With the demotion of Kyle Gibson and other candidates from Rich Harden to Nick Blackburn injured, the identity of the Twins' fifth starter slot is murky at best. As Twinkie Town's Brandon Warne noted on Wednesday, they don't need one until April 10th, but for a team that is coming off a season where the starting rotation was just one constant meltdown, it's not an ideal situation.
As we did last spring, we're going to break down some of the dark horse candidates to help fill the slot. Most of these aren't on the radar of your so-called "baseball experts" or "people who know what they're talking about and maybe have done some reading on the subject."
- Christian Ponder. Ponder, 25, is a righty in the classic Twins starter mode: he's more about location than power, he's cerebral, and he's coming off an injury he treated with rest and rehab. Plus, with most throws averaging 60 feet, 6 inches, the lack of a deep ball is not a concern.
- Your cat. Paws, 6, is adorable. The hundreds of pictures of Paws you've put on Instagram have attracted the attention of Twins' scouts, particularly the one where he's yawning! IT'S SOOOO CUTE! The funky delivery he uses to bat a yarn ball across a linoleum floor could translate into success at the major league level, and WOOKIT WHO'S A GOOD KITTY THAT'S A GOOD KITTY!
- Sofia Vergara. The Modern Family star is appearing in the movie Machete Kills. She is wearing a machine-gun bra. Can the bra be modified to deliver a hail of baseballs? Is it really a worse idea than running Nick Blackburn out there again? When he pitched this movie, did Robert Rodriguez say anything other than "Sofia Vergara in a machine-gun bra" before it was greenlit? A lot of good questions that the Twins front office will need to find answers to in less than a month's time.
- Dave Goltz. Goltz is a former 20-game winner for the Twins and still lives in the area, so the Twins could take a flyer on him a la Sidney Ponson or Joel Zumaya. It's pretty much a straight shot down 94 from Fergus Falls to Target Field so long as there's not a ground blizzard. The drawback is that there's ALWAYS a [redacted] ground blizzard out there for, like, 10 months out of the year, and the other two months there are tornadoes and shit. He's also 63. That said, you've got a better idea? You don't. None of us do.
- Time Machine Bob Gibson. You build a time machine. You kidnap 1968 Bob Gibson. You bring him back to 2013. He throws 304 innings with a 1.12 ERA. Come 2014, the Twins' prospects are filtering into the rotation and you can return Gibson to his own time where he can regale others with his unbelievable trip to an unimaginable future of iTelephones and Jacked Doritos.