The Twins needed to address the rotation in a big way heading into the offseason, facing significant free agent losses, though Jake Odorizzi accepted the one-year qualifying offer. Now, it appears another 2019 rotation member will return. Right hander Michael Pineda has agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal to return to the Twins, reports Dan Hayes of The Athletic.
Pineda, 30, was 11-5 with a 4.01 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 140 strikeouts in 146 innings last season as he returned from Tommy John surgery. He joins Odorizzi and Jose Berrios as the three surefire members of the 2020 Twins rotation at this point.
The Twins were reportedly in on Zack Wheeler before he agreed to a five-year deal with the Phillies, so don't expect them to stop talking to other starting pitchers in free agency after signing Pineda.
Now, if the Twins don't add another starter, it's possible they can get by with what they have. Righty Randy Dobnak pitched to a 1.59 ERA in 28 1/3 innings while lefty Devin Smeltzer had a 3.86 ERA in 49 innings. Both made a handful of starts while working some in relief, but there's promise in each.
Still, the likelihood is the Twins wouldn't want to try and count on both in the rotation to start the 2020 season. Instead, look for them to try to add someone more like a mid-tier starter either via free agency or a trade while Dobnak and Smeltzer compete for the last rotation spot and the other serves as a swingman/spot starter and depth.
Further consideration is the Twins won 101 games last season, but were swept in the ALDS by their long time nemesis, the Yankees. Without adding a frontline starter, it seems pretty unlikely to advance deep in the playoffs with Berrios-Odorizzi-Pineda-Dobnak-Smeltzer.