Beggars can’t be choosers, and the Twins are really in need of some pitching. There’s not much left to pick from even if the Twins had money to spend.
The Star Tribune puts the Twins’ payroll at roughly $96 million after the addition of outfielder Josh Willingham. If they really do plan to have a payroll of around $100 million, that doesn’t leave much left if the team really wants to add arms to the rotation and to a bullpen that finished with the worst ERA in the major leagues last year.
Free-agent starter Roy Oswalt is apparently interested in accepting a one-year deal somewhere, but would he really go to the Twins? And for how much?
I haven’t seen Oswalt’s name linked to the team. The guys that I have heard the Twins might be interested in on KFAN today are a pretty motley crew. I’ll rank ’em:
- 1. Paul Maholm. Sorry, folks. If you’re seeing Maholm at No. 1, this is probably pretty discouraging. He has a 53-73 record in his seven-year career, all spent with Pittsburgh. But a few positives: 1) He’s 29 years old. 2) He carried a sub-3.00 ERA into mid-July last year, but finished at 3.66 before going on the DL with a shoulder strain. 3) Prior to 2011, he has been durable.
- 2. Joel Piniero. The 33-year-old posted a 5.13 ERA in 27 appearances for the L.A. Angels last year. But he was quite good in 2009 and 2010, with ERAs of 3.49 and 3.84 with St. Louis and the Angels in those two years. Like Maholm, he doesn’t miss a lot of bats. But unlike Maholm, he hasn’t been much of a horse. While Maholm missed time last year, he was good for about 180 innings per season. Piniero has eclipsed 155 innings only once since 2006.
- 3. Jeff Francis. Go back four years and Francis was a promising 26-year-old lefty for the Colorado Rockies. But those days are over for Francis. At 31 years old on opening day, Francis is coming off of a ho-hum 2011, going 6-16 with a 4.82 ERA. Opponents hit .301 off of him. He doesn’t get strikeouts anymore. Twins would be wise to avoid this one.