The Minnesota Twins signed two free agent pitchers just before the end of 2019, inking Rich Hill and Homer Bailey to one-year deals.
Hill, who will turn 40 during spring training, is still recovering from “primary and revision surgery” on his left elbow he underwent back in October and won’t be ready for the start of the 2020 season. It’s most likely that, barring setbacks, he’ll be ready to go at or maybe just before the All-Star break.
Despite that, Hill should be able to help the Twins. He dealt with a flexor strain during the 2019 campaign but still posted a 2.45 ERA with excellent peripherals over 13 starts with the Dodgers. Basically, when he felt good he was still effective, when he didn’t, he couldn’t go. Given that he wasn’t losing it when he could pitch, there is reason to believe that he will be an asset for Rocco Baldelli in the second half of the season.
Bailey, 33, posted a 4.57 ERA (99 ERA+) and 149/53 K/BB ratio over 163.1 innings between the Royals and Athletics this past season. He was basically a league average innings eater, capable of some good starts here and there, but a back-end guy at best for a contender like Minnesota. After all of these years, you basically know what you’re gonna get with Bailey.
Which, hey, both he and Hill can help the Twins. And it’s not super hard to imagine a rotation with José Berríros, Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda and those two being pretty decent in 2020. But in an offseason in which many expected Minnesota to make a big splash with a big addition to the rotation – a true front line starter — this is somewhat underwhelming.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”