The Minnesota Twins at this writing have the best record and best run differential in baseball, and that’s thanks largely to an MLB-leading home-run total and a rotation that’s been one of the AL’s best. That latter merit, however, doesn’t mean that Twins are satisfied with their current crop of arms. As La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports, the Twins have interest in signing both lefty Dallas Keuchel and closer Craig Kimbrel.
Both Keuchel and Kimbrel remain on the free-agent market. Both received qualifying offers this past offseason, which meant the team that signs them would be forced to forfeit draft picks and under some circumstances international slot money. However, as of Monday — draft day in MLB — that consideration went away, and.
As for the Twins, they presently rank third in the AL in ERA and third in. So while the pitching staff isn’t presently an acute source of need, depth is always welcome for contenders. As well, when it comes to upgrade, it’s about how a present corps projects rather than how it’s performed to date.
When it comes to late-hour upgrades that don’t require a trade, Keuchel and Kimbrel are of course excellent options. The 30-year-old Keuchel is coming off a 2018 season for Houston in which he registered a 3.74 ERA in 204 2/3 innings and won the fourth Gold Glove of his career. For that career, he owns an ERA+ of 108, and three times in the last five years he’s topped 200 innings in a season.
While there’s good reason to think Kimbrel will never again be a true dominator, the 31-year-old still projects as being quite good in 2019. This past season, Kimbrel for the champion Red Sox pitched to a 2.74 ERA/160 ERA+ with a 3.10 K/BB ratio in 62 1/3 innings.
Neal emphasizes that the Twins are interested in signing both Kimbrel and Keuchel. If it comes down to signing one, the Twins have a preference. Give Neal’s story a full read to find out which free agent arm they prefer.