According to Tim Kurkjian of ESPN, both the Twins and Athletics offered Colby Lewis a two-year contract in the wake of his successful two-year stint in Japan. Yes, the same guy who couldn't keep the ball in the park much less the strike zone had attention from nearly half of Major League Baseball. Why?
Because that same Colby Lewis destroyed the opposition. Straight from Kurkjian:
In two seasons with the Carp, Lewis went 26-17 with a 2.82 ERA. He led the league in strikeouts in each of his two seasons. More important, in 54 starts, he walked 46 and struck out 369, a sensational walk-to-strikeout ratio. It was that number, and his velocity, that got the attention of major league teams, including the Rangers.
Now throwing "90-to-95 with a hard cutter" (thanks to what's described as a more classic and compact delivery) in addition to a big curve, and suddenly Lewis looks like a pitcher with three plus options. Add a slider and an offspeed pitch, and now a guy that was a major league bust a couple of years ago was quietly one of the most sought-after free agents of the winter.
Call me surprised.
Lewis will be entering his age-30 season in 2010--old enough to have learned something in Japan, and still young enough to enjoy more than a couple of token seasons back Stateside. And if what Kurkjian, Bobby Valentine (former manager of the Chiba Lotte) and Lewis manager Marty Brown all have to say is accurate, then I don't blame the Twins for going after a bit of a gamble.