Rebuilding the Twins: Bullpen
In this installment of “Rebuilding the Twins”, we will take a look at the Twins bullpen. The bullpen was a very glaring weakness for the Twins last season. The lack of hard throwing arms frequently cost the Twins wins and the loss of Joe Nathan certainly doesn’t help change that. However the young arms the Twins relied on so have a season under their belt and should be better next season. Matt Capps and Glen Perkins should hold down the 8th and 9th innings just fine, the question however is how to get from the starters to them. Let’s look at the candidates:
Alex Burnett - Burnett struggled last season for the Twins after a successful rookie campaign. But due to the lack of funds and options, Burnett will be given another opportunity to provide quality innings out of the bullpen. Burnett throws hard, but frequently struggles with his control. If the Twins are going to turn things around, they are going to need Burnett to do the same.
Matt Capps - With the loss of Joe Nathan, Capps slides into the closer role for the Twins. Capps gained the respect of most of the Twins coaching staff by continuing to take the ball even with an elbow injury for part of the season. When healthy, Capps can be a serviceable closer and should be able to hold most leads for the Twins.
Dan Wheeler - When healthy, Wheeler is a Matt Guerrier type reliever. He has the ability to take the ball every day and can provide quality innings. Coming off an injury prone year with the Red Sox, he could be signed for a cheap price and has tremendous upside, especially pitching his home games in spacious Target Field.
Chad Qualls - Qualls is another reliever available that can give the Twins good innings on a daily basis. Qualls wouldn’t see too much of a spike in his numbers either, moving from Petco Park to Target Field. The only issue would be the amount of money it would take to sign him, as he had a very good year this past season. But for the right price, he would be a great signing.
Wheeler would give the Twins a cheap option with good upside, so I think he will be the one signed, with major contributions needed from young arms in the farm system from relievers like Anthony Slama and Jeff Manship.
Be sure to catch the next installment of Rebuilding the Twins where I throw out my projected Opening Day Lineup and Pitching Rotation.