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Article: Minnesota Twins 2018 Trade Deadline Report Card

eduardo escobar brian dozier ryan pressly lance lynn zach duke
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#1 Tom Froemming

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 08:18 PM

What a whirlwind of a week it’s been. Now that the dust has settled on the trade deadline, let’s take a look at which affiliate each of these new pieces is headed to, try to rank the new prospects and hand out individual grades for each of the five deals Derek Falvey & Co. made.All right, first thing’s first, here’s where all the players the Twins acquired are headed:

Minnesota: Logan Forsythe
Rochester: Chase De Jong, Tyler Austin.
Chattanooga: Devin Smeltzer, Luke Raley, Jorge Alcala (on the DL)
Fort Myers: Ryan Costello, Ernie De La Trinidad
Cedar Rapids: Jhoan Duran, Gabriel Maciel
Elizabethton: Luis Rijo, Gilberto Celestino

So who are the best prospects the Twins acquired? Well 10 of the 12 guys the Twins added (everyone but Forsythe and Austin) still qualify for prospect status. I’m still getting up to speed on a lot of these guys, especially the ones acquired this week, so I’ll defer to another source.

Baseball America published a fun list today. They ranked all the prospects dealt at the deadline, and the order they had the new guys in made a lot of sense to me.

-Jorge Alcala

-Gilberto Celestino

-Jhoan Duran

-Luke Raley

-Chase De Jong

-Luis Rijo

-Devin Smeltzer

-Gabriel Maciel

-Ryan Costello

-Ernie De La Trinidad

Personally, I’d strongly consider putting Celestino on top. I also might put Rijo and Maciel above De Jong. Anyway, BA has capsules written up on those top three guys, and it’s just kind of interesting to see where they have them listed among all the prospects on the move. But, I’m going to make you click the link to go check out the rest of that stuff if you’re interested.

All right, so let’s take a look at each trade individually. On each of these, I’m going to provide the link to the Twins Daily article published when the deals broke and also link to the Baseball Prospectus Transaction Analysis piece for each. Friend of the site Aaron Gleeman and the rest of the staff at B-Pro did an excellent job at breaking down each piece of each of these trades, so again, I’ll tip my cap to another outlet and encourage you to check those out. The grades though, those will be all me. Any grade disputes must be taken up with the Dean :)

Friday, July 27
Twins give: Eduardo Escobar
Twins get: OF Ernie De La Trinidad, RHP Jhoan Duran, OF Gabriel Maciel
Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus
Tom’s grade: B

Escobar was my favorite Twins player, but it just made too much sense to trade him away. It’s encouraging to hear the Twins approached him about an extension prior to shipping him off, and here’s hoping they engage with his camp again once he becomes a free agent.

Eduardo was having a career year and will hit free agency at the end of the season, so it was difficult to envision the Twins netting a huge haul. I think Duran is a nice add, and he already made a great first impression, throwing seven no-hit innings in his Cedar Rapids debut. It sounds to me like he has a better chance at reaching the majors as a starter than Alcala does, though he doesn’t have quite as high of a ceiling.

Maciel will skyrocket up prospect lists if he ever develops power. He’s a switch hitter who’s billed as a legit center fielder with elite speed, so even if the power never arrives he could be a fourth outfielder. De La Trinidad was a college draftee taken in the 19th round last year. His upside seems limited, but hitters hit. He’s got a career .874 OPS so far in the minors, so that at least makes him an intriguing throw-in.

Friday, July 27
Twins give: Ryan Pressly
Twins get: RHP Jorge Alcala, OF Gilberto Celestino
Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus
Tom’s grade: A

I love this deal. Pressly was the only player they moved who was going to still be under team control next season, but in parting with him, they acquired what I consider to be the two most valuable pieces among the dozen players that were acquired.

Yes, Alcala was immediately placed on the DL with a right trap strain, but I think it’s a good sign that happened before he threw a single pitch in the Twins’ org. That suggests two things to me: 1) The Twins’ staff was able to uncover something in Alcala’s medicals and is getting out in front of this issue, and 2) I’d be willing to bet they used that information to leverage this deal with Houston.

Celestino signed out of the Dominican Republic for a big bonus and he's living up to that billing so far. Not many guys put up the kind of numbers he was in the New York Penn League. He was fourth in batting average, sixth in OBP, seventh in slugging and was 14-for-14 on stolen base attempts in the NYPL.

Pressly throws absolute filth and was having a strong season, but bullpen arms are so unpredictable and I feel like there are a lot of different ways the Twins could replace a guy like Pressly.

Monday, July 30
Twins give: Zach Duke
Twins get: RHP Chase De Jong, 1B/3B Ryan Costello
Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus
Tom’s grade: C

To Twins fans, Duke may not seem like much of a prize, but he is among the best left-handed specialists in baseball. Duke has faced 425 left-handed hitters since the start of the 2014 season, and southpaws have hit just .214/.286/.316 off him. Since he was on an expiring contract, Duke was never going to fetch anything similar to the Pressly haul, and I’m not real impressed with what the Twins netted from Seattle.

De Jong might be an interesting candidate to stick in the bullpen and see what happens, but it’s very difficult to see him ever working his way into the picture here as a starter. Maybe Costello is going to make me eat my words someday, but he was a 31st-round pick last year. Despite that underwhelming pedigree, he certainly deserves respect for putting up some of the better power numbers in the Midwest League this season. Again, hitters hit.

Monday, July 30
Twins give: Lance Lynn
Twins get: Tyler Austin, Luis Rijo
Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus
Tom’s grade: A

I love this deal too, but for very different reasons than the Pressly trade. I just didn’t think Lynn had this kind of value. He fits the profile of exactly the type of pitcher a contending team should be looking to replace. Don’t get me wrong, he did really turn things around from May forward, but in my opinion he’s a second-division big league pitcher even at his best. Maybe the Yankees are onto something in using him in long relief, I don’t know.

It’s worth noting that the Twins are paying half of Lynn’s salary, but this is still a really good return in my eyes. Tyler Austin could be a platoon 1B/RF/DH right now. The contact issues are a concern, but he crushes lefties and Target Field has been a pretty kind environment for right-handed power hitters.

Honestly, if this was Lynn for Luis Rijo straight up I would have been impressed. Rijo has an insane 8.36 K:BB ratio in 125 ⅓ innings over his minor league career. He also tops out at 93 mph, so it’s not like it’s all just smoke and mirrors. And on top of all that, Lynn’s departure from the team opened up a spot for Adalberto Mejia to get a much-deserved chance in the rotation. Win, win, win, it’s looking all good here to me.

Tuesday, July 31
Twins give: Brian Dozier
Twins get: 2B Logan Forsythe, OF/1B Luke Raley, LHP Devin Smeltzer
Additional info: Twins Daily | Baseball Prospectus
Tom’s grade: D

I’m certain this was the best deal the Twins could get on July 31, less than an hour before the deadline. What I’m not certain of is if that was the best time to deal him. You never know how these things work out, and both Ian Kinsler and Jonathan Schoop entering the trade market late had to have complicated things, but I suspect the Twins could have gotten a better package if they had made the deal earlier, or may have even been able to find a better waiver trade partner this month.

Of course, there was always the option to keep Dozier and extend a qualifying offer to him. Maybe he would have accepted, but I’m of the mind that there’s really no such thing as a bad one-year deal. Why did I think this was the Twins’ worst trade? Mainly because of who they were forced to take back.

Logan Forsythe, the only major leaguer the Twins acquired in all these deals, actually has extreme negative trade value. This seems to defy logic, but the business of baseball is funny. His inclusion basically made this deal cash neutral. There was probably never going to be a deal with the Dodgers that didn’t have to include Forsythe, since they’re trying to avoid luxury tax penalties, but that’s exactly why you don’t make a deal with them in the first place.

I typically don’t care much what happens to the Pohlad’s money (did you see how I just suggested they give Dozier $18 million?), but you’ve still got to acknowledge that money is an asset to a baseball team. If you get rid of Dozier, I think you need to find a way to get rid of that money too.

If Forsythe’s not in this trade, I give it at least a C, maybe even a B. Heck, if I just look at this deal in a vacuum, which is what I originally did yesterday, I might give it a C. But when you zoom out and look at the big picture of what happened across baseball leading up to and on deadline day, it definitely feels like the Twins may have hurt their odds at maximizing a return. Tough thing for me to say from the outside looking in, but that’s how I feel.

Raley is putting up really good numbers in Double A, but he’s already 24 and it’s just really hard to break into the bigs as a corner outfield/first base type. On the plus side, Raley also sounds like the type of guy in terms of makeup who goes out and proves idiots like me wrong, so I’m excited to see how this plays out.

Smeltzer is left-handed, that’s always a plus. He’s also relatively close to the majors (he’s spent all year in Double A) and his strikeout numbers saw a boost when he recently shifted to the bullpen. However, it sounds like he has a fairly straight, fairly slow fastball, so …

All right, so there’s my report card. The front office comes away with a 2.8 GPA. Not exactly Ivy League material, but in my eyes they get a solid passing grade for what was a difficult trade deadline to navigate for them. Maybe they also deserve some extra credit for the non-move they made by keeping Kyle Gibson.

So now it’s your turn, how would you grade the Twins’ trade deadline?

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#2 Seth Stohs

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 08:37 PM

My quick grades:

 

Escobar for Maciel, Duran and De La Trinidad: B+, Maciel and Duran have upside. De La Trinidad could just be solid all the way up, so you never know. For two monthsof Escobar. 

 

Pressly for Alcala and Celestino: A-, Bothhave big potential. Celestino could be special, and Alcala, if he's healthy could become a high-caliber starter or a top-end reliever. Pressly's intriguing and his stats have never really matched his stuff. I hope he takesit to a new level.

 

Zack Duke for De Jong and Costello: A-, Neither prospect is exciting, but to get two players for a lefty reliever is impressive. Costello's power is intriguing at least. 

 

Lance Lynn for Austin and Rijo: A, for Lance Lynn, and the Twins didn't even have to eat his contract. Austin can play in the big leagues now. Rijo has enough potential to be excited about as a potential mid-rotation starter. 

 

Dozier for Forsythe, Raley and Smeltzer: B, while it's disappointing that the Twins couldn't get more, it's still two months of Dozier for two months of Forsythe and another guy who can hit. And Smeltzer could be a 5-6 year lefty reliever starting sometime next year.  

 

Collectively: A, While it can be sad as a fan to lose players for guys we had never really heard of until the trade,I look at how the Twins got rid of two months of four players and they got nine players for them. Forsythe is a wash, of course, so eight prospects, and to get two guys with high ceilings for Pressly is terrific. Now, none of them are top 100 types, but even top 100s don't always make it. None of the players were Top 100 type-worthy, so quantity of guys with potential is the way to go. If 1 or 2 of them become big league regulars,itis a win.  

 

 

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#3 Vanimal46

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 08:48 PM

Bravo Tom! Thank you for combining all trades into one article and where they slide into the organization.

I concur with your thoughts and grade on the Dozier trade... There was no financial advantage nor any upside to the deal.

I didn't think Lynn could be given away... so acquiring 2 living baseball players is a plus!

It's taken a while to develop a bullpen arm as good as Pressly. I don't think he'll be simple to replace.
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#4 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 08:50 PM

I love the way this is presented. Great job.
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#5 Dman

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 08:56 PM

The Escobar trade I am giving an A-.They might have a number 3 starter in Duran, a leadoff hitter in Maciel and call me a sucker for underdogs but I love De La Trinadad's bat.If they resign Esco in the offseason I'll give them an A+.

 

Pressly trade I would also give them an A-.Cellestino is a stud and if he grows into some power a possibly elite center fielder.Alcala might end up a reliever but should be elite like Pressly was but the Twins will have 5 to 6 years of control again instead of one year if they kept Pressly.

 

For the Duke trade I am sticking with C grade.I don't know enough about DeJong to say what chance he has as a good reliever.If I believed in him I would rate this higher.Again I love the underdog pick in Costello but getting two good lotto ticket makes this a C grade for me.

 

I am going to go B+ for the Lynn trade because I am not an Austin believer.Fangraphs has him not being able to hit sliders so I have feeling he is AAAA but we will see.Love the young pitcher but don't know a ton about him and getting rid of Lynn is addition by subtraction so maybe this should be A-.

 

Gotta go with D for Dozier as we essentially just got lottery tickets and not great ones at that IMO.Maybe since we got two I could go C- but the Dozier trade was brutal.

 

What I like most about the deadline deals is that we received two more young pitchers .So with Rijo, Enlow, Balazovic, Duran, Graterol we have several quality young pitchers 20 or under coming up together.The minors might have some of the best pitchers we have seen in quite some time so should be fun to watch these guys climb the ladder.

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#6 Danchat

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:01 PM

Nice article, Tom. I think through this exercise you can see what the Twins' plan was: trade all/most upcoming free agents for whatever they could get and browse the offers for guys with control in 2019+. I think they didn't get any 'good enough' deals for Gibson, but when they saw Houston's package for Pressly, they liked the package enough to pull the trigger.

 

I can see why the Dozier deal isn't thought of much, but we're talking about trading a slightly above replacement value 2B with 2 months of control. The Twins weren't getting big offers for him when he was playing well, but now that he's struggling, his price is even lower. 

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#7 ashbury

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:02 PM

If Forsythe’s not in this trade, I give it at least a C, maybe even a B.

Doesn't his contract end after this season? If they're not stuck with him, what's wrong if he hangs around? They could even cut him, if it's a sunk cost.

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#8 Kelly Vance

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:03 PM

I agree. Great job. Bravo, take a bow

 


#9 Brandon

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:06 PM

I look at the Lynn trade with the Yankees and Duke to Seattle as part of a three team swap as Seattle and Yankees also completed a trade and all three trades happened close together.

Looking at those two trades as being part of the same transaction, how would you grade that Tom and Seth.

#10 Brandon

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:10 PM

Loosing Dozier was a loss for Twins fans. In 2 more seasons he would likely be a top 5 in franchise history in HRs.

And he finishes his career 2 SB shy of 100 so the Twins miss out again on someone not quite getting 100 SB. There are quite a few players who come up just short in this department.

#11 Brandon

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:11 PM

I was wondering if the best prospect from LA cracks our top 30?

#12 Aerodeliria

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:12 PM

Many thanks you guys! This is exactly what I was hoping for when I asked yesterday. This makes me feel a bit better...especially about the Pressly trade, which I was puzzled by initially.

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#13 MikeW

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:16 PM

Ernie De La Trinidad is off to an incredible start at Fort Myers.

#14 twins_89

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:21 PM

Great write up. Your grades match almost exactly with my own thoughts on the trades. The only one I might have graded differently was the Duke trade (I might have went with a B ), mainly because I never expected to get anything of value back. If the Dodgers offer was the best available, I would have much preferred to keep Brian and see where things stood at the end of the year in terms of a qualifying offer.

Edited by twins_89, 01 August 2018 - 09:25 PM.

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#15 MikeW

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:27 PM

Forsythe is a two-month placeholder.
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#16 TheLeviathan

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:27 PM

If even 2 of these guys become the next Eddie Escobar, not a single person on this board is going to be sad about passing up on an 8% chance to get stomped by Houston.

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#17 Tom Froemming

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:31 PM

 

Collectively: A, While it can be sad as a fan to lose players for guys we had never really heard of until the trade,I look at how the Twins got rid of two months of four players and they got nine players for them. Forsythe is a wash, of course, so eight prospects, and to get two guys with high ceilings for Pressly is terrific. Now, none of them are top 100 types, but even top 100s don't always make it. None of the players were Top 100 type-worthy, so quantity of guys with potential is the way to go. If 1 or 2 of them become big league regulars,itis a win.  

Thank you for your input, Dean Stohs. I'm a tougher grader than you are, but I don't think our end conclusions are too far off at all.

 

Doesn't his contract end after this season? If they're not stuck with him, what's wrong if he hangs around? They could even cut him, if it's a sunk cost.

Yes. The issue is they're going to have to pay Forsythe something like $3 million no matter what. He had an 81 OPS+ in 650 PAs with the Dodgers. Yuck. Again, his inclusion in that deal lowered its value. Part of the benefit of dealing Dozier should have been salary relief.

 

Many thanks you guys! This is exactly what I was hoping for when I asked yesterday. This makes me feel a bit better...especially about the Pressly trade, which I was puzzled by initially.

Yes! I was hoping you'd see this. I saw your comment and thought "that's a damn good idea" but I've been in and out of so many pages on here lately I forgot who suggested it. Thank you.

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#18 drivlikejehu

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:33 PM

I don't think this is really the best way to look at the trades. Clubs have to operate under various constraints . . . directives from ownership, happenstance so far as which teams are interested in a deal and what prospects they are willing to part with, etc. It's fair to consider whether a player should have been traded at all, though even then our analysis is severely limited by a lack of knowledge about what was offered. 

 

Instead, I think the better course is to consider the overall results. In particular, whether it made sense to be sellers and whether the acquired players fit into a sensible strategy (e.g., certain positions, relevance to the 2019 season, and so on).

 

It seems to me that the front office decided on the correct approach (bail on the lost 2018 season) and executed it fully. The club's upcoming free agents were dealt for what they were worth and the ability to compete in 2019 wasn't compromised in a meaningful way (though that aspect does make the Pressly deal the most complex to evaluate).

 

The fact that Pressly was seen by the market as much more valuable than Dozier does not make the Pressly trade "better" in any objective sense. The Twins would have gotten even better prospects by dealing Gibson, but that likely would have been a mistake. 

 

I'd give the series of transactions an A-, docking them for holding onto Rodney.

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#19 slash129

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:36 PM

For a true grade, I would factor in the performance of the player replacing the traded player. Right now, Mejia, Sano and Moya are making the Lynn, Escobar and Duke trades look better. Adrianza and,to a lesser extent, May are making the Pressly and Dozier trades look worse. So for me, this is collectively an A ATM.

#20 Seth Stohs

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Posted 01 August 2018 - 09:49 PM

 

Doesn't his contract end after this season? If they're not stuck with him, what's wrong if he hangs around? They could even cut him, if it's a sunk cost.

 

yeah, there is no negative in taking back Forsythe. First, the trade doesn't get done without it because the Dodgers didn't want to pay the luxury tax. Also, if that wasn't a factor, can you imagine how little the Twins would have received for Dozier if they hadn't taken on Forsythe. That's a good, creative deal. Wish they could have got more, but obviously they couldn't have. And they got two guys who could be MLB players. 

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