Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Wheeler dreams come crashing down
The bullpen could be one of the areas the Twins would have room at add an additional piece. A year removed from the Minnesota bullpen having the worst ERA in the Majors, the Twins are looking for a solution. During this offseason, the Twins have brought in some names who don't spark a lot of excitement but the team is hoping they will be able to piece together better results on the field. Brian Duensing will be making a return trip to help solidify some of the middle innings. Anthony Swarzak, Matt Capps, and Alex Burnett will all be asked to improve upon their results from last year.
News broke earlier last week that the Twins were contacted by the agent of Dan Wheeler, a free-agent relief pitcher. The veteran righty spent last season with the Boston Red Sox and he is coming off of a rough season where he pitched 49.1 innings and posted a 4.38 ERA and a 1.115 WHIP. In the last three seasons, he has pitched to the tune of a 3.65 ERA with a 1.011 WHIP while appearing in an average of 52 innings per season. Not perfect numbers but the Twins are going to be looking for a cheap one-year option on a player and Wheeler could fit this mold. In my offseason blueprint, I had the Twins signing Wheeler after the Red Sox offered him arbitration and he declined it.
With Wheeler added to the mix, the bullpen of the Twins could look like this:
Closer: Matt Capps
LHP: Glen Perkins
LHP: Brian Duensing
RHP: Anthony Swarzak
RHP: Alex Burnett
RHP: Dan Wheeler
RHP/LHP: [Fill-in the Blank]
It seems that the addition of Wheeler might only be a pipe dream as the Star Tribune is reporting the Twins are out of money for next season. La Velle E. Neal III also gave an interesting quote about Wheeler by saying, "I was told a move for him wasn't possible, then learned the reasons why." He leaves the reason why up to the reader. But after turning down arbitration following a year he made $3 million, it seems Wheeler could be in looking for more money than the Twins are willing to spend. The team is up to $99 million spent for next season and the only way to clear money would be to trade away some of the existing parts. The Twins seem to be done on the free agent front and are ready to head to Florida with their current roster of players.
After the debacle that was the Twins bullpen in 2011, it would have been nice to add one more piece. Terry Ryan has put his faith in some unlikely bullpen arms in the past that have worked out in his favor. It's just tough to know who is going to help the Twins rebound in 2012.