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The Only Starting Pitcher the Twins Should Trade For

We are under a week away from the 2020 Major League Baseball trade deadline. What is going to take place this year remains entirely unpredictable, and it’s a good assumption it will be unlike many deadlines of the past. If Minnesota is going to dip their toes into the starting pitching market though, it should be for only one guy, Trevor Bauer.
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s the deal, Rob Manfred opened the floodgates and is allowing everyone and their dance partner into the Postseason. With a shortened 60-game sprint, there’s not going to be any significant distance between the top and bottom teams (except, well, sorry Pittsburgh). That means that with over 20 games to go teams with poor records aren’t incentivized enough to blow things up. A single hot streak could get you right back in the thick of things.

Then you also have the added wrinkle of what is being swapped from the contenders. In a traditional year you’d have prospects moving to new homes in favor of proven big-league veterans. This year only players in the 60-man player pool are available to be traded. Guys outside of that group can be included in deals but must be done so as players to be named later or PTBNL. There’s also the reality that while Major League Baseball is making information from alternate sites available to clubs, there’s been no MiLB season and development in 2020 has likely been lackluster at best. Finally, consider that anyone being swapped could choose to opt out on their own volition, and well, we’re dealing with an incredible amount of volatility here.

Now, back to Trevor Bauer. He’s the guy. Not Johnny Cueto, not Matt Boyd, and certainly not Lance Lynn. No, if the Minnesota Twins are set on bolstering their starting rotation for the Postseason the lone avenue to do so is grabbing an ace in the form of Bauer.

He’s an impending free agent and currently playing on a prorated portion of a $17.5 million deal. He looks the part of a current National League Cy Young candidate, and he’s nuked 49 batters through his first 32.2 IP in 2020.

After being largely mediocre for the first six years of his career, Bauer had a coming out party in 2018. He posted a 2.21 ERA and led the league with a 2.44 FIP. The Indians hurler made his first All-Star game and finished 6th in Cy Young voting. A slight step backwards in 2019 paved the way for where we are now. Bauer owns a dazzling 1.65 ERA, league leading 13.5 K/9, and also holds MLB best marks in WHIP (0.735) and H/9 (4.1). He’s always been a high strikeout guy, but command is now better than ever and he’s honed in on his stuff.

Arguably the most interesting pitcher in baseball, Bauer certainly comes with his quirks. He was someone I misunderstood for a time in Cleveland but have now very much come to appreciate. It’s clear his intention is to grow the game and engage with fans. Through his vlog, media company, and social media outlets, you may learn more about Trevor Bauer the person than you could ever understand about Trevor Bauer the baseball player. On top of that, it’s not an accident he’s a very good pitcher.

As a Driveline disciple, Bauer works with his stuff as much as anyone in the game. His fastball sits at 93 mph this year, but it’s the spin and movement he puts on it that make him unhittable. He’s a nightly feature on Pitching Ninja peek-ins, and his results light up the Statcast leaderboards. In short, this is the pinnacle of what you seek to acquire or develop on the pitching front.

Attached Image: Bauer.PNG

Now let’s throw some water on all of this. The Cincinnati Reds are 11-16, but that’s just two games back in the win column from inclusion as the final Postseason participant in the National League. On top of that, the organization went in hard this offseason signing guys like Nicholas Castellanos and Mike Moustakas. Those moves weren’t made with the idea of blowing it up just over 30 games into the season.

If a deal is to be struck, it’s not going to come cheaply. While Bauer is a free agent at the end of the year, and he’s more than made it clear his intention is to go year-by-year the rest of his career, the Reds will want a healthy return right now. Minnesota has significant ammo with top prospects galore at their alternate site, but what price is too steep for a guy that may not be around a few months from now?

Derek Falvey certainly has a familiar relationship with Bauer given their time together in the Indians organization. Maybe even Twins Daily can broker the deal with Bauer’s agent Rachel Luba having been featured among the Women in Baseball series. No matter what level of comfort however, the uncertainty regarding a move now, and how little value it may provide down the road, should be reason for all parties to pause.

At the end of the day, Bauer is probably a pipe dream. There’s a reason Cueto is seen as the most likely prize on the starting pitching market. However, if it’s the rotation Minnesota wants to work on, there’s only one way for the organization to take a big step forward. It’s with the guy who plays with drones and mows down the opposition. Plus, the season series with the Royals is done, so we won’t have to worry about him sending anything the rest of the way.



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19 Comments

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notoriousgod71
Aug 25 2020 07:34 PM

Bauer is my favorite player in baseball. Not the best, but my favorite.

    • Ted Schwerzler and MN_ExPat like this

He will not be available.Time to look inward.

“A healthy return” for 1-7 Bauer postseason starts? Because that’s what you’re saying. Twins sitting at a top 3 seed without him...with other help already on the way. And this makes sense in a year where a second class championship will be awarded...if it’s able to be completed at all? Umm...No.

What's wrong with Lynn? When the Twins brought him in he never had a Spring Training so he struggled.

    • Aichiman likes this
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Ted Schwerzler
Aug 26 2020 07:41 AM

 

What's wrong with Lynn? When the Twins brought him in he never had a Spring Training so he struggled.

I think there's plenty of reason he struggled in 2018, and while a good deal of it was lack of preparation, I think that bridge is burned enough to avoid it.

http://twinsdaily.co...trade-for-r9744

    • MN_ExPat likes this
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Ted Schwerzler
Aug 26 2020 07:42 AM

 

“A healthy return” for 1-7 Bauer postseason starts? Because that’s what you’re saying. Twins sitting at a top 3 seed without him...with other help already on the way. And this makes sense in a year where a second class championship will be awarded...if it’s able to be completed at all? Umm...No.

I disagree with the "second class championship" notion entirely. You can't compare counting stats to any other year, but 2020 on it's own has everyone competing on the same playing field. It's as legitimate as any other year.

 

As far as what you're bringing him in for, the goal if rotation help is the desire, is to find someone better than Berrios/Maeda. He's it.

    • Danchat, SF Twins Fan and MN_ExPat like this

No thank you.

 

“A healthy return” for 1-7 Bauer postseason starts? Because that’s what you’re saying. Twins sitting at a top 3 seed without him...with other help already on the way. And this makes sense in a year where a second class championship will be awarded...if it’s able to be completed at all? Umm...No.

 

I fail to see how this would be a second class championship. If anything this year's playoffs will be harder than ever before. The ONLY caveat is the lack of fans has some impact, but not enough to call it second class in my opinion.

    • Ted Schwerzler likes this

Of course nearly everyone wants Bauer.

 

Even the "not in this strange year" crowd has a price so low that they couldn't resist. And conversely, the "do whatever it takes" crowd has a price so high that they just wouldn't go there.

 

The Reds would lose out on the compensatory pick when he walks after rejecting the QO, so they aren't going to accept anything less than what they view as being the value of the 30th overall draft pick.

 

So. What's your offer?

 

I'd go as high as Rooker and Cavaco. It stings. But it's worth it to me. 

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Ted Schwerzler
Aug 26 2020 01:43 PM

I'd go as high as Rooker and Cavaco. It stings. But it's worth it to me.


I’d do that deal every day of the week. Then again, I’m not super high on Cavaco. He’d also have to be a PTBNL

 

I’d do that deal every day of the week. Then again, I’m not super high on Cavaco. He’d also have to be a PTBNL

 

Couldn't we technically just add him to the 60 man squad (whatever official name it has) and then trade him?

 

Bauer is my favorite player in baseball. Not the best, but my favorite.

Bauer is a douche bag. Him and Clevinger. Wouldn't want either on the team making it cancerous. 

You can't pay the freight for Bauer in a year when there's still a non-zero chance the play-offs won't happen and there will be 16 teams in it if they do. The only way I'd even consider it is if he will sign at least a one-year extension, but that's unlikely.

 

Couldn't we technically just add him to the 60 man squad (whatever official name it has) and then trade him?

I don't think you can add internal guys to the 60 man. Only guys outside the organization.

Of course nearly everyone wants Bauer.
 
Even the "not in this strange year" crowd has a price so low that they couldn't resist.


I agree with that statement. But that means something far south of Rooker and Cavaco. I’m not high on either, but you don’t give up that kind of capital for Bauer under these circumstances, IMO...at least not without getting something else besides Bauer in return...something that has a chance to contribute beyond the 5 (at most) regular season games Bauer would play and however many he’d pitch in the tournament.
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ChrisKnutson
Aug 26 2020 07:01 PM

I agree with that statement. But that means something far south of Rooker and Cavaco. I’m not high on either, but you don’t give up that kind of capital for Bauer under these circumstances, IMO...at least not without getting something else besides Bauer in return...something that has a chance to contribute beyond the 5 (at most) regular season games Bauer would play and however many he’d pitch in the tournament.


Add another top prospect like Enlow or Canterino for Bauer and Garrett.
Greinke or bust
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Thebigalguy
Aug 27 2020 11:31 AM

Bauer is trouble. The coaching staff won't cotton to a pitcher thinking he's a better coach than the pitching coach. We don't need a grandstander, however good he is. Let Bauer be Bauer someplace else. Lynn was a flop for the Twins. Let him be Lynn someplace else. The Twins have the horses on staff. It's a question of getting them ready. Right now the bats are quiet and need some snake oil. Too many two and three run games. Again, though, we have the horses on staff. Let's get them ready to rock and roll. The Buck stops with Buxton. The Sun rises with Donaldson. Kepler's in a slump. Garver was lost at the plate (or injured). I like our chances with what we have if they play up to form.

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Doctor Gast
Aug 27 2020 12:14 PM

I think Bauer would be a good fit , he could be the ace we need to take us to the WS. IMO Wes Johnson could handle him, at least for 2 months. I think Bauer & the Reds would be motivated for the deal so they wouldn`t have a Kepler/ Bauer confrontation


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