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Twinkie Town roundtable: We all want to add a historic pitcher, but which one?

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The staff answers: If you could add any player from franchise history to the current Twins, who would it be, and why?

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins

In case you missed the first couple, this a new(ish) series here at Twinkie Town, where I ask the staff a question, and they weigh in, in a short(ish) paragraph. This week we asked “If you could add any player from franchise history to the current Twins, who would it be, and why?” The answers were overwhelmingly pitchers, with one exception. There were a variety of pitcher’s names thrown out there though.

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Kyle Edelbrock

It has to be Johan, doesn’t it? I mean I can’t think of ANY player I would pick over 2004-2006 Johan.

Those three years were insane and are exactly what the Twins need right now

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Marea

If I could add any player from franchise history to the current Twins, I’d have to probably first narrow it down by position and then come up with the one name.

P: Starting Rotation: Johan Santana, Brad Radke, Frank Viola, Jim Kaat, Bert Blyleven, (Honorable mention: Jim Perry) Closer: Joe Nathan

C: Joe Mauer

1B: Justin Morneau pre-concussion to get the rest of the career that he deserved, and yes, he’s edging out my beloved Kent Hrbek here.

2B: Rod Carew (honorable mention: Chuck Knoblauch, before he deserved a few hot dogs to the head)

3B: Harmon Killebrew

SS: Greg Gagne

OF: Tony Oliva, Kirby Puckett, Torii Hunter

DH: Jim Thome

We are already loaded with the Bomba Squad, so we can take out the home run guys: Morneau, Killebrew, Thome

We already have guys that can get on base, so we can take out Carew, Mauer, and Tony O.

Since we already have some stellar defense, we can take out Gagne, Puckett, Hunter.

This year, if we ever get to play, we have starting pitching that could be amazing, so my final answer is...

Joe Nathan. We don’t have a consistent, scary ass, lights out closer.

God that was hard.

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TeamCrazyMatt

The 2020 Twins are pretty solid around the diamond, so my choice is going to be a pitcher… but which pitcher? Minnesota picked up Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey, and Rich Hill to stabilize the back of the rotation, and Taylor Rogers is proving a dominant closer, so I’m going to say LaTroy Hawkins. The Twins do have several young arms who came on strong late last year, but the bullpen is still the area that saw the least improvement over the off season, and Hawkins would be a veteran set-up presence while the younger guys continue to develop.

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Bob Engvall

Frank Viola. A left handed ace, our best lefty of all time would be the perfect complement to Berrios and an excellent mentor as well. It would indeed be sweet music to my ears.

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Brian McCann

Johan Santana. Adding the best lefty of his generation to the top of a righty-heavy rotation would be ideal.

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Zach Koenig

Most staffers will probably take a strategic approach, but I’ll go a different direction. The player I want on this current Twins squad (should it see the field sometime this summer) is Joe Mauer. I know, I know, he doesn’t fit on the current roster (like—at all). But right now, I think we are all yearning for a return to normalcy and good feelings amidst the pandemic and social unrest. If even just as a pinch-hitter or spot starter, how cool would it be to hear “What You Know About That” as Joe strides to the plate, the crowd roars, and he laces an opposite-field hit? How much would you give to see one of his awkward (yet somehow endearing) postgame interviews—”I just put a good swing on it”—at the moment?”

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John Foley

The current Twins need a bona fide ace, so my answer is Johan Santana. Arguably no other Twins pitcher, save for Walter Johnson, has been as dominant as Santana was in the mid-2000s. From 2004-2008 led all pitchers in innings pitched (1146.2) and Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement (29.8) and allowed a batting average against of just .213 - the second best among all starting pitchers. In that period, he never finished lower than fifth in the Cy Young Voting, and a very strong argument can be made that he deserved to win three AL Cy Youngs in a row from 2004 to 2006. Adding him to the rotation every fifth day and having him for Game 1 of any playoff series would increase this team’s chances of advancing and winning the World Series significantly.

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Ben Beecken

Prime Johan Santana. Give me any version from 2004 to 2006. The Twins have a trio of almost-aces in Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi and Kenta Maeda. All three of those guys are strong No. 2 options and are fantastic No. 3s, so imagine the depth that the current rotation would have if Johan Santana, a true ace’s ace who averaged 231 innings per season over the aforementioned time span, led the group and was followed by a host of No. 2s and some combination of Homer Bailey and Rich Hill filled the fifth spot. The 2020 Twins would be the hands-down World Series favorite.

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TJ Gorsegner

I’m the jerk who specifically worded the question so that I could pick Walter Johnson. Not only did he manage to pitch for 20 years in an era that lacked modern medicine, he is among the most decorated pitchers in history. He was a two-time MVP, a three-time triple crown winner, and a five-time ERA leader. He’s also got a World Series ring from 1924. With modern pitcher usage trends, he would likely pitch shorter outings, which would make his stuff play up even more. His career bWAR is 164.5, and he had a 2.17 overall ERA, how that would hold up in this era is an interesting question, but one I’d love to find the answer to.


What about you—which historic Twin would you add to the 2020 squad, and why?