After striking out on some bigger name guys, the Minnesota Twins are addressing their need for starting pitching by reportedly adding Rich Hill and Homer Bailey.
The Minnesota Twins had interest in, but ultimately fell short of signing, free agent starters Madison Bumgarner, Zach Wheeler and Hyun-Jin Ryu. An offer to someone like Stephen Strasburg might have been nice, but without a turn to the trade marker the idea of adding a notable starting pitcher this offseason was long gone.
So the Twins are shifting their approach on the free-agent market. According to Dan Hayes of The Athletic, they have agreed to deals with free-agent starters Rich Hill and Homer Bailey. They are both one-year major league deals, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, and Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports Hill’s is worth $3 million guaranteed with $9.5 million in performance bonuses that will be met with just 75 innings pitched or 15 starts.
Hill will turn 40 in March, and according to Hayes he is currently rehabbing a left forearm strain. He also had what was called “primary and revision surgery” on his left elbow in October. He pitched pretty well for the Los Angeles Dodgers when he he was healthy last season though, with a 2.45 ERA and a 72:18 K/BB ratio over 13 starts (58.2 innings).
The Twins should have the veteran left-hander available to them in June or July.
Bailey spent the 2019 season with the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics, posting a 13-9 record with a 4.57 ERA and a 149:53 K/BB ratio over 163.1 innings (31 starts). If four September starts for Oakland, as they were making a postseason push, he had a 2.28 ERA with 21 strikeouts over 23.2 innings. He is best known for his time with the Cincinnati Reds from 2007-2018.
Ideally the Twins would have already added, and still could add via a trade, someone to fit somewhere above or between Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi in the top half of the rotation. But with the number of options drying up, addressing a need with low-upside numbers is the current approach.