It comes as no surprise that the Minnesota Twins are in a position to augment their pitching staff after a surprising 85-win season which was largely on the heels of a drastic offensive improvement.

But if Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports is to be believed, the Derek Falvey-Thad Levine regime might be ready to kick things up a notch:

The Twins have never handed out a free-agent contract larger than the four-year, $55 million deal Ervin Santana signed in December of 2014. Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish will both easily eclipse that mark, and the jury is out on Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, but both should at least seriously threaten that mark.

The Darvish angle in interesting for a couple reasons. Not only is there the Levine factor from when they were both in Texas, but is it also possible that signing Darvish could help woo Japanese phenom Shohei Otani to sign as well? It may sound farfetched, but the Twins are in a position to make one of the strongest financial offers based on where their July 2 international budget stands. Throw in the ability to offer him the chance to play with Darvish, his fellow countryman who just missed out on playing with him for the Nippon-Ham Fighters — who recently added former Twins reliever Michael Tonkin — and it could tip the scales.

Darvish told Ken Davidoff of the New York Post during the World Series that he knew Otani and has worked out with him. “Of course,” Darvish told Davidoff when asked if he knew Otani. “He’s from Japan. He’s played in Japan for the same team. So I’ve seen him so many times and worked out with him.”

Just because they’re from the same country and played for the same team doesn’t make it likely that signing one means the other will for sure land there — that would be foolish to ascertain — but it does provide the potential for a team to add two ace-caliber starters for the price of one.

That’s a pretty attractive scenario. Click the link above and see all Heyman has to say. He’s pretty well connected on these sorts of things, and each of these pitchers would at worst be a really solid No. 2-3 starter on this team.

– Brandon Warne


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