Twins miss out on another potential free agent target for bullpen help
If any Minnesota Twins fans are holding their breath waiting for the team to add some extra help to the bullpen, it might be time to breathe. Not because the team has brought anyone in, rather it appears that there isn't any interest in signing anyone.
Andrew Chafin was among the more notable bullpen fits still available in free agency. He and a handful of other relievers made sense for the Twins if they wanted to bolster a unit that is one of the team's stronger positional groups according to FanGraphs but is coming off an absolutely brutal 2022 campaign.
Unfortunately, the Twins either waited too long or didn't show enough interest to lure Chafin to Minnesota.
According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, Chafin is signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks. It's a deal that, at least on the surface, appears to be something Minnesota should have been able to contend with if they really wanted to bolster the bullpen with some additional help.
"Free-agent left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin in agreement with Diamondbacks on a one-year contract," Rosenthal reported. "The deal, which is pending a physical, is expected to be in the $6.5M range with a chance to increase to mid-$7.5M range with incentives."
For Chafin, it's a bit of a full circle moment. He started his career with Arizona back in 2014 as a starter before realizing his career was in the bullpen.
Given how shaky Minnesota's bullpen was last season, there was a pretty decent chance that the front office looked to add some extra support. Instead, the Twins moved Luis Arraez to try and bolster some early-inning pitching by acquiring Pablo Lopez from the Miami Marlins.
It's not a bad strategy, as Twins starters lasted an average of 5.2 innings last season. That's something that put an immedite strain on the bullpen and forced the unit into an almost impossible situation on a regular basis.
With Minnesota's offseason, however, it would have been nice to see the team double dip with pitching help. The payroll is already higher than it normally is which seems to be a sign from ownership that this is a new era for the franchise. Rather than constantly kicking the cna down the road to save for a future deal that never arrived, the team seems intent on spending more than it has before to put a winning roster together.
Chafin was one of the best relievers still available and proved to be reliable with the Cubs, A's, and Tigers over the last handful of seasons posting a 2.83 ERA and 3.06 FIP while putting up a 10.52 K/9 and only giving up 2.98 BB/9 in 2022. Minnesota still has options in free agency if it wants to add another arm to the pen, with Matt Moore sticking out as a pretty good fit.
But after passing on not only Chafin but a reunion with Michael Fulmer -- who signed with the Cubs -- it appears the Twins are set to ride into the season with the bullpen it currently has.