Trade Deadline: What if the Twins Do Nothing?
Image courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas, USA TodayOn Tuesday night, Cleveland finally traded All Star starting pitcher Trevor Bauer. Typically that move would be seen as the team selling, but in this case, I do believe that they got better. They have pitching, and seem to keep calling pitchers up who do well. Shane Bieber and Zach Plesac are two guys who fit into that mold. They also should be getting Corey Kluber back in the near future.
Their need was offense, and they added two powerful outfielders in Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes in the three-team swap. They also added LHP Logan Allen, a Top 100 prospect, and two more minor leaguers.
It was a very creative move for Cleveland. The Twins were very creative in their acquisition of Sergio Romo over the weekend. Not only did the Twins receive the veteran reliever, but they also received hard-throwing RHP Chris Vallimont and a Player to be Named Later for slugging first base prospect Lewin Diaz.
On its own, the Twins made a really, creative, savvy move to improve their bullpen and improve the team. Twins fans have generally felt that the trade was good for the Twins, though that thought always comes with the “as long as it isn’t the only move they make by the deadline.”
But what if it is? What if Sergio Romo is the only player that the Twins add? What will it mean? Here are my thoughts.
First and foremost, Twins fans will and rightfully should feel disappointment. On the basic level, it’s always fun to acquire talent. It doesn’t even have to be elite talent, but just make the team better. Let's just say, #TwinsTwitter will not handle it well, for sure!
On another level, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have consistently said that when the Twins window to compete for championships opens, they will pounce. Well, the window is wide open. This team has the talent to compete, not only for the American League Central title but also for a World Series. They have won two of six games against the Yankees this year, and probably should have won two more of those games. They won four of their seven matchups with the Astros this year. They currently have an edge on Cleveland this year too. Those are the top teams in the American League, and the team should absolutely feel like they can compete for an American League pennant. And hey, if you get to the World Series, you have a chance.
So Twins fans will absolutely have every right to be disappointed and even upset if nothing is done.
This is a very good team as is, as shown by their performance so far this year against the top teams in the league. Their lineup can compete with anyone. They can slug with the best. Pitching has been the issue although even that hasn’t been as bad as we may think. The starters rank in the top the top third of the league in most statistics. Some of that is because their #4 (Perez) and #5 (Pineda) have been better than most 4s and 5s around the league. Jose Berrios is approaching Ace level. Jake Odorizzi was an All Star for his strong start, but he has been more inconsistent of late. Kyle Gibson’s been good at times but also a bit inconsistent. Not adding a starter would just mean that these guys would need to step it up down the stretch. But would the Twins have a top three or top four that you could feel good about going into the playoffs?
And the bullpen has been better than expected, though a lot of that is because of Taylor Rogers. Sergio Romo stepped in as the 8th inning guy last night in his Twins debut. Tyler Duffey has returned to an intriguing bullpen option. Ryne Harper has been a big surprise. Trevor May was doing well until the 0-2 curveball in Cleveland, but he has the stuff to dominate and will need to find that again.
And then some young guys. Cody Stashak had a moment in the Yankees series. Sean Poppen reeling off 96-97 mph fastballs with a strong slider could be great for the team down the stretch. And if Will Smith and Felipe Vasquez are unavailable, I don’t think there is an available left-handed reliever that I would feel better about than giving Lewis Thorpe an opportunity. And Devin Smeltzer is available as well. The concern with them is their lack of MLB experience, obviously.
In addition, Fernando Romero has been much improved of late in Rochester. And as it appears the odds of Cody Allen helping the Twins down the stretch is waning, flamethrower Brusdar Graterol returned to the mound on Monday for his first rehab appearance. Maybe he and his 101-mph fastball can help. Jorge Alcala and his triple-digit fastball pitched out of the bullpen in his most-recent outing.
So, while I still think it is very likely that the Twins make one or two moves before the trade deadline, and this article will be all for naught, it is important for Twins fans to stand by a team that has put themselves in this position. Absolutely, be disappointed that nothing was done, but hopefully you’ll be able to quickly shift your attention back to the fact that this team, as it is currently put together, can win the division. And, if you are under the opinion (as I mostly am) that the playoffs are mostly a crapshoot, then you should still believe that the Twins can win in the playoffs too.
All that said… Come On, Twins… Make a Move!
- bighat and MN_ExPat like this