FanPost

Remaining Free Agent Relievers the Twins could sign

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports




Of course we all know Craig Kimbel remains on the free agent market, and the Twins have been connected to him to a lesser degree. Very little remains on the market, as far as high end relief help. With that said, all of Twins territory would feel a bit more at ease with the bullpen if an addition can take place. Lets take a look at the possibilities...

**No Matt Belisle will not be listed**

** ( ) indicates age**

Craig Kimbrel (31) - Kimbrel lost some fastball control in the 2018 playoffs. In a world of "what have you done lately", this may have hurt Kimbrel's stock this offseason. Kimbrel went into this offseason seeking a six-year deal at a record breaking amount for free agent closers. I believe that a fan of any team would be ecstatic to welcome Kimbrel. Arguably Kimbrel has been the best relief pitcher in the past decade, outside of Mariano Rivera. What Kimbrel offers the Twins is a reliable closing option. This will take pressure off of the younger relievers and allow everyone to focus on a specific role. This can even lessen the pressure on the starting staff, ensuing faith in what comes after the starter leaves the game. If Kimbrel's asking price does drop to a level the Twins can compete, it is not a stretch to believe many more teams will jump at the opportunity.

**Possible Contract** - 3 years - $36 million

Ryan Madson (38) - Madson is another pitcher that has been linked to the Twins this offseason. Once an established closer in the game, has most recently been utilized in a set-up role. In 2017 split between Oakland and Washington, Madson pitched to a tremendous 1.83 ERA over 60 games. Last year was a different story for the right-hander. Between Washington and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Madson struggled to an ERA over 5.00, and failed to make big pitches in the playoffs. Madson does still show great "stuff" with a fastball in the mid to upper 90's. Madson has stated this offseason that he does not necessarily plan on suiting up this season. With the talk of retirement, it seems fair to assume that he is looking to play for a winning team. Perhaps the Twins recent addition of Marwin Gonzalez, and the weak AL Central is enough to prove the Twins have a chance at taking him back to the playoffs.

**Possible Contract** - 1 year - $2.5 - $3.5 million

Bud Norris (34) - Norris could be added to the current closer competition in Twins camp. He also as a former starter has been able to work multiple innings, making him a valuable bullpen piece. The more competition in camp and added depth, can only be a good thing. Norris has only recently gained closing experience, racking up 19 saves in 2017 with the Angels and 28 saves in 2018 with the Cardinals. With this said, Norris has never "run away" with the job. Rather he has been considered a place holder, of sorts. Perhaps, Norris can give a bit more closing experience than Blake Parker, and serve as a place holder for Trevor May, or Fernando Romero. I personally see the latter two as high leverage options anywhere within a game to bridge the gap to the closer. I also believe within the current market place, Norris could be had on a minor league deal, with a "hand shake" agreement to be placed on the roster prior to the season. As may be the case with others on this list. This type of deal allows the team to delay a 40-man roster move until camp breaks.

**Possible Contract** - 1 year (minor league deal) - $2 - $3 million

Jim Johnson (36) - Johnson has had a pretty up and down career. High points of a 51 save season back in 2012 with the Baltimore Orioles, and lows of an ERA over 7.00 in 2014 with Oakland and Detroit. Johnson has had his fair share of injuries as well. Johnson is known for his heavy sinking fastball, though has had a drop in velocity the past few years. Johnson could prove to be healthy and give the Twins (like Norris) a stop gap closer, or even run away with the job. He could also prove to be a veteran presence in a fairly young bullpen.

**Possible Contract** - 1 year (minor league deal) - $1 - $2 million

A.J. Ramos (32) - This one is intriguing as Ramos missed almost all of 2018 due to a shoulder strain, and could be a buy low - bounce back candidate. Ramos was very productive for the Marlins between 2012 and 2017, before being traded to the Mets mid-season. As recently as 2016 Ramos was 40 for 43 in save ops with a solid .223 batting average against. At only 32 years of age, Ramos could return to form if healthy, and could add another closing option to the team.

**Possible Contract** - 1 year (minor league deal) - $1 - $2 million

Adam Warren (31) - Warren has very little closing experience. Though, he may offer an upgrade over the Matt Magill's and Tyler Duffey's of the world. Warren owns a solid 3.42 career ERA, and adds the ability to throw multiple innings. One interesting note on Warren is that he has seemed to pitch exclusively well as a member of the Yankees. In pinstripes Warren has had an ERA under 3.40, ever year since 2013. While dawning a much higher ERA while a member of the Cubs (2016) and the Mariners (part of 2018).

**Possible Contract** - 1 year (minor league deal) - $1 - $1.5 million

Tony Sipp (35) - The Twins have Taylor Rogers returning from an excellent season. Adalberto Mejia, Gabriel Moya, Andrew Vasquez, and non-roster invitee Tim Collins will be vying for the second left position in the pen for 2019. It is possible Mejia can still win a job in the rotation. If the Twins are not satisfied with Moya as the second lefty out of the pen they could turn to Tony Sipp. After a very rough 2017, Sipp responded with an excellent 1.86 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 2018. Mainly Sipp is used exclusively against left handed batters, which would work for the Twins as Rogers fairs well against both lefties and righties.

**Possible Contract** - 1 year (minor league deal) - $1 - $2 million

The Twins could certainly stand to upgrade the bullpen in some capacity. Clearly Craig Kimbrel is the only one in this group that elevates the Twins pitching staff to a new level. There are though a handful of veterans available that could add depth to an uncertain part of the Twins roster. It remains to be seen if the Twins will do what it takes to acquire a pitcher of Kimbrel's status in the game. One thing is certain, that with divisions commonly decided by one or two games, and wild card playoffs, it is imperative to win the games you have in hand.