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Ted Schwerzler

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It’s been a few days since the Minnesota Twins allowed the dust to settle on their 2021 Trade Deadline moves. With some big names leaving the organization, and some big prospects entering, it’s time to take a look at the talent that moved places.

The headliner was obviously the Jose Berrios move. As a fan, this one was always going to be hard to stomach. Berrios was drafted by the organization, developed, and became one of the best pitchers in Twins history. As it became increasingly evident that he would not sign a long-term extension with the club, moving him made more and more sense.

Derek Falvey had to maximize the return on Berrios is there was going to be a deal, and he did absolutely that. I noted Austin Martin being my desired target should a swap with the Blue Jays be the plan of action. Still though, getting controllable pitching needed to happen considering Minnesota was moving an ace. To get both Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson was an absolute coup, and it was the strongest return any swap generated during the deadline.

 

wrote up the Cruz swap last week and getting Joe Ryan looks like a very strong return for a guy that’s an impending free agent and had limited suitors. While Nelson Cruz is great, there was never a point in which I thought he’d bring back much to work with. Instead, the Twins got Team USA’s game one starter in Ryan, and a flier that’s close to major league ready in Drew Strotman. No matter how Falvey organized this one, he did incredibly well.

Flipping J.A. Happ to the Cardinals was impressive as well. I’ve kicked the notion that he could be seen as valuable to someone for weeks. That always was tongue in cheek with how poorly he’s pitched but leave it to St. Louis to make me look smart. John Gant is under team control in 2022, and that gives the Twins a veteran arm with a longer runway to decide a future on. He can both start and relieve, although he’s currently in Rocco Baldelli’s pen. Gant has pitched well above expectations this year, and his FIP suggests some massive regression is coming. That said, if the Twins can unlock another tier, they may have something to work with down the line.

It wasn’t unexpected to see Hansel Robles moved, although I did think that Alex Colome may wind up being the more coveted reliever. Boston sent back a non-top 30 arm in Alex Scherff, but the 23-year-old has big strikeout numbers and is already at Double-A. Although he’s a reliever, that’s still a useful arm to add for an organization needing to develop pitchers for the highest level. 

There has to be some criticism directed at Falvey and Thad Levine, although none of it should be for what they did. Instead, not trading Michael Pineda or Andrelton Simmons looks like a missed opportunity. Both are impending free agents and serve no purpose to this club down the stretch. I’d like to see Pineda back next season, but that could happen on the open market anyways. There’s no reason for this team to hold onto any semblance of respectability and turning the results over to youth makes more sense than ever. Simmons has been fine defensively, but he’s non-existent at the plate and some contender could’ve parted with a bag of balls for a shortstop upgrade.

When the bell run on July 31, we had seen the most exciting trade deadline in Major League Baseball history come to an end. The Minnesota Twins bettered their future, and made some high impact moves that both Falvey and Levine should be praised for. Now it’ll be up to the organizational infrastructure to develop and best position these talents in an opportunity to bear fruit and turn the tides of the big-league club.

For more from Off The Baggy, click here. Follow @tlschwerz

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I may be one of the few who like Simmons for a team that wants to be respectable. He will probably win a gold glove again this year. Although his batting numbers are not good he has had many timely hits. Unless we have a major league caliber defender at shortstop for next year, I would bring him back if the price is right.

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I agree it was a win for the FO this year. I wasn't surprised they didn't find a buyer for Simmons or Colome considering the contracts and seasons they both have had, I am surprised (but kind of glad) that Pineda is still here, and hope its a sign that they plan to extend or re-sign him. I will miss Jose and Nellie and hope they meet in the playoffs, And maybe pull for one of them to get to hoist the trophy! I will be really thrilled if the FO decides to bring back Nellie next season!

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It sounds as though there was no market for Simmons at the deadline, which does not come as a surprise with a .560 OPS. 

My thoughts on Pineda is that Falvine stuck to there high return guns similar to how they handled Cruz and Berrios. This totally worked in those cases where the Twins received premium returns. My guess is the Twins were asking for a 6-12 prospect and no one wanted to keep giving the Twins an overpayment for Pineda. My initial reaction was similar to yours in that this could be a miss. In reflection though, the overall strategy Falvine had at the deadline was excellent, so I don't blame them for keeping it consistent. 

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I think they did good on the players they got, the one criticism I have is the two guys from Tampa require 40 man roster space (one now, one for next year), Which I believe is why Tampa was willing to trade them, they basically cleared 3 spots for next year, while the Twins added one player, thus one less spot. Which means they basically have to cut a pitcher next year that is currently on the 40 this year.

As for Gant, having him on the roster this year, mean one less prospect can be added and brought up to evaluate.

 

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10 hours ago, Richard Swerdlick said:

I may be one of the few who like Simmons for a team that wants to be respectable.

You're describing a bottom-feeder team. I don't actually care very much how my team fills in some holes when they are in that role. Simmons would be fine, not-Simmons would be fine.

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Thanks for your notes.  I am wait and see.  I hope Berrios rises to Cy Young - not to show up the Twins, but because I have always been a fan of his.  Getting rid of Happ and Robles is a plus, but I wonder if they will benefit from getting out of the Twins way.  I read Shoemaker's remarks and they make some sense.  Veterans do not need to start over.  

Next year looks like a struggle and I have no idea how they will handle it.  I may be the only one who would rather go a year with the home grown pitchers and see what we have rather than signing some middling FA arms.  We already got rid of the best FA, so let the young guys keep growing. 

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Two things that stuck out in the article that made me pause; one always makes me pause, the other is relatively new.  One, losing proven major league talent for guys who have never seen a major league dugout has always been a problem, not only for the Twins, but for half of MLB.  I said this before and I will say it until the cows come home: competitive balance always changes in August, and not for the better.  The best players changing hands changes which teams are playoff caliber.  And getting nothing but hope in return, no matter how great the hope is, doesn't change that.  Which just happens to segue into number two: "there's no reason for this team to hold onto any semblance of respectability" makes a mockery of the competitive balance of MLB if teams go down this road.  This is not a tryout camp, it is competitive major league baseball and all 30 teams owe the game, if not the fans, a competitive game to test playoff caliber teams.  When one or more fold up tent and begin spring training early, it embarrasses the game itself.  Plan for the future, but put your team on the field.  That is my sermon for the day.  :)

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On 8/3/2021 at 12:36 AM, Richard Swerdlick said:

I may be one of the few who like Simmons for a team that wants to be respectable. He will probably win a gold glove again this year. Although his batting numbers are not good he has had many timely hits. Unless we have a major league caliber defender at shortstop for next year, I would bring him back if the price is right.

Count me in as one who prefers the best defensive SS in MLB. I may be overvaluing SS defense, but I'll take Simmons-Polanco over Polanco-Arraez or Polanco-Gordon.

I really never want to see Polanco at SS again. The downgrade on defense is quite noticeable and probably worth about 4 wins a season (roughly: Polanco -20 runs, Simmons +20 runs). That's huge and worth the drop off in offense IMHO.

 

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