The Twins missed on Zack Wheeler when he signed a 5-year, $118 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine made an offer that Wheeler may have considered had he not been tied so heavily to New Jersey and the National League East.
The good news is that Wheeler is not the only realistic impact pitcher that the Twins can acquire. They took a considerable step forward by resigning Michael Pineda to a 2-year, $20 million contract late Thursday night.
The rotation now consists of their three best starters from 2019 in Pineda, Jake Odorizzi and José Berríos, but there is more work to be done. Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu are out there, and the Twins are reportedly in on both, maybe even more so for Ryu:
Pros of Hyun-Jin Ryu:
Ryu is an elite run preventer. He had the lowest ERA in the National League and a 163/24 K/BB ratio in 182 ⅔ innings for the Dodgers in 2019.
The price for Ryu is a huge plus. He should demand a contract in the 3-year, $75 million range. With Falvey and Levine prioritizing clean books, Ryu fits the bill as a shorter-term commitment.
Cons of Hyun-Jin Ryu:
Well, age. Ryu has had considerable health issues throughout his career. Ryu pitched a total of 213 ⅔ innings from 2016-2018 after back-to-back 150+ inning seasons to start his major league tenure.
Ryu has spent his entire career in Los Angeles and may not be looking to move to Minnesota if it is not for a substantial amount of money. The Dodgers may also have mutual interest in retaining the Cy-Young runner-up.
Pros of Madison Bumgarner:
Bumgarner was one of the best starting pitchers of the last decade, winning three World Series titles and pitching in four All-Star games with four top-10 finishes for the Cy Young Award.
He is incredibly consistent, never posting an ERA above 3.90 in 11 seasons. Bumgarner is a workhorse, throwing over 200 innings seven times in his career. He is entering his age-30 season and still seems to have plenty left in the tank.
Cons of Madison Bumgarner:
The price of Bumgarner skyrocketed when Wheeler signed his massive deal. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that MadBum will likely demand $100 million or more himself.
Bumgarner has nearly 2,000 innings on his arm and pitched in only 38 games between 2017 and 2018. He has also benefited from San Francisco’s pitcher-friendly confines, posting a 2.72 ERA at home compared to 3.53 on the road.
Where should they lean?
I do like Ryu, and I think he is effective again in 2020, but I think Bumgarner is the way to go. MadBum is a winner, and I think I would feel very confident with him on the hill in a playoff game.
Who do you want the Twins to sign? Comment below!