Pittsburgh Pirates: Teams That Could Be Interested In Steven Brault

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 30: Steven Brault #42 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 30, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, which was postponed April 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 30: Steven Brault #42 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on August 30, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All players are wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, which was postponed April 15 due to the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 30: Jose Berrios #17 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates during game two of the Wild Card Series between the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros on September 30, 2020 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 30: Jose Berrios #17 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates during game two of the Wild Card Series between the Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros on September 30, 2020 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

Minnesota Twins

The Twins are going to see a handful of their starting pitchers from 2020 hit free agency. Rich Hill, Jake Odorizzi and Homer Bailey all could leave them this offseason. This leaves the last few spots in their rotation empty. Due to this, the Twins could be interested in talking to the Pittsburgh Pirates about Brault.

The Twins will probably lead off with veteran right-hander Kenta Madea. When Minnesota acquired Maeda last offseason they probably didn’t expect they’d be getting a Cy Young candidate, yet that’s exactly what they got.

Maeda tossed 66.2 innings posting a 2.70 ERA, 3.00 FIP and league leading 0.75 WHIP. This landed him 2nd in AL Cy Young voting. While it was a limited amount of games for obvious reasons, it was the first time since 2016 he worked exclusively out of the rotation, and it just so happens those two seasons are the best of his career.

Following him will be Jose Berrios. Berrios, a former top 20 prospect, has put up really solid numbers throughout his career, but hasn’t yet been a consistent ace-level pitcher. He’s shown flashes of it, but has yet to put it all together. Still, his 3.80 ERA, 3.87 FIP and 1.19 WHIP through 2017-2019 are good numbers for a number two starter. Though Berrios’s ERA and FIP were slightly above 4 this year, he’s entering just his age 27 season and gives the Twins good outings.

Michael Pineda has had a winding career, but has been a solid starter for the Twins since coming off a PED suspension in 2019. In the last two years Pineda has a 3.91 ERA, 3.74 FIP and 1.16 WHIP in 172.2 innings of work. He did really well last year allowing just 10 earned runs, and no home runs in 26.2 innings of work.

The last two spots are up for grabs. It seems Randy Dobnak has the upper hand for one of the two spots. The Pennsylvanian native was very inconsistent throughout 2020. His first 30.1 innings yielded just six earned runs, seven walks and three home runs. However, he pitched just 16.1 innings between the end of August and throughout half of September giving up 15 earned runs and was even optioned at one point. Still given his very good first half and solid showing in 2019, he probably is penciled in at one of the two spots.

The fifth spot has a lot more uncertainty. Lewis Thorpe and Devin Smeltzer could both be candidates for the last spot, but struggled in 2020. Matt Wisler could make a return to the rotation, mainly serving as a long relief and opener in 2020 and being really good at it, but after struggling for years functioning as a typical starter, his move to the pen might be permanent. The Twins do have two higher ranking prospects, that being Jordan Balazovic and Jhoan Duran, but the former hasn’t made it to Double-A ball yet and the latter has pitched less than 50 innings at Double-A ball.