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Why the Reds and Twins Should Talk About Trevor Bauer


Nash Walker

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blog-0704909001573682165.jpgAs I was pondering about the potential rotation for the Twins in 2020, I remembered something. It had been in the back of my mind but it came to the forefront today.

 

Thad Levine, in an interview with Aaron Gleeman, proclaimed that the Twins explored a trade during the season for Trevor Bauer. I can not remember the exact quote, but it went something like this: “We are interested in the player (Bauer), but it is unlikely that the Minnesota Twins will make a deal with the Cleveland Indians.”

 

Of course, a trade between the Twins and Indians is unlikely to take place as they have become bitter division rivals, especially in 2019.

 

Bauer was instead dealt to the Reds at the deadline in a three-team transaction that sent Yasiel Puig and Padres outfielder Franmil Reyes to Cleveland, while prospect Taylor Trammell moved from Cincinnati to San Diego.

 

Bauer seemed excited to get out of Cleveland, later deeming that he “did not have fun there.” In 10 starts with Cincinnati, Bauer posted a 6.39 ERA and 2-5 record. The right-hander gave up 12 home runs in 56 ⅓ innings.

 

Bauer was coming off a phenomenal season in 2018 where his FIP was a miniscule 2.44. Bauer went 12-6 and allowed just 0.5 home runs per nine while making his first All-Star game. He is a proven power pitcher with an average of 9.5 strikeouts per nine in his career.

 

Cleveland has a surplus of pitchers, and dealing Bauer was a smart move. The irony is that Cincinnati does not need him either. The Reds have 2019 breakout Luis Castillo and another All-Star in Sonny Gray. Both are under team control until 2024. Additionally, the Reds top two (and three of their top four) prospects are pitchers.

 

The Reds ranked 11th in the National League in team OPS in 2019 and their main priority will be acquiring impact bats this offseason. They are reportedly in on both Yasmani Grandal and Didi Gregorius.

 

In order for this to happen, they need to shed salary. Bauer is estimated to make $18.6 million in his final year of arbitration. The Reds already have nearly $110 million tied up in 2020, and their total payroll was $128 million in 2019.

 

They should be salivating at the opportunity to pick up someone like Eddie Rosario, who hit 32 home runs and drove in 109 runs in 2019. For the Twins, Rosario is below average, but for a team like the Reds, he would arguably be their second best bat next to Eugenio Suarez and will cost a manageable $9 million or so in 2020.

 

That is where the Twins start. As Bauer only has one year of team control remaining, the Reds may not demand too much. Rosario and 24-year-old Nick Gordon, who hit .298/.342/.459 at Triple-A in 2019, should do the trick.

 

The Reds are losing shortstop José Iglesias to free agency and Gordon seems ready for the big leagues. If Cincinnati misses out on Gregorius, they need a better backup plan than current starter José Peraza, who hit .239/.285/.346 in 2019.

 

If you are doubting that the Reds would do this, I hear you. Remember though that Cincinnati has a below-average farm system, according to MLB Pipeline, and will lose Bauer next winter regardless. They can cash in now while still looking to compete in 2020. They would and should seriously consider this proposition.

 

With this deal, the Twins gain an immediate top of the rotation arm in Bauer and do not strip the premier end of their farm system. Rosario, Gordon and a throw in of second baseman Travis Blankenhorn, who posted a .786 OPS at Double-A in 2019, will get this done.

 

Jake Odorizzi is likely to return in one way or another, and Darren Wolfson confirmed Tuesday that the Twins are talking with Zack Wheeler:

 

https://twitter.com/DWolfsonKSTP/status/1194376558200406018?s=20

 

The Twins could potentially start with a rotation of Wheeler, Jose Berríos, Odorizzi, and Bauer in 2020 with Brusdar Graterol on his way to starting soon. Yikes. Good luck, MLB.

 

Would you want to face this team in the postseason? I sure would not.

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    To me, it sort of feels the Reds want to contend, but aren't ready to yet. This idea actually makes sense to me. The fact that Bauer only has one year of control is scary. But then again, it brings his cost down.

     

    For a team lacking prospect depth, not sure Blankenhorn as the 3rd piece gets it done, but maybe. I'd rather, somehow, add to the trade value and get at least a 1yr extension from Bauer.

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    He's had one good season. It was his lone sub 4 ERA and his FIP supports that. From 2014 -2017 he was a 4.30 ERA, 4.04 FIP pitcher and 2019 was 4.48 ERA, 4.34 FIP.

     

    With one year left and about an 18M price tag, I wouldn't give up anything for him. There are much better options for the rotation.

     

    He's like Archer, potential rarely matches results. Isn't worth gambling on one season.

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    Your argument that they already have Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray until 2024 and 3 of their top 4 prospects are pitchers doesn't really do much for 2020.  Only one of those prospects (the worst ranked one) has pitched at AA.  Their top prospect missed all of 2019 with Tommy John and has a career 6.12 ERA between Rookie and A+.  The other prospect has 18.1 career innings between rookie and A.  The Reds shouldn't go into 2020 (or 2021) with plans to use any of these prospects.

     

    They can get a poor fielding/decent hitting outfielder without losing a rotation piece, there are a bunch of these players in FA. I doubt they would be excited about Gordon or Blankenhorn and neither player helps their 2020 win now expectations. I don't really want us to pursue Bauer but I think the Reds would pass on this offer.

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    Rosario and Gordon  

    Is that Major league Duensing  and minor league Duensing ? Every trade starts there because the Minnesota fans are down on them yet every one else should be excited about these players or lack any knowledge or insight into the players?

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    Seriously. They gave up Taylor Trammel to get this guy. They are not giving him up for the Twins expendable pieces.

     

    Taylor Trammell hit .234/.340/.349 (.689) at Double-A in 2019. The highest OPS of his minor league career is .819 at Low A in 2017.

     

    Also, Bauer is gone in one year to free agency, as mentioned in the article. There is plenty of incentive.

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    Rosario and Gordon

    Is that Major league Duensing and minor league Duensing ? Every trade starts there because the Minnesota fans are down on them yet every one else should be excited about these players or lack any knowledge or insight into the players?

    On the contrary, I believe Rosario should not be dealt for less than he is worth. For me, there is a small group of starting pitchers, including Bauer, that I would even consider moving Rosario for.

     

    As for Gordon, I believe he will be a productive pro but he is blocked by the SS heavy Twins and with the emergence of Arraez, there’s just no place for him. He’s a strong, moveable asset that many teams would benefit from.

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    The tough call is one-year left. And doesn't he want to only sign one-year contracts?

     

    Yes, the Twins could replace Rosario (with someone cheaper no doubt). And Gordon is a spare piece today. They could afford the dollars. Is his an attitude you want on the team? Perhaps.

     

    And, dependng on his play, he could get a qualifying offer. If his season is like last year's, chances are he would take it.

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    Seriously. They gave up Taylor Trammel to get this guy. They are not giving him up for the Twins expendable pieces.

    They gave up a younger version of Nick Gordon. Good for the Reds. They gave up a rental player in Puig and a future LOGY

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    Career 4.04 ERA.   I'm not so sure that puts him in top of the rotation territory.   Then again, he wouldn't be facing Max Kepler anymore so that might drop his ERA  and increase his self esteem substantially.

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