Blake Parker used to close out games for the Angels. Now, he’s about to become a member of a Minnesota Twins bullpen that could use a boost.
Parker is close to a 1-year contract with the Twins, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The Angels non-tendered Parker, making him a free agent.
The contract is believed to be for $3.2 million, according to Ken Rosenthal. The Twins also would have the option to keep Parker around for another year before he can elect free agency (after the 2020 season).
Parker, who saved 14 games for the Angels last year, should slot in somewhere in the late innings of the game for the Twins. (Parker also blew 3 saves in 17 chances, so his success rate was about 82% — not good enough to hold onto the job in Anaheim long-term.)
If the Twins don’t make any more additions in the reliever market, it’ll be fascinating to see how first-year manager Rocco Baldelli treats his bullpen. Clearly, it’s not a group that currently boasts the kind of lethal weapons that you’d find in a bullpen on the best teams in baseball. Then again, the relief corps was said to be a weakness entering the postseason last year in Boston, and now the Red Sox are World Series Champions.
Parker pitched 66 1/3 innings for the Halos last season with a 3.26 ERA, including a solid 25.4% strikeout rate and a reasonable 6.9% walk rate. That punchout rate would put him a shade worse than former Twins closer Ferando Rodney at striking out hitters — with a better ability to limit free passes. Among Twins relievers with at least 25 innings last season, only ace lefty Taylor Rogers out-did Parker’s 0.68 WPA.
Still, the Angels didn’t see enough there to extend a contract offer to Parker two years before free agency. So, set your expectations accordingly.
To me, Parker looks like a solid reliever who could slot in behind Taylor Rogers and maybe Trevor May on the Twins Bullpen Heirarchy. If Minnesota adds Fernando Romero to the mix and gets a bounceback season from guys like Trevor Hildenberger and Addison Reed, you can start to see the makings of a good bullpen.
There’s still more than a month to go before spring training, so the Twins might not be done shopping. At this point in the winter, though, it looks like the front office is keen to the idea of pouncing on a potential bargain. It looks like they’re trying to add wins, for sure. It also looks like they’re really trying to not overpay for those wins.