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  • Twins Don't Need More Starters

    Over the past few days, two pitchers that the Twins have been connected to at various points ended up signing with different teams.

    Darren Wolfson reported over the weekend that the Twins were interested in Joe Saunders, but the veteran left-hander agreed to terms Tuesday with the Rangers. And Johan Santana, who has of course been linked throughout the offseason to his former club, chose to sign a minor-league deal with big bonuses in Baltimore.

    A few fans may have been miffed to miss out on these hurlers -- if only for past achievements and nostalgia -- but the truth is both would have been buried by the sudden depth in Minnesota's starting corps.

    Now, to be clear, I'm not saying that's necessarily great depth. There are a lot of question marks and none of them have been cleared up by a few Grapefruit League games.

    But Santana and Saunders aren't exactly great options at this point either. And maybe it's that good old springtime optimism shining through, but I feel pretty decent about what the Twins have going on in the rotation right now.

    Even if you consider regression to be inevitable for Kevin Correia, who, sadly, led last year's staff, there are some nice upward trends to be found here.

    Ricky Nolasco has been average for most of his career, but is coming off one of his best years, and average ain't so bad all things considered.

    Mike Pelfrey pitched pretty well in the second half of 2013 and is only getting sharper as he moves further away from Tommy John surgery.

    I love getting the chance to see what a 27-year-old Phil Hughes can do outside of New York.

    Samuel Deduno was electric last year and is by all accounts fully recovered from September's shoulder surgery.

    And here's another guy that I'm really starting to warm up on: Vance Worley.

    No one expected things to go the way they did last season for Worley -- least of all the Twins, who tabbed him as their Opening Day starter. But even looking beyond the change of scenery, he had a lot going against him. He was coming off elbow surgery, he was probably a bit heavier than he wanted to be, and for some or perhaps most of the season he was bogged down by shoulder problems.

    His 2013 campaign was unbelievably bad, but Worley had a strong track record beforehand. He's still only 26, he's in much better shape, and John had very positive things to say about his first spring start.

    We're all just hoping Worley can emerge as a decent fifth starter here in camp, but he's got a chance to be more than that. He has been more than that.

    Looking past the veterans up front, you've got some intriguing arms ready to join the mix. Alex Meyer, Kyle Gibson, Trevor May, Sean Gilmartin and Brooks Raley are all better talents than the Twins had available to them when the high-level depth broke down last year.

    Would adding Santana or Saunders to that group have really changed much? If anything, it might have taken away opportunities from younger guys who probably deserve them in a season where "figure out what you've got" is likely to be the chief objective (hopefully with more conclusive results than the last couple years).

    It's true that you can never have too much pitching. But the Twins have quite a bit at this point, and I'm excited to see how it all shakes out.

    Yes, excited. I'm not even down in Florida yet and already spring's getting the best of me.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Don't Need More Starters started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 67 Comments
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Good take, Nick. The Twins need evaluate the players they currently have and who will play a role going forward. If we were closer to competiveness, I'd be more for taking flyers on these guys.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quite likely information planted by player agents.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      The Twins have the salary space to out incentivize almost everyone in the league. Signing Santana to a minor league contract would have been low risk, high reward, whatever way you slice it.

      Remove the theory that the Twins may have too much starting pitching at the major league level. Santana was going to have to prove himself in the minors first, well below the MLB logjam. Oops. The Twins may not need more starters, but Rochester is not Minnesota. In short, the Twins organization missed an opportunity, plain and simple.

      How much fun would it have been to watch Santana reach and exceed all of the bonuses in an incentive-laden contract with the Minnesota Twins? Nope. Not going to happen. We just took strike three, looking.
    1. highlander's Avatar
      highlander -
      I'm feeling your vibe. I really like the Hughes signing, think he will establish himself as a 15 game winner.....consistently. Pelfrey feels to me like the stud the Mets had. I have always liked the way Deduno is fearless on the bump. If Worley can find consistency the Twins can string together some quality starts. And that is when streaks happen. Yea it's only spring but we are tied for first!!!
    1. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
      Hosken Bombo Disco -
      I also agree. One more acquisition will be too much.

      This will be said a lot in the coming weeks, but barring an unpleasant surprise, Gibson needs to start. The AAA staff and the rest of the organization have done all they can with him. It's got to be up to the major league coaching staff now to get him on track. Last year, it was the right call, to start him in Triple A, but not this year, even if it means skipping some Correia/Pelfrey turns early or sending one of those guys to the bullpen.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      With all respect DFGG, I think you are vastly overrating Santana's potential this year. He's 35 and his shoulder is fried. I'd rather give the playing time to any number of decent arms 10 years younger.

      The Twins paid Rich Harden a salary last year to rehab his shoulder and never pitch in a game (he was coming off the same surgery Santana just had for a second time, BTW). They also paid Mike Pelfrey $4 million to essentially work through his Tommy John rehab on the field.

      I can't blame them for passing on Santana. If he does miraculously manage to come back and pitch effectively, they can take a shot at him next year. Money will be no object.
    1. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
      J-Dog Dungan -
      I totally agree with this article. If the Twins are going to add anyone, they should be adding another bat, not an arm.
    1. TKGuy's Avatar
      TKGuy -
      I really like what I saw from Gibson in his last outing, ball moving all over. I'd love to keep Gibson in the rotation and maybe put Worley in the pen. I'm also beginning to think that Pressly may get sent to Rochester. Pen of Perk, Burton, Fien, Swarzak, Thielbar, Duensing and Worley. Leaves Deduno and Diamond the odd men out.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Yup, we already have Correia hogging a spot that might better be served to play someone that we can "figure out what you've got". We don't need a couple left-handed Correia's added to the pile too.
    1. Major Leauge Ready's Avatar
      Major Leauge Ready -
      We would all love to see Gibson but we can't just dump Deduno or Worley without getting value in return. Maybe they can deal Correia at the end of spring training or shorty after. However, it that does not happen, I hope and believe the F/O will give Gibson a month or two in AAA while they find a reasonable return for either Deduno or Worley.

      The situation will resolve itself. There will be a market for Deduno and/or Worley if they perform well. If not, go ahead a turn them loose for whatever you can get and bring up Gibson. Personally, I think Deduno could be our 2nd best starter. The best case scenario in my mind is that they all perform and Correia is traded at the end of spring training. Deduno and Gibson start with Worley going to the pen. Worley can be the spot starter and perhaps be traded at the deadline for value. Darnell takes over for Worley.
    1. wabene's Avatar
      wabene -
      I've been lurking around this site for not quite a year and have to say thank you guys for all the work, enthusiasm and knowledge! Not much of a gusher (could be that spring thing) but this site is up to #2 on my rotation. If you are unsure of how good this site is just read a couple of comments after a Len3 article in the Strib....yuck. Well I thought we might see something from Worley he is a guy we should hang onto because of his youth and track record. Don't think Diamond has the talent to hang with this group. I like Correa because he seems mentally strong enough to get the most out of his talent, but if Worley Deduno and Gibby are all looking good I agree he should be traded.
    1. beckmt's Avatar
      beckmt -
      Worley has been in the pen before and I believe that is where he will be to start. Pressly will be sent to Rochester because he has options until the Twins sort out the logjam. Do not know if Gibson will win the 5th spot, my guess is Deduno and Gibson will come up after some trades are made. Twins have to be careful not to give away major league talent for long range(chancy) prospects, but TR has been known to get good value in these trades.
    1. Boom Boom's Avatar
      Boom Boom -
      The Twins have numbers. I'm not sure about the quality of those numbers.

      If a better option became available, they should absolutely add another starter. Saunders doesn't do anything for me, but Santana would have at least piqued my interest as a fan. If the Twins had signed Santana to a minor league deal instead of the Orioles, I wouldn't have criticized them for adding to an already crowded starter pool.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Don't Feed the Greed Guy View Post
      Remove the theory that the Twins may have too much starting pitching at the major league level. Santana was going to have to prove himself in the minors first, well below the MLB logjam. Oops. The Twins may not need more starters, but Rochester is not Minnesota. In short, the Twins organization missed an opportunity, plain and simple.
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      I can't blame them for passing on Santana. If he does miraculously manage to come back and pitch effectively, they can take a shot at him next year. Money will be no object.
      Who says the Twins passed on Santana? I find it more likely he passed on them. All his bonuses with the Orioles revolve around him making the team and number of starts he makes at the MLB level. Because of the ten or so options for the Twins five rotation spots, I'd think Santana would think twice about coming here if all offers were similar.

      I don't think the Twins had a chance to sign Santana considering he'll have a much eaiser time hitting his incentives, and likely a quicker shot at redemption with the Orioles.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      They don't need more old players blocking possible future players at AAA and the MLB level. It is hard to understand how this is even up for debate at this point. Another year of not knowing if these guys are part of the future would be bad. At some point, you need to test these guys.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by wabene View Post
      Not much of a gusher but this site is up to #2 on my rotation.
      Who is #1?
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      Yup, we already have Correia hogging a spot that might better be served to play someone that we can "figure out what you've got". We don't need a couple left-handed Correia's added to the pile too.
      Which pile is that?
    1. spycake's Avatar
      spycake -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      The Twins paid Rich Harden a salary last year to rehab his shoulder and never pitch in a game (he was coming off the same surgery Santana just had for a second time, BTW). They also paid Mike Pelfrey $4 million to essentially work through his Tommy John rehab on the field.
      Harden's salary was minimal -- like Santana, the reported value of his contract was contingent on him reaching MLB.

      The $3 mil base if he makes MLB seems steep, but maybe he is closer than most of us think?
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      They don't need more old players blocking possible future players at AAA and the MLB level. It is hard to understand how this is even up for debate at this point. Another year of not knowing if these guys are part of the future would be bad. At some point, you need to test these guys.
      The main problem in how the Twins are handling all of this is that many of their "possible future players at AAA and the MLB level" are now also getting old (with their birthday age in 2014), to wit:

      Deduno 31
      Vasquez 32
      Johnson 30
      Pino 30
      Diamond 28
      Turpen 28
      Watts 27
      Thompson 27
      Worley 27
      The "Youngish" Kyle Gibson 27


      And yet, there is still fretting about the burning of service time. It's as if they're afraid of being stuck with multiple Nick Blackburns.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      Which pile is that?
      See post #20 immediately above, just for Starters (pun intended).
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