MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan has made it clear that acquiring pitching was his top objective this offseason. He did just that on Tuesday, adding another arm to bolster the American League’s worst rotation.
The Twins signed veteran right-hander Mike Pelfrey to a one-year contract, according to the Associated Press. The 6-foot-7 Pelfrey previously spent his entire seven-year major league career with the New York Mets.
Pelfrey, 28, pitched in just three games last season with the Mets before having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. It remains unclear whether Pelfrey will be ready to jump into the Twins’ rotation on Opening Day or if his elbow will need more time to recover from his May 1 surgery.
In his last full season in the majors in 2011, Pelfrey was 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA in 34 games. Perhaps his best season came in 2010, when he was 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA and logged a career-high 204 innings. That year, he struck out a career-high 113 batters and walked 68.
Pelfrey has a career record of 50-54 with a 4.36 ERA in 153 games (149 starts). He induces plenty of ground balls — 48.6 percent of balls hit in play throughout his career were ground balls, according to FanGraphs.com.
Minnesota’s rotation had the worst ERA (5.40) among American League starters last season. Colorado’s rotation was the only one in the league to have a higher ERA (5.81).
With the addition of Pelfrey, the Twins now appear to have four of their five spots solidified in the 2013 rotation. Pelfrey will join left-hander Scott Diamond and right-handers Vance Worley and Kevin Correia. Worley was acquired via trade with Philadelphia on Dec. 6, and Correia was signed as a free agent last week.
The fifth spot in Minnesota’s rotation remains a question mark and could be decided in spring training. Prospect Kyle Gibson, who like Pelfrey had Tommy John surgery last year, is a candidate. Gibson returned at the end of last season to pitch several games in the minors. He also made several appearances recently in the Arizona Fall League, and the Twins were happy with the progress he’s made since his surgery.