As they always say you can never have enough pitching and the Twins certainly realized that in 2011. Like many other parts of the Twins’ team in 2011, the starting pitching was very underwhelming. Carl Pavano was coming off a career year in 2010 and was expected to continue where he left off and the Twins hoped Francisco Liriano would show signs of being the front end of the rotation guy that the team thinks he can be. Brian Duensing showed signs of being great after being moved to the rotation in 2010 and the Twins hoped he could do that for an entire season in 2011. None of those things came true. Scott Baker was the silver lining in the rotation this season posting a 3.14 ERA in 23 games, his best ERA as a member of the Twins but battled injuries late in the season. Injuries started to affect the rotation a lot at the end of the year and provided a look at some of the young pitchers the Twins have in their system but none of them looked like they would make much of an impact in the Major Leagues at the time being. Kevin Slowey was in the doghouse most of the season and battled injuries as well and when he finally was added to the rotation in the final weeks of the season he looked awful and couldn’t earn a win. Finally, Nick Blackburn was very ineffective this season as well and could not get his sinker working on a consistent basis. Barring any trades Pavano, Baker and Liriano are expected to earn a spot in the rotation next season. Nick Blackburn is signed long-term through 2013 so his name is penciled in the rotation as well but after last season the Twins may make some major changes in the rotation and at the very least the 4th and 5th spots could still be up in the air. Below is a look at the Twins 2012 starting pitchers, arbitration eligible pitchers and some of the options they have in the free agent and trade markets this offseason.

Under Contract in 2012:

Carl Pavano: $8.5M (signed thru 2012)

Scott Baker: $6.5M (signed thru 2012 with 2013 club option)

Nick Blackburn: $4.75M (signed thru 2013 with 2014 club option)

Arbitration Eligible (with Projected Salary):

Francisco Liriano: $5.7M

Kevin Slowey: $3M (non-tender candidate)

Internal Options:

Brian Duensing (Likely moved back to bullpen)

Anthony Swarzak (Likely bullpen long man/spot starter)

Liam Hendricks

Scott Diamond

External Free Agents:

Top Tier FAs: C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, Roy Oswalt

Middle Tier FAs: Joel Pineiro, Paul Maholm, Jason Marquis

Other FAs: Chein-Ming Wang, Freddy Garcia, Bruce Chen, Bartolo Colon, Chris Young, Brandon Webb, Rich Harden, Jeff Francis, Kyle Davies, Justin Duchscherer, John Maine, Oliver Perez, Dontrelle Willis, Javier Vazquez, Kevin Millwood, Rodrigo Lopez, Erik Bedard, Chris Capuano Etc.

Possible Trade Options:

James Shields, Wade Davis, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Jonathan Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco, Josh Johnson

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