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The Rays got their man at the deadline. Arggggh!

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:28 AM
I've mentioned former Miami Marlin and now Tampa Bay Ray RP Nick Anderson as an obvious Twins' deadline target for the pen previously. Th...

Front Page: Series Preview: Let's Get Down To Business

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:27 AM
As we continue through the “cupcake” part of the schedule, it’s good to re-evaluate the status of the team after each series as it feels...

Is Cruz the best Twins FA signing ever?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:26 AM
The old man has only been a Twin a short time and even shorter when you look at games played, but so far, is he the best FA signing in Tw...

Killebrew or Puckett?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:26 AM
Wondering what you all think about Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett. Which one meant more to the Twins franchise and which one was more...

Front Page: 6 Potential Non-Roster September Call-ups Who...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 09:27 AM
For the last time under the current rules, teams will be able to add as many as 15 players to their active bench once the calendar turns...

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The Importance of Phil Hughes and Ervin Santana

Posted by PintoWF , 15 February 2017 · 1,140 views

phil hughes ervin santana minnesota twins pitching staff roster
The Importance of Phil Hughes and Ervin Santana Minnesota Twins pitcher Phil Hughes had a rib removed last year to help correct an issue that was causing some major problems. The surgery ended the pitcher's season in July. It was unfortunate that the surgery didn't happen sooner. Statistically speaking.

Hughes had some ideas for the rib, which he kept following the surgery. The Twins might have some ideas about Hughes if he can turn things around in 2017. It would include him taking the rib with him, although I don't believe they could use it as a bargaining chip in any trade offers.

New decision makers Derek Falvey and Thad Levine will have to address the pitching issue that has plagued the organization since the beginning of the decade. The two categories would be starting pitching depth and lack of a pitcher that can actually strike a batter out.

How do Hughes and Santana play into this? It's easy, really. They are two veteran pitchers with playoff pitching experience. They've pitched on teams that are the thick of things come October. These things will certainly make them names that will be floated around come trade deadline time.

Santana is most likely to hear his name thrown around. He had solid numbers in 2016 and his durability is great for a team that needs a solid number three or, dare I say, number two starter.

The number that is key for Santana to keep down is the home runs. He gave up an average of 28 home runs a year between 2009 and 2013. The last three years he's dropped that number to 16. Keep the homers down, the innings pitched and quality starts up and he'll have plenty of suitors.

In the case of Hughes, he has to prove that the last two years were more fluke than fact. One stat that stands out is the percentage of 0-2 counts batters faced against Hughes last year. His percentage was a career low 21.6 percent. His career year, 2014, 37.5 percent of batters faced 0-2 counts.

This indicates that something changed in the way Hughes was disguising pitchers early on in the at-bat. It also shows that he didn't adjust to the way batters approached him. Hughes does not walk a lot of batters and so he is always going to be around the strike zone. He was a master of keeping batters off balance in '14. Last year he was the batters puppet.

Even if Hughes turns things around, he's going to be hard to unload. A 31-year old that is owed $39.6 million of the next three years is not appealing. Santana's contract, he's $27 million over the next two years with a $14 million team option in 2019, is much easier to live with.

All of this is great and painfully obvious to Twins fans. Take veterans and trade them to stock up in minors. Throw bodies at the problem. However, we can't just look at these two in the broad spectrum of adding talent by trading talent.

How Falvey and Levine handle Hughes and Santana will show us a lot in how they handle other talented veterans. It will also tell us how far away they feel the Twins are from being competitive.

You could convince some that the Twins are just a couple pitchers away from being competitive. Okay, a few. Okay, like two people. But, it really doesn't matter what those two people believe. It's what the new guys believe.

Is this going to be a slow process and how do these two veterans play into this process?

A question that Falvey and Levine will take time to answer.

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