Saturday, December 2, 2017

Tender thoughts on Kyle Gibson

Friday was the deadline for "tendering" contracts to arbitration-eligible players. The Twins have six such players -- infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza, outfielder Robbie Grossman and pitchers Kyle Gibson, Ryan Pressley and Trevor May. Each was tendered.

This was expected, although at the start of August I figured Gibson was a non-tender candidate. Bt he was much better in August and September, and even if he gets $6 million out of the arbiration process, that's still cheaper than the cost of a 160-inning pitcher in free agency.

Still, I wouldn't feel overly secure were I in his position. My sense is that the Twins are serious about signing one free agent starter -- Thad Levine, the general manager, has explictly named two big names, Yu Darvish and Shohei Ohtani -- and trading for another.

The offseason goal, in short, is to make Jose Berrios the fourth starter and Ervin Santana either the second or third best starter in the rotation. If that happens, Gibson -- and Aldaberto Mejia and surgical recovery projects May and Phil Hughes, among others -- are left to scrap it out for the fifth starter spot. Of those four, Gibson may have highest floor and the lowest ceiling.

I've seen Gerrit Cole and Jake Odorizzi linked to the Twins in trade rumors, although I doubt the Twins have the upper-level minor league talent to pry Cole away from the Pirates. Odorizzi may be more obtainable -- the Rays are said to be ready to reboot -- and I can see the Twins building a package around shortstop prospect Nick Gordon for the right-hander. And I can imagine, in that scenario, Gibson being part of the package, with the Rays getting him to plug into their rotation for a year.

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