Twins Trade Suggests More Pieces to Move
Image courtesy of © Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY SportsRight now, much of the Graterol swap for Kenta Maeda remains up in the air. The Boston Red Sox are holding up the deal after seemingly being the only people in the room unaware that Minnesota’s hurler had Tommy John and was likely ticketed for relief work. Assuming newly appoint GM Chaim Bloom finds his own feet, things will work out as planned.
The Twins clearly didn’t see Graterol as their best pitching prospect, or their third best overall. That should be a reminder the national lists are for public consumption and not utilized in negotiations. With other redundancies on the farm, Derek Falvey and Thad Levine should have near-immediate opportunity to make similar decisions this summer should they so choose.
Graterol was tabbed as expendable over the likes of Jhoan Duran or Jordan Balazovic. How they evaluate outfielders and first basemen could ultimately swing moves as well.
Right now, both Brent Rooker and Alex Kirilloff look destined to play a first base role at the major league level. Plenty has been made regarding concerns about Rooker’s footwork or adaptation to first, but it’s probably an initiative they’ll heavily push this year. He’s an older prospect at 25, and while he’s always been bat-first, being a DH exclusively would be suboptimal.
We’ve seen Kirilloff’s stock slide some over the last year, and despite a down 2019 due to wrist issues, that’s more due to the assumed positional switch as well. First base makes him less impactful than corner outfield, and also puts him in a spot where Minnesota is currently flush with options. I’d certainly be shocked to see him move, but if there’s a big fish to acquire, that’s a nice centerpiece in Minnesota’s back pocket.
The outfield is another area in which Minnesota could look to shed pieces. I’d imagine if there was any legitimate interest in Eddie Rosario this offseason, we would’ve seen something take place there. However, Royce Lewis could still be ticketed for the grass, and Byron Buxton’s name has come up in previous discussions. Also, 2019 competitive-balance round, 39th overall, pick Matt Wallner could be an option in a year or two, and the duo of Akil Baddoo or Gilberto Celestino may emerge. The next few months of evaluation should provide clarity.
It’s unquestionable that Graterol was a very good asset for Minnesota. Their evaluation determined his future contributions were capped though, and it will be that line of thinking that ultimately determines the next set of decisions. Acquiring a top-three starter like the Twins did in Kenta Maeda is a great move. If there’s another addition that pushes a club this good into a true World Series contender role though, they’ll have bullets to fire from a top-10 farm system.
It appears Falvey and Levine have their gun cocked and loaded. They won’t be afraid to pull the trigger.
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