Name some SP that you expect to be available at the trade deadline in 2018. Not all trade deadlines are created equal -- remember 2016 when Hector Santiago was one of the leading arms available?
And even in 2017 when there were 4 notable SP available, I think you are dramatically underrating the difficulty of acquiring them. Look where they wound up: Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs, Astros. Doesn't look much different from FA negotiations, does it?
Verlander's no-trade clause played a big role too, limiting his potential landing spots as much as any choosy FA.
I'd say that if I had to put money on it, I'd say to watch a team like San Francisco, they are so old that if they aren't kicking everyone's butt's going into July they might just fall apart, they will have injuries and other things happen to them, I believe they have probably what would be projected as the oldest starting lineup in baseball. Now imagine if they start to slip in June or July, that team will have to close up shop and start the fire sale because they will realize they aren't going to bounce back next year so they will be getting rid of guys like Samardzija, and Cueto along with the geriatric position players they have all over the place. But that is just one team that i forsee might need to get rid of someone. Tampa Bay also, if they are getting pounded in the East they might start to look to get rid of guys like Archer and Odorizzi a little more seriously at that point in time; right now they are in a position where they don't need to move them, so their values are preceivably higher right now, those values might drop a little going into August if they are out of the running. Other teams that have some decent guys that could have to move guys to get younger and more competitive would be Seattle, Toronto, heck Arizona could have a bad year and need to unload some things? If the Mets can't get it put back together they may need to unload some things. Teams like the White Sox, Royals, Oakland, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Miami already seem to be in full rebuild so they won't have much, those teams seem to have gone young already. But now could you imagine if a team like the Red Sox faltered this year?? If for some reason they took a dump, they'd have some nice pieces up for bid???
Those are just some ideas, yeah I think I'd sigh Cobb or Lynn and wait to make that trade when I know if I'm actually in it or not?? Thats just my thoughts. But if the Twins do it that way they will know a little more about their prospects too, and they will know if a guy like Gonsalves will actually make it or not.
Also for giving up a 3rd rounder for Cobb or Lynn, the Twins don't know who they would draft with that pick anyway, they might be able to get the guy they wanted with the 4ty pick?? Also that pick is a complete unknown right now whereas the trade chips they got right now they know who they are and what to expect??
Again just my opinion.