The Twins have, at long last, made their big splash. Josh Donaldson may not have been the first choice for the team or fans, it’s clear that the Twins knew his value and were willing to give him the contract he earned. As someone who isn’t a fan of handing out large contracts for free agent pitchers, maybe the market saved the Twins from themselves, and instead of wasting capital on the pitching market, they instead added a surer thing by getting a position player.
Sure, that might be a positive spin on things, but I think I’ve convinced myself that it’s not a terrible perspective. I’ve always been wary of free agent pitchers. Elbows have a finite number of pitches, and every pitch brings you closer to the cliff they will fall off of, even without a dramatic injury. This offseason, with the narrative of an open window of contention and a surplus of available funds, the Twins were angling to make a big move, and trying to land a top pitcher seemed like the right idea, both to make the team better and for the purpose of public relations.
Now that they have lost out on the free agent market for pitching, and they have demonstrably made the offense and defense better, all while maintaining a bullpen, and their rotation, which led them to the AL Central title, isn’t really worse than it was last year. They also have a chance to get stronger as the season goes, not only because of the development of young players like Randy Dobnak or Brusdar Graterol, but incrementally, Michael Pineda and Rich Hill will join the rotation.
Not that there aren’t problems with the rotation, all I’m saying is that the problems aren’t so debilitating that the Twins can’t be extremely considerate in how they fix it. Just think, if they feel like they will be in contention, they don’t need to make a move now that moves the needle this season, which should take them out of the running for acquiring someone like David Price. There will be options like Price available when the trade deadline rolls around, and having him or not having him probably won’t make a huge difference.
If they need to make an impact for the end of this season and the playoffs, they can make a move for someone pitching well this year. If they want to improve the rotation this season, as well as the future, then going for someone in their mid to late 30s isn’t the answer. IF they want to do something significant now, it should be via trade, but only if the right deal comes along.
There are options to add depth that don’t come with the financial or prospect requirements that the free agents or traded targets would require. The Twins should have the latitude to make some smaller moves to conclude the winter, and wait to see if they pay off. You know, the way the Twins usually do things.