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10 Relievers Minnesota Could Target

Minnesota missed out on the Craig Kimbrel sweepstakes, but the Twins will certainly have opportunities to add other impact relievers before July’s trade deadline. The Twins have been able to do more than survive with their current bullpen situation. However, bullpen arms and bullpen usage are critical when it comes to winning games in October.

Here are 10 relievers who Minnesota could target before the trade deadline.
Image courtesy of © Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
LHP Jake Diekman, Kansas City
2019 Stats: 4.10 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 39 K, 26.1 IP
Diekman’s 13.3 K/9 rate seems made for the post-season and some of his other peripheral numbers look better than his high ERA and WHIP. He has a $5.75 million club option for 2020, so he wouldn’t have to be a rental player. He also seems to be healthy after dealing with ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease of the colon. Since Diekman is on an AL Central squad, it could be tough to swing a deal. Does Minnesota want to send prospect that they could end up facing multiple times a season?

RHP Ken Giles, Toronto
2019 Stats: 1.08 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 42 K, 25.0 IP
Giles has been closing games for Houston and Philadelphia for the last five seasons and he might be amid the best season of his career. He entered the year with a career mark of 11.9 K/9 and he has exploded to 15.1 K/9 this season. Giles has one more year of arbitration as he signed this year for $6.3 million. Back in 2017, he struggled with the Astros on the way to the World Series title. This still doesn’t mean he can’t help a team win in 2019.

RHP Mychal Givens, Baltimore
2019 Stats: 5.00 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 37 K, 27.0 IP
Givens might not have the eye-popping numbers of some of the other names on this list but that doesn’t mean he should be ignored. His 12.3 K/9 total is a career high. Over the last three seasons, he has posted a 3.29 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP with 10.3 K/9. This season, he has struggled with the long ball as he has surrendered six home runs in 23 appearances. He is still arbitration eligible and the earliest he can be a free agent is 2022.

RHP Shane Greene, Detroit
2019 Stats: 1.04 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 28 K, 26.0 IP
Minnesota got a close-up look at Greene this weekend and has an AL leading 19 saves. He’s putting up career numbers, which might seem like a surprise when looking at the last three seasons. Since switching to the bullpen full-time in 2016, he has a 4.47 ERA with a 1.31 WHIP and 9.3 K/9. He will still be arbitration eligible in 2020 as he signed this season for $4 million. He’s a member of another AL Central foe, so Minnesota might look to other options.

LHP Brad Hand, Cleveland
2019 Stats: 0.98 ERA, 0.76 WHIP, 40 K, 27.2 IP
Some of the names on this list would be rental players, but Hand doesn’t fit into that category. He is signed through 2020 with a club option for 2021. This will make him very intriguing to contending clubs. Minnesota needs another lefty to go with Taylor Rogers in the bullpen and Hand could fit that mold. Over the last three seasons, he’s posted a 2.62 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP with a 12.0 K/9. Since he’s with Cleveland, Minnesota might not want to make an in-division trade and Cleveland’s asking price could be high.

RHP Greg Holland, Arizona
2019 Stats: 1.31 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 28 K, 20.2 IP
Holland is a familiar name to Twins fans as he was Kansas City’s closer for the first half of this decade. Tommy John surgery cost him the 2016 season and this year might be the first time he is back to his pre-surgery form. His 12.2 K/9 rate is his highest total since 2014. He has playoff experience as part of Kansas City’s trip to the 2014 World Series and he pitched in the 2017 NL Wild Card Game with Colorado. He’s a free agent at season’s end, so he could be a cheaper option than some of the other names on this list.

RHP Sergio Romo, Miami
2019 Stats: 5.48 ERA, 1.43 ERA, 21 K, 23.0 IP
Romo has the most playoff experience of anyone on this list. He was part of three World Series titles in San Francisco and has pitched in 27 playoff games. From 2016-2018, he posted a 3.63 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP and 9.8 K/9. Romo signed a cheap one-year, $2.5 million contract with Miami this off-season so there would be very little financial commitment to him. He also wouldn’t cost a lot to acquire. However, his decreased strikeout rate from 10.0 K/9 to 8.2 K/9 is concerning.

LHP Will Smith, San Francisco
2019 Stats: 2.19 ERA, 0.73 WHIP, 35 K, 24.2 IP
Smith is in his second season back from Tommy John surgery and his performance seems to have seen few ill-effects. Over the last two seasons, he has posted a 2.43 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP with a 12.3 K/9. Even though he’s left-handed, Smith has been successful against righties and lefties as he has held righties to a .487 OPS and lefties to a .399 OPS. Smith will be a free agent this winter so it will be interesting to see what kind of deal the Giants will be able to get for him.

LHP Felipe Vazquez, Pittsburgh
2019 Stats: 2.30 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 43 K, 27.1 IP
Vazquez might come with one of the highest asking prices on this list. He is potentially under team control through 2023. This means, Pittsburgh would need to be overwhelmed in any kind of offer for their left-handed closer. He took over as the Pirates full-time closer in 2017. During that stretch, he has compiled a 2.19 ERA with a 1.08 WHIP and a 11.5 K/9. Minnesota has some depth in their system, but it seems unlikely for them to deal an elite prospect.

LHP Tony Watson, San Francisco
2019 Stats: 2.55 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 21 K, 24.2 IP
Watson might be a name that is a little more unfamiliar to Twins fans. He’s pitched his entire career in the NL for the Pirates, Dodgers, and Giants. As a lefty, Watson is more than just a LOOGY. He has averaged over 70 innings pitched from 2013-2018 and he posted a career high 9.8 K/9 last season. His strikeout numbers have dipped a little this season (7.7 K/9) so that might be a cause for concern. Watson has a $2.5 million player option for 2020 or he could test the free agent waters.

Who do you think the Twins should target? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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107 Comments

Pretty sure my first choice would be Amir Garrett.

 

I think he's an absolute stud on an upward trajectory.

 

Giles is having a great season but his shaky history scares me a bit. He definitely has the stuff to be elite as we're seeing this year.

 

Felipe Vazquez is going to cost a boat-load but I'm not necessarily opposed to making a deal if it's there, the guy is a beast.

 

To me, Will Smith is a rock steady, non-"sexy" option which is completely fine and I would be 100% ok with acquiring him. Don't think he offers the upside of the others but he would immediately become Rogers equal in the 'pen.

 

I really don't foresee a deal being made within the division so any talk of Diekman, Hand, Greene, Colome, etc. doesn't seem realistic to me. Which is too bad because the other teams in our division each have a reliever or two that would look great on the Twins.

    • nicksaviking and ChrisKnutson like this

 

Cave also had a .363 BABIP last year.

Smith is a pending FA but he is well regarded and pitching great right now. A LHP who dominates both sides. He might be the Giants best trade chip, so I think they need to aim for upside on his return.

Don't get me wrong, Cave is a useful player and the Giants would benefit by having him. But they can't spend Smith to get a guy like that, or their rebuild will go nowhere -- they need to find their Cave types just like how the Twins did (DFA and minor trade situations).

 

The Giants "trade chips" aren't actually very good ones because MadBum and Smith are half-year rentals. The market prices, as long as the team is really willing to deal them (sounds like may not be the case with Bumgarner) for these types of guys are not really high (see Familia and other deals from last year).

 

In my opinion Smith should cost a prospect in the Twins range of 10-20. MadBum a little higher or multiple 10-20 guys.

 

I'd propose Yunior Severino for Smith. Rooker for MadBum -If they want a pitcher Jhoan Duran. Piece that together however you want for both and maybe add in someone like Jose Miranda. 

 

The highest guy I'm offering for any rental, no matter whom (including these two in one package), is in Trevor Larnach's range, and they wouldn't be getting much of anything more after that if he's the target.

 

(My current top 10 would go something like: Lewis, Kirilloff, Graterol, Javier, Balazovic, Larnach, Duran, Rooker, Thorpe, Enlow)

 

Honestly though, in the Twins current situation (1 starting pitcher under contract for 2020?) I might be shooting a bit higher for guys with control for this year and the future. So now we're starting to talk prospect names people might not like, as in Graterol, Javier, Balazovic, and possibly even Lewis/Kirilloff if it's the right guy (not sure who that would be at this point).

    • MN_ExPat likes this

 

Mejia was the #15 prospect but he only has a 50FV.Maybe his FV has dropped since the trade. It does not make sense the #15 prospect would have had a 50FV. Regardless, Kirilloff is a 60FV and the Indians were getting an extra year vs the Twins renting him. Plus, The Indians did not add any other prospects unless the report I read was wrong and the Indians got another RP in the trade. I don't think any rental RPs are bringing a FV60 prospect + others.

Mejia was 60 FV on Fangraphs preseason 2018 list, and 55 FV at the 2018 deadline. Down to 50 FV on the Padres 2019 list. (At his rate, he'll be at zero FV by 2024 :) )

 

https://blogs.fangra...veland-indians/

 

https://blogs.fangra...the-deadline-2/

 

I agree that I don't expect any rental RPs to cost a 60 FV prospect, but Hand and Vasquez aren't rentals. Especially considering Cleveland is our division rival, I think it would take a pretty overwhelming offer for the Twins to get Hand this year -- easily more than Francisco Mejia circa the 2018 deadline.

    • nicksaviking and Major League Ready like this
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yarnivek1972
Jun 11 2019 10:45 AM

That would be an excellent pair of pitchers to acquire. Would not come too cheap.

Brusdar, Gordon and Cave?


A lottery ticket and two guys that project as role players.
    • Tomj14 likes this

 

BRING ME MATT BELISLE 

IALTO

 

The Twins are likely to have the luxury of acquiring help just with the playoffs in mind, as it's looking like they will win the division crown handily.IMO, they'll need two bullpen guys and a top-line starter.If they are not able to get the top-line starter (i.e.--Bumgarner), the bullpen guys won't matter as much, as the Twins won't have much chance to get to the World Series without an experienced #1 starter.At least one of the bullpen guys needs to be a right-hander.I like both Giles and Holland.Although Giles has not done well previously under playoff pressure, maybe he could redeem himself.I also like left-hander Hand as a target. It's interesting to note that the writer is leery of a trade within the division for fear that whoever the Twins trade will come back to haunt the Twins in future years.I am thinking that division teams such as Detroit, KC, or Cleveland may be thinking that whoever they trade to the Twins will come back to haunt them in the future.

 

Other random thoughts: Ryan Pressley would really look good back in a Twins uniform now. If and when the Twins make the playoffs, I would think that one or a couple of the current starters would be possible bullpen pitchers.(Pineda, Perez, even Gibson if the Twins are able to acquire a front-line starter.

 

I will have to disagree with you that Twins NEED to acquire a proven ace to compete in the playoffs.Give me 2 bullpen arms, throw Odor and Berrios in games 1 and 2 with this lineup and we have a fighting chance with anyone in the league.

    • Dantes929 likes this

 

Am I being a homer or does the Will Smith rental for Jake Cave seem fair for both sides?

 

I have argued this personally for at least a month now... give Cave and a 45 overall prospect I feel this would be a no brainier for both sides. But not sure what other teams would be willing to offer.

    • Harrison Greeley III likes this
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Jonathon Zenk
Jun 11 2019 11:43 AM

I think the Twins need a SP and two RP....I would want Stroman, Giles and Smith...

I don't think trades within a division for a reliever is a good idea. We could very well be sending top prospects that could come back and haunt us for many games during the season. Will Smith + Bumgarner trade please.

    • jz7233 likes this

 

They seem to be playing for a WC spot at best (2.5 games back, currently). If they hit a slump and fall further out of the playoff picture, do they change their tune? Moving Goldschmidt last off-season for Luke Weaver (MLB), Carson Kelly (MLB) and Andy Young (AA) would say they want guys either MLB ready or close. Being in the same division as the Dodgers, I don't see them as serious contenders for a couple years at best. It might be in their best interest to trade a couple of guys for a big package of prospects that will debut over the next couple years. But this is purely speculation for the sake of discussion.

The Diamondbacks have the 3rd best run differential in the NL. Plus no team in MLB has played more games against teams above .500 than them. A wild card seems well within their sights especially if their schedule evens out. I think they need to go for it unless things change drastically.

    • Mike Sixel likes this

I don't see a rebuilding team trading for a 26 year old minor leaguer. That doesn't seem like it fits within a realistic timeline at all to me.

    • birdwatcher, Jham, SF Twins Fan and 1 other like this
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jorgenswest
Jun 11 2019 01:02 PM

I don't see a rebuilding team trading for a 26 year old minor leaguer. That doesn't seem like it fits within a realistic timeline at all to me.


I agree. If the Twins are serious about acquiring pitching help they are not starting negotiations with Jake Cave.
    • USAFChief likes this
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LA VIkes Fan
Jun 11 2019 01:08 PM

 

I see that as the opposite.

 

If you're a contending team, Jake Cave in AAA makes sense as depth to cover injuries. He makes sense in the Twins OF if, for example, Kepler gets injured.

 

If you're the SF Giants, and indeed entering a rebuild, why would you waste time investing ABs in Jake Cave, who is never going to be a difference maker on a contending team, and who doesn't really make the current team much better. 

 

I would think the Giants (and similar teams) will look to acquire players with upside, even if they're several years away. Not 4th OFers.

While I agree that you can't get Smith for Cave, I think you underestimate Cave's value. He showed enough last year to at least suggest that he is likely to be a competent starting OF on a contending team and he's only 26. Not the best OF on a contending team, but one of the top 3. That has value. He's more than mere AAA depth. He's that for the Twins because we have 3 young high end OFs. Most teams don't. SF doesn't have any. 

 

I know we can't get Smith for Cave straight up. but Cave could be an important piece of a 2 or 3 player trade for Smith where we give them Cave, plus one or two AA or A prospects. I don't think other teams see him as just a AAAA guy.  

 

    • Major League Ready and Rigby like this
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nicksaviking
Jun 11 2019 01:19 PM

 

I don't see a rebuilding team trading for a 26 year old minor leaguer. That doesn't seem like it fits within a realistic timeline at all to me.

 

Well they already did it once this year, and for a guy without a position. With the Twins no less.

 

I don't know about realistic timelines, but it looks like many if not most teams these days, even rebuilding ones, want controllable MLB ready players they can run out to the field to show the fans they aren't actually rebuilding. Seems like there is a Jake Cave or two in most trades these days involving multiple players moving from one club.

 

I don't think trades within a division for a reliever is a good idea. We could very well be sending top prospects that could come back and haunt us for many games during the season. Will Smith + Bumgarner trade please.

So? don't try to win the world series because a prospect might come back to haunt us? I disagree with that. But I can agree with Smith/Bumgarner.

    • USAFChief, luckylager and Mike Sixel like this

 

Well they already did it once this year, and for a guy without a position. With the Twins no less.

 

I don't know about realistic timelines, but it looks like many if not most teams these days, even rebuilding ones, want controllable MLB ready players they can run out to the field to show the fans they aren't actually rebuilding. Seems like there is a Jake Cave or two in most trades these days involving multiple players moving from one club.

 

that's different than him being a head liner for a difference maker, which is the post I responded to (without quoting, oops). Of course he can be part of a trade, anyone can. 

 

Well they already did it once this year, and for a guy without a position. With the Twins no less.

 

I don't know about realistic timelines, but it looks like many if not most teams these days, even rebuilding ones, want controllable MLB ready players they can run out to the field to show the fans they aren't actually rebuilding. Seems like there is a Jake Cave or two in most trades these days involving multiple players moving from one club.

I think trading Cave is a mistake because if Rosario, Buxton or Kepler get hurt the Twins are going to have another hole to fill.

I look at TD's top 20 prospects (I would swap Rooker and Duran) and there is only two outside of the 6 that I would even think twice about trading (Enlow and Rortvedt), the odds are the rest aren't going to make the Twins or going to end up casualties of the 40 man crunch.

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TheLeviathan
Jun 11 2019 01:34 PM

 

I'd certainly take Robbie Ray, but even if the DBacks sell, I'm not sure they'd deal Ray. He's not a FA until 2021. Archie Bradley has good stuff, and might be a decent buy low bullpen candidate.

 

If they sell, Grienke will be the first to go.

 

I'm not a Ray fan.I don't think he'll translate well to the AL and I wouldn't trust him in a playoff start.They won't deal Bradley right now, too much talent and they'd be selling low.

 

Grienke?I've made clear for months now how I feel about acquiring him.  

 

Make no mistake, they'll be selling by July.  

    • Tomj14 likes this
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TheLeviathan
Jun 11 2019 01:34 PM

 

I'd certainly take Robbie Ray, but even if the DBacks sell, I'm not sure they'd deal Ray. He's not a FA until 2021. Archie Bradley has good stuff, and might be a decent buy low bullpen candidate.

 

If they sell, Grienke will be the first to go.

 

I'm not a Ray fan.I don't think he'll translate well to the AL and I wouldn't trust him in a playoff start.They won't deal Bradley right now, too much talent and they'd be selling low.

 

Grienke?I've made clear for months now how I feel about acquiring him.  

 

Make no mistake, they'll be selling by July.  

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TheLeviathan
Jun 11 2019 01:39 PM

 

Please keep Stromanitis/Stromakemia out of the Twins clubhouse

 

Honestly, this is a bad take.Stroman is a fiery, passionate kid with a ton of heart.

 

I'll welcome more players like him to the Twins all day long.

    • Twins33 and Marzen 2018 like this
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yarnivek1972
Jun 11 2019 01:51 PM

I think trading Cave is a mistake because if Rosario, Buxton or Kepler get hurt the Twins are going to have another hole to fill.
I look at TD's top 20 prospects (I would swap Rooker and Duran) and there is only two outside of the 6 that I would even think twice about trading (Enlow and Rortvedt), the odds are the rest aren't going to make the Twins or going to end up casualties of the 40 man crunch.


Marwin can and has played OF. Indeed, statistically, he’s far better in the OF than infield. Lamonte Wade is still around too. He hasn’t done much at AAA other than draw walks, but it is better than not being able to do so.

I doubt Cave adds anything to trade talks, but if someone is willing to give up something for him, there should be zero hesitation in pulling that trigger. Back up outfielders aren’t difficult to acquire.
    • USAFChief, birdwatcher, Mike Sixel and 1 other like this

 

So? don't try to win the world series because a prospect might come back to haunt us? I disagree with that. But I can agree with Smith/Bumgarner.

 

There's also a big picture to all this too. Is giving up top prospects to a division rival worth a rental relief pitcher, who is not guaranteed at all to put up the same numbers as before he was traded? I don't think so. Plus if the Twins don't win the WS then we just gave up those prospects for basically nothing. There's less risk for giving up those prospects to a team in the NL or in a different division. There's good reason why intra-division trades aren't all that common. 

Pursue the best possible talent. If that comes from within the division, so be it. 

 

    • jorgenswest, Mike Sixel and Tomj14 like this

 

Marwin can and has played OF. Indeed, statistically, he’s far better in the OF than infield. Lamonte Wade is still around too. He hasn’t done much at AAA other than draw walks, but it is better than not being able to do so.

I doubt Cave adds anything to trade talks, but if someone is willing to give up something for him, there should be zero hesitation in pulling that trigger. Back up outfielders aren’t difficult to acquire.

I love me some Marwin, Ithink having him be a starter in the outfield actually diminishes his value, and possibly opens a hole in the utility role. I like Wade but not on a championship type team. But, yes if some team has to have Cave to complete a trade I make the trade, but I think offering up anybody outside the top six prospects would get the deal done as well.

I think Cave and Gordon would have a lot of appeal for Cleveland. Kipnis is batting .218 and that is better than what two of their regular outfielders are doing.  


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