We’ll start off with what I think is the biggest hole the Minnesota Twins currently have, and also the potential to be the biggest area of success in free agency, the bullpen. As mentioned earlier, we’re actually not in too bad of a spot right now. Trevor May, Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers, and Gabriel Moya is a pretty promising start, but beyond that group (and even within it, to some extent), there’s some uncertainty. The good news is that there’s a lot of options in quantity. Beyond the 4 previous listed, Addison Reed, Tyler Duffey, Alan Busenitz, and Matt Magill, all figure to get some innings throughout the season. Plus, whoever doesn’t make the cut for the rotation could be bullpen options as well, including Gonsalves, Romero, Littell, Stewart, Pineda, and Mejia. And that’s not even getting into minor leaguers and players with less experience, like John Curtiss, Aaron Slegers, Lewis Thorpe, Andrew Vasquez, and so on.
But, it’s clear that we could use some more quality along with May, Hildenberger, Rogers, and Moya as locks in the bullpen. Here, I present 4 quality relievers I believe the Minnesota Twins should make strong runs at this offseason.
Kelvin Herrera made a name for himself as a critical part of the Kansas City Royals’ stellar bullpen during their back to back World Series appearances in 2014 and 2015. Herrera boasts a career ERA of 2.82. 2017 was an outlier for Herrera, when he posted a 4.25 ERA, but excluding that season, he hasn’t had a season of an ERA above 2.75 since 2013. He has experience both as a fireman/setup type reliever as well as closing, and will turn 29 on December 31st. In addition to quality pitching Herrera would bring valuable veteran and postseason experience to a Minnesota Twins bullpen core that will is incredibly young.
Herrera will have many suitors this offseason, but at the same time, he could fall between the cracks a bit. He’s overshadowed by premium names like Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, and David Robertson, and could blend in to a large grouping of tier 1B or tier 2 relievers including Herrera, Andrew Miller, Adam Ottavino, Joakim Soria, and others that we’ll get to in a minute. However, even if he does get attention from a wide range of teams, remember that the Twins have a lot of money available to spend. I won’t advocate that they spend a ridiculous amount of money on a reliever, but with as much payroll room available as there will be, the team should be able to compete for just about any reliever on the market.
It is worth noting that Herrera tore a ligament in his foot late in late August this season. He underwent surgery to repair it in early September and is expected to be ready for spring training, though, so I don’t expect the injury to play that big of a role in his popularity this offseason.