There has been plenty of speculation about which pitchers the Twins are going to target in free agency and/or trades this offseason. But now that our guy La Velle E. Neal III is in Nashville for the Winter Meetings, there is at least a little more substance to the names being tossed around. While GM Terry Ryan is basically talking to everyone, he said, these names are known, per La Velle:
The Twins arrived at the winter meetings interested in righthanders Joe Blanton, Brett Myers, Kevin Correia, Jair Jurrjens and Brandon McCarthy and lefthanders John Lannan and former Twin Francisco Liriano. The Twins are one of at least six teams interested in Blanton, who has reduced his walk rate in each of his past three seasons. They were expected to meet with agents for Liriano and McCarthy sometime Monday. They also remain one of several teams interested in the ground ball-inducing Lannan.
Let's rank those seven pitchers, quickly, in order of how enthusiastic we would be if the Twins acquired them:
Brandon McCarthy: When health, McCarthy has upside -- good walk rate, misses some bats and could project to be more of a mid-to-upper rotation guy than just filler.
Jair Jurrjens: Again, an injury risk and a guy who seems to have lost his way. But in 2011, he was 12-3 with a sub-2.00 ERA before the All-Star break. So he has put up dominant numbers. On a reasonable one-year deal with an option? Yes, please.
Brett Myers: He's logged more than 190 innings in a season six times, and he's made at least 30 starts seven times. At 32, he's younger than we thought he was. Look at his strikeouts, too. He's a mid-rotation guy, not a bottom of the rotation guy.
Joe Blanton: Classic innings-eater. A downgraded version of Myers.
Francisco Liriano: His upside remains tantalizing, but we've had too many bites of that apple already to be excited about potential.
John Lannan: Classic pitch-to-contact guy. A left-handed version of a competent Nick Blackburn.
Kevin Correia: Mediocre career numbers, all in the National League.
What could we live with in 2013: One of the top three and one of the bottom four.
Your thoughts, please, in the comments.