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Twins Trade Pieces Not That Valuable

The dust has settled on the trade deadline and Twins fans might be left with a feeling of wanting more. Minnesota made multiple trades as the deadline approached but no major moves to shake-up the organization. Fans were left wondering, Why wasn't the front office more active?

For Twins fans, the last week and a half has been a disaster. With the team looking like they were in contention, the front office dealt for Jaime Garcia. He would be in another organization less than a week later as the Twins have found themselves falling out of contention. Garcia is gone and the Twins are left wondering what happened in their recent road trip.

With the Twins falling to the wayside, many fans pivoted into the mindset of being sellers. Most of the comments I have seen on social media revolve around what could the Twins get for some of their top trade pieces. Unfortunately, the value for Minnesota's top pieces isn't as high as some fans would like it to be.
Image courtesy of Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Brandon Kintzler
In the midst of his first all-star season, Brandon Kintzler seemed like a logical trade candidate. His value was high (maybe the highest it has ever been) and he would become a free agent at season's end. Reports had multiple teams being interested in his services but the Twins were "remaining patient" as the likes of Brad Hand and Zach Britton were yet to be dealt. As the deadline came and passed, the Twins pulled the trigger and sent Kintzler to Washington for left-handed pitching prospect Tyler Watson, the Nationals' 17th best prospect according to MLB.com.

Teams can see through the cobwebs. Kintzler isn't the same type of closer as last year's big trade pieces, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller. Kintzler doesn't have the same type of relief pitching resume but he has been very efficient since taking over the as the Twins closer last season. He wasn't going to bring back a top tier prospect but the Twins did well to get something for a rental piece.

Ervin Santana
Santana's first half of 2017 made it seem like he would be a strong trade candidate if the Twins became sellers. Through his first 13 starts, he posted a 2.20 ERA while holding opponents to a .154 batting average. During that stretch, he had three complete games and other teams were still looking for their first complete game. His last eight starts have seen him come back down to earth. In them he has a 5.63 ERA while opponents are hitting .315/.366/.579.

One positive surrounding Santana is the fact that he isn't a rental player. He is under contract through 2018 for $13.5 million with a $14 million team option for 2019. During the final year of the contract, Santana would be in his age-36 season so he isn't exactly in the prime of his career. However, it did seem conceivable for him to be a difference-making piece for a team looking for rotation depth.

Brian Dozier
Dozier seemed destined for a trade last off-season as the new regime was set to make their mark on the organization. The Dodgers seemed like the most likely landing spot but the deal never got done. Most reports had Los Angeles offering Jose De Leon, one of the club's best pitching prospects, for Dozier. Minnesota didn't budge as they wanted more than one prospect for Dozier and the deal fell through. Eventually, De Leon was dealt to the Rays for second baseman Logan Forsythe.

While Dozier's 2016 campaign was one for the record books, 2017 has been average. His batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage are all back down to his career averages. He's on pace to hit over 22 home runs for the fourth consecutive season but he would need to go on quite the tear to get anywhere near his 42 home runs from a year ago. I've also been critical of his defense in the past and those numbers haven't made major improvements this season.

While Twins fans waited patiently for the club to sell, the real truth might be that the club's pieces weren't as valuable as fans had hoped. The Twins will be closer to contending during the 2018 campaign so the front office's real test might come this off-season as the club builds for the next handful of seasons.

What are your thoughts on the Twins key trade pieces? Should the team have tried to sell more? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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58 Comments

It is hard to say in a vacuum. We don't know what was on the table for either guy, or in the case of Dozier what sort of contract dollars and term he would look for past next season.

You could make the case that next years rotation has promise with Ervin, Berrios, Gonsalves, and Romero. And we have a pretty weak division.
    • Jerr, Dantes929 and Danchat like this
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Bill Brown69
Jul 31 2017 10:22 PM

I think the new FO did a fine job. Basically traded away 1 prospect and returned 3. 

    • Blake, Jerr, gunnarthor and 10 others like this
I am anxious to see how this team would play without Brian Dozier. I would be thrilled if they traded him in August. I think the team would react positively and improve if he were moved to a contender with players closer in age. Grossman or Granite could bat leadoff. Less strikeouts and a more positive attitude would evolve with Dozierly one of the Hardy guys moving on
    • Thrylos likes this

Why would it be a surprise when the worst team in baseball over the past several seasons doesn't have blue chip veterans to trade? Brian Dozier is about the only one, other than Escobar. On a contending team, he could be an important contributor at the plate and as a team leader. In the off-season, Dozier could attract some offers, but not a front-line starter. Maybe they can get a serious catching prospect in AA. 

    • Oldgoat_MN, Danchat and Original Whizzinator like this
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Tommygun921
Aug 01 2017 05:37 AM
I'm also interested to see how the team would fare without Dozier Manning 2nd base. I think he is definitely more likely to get moved this off-season. And I just think Santana is to valuable to move. Even if he came back to earth. Seems his influence can help the young guys and has helped Berrios especially.
    • Jerr, Blackjack, Hosken Bombo Disco and 1 other like this

The Twins traded their free agents, and got value for them.

 

They can always trade Dozier and Santana in the offseason. The guess here is that they didn't get decent enough offers for Santana (and there weren't enough contenders in need of a second baseman for them to trade Dozier). 

 

 

    • caninatl04 likes this
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diehardtwinsfan
Aug 01 2017 05:59 AM

Santana probably won't be traded for no other reason than a lack of suitable replacements. Perhaps that won't be the case next year, but I don't think they walk into 2018 and say that, so if they trade him, the need to have someone that can be a strong performer on a 1 year contract (which when you think of it is very unlikely).

 

I wouldn't be surprised if Dozier is moved this offseason. The question for me though is what is the deal with Polanco. Is this funk he's in due his grandmother's passing? If so, it's a lost season and he will be fine next year, or is it due to him being overmatched and not a good major leaguer?If so, there may be replacements on the way, but not in 2018.

    • glunn, Riverbrian and Original Whizzinator like this

It will be interesting to see how Falvine clears the logjam of Gordon, Polanco, and Dozier.Personally, I hope they trade Dozier in August, move Polanco to second, and bring up Gordon.Play the young guys and see what they can do.

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diehardtwinsfan
Aug 01 2017 06:25 AM

I like Gordon, but I'm not quite sure he's ready just yet. Just my 2 cents, especially with Polanco struggling.

    • glunn, Ryan Atkins, Oldgoat_MN and 2 others like this
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Bill Brown69
Aug 01 2017 06:50 AM

Gordon/Polanco as starting middle infielders might be punting on 2018.

 

There is no logjam until Gordon proves it in meaningful games against top competition. If that were to happen the Escobar might be the casualty.

 

I do hope Gordon gets a Sept callup and between that and Spring Training then a better decision can be made.

    • glunn, Ryan Atkins, Vanimal46 and 2 others like this
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nicksaviking
Aug 01 2017 07:07 AM

The Twins have had some rotten luck over the years come the trade deadline as they never seem to have anyone who is peaking, but they need to start getting the right kind of players if they want to start flipping them.

 

Dozier's production has come during a 2B Renaissance, nearly every team has a pretty good one.

 

Kintzler was a fantastic pick up, but he had little value for the same reason most of us derided the team for giving him the closer role in the first place, he can't miss bats. We've known for a decade now that other teams value that ability more than our club does. To me it didn't seem like Twinsnation even embraced this guy until about June, getting next to nothing for him would have sounded accurate last fall, even this spring.

 

Unfortunately, for a year Santana's warts didn't impact his production, they only started hurting his performances about a month before the trade deadline. However, unlike a decade ago, the other teams do evaluate the warts not just the production, so even had he not tripped up he still may not have brought back the return we hoped he would. Maybe he can find his leprechaun again in the second half and pitch over his head. Or even better, maybe he can start missing more bats and issuing fewer walks and actually improve his peripherals. He seemingly still has the velocity and command to do both should he get locked in.

    • Dman and Original Whizzinator like this
I hope they extend Dozier and choose between Gordon and Polanco next season.
    • Otwins likes this

What I find funny (yet not surprising) is the stark difference in reactions to the trades by TwinsDaily readers, who I think are pretty well informed fans, and casual fans.  I happened to glance at the comments on Star Tribune.  You would have thought the Twins just traded away Mariano Rivera in the midst of World Series run.  

 

I don't know if there is a way the Twins can better inform casual fans of what these type of trades are for, why they do them and what they mean to the future, because I think there are more casual fans than the type that come to this site.  And honestly it is kind of disheartening to see people who don't understand the reasons to just berate the team and give up.  

 

If Dozier or Santana were traded the Minnesota internet would have blown up with negativity except for one small piece of it here.

    • James, Oldgoat_MN, 70charger and 3 others like this

 

It will be interesting to see how Falvine clears the logjam of Gordon, Polanco, and Dozier.Personally, I hope they trade Dozier in August, move Polanco to second, and bring up Gordon.Play the young guys and see what they can do.

 

It's a long ways from a logjam at this point. I personally hope all three perform enough to make it a decision worth pondering.

    • glunn, Mike Sixel, Ryan Atkins and 5 others like this

I don't think we'll see Gordon this year. Gonna keep that year of control. We might see him next June, unless there is a trade. Even then, I think we'll not see him until May/June of next year.

    • glunn, Dman, chpettit19 and 2 others like this
The title of the article should be we value our trade chips here more than others. To say they are not that valuable is wrong as Dozier and Santana are both 3 plus War players. And Santana is also a great mentor for a young pitching staff adding more value for us over what he might offer another team....
    • caninatl04 and Original Whizzinator like this

 

What I find funny (yet not surprising) is the stark difference in reactions to the trades by TwinsDaily readers, who I think are pretty well informed fans, and casual fans.  I happened to glance at the comments on Star Tribune.  You would have thought the Twins just traded away Mariano Rivera in the midst of World Series run.  

 

I don't know if there is a way the Twins can better inform casual fans of what these type of trades are for, why they do them and what they mean to the future, because I think there are more casual fans than the type that come to this site.  And honestly it is kind of disheartening to see people who don't understand the reasons to just berate the team and give up.  

 

If Dozier or Santana were traded the Minnesota internet would have blown up with negativity except for one small piece of it here.

Old poster once said the magic words: Never read the Strib comments!

    • Twins33 and Oldgoat_MN like this

 

I don't think we'll see Gordon this year. Gonna keep that year of control. We might see him next June, unless there is a trade. Even then, I think we'll not see him until May/June of next year.

 

If Gordon came up right now he wouldn't come close to accruing a year of control, so not sure why you're worrying about that.

 

There's what, 65 days left this year? So in your scenario, if he came up now and not until June next year he still wouldn't reach a year of service before the end of 2018.

 

If Gordon came up right now he wouldn't come close to accruing a year of control, so not sure why you're worrying about that.

 

There's what, 65 days left this year? So in your scenario, if he came up now and not until June next year he still wouldn't reach a year of service before the end of 2018.

 

I just don't see them calling him up now, and then sitting him for 1/2 of next year. I'm willing to be wrong, I don't know, but I don't see it.

Yes, and you look at the value of resigning the players yourself.

 

Kintzler is a solid journeyman relief pitcher who has been thrown into the role of closer and did well. He will be able to parley that into a decent multi-year contract in the off-season. Maybe not closer money, but somewhere in-between because he has enough skills to be a set-up man, if nothing else. Although I would discuss a return contract with him, the Twins now have the chance to look at closer possibilities (not Belisle) from within to see where they stand going into next season.

 

Dozier was hot last year. Unfortunately no one needed a second baseman in the off-season, or one who was as predictable as Dozier, coming back to earth. You know what you a e going to egt with him...now. The Twins have to either explore a longer-term cost-effective extension with the guy, or decide to take what they can get. Two questions have to be answered: who plays second if he is gone, not just next year but beyond. Is Dozier a viable DH candidate who can also play the field? Biggest question of all: Why is he still batting leadoff?

 

Santana. Another player that you know what he brings to the table. His past year of greatness besides, he is a middle-of-the-rotation workhorse that would thrive on an offense heavy team. He has a decent contract, is re-flippable if another team had taken the gamble. I look at moving him as freeing up salary for the next two seasons, but losing your most experienced pitcher. What would I want in return? More than anyone would be willing to give, sadly. The time to trade a Santana IS during the trade deadline. You might be able to move him in the off-season, but to whom and for what? My main reason for trading him would be the same as any other team for NOT trading for him. I can spend that money just as well elsewhere. Unless I really needed that 4th/5th starter for the playoff push, and no one better was available, I might bite and bite big. But right now...I'm going to get what the Twins got for the other Santana...a spare outfield piece with potential that needs roster space, a 28th-man starter out of options that is a placesetter and only pitching because I have no other candidates, a relief pitcher to fill out my bullpen but equal to anyone I can find on the waiver wire, and a guy with lots and lots of potential (can say the same for all prospects) but is taking waaaaay to long to get there, if he ever does - plus salary relief, only in this case save $13 million for 2018 and maybe more from 2019 instead of having to pay $120 million to a guy for the next seven years.

 

Joe Mauer. Has a no trade clause. But even with all he can bring to a team, does anyone want him as a first baseman? If he was still catching, he would be worth millions. You would think Joe would welcome the chance to go to a contender, since it looks like the Twins may not get there in his contract lifetime. Unless the Twins extend him, and there is the big elephant in the future...how long, how much, and where does he play?

 

The only other player (besides our prospects for the future) that may have worth is old Eduardo Escobar. But other teams look at him the same way the Twins have done - now for the third straight season. He is NOT the regular shortstop although he ends up playing the position more regularly than others, shows some power, an ability to hit...everything you want...from a dynamite utility guy, which means a low-level prospect (or two) in return.

 

August will be a tell for the Twins. Let's see who they let walk for CASH BACK.

 

Even trying to put together package deals with prospects...if the guys aren't wanted by a team like the Twins where almost EVERY job is up for grabs, why would other teams want these guys? You have to push these prospects a little bit...see how hungry they are...do or die-type stuff, rather than let them smolder in the minors while you throw out waiver-wire AAAA fodder to get you thru a game, with hopes that one of these pieces of coal will turn into a diamond and can be shipped off for another prospect that will wallow in the minors.

 

I just don't see them calling him up now, and then sitting him for 1/2 of next year. I'm willing to be wrong, I don't know, but I don't see it.

 

No, I don't either. Was just painting an example.

 

I could see a September callup very easily, though.

 

I just don't see them calling him up now, and then sitting him for 1/2 of next year. I'm willing to be wrong, I don't know, but I don't see it.

 

I just think the 40-man spot this offseason is too valuable. 

 

Gordon's not quite ready. Getting closer... but they have a lot of tough 40-man decisions already. 

 

And they can keep playing Polanco and figure out more of what to do with him.

    • glunn, DJSim22 and 70charger like this

There are advantages to keeping Dozier and Santana. 

 

This is a "grass is always greener" thing. If either of those were gone, we would now be griping about the quality of the return.  

    • DJSim22, Broker, Dozier's Glorious Hair and 1 other like this

 

I just think the 40-man spot this offseason is too valuable. 

 

Gordon's not quite ready. Getting closer... but they have a lot of tough 40-man decisions already. 

 

And they can keep playing Polanco and figure out more of what to do with him.

 

No, they don't have a lot of tough 40 man decisions. I just don't buy that for one minute. Almost no player of value has been found in the rule V draft since MLB changed the rules. They lost at least 5 guys on the 25 man roster right now, and there are some easy choices to drop off the 40 man. Not even close to hard decisions.

Players brought up to the MLB roster in September have to be on the 40-man, do they not? (requesting a correction to this if anyone knows this to not be true)

Why would we put Gordon on the 40-man a year before have to? If he plays great in AAA next year he can be added and brought up at that time. Someone on the 40-man who is under performing can be demoted then.

 

And I don't believe that moving Polanco to 2B is a very comprehensive solution to anything. His struggles at the plate are not going to be fixed by changing the position he plays on the field, especially a position he hasn't played all year.

 

I expect Dozier to play for the Twins next year. If he has a great season he may be moved if the Twins are not contending. Otherwise he will play out his contract and be a FA in 2019. By then Gordon should be ready and we'll have a better feel for what Palacious & Aarez may provide, along with a more clearly predictable timeline for them.


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