The Minnesota Twins find themselves in an interesting position heading into the offseason. With a full crop of young talent on the not so distant horizon, Minnesota may be in the best position that they have been in years. Now, the opportunity to make some spending decisions has presented itself, and Ricky Nolasco‘s contract shouldn’t deter them from doing so.
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As 2015 rolls around, there are two glaring holes for the Twins to look to fill. Left field and starting pitching are going to be the biggest positions when it comes to looking at the free agent market. However, the Twins may have some in house options for left field, so that brings about the discussion of starting pitching.
Spending in baseball should be to supplement a talented roster, not to bring a roster to that point. The Twins now find themselves trending in that direction, and needing a pitcher, they can go for quality rather than quantity.
Last offseason, the Twins went in the opposite direction. Ricky Nolasco represented an arm more than anything. Sure he’s a respectable name, but he pitched in the National League. Regression was to be expected, but with a 4 year $49 million deal to his name, the level of regression was brutal.
This offseason, the Twins have plenty of arms. Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson, Trevor May, Tommy Milone, Alex Meyer, and even Nolasco can be counted on for innings in 2015. What they don’t have is one more dominant arm to put next to Phil Hughes.
Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, and James Shields all hit the free agent market this offseason. The Twins are likely out on the first two, but Shields represents a very realistic possibility. The Twins however, will have to pay for it, and they should.
Bringing in a starting pitcher means you are already going to have to overpay. The Twins have a culture synonymous with losing right now. Pitching is also always at a premium.
Over paying for Ervin Santana or Edinson Volquez doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Those players would take valuable innings away from the young and promising talent, without offering much more upside. The Twins are trending in the right direction, and paying for a front line starter is something that should be at the forefront of general manager Terry Ryan’s mind.
While the Ricky Nolasco contract didn’t work out in year one, and will likely never see the return expected for those numbers, he has a chance to bounce back in year two. Those notions aside, the Twins should be in on top free agent pitching arms, and they should be in big.