Minnesota Twins positional recap and predictions, part 9- Relief pitchers

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BOSTON, MA - JULY 27: Taylor Rogers #55 of the Minnesota Twins pitches in the bottom of the seventh inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 27: Taylor Rogers #55 of the Minnesota Twins pitches in the bottom of the seventh inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on July 27, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /
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OAKLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 23: Trevor May #65 and Chris Gimenez #46 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates defeating the Oakland Athletics 5-1 at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on September 23, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA – SEPTEMBER 23: Trevor May #65 and Chris Gimenez #46 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates defeating the Oakland Athletics 5-1 at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on September 23, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Looking forward

With the trades of Ryan Pressly, Fernando Rodney, and Zach Duke, along with the likely departure of Matt Belisle, there is a lot of room in the 2019 Minnesota Twins bullpen. The good news is that the team already has a great start. Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers, and Trevor May comprise one of the brightest long term bullpen cores the franchise has ever had and all will return for another season in 2019. Each could have significant roles in 2019 and beyond.

Addison Reed already has a slot reserved for him as well, after a quietly solid season that was thrown off course by a midseason injury. After improving throughout the season and showing some good stuff, Gabriel Moya likely has a place in the ‘pen as well, though he could be pushed out to a “first on call” role in the minors.

Still, that leaves 3 to 4 open slots in the bullpen heading into 2019. The Twins have about 5 to 6 guys that currently project to compete for the 4th and 5th slots in the starting rotation, so those that don’t make the cut there could be considered in the bullpen instead. However, many of these players include young starters like Stephen Gonsalves, Fernando Romero, and Adalberto Mejia that the team may prefer to send down to the minors so they can start down there and stay on a normal schedule.

Others, like Chase De Jong and Zack Littell, have both started and pitched out of the bullpen in the past and may be able to more easily transition to either role. This all depends on who wins the last starting rotation jobs, though, so the answer likely won’t come until the end of spring training. It’s likely that one or two slots are filled by guys that don’t win starting jobs, but that still leaves one to three open slots that still need to be filled.

Luckily, there is a strong class of relievers in the free agent market this year. There are a variety of relievers available, ranging from the big names of Craig Kimbrel and Andrew Miller to the less well known Justin Wilson and Adam Warren, as well as a whole bunch of other guys that fall somewhere in between.

Players I have already advocated that the Minnesota Twins sign include Kelvin Herrera, Cody Allen, Brad Brach, and Joe Kelly. Each seem like a great combination of talent, age, and expected price tag, and the Twins seem like they should be able to be serious contenders for each player. However, there’s still a lot of names out there that would be good additions to the team if those 4 don’t work out, including David Robertson, Jeurys Familia, Adam Ottavino, and many more. With multiple slots open and a ton of salary space available, it would be incredibly surprising not to see the Twins sign a few relievers this offseason.

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