The Minnesota Twins top free-agent target signed with the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, so where does the team go now to upgrade their rotation?
So far in the Minnesota Twins’ offseason plan, it’s looked a lot like their lineup during the ALDS against the New York Yankees. With a giant swing and a miss, top free-agent target Zack Wheeler spurned the Twins on Wednesday, when he decided to sign a five-year, $118 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.
With the first choice to upgrade their rotation off to greener pastures, the Twins have to regroup quickly and might even have to have a plan in place before next year’s winter meetings. Failing to sign anybody is not an option, so they have to look at who is next in line and try to convince them to come to Minnesota.
The latest top option for the Twins might be left-hander Madison Bumgarner. The Twins had the opportunity to acquire the left-hander at last year’s trade deadline, but they couldn’t reach a deal with the San Francisco Giants. With three World Series championships in his back pocket, Bumgarner carries name recognition even if his recent performance isn’t inspiring.
Bumgarner did rebound nicely from two freak injury-plagued seasons last year, however, throwing 207 2/3 innings, but only went 9-9 with a career-high 3.90 ERA. Still, Bumgarner’s reputation as an ace hasn’t gone anywhere and a team like the Twins, who saw multiple reclamation projects under the watch of Wes Johnson last season, might get another gear out of MadBum.
The good news is that the Twins have apparently started the process to recruit Bumgarner as SNY’s Andy Martino reported the Twins and Chicago White Sox are among the “heaviest suitors” while the New York Yankees are also in the mix.
The Twins have also been linked to fellow left-hander and reigning National League ERA champion Hyun-Jin Ryu. Ryu has been solid when on the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but his health remains a bit of a question with a series of injuries during his six-year career. With Ryu also checking in at 33 years old, it might be fair to question whether the investment would be worth the risk.
In addition to the free-agent market, the Twins will likely be active at next week’s winter meetings in trade discussions. With outfielder Eddie Rosario being a possible trade chip, the Twins could be in on Pittsburgh’s Chris Archer or might aim lower to acquire a name such as Baltimore’s Dylan Bundy.
As for now, the Twins’ whiff on Wheeler appears to have the ring of “same old Twins,” but there’s still plenty of options left on the board. The Twins’ job now is to bring one of them back to Minnesota.