After finishing up business with the outfield last week and saying good-bye to Michael Cuddyer, the Twins seem to be moving on to more dire needs in pitching. The Twins’ starting pitching was dreadful last year, resulting in a 99-loss season. The 2011 starting pitching statistics were awful: the Twins gave up 551 runs, 1086 hits, 112 home runs, and 286 walks (source: ESPN). Obviously, the Twins must start to find improved pitchers to give the starting rotation more hope for 2012. The Twins found an all-star pitcher this week and there are reports that the team is looking at a marquee pitcher.
On December 22, the Twins signed free-agent pitcher Jason Marquis to a one-year contract worth $3 million. Marquis pitched for Washington and Arizona last year before a batted ball struck him in August, fracturing his right fibula. Marquis has pitched for 6 teams in his first 12 seasons in MLB. During his career, he has a 4.55 ERA and 974 strikeouts. Marquis also pitched in the 2009 MLB All-Star Game for Colorado. Next season will be his first pitching in the American League, which surprised some people as he was a great hitting pitcher, winning the National League Silver Sluggers Award in 2005. Marquis will fill the back of the Twins starting rotation, with Brian Duensing likely moving to the bullpen.
This week free-agent pitcher Roy Oswalt informed all MLB teams that he is now looking for a one-year deal. Previously, Oswalt told teams that he was looking for three years. This triggered interest from more teams, including the Twins, Toronto, Boston, and Miami. Before joining Philadelphia in 2010, Oswalt was a dynamic pitcher for Houston for many years. In his 10-year career with the Astros, he had a 3.24 ERA and racked up 1593 strikeouts. If Oswalt lands with the Twins, he would fit well in the first slot in the rotation, with Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano following him.
It will be exciting to see what the Twins do now with the starting rotation. Oswalt would help Marquis a great deal. But, I think the Twins are going to need to sign a big name pitcher if they don’t agree to a deal with the three-time All-Star.
Written by: Michael L. Sack