With the recent Byron Buxton extension, the Minnesota Twins started off the offseason on the right path, before getting deals done with Tyler Duffey and Caleb Thielbar to help solidify the bullpen, but there are a few issues that need to be addressed.
Starting pitcher is a position that can use a boost this winter, as the team has just two holdovers from last year’s rotation. Adding Dylan Bundy could be helpful, but there is still plenty more work to be done.
Despite all the deals, there are still several starters the Minnesota Twins could target.
With the lockout now underway, the Twins can’t make any moves right now, but there’s plenty of time to plan for when free agency opens back up. Here are 5 free agent pitchers that could turn the Minnesota Twins into legit contenders in 2022.
Zack Greinke may be 38 years old, but his seventeen years of big league experience could make him the veteran piece that the Twins need in the rotation. His regression is extremely prominent from previous years, but even with posting his worst WAR in his career (1.3), Greinke is still a reliable starter.
Greinke has pitched in 30 games the previous 4 full seasons and for his veteran experience, he might be worth a 1 year, $9 million dollar contract to hold down a spot in the middle of the rotation.
Carlos Rodón is a top 5 free agent right now, and with that comes a big contract. With the money saved from the Buxton contract, Rodón could be (and most likely will) be locked up for around 5 years and his market value that could reach $24 million a year.
Rodón posted career bests in FIP, ERA, BABIP, K/9 and BB/9, in 2021, all numbers that have the team currently interested. If Rodón were to be a Twin, now would be the time to secure a long time starter in the rotation for years to come.
After an abysmal 2020 where he posted a 6.71 ERA and 2.24 HR/9, Matthew Boyd bounced back in a major way to have a great 2021. He ended the year with his second highest K/9 mark of his career at 9.28, best ERA in his career at 3.89, and best FIP at 4.10.
A concern with Boyd is that he only pitched 15 games last year and has only throw over 150.0 IP once, but if he can stay on the field and recreate 2021, Boyd would be a great southpaw option for the Twins.
Michael Pineda has spent the past three years in Minnesota and has had an above average career so far in the Twin Cities. He has proven to eat up innings year after year and can be counted on as a staple in a rotation, stadium and team that he has already proven his worth with.
I think a potential deal with Pineda comes down to the structure of the contract at the end of the day, but you know what you are getting with him and as a Minnesota Twins fan, a reunion would be something I’d want.
Recency bias would suggest that Zach Davies is not a reliable option to stick in the Twins rotation. Posting a 6-12 record, 5.78 ERA and a 1.52 HR/9 (highest in his career) in 2021 may be a turn off to most organizations. Instead, this should be the reason the Twins go after Davies.
2021 was the worst year of Davies’ career, but that should lower the price tag on Davies, a durable arm who has started 28 games in all but one season as a pro (the shortened 2020 season is excluded here).
The Twins are in an interesting spot this offseason, where they can either choose to rebuild for a year or contend, and with the right pieces, they can propel themselves into the contender bracket rather quickly. It all starts with starting pitching.