Avoiding the Aces
Image courtesy of Jordan Johnson, USA TodayThe Twins Aren’t “One Pitcher Away”
The headline says it all. As much as the Twins struggles in the postseason are blamed on a lack of starting pitching, to pretend one starting pitcher brings them from first round exit to World Series winner is a pipedream.
2019 was a fluke and likely lesson learned from the front office. That year above all others the Twins would have benefitted from a trade for a starter at the deadline. They got dinged with bad luck when Pineda tested positive for performance enhancing substances and left them starting a rookie in game 2 at Yankee stadium. Even still, the team was clearly overmatched in all aspects of the game during that series. The Twins scored two runs en route to getting swept by the Astros in the playoffs in 2020. Maeda and Berrios both pitched more than well enough to win at least one of those games. Their future in the rotation looks far from problematic with Maeda, Berrios and Pineda returning. Pitching reinforcements never hurt, but to completely sell out for one arm won’t remedy all of their woes.
Their Window is Far From Closed
The Twins have been legitimate contenders for two years now and despite possible departures from players such as Rosario and Cruz, they’re far from nearing the end of the line. It’s easy to watch the on field product and completely forget that one of the more exciting waves of prospects in Twins history is on the brink of joining the already great roster.
Some of the pitchers on the market such as Snell and Gray are still young, controllable, and have a resume that would warrant an arm and a leg in return on the trade market. The Twins arguably have the farm system to depart with one top 5 prospect, but parting with two would be aggressive, which is likely what these pitchers would bring back. The top of the Twins farm system includes both pitchers and position players that they’re relying on in the near future and for years to come. The postseason can be random to an extent, and these young players should allow the Twins to be October regulars for years to come. Is it worth shortening that timeline for an addition that only factors in every 5th day?
They Can Build Their Own Ace
If there’s one reason to believe that the Twins shouldn’t waste the resources on acquiring a ready made ace, it’s that they can make one themselves. The front office has earned their reputation for identifying and maximizing strengths when it comes to pitching. Kenta Maeda was the definition of an ace in 2020, and while they acquired him for an exciting pitcher in Brusdar Graterol, the cost of a power reliever for an ace is an absolute steal. This serves as a perfect example of how the Twins can get more for less. They also have had great success in reclaiming pitchers like Pineda, Wisler, and even had Martin Perez to an extent.
For every ace starting pitcher available on the market, there are likely a handful of younger controllable options that are capable of breaking out but just haven’t done so yet. There’s enough of a track record from this group of evaluators to have faith that the Twins can find these players and acquire them for cheaper than your name brand ace.
It’s completely normal to hope for a big splash from a team that’s been so frustrating to watch in the postseason recently. That being said, rash reactions won’t solve any problems, and the Twins are well aware of this. For the reasons stated above, it’s likely they maintain their conservative operation and stick to their low risk, high reward style of talent acquisition, and you should be okay with that. I’d be a liar if I said I’d be disappointed to read a headline of the Twins acquiring Blake Snell, but if that headline never comes, Twins fans shouldn’t be disappointed either.
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