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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. tobi0040's Avatar
      tobi0040 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Boom Boom View Post
      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.
      I think signing a guy like Saunders would mean Corriea does not break camp with the Twins. I think he is a perfect sell high guy and Saunders is a sell low guy. Their production next year is probably similar, Saunders will sign for less and we might be able to get a decent prospect. Probably not a top 100 prospect but maybe a young upside guy.

      I just read that Saunders signed a minor league deal with the Rangers. His career ERA is 4.30, lower than Corriea. I would have been OK with signing him and trading Kevin but no dice.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      [
      Quote Originally Posted by tobi0040 View Post
      I just read that Saunders signed a minor league deal with the Rangers. His career ERA is 4.30, lower than Corriea. I would have been OK with signing him and trading Kevin but no dice.
      I think most of us would be fine with trading Correia, but to do it now, you'll likely have to wait for an injury to a starter on a another team with an undesirable contingency plan. An injury like that is likely to happen, but we can't count on it.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by wabene View Post
      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.
      Thanks for the kind words and welcome to the site! Our mods work diligently to keep the intelligent baseball coming and weed out some of the posters who run rampant on other sites.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      Who says the Twins passed on Santana? I find it more likely he passed on them.
      Good point.

      To be clear, my premise was that signing Santana would not create a logjam on the Twins starting rotation. Nick seems to be arguing that there was no room for a 35 year old tired pitcher because the Twins don't need any more starters. Santana would have had to pitch his way through the minor leagues and onto the major league roster, earning a place among the top five starters in the Twins organization. I would have liked to see him get that shot with us, not Baltimore.

      Maybe Santana didn't think he could overcome that competition, and saw a better path back to the majors in Baltimore. I don't know. Again, you offer a good point here.

      I just think that a two-time Cy Young winner might be worth that risk/reward. It's pure speculation. I liked the Rich Harden signing last year, for many of the same reasons. Oh well, I wish him well, and would love to see him pitch the O's past the Yankees and the Bosox down the stretch run in the AL East.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      I see a few posters talking up Gibson and trading somebody to make room for him. Not sure that is a good idea. Gibson needs to go to Rochester and earn spot in Target Field first. He is old (27) for a rookie and not an ace. If he is doing well end of May, then bring him up--somebody will have worked himself out of the rotation by then.

      Meanwhile, a rotation of Hughes, Nolasco, Correia, Pelfrey, and Worley/Diamond/Deduno / looks adequate for now.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      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.
      This. No one has successfully recovered from two surgeries of this type. Harden tried to recover from the first one last year and just never developed the velocity. It's extremely likely Santana would be in the same boat or worse. I hope he does, but I am not all that disappointed that he will get that chance with another organization.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      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.
      Mike, what's the difference between blocking and good, healthy competition?
    1. Willihammer's Avatar
      Willihammer -
      For once its actually possible to envision a decent pitching scenario

      -everyone gets through ST healthy and the Twins DFA two losers for the 5th rotation spot
      -Meyer and/or Gibson and/or May pitch themselves to a June call-up
      -make a trade or option some guys (Fien) in order to make room for the newcomer(s)

      That's not too unrealistic really.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      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.
      These are guys in the age-group for peak performance--and yet for zero of them is it certain that any of them belong at the major league level. My points: we as fans should not expect any of them to be a cornerstone on the Active Roster, and any pitcher (in the peak-performance age group) who can't make the worst staff in MLB isn't worth keeping in hopes of "obtaining value"--he has so very little value! In about 10 days the Twins need to reduce to 15 pitchers in ML camp, so everybody "gets their innings" to be fully prepared for opening day and for those in the "decision group" (keep/demote/release) also have enough innings to make an informed decision.
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      You can always use more pitching if it's good pitching. The rotation is now mostly mediocre at best. If they can add a good or better guy do it. However, I don't think they need more mediocre or worse guys.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      If I'm Santana, I'd be very wary of the Twins pitching depth. They've got three starters locked in for the next two years or more. They've got three other starters out of options. They've got three other top prospects waiting for opportunities. And that doesn't count the guy who was their de facto top starter last year. That's a lot of competition for opportunities.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      Mike, what's the difference between blocking and good, healthy competition?

      I'm all for signing great players. but competition for mediocre players or average players? the only real way to know what any of this pile of players can do is to let them try to do it. this team is NOT competing this year, not with this offense. Signing an old player that won't be here in 2 years, in a position where they have 4-6 guys waiting in line already, that makes zero sense.

      Signing a great pitcher, that makes sense. Signing more spaghetti to throw against the wall? The next strand will just pile on top of the others, stopping you from seeing if they are good or not. (wow, bad mixing).

      they have 10 or so "starters". What they NEED to know at the end of this year is if any of them should be on the roster past 2015 or not.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      By all accounts, the Twins tried to get this done. Ultimately, it's Santana's decision, and dollars are not the only part of that. I can't blame them for not getting it done. It's his choice.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      Which pile is that?
      There is a very well written blog article detailing exactly that and this is the thread responding to it. I'm not sure why that needs to be elaborated upon. The Twins have plenty of "meh" pitching.

      The saying "you can never have enough pitching" is in reference to good pitching. Not roster glut.
    1. howieramone's Avatar
      howieramone -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      There is a very well written blog article detailing exactly that and this is the thread responding to it. I'm not sure why that needs to be elaborated upon. The Twins have plenty of "meh" pitching.

      The saying is you can never have enough pitching is in reference to good pitching. Not roster glut.
      I agree Nick's article was well written, but what I'm referring to is the less than exact term pile. One poster listed his pile labeled starters, while many are in fact relievers. Another poster has since used the same term and added another in spaghetti.

      Let me give an exact example. I would put Correia in the you can't ever have too much starting pitching pile and the pile of starting pitchers who can be traded for value when the time comes.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      I agree Nick's article was well written, but what I'm referring to is the less than exact term pile. One poster listed his pile labeled starters, while many are in fact relievers. Another poster has since used the same term and added another in spaghetti.

      Let me give an exact example. I would put Correia in the you can't ever have 1)too much starting pitching pile and the 2)pile of starting pitchers who can be traded for value when the time comes.
      Let me posit that both of those piles don't take up a lot of room down in the Twins and Red Wings bullpens.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      But that's not reality for the next three months. Adding more guys over 30 something does nothing to help the players in AA and AAA and MLB get better. It only keeps them down a level, not being challenged.

      I doubt any SP on this 40 man is being dealt for at least 3 months. In the meantime, adding more bad SP only pushes guys down, farther from the majors than they should be.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      I don't see the purpose in picking up any more starters. I was back-and-forth on Santana because he won't be ready for a few months but after seeing the deal he got from the O's, no thanks. It's unlikely that he will contribute anything meaningful to a team that looks to struggle to reach the 75 win mark.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by howieramone View Post
      I agree Nick's article was well written, but what I'm referring to is the less than exact term pile. One poster listed his pile labeled starters, while many are in fact relievers. Another poster has since used the same term and added another in spaghetti.

      Let me give an exact example. I would put Correia in the you can't ever have too much starting pitching pile and the pile of starting pitchers who can be traded for value when the time comes.
      If you were referring to me, please note that I labeled my list "pun intended" by including Watts and Turpen. My point was to the fact that the Twins have a huge glut of pitchers, a "pile" if you will of much older pitchers, who are supposed to be in their peak performance years, but who are still trying to prove that they belong at this level.

      The question on the table is: should the Twins, as a rebuilding team trying to figure out who the keepers are, be getting older on the pitching staff or younger? It's very debatable that a team in their position, pitching-wise, should be wasting any more time with even more guys that have proven mediocre at best, thus far in their careers; it's somewhat absurd that any more PJ Walters-types be given more opportunities over younger guys that might actually become relevant during the next competitive phase for this team.
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      If the Twins wanted to sign Garza or Ervin Santana I'd be all for it, Saunders and Johan Santana...not so much. Still not terribly optimistic about this staff though, it'll be hard to throw fewer innings than last year's starters but not sure there's enough improvement to correlate to more wins, especially with the projected lineup they'll be running out there.
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