The Twins Should Try to Net A Marlin
Image courtesy of © Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY SportsAfter trading Zac Gallen and Caleb Smith to Arizona last year, you’d think the young up and coming Marlins would have taken a hit to their rotation depth. The Marlins however have spent the last few years accumulating young talent that appears to be finally emerging all at once. They’ve fielded a competitive 1-5 in their rotation for a few years now, but currently might have a few too many arms at their disposal to not look to cash in on one or two for help elsewhere. For that reason it may be worth considering a few trade options for the Twins.
(Note: Sandy Alcántara and Sixto Sanchez are strategically not mentioned. Keep dreaming Twins fans)
PabLo had a breakout year in 2020 pitching to a 3.61 ERA and 3.09 FIP. He rode a nasty changeup to a 24.6 K rate and managed a .63 HR/9. PabLo has a bit of an injury history but has a few years of moderate success under his belt and is still just 24 years old. Miami would likely look for an impactful return of either MLB or near MLB talent for their assumed number 3 starter.
Hernandez full on broke out in 2020 in surprising fashion, managing a 3.16 ERA and 3.89 FIP and 32.1% K rate before succumbing to an oblique strain after 25.1 innings. If he’s anywhere near what he showed in 2019, the Marlins may have one of baseball’s best #4 starters. The Twins had already been linked to Hernandez last winter so there may be something here that Wes Johnson and company are fond of (possibly the near 40% whiff rate on his slider). Given his shorter track record of success, Hernandez may be a bit more attainable than the above arms even though he’s still just 25 years old.
Ureña is likely best known for plunking Ronald Acuña a few years back but has been a mostly serviceable pitcher at the back end of the rotation for a few years before a miserable 2020. Ureña has a 3 pitch mix headlined by a mid 90s fastball that makes you wonder if the Twins could unlock a few more strikeouts (15.9% K rate in his career). He’s due $4m in 2021 and may be seen as an unnecessary arm in competition for a rotation spot. For that reason the Twins should be able to obtain the 29 year old for cheap if they identify an adjustment they could possibly make.
Trevor Rogers/Braxton Garrett
These two are grouped together because both are left handed former 1st round picks that the Marlins brought up straight out of AA in the shortened 2020 season. The Marlins surely think highly of these two to take the leap of faith in calling them up. That being said, the mix of depth they have in their rotation and their willingness to trade promising young starting pitching in the past suggests they may not be off the table. Their Major League success is irrelevant at this point, as Garrett threw only 7.2 innings and Rogers 28, but don’t put it past the Twins to check in if they see a young controllable starting pitcher they could mould.
Bonus: Jordan Yamamoto
I’m not going to lie to you, the 24 year old righty had an 18.26 ERA and 11.93 FIP last season. It was bad, like possibly “get this man out of Miami” bad. In 2019 he actually managed a 4.46 ERA and 4.51 FIP though and he had 3 pitches with a whiff rate over 27.5%. There’s clearly some talent in there and his cost may never be lower. Such a young starter with any Major League success will never come free, but the Twins could look to cash in for as cheap as can be.
The fun thing about the Marlins is they’ve shown a history of unpredictability in trading their young arms. At this point that’s about all they have, so there’s not an obvious candidate aside from Ureña that they may actually be looking to trade. The Twins missed out on Zac Gallen in 2019 when that surprising trade was made. I think they should be checking in with Miami this winter and exploring all options to make sure they don’t miss out on another young controllable pitcher being shipped out.
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