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A Possible Pitcher Trade Target: Zac Gallen


cjm0926

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I was recently thinking about how everybody wants the Twins to trade with Miami for pitching, and rightfully so, but I tried to think outside the box and I came up with Zac Gallen as a possible trade target.

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Zac Gallen played his college ball at the University of North Carolina. He was then drafted in the 3rd Round of the 2016 Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. Then, in late 2019, he was sent along with another possible Twins trade target, Sandy Alcantara, to Miami for Marcell Ozuna. About a year and a half later, Gallen made his Major League debut on June 20, 2019, for the Miami Marlins. A little more than a month later, he was shipped off to Arizona for Jazz Chisholm. He is currently 26 years old and will not turn 27 until August.

Zac Gallen finds himself coming off a career worst year in his first full 162 game season. He pitched a solid chunk of the 2019 season, and as everyone knows, the 2020 season was only 60 games, so not a huge showing. In 2021, Gallen pitched to the tune of a 4.30 ERA with a 4.25 FIP. His ERA+ for the year was 99 (100 is league average) which places him as about a league average pitcher for that year. Before 2021, Gallen had never posted an ERA+ below 150, which is pretty insane, albeit only in 2 short years. He also had 3 stints on the 10 day IL in 2021, but before that I couldn't find any injury history, which is a very good thing. He still was able to pitch 121.1 innings in 2021. Also, Gallen posted a 2.3 WAR in 2021. Gallen had a very good K rate in 2021, 26.6% to be exact, which places him in the 70th percentile. But coming with that is a below average walk rate, which in 2021 was 9.4%, which is better than previous years but still not very good. That placed him in the 36th percentile. If you are one for advanced stats, I will post his 2020 and 2021 Baseball Savant profiles below.

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Obviously 2021 looks very bleak besides a few stats, but I think it was just a "down" year, which still made him at worst an MLB average starter. I think the 2020 stats are more of a true showing for Gallen.

With Gallen you are getting a 5/6 pitch starter. Gallen's main pitch is his fastball, which makes sense, it averaged 93.4 MPH in 2021. His second pitch is his changeup, which he threw 16.7% of the time, and his third pitch is a curve, which he threw 12.5% of the time. His other pitches are a slider and cutter, which he threw 8.5% and 8.3% of the time. Baseball savant also says he has a sinker, but threw it 0.4% of the time in 2021, so it could have been a few game thing or just a misreading. Gallen is a fairly high strikeout pitcher, 25-30% throughout his career, but also walks his fair share, between 8-12% throughout his career, although it is trending downwards. Gallen had good success in his first 2 years, not having an ERA above 3 until this year. He also finished top 10 in NL Cy Young voting in 2020, at 9th place.

Now onto Gallen's current situation. Gallen is currently pre-arbitration, so he will be making near the league minimum. He is under team control through 25, with arbitration from 2023-25. He will be very affordable to say the least. He is playing on a Diamondbacks team that is nowhere near contention, playing in the most stacked division in baseball, the NL West. The Dodgers aren't going anywhere soon, but the Padres underperformed in 2021, and the Giants could lose some key pieces in free agency, and the Rockies, well, they're the Rockies. So the Diamondbacks could be willing to trade Gallen for younger talent, likely a top prospect or two in the Twins system. Gallen's name was also brought up a little near last years trade deadline, although not to the Twins, making a trade slightly more plausible.

I cannot think of a specific package the Twins could send over for Gallen. Baseball Trade Values ranks Gallen at a 47.7 value, being Arizona's most valuable trade chip. To put that into perspective, the Twins highest trade chip according to the website is Alex Kirilloff, at 33.6. The Diamondbacks don't have tons of gaping holes like you would expect a 52-110 team to have. Obviously they need pitching help, but It wouldn't make a lot of sense for the Twins to trade young pitching for more young pitchers. They do not need a catcher, which is a position we have a talent surplus at. The Diamondbacks have lots of passable veterans filling in at positions, like David Peralta, Josh Rojas and Cristian Walker. Their best position player without a doubt is Ketel Marte, patrolling centerfield. The Twins could possibly Trade Larnach to help with the D-Backs corner outfield situation. Larnach is a young, cheap outfielder with tons of potential. I am almost positive the Diamondbacks would want some pitching back in a deal, possibly requiring a young arm like Woods-Richardson, Canterino, or Balazovic to name a few. They could also go the route of trying to get a top prospect like what they traded for Gallen. Royce Lewis and Austin Martin fit that bill, especially if the Twins sign a shortstop for the long term in free agency. I have not called the Diamondbacks front office so there is no way I could know exactly what they want or even if they would still trade Gallen so these are all just guesses.

Although it is very unlikely, I had fun doing research on a future star in Zac Gallen. I truly believe he could become an ace in the future, with the floor of a #3 starter. This offseason brings a bunch of questions for many teams, including the Twins, so obviously we all want to solve them. Would you guys rather jump into contention now at the cost of some very good prospects, or wait it out and have a few bad years and try and make a run with the incoming crop? Drop a comment and let me know, thank you for reading!

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I don't know how high the price would be for Gallen but he is an interesting trade target. 

As far as the end of your blog goes, I don't think we have to suffer through a few "bad" years before we compete again. I also don't think we need to go nuts signing a bunch of expensive FA pitchers to compete. I've said here before, sign Pineda and sign and for 2 more in the same "class and range" as him, pick up 1 or 2 bullpen arms with experience, not expensive closers, Sign or trade for a defensive ss that can hit enough to stay above the mendoza line, and this team will be competitive. Rough estimate 3 starters x 9mil=27 mil + 2 pen x 5mil=10 mil + 6mil ss=43mil. That may actually be a bit high as I think going the trade route with 1 or 2 of those 6 positions would save $.

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We have spent the last few years stockpiling prospects, grading prospects, protecting prospects, and developing (as best we can) prospects.  It wouldn't hurt more than a little to use some of that depth of prospects in a trade or two.  There is nothing wrong with developing from within, even preferable at times, and there is nothing wrong with signing FA's as the need arises.  But there is also nothing wrong with trading for needs we otherwise didn't achieve through the first two.  And, in my extremely humble opinion, we have plenty of upper end prospects to entice a 110 loss team to part with some pitching, even if it means a couple of the young arms we have stockpiled.  And, if not AZ, then look to Miami, or even Oakland.  But find an arm or two that will be with us for awhile and is healthy enough to put some innings in, even if it means parting with some of our upper guys.  Make a pitch (pardon the pun) for Gallen.  

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Arizona got Zac for the same reason the Twins would trade for him. Cheap and showing promise. If had known he was available alst season, would've grabbed him then. Unless Arizona is thinking 3-4 years out and have no use to keeping this guy longterm, then yes they would happily trade for someone pretty sure to make the majors later in 2022 or be a regular in 2023...probably two names to keep them happy.

 

For any pitcher the Twins add from outside the organization, the lesser the Twins see the need to keep folks like Balazovic, Duran, Winder, Barnes, Stortman (not to mention Jax, Dobnak, Thorpe, Smeltzer) in their mix. I see 2022 being the last chance for the last four mentioned, even if they moved elsewhere. The fiorst five mentioned all have promise, maybe even as longterm assets...but will quickly wear out their options. Unless any of the nine arms I mention can switch to the bullpen with success.

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BPro has an article today that claims "The Diamondbacks' new pitching coach could help Gallen take the next step." I sort of doubt he will be traded.

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Very well researched!  I didn’t know much about Gallen prior to reading this, as I don’t follow much NL baseball, but young arms with past success and team control to be an SP3 or SP4 feels like a good value.  If we could package Arraez and a MiLb mid- value arm I’d take him or someone with a similar pedigree. 

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13 hours ago, dougd said:

BPro has an article today that claims "The Diamondbacks' new pitching coach could help Gallen take the next step." I sort of doubt he will be traded.

That is kind of what I am thinking as well, but never say never. But if the D-backs did start/are listening to offers, he would be a main target of mine. I guess its just the offseason and I am bored, haha.

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I'd be interested, but after only 7 MLB starts he was traded for a top 60 SS prospect. Even after a down year, I'd think his track record would make his value increase. I'm not saying 'no' but I'm guessing it would still take Lewis and one of the top pitching prospects.

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2 hours ago, nicksaviking said:

I'd be interested, but after only 7 MLB starts he was traded for a top 60 SS prospect. Even after a down year, I'd think his track record would make his value increase. I'm not saying 'no' but I'm guessing it would still take Lewis and one of the top pitching prospects.

Its certainly a random target, but it all depends what the Diamondbacks want and if they would even trade him. I also am guessing the asking price would be high, just don't know what package it would take. The only reason I could see the Diamondbacks trade him away now is because they won't be in contention for likely the next 5 years due to their stacked division, and every year that passes Gallen loses 1 year of team control, making him less valuable.

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