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Ranking Twins Top Trade Pieces - Part 3


Mill1634

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Today I wrap up the final piece in my mini-blog series where I ranked the Minnesota Twins roster by trade value, as this season has gone downhill quickly. Things haven't gotten any better, as they've just been swept by the division leading White Sox, and now find themselves down 10 games of ChiSox just 35 games into the 2021 campaign. If things continue to travel down this road, which it seems like they will, the Twins may have the most talent of any seller come July. In part 1, I took a look at players who have regressed or have massive contracts. Part 2 featured some names that carried the Twins in 2019, as well as a few players who will see their contract expire after this season. Today, we take a look at the final 6 players in the ranking.

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6. RH DH Nelson Cruz 

If I was simply ranking the talent on the Minnesota Twins, there is no doubt that Nelson Cruz would be in the top 3, but that isn't what these rankings are. Nelson Cruz is without a doubt one of the top hitters in the MLB, despite being nearly 40 years old. However, he plays at a non-premium position, and there aren't many teams that are in need of a DH. Going through the list of the contenders, you have the Houston Astros who have Yordan Alverez. Cross them off. The White Sox have rookie of the year contender Yermin Mercedes. I don't see it. The New York Yankees have Stanton, the Red Sox have JD Martinez, and the Blue Jays have Rowdy Tellez and a handful of outfielders who can fill in at DH when George Springer is healthy. That leaves me with two teams: Oakland and Tampa Bay. Neither of these teams are known to be big spenders, and I'm not real confident that they'd have DH as their top need come July.  I think the most likely scenario sees Nelson Cruz staying put in Minnesota, and reevaluating his options in the off-season, when the NL is likely to add the DH

Prediction: Not Moved

 

5. LH RP Taylor Rogers

Taylor Rogers has been one of the best relievers over the past 4 seasons, despite his struggles in 2020, the advanced metrics still love Taylor Rogers. I agree with these numbers. Like any reliever, Rogers is violate and certainly prone to going through a rough stretch, but there aren't many who are prone to this. If the Twins decided to move Rogers, I think he would be the best reliever moved mid-season. Rogers is due for his 4th and final year of arbitration in 2022, and then becomes a free agent in 2023. If the Twins decide that they are simply retooling, I think Rogers sticks around. However, if they decide to commit to a rebuild, I think Rogers is certainly moved. However, I'm hesitant to saying the front office will, or should, commit to a rebuild. This is especially true on May 14th. With an already bad bullpen, trading Rogers would make 2022s bullpen abysmal. 

Prediction: Not Moved

 

4. RH SS Andrelton Simmons

Andrelton Simmons was brought in on a one year contract to improve the Minnesota Twins infield defense, and he has certainly succeed at that. Simmons has been credited with saving 2 runs in 200 innings at SS, which puts him on pace to finish the year with between 10-12. We know Simmons isn't a great hitter, but he doesn't need to be to have a positive impact on a game. Much like Byron Buxton of the past, who won games despite struggling mightily at the plate, Simmons is the best of the best at his position, and teams know that. Simmons contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and that makes him attractive to a potential buyer. The Twins could negotiate an extension, but I'm not sure I see that, especially with a loaded free agent class at the position. I'm almost certain that Simba will be moved before the July 30th trade deadline. 

Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers

Potential Prospects: RH OF Tristen Lutz (3, AA), LHP Aaron Ashby (5, AAA), RH SS Eduardo Garcia (8, R)

 

3. RH SP Kenta Maeda

Kenta Maeda was one of the best starting pitchers in all of the MVP in the 60 game season, and looked like an absolute steal after being brought over for Brusadar Graterol in the 3-team trade which sent Mookie Betts to LA. However, Maeda has been roughed up in his first few starts in 2021, and doesn't look like the same pitcher we saw last season. The most notable difference between his great year last year, and the struggles this year is his control and command. We saw Maeda dissect lineups by throwing pitches exactly where the catcher was set up, and rarely leaving a hittable pitch over the plate. That has all turned on its head this year, and Kenta looks like the same version LA saw. Everyone knew regression was likely, but I don't think Kenta is this bad. Kenta is a top 3 arm on a playoff rotation, with potential to be higher. Kenta is signed for the next 2 years, but at only 3M per. This is a steal of a deal, and I see no reason for the Twins to sell low on King Kenta.

Prediction: Not Moved

 

2. RH SP Jose Berrios

Jose Berrios has been near the top of the Twins rotation for the past 3 years, and has been a top 50 starter every season. He hasn't taken the step from being TOR to an ace that many Twins fans hoped he would, but he's still very, very valuable. Berrios is set for his final year in arbitration following this season, which will likely see him making between 8-10 million. Again, this is a steal for the quality of pitcher Berrios is. We know the Twins have made an offer to extend Berrios contract in the past, but clearly that hasn't come to fruition. I suspect a Berrios extension to be somewhere in the ballpark of 100-110 million dollars over 4 years, which I would offer if I was the Twins. If an extension can't be worked out this offseason, and the Twins are in this same boat next year, it's likely Berrios would be moved at the deadline. However, I see no reason to sell on him now.

Prediction: Not Moved

 

1. RH CF Byron Buxton

The list rounds out with one of the most exciting players in baseball with Byron Buxton. We saw Byron take the MVP-level step forward through a month this season, but like years past, Buxton found himself on the injured list. I don't think you can fault Byron for being an often injured player, nor can you blame the Twins. It's simply part of the game. Some are prone, and some aren't. In a similar boat to Berrios, we know a contract extension has been offered to Buxton, but he felt it was too low. Sitting on top of baseball references leaderboard for WAR 35 games into the season, despite only playing in 24 games, certainly isn't going to make him any cheaper. I hesistate to speculate on what an extension for Buxton would look like, as he's likely a player who won't age well as he relies on both speed, and bat speed to be effective. He doesn't draw walks (nor should he, crushing pitches he can hit is better than trying to draw a walk), and he gets hurt a lot. I think the Twins would want an extension with multiple team options thrown in, and I'm not sure Buck would want that. However, it's a season too early to consider trading Byron.

Prediction: Not Moved

 

Recap

Below I have listed the players that I expect to be traded, as well as who the logical replacement is the rest of the way in what appears to be a "figure out what we have for the future" type of year, rather than a contend for the World Series year. All in all, I expect 7 trades to be made, at least based on these rankings. However, I would be fairly shocked if the Twins traded 7 MLB players off their roster. If I was setting the over/under on such a thing, I would set it at 4.5. 

Andrelton Simmons - Brewers (Nick Gordon)

Michael Pineda - Yankees (Randy Dobnak)

Tyler Duffey - Phillies (Edwar Colina)

Mitch Garver - Braves (Ryan Jeffers)

J.A. Happ - Brewers (Lewis Thorpe)

Hansel Robles - A's (Dakota Chalmers)

Alex Colome - Giants (Yennier Cano)

Note: All prospect rankings come from Fangraphs.

 

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I agree with most of this, except that I believe the chance of Cruz being traded is close to 100%. No matter if the return is good or not, he'll almost surely be moved. There aren't many teams that need a DH but literally every single playoff team wants Cruz on their roster, if only for pinch-hitting duty.

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That is a pretty solid list. I guess I don't see them getting rid of Garver just yet as he is only two years removed from a silver slugger there and catchers that can hit are very difficult to find.  Even if his D is sub par his bat can still be potent.  Too many years of cheap control and just too much value to give up on him IMO.  If you want to see a really bad hitting catcher watch Rortvedt at the plate.  I think Mitch is a long shot to get traded at this point.

 

Also not sure on Duffey.  He might come around yet.  He seems a little out of shape and missing his spots to start the year.  If he gains a little more gas on the ball and sharpens things up I think he could rebound but we will see.

 

Everyone else is on one year deals so moving them would be prudent if they are out of it which seems like a near certainty right now.  Robles and Colome would be addition by subtraction IMO.  Yes they have been that bad.  But those guys and Happ won't fetch much on the market.  I would hate to see Pineda go but he is the one guy they could maybe get a good return on.

 

Like Brock I think they would find a team maybe even a National league team that would be interested in Cruz.  Probably a team that would want the inside track to sign him next year.  I don't think he would be in the Twins plans for next year given the price he is likely to command so getting something would be better than nothing and if multiple teams are interested they could get a good player in return.

 

Simmons won't have much value either so even if the Twins trade everyone of these guys the return likely won't move the needle much.  If they traded Rogers, Buxton or Berrios then they could net a good return but hard to say if they are willing to take a risk like that or not.

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2 hours ago, Dman said:

That is a pretty solid list. I guess I don't see them getting rid of Garver just yet as he is only two years removed from a silver slugger there and catchers that can hit are very difficult to find.  Even if his D is sub par his bat can still be potent.  Too many years of cheap control and just too much value to give up on him IMO.  If you want to see a really bad hitting catcher watch Rortvedt at the plate.  I think Mitch is a long shot to get traded at this point.

 

Also not sure on Duffey.  He might come around yet.  He seems a little out of shape and missing his spots to start the year.  If he gains a little more gas on the ball and sharpens things up I think he could rebound but we will see.

 

Everyone else is on one year deals so moving them would be prudent if they are out of it which seems like a near certainty right now.  Robles and Colome would be addition by subtraction IMO.  Yes they have been that bad.  But those guys and Happ won't fetch much on the market.  I would hate to see Pineda go but he is the one guy they could maybe get a good return on.

 

Like Brock I think they would find a team maybe even a National league team that would be interested in Cruz.  Probably a team that would want the inside track to sign him next year.  I don't think he would be in the Twins plans for next year given the price he is likely to command so getting something would be better than nothing and if multiple teams are interested they could get a good player in return.

 

Simmons won't have much value either so even if the Twins trade everyone of these guys the return likely won't move the needle much.  If they traded Rogers, Buxton or Berrios then they could net a good return but hard to say if they are willing to take a risk like that or not.

I disagree on Simmons not being overly valuable. He’s not going to get a top 5 prospect from a good system, but he’s going to get a top 10 prospect or two. He doesn’t hit a ton, but like I said he doesn’t have to to have a winning impact on a team. That’s more valuable than most fans realize, I think. After what you and Brock have said on Cruz, I think it may be likely to see him traded, but I seriously doubt it’s to an NL team. There aren’t many NL teams rostering a man who’s hasn’t played in the field in years. I just don’t see it. I could see it to an AL team like I said, but I still lean no. 

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I can see us trading Cruz, Simmons, maybe Happ if he prefers a trade, and Alex Colome. I think Robles is a possibility now that I see he will be a free agent after the season.  But with the way he is pitching he might be extended on a 2 year 5 or 6 million deal or traded all the same.  On Pineda I can see us keeping him and resigning him to another 2 year deal.  Do you think he will be able to get 3 years at his age and injury history?  Could Sano be traded? (I doubt it but....)

 

I still have hope we can turn this season around.  we really just need 1 more bat to come alive and about 4 or 5 relievers.  We could trade for a reliever, bring up a reliever and have someone snap out of their slump and have a workable pen too.  and make a comeback.....

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1 hour ago, Brandon said:

I can see us trading Cruz, Simmons, maybe Happ if he prefers a trade, and Alex Colome. I think Robles is a possibility now that I see he will be a free agent after the season.  But with the way he is pitching he might be extended on a 2 year 5 or 6 million deal or traded all the same.  On Pineda I can see us keeping him and resigning him to another 2 year deal.  Do you think he will be able to get 3 years at his age and injury history?  Could Sano be traded? (I doubt it but....)

 

I still have hope we can turn this season around.  we really just need 1 more bat to come alive and about 4 or 5 relievers.  We could trade for a reliever, bring up a reliever and have someone snap out of their slump and have a workable pen too.  and make a comeback.....

Anytning is possible, but with each passing day (and loss) it gets less and less likely. Eventually you have to shift your focus and expectations onto the future, and I think we’re nearly, if not already, to that point. I think Robles will be traded. Same with Pineda. There’s nothing stopping you from trading them and then resigning them if there’s truly interest in bringing them back. 

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1 hour ago, Mill1634 said:

Anytning is possible, but with each passing day (and loss) it gets less and less likely. Eventually you have to shift your focus and expectations onto the future, and I think we’re nearly, if not already, to that point. I think Robles will be traded. Same with Pineda. There’s nothing stopping you from trading them and then resigning them if there’s truly interest in bringing them back. 

I've seen teams come back from farther behind.  Oakland has done it a few times.  we just need a good jolt and a fixed bullpen.

 

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We may still have time, but this is unwatchable.  

For the record, even if you are retooling, if you cannot extend Berrios or Buxton by early to mid July, this is the point in time where they would have the most value.  Buxton will fetch multiple top pieces from a good farm system, think Gore from San Diego.  Berrios would certainly fetch good pieces also.  You must trade them now if they become sure to leave, my guess in that Buxton is in that class.

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Right now our biggest trade chip might be Kepler. The Yankees may be looking for a center fielder if Hicks needs surgery and they also need a lefty hitter with power. The question is- what can we get from them? That will determine if Kepler gets traded. Otherwise, all free agents after the season are in play and Cruz is definitely in play for the best return if traded to a playoff team needing a DH. I don't know if Garver is a free agent after this season but, if he is not, I would never trade him. Simmonds can maybe be signed for 3 years fairly cheap and could be an important piece going forward as you gotta have a good shortstop. Keep the 3 main starters together if you can. Don't trade Pineda as he has been consistently good for us.

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14 hours ago, Mill1634 said:

I disagree on Simmons not being overly valuable. He’s not going to get a top 5 prospect from a good system, but he’s going to get a top 10 prospect or two. He doesn’t hit a ton, but like I said he doesn’t have to to have a winning impact on a team. That’s more valuable than most fans realize, I think. After what you and Brock have said on Cruz, I think it may be likely to see him traded, but I seriously doubt it’s to an NL team. There aren’t many NL teams rostering a man who’s hasn’t played in the field in years. I just don’t see it. I could see it to an AL team like I said, but I still lean no. 

Normally I would agree with you but his defense hasn't been exactly stellar to start the year and if his bat regresses to his norm then I don't see him as that "special" anymore.  He might bring back a top 10 prospect depending on team need at the deadline but it seems remote given his current play.  Hard to say much of anything at this point though with the deadline so far away as player performance and team needs can change from now until then. 

I also agree with you that I doubt the Twins will even be able to find trade partners for several of the players they would be willing to trade.  It takes two to make a deal and another team would have to value the deal for our players more than deals from other teams.  Given what we are likely to be offering that seems unlikely. 

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1 hour ago, Dman said:

Normally I would agree with you but his defense hasn't been exactly stellar to start the year and if his bat regresses to his norm then I don't see him as that "special" anymore.  He might bring back a top 10 prospect depending on team need at the deadline but it seems remote given his current play.  Hard to say much of anything at this point though with the deadline so far away as player performance and team needs can change from now until then. 

I also agree with you that I doubt the Twins will even be able to find trade partners for several of the players they would be willing to trade.  It takes two to make a deal and another team would have to value the deal for our players more than deals from other teams.  Given what we are likely to be offering that seems unlikely. 

His defense hasn’t been the gold glove caliber that we’ve seen in the past, no, but it’s still above major league average. He also has the reputation for being a very good defender which definitely holds weight around the league. Personally, out of all the expiring deals (Happ, Pineda, Simmons, Cruz, Robles, Colome), I think the best prospect return you see is for Simmons. Big Mike could fetch a better return, but right now I lean Simmons on that group of players. 

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1 hour ago, twinfan said:

Right now our biggest trade chip might be Kepler. The Yankees may be looking for a center fielder if Hicks needs surgery and they also need a lefty hitter with power. The question is- what can we get from them? That will determine if Kepler gets traded. Otherwise, all free agents after the season are in play and Cruz is definitely in play for the best return if traded to a playoff team needing a DH. I don't know if Garver is a free agent after this season but, if he is not, I would never trade him. Simmonds can maybe be signed for 3 years fairly cheap and could be an important piece going forward as you gotta have a good shortstop. Keep the 3 main starters together if you can. Don't trade Pineda as he has been consistently good for us.

This is a good point and something that could surely happen. I just don’t think the front office is ready to tear down and give up on this year yet, which was stated in an article on the Athletic by Aaron Gleeman a few days ago. I doubt it changed this quickly, but if the Yankees blow your socks off with an offer, I think you have to take it. Just for fun, a few players I could see potentially headlining a deal are  Luis Medina, Austin Wells, or Luis Gil (former Twin sent in the Jake Cave deal) 

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Polanco, Arraez, Kepler, and Rogers have the greatest value not counting rookies/prospects. Berrios and Buxton are behind that trio and Robles might interest a couple of teams. Cruz might help a few teams but Donaldson has too much money coming in the next few years. Simmons might bring a low prospect but the Angels let him go for reason. Garver and Sano are only useful at DH if they find their bats. Perhaps if the NL adds the DH, they might have value. The Twins built their team to mash and they are not hitting.

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19 minutes ago, tony&rodney said:

Polanco, Arraez, Kepler, and Rogers have the greatest value not counting rookies/prospects. Berrios and Buxton are behind that trio and Robles might interest a couple of teams. Cruz might help a few teams but Donaldson has too much money coming in the next few years. Simmons might bring a low prospect but the Angels let him go for reason. Garver and Sano are only useful at DH if they find their bats. Perhaps if the NL adds the DH, they might have value. The Twins built their team to mash and they are not hitting.

Garver has an OPS+ of 105, so better than league average. I think he’s hitting fine with room to grow. Sano has obviously been horrible. I agree on Donaldson as I’ve previously stated. I think twins fans undervalue Simmons on the market, but that’s just a personal opinion. There’s a good chance we’ll find out. I strongly disagree that berrios and buxton are behind those three you listed at the top of your message. Buxton has been a top 5 hitter in all of baseball this year and would get a HUGE return. Polanco would get a good return if he stays hitting the way he has the past 15 games, but clubs will want a bigger sample. Berrios easily has more value than Rogers, and it’s not even close. Jose is a top 40 starter and young to be on the trade market. Relievers just aren’t worth that much prospect wise unless you’re a Josh hader or Aroldis Chapman. Rogers is very good, but he isn’t that. As for Arraez, he wasn’t featured in this series as I see absolutely no avenue where he is traded. He I were to rank him, I think I would have him ranked 4th behind Kenta. He’s a very good hitter with a unique skillset in today’s game, but he doesn’t really have a defensive position (he’s bad at 2nd and bad in the OF), and doesn’t have the power most teams want out of a DH. I personally think the value of having Arraez on the team would outweigh whatever you were to get back for him. 

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