The 5 Biggest Trades Minnesota Could Make This Offseason
Image courtesy of © Jake Roth-USA TODAY SportsDerek Falvey and Thad Levine have shown a patience during their tenure with the Twins, and whether picking a right spot for a swap, or jumping in late on a free agent, they’ve been extremely calculated. The market as a whole has really worked to feel players out, and Minnesota’s front office should be expected to continue a similar process. This duo has had success on the trade market though and finding a dance partner matches up in plenty of key areas heading into the 2021 season.
Knowing there’s both offense and pitching needs to address, here’s the top five players the Twins could trade for in order of impact.
1. Colorado Rockies Trevor Story
Francisco Lindor was going to appear in this space as well, but he's reportedly headed to the New York Mets. A trade within the division of that magnitude always seemed unlikely anyways. Story can come over from the National League however, and would give the Twins one of the best hitting infielders in baseball. He's no slouch with the glove, but it's the power bat that puts up gaudy numbers as well. There's always a slight concern leaving the elevation of Coors Field, but D.J. LeMahieu has certainly had no issues.
2. Cincinnati Reds Luis Castillo or Sonny Gray
Both from the same team, but with substantially different ramifications. Luis Castillo looks the part of a Cy Young pitcher waiting to happen. He’s just 28 and should be entering his prime, while having already evolved into a strikeout machine with some of the best peripherals in baseball. He’s under team control through the 2023 season, and you can expect to break the prospect bank in an attempt to acquire him.
It seemed likely that a resurgence was to be expected for Gray once he got out of the Cracker Jack box that is Yankee Stadium. He’s ratcheted up the strikeout tallies each of the past two years but has always danced around some free passes. 31 and with a team option in 2023, Gray has more of a monetary commitment but is a pitcher that would see at least an equal payday on the open market. With the Reds clearly motivated to move assets, either option would represent a substantial rotation upgrade for the Twins.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates Joe Musgrove
Down in the middle of the list only because of what he’s done thus far, Musgrove looks like a pitcher waiting to be rescued from the Pirates keep. He just recently turned 28 and isn’t a free agent until 2023. The strikeouts took a huge leap in 2020 and his FIP has always outperformed what the defense behind him has allowed. Matched with a mastermind pitching coach in the form of Wes Johnson, I’d hardly be shocked if Musgrove didn’t end up being one of the best arms in baseball. He’s not going to turn into Gerrit Cole, but he may be the next best thing.
4. Chicago Cubs Javier Baez or Kris Bryant
If the Twins are intent on dealing for infield help, there’s no reason not to call the Chicago Cubs. Javier Baez had a dreadful 2020, but he was coming off two seasons of a combined .865 OPS prior to that. He’s a premier shortstop with an incredibly high ceiling at the plate. He’s not cheap in that he’ll make somewhere around $11 million in 2021, and he’s set to become a free agent after the year. Still, as a brother-in-law to Jose Berrios, pairing those two together in Minnesota could be a nice bit of roster construction.
The allure for Bryant is more based around assumption than present reality. You absolutely have to believe he’s not cooked and that the shoulder will hold up. If that’s true, there’s an offensive stud here and he acts as insurance for both Josh Donaldson at third base, and Alex Kirilloff in left field. Despite seeming to have drawn ire for quite some time, 2020 was his first down year, and his health has been the chief concern. The former Rookie of the Year is a free agent following the season, but the Cubs selloff could make him more available than expected.
5. Colorado Rockies Jon Gray
There was some belief that the Rockies may simply non-tender Gray and allow him to be a free agent. That didn’t happen and the former first round pick is back after posting a 6.69 ERA last season. The 4.18 FIP dating back to 2018 isn’t going to open many eyes, but that number was 3.46 through his first 58 MLB starts. Gray has been a consistent strikeout pitcher with a heavy fastball and a change of scenery could be what is necessary to unlock his full potential. German Marquez has figured it out in Colorado while Gray has not, plucking him a year before he heads into free agency could be a nice move with him banking on building value.
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