Minnesota Twins: 3 Top Free Agents for the Twins to Consider

Spencer Seguin
Kevin Gausman of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Kevin Gausman of the San Francisco Giants pitches during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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Minnesota Twins
Houston Astros relief pitcher Kendall Graveman throws a pitch against the Atlanta Braves. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) /

Minnesota Twins Free Agent Target No. 1: RHP Kendall Graveman

Kendall Graveman may not be the biggest name on the reliever market. However, Graveman totally changed his career trajectory after pitching out of the bullpen full-time last season. He posted a 1.77 ERA, 3.19 FIP, and 3.65 xERA while striking out a career-high 9.8 batters per nine innings and walking 3.2.

What was really impressive was his ability to limit the long ball, surrendering just three home runs over 56 innings. Some might not feel comfortable signing a pitcher with a 6.96 ERA from ’18-’20 and expect him to anchor the bullpen, but the improvements look legitimate.

He’s always been a groundball pitcher who’s managed decent walk rates throughout his career. His biggest problem has been his strikeout numbers; coming into last season, Graveman had a career K/9 of just 5.83. In 2021, he found a way to improve on that.

He increased his sinker velocity from 95.1 MPH in 2020 to 96.6 MPH this past season and threw his slider, an effective pitch, 17.7% of the time, up from 3.0% the year prior. And he still managed to produce a lot of groundballs- opponents hit it on the ground 54.9% of the time.

Assuming he can keep his strikeout gains, he should be a reliable arm who can help shore up the relief corps, whether it’s closing out games or pitching in front of someone like Taylor Rogers. Bringing in Graveman would also save some money, compared to signing a Raisel Iglesias or Kenley Jansen, and allow the Twins to spend on other needs. Given the state of the pitching staff, the club should be concerned with quantity over quality.

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