Twins continue to monitor relief market

January 20th, 2017
Paul Molitor and the Twins have been fairly quiet this offseason, but that could still change. (AP)Bruce Kluckhohn/AP

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Paul Molitor said chief baseball officer Derek Falvey and general manager Thad Levine are continuing to look for ways to improve the roster, particularly the pitching staff.

Molitor acknowledged that the Twins haven't made any major moves this winter outside of signing catcher to a three-year, $24.5 million deal, but Molitor said he could see the Twins adding pitching help late in the offseason.

"Things could still happen," Molitor said. "I don't know about major moves. There is still quite a large pool of free agents out there. They might not be superstars, unless you're talking about some of those right-handed bats, but there are people who can impact teams and possibly be upgrades. We're monitoring that closely, and I get updates from those guys fairly regularly."

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As Molitor noted, there are several unsigned free agents, especially among relievers. Notable bullpen arms left unsigned include Joe Blanton, Greg Holland, Tommy Hunter, , Joe Smith and even former Twins closer , who is attempting another comeback.

Molitor said the Twins are continuing to look at the relief market, but as a manager, he can't expect anything to happen until it actually does.

"I'm not counting on it," Molitor said. "My mindset is to deal with the roster at the current time. But I know there are still a lot of guys out there. So, we'll monitor those guys. But whether it'll happen, we have to wait and see."

The Twins have a core of relievers that includes , , and closer , who is coming off left labrum surgery. Other bullpen candidates include J.T. Chargois, , Pat Light, , and Rule 5 Draft pick . and could also head to the bullpen if they don't make the rotation.

"Our bullpen still needs some work," Molitor said. "Trying to put the pieces together. We'll have to continue to try to find ways to make it work."

Molitor also said he understands that fans are frustrated the Twins haven't made a major move this offseason coming off a 103-loss season. But he's happy the new front office hasn't been making moves for the sake of making moves, as he appreciates its diligence.

"People that follow are always looking for that splash move," Molitor said. "I give Derek and Thad credit for how they've gone about it. They haven't tried to do something just to do something to maybe create false enthusiasm. They've been thoughtful."

And as for a potential trade, which would certainly be a splash and bring back pitching help, Molitor again maintained that he's counting on him to be the club's second baseman entering the 2017 season.

"Brian has been through the wringer this winter," Molitor said. "But right now, I plan on him being part our team."