December 21, 2015

Gleeman and The Geek #228: Not Such Abad Episode

Topics for this week's "Gleeman and the Geek" episode included Trevor May being bullpen bound, Fernando Abad possibly joining him, all the AL Central teams going for it in 2016, projecting Byung Ho Park from numbers and scouting, when to swear on a podcast, Johnny Cueto's big but reasonable contract with the Giants, eating way too much food at Iron Door Pub, and preparing for New Year's Eve.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 228

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This week's blog content is sponsored by Harry's Razors, where you can get discounted razors and shaving supplies delivered to your door by entering in the code "gleeman" at harrys.com.

December 14, 2015

Gleeman and The Geek #227: Much Ado About Nothing

Topics for this week's "Gleeman and the Geek" episode included the Twins' slow week at the winter meetings, the escalating cost of good relief pitching, new signs that Trevor Plouffe will remain in Minnesota, mattress updates, Danny Santana's future, Michael Cuddyer's retirement, beer and jewelry at LynLake Brewery, losing Rule 5 flamethrower Zack Jones, and mailbag questions from listeners.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 227

In addition to the direct download link above you can also subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.


This week's blog content is sponsored by Casper mattresses, which offers a 100-day free trial with free shipping and returns. And you can get an extra $50 off by going to Casper.com/Gleeman and entering in the promo code GLEEMAN.

December 7, 2015

Gleeman and The Geek #226: Park-Sano-Plouffe Love Triangle

Topics for this week's "Gleeman and the Geek" episode included Byung Ho Park's affordable contract, Miguel Sano's move to the outfield, the wisdom of hanging onto Trevor Plouffe, the Twins' arbitration offers to Casey Fien and Eduardo Nunez, our big Saturday together, the latest catching addition John Hicks, a former man-crush on Joe Benson, and the escalating MLB free agent market.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 226

In addition to the direct download link above you can also subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.


This week's blog content is sponsored by Harry's Razors, where you can get discounted razors and shaving supplies delivered to your door by entering in the code "gleeman" at harrys.com.

December 1, 2015

Twins spend $25 million to add Korean slugger Byung Ho Park

Three weeks after placing the high bid of $12.85 million to secure an exclusive, 30-day negotiating window with Korean slugger Byung Ho Park the Twins signed the 29-year-old first baseman to a four-year, $12 million contract that includes a $6.5 million team option for a fifth year. It's a very team-friendly deal and reports from Korea suggest that Park felt the Twins low-balled him during negotiations but basically just accepted anyway because he wants to play in MLB.

Certainly a total commitment of $24.85 million is not insignificant and there's still plenty of risk associated with Park because he's untested in America, but $6 million per season for a starting designated hitter/first baseman is well below the market rate. Last offseason Billy Butler signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the A's, Adam LaRoche signed a two-year, $25 million deal with the White Sox, and Kendrys Morales signed a two-year, $17 million deal with the Royals.

LaRoche was 35 years old and coming off a good but not great season, while Butler and Morales were both coming off career-worst years at ages 29 and 32 respectively. None of the three free agents were hot commodities and yet their their average annual salaries are $12.5 million, $10 million, and $8.5 million. You get the idea. Park could have turned down the Twins' offer and remained in Korea, but chose to start his MLB career without waiting another year.

Last offseason Jung Ho Kang became the first prominent hitter to go from the Korean Baseball Organization to MLB when the Pirates bid $5 million for his rights and signed him to a four-year, $11 million contract. Kang had a fantastic rookie year, hitting .287/.355/.461 in 126 games split between shortstop and third base, and the assumption was that his success would give American teams more confidence investing in Korean hitters and raise Park's price tag.

And it did, raising the posting fee from $5 million to $12.85 million, but Park's actual contract is for the same length and just $1 million more than Kang's deal while also including a fifth year of team control at a modest salary. If the Twins believe Park has star potential than this signing has a chance to be an incredible bargain and even if he turns into merely an average player they will still have dramatically underpaid.

Park is a two-time MVP winner in Korea and finished runner-up for the award this year, hitting .343/.436/.714 with 53 homers in 140 games. His high strikeout rate and the lack of previous KBO-to-MLB data points beyond Kang make any statistical projections even more of a guessing game than usual, but Park's raw power is universally regarded as outstanding and at $6 million per season for four years the risk taken by the Twins barely makes a dent in their payroll plans.

This year all MLB first basemen and designated hitters combined to bat .260 with a .335 on-base percentage and .445 slugging percentage, so Park need not duplicate his crazy KBO numbers to provide major value to team that has struggled to develop power hitters for decades. Ultimately the bar for evaluating Park's performance should be judged on that first base/DH baseline as well as who the Twins move to make room for him in the lineup.

There are two clear options. One is trading third baseman Trevor Plouffe and shifting Miguel Sano to third base to open DH for Park. In that scenario the Twins would downgrade defensively, but could upgrade offensively if Park tops Plouffe's modest .244/.307/.435 production and would get value back in the trade. Another option is keeping Plouffe, at least for now, and giving Sano regular action in the outfield following the trade of Aaron Hicks to the Yankees.

Other options exist and surely there will be unrealistic but vocal calls for the Twins make room for Park by parting ways with Joe Mauer despite $69 million remaining on his contract, but trading Plouffe or turning Sano into an outfielder are the realistic solutions. For any of those scenarios to work out well the Twins and their international scouts need to right about Park and that's a risk, but given his power potential and the surprisingly reasonable price tag it's one worth taking.


This week's blog content is sponsored by Uber, which is offering a free ride to first-time users who sign up with the promo code "UberGleeman."

November 23, 2015

Gleeman and The Geek #225: 40-Man Roster Moves

Topics for this week's "Gleeman and the Geek" episode included the Twins Adam Brett Walker and other prospects to the 40-man roster, losing Josmil Pinto and A.J. Achter on waivers, Paul Molitor getting Manager of the Year votes, Jacque Jones' new coaching gig, Ron Gardenhire possibly joining a front office, and the dangers of podcasting next to multiple Packers fans at Mason's Barre.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 225

In addition to the direct download link above you can also subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.


This week's blog content is sponsored by Uber, which is offering a free ride to first-time users who sign up with the promo code "UberGleeman."

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