This tier includes what I would like to dub as “Terry Ryan specials.” With the Twins having Berrios and Odorizzi already in the mix, it’s possible the Twins may turn to this group after signing one or two pitchers from one of the higher tiers. These names won’t be sexy, but for the back of the rotation, it should be enough to ease any fears.
The Twins took the gamble on Pineda in the prior to the 2018 season and while it ended with a thud (aka a 60-game suspension for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drugs policy), it has to be considered an overall success. After spending a majority of 2018 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Pineda blossomed into the Twins’ best pitcher in 2019, going 9-3 with a 3.46 ERA after the calendar turned to May.
The question is whether the suspension was enough to burn any bridges. You could make the argument that Pineda’s suspension was what forced the Twins to start Randy Dobnak in Game 2 of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium and if the Twins are still salty about it, that could be an issue. However, this team also handed Jorge Polanco a five-year contract extension coming off a year where he earned a PED suspension, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
The Twins struck out on a sudden free-agent market surge in June when they couldn’t land Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel after their draft compensation requirement was removed. While the Twins had to breathe a sigh of relief that they missed out on Kimbrel, Keuchel could have been useful for a rotation that completely fell apart in the second half.
The numbers (8-8, 3.75 ERA) that Keuchel put up weren’t terrible, but they weren’t enough to ease the concerns the Twins may have had about his shoulder. Remember, the Twins had an opportunity to sign the soon-to-be 32-year old both over the offseason and last June and didn’t do it, meaning that the Twins just might not be that interested in bringing Keuchel aboard.
Hamels used to be one of the top aces in MLB, but as he turns 36 later this month, those days are long gone. The left-hander put up stats (7-7, 3.81 ERA) that you would expect from an aging left-hander and using the term “impact pitching” as a reference, he may not be a fit. However, he can be a veteran presence for a young rotation and if the Twins want to fill the fifth spot with a reliable presence, they could do worse.