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To Trade or not To Trade (Hitter's Edition)




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To Trade or Not To Trade

The Twins enter the month of June as the team that is underperforming what predictions had them being their record is 22-34. As things look like right now they will probably be sellers come the trade deadline which is July 30th. This blog post will be about some players the Twins could trade. I will also say my explanation to “If I were the GM would I trade them” and what positions the Twins will need to get for them, and if I think the Twins would trade them. The Twins offense ranks 7th out of 15 AL teams with a .240 Batting Average. This is one of the reasons why the Twins are underperforming. 

The players who I think are definitely are going to be traded if the Twins sell are the players who are Free Agent’s after the season these players are: Nelson Cruz, Andrelton Simmons, J.A. Happ, Michael Pineda, Alex Colome who has a mutual agreement after the 2022 season, however I’d try to get whatever you could get for him, Hansel Robles, I believe these players will be traded if we become “sellers.”

Players who have more than 1 year left on their contract’s shouldn’t be off limits in trades besides Alex Kiriloff who looks like the real deal and Trevor Larnach who also looks like he’ll be a stud for the years to come, but the Twins would have to be swayed to move other players who have more than 1 year of club control. The first player I’ll talk about is Centerfielder Byron Buxton. I will name 3 players who I believe we could trade to acquire some top prospects or some money relief. 

Byron Buxton is a free agent after the 2022 season, so if we trade him now we should get a better package if we would trade him after the 2021 season. Sadly Buxton was put on the 10 day Injured List on Friday May 7th with a Right Hip strain while he was playing like a league MVP, Buxton’s hitting slash line before getting hurt was .370/.408/.772. A hitting slash line is a player’s batting average, on- base percentage, and their slugging percentage. If the Twins are thinking about trading Buxton we should expect a lot in return. Personally if I were the GM of the Twins I would keep Buxton and try to extend him in the offseason. The last couple of seasons the Twins have tried to extend Buxton but haven’t been able to agree to a contract. If Buxton becomes too rich for us, another team will have to look at Buxton’s injury history before giving up any top prospects, the Twins will need multiple top prospects from the team Buxton gets traded to if he is indeed traded. I believe Buxton will remain a member of the Minnesota Twin in 2022 because of the hefty price it will cost to require him. If the Twins were to trade Buxton the Twins would hopefully acquire some top pitching prospects from the team who is acquiring him. 

The next player I will talk about Josh Donaldson but for a different reason. On Friday June 4th 2021 Mark DeRosa, a MLB Network Analyst and a former player himself, did a trade proposal. His trade proposal involved Donaldson and $15M going to the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and Milwaukee’s #6 prospect LHP Antoine Kelly. I don’t think the Twins will do this trade because I think 2021 is an outlier year, I believe the Twins can return to a winning ball club with some additions to the 2022 team instead of subtractions. I however would really think about trading Donaldson because of his injury history. Donaldson signed a 4yr/92M deal. In the first year of his contract there were only 60 games because COVID. Donaldson, however, sat out half the shortened season because a calf problem that has bothered him for quite some time, he also missed the short 2 game playoff series against Houston. This is the only reason I would think about trading him, again I think we can win next year, but if we were to trade Donaldson that might be a blow to the Twins 2022 playoff chances. As of June 5th, 2021 Donaldson is hitting .258/.360/.465 with 7 home runs and 22 runs batted in. 

The last player I will talk about in this blog post is 1st basemen Miguel Sano. Sano is having a 2021 season that he would like to forget Sano is hitting .157/.270/.393 with 10 home runs and 25 runs batted in, he is also has 21 walks nd 63 strikeouts in 140 at-bats he is striking out too much. The last few seasons Sano has stretches where he can carry the team but he just has too many stretches where he doesn’t have competitive at-bats. Something I agreed with is on Nash Walker’s latest Locked On podcast he had Matt Braun on and Matt thought he would trade Sano to try to acquire a team’s prospect in the 20 range. I think if the Twins can find a team that wants to give up a prospect in the 20 range I think the Twins would do it, If I were the GM of the Twins I would trade him for a prospect in a team’s 20 range, because I don’t think he fits well on the 2022 Twins roster because I think we will put a winning roster in 2022. Sano is due $9,250,000 in 2022 and has a club option for $14,000,000. If we can’t find a team that wants to trade for Sano I think the best thing for the team is to DFA him and hope he clears waivers and goes to St. Paul. Sano has 2,112 career at-bats in those at- bats he has 897 strikeouts and only 286 walks.

On Monday I will come out with 3 pitchers who are under contract for 2022 that I think the Twins can consider trading and what I would do if I were the GM. In these trades and in the trades I would do involving our pitchers I would look for power starting or relieving arms. The Twins have the 13th ranked pitching staff out of 15 AL teams that is very bad.  




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I agree that this is an outlier year and I would be very careful trading away most of our hitters. I think other GMs are going to try to under bid everyone anyway sensing blood in the water. Pitching is our problem, much more than hitting. Might also need new field management. Not blaming RB but you cant fire the team so you fire the manager. 

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With Buxton and Kepler due back and Gordon showing (so far) he can handle MLB pitching, and Garver due back in July, I would for sure entertain offers for Cruz and Simmons. I don't think Sano will draw any interest, but DFAing him should also be considered. The everyday line-up could look something like this: C - Jeffers, 1B - Kirilloff, 2B - Arraez, SS - Polanco, 3B - Donaldson, LF - Larnach, CF - Buxton, RF - Kepler, DH - Garver. Bench players would be Gordon, Astudillo, Refsnyder, and take your pick of Garlick/Rooker/Riddle or whoever may have been acquired in one of the trades.

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Yes to trading Happ, Shoemaker and probably Colome, assuming you can get anything for them. (I say probably on Colome as he's been unusually poor but is showing life as of late. Can he build trade value yet?) I don't WANT to trade Cruz but he may have value to a handful of contending teams and couple bring a decent A level prospect or a AA level pitcher with a live arm transitioning to the pen.

IMO, nobody will want Donaldson, not because he isn't z fine player, but because of the contract. And by the Twins kick in enough $ to make a trade palatable, I'm not sure the return is better than keeping him. He's actually, probably, more tradeable in 2023 with some cash to cover a potential 2024 buyout. 

Sano, IMO is a more likely enticement to teams that woukd be willing to gamble on his production and age, 29yo in July, and some upside knowing how good he can be. But like Donaldson, are the Twins better off then just keeping him? Or do they feel enough roster crunch and want to free up some $ for 2022?

Pineda might actually bring back a decent A or AA prospect of similar nature as Cruz, but only if he gets healthy again.

Will probably need a SS for 2022. There will be options in the off-season to consider, including bringing back Simmons. If you could get something for him now, take it. 

Personally, I think re-signing the 30yo Robles for next season will bring greater value than whatever they might acquire via trade.

In a year where everything that could go wrong and seemingly has gone wrong, the Twins, unfortunately,  don't really have many/any valuable trade assets unless they begin to gut the roster. And even if they wanted to do that, I would expect it to take place in the off-season to allow for better evaluation of the roster and the system. Plus, we still have 2/3 of the season to play. I don't see a gut of the team at this point, if at all.

I know it's an unpopular position with a lot of people, but considering the total aberration that I feel this season is, I'm pretty much in favor of bringing back anyone not on a 1yr deal while continuing to play the prospects on the roster right now, and continue 2nd half promotions to AAA for a number of players and auditions for at least a handful of pitchers once Happ, Shoemaker and potentially others are gone.

THEN we consider a couple keybp FA signings and maybe a trade or two if it makes sense.

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First if you can't get Buxton to agree to an extension you have to trade him if it works.  My guess with next year being unknown you will not get good value for him (unless you can find a bidding war).  Gordon right  now is SSS, give it another month before deciding what to do with him.  He or Polanco could man short for a year until Lewis or Javier (hope, hope) arrive and take the position.  Sano has no trade value except as a give away or a throw in.  Kepler could be the odd man out in the outfield if you are able to extend Buxton, and you have to find a spot for Arraez.  Cruz is as good as gone along with Simmons.  We still have a month, so this list may change, but that is what I see.  

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I agree with your take on Buxton.  I don't think you can get another team to pay what he is truly worth in prospects because of the injury history and uncertainty of signing him long term.  He likely generates a comp pick after the 2022 season.  

I think if the Twins can get a reasonable deal done for Donaldson they should do it.  He was supposed to be the missing piece defensively at third and be Cruz part two for HR power.  It feels like he has failed at both so far and been injured more than healthy to this point.  If another team want to take that on and we need to trade contracts or throw some money in I think it should be seriously looked at because I don't see him helping us they way we envisioned.

I am torn on Sano.  He has been better at drawing walks and he has had decent pitches to hit he just can't seem to hit them.  I agree he is pretty much a black hole bat right now but also feel he could get back to that rookie year performance where his eye and contact rate were All-Star worthy.  It seems like we would be selling incredibly low but given his lack of production it could be addition by subtraction.

Everyone left on a one year deal if a deal can be struck then do it.  If someone will take on Happs salary I would just dump him.  We need the 40 man space to audition other guys.

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I would do everything I could to move Sano.  SOMEBODY will be intrigued by his power and I'd take ANYTHING as long as they took on the remainder of his contract.  If I could move Sano and his contract I'd consider keeping Donaldson, but if I could get a reasonable return for Donaldson as well (and I wouldn't be looking for much) I'd send him packing as well. I need the Donaldson/Sano money to try to retain Buxton/Berrios.

Cruz---I love Nellie but it's time to send hi to a contender.

Happ & Shoemaker--If anyone wants them GREAT.  I doubt they do.  DFA 'em.

Simmons---Move him.  Play Polanco & Gorden at SS the rest of the year.  maybe give Wander Javier a look in Sept.  In 2022 we either need to spend some serious money on a FA SS or consider bringing Simmons back for cheap.

Pineda---He could bring something of value back.  Move him and entertain bringing him back in FA.

Robles---Ditto Pineda.

BUXTON/BERRIOS----these guys are the absolute key to what the Twins are for 2022, 2023 and maybe 2024.  We either invest in both going forward (in other words pay them handsomely) or move them both in trades that bring back a TON of young potential.  Both of these guys could get some serious talent back, but it put the Twins near the bottom of the division for a minimum of 2022 & 2023.  After winning the last two division titles I'm not sure I'm willing to do that.  We're not as bad as we've shown in 2021, but we certainly have MAJOR roster reconstruction to consider.  Our FO has failed far more than they've succeeded.  We built Target Field to KEEP players like Buxton & Berrios.  It's time for the Pohlad family to UP the payroll to keep this team relevant.  



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How about this package. Twins trade Simmons, Pineda and Kepler to the Yankees for Devi Garcia, Gleber Torres (or Miguel Andujar) and a minor leaguer or significant cash. The Yankees need a pitcher who can keep them in games and a left handed hitter. If I were the Twins GM I would extend Buxton, sign Cruz for 2022 now and never, never trade for Jackie Bradley Jr. We don't need him- ever. I would also not trade Donaldson at this time. Being sellers does not mean gutting the team. Most teams who are sellers don't compete for years- if ever. I know we will see what we can get for Cruz but I would not trade him (and sign him instead before the deadline) if a solid deal isn't there by July 20. I also might keep Shoemaker. i know he's been pretty bad but he hasn't pitched in several years, seems ok for long relief and has had to regain his footing. And probably nobody would want him. Happ won't get us anything but is not in our future plans. I'd also like to keep Simmons for defense but he's likely to go.

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