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Is Alex Kirilloff Expendable?

Minnesota’s line-up full of Bomba Squad members is hitting home runs at a record pace. While some of the home run power has been home grown, other players like Nelson Cruz, CJ Cron, Marwin Gonzalez and Jonathan Schoop were added to supplement the power hitting barrage. The Twins were able to find these players on the open market to fill multiple spots on their roster.

If players like this can be found on the open market, does that make a prospect like Alex Kirilloff expendable?
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (Alex Kirilloff)
Offensive Power
Kirilloff is coming off one of Minnesota’s best seasons ever for a minor league player. Between Low- and High-A, he hit .348/.392/.578 with 71 extra-base hits in 130 games. He also showed a decent approach at the plate as he posted an 86 to 28 strikeout to walk ratio. By season’s end, Kirilloff would be named MiLB’s Breakout Prospect of the Year and the Twins awarded him the Sherry Robertson Award as the team’s Minor League Player of the Year.

It was going to be hard for Kirilloff to repeat his 2018 campaign, especially since the Twins decided to be aggressive with him to start the year. He only played 65 games in the Florida State League to end 2018 and the organization still sent him to Pensacola to begin the year. In 65 games at that level, he has hit .271/.336/.384 with 19 extra-base hits and a 60 to 21 strikeout to walk ratio.

Some of his offensive struggles this season have resulted from multiple trips to the injured list with a wrist injury. For batters, wrist injuries can be a nagging and follow a player through an entire season. Since returning from the IL on June 20, he has a .686 OPS with nine extra-base hits in 36 games. He has failed to draw a walk in each of his last 18 games.

Defensive Questions
Kirilloff’s bat tool has always been his key to making it to the big leagues. Throughout his professional career, he has spent the majority of his defensive innings in right field. There have been a few opportunities for him to play in both other outfield positions and he has played over 180 innings at first base this year. It still seems most likely for him to stick at a corner outfield spot in the years ahead.

Minnesota is amid a tight race for the top of the AL Central and prospect like Kirilloff can hold a lot of value at this time of year. If the right deal comes along, Kirilloff should be a prospect the Twins consider selling. This doesn’t mean the front office should give him away for a mid-level relief prospect. However, the club needs another starter to go deep into October and Kirilloff could be a center piece to a big-time trade.

He would currently be in line to play a corner outfield spot, but Minnesota has some other strong players already occupying those places in the line-up. Max Kepler, the team’s current right fielder, leads the team with 28 home runs and he has team’s second highest WAR total behind Jorge Polanco. Kepler also signed an extension this off-season that could keep him with the Twins through 2024.

On the other side of the outfield, Eddie Rosario has certainly evolved into one of the team’s leaders. He has hit .280/.307/.514 with 38 extra-base hits including one of the most memorable home runs in recent Twins history. The 27-year old is still arbitration eligible and the earliest he can reach free agency is 2022. With both corner outfield spots occupied, the Twins might have to get creative to fit Kepler, Rosario, and Kirilloff into the same line-up.

First base seems like a natural spot for Kepler or Kirilloff to end up, but the Twins might also need to play Miguel Sano at first in the years ahead. While using one of these players at first is an option, Minnesota showed this year that a team can find a first baseman like CJ Cron without giving anything up in return.

Deadline Deal?
It seems unlikely for the front office to move any of the team’s top prospects unless the club is acquiring a starting pitcher with multiple years of team control. Some players that fit this mold would be the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard (team control through 2021) and the Tigers’ Matthew Boyd (2022).

According to the Star Tribune’s La Velle E. Neal, the Mets are asking for both Royce Lewis and Kirilloff in any potential trade for Syndergaard. This seems like a king’s ransom for the right-handed hurler, but it’s tough to know what the Mets are thinking at this point. Already this week, the club acquired one of the top available pitchers, Marcus Stroman from the Blue Jays.

Could the Mets asking price decrease before Wednesday? Could they settle for Kirilloff along with other players not named Royce Lewis? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.


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32 Comments

Doesn't sound like the Mets think they match up as well with the Twins as some other teams. Would still be possible to get a deal done, but I'm guessing it would start with one of Lewis/Kirilloff + one of Graterol/Balazovic + a 3rd piece maybe Jeffers/Enlow type level. For a team such as the Mets that seem to want to compete soon/prefer close to major league talent they may have to overpay since their prospects are a little further out.  

    • DocBauer likes this
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Halsey Hall
Jul 29 2019 06:18 PM
I'd say no to either Lewis or Kirilloff. We suffered thru some bad seasons to get these guys, so let's keep them.
    • gil4, Monkeypaws, DocBauer and 6 others like this

Thanks for the take.But I do have to disagree that the Twins can find a first baseman like Cron anytime.He's been exceptional with both the bat and the glove.Cron has to be in the top 10% of the free agents we've added in the last twenty years.

    • Dantes929, TNTwinsFan, blindeke and 4 others like this

Technically I would say Kirillof is expendable as Larnach is somewhat comparable in skill set. Granted I think Kirillof has the better bat but Larnach might have the better arm and better eye at the plate to take walks.  

 

While I don't know a ton about pitching I don't really love Thor's stats.and while two and half years of control is nice I have to give up a likely All-Star bat that will have 6 years of control and more prospects to boot.The value is definitely on the Met's side in a trade like this but we do have a need for immediate pitching help so that is the price you pay.

 

I would be torn but could see them lose Kiriloff and not having it impact them too much in the future since Kepler and Buxton look set for a while as does Rosario. They would still have Larnach to step in and they have other guys coming up in the next two to three years to offset anything lost for outfield depth.

 

It is certainly something they could afford to do.Whether it is the RIGHT thing to do or not I am not sure.

    • brvama and DocBauer like this

Re: Rosario, you said "The 23-year old is still arbitration eligible and the earliest he can reach free agency is 2022."

 

So yeah he's 27 I think. Almost 28.

    • Sconnie, DocBauer and curt1965 like this

I don't care very much for the term "expendable". In the right deal, any player is expendable. It makes the term next to meaningless.

 

Two related observations make Larnach or Kirilloff the ones to shop though. First, a team wants to deal from an area of strength or duplication, and we currently have more than sufficient coverage (now and for the future) at the corner outfield positions.

 

Second, the team visibly shied away from taking pitchers with high draft choices. The rationale seemed to be that we avoid risk that way, in favor of position players more likely to develop into valuable major leaguers. Implicit in that strategy is to trade position players for pitching that is closer to major league ready, or even simply established major leaguers. If that strategy is sound (and I have had my doubts), now is the time to put it to the test.

 

Kirilloff's not expendable. But he's one of the few conceivable chips to use if going after the top end pitching talent that we didn't think we could obtain reliably in the draft. There's no sense in waiting forever. The window of contention is open.

    • USAFChief, diehardtwinsfan, nicksaviking and 9 others like this
Krilloff and another prospect not named lewis for Syndergaard would be a heck of a deal for us. Krilloff played above his potential last year. Syndergaard would give us a legitimate top of the rotation with berrios for some years
    • D.C Twins likes this
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nicksaviking
Jul 29 2019 07:14 PM
There are barely enough corner position spots available in Pensicola and Rochester for all the Twins decent bats let alone the MLB roster. I wouldn’t use the word expendable, but if there’s a stud pitcher I want, I’d give the other team their choice of any of them.
    • AlwaysinModeration, Heistyman, DocBauer and 1 other like this
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stringer bell
Jul 29 2019 07:18 PM
Yes. Kirilloff is expendable, but that doesn’t mean he should be sold off at a discount.
    • beckmt, Dman, DocBauer and 1 other like this

Yes. Kirilloff is expendable, but that doesn’t mean he should be sold off at a discount.


Exactly. He’s expendable just like Noah Syndergaard is expendable. My biggest pet peeve here lately is the double standard some people have here.

 

I'd say no to either Lewis or Kirilloff. We suffered thru some bad seasons to get these guys, so let's keep them.

 

Kiriloff was drafted 15th after the Twins had a decent season, but I get your point.

 

If the new regime is willing to not rely 95% on the prospects to field the major league team then, sure, he can be on the table. as can anyone. Kiriloff is still 2-3 years out and has no guarantees attached to him.

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SydneyTwinsFan
Jul 29 2019 07:28 PM

Kirilloff not in the Pensacola line up tonight....

Seems that this article was written as an encouragement to trade Kirilloff. I’d rather trade Lewis, if we have to. Kirilloff is an elite hitter. I don’t think he’s blocked by the current OF. You never know what’s going to happen- maybe Rosario’s contract demands make him expendable. Is it possible that Lewis is the one that is actually blocked? Seems to me that the middle infield could be set for years! And the idea that Lewis could end up in CF is undercut with Buxton’s emergence. Hey, I love both these guys. Kirilloff is just more of a sure thing to me.
    • DocBauer and birddog like this
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yarnivek1972
Jul 29 2019 07:35 PM
Here’s an honest question: How many teams don’t have their own Kirilloff?

I would suspect almost every team has a high impact bat, corner type under 25 with at least 5 years of control remaining that is projected to be MLB ready within two years.
    • South Dakota Tom and Tomj14 like this

Kiriloff as a headliner in a package for Syndergaard? Sure, I'd be up for it. Lewis and Syndergaard plus more? Heck no!

    • DocBauer and lurker like this

I have always preferred building through drafts. Its why I look at the minor league report.You hear about these guys and watch them develop. At some point many here wanted to trade almost our entire team. Berrios, May, Gibson, Sano, Polanco, Arrraez, Garver, Buxton, Rosario, and Kepler all went through our system and now it is paying off but pitching is lacking and finding a spot for Lewis, Kiriloff and others will be a challenge. I would trade Kiriloff and another lower top 10 for a stud pitcher. Is Thor still a stud is my question. So Kiriloff, and Enlow maybe.  Seems like more than Toronto just gave up for Stroman an hard to make the argument that Thor is better than Stroman at this point.At least ifrun prevention is the goal to pitching.

    • DocBauer and DannySD like this
I’ve read of concerns about how his at would play once he saw advanced pitching more than once. Not saying it’s right or wrong, but there were some prognosticators out there who saw the dip in production coming (or guessed it was coming).

Now, it goes without saying that injuries could be cause. Especially wrist-related injuries.

Is it a bad idea to hang onto him with the hopes that he breaks loose again once fully healthy? No. Is it a bad idea to trade home for the appropriate return in the hopes of winning a World Series? I don’t think so.

Is Kirilloff going to be such a transcendent offensive force at 1B that he couldn’t be replaced by Larnach or Wallner (or Sano or Garver on extension)? So far ahead of any other option that it’s not worth a run at a World Series right now? The more I think about it, the more I’m OK with letting him go if we’re getting someone like Syndergaard back.
    • railmarshalljon likes this
1. Kirilloff
1a. Larnach
2. Rooker
2a. Jaylin Davis

Take a 1. & take a 2, then throw in Graterol and AAA pitcher. You’d think that would be enough.
    • nokomismod and Heistyman like this

I have always preferred building through drafts. Its why I look at the minor league report. You hear about these guys and watch them develop. At some point many here wanted to trade almost our entire team. Berrios, May, Gibson, Sano, Polanco, Arrraez, Garver, Buxton, Rosario, and Kepler all went through our system and now it is paying off but pitching is lacking and finding a spot for Lewis, Kiriloff and others will be a challenge. I would trade Kiriloff and another lower top 10 for a stud pitcher. Is Thor still a stud is my question. So Kiriloff, and Enlow maybe. Seems like more than Toronto just gave up for Stroman an hard to make the argument that Thor is better than Stroman at this point. At least if run prevention is the goal to pitching.



I agree that building through the draft is really the only way a team like the Twins can get a championship core in place.

At some point you have to supplement that core with MLB ready talent from elsewhere. Nobody has won with a roster sourced 100% from their farm club. Even the Astros and Royals traded for Verlander and Cueto.

We have the core. It’s time to top it off and win something for once.
    • Cast of Thousands likes this

Personally, I'd give up Lewis & Kiriloff if the deal netted both Syndergaard & 
Diaz.They are two experienced yet controllable, dynamic, young arms that could thrive outside of the NY spotlight. Plus they fill glaring needs on a potential World Series team, right now.

    • South Dakota Tom, Cast of Thousands and DavidTiz like this
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ScooterDance
Jul 29 2019 08:52 PM

I'd push all my chips in. We have a historically good offense. If you pair that with top 8 pitching staff, we have a legitimate shot to get a trophy that does not read "2019 ALDS participant - 0-3 to NYY".

    • Cast of Thousands likes this
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AlwaysinModeration
Jul 29 2019 09:07 PM

Kiriloff, Javier, and Thorpe for Syndegaard.

Granted this thread is about Kirilloff, but right now, it's almost impossible not to include Lewis in any discussion as they are intertwined in many ways as we approach the deadline.

It doesn't matter, for discussion purposes, that we don't WANT to trade either one. For purpose of discussion...NOW, or even next off season...ONE of these guys would have to be included in a major deal for a front of the line SP. Just being realistic, BOTH are available if the right deal is in place. Period. And either would not decimate the system, or the future of the franchise. Again, period.

1] Kiriloff: I believe he is a special bat. He reminds me of Larry Walker and our own Max Kepler, though probably a little less speed than Kepler, especially if he continues to muscle up. Blocked? Hardly! Even if the Twins keep their OF intact for the next 4-5yrs, and I hope they do, there isn't room for Kirilloff to play 1B as well as some OF? I kinda laugh when I read things about how a corner OF or 1B are a dime a dozen. Maybe they are if you just want someone league average. The Twins were both lucky and smart with Cron.

However, the arguement can be fairly made they could be smart and lucky again. Further, while I feel Kirilloff could be special, there remains Rooker and Larnach available in the pipeline, as well as an eventual move of Sano to 1B. [More on that coming].

2] Lewis: This kid is super talented, and probably more highly regard in some ways as he has legitimate SS potential. He has all the tools in the world to be a legitimate difference maker. (I also laugh when a stud athlete at 20yr old is "uncertain" to remain at SS). Polanco has become, is becoming, everything I hoped and thought he would be. And he is still developing! Some, in the past, have blasted me about the idea of Lewis, with all his talent and a good arm, about playing 3B. I've been told that would be a "waste" of his talent. How? How could it EVER be a waste to have a supreme talent at ANY position on the field and in your lineup?

However: Polanco, again, is a young and controlled stud who will only get better. We may have already found our next 2B in Arreaz. Despite being a bit of an enigma, Wander has, probably, as much talent and potential as either Polanco or Lewis. And while their are differing opinions on Sano at 3B, (I like him there), there is no immediate need to replace him.

So you tell me, because I don't have the answer, which of these 2 are "expendable" if the right deal is available?
    • curt1965 likes this
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South Dakota Tom
Jul 29 2019 10:06 PM

 

Personally, I'd give up Lewis & Kiriloff if the deal netted both Syndergaard & 
Diaz.They are two experienced yet controllable, dynamic, young arms that could thrive outside of the NY spotlight. Plus they fill glaring needs on a potential World Series team, right now.

You add Thor and Diaz to this team right now, and we are absolutely top-end for at least this year and next.Giving up prospects 1 and 2 is tough, but as an earlier poster noted, this is why we stockpiled position players (or at least took BPA) so that we could deal from positions of strength to fill holes. 

 

And then we'd have two years to fill a DH and 1B spot when Cruz and Cron depart (and yes, I trust Larnach, Rooker, Wade, Jaylin Davis, plus every free agent, waiver claim, and available trade to fill those holes).Sign Big Mike to a 2-year deal and hope Graterol is ready sooner rather than later, and we are solid around the diamond - Garver/Astudillo, Cron, Arraez, Polanco, Sano, Rosario/Buxton/Kepler, Cruz - Berrios, Thor, Pineda, Graterol, Perez/someone - maybe Gibson on a QO and then trade him mid-season next year when Graterol is ready.I think one nice thing that we've seen this summer is that we have enough depth to fill a 5th starter role as well as some long relief and maintain flexibility in the pen without inking long-term relief pitchers.Frankly (and I've said this before), I'd rather have 3-4 BP stalwarts and a rotation of 12 others filling the last 4 slots. 

I like Kiriloff and Lewis but, I like a WS Championship more. The Pirates are flushing themselves down the toilet. Go get Vasquez!
    • stringer bell likes this

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