Why the Twins Should Trade for All-Star Mike Minor
Image courtesy of © Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY SportsMike Minor was a highly touted prospect out of Vanderbilt entering the 2009 draft. He was taken by the Atlanta Braves with the seventh overall selection in the same draft where Stephen Strasburg went number one overall to the Washington Nationals, Mike Trout was taken 25th overall by the Los Angeles Angels, and Kyle Gibson was taken 22nd overall by the Twins. Minor had a breakout season for the Braves in 2013, posting a 3.21 ERA over 204 and 2/3 innings. However, he struggled in 2014 while dealing with a bad shoulder. Minor wound up needing surgery to repair a torn labrum in 2015 and missed the entire season. At season's end, the Braves decided to non-tender Minor, making him a free agent. He then signed a minor league deal with the Royals late that offseason, and pitched all of 2016 in their minor league system. In 2017, Minor was moved to the Royals bullpen and was an excellent reliever for them during that season. Once the season had ended, Minor again became a free agent, and signed a 3-year, $28 million deal with the Texas Rangers, where they have since moved him back into the starting rotation.
After a decent season in 2018, where he posted a 2.5 fWAR in 157 innings, Mike Minor has had a lights out campaign so far this year, and earned himself a spot on the 2019 American League All-Star Team. Entering play on Friday, here is how Minor’s stat line compares to that of Jose Berrios.
MIke Minor: 122 IP, 8.93 K/9, 3.25 BB/9, 2.73 ERA, 3.82 FIP, 2.9 fWAR
Jose Berrios: 122 IP, 8.11 K/9, 1.92 BB/9, 3.10 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 3.0 fWAR
When you look at many of the expected stats that are available via Statcast, it appears as though Minor has actually been slightly better than Berrios this year.
Mike Minor: .220 xBA, .357 xSLG, .294 xwOBA
Jose Berrios: .245 xBA, .406 xSLG, .303 xwOBA
While it is up in the air if an addition like Madison Bumgarner would make much of an upgrade to the Twins projected postseason rotation, it is clear that adding Mike Minor would definitely be an upgrade over the likes of Kyle Gibson, Martin Perez and Michael Pineda.
Another thing that makes Mike Minor appealing as a trade deadline addition is his team-friendly contract. Minor is currently in year two of that three year deal I mentioned previously. If the Twins traded for Minor, they would also acquire his services in 2020 for just $9.5 million. This is a bargain price for even an average starting pitcher, let alone an all-star caliber pitcher. This will give the Twins a rotation of Jose Berrios, Mike Minor and potentially Martin Perez (team option) secured for 2020, heading into the offseason.
So, what would it take to get a deal done with the Texas Rangers for Mike Minor? While Minor’s trade value has certainly gone up this season, it would most likely not require the Twins to give up either Royce Lewis or Alex Kirilloff to acquire him. Additionally, with Brusdar Graterol still injured, it is unlikely that the Twins move him before the trade deadline. A more realistic trade for Minor would go either one of two ways. The Twins could offer up a prospect like Trevor Larnach or Jordan Balazovic and strike a deal with one of those two and a low-level prospect, or if the Twins don’t feel like giving up either one of those two players, they could offer a package that involves either Brent Rooker or Jhoan Duran along with another mid-level prospect like Nick Gordon or Ryan Jeffers. Personally, the later would be more appealing from the Twins perspective, but it will most likely come down the preference of the Texas Rangers.
The Twins have done an excellent job of building a great farm system over the first few seasons of the Falvine regime, and the time has come to leverage that great farm system to acquire players that can help the Twins win right now. While he might not be as flashy of a name as some other trade targets, Mike Minor certainly fits the bill for a trade deadline addition that would be an upgrade to the 2019 Minnesota Twins.
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