THE TWINS HAVE ACQUIRED A LEGIT STARTER!! OMG!!
FINALLY!! With one trade the Twins bring optimism and excitement back to the organization. We have acquired (RH) Starting Pitcher, Jake Odorizzi from the Tampa Bay Ray’s in exchange for Jermaine Palacios. The Venezuelan-born RH hitter is a young, promising, shortstop prospect in our farm system. SS is a position the Twins have stocked with depth (Polanco, Gordon, Javier, Lewis). To acquire our most clear and dire need, in SP, the Falvine Train unloaded what might be our 4th best SS prospect.
This offseason has been a disappointing and frustrating one to say the least. We were teased with the potential signing of guys like Yu Darvish, Shohei Ohtani, and trade possibilities that included the likes of Chris Archer. But, only to be sold hope that would, once again, turn to let down. Whispers of the “Pohlad pocket protector” mindset were rumored to have been heard around town. Our “small market”, lovable, Twins were unsurprisingly on the same old track to signing former above-average pitchers like Anibal Sanchez (which made Johnny Minnesota as nervous as me), and taking the “wish upon a shooting star” mentality. Trying to find a pitcher with even a glimmer of what he used to be many years ago, at a heavily discounted price… (WEIRD).
I mean hell, we went to arbitration and won with “the roller coaster ride” that is Kyle Gibson (more sarcasm). For a measly $300,000? I know that sounds like a lot of money, and it truly is in OUR world as normal every day people, and even to Kyle Gibson. BUT in Major League Baseball, to the Twins Organization, where there is no salary cap, teams like the Red Sox and Yankees use $300,000 to wipe their overpaid asses in their ownership suites. We have seen this too many times!!
But last night, to all of our surprise, they finally added a bona fide, top-end rotation guy, with a very respectful track record. I found myself singing “We’re gonna win Twins” while tucking my kiddos into bed, tonight. Palacios is a good player (ranked ~20th-best organizational prospect by the writers of the Twins Prospect Handbook at TwinsDaily), but to give up a guy that’s had some injury issues and slightly disappointed, for an above average player in Odorizzi, at a position of great need, who can ALSO contribute immediately, was a HUGE WIN! (Deep breath)
You can imagine my kid’s surprise when I busted the Twins song out… had them checking the window to see if we still had snow.
It’s amazing how one trade can spark a flame of optimism. Especially when the pessimistic feelings towards our organization’s front office ran wild in recent weeks (crickets chirping). I was in disbelief that we wouldn’t even Target our most OBVIOUS need with a realistic viable option. But with one trade the belief kicked in a bit. Especially, with the pitching names that are still available in free agency.
And, Odorizzi still has a year left of arbitration AFTER 2018, meaning the Twins have a stockpile of options after this year. They can sign him long-term or have the arbiters decide his 2019 salary based exactly on his play in 2018. Talk about some motivation for a guy who has seemed plenty motivated throughout his career.
Odorizzi has a career ERA of 3.83. Yes, there are some caution points: his career win-loss record is 40-38, but that’s with the Tampa Bay Rays who have been buried in their division for years, without much help offensively. He also had a barrage of injuries last year, that held him to just 143.1 innings, including this one in August, but he continued to battle back, finishing the season with a 1.03 ERA in September.
Now, like I mentioned earlier there are some intriguing names left in free agency. For instance; Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, and Chris Tillman to name a few. If we can add one of these 4 free agents, where we obviously WON’T have to give up future assets to acquire them, then I’ll be even more ecstatic than I am now (my kids might hate me). I hope the Twins pull out their checkbook for one of these guys. It would turn an obvious weak spot into an above-average in a matter of a few pen strokes. And, we’re talking starting pitching, which has been few and far-between, for our beloved Twins.
Doesn’t that sound nice!!? And, we aren’t even talking about some of the top pitching PROSPECTS who could contribute this season (Gonsalves, Romero, Littel and others). Holy depth! Not to mention the benefits this could add to our relief pitching, as well, which has already been MUCH improved this offseason.
Good job Twins!! You’re on the right path. Of course I could go for some depth in other areas and maybe a DH, but I will just leave it at this, and let the optimism sizzle for a few days.
Minnesota Sports Fan