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5 pitchers the Twins should target to bolster the starting rotation

The Twins could use another arm in the rotation and a trade could be the best way to make it happen.

The Minnesota Twins have had a quiet offseason but that doesn't mean there aren't holes to fill before pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 14.

With the departures of Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda, the Twins could use another arm or two in their starting rotation. While Chris Paddack and Louie Varland are currently projected by FanGraphs to fill those roles, the Twins could be looking for a trade in the coming weeks to add depth heading into next season.

The Twins have self-imposed budgetary restraints, meaning that paying for a pitcher on the free-agent market could be out of the question. But there are several options on the trade market Minnesota could pursue if they want to add another pitcher.

Bryan Woo (Mariners)

The Seattle Mariners have been one of the most active teams this offseason as they look to revamp an offense that ranked 12th in the majors with 4.68 runs per game. Although FanGraphs has four new starters listed in their projected lineup, Seattle could dive into its pitching surplus to add one more.

This could make Bryan Woo available after a solid rookie season. Woo went 4-5 with a 4.21 ERA in 18 starts in 2023 and his opponents had a hard time squaring up at the plate. According to Baseball Savant, Woo's 6.3% barrel rate was in the 77th percentile and his 33.8 hard-hit percentage ranked in the 83rd percentile of major league starters last season.

Woo's 27.9% chase rate and 8.4% walk rate could use some improvement but the 23-year-old still struck out 93 batters over 87.2 innings. While he's unlikely to become an ace, the Twins could try to get something extra out of the right-hander if they acquire him in a trade.

Bryce Miller (Mariners)

Even if Woo doesn't get traded, the Mariners could still try to make room for Emerson Hancock, who was the sixth overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. This could make some of Seattle's other arms expendable including right-hander Bryce Miller.

Miller had a similar season to Woo but benefitted from more time at the major league level with an 8-7 record and 4.32 ERA over 131.1 innings (25 starts). Miller has better control with a 4.8% walk rate that placed in the 95th percentile last season, but he didn't bring much else as he had five different categories place in the bottom quarter of major league starters.

But the Twins love a challenge and Miller's 95.1 mph fastball velocity and 3.65 ERA in the minors would give them something to work with. With three years of team control, Miller could be a decent option to bolster the back end of the Twins' rotation.

Trevor Rogers (Marlins)

The Twins deal to acquire Pablo López from the Miami Marlins last January changed the trajectory of their season. The two sides could work out another deal this January if the Twins pick up the phone and discuss a trade for Trevor Rogers.

Rogers was the 13th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft and was an All-Star in his first full major league season, going 7-8 with a 2.64 ERA while finishing second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2021.

While Rogers was ready to take off, he was ineffective in 2022, going 4-11 with a 5.47 ERA in 23 starts. Rogers got off to a solid start in 2023 with a 1-2 record and a 4.00 ERA in four starts but was shut down due to lat and bicep injuries and made his last start on April 19.

Placing a chip on Rogers would be betting on a return to his 2021 form. In that season, Rogers logged a 5% barrel rate that was in the 89th percentile while also posting formidable marks in chase rate (29.8%) and whiff rate (30.7%).

A return to health will be the most important aspect of Rogers's return to form, and there could be enough there to acquire an arm with some upside.

Alek Manoah (Blue Jays)

If the Twins are looking to acquire another reclamation project, they could look north of the border and place a chip on Alek Manoah.

Manoah was the 11th overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft and saw immediate success, going 25-9 with a 2.60 ERA in his first two seasons with the Blue Jays. 

While Manoah made his first All-Star appearance, finished third in American League Cy Young Award voting and finished 17th in AL MVP voting in 2022, last year was a struggle, going 3-9 with a 5.87 ERA and even getting demoted twice.

Some of this was due to warning signs that he was able to pitch through in 2022. His 24.8% whiff rate was in the 43rd percentile and his 22.9% strikeout rate was in the 50th percentile. His 38.4% ground ball rate also would be a problem at Target Field and his fastball velocity dropped from 93.6 mph in 2022 to 92.7 mph last season.

Still, there's a buy-low component to Manoah. He'll be 26 on Opening Day and is just one year removed from being one of the best pitchers in baseball. This could leave the Twins with egg on their face, but it could be an adequate return if they deal Max Kepler or Jorge Polanco to Toronto. 

The question is if Toronto wants to deal Manoah. 

Corbin Burnes (Brewers)

This is the biggest pipe dream of all trade possibilities but until Burnes is moved, it's one that any team in need of pitching should consider.

Burnes is a three-time All-Star, former NL Cy Young Award Winner (2021) and led the NL with 243 strikeouts in 2022. He was 10-8 with a 3.39 ERA in 32 starts last season and he could be a workhorse for the Twins after notching over 150 innings in each of the past three seasons.

That workload could be a concern but his numbers remain solid. Opposing hitters logged a 5.3% barrel rate and 32.4% hard-hit rate against Burnes last season and his average exit velocity of 86.4 mph ranked in the 92nd percentile.

Baseball Trade Values' trade simulator projects that a package of Emmanuel Rodriguez (Twins' No. 3 prospect according to, Marco Raya (No. 4 prospect) and David Festa (No. 9 prospect) could be in the ballpark for a deal for Burnes. While that's a steep price, it could be worth it for a team that finally has its fans excited after ending an 18-game postseason losing streak last season.

Add it together and acquiring Burnes could be a perfect storm for the Twins in 2024.