Over the last few days, a lot of moves have happened, and the free agent pitching market has taken shape. The Twins entered the off season with only Jose Berrios under contract for next season, and needed to add at least three, probably four starters. The Twins have now brought back two of the top-20 free agents to join their rotation, with Jake Odorizzi (#10) accepting a qualifying offer and Michael Pineda (#17) taking a two-year deal. As both guys pitched in Minnesota last season, that helps stabilize the rotation. The Twins do need at least one more starter, and preferably a high-end starter at that.
A few of the most popular names to discuss have come off the board in the last couple days. Zach Wheeler (#4) signed a massive deal with the Phillies that keeps him close to family. Cole Hamels (#15) went to the free-spending Braves, and Dylan Bundy was traded to the Angels. Hometown favorite Kyle Gibson (#19) has moved on, and signed with the Rangers. Lets take a look at who is still available, and who the Twins might have a chance at signing.
By the way, all rankings come from MLB trade rumors, and we are only going to focus on pitchers in the top 20. I’m limiting it to the top-20, because the Twins need to make a splash and anything lower than that would be considered a failure by most fans. Kyle Gibson was considered #19, which also cemented my cut-off point.
Gerrit Cole (#1) and Stephen Strasburg (#3)
Both of these guys fall under one heading, because there is basically no way the Twins sign them. Rumors suggest that Cole will receive more than $250 million, and Strasburg won’t be far behind. Either of those deals is out of the realm of possibility for the Twins, and both of these guys will be throwing home games on a coast next season.
Madison Bumgarner (#6)
Bumgarner (or Rowengartner, as Kyle likes to refer to him,) is the best remaining pitcher outside of the stratospheric ace classification. MadBum is pitching on the wrong side of age 30, but not by much. For years, he was the heart of a playoff-quality rotation in San Francisco, but those days feel like forever ago, in baseball terms. Several rumors suggest the Twins are very much “in” on the big lefty, and the White Sox, Reds, and Cardinals are also among the suggested landing places. Bumgarner is an excellent hitter, at least by pitcher standards, which adds value for NL teams, and might give him a slight preference that direction. Bumgarner is not projected to hit quite the same level as Wheeler, but it has been suggested his total contract will approach $100 million. He does have a QO attached to him, which may slightly depress his value, as the team to sign him will forfeit a draft pick.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (#9)
Ryu is similar to Bumgarner, in that he is a lefty and has spent his entire career in the senior circuit. Ryu does have a significant injury history that includes missing all of 2015 and all-but-one game of 2016. He made 29 starts in 2019, a career high, and amassed a 2.32 ERA. Those numbers are impressive, and his ERA was even better in 2018, but he only pitched in 15 games that season. The real gamble with Ryu is his health, as he has proven to be an excellent pitcher when healthy, finishing second in the Cy Young voting for 2019. Rumors suggest he is looking for a three- or four-year deal. Keep in mind that Ryu is represented by Scott Boras, and could take awhile to sign.
Dallas Keuchel (#14)
Keuchel has been an under-the-radar name this off season, after being one of baseball’s hottest commodities last year. With a QO attached to him last season, he had to wait until after the July draft to find a home in Atlanta. He still managed to make 19 starts, and show a 3.75 ERA, only .01 higher than his 3.74 ERA in 2018. There are simply better pitchers on the market this season than last, and everyone might be a bit sick of hearing about Keuchel. While he is a year older than last season, he should be able to command a fair deal. He ranks a bit below Jake Odorizzi, but as a left-handed pitcher, he’s probably in line for a few dollars more than the QO amount.
Tanner Roark (#20)
The guy rated below Kyle Gibson. One could argue the Twins might as well have kept Gibson by this point—his contract with the Rangers wasn’t onerous. Still, Roark has one advantage over Gibby. Roark doesn’t come with (nearly as much) potential to have his season and career derailed by a chronic illness. A couple years ago, Roark looked like he could be a future superstar, when he pitched to a 2.83 ERA as a 29-year old in Washington. Since then, he has consistently posted ERA numbers in the mid-4s, and is looking for his fourth team. After being traded to Oakland, his first AL team, in July his stats dropped a little bit, but not off the table. He’s a midwesterner, so might like being a bit closer to home. If the Twins sign him in addition to one of the other guys on the list, that would be great, If he is their only other addition, that would be a little disappointing.
The other options
While I consider the rest of the guys on the MLB trade rumors top-65 free agents to be a failure, if they are the only other pitcher the Twins sign, if Falvine can add one of them in addition to one of the guys above, that would be great. Here are the rest of the available options.
Julio Teheran (#21)
Wade Miley (#24)
Rick Porcello (#31)
Alex Wood (#39)
Rich Hill (#46)
Michael Wacha (#47)
Ivan Nova (#48)
Drew Smyly (#50)
Brett Anderson (#51)
Martin Perez (#54)
Jordan Lyles (#60)
Homer Bailey (#62)
Gio Gonzalez (#64)
Which Pitcher from this list do you most want the Twins to sign
This poll is closed
Let us know in the comments how and why you voted in the poll, and which if any of the lower tier guys you would like to fill out the rotation.