From The Handbook: Free Agent Starters
The Twins already have a number of credible starters in the mix, but if they are setting their sights on a postseason run, they could use a stud to slot in alongside Santana and Jose Berrios. This year’s class features some very noteworthy names.
Jake Arrieta, RHP
Age: 32 | Previous Team: Cubs
2017 Stats: 168.1 IP, 14-10, 3.53 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
Arrieta had one of the best pitching seasons in recent memory when he
won the Cy Young in 2015, and he won 18 games in 2016. He didn’t look
like himself in the first half this year, but pulled things together in the
second half, posting a 2.28 ERA after the break. He turns 32 in March and
his fastball velocity was at a career low (92.1 MPH), so there might be some
hesitation in his market, but the Scott Boras client will get paid.
Estimated Contract: 6 years, $168 million
Lance Lynn, RHP
Age: 30 | Previous Team: Cardinals
2017 Stats: 186.1 IP, 11-8, 3.43 ERA, 1.23 WHIP
After missing 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, Lynn came back strong in
2017, starting every fifth day and getting better as the season progressed.
His velocity trended upward throughout the summer and in the second half
he mostly looked like a rotation-fronter. Lynn has a 3.38 career ERA and
has been extremely reliable in St. Louis. He’s also two years younger than
Estimated Contract: 6 years, $150 million
Yu Darvish, RHP
Age: 31 | Previous Team: Dodgers
2017 Stats: 186.2 IP, 10-12, 3.86 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
He is one of the game’s premier strikeout pitchers, with an 11.0 K/9 rate
that ranks first among active starters since coming over from Japan in 2012.
The results haven’t always lined up with the spectacular stuff, and this
year in particular Darvish had his battles, especially with the long ball. He
posted the highest ERA and lowest strikeout rate of his career in 2017, so
there’s some risk here, but Darvish certainly has the ability to slot as an ace.
Estimated Contract: 5 years, $135 million
Alex Cobb, RHP (30): Cobb’s market will be interesting to see. He hasn’t been
quite the same since returning from Tommy John surgery but was still quite effective
this year (3.66 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) and set a career high for innings.
Jaime Garcia, LHP (31): The left-hander enjoyed a lengthy and illustrious career
with the Twins, making one start in July as the Twins flipped from buyers to sellers.
On the right terms he’d be a fine addition, but his upside is limited.
Francisco Liriano, LHP (34): Reunion time? All these years later, Liriano is still
struggling to find himself. He pitched out of the bullpen exclusively after a deadline
trade to Houston, and might be more interesting in that capacity if he could
just throw some dang strikes.
Michael Pineda, RHP (29): He’s one of the game’s better strikeout pitchers and a
former young phenom, but Pineda has already gone through a bunch of shoulder
issues and he underwent Tommy John in June. Do you ink him on a two-year contract,
hoping he can help down the stretch in 2018 but more with an eye on scoring
big value in 2019?
CC Sabathia, LHP (37): As a member of the Indians and Yankees, he’s been a
thorn in Minnesota’s side for almost two decades. His performance in the past two
seasons suggests he’s not done getting results. Plus, if he joins up, he’ll never need to face the Twins’ bunt-happy offense.
There are 62 pages of Twins-focused offseason goodness just waiting for you to obsess over. Just name your own price and you can immediately download theTwins Daily Offseason Handbook.