Inbox: Which starting pitchers interest the Twins?
Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers Twins fans' questions
MINNEAPOLIS -- After a slow start to the offseason, the Twins made two big moves by trading Denard Span to the Nationals and Ben Revere to the Phillies exactly one week apart.
The trades brought in much-needed pitching to the Twins, as they acquired prospect Alex Meyer from Washington and solid Major League starter Vance Worley and prospect Trevor May from Philadelphia.
Even after the two deals, the Twins are still on the lookout for pitching, as Worley joins Scott Diamond as the only locks in the rotation for next year.
So naturally, plenty of Twins fans have questions about the two trades and what's next for the club. So here's this week's Inbox:
Why did the Twins decide to trade both Span and Revere? How are the Twins expected to contend in 2013 now that they traded both of their center fielders?
-- Patrick B., Duluth, Minn.
After finishing with the worst record in the American League the last two years, the Twins were unlikely to contend in 2013 without pitching -- even if they had both Span and Revere on the roster.
So as much as the Twins traded away two very capable center fielders, their biggest organizational need was starting pitching and they were able to get rotation help for now in Worley, and two for the future in Meyer and May.
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If Meyer and May develop into the top-of-the-rotation starters they're projected to be, the rotation could look pretty formidable by 2014 or '15. In that scenario, the Twins would have top arms at a low cost, as the rotation would consist of cost-controlled players such as Worley, Diamond, Kyle Gibson and Meyer and May.
And the club was able to make those deals because Minnesota currently has depth in center field, as top prospect Aaron Hicks is almost ready to take over there and will get a chance to compete for the starting spot along with Darin Mastroianni and Joe Benson.
Mastroianni, who was a pleasant surprise in '12, remains the favorite to take over in center for now with Chris Parmelee taking over in right, but he'll likely just be keeping the seat warm for Hicks.
So while it remains unlikely the Twins will be contenders in '13 after dealing Span and Revere, the future looks bright for the club, as it addressed its biggest weakness in a big way.
The Twins already have plenty of top hitting prospects such as Miguel Sano, Oswaldo Arcia, Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton and now they have top pitching prospects to go along with them. They also added several power arms in last year's First-Year Player Draft such as J.O. Berrios, Mason Melotakis and Luke Bard, and could do the same in '13 when they have the No. 4 overall pick.
So my advice to Twins fans is to be patient, as there appears to be plenty of help on the way.
What starting pitchers are the Twins primarily targeting this offseason and how many starting pitchers are the Twins aiming to pick up?
-- Tanner P., Minnetonka, Minn.
Even after trading Span and Revere, general manager Terry Ryan has maintained he's not looking past '13 and is still on the lookout to add starting pitching to a rotation that only consists of Diamond and Worley.
The Twins do have a few in-house options such as Gibson, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, or Cole De Vries, but remain likely to add another starter or two via free agency.
They've been linked to free agents such as Brett Myers, John Lannan, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey and also reportedly made an offer to former Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano at the Winter Meetings.
But after acquiring three young starters in their two trades, they're not likely to sign a pitcher to a long-term deal, as they finally have pitching prospects who could be ready as soon as '14.
Will the Twins trade Justin Morneau this year? They seem to have many other options at first base.
-- Aaron J., Princeton, Minn.
If the Twins decide to trade Morneau, who is in the last year of his contract, it likely won't happen until closer to the July 31 Trade Deadline.
The Twins already hurt their big league club for '13 by trading Span and Revere, and appear unlikely to further deplete their roster by trading Morneau this offseason. And Parmelee, who is Morneau's natural replacement at first, appears headed to right field for now.
But if Morneau stays healthy and returns to form, he could be a candidate to be traded in July, especially if the Twins are not contending.
How is the progress of Miguel Sano coming? With the early success of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, are the Twins looking to possibly bring him up this year?
-- Chris F., Modesto, Calif.
Sano, who remains the club's top prospect, is developing quite nicely but remains a few years away from being ready.
Sano, 19, showed off his power, hitting .258/.373/.521 with 28 homers and 100 RBIs in 129 at Class A Beloit last season. He's likely to start at Class A Advanced Fort Myers this year and could move quickly through the system if he continues to put up impressive offensive numbers.
But it's almost important to note his defense at third base is a work in a progress, considering he made 42 errors in 361 chances.
So while he's one of baseball's top prospects -- he's ranked as the No. 20 overall prospect by MLB.com -- he's not quite at the same level as Trout or Harper in terms of making an impact at such an early age.