Like most of Twins Territory, I’m feeling underwhelmed after the Twins added starting pitchers Homer Bailey and Rich Hill.
Bailey, in particular, doesn’t move the needle very much, and is already being compared to former Twins pitcher Martin Perez. Perez showed up last season with some lackluster numbers as well, but after working with innovative Twins pitching coach, Wes Johnson, the team coaxed 10 wins out of him and he set a career high in strikeouts. I guess the same might be done with Bailey, although remember that Bailey was 1-14 with a 6.09 ERA in 2018 with the Cincinnati Reds.
More promising is stadium provocateur Rich Hill, previously with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He is 65-42 with a 3.82 ERA for his career and has struck out more than 1,000 batters in 937-plus innings over his 15-year career. At the same time, that’s not a lot of innings for that many years in major league baseball. He’s also coming off elbow surgery, so is not expected to be ready until June, and he turns 40 in March.
Here’s how this will work: The Twins will start the season with a rotation of Jake Odorizzi, Jose Berrios and Bailey, as long as he survives spring training, with stop-gap support from Randy Dobnak, Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer. Later, Michael Pineda will return to the rotation after he completes his suspension for using a banned, but not a performance enhancing substance, and then Hill is expected to join the team giving them perhaps a mid-season spark.
Can the Twins win the division with this rotation? Yes, they still can. Can they beat the New York Yankees in the postseason with this rotation? Nope.
Some reaction to the Bailey and Hill signings:
The Twins are guaranteeing $10 million to get innings from Homer Bailey and top-end performance from Rich Hill upon his return from modified Tommy John. It’s a low-risk pair of signings — and leaves them room to go big for a Josh Donaldson. Twins are a very well-thought-of org.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 31, 2019
Tough to get excited about this. I trust this front office and their plan, but it just seems like they came up empty on all their priority targets. This can’t have been Plan A, or B. Or C. https://t.co/qZ1HxX8HGw
— Nick Nelson (@NickNelsonMN) December 31, 2019
I think bringing back Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda were very nice gets for the #MNTwins
I'm not worried about Bailey, and think Hill could be huge.
After the #WinterMeetings Levine said they had "stabilized" the roster, now intending to impact it.
They have yet to do that
— Ted (@tlschwerz) January 5, 2020
-The Twins have apparently made a significant offer for free agent slugging third baseman, Josh Donaldson, but now Donaldson reportedly wants $110 million over the life of the contract, which is thought to be four years. And now the Twins aren’t as optimistic about landing him.
Twins made an offer, thought it was a good one, but now some in Minnesota organization are convinced Josh Donaldson doesn't plan to take it. https://t.co/pZpcid7Ii1
— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) January 4, 2020