Here's Why You Don't Need to Freak Out Over the Twins Trading Prospects
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Jhoan Duran)Kimbrel is a Cub, Keuchel is a Brave and so now the Twins are going to have to spend prospect capital to boost their pitching instead of “just” money. As things currently stand, the Twins appear to have several difficult decisions on the horizon this offseason anyway, so dealing a few prospects for bullpen help may actually help clear up space.
A big crop of Twins prospects will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this winter. That means the team will either have to add them to the 40-man roster or risk potentially losing them to another organization.
For more on the Rule 5 Draft, check out Jeremy’s article on the subject from last month. Jeremy also maintains an amazing Twins Roster and Payroll spreadsheet that’s available on the top navbar at the desktop version of the site (click on Roster & Payroll) or you can just access it here.
Rule 5 Eligibles
Here’s a list of some of the players who will be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this winter:
That group of players joins another few guys having impressive seasons who were already Rule 5 Draft eligible in Lewin Diaz, Jaylin Davis and Zander Wiel.
Not all of those players would end up being selected, but why risk losing them for nothing when you can turn them into trade bait? Of course, the other option would be to try and deal some of the other young players currently on the 40-man roster to avoid that logjam. Guys like Luis Arraez, Nick Gordon, Lewis Thorpe, LaMonte Wade or even Jake Cave.
But Wait, Isn’t the System Having a Down Year?
It’s true that there are a lot of guys on the shelf right now, and some who are active have not been putting up great numbers. But, what Royce Lewis does in the first few months of 2019 in Fort Myers probably doesn’t have a huge impact on who he ends up being in, say 2022. The same is likely with Brusdar Graterol and his shoulder impingement
Likewise, Alex Kirilloff missing some time this year doesn’t really cloud his future outlook too much. I mean, the guy already missed a year due to Tommy John and still established himself as among the better hitters in the minor leagues last year. Speaking of Tommy John surgery, that's what's going to cost Akil Baddoo the rest of his 2019 season.
And while there have been blips, there have been other guys who’ve surged. Diaz, Blankenhorn and Davis are having tremendous seasons. Jordan Balazovic has really exploded, Gordon appears to be having a bounce back and Ben Rortvedt is another riser. Misael Urbina is a player you can expect to hear a lot about in the coming years.
Trevor Larnach, Ryan Jeffers and Cole Sands from last year’s draft continue to look good. Speaking of which, the Twins just added a bunch of new talent via the 2019 Draft. Click here for an update for who has signed. Where will those new draftees fit as far as the rankings? You'll find out soon, as Twins Daily will be sharing our 2019 Midseason Twins Prospect List in the coming weeks.
The farm system is always going to need to be an area of focus for the Twins, but if there was ever a time to part with some prospects to improve the big club, now’s the time.
40-Man Roster Spots Opening Up
The Twins do have several players currently set to become free agents at the end of the season. That group is highlighted by Jake Odorizzi, Jason Castro, Michael Pineda, Kyle Gibson and Jonathan Schoop. There also always seems to be some fat that can be trimmed from the 40-man roster.
But, I suspect the Twins will be more interested in free agent additions to replace those departures rather than just protecting prospects. When the competitive window opens, priorities have to change at least a little bit.
No, I’m not saying I expect the Twins to be active at the top of the market, but it is pretty easy to envision Derek Favley and Co. setting out to add another solid crop of veterans in the middle tier, much like they did this past offseason. Rocco Baldelli seems to be establishing a very player-friendly atmosphere. That, combined with the team’s success, should make Minnesota an attractive destination for free agents.
Recommended further reading: When the Twins Go Buying ... Who Are They Selling?
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