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Article: When the Twins Go Buying ... Who Are They Selling?

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#1 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 10:45 AM

As we approach the trade deadline - What? It’s only a little over two months away - there are a number of moves the Twins could and possibly should consider to help enhance their ability to make a deep run into the playoffs.

But before we jump into those names, let’s examine who (or what?) other teams will be asking about. Let’s assume, too, that the Twins will make top-5 prospect Royce Lewis, top-15 prospect Alex Kirilloff and top pitching prospect Brusdar Graterol off limits.Some other things to consider, in all the moves the Twins made last year - Eduardo Escobar, Ryan Pressly, Zach Duke, Lance Lynn, Brian Dozier and Fernando Rodney - they only took back three players (of 13) that were already on the 40-man. None of those three players remain on the 40-man and only one, Chase DeJong, who has been removed from the 40-man twice since being acquired, is still in the organization.

Acting in such a way gives the sellers more opportunities to both evaluate their current roster and be active on the waiver wire. It would be fair to believe sellers in the current market would look at doing the same type of thing.

As I mentioned in a Finer Points article, many of the Twins acquisitions came with one more year before needing to be added to the 40-man roster. The Twins could face a roster crunch in getting these players onto their 40-man in November. Could that lead to some of those players who were acquired last year being flipped?

Or could it lead to more aggressively pursuing players as rentals, knowing that they can replace them with some of their better prospects?

Those are questions we don’t have answers to, but when the Twins call or take a call, what names are they going to be hearing on the other end?

SS Wander Javier

Born: 12/29/1998 (20 years old)

Current level: Extended Spring Training

Why would he be targeted? Javier was a top prospect in the 2015 international class and, despite spending a significant amount of time injured, has enhanced his prospect status with his performance in the Appy League in 2017. Javier is expected to join the Kernels as soon as his body is ready.

Why should the Twins consider moving him? With Jorge Polanco’s entrenched at shortstop and possessing a long-term deal, the Twins are good at one of the middle infield spots (whether you believe he can stick at shortstop or needs to move to second). Royce Lewis is higher up the organizational ladder and Luis Arraez is showing his bat plays at the major league level. Moving Javier would be dealing from depth. Javier is a player that would need to be added to the 40-man in November.

Other thoughts: How much value does Nick Gordon have? He’s currently taking up a 40-man spot and hasn’t spent a lot of time on the field in 2019. Will Luis Arraez’s value ever be higher? Moving any of these three middle infielders doesn’t deliver a huge blow to the team’s depth.

C Ben Rortvedt

Born: 9/25/1997 (21 years old)

Current level: Pensacola (AA)

Why would he be targeted? Rortvedt is the highest-ceiling catching prospect in the system and he’s only two promotions from the big leagues. An outstanding defensive catcher, Rortvedt, at a minimum, is a future bench piece on a major league team. He’s progressing offensively, with a keen eye at the plate and a chance to have an average or better hit tool. Additionally, Rortvedt would not need to be added to the 40-man roster until November of 2020, when he should definitely be ready to compete for a big-league job.

Why should the Twins consider moving him? Though Jason Castro is a free agent at year’s end, we have realized that Mitch Garver is the real deal. Garver also entered the year with just over a year of service time, so he can be the primary catcher for the next five years. There should be little worry about the position in the short-term, despite the overall lack of depth in the system currently.

OF Trevor Larnach

Born: 2/26/1997 (22 years old)

Current level: Fort Myers (high-A)

Why would he be targeted? Any team can look at the Twins outfield and know it’s going to be tough to break into the lineup there. Top outfield prospect, Alex Kirilloff, is getting work at first base. So where does that leave this outfield prospect? As an asset who doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man until after the 2021 season.

Why should the Twins consider moving him? Mainly for the same reasons other teams would ask about him. He’s a luxury.

Other thoughts: Luke Raley and Brent Rooker fit in the same category, for the most part. Both are currently on the injured list and Rooker has not had a good start to the his 2019 campaign. Raley would require a more immediate decision (2019 eligible) than Rooker (2020), but neither player has a clear path to the majors. Could Jake Cave be a trade chip? I think he proved last year that he is certainly capable of being an everyday centerfielder.

P Jordan Balazovic

Born: 9/17/1988 (20 years old)

Current level: Fort Myers (high-A)

Why would he be targeted? The prospect that would hurt the most to deal is going to be the one most coveted. That’s how this works. Balazovic went from “barely on the radar” to “whoa!” over the course of seven A-ball starts this season. It would be hard to leave him out of the organization's Top 6 or 7 prospects right now and he’s probably becoming a Top 70 prospect league-wide. That is, if he continues on this torrid streak.

Why should the Twins consider moving him? The Twins know him better than anyone and if they feel this isn’t close to sustainable, they could sell high. In between Balazovic and a big-league rotation spot, there are a number of other starters, albeit with less ceiling.

Other thoughts: Balazovic (2020 eligible) isn’t the only high ceiling pitching prospect in the stable. Pensacola pitcher Jorge Alcala (2019), Fort Myers’ pitcher Jhoan Duran (2019) and Kernels pitcher Blayne Enlow (2021) could all tickle someone’s fancy.

Obviously, there are others that could be included as well.

But the Twins have another pretty enormous trade chip too.

Competitive Balance Round A Draft Pick #39

Pool allotment: $1,906,800

Part of the reason that I wanted to push this out well before the trade deadline is because the Twins only have a handful of days to use this asset in a trade. Competitive Balance picks are the only ones that can be traded and obviously have to be moved before the draft.

Five of the 12 awarded picks for the 2019 draft have already been moved.
The Yankees traded Sonny Gray and a prospect for pick #38 and a prospect.
The #40 pick moved from the A’s to the Rays in the deal that netted the A’s Jurickson Profar.
The Rangers traded bullpen piece Alex Claudio to the Brewers for pick #41.

The Diamondbacks acquired a Comp Round B pick from the Cardinals in the Paul Goldschmidt trade. The Marines also acquired a Comp Round B pick from the Indians in the their Edwin Encarnacion/Carlos Santana/Tampa Bay trade.

As you can see, there is plenty of value in a Comp Round A pick. But it’s more than just the pick itself, it’s the money that’s attached to it. Giving yourself an extra nearly $2 million can benefit teams in a number of ways. Want another really good prospect? You got it. Want to get more creative and push a guy down the board ala Sean Manaea or Dax Cameron? You got that too.

(Yeah, I know, the Diamondbacks are kings of this draft and draft four times before pick #39… but maybe they want in on this action?)

The Twins might not be able to get Will Smith straight up for this pick, but it would go a long way. The Reds definitely wouldn’t give up Rasiel Iglesias for just the pick, but again… it would be a nice piece. The Nationals and Sean Doolittle, now that’s reasonable. Or maybe they aim higher.

What do you think?

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#2 ashbury

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:01 AM

Three of the last four first-round picks by the Twins have been outfielders (at least nominally, in the case of Rooker). If you're not going to draft pitchers until the third round or so, as a strategy to avoid the risk when developing arms, then you need to use those outfield bats as trade chips for the pitchers who have proven themselves.

 

So, Larnarch first plus probably that draft pick second jump out at me as candidates for trading. The trick may be to find a trading partner who values corner outfielders, though...

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#3 jz7233

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:03 AM

I think keeping Javier, Rortvedt & Balazovic would be a good idea.

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#4 USAFChief

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:18 AM

Nobody in the Twins system should be off limits.

 

Nobody. 

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#5 scottz

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:21 AM

Obviously, there are a lot of "it depends on" situations to figure into this calculus, but my guess would be that this front office will tend to want to hang on to "their guys" as much as they can and move the previous FO's guys. That's not a completely hard rule, obviously - they may have to give a piece they really like if they aim for something in a trade that requires big chips.

 

They may have decided some of this group are exactly their kind of player and want to hang on to them - we obviously don't know who they are. Others may decidedly be not their kind of player - we don't know this either. But to the extent that the latter group has value to someone else, I think that's the preferred trading pool.

 

Anyway, I hope I qualified that enough. This is the group that I think is the pre-Falvey era and I'd look at this group to be (conditionally) available in trades.

 

Position Players - Javier, Gordon, Badoo, Miranda, Wade, Blankenhorn

Pitchers - Thorpe, Gonsalves, Balazovic, Jax

 

Guys that are already on the 40 man that fit this category too (and are not key contributos) include Moya, Stewart, Mejia.

 

I don't think it's only this group. But none of these names would surprise me. The FO knows which of this group is off limits for them.

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#6 Mike Sixel

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:23 AM

 

Nobody in the Twins system should be off limits.

 

Nobody. 

 

Agreed, though Lewis and Kiriloff need to return something great, with control, to be dealt.

 

And, Gaterol better not be their best pitching prospect, or this pipeline has issues.

 

As stated above, if you wait and wait to draft pitching, you better be willing to trade for it.....

It's IL now, btw, not DL.....


#7 jkcarew

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:25 AM

There really is no bite to this question without context of what you're getting in return. For the right return, I'd trade anybody.

 

Generically, the best I can go with is that middle infield and corner outfield seem to be the areas of depth in the system. It would help if Gordon can sustain his health, Javier could get healthy, and Lewis could dig out of whatever it is that's happening with him at Fort Myers this year.

Edited by jkcarew, 24 May 2019 - 11:27 AM.

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#8 Rosterman

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:26 AM

The bigger decision is will the Twins do anything with their own pending free agents: Castro, Schoop, Cron, Gibson, Pineda, Odorizzi. Who do they swoop in a sign for an additional season or not.

 

Wish that the Twins AAA stock didn't fall so far so fast. Still have hopes for Gonsalves and Thorpe and Littell and Stewart. Look at their value today compared to last year. Any acquisition of a new player usually includes someone near major league ready. Those are the Twins pitching names not on the roster. Raley and Rooker would be the hitting prospects that other teams might consider.

 

Which brings us to Buxton and Sano. Can the Twins sign them up longer term and should they. Not to mention Rosario. If the Twins decide on Buxton and Rosario, then it makes Larnach and possibly Krilloff available, amongst other.

 

Same with the infield. Polanco is the real deal and signed for long term. Aareaz has shown spunk. Does that make Nick Gordon available? Is Royce Lewis really untouchable? Wander Javier is a prospect to be had.

 

The Twins have quite a few names at A_ and below that they can package in deals, some who have to be considered for advancement and 40+man consideration.

 

But the Twins also have to think ahed to 2020. Will they be without Gibson, Odorizzi, Pineda? Schoop and Cron and Castro? Who replaces these people from the minors or otherwise? 

 

You hate to shake up a winning team if it is still winning, but if you can replace one of the starters, at least, with a top flight name, you do it and hope you can get some pieces.

 

The Twins should go after Kimbrel at this point. It would be a plus move for this season, and if you can can get a second option year, all the better.

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#9 twins_89

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:30 AM

The obvious choices to make available in trade are positions with a surplus on the 40 man roster and guys who will be rule 5 eligible this off-season.

 

I'd say the first group that provides a surplus is the middle infielder/utility type players on the 40 man roster. Adrianza, Torreyes, Gordon (#10), and Arraez (#17) could all be available, though only the last two likely have much trade value.

 

Another surplus on the 40 man roster is in the outfield. Cave, Wade (#22), Raley (#26), and Rooker (#6) are all corner outfield depth. They all have some trade value and losing one wouldn't cause much impact on the future.

 

The last surplus on the 40 man roster is starting pitching depth. Thorpe (#8), Gonsalves (#11), Littell (#21), and Stewart are all major league ready guys who could be pitching in the majors for a non-playoff team right now.

 

Lastly, the soon to be rule 5 eligible class has a lot of guys who would seem to have some chance of getting taken in the draft. Out of the group Graterol (#3), Javier (#4), and Duran (#7) will probably be added to the 40 man roster and are less likely to be traded. The rest of the group includes Celestino (#15), Alcala (#18), Jax (#23), Maciel (#25), Blankenhorn (#28), Smeltzer, Colina, Cabbage, and Hackimer.

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#10 nicksaviking

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:31 AM

Interesting situation the Twins find themselves in. They have a surplus of talented OF and MI prospects, but don't really have any immediate offensive holes to fill. I hope the Mets fall back far enough to open up bidding for Syndergaard, but if they don't, there doesn't look to be much for top end starters available this summer.

 

There will be relievers available, but it looks like most of the elite ones are either not on the rosters of sellers, or they are injured. Many of the relievers I find most interesting are probably more under the radar and may not garner big named prospects.

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#11 Twinsoholic

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:34 AM

If the Twins draft Langeliers, the Baylor catcher, with their first round pick in the upcoming draft, then I see Rortvedt (or, to a lesser extent, Jeffers) being likely to be traded for a pitching upgrade. Good catchers are in short supply and, thus, are uber valued in trades. Langeliers would be a steal at pick 13 in the first round of the draft. I can't see the Twins passing on him if he is there at 13. 

 

Jeremy, thanks for writing this article. 

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#12 MMMordabito

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:35 AM

 

Nobody in the Twins system should be off limits.

 

Nobody. 

 

Especially if someone like Syndergaard was made available.

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#13 nicksaviking

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:51 AM

 

Especially if someone like Syndergaard was made available.

 

I would like Syndergaard, but if the Mets keep hanging around .500 he probably won't be available. They have a bunch of key guys on the IL with short term injuries and their stud arms haven't rounded into form yet. I'm cheering against them for the sole purpose of trying to get my hands on their pitching staff, but my money is on the Mets going on a decent run in near future.

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#14 Vanimal46

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:51 AM

On the list, I would substitute Graterol for Balazovic... Mostly because I think Balazovic has a better chance of sticking in the rotation. And because Graterol is at his peak prospect value right now.

Edited by Vanimal46, 24 May 2019 - 11:51 AM.

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#15 tarheeltwinsfan

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:54 AM

Good timely article. Thanks.

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#16 USAFChief

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:56 AM

 

Especially if someone like Syndergaard was made available.

I hope Washington can be talked into dealing Scherzer. That team is about a bad week from being blown up, IMO.

 

But that will require at least one of the A list Twins prospects. And I'd do that in a heartbeat.

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#17 spycake

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 11:59 AM

 

Obviously, there are a lot of "it depends on" situations to figure into this calculus, but my guess would be that this front office will tend to want to hang on to "their guys" as much as they can and move the previous FO's guys.

I don't think that distinction is important at all. Two-thirds of our league-dominating lineup right now is composed of the previous FO's guys. Plus our best SP and RP. As well as TD top prospects #2, 3, 5, 10, 11, 12, etc.

 

Edit: darn pronouns!

Edited by spycake, 24 May 2019 - 12:20 PM.

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#18 Vanimal46

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:00 PM

I hope Washington can be talked into dealing Scherzer. That team is about a bad week from being blown up, IMO.

But that will require at least one of the A list Twins prospects. And I'd do that in a heartbeat.


Yeah, Washington's problems run deeper than the manager. Can't keep firing managers every year and think it's going to change. Something stinks over there...

Scherzer's probably tired of the losing and lack of run support.

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#19 Jeremy Nygaard

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:03 PM

 

Nobody in the Twins system should be off limits.

 

Nobody. 

 

I think that Lewis, Kirilloff and Graterol would be the first three players teams ask about. 

 

If the Reds call offering Luis Castillo, then yeah, these names have to be in play. 

 

But I'd be shocked if Lewis gets moved in any deal. 

 

-AND-

 

I think the Twins can add a significant piece(s) without moving their top prospects.

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#20 scottz

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Posted 24 May 2019 - 12:03 PM

 

I don't think that distinction is important at all. Two-thirds of our league-dominating lineup right now is composed of "their guys". Plus our best SP and RP. As well as TD top prospects #2, 3, 5, 10, 11, 12, etc.

Differing opinions and all, but what you state is exactly why I think what I stated. "Their guys" have done pretty great. If there are "not their guys" who they don't love, but who have value to someone else, why wouldn't they want to change out even more of them?

 

But my opinion and a dime will get you a dime.




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