Inbox: Who'll Twins pursue if they don't land Yu?

Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger answers fans' questions

January 29th, 2018

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in a little more than two weeks, yet it's clear the Twins would like to add at least one starting pitcher before heading to Fort Myers, Fla., on Feb. 13.
It's been a slow-moving market, but there should be plenty of action over the next two weeks with the Twins looking at several starters, including , which brings us to our first question of this week's Twins Inbox.
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The Twins remain in on Darvish, and he's their top priority, but they also have planned for fallback options in case he signs elsewhere. It's more about years than dollars for the Twins, as they're reluctant to go past four or five years for any free agent. They've been linked to other top starters such as Alex Cobb and , although I've been told their interest in Cobb has been a bit overstated.

They could also look to add depth to the back end of their rotation instead, as they have interest in former Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman, who is coming off a shoulder injury. Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey also didn't rule out a reunion with free agent , who was with the Twins for a few days before he was traded to the Yankees in July. So there are plenty of options out there, and it seems those dominos will fall once Darvish signs.

How slides into the rotation has much to do with who the Twins sign in free agency. As of now, the only locks in the rotation are , and . If they sign a starter, Mejia will compete for that final spot in the rotation with others such as Phil Hughes and prospects and . Mejia needs to work on his maturity and learn to trust his stuff better to pitch deeper into games.

As said at TwinsFest, he'd like to sign an extension to remain with the Twins, but the club hasn't approached him yet. The Twins said they're not talking extensions until Spring Training so it'll be revisited then. It's not a sure thing he'll sign one, as Minnesota has plenty of middle-infield depth coming through the system, but he is a face of the franchise and it'll be interesting to see if he'd be willing to eventually move to third to open up the middle of the infield with likely destined for first base.

The Twins finally have some bullpen depth after signing , Zach Duke and , which means they won't have to count on youngsters early in the season. The Twins really like and , but now they can work on things at Triple-A before getting called up. They're hopeful J.T. Chargois is healthy after elbow issues, while Jake Reed is an under-the-radar reliever who was left off the 40-man roster. was a pleasant surprise as a rookie and has the best shot among the younger relievers to make an impact early.

Royce Lewis, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 Draft, is expected to open at Class A Cedar Rapids and could play his way to Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Brent Rooker, the No. 35 overall pick, is expected to open at Fort Myers but is likely to reach Double-A Chattanooga this season.