Twins Still Want to Bulk Up Pitching Rotation; Open to Trade for Front-Line Starter

MLB: Grapefruit League-Press Conference
Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins had a mostly quiet and slow-moving offseason. I say ‘had’ because the offseason is over. In case you hadn’t heard, pitchers and catchers reported to spring training earlier this week and position players, who weren’t already there, are due to arrive in Fort Myers today.

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But as is often the case, since Derek Falvey took over as Twins’ president of baseball operations, that doesn’t mean the team’s front office is finished wheeling and dealing. According to Bobby Nightengale (Star Tribune), the Twins are still looking to beef up their starting rotation, and open to adding more right-handed hitting outfield depth.

The Twins are still searching for more pitching depth — like many teams — and there is room to add a righthanded-hitting outfielder.

Bobby Nightengale – Star Tribune

Minnesota Twins still open to adding front-line starting pitcher

Derek Falvey Minnesota Twins : Grapefruit League - Press Conference
Photo: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the type of starting pitcher the Twins might be interested in, Nightengale Jr. reports that they’re open to adding either (a) more rotation depth or (b) a higher-end “frontline” option; the latter of which would have to come via trade, as the team still plans to cut payroll.

In other words, there are still some big fish on the trade block and the Twins haven’t stopped being interested.

Payroll estimates have the Twins at around $120 million and Derek Falvey, Twins president of baseball operations, said they were still looking to add to the roster after signing Santana and Jackson to one-year contracts. The club carried a team-record payroll above $155 million last year, and it might drop by around $25 million.

Unlikely to fit a top free-agent starting pitcher into the budget, their best chance to add a frontline starting pitcher is likely through a trade and it would probably require parting with one of their top prospects in addition to any major leaguers.

Bobby Nightengale – Star Tribune

Remember, Max Kepler is still on the Twins’ roster and his trade value is expected to be higher than what Falvey got back for Jorge Polanco (which was a lot). If a team comes along — White Sox (Dylan Cease), Guardians (Shane Bieber — with the right pitcher and they’re willing to take back Kepler, along with a big prospect package, a deal could very well still happen.

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It’s worth noting, however, that both of the above teams are in the AL Central, which could make completing a deal more difficult. Nonetheless, we know the Twins have checked on Cease in the past and we know Cleveland is willing to work with anyone, if you give them the right price on one of their trade block pieces.

At this point, given all of the talk around payroll cuts and the Pohlads going back to their wallet-tightening ways, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the Minnesota Twins make a blockbuster move before they leave Fort Myers for Minneapolis.

But in reality, given how many Spring Training transactions this front office has made inthe past, it’s always been more likely that a big deal would happen later, rather than earlier. It’s clear Falvey plans to add another arm to the rotation, or at least to battle for a rotation spot. How good that pitcher will be, I don’t think they have any idea yet. It all depends on what kind of offer or trade talks they happen to fall into between now and Opening Day.

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