COMMENTARY | Heading into the offseason last winter, Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan had to do something with his starting rotation. After being the worst rotation in the American League a season ago, Ryan needed to find a warm body that could make it past the fifth inning without giving up several runs.
The message board and talk radio warriors demanded that Ryan overpay for a veteran pitcher to help solve the problem. Of course, that's just not how he rolls.
When names like Joe Blanton, Brandon McCarthy and Edwin Jackson came off the board without choosing the Twins, those pleas turned to anger. That anger became vulgar when Ryan traded Ben Revere and Denard Span for pitching prospects, giving the voices that be the assumption that the Pohlad family was shedding payroll again and being too cheap to sign good players.
Turns out, Ryan knew what he was doing after all.
At the major league level, Twins starters still own the worst earned run average in baseball at 5.25. However, the performance of some of the prospective free-agent targets suggests that their arrival in Minnesota wouldn't have changed that.
Joe Blanton signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim last winter when the Twins were considered to have interest. To reward the Angels' commitment, he has gone 2-10 with a 5.14 ERA in 17 starts this season.
Shaun Marcum was also a popular pick to fill a rotation spot for the Twins, but decided to sign a one-year, $4 million deal with the New York Mets. While struggling with a variety of injuries, he has gone 1-10 with a 5.29 ERA for the Mets in 14 games.
Edwin Jackson also fits the mold of the Twins' target gone horribly wrong as he's gone 5-10 with a 5.50 ERA after signing a four-year, $52 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.
See a pattern here? While the Twins haven't pulled a fast one on the rest of Major League Baseball by refusing to pay for mediocre talent, they have accomplished building a rotation for the future by opting to trade Revere and Span instead.
As a result of the deals, the Twins received Alex Meyer and Trevor May, who are both having decent seasons at Double-A New Britain and can be key cogs in an improved rotation in a year or two.
Yes, patience is hard to come by when Scott Diamond continually gets shelled in the fifth inning, but if the Twins had kept Span and Revere and signed one of these free-agent flops, would the situation feel better than the one they find themselves in?
Chris Schad is a lifelong Twins follower that has spent a majority of his life cheering the Twins on through the dark '90s and success of five American League Central championships in the 2000s. His work has also been published on Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @crishad.
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- Denard Span
- Joe Blanton