Like most Twins fans, I’ve been enjoying the warm afterglow of the Josh Donaldson signing these past couple of weeks. Who’s he? He’s the former slugging third baseman of the Atlanta Braves, and a longtime Twins-killer, who agreed to join the Twins on a four-year deal worth $92 million. Donaldson likely brings another 30-home run season to the Twins, as well as one of the best gloves in the game to the hot corner.
But that warm afterglow turned cold after poking around on the internet one day. I came across an MLB.com story which projected the opening day rotations of every team in baseball. Fine, I said, let me scroll through the list to see how they peg the Twins rotation for the 2020 season.
MLB.com decided to start with the American League East, which means I first had to see the projection for the New York Yankees, otherwise known as Twins’ krpytonite. The projected rotation is Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, Luis Severino and J.A. Happ. That’s a formidable group, made even more amazing by the fact that Severino, a former 19-game winner, is viewed as the fourth man in that rotation. Yikes.
I finally got to the Twins’ projected rotation and my heart sank. The Twins, according to MLB.com, expect to enter the 2020 season with Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Homer Bailey, Randy Dobnak and Lewis Thorpe. When it comes to hitting and hitting with power, the Twins can keep pace with any team in baseball. But that rotation matched alongside the Yankees rotation, reminded me that there’s still work to be done to beat the Bombers in the playoffs. Will that rotation beat the Yankees? The answer is still no.
(I was more hopeful about the Twins in my previous post on Jan. 20, but now I’m not so sure).
As I’ve said before, the Twins have nothing left to prove except to beat the Yankees in the postseason. The Twins can win the division, and likely will, but I still think they need that shut down starter for the postseason. Will Michael Pineda or Rich Hill fill that role?
-If the Twins can’t trade for a starter, they can still find arms on the cheap, including Jhoulys Chacin, who has agreed to a minor league deal with the Twins for $1.6 million, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
Jhoulys Chacin is close to deal with #MNTwins
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 1, 2020
But, as MLB Trade Rumors says, “there’s no way around the fact that Chacin ranked as one of the worst baseball starters last year.”
So, the Twins will be hoping to recapture Chacin’s 2018 form, a year in which he won 15 games with a 3.50 ERA and pitched nearly 200 innings.