The Minnesota Twins missed out on two potential free-agent targets on Wednesday, which means the market for the left-hander has intensified.
Is it already getting late early for the Minnesota Twins? Wednesday was not a good day in their pursuit of impact pitching as they missed out on a pair of free-agent targets. While the most notable was Zack Wheeler spurning Minnesota to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Twins also may have missed out on Cole Hamels, who signed a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves.
With the National League East throwing a wrench into the Twins plans, Minnesota’s focus has now turned to the west coast, where they are one of several teams with their eyes on San Francisco Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
After a failed attempt to acquire Bumgarner at the trade deadline last July, the Twins have turned their attention to the former World Series hero and are one of several teams involved in a bidding war for his services.
Earlier on Wednesday, SNY’s Andy Martino revealed that Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox are “among the heaviest suitors” for Bumgarner, but that the New York Yankees are also involved.
There’s a good chance that even more teams are aggressively pursuing Bumgarner. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Braves decided to sign Hamels on Wednesday in large part because they believe Bumgarner’s asking price could reach over $100 million. Strangely enough, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted that this hasn’t eliminated the Braves from entering the fray and they could add both Hamels and Bumgarner to their rotation.
With ESPN’s Buster Olney also mentioning the Cincinnati Reds as a potential suitor, Bumgarner has clearly become a hot commodity with the market for top pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg being slow to materialize.
Even though Bumgarner’s market has become an all-out melee, the Twins can’t afford to be the ones left out. While it would be great if they went after Cole or Strasburg, both are considered unlikely and even though they were in the mix for Wheeler, they weren’t even a finalist before he chose the Phillies per Dan Hayes of The Athletic.
If the Twins can’t get Bumgarner, they probably will have to go after Hyun-Jin Ryu, who is effective, but also has a lengthy injury history to go with an advanced age (33). In any event, Bumgarner’s courtship is sounding similar to Wheeler’s and the Twins need to do make sure it doesn’t have the same result.