Twins bullpen depth continues to get tested after two more pitchers suffer injuries

Minnesota only has one healthy non-MLB arm on the 40-man roster.
Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

If anyone knows of a good exterminator, the Minnesota Twins might want that phone number. The injury bug has chewed through the team's bullpen like termites in a wood cabin, as two more pitchers are dealing with ailments that might remove them from the equation -- and the roster.

Four relievers started the season on the IL: Jhoan Duran, Caleb Thielbar, Justin Topa, and Josh Staumont all remain out with various injuries. On Monday the Twins placed Daniel Duarte on the injured list and called up Jose Miranda, which seemed more motivated by the team's need to generate some offense.

As it turns out, the Twins are simply running out of bodies for the bullpen.

That's why news that Jorge Alcala is dealing with arm soreness is feels like the last tick before midnight on the Doomsday clock. It's unclear if Alcala will miss anytime, but making matters worse is Brent Headrick hitting the IL in St. Paul, which means the Twins are down to one pitcher available to call up.

Seriously, Simeon Woods Richardson is the only healthy pitcher on the 40-man roster who isn't already in the big leagues. If the Twins need to place Alcala on the IL, they'll need to dip deep into the minor leagues to find arms, which creates all sorts of potential issues.

Potential injury to Jorge Alcala pushes Twins bullpen depth to the absolute brink

If Alcala needs to hit the IL, the obvious move is to call up Woods Richardson. He's made two appearances over the last two seasons, and the Twins would be hoping that this is a 'third time is the charm' type of situation.

Woods Richardson's last appearance came in a brutal loss to the Nationals in which he allowed five runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings pitched. He was a little better in 2022 when he pitched five innings and posted a 3.60 ERA but overall he owns a 6.52 ERA in less than 10 innings of work -- which is not ideal.

To be fair, we watched Bailey Ober get lit up by the Royals last week but the workaround logic is that he's not going to keep having those starts. We aren't sure if that's wishful thinking with Woods Richardson or if things will finally click this time around, but we might be about to find out.

That starts picking at a dangerous thread for the Twins, who could risk rushing pitchers up to the majors out of sheer desperation for arms. Marco Raya looked good in his first start at Wichita but is he ready to make the leap all the way up the bigs?

Realistically the Twins will have to do the one thing the Pohlad's don't want to do to fix the problem-- spend money. The team outright refused to add to the payroll and instead cowered in the the face of potential lost future revenue.

That penny pinching paranoia is part of the reason why the team began the season by relying so heavily on its depth. At the risk of defending the Pohlad's anemic spending habits, there was no way to foresee this sort of devastation to the bullpen's depth, which was the one area of the roster the team actually dedicated real resources to.

Alcala not needing a stint on the IL goes a long way in avoiding potential disaster, but the storm clouds are building and it feels like only a matter of time before it arrives.

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