After the signing of pitcher Ervin Santana on December 13, the Twins continued their mission to tug in more pitching. The Twins have made signing pitchers their main goal the past few off-seasons because they have struggled mightily in that position. These three additions won’t bring the Twins to the playoffs but could play a role in the 2015 season.
- On December 16, the Twins and free agent pitcher Wil Ledezma agreed to a minor league contract with an invite to Spring Training. Ledezma last pitched in the Majors in 2011 with the Dodgers. During his nine-year career, Ledezma has a 15-25 record with a 5.40 ERA. Ledezma also has 283 strikeouts with 40 starts under his belt. After being released from Los Angeles in 2012, Ledezma went overseas to play with Aragua in Venezuela, and later for Yucatan in Mexico, where he maintained good velocity. This signing is low-risk and it will create more competition between the pitchers.
- Seven days later, the club inked another free agent pitcher named Tim Stauffer to a one-year, $2.2 million deal. Stauffer has spent his entire nine-year career in the San Diego organization. Having made 73 starts, Stauffer has a record of 32-34 with 435 strikeouts. Stauffer also has given up 58 home runs. He will likely pitch out of the bullpen in 2015, but Stauffer may spot start if needed.
- The Twins still had one more pitcher to sign in 2014 as they grabbed Blaine Boyer off the market on New Year’s Eve. Boyer agreed to a minor league deal with him earning $750,000 if he makes the Twins roster. Boyer can opt out March 30 if he fails to make the big league pitching staff. Boyer’s career started in 2005 with Atlanta where he spent five years going 6-9 with 191 strikeouts. After he left the Braves, Boyer spent the next five years on four different NL teams. Last year, Boyer pitched in 32 games with San Diego, striking out 29. He pitched for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan during the 2013 season. If he makes the team, Boyer will certainly be added to the bullpen.
As there are under 3 weeks until Spring Training starts down in Florida, don’t look for the Twins to make any drastic adds. Although, GM Terry Ryan expressed interest in adding one more power bat earlier this off-season and has kept track of former Twin Johan Santana in the past few weeks. However, after Santana was done pitching in Venezuela for several teams last week, he was having some shoulder discomfort. It will be interesting moving forward to see if the Twins make an offer to Santana. In the meantime, the Twins look pretty content on bringing this roster to Spring Training, which will feature phenoms Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano.
Written by: Michael L. Sack