The Twins have more than a handful of starting pitchers returning next season and could have them compete for a spot in the back of the rotation.
But the Twins want more options. They officially announced the signing of veteran righthander Kevin Correia to a two-year, $10 million contract on Thursday and still plan to add more starting pitching.
Any returning starter will have to earn his spot next season. "We did not pitch well last year," General Manager Terry Ryan said. "We didn't pitch well the year before. We need competition. We need numbers and we need choices.
"We also need someone with experience who has a little bit more of a track record."
That's where Correia, 32, comes in. He was 12-11 with a 4.21 ERA last season with Pittsburgh. He is 60-65 in his major league career with a 4.54 ERA. But the Twins were more interested in his 46-43 record over the last four seasons.
Correia briefly lost his spot in the rotation last summer when the Pirates traded for Wandy Rodriguez, but that doesn't worry the Twins. And they aren't worried about Correia coming to the American League after spending his first 10 seasons in the National League.
The Twins like that Correia throws strikes and gets a lot of grounders. He was eighth in the NL last season with a groundball rate of 51.2 percent.
Although Correia was an All-Star in 2011, he is not the top-of-the-rotation force the Twins have lacked in recent years. But they believe he is an upgrade over what they had last season.
"We are looking for someone we can count on for some consistency," Ryan said. "and [Correia] can take the ball and give that."
Correia joins a rotation that includes lefthander Scott Diamond and righthander Vance Worley. Righthander Kyle Gibson could challenge for a spot in that rotation.
After that, the Twins will have several pitchers in camp fighting for a spot -- which could be an even tougher battle if the Twins sign another free-agent starter, having shown interest in lefthanders Joe Saunders and John Lannan and righthander Brett Myers.