Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Minnesota Twins need starting pitching - Top 30 Targets Part 1

Every single Twins fan knows that the Twins need starting pitching and every single Twins fan has an opinion on who the Twins should sign to address that need.  I am just as opinionated as the next guy, possibly even more so.  In fact, I'm the most opinionated person you know.  I'll prove it.  WHO WANTS TO ARM WRESTLE?  Well, I have my own plan for the Twins' money, and you're about to read all about it. 

Before I start, I did complete a similar exercise with the offense last week.  First, I looked at infielders, then I looked at outfield and catcher.  Check them out, I have crazy ideas.  Oh, and if you were wondering if I wanted the Twins to sign Marlon Byrd, I did. 

Before I address starting pitching, let's talk relievers.  I'd target zero notable relievers.  First, The Twins bullpen was pretty great last year.  Second, I don't think the Twins are looking at a major turnaround in 2014.  I could see a 5 to 10 win improvement, if they make sharp moves, but the playoffs aren't happening.  Third, Glen Perkins is awesome and entrenched as the closer.  Normally, I'd be all for signing a reclamation project like Ryan Madson, inserting him as closer, pray it works and then collect fat prospect profit in July.  That's not really an option with an established closer getting in the way of cheap saves. 

The Twins have too many holes to screw around with relievers on anything more than minor league lottery ticket contracts or really small deals worth little cheddar and one year of service.


I did this last Fall and I totally nailed zero Twins' signings.  I predicted Shaun Marcum, Scott Baker and  either Joe Saunders or Jeremy Guthrie.  0 fer a billion, dummy.  To avoid another huge, embarrassing failure, I'm going to hold off on predictions unless prompted by a petition of 10,000 signatures.  Instead, I'll just outline who I would target, if the Twins made the horrible decision to put a social studies teacher in charge of their multi-million dollar enterprise. 

Instead, I'm ranking them!  If I knew how, I'd create a slideshow and post it on Bleacher Report or Buzzfeed or Fandango or whatever.  Instead, we'll count 'em down TRL style.  I looked at a variety of factors, including age, potential contract, stuff, velo, nicknames, juggling ability and tapas.  I whittled down to a top 30, for the children.  If your favorite pitcher didn't make the top 30, just know that I hate that pitcher and I probably don't much care for you either. 

Let's get it!

30.  Jair Jurrjens

Remember when this was a fashionable choice?  Jurrjens was awful at AAA last year and still one of the 30 highest rated starters available on my list.  PPPPPPPPPPPASSS.

29.  Barry Zito

Easily the most handsome player on this list.  If the Twins signed Zito, you'd have to hope he came with a time machine or a baseball-throwing machine or something.  Zito looks cooked.  He gave up massive quantities of hits.  His 58 ERA+ is impressive because it's really hard to accomplish that figure without getting sent to the Minors or released outright. 

Maybe I should have done a top 25...  Lannan is nothing special, except he is unlike 6/7ths of our population.  That's a stupid way of saying he's left-handed.  His peripheral stats are poor, but he has had a couple of good seasons in his life.  He's the type of pitcher the Twins like, so you just never know.  If you put Lannan in a rotation with Kevin Correia, things will happen.  Those things might lead to sadness, but that doesn't mean they won't happen.

He's a sentimental choice, I'll admit.  However, Slowey wouldn't be the worst player to bring in on a cheap, one-year deal.  He still posts elite walk rates and better than average strikeout rates.  He can't stay healthy and he gets hit a lot.  It's not ideal.  If the Twins are going to go cheap, at least they could bring back their whipping boy.  I'd love to hear the FSN dudes try to butter him up and get a new signed ball from him. 

It's just too sad.  Halladay is a potential Hall of Famer, but he looked sad last year.  I can't bear to watch it and I'd hope the Twins Front Office can't bear it either.  That being said, mad upside, bro.

Messenger's a bit of a hipster pick, if you ask me.  He's been in Japan for four seasons and... what, he re-signed in Japan?  Oh, that really ruins my list.  Luckily I had him at 25 and was just planning to make a bunch of hipster jokes anyway.  They weren't funny.  You didn't miss out.

Man, if only he was still Fausto Carmona.  Hernandez had a decent season with Tampa Bay, mostly because they only make smart moves.  The Twins should totally wiretap the Rays.  Actually, his ERA was near 5 and he only won 6 games.  He did post a 2.97 K:BB ratio, but that's just one number and most of his other numbers are unimpressive. 

Nope, not doing it.  He throws hard but he also wears his hat poorly.  More importantly, he walks a lot of batters and I'm just not ok with that.  His career WHIP is over 1.5 and his career ERA+ is 83.  He was excellent in 2008, but so was the housing market.  Or maybe not.  I don't really know stuff.

No one once called him Mike Smelfry.  Not once.  Bringing him back for another season could right that injustice.  Some will argue that Pelfrey was better in the second half.  Those people would be right, but he basically improved from terribly unwatchable, to just unwatchable.   His strikeout rate jumped in the second half, but his walk rate jumped alongside.  He did post his best strikeout rate of his career in 2013, but I doubt that had anything to do with being a Twin.  If you want to ride the Smelfry Roller Coaster again in 2014, you've got some sort of thrill disorder.  He's still not the worst option though.  See numbers 29 and 30.

21.  Shaun Marcum

Marcum is effective when healthy.  Of course, saying "if healthy" in this case is about as useful as saying "if a dinosaur trained to throw baseballs."  You can't wish it true, no matter how great/awesome it would be.  The Twins could sign Marcum, get a lucky healthy season from him and potentially trade him for some assets, but that is a best-case, dinosaur fantasy of a scenario.  It's likely better to aim higher. 

I'm exhausted from all this mediocrity.  We'll resume the top 30 later today and get to some really interesting names.  They're all pipe dreams, but it's still fun.  See you soon!

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