Minnesota Twins: Rotation House of Cards collapses again
By Billy Porter
With the playoffs quickly approaching, the Twins are on the outside looking in. As the old saying goes, when you build a house of cards, don’t be surprised when it falls. For the Minnesota Twins and their fans, this should be the exact mantra of the team’s 2022 season.
One has to look no further than the Twins starting rotation to sum up that metaphorical house. The first and foremost success of good baseball teams lies within their starting pitching, something the Twins simply never had.
The Twins brass went late into winter without a solidified rotation and were then forced to push together a patchwork group with injury prone reclamation projects, taking a chance they’d stay healthy. If there’s a point where this house of cards started, it’s there.
Minnesota Twins’ starting rotation was a house of cards from the start.
Heading into free agency, the Minnesota Twins only had two starters under contract, and neither were surefire starters: Joe Ryan and Bailey Ober. Both are pretty good, with Joe Ryan playing solid most of the season after a COVID setback.
I’ll give the Twins the benefit of the doubt in Bailey Ober, as his groin injury was unpredictable in his young career, but he’s looked good when on the field. Outside of those two, the rest of the starting arms are all new.
The addition of Chris Paddack was the Twins’ big trade of the spring, as the team sent closer Taylor Rogers to the Padres for Paddack and Emillo Pagan. Paddack lasted all of 5 mediocre starts before his known gimpy elbow finally gave way and he was out needing Tommy John surgery.
The team needed to add to the top of the rotation, so Sonny Gray and his history of injuries was brought in. To his credit, this season has been the most productive of any offseason addition, but with a couple of and a current trip to the IL, he again proves there is a gamble having him in a rotation. It now appears as the Twins fade, Sonny will be lucky to be back for a final start.
At the bottom of the rotation, the Twins filled holes with late additions of Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy, both of whom have proved inconsistent at best. Chris Archer hasn’t been healthy in this decade, so is it really surprising he just couldn’t hold up to a MLB season, even in a limited capacity?
Dylan Bundy was coming off of injury and at times proved he could eat SOME innings, but again just isn’t a reliable MLB starter. He floundered and grinded to around .500, but what are the Twins really wanting out of them?? In a projected six man rotation, perhaps this was all the Twins were looking for, but with Paddack going down early the duo was elevated to 4 and 5 starters.
Tyler Mahle was the starter the Twins were looking for at the trade deadline on paper to help address their issues, but he wasn’t able to fix things. After he flashed a couple of solid starts, his arm succumbed to overuse, meaning the Twins got just two solid starts out of him past the trade deadline this year.
The Twins front office continues to flounder and flail in building a staff that is championship worthy. The Twins pitching ranks ninth in American League, a ranking which almost directly mirrors our likely final place in the standings.
If we’re taking chances on injury prone arms, we can’t be surprised when they get hurt. It may seem simple, but it’s true. As long as this happens, we’ll repeatedly see our house of cards fall, always waiting for next year.