What will the Twins do with Mike Pelfrey?

Hannah Foslien

Mike Pelfrey was brought back to Minnesota as a free agent over the winter on a two-year contract. How that deal looking right now?

We've been over this numerous times: the Twins were aggressive over the winter in pursuing free agent starting pitching. It's easy to look at Ricky Nolasco's contract and underwhelming performance and question it, but for right now that's a contract that Minnesota is stuck with. Nolasco isn't going anywhere.

But can the same be said of Mike Pelfrey? After giving the Twins 152.2 innings of 5.19 ERA baseball in 2013, a rotation that already had Kevin Correia, Kyle Gibson, the aforementioned Nolasco, Phil Hughes, and a trio of out-of-options pitchers (Vance Worley, Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond) was already full. Yet the Twins, who weren't satisfied with the talent pool and for good reason, opted to re-sgin Pelfrey to a two-year, $11 million dollar deal.

It was a questionable move at the time, since there wasn't a good chance that Pelfrey would be any better than any of the three out of options pitchers, and when he pitched poorly out of the gate that didn't help the perception of the signing. Pelfrey then hit the disabled list after a May 1 start where the Dodgers ousted him after four innings.

Injuries and that ulnar nerve in his throwing elbow have held Pelfrey back this year, but progress is on the horizon.

Being able to bring Pelfrey back in September isn't a bad thing. He's unlikely to be available to start, which means he wouldn't be taking opportunities away from the younger pitchers who deserve the experience, but out of the bullpen with expanded rosters it wouldn't hurt to see him get in a few innings.

It's after this season where the real questions lie. After working all winter to get his arm fully up to strength and speed, when we look forward to spring training next February the competition for a spot in Minnesota's starting rotation is already beginning to fill up.

Honestly, if that's not the Twins' starting five come Opening Day, then either somebody has gotten hurt, the Twins have traded for or signed somebody else, or Jose Berrios has established that his pitches actually are temporal anomalies. This doesn't even take into account Samuel Deduno or minor league options such as Kris Johnson, Logan Darnell, or Yohan Pino. Where does any of this leave room for Mike Pelfrey?

I don't mean to be too down on Pelfey. We saw him pitch well at times last year, he seems like a great guy...


...and at 31 next season it's not as though he's so old that his arm could literally fall off of his body at any time. But with a very solid talent base already lined up for the Major League starting rotation and with his circumstances, I do have a hard time seeing what his role could be for the Twins in 2015.

It's a question that doesn't need to be answered right now, but it's worth thinking about. Also, if you don't get good vibrations from looking at that potential starting five for next season then we can't be friends.

See you back here later today. Have a good Thursday, folks.
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