As it stands, Correia, Diamond and former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Vance Worley should have spots in the rotation at the beginning of the 2013 season. Kyle Gibson should also have a spot, assuming his recovery from Tommy John surgery goes well.
This means that the non-Diamond rotation from last year—Brian Duensing, Cole De Vries, Samuel Deduno, PJ Walters, Nick Blackburn and Co.—may not pitch another game after next season.
Disgruntled Twins fans are probably popping champagne at the sound of that.
Duensing is better suited as a reliever.
Meanwhile, Deduno walked way too many people last year to give him a spot in the Opening Day rotation. He’s a wild card, however. If he can get his wacky fastball under control, he could be something special.
Walters looked solid in the beginning of the year, but really tailed off.
And finally, Blackburn looked really great at the beginning of his contract, but was the worst pitcher in baseball with 15 or more starts last season.
In essence, Twins general manager Terry Ryan is giving these guys a shot to become something special next year and then closing the door.
As much as Ben Revere and Denard Span will be missed in the outfield, Ryan’s aggressive offseason moves already look like they are paying off.
If none of the starters from last season pan out, with Diamond being the exception, then he has a projected 2014 rotation—Worley, Diamond, Correia, Gibson and Trevor May or Alex Meyer—that does not include any of them.
To be honest, it would have been disingenuous for Ryan and the Twins organization to trot out last year’s rotation and just say, “Hey, we’ve got guys that can hit well, and we hope that all of last year’s starters improve with more experience under their belts.”
By dealing away two beloved center fielders, Ryan has addressed the team’s biggest need: pitching.
Of course Twins fans wanted a guy like Brett Myers, Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez or, if they were really out of their mind, Zack Greinke. Unlike the Dodgers, however, the Twins operate under a budget—a strict one—and they will continue to do so unless a significant part of the American population moves to the Twin Cities in the next few years.
This offseason, Minnesota has done things the Twins way—signing free agents from the bargain bin and focusing on player development—and that should be seen as a positive thing. Instead of having multiple financial albatrosses in 2014 and beyond, the team should begin to field a competitive team at a reasonable price.
And, c’mon, who doesn’t like a bargain?
Tom Schreier covers the Twins for Bleacher Report and writes a weekly column for TheFanManifesto.com.