The Minnesota Twins entered Spring Training with lofty expectations. It’s not quite playoffs or bust for this organization, but the window of opportunity has opened, and the Twins need to stay aggressive.
The Minnesota Twins front office has announced that they don’t expect to make any more significant moves on the open market this Spring. They have done a solid job of adding pieces to keep this team in contention. However, there are still questions that need answers and the Twins shouldn’t close any doors.
The biggest question mark they have right now is undoubtedly the starting rotation. They pulled the trigger and acquired Jake Odorizzi from the Tampa Bay Rays and that will help in 2018. However, you have to wonder if they could still do more to improve their playoff chances.
Who should the Twins consider adding this Spring?
First, we’ll talk about the three remaining above average starting pitchers on the market. The longer Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb remain unsigned the more their contract demands drop. That’s good news for Minnesota and they should keep the lines of dialogue open with each of these pitchers.
Arrieta would help this rotation immensely and is a former Cy Young award winner. However, his ERA has risen in each of the previous two seasons and his best years seem to be behind him. Unless it’s a one-year “show me” contract the Twins should steer clear.
Lynn is younger than Arrieta and has shown in the past that he can be as effective as any starting pitcher in baseball. However, his contract demands don’t fit his production and he has struggled with injuries. Unless he drops his price significantly the Twins should also stay away from Lynn.
The smart move would be signing Cobb for $10-$13 million and bank on him rediscovering his change-up. Cobb brings along some injury risk, much like Lynn, but his style of pitching has better potential for future success. Unlike Lynn, Cobb isn’t a power pitcher who depends on his fastball to be successful.
He does throw hard and has a very good fastball. However, Cobb is at his best when he’s using his off-speed pitches effectively. Reuniting Cobb and Odorizzi would help strengthen this rotation until Ervin Santana returns to health. Signing Cobb will also allow Minnesota to keep their top two pitching prospects in the Minors for more seasoning.
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One position player worth considering
The Minnesota Twins could still use help in the lineup and one low-risk high-upside player is still available. Jonathan Lucroy is a former All-Star who was once regarded as one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. However, the last few seasons have not been kind to Lucroy and his value has plummeted.
Not even playing in Coors Field could help Lucroy rebuild his offensive value last season. However, he is still a highly regarded defensive catcher and knows how to handle a pitching staff.
Jason Castro is an average catcher at best and Lucroy would be an upgrade at the position. The price for his services should be low enough at this point that the Twins have to at least consider bringing him on board.
Minnesota Twins fans are excited for the upcoming season and the front office has done enough to keep this team competitive. However, the Cleveland Indians will be a very good team again in ’18 and the Twins haven’t done enough to catch them. Adding one, or even two, of these players will set this team up to challenge for the American League Central crown.
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