By: Noah Wright
The Twins are a solid team. They got some decent bats with them adding consistent veteran Nelson Cruz, Eddie Rosario, C.J. Cron, bounce back candidates, Miguel Sano, and Jonathan Schoop, and breakout candidates like Jorge Polanco, Willians Astudillo, Byron Buxton, and Max Kepler.
On the pitching side of things, Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson head a solid one-two punch a-top the rotation, but the rest of the staff is so-so to say the least. And this is where the Twins falter.
As opposed to the Cleveland Indians, the Twins pitching is not very good. Now I’m not saying they need to go out and trade/sign an expensive TOR starter, but they definitely need a proven arm to back up the rest of the rotation. As well as the bullpen.
The free agent market doesn’t hold a true ace, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t decent options. Every team could use Derek Holland, and for a good reason. He’s a lhp pitched solid last season, isn’t getting much attention in rumors, isn’t going to cost much, and isn’t extremely old. Though Holland pitched in a pitcher friendly environment last season, Target Field isn’t a really one sided on the hitter/pitcher friendly park spectrum. Plus with a solid defense behind him, Holland would likely do just fine if he were to play in Minnesota. If the Twins were to sign him, their rotation would likely look like this:
- Jose Berrios (RHP)
- Kyle Gibson (RHP)
- Derek Holland (LHP)
- Jake Odorizzi (RHP)
- Likely one of Adalberto Mejia, Fernando Romero, Kohl Stewart, Trevor May, and Stephen Gonsalves, assuming they don’t sign another starter
The bullpen is fairly bleak. Taylor Rogers is the only relief pitcher they have who turned in a quality 2018 season. Addison Reed is likely to bounce back, but he did struggle in 2018. This team desperately needs to keep adding to the pen. However, it’s not bleak to the point to where it can’t recover. Their first addition to the pen should be Brad Brach and/or Cody Allen. Both right handers are coming off of career worst seasons, but neither are extremely old, and can be gotten on a cheap deal. Plus, they have plenty of experience being shutdown relief pitchers in the past. However if they want to go after an option who has been successful in recent time, the Twins could go after Adam Ottavino, who had a sub-3 ERA and FIP last season, in Coors Field. If they want to add another lefty, and don’t want to rely on Gabriel Moya to be one of the only other lefties other than Rogers out of the pen, the Twins could go and pick up Jake Diekman. Diekman’s overall ERA of 4.73 in 53 innings may not have looked pretty last season, but his ERA was so high because of the 14 and a third inning stint he had with the Arizona Diamondbacks after a trade from the Texas Rangers at the deadline last season. In those 14.1 innings, Diekman had a 7.53 ERA. Overall though, Diekman is a solid left handed option out of the pen.
Every team could use some bench depth, but other than just that, the Twins could effectively overtake the Cleveland Indians for the top spot in the ALE. The Indians only have their rotation, Jose Ramirez, Francisco Lindor, and Brad Hand going for them. 7 players can’t purely carry the Indians. The Twins offense, as a whole, is comparable to the Indians. Other than Ramirez and Lindor, the Indians have traded off their other decent bats. A rebound from Sano,and Schoop already adds 2 decent bats to Nelson Cruz, and Eddie Rosario. A full season from Jorge Polanco could also be very valuable to the Twins. Even if Buxton doesn't fully bounce back to his 2nd half of 2017 form, he'll still be very valuable to the team with his base running and defense. So in the end, if this team can round up a decent pitching staff, it's easy to see how the Twins can overtake the Cleveland Indians.