Friday, January 25, 2013

Do the Twins need to add more pitching?

Pitching, pitching, pitching is the name of the game.

The San Francisco Giants have won two World Series in the last three years on the strength of their young starting pitching. Last season, they didn't even need an effective Tim Lincecum for their stretch run. There was enough firepower in their starting staff and bullpen to lead them to the top.

Minnesota would love to be in the position of the Giants and that seems to be the goal for the future. Terry Ryan has worked this offseason to bring in some solid young pitchers. Alex Meyer, Trevor May, and Vance Worley could all be part of the rotation of the future. Unfortunately the future doesn't look like it will be arriving in 2013.

For next season, the Twins are going to be relying on a lot of question marks in their rotation. Scott Diamond and Vance Worley will most likely take up two of the starters spots. For the rest of the rotation, the team has brought in some other lack-luster arms to try and make ends meet.

Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey, and even Rich Harden might be relied on for multiple innings next year and that could be a scary proposition for Twins fans. Pelfrey is coming off of Tommy John surgery and he likely won't be ready for the beginning of the year. Harden has dealt with injuries for a large chunk of his career. Correia will likely get a rotation spot because the other two men mentioned here might not be ready for Opening Day.

There is some hope that a couple of young arms will be able to find some success at the big league level. Liam Hendriks has pitched over 100 inningsin the majors over the last two seasons. There is little left for him to prove at Triple-A so it is sink or swim time. Kyle Gibson is fully healthy after recovering from Tommy John surgery. He will likely be on an innings limit but he still could be a vital part of the plan in 2013.

As the reporting date for pitchers and catchers inches closer, some of the players left on the free agent market might have to settle for lesser deals to get into camp on time. This could mean that the Twins might not be done adding arms for the start of the season. There are concerns over health and ineffective play by multiple players listed above. Another arm or two might be a necessity.

There have been reports that the Twins are interested in striking a deal with Joe Saunders. Last season, Saunders pitched in the rotation of the Baltimore Orioles. He wasn't effective for the entire year but he did pitch well in September. It seems that he initially wanted a three-year contract but there doesn't seem to be any takers on that front. He also wants to stay with the Orioles but a multi-year contract could pull him away from Baltimore.

Another intriguing free agent name is Brandon Webb. He hasn't thrown a pitch at the major league level since Opening Day in 2009. Before his recent onslaught of injuries, he was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. The Twins already have one rebuilding project in the form of Harden so another pitcher of this ilk might be out of the question. Plus, there seems to be plenty of team's interested in adding him.

It feels like the Twins are going to need plenty of bodies to fill out their starting rotation this season. Adding one more arm could help as long as the contract was the right fit. A long-term deal with a pitcher doesn't make sense with the direction the club is heading.

Pitching is the name of the game and the Twins might need to add one more arm to make it through next season.

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