2013 Blueprint, Part Two: The Pitchers
by, 10-02-2012 at 10:20 AM (2122 Views)
In part one of the blueprint, I laid out the Twins 2013 roster as I see it should be (disclaimer: this means that this is what the Twins *should* do, not a prediction as to what they *will* do). In part two, I focus more intensely on the pitching situation, and turn the pitching staff first for obviously reasons.
I am not completely against trading away MLB players or even some prospects (lower levels) for MLB-ready or near MLB-ready pitching, but I do think there is a better way to go about it. My path for 2013 (and through 2015) is to sign Shaun Marcum and Edwin Jackson to, for example, 3 years and $30 million each.
Marcum is about to turn 31 and has averaged 193 innings in seven seasons with Toronto and Milwaukee, compiling a 3.78 ERA and a 7.3/2.7 K/BB ratio. Jackson just turned 29 and has been in the majors in some capacity for 10 seasons already. Early in his career it appears he was in over his head, but in 2011 he posted a 3.79 ERA and this year he had a 3.77 ERA (before a disastrous last start) and has pitched near 200 innings each season, combining for about a . . . 7.3/2.7 K/BB ratio. Jackson and Marcum are clearly very, very similar pitchers who have up eerily similar numbers. And their similarity will be refreshing after the mirror-imaged Blackburn, Pavano, and Marquis this year.
I am not sure how the market is going to play out, but the Twins should be aggressive. The long-term salary projections for this team are quite favorable as it is the case that Morneau, Willingham, and Span are going to be replaced with much cheaper options in the coming years. With the subtraction of Nishioka's salary from my 2013 salary projection, $20 million for Marcum and Jackson leaves the salary at around $93-94 million. So, for those who say that the Twins would never sign two pitchers like this, maybe demanding that the Twins make such signings is a better use of time!
Diamond-Jackson-Marcum at the top is dramatically better than what the Twins started out with in 2012.
The general idea with the Rochester rotation would be Gibson limited to 5 innings and then 6 innings an outing in April and May respectively. If all goes well, he can be promoted. Walters, Bromberg, Vasquez, and Hernandez would join him while Baker gets rehab time.
Speaking of Baker, Baker would get a base $2 million salary with huge incentive increases based on innings pitched and ERA. That salary would top out at $6 million.
So the rotation, including Hendriks (who I still believe will prove to be a good pitcher, certainly worthy of a 4th or 5th spot in the Twins rotation) and Deduno (let's say), would be remarkably improved and there would again be depth at AAA, including Gibson and Baker. A healthy and good Gibson and the return of a good Baker would mean that Hendriks is back at AAA anyway (barring injury at the top).
With regard to the bullpen, I am not an Anthony Swarzak fan for a variety of reasons, so the Twins should trade him for Big Foot and be done. I would give the LR role to Cole DeVries.
The only thing I am not sure of is whether or not Deolis Guerra would clear waivers. He is out of options, and the Twins didn't bother giving him a September look for some insane reason. I still believe, of course, that Anthony Slama should be with the Twins. Guerra needs more time in AAA and Slama clearly does not, so he gets the nod. Alex Burnett has an option, and I think the Twins should use it immediately to get him to work on command and striking more batters out. I don't really trust him at all, but at least it is good that he has an option left. Tyler Robertson provides solid strikeout potential from the left side and has improved during the year.
Casey Fien was a great surprise this year. I hope that this continues and he can serve as a strong middle reliever as basically Brian Duensing's other half. Speaking of Duensing, no more moving him into the rotation. Ever. I cannot understand why such a stupid move was made in 2012.
A solid Fien and the Duensing-who-isn't-messed-with-by-incompetent-managing, provides a good 7th/8th foundation for Burton and Perkins.
So the 2013 staff would look like this:
Liam Hendriks (Baker/Gibson)
Sam Deduno (Baker/Gibson)
Anthony Slama (Deolis Guerra)
(other options throughout the year are Guerra, Burnett, Lester Oliveros, Caleb Thielbar, Luis Perdomo, and perhaps Dakota Watts and Bruce Pugh)
Note: other free agent signings that I could live with: Ervin Santana, Joe Blanton, and perhaps even Joe Saunders.
In part three, the focus will be on the position players and the notion that depth is a good thing.