The Twins are taking an aggressive stance to open free agency, according to a report from Jon Heyman of Fan Rag. It seems the Minnesota organization is slated to engage at the top echelon of the pitching market.
We’ve heard chatter previously about the Twins investing in an arm, but this news seemingly takes the interest to another level. Per Heyman, the front office is at least “looking at” top free-agent hurlers Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta, with a “slightly higher evaluation” of the former. Not only that, but the club is said to be “investigating” the best relievers available, including Wade Davis and Greg Holland.
Just how much cash the Twins will pour into the open market remains an open question. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently explained, though, the organization not only seems ready to contend in a vulnerable AL Central, but has plenty of open future payroll space. That makes it plausible, albeit hardly certain, to imagine the Twins playing in a segment of free agency that is normally off limits.
It’s not difficult to see why these particular pitchers would be of interest. Minnesota is clearly in need of at least one more quality starter and has an obvious opening at the back of the bullpen. As ever, though, getting the players with the greatest pedigree could mean taking uncomfortable amounts of financial risk.
In this case, the expectation remains that Darvish and Arrieta will receive robust interest. MLBTR’s top 50 list features both among the top four players available, with $100MM or more in likely earnings. Meanwhile, Davis and Holland both warranted inclusion at the back of the top ten, with MLBTR predicting four-year deals for each (at $60MM and $50MM, respectively).
There’s always some possibility that markets won’t develop as anticipated, of course. And patience can pay off in free agency. It’ll be interesting to see, then, whether the Twins go chasing these top hurlers out of the gates or instead take a somewhat more opportunistic approach. The club does have interest in second-tier starters and relievers, Heyman notes. It seems possible that such hurlers could be targeted for value early or that the Twins could hold back and see if a particularly enticing opportunity arises over the course of the winter.