Minnesota Twins: 5 Things that need to go right for 2018 success

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Manager Paul Molitor
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 03: Manager Paul Molitor /
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Minnesota Twins
DENVER, CO – SEPTEMBER 02: Closer Fernando Rodney /

Rodney sticks at Closer

As was mentioned earlier, one of the offseason additions the Twins made was Fernando Rodney. At the time of the signing, he was promised the closer role. Even after the signing of Addison Reed that continues to be the role Rodney will open the season in. That isn’t simply to make good on a promise, but it is an important piece to the Twins 2018 success.

Now, this is less about Rodney, and so much more about what it does to the rest of the bullpen. Even at over 40, Rodney is still able to run his fastball into the upper 90s. With that power from his arm, there has also been the tendency to blow up a little bit and string together some bad outings. The Twins would still be competitive if they had to remove Rodney from the role. But as constructed if the Twins have World Series aspirations, keeping Rodney in that role will be important.

If Rodney is the Twins closer, the Twins can stretch into the 6th inning with quality relievers. The likes of Reed, Zach Duke, Taylor Rogers, and Trevor Hildenberger are now a bridge potentially from the 6th-8th. That still doesn’t include what may happen with the likes of Ryan Pressly or even Tyler Kinley if they can figure things out as two more power bullpen arms.

If Rodney falters, what happens then is Pressly and Kinley will become more heavily relied on. Something that could add a lot of questions marks to the Twins bullpen mix. Right now, the bullpen effectively can shorten the game for all of the Twins starters. Which could become especially helpful for a pitcher like Berrios on his quest to become an ace.