The Revamped Bullpen is Going To Be Lights Out

Photo Credit: David Berding (USA TODAY Sports)

At what point is it safe to say that we feel good about the Minnesota Twins roster as a whole? They have a talented young core. They signed an All-Star Caliber, Gold Glove shortstop in Andrelton Simmons. They brought back Nelson Cruz, an absolute monster and perennial MVP candidate.

And now they’ve bolstered the bullpen by signing Alex Colome and Hansel Robles.

Colome and Robles solidify the bullpen and elevates the entire roster. Trevor May and Sergio Romo’s departures were concerning to many fans, but it was clear that their relief corps needed a new identity, and the front office was urgent to make that happen.

Adding Robles was an exciting start, especially on a discounted 1-year, $2 million contract following a down year. Like many other players, Robles didn’t play up to his standards in the shortened 2020 season. But two years ago, he owned a 2.47 ERA in 72.2 innings, earning 23 saves. His velocity was down in 2020, but the righty still was topping out at over 95 MPH. When asked about his regression Robles attributed it to the lack of crowd and excitement due to COVID, and fans may be allowed in Target Field this summer.

But even with Robles and Taylor Rogers in the back half of the bullpen, Minnesota still didn’t have the stability and upside they were looking for out of their closer.

Signing Colome changed that.

Let’s not downplay this move. Colome is an absolute star on a bargain of a deal. Not only did they land the former All-Star and MLB saves leader for 1-year, $5.5 million, the Twins also have a team option for him in 2022. Three years ago, he led Major League Baseball with 47 saves.

Unlike Robles, Colome played well in last year’s 60-game season, owning a 0.81 ERA and earning the third-most saves in the league (12) for the rival Chicago White Sox. Now Colome, 32, gets a chance to help the Twins win their third straight American League Central championship against the team he was with for the past two years.

Thad Lavine and Derek Falvey stressed the importance of pitching and analytics when they took over in late 2016. Their recent moves have shown they have always had a plan, and it manifested in the construction of this year’s bullpen. Robles and Colome join a group that already features Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and the young flamethrowing Jorge Alcala. Sprinkle in Shaun Anderson, who arrived in the LaMonte Wade Jr. trade with the San Francisco Giants, and quality depth pitchers like Cody Stashak and Caleb Thielbar, and this group should be able to reliably close out games.

Over the last week, the Twins have taken care of most of their most significant weaknesses by upgrading their middle infield, bringing back another big bat, and bolstering a new-look bullpen. I can’t remember the last time the Twins have added this many All-Star caliber guys in free agency — probably because they never have — but I love every second of it. I can’t wait to see what else Falvey, Lavine, and the Twins have in store for us before the season starts.

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