Reminder: The Twins are Still an Ace Short of Being World Series Contenders

Photo: Jim Mone – Associated Press

Although we are only ten games into the regular season, the Minnesota Twins have racked up one of the best records in Major League Baseball, showing that 2019 was no fluke. In 2020 though, they’re a baseball-mashing lineup that’s improved from last year and shutdown bullpen…that might be our best ever.

Yet, one problem still lingers…if the Twins want to win the World Series, Jose Berrios cannot be their ace starting pitcher. The Twins still lack the heavies needed at the top of a rotation, once playoff baseball rolls around.

Yes, the current starting rotation should be applauded. It’s been a patchwork of a role-call, due to Jake Odorizzi and Homer Bailey’s time on the injured list. Rich Hill also just hit the IL during Monday night’s game. All of this, and Jose Berrios is yet to be the dominant force that fans and pundits expect him to be.

Sure, he had a better game today. Jose is one of the most talented pitchers in the league. His stuff is NASTY… but he’s also a rollercoaster to watch and follow. That’s not the way it should be at the top of a playoff-ready rotation.

Utilizing a middle of the pack rotation is something we have rarely seen work (only the 2015 Royals come to mind in recent memory). Every World Series winning staff seemingly boasts one or two aces…but the Twins have none and they don’t have anyone whose been able to stretch games out yet in 2020.

That may be due to the quick ramp-up of the season, but could also be indicative of the quality of talent on the team. If the Twins want their best shot at winning their first title since 1991, they have only one option. Trade for an ace.


I love Jose Berrios. He has the moxie and work ethic to become a great ace pitcher. Yet at 26-years old, you have to question how much better he can become. He has shown continual signs of progression over the past few seasons but something always seems to hold him back…

In 2016, the issues were everywhere. In 2017, it was his WHIP (1.229) and command (3.0 BB/9). Then, he couldn’t keep the ball inside the ballpark in 2018 and 2019. Now in 2020, it looks to be a mixed bag again. He’s only started twice and each outing has been frustrating. Berrios allowed five runs early to the White Sox and then lost his duel to bonafide ace in Shane Bieber of the Indians.

It is still too early to tell if Jose will pull it together, but the Twins can’t currently rely on Berrios to be a top dog come playoffs. Being one sixth of the way through the season already, doesn’t help either.

Berrios appears to be best suited for the second or third spot in a good playoff rotation. Sandwich him between a potential ace and either Kenta Maeda or Jake Odorizzi. This would alleviate the pressure on him, to be an ace, so he can focus on what he does best: utilizing his curveball and setting up batters up and in or down and away. It would also give him the chance to improve his movement, velocity, and control along the way.


That is the issue in 2020. With a truncated 60-game season and the trade deadline already closing in (August 31), there’s not much time to put together a blockbuster trade. It’s unknown what teams will be even be willing to part with or go after a player. A lot more teams will have a shot at the playoffs and COVID throws in another variable…

There are some guys out there the Twins could at least target, though. Three pitchers that immediately come to mind are Trevor Bauer to Sonny Gray or Ryan Yarbrough. But all of the “ace” pitchers could have massive asking prices because they are integral to their teams’ successes. Again, expanded playoffs give teams hope, who normally wouldn’t have any.


If a team were willing to open up negotiations, expect them to ask for prospects…and a lot of them.

I could see the Twins offering up Randy Dobnak and a slew of middle-tiered prospects. That likely won’t be enough though. The mix will probably have to include some of the young, up-and-coming Twins core. That means we could have to say goodbye to Alex Kiriloff, Trevor Larnach, or maybe Royce Lewis to get the deal done.

Do the Minnesota Twins make a massive move like that for a potential one or two-year rental? Can they find a deal that would be more than a one or two-year guy?

Personally, I don’t believe they will. The expanded playoffs have thrown a curveball into the equation. Bubble teams could be more apt to keep potential aces for a better shot in the expanded playoff even if it doesn’t benefit their long-term outlook.

The point still stands. The Twins need to go after an ace and go after one hard or their 2020 run will come to an end sooner than a deep playoff run. If baseball has shown us anything in recent years, especially the 2019 Twins, it’s that high-end pitching is what wins you games in October.

Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan

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