Bullpen upgrade remains priority for Twins

Perkins and Jepsen solid in back end, but club seeking power arms

Bullpen upgrade remains priority for Twins

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have been aggressive early in the offseason, winning the bid on Korean slugger Byung Ho Park and trading center fielder Aaron Hicks to the Yankees for catcher John Ryan Murphy.

But Twins general manager Terry Ryan said at the General Managers Meetings that the Twins are far from done, as they are still committed to improving their pitching, especially the bullpen.

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"We have some things there we need to address," Ryan said. "That's one area that I want to look at, for sure."

Ryan was asked about the market for non-closers, but said he's not worried about the prices for free-agent relievers. He said if some teams are scared off by the high price tags for relief help, it's their decision.

"Everybody's trying to accumulate talented people on a pitching staff," Ryan said. "It's up to you what you want to spend. If you don't like it, don't spend it. If you do, go get it. That's about how anybody would approach it."

Ryan said the Twins are in good shape in the back end of the bullpen with left-hander Glen Perkins and right-hander Kevin Jepsen, but are looking to add depth. He said he'd also like one of the two to be the primary closer, but said having two experienced closers on the roster is a good problem.

Perkins slams the door

"We have a pretty good situation there because we have a guy in Perkins that has shown over the last couple years he is an All-Star type closer," Ryan said. "We added Jepsen who took over for him last year, which was a situation that was desperately needed at the time. … But I don't know if there's too much surplus there. I think you better be careful about putting that statement together, especially at the back end of the bullpen. I don't know if anybody has too much of that."

Ryan said the Twins still possess several internal options, including hard-throwing right-hander Trevor May, who is an option to remain a reliever next season, although he's expected to come into camp competing to be a starter.

"We have quantity," Ryan said. "We did a little bit of that with Trevor May. We took him out of the rotation when we were running thin in the 'pen and he went out and he did a good job, a real good job. So it's encouraging to see that."

But Minnesota is looking for power arms, as Twins relievers combined to finish 2015 with the fewest strikeouts in the Majors. They could also use another lefty in the 'pen with Tony Sipp and Antonio Bastardo two potential options in free agency.

Blaine Boyer, Brian Duensing and Neal Cotts are all free agents but Ryan said he wouldn't comment on if he's looking to bring any of them back.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.