Let's Make A Deal, Part V: Are We Getting Noah Syndergaard or Someone Else?
Image courtesy of © Wendell Cruz / Mets pitcher and top trade chip Noah Syndergaard
Have you missed the earlier parts of this series?
At the top of the Twins - and every other team’s - wish list is a front-end starting pitcher who has team control. By adding one of these players, the Twins would take a current starter (probably Martin Perez) and move him to the bullpen for the remainder of the year. I’m also being more than generous lumping some of these guys into the “front-end” conversation. These guys are starters and would be inserted into the rotation if acquired.
Zack Greinke, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks. Turns 36 in October, 4.7 bWAR, 3.15 FIP, 8.2 K/9; owed a boatload of money over this season and the next two, also has a lot of deferred money he is owed and the Twins are on his no-trade list. Will he be a Twin? No, he won’t. But it would be really fun.
Marcus Stroman, RHP, New York Mets. Turned 28 in May, 3.2 bWAR, 3.52 FIP, 7.1 K/9; owed ~$2.5 million over the rest of 2019 and will command around $14m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Stroman would slot in perfectly behind Berrios despite not having overpowering stuff. He’s survived the AL East and performed heroically in the World Baseball Classic. The Mets traded for him Sunday afternoon, and appear to be keeping him rather than flipping him. Will he be a Twin? The Twins certainly had the pieces to deal with Toronto, but couldn't/didn't beat the Mets package. The Mets now have the most intriguing rental (Zach Wheeler), player with one year of control (Stroman) and player with two years of control (Syndergaard).
Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets. Turns 27 in August, 1.2 bWAR, 3.64 FIP, 9.0 K/9; owed ~$2 million over the rest of the 2019 season and has two more years of arbitration left before heading to free agency. Syndergaard has not been as good this year as in the past, but the price is still incredibly high. The Padres and Braves sound like the most interested trade partners, with the Astros and Yankees showing interest as well. After adding Stroman, maybe the Mets are going for it. Will he be a Twin? We can dream, right? At this point, that’s what it is, despite having the ammunition to get it done.
Matthew Boyd, LHP, Detroit Tigers. Turns 29 in February, 3.0 bWAR, 3.57 FIP, 12.0 K/9; owed ~$850,000 over the rest of the 2019 season and has three years of arbitration remaining. Not the youngest on this list, but is the one with the most team control, which makes him the most valuable. Will he be a Twin? Because he’s in the division, there is a very slim chance the Twins acquire Boyd.
Trevor Bauer, RHP, Cleveland Indians. Turns 29 in January, 2.4 bWAR, 4.19 FIP, 10.6 K/9; owed ~$4.3 million over the rest of 2019 and will command around $18m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Do the Indians move Bauer? And would they move him to the team they competing directly with for a playoff spot? Will he be a Twin? Extremely unlikely, despite his Sunday meltdown.
Robbie Ray, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks. Turns 28 in October, 1.1 bWAR, 4.27 FIP, 11.9 K/9; owed ~$2 million over the rest of 2019 and will command around $11m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Ray is probably a step below many of the other available. Will he be a Twin? They’ve kicked the tires on Ray and the teams were able to match up on a deal last year. Will a team not in on the big names try to strike early? It’s possible. I don’t consider Ray to be one of their top choices, so I don’t see this being a match unless it happens very late in the process.
Lance Lynn, RHP, Texas Rangers. Turned 32 in May; 5.0 bWAR, 2.94 FIP, 10.2 K/9; owed ~$3.1 million over the rest of the 2019 season and is under contract for two more years at $20.7m. Lynn has been an above-average pitcher for his entire career, except for his time with the Twins, when he couldn’t throw strikes. Will he be a Twin? It would be a nightmarish reunion for fans, especially if he doesn’t perform well. But he’s been really good this year, the cost wouldn’t be excessive and he would help with the playoff push. If he keeps playing like he has so far this year, all fans would get over his 2018 performance.
Mike Leake, RHP, Seattle Mariners. Turns 32 in November, 2.0 bWAR, 4.71 FIP, 6.7 K/9; owed ~3.6 million over the rest of the 2019 season and acquiring team would be on the hook for $11m of his $15m contract in 2020 as well as a $5m buyout on a $18m mutual option in 2021. The Twins could afford to take on the $20 still owed to Leake and, in doing so, could avoid moving their better prospects. He’d also help fill a need in next year’s rotation… but is he an upgrade on anyone in the current rotation? That’s a big question. Will he be a Twin? If the Twins are convinced they’d be better with Leake in the rotation and Perez in the bullpen than with Perez in the rotation and a new acquisition in the bullpen, then this is a move I could certainly see the team making.
Mike Minor, LHP, Texas Rangers. Turns 32 in December, 5.8 bWAR, 4.20 FIP, 9.1 K/9; owed ~$3.3 million over the rest of 2019 and under contract for $9,833,333 next season. Minor will be a free agent following the 2020 season. Despite how good he’s been this year - he’s been great - his track record isn’t. Will he be a Twin? There is definitely familiarity between Thad Levine and Rangers GM Jon Daniels. And though he’s been arguably the best pitcher who is available, the cost shouldn’t be as high as others.
Next on the Twins list would be a controllable, dependable back-of-the-bullpen type.
Shane Greene, RHP, Detroit Tigers. Turns 31 in November; 1.5 bWAR, 3.74 FIP, 10.0 K/9; owed ~$1.3 million over the rest of the 2019 season and will command around $8m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Greene is having his best season by far and the Tigers are looking to cash in. Will he be a Twin? Fortunately, the Twins and Tigers don’t appear likely to connect on a trade, saving the Twins from trading for someone who has a very short track record despite being a relief pitcher for the last three seasons.
Jake McGee, LHP, Colorado Rockies. Turns 33 in August; 0.8 bWAR, 4.92 FIP, 7.3 K/9; owed ~$2.8 million over the rest of the 2019 season with $11.5m more guaranteed over the next two years, including a likely-to-vest option for 2021, increasing the guarantee to $18.5m. McGee is not the same performer he was with Tampa Bay, but has dominated left-handed hitters this year (which he did not do last year). Will he be a Twin? There are better, less expensive options available currently. But if it gets close to the deadline and the Twins are still in the market for another left-handed option, they could do worse.
Edwin Diaz, RHP, New York Mets. Turned 25 in March; 0.0 bWAR, 3.50 FIP, 14.0 K/9; owed ~$200,000 over the rest of the 2019 season and has three years of arbitration left before free agency. Diaz was the best reliever in baseball in 2018 and the Mets paid for it. He hasn’t been good this year, yet the Mets are still asking for a ton, as they should. Will he be a Twin? The cost will be super high. The Twins appear most interested in Diaz of all the potential Mets trade chips, but that still doesn’t make this move more likely.
Kirby Yates, RHP, San Diego Padres. Turned 32 in March; 2.4 bWAR, 1.07 FIP, 14.7 K/9; owed ~$1 million over the rest of the 2019 season and will command around $7m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. The Padres turned a waiver-wire claim in Brad Hand into a Top 100 prospect in Francisco Mejia. They’re likely to try to do the same thing with Yates. Yates has been great, don’t get me wrong. But he’s a great example of how elite relievers don’t always take the path that begins with being a top prospect. Will he be a Twin? His price will be high, but if the Twins insist on moving big-time prospects for a controllable reliever, Yates is one of the better options.
Felipe Vasquez, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates. Turned 28 in July; 2.0 bWAR, 1.96 FIP, 14.1 K/9; owed ~$1.5 million over the rest of the 2019 season, with two more guaranteed years ($13.5m) before two team options ($10m each). Vasquez would certainly change the complexion of the bullpen, wouldn’t he? Will he be a Twin? Like Diaz, the cost will be extreme, which makes the likelihood of a trade small.
Ian Kennedy, RHP, Kansas City Royals. Turns 35 in December; 0.9 bWAR, 2.16 FIP, 11.1 K/9; owed ~$5.5 million over the rest of the 2019 season and $16.5m in 2020. Kennedy’s career has been rejuvenated by a move to the bullpen. He’s walking less and striking out more hitters than ever before. Will he be a Twin? This is a move the team should make. With financial flexibility to take on salary, which would offset the need to part with top prospects, the Twins and Royals can match up nicely. That is, if the Royals are ok sending their closer to an in-division team.
Ken Giles, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays. Turns 29 in September; 1.8 bWAR, 1.60 FIP; 14.9 K/9; owed ~$2.1 million over the rest of the 2019 season and will command around $10m in his last arbitration year before heading to free agency. Giles should be high on the priority list for the Twins and others. You can definitely find reasons to not like Giles - he’s basically a two-years-younger-version of Cody Allen. But there’s a lot to like too. Will he be a Twin? The Twins will go as far down this path as they can. Will it end with Giles in Minnesota? We’ll find out soon.
We're getting down to it... who are the Twins going to add?
- DannySD and VivaBomboRivera! like this