Et Yu Brute? Darvish signs with the Cubs. Now what do the Twins do?

On a cold and gray Chicago morning, as the snow flied, four days before Valentine's Day Ken Rosenthal, broke the hearts of plenty of Twins' fans by reporting that Yu Darvish signed a 6 year deal with the Cubs.   Darvish was considered by many not only the missing piece in a potential Twins' success story in 2018, but a statement acquisition by the new and improved front office, especially after another top of the rotation Japanese free agent, Shohei Otani, shunned the Twins and the frozen tundra for the California sun earlier this off-season.  A top free agent signing that would had put the Twin Cities on the map of the desirable places to go in the majors...

What are the Twins going to do about it, especially given the fact that Ervin Santana might not be ready until May? 

To me they are four options, listed here in order of what I believe makes sense:

  1. Work out a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for Chris Archer.  A package based on Max Kepler, Nick Gordon, and one of Stephen Gonsalves, Adalberto Mejia, or Zach Littell, should be in discussion.  If necessary, someone like Alex Kirilloff could be added, with a minor leaguer from the Rays' system to balance the trade.  In this case the Twins get a top of the rotation pitcher who will be their opening day pitcher and might be the piece they need to contend for the division and deep into the post-season, which should be their goal at this point. If a trade like this happens, the Twins can sign a free agent outfielder, like Carlos Gomez to replace Kepler's bat and glove, to an one year contract.  This is the best case scenario for the Twins, because unless they acquire someone like Archer, they will not content, which brings us to the second-best scenario:
  2. Do nothing and see what Gonsalves, Littell, and Fernando Romero have in the final 2 spots of the rotation, before Santana, and Trevor May are back in May.  The Twins really need to find a top of the rotation pitcher and with Jose Berrios improving with another year under his belt, he might be it.  Trevor May had excellent promise as a starter and might slot in the middle of the rotation ahead of Santana.  Can Romero be that number two that is his potential this season?  The Twins better find out, instead of doing the second worse scenario:
  3. Sign third grade, end of the rotation free agents to fill in the blanks.  Jason Vargas (a Terry Ryan, and I suspect of his administration's leftovers, darling,) Jaime Garcia, Edinson Volquez, Chris Tillman, Andrew Cashner, and the former true but mostly tried Twins Ricky Nolasco, and Hector Santiago, as well as every other pitcher you don't want the Twins to sign, belong in this category.  Trading for a mid-rotation starter, albeit with future potential, like Jake Odorizzi while better than the other choices listed here, falls in this category.  The future should be now for the Twins.  If they don't feel that this is the case, they should go with the kids.  Still this is not the worst case scenario; that would be:
  4. Signing one of the three "top" free agents left:  Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb, or Lancy Lynne (in alphabetical order) and especially to a contract more than a year.  None of those pitchers will be an improvement to (let's say) Kyle Gibson's 2017 second half or to what a combination of Gonzalves/Littell/Romero/Dietriech Enns can potentially provide...   Arrieta and Cobb had played in the American League and were mid to end of the rotation types.  Lynne has never played in the AL and has had the luxury of facing pitchers, thus inflated K% and SwStr% numbers.  To add insult to injury, the Twins will have to give up a high draft pick for the privilege to sign any of these mid of the rotation types.  
Unfortunately, I have a hunch  that the Twins' priorities are in reverse order that my preference in this case...

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