Trade Deadline Thread: What To Do About the Rotation?
Image courtesy of © Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsThe first question I’d like to ask is should the Twins add a starting pitcher to the rotation?
As of Thursday, there were 58 American League pitchers with 70 innings. In terms of FIP, Twins starters ranked 13th (Berrios), 17th (Odorizzi), 21st (Gibson), 24th (Perez) and 27th (Pineda). In other words, the entire rotation was in the top half of that sample.
To put that into perspective, the Astros have three guys inside the top 27 (Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Brad Peacock), Cleveland has two (Shane Bieber and Trevor Bauer) and the Yankees only have one (James Paxton).
Sounds really good right? I agree, however, this only tells us what has happened so far. FIP is a good predictor of future success (well, at least better than ERA), but the unknown element is whether or not the other contending teams in the AL will make significant additions to their rotations over the coming week.
While the Twins rotation flexes in terms of depth, the other top teams in the AL have much more formidable pieces at the top. Can that still work?
Yes, I think it can. We only need to look back to last year’s Milwaukee Brewers for proof. That team had a similar solid but unspectacular rotation that relied more on its depth. Jhoulys Chacin was the ace of that staff, though Wade Miley was very good when healthy. Neither of those guys can hold a candle to Berrios.
That Milwaukee team managed to beat the Cubs in a Game 163 to take the NL Central with 96 wins. The pitching matchup was Chacin vs. Jose Quintana. The Brewers then swept the Rockies, giving up just two total runs in those three games. They even pushed the Dodgers all the way to a Game 7 in the NLCS behind a rotation of Miley, Chacin and Gio Gonzalez.
The big difference is Milwaukee had an excellent bullpen, though it wasn't comprised of costly big-name arms. The Twins will need to upgrade their pitching staff, nobody is going to argue with that, but I’m not so convinced they really need to add a starter. Let me know what you think.
The second thing I’d love to year your opinion on is if the Twins do acquire a starting pitcher, who gets booted to the bullpen? I think this is a tricky question. Might it actually come down to matchups?
Berrios is clearly the No. 1 guy on the staff, but things get very fuzzy after that. Odorizzi went to the All-Star Game, but he has a 7.99 ERA over his past seven starts. On the other end of the spectrum, Pineda has a 2.93 ERA in his last seven outings. Gibson has been steady, but never spectacular. Perez has by far the worst WHIP on the staff, but he's also the only lefty starter.
- The big news of the day was that Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirmed the Mets are considering offers on Noah Syndergaard.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote that "The hardest sell for the Mets baseball operations department leading up to the trade deadline is not persuading suitors to make substantial offers for Edwin Diaz and Noah Syndergaard. It will be convincing ownership to accept such a deal if it reaches a level perceived acceptable."
- La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune confirmed the Twins not only have interest in Snydergaard, but according to his sources, the Mets are asking for both Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff.
- Rosenthal also made reference to "the growing possibility" that Trevor Bauer and Matthew Boyd would not be traded in a recent piece for The Athletic.
- Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reported that "according to a source with knowledge of the team's plans" the Giants are poised to be buyers and "it's all but certain" Madison Bumgarner will not be traded.
- Cody wrote about how it's important to avoid impulse trades, such as the one Pittsburgh made to acquire Chris Archer last year. Cody also tabbed Zack Greinke as the starting pitching target of his ideal deadline.
- Andrew took a look at what it would take to acquire Marcus Stroman and made the case that the Twins should make a deal for Mike Minor.
- Cooper offered up a couple of under the radar options for the rotation: Sonny Gray and Robbie Ray.