I'm trying really hard to be optimistic about this team, and I can see where they did make improvements. I like the Sonny Gray deal a lot, but it feels incomplete with him as the only rotation piece that isn't a rookie or a retread. This becomes especially true if he is starting Game 1 of a playoff series, and the next day is one of the rookies...where have we seen this before? We've seen what they do at the trade deadline when they are playoff bound, and it is not to add impact pitching. Why should we expect them to add someone like Montas at the deadline this year?
I think the Correa deal is great, but I also think that it was a gift from Scott Boras that bailed them out of a potentially very tight spot. If they had not landed Correa, it would have come down to whether or not Story signed with them. From what I understand the Twins were offering less money and years than other teams, but he would have been able to play shortstop, which he preferred. If there is no Correa parachuted in, and they don't sign Story, then what? We've seen them make one trade and there's no reason for me to think that they would have gone after an impact shortstop other than Story. No Correa means they're rushing Lewis or signing a glove first shortstop that hits at the bottom of the order.
The bullpen in my mind is fine, the addition of Duran I think provides what they needed, and bullpens are difficult to predict and mercurial by nature. It would have been great to see a little bit more brought in from outside than a guy who throws 87 mph with a funky delivery, but otherwise it didn't need quite that much attention.
The rotation is worse this year than it was last year on paper. Gray basically cancels out the loss of Berrios, and after that we have four serious question marks. At least last year we had a front three of known commodities before getting to the fliers. This year we are not only asking rookies to step up at the beginning of the season, we are rounding out the rotation with a veteran who hasn't been healthy in two years, and another who has never been particularly good. None of these four have any kind of contingency in place if they are injured/unplayable either, so we're looking at the very real possibility of a four man rotation and a bullpen day, depending on how Winder does right away.
Speaking of Winder, that's where I try to find optimism. I think that the future is bright for the pitching staff, and I understand not wanting to sign anyone to deals that may block the path for some of the young prospects. What gives me pause, though, is the fact that the pitching pipeline is a couple of years out, but they have a very good lineup on offense right now. This looks an awful lot like a team that will regress on offense as the pitching begins to take shape, meaning a perpetuation of this good-enough-to-make-the-regular-season-interesting business.
My grade is a C, because it feels like everything happened in spite of the FO not having a plan and just kinda winging it. I said I'm trying really hard to be optimistic, and I will watch (and by that I mean listen because Bally sucks) and hope for the best. I can see how this could go well, and I can see how it could go badly. I'm hoping for the former.