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Article: GM For A Deadline, Part One

trade deadline brian dozier eduardo escobar
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#1 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 06:01 PM

The All-Star break has been filled with Manny Machado rumors and an eventual deal that is the first domino in what will hopefully be a busy trade season. On Thursday, division leader Cleveland made a move to shore up their bullpen.

As Twins fans, we’ve seen the hometown team win nine of their last 11, letting that six game skid that preceded the winning streak fade into distant memories. And that’s a problem. The Twins are 7.5 games behind the Indians… and the likelihood of them catching the Indians is extremely low.The idea of supplementing last year’s playoff roster with new additions to the rotation (Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn), adding three proven players to the back of the bullpen (Fernando Rodney, Addison Reed and Zach Duke) and plugging the potential of 30+ home runs (Logan Morrison) to an already potent offense raised expectations through the roof.

But instead - with the last eleven games being an exception - it has been a disaster. Even with the great end to the first half, the Twins are still on pace to lose the division by 13 games. Though the front office will have two more weeks to make their final decision, they should have the answer already. You can’t give a superior team a head start over a half season and then expect to catch them over the second half.

All of that is long for simply saying: LET’S MAKE SOME TRADES!

The two big names to move, Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar, are going to get the ink in this part of of the rundown. We’ll look at the rest of the players soon thereafter.

First, let’s look at Brian Dozier. Dozier ended the first half with a walk-off grand slam and gives hope that maybe he’s warming up for one of his (mostly) annual second-half power runs. He will be owed just shy of $3 million for August and September. There are a handful of teams competing for playoff spots that have big needs at second base: Milwaukee, Boston and Washington come at the top of the list.

Washington might have to wait until closer to the deadline before determining if they are buyers or sellers. That leaves the Brewers and Red Sox, in my opinion, as the two teams with the biggest need at second base.

The Brewers are unique. They have a big hole at shortstop and have Jonathan Villar, a serviceable player, at second base. But Villar has had a rough year and is now on the disabled list with a thumb injury that will sideline him until the end of the month.

I’ve liked what the Brewers have done in terms of adding to their farm system via the draft and trades and I also like their move for Christian Yelich, which took some of those players I liked out of their system.

But potentially dealing Dozier to the Brewers starts with prized pitching prospect Corbin Burnes. Burnes is a 23 year old right-handed pitcher who is a Top 100 prospect in baseball and projects as a mid-rotation starter. He’s only in his second full season and projects to help the Brewers in the bullpen during the stretch run. I’d expect the Brewers to balk at that asking price. Beyond him, the Brewers lack the high-end pitcher I’d be targeting.

Brewers fans would suggest Luis Ortiz, but he has always struggled to stay healthy, missing time this season with a hamstring strain and failing to ever eclipse the 100 inning mark in a season. When you take that next step down in the prospect category, you’re looking at a number of outfielders, which is a position I’d try to avoid. (While it’s true you can never have too much depth at any position, I’m more than comfortable with the depth the Twins have in the outfield and would prefer to look elsewhere.)

In addition to focusing on pitching, I’m also looking for middle infielders and Mauricio Dubon is a good one… who is missing the rest of the year with a torn ACL. It would take more than an injured infielder to give up Dozier.

I also know the Twins liked burly RHP Cody Ponce coming out of college. Currently pitching at AA, Ponce projects as a back-end starter. Taking either of them plus a lower level prospect isn’t exciting as Burnes, but it’s possible that it could be enough.

The preferred destination for me - and it’s a perfect fit with Dustin Pedroia likely missing the rest of the season - is Boston. The Red Sox always have ammo. Some of it is very appealing.

I don’t see the Red Sox shopping Michael Chavis or Jay Groome for a rental. Bryan Mata, though, might be a fair ask. Mata played in the Futures Game, but has struggled with his command, walking 57 in 71 innings. The tall righty has a high-ceiling though, playing high A ball at only 19. A step below Mata is big lefty Darwinzon Hernandez, a 21 a year old who is still pretty raw but also is a high-ceiling prospect.

In addition to one of those pitchers, I’d also ask about MLBer Blake Swihart. A former top catching prospect, Swihart would benefit from a change of scenery and the switch-hitter does better from the left-side of the plate, which would pair well with Mitch Garver. Despite his lack on innings behind the plate this season, a catching-starved organization (seriously, who’s the next catcher that gets the call if Wilson or Garver get hurt?) could do worse than to see if he can help fill a hole moving forward. Plus, he offers position flexibility and I’m a sucker for that.

If the Red Sox were willing to part with multiple pieces, I’d be willing to move Dozier as well as Zach Duke if that’s what it takes to get it done.

Do any of these potential trades appeal to you?

Dozier to the Brewers for Ortiz or Dubon or Ponce plus?

Dozier and Duke to the Red Sox for Mata and a lottery ticket or Hernandez and possibly Swihart?

Eduardo Escobar is another appealing trade piece/pending free agent that the Twins should look to move. Owed $1.6 million in July and August, Escobar has played primarily third base on the season, but can move over to shortstop and second base as needed. In fact, with Machado off the board, Escobar might be the best option for teams looking for a shortstop.

Philadelphia was in the Machado sweepstakes until the end, losing out when the Dodgers were willing to part with five prospects in a combination of quality and quantity.

The Phillies remain in the infield market. By position and bWAR, the Phillies rank 28th at third base and 27th at shortstop. Though Maikel Franco has improved as of late, Escobar would be an upgrade for a team desperate to battle with the Braves and hold off the Nationals.

My ask would be for short-season pitcher Francisco Morales. A tall, hard-throwing, high-ceiling 18-year-old righty who is having a good (albeit very early) season. There are other intriguing prospects in the Philadelphia system as well. Cole Irvin, a big lefty, is 24 and having a very good season in AAA. He projects as a back-half starter, without huge stuff, but throws a variety of pitches and has good control, striking out 93 while only walking 20 in 112 innings so far this season. Franklyn Kilome is another high-ceiling prospect, but his stuff has backed up a little as a 23-year-old in AA, walking over 4.5 batter per nine innings.

How would you feel about dealing Escobar to Philadelphia?

Escobar to the Phillies for Morales or Irvin or Kilome plus?

The difference between Dozier and Escobar and the rest of the Twins potential trade chips is that there is a very good chance that if they don’t find a deal to their liking, they can make the qualifying offer to either or both and get draft pick compensation. Dishing out potentially $19 million to either player seems excessive and is, but one-year deals rarely hamstring a team because of the immediate cost certainty. And in the Twins case, who have very little committed to next year and many players still pre-arbitration, there will be plenty of money to spend, especially on productive offensive bats.

There are many other players who fall into a different category - whether that’s impending free agency with no chance to get the qualifying offer or guys who will still spend a year or two or more under team control. We’ll take a look at some of those guys soon.

Weigh in below. If you were GM, what would you do with Dozier and Escobar?

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#2 Dman

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 06:55 PM

I don't completely understand trade value especially for rentals but for Dozier to Milwaukee I would try and ask for Caden Lemons and Zach Brown.Lemons could end up a reliever as he currently only has two plus pitches but he is young and I like his upside.He could grow with the wave of young pitchers we currently have in the system.I really like Browns WHIP in AA and his K 9 looks fine as well.Might be risky again as a starter but solid bullpen arm would be his floor.If you don't like either of those maybe swap one of them for Carlos Herrera.He is 20 years old with three good pitches but the fastball could use a bump.Not sure if the Twins could get that for a rental or not.

 

I really like the Phillies system and I think Escobar is a pretty good piece for them.Not sure if they could get this but I would see if they could get Ranger Suarez.He has four solid pitches and again a nice WHIP.He is their number 9 prospect.If they felt that was too high then Francisco Morales and another piece would do it for me.Morales is 18 and he could join the young hurlers we have coming up in the next wave.Those are my ideas pick them a part as you like.

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#3 jtkoupal

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 06:56 PM

The pessimist in me says deal them all ASAP and get the kids up to prepare for next year. The optimist says to play on and hopefully ride this hot streak into August, when we play the Indians... A LOT!!

 

If you get in a situation where you are 5 games back and play the 1st place team 8-10 more times, you have to give yourself a chance. Otherwise, bite the bullet. The Twins need to pick up at least a game, maybe even more, on the next road trip in order to stop the sale or postpone it to August.

 

Escobar is the guy to try to keep, if possible. We need a third baseman for next year and the free agent market is grim. In-house options are limited, also. (Assuming Miguel Sanó is destined for 1B/DH)

 

Dozier is gone. It doesn't make much sense to bring him back given the depth in the middle infield. 


#4 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:13 PM

I think if I'm the Twins, I want an MLB ready 3B/1B type as Sano insurance and a C in AA/AAA. I won't argue with SP either, as you can never have enough (as long as it's upside, and not back of rotation type). I'm not against acquiring middle infielders, but we have plenty of them and have needs in other places. Both the Phillies and Brewers seem to have some decent pitching prospects, but not much in the way of guys that could potentially help in 2019/2020.

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#5 ChrisKnutson

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:23 PM

While trading Dozier and Escobar is obvious, maybe the FO should consider moving Sano in the offseason, because I’m sure he’d net a large return if healthy.

#6 nater79a

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:26 PM

Cole Irvin sounds like a left-handed Zach Littell, albeit a couple years older.

 

As far as Dozier to Boston proposal - I'd probably go with Hernandez + another body.

Mata scares me with the walk totals,

 


#7 mngopherguy

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:41 PM

 

While trading Dozier and Escobar is obvious, maybe the FO should consider moving Sano in the offseason, because I’m sure he’d net a large return if healthy.

 

No way do you sell low on Sano or Buxton.  

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#8 Thrylos

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:46 PM

Knowing the Phillies top 3 levels pretty well, I think that if the Twins get Franklyn Kilome and lefty Tyler Gilbert for Escobar, they will be set in the pen for a while. Kilome is miscast as a starter.Put him in the pen and you will get a dominant closer with consistent triple digit velocity.He threw 102 as a starter at Reading last month.Mark my words:the next best closer out there ;)

 

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#9 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:52 PM

 

I don't completely understand trade value especially for rentals but for Dozier to Milwaukee I would try and ask for Caden Lemons and Zach Brown.Lemons could end up a reliever as he currently only has two plus pitches but he is young and I like his upside.He could grow with the wave of young pitchers we currently have in the system.I really like Browns WHIP in AA and his K 9 looks fine as well.Might be risky again as a starter but solid bullpen arm would be his floor.If you don't like either of those maybe swap one of them for Carlos Herrera.He is 20 years old with three good pitches but the fastball could use a bump.Not sure if the Twins could get that for a rental or not.

 

I really like the Phillies system and I think Escobar is a pretty good piece for them.Not sure if they could get this but I would see if they could get Ranger Suarez.He has four solid pitches and again a nice WHIP.He is their number 9 prospect.If they felt that was too high then Francisco Morales and another piece would do it for me.Morales is 18 and he could join the young hurlers we have coming up in the next wave.Those are my ideas pick them a part as you like.

 

 

Both of those Brewers name could work. I'd be a little surprised to see them move Lemons. He's thrown all of less than five innings in the year since being drafted. You don't know what you're buying; they don't know what they're selling. 

 

I think when MLB.com updates their rankings, you'll see Morales and Suarez in a very similar range. Suarez is left-handed and closer and if the Phillies think he can start - and they can contend for the next few year - it might be harder to pry him away.

 

All good names to watch though. 

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#10 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:52 PM

 

The pessimist in me says deal them all ASAP and get the kids up to prepare for next year. The optimist says to play on and hopefully ride this hot streak into August, when we play the Indians... A LOT!!

 

If you get in a situation where you are 5 games back and play the 1st place team 8-10 more times, you have to give yourself a chance. Otherwise, bite the bullet. The Twins need to pick up at least a game, maybe even more, on the next road trip in order to stop the sale or postpone it to August.

 

Escobar is the guy to try to keep, if possible. We need a third baseman for next year and the free agent market is grim. In-house options are limited, also. (Assuming Miguel Sanó is destined for 1B/DH)

 

Dozier is gone. It doesn't make much sense to bring him back given the depth in the middle infield. 

 

If you want to give it a shot, you have to add. Who are you going to trade for?


#11 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:53 PM

 

While trading Dozier and Escobar is obvious, maybe the FO should consider moving Sano in the offseason, because I’m sure he’d net a large return if healthy.

 

It would be selling Sano at his lowest. Not something I'd advise.


#12 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:54 PM

 

Cole Irvin sounds like a left-handed Zach Littell, albeit a couple years older.

 

As far as Dozier to Boston proposal - I'd probably go with Hernandez + another body.

Mata scares me with the walk totals,

 

I prefer Hernandez as well.


#13 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:56 PM

 

Knowing the Phillies top 3 levels pretty well, I think that if the Twins get Franklyn Kilome and lefty Tyler Gilbert for Escobar, they will be set in the pen for a while. Kilome is miscast as a starter.Put him in the pen and you will get a dominant closer with consistent triple digit velocity.He threw 102 as a starter at Reading last month.Mark my words:the next best closer out there ;)

 

Trade for guys who have started. If they don't work, they can relieve. Kilome would be fine in that role. Less convinced you want to trade for a minor league reliever, especially one that just adds to the AAA logjam.


#14 Fmtwinkies

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:57 PM

Honestly the qualifying offer on both players would be a bargain for both players in my opinion. Unless the twins go full into sell mode I think they need to hang on to both players and maybe try trading Morrison or Lynn for anything now. then try to compete for the next 2 months. If they are successful, awesome we have a playoff hopeful team. If not then we can recoup the draft picks from 2 likely high demand players.

#15 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 07:58 PM

Let's look to the future and try to trade for our weakest position...catcher.

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#16 Thrylos

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 08:01 PM

 

Honestly the qualifying offer on both players would be a bargain for both players in my opinion. Unless the twins go full into sell mode I think they need to hang on to both players and maybe try trading Morrison or Lynn for anything now. then try to compete for the next 2 months. If they are successful, awesome we have a playoff hopeful team. If not then we can recoup the draft picks from 2 likely high demand players.

 

Spending $35 million on Escobar and Dozier, while you can have them for about half to a third of that next season and at least one of them will not fit in 2019, will be a "bargain"?

 

Please explain.

Edited by Thrylos, 19 July 2018 - 08:02 PM.

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#17 Mike Sixel

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 08:04 PM

 

I think if I'm the Twins, I want an MLB ready 3B/1B type as Sano insurance and a C in AA/AAA. I won't argue with SP either, as you can never have enough (as long as it's upside, and not back of rotation type). I'm not against acquiring middle infielders, but we have plenty of them and have needs in other places. Both the Phillies and Brewers seem to have some decent pitching prospects, but not much in the way of guys that could potentially help in 2019/2020.

 

I want a high level prospect, way more than I want someone that will be here next year. Getting someone that is both would be great, but unlikely.

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I remain hopeful on Buxton and Sano.....but I'd not bet the franchise on them.


#18 curt1965

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 08:07 PM

I’d do any Dozier deal that Jeremy likes, but my position that keeping Escobar and giving him a QO, would not be the worse thing that could happen! I live in SW Minnesota, but still plan to take my grandsons to many more games this year and next, and the thought of Motter or Adianza being the guy at 3rd makes me puke!
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#19 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 08:08 PM

 

Let's look to the future and try to trade for our weakest position...catcher.

 

I was asked the same thing on Twitter... there aren't a lot of teams looking to deal catchers. The best catching prospect in baseball got traded today (and he's no lock to stay there) for the best reliever on the market and another reliever. The value of a catcher is super high. I would be shocked if the Twins could make a deal that nets someone projected to be a catching regular.


#20 Blake

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 08:37 PM




Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: trade deadline, brian dozier, eduardo escobar