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The Twins bullpen might be really, really good this season

Three key additions will help the Twins big time.

Like most sports fans, there's a good chance you checked out of the baseball rumor mill since the Twins got decked by the Yankees in the American League Wild Card game. 

If so, then you're going to enjoy knowing that the Twins don't have a crappy bullpen anymore. 

No joke. They've signed three solid relievers to help bolster the bones of last year's bullpen, which in fairness improved dramatically from the first to second half last season. 

The new guys

The trio they've signed and their 2017 stats: 

  • Addison Reed: 2.84 ERA, 76 strikeouts, 76 innings, 19 saves
  • Fernando Rodney: 4.23 ERA, 65 strikeouts, 55.1 innings, 39 saves
  • Zach Duke: 3.93 ERA, 18 innings, 27 appearances

Overall, the Twins bullpen finished 22nd in the majors with a 4.40 ERA last year. But it truly was a tale of two halves.

  • 1st half: 4.83 ERA (26th)
  • 2nd half: 3.89 ERA (12th)

The craziest part of their turnaround was that they did it after trading All-Star closer Brandon Kintzler to the Nationals. 

This season, in addition to the new trio of free agent acquisitions, they bring back Taylor Rogers, Alan Busenitz and Trevor Hildenberger.

  • Rogers: 3.07 ERA, 30 holds
  • Busenitz: 1.99 ERA
  • Hildenberger: 3.21 ERA, 12 holds

Rodney, the projected Twins closer, is 41 years old and still throws 95 mph. He'll open the season as the closer, filling the role left vacant by Matt Belisle's return to free agency. 

Reed, whom could easily take over the closer role if Rodney struggles, will be the right-handed set-up man capable of shutting down the seventh and eighth innings if need be. FanSided essentially called him a poor man's Andrew Miller, who has been as dominant as they come for the Cleveland Indians. 

Reed had 19 saves for the Mets before finishing last season as a setup guy for the Red Sox. Overall, he had a career best 0.926 WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched).

And then there's Duke, a lefty specialist who will help take some pressure off of Rogers. 

How good could they be?

The bullpen this season should be able to keep its ERA under four. A top 10 ERA last season was 3.84 and lower, which the Twins actually had in the second half. 

This year's 'pen should come with greater strikeout numbers, too. Having finished 26th in bullpen strikeouts in 2017, they'll almost certainly jump significantly this season thanks to Rodney and Reed fanning hitters late in games. 

All of this leads to more wins in the regular and maybe even a win in the postseason, which they haven't had since 2004. 

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