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When Twins become sellers, Escobar likely first to be traded

Posted by GoGonzoJournal , 21 June 2017 · 4,089 views

eduardo escobar trade deadline nick gordon robbie grossman chicago cubs
When Twins become sellers, Escobar likely first to be traded Fans will get to see if the Minnesota Twins truly can hang over their next nine games. Starting Thursday, the Twins will see starting pitchers Jose Quintana (8.7 K/9, 2.47 K/B), Trevor Bauer (7 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K in last start against Twins), Corey Kluber (11 K/9, 4.71 K/BB), Josh Tomlin (9.33 K/BB), Chris Sale (12.2 K/9), Drew Pomeranz (10.4 K/9), Rick Porcello (4.72 K/BB), David Price (BOS 3-1 in his four June starts) and Jason Vargas (200 ERA+). All those games are on the road.

This was originally published at FoulPlaybyPlay.com, a community of foul-mouthed, sports broadcasters providing commercial-free, uncensored play-by-play during select games.

The premiere games will be when Jose Berrios takes on Chris Sale in Boston on Monday, and when veterans Ervin Santana and Jason Vargas do battle in Kansas City next Friday. The Twins have to be underdogs in just about all nine of those games, though.

The Twins better hope they get some pitching reinforcements. Right now the Twins are running Nik Turley out there, but they just signed Dillon Gee, so expect him to get a start over that nine-game stretch.

Hector Santiago is getting a rehab start on Wednesday for the Rochester Red Wings, and if all goes well, he could pitch as early as Tuesday against Pomeranz. That could end up being a big game for the Twins and Santiago, who has fallen and can’t get up.

The bullpen could also use reinforcements, and Alan Busenitz doesn’t seem to be the answer. Phil Hughes could also pitch out of the bullpen for Rochester on Wednesday. Expect Hughes to take longer to get back to MLB ready, but he’d be a welcomed addition to the worst bullpen in baseball. If Hughes can even get through a lineup once, he would leave fewer innings for guys like Matt Belisle (5.1 BB/9) and Craig Breslow (5 SO/9). Hughes will likely be forced back up during that brutal nine-game stretch for the Twins whether he’s pitching well at AAA or not.

This is the stretch of games that will turn contenders into sellers. Consider if the Twins go 2-7 over that nine-game stretch. They’d be two games under .500 at best, and with Cleveland’s offense finally taking off (and three more games coming against them) the Twins could be looking up from farther down in the AL Central than the 1.5 games they are entering Wednesday.

The Twins will have 10 more games after the nine-game stretch against playoff-caliber starting pitching to avoid becoming sellers at the deadline. Regardless, you can bet new chief of baseball operations Derek Falvey will be active over his first Trade Deadline. It won’t take much for him to be as active as Terry Ryan ever was.

So who do the Twins move? Santana’s value has plummeted lately, and given the Twins don’t have enough MLB-caliber pitchers to start every fifth day, it’s a safe bet anyone capable of eating innings will be sticking around.

Brian Dozier’s value has dried up a bit, too, which isn’t all bad. He’s still signed through 2018, and at a very reasonable rate next season ($6 million). This offseason or the deadline next season would be a good time to shop him, depending how Nick Gordon performs if he gets a cup of coffee when rosters expand this season. Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press said it’s a possibility. Gordon would likely push Jorge Polanco to second base.
The most valuable players on the team aren’t going anywhere. Zach Granite can bang on the door all he wants, but Byron Buxton is going nowhere. Neither is Max Kepler, and I doubt Eddie Rosario would be moved given he’s not even arbitration eligible until 2019.

Robbie Grossman is one of the most valuable trade chips the Twins have, and I expect him to be shopped. He’s not an everyday outfielder, but man, can he hit. I think Falvey really likes Grossman. But what’s not to like? His OPS+ is 112, and he’s absolutely wrecking right-handed pitching (6 HR, .435 SLG, .801 OPS). He’s not bad against lefties either (.441 OBP, .741 OPS). He still has the highest on-base percentage amongst designated hitters at .389 and should be an All-star. He has a higher OPS than Hanley Ramirez, Victor Martinez, Mark Trumbo, Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltran. Grossman will be arbitration eligible next year and would be a fantastic addition as a designated hitter for a playoff team, but I can’t expect any of the teams of the players mentioned to make a move for the position.

That leaves Eduardo Escobar, who is on fire to say the least. He has hits in seven straight games and is 22-for-45 in June. His .838 OPS is fourth amongst shortstops, and his OPS+ is a team- and career-high 121. While he’s a below-average defensive shortstop, there are plenty of playoff-bound teams who would love to have a utility bat with a 1.066 OPS against lefties. And the Twins don’t need to be “out of it” in the Central to move Escobar. He’s arbitration eligible for the final time next year and will make considerably more than the $2.6 million he’s being paid this season. He’ll also be a free agent after next season.

Escobar can play just about everywhere, which makes me think the Chicago Cubs would be a perfect fit. Escobar could give Addison Russell a breather against lefties (Russell is hitting .219/.349/.346 against them this season), and play the outfield for Kyle Schwarber against lefties (Schwarber has a .567 OPS against lefties this year).

What should the Twins ask in return? Well, lefty starter Jen-Ho Tseng with the Tennessee Smokies (AA) is intriguing. He’s just 22, and his K:BB ratio is 3.1 and he’s striking out 7.7 per nine innings. Future relievers could include righty Pedro Araujo, 23, who has a K:BB ratio of 7.0 through 31.2 innings with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans of Advanced-A ball. His teammate and fellow righty Craig Brooks, 24, is actually striking out more batters than Araujo (13.3 K/9 over 20.1 IP).

If Falvey and the Twins want to take advantage of Escobar’s hot bat, now’s the time, especially with Gordon knocking on the door in AA. While Jorge Polanco has struggled in June, he is in the Twins' long-term plans. Nick Gordon is also in the Twins' long-term plans, and Escobar is not. That's why it won't matter where the Twins are in the standings come the Trade Deadline. Players will be shed to give playing time to youngsters. Escobar is the most obvious trade chip.

  • hybridbear likes this



They could trade Polanco and keep Dozier or move Dozier to first. Also Dozier gets 6 million this season and 9 million in 2018. I doubt they trade Escobar. Though he is a tradeable piece. Unless the Twins fall to 7 or more games back I doubt they become sellers.

Man, I'd hate to see Escobar go. I know that "good clubhouse guy" isn't backed up with any stats, but Edwardo is the poster boy for guys you'd want on your squad. 

    • Oldgoat_MN, jun, woolywoolhouse and 5 others like this

Escobar and Dozier are two of my favorite current Twins, but it makes sense to shop both, along with Grossman. There are replacements ready (or nearly so) in the minors in Engelb Vielma, Nick Gordon and Zach Granite respectively. All three of those guys might be in the Twins' long-term plans, where it's highly unlikely any of the three current Twins (Esco, Dozier & Grossman) will be.

    • Oldgoat_MN and GoGonzoJournal like this

Oh, and I'd shop Belisle & Breslow too. Not that there'd be too many takers.

    • GoGonzoJournal likes this

Escobar is NOT below average defensive shortstop, he is rather good defensively at this position. If Polanco cannot hit, Escobar would be an excellent candidate to replace Dozier if he's traded. I would like to see Escobar play everyday for the Twins.

Escobar could also be in Twins long term plans, why not? He is also a team player and well-liked in the club house. He could provide leadership like Dozier.

    • Oldgoat_MN likes this

I like shopping both those guys.

    • GoGonzoJournal likes this

Grossman is an on-base machine, I would like to see him and Mauer hit in front of Sano & Vargas especially if Dozier is traded.

    • GoGonzoJournal likes this
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OldFartAtPlay
Jun 22 2017 01:08 PM

I can see shopping Dozier and Grossman. I don't see Rosario being moved yet even with Mr. Granite doing so well in Triple A. I love Escobar and feel he brings alot to the team with both his glove and his bat. But if the FO can get some very good pitching (doesn't need to be an "Ace") for him I will smile through my tears.

    • Dman and GoGonzoJournal like this

I also think Escobar might be the most likely to be traded. Right now it is tough to find a trade match for Dozier since he is only a 2B. Polanco might possibly interest a team but he is struggling and I think the Twins don't want to sell low on him. And he is probably penciled into the IF somewhere if Escobar and Dozier aren't extended/resigned in 1.5 years.

Can't trade Ervin unless they are REALLY blown away (and there have been way too many threads about that).

Grossman is an intriguing piece to trade but the Twins could quickly find themselves without a 1B (mauer's contract is almost up) or DH if Vargas doesn't hit better.

    • GoGonzoJournal likes this
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GoGonzoJournal
Jun 23 2017 11:29 AM

Check the defensive analytics. He's below average at every position he plays in range factor and defensive runs saved. He's best in left field actually. And if he was in the Twins long-term plans, they probably wouldn't have drafted Nick Gordon or been so quick to bring up Polanco. Dozier is more valuable as a Twin given his contract status and the fact he could be traded at this deadline, in the offseason, or the next deadline. I don't think the Twins are ready to move Polanco to second base, and I'm sure they don't want him playing everyday given his bat falling off as of late, which is why I see Escobar moving so Polanco can split time with Gordon.

Escobar is NOT below average defensive shortstop, he is rather good defensively at this position. If Polanco cannot hit, Escobar would be an excellent candidate to replace Dozier if he's traded. I would like to see Escobar play everyday for the Twins.

Escobar could also be in Twins long term plans, why not? He is also a team player and well-liked in the club house. He could provide leadership like Dozier.

 

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GoGonzoJournal
Jun 23 2017 11:30 AM

 

Grossman is an on-base machine, I would like to see him and Mauer hit in front of Sano & Vargas especially if Dozier is traded.

I'd love to see Grossman bat leadoff more often and move Dozier to the three-hole behind Mauer.

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GoGonzoJournal
Jun 23 2017 11:31 AM

 

They could trade Polanco and keep Dozier or move Dozier to first. Also Dozier gets 6 million this season and 9 million in 2018. I doubt they trade Escobar. Though he is a tradeable piece. Unless the Twins fall to 7 or more games back I doubt they become sellers.

I don't think they need to be sellers to shop Escobar. His value's never been higher and they have Adrianza, Polanco, and potentially Gordon to give infield innings. 

    • hybridbear likes this

Escobar seems like a really nice person and a positive influence on the clubhouse. Hearing about the work he does in the community makes me like him even more. I understand the valid reasons to try to trade him now, though. I hope that he has success in his career, with the Twins or elsewhere.