The Minnesota Twins are reportedly still interested in the 34-year old and as the pitching market disintegrates, would it be better to outslug teams?
The MLB winter meetings have come and gone in San Diego and as teams board their flights to (likely) colder destinations, the Minnesota Twins appear to be coming back empty-handed.
After starting their offseason pursuit of pitching with Zack Wheeler, the Twins made a five-year, $100 million offer and were willing to increase it until the right-hander signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. Since then, the Twins have been increasing their push to sign Madison Bumgarner and/or Hyun-Jin Ryu, but the early reports suggest neither have an interest in coming to Minnesota.
As the Twins have gone after the biggest fish in the pond, other teams have stepped up in free agency. The Washington Nationals and New York Yankees made the pitching market erupt by signing Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole to mega-deals and that’s resulted in Rick Porcello getting $10 million from the New York Mets and Tanner Roark getting $24 million over two seasons from the Toronto Blue Jays.
With the pool quickly running dry, the Twins have resorted to shopping some of their top prospects and Eddie Rosario, but there is no sign that a deal is imminent. So what are the Twins to do if they can’t land anyone to bolster the starting rotation?
Make the offense stronger.
This is an idea that will make Twins fans roll their eyes, but was brought up by La Velle E. Neal of the Minneapolis Star Tribune over the weekend. In the piece, Neal suggests that the Twins could turn to the position player market, but even that has begun to dry up notably with another mega-deal that the Los Angeles Angels gave to Anthony Rendon.
Still, there are options. Both Neal and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported that the Twins are still interested in the services of Josh Donaldson. As you may know, Donaldson is not a pitcher, but a third baseman who slugged 37 HR for the Atlanta Braves last season and continues to be one of the best defensive players at the hot corner despite his advanced age.
If the Twins were able to land Donaldson, Rosenthal believes Minnesota would move Miguel Sano to first base, solving their problem in the infield. Although the Twins likely won’t hit the 307 HR they slugged to set an MLB record in 2019, such a shift could help them continue to compete even if their pitching rotation of Jake Odorizzi, Michael Pineda, and Jose Berrios takes a step back in 2020.
Still, the Twins’ main focus of the offseason should be adding to their pitching staff. With over four months to go until Opening Day, there’s still time to figure something out, but it seems to be getting late in a hurry.