Twins Trades Show They've Got This Down
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY SportsJake Odorizzi didn’t experience much of free agency, having accepted the Twins qualifying offer of $17.8 million. Minnesota immediately secured one of the better available arms and did so with a high level of familiarity. Now they still should be attempting to sign one of the top free agent arms available, but with a plethora of prospects at their disposal, swinging a trade makes a ton of sense.
When the club made five additions to their 40-man roster, protecting those players from being subject to the Rule 5 draft, there was a handful of takeaways regarding the names in play. Four of the five guys added were acquired via trade in the last calendar year. Getting significant value from veterans like Brian Dozier, Eduardo Escobar, Ryan Pressly, and Fernando Rodney only solidified how well the front office had done in identifying talent. Although they parted with good big leaguers, they did so while outside of a competitive window and by nailing the return.
It’s absolutely true that not all prospects pan out, and development isn’t linear, but realizing these commodities needing to be protected and were on a big-league trajectory less than a year later is a significant development. It’s one thing to acquire additional team control or roster flexibility but doing so while also making sure to identify usable and high-performing assets is not an easy task. We may have known the return was strong through production on the farm over the last year, but Wednesday night’s decisions solidified it for us.
Going forward, the acumen displayed by Falvey and Levine will be integral to the next step Minnesota takes. On the free agent market, the expectation is that both Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg would have little interest in the Twins. Zack Wheeler and Madison Bumgarner are hardly slouches, but through a player swap, the front office can hope to identify their own version of an ace. Regardless of the name on the back of the jersey, any top tier arm is going to have a league’s worth of options on a yearly basis. When making a deal with another club, it’s a one-on-one discussion that revolves around player development and the knowledge you possess in both what you currently have and who you hope to acquire.
At this point in Minnesota’s competitive arc they aren’t in a position to piece out veterans for prospects. Although a big leaguer could be moved, the emphasis will be on a return that strengthens the major league roster. Finding assets that improve postseason posturing is the plan and doing so while mixing the ideal exchange is something every Twins fan should deem the front office capable of.
There was a time that the Twins made reactionary moves to trade for positional needs or up-and-coming prospects. Now the Twins should be seen as an organization that can both identify and execute swaps that both help and don’t substantially hurt the overall goals of the club.
I don’t foresee Royce Lewis or Alex Kirilloff going anywhere in the immediate future, but you can bank on Minnesota’s brain trust having an iron clad blueprint when working out any deal on the horizon. Knowing how important and valuable that avenue of asset addition is, it’s a skill that puts another feather in the cap of a front office responsible for an exceptional turnaround.
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