Weather Forecast


Ryan back pitching for Twins

Minnesota Twins General Manager Terry Ryan has been stalking pitchers like a hungry tiger.

The Minnesota general manager, who by coincidence was once a pitcher, may not be landing proven 20-game winners, but at least he is looking around for them. I heard Twins President Dave St. Peter admit on a radio program last Sunday he failed to look after the pitching staff the way he should have when Ryan was gone. The result has been two terrible seasons and 195 losses.

Ryan came out of the bullpen a year ago in November to replace Bill Smith, a general manager who put way too many duds on the roster. In October, Ryan dropped the interim from his title and rolled up his sleeves. Ryan has never found enough talent to take the Twins back to the World Series, but six of the teams he put together played in the postseason. If you count the division tiebreaker with Chicago in 2008 as a postseason game, you can make it seven. The Twins played some very exciting baseball with Ryan calling the shots, and Twins fans want to see it again.

What Ryan and the Twins are gearing up for is 2013. The Twins put up some respectable hitting numbers last year, but their pitching staff was in complete disarray. They had 12 different pitchers start games for them between April and October. So bad was their season, Twins baseball was not even a matter of conversation for the last six weeks of the season.

Ryan has approached the challenge realistically. He has given up proven outfielder Denard Span and exciting, young outfielder Ben Revere for what the Twins need most: pitching. He knows the Twins have talented outfielders like Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks and Joe Benson in their farm system. He also knows that he is not going to land good pitchers for peanuts.

What are the chances the Twins are going to work these trades into bargains? Alex Meyer is only 22, and the big righty is considered to be a year or two away from pitching big league ball. Trevor May came over in the Revere trade, and he looks like a future starter as well. Vance Worley was great in 2011, going 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA, but a sore arm resulted in a 6-9 record and a less-than-stellar 4.20 ERA last year. Pittsburgh castoff Kevin Correia is 32, and has basically been a .500 pitcher. These pitchers are expected to eventually join Scott Diamond in a new starting rotation.

Do not strain your eyes too much looking for the rest of Minnesota's 2012 starters. Sam Deduno did fairly well posting a 6-5 record, but he walked 53 batters in 79 innings. Cole DeVries might be back after going 5-5. Brian Duensing may receive another look, even though he notched a terrible 5.12 ERA. Liam Hendriks would probably like a chance to improve on a 1-8 record and a sky-high 5.59 ERA, but can the Twins afford to keep him?

Many of us would like to think Nick Blackburn can rebound from his poor 2012 season. There is also big Kyle Gibson to take a look at next spring. Gibson was considered the future ace of the Minnesota staff, until Tommy John surgery cut him down last spring. Apparently, the Twins have a soft spot for Tommy John victims because they recently inked former New York Mets starter Mike Pelfrey to a one-year contract. Pelfrey had the surgery last May.

So, give Ryan some credit. He is not standing around gnashing his teeth and wringing his hands. He is back to help the Twins move forward.