Minnesota Twins: Could the Twins land a new closer before 2023?

Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Taylor Rogers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals. (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)
Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Taylor Rogers pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals. (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Minnesota Twins entered the 2022 offseason with plenty of money to spend and several major needs that need to be addressed. Adding players to fill gaps at shortstop and catcher feel like guarantees, but one need seems to have gone a little under the radar: relief pitching.

The rotation looks very solid, with five good starters and three young options as depth, but the Twins want to run their team in a specific way. Rocco and the front office want their starters to go 5-6 innings and have a bullpen take care of the next three-four innings. It’s a strategy that works well for a lot of teams, but it hasn’t for the Twins, simply because they don’t have the personnel.

In order to operate within that strategy, the team needs to add more bullpen arms. Jhoan Duran, Caleb Thielbar, Griffin Jax, Jorge Alcala, and Jorge Lopez offer a good base, but they need more, as Jovani Moran, Trevor Megill, Emilio Pagan, Cole Sands, and Ronny Henriquez are a group with a lot of question marks.

Could the Minnesota Twins land a new closer ahead of the 2023 season?

The team prefers to use Duran in a non-closer role, which makes sense. Having Duran face the other team’s best hitters protects the Twins’ lead, but the team needs another legitimate closer if they’re going to roll with that method. Outside of potentially Jorge Lopez and Jorge Alcala, they don’t have a guy like that in the current bullpen.

The team can address this need via trade, but there are four excellent options in free agency. None of them are better than Duran, and three of them come with some of their own concerns, but each would represent a real closer to add on to the back of the bullpen and help everyone feel more comfortable.

The first and best option is Kenley Jansen. The former Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves closer is eighth all-time in saves and is second all-time in postseason saves. He performed at a very high level in 2022 as well, so bringing him in would solidify the back of the bullpen and give the Minnesota Twins the best one-two combo in Major League Baseball.

He’s a bit older, so another pair of options would be Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman. Both players had disappointing seasons in 2022, but they could add some help to the bullpen and offer a very solid back-end, high-leverage reliever to boost the pen.

The most interesting option is former Twins closer Taylor Rogers. Jansen is the clear best closer here, but outside of Jansen, Rogers’ fit in Minnesota would make total sense. Duran would be able to continue working in his current role, the team would add another left-hander alongside Thielbar and Moran, and Rogers wouldn’t have the toughest closing assignments like he’s been forced to in the past.

Rogers would face weaker batters and help alleviate the issues from last year where Rogers struggled mightily after his trade to Milwaukee. He’s still a great pitcher with good stuff, and if a reunion could be had, he’d have a great second stint in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Twins biggest need is bullpen help, especially after the team added Kyle Farmer to the roster, so adding a reliever or two should be one of the most important keys to the offseason. Adding a legitimate closer would be even better.

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