The Minnesota Twins are going to target pitching once again this offseason, and a front line starter makes the most sense. For the first time in a while, the Twins rotation seems to have an over abundance of depth, but right now, it could be a matter of quantity over quality. A free agent acquisition could help to bring some clarity.
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For Twins fans, a potential arm could come from a team that Minnesota faced plenty over the course of 2014. The Kansas City Royals are in the midst of an inspired playoff run, and their ace, James Shields, is set to hit the open market at season’s end. Kansas City has mentioned not being big free agent players, and the smart money is on Shields ending up elsewhere.
The former Tampa Bay Rays pitcher, and current Royals ace threw to a 14-8 record with a 3.21 ERA, 180 strikeouts, and a WHIP of 1.18 through the 2014 regular season. He was extremely consistent, and bolstered a playoff caliber Royals pitching rotation.
Currently signed at a modest $5.5 million annually, the 32 year old should expect to see his price rise. As the Royals continue to dive deeper into the playoffs, his bargaining power only continues to strengthen as well. Shields will likely be looking for a multi year deal, and one that will cost the Twins more money than any free agent in recent memory.
So why should they do it?
Right now, the Twins are looking at a potential 2015 opening day rotation of Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco, Kyle Gibson, Trevor May, and Tommy Milone. While there is quantity there, Shields would immediately bolster the quality aspect. A clearcut ace, the Twins would have at least two arms that can get them a win on any give day.
As Terry Ryan looks to spend and supplement the young and upcoming talent, a name like James Shields would resonate well with the Twins faithful. Although Shields may prove to be too high of a piece for the Twins to land, he very well could be in their wheelhouse. Regardless of where he lands, or for how much, the Twins need to be in on the bidding.