The Minnesota Twins have once again suffered a 90 loss season and find themselves searching for answers prior to the start of the 2015 season. With free agency officially open and Minnesota having some glaring issues both in the starting rotation and outfield, the Twins are looking at their options. Unfortunately, at least thus far, it appears none of the options being considered seem to be sure fire fixes.
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Over the weekend, the Twins were linked to Justin Masterson as a potential option for the starting rotation. While Masterson had a very strong 2013 season, 2014 was anything but. Pitching to the tune of a 5.51 ERA with the Indians before being dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals, Masterson struggled in the same division the Twins would be looking to bring him back to.
At this point, the Twins have starting arms in Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco, Mike Pelfrey, Kyle Gibson, Trevor May, and Alex Meyer. Pelfrey projects to be a long relief option out of the bullpen with May and Meyer being somewhat unknowns going into the season. It would be safe to expect Nolasco to bounce back, but to what extent remains to be seen.
With that much in mind, the Twins only clear cut safety arm is Phil Hughes. Sure, the Twins hit on him last season, but it should have been expected. Hughes had strong numbers away from Yankees Stadium and Target Field looked like a perfect landing spot for him. An All-Star level might have been better than what the Twins thought they were getting in Hughes, but his signing was always going to be a good one.
This offseason, inquiring about names such as Masterson, Jason Hammel, and Brett Anderson does nothing for the Twins. Masterson and Hammel represent little more than the depth that the organization already has for arms. Anderson is an intriguing low risk flier, but probably nothing more.
At this point, it’s probably fair to rule out the Twins making any play for a stud like James Shields, but a splash should be made in some fashion. Bringing in pitchers that project as nothing more than middle of the road starters doesn’t make a weak rotation all that much stronger.
Ervin Santana is a name the Twins were tied to last offseason, and could still be on their radar this year. While Santana isn’t a number one pitcher either, he would be a nice compliment to Hughes, and more than just a depth arm.
Regardless of what the Twins do, the thought process has to be more than just putting band-aids on the problem. Bringing in pitchers to have guys that can throw the baseball does nothing. Strong and talented arms need to be brought in to headline the staff while letting the rest of the depth sort out the back end.
Here’s to hoping the Twins still have some tricks up their sleeve.
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