I don't care which free agent starters the twins sign
by, 11-23-2013 at 12:36 PM (578 Views)
While I expect this is a different view than most of the people frequenting this site hold, I don't really care which free agent pitchers the Twins sign this offseason. I expect the Twins to sign 2 free agent pitchers, and perhaps even a 3rd "flyer" of some sort. I have no favorites and really don't think it matters who the Twins sign or necessarily, for how long.
First of all, I don't think there are any difference makers out there(With the possible exception of Tanaka). Many could possibly give you a very good season, but are clearly unlikely to do that for the length of a multi-year contract. A very good season in 2014 from any free agent pitcher, isn't by itself going to turn the Twins into a contender in 2014. Even 2 free agent pitchers having such seasons won't.
The Twins pitching staff needs some immediate help. John Bonnes wrote recently that the Twins Daily crew had identified 16 free agent pitchers better "than Correia". Beyond the fact that this is a rather low bar, he didn't set out their criteria. My guess is they are including guys who were better than Correia but haven't pitched much recently due to injuries. He could also be including guys who should be better than Correia but haven't been (like Hughes). In any case this is a pretty small pool, when you consider the fact the at least 25 major league teams are likely looking for starting pitching help. The odds of the Twins actually being able to get any of the guys they really want with that much competition, isn't very good.
The only way for the Twins to get significantly better is through internal improvement. The young former prospects like Hicks, Arcia, Plouffe, Dozier, etc. have to get better. The youngish starting pitchers(Diamond, Worley, Deduno) need to be able to pitch to their fairly recent major league success. The near ready prospects like Gibson, Darnell, Pinto need to perform like we think they can. And finally, and most significantly, the true impact prospects(Sano and Buxton) need to get to the majors and be something of an impact, almost immediately.
The potential free agent pitchers the Twins could sign and will sign, don't really matter very much. Unless some of the above begins to happen, the Twins won't get better. Not in any meaningful way.
That doesn't mean the Twins shouldn't sign any free agent pitchers. They should and will. It doesn't mean they shouldn't sort through the available free agents, carefully and throughly. They need some immediate help and should get it. But, no matter who they get, the pitching help won't be that impactful. Also, the longer the contract the Twins are forced to give, it becomes extremely doubtful that pitcher will provide any help the last year of that contract.
I hope that the Twins get a bit lucky in their free agent signings. I hope whoever they sign stays healthy. That isn't all that likely with most of these guys. I actually hope the Twins can sign whoever they really want to fairly short contracts. When the Twins start getting good again, well there is no way to know what they really will need and how much it will cost to get it. I don't want to see resources tied up in long term pitching contracts or least not to any of the guys available in this free agent class.