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Spend Or Flip: Twins Path To Pitching

Posted by Ted Schwerzler , 12 July 2017 · 1,446 views

As the second half of the Major League Baseball season gets underway, the Minnesota Twins find themselves in an interesting position. Despite being in contention and owners of a winning record, they sport a -60 run differential and are void of pitching options. A crossroads is appearing, and Minnesota will need to decide how they are going to acquire some arms.

With the trade deadline quickly approaching, it's pretty easy to note that this club should not be in win now mode. That's to say, no acquisitions for rentals should be made, and the goal shouldn't be to contend in 2017. If transactions are coming, they should all be forward thinking and have future value.

So, if that's the plan of action, there's a handful of exciting names that could be on the table. Recently, Ken Rosenthal tweeted the Twins are checking in on controllable starters. This is absolutely the right avenue to pursue. Those names would include the likes of Jose Quintana, Sonny Gray, Chris Archer, Marcus Stroman, Dan Straily, Julio Teheran or even Gerrit Cole. Now, that group (and there's more possibilities that fall under the umbrella) are going to have varying degrees of asking prices. Regardless of what the Athletics try to argue, the likes of Archer or Stroman represents a superior option to Sonny Gray. Cole and Stroman are near the top end of the spectrum, while Quintana and Teheran hover around the middle. Given the differing acquisition cost of each, the Twins will need to tread lightly.

In flipping players, Minnesota will likely be asked for top prospects such as Nick Gordon, Stephen Gonsalves, and Fernando Romero. They could be pushed on Max Kepler, and while there's other names that could draw interest, that foursome probably commands the most attention. Given that level of talent, it will be on the front office of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine to decide if surrendering those players are worthy of making a swap. It's a scenario that will weigh heavily, especially in baseball with another option looming so easily.

It's just money right? Well, that's true to a certain extent, and in an uncapped sport, Minnesota has plenty of it. While you may have disparaged the club previously for being cheap, spending whil the bulk of your roster is subpar doesn't make sense. Given where the organization is right now however, supplementing the roster with a big contract or two could be enough to put you over the top. Sure, the Twins don't have the TV revenue of other markets (meaning the dollars are stretched just a bit further), but they have the means to command the attention of any free agent they covet.

Aside from making a deal with another club, the organization could go with a cost that only requires dollars and cents. Someone like Yu Darvish, with whom Thad Levine is intimately familiar, is a pretty obvious option this offseason. Yes, he'll cost you significantly in terms of cash flow, but he represents the clear upgrade with all of the reasons the Twins as a landing spot just may work.

Given the current landscape of the organization, the window to win has begun to open. Inserting at least one top tier rotation arm will go a long ways to kick it to a gaping degree. If Minnesota can have prospects like Romero and Gonsalves to turn to, as well as a Darvish type, the dollar cost may end up seeming like a moot point as the dust settles.

Should the organization go the trade route, the hope would be that they aim high. Whatever Sonny Gray commands, an Archer, Stroman, or Cole should be more intriguing. If you're giving up prospects, don't stop short of getting the near-guaranteed boost. To deal from youth with a potential to end up looking at another middle of the rotation starter isn't a practice you want to follow.

In the coming weeks, we will soon have a more clear picture as to how the Twins will choose to navigate these waters. There's no denying they need pitching, and they're more than one arm away. The hope would be that they choose to acquire help in a way that not only sets them up to take a step forward, but also doesn't sacrifice any presumed longevity of their winning ways.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

It's going to be a telling week coming uo. That should set the pace for the remainder of the season.


The Twins have so many names on their 40-man that they need to jettison. And that means just flat out get rid of. They have to look closely at who, within the organization, COULD be on the roster come 2018 and 2019 and go from there. 


Look at the holes. The guys on the cusp. Ones that may be promising but could be moved and their positions held by placesetters while talent further down the run develop.


Do you get rid of Gordon? Depends on what you do with Dozier. If you keep Dozier longterm, maybe...because Escobar and Polanco could fill the shortstop role until the names beyond Gordon come up.


Do you trade for a top flight starter? Please, do. But Ervin is tradable by your own team and the chances of him being the same if not better next year COULD be slim or none. Beyond him you have Berrios and Mejia. You have to make hard decisions about Gibson, Hughes...and quit draging out AAAA guys to start (thank heaven they didn't call up Pino).


Who is going to play first...someday. We all like Mauer, but he is a man who is not doing what first basemen should do, still has a year on contract, and the Twins will likely have to continue with him past that time. I'm sorry, I can stomach his numbers if was still behind-the-plate, but we need more at 1B and DH than we are getting now. Or soemthing more consistent with league average.


What to do with the outfield. Do we have a bunch of good fielders who all contribute outfield average play? Do we go after a power bat or be content wit Rosario and maybe Kepler? Can Buxton grow? Will Granite put pressure on all of them by showing speed and on-base skills (shades of Ben Revere).


One starting pitcher is not necessarily going to get us to the playoffs. There are still problems with the bullpen (possibly more so with expensive vets that should be jettisoned, but the replacements may not be any better today...but should be tomorrow).


The line-up is inconsistent, if Molitor can ever figure out who to bat when and where. 


If Cleveland grabs a ring and makes themselves better, if Kansas City sees the light and does the same...no number of games started and won by Bartolo Colon will help the Twins out of the middle of the division.


The Twins do have tradable prospects and putting together the 40-man roster in the off-season is going to be a challenge and many names may be ripe for the pickings San Diego-style.


Those names are ones that should be dangled in trades, as well as hard decisions on your top prospects Romero, Gonsalves and Gordon at the moment. Will they crack the Twins and be building blocks, or do you see them being by-passed...sooner rather than later...and can they bring back top-dollar in a controlled asset to the team?