MLB Rumors: Phillies-Bellinger update, Braves prospect buzz, Twins’ Gray replacement

  • Twins could sign Michael Lorenzen or Noah Syndergaard
  • Braves' pitching prospects on MLB fast track
  • Phillies not expected to target Cody Bellinger, OF help

Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs
Cody Bellinger, Chicago Cubs / Matt Dirksen/GettyImages
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MLB rumors: Michael Lorenzen, Noah Syndergaard on Twins' radar

The Minnesota Twins lost Sonny Gray and Kenta Maeda to free agency. Now, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, the Twins are expected to pursue starting pitching depth as spring training gets underway. Two potential targets are Michael Lorenzen and Noah Syndergaard.

Lorenzen, 32, and Syndergaard, 31, have been under the microscope for several teams this offseason. Both are thought to be in a good place mentally and physically. For the Twins, there is an explicit need for more bodies in the bullpen. Lorenzen managed 29 appearances (25 starts) for the Philadelphia Phillies last season. Syndergaard made 18 starts between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Guardians. Health is the pervasive concern with both pitchers, but not only can the Twins afford the risk — they need to take the risk.

Losing Gray especially is going to be difficult for Minnesota to overcome. The Twins won a weak AL Central last season, but there's little hope of actually contending in the playoffs without the Cy Young runner-up. Lorenzen and Syndergaard will not achieve the same heights as Gray (or anything close to it), but both former All-Stars have enough left in the tank to at least keep Minnesota's rotation afloat.

Lorenzen finished last season with a 9-9 record and 4.18 ERA as the Phillies' back-end starter. Syndergaard's ERA ballooned to 6.50 and his 2-6 record inspired little confidence. Syndergaard's decline has been the steepest — his velocity landed in the 22nd percentile last season, compared to the 98th percentile as a rookie.

Even so, the Twins can do worse as far as stopgap starters and potential mid-inning relievers are concerned.