Winter Meetings - Search For A Starter
Image courtesy of Charles LeClaire, USA TodayThe Twins have two options if they would like to acquire a top-level starting pitcher. They can give up money, a lot of money, to acquire a top free agent starter. It would likely also cost a draft pick. The other option to acquire a starting pitcher is via trade which, of course, costs a number of top prospects.
Yu Darvish is the big name on the free agent market. He's clearly the top starting pitcher available. The cost for Darvish would be either five or six years at somewhere around $23-26 million per year.
Jake Arrieta has won a Cy Young, and he's been good, but there are several question marks surrounding him this offseason after a "tough" year with the Cubs in 2017. Regardless, he's going to get three or four years and at least $20 million per season, probably more.
Those are the top two free agent starting pitchers, but two others are getting a lot of talk and a lot of interest.
Lance Lynn is going to get three or four years and $18-20 million per season. Alex Cobb is also going to get three to five years, and he will get between $17-21 million. The fact that the Cubs are interested in Cobb will likely push those dollars to the upper end of that range.
All four of them would cost the Twins a draft pick.
THE TRADE MARKET
We've heard some of the same trade candidates mentioned since the trade deadline. Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole are, well, if they're not Aces, they're upper tier starters, guys we would be happy to have at the top of the Twins rotation.
But what might the cost be?
Early on Tuesday morning, a tweet from Pirates Breakdown caught my attention. I don't know much about the site, though a quick glimpse and it looks great. And I don't know whether or not this 'source' is legit of not. What I do know is that it does make sense for a conversation starter. Whether it is for Gerrit Cole, or a similar trade for Chris Archer, it's enough to keep the trade talks going.
As much as I hate seeing prospects traded, I think even I would make that trade for Gerrit Cole.
Nick Gordon is a top three Twins prospect regardless of the ranking source. I had him ranked as the Twins #3 prospect last week. To acquire a pitcher of Gerrit Cole's caliber will require a top prospect. As much as I like Gordon and believe in his future, there are still some question marks about his offensive potential and whether he can stay at shortstop.
Likewise, Tyler Jay can be a star bullpen arm if healthy. But again, if his role is going to be out of the bullpen, the Twins can replace those 65 innings per year with other internal options or on the free agent market.
Zack Granite can be a solid starter in the outfield and can definitely roam center field for a team. With the Twins current roster, he would be the fourth outfielder, capable of playing all three outfield spots, taking quality at-bats, etc.
I don't know if this package would be enough to get the Pirates to pull the trigger, but this is a deal that I would make. What do you think?
I generally have this assumption that if I personally would be willing to make a theoretical trade then the other team (the Pirates in this case) would probably want more. For instance, I would think they might want a top pitching prospect (Stephen Gonsalves or Fernando Romero) to go with their current crop of young, talented pitchers (Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Chad Kuhl, Ivan Nova, Trevor Williams, etc.). But maybe they like that young core of pitchers and want to build up their lineup with two guys who could, in time, hit at the top of their lineup.
Cole is a Boras client who made $3.75 million in 2017, his first year of arbitration. He will likely make $7-8 million in 2018, and maybe $10-12 million in 2019 before becoming a free agent. So, the Twins would likely need to pay him $17-20 million over two years.
Chris Archer will make $6.25 million in 2018 and $7.5 million in 2019. There is a club option for 2020 at $9.0 million ($1.75 million buyout) and a second club option for 2021 at $11.0 million ($0.25 million buyout). The Twins would likely end up paying him $33.75 million over four years.
The Twins need pitching and need starting pitching. What direction would you prefer to go, free agency or the trade route? Besides Chris Archer and Gerrit Cole, what other pitchers would you like to see the Twins contemplate acquiring?
- Cory Engelhardt and dbminn like this