The Twins' need for left hand starting pitching, J.A. Happ's doppelgänger, and the guy who they should really target

One of the areas that the Twins must improve this off-season is starting pitching.  In order to be able to dream about being competitive in the post-season they need to have 3 top pitchers that at least on paper are a match for the top 3 of the Indians, the Astros, and the Red Sox.  This will mean that they need at least two starters better than Jose Berrios, at least on paper.

Given the fact that no team other than the 2004 Red Sox has won a World Series in the wild card era (that's since 1995) without a lefty starter, one of the two pitchers the Twins should target, better be a lefty.

There have been indications that the Twins are interested in 36 year old free agent LHP J.A. Happ.  Will he fit the bill for one of the two Twins' SP openings?

Here is what J.A. Happ did the last 2 seasons:

323 IP, 9.3 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 1.25 WHIP/.286 BABIP, 3.59 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 6.0 fWAR

His line is eerily similar to the aforementioned Berrios's, who is 11.5 years his junior:

336-2/3 IP, 9.1 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.07 WHIP/.278 BABIP, 3.88 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 6.1 fWAR 

Will Happ be better than Berrios in 2019 (and beyond, since he will likely require a multi-season contract?)  Based on the fact that Berrios is moving towards his peak and Happ away, the likelihood of surpassing or even matching Berrios's performance in 2019 is small.

Unless the Twins are willing to make small steps and not hit the 2019 opening day with a team that looks like a post-season contender, the Twins should pass on Happ.  On the other hand, if they are planning on making gradual improvements to get them closer to Cleveland and make themselves post-season competitive at the deadline, Happ could be part of the plan.

Personally, since the division is weak, and Cleveland is getting weaker, I think that the Twins should go all out in the off-season adding 2 better starting pitchers.   My lefty target would be 29 year old free agent Patrick Corbin who had the following line in the last 2 seasons:

387 IP, 9.8 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 0.95 WHIP/.315 BABIP, 3.60 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 9.3 fWAR

There is no comparison with the Berrios/Happ lines.  As a matter of fact that 9.3 fWAR was second in the majors, trailing only Chris Sale, as far as lefty starters go that past 2 seasons.  It will likely take a contract the size the Twins rumored to have offered Yu Darvish last off-season to sign Corbin, and, since this off-season have much more money to go around than last, it should a no brainer and a must happen.

Patrick Corbin would fit nicely in the number 2 spot in the Twins' rotation in 2019?  Who should be the ace  I will write about it in a later piece, but as a hind, he is a righty who is not even considered among the top two pitchers in his team, and the Twins would have to trade for him...