At the start of this off-season, the Twins began a frantic journey to find solid starting pitching. The starting pitching looked bleak last year, resulting in a 96-loss season. The Twins had to take desperate measures to make the team better. So far, they have fired 6 of 8 coaches and signed a whole slew of starting pitchers, while trading away their two starting center fielders.
On December 21, the Twins signed another starting pitcher with great potential: free agent pitcher Rich Harden to a Minor League deal. Harden’s contract details haven’t been released, but General Manager Terry Ryan indicated that he received a Spring Training invitation. For most of his career, which started in 2003, Harden pitched for the Oakland Athletics. During seven years at Oakland, Harden went 40-23 with a 3.65 ERA and recorded 614 strikeouts. Harden has also pitched for Texas and the Chicago Cubs, where he racked up 19 wins and 335 strikeouts in three seasons. Harden missed all of 2012 because of shoulder surgery but he believes he’ll be ready in February. I am really hoping that the Twins will try Harden out in the fifth spot of the starting rotation right away.
The Twins will have a new-look starting rotation in 2013 because so many pitchers have gone elsewhere or want to join a new team. Scott Baker signed a deal with the Chicago Cubs in November, Francisco Liriano (although not with the Twins at the end of last season) just signed a two-year deal with Pittsburgh, and Carl Pavano is still a free agent. Plus, the Twins look like they are losing confidence in Nick Blackburn.
Here is my Twins starting rotation if the season started today: 1. Scott Diamond (12-9 with a 3.54 ERA last year); 2. Kevin Correia (12-11 with a 4.21 ERA last year for Pittsburgh); 3. Vance Worley (6-9 with a 4.20 ERA last year for Philadelphia); 4. Mike Pelfrey (pitched 3 games last year with the New York Mets; coming off Tommy John Surgery); 5. Rich Harden (didn’t pitch in 2012 because of right shoulder surgery; could move up in rotation if he performs well).
And there’s a report that the Twins are talking to free agent pitcher Freddy Garcia, who pitched for the Yankees in 2012. Will he be the newest Twin? I feel the Twins are good with pitching and it’s time to start looking for hitting.
Written by: Michael L. Sack