The Twins have already added Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco in an attempt to revamp a rotation that badly needed it, but if rumblings about town are accurate, general manager Terry Ryan might still have another move up his sleeve.
A number of different people I've spoken to across the Twin Cities sports landscape have suggested they think Ryan has at least one more good-sized move up his sleeve. And while it's certainly possible that it could be a for a position player, there isn't one position -- with the possible exception of shortstop -- where a big move would make sense for the Twins going forward.
So one can almost logically deduce that if the Twins do make another move -- or more -- that it'll come in the starting rotation.
There are still plenty of fun options left on the free agent market. Here are a few, with a brief scouting report:
Bronson Arroyo (RHP) - My inclination is the Twins would love this durable right-hander on anything less than a three-year deal.
Ubaldo Jimenez (RHP) - He'd cost the Twins their second-rounder, and for that reason I think he's out of the question. He's going to get paid, and big time.
Jeff Karstens (RHP) - Doesn't have the durability the Twins would like. No seasons over 170 innings pitched. Not much of a strikeout guy. Would hope the team aims higher, to be frank. Extreme soft-tosser (88.7 mph average heater in his career).
Paul Maholm (LHP) - Extremely crafty lefty (87.1 mph fastball in '13) who just might be better off staying in the National League. Before 2013, had a seven-year streak of WAR numbers above 1.0 but below 3.0. In other words, consistently decent.
Mike Pelfrey (RHP) - Twins reportedly offered him a two-year, $10 million deal. Unclear if it's still on the table. Advanced stats suggest he was unlikely last year, but it's unclear just how high is ceiling is anyway. Still think he'd make a very good reliever.
Matt Garza (RHP) - He has the same agent as Hughes, so it's clear the Twins and Nez Balelo aren't afraid to hammer out a deal. But this isn't the same Garza as everyone remembers; he's still a hard-thrower, but hasn't developed much behind that. Decline stage could be scary for a guy who'll likely command a five-year deal.
Suk-Min Yoon (RHP) - It's still not clear if he'll be used as a reliever or as a starter, but Yoon has drawn the interest of a half dozen or so teams. Arm injuries seem to have stunted his ceiling a bit. The Twins are typically one of the teams rumored to be interested in him.
Those are just the names of pitchers whom are healthy, and would likely require some form of a multi-year deal. There's no shortage of guys the club could take a flier on as well, such as:
Gavin Floyd (RHP) - Decidedly mediocre in his career outside of strikeout rates, it's hard to know just how much he'll be able to give in 2014 coming off Tommy John surgery. The Twins would do well to look elsewhere.
Johan Santana (LHP) - Everyone would love to see Santana come back, but it's unclear if he has much left in the tank. The capsule injury is bad enough when it isn't a recurrence.
Felipe Paulino (RHP) - This is my favorite reclamation project. Paulino threw legit 95 before his injury, and has show at times when his command is present that he can be a very, very good starter. At worst, he's an interesting arm who could be stashed in the bullpen.
Edinson Volquez (RHP) - Volquez throws hard -- though not as hard as before -- and was good at one point. When you're rebuilding a rotation like this, all options must be considered.
James McDonald (RHP) - Same as Volquez, except not as hard and not quite ever as good. Probably not a great idea, actually.
Roy Halladay (RHP) - This just doesn't feel like a Twins move, and it would be surprising if Halladay were willing to go to a city he was unfamiliar with just to take a chance at coming back. I personally think he ends up in Philly or maybe even Toronto on a reunion tour.
Roy Oswalt (RHP) - The venerable right-hander has actually been really unlucky in his past two seasons with the Rangers and Rockies, but the fact of the matter is he hasn't been particularly good since 2011 with the Phillies and he'll be 36 on Opening Day. The Twins will look elsewhere.
Tommy Hanson (RHP) - Hanson was just another graduate of the starting pitcher factory down in Atlanta, but he hasn't been good since 2010, and has battled arm woes in that time frame. A number of people I've spoken to think his right arm is in awful shape.
Roberto Hernandez (RHP) - Hernandez didn't have a great season with the Rays, but he did do a few things that may bode well for the future. For one, he induced grounders at a solid 53.2%, and he managed the best strikeout rate of his career. He was also victimized by a 20.9% HR/FB rate which should normalize somewhere around half that in a better place to pitch -- or just by dumb luck. At 33, he may not have a whole lot to give, but on a one-year deal there are worse options.
Daniel Hudson (RHP) - Hudson threw 222 innings for the Diamondbacks in 2011, and has thrown only 45.1 big league innings since, including none in 2013. Hudson re-tore his UCL in June of this year, and is likely to miss most of next year anyway. It's believed the Diamondbacks have the inside track on re-signing him, but he's certainly got the highest ceiling of all the reclamation projects.
Finally, and perhaps the most hinted-at option is the trade market. Here are a few of the names whom I feel *could* be in play at the Winter Meetings:
Brett Anderson (LHP) - Anderson has just one season of sizable experience in a rotation, and that comes all the way back in 2010 when he threw 175.1 innings and finished sixth in the Rookie of the Year balloting. Since then, Anderson has thrown just 275.1 innings of 3.66 ERA, 6.8 K.9, 1.28 WHIP baseball. There are a lot of Twins writers who want to be all in on the guy, but the acquisition cost would be key. With all options exercised, Anderson is due $20 million before he's slated to hit free agency after 2015. At a minimum, a club would owe him $9.5 million ($8 million 2014 salary + $1.5 million buyout of 2015) no matter what. If the price is Kyle Gibson, Oswaldo Arcia, Eddie Rosario, or even Brian Dozier, it doesn't make sense for the Twins.
Homer Bailey (RHP) - Bailey is slated to be a free agent after next season, and with Ryan Doumit, Josh Willingham, and Kevin Correia coming off the payroll next year, it may just make sense to pursue him on the free market rather than giving up some form of prospect package likely centered around Arcia, Rosario, or maybe Max Kepler. I would imagine a Bailey deal would look something like a poor man's James Shields deal, as Shields had two years of team control rather than just one. Alas, the Twins are maybe just better off offering something like $5/80 when he hits free agency in a year.
Jeremy Hellickson (RHP)- Overall, Hellickson is coming off a down year in some respects. He's still yet to crack the 7.0 K/9 mark in any amount of regular playing time, but this year was the closest he's come with a 6.98 mark. And while his 5.17 ERA is unsightly, it carried a solid-enough 4.15 xFIP and 4.22 FIP. All-in-all, his 1.4 WAR is just slightly behind his career-high 1.6, and that came in a year in which he posted a 2.95 ERA. It's believed the Rays will focus hard on getting resolution on the David Price situation, but if Hellickson becomes available, he'll be one to watch. Still, he's been higher on hype than results to this point.
That's about it for the trade market. One thing which is hard to get a grasp of on the trade market is who exactly is available. So don't be surprised if the Twins do make a trade for a pitcher and it isn't someone on the list.
Overall, what do you think you'd do?