Major League Baseball has not even gotten underway in 2020 and yet we’re just two months from the trade deadline. When the season does start, that date will be little more than a month away. After winning the deadline last year, will Minnesota make a deal?
Last July I wrote high praise for Derek Falvey and Thad Levine in regards to how the executed the trade deadline. They got the best reliever swapped (although he was a disaster and hurt), picked up Sergio Romo, and provided a small jolt to the farm system. Over the course of their tenure in Twins Territory, Falvey and Levine have proven adept at swinging deals.
We have no idea what things will look like on August 31, and right now the greatest hope is that the 2020 season is still being played. When Opening Day does come to fruition Rocco Baldelli should have the services of the previously expected to be shelved Rich Hill. The bullpen is already one of the best in baseball, and a fearsome lineup added Josh Donaldson.
The other wrinkle to a later deadline and 60-game season is that Minnesota will receive a boost with 19 to play when Michael Pineda is eligible to be reinstated. Still on the hook to serve 39 games due to a failed drug test from a weight loss supplement, he returns for the final third. How the rotation looks at that point will be uncertain, and it will definitely come after the deadline has passed.
If there’s somewhere the Twins can afford to bulk up, it is at the top half of their starters. Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, and Kenta Maeda are all quality arms. None of them match the caliber of a true proven ace however, and in series where three men take continuous turns, they could be behind the eight ball from the jump.
You’d probably be fair in assessing that the Twins were destined to add at the 2020 trade deadline under normal circumstances. I think the assumption that good teams can use that as an opportunity to get better is relatively basic.
With the parameters in play for 2020 however, things are all a bit more complicated. Does another organization want a lower prospect that isn’t in the player pool and therefore missed out on a year of development? Are you acquiring to fill an immediate hole, or do you have to prioritize an empty place of production due to a player hitting the COVID-related Injured List?
I’d wager the Twins could utilize the trade deadline in 2020 as an opportunity to get a jumpstart on free agency. This winter could be a cold one for guys without teams, and while acquiring them may be doable at depressed costs, dealing for long term assets in a window of contention seems like a worthy endeavor. Minnesota is being impacted by a goofy season at the worst time but salvaging a run doesn’t mean being boom or bust.
Right now, I think the only given is that there is a trade deadline on the calendar. We have no idea what the roster construction will be at the end of August, or whether the season will still be going at that time. What is safe to say is that Minnesota enters the year with more talent than they’ve had maybe ever, and when acquiring more, it’s really just icing on the cake.