I’m not going to sit here and claim that this offseason has been a masterstroke for the Twins, but I will say that things definitely broke their way, and this front office took advantage. The addition of Lance Lynn is the capstone on a winter in which they added to their bullpen, their rotation and even a DH, all while giving up only a one middling prospect and much less cash than anticipated.
Regardless of how much you attribute the success of this offseason, on paper, to the Twins’ front office, you can’t deny that things certainly worked out in the team’s favor. Even with the injury to Ervin Santana, the rotation is now clearly better than it was last season. Roster Resource projects the starting 4 (the 5th won’t be necessary, perhaps until Santana returns) as Jose Berrios, Lance Lynn, Jake Odorizzi and Kyle Gibson.
The only holdovers from last season’s roster are Berrios, who broke out last season, and should only be getting better, and Kyle Gibson, who was a completely different pitcher in the 2nd half of the season last year. If they get first half Berrios and second half Gibson, or something close, those two guys can be just as good as Lynn and Odorizzi.
Lynn and Odorizzi are the newcomers, and they both bring one thing in common. They are both good, or shall I say better at striking out opponents than most of the 2017 staff was. They each average a little over 8 k/9 for their career, but are coming off years that didn’t match their typical production. Lynn’s raw numbers were better than his metrics indicated, while Odorizzi seemed to have issues with pitch placement, and was a victim of the long ball, but his inconsistencies didn’t appear to be a permanent concern.
Neither of the Twins’ starting pitching signings are the true ace so many fans were clamoring for, but they will shore up the rotation. If you assume that Ervin Santana is coming back, that gives the Twins 5 solid options, to account for every game of the season. Every game counts the same, whether it’s started by the 1st starter or the 4th, and now, the Twins can win from any of those spots.
The Twins were done in in a one game playoff last season, and the fan base saw a grave need for a top of the rotation ace. In adding so much depth to the rotation, the Twins are trying to get past Cleveland during the regular season so that they might earn themselves an actual playoff series. That true ace can only start 1 game at a time, and the Twins now have players that can start Games 2-4.