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Minnesota and Big Contracts

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:48 AM
For more than 2 decades I have listened to Minnesota Twins fans complain that the Pohlads never give out big contracts. This is mostly bu...
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Front Page: Report: Twins Nearing Multi-Year Deal with Mi...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:46 AM
According to Peirre Noujaim from Fox 9 News in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Twins have reached a deal to keep veteran Michael Pineda with t...
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Front Page: Passan: Twins to Sign Catcher Alex Avila

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:42 AM
Jeff Passan of ESPN reported Friday morning that the Twins had an agreement with veteran catcher Alex Avila on a one-year, $4.25 million...
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Chasing Madison Bumgarner Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:38 AM
Looks like the market is heating up for Bumgarner now, and the Twins are in. Post rumors and thoughts as they arise, please:  
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Front Page: Wheeler’s Gone, But Bumgarner Would Give the...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 11:20 AM
With Zack Wheeler signing with the Philadelphia Phillies for $118 million over five years, Minnesota’s interest turns to Madison Bumgarne...
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Two Under the Radar Starters the Twins Should Target: Sonny Gray and Robbie Ray

We have all heard the rumors about Stroman and Mad Bum, but maybe there are some quality starting pitchers that haven't really been talked about that could provide a meaningful upgrade to this Twins rotation. Let's take a look at Sonny Gray of the Reds and Arizona's Robbie Ray.
Image courtesy of © Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The MLB trade deadline is just a couple weeks away and the Minnesota Twins are 58-35 with World Series aspirations this season. For a few months now, there has been constant speculation as to who or if the Twins will be adding to push this team over the top and truly become the team to beat for the AL pennant.

Most of the speculation has been about adding some high-leverage arms to the bullpen, and that is likely going to happen, but it has begun to look more and more like adding an arm to the rotation is something the Twins will look to do. Over the last month, the Twins bullpen has a 3.02 ERA, 4.01 FIP (4.26 xFIP), 1.08 WHIP, and 8.79 K/9. They have been much better than the starters over that time with the starters having a combined 4.48 ERA, 4.11 FIP (4.39 xFIP), 1.31 WHIP and a 8.09 K/9.

With the rotation hitting a bit of a rough stretch and with the uncertainty of guys like Pineda (because of his recent surgeries) or Perez (because of inconsistency and past performance), adding an arm to the rotation could help. We have all heard of the rumors about guys like Matt Boyd, Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman and Zack Wheeler so I decided to take a look at a couple guys who have not really been much talked about, but could be available for a good price.

Sonny Gray

It has been rumored lately that if the Twins were to acquire a starter, they would want team control beyond this season. Sonny Gray is now a 29-year-old veteran pitching for the Cincinnati Reds and is signed for three more years after 2019 with a 2023 option. He is making roughly $10 million per year.

Gray was traded there this offseason and is having a great season so far and he even made the All-Star Game. His 3.42 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, and 10.36 K/9 are all great and he would likely slot in right behind Odorizzi as the number three starter.

Gray has a five-pitch arsenal with his curveball and slider being a couple of the best in baseball. He is in the 97th percentile for curveball spin with batters hitting just .169 against it while batters are hitting just .108 against the slider. The problem comes with his fastball, which has hung around 93.5 MPH his whole career. This season the AVG against it is .305 with a SLG of .453 but the expected statistics show he has been unlucky, with 30-40 points of positive regression likely for both stats. If MVP (most valuable pitching coach) Wes Johnson can unlock some more velocity to make the fastball better then we may have an elite pitcher here.

Of course there are always the questions like will the Reds even be sellers? What would a trade for Gray cost? Will Gray be available?

I would think the Reds are willing to sell anyone for the right price because even their young ace Luis Castillo was rumored to be in trade talks. I imagine it would be like last seasons Chris Archer trade where the Rays got two MLB ready players in Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow back. It could very well cost a package of something similar to Arraez/Thorpe to acquire Sonny Gray. He doesn’t have the same name value as someone like Trevor Bauer, but he may be a better upgrade.

On the most recent Leading Off Podcast with fellow Twins Daily member Matt Braun we discussed Sonny Gray, so skip to the 52 minute mark.



Robbie Ray

The Diamondbacks are sitting around a .500 record but they play in a division with the Dodgers so it is unlikely they make the playoffs. A wild card spot is open but that also would be difficult. They are stuck in the middle so they should trade away left-handed starter Robbie Ray to the Twins. Ray is having a great year, posting a 3.81 ERA, 4.04 FIP (3.89 xFIP) with a WHIP of 1.31 but the most interesting stats for him come with his walks and strikeouts.

Robbie Ray is second in the NL with a K/9 of 11.76. Conversely he also has the worst BB/9 in the NL at 4.54. Then again, he also has the second best H/9. Basically, as a batter you go up there and either walk or get out with no other option. Just like Gray, his best pitches are his curveball and slider but the slider is used much more (34% compared to 14% on the curve) and opponents are hitting just .184 against it with a .356 SLG. His fastball hangs out around 92.5 MPH and he throws it 44.3% of the time. It isn't really anything special but it does a nice job of complementing the breaking balls.

There is no certainty that the Diamondbacks will sell, but it might be wise because of the strong competition for a wild card spot and the already lost division. Plus they owe us for Eduardo Escobar, right? I have no idea what a package might look like for Ray but I doubt it would be an easy get. If the Twins feel like he would be the third-best pitcher on the team and it won’t cost you the farm then pull the trigger for some October wins.

Overall, I think the Twins will be adding a rotation arm, especially now that it looks like Pineda is getting a reduced workload (he was limited to just 76 pitches his last outing). This front office doesn’t appear to be the type to go add a big name like Noah Syndergaard, and that could be a good thing. Acquiring a solid starter behind Berrios/Odorizzi and in front of Gibson gives you a stacked rotation for a deep October run.

What do you think? Would you like either of these pitchers on the Twins, or is there someone else you have your eye on? Let me know in the comments.


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29 Comments

They really bring anyone on to write here nowadays don't they?

    • nicksaviking, DocBauer, Tom Froemming and 1 other like this
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Cooper Carlson
Jul 17 2019 07:37 PM

 

They really bring anyone on to write here nowadays don't they?

Well they brought you on, so yeah.

    • nicksaviking, DocBauer, Tom Froemming and 1 other like this

 

Well they brought you on, so yeah.

This is why I don't let you do the intros to the pod smh.

    • Cooper Carlson likes this

Neither guys are under the radar.

 

 

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Cooper Carlson
Jul 17 2019 07:56 PM

 

Neither guys are under the radar.

My radar does not show them. Maybe I need to go buy a new one.

    • ashbury and Danchat like this
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Tom Froemming
Jul 17 2019 07:57 PM

 

Neither guys are under the radar.

I agree. Cooper and Matt are established by now. I'm glad you feel this way.

    • ashbury, nicksaviking, DocBauer and 3 others like this

It would be fun to see Sonny Gray defeat the Yankees in the post season.

    • Tom Froemming, MN_ExPat and Cooper Carlson like this
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pierre75275
Jul 17 2019 08:21 PM
Id prefer Robbie Ray.

 

I agree. Cooper and Matt are established by now. I'm glad you feel this way.

We out here

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yarnivek1972
Jul 18 2019 04:18 AM
If I were a fan of the Reds I would be pretty upset that my team traded a guy that was under control for four more years at a pretty reasonable price.

That would be tantamount to saying they don’t expect to compete during that span. How would you feel if the Twins traded Jose Berrios?
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diehardtwinsfan
Jul 18 2019 05:27 AM

Let's avoid the under the rardar types and get a differene maker. 

    • jud6312 likes this

Trade for Sonny Gray and Robby Ray? 
Hey why don't they just go and eat some hay.
They can lay by the bay, make things out of clay, they just may, what'd ya say?​

    • scottz, Riverbrian, 70charger and 3 others like this

 

Let's avoid the under the rardar types and get a differene maker. 

A player can be both.

    • Twins33 and Tom Froemming like this

Had you just ponied up in the first place and spent the dollars, we could have gotten a good radar and difference maker instead of settling for a rardar and a differene maker.

 

Sigh.... this is why we cant have nice things. :(

I would not hate Sonny Gray on this team.

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Tom Froemming
Jul 18 2019 09:24 AM

Just a fun thing I felt motivated to look into this morning. Here's how Gray ranks in the sample of him, MadBum, Stroman and Matthew Boyd:

 

K%: 2nd

BB%: 4th

WHIP: 1st

ERA: 2nd

FIP: 1st

xFIP: 2nd (0.01 behind Boyd)

SIERA: 2nd

HR/9: 2nd

GB%: 2nd

Hard Hit%: 2nd

Exit velocity: 1st

xWOBA: 1st

OPS against: 1st

 

    • MN_ExPat likes this
Jack Handey Radarscope

 

    • ashbury, DocBauer, Tom Froemming and 1 other like this

Not only are you asking a team that might not sell to sell, you're suggesting they move one of their best controllable assets.

 

I have a hard time believing the Reds would move Gray at all. They made it clear that they are ending the rebuilding phase. They took a chance on extending Gray after a bad season and it is paying off. They now have a good cheap pitcher for 3-4 more seasons. Any deal for Gray should require a massive overpay.

 

Tanner Roark is probably available....

    • USAFChief and spycake like this
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Nate Palmer
Jul 18 2019 10:17 AM

Both would be good lands for the Twins. Especially like that they would be around for the rotation in 2020 as well. Good write up, Cooper! 

    • Cooper Carlson likes this
How about Chris Archer, I would offer Nick Gordon, Byron Buxton, Trevor May, Brent Rooker.
I've argued against a move like this as I didnt feel it moved the needle enough to make a difference. Either guy, most days, is the equivalent of Odorizzi or Gibson. Other than depth...and retention of said arm for next season, of course, what does this do for THIS season?

I like both options and won't be upset to either one if brought in. I just think it's a couple RP and call it a day unless you can get that difference maker rotation piece. I'm OK moving prospect assets to better the team. But at some point, you can end up trading too much for too little return/difference. If that makes sense.

 

How about Chris Archer, I would offer Nick Gordon, Byron Buxton, Trevor May, Brent Rooker.

 

30 year old Chris Archer who is sporting a 5.38 ERA, 1.412 WHIP, 2.36 K/BB ratio and leads the bigs with 22 HR given up this season?

 

I wouldn't trade Buxton straight up for Archer, forget the other 3.

    • luckylager likes this
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Cooper Carlson
Jul 18 2019 11:29 AM

 

30 year old Chris Archer who is sporting a 5.38 ERA, 1.412 WHIP, 2.36 K/BB ratio and leads the bigs with 22 HR given up this season?

 

I wouldn't trade Buxton straight up for Archer, forget the other 3.

I wouldn't even take Archer if it was for free

    • Twins33 likes this
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Cooper Carlson
Jul 18 2019 11:30 AM

 

Not only are you asking a team that might not sell to sell, you're suggesting they move one of their best controllable assets.

 

I have a hard time believing the Reds would move Gray at all. They made it clear that they are ending the rebuilding phase. They took a chance on extending Gray after a bad season and it is paying off. They now have a good cheap pitcher for 3-4 more seasons. Any deal for Gray should require a massive overpay.

 

Tanner Roark is probably available....

 

It comes down to the question, do the Reds expect to compete for the division title in the next few years? The answer is probably no so everyone is on the table. There were literally rumors about Luis Castillo. 

Ray will end up with the Yankees, if traded.

 

I can't imagine why Cincinnati trades Gray.

 

 


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