Jose Berrios could very well be the Twins' opening day starter this season, but things could change quickly between now and when Twins pitchers and catchers report to Fort Myers, Florida for spring training on Tuesday.
But with the Cubs landing Yu Darvish to a six-year, $126 million deal on Saturday, there's pressure on every pitching-needy team in the majors to sign the next best thing.
Who is the next best thing?
Debatable on a number of levels, although the consensus is that 2015 Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta is the most talented starter still available. Next, in no particular order, are Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, followed by a number of aging arms:
- Bronson Arroyo
- Ricky Nolasco
- Anibal Sanchez
- Jason Vargas
- Clay Bucholz
- Andrew Cashner
- Ubaldo Jimenez
- Jeremy Hellickson
- Jaime Garcia
- John Lackey
Aside from Arrieta, none of the others are staff-ace caliber starters, leaving the Twins and other teams with one alternative route to find an ace.
Trade for Rays right-hander Chris Archer
The Twins have been linked to Chris Archer for a couple of years, and the Star Tribune's LaVelle E. Neal touted the Twins' interest in him back in December.
And it's only been three weeks since MLB Network's Jon Morosi said the Twins could be a landing spot for Archer if they miss on Darvish.
Archer is 29 and has a team-friendly contract through 2021. Aside from the cost, he's virtually a lock for 200 innings and 200+ strikeouts. Here are his numbers since 2015.
- 2017: 4.07 ERA, 201 innings, 249 strikeouts
- 2016: 4.02 ERA, 201.1 innings, 233 strikeouts
- 2015: 3.23 ERA, 212 innings, 252 strikeouts
A 4.00+ ERA each of the last two seasons stands out, but MLB.com's advanced analytics blames it on a lack of a supporting cast behind him, a la the Rays defense. That wouldn't be a problem in Minnesota.
With spring training beginning this week, expect a lot of action in the rumor mill over the next 48-72 hours.
If nothing happens, Berrios is going to have to grow up in a hurry.