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  • State of the Starting Corps

    Through free agent signings and trades, the Twins have added three names to their 2013 starting pitching mix, along with a couple prospects who can help down the line.

    As we assess the progress of this rebuilding unit, can we say with assurance that the three MLB pitchers they've added – Vance Worley, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey – are significantly better than the three that just exited as free agents – Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano and Scott Baker? I don't know that we can, and that is troubling.

    Here's a look at how the best-case starting five would shake out if everything stayed the same:

    1. Scott Diamond
    2. Vance Worley
    3. Kevin Correia
    4. Mike Pelfrey
    5. Kyle Gibson

    It's got the makings of a below-average rotation, with a chance to be respectable but a greater chance to blow up, especially with flimsy defensive support. Keep in mind that the last two on the list won't necessarily be ready to pitch in the majors right off the bat.

    Behind these five names, the depth chart is an assortment of major question marks, including Liam Hendriks, Nick Blackburn, Sam Deduno, Cole De Vries and Brian Duensing. It was quite clear last year that none of those players had what it took to start in the majors, so it'd be somewhat surprising if any (save for perhaps Hendriks) suddenly turned a corner and became an adequate piece.

    Long story short, the Twins' immediate starting pitching outlook remains dreary. At this point, the addition of even one established quality starter would go a long way toward improving the unit's overall chances at staying afloat next season, but it's unclear Terry Ryan intends to do that.

    As things stand, it's impossible for me to believe he could look at his current group and feel confident that they're likely to perform a whole lot better than last year's.
    This article was originally published in blog: State of the Starting Corps started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 202 Comments
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
      Overall TR has done a solid job putting the team ia a position to be .500 next year and even better in the future. The only 2 disappointments I have is that TR hasn't gone out and got at least 1 solid pitcher like Jackson who would still be a part of the rotation when we are a competetive team again. in 2014 we could have a rotation of players who all make the minimum but Worely who will be 1rst time arbitration eligible. We could afford almost any pitcher in that scenario and the rotation is likely to remain inexpensive in 2015 and 2016. While I believe the Twins will resign Morneau, there doesn't seem to be a huge increase comming in the forseeable future on the offensive side of the game either. SO we could have afforded a 12-15 million per year pitcher. The other thing that bugs me is the 2nd year of Corriea's contract. I hope we will be able to trade him next offseason. I do like the prospects the Twins picked up, and I think Harden will make a good setup man.
      1) By "next year", you do mean 2014, right?

      2) Kevin Correia will make $5.5M in 2014.

      3) If one of the SP lotto picks hits, they would be asking for a huge raise/arbitration/Free Agency for 2014.

      4) There is nearly infinitesimal likelihood that a Correia trade will derive any benefit to the Twins except salary relief.

      5) The odds are nearly the same for TR to ever contemplate the signing of a top-end SP on a long-term deal.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brandon View Post
      Overall TR has done a solid job putting the team ia a position to be .500 next year and even better in the future. The only 2 disappointments I have is that TR hasn't gone out and got at least 1 solid pitcher like Jackson who would still be a part of the rotation when we are a competetive team again. in 2014 we could have a rotation of players who all make the minimum but Worely who will be 1rst time arbitration eligible. We could afford almost any pitcher in that scenario and the rotation is likely to remain inexpensive in 2015 and 2016. While I believe the Twins will resign Morneau, there doesn't seem to be a huge increase comming in the forseeable future on the offensive side of the game either. SO we could have afforded a 12-15 million per year pitcher. The other thing that bugs me is the 2nd year of Corriea's contract. I hope we will be able to trade him next offseason. I do like the prospects the Twins picked up, and I think Harden will make a good setup man.
      Sorry, Brandon (and others who have expressed similar sentiments), I simply could not disagree more strongly. Getting Worley in the Revere deal was fine and the two prospects he got in the trades were certainly needed for the future, but Ryan has simply not done near enough to improve the 2013 rotation. Salary is certainly not the be-all and end-all of evaluating pitching talent, but it certainly is one measuring stick. That being the case, consider this "bad news and worse news":

      Bad news: Absent an unexpected significant addition to the rotation (e.g. Shawn Marcum), the entire Twins rotation will be making about $10 million in 2013 and Kevin Correia is likely to be the highest paid member of that rotation.

      Worse news: Even Correia will still be paid less money than Nick Blackburn in 2013.

      Everyone inside and outside of Twinsville knew the Twins HAD to significantly improve their rotation this offseason. Terry Ryan simply has failed to do so. Going from a rotation with one #4 starter and four guys who probably should not even be in a MLB rotation to one with two #4 starters and... maybe... two #5 starters, while narrowing the number of "should not be starters in a MLB rotation" to only one, is in no way a "significant" improvement. Especially when it comes at the same time you trade away the only two outfielders you had that could actually track down a ball in a gap.

      Maybe Ryan will surprise us and still add a real pitcher to the rotation, but I'm not holding my breath. If not, then for the second consecutive year you have to give him an "F" grade in the "fix the rotation" subject. And without fixing the rotation, I can't possibly say he has improved the current team in any signficant manner.
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