Digging Deep for Relevant Relievers
Image courtesy of © Bill Streicher-USA TODAY SportsTrevor Rosenthal, Brad Hand, Alex Colomé, all fun names, all on the top end of what’s left of free agency. It may make us feel better to pick up more of a surefire option, but the Twins take a lot of pride in manufacturing their bullpen. For that reason, a few options are still out there that may fit their mould for one reason or another and at a cheaper price.
At 38, he’s coming off a season with a 1.10 ERA/2.76 FIP. O’Day had a strong 7 year career in Baltimore before moving to Atlanta where he’s had his fair share of injuries. He won’t wow you with even a 90 mph fastball, but what he will do is absolutely mow down right handed hitters. In fact, he’s allowed a triple slash of .193/.262/.287 against same handed hitters in his 13 year career.
O’Day likely won’t fill the part time closer role left by Sergio Romo, but in terms of matching up against righties, O’Day would surely have that role taken care of. Specialists in the bullpen aren’t worth much these days, but O’Day would shine against right handed slugging teams such as the White Sox and Yankees for a modest pay day. Perhaps an extra roster spot would make O’Day a worthwhile luxury.
Son of Steve “Bedrock” Bedrosian, Cam has had a valuable 7 year career with the Angels with a 3.70 ERA/3.60 FIP before being non tendered this offseason. He throws mostly a low to mid 90s fastball and slider as well as conservatively mixing in a splitter. The reason the Twins may be in on Bedrosian is that he loves to use his 2300 rpm fastball up in the zone while pairing it with a slider that had a 34% whiff rate in 2019. He saw that whiff rate and his overall K% drop in 2020, but his 2019 Statcast measures are what may really pique the front office’s interest.
At only 29 years old, Bedrosian could definitely have a few years left as an effective reliever and recreating his 2019 breakout may not be all that unrealistic. He’s regularly factored into the holds in LA, though not so much for saves. That being said, he has at least some history of high leverage work and could serve as a setup man.
I wanted the Twins to sign Robertson two offseasons ago and it turns out they know more than me. Robertson suffered through part of 2019 before undergoing Tommy John surgery. Up to that point, Robertson was one of the premier relievers in baseball with a career 2.90 ERA/2.84 FIP as the Twins know all too well.
At 35, Robertson may be a bit sketchy, but he has what is essentially a starter’s pitch mix with a cutter, four seam, curve and slider which could help stave off father time. Tommy John has also become a procedure where recovery is almost assumed, and a healthy Robertson is one you could certainly factor into high leverage innings. The Twins were linked to John Brebbia who was similarly on the mend earlier this winter which means recovering pitchers aren’t out of the question. Robertson could command a bit more than the $800k Brebbia wound up with, but if they attend a showcase and like what they see, Robertson could become an impact addition.
The free agent reliever market is admittedly thinning, but it’s far from time to panic. You can dig pretty far down the remaining list and find redeeming factors that the Twins could snag up and capitalize upon. At this point in the offseason it’s fair to say the 2021 Opening Day bullpen isn’t one that will blow you away, but it'll likely be one Twins fans should have faith in.
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