Twins Trade Rumor Roundup: Could Trevor Bauer Be Traded?
Image courtesy of © Ken Blaze-USA TODAY SportsThis offseason the Indians cut substantial payroll and discussed trading Bauer or fellow ace Cory Kluber to bolster their club in other areas. When the GM talks about “future sustainability” and a “continuation of the offseason plan” it suggests he is trying to walk a tightrope.
We still haven’t heard of any ace pitchers (short of Madison Bumgarner, if you still consider him one) definitively being available, so it’s possible trading Bauer could net the Indians a little help this year and some prospects for future years. It’s also possible that the Cleveland could backfill his spot with a capable, if inferior, arm for a lot less and count on Kluber coming back to lead the rotation.
Bauer (3.65 ERA, 160K in 138 IP) is probably one of the top five pitchers in the American League, and he’s under team control for 2020, though arbitration will probably cost that team around $20M. The Twins would certainly be interested in those numbers, but an interdivisional trade like that is exceedingly rare because the high-level prospect can hurt his former team (and management team) so much. It’s one thing to trade Alex Kirilloff to the Dodgers. It’s another to face him 19 times per year for the next seven years.
But he could go to another competing team, which might eliminate them from chasing Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard or Zach Greinke. It would be a fine line to walk. Depending on which playoff odds report you look at, even after closing the gap on the Twins, the Indians only have a 10-20% chance of winning the division. But they have about a 50% chance of making the playoffs, which jibes with what the MLB Standings say: that there are four teams chasing two Wild Card spots. It's more likely Meisel will play it safe, add a little help, and explore trading Bauer in the offseason.
Left-handed Relief Rumors
Two left-handed relievers showed up in the rumor mill over the last 24 hours, and both look like they’re increasingly available. The Dodgers are reportedly interested in Jake Diekman, the 32-year-old Royals reliever, per Jerry Flanagan of MLB.com. The Royals have already started dumping players and Diekman has a $5.75M team option for 2020 that they’re not going to pay.
Of course, they’re not going to pay it because he hasn’t been particularly effective: he has a 4.97 ERA and a 1.368 WHIP. Also, the Twins have been particularly unkind to him, tagging him for seven runs in 4.2 IP. But it’s nice that other teams can snap him up and leave alone some of the other candidates the Twins might be targeting. Flanagan says the Nationals have also had interest in Diekman.
A clear level above Diekman is Roenis Elias, the southpaw Mariners closer. His stuff is not elite (4.07 ERA, 43K in 42 IP) but he’s an above average left-handed reliever with some upside and is under team control for two years after this one. That might make him less likely to be traded, but his GM is Dealin’ Jerry Dipoto, and with as many teams interested in some left-handed relief, it’s hard to envision him passing up a competitive deal.
Two Buyers Talk Trade Deadline
It should not be a surprise that the Cubs and Brewers are both planning on being buyers at the deadline. The Cubs have about a 70-80% chance of making the playoffs and the Brewers have about a 30% chance, per various odds reports. Both seem to have a measured approach to the deadline, but it’s worth noting that the Brewers have been linked to some of the top starting pitching names in the rumor mill like Bumgarner. Meanwhile, the Cubs are another team that has been linked to left-handed relievers.
That makes three teams just today besides the Twins chasing left-handed relievers: the Dodgers, Nationals and Cubs. The list of quality left-handed relievers who are likely to be available isn’t that deep. Here's the start of a list for us to track as the deadline goes on:
- Will Smith (SFG)
- Tony Watson (SFG)
- Roenis Elias (SEA)
- Jake Diekman (KC)
- Greg Holland (ARI)
- Zach Duke (CIN)