The Minnesota Twins have lost better than 95 games in each of the past two seasons and the biggest saboteur of their success has been a lack of quality starting pitching.
So far this Winter the Twins have traded away center fielder Denard Span and got a minor league arm in return. Word is that they are listening on first baseman Justin Morneau and on left fielder Josh Willingham, though they don’t expect to deal either player. Ben Revere, who is slated to take over for Span in center, is drawing interest on the trade market and Twins GM Terry Ryan may be willing to part with him in a deal to bring back pitching.
Regardless of whether or not they can trade for a starter, the Twins will have to make at least a couple of free agent signings as well. This is an organization that has preached pitching to contact and has shied away from strikeout pitchers with big arms. It’s been a philosophy that has failed them in recent seasons and one they’ve noted must change.
Much like power at the plate is expensive, power arms don’t come cheap either and the Twins don’t have a ton of money to play with.
According to Jon Heyman, the Twins have checked in on just about every second and third tier starter on the open market.
Part of #twins shop list: saunders, blanton, liriano, pelf, ejax, marcum, lannan, mccarthy, jurrjens, pavano. need 2/3 SPs
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 5, 2012
The Twins are a long ways from contending again, but they can speed up the timeline by adding a few quality arms. They don’t necessarily need a power rotation to match what Detroit can throw out there, but building a staff of right handers with mid-80s fastballs isn’t going to cut it either. Guys like Carl Pavano and, to a lesser extent, Shaun Marcum are the opposite of the kind of pitchers they should be considering.
Ryan understands that he has multiple holes to fill and limited resources with which to work, but prioritizing someone like Jackson would give Minnesota a reliable, power arm at the top of their rotation. Moving from there to John Lannan and Joe Saunders and adding one of those two and there could still be enough left over to take a flier on someone like Jair Jurrjens.
It would be a patchwork staff to be sure, but one that, along with holdover Scott Diamond, would instantly bring the Twins back to respectability.