Minnesota Twins Bullpen Key No. 3: Avoiding the “Big Splash” Free Agents
It’s been a long-standing narrative with the Minnesota Twins fanbase that the franchise will avoid spending money in free agency. The Pohlads are seen as cheapskates despite having a league-average payroll. While it’s not as black and white as it seems, one place they seem to avoid spending money at all costs is in the bullpen.
Since taking over the front office, Falvey and Levine have gone after just one notable free agent signing in the pen, bringing in Addison Reed on a two year deal worth over $16 million in January 2018. The team was fresh off of a Wild Card Berth, so it seemed like a solid addition.
In only one season with the Twins, Reed posted a 4.50 ERA in 56 innings pitched with a WHIP of 1.429 while giving up 65 hits in 56 innings. Needless to say, it didn’t go great and he was released during the 2019 season. That’s how the majority of big bullpen deals end up.
While the $8 million per year may seem extreme to spend on a solid bullpen arm, it could be a lot worse. Your team could be the 2018 Colorado Rockies, who spent $106 million on their bullpen by signing Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Bryan Shaw. Just three years later, all three players are out the door.
The Twins have stayed away from the big name bullpen signings, choosing instead to use that money elsewhere (Hi Josh Donaldson!), a strategy that has been very solid thus far and kept the team without gargantuan contracts on the back end.
The team needs to address the bullpen and replace key innings from Trevor May, Tyler Clippard, and more. With that being said, it’s never worth the money to pay players who only impact the game for an inning every other day in their eyes. I’ll trust them on this one.