Minnesota Twins Free Agent Target No. 3: RHP Kevin Gausman
If the regular season started today, Bailey Ober would probably be our opening day starter, with Joe Ryan, who’s thrown 26.2 career innings, Randy Dobnak, Griffin Jax, and Charlie Barnie to follow. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if Kenta Maeda wasn’t on the shelf, but the reality is, he’ll be out for most of 2022. Clearly, the rotation is a weak spot and will probably need a couple of new arms. One pitcher who the Twins should definitely keep in mind is right-hander Kevin Gausman.
Gausman’s had an up-and-down career to date, never posting back-to-back campaigns with an ERA below 4.00 until the past couple of seasons. Since joining the Giants in 2020, he’s managed a 3.00 ERA and 3.02 FIP with a remarkable 30.0 K%, 6.5 BB%, and strong 1.00 HR/9 over 251.2 IP.
These are all big improvements compared to his career numbers of 21.7 K%, 7.1 BB%, and 1.26 HR/9 before his move to San Francisco. And this past season was the better of the two; 2.81 ERA, 3.00 FIP, and 3.49 xERA in 192.0 IP.
He did struggle a bit after the All-Star break, pitching to a 4.42 ERA. His strikeouts were up and walks were down in the second half, but he allowed an inflated 1.40 HR/9. This can be explained by a 17.1 HR/FB, which should naturally regress to his career mark of 13.3.
Many of the top free agent starters are either getting old, coming back from a major injury, or both. Gausman’s just 30-years old, and, other than 2019 when he spent time in the bullpen, has made at least 30 starts in every year since 2016, ignoring the COVID shortened season. It might be scary promising a big contract for a year and a half of good results, but he seems like he’s really turned into a reliable top of the rotation arm.
The Twins need help all over the field. They have a good core of power bats, though, lack a lot of pitching. There’s no reason to give up hope after a lost season. With the addition of Bryant to the lineup, that should give the club enough firepower to support a below-average pitching staff but should be much better after bringing aboard Gausman and Graveman.
Along with some more minor moves, this kind of offseason could put the Twins right back in the hunt for a playoff berth and should be much more enjoyable to watch than last year’s disaster.