A couple of months ago, in breaking down where the Twins' 2021 season went wrong, President of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey offered this assessment of the pitching staff he assembled in concert with Thad Levine and other key decisionmakers:
"Our pitching in aggregate, early on, guys didn't throw the ball. … When you're talking about the one-year pitching market that's in that range of cost, there's a lot of outcomes there, and sometimes, they do line up that way without getting great outcomes. I would say that we have to come back and evaluate that because we didn't hit on those for sure. Those guys didn't pitch as well as we thought they could have."
J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker were one-year deal guys who delivered a 6.77 and 8.06 ERA, respectively, for a combined $10 million — an average of $5 million.
Two months later, the Twins made their first move in outside free agency of this offseason (and last for a while, since MLB locked out players hours later) by signing ... starting pitcher Dylan Bundy to a one-year deal with $5 million guaranteed (counting a buyout next season).
As I talked about on Thursday's Daily Delivery podcast, Bundy has upside.
He finished ninth in the Cy Young voting in the shortened 2020 season. But in his other three most recent seasons, he posted ERAs of 5.45, 4.79 and — just last year — 6.06.
The Twins seem inclined to believe they can either fix Bundy or that the pitcher they are getting is magically the one who was very good in 11 starts two seasons ago and not the one who largely struggled in his other 74 starts since the start of 2018.
"Our hope is that we can get him healthy and pitching, and we can see a lot more of the 2020 version of Dylan over the course of a full season," Falvey said on Wednesday.
They can hope. But hope is not a plan. Maybe it will work out, and certainly this isn't the final pitching move the Twins will make even if it's the last one for a while.
But for now, we're left to wonder: Did they learn anything from 2021?