag about how offers like this mean they were active in free agency,

David Wintheiser said...

Not sure I see this happening, Geek, no matter how good it might look - as Gleeman points out today, the Twins are already awash in guys who could end up in the big-league bullpen once you add the minor leaguers like Phil Humber who are now out of options.

Adding an extra variable to the process wouldn't seem to make the process any more efficient.