The Minnesota Twins‘ biggest need this offseason is clearly starting pitching, and to this point every notable move they have made has centered around adding someone who can contribute in that area in 2013 or further down the road.
An intriguing name that is available right now is Brandon Webb, who won the 2006 National League Cy Young Award while pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball from 2006-2008, with a 56-25 record and a 3.13 ERA along with 12 complete games (seven shutouts) over that span. He finished second in the Cy Young voting in both 2007 and 2008, setting a career high in wins (22) in 2008.
Webb was also one of the more durable pitchers in baseball for a time, as he topped 200 innings pitched and made at least 33 starts for five straight seasons from 2004-2008. In the last four of those campaigns he pitched at least 226 innings.
But everything went sideways for Webb on Opening Day 2009, as he struggled (six runs allowed over four innings) and then was sidelined by a shoulder issue. He has not thrown a pitch in the big leagues since, though he did attempt a comeback in 2011 with the Texas Rangers and posted a 9.75 ERA in four starts (12 innings) for their Double-A affiliate.
Webb said this fall he has not retired, and now further news suggests he will have a throwing session for teams at some point in January. The Twins have been rumored to have some interest in him dating back to November, and they will attend the throwing session whenever it occurs. It’s highly likely some other teams will attend the session as well, if only for curiosity sake.
At age 33 and going on four years since he has faced a major league hitter, Webb is not in a position to make any sort of contract demands even if he has an outstanding workout next month. A minor league contract with a spring training invite should be his goal, and a very attainable one if he emerges from that throwing session healthy.
The Twins themselves are not in a position to be picky in terms of who they consider adding to their starting rotation, and virtually anyone with a pulse that remains available should be in play for them at this point. Even though signing Webb would be a very low-risk move, I think there is also very little upside with the overall uncertainty surrounding him. Simply put, the Twins need young pitchers with upside and Webb does not fit either category even if you leave out his past shoulder issues.