Since their last division championship in 2010, Twins starters have finished 26th, 29th and 30th in starting rotation ERA. Over that time span, this patchwork rotation has posted a 5.10 ERA that makes it impossible to compete, even if they had the lineup of the New York Yankees.
Many thought there would be change coming, as Rick Anderson's pitch-to-contact philosophy had been battered and abused in the last three seasons. However, the Twins gave him an extension when they decided to keep Ron Gardenhire as manager.
As much fun as it is to treat Anderson as a personal pinata, the reality is that the Twins haven't kept their end of the bill by giving him talent to work with.
The woes of the starting rotation come from the Bill Smith era. The former GM decided that his major-league rotation was steady enough that he could start dealing their depth, so he traded Johan Santana and Matt Garza for peanuts and the Twins started their decline.
That cost Smith his job after the 2011 season, and Terry Ryan has stepped in to attempt to rebuild the rotation. While he's done a solid job stockpiling arms in the minor league system, none of them are ready to contribute at the major league level.
Traditionally, this has lead to Ryan digging through the bargain bin of free agency to unearth such gems as Sidney Ponson, Ramon Ortiz and Mike Pelfrey. This has lead to standing ovations when starters get past the fifth inning and the worst rotation in all of baseball.
This trend needs to be put to rest this winter as the team must dive into the free-agent market for legitimate starting pitching.
An idea for the Twins would be to sign a pair of pitchers that can help the team. While they're not expected to contend this year, adding an arm like Ubaldo Jimenez or Ervin Santana to the rotation will give them the upper-half starter the team hasn't had since its dominant run in the 2000s.
If the Twins just spend a little on one pitcher, they could go for another lower-level free agent such as Phil Hughes and get two capable arms to hold the fort down until Alex Meyer, Kohl Stewart and Juan Berrios arrive.
Whatever Ryan decides to do, there must be a move to get legitimate starting pitching. If there's not, there could be a massive revolt in Twins Territory next summer.
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 and Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter @crishad.
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