The Minnesota Twins have made two notable moves so far this offseason, trading center fielders Denard Span and Ben Revere to the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies respectively for three young pitchers. But they definitely should not be done bolstering their starting rotation because only one of the pitchers they acquired (Vance Worley) is expected to make an impact in the big leagues in 2013.
Last week’s Winter Meetings brought plenty of rumors and the Twins are reported to have offers out to multiple veteran starting pitchers. One such veteran they apparently have interest in is Kevin Correia, though it is unclear if an offer is on the table. Correia has reportedly received multiple multi-year offers, including one from a team in Japan. But is he a good fit for the Twins?
Correia went 12-11 with a 4.21 ERA over 171 innings (32 appearances-28 starts) for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season, matching his record from the previous season, giving him four straight seasons with double-digit wins and at least a .500 record. His best season in that stretch came in 2009 with the San Diego Padres, when he went 12-11 with a 3.91 ERA and set career-highs in starts made (33) and innings pitched (198). Overall, in 10 major league seasons, Correia is 60-65 with a 4.54 ERA in 290 appearances (159 starts) with one All-Star selection (2011) to his credit.
Correia has avoided significant arm issues to this point in his career, which surely appeals to the Twins given how injuries have thinned their starting rotation over the last two seasons. But he is not staff ace material, as his K/9 rate has not even been 5.0 in either of the past two seasons after being a solid 7.1 in his final season with the Padres in 2010. His ground ball percentage did top 50 percent (51.2) for the first time last season while his fly ball percentage dropped significantly (29.1 percent in 2012, 36 percent in 2011), but more balls in play overall with the lack of strikeouts led to fairly negligible improvement in Correia’s surface numbers last season.
Correia has never pitched in the American League, though it is notable that he pitched in a pitcher-friendly home park in San Diego and may be able to transition to pitching at Target Field fairly seamlessly. He would fit solidly in the middle of Minnesota’s rotation, but it’s worth wondering if a small bidding war may occur with multiple teams interested in him. If the Twins have made an offer, or plan to make an offer, general manager Terry Ryan can confidently move on to other options if another team offers Correia more money or years in a contract.