We all know the Twins would like to add bullpen help. But, to be more specific, what are they going to do about lefty relievers?
The only lefthanded relievers on the 40-man roster with major league experience are Glen Perkins, Ryan O'Rourke and Logan Darnell. The one prospect who could make a splash in 2016 is Mason Melotakis, a second round pick in 2012 who throw hard but is coming back from Tommy John surgery that ruined his 2015 season.
The Twins need a quality lefty like they need air to breathe.
There are some free agents who fit the bill. Tony Sipp is coming off of his best season as a major leaguer, posting a 1.99 ERA, a 1.03 WHIP, 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings and a ERA+ of 203 (100 is considered league average). There are indications the Twins have sniffed around Sipp, 32, but are they prepared to off him three years for $15-18 million?
Another lefty coming off of a strong season is Antonio Bastardo, 30, who posted a 2.98 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 10.0 K/9 and 129 ERA+.
The Twins-type move would be to take a flyer on someone like Jerry Blevins, who has been effective in the past but has suffered multiple arm fractures (the first one when struck with a line drive in April) over the last year and is on the comeback trail. The Mets, however, are trying to re-sign him.
The Twins are expected to meet sometime this week with the agent for lefthander Neal Cotts, who the Twins traded for in August. He has expressed an interest in coming back and the Twins are willing to talk about it.
There has been no indications of any interest in Brian Duensing, who is now a free agent. It what could (or could not) be a sign of their intentions, Duensing's No. 52 is now being worn by Byung Ho Park.
The deals that some of these relievers have struck over the last couple of days is going to create a secondary tier of free agents that some teams might feast on. It's also leading to more trade talks involving relievers. Texas is even entertaining offers for closer Shawn Tolleson.
The watch is on to see if the Twins will add a bullpen arm. Other teams are beefing up their bullpens. Boston dealt Wade Miley to Seattle on Monday for a package that includes strong-armed Carson Smith. That's Smith, Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara in the late innings. Yikes. And if they shift lefty Roenis Elias, the other piece of the deal, to the bullpen? Yikes.
It's all very interesting. How will the Twins respond? I spoke with someone with the club last week who pointed out that a handful of power arms could be ready this season. And someone who follows farm systems rigorously for a certain website brought that up during a casual conversation today. To me, the Twins have to add at lease one quality arm to the bullpen. And they need a lefty.
In other news, Paul Molitor is set to meet with the media around 5:30 p.m.. then we will meet with Terry Ryan so he can tell us how hard he's been working on deals.
Former Twins Joe Nathan, Matt Guerrier and Jim Hoey are all here. Nathan is updating teams on his comeback from a second Tommy John surgery - with an eye toward hooking on with someone. Guerrier didn't pitch last season but feels great and wants another shot. Hoey, is out of baseball. He works for a digital marketing company that sells scoreboards.
Just heard that Molitor will be a guest on the MLB Network at 5:15.