Heading into this offseason, Terry Ryan and the rest of the Twins organization knew that starting pitching was going to be an area of concern. So naturally, Ryan went out and signed or traded for some starting pitchers. Well, instead of some, it turned into quite a few starting pitchers. The following are the bigger names of the offseason signings: Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey, Kris Johnson, and Sean Gilmartin. Now for an offseason, that is more than enough to get by; however, for how bad the starting pitchers for the Twins have been the past 3 seasons, Ryan thinks you can never have too many starting pitchers. With that being said, the Twins have still been linked to a few free agent pitchers aside from ones named Matt Garza or Bronson Arroyo.
Just in the past few days, the Twins have been linked to starter, but most recently a reliever due to shoulder injuries, Suk-Min Yoon from Korea. Yoon is said to be the 2nd best foreign free agent pitcher behind Masahiro Tanaka, and has been on the radar for the Twins since the season was over. His shoulder problems along with us signing numerous starting pitchers has our interest up in the air, but seeing as we were linked to him from the start, our name has never fallen out of question. Since his injury, he has lost 2 mph on his fastball and was moved to relief duties in 2013. Yoon does, however, want to be a starter again and his agent, Scott Boras, has pushed to sell him to teams as a starter. If he were to wind up with the Twins, it is unknown if they would have him be a starter or come out of the bullpen in relief. In all honesty, if he wanted to be a starter, he seems to be a decent fit for our team who is looking for anyone of the extra 6-7 possible starters to step up and solidify any of the remaining starting spots.
While Yoon is still connected to the Twins, two more pitchers have been linked the Twins organization in the past few days: Misael Siverio and Odrisamer Despaigne. Both Siverio and Despaigne are Cuban pitchers who the Twins have most recently sent three scouts down to Mexico to see pitch. Siverio is a 24 year old left handed pitcher who had a great 2013 year where he posted a 1.90 ERA and struck out 81 batters in 20 starts for Villa Clara in a Cuban National league. Despaigne, a right handed starter, posted a 3.27 ERA, struck out 98, and pitched 143 innings in 23 starts. The Twins are not the only team interested as the Phillies, Giants, Yankees, and others have been linked to the 27 year old starting pitcher this offseason. Both of them will be pitching in Mexico to allow for our scouts, as well as other scouts from various teams, to get a long look to see if they have the stuff capable of making it to the big leagues.
If the Twins do go out and sign any or all of the aforementioned players, we may end up with the biggest log jam of 4s and 5s fighting for a spot or two in the rotation in baseball history. These pitchers could end up adding more depth to our already lengthy list of candidates for the starting rotation, but having money and multiple years tied up in Nolasco, Hughes, and Pelfrey with prospects like Alex Meyer and Trevor May on the horizon, signing more starters may not be the smartest move. The only way having such an influx of starters makes sense is if our ultimate plan is to hope Pelfrey pitches well enough in the first half of the season where we can trade him and thus make room for May, Meyer, or someone else worthy of that last spot.
Being linked to more starters this offsesason does not seem like the right decision, but then again, there’s a reason why Terry Ryan is the General Manager and I am not.