Relief pitcher Juan Nicasio, if signed by the Twins, would likely be penciled in as the opening day closer. Actually, every reliever mentioned in this space would be considered the Twins closer, which may just speak to the room for improvement there is in the Twins bullpen currently. Nicasio moved around a lot this season after starting out with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a hot name at the trade deadline and a player that would have looked great with the Twins then, but he ended up being given away essentially to the Philadelphia Phillies instead, who in turn traded him a week later to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Nicasio finished the season in St. Louis as their closer. On the season, he appeared in 76 games with a 2.61 ERA and a strikeout rate of 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings. After joining the Cardinals his numbers were even more impressive recording a 1.64 ERA and earning 4 saves in 9 appearances.
MLB Trade Rumors actually predicts that Nicasio will end with the Twins for 3 years and $21 million. At $7 million a year, that would give the Twins plenty of room to add another impact player in free agency. Nicasio’s ability to flirt with 10 strikeouts per nine makes him the sort of impact arm the Twins bullpen has been missing.