Kevin Correia trade clears path for Twins to plan for 2015 rotation
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MINNEAPOLIS - The Twins on Saturday traded veteran pitcher Kevin Correia to the Dodgers for cash considerations or a player to be named later. He's owed about than $1.6 million the rest of the season. It makes plenty of sense to unload that salary and free up a rotation spot by jettisoning the 33-year-old who almost certainly didn't factor into the 2015 starting rotation.
There's nothing really to analyze about the return for Correia, because it's an unknown. But getting cash or a PTBNL often suggests one team was merely trying to unload that player.
With the Twins now a season-low 13 games below .500, it's worth exploring what the 2015 rotation may look like.
Tommy Milone will be recalled from Triple-A to take Correia's place in the rotation. He'll start Monday night in Houston after making one start for Triple-A Rochester. It's a move that, in a vacuum, appears overdue, but the Twins appear to have incentive to keep Milone in the minors until Monday. Now, he won't reach three years of service time this season and the Twins can have him under team control for four seasons instead of three.
Could he earn a spot in the 2015 rotation?
In short, yes, but there will be competition.
Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco are set in stone, leaving three available spots.
Then there's Kyle Gibson, who has spent this whole season in the rotation with reasonable success. He doesn't appear to have ace potential -- he has struck out about 5 batters per 9 innings -- but his high ground ball rate means he could remain a solid-average starting rotation option.
Milone, who came to the Twins from Oakland in the Sam Fuld trade, has 468 2/3 Major League innings. We have a fairly good idea of what the 27-year-old contributes. Milone has 339 strikeouts and 105 walks in the big leagues. He has a 3.84 ERA, and a 4.13 FIP, which may be a better predictor of his future ERA. He has a fastball in the high-80s (averages 87 mph). He was 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA (4.42 FIP) this season before the A's built a super rotation and he asked to be traded after being optioned to the minors.
Don't forget the Twins have Mike Pelfrey under contract for another season.
Then there are starters like Kris Johnson, Logan Darnell, Yohan Pino, Sam Deduno(?), who could figure into the equation if things don't go according to hope with higher upside pitchers.
If we're projecting, though, I'll take the highest upside:
- Alex Meyer
- Phil Hughes
- Ricky Nolasco
- Kyle Gibson
- Trevor May