The Minnesota Twins will certainly be targeting bullpen options, but much like the Rockies in my example, going big after the top-line guy is probably not the way to do it, but getting guys with elite stuff and putting them in roles to succeed is the way to go.
That would seemingly take them out of the running to get Wade Davis, who will be the top closer on the market. Brandon Kintzler likely will have the second-most closing experience, though he doesn’t exactly have closing “stuff”. Addison Reed worked much of the year as the Mets’ closer this year, and he’s had an elite run the past two years, which will also likely price him beyond the Twins’ market.
Two guys that could be interesting would be Seung-hwan Oh, who lost his closer job with the Cardinals, but has really been stung by BABIP this year as his control has been fine, but his command has not been as sharp, and his stuff lives on movement and location, and that movement missing locations will allow pitches to get hit hard. The other guy will be Tony Watson, who closed for Pittsburgh after Mark Melancon was dealt in 2016 until he was removed from the job in 2017. He then went on a run that resembled his elite performance of 2013-2015. Whether a team values him as an elite lefty setup man or as a possible closer will determine his market.
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Getting other relief arms is best to pursue guys in two markets for the Twins – the first market is former elite relievers who are still fairly young and flash their once-elite “stuff”, and the second is older relievers who have been great and shown to be consistently quality arms.
The first group in this winter’s market would be highlighted by Neftali Feliz and Steve Cishek. Both are hard throwers with history closing. Cishek has struggled with his location at times, but he’s thrown very well when healthy this season. Feliz has struggled more with health than ineffectiveness over his career, but this season he is struggling with generating swing and miss on his pitches, especially his previously dominant fastball, in spite of the average velocity being similar.
The collection of older, reliable arms that could be good are rich this offseason. Names like Luke Gregerson, David Hernandez, Pat Neshek, Drew Storen, Anthony Swarzak, Zach Duke, Jake McGee, Oliver Perez, Fernando Abad, and Joe Smith would all be wise targets, and with depth in that type of class, the Twins could end up getting even multiple of these types of guys to help lead their bullpen that could then be filled with a host of elite arms that are in the AA and AAA bullpens.
Finally, one target to look at for the Twins that could be an interesting market to review would be former starters that may work better in the bullpen. Former teammates Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner would be two that could possibly work in this way, though the cost on either could be prohibitive as Cashner is earning $10M this year on a one-year deal and Ross is making $6M on a one-year deal himself.
How does all of this sound? Any other ideas you’d throw into the mix? Comment below!!