Minnesota Twins: 3 Non-Tendered Players for the Twins to Target
Minnesota Twins Non-Tender Candidate No. 3: RHP Chad Kuhl
Everyone knows the Twins are desperate for starting pitching, so I had to include one here. It was slim pickings, though, making Chad Kuhl the best choice over the injured Matthew Boyd.
When you look at what he’s done in his career, Kuhl may seem underwhelming. That’s true, and there are no underlying numbers to suggest it’s been a product of bad luck. He has a career 4.44 ERA and is coming off a 4.82 ERA season.
He doesn’t strike people out and walks too many, posting an 8.40 K/9 and 4.71 BB/9 in 2021. In terms of quality of contact, according to Statcast, he put up a 4.83 xERA, .347 wOBA, and .334 xwOBA.
There isn’t much to like. Why on Earth should we even think about giving Kuhl a chance? It really just comes down to the fact that he was a Pittsburgh Pirate. The Pirates have become notorious for wasting talented arms, such as Gerrit Cole, Tyler Glasnow, and Charlie Morton. He was never an elite prospect, but he was ranked 16th in a solid 2016 Pirates system.
The philosophy in Pittsburgh has been the opposite of pretty much the rest of the league; pitch to contact and don’t waste your energy racking up strikeouts. Kuhl seems to be another case of the Pirate way, throwing his sinker 11.4% of the time, even though it was his worst pitch according to xwOBA. Instead of wasting 11.4% of his pitches, he could be throwing his better offerings to get swings and misses, or at least weaker contact.
If another team like the Twins picks him up and fixes his pitch usage a bit, he may become a solid back of the rotation arm or at least a swingman. He has good offspeed pitches and a fastball that averages 94 MPH. There’s little risk in at least trying it out, and he’d probably take a minor-league deal. At this point, the Twins should be considering every rotation option available, so why not Kuhl?
This list of players doesn’t have high-end names, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make an impact. I think the potential outweighs the cost, and right now, the Twins don’t have enough depth to be a real World Series contender.
Adding a low-end free agent doesn’t mean the Twins can’t be in on some bigger name too. However, the smaller moves are necessary to build a championship roster. That’s why I would like to see the Twins give at least one of these guys a shot.