Through free agent signings and trades, the Twins have added three names to their 2013 starting pitching mix, along with a couple prospects who can help down the line.
As we assess the progress of this rebuilding unit, can we say with assurance that the three MLB pitchers they've added – Vance Worley, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey – are significantly better than the three that just exited as free agents – Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano and Scott Baker?
Terry Ryan hasn't exactly sugarcoated his approach to repairing the Twins' woeful pitching staff this offseason. It's about quantity, not quality.
"We've got numbers," the general manager said last week. "It's just a matter of who is going to emerge. Some guys will be injured. Some will fall by the wayside. Some won't be ready. But we have to have numbers."
Ryan is apparently poised to increase that number again, with reports arising over the
As the slow early weeks of this offseason dragged on, we kept hearing the same refrain:
Just wait until Zack Greinke signs. Then all of the dominoes will begin to fall.
True story. We're seeing it now. On Monday, the Dodgers announced they'd signed the game's premier free agent to a monstrous six-year, $147 million deal. In the days since, other top names have begun to quickly come off the board.
On Thursday, the Angels landed Josh
Trading established players for prospects is the sign of a rebuilding team, and that is certainly what we've seen from Terry Ryan with his first few major moves this offseason. Many casual fans have expressed outrage over trades that sent Denard Span and Ben Revere – cornerstones in the Minnesota outfield – to the NL East for young pitching geared more toward the big picture than immediate improvement.
The two prizes acquired in these deals, Alex Meyer
If you were surprised in any way by return in the Denard Span trade, you shouldn't have been. Terry Ryan told us this was coming four months ago.
Back in July, with the trade deadline approaching, Ryan spoke about his approach:
As desperate as the Twins are to find starting pitching for 2013, a Liriano or Denard Span trade might not even address that specific need. Speaking only generally Thursday, GM Terry Ryan said, "When you're out there looking around, I think it's
Last weekend, I traveled down to Nashville to see one of my best friends get married. The fantastic event took place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, which coincidentally is where general managers and other key executives from around baseball will congregate next week for the annual Winter Meetings.
Rather than flying, we elected to drive down to Tennessee for the wedding. It was a slow, dull, 14-hour road trip that involved
Ask Terry Ryan what his payroll limitation is for next year and he'll tell you that he doesn't view payroll as a limitation. It's his way of sidestepping an important question, possibly at the behest of an ownership that has notoriously shied away from big spending.
Ryan can downplay the importance of allotted budget and the significance of $85 million versus $100 million all he wants, but there's no escaping the fact that his level of financial flexibility
Since they moved into Target Field, the Twins have seen payroll rise and fall, from $96 million in the opening season, up to $112 million the following year, down to $94 million in 2012.
The rise to $112 million last year was purportedly the result of a push to take the next step after falling short in the 2010 postseason. The subsequent scaling back by nearly $20 million was easy enough to figure; the Twins had lost 99 games which led to reduced revenue
Many believe there's no way the Twins can possibly turn things around quickly enough to be a competitive team next season. They're on their way to a second straight 90-plus loss season, their starting rotation is an absolute mess and their best prospects are still probably a couple years away from making an impact.
To those people, I present the 2012 Baltimore Orioles.
A year ago, the O's finished last in the AL East for a fourth straight season,
In his efforts to augment a bullpen that last year ranked last in the league in ERA, FIP and WHIP, Terry Ryan's moves essentially amounted to re-signing Matt Capps and adding Joel Zumaya to replace the departed Joe Nathan.
That was hardly a recipe for guaranteed substantial improvement, and now with Zumaya's unfortunate yet unsurprising injury news, Ryan's passive approach to addressing this unit in a buyer's market looks all the more irresponsible.
With their sole bullpen