• 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. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      How dare anyone be negative after 195 loses the last 2 years. I'm appalled!

      Merry Christmas!!
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      Are you kidding? Who thought our rotation was anything but junk going into the 2012 season? We had the 26th ranked rotation in the majors in 2011 and added Marquis. It was a disaster way before April
      I remember several who questioned Jason Marquis signing , pointing out his career era was as bad as the 2011 starters were and he was not an upgrade , but a bottom feeding signing...
      I also must point out , i said once Terry Ryan was done adding to the 2013 team , we may wish we had Marquis back...
    1. MrHockey's Avatar
      MrHockey -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      Ryan is a cheapskate and a liar that is why Pohlad hire him. He can't give his money away the players know him. He is paid to fool the fans into thinking he can get something for nothing. When the fans are gone he will be gone too, but it will be to little to late for Pohlad to pony up.
      It is just sad to have to watch the Twins lose for another 2 years with no chance to win. Empty promises and lies, Just plain greed!
      Terry Ryan has been at this what 12 months since Bill Smith crashed and burned? Rebuilding is hard to do especially when your general manager failed to select pitchers with the high draft picks in successive years. Most folks in the know opine that the Twins are in rebuilding mode and the pitchers that have been signed are fillers until 2015 when it is hoped that the group which includes Sano, Buxton, Meyer and others emerge. Let's not forget how ugly the 90's were. It seems that only the Dodgers and Yankees can buy their way into contention.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Dan S, who does zips, just joked that whenever he tries to project the twins pitching, he gets a blue screen of death....
    1. LoganJones's Avatar
      LoganJones -
      With all the guys who are on the recovery trail this year, why not investigate a 6-man rotation, at least for the first half? It works out to 27 starts for each slot. And, not surprisingly if each guy pitches 6 innings per start, 162 Innings from each starter. You could let guys without health concerns like Diamond and Correia go an extra inning when they're pitching well, and they'll easily get right up to near 200 innings.
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by LoganJones View Post
      With all the guys who are on the recovery trail this year, why not investigate a 6-man rotation, at least for the first half? It works out to 27 starts for each slot. And, not surprisingly if each guy pitches 6 innings per start, 162 Innings from each starter. You could let guys without health concerns like Diamond and Correia go an extra inning when they're pitching well, and they'll easily get right up to near 200 innings.
      If we're planning on pitching Gibson from day 1 and limiting his innings, it might not be a bad idea. It might also have the added benefit of ensuring that someone with upside like Hendriks isn't languishing in the minors so that somebody equally crappy buy on a major league contract like Correia can get innings. Just spitballing. (Pun intended.)
    1. lowpup's Avatar
      lowpup -
      Bottom line is that we fans were promised contending teams. Two years ago a team not used to having money to spend gave it a try and failed miserably. So during the winter of of 11-12 after the worst season in recent history the twins decreased payroll for the 2012 season by over 18 million dollars going from 112 to 84 million. To no one's surprise, the team failed again this past year. Here we are one year later being fed the same lines as last year and it appears the twins are again going to unload enter the season with a lower payroll. Shoudl it come to a surpris to any of us that they are again terrible this next August?

      I get that you can't spend all your money three or four guys on your team, but you still have to put a product on the field that me, you, and all the other fans out there want to spend hard earned money on. This includes spending between 10 and 20 million a year on a pitcher we can ever pretend is an ace after having the worst staff in the league for two years.

      The realization is that this is a business, and unless somethign has an impact on the bottom line the Pohlad's will not respond.....so doesn't that really make this all our fault in the end?
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Quote Originally Posted by Top Gun View Post
      Ryan is a cheapskate and a liar that is why Pohlad hire him. He can't give his money away the players know him. He is paid to fool the fans into thinking he can get something for nothing. When the fans are gone he will be gone too, but it will be to little to late for Pohlad to pony up.
      It is just sad to have to watch the Twins lose for another 2 years with no chance to win. Empty promises and lies, Just plain greed!
      Thing is, do you know what offers Ryan put out there that weren't accepted? Maybe he made legit offers to guys like Haren and McCarthy, but they simply chose to go elsewhere.

      Last place team has trouble attracting top free agents - no surprise there.

      Pretty simple to just blame Ryan.
    1. strumdatjag's Avatar
      strumdatjag -
      I think the Twins need both quantity and quality of pitching. Terry Ryan has added more bodies - So we're better in the "quantity department". Now, when lack of production or injuries happen, there will be more options to fill in the rotation (and replace those options that don't produce). The Twins still need quality. They need the proverbial STOPPER that they've had in the past with Santana, Radke, Morris, Viola . . . I's really like two quality top of the rotation guys, but the Twins should start by developing, signing or trading for one. Next year, there probably won't be one - not even at the level of Carl Pavano's first year as a Twin.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Monkeypaws View Post
      Thing is, do you know what offers Ryan put out there that weren't accepted? Maybe he made legit offers to guys like Haren and McCarthy, but they simply chose to go elsewhere.

      Last place team has trouble attracting top free agents - no surprise there.

      Pretty simple to just blame Ryan.
      So, after the 2010 season of 94 wins, we didn't sign any pitchers to improve our pitching staff even though we were a first place team, had money...so we should be an ideal spot for FA pitcher. Why no signing then? What's the excuse then? I'm guessing, because the team did well they didn't feel the need to upgrade the rotation? Cause first place teams almost always rest on their laurels on pitching after fluke seasons by some pitchers?

      What about after 2009? First place team, 26th ranked rotation. Ideal spot for FA pitching, right? First place team...Who'd we sign in the offseason after 2009?

      What about getting even one top notch pitcher in FA after 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006? first place teams, all ideal spots for FA pitchers. I'm guessing that was because our staff was good enough? Or was it because we didn't have money then?
    1. 70charger's Avatar
      70charger -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      So, after the 2010 season of 94 wins, we didn't sign any pitchers to improve our pitching staff even though we were a first place team, had money...so we should be an ideal spot for FA pitcher. Why no signing then? What's the excuse then? I'm guessing, because the team did well they didn't feel the need to upgrade the rotation? Cause first place teams almost always rest on their laurels on pitching after fluke seasons by some pitchers?

      What about after 2009? First place team, 26th ranked rotation. Ideal spot for FA pitching, right? First place team...Who'd we sign in the offseason after 2009?

      What about getting even one top notch pitcher in FA after 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006? first place teams, all ideal spots for FA pitchers. I'm guessing that was because our staff was good enough? Or was it because we didn't have money then?
      a) Much of that was Bill Smith
      b) For the rest of it, we were dealing with Metrodome dollars

      c) (most important) It's still all speculation with absolutely no proof.
    1. LoganJones's Avatar
      LoganJones -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      So, after the 2010 season of 94 wins, we didn't sign any pitchers to improve our pitching staff even though we were a first place team, had money...so we should be an ideal spot for FA pitcher. Why no signing then? What's the excuse then?
      And who should they have signed? Cliff Lee? (5 Years 120M, took less to return to Philly) Ted Lilly? (3 Years 33M at age 35.) The Twins signed the 4th largest contract for pitching to Pavano (2/16.5 also at age 35). They weren't exactly cheap, there just wasn't anyone gettable & worthwhile to get.

      Here's the complete List.
      2011 Major League Baseball Free Agents - Starting Pitchers On The MLB Free Agent Market

      Chris Capuano would have made sense, in hindsight, but that's not fair.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Dan S, who does zips, just joked that whenever he tries to project the twins pitching, he gets a blue screen of death....
      Projecting the Twins pitching starts with a bottle of Jack.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Terry Ryan defenders, who did he sign to play OF or DH in his last term, when they had some of the worst DHs in history, and had a good team? What gives you any belief that he would sign a big time player to a big time contract? What evidence do you have?
    1. JP3700's Avatar
      JP3700 -
      As I stated in another thread, I don't mind the approach, but I do question the players. I was one of the many that said.. if I were the GM.. I'd go after a Sanchez, Marcum or Jackson. It's now clear that it's not going to happen nor was it ever going to, which is fine. I understand that we are rebuilding and short-term, low risk contracts is the safe path to take.

      I loved the trades, but we invested $14+ million into Correia and Pelfrey. An "innings eater" and a guy coming off injury with upside. Why didn't we invest $17 million into Haren and Lannan.. a better guy coming off injury and a better "innings eater". Both were available in trades.. one for most likely a D prospect with upside and the other as a cherry on top to the Span trade.

      Haren
      Diamond
      Worley
      Lannan
      Hendriks

      Gibson, Deduno, DeVries

      Suddenly the state of the starting corps looks a lot better while investing about the same amount of money. Obviously I'm using hindsight, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      Terry Ryan defenders, who did he sign to play OF or DH in his last term, when they had some of the worst DHs in history, and had a good team? What gives you any belief that he would sign a big time player to a big time contract? What evidence do you have?
      I imagine no one would deny that Ryan has been unsuccessful on the free agent market. He doesn't spend competitive dollars there, never has. Bargain bin players tend to have a low rate of success. Here's the thing: we don't know if it's because of his mindset or a mindset that is imposed upon him by ownership. The Pohlads are shrewd business folks and big-name free agents are generally bad (though you could argue necessary) investments.

      I have a hard time believing that Ryan would not like to add a top-tier pitcher if he had free reign to do so. Simply makes no sense. He wants to field a good team and he obviously doesn't think Kevin Correia is better than Anibal Sanchez.

      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      Projecting the Twins pitching starts with a bottle of Jack.
      Classic.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      What difference does the distinction about Ryan make? If your point is that Ryan would be a free agent spender for another club, it's irrelevant if he is the GM here. The point, either way, is that expecting that this team was going to go splash into free agency and fix a terrible rotation in one off-season was baseless for anything but wishful thinking regardles of whether you blame Ryan or the Pohlads. Either way it was highly unlikely to have expected that, which is what mike was getting at.

      We shouldn't be that shocked that our 2013 rotation is not significantly improved. It was the far more reasonable belief based on pretty much every available basis for making a prediction besides blind hope.
    1. Jim Crikket's Avatar
      Jim Crikket -
      Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
      What difference does the distinction about Ryan make? If your point is that Ryan would be a free agent spender for another club, it's irrelevant if he is the GM here. The point, either way, is that expecting that this team was going to go splash into free agency and fix a terrible rotation in one off-season was baseless for anything but wishful thinking regardles of whether you blame Ryan or the Pohlads. Either way it was highly unlikely to have expected that, which is what mike was getting at.

      We shouldn't be that shocked that our 2013 rotation is not significantly improved. It was the far more reasonable belief based on pretty much every available basis for making a prediction besides blind hope.
      ...or... you know... base the expectations on exactly that Ryan said he intended to do in interviews. If our expectations this time were unreasonable, it was Ryan who established them by telling everyone his intention was to explore every avenue to add better starting pitching. I'm sorry, but adding a bunch of guys who MIGHT be acceptable #5 pitchers IF they can transition from the NL and/or come back from major injuries and/or have better years than any other years in their careers simply is not what Ryan himself led fans to believe he would settle for.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by 70charger View Post
      a) Much of that was Bill Smith
      b) For the rest of it, we were dealing with Metrodome dollars

      c) (most important) It's still all speculation with absolutely no proof.
      How do you figure it's still all speculation with absolutely no proof? The person I was responding to said we can't sign FAs because we're a last place team. So I asked why we didn't sign any top FA pitching when we were first place teams. Did we do that and I missed it?

      Saying we can't sign anyone because we're a last place team is simplistic...because we were a first place team before and didn't sign any top notch pitching. That includes the offseason prior to going into TF and the first offseason after being in TF.

      But I get it, it's all Bill Smith's fault. Ryan couldn't sign anyone last offseason after being only one year removed from back to back first place finishes with the most recent of the two first place finishes scoring 94 wins. His team was also in TF ....and instead of getting pitching, he cut payroll. Oh wait, he got Marquis.

      Thing is, if one tries, there's always a reason to throw out there as to why we didn't sign any quality starting pitching through free agency. If we win the division, they won't go sign quality starting pitching because the rotation was good enough to win the division, if we don't and play horribly, well no pitcher wants to come play here. In the meantime, they cut payroll 18M last offseason and have cut more this offseason.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jim Crikket View Post
      it was Ryan who established them by telling everyone his intention was to explore every avenue to add better starting pitching. .
      Agreed, even more reason to disregard any distinction about Ryan/Pohlads that tries to deflect away from Ryan's accountability.
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