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ESPN analyst tabs Lance Lynn as a good fit for the Twins

If you’re a rebuilding team like the Detroit Tigers, what’s the point of signing Yu Darvish?

That fundamental question is one of the primary reasons, in my opinion, we’re seeing a slow-moving free agent market. A lot of front offices now seem to hold the belief that if you’re not in a position to make the postseason or to win the World Series, spending big bucks on the big-name free agents goes beyond a pointless exercise – it can be detrimental. The tanking strategy worked for Theo Epstein and the Chicago Cubs, it’s worked for Jeff Luhnow and the Houston Astros, and now all the bad teams in baseball are emboldened to play the long game, rather than spend money every winter to try to keep pace.

So here we sit in mid-January with plenty of good players out there, including the next target of the Minnesota Twins: starting pitchers. Yu Darvish is the best one, but he comes at a cost. Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn are regarded as the next-best available starters. Each would make Minnesota’s rotation better, and each of them would cost a draft pick, except for Darvish.

In a column published for ESPN, writer Travis Sawchik pegged the Twins as one of four teams with the greatest need for starting pitching. A great starting pitcher can do wonders for a fringe-postseason team like Minnesota.

Sawchik pegged the Twins as a good spot for free agent starter Lance Lynn. That’s because Lynn is one of the consensus four best starters available, and based on the money ESPN anticipates the Twins have available to spend, Lynn is the affordable option. Here’s an excerpt from the column:

According to Craig Edwards’ payroll-space analysis, the Twins have about $20 million in spending power this offseason. Although the Twins have been connected to the top starting pitcher in free agency in Yu Darvish, he could exceed the budget their front office has been given. Let’s consider an alternative: Lance Lynn. Although Lynn doesn’t have ace upside, he is more affordable.

It should be noted, though, that the Twins have not publicly put a limitation on what they could spend on payroll this winter. Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey said this weekend at TwinsFest that he feels he has the support of ownership to spend money.

“If we bring a good baseball decision to Jim Pohlad, I’m certain we’ll have support for it. … Any player we want to add through the course of this conversation, it won’t be a budget limitation,” Falvey said.

Falvey also said this weekend that the Twins will “stay engaged” in a group of names at the top end of the starting pitching market, as well as “guys that we think as value-adds that can help us.”

Wetmore: Should the Twins be interested in any of the ‘Big 4’ starting pitchers at the rumored asking price?

  • Topgunn

    Lynn is nowhere near the pitcher Darvish is. What is the value of the forfeited draft choice? That’s a hidden cost of signing or trading for someone other than Darvish. Budgets in a business are constantly evaluated and re-evaluated. I believe Darvish is the type of pitcher that pushes the Twins in a way to re-evaluate. Last week Thad Levine said something at a Twins caravan in Rochester I found interesting, but there was no time for a question to clarify. Levine said something to this effect: There is still a way to add a starting pitcher or two to the mix.” “A starting pitcher OR TWO.” My question would have been” “Would you ever consider going BIG Mr. Levine? How about signing Yu Darvish and trading prospects to the Rays for Chris Archer? As long as Royce Lewis is not involved, other than Nick Gordon, what do knowledgeable Twins fans think it would take to get Archer? A rotation with Darvish & Archer at the top with an up and coming Berrios and a solid veteran in Santana, THAT’s a rotation that could compete with any team in the A.L. Especially with the offense the Twins boast and the bullpen Levine and Falvey have put together for 2018.

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    • fritzdahmus

      Twins officials say a lot of things at those Twins Caravan Promo Tours.

      But maybe Levine and Falvey can talk Pohlad into believing these young superstars need veteran starters….or the money you spend to keep these young superstars….will be wasted. I would buy that logic….but I’m not Pohlad.

      I like your thoughts….but I will eat my house if we sign Darvish AND get Archer in a trade. 😉

  • fritzdahmus

    This idea that the Cubs rebuilt their team from the ground up with draft choices and shrewd trades while “tanking”……is nonsense.

    They bought many pieces of that team and – yes – already had some farm talent from from their “tanking” days. But they bought Wade Davis, the Yankee closer, 2 starters, the manager, the MVP of the series, and I’m sure I am missing someone else. And I bet people wrote articles at that time, explaining why their moves were silly.

    • Tim P. Mc Lellan

      But they used that farm system to make good trades also.

      • fritzdahmus

        Yes, I am sure they did. The experts probably said they were “mortgaging the future”. They are trying to pass off on to us…the idea that paying prospects only by tanking (and thus ensuring the prospects are of high caliber), is the way to go….like the Cubs. BS!!!. The Cubs built a team with the cards given them thru some trades……and used their money to buy the rest.

        Pohlad and these 1500AM website writers are trying to convince us to do none of that. These young players have a window….get support for them while that window is open.

        Nothing is guaranteed, all you can do is the right thing to help the players currently on the roster.

        • Tim P. Mc Lellan

          It is a four legged stool. Drafting good players and developing are two of them. The Twins drafted poorly and developed poorly. I did see tremendous progress this past year. To their credit, signing international players has worked for them. The second was mining good prospects from other teams and/or creating the illusion that your players on the MLB roster or in your farm system are better than they are. Terry Ryan used to be good at this. Finally finding the right free agents to fill in the holes and make sure their contracts do not kill you. I am torn on Darvish, but 5 years at $18 million each—heck no. I would like to develop Berrios into an ace. What on your thoughts of shoring up the back end of the starting staff with Chris Tillman and/or Jason Vargas. I would like to bring Belisle back too. But to be honest Theo Epstein is the best in the business…. hands down. But that gap is closing.


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