As we near the beginning of Spring Training, with pitchers and catchers reporting in less than a month, Minnesota Twins fans are still waiting for something to happen.
After the most successful postseason run since 2002, Twins fans have been reduced to the Man Poking With Stick meme, hoping for any kind of meaningful action from the front office. A reduced payroll has sort of handcuffed the team, but it mostly creates a need to get creative in finding ways to add to the roster.
Trading Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler -- and possibly Kyle Farmer -- remains the biggest looming move the team is likely to make. Free agency was sort of moot this year with the team being so strapped for cash, but that doesn't mean the front office shouldn't be window shopping at the outlet mall to see if it can't find a decent bargain.
Former Tigers All-Star named realistic free agent option for Twins
Take it for what it's worth -- and don't shoot the messenger -- but Bleacher Report listed out one realistic free agent option for each team and named Michael Lorenzen for the Twins.
There wasn't a ton of deep analysis as to why the pick makes sense, but it is mildly interesting when digging a little bit. Lorenzen feels like he's cut from the Josh Staumont cloth where he's not a signing that would by any means light the world on fire but could develop into a guy we look back at as a key addition later this season.
Donovan Solano and Michael A. Taylor fit this mold last season, and there's hope that Staumont can be that guy out of the bullpen this year. As for Lorenzen, if the Twins were to sign him he'd figure to silde into the back-end rotation slot vacated by Kenta Maeda which would potentially bump Louie Varland out of the picture.
With Detroit, Lorenzen pitched himself to the All-Star Game by posting a 3.58 ERA alongide a 1.098 WHIP in just over 105 innings of work.
He pitched well against the AL Central, too, holding opponent batting averages to around .185 in 156 at-bats. Overall his opposing batting averages lowered each time they faced him through the order (.259/.231/.229, to be specific) -- that's across the board, not just within the division.
Of course, there's a flip side to that coin. After getting traded to the Phillies and throwing a no-hitter, Lorenzen's ERA ballooned to 5.51 in just 47.1 innings pitched, and he walked almost as many batters in his short stint with Philly as he did during his 100-plus innings with the Tigers.
That implies a control issue, but it's something that Twins pitching coaches might be able to work on with him. It's clear there's something there based on what he did with Detroit and his work before that with the Reds. If the Twins want to replace innings lost at a decent cost, Lorenzen is coming off a season where he pitched 153 innings and and his market value is slightly under $10M AAV.
It's not quite the sort of lottery ticket the Twins have been collecting so far this winter, and it's not exactly a replacement for Sonny Gray, but Lorenzen might be worth looking into at the right price.