Minnesota Twins Free Agent Profile: RP Kelvin Herrera
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins could really serve themselves well to add some quality arms to their bullpen. Could Kelvin Herrera be one of those relievers?
The Minnesota Twins have been able to put together a good core of bullpen arms in recent seasons. The team looks ready to watch Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, Trevor Hildenberger, and Addison Reed build the base for their 2019 bullpen. They will still be looking to add some top-end arms this offseason. Should Kelvin Herrera be one arm they consider?
Herrera for years made up what was a very dominant Kansas City Royals bullpen. It was really a bullpen that has helped to shape and change the way teams construct their pitching staffs and go about working their way through the postseason, and Herrera was a key cog in that bullpen.
The flame throwing right-hander got his first taste of the big leagues in 2011 and then became a mainstay in 2012 with the Royals. In that first full year, he pitched in 76 games and finished with a 2.35 ERA and an 8.2 K/9. Herrera further developed into an All-Star setup man in 2015 and 2016 accompanied by a World Series championship in 2015.
What may be most impressive about Herrera is his pitching performances in the postseason in 2014 and 2015 as the Royals made and then won the World Series. He was absolutely dominant over 22 games only allowing 4 earned runs total. Now two came most notably in a Game 5 World Series loss to the San Fransisco Giants, but still an impressive run that included 28.2 innings, 38 strikeouts, 10 walks, and a 1.26 ERA.
Since those World Series victories, Herrera moved into a closer role and now has logged 149 total saves over his career. Into 2018 he was still pitching very well and was traded to the Washington Nationals after appearing in 27 games for the Royals and holding down a 1.05 ERA. There were some struggles for Herrera in Washington has he had a 4.34 ERA until he was shut down after tearing his Lisfranc ligament in his foot.
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That is the biggest caution as teams like the Twins look towards signing Herrera this offseason. Lisfranc injuries are hard to judge as far as recovery timetables go. So that will certainly factor into any decisions made. What will entice teams is that Herrera still is able to throw his fastball in the upper 90s at around 97 mph. He also is still throwing a nasty slider and a good changeup and getting outs by using both of those.
MLB Trade Rumors predicts that Herrera will sign a one year prove it deal for $8 million. If the Twins could work that out it would be pretty low-risk signing with high upside. Herrera could also be enticed by a longer termed deal with incentives in the right situation likely.
Herrera is a player that would be an exciting get for the Twins, but I personally would hope the Twins would pursue some of the other top bullpen arms in this free agent class. Even if those players will require a larger contract before turning to Herrera.