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Tuesday (Three thoughts about the Twins and Kevin Correia) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Professional baseball, Twins fans Updated: December 11, 2012 - 8:44 AM

The Twins have reportedly signed 32-year-old righthanded starter Kevin Correia to a two-year, $10 million deal. Here are three quick thoughts about the move:

1) Did we say pitch to contact is dead? What we meant is it's dead in the future, when those power arms are ready. For now, Correia slots into the back end of the Twins' rotation as a classic strike-throwing, low-strikeout guy. As he has found more consistent success over the past two years, Correia's strikeout totals have dipped below five per nine innings. But his walk rate has also been very tood (2.3 one year, 2.4 the other). One red flag, though, is that he has been throwing in a ballpark in Pittsburgh friendly to pitchers the past two years (though the odd thing is that in his All-Star year of 2011 he was waaaaaay better on the road than at home). Another red flag is that he has been a National League pitcher his whole career. We saw what happened last year when Jason Marquis, a career NLer, switched leagues. It wasn't pretty.

2) This signing underscores the slide of Nick Blackburn. Because if you look at just the raw numbers over the past couple years, Correia is "Decent Nick Blackburn." That is to say -- roughly a .500 record, low walks, low strikeouts and at least functional innings in the back of the rotation. Blackburn, under contract still for $5.5 million in 2013 -- about what Correia will make, one would assume based on the two-year deal -- would have rendered this signing unnecessary if he was still at 2008-2010 levels.

3) If the Twins are going to sign two free agent pitchers, which they really need to do, this had best be the lesser of the two moves. Correia is at least an upgrade over some of their internal options, but he doesn't seem to have a ton of upside aside from eating 180-200 innings. Their other signing needs to at least have the potential to be a No. 2 starter -- when on, when healthy, when whatever -- because there is still money for Terry Ryan to spend, there are still a few pitchers available that fit, and there is a fan base that wants to see the Twins at least try to be competitive in 2013 even if this is a bridge year to the future.

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