FORT MYERS, Fla. – Jake Odorizzi is expected to report to Twins spring training Monday, put on his new uniform and perhaps get a little sweat going. The real culmination on Minnesota’s trade – which sent minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios to the Rays for Odorizzi – will be felt in March or April, when the newest member of the rotation makes his first start.
Before the Twins even got a chance to meet their newest teammate, we’re left to wonder if he’ll be the last major addition to a team that’s working to close the gap with the Cleveland Indians in the division.
It’s possible Odorizzi will be the last major addition. Twins CBO never has been one to say “never.”
“I’m not going to turn my phone off,” Falvey joked, “as much as I’d like to.”
With more than 75 free agents still available as of Sunday morning, the Twins certainly have some situations to monitor. They’ve added what they feel is a significant number of arms to the staff – 6 Major League pitchers if we’re counting reclamation project Anibal Sanchez and the partial season expected out of Michael Pineda. The team could still add a starter if the opportunity is right, but the indication given from a few people with the team this weekend is that they’re satisfied with where they’re at on the pitching end of things.
In other words: Don’t rule out a move, but don’t hold your breath for the Twins to make a significant push to sign a free agent like Jake Arrieta.
“Don’t know if it’s done,” manager Paul Molitor said after the Odorizzi trade, referring to the winter additions. “I think that you stay open-minded about things that are still out there. But I think that it puts us in good shape.”
“No disrespect to the people involved but we’ve talked for a while about being able to bump some of the guys on the bottom end [of the starting rotation] competition to try to strengthen the upper half. It deepens us.”
Molitor mentioned Odorizzi and J.O. Berrios and Kyle Gibson without hesitation when he was rattling off the names of potential starters. The Twins will likely begin the year with a 4-man rotation to maximize roster spots. Then Molitor mentioned Phil Hughes and Adalberto Mejia, along with Fernando Romero and Stephen Gonsalves as others in the competition. They’d also probably consider Tyler Duffey, who is being stretched out as a starter, Trevor May, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, Dietrich Enns and Zack Littell, both of whom joined the Twins in the second Jaime Garcia trade. And of course there’s Ervin Santana, who could be ready to rejoin the team by the end of April or beginning of May.
“Until we’re playing games – or after – if there are players still on the board and there’s conversations to be had and there’s an opportunity, we’re not going to shut those out,” said Falvey, always the opportunist. “I’m not going to turn my phone off – as much as I’d like to. We’ll still stay in touch. But I do feel like we’ve added six Major League pitchers this offseason … we attempted to address our pitching staff and we’ll continue to do so.”
Here’s one way to look at the depth chart, although it’s incomplete and subjective: