The Twins could easily patch together a rotation by signing a small army of one-year rentals with an expensive front of the rotation starter for several years. Unfortunately, that may be a bit of a band-aid on their pitching troubles. The Twins should be looking for arms that can immediately take the reins in the rotation with several years of control and plenty of upside to grow.
While the Twins can surely find a lengthy list of such arms to choose from, I found three that could be particularly interesting.
Hernandez has been far from a star in pitching-rich Miami, likely being their #5 starter at best. At 26 years old, his 4.70 ERA through 210 innings pitched doesn’t tell the whole story. Hernandez has posted a K/9 of 9.0 or better the last three years as well as showing impeccable control. He also has the kind of slider the front office loves, as the pitch has annually generated a whiff rate over 30% with a .158 xBA and .267 xSLG allowed in 2021. He’s also been working on a changeup which has a 34% whiff rate as well this year despite getting hit around a bit.
The big red flag on Hernandez is the home run rate which nears 2.0 per 9 innings in his career. His fastball gets crushed which is why he’s been working on the changeup. In short, Hernandez is already in the process of trying to correct his biggest issue and the early results are somewhat encouraging. With a pipeline of upcoming pitching in Miami, Hernandez may be out a spot as soon as opening day and therefore would be a low risk high reward acquisition for the Twins who would control Hernandez for the next three years.
This may be shooting for the stars but Javier has the kind of upside the front office should be looking to acquire for this winter. Like Hernandez, Javier finds himself overshadowed in an impressive rotation. In this case, the result was a move to the bullpen. Javier owns a 3.30 ERA in his MLB career through almost 150 innings with a 10+ K/9 so far. Walks and homers have been an issue, but the raw talent far outweighs the red flags for the 24-year-old.
Javier is likely in Houston’s rotation plans for the 2022 season although not as the front line starter he could potentially develop into. The price would certainly be high, perhaps involving an already established player such as Max Kepler or Mitch Garver. That being said, it’s a chance to buy low on Javier whose price may never be lower coming off a second half in the bullpen. The Twins can get an established, talented young pitcher to mould into their next stud over the next four years.
Toussaint is probably the most fun pitcher on this list because of his GIF worthy repertoire.
A former first-round pick, it’s easy to see Toussaint’s talent in just about every pitch he throws. Unfortunately, the nasty stuff that leads to his near 10 K/9 also accounts for his 5+ BB/9 in his career. Through 145 innings his 5.46 ERA doesn’t inspire much confidence, though the raw talent is as obvious as can be.
The Twins reputation for turning around pitchers took a hit in 2021, but Toussaint isn’t Matt Shoemaker. It may just take a small tweak to turn Toussaint into a legitimate rotation piece, and his success in the MLB thus far is likely holding down his acquisition cost.
The Twins can target any number of pitchers on the trade market, but these are just three candidates that can be brought in with a good amount of potential payoff. Do you like any one the three more than the others? Is there another pitcher the Twins should inquire on? Let us know below!