4 Starting Pitchers the Twins Could Potentially Trade for at the Deadline
Image courtesy of © Jake Roth-USA TODAY SportsThere aren’t many projections available at this time of year, so we can only speculate about which teams might get to July far from a playoff spot. However, MLB has already kicked things off with its first MLB Power Rankings of 2020 and we can have a tentative idea of what clubs may be sellers at the deadline. Here are my four picks from teams outside the top ten of these rankings.
David Price (LHP)
Upside: If you think the only thing missing in the Twins rotation is an ace that will lead them in October, Price might be the most interesting option. He has, by far, the largest playoff experience out of all the pitchers on my list, with 99 1/3 career postseason innings. In his last two October runs, he’s posted a 2.75 ERA, holding opposing batters to a .172 AVG. Because the Red Sox may be motivated to dump his contract and are suddenly facing a huge wall of uncertainty with the departure of Alex Cora, one might imagine they wouldn’t make things too difficult should the Twins reach them for this deal.
Downside: He hasn’t been quite healthy since the start of the 2017 season, with an average of 119 innings per season in the past three years. If the Twins did acquire him, they would have to stick with him for two whole seasons past this year, so his health could be an issue. Besides, he is still owed a fortune. While this might reduce Boston’s asking for him, if they don’t eat up a considerable chunk of his remaining contract, maybe the Twins should back away.
Mike Clevinger (RHP)
Upside: Coming off the best year of his career (he was worth 4.5 WAR pitching only 126 innings), Clevinger should be a very attractive option, because of a number of reasons. He apparently just entered his prime, he just turned 28 and he’s under team control for two more years past this year.
Downside: With such a long list of advantages, Clevinger will certainly not be cheap. The Indians probably will ask for a huge package in exchange, especially considering who they would be trading him to. Giving away top prospects is not very appealing and even less if they’re going to a division rival.
Kyle Freeland (LHP)
Upside: An injury-plagued 2019 made most people immediately forget about the arguably best starting pitcher from the Rockies. Freeland is one year removed from the best season by a pitcher in Rockies history, when he was worth 8.4 bWAR and came in fourth in the NL Cy Young race. He also has a very respectable track record in college and in the minors before 2019. If he can have a bounce back year, Freeland, who’s still only 26, could be a huge addition for any team now and in the long-term. In his only playoff game, he pitched a gem.
Downside: It’s still uncertain whether 2019 was just an abnormality in Freeland’s career or he just wasn’t as good as everybody thinks. Also, assuming he bounces back, the Rockies would not give him up cheap.
Johnny Cueto (RHP)
Upside: The veteran Cueto brings to the table enormous playoff experience, including a World Series title with the Royals. Before undergoing Tommy John Surgery in 2018, he was having a nice bounce back year, with an ERA of 3.23. Coming back from the surgery last year, he had only four starts, two good ones and two bad ones. If he pitches well in the first half of the season, it would make sense to bet him. The Giants would probably welcome anyone trying to get his huge salary of their payroll.
Downside: His health is the biggest question mark, but, thankfully, Minnesota would have another six months to observe that. Even though I don’t think the Giants’ asking price would be that big, he is still owed $21 million for the 2021, which is a lot of money for 35-year old. Fortunately, 2022 has a club option, with a $5 million buyout.
Let us know which other suggestions you have, by leaving a comment!
MORE FROM TWINS DAILY
— Latest Twins coverage from our writers
— Recent Twins discussion in our forums
— Follow Twins Daily via Twitter, Facebook or email
- nclahammer and ToddlerHarmon like this