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TwinsCentric: Lottery tickets

Posted by: Nick Nelson Updated: October 10, 2012 - 12:13 AM

Five spots in next year's rotation. One guy locked in.

It's hard to look at the daunting uncertainty in Minnesota's rotation as a good thing, but there are some fringe benefits to the situation. One is that it may be easier for Terry Ryan to lure in pitchers who are left without a seat and forced to sign minor-league contracts when the music stops on this offseason's free agent class.

There could be quite a few of those guys standing around in January and February. While every pitcher would like a guaranteed big-league deal, there may not be enough to go around for this deep group, especially considering the risk involved with some of the names below.

These are just a few examples of pitchers that could miss out on big-league deals due to miserable 2012 campaigns. There's virtually no risk involved with a minor-league contract, and many of these pitchers would carry considerable reward.

Roberto Hernandez - RHP
2012 Stats:
14.1 IP, 0-3, 7.53 ERA, 2/3 K/BB, 1.40 WHIP

It's been a tough year for the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona. In the aftermath of his false identity scandal, he spent the first half of the season in the Dominican Republic waiting on a U.S. visa, then served a three-week suspension upon his return to the States in July. When he finally rejoined the Indians, he pitched horribly for three starts and then missed all of September with an ankle injury. Ouch.

Hernandez has plenty of baggage and has certainly been more bad than good in his big-league career, but he was effective as recently as 2010, when he put up a 3.77 ERA in 210 innings, and at 32 he's hardly ancient. His career ground ball rate of 58.5 percent is elite.

Chien-Ming Wang - RHP
2012 Stats:
32.1 IP, 2-3, 6.68 ERA, 15/15 K/BB, 2.01 WHIP

The Nationals signed Wang to a one-year, $4 million deal last offseason – a sizable sum considering that he'd pitched only 104 innings in the prior three years thanks to shoulder problems.

The good news is that Wang's shoulder stayed intact this year. The bad news is… well, everything else. He suffered a hamstring injury in spring training, then after returning in May he missed time due a hip injury, and between those drawn-out ailments he struggled mightily in both the majors and minors.

He hasn't been healthy and effective since 2007, but it's worth noting that he won 19 games in back-to-back years for the Yankees and at 32 there's still a chance he could rediscover that heavy sinker.

Jonathan Sanchez - LHP
2012 Stats: 64.2 IP, 1-9, 8.07 ERA, 45/53 K/BB, 2.09 WHIP

After acquiring him from the Giants during the offseason for Melky Cabrera, the Royals watched Sanchez absolutely implode, posting a 7.76 ERA while allowing a .937 OPS and handing out more walks than strikeouts. They unloaded him on the Rockies midway through the year and he was even worse during three starts for Colorado before being shut down for the year.

It was one of the worst campaigns we've seen from a pitcher in some time, but Sanchez had been an effective pitcher in San Francisco for three years prior to his trade to Kansas City, overcoming his shaky control with a gaudy strikeout rate to post a 3.75 ERA from 2009 to 2011. He'll turn only 30 this offseason. Does any of that previous ability still reside within him?

Bartolo Colon - RHP
2012 Stats: 152.1 IP, 10-9, 3.43 ERA, 91/23 K/BB, 1.21 WHIP

Colon is a different type of case from the guys above in that the anticipated lack of interest in him this winter has nothing to do with his performance over the past season. He was actually very good for the A's… up until he was suspended for 50 games in August after testing positive for Testosterone.

After his travesty of a Cy Young in 2005, Colon failed to reach even 100 innings in four consecutive years and was then out of the game in 2010. He came back last year with the Yankees at age 38 and was shockingly good, and this year with the A's he was even better. Of course, now we might know why. Tough to see the Twins giving him a chance but who knows, maybe he can keep the magic working even without the juice.

~~~

Once you're done here, head over to Twins Daily and check out Seth's Q&A session with Twins' pitching prospect Kyle Gibson, who is getting ready to pitch in the Arizona Fall League.

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Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
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HR: MIN- None BAL- N.Cruz (36), N.Hundley (4)

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NY Mets 6 Bottom 8th Inning
Miami 6
Philadelphia 7 FINAL
Atlanta 0
Boston 3 Top 10th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 6 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4
Pittsburgh 4 Top 7th Inning
St. Louis 2
Milwaukee 2 Top 7th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Detroit 2 Top 1st Inning
Cleveland 0
Seattle 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Oakland 2
San Francisco 2 Suspended
Colorado 2
Arizona 0 Top 1st Inning
San Diego 0
San Francisco - T. Hudson 4:40 PM
Colorado - F. Morales
Washington - G. Gonzalez 7:10 PM
Los Angeles - R. Hernandez
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
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Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
Utah State 7 FINAL
Tennessee 38
SMU 0 FINAL
(10) Baylor 45
Miami-Florida 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 30 FINAL
Saskatchewan 35
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 3:30 PM
Calgary
Indiana 14 1st Qtr 1:38
Chicago 14
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