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Helfand: “early June start appears out of picture”

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 06:20 PM
https://www.twinciti...florida-orders/
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Thor done for the year

Other Baseball Today, 01:13 PM
The trades that you did not make http://www.startribu...gery/569067112/
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Feinsand: Opening day pushed back to mid-May

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 10:27 AM
https://www.mlb.com/...-be-pushed-back   In accordance w/ CDC guidlines of limiting groups of 50 or more for 8 weeks, MLB is pushing...
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MLB and Player's Union Agree on 2020 Adjustments

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:29 AM
MLB and the player's union agreed on adjustments to be made in the short season. It appears that when the season starts, all teams will h...
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2009 AL Central Tiebreaker - Game Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk 29 Mar 2020
Hi all -   In honor of Opening Day there are a lot of classic MLB games being streamed today. One of them is the 2009 AL Central Tie...
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The Twins' Great Advantage (That They Aren't Taking Advantage Of)

Fresh off the Josh Donaldson news, it is becoming harder to criticize the Twins front office as they pushed their chips in and took a free agent risk that the franchise has never seen before. For that, they should absolutely be commended. However, there does remain one area where they have been stingy but should look to change their ways.
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
People say that there are many ways to build a baseball team but personally I think the only way to do so is with MLB players.

Terrible dad jokes aside, the roster configuration of the Twins is now a nice mix of homegrown players (some of whom are now locked up long-term) and free agent signings who supplemented the talent that is lacking in some places. The final major avenue remaining for the Twins is to acquire players by trading away prospects for major league talent.

Currently, 10 players on the Twins’ 40 man roster were acquired via trade: Jorge Alcala, Dakota Chalmers, Trevor May, Jhoan Duran, Zack Littell, Devin Smeltzer, Jake Odorizzi, Jake Cave, Gilberto Celestino and Luke Raley. Of those players, Jake Odorizzi is the only player who had any major league playing time at the time of the deal. Compare that to, let’s say, the Yankees who have seven players who had major league experience when they were acquired along with a number of players who they re-signed after trading for them and, well, the Twins number sure seems awfully low.

Of course, it’s somewhat unfair to compare the Twins to the Yankees because the Yankees can more afford to take a hit if they lose a high level prospect or two. Yet at the same time, the Twins’ system of development is good enough right now that they could tap into their factory of player development and replace their lost prospect(s) with other homegrown ones that have already been acquired through drafting (not to self advertise but this was something Tom, Cooper, and I talked about on a podcast that can be found here).

Farm systems can be used for more than just replenishing the major league team, and trading away prospects can be a necessity at times in order to avoid losing them to the Rule 5 draft. Specifically for the Twins, look at their current major league outfield along with the outfielders they have in the system and the math just doesn’t work out. There aren’t enough spots to go around. It’s awesome to have a plethora of prospects like Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Luke Raley, Brent Rooker, Akil Baddoo, Gilberto Celestino, and Gabriel Maciel among others, but all of them simply can’t be a part of the future of the Twins and getting something for them would be much better than losing them for nothing.

This is another area where the Twins can look toward the Yankees as Brian Cashman is notorious for trading away prospects who are soon to be Rule 5 eligible but who are also blocked by current major league players (this was part of how the Twins received Zack Littell and Dietrich Enns). Dealing away players in this fashion can solve a potential 40-man dilemma and get the team a major league quality player.

The other downside to holding onto prospects is that they’ll occasionally bust and leave you with nothing. Just recently the Twins have seen Kohl Stewart and Stephen Gonsalves go down this path, with Fernando Romero seemingly right behind them. Imagine a world where the Twins capitalized on their potential and dealt them for legitimate major league talent instead of watching them walk away for nothing? The Rays just did this when they dealt Matt Liberatore for José Martínez and others. Sure, Liberatore is a fantastic prospect, but he is far from the sure thing that Martínez is. The Rays know that they’re in a win-now mode so they took the risk and cashed in their chips accordingly.

So, with a high quality major league team that still has room for improvement and a stacked farm system, the Twins should look to continue their risk-taking ways and improve for the now instead of the potential future. A quality farm system is nice and all but so is a good No. 2 or 3 starting pitcher who can help the team win as early as March. Let’s tap into the farm system and who knows? Maybe something good will happen.

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31 Comments

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IndianaTwin
Jan 17 2020 03:34 PM

 

Mrs. Hansen called from 8th grade English in 1974. She says...

"of which they aren't taking advantage".

 

But, yes. :)

 

Always looking for opportunities to share my favorite grammar joke...

 

 

Guy from the country has gone to Boston and is walking around the campus at Harvard. He walks up to a person in requisite tweed jacket with the corduroy elbow patches and says, "Excuse me, but could you tell me where the library is at?"

 

Tweed jacket guy ignores the visitor and starts to walk on. Country hick chases him down and says, "Excuse me, sir. Could you tell me where the library is at?" 

 

Tweed jacket guy rises up on his heels and says, "I'm sorry, but at Hah-vard University, we do NOT end questions with a preposition." 

 

Hick pauses for a moment before finally saying, "Okay, sir. Could you tell me where the library is at, you jerk?"

 

 

 

You may now return to your regularly scheduled discussion.

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Major League Ready
Jan 17 2020 03:57 PM

 

It's interesting seeing all the prospect hoarding comments on this article. Nowhere did Matt mention trading any IFs, Cs or Ps. He only suggests trading away OF prospects.

We have a proverbial game of musical chairs going on right now with 3, maybe 4, chairs in play over the next 4 years for all our current OFs that are at AA or higher. Kepler and & Buxton are pretty much locks to hold 2 of those down over the next 3 & 4 years.

That leaves 2 chairs left for: Rosario, Cave, Wade, Raley, Kiroloff, Rooker & Larnach. 

 

If you put the Twins 2020 AAA OF (Cave, Wade, Raley, Kiroloff & Rooker) on a ML roster together, they might out-fWAR the OF of a third of MLB teams in 2020, a bar I will set at 4.5 fWAR total based on 2017-19. They would almost certainly out-fWAR the bottom 5 teams at just 3.3 fWAR.

That is a surplus and a situation where trading from that particular sliver of prospect depth would be the responsible way to manage resources. Don't trade them all, but if you trade any four of those away (holding onto Rooker, the only RH bat, and one of Larnach/Kiroloff) the team would likely never miss them over the next 3-4 years with the A ballers coming up behind them.

Plus, you have guys like Lewis, Blankenhorn, etc that may not be able to cut it on the dirt at the MLB level and will need to be thrown in the OF mix as well. 

 

This medium makes it easy for arguments to change forms somewhat. I guess my argument should have been nobody cares if you trade Cave, Wade, Raley or probably even Rooker. I am going to go out on a limb and say most of us who want to preserve prospects don’t care about them. I guess I ignored the argument of trading the surplus. Because I just don’t believe depth can be traded for good starting pitching unless that SP has a big contract. Cave / Wade Raley or even Rooker or even all of them together does not land a front of the rotation SP. You mentioned their relative value in your post so why would you conclude they could be traded for good pitching?

 

We have two OF prospects (Kirilloff / Larnach) who will make a difference in acquiring someone better than Berrios. IDK but I think it makes a lot of sense to move Sano to DH when Cruz departs and Kirilloff takes 1B. He is not even an average defender at a corner OF spot as I understand it. Perhaps I am wrong but this seems to makes sense.

 

If this is true, we really have one really good OF prospect (Larnach) to take Rosario's place. The timing should be perfect for him to come up next year and prove he is Rosario’s replacement. I think Wade & Raley have very little value. Cave has some value and Rooker will need to prove he can make enough contact at the MLB level before he has any real value. I am pretty sure all of us prospect hoarders would trade depth for a Berrios + level SP. It’s the other teams that won’t go along with that scenario.

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birdwatcher
Jan 17 2020 06:28 PM

I'm not sure it makes sense to think in absolute terms when it comes to the Prospects versus established player debate. I think what DOES make sense is having a strategy of:

 

1. Avoiding holes in the major league line-up. Holes being defined as negative WAR guys. Not every player has to produce 2WAR, but when they don't, you want them to be guys like Rosario, Cron, Castro, and Gonzales. Guys that don't crush you when they're in the lineup. This hold true for pitching too.

 

2. Not letting your prospect talent become a below-average asset. This is a fluid thing. Most of a system's authentic value is produced by a half-dozen prospects. However, it's absolutely essential to have numbers too, meaning high numbers of those 40+ FV prospects and above. Guys like Duffy, Arraez, and Rogers emerge from these numbers.

 

3. Trading from surplus, and being rather agnostic about whether that surplus is being dealt from MLB or the pipeline. It only matters that the replacement for that established player project to be an almost immediate production upgrade. You trade Rosario to make room for Larnach. In 2021, not 2020. If Lewis isn't an upgrade over Buxton when the time come? Goodbye, Mr. Lewis.

 

The Twins are in elite territory at this time. They're in the top half dozen in MLB power rankings (SI). They've been in that same range in prospect rankings. I believe that's Falvey's intent.

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birdwatcher
Jan 17 2020 07:18 PM

 

This medium makes it easy for arguments to change forms somewhat. I guess my argument should have been nobody cares if you trade Cave, Wade, Raley or probably even Rooker. I am going to go out on a limb and say most of us who want to preserve prospects don’t care about them. I guess I ignored the argument of trading the surplus. Because I just don’t believe depth can be traded for good starting pitching unless that SP has a big contract. Cave / Wade Raley or even Rooker or even all of them together does not land a front of the rotation SP. You mentioned their relative value in your post so why would you conclude they could be traded for good pitching?

 

We have two OF prospects (Kirilloff / Larnach) who will make a difference in acquiring someone better than Berrios. IDK but I think it makes a lot of sense to move Sano to DH when Cruz departs and Kirilloff takes 1B. He is not even an average defender at a corner OF spot as I understand it. Perhaps I am wrong but this seems to makes sense.

 

If this is true, we really have one really good OF prospect (Larnach) to take Rosario's place. The timing should be perfect for him to come up next year and prove he is Rosario’s replacement. I think Wade & Raley have very little value. Cave has some value and Rooker will need to prove he can make enough contact at the MLB level before he has any real value. I am pretty sure all of us prospect hoarders would trade depth for a Berrios + level SP. It’s the other teams that won’t go along with that scenario.

 

 

This point needs to be better understood in my view.

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specialiststeve
Jan 17 2020 08:49 PM

 

What happens when your system is out of balance? Meaning, too many position players and not enough pitchers? What about when your ML lineup is all young, controllable and producing? Do we hang onto those prospects and just let them sit in the minors? Do we trade the guys on the MLB roster?

 

When you are in dire need of pitching like this team is, I think it is imperative to trade from your position of strength to shore up a weakness. 

 

When you have great assets... OF right now you move a Rosario for what you need or a piece for your system to fill a possible future need. Having a balance on your major league club of young and vets is ideal. If an ace comes along and a quality position player is needed I am okay with it but NOT for a pitcher that is not a top end guy... value is not there. Position players are tough to come buy and while about 1 in 5 quality prospects actually work out... we need to keep the system full. If we have a ML lineup that is controllable and producing.. we are in an AWSOME place and we can call the shots better. 

 

Lots of low risk high reward guys out there that can bridge the gap until our pitching studs are ready... which is right around the corner.... 

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Richard Swerdlick
Jan 18 2020 08:32 AM

I believe that the Twins will deal some prospects for pitching this season when the opportunity becomes available. It takes 2 to Tango.