Report: Twins expected to add at least one starting pitcher this winter

Division Series - Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros - Game Two
Division Series - Minnesota Twins v Houston Astros - Game Two / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

It’s been a busy offseason for the Minnesota Twins, just not in the way fans were hoping.

Minnesota began the offseason by slashing the payroll and forcing out its longtime play-by-play announcer, which was just the start of major changes.

Both Kenta Maeda and Sonny Gray decided to leave in free agency to sign rich deals with other teams. Gray landed in St. Louis with the Cardinals on a $75 million deal while Maeda stayed in the AL Central but moved to Detroit to sign a $24 million with the Tigers.

Emilio Pagan also left, signing with the Cincinnati Reds this week and creating a bit of a hole in the bullpen. Those three guys combined to recieve about $116 million in free agency, which is juxtaposed against the Twins reducing the payroll amid uncertainty over television revenue.

This is also all happening against the backdrop of expectations set by the team’s postseason run. Minnesota won its first playoff game in 19 years and its first playoff series since 2002, doing so in a manner that suggests a corner is being turned. Offseason losses were expected, but the Twins need to add talent to remain competitive, which sounds like something the team is starting to think about.

Twins expected to add at least one starting pitcher this offseason

According to both Bobby Nightengale of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Dan Hayes of The Athletic, the expectation is that the Twins will be adding a pitcher this offseason despite the payroll issue complicating moves the front office can make.

It’s not a huge surprise that that Twins will be looking to add a pitcher, rather the question is how will the team acquire him? The payroll kerfuffel puts a damper on any free agency plans but it doesn’t sound like it has completely taken the Twins out, while making a trade for a starter seems like a potentially smoother route.

What sort of starter the Twins add is the other question.

With Gray now in St. Louis, the knee-jerk reaction would be to find a way to replace him but that seems to be the job of Pablo Lopez. Joe Ryan should be able to develop into a replacement for Lopez’s spot in the rotation as the No. 2 pitcher but he doesn’t seem to be there yet.

Minnesota will likely be looking at replacement for Meada instead. Losing him creates a major question about what the backend of the rotation looks like, as there’s no true successor to his role. Louie Varland’s name has been batted around, but the Twins could look externally to add a No. 4/No. 5 starter and fill out the rotation.

For all the talk among fans about Tyler Glasnow, Blake Snell, or even Marcus Stroman, it feels much more realistic for the Twins to fill the back of the rotation than the front.

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