Minnesota Twins: Who should be the Twins fifth starter?

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 5: Kyle Gibson
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 5: Kyle Gibson /
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The Minnesota Twins will have to shuffle their roster by Friday’s game and add another starter. The Twins have some options, so who will it be?

The Minnesota Twins have had a bit of a luxury to open the season. As Ervin Santana started the season on the disabled list the Twins were able to employ a four-man starting rotation to begin the season. That luxury is soon coming to an end. Barring any more postponed games due to the strange weather this spring has provided. Friday’s Twins game will include a starter making his 2018 Twins debut.

When it comes to the whole of the season, Santana will be the Twins fifth pitcher added to the current four once he is recovered from his finger injury. Ideally, Santana would be able to step off of the DL and into the rotation on April 13th against the Chicago White Sox. It would have been unlikely for Santana to be ready this early even if his rehab had gone well. With some setbacks for Santana, that solidifies that the Twins will be needing to turn to another starter in order to fill that 5th starting spot in the Twins rotation. Just who will it be?

Phil Hughes makes the most sense from a money and contract standpoint. The veteran right-hander started the season on the DL with a mild oblique strain. Hughes’ injury really helped the Twins delay the roster decision in the bullpen that will need to be made now that the Twins will need to add back the fifth starter. While he makes sense, his rehab start did not provide fans with much to be optimistic about. In a start for the High-A Fort Myers Miracle, Hughes completed 5.0 innings but allowed 8 hits and 3 runs.

While the Twins are speaking positively of Hughes’ rehab progress, those numbers are not at all convincing. For a team pushing to compete in the American League, there may be better options within the organization to turn to for that fifth rotation spot.

Current Minor League Options

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Possibly the arm that Twins fans would love to see get a chance in Minnesota the most is Fernando Romero. While he is only a level away at Triple-A, the Twins front office likely will not be looking to push him too quickly. Much like their management of Jose Berrios. Not to mention Romero started Tuesday’s game putting him out of the running since he wouldn’t have enough recovery days.

A more plausible, but yet exciting name would be Stephen Gonsalves. In Gonsalves’ first start of the season at Double-A Chattanooga, he went 5.1 innings, no runs, no hits, and three strikeouts. As long as the Twins call him up early enough, Gonsalves would have enough rest to start on Friday. I selfishly really want to see this happen, but don’t believe it is likely.

If he is healthy enough in his side sessions this week, all signs point to Hughes being the Twins fifth starter. If Hughes isn’t healthy, my guess is that the front office would choose one of the starters on the 40-man who has been to the majors before. That would give the Twins the ability to call on either Aaron Slegers or Felix Jorge (Adalberto Mejia would be a candidate but pitched Monday) if they make that call before they pitch this week.

Next: Twins Minor League Roster Roundup

All that to say, until Santana returns it looks like Hughes is the Twins 5th starter as long as Hughes remains healthy.

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