Being a Twin Tops Brotherly Love
The last inning he pitched for the only club he had ever played on was less than impressive, as he walked three batters en route to yielding three runs. The appearance was quite unusual for the veteran starter, for it came in relief and in the opening game of the 2019 playoffs.
Right hander Kyle Gibson had been a huge reason the Twins had the fifth best earned run average, a stat that helped the club win the American League Central. All five starters finished with double digit wins, including Gibson with 13.
Unfortunately for Minnesota, as well as for Gibson, the New York Yankees swept the first round of the playoffs. A few weeks after that lamentable inning of relief, Gibson left the Twins to sign a free agent contract with the Texas Rangers.
His stay in the Lone Star State was relatively short-lived, being dealt to the Phillies less than two years later. And now his time in the City of Brotherly Love may have run out.
Philadelphia, one of the biggest spenders on the free agent market over the past three seasons, have nothing to show for those financial investments. After signing superstar Most Valuable Player Bryce Harper in 2019, the Philly front office then brought in catcher J. T. Realmuto the following year.
Still without a single postseason appearance, the club this past winter added outfielder free agents Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber. Even with those two added to the batting order, the Phillies still find themselves with a losing record and ten and a half games out of first.
Last week the organization fired veteran manager Joe Girardi so, unless interim skipper Phil Nevin can quickly turn things around, more moves are imminent. Instead of being contenders as had been expected, the Phillies will be sellers at or before the trade deadline next month.
Their top trade candidate will be Gibson, since contending teams are always looking to solidify their pitching staffs before the pennant stretch. Gibson has a proven record of success, and his statistics this year are decent as well.
It makes a lot of sense for Gibson to return to Minnesota, the club that made him a first round draft pick back in 2009. The Twins are currently in first place in the American League Central, but they must strengthen their pitching staff in order to stave off the talented Chicago White Sox.
Since Gibson is eligible for free agency at the end of the season, the Phils cannot be expecting much in return. They could, however, address one of their biggest weaknesses by dealing Gibson to Minnesota, who are willing to part with number two shortstop prospect Austin Martin.
With number one overall pick Royce Lewis already Major League ready, and with All-Star Carlos Correa currently at that position, the Twins have little need for Martin. The 2022 draft pick could use a change of scenery, and the Phillies can increase their scant options at the most important position in the infield.
When he does return to the Twins, Gibson will find himself surrounded by very familiar faces. Nearly a half dozen of his 2019 teammates are still with Minnesota, including superstar center fielder Byron Buxton.
The guy playing right next to Buxton, Max Kepler, was also on the team when Gibson threw his last pitch in Minnesota. He will also recognize infielders Jorge Polanco, Luis Arraez and, when he returns from the injured list, first baseman Miguel Sano.
His former teammates will no doubt be glad to see him wearing a Twins uniform, for his addition will greatly increase Minnesota's chances to break that ignominious winless postseason streak.