Right-hander Staumont signs one-year deal with Twins

December 27th, 2023

The Twins’ quiet offseason stirred on Wednesday with the signing of right-handed reliever  to a one-year contract worth just under $1 million, a source told MLB.com. The club has not confirmed the financial terms.

Staumont, 30, spent the last five seasons with the Royals and served as a hard-throwing setup man out of the Kansas City bullpen until nagging injuries limited his 2022 and ‘23 seasons, ultimately resulting in a season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome last July and a non-tender after he posted a 5.40 ERA in 20 innings, with 24 strikeouts and 13 walks.

Though the aftermath of thoracic outlet syndrome can be thorny for pitchers -- Twins fans have relatively recent experience in the matter with Chris Archer in ‘22, and, before that, with Phil Hughes -- Staumont is currently throwing, and indications are that the Twins feel good about his condition entering the ‘24 season.

The bullpen wasn’t one of the Twins’ most glaring needs this offseason, but they did have some need in the middle to late innings following the departure of Emilio Pagán to the Reds in free agency. Though Staumont hasn’t been at his best since 2021, he does bring the upside of the reliever who was one of MLB’s hardest-throwing as he posted a 2.93 ERA from 2019-21.

Staumont also added a new wrinkle last year: After pitching with mainly a fastball and curveball at the start of his career, he began to rely more heavily on a slider that generated a 45.7% whiff rate, mostly against right-handed hitters. On a relatively low-risk deal, that slider could provide Staumont more upside if he’s healthy and the fastball velocity remains.

The Twins still have work to do during an offseason in which they’re likely to be limited by payroll considerations, while the Tigers and Royals have already been among the more active teams on the market. Minnesota could still get help from another starting pitcher, perhaps a center field option, and right-handed bats to fill platoons in the outfield and infield.