The Minnesota Twins skipper has been heavily involved in the team’s pursuit to upgrade their starting rotation this offseason.
Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli had a tremendous first season in charge of the team, leading the Twins to 102 wins and winning the American League Manager of the Year award. While there are many things that helped lead to the Twins capturing the American League Central division title, one of the factors was his involvement of getting free agents to come to Minnesota.
According to La Velle E. Neal of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, that led to mixed results last offseason as the Twins inquired about Charlie Morton before he decided to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays, but also landed one of their most potent bats in the lineup by convincing Nelson Cruz to sign with the Twins.
This year, it appears that Baldelli is busy on the move once again. Neal noted that the Twins are unlikely to pursue Stephen Strasburg or Gerrit Cole, but may go all-in on the second tier that includes Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
With the Twins needing starting pitching, perhaps it’s not a surprise that Baldelli has been on the recruiting trail, which Baldelli says is necessary to bring the pieces the Twins need to contend in the American League.
"“I would say when guys are signing to spend significant years of their life in a certain place with a certain team, it has to do with a lot of different things,” Baldelli said to Neal. “Not just how many years and how many dollars they are going to get. Those are important factors, we know that. Making sure that people are comfortable and are going to a place with the right people they want to be with and they want to work with. I think that is just as important.”"
The Twins pursuit of free-agent pitching has been busy although Neal and KSTP-TV’s Darren Wolfson have noted that no offers have been made to any free-agent pitching as of right now. That may bring cause for concern, but it seems like more MLB free agents are more apt to take their time in deciding on a future home.
For now, there are a couple of tea leaves to follow as the Twins have already talked to Zack Wheeler’s representatives and these reports suggest that Minnesota is serious about attempting to upgrade their rotation. Time will tell if the Twins can put it all together and bring one of them home.