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Mill1634's Trade Deadline Blueprint: Going for It




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Welcome back to another Mill1634 blog entry. I've been away for a while as I just finished up my degree and started out my first job, but I've still been hanging around in the game threads. Like many Twins'' fans, I am thrilled with the way things have gone so far but am also realistic that this team is not in a position to threaten the true top teams in the league. However, I do not believe that they are all that far away. It's no secret that the bullpen has been horrendous outside of Griffin Jax and Jhoan Duran, and the rotation has been surprisingly productive despite being with Bailey Ober, Chris Paddack, and Kenta Maeda for a large portion of the year while also getting poor performance from Dylan Bundy and losing Sonny Gray to the IL twice. Part of the reason that the starting pitcher's have performed so well is because of the leash Rocco has had on his pitchers. However, this isn't as effective when the bullpen is terrible. Today, I'll attempt to fix both the rotation and the bullpen. I believe that it is realistic for the Twins to trade for two relievers and one starter, but today I'm going to be aggressive and add two starters and three relievers. I'll also add a surprising bat that would have many Twins fans excited. 


Identifying the Sellers

The first thing to do as the fake front office is to identify the sellers. I've put these teams into three separate categories: Will sell, should sell, and could sell. The first category is the true bottom teams in the league that I would be shocked if they don't have a selloff. The middle category are teams that are sticking around but don't have enough talent to really go for it. The final category, could sell, features a small set of teams that are either near or above .500 but are either over performing or play in a great division. 

Will Sell 


I don't think that any of this list is shocking or controversial at all. None of these teams have a shot at the playoffs, and a fair amount of them are at least another year from competing. The one team on here who will maybe hold onto some pieces is the Orioles, who have been playing good baseball as of late and are nearing a contention window. For that reason, I would be uber shocked if they trade someone with team control like reliever Felix Bautista. However, I think players that are expiring can be had.

Should sell


Again, this is a small set of teams that I think should sell, and probably will end up selling. The Marlins feature a great rotation and are near .500 for the first time in forever, but are in 4th place in the NLE, and really have no path to the playoffs. The DBacks are another team similar to the Orioles, where they are playing better baseball than they have in a long time, but have some pieces that can be sold off to future on 2023 and beyond. The final team, the Rangers, spent a ton of money this off-season but still aren't in a position to push for the playoffs. 


Could sell

White Sox 

Two AL central foes here in the final section in the White Sox and Guardians. I do not expect either of these teams to sell, but could see it. The White Sox have been playing poorly all year and certainly have some pieces that would get a haul at the deadline like Liam Hendricks or Lucas Giolito. The Guardians, who got insanely hot last month, have settled back to earth and aren't really a true thread in my mind. Their owner refuses to spend money which is the main reason that I have them in this section, but I think it would take a run of poor play leading up to the trade deadline to truly see a sell off. The Angels, who have been terrible despite having two of the best players on the planet, are a prime team that should sell but I don't think they will. 


The Goal

The goal of this trade deadline is to make the team a true contender. This is going to be tough for some fans as I am going to trade some prospects that are highly thought of, including by myself. However, I believe that this may be the best team the Twins will have with Byron Buxton on it, as Carlos Correa is unlikely to stick around. The goal is to add one starter that is better than both Joe Ryan and Sonny Gray, and another starter that I am comfortable starting in game 4 of the divisional series. As far as the bullpen, I want to add an arm that I am comfortable throwing in the 8th or 9th inning, and arm that is in the Griffin Jax/Caleb Thielbar tier, and a left handed pitcher, as I'm not uber high on Jovani Moran's control issues playing out well in the playoffs.


Acquire RH SP Tyler Mahle from Cincinnati for IF Austin Martin, IF Keoni Cavaco, and IF Yunior Severino 


This is clearly the biggest acquisition I'll be making as the GM of the Twins, acquiring Tyler Mahle from the Reds. Mahle has great stuff and another year of team control remaining. He's certainly better than Joe Ryan, and is probably a half-step up from Sonny Gray. Mahle is likely to be one of the more sought after pitchers at the deadline, but isn't even the best starter the Reds will trade this deadline, as that title belongs to Luis Castillo. However, I prefer Mahle as I believe the cost will be a lot less. In the deal, we give up Austin Martin, who has struggled this year but still has all the talent in the world. The Reds may not view Martin as a centerpiece, but there is a chance that they do. Keoni Cavaco was a first round pick a few years ago and has finally started to come around for Fort Myers this year. Severino is a young middle infield prospect who is thrown is a lottery ticket. Predicting these types of guys is nearly impossible as all organizations value different things. 

Acquire RH SP Merrill Kelly and LH RP Joe Mantiply from Arizona for SP Blayne Enlow, OF Matt Wallner, IF/OF Edouard Julien, and OF Mark Contreras

Kelly, who dominated the Twins earlier this year, is one of the least talked about names at the deadline. He doesn't have elite stuff and he probably isn't going to dominate a playoff caliber lineup, but he's a veteran that knows how to pitch similar to Sonny Gray. He's signed through 2024, although that may not be a great negotiation tool for the DBacks as he's likely not going to age all that well. He has an ERA in the mid-3's with the FIP numbers to back that up. Mantiply is another pitcher that isn't talked about nearly enough, and is the left hander that I would be seeking out if I was in an MLB front office. Mantiply has an ERA below 2 and isn't arb eligible until 2027. However, he's already 31 years old and with the volatility of relievers I would expect the DBacks to strike while the iron is hot. The headliner in this deal is Matt Wallner, who's been crushing the baseball at Wichita and is likely MLB ready. Blayne Enlow and Mark Contreras are both included to clear space off the 40 man, but both does have a small amount of value. Enlow is working his way back from injury, and Contreras is probably a 4th OF. Edouard Julien has an OPS of .876 for Wichita and has an OBP in the .420s. 


Acquire RH RP Daniel Bard from Colorado for RHP Ronny Henriquez

Daniel Bard is one of the better stories in baseball. He left the game for quite some time but returned last season and is now a fireballing reliever who has found success in Colorado, which is not something to take for granted. The main reason the return on Bard is so light is because he is already 37 years old and is expiring after this season is over. He's struck out 38 hitters in just 30.2 innings of work, and has 16 saves with an ERA of 2.35. Bard would immediately slot in as the teams 2nd best reliever behind Jhoan Duran, and could slide everyone down in the pecking order. Henqiuez was acquired in the Mitch Garver trade and has had an up and down season for St Paul. I believe that he is destined for the bullpen, and could maybe even help the Twins, but I'd rather acquire someone who I know can help the Twins in the year we're "going for it."


Acquire RH RP David Robertson from Chicago for OF Yesser Mercedes

Similar to Bard, Robertson is a 37 year old reliever on a bad team that was out of baseball for a year and came back as a lights out bullpen weapon. He too becomes a free agent after this season. This is your classic lottery ticker prospect in Yesser Mercedes, who was an IAFA signing a few years ago and not much is known about him, although he is a top 30 prospect in the Twins system. Robertson too would become one of the better arms in the Twins bullpen, although I would have him 4th in the hierarchy behind Duran, Bard, and Jax. 

Acquire 1B/DH S Josh Bell from Washington for IF Spencer Steer, 1B Aaron Sabato, and RHP Drew Strotman


This would easily be the 2nd biggest trade pulled off with myself in the GM chair, adding a game changing bat in Josh Bell. Bell boast in OPS+ of 158 this season in his expiring contract year, and will be one of the most sought after bats on the market. He hits for average and power and would provide power from both sides of the plate and would hit in the middle of the order. Of course, this requires us to give up rising prospect Spencer Steer, who I think should've been included on the top 100 prospects list at mid-season update. We also include former first rounder Aaron Sabato, who has huge power and draws walks, but also has a ton of swing and miss stuff. We also send back Drew Strotman who is a lottery type of guy in this deal as the Nats may believe he can still start, or be a weapon out of a terrible Nationals bullpen.


The Results

Now let's take a look at where the pitching staff as a whole stands assuming we are in the playoffs. I'll assume we're only going to use 4 starters in the playoffs, as most teams do. I will also assume that everyone is healthy, but I am assuming that Jorge Alcala does not make a comeback this year. I am also assuming that Kenta Maeda does not show enough to make an impact on the staff so he will be left off of this hypothetical playoff pitching staff, as well as what the lineup would look like with Josh Bell in the middle of it. 

Starting Rotation

1. Tyler Mahle

2. Sonny Gray

3. Joe Ryan

4. Merrill Kelly


CL - RH Jhoan Duran

SU - RH Daniel Bard

SU - RH Griffin Jax

MR - LH Joe Mantiply

MR - LH Caleb Thielbar

MR - RH Emilio Pagan

MR - RH David Roberson 

LR - RH Josh Winder

LR/Spot Starter - RH Chris Archer

Left off: RH Dylan Bundy, LH Jovani Moran, RH Bailey Ober, RH Kenta Maeda, RH Trevor Megill, RH Jharrel Cotton, RH Jorge Alcala, RH Tyler Duffey 


This gives us a 9 man bullpen and a 13 man pitching staff with a great mix of right handed relievers that can blow hitters away. It also features two crafty lefties in Joe Mantiply and Caleb Thielbar, both of whom are deadly against left handed hitters. It also slides Emilio Pagan way down in the pecking order where I think he's best suited, and allows Tyler Duffey to throw mop up duty. Josh Winder can come in in the playoffs and give you multiple innings of effective relief. Chris Archer is a guy who can do similar things to Winder. I left off Bundy because he isn't playoff quality, Moran because I don't see the club carrying 3 lefties, Ober because he isn't good enough for the rotation and don't think his stuff plays up out of the bullpen, and Kenta because I don't know how his rehab will shake out so we won't count on him, as well as Jorge Alcala for similar reason. Megill and Cotton are both left off as I do not see them remaining on the 40 man roster if all these moves were to come to fruition.


The Lineup

DH Luis Arraez

CF Byron Buxton

SS Carlos Correa

1B Josh Bell

LF Alex Kirilloff

2B Jorge Polanco

3B Jose Miranda

RF Max Kepler

C Ryan Jeffers

Bench: C Gary Sanchez, 3B Gio Urshella, IF/OF Nick Gordon, OF Kyle Garlick

Left off: 1B Miguel Sano, OF Gilberto Celestino, OF Trevor Larnach


This gives the Twins a potent lineup with that adds depth in Josh Bell pushing Jorge Polanco to the 6 spot with Alex Kirilloff being the lefty that hits in the middle of the order, and Jose Miranda getting the start at 3rd over Urshella because he is such a better hitter than Gio. Jeffers gets the start at catcher as he's much better defensively, but both would play in the playoffs. Nick Gordon is taken on the playoff roster over Trevor Larnach as he provides speed off the bench and also the ability to play CF without Gilberto Celestino on the roster, whos off because of Josh Bell's arrival. Kyle Garlick is obviously kept on the roster to start against left handed pitchers.


How would you grade this deadline? Drop a comment below! Thanks for reading, and Go Twins!







Recommended Comments

Looks like you trade for Robertson but then decline to put him on your roster. :)

More seriously, your trades bring us 5 arms, giving up only 2? I am seriously skeptical of being able to pry loose pitching with any quantity of hitting, no matter how highly ranked.

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2 hours ago, ashbury said:

Looks like you trade for Robertson but then decline to put him on your roster. :)

More seriously, your trades bring us 5 arms, giving up only 2? I am seriously skeptical of being able to pry loose pitching with any quantity of hitting, no matter how highly ranked.

Oops, overlooked that one.

yeah, I agree on the values but I put all of these through the trade value website making sure the twins were also giving a surplus. Obviously this isn’t the end all he all, and the twins are likely going to have to give up arms at the deadline but the issue is so many of the high end arms are so far away, and Balazovic/Canterino are injured and struggling so I had a hard time judging their values. 

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Robertson - ok, but I'm looking for others guys than you list but your guys may be fine too. Mahle is a no and I'm good with the starters. The Twins need to shoot for a guy like Bednar. Maybe SWR and a young prospect lower rated will do it. These guesses are always iffy in July.

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I like it.  I think you put a lot of time and research into your trade scenarios and I believe it makes the team much better.  Hate to see some guys go, like Speers and Martin, but you have to give up something good to get something good.  Also, you did not trade away Kirilloff or Larnach.  These two, to me, are untouchable unless the return was stupidly "CAN'T REFUSE" deals.  But that's not gonna happen.  Thanks for the article.  Great read.


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That Mahle trade is awesome of the Twins, no way the Reds do that. If they do get Mahle, I move him to the pen and make him a 2 inning RP. That's way less than the Twins got for Berrios, and it isn't close.

I'm not too keen on trading Steer at this point, not for a rental at a position that the Twins might be ok at (DH or 1B, given how often Buxton and Arraez DH and AK is the 1B).

I'd do the Bard deal. 

I just think all those moves together deplete the hitters in the minors too much. I'd much rather give up Ober or Enlow or Balazavich than all of Steer, Wallner, Martin (who I was clearly too high on).

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-Mahle just got put on the injured list, so he might not get traded. Also I don’t think the reds would want ONLY infielders

-Kelly wouldn’t be a bad addition, however I doubt the D-Backs would want to depart with Mantiply when he has control until 2027 and isn’t even in arbitration yet, plus the Twins shouldn’t move Wallner. 

-Bard for Henriquez sounds like a good deal, no complaints

-Robertson would be another good addition, but I think the Twins might need to give up just a little more

-Bell shouldn’t be traded for, especially with that package. Kirilloff, Miranda, and Arraez are more than enough at 1B. If anything add a better outfielder (probably at the expense of one), also the Twins shouldn’t trade off Steer unless they’re hunting for some bigger trade candidates. Not everyone gets inducted to the Futures game.

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 If the team finishes poorly up to the all star break, I would just leave the team as is and ride it out the remainder of the season.  This season and team is not worth sending away any more prospects.  This is an average team, next year, with a balanced schedule, we will see that this is a 75-80 win team once Correa opts out.

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I agree with dxpavelka.  You are throwing away any future chance of being competitive for the slim chance of getting past the loaded Yankees and then the Dodgers.  No thanks.  My opinion is that the front office needs to acquire 2-3 relief pitchers and then sit back and watch.

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Thanks for thinking this through and putting all these trades together.  I don't think a trade for Bell is needed with all the options the Twins have at 1B and DH.  However, any and all RP and SP's should be considered.  Bard and Robertson are each 37 years old so there is probably no future for them with the Twins after this season.  It makes them "cheaper" but there is no long term benefit.  While I agree that reinforcements are desperately needed NOW for the BP I always want to make a trade that has benefits beyond a 2-month rental.  

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The future ....

C = Jeffers and hopefully some help via FA/a trade

1B = well covered with Kirilloff and Arraez leading the position and Miranda too

2B = Polanco is taken for granted and Arraez still has a small glove for 2B

3B = Miranda and/or Lewis can handle the position

SS = Correa? Maybe Lewis takes care of SS, but don't quit on Palacios

LF =  Fa / trade or Larnach

CF = Buxton with Gordon/ Celestino still worth some playing time

RF = Kepler, Larnach

E. Rodriguez is the Twins best prospect but a few years away.

So the Twins could use some new blood in time but while I'm not enamored with any of the trades suggested in the post, it is a well thought out exercise and doesn't do anything to harm the future of the MLB team. The Twins can certainly afford to part with both position players and pitchers in a few trades because their budget and roster configuration is pretty stable and the young players are already sprinkled across the roster. All of Martin, Cavaco, Severino, Wallner, Julien, Contreras, Mercedes, Steer, Sabato, Enlow, Enriquez, and Strotman are just hopefuls missing from any lists of top prospects across MLB. Matt Wallner and Steer may develop but all of the others are blocked by multiple better baseball players. The Twins will need to dangle some of their young pitchers to acquire a couple decent pitchers.

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I enjoyed your blog. Back end BP is where the most need is at and I like all your options, SPs are trickier, Maybe Mahle's shoulder will straighten out but should be skeptical of it, I'm not sure about Kelly. I would not trade for Bell for all the reasons previously stated

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Rather than decimate our prospect pool, I think the Twins should trade from a position of strength. We have a lot of depth in the outfield. I might use Max Kepler as a centerpiece to the Yankees in a 3-way trade with the Reds. Mahle comes to Minnesota and the Yankees send prospects to the Reds. I like the Bednar kid from the Pirates and Joe Mantiply the lefty from the D-Backs. I think trading guys like Cole Sands and Bailey Ober make more sense to me. I might even move Gio Urshela and give the keys to Jose Miranda. Miguel Sano is another guy we could hang out there. Notice we have been winning since Sano went away. I really don't think we need to blow up the farm. I think we just need to be a little creative who we trade. There certainly is a market for Max Kepler and a young pitcher like Ober there is a market. Gio Urshela to a contender makes sense. We need pitching. We also need prospects for future cause elite free agents don't usually come to Minny. Correa was a Godsend. 

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Looks like you are selling the farm for a 1 year chance. Not usually a good move for any organization. I'd much rather see the Twins be sellers of some veterans and take on a full fledged youth movement. If that means punting the 2022 season then so be it. The roster right now can't compete with the Yankees or Astros and to get them there shows you would mortgage the future. Move Kepler, Sano, Urshela, Sanchez, Correa for more young talent and in 2023 let the young guys take over. c-Jeffers, 1b-Kirilloff/Arraez, 2b-Polanco/Arraez, 3b-Miranda/Arraez, ss-Lewis/Gordon, of-Larnach, Buxton, Celestino, Kirilloff, Gordon, Garlick, Contreras. Bring up Steer, Palacios, Wallner. Get a backup catcher and pitching for the veterans in trade to add to the likes of Gray, Ryan, Ober, Winder, Duran, Jax. Maeda and hopefully Alcala will be back and maybe Paddock will amount to something in 2023. Last and not least, get a manager that is willing to let his best players play every day.


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The goal of any trade, for me, is to increase the talent on the current team. Kepler stays in that mode of thought. Ober has frustrated me with his injuries. He still projects to be a better pitcher than anyone in the minor leagues and so while I'm willing to trade Ober in the right deal, my preference is to move minoe league players. Lewis and E. Rodriguez are off the table, but all others are fair game. The 2023-2025 Twins would not be harmed by trading 3-6 prospects. The future is largely already on the roster or injured..

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