A various assortment of links on the Minnesota Twins, plus a thought on the team’s biggest need:
- Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman says that Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is interested in re-signing shortstop Orlando Cabrera, but only if he’s willing to move to second base. Nick Punto would play third base, and newly acquired J.J. Hardy would play shortstop.
- Starting pitcher Carl Pavano is giving the Twins the first chance to sign him, according to Joe Christensen of the Strib.
- Also from Christensen, Twins general manager Bill Smith says he would like to add one or two veteran starting pitchers.
And that brings me to what I think is the Twins’ biggest need. The one thing that had to be taken from the Twins’ playoff series against the New York Yankees – besides the fact that the offense disappeared once again – is the need for an ace.
John Lackey, who pitched for the Los Angeles Angels this past season, is on the free-agent market, but are the Twins willing to spend that kind of money? I’m guessing not.
No, the Twins will probably go cheap. I have to think the chances of Pavano ending up in a Twins’ uniform again are pretty good, but the Twins should use caution. Yeah, Pavano was durable this season, but don’t forget his time in New York.
So how do you get an ace? The Twins likely won’t sign Lackey, and they’re probably not trading for Roy Halladay of Toronto. The one way to do it is take a chance. And that chance might come in the form of Rich Harden.
Harden, a free agent who pitched for the Chicago Cubs, has had well-documented injury problems throughout his career. But the Twins might need to roll the dice on a heavily incentive-laden deal to try and corral his power arm.
Harden pitched effectively for the Cubbies last season, striking out 171 in 141 innings. However, that number of innings represents the third-most innings he’s ever pitched in a single season. The Twins reportedly showed interest in the right-hander.
Harden has the stuff to match up against the best pitchers a team is going to run into during the postseason.
It’s possible Harden could go the route of Joe Crede, playing reasonably well while healthy, but ultimately not being healthy when a team really needs him. But if the Twins are going to find their ace – and they plan to go cheap again – this might be the answer.