With a new Minnesota Twins general manager comes a new philosophy on signing free agents.
While Terry Ryan did make some good signings, he also made some awful ones too. The new general manager could learn from Ryan’s mistakes by never repeating them again.
It’s time to layout the new free agent model for the Twins. Stop signing “second chance starting pitchers.”
Most of the terrible signings came within the last few seasons during the team’s rebuilding phase.
While it isn’t fair to expect Cy Young performances out of every pitcher, it is fair to judge them based on the team’s view of them.
In most cases, the front office thought they were getting potentially a No. 1 or 2 starter. At the very least the team was adding a solid No. 3 man in the rotation.
None of the pitchers lived up to the potential of a No. 1 or 2. The only exception being Phil Hughes in 2014 when he finished seventh in the AL Cy Young Award voting.
Three pitchers posted a winning record. Additionally, only one pitcher registered more than 180 innings pitched.
When the stats are this bad, the fans notice. Certainly the general manager ought to notice.
What is troubling is Ryan’s lack of acceptance with reality. In other words, Ryan previously displayed denial with the facts.
"He knows what he’s doing on the mound. He’s a guy we’ve seen quite a bit. When you start cracking his numbers, they’re very respectable."
Correia pitched slightly above league average in 2013 but was mediocre in 2014. He owned a 4.94 ERA in 2014 and won just five games in 23 starts.
"He can do better. We expect him to do better. I wasn’t worried about his pace. I was worried about him putting away hitters."
Pelfrey did rebound from horrible to barely league average. He started 30 games, winning six of them. He had a 4.26 ERA with a .304 batting average against. Pelfrey’s numbers that season were the best in his Twins career.
Moving on, last winter Ryan sounded like a man trying to convince himself Ricky Nolasco is a good pitcher.
He told a fan it’s unfair to think Nolasco can’t pitch because of his past injuries.
Before the Twins traded him, Nolasco was having the best season statistically with the Twins. He won four games in 21 starts, the lowest win total in his Twins career. On the flip side, he recorded his lowest ERA with the Twins (5.13).
So much for injuries being the problem.
Don’t even bother wondering why the Twins gave Livan Hernandez 23 starts in 2008, it might hurt to think about.
Clearly, this way of thinking needs to end. No more signing league average starting pitchers and propping them up like born again aces.
The new general manager needs to stop going after the cheaper starting pitcher options in free agency as well.
It’s not easy with the increasing asking price for good pitchers, but at the very least, the new general manager needs to admit when the signings aren’t going to work out.
Next: Take Down the Evil Empire