Why Did Twins Shift Focus to Building a Powerhouse Bullpen for Offseason?

Minnesota Twins overhaul relief pitching for a competitive edge

by Nouman Rasool
Why Did Twins Shift Focus to Building a Powerhouse Bullpen for Offseason?
© Adam Bettcher

The Minnesota Twins are reimagining how they build bullpens after a long, winding list of failures and a changing cast at the front office. "Bullpens are some of the highest-variance things in Major League Baseball," he said.

The calculated approach toward maximizing value and reducing financial risk had included a fair share of both mining across the board, from minor leaguers who had been navigating their journey on minor-league signees and converted starters to reclamation projects on undervalued assets.

By 2022, it was more than clear for the Twins about the perils of a budget bullpen, especially trailing all through the 2022 season downturn, and then a rocky start before All-Star of 2023.

Twins' Bullpen Resurgence

Even with the philosophy, the patience of the team paid them when their bullpen turned out to be one of the forces highlighted through great performances by Jhoan Duran, Griffin Jax, Brock Stewart, and Cale Thielbar.

The four were important in helping the Twins' often beleaguered bullpen into standing as one of the American League's best in high-leverage situations after the trade deadline. Without the exodus of legroom key men in the bullpen, emphasis had to be put on a strategic turn, hence the historic spree for complementary pieces to beef up the relief pitching depth.

These three—Justin Topa, Steven Okert, Jay Jackson—represent one invaluable but, in principle, budget-thoughtful investment by the Twins in free agency and trades made. Such recalibration has followed an expected change to the Twins starting rotation, and a reduced payroll for the team has necessarily forced a resourceful approach to roster construction.

That is compounded by the emphasis on adding enough veteran relievers, at a small fraction of the expected cost, of top-flight starters/position players, to at least tread water under real financial constraints. With FanGraphs forecasting a top bullpen in the American League for the Twins, the future is surely richer for one more competitive impetus to this team.

"Remodeling the Twins' bullpen as one of depth, value, and talent is validation about how a franchise may adapt with what's nowadays an ever-changing game." This was the first sentence.

Minnesota Twins