What do the 2020 Twins look like? Part 1- The Rotation

What a season. Honestly, I am sure like the rest of you, this season has far surpassed my expectations for this club. Monster years from players like Polanco, Kepler, Rosario, and Cruz have fueled this beast of a lineup. Even the pitching has been above average which I didn't foresee, as I look now our bullpen is one of the best in the second half... what?! As fun as this year has been and as much as I want to sit here and live in the present this team has an insanely tough road in the playoffs. As of right now a likely divisional series against the Astros with three games being at Houston. If the Twins are lucky enough to survive the Astros four-headed monster of a starting staff of Verlander, Cole, Grienke, and Miley they would have a lovely date with the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. We all know how that most likely will go with four games at Yankee stadium and a seven game series against them will be extremely difficult. Let's dream here and say our offense just goes off in both of those series to get us to the world series where the Twins are most likely facing a Dodgers team that seems to look the part finally to secure a Championship. Huge games against juggernaut teams. Honestly, if Berrios an Odo were looking like they did to start the year I could see a deep run but they both have regressed and appear to be battling through fatigue here late in the season. Here is to hoping management finds a way to get them some rest this month and see if there is some gas in the tank for the postseason but I digress back to the topic of this post.

So what do the Twins look like in 2020? A lot of change appears to be coming on the horizon. Let us start with the most pressing issue and that is the starting staff. Besides Berrios the rest of the staff is up for free agency. Odo is going to command some money after the year he has had probably somewhere between 13-17 million a year and I can see him leaving for a team that gives him more money than the Twins. Martin Perez seems like an obvious decline on his club option as he has continued to spiral as the season has worn on. Gibby has always been decent 4 or 5 and I wouldn't be surprised to see him back on a team friendly deal (3 years 27 million) to continue to anchor the bottom half of the rotation. Pineda is the interesting one out of the bunch. He has been fairly consistent and from what I have seen managed well around his tommy john surgery. With a 4.11 ERA and a FIP suggesting he is closer a 4.00 ERA I hope the Twins can get him inked again. I think something like 3 years and 30 million seems reasonable taking him to his age 33 season. So if this is the case you have Berrios, Pineda, and Gibby for next year needing two more to come either internally or externally. If the Twins go the internal route, which I believe they will, Brusdar Graterol and Jorge Alcala look like two likely options to enter the fold. This option saves money but really doesn't look competitive or the leap this team needs to be successful in the playoffs next year.

Internal Route:

#1 - Berrios (Arbitration 1 eligible in 2020 guessing 12 mil for 2020) #2 - Pineda (10 mil for 2020) #3 Gibby (9 mil for 2020) #4 Graterol (1 mil for 2020) (Hopefully moving to #2 or #3 by seasons end in this scenario) #5 Alcala (555,000 for 2020) if injuries occur I'd go Smeltzer, Thorpe, then Stewart to replace.

Starting rotation $: 32,555,000 million

How about exploring free agency for a #2 to pair with Berrios? The external option is what I hope the Twins venture into. I still think bringing Graterol in is a must but another elite pitcher will be needed to compete with top heavy teams in the playoffs next year if this team continues to grow from this year. Big starting names are on the market in Strasburg, Cole, Hamels, Ryu, Kluber, Mad-Bum, Wheeler, and Miley. The biggest issue in the past has been the fact that we aren't good and quality arms demand more money to come to our market but I am hoping some of these guys are like woah Minnesota why wouldn't I come or consider especially after this year? I don't see the Twins going for Stras, Cole, Hamels, Ryu, or Kluber either due to age concerns or BIG $. I am hoping though that bringing in a Mad-Bum, Wheeler, or Miley will be the focal point this offseason. Breaking this down further Mad-Bum is great but the decline in velocity (velo) is a concern and we seem to be trending towards guys with high and consistent velo. Miley seems to be an overachiever in Houston as his FIP says 4.37 contrary to his ERA of 3.06 coming to a whopping differential of 1.31. The guy I see as the most realistic option money wise and talent wise for the Twins is Zach Wheeler. Don't get too concerned with his ERA of 4.41 as his FIP suggests that he does well in managing walks, homers, and HBP at the tune of 3.70. If this is the splash they take how about 4 years 15-17 million bringing him in to his age 33 season.

External Route:

#1 Berrios (Arbitration 1 eligible in 2020 guessing 12 mil for 2020) #2 Wheeler (17 mil for 2020) #3 Pineda (10 mil for 2020) #4 Gibby (9 mil for 2020) #5 Graterol (1 mil for 2020) - (Hopefully a #3 by seasons end bumping Pineda to #4 and Gib to #5) if Gib or Pineda get hurt it is Alcala time.

Starting rotation $: 49,000,000 million

If the Twins can get Berrios to put together a full year, have Wheeler preform as his FIP suggests, and Graterol become a legit ace I would definitely feel comfortable throwing this into the playoffs next year for a starting rotation. Lots of ifs though but fun to speculate.