Minnesota Twins have preliminary discussions with Zack Wheeler

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 01: Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler #45 of the New York Mets delivers the ball against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on August 01, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 01: Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler #45 of the New York Mets delivers the ball against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field on August 01, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Twins’ search for “impact pitching” began in Arizona this week as the club had talks with the free-agents’ representatives.

The Minnesota Twins are on a crusade to find “impact pitching” this winter and while they likely won’t be signing anyone in the near future, it appears they at least have a starting point. According to KSTP-TV’s Darren Wolfson, the Twins have been in touch this week with free agent Zack Wheeler‘s representatives at the general managers meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz..

Wheeler’s case is an interesting one in a free-agent class that has plenty of options for the Twins. While names like Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg could be out of reach due to the price tag and lack of mutual interest, Wheeler might be considered the next best thing for the Twins, who are looking for a top of the rotation starter to pair with Jose Berrios.

The issue here is that Wheeler will have plenty of suitors for teams who don’t want to back up the Brink’s truck to sign either of the top tier pitchers. The soon-to-be 30-year-old is coming off a strong season for the Mets with an 11-8 record and 3.96 ERA in 31 starts. Armed with a fastball that averaged a career-high 96.1 MPH per FanGraphs, Wheeler racked up 195 strikeouts while also posting a career-high 3.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

The upward trajectory for Wheeler will have several clubs interested including his former team, the New York Mets. The Mets made a one-year, $17.8 million qualifying offer to the right-hander last week, but per MLB Network’s J.P. Morosi, he is expected to decline it and test the open market.

Once there, Wheeler should have plenty of suitors and Morosi lists the Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, and San Diego Padres among the teams who will be bidding for his services.

dark. Next. Could the Twins actually sign Gerrit Cole?

With more free-agents opting to wait until signing a deal (and Cole reportedly waiting until January to make a decision), it’s likely this won’t have a quick resolution. However, it is a positive step in the right direction that the Twins are looking to be the aggressor and go after one of the market’s top targets.

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