12:04pm: The Twins announced that right-hander Josh Staumont has been signed to a one-year deal, and the Athletic’s Dan Hayes (X link) reports that Staumont will earn slightly less than $1MM. Staumont was projected to earn a $1.7MM arbitration salary this winter, but the Royals designated him for assignment in November and he elected free agency rather than an accept an outright assignment. Staumont is represented by Excel Sports Management.
The righty dominated Twins hitters to the tune of an 0.90 ERA over 20 career innings against Minnesota, so the Twins have seen plenty of Staumont over his five seasons in Kansas City. The results were pretty good overall for Staumont in his first three seasons, as he posted a 2.93 ERA and 26.7% strikeout over 110 2/3 relief innings from 2019-21. However, a 4.07 SIERA, .268 BABIP, and an 11.4% walk rate in that same stretch hinted that some regression was coming, and Staumont’s luck turned over the last two seasons.
Staumont has a 6.09 ERA over 57 2/3 innings since Opening Day 2023, with an ungainly 15.9% walk rate contributing to his issues. Injuries played a role in both tough seasons, yet Staumont’s chief concern is now getting healthy after a thoracic outlet syndrome surgery last July. The exact nature of Staumont’s TOS procedure isn’t known, and given how the treatment is still relatively new, there isn’t yet a lengthy track record of pitchers who returned from TOS surgeries to pitch effectively at the big league level.
Minnesota obviously felt good enough about Staumont’s recovery to give him a big league contract, and it could be a long-term play since Staumont is arbitration-controlled through the 2025 season. If Staumont is able to recover and get back to his early-career form, he could be a very nice low-cost add for the Twins bullpen (and from an AL Central rival, no less). The deal is also a nice late birthday present for Staumont, who just turned 30 last week.
The Twins haven’t done much beyond a few minor league signings this offseason, as the club may still be figuring how to balance both payroll cuts and a sturdy defense of its AL Central title. A low-cost and low-risk signing like Staumont may not be a huge factor in Minnesota’s spending plans since adding inexpensive and potentially high-upside relief pitching is standard business for any team, yet naturally these are the types of deals that can pay particularly big dividends for lower-payroll teams.