Twins Notes: Rotation, Bullpen, Molitor

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan ran down some of the biggest issues facing the club in an interview this morning on 1500 ESPN, and Phil Mackey has the goods.

  • Ryan said that the club will target the "affordable" free agent starting pitching, but also acknowledged that he will look at the bigger names on the open market as well. "We've got to have interest in those types of guys. Whether the years and dollars equate to what we're trying to do is another story," said the GM. Zack Greinke and Ryan Dempster will be out there along with Jake Peavy and Dan Haren if their options are declined. Mackey later tweeted that he didn't think the Twins would go after that caliber of pitcher but would instead pursue the Joe Blanton-type guys.
  • The GM would also like to bolster the bullpen this winter and said that he will look at every avenue to improve the club's pitching. Mackey notes that the Twins could trade from their surpluses at first base and in the outfield with Justin Morneau, Chris Parmelee, Denard Span, Ben Revere, Josh Willingham, and Ryan Doumit in the mix for playing time.
  • While Paul Molitor has made his interest in a coaching job known, Ryan reiterated that the Hall of Famer isn't a good fit for the team right now. Triple-A staffers Bobby Cuellar, Tom Brunansky, and Gene Glynn look to be the leading candidates to fill the coaching vacancies.
  • Ryan said the Twins have looked at how the Nationals handled Stephen Strasburg in determining their approach with Kyle Gibson, the club's top pitching prospect. "I think we'll probably ease it in as we go into April and May, then hopefully we'll have him available for how we want to use him in June, July and August," Ryan said. "I certainly don't want to hurt Gibson, so we've got to monitor him closely." Gibson, who appeared in 13 minor league games this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last November, made his Arizona Fall League debut Thursday with five shutout innings, eight strikeout, and no walks.

Edward Creech contributed to this post.

Full Story | 15 Comments | Categories: Minnesota Twins

15 Responses to Twins Notes: Rotation, Bullpen, Molitor Leave a Reply

  1. Guest 3 years ago

    Sigh… Joe Blanton-type guys, huh? Yeah, that’ll fix ’em. How are those any different than Carl Pavano- or Jason Marquis-type guys?

  2. Guest 3 years ago

    Sigh… Joe Blanton-type guys, huh? Yeah, that’ll fix ’em. How are those any different than Carl Pavano- or Jason Marquis-type guys?
    Diamond (ace) – Blanton – Lowe – Pavano – Blackburn/DeVries. That rotation’s good for another 90 losses right there. Maybe add Randy Wolf in August for that playoff push.

    • Red_Line_9 3 years ago

      Not if Jeremy Guthrie is on the market. Randy Wolfe will have to hope the Cubs swing for a starter to build on their 10 game NL Central lead over the Cardinals.

    • $1529282 3 years ago

      How is Joe Blanton even comparable to Lowe? And what makes you lump Pavano into that group? Blanton isn’t great but he’s got an elite K/BB ratio and his biggest problem is homers, which Target Field would help mitigate.

      If they go with a rotation like Blanton-Marcum-Diamond-Gibson/Hendriks-[Prospect acquired in potential Denard Span trade], that rotation would be leaps and bounds better than the trash they trotted out in 2012.

      I doubt Blackburn ever even starts another game for the Twins, and DeVries is below Hendriks, Gibson, and probably will be passed by others in 2013.

      I’d be just fine with adding Blanton’s 3.39 xFIP and 3.45 SIERA to the Twins’ rotation for two years.

      • Sky14 3 years ago

        Blanton may have a decent K/bb ratio but he is very hittable based off his h/9 and high WHIP. He is not too different from Kevin Slowey or in other words more of the same types of pitchers the Twins have always brought in.
        I think Marcum would be a good get for the Twins, but he will probably have a number of other suitors this offseason.

      • 0vercast 3 years ago

        Blanton, Lowe, Pavano, Wolf, etc. = mediocre journeymen soft-tossers looking for a short contract, so that they can rebuild their value and maybe get another team into giving them multiple years. I expect Pavano will at least have the opportunity to come back to the Twins with a 1 year/$3M deal, and although I’m not a fan, they should probably do that. Blanton is the best of that bunch I listed. He might not go for just one year, and I don’t expect that Marcum will either. Both of those guys could get better deals with fringe contenders in the NL than what the Twins are likely to offer them. The Twins would be lucky to land Blanton and/or Marcum to head off their rotation.

        Blackburn almost always looks good in spring and over the first two months of the season. Not long ago, they were calling him “Mr. May” because he’s like 13-3 over his career in May. Considering he’s owed $5-6MM next year, I fully expect he’ll have yet another opportunity to redeem himself. Then when starts serving up belt-high sinkers-that-don’t-sink (his signature pitch) again in June/July, he’ll be cut loose or reassigned to the pen.


        • $1529282 3 years ago

          Wolf just had Tommy John. Pavano and Lowe pitched terribly, with Pavano missing most of the year due to injury and Lowe getting DFA’ed and relegated to low leverage work for the Yankees. I don’t see them in the came category as Blanton.

          Blanton has failed to post a 2-win (or better) season only twice since 2005. Once when he only threw 40 innings due to injury and the other he was at 1.8 with some missed time as well.

          I think Twins fans in general get too obsessed with the need for someone who “throws hard” because we’ve been subjected to 90mph “heaters” for so long. The emphasis shouldn’t be on velocity though, it should be on missed bats.

          Blanton isn’t going to save this team, and I find it insane that I’m defending a guy who would simply be a solid piece like he’s someone I’m praying they sign. But the perception that Joe Blanton is another Jason Marquis is one that I strongly disagree with.

          As for Pavano, I don’t think he’ll be back, and if he is I doubt it’ll come attached to a $3M guarantee. Ryan talked about the risk associated with guys, and Pavano carries more than most. His time with the Twins was mostly good, but he’s a product of Bill Smith and I think Ryan will be looking for more reliable options. If anyone is on a make-good contract, I’d bet on Baker.

          • 0vercast 3 years ago

            That third paragraph is right on. We do miss the guys that throw real heaters. I’m tired of the pitch to contact stiffs they draft and develop. “Chuck It and Duck!”

        • Nick Blackburn will be back, as you said, the Twins might not have any other choice. BTW, I respectfully disagree on Carl Pavano resigning with the Twins. He is most likely bound to return to the National League as well. I can see Pavano getting a chance to pitch in the NL Central. Maybe as a member of the Cincinnati Reds where he doesn’t have the pressure to perform as the team’s ace.

  3. Joe Blanton- type guys!? For the record, I think TR is just trying to keep us from getting all excited about the prospects of signing somebody like Zach Grienke or Ryan Dempster. The only way that will happen is if the market is horrible for them. I would look for a big trade that could send Denard Span and/or Aaron Hicks to Miami for Josh Johnson. This could make for a better rotation of Johnson, Diamond, and Gibson. I would be all for resigning Scott Baker as well, after the buyout, but that might not happen.

    • $1529282 3 years ago

      If Span or Hicks is going to Miami, they’d need more than the one year Johnson has left on his contract. Plus it’s not like Johnson is a lock to provide anything close to a full season. I love his arm, but trading for a guy with one year on his contract screams “Let’s go for it!” and they’re a lot more than one starter away from that right now. If Span gets moved, I’d rather get someone controllable in return.

      • I realize what you are saying. However, I can see the Twins offering Josh Johnson an extension of his current contract. They will likely save money after the buyouts of Scott Baker’s and Matt Capps’s contracts. Also, they will save money when they drop Span’s contract. As for Baker and Capps, they will be pitching elsewhere next season. Baker’s an attractive Young Gun that might appeal to a team such as the Arizona Diamondbacks while Capps will likely land with a team that needs a closer, maybe Detroit or Pittsburgh.

  4. El Roacho 3 years ago

    Blanton is probably the best type of guy the Twins can expect to land. He’s shouldn’t cost anywhere near Grienke/Haren/Peavy and most teams will see him as a 3 or 4 starter. The Twins advantage, potentially, is they can sell him as their 1 or 2 and be wiling to pay a little more than someone looking to slot him in the middle of the rotation. You can add Marcum to the same type of deal. Both guys are ideally a 3 or 4 but for the Twins would head the rotation. Their are problems with each player though. Blanton has better k rates in the NL and he’s giving up more HR’s each year. He’s also a guy that suffers from bad luck by not being able to strand more runners. Marcum isn’t all that different from Baker. They both miss bats and don’t walk many. They both have also missed a lot of time in the last couple years. Who will be cheaper? If they are similar prices you have to go with familiarity and as MorneauVP said, a make good contract with Baker.

    I would be content, not necessarily happy, with a rotation of Blanton-Baker-Diamond-Gibson-Deduno. That rotation should keep us around 75-85 wins. The problem is that the pupu platter of Hendriks, DeVries, Blackie, Swarzck, Walters, and Duensing still loom.

    I also like the idea of moving a combination of Span/Hicks, etc, but it better be for a starter than is signed for 3 years or more with some upside (Felix, Niese, etc) or a major upgrade in a bullpen arm (Storen, Clippard, etc).

    • But the problem is that Joe Blanton may not be available by the time the Twins try to sign him, and that is the same for Marcum, or Baker. The Twins are clearly in a catch-22 situation when it comes to pitching. The free agent market could play out very fast where all the big names are signed before the Winter Meetings or very slow like last season. I think the trio of Grienke, Haren, and Peavy would want to get their deals done quick, but if the Twins aren’t careful, they will end up with a situation where they might be forced to sign a bargain basement player, and see that player flame out in the first month of the season.

      As for trading Span/Hicks for bullpen help, forget it. The fanbase rebelled when there was talk of trading Span for Storen in 2011. If we get a bullpen arm via trade, it will likely be because we unloaded Liam Hendriks.

      • 0vercast 3 years ago

        I totally agree with you on all of this. The Twins better hustle in order to sign a guy or two, even if it mean overpaying a little.
        As for trading OFs for bullpen arms, it’s even more ridiculous than it was a year ago. That said, I think Perkins is maybe the Twins best trade piece. Deal him; bottom-feeders don’t need closers. Especially not valuable lefties that would have teams lining up for him as a late-inning reliever.

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