How to Fix the Starting Rotation.
I have pretty much retired from blogging and leaving negative messages on Twitter that irritates everyone. I really am just enjoying watching the Twins play this season and seeing some of the young talent (Revere, Dozier, Parmelee, & Hendriks) come up from the minors. However, I have to ask all of Twins Daily just one honest question about the starting rotation in 2013. How does GM Terry Ryan plan on fixing it? The Twins minor league farm system is completely depleted when it comes to power arms and capable starting pitchers. The 2011 minor league pitcher of the year was Liam Hendriks and he has looked lost so far in a handful of starts this year. Hendriks has good stuff but at best would develop into a 3 or 4 starter for the Twins when effective. Scott Diamond has been outstanding but for him to be the ace of the staff right now tells you how bad things really are. Diamond figures to be a 4 or 5 starter unless teams start to figure him out. The only other guy that comes to mind is Adrian Salcedo and he has a 5.64 ERA in 22.1 IP at Fort Myers. Salcedo also has a low 5.2 K/9 ratio and that is not very encouraging.
We know the Twins decided to pass on Mark Appel and Kevin Gausman with the #2 overall pick and took Byron Buxton. Perhaps Buxton was the best pick but Appel or Gausman could of helped out the rotation almost immediately. They also drafted in later rounds Berrios, Bard (he won't sign), Melotakis, Chargois, Jones, Duffey, and Martinez. All seven of the above pitchers were relievers in college or high school. They all throw hard but maybe Berrios is the only one with a chance to help out the starting rotation in a few years. Maybe the Twins decide to pay $9.25 million and bring back Scott Baker in 2013. This would be a huge risk considering he just had T.J. surgery. It's possible the Twins offer Francisco Liriano arbitration and he returns for $8 million. This appears to be very unlikely but just throwing it out there. We can assume the 2013 starting rotation will consist of Blackburn, Diamond, Hendriks, and maybe Gibson. This is asking a lot of Kyle Gibson considering he spent little time in Rochester and is not healthy yet.
The last part of this confounding question is free agency. The Twins have never spent big money on free agent pitchers and this is not going to change. They won't open up the vaults and go after potential free agent pitchers like Greinke, Hamels, Shields (if option not picked up) Peavy, or even Edwin Jackson. They would instead prefer to pay retreads like Jason Marquis $3 million and take their chances. It's just impossible to improve the starting rotation next season without massive change. One last point is no way GM Ryan is going to land a top notch starting pitcher using Span, Willingham, Morneau, Doumit, Pavano, and Capps as trade bait. I just don't see a solution to this problem anytime soon.