The Minnesota Twins need Tyler Kinley’s bullpen spot for someone else

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Mitch Garver
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Mitch Garver /

The Minnesota Twins pitching staff has struggled during a 5 game losing streak. It is time to replace Tyler Kinley in the bullpen.

The Minnesota Twins bullpen looked improved in many ways after this past offseason, but as the season has gone on the bullpen has struggled. One of the glaring needs was for a long reliever, something the Twins broke camp without. That has been addressed as Monday into Tuesday Alan Busenitz was optioned back to Triple-A Rochester and Tyler Duffey was called up to the majors.

As both Taylor Rogers and Trevor Hildenberger are working through early season issues and Addison Reed hit some unexpected bumps in Tampa Bay, the Twins may have to give up a luxury they thought they had. It seems impossible for the Twins to continue and carry Rule-5 pick Tyler Kinley and not use him.

A Twins starter has only made it 6.0 innings in 8 of their 18 games to begin the season. Granted it is early in the season and starters are likely still building back their stamina from the offseason. Endurance or performance, the reality is the Twins need as many bullpen arms as they can have and Kinley doesn’t seem to be ready.

The first indication of Kinley not being ready is the Twins reluctance to use him to this point in the season. Kinley has been brought into the game four times this season and has thrown 3.1 innings. He has Allowed 9 hits, 9 runs, and 2 home runs in those appearances. Kinley looked solid in his appearance against Cleveland, but since then he has made two appearances and has allowed a combined 8 runs.

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It really isn’t a huge surprise that Kinley isn’t ready and the plan wasn’t to use him heavily into the season. The plan was that the Twins bullpen was improved enough that they could operate around Kinley’s place in the bullpen. As shaky as the bullpen has been combined with the inability to use Kinley in really any situation at this point makes it time for the Twins to make a move.

The Twins have two options of what to do with Kinley if they want to move of the MLB roster. Completely cut bait and send him back to the Miami Marlins. The Twins front office could also work out a trade with the Marlins to give them the flexibility to send Kinley to the minors if they still believe in him as a long term prospect.

The Twins are struggling to prevent runs and they need more arms at their disposal. This was a good initial plan, but now is the time for the Twins to bring another arm into the bullpen fold that can be used more regularly. One pitcher to keep an eye on that could provide quality innings for the Twins is John Curtiss. Curtiss in four appearances has been striking out two batters per innings and has even been pitching multiple innings for the Red Wings.

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If the Twins really wanted to make a splashy move they could bring up Fernando Romero instead of Curtiss. Best guess is the front office will want him to spend most of his season continuing to grow as a starter and not to come and fill a role in the major league bullpen. Regardless of who takes the spot, the Twins need a more competent arm in Kinley’s spot if they want to move towards regaining a winning form.