Could Smoltz Be A Fit For The Twins?

The Twins are looking at a giant hole in their bullpen with closer Joe Nathan on the shelf thanks to a torn elbow ligament, though they haven't rushed into finding a replacement. ESPN's Buster Olney notes (via Twitter) that there is some hope Nathan will be able to pitch though the injury, but they won't know for sure until he tries to throw. 

In a second tweet, Olney opines that there's an experienced, veteran closer available on the free agent market that might be a good fit for Minnesota, and his name is John Smoltz. The caveat is that he and his surgically repaired shoulder/elbow would work a Trevor Hoffman-like schedule, pitching just 50 or so innings, far below the 70 IP per season Nathan has averaged since joining the team.

The now 42-year-old Smoltz last worked out of the bullpen full-time in 2004, and as you know his performance while pitching in relief is quite good. He has said he's content to wait for the right deal, even if that means waiting until mid-season. Minnesota has some decent in-house options with Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch, Jose Mijares, and even Francisco Liriano, so they have the luxury of letting things play out early in the season. If no one steps up, Smoltz could be attractive to pass up during the summer.



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