LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Twins have given the final spot in their starting rotation to pitching prospect Kyle Gibson. Gibson, 26, has been listed as one of baseball’s top-100 prospects going into the 2010, 2011, and 2013 seasons by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus.
The rotation as a whole will include Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia, Phil Hughes, Mike Pelfrey, and Gibson. Vance Worley, last season’s Opening Day starter, was placed on waivers and then outrighted to Triple-A Rochester when no one claimed him. Sam Deduno, who was also competing for a rotation spot, will start the season in the bullpen and serve as a spot starter.
Last year at Triple-A, Gibson posted a 2.92 ERA in 101 2/3 innings. He struck out 87 and unintentionally walked 33.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.