Twins Pitching Trade Targets - All of em
Posted by Hans Birkleberry , 20 January 2020 · 1,911 views
tradetargets jongray charliemorton mikeminor noahsyndergaard
It looks like the pitching market is really shaping up for 2020 in terms of who is going to be available via trade. We have the Red Sox with David Price, Nate Eovaldi and maybe even Chris Sale. The Cubs may dangle Yu Darvish and there has even been some Mike Clevenger talk. Matthew Boyd continues to pop up; Robbie Ray, as well.
Beyond that I haven’t heard much, and that’s a shame because the hot item come July is rarely who we expect going into Spring Training. With the way teams prefer to retool as opposed to rebuild these days, it is, a lot of times the underperforming teams that went into the season as contenders that give away assets at the deadline. Look at the Yankees trading away Chapman in ’16. Or who would have thought Zack Greinke was on the block last year at this time?
It is true that it is generally the teams that are retooling or rebuilding who have players on expiring contracts that are the best bet. But my point is, what about if teams that we expect to contend, don’t? We didn’t expect the Red Sox to fall off so badly last year, the Phillies had all sorts of hopes pinned to them, as did the Mets, the Angels, and to a lesser extent the Padres and Reds. I won’t include the Cubs since they were in it till the end but there are always a couple of teams that either through injury or underperformance, just don’t do it that year. So I’m going to go through an exercise of finding out who might be available if the 2020 just ends up sucking for every team. I will skip the AL Central because 1) We aren't getting Clevinger 2) The Royals and Tigers don't have any assets unless you really love Brad Keller and Matt Boyd (I don't).
My criteria are that the player be at 3 or less years till free agency, and that he be better than Jake Odorizzi, since that's what it really comes down to when we inevitably face Gerrit Cole and the Yankees in October. Grades are for how likely the Twins are to end up dealing with said team. F= less than 0% D=0% C=3% B=6% A=10%
Yankees – Along with the Dodgers I would say the Yankees are the biggest locks to make the playoffs. We saw what happened when their entire team got hurt last year: 103 wins. Even if they struggle, their roster is so potent I can’t imagine they would punt on the season by July 31st. If by some stroke of luck they did, Masahiro Tanaka as a rental would likely be available pretty cheap. James Paxton is signed through 2021 so he could be had, as well, but at a much higher price. Chance of anything happening: F+
Rays – This is possible, as injuries to their bullpen, the aging of Charlie Morton, a sophomore slump for Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell unable to “prove it” would put a lot of pressure on their offense. And Hunter Renfroe may not work out as well as the metrics would predict. Snell is locked up through 2023 and Glasnow has got to be near untouchable, so that leaves Morton as a rental, which I like a lot (Except don’t get fleeced by the Rays like everyone else). Chance of anything happening: C-
Red Sox – Price or Eovaldi as a salary dump could make sense, although both come with huge health and performance related warts. I don’t see a Sale trade happening, and Eduardo Rodriguez has 3 more years. Although if he takes the next step and dominates he could be the best target of them all, though it would cost a fortune. Chance of anything happening: C+
Blue Jays – Chase Anderson has shown flashes, though no one seems to give him any credit for being a borderline ace in 2017 before getting hurt and then not being allowed past the 5th inning under Craig Counsell. I could see him having a bounce back and teams going after him, but it would require him figuring out his gopherball problems in the AL East... so maybe Matt Shoemaker is the play? Chance of anything happening: C
Orioles – John Means is probably dear to them after 2019. If Alex Cobb bounces back he could be in play, but would he be better than Odorizzi? Chance of anything happening: D+
Oakland – This team has talent and depth, so I don’t see them falling more out of contention than they usually do. If the worst happens, I suppose you could ask about Mike Fiers or try and give a king’s ransom for 3 years of Sean Manaea. Chance of anything happening: D
Angels – Suppose there were a situation where the Angels weren’t any good but Dylan Bundy and/or Julio Teheran were pitching well. Wait that actually sounds really likely. I mean not for both to rebound, but one? Sure, it’s a big park out there and the Astros won’t be stealing their signs. Chance of anything happening: C
Rangers – You have Lynn and Minor on expiring contracts in a division they likely won’t win. Absolutely, although it sounds like Minor loves Texas a lot, and Lynn would have to repeat being great for the first time in 5 years. Chance of anything happening: B
Astros – Can you imagine the mighty Astros playing .500 ball through July? It would require Verlander and Greinke to come back to Earth, the bullpen to realize Will Harris was their glue guy, Carlos Correa to keep getting hurt and Yordan Alvarez to just be a young player with power, not a young player with power who knew which pitch was coming. Add in the turmoil and distractions, a new manager and yeah it’s possible. But who do you get? Give them salary relief for either of the aces, or give a huge prospect package for McCullers? I’d probably lean for the former- Chance of anything happening: D-
Mariners – Marco Gonzales could probably be had, but again, is he better than Odorizzi? Not that he isn’t good, and durable, but he strikes me as a clear #3 or 4 and would cost a lot. Chance of anything happening: D+
Braves – They have a hole at 3B but Johan Camargo and Austin Riley aren’t nothing. They are stacked everywhere else so I don’t see them punting in July, but if they did Cole Hamels could be a rental, and Mike Foltynewicz could be available, depending on how he’s pitching. If he struggles then he’s cheap but you don’t want him. If he’s pitching like the #2 he can be, he’s expensive as hell and has a super inconsistent track record, so I’d lean towards Hamels if he’s pitching well and healthy. Chance of anything happening: D
Nats – Anibal might be the guy if the Nat’s offense realizes you can’t have a lineup full of #7 hitters and Juan Soto (You CAN have an offense like that if you add Anthony Rendon, as this is proven science). Anibal might not be better than Odorizzi on paper, but he performs in the post and wouldn’t be expensive as a rental. Chance of anything happening: D+
Mets – You go for Thor here when the Mets inevitably implode. Regression for McNeil and Alonso means your offense will likely struggle and although the top of the rotation is great, the bullpen and outfield defense is not even close. You know they wanted Buxton for 2.5 years of Thor, so 1.5 years would require what, Brent Rooker? I’d make that trade. Stroman just ain’t good enough for me, dawg. Chance of anything happening: C+
Phillies – I hate the way the Phillies build teams lately. You throw money at adding on to a contender, you don’t throw money at creating a foundation. Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Nola are your foundation pieces- that wasn’t enough then and it’s not enough now even after the additions they’ve made. Their lineup runs 7 deep and their rotation has 1 sure thing in it. Maybe 1.5 if you like Zach Eflin (Which I actually do). No depth, no NL East, no options for the Twins to trade for unless Arrieta has a big bounce back. Which he won’t- he hasn’t been good in years. Chance of anything happening: F+
Marlins – I don’t think Sandy Alcantara is that great. Do you? Maybe Caleb Smith if he backs it up. Chance of anything happening: D+
Cardinals – I could see them falling hard out of contention, but a part of me knows that won’t happen. Some scrappy guy will come up from triple A and spark their offense while their pitching remains solid as hell and they either win the division or the wild card. Probably the division. But if disaster strikes I don’t know who you target, Miles Mikolas? He’s nice, but I’m not sure about him being better than Odorizzi (He’s been good in the playoffs though). Chance of anything happening: D
Brewers – I don’t understand how a team has 1.5 starting pitchers and I still have to acknowledge that they will likely be in contention come July. If their pitching falls apart like I know it should but feel it won’t, they really have no one available unless Brett Anderson is pitching out of his mind. But then you’re targeting Brett Anderson to make a playoff start for you? I wouldn’t make that trade. Chance of anything happening: F+
Cubs – Yu Darvish is considered the guy, but I have never trusted his style of pitching. I saw it when he had a no hitter going against the Twins a few years ago and gave up a home run to Chris Hermann in the 7th. The following hitter was a broken down Justin Morneau, who also homered. The way Darvish looked so affected by the Hermann home run stuck out to me, and I feel like Morneau smelled blood, which Hermann noted in the link above. Darvish is (in my opinion) too cerebral, like a CJ Wilson or a Kevin Slowey. - Those guys can have good years but they won’t be the dumb hero you need to beat the Yankees.
Now Jose Quintana on the other hand, might be a good move as a rental. Chance of anything happening: B
Reds – You could see this season turning in a hurry. How often do the teams that “win” the offseason have good years? Never. Speaking of cerebral pitchers, Trevor Bauer is playing out the last year of his contract and has shut down the Yankees in the playoffs before. Chance of anything happening: C+
Pirates – Cerebral Chris Archer could bounce back, or perhaps cerebral Trevor Williams could be pried away (What is with the NL Central and nerd pitchers?) Chance of anything happening: C+
Dodgers – I doubt it, but the Dodgers pitching ain’t great and if say, Cody Bellinger gets hurt for an extended period this team could get into desperation mode. But Kershaw and Buehler aren’t going anywhere, Julio Urias would have to be pitching great, and if he was it would take Royce Lewis and Alex Kiriloff to even tempt the Dodgers. I don’t want Kenta Maeda, thank you. Chance of anything happening: F+
D-Backs – I don’t think they would trade Mad Bum in his first year, and the rest of their staff is very young and controllable. Is Robbie Ray good enough to start in the playoffs? I’m gonna say no- the Yankees don’t chase in the playoffs and strikeout guys with so-so control don’t tend to do well in that situation. Chance of anything happening: C-
Giants – Cueto and Samardzija could be available and the team isn’t going anywhere. I guess you have the whole first half to evaluate whether they have enough left, but Samardzija is unproven in the playoffs while Cueto was very spotty with the Royals and rattled by Pirates fans in the 2013 WC game.
A Frankensteined Kevin Gausman could be a better play, but he’s never pitched well for more than half a season. Chance of anything happening: B+
Rockies – Kyle Freeland and German Marquez are both big talents. Again, if they are pitching well they would cost a fortune, particularly Marquez since hasn’t ever been bad at the big league level. And if they aren’t pitching well then keep them away from ALDS game 2 against Luis Severino. Jon Gray was a 4.5 win player last year and might be a good change of scenery guy, but he’d be expensive for 2.5 years of control. Chance of anything happening: C+
Padres – The Padres need to add pitching- if they’re winning they need more to augment, and if they’re losing its because they don’t have enough. If Garrett Richards is pitching well I suppose you could ask about him, but the Padres really are a unique case. Chance of anything happening: F
After all that, my top 5 targets would be, factoring in the likelihood that the player's team is a seller as well as prospect cost:
1. Jon Gray
2. Charlie Morton
3. Mike Minor
4. Noah Syndergaard
t5. Lance Lynn
t5. Jose Quintana
Morton would be my #1 but I think it is less likely that the Rays punt than any other team on this list.
- howieramone2 and Doctor Gast like this