It seems odd to say, but right now there doesn't seem like there's a great deal that Terry Ryan should be doing for the rest of the winter. He's taken a gamble on a big bat from Korea. He's traded from his depth in the outfield to acquire a team-controlled catcher. Barring a move to add a legitimate top-end starter or a big bat for the middle of the order, Minnesota's roster doesn't seem ripe for a great deal of movement between now and spring training.
Except, perhaps, where the bullpen is concerned. A noted area of focus for the front office this winter, to date the club has done nothing to improve upon one of the club's weaker areas. Perhaps the one player that has been attached to the Twins via rumors and speculation, however, has been former Royals closer and ace reliever Joakim Soria.
Teams have made offers on FA reliever Joakim Soria. No on the #MNTwins. Slow moving market. Maybe it'll pick up next week.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) November 24, 2015
Soria, entering his age-32 season, is looking for a three-year contract in the range of $27 million. That's a lot of cash for a non-closer, but for a team that's seen their closer fade down the stretch in recent seasons - not to mention a dearth of reliable, strikeout-ready set-up men - it's not a prohibitive number for a Plan B.
It's well-known that Soria missed all of the 2012 season for Tommy John surgery. He returned in 2013, and since then has totalled 23, 44 and 67 innings per season. Perhaps the biggest potential red flag, velocity, appears to be of little concern: Soria's fastball averaged 92 mph in 2015. That's not just a rebound from '13 and '14 in his post-Tommy John recovery stage, but it's the fastest average velocity in his career.
Minnesota has no shortage of relief prospects coming through the system, and players like Casey Fien can certainly shoulder a part of the burden for the 2016 bullpen. But whether it's Soria or someone else - whether it's via the free agent market or somewhere else - how Terry Ryan and the Twins put together their bullpen before spring training is one of the biggest story lines remaining this winter.