Twins Trade Rumor Recap: Teams Pondering Selling
Fans (and in some cases, ownership) look at standings, not playoff odds reports. For a lot of these teams, the standings suggest their team is still in a race for a couple of Wild Card spots, while the math suggests they're a pretty significant longshot.
On a regular basis, Twins Daily curates MLB's trade deadline rumors to determine what they mean for the Minnesota Twins.
The Texas Rangers are a good example. They weren’t supposed to be competitive this year, but are just five games back of the American League Wild Card. But that also mean they are one of six teams chasing two Wild Card spots, and they’re the second worst one. Plus, while they’re four games above .500, they’ve been outscored on the year. So playoff odds reports have them at a 1-2% chance of making the playoffs.
That’s important to the Twins because the Rangers have one of the few starting pitchers available that could upgrade the Twins rotation, Mike Minor. “Well, publicly, they are telling teams they can’t trade Minor as long as they’re in the race, but privately, they know his trade value will never be higher,” writes Nightengale. He says they’ll strongly consider moving him if they slip further back in the Wild Card race – and they face the Astros this weekend.
If they do start selling, they also have several relievers that would interest the Twins. Chris Martin has been a reliable right-handed setup man who will be a free agent at the end of the year. Shawn Kelley is their closer, but is really more of a setup arm, who has a $2.5M option next year. Jose LeClerc is a young arm who dominated last year, lost the closer job, but is still doing good work and under contract through 2022 with team option years through 2024. That adds a lot of talent to the shopping mart.
Nightengale also mentions Kirby Yates, about whom the Twins have inquired. Nightengale reports that the Padres “certainly are listening.” Yates is one of the few relievers who could be an upgrade on Taylor Rogers, and is under team control next year, too.
But will the Padres want to sell? They’ve also had a surprising year, and are just three games back of the National League Wild Card spot. But just about everyone in the NL is within five games, so the playoff odds reports gives the Padres just a 4-7% chance of making the playoffs. They face the Cubs this weekend, and a slide might be the excuse management needs to set themselves up for a more realistic chance in 2020 or 2021.
The biggest surprise potential seller in Nightengale’s story was the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are just a half game back of the last NL Wild Card spot. Playoff odds reports give them a 20-40% chance of making the playoffs, but Nightengale says “privately, they want to sell.” They have several players that would make sense for the Twins, starting with starting pitchers Zach Greinke (whose salary they would love to shed) and Robbie Ray, who new Twins Daily writer Copper Carlson profiled yesterday. But they also have relievers that make sense, like closer Greg Holland, who will be a free agent at the end of the year.
Finally, Nightengale also reported that the owner of the Cincinnati Reds, who currently have the second worst record in the National League, wants to stay in the race as long as possible. Considering they have several impending free agents and 4-9% chance of making the playoffs, pressure should increase to change that attitude.
The Reds have several names that make sense for the Twins. Carlson’s story also talks about Reds starter Sonny Gray, left-handed reliever Amir Garret will soon return from the IL, and closer Raisel Iglesias is under contract through 2021.
So while the waiting is frustrating, it’s probably working in the Twins favor. A lot of these teams are going to be facing some ugly realities in the next two weeks, and the market for buyers could be considerably better than it is today.