Boston Red Sox

Baseball's dumb rule puts Twins in great spot to get Kimbrel, Keuchel

The Twins entered 2019 very much in wait-and-see mode after spending $48.6 million in free agency ( eighth-most in MLB ) but also avoiding long-term deals and steering clear of the biggest names on the market.

And thanks to a combination of the Twins’ patience, the reticence of 29 other teams and one of the dumbest salary-crushing rules in all of organized sports, Falvey and Levine are now in a position to strike at two big names: Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel.

Instead, a combination of legitimate factors (Kimbrel’s shaky second half and Keuchel’s diminishing dominance/strikeout total last year) and market forces — implied collusion or big data that says the rate of return on players on the wrong side of 30 is poor, depending on your preference — kept them from signing anywhere.

If they don’t start racking up full seasons until their mid-20s, they won’t be free agents until their early 30s — at which point they are increasingly being deemed as too old or risky for long-term deals.

Both would be moves aimed as much at October as the present — good news, since both Kimbrel and Keuchel might need extended time to get up to speed after sitting out spring training and more than two months of the season.

Pascal Siakam, who scored 32 points in Thursday's NBA Finals opener, is a great example of incremental progress and the high upside that can come from drafting a late bloomer.

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