Report: Twins chasing Bronson Arroyo for rotation

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The Twins might be about to make one of the biggest free agent splashes in their franchise history. Yes, Bronson Arroyo could be coming to town.

Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that talks are heating up between the two sides and that the Twins have been examining Arroyo’s medical records. That seems like little more than a formality; Arroyo has inherited Derek Lowe’s mantle as the game’s most durable starter, having made 32 starts in nine straight seasons.

The 35-year-old Arroyo, who is likely seeking a two- or three-year deal in the neighborhood of $10 million-$13 million per season, went 14-12 with a 3.79 ERA for the Reds last season. It was the fourth time in five years that he finished with a sub-4.00 ERA and 120-130 strikeouts in 200-220 innings. He fits right in with the Twins’ pitching philosophy of avoiding walks and letting hitters put the ball in play, though he goes about it differently than most; Arroyo largely eschews fastballs in favor of his offspeed pitches.

Arroyo would join a Twins rotation presently set to include Kevin Correia and Samuel Deduno. Kyle Gibson, Vance Worley, Andrew Albers and Scott Diamond will fight for one or two spots, depending on how many veterans the Twins choose to add.

Mariners agree to a six-year contract with prospect Evan White

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This is a rare one: the Mariners have signed first base prospect Evan White — a player who has yet to play a game above Double-A — to a six-year, $24 million contract. The deal has three club options as well that, if exercised, could make it max out at $55.5 million over nine years.

White was the M’s first round pick in the 2017 draft, going 17th overall out of the University of Kentucky. In 2019 he played at Double-A Arkansas in the Texas League, hitting .293/.350/.488 with 18 home runs, striking out 92 times and walking 29 times in 92 games. It’s a good line in a league that is pretty pitcher-friendly. Stuart also reportedly plays excellent defense at first base.

Clearly the Mariners consider White a part of their future, but unless White flames out early in his career, he’s leaving a lot of potential money on the table.

White turns 24 early next season, which means that, even if he begins the 2020 season in the majors, starting his major league service time clock on Opening Day, he wouldn’t reach free agency until he’s poised to begin his age-33 season, assuming the Mariners exercise those options. If the Mariners place him in Triple A for anything beyond a couple of weeks to start next season, that changes to his age-34 season. A full year of Triple-A action and even some modest service time manipulation by the M’s in 2021 would put it off even longer.

At the same time, a team is unlikely to want to pay a guy millions to toil in the minors — and the M’s are guaranteeing themselves as many as nine years of White’s services — so the threat of service time manipulation is greatly reduced. Which means that, if he hits, he plays. Of course, if he hits well and continues to do so, the Mariners will have a considerable bargain on their hands, with a potential franchise cornerstone locked up at an average of $6 million and change a year for nearly a decade.

As we’ve noted so often when discussing extensions with young players, that’s the tradeoff. After today, White could hit like Mario Mendoza, field like Dick Stuart and be drummed out of baseball before he’s 30 and, assuming he’s even moderately sensible, still have enough money to set himself up for life. If he turns into a real star he’ll make less than half of what he’s worth in his career. His alternative: wait at least four years and maybe five to reach arbitration and three more after that until he can be a free agent. Assuming arbitration and free agency exist after the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in 2021.

So, let’s check back in a few years before passing ultimate judgment.