Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan was proactive in addressing the team’s need for starting pitching during the offseason, both in terms of adding veterans (Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia) and young guys (Alex Meyer and Trevor May). But with Scott Diamond, the team’s best starter last season, starting the season on the disabled list after what was deemed minor offseason elbow surgery, there is still plenty cause for concern that a repeat of 2012 could be coming.
Between now and Opening Day teams will be narrowing their rosters down to a final 25 to start the season, perhaps leaving some recognizable names looking for work. One such starting pitcher is Chris Young, who signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals but can opt out on Sunday if he chooses. Young would clearly have to have a major league offer on the table to opt out of his deal with Washington, but it’s not out of the question that he could on the heels of a solid spring up to this point (3.00 ERA over 12 innings).
The key question with Young is health, since he has not made more than 20 starts in a season since 2007 due to multiple shoulder issues. Last season, with the New York Mets , the 6’10″ right-hander went 4-9 with a 4.15 ERA in 20 starts (115 innings) after returning to action in June following his latest shoulder surgery. Not great numbers obviously, but Young did finish strongly with a 2.73 ERA and a 23:8 K/BB ratio in five September starts (29.2 innings).
Young’s best seasons came with the San Diego Padres in 2006 (11-5, 3.46 ERA, 31 starts-179.1 innings) and 2007 (9-8, 3.12 ERA, 30 starts-173 innings), but after taking a line drive to the head off the bat of Albert Pujols early in the 2008 season it’s been a struggle for him to stay on the mound. Counting that 2008 campaign (18 starts) and last season’s 20 starts, he has made just 60 starts over the last five seasons combined.
Durability questions and age (34 in May) could cause the Twins to have no interest in Young even if he opts out of his contract, but any available pitcher that is healthy should garner some sort of interest from them right now.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.