The Twins and right-hander Randy Dobnak have agreed to a five-year contract extension worth a guaranteed $9.25 million, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Passan further notes that Dobnak’s deal will include three option years and escalator clauses that could push the total value to $29.75 million.
Dobnak, 26, has pitched to a 3.12 ERA/139 ERA+ and a 2.78 K/BB ratio across parts of two MLB seasons with Minnesota. Of his 19 appearances, 15 have been starts. He enters the 2021 season with just over one full year of major-league service time. That, in turn, put Dobnak on target for arbitration eligibility following the 2022 season and free agency following the 2025 season. The Twins originally signed Dobnak in 2017 as an undrafted free agent out of Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia.
Dobnak this spring has flashed a much improved slider, which has helped him register a Grapefruit League ERA of 0.66 with 18 strikeouts and zero walks in 13 2/3 innings. While you shouldn’t read much into spring results, Dobnak’s cultivation of a potential out pitch may have given the Twins the motivation to lock him up. For now, Dobnak is in line to begin the regular season in the Minnesota bullpen in a long relief role, but he’s probably near the front of the line should injury or ineffectiveness strike the rotation.
During his rookie season of 2019, Dobnak became a bit of a cult figure in baseball after it came to light that he worked as an Uber driver to make ends meet in the minor leagues. Suffice it say, his gig economy days are probably over for good.