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Twins Trade Graterol to Dodgers for Kenta Maeda in Blockbuster Deal


Seth Stohs
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If you have data to present, go ahead. But there is also data suggesting Maeda is in the average range.

 

His career ERA- as a starter is 97, which is right in the career Odorizzi/Pineda career range. MLB SP cumulatively have been at 101 the past two seasons.

 

https://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=sta&lg=all&qual=0&type=1&season=2019&month=0&season1=2011&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=18498,6397,5372&startdate=&enddate=

 

And of course, Maeda is older than those guys, so he would seem more likely to decline from those numbers (or less likely to improve upon them).

 

There's value in being an average starting pitcher, of course -- but there's also an argument for diminishing value for each average SP a team accumulates.

 

I'm sorry, but if you think that Maeda is just average, we're probably just not going to agree on this. The vast majority of his stats point to being an above average pitcher. Just off of ERA alone, he was 41st.  That itself would suggest he's better than just average.

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Assuming a Graterol would have as much value in July as he does now is what left the Twins empty handed with Romero and Gonsalves.

Doesn't have to be Graterol. In this reference I'm just using his name as the type of chip he could be. I'd rather lose him or his type as a part of a bigger deal for a better player.

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For all you neigh sayers how would this board blow up if the White Sox swept in and took Betts and Price for their new 2nd Baseman and one of the White Sox decent young starters plus another body (not saying it was likely, but stranger things have happened) and now the board would blow up the we would not give up Graterol to stop the Whities from getting Betts and Price. 

Key takeaway I saw from the Athletic this morning was that the Red Sox were determined to get under the salary cap and to get something for Betts more than a draft pick. If we blew up the Dodgers deal, who knows what would have happened.

I like others are worried about Bloom (from Tampa) knowing more than the Twins, but this was worth the risk.

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The quality of future adds is really what's in question. Do we believe the Pohlad's view his incentive laden deal as a bargain and therefore put their theoretical surplus towards more talent? Of equal importance is whether the FO views the low cost contract as a springboard for acquiring the front end talent they need. As I said in another post, if this is a move and not the move then the Twins are off to a good start. If this acquisition means the FO is content to sit out another deadline then I think we need to reassess the deal. 

 

Agreed on plugging a rotation hole for more than one year. 

 

I'm not thinking too much about the Pohlad's.

 

I've long ago come to the conclusion that the Twins are going to spend approximately what their revenue peers are spending, might fluctuate a little higher in the good times but I'm not waiting for the day we bust through the clouds. Once I came to that conclusion... I haven't thought about the Pohlad's much at all.  :)

 

Maeda is an above average starting pitcher at a position where just average is expensive to get. He doesn't blow me out of the water but I'm not putting him along side the pitcher's who do blow me out of the water. However... he can help us win games and the cost per on that contract does blow me out of the water.

 

If Maeda was a free agent this year... I have no idea what he would get as a free agent. I'd imagine that his AAV would be over 10 million. 

 

If Maeda didn't sign that 8 year deal 4 years ago... He would be reaching his 2nd year of Arb and I again assume that he'd be making over 10 million in arbitration and more the year after that. I'll let others who are better at these guesses make those guesses on his value. Whatever number they come up with it's going to be considerably more than what we are paying. We get that savings for 4 years. That is incredible value/savings and that value/savings allows the team to spend the money elsewhere, wherever it's needed. 

 

 

Do I think the Pohlad's will pocket the savings of this wonderful contract? I have no idea but I look at the Donaldson signing as an indication that the front office will spend what they can in consideration of a budget that we should all know that they operate under, whatever that budget may be. None of us should expect that the Twins will be tickling the CBT or crossing over. We all know that.    

 

However, regardless if the club pockets the savings or if they re-invest those savings... the option to re-invest something (could be significant) is a reality because of this contract, the option is preserved.

 

Even if they don't... having the option is better than the flip side.   

 

The flip side is that If you take away the money that could be re-invested, because they have to spend full value just to get a pitcher of Maeda's above average caliber, the money to re-invest is now gone, the option is gone, it's all gone because it has already been invested. 

 

This trade was all about value. I'm excited that the front office sees it.   :D

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Had dinner tonight with my sister and brother-in-law.  Until they recently moved from L.A. to the desert, they had been long time Dodger season ticket holders.  When I asked if they were aware of the trade, they were not.  When I told them about Maeda going to the Twins, they both were shocked.  They are just fans who attended most of the games, however, felt he was one of their favorite players.

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I like the deal, but I’m lower on Graterol than most. If the Twins would have traded Balazovic or Duran instead, it would have been harder for me to take, though I would at least know what the Twins we’re trying for. I think those two have a better chance at staying starters. I just never saw that happening with Graterol.

 
The comments saying this doesn’t move the needle...those I don’t understand. Do I want a stud ace? Absolutely and the Twins need one, but this to me also moves the needle. Not as much as a stud ace would, but moving is moving. He seems like another Odorizzi type and with this team’s inability to develop starters, I will take that.

 

One could argue that Graterol could have developed into Maeda or better, but I don’t think it’s in the cards. He still needs a good third pitch. He’s been working on it, but it hasn’t happened yet. He still needs to stay healthy. I don’t think he’s going to be more than a reliever. And I would trade a reliever for a mid rotation starter every time, again, especially considering this teams issues with developing SP. 

 

I am much less worried about the opening rotation now than I was a few days ago. That first month was looking rough to me, but Berrios, Odorizzi, Maeda, Bailey and then one of Dobnak/Thorpe/Smeltzer is solid. It’s not earth shattering, but it’s solid. I certainly like the offseason 2020 rotation more than I did the offseason 2019 one. Perez surprised me, and all of us for a little bit, so it ended up better than I thought. Hopefully Bailey and/or one of the rookies will be good surprises too. 

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Yep won't be shocked to see Balazovic or Duran subbed in instead if this is the hang up.

I would be much less of a fan if the trade included either of those two over Graterol.  I'd rather see the Twins add another player to the deal, or send cash, comp draft picks, int'l pool.  There's plenty of room to get creative without dealing one of their true starter prospects.

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This makes me worried about Graterol's medicals.  Boston knew injury history, knew the Twins had planned to keep him in the pen, and still balked once they saw the report.

 

This is a weird situation I have no idea what the extra cost will be.  Seems like it will probably be the Twins that have to pay it as Bos/LA could presumably find another 3rd team to take Maeda.

 

 

 

 

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I hate to break it to the Twinsdaily faithful. 

 

We just acquired a major league talent for the next 4 years for 3 million a year plus incentives. A contract like that isn't going to be cheap to acquire and a contract like that will not hamstring future payroll so we can increase the quality of future adds. It is Maeda plus because the contract allows for a plus. 

 

I'll let all those inclined slap some arbitrary number on him... Is he a #2 or #3 or #4. Doesn't matter... He is above average and we got him for 4 years on a contract that allows us to improve other spots on the roster. 

 

And... almost just as important... We just cut our starting pitching shopping list for next year by 20%. On paper... we only need to find 2 next year. 

 

After reading through 100 posts, I was thinking the same thing. I would add that using this capital for a top of the rotation guy is a great idea. Unfortunately, the teams that have those guys have playoff aspirations and they are not trading them. I find it hard to be bad because we did not get a player that's not available. I won't be mad until such a player is traded, proving there was actually such a player available.

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He’s cheaper but in cost per win, Donaldson + Maeda is likely the better value, especially given the plans to keep Graterol in the bullpen.

Well, that's what some folks are pushing back against -- that we didn't necessarily have to pursue to "better value" in this case, particularly at the cost of Graterol. (Whose immediate trade value wasn't really impacted by our pen plans for him.)

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I'm sorry, but if you think that Maeda is just average, we're probably just not going to agree on this. The vast majority of his stats point to being an above average pitcher. Just off of ERA alone, he was 41st.  That itself would suggest he's better than just average.

41st out of how many? He didn't qualify for the ERA title in 2019, so I'm not sure what criteria you are using. If you set it at 150 innings, Maeda was 44th in ERA -- but out of only 75 pitchers. I admit there's some skill involved throwing enough innings to qualify, but that's not a great case that his overall run prevention is notably better than league average.

 

And of course, his raw ERA has benefitted from playing his home games in a clear pitcher's park, playing in a league without a DH, and also pitching out of the pen. The NL average SP ERA in 2019 was 4.33; Maeda's ERA as a SP in 2019 was 4.14. That's within 5%, even before adjusting for park.

 

Using ERA- to include park adjustments, here are his numbers as a SP the past 3 seasons compared to the MLB average ERA- for SP:

 

2019: Maeda 99, MLB 101

2018: Maeda 100, MLB 101

2017: Maeda 105, MLB 103

 

Admittedly, he was better in 2016 (87 ERA-) but of course that was his rookie season 4 years ago now. It only improves his career mark to 97 (and 2016 weakens his case as a postseason SP too).

 

I appreciate that there are good points to Maeda -- the K rate, the weak contact, etc. -- but his run prevention as a starter has clearly been right around league average. And even if his peripherals suggest that could improve (career FIP- of 90), any potential improvement has to be weighed against potential age decline at this point too.

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After reading through 100 posts, I was thinking the same thing. I would add that using this capital for a top of the rotation guy is a great idea. Unfortunately, the teams that have those guys have playoff aspirations and they are not trading them. I find it hard to be bad because we did not get a player that's not available. I won't be mad until such a player is traded, proving there was actually such a player available.

I agree, I don't think a better trade was available right now. But that doesn't necessarily mean we had to make this trade.

 

We now have 5 starters under guaranteed contract for 2019, plus Hill, plus Chacin; we have one less trade chip (and arguably our best pitching one). It does feel like the odds of us pursuing and completing an ace SP trade midseason just went down with this trade, although those odds naturally aren't very high to begin with. Which is an argument in favor of taking what we can get in Maeda, of course, but not necessarily feeling great about it, in the big picture.

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Don't make this trade worst, Minnesota Twins. I already have stated I hate losing Graterol for Maeda already, but I will hate losing a Balazovic or Duran just as much. 

 

Throw in a lottery ticket if anything else has to come from Minnesota, and certainly not anymore pitching. If they want a prospect starter to replace Graterol, the best I'd be offering is Blayne Enlow, and maybe that means someone else gets added from the Twins too. 

 

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My problem with this is we’ve about 15 tradeable position assets that other teams would want and about 5 pitchers....why didn’t we trade from our strengths?  How about a couple MiLB OFs, rather than Graterol?

Imagine if the Twins today were working on a deal to trade a position player/prospect for another team's MLB-ready, upside pitching prospect like Graterol. How would you respond if the other team tried swapping out their Graterol for their version of Larnach, or Celestino + Rooker? Even if they can make the argument that Larnach and Graterol are similar in abstract prospect value, the Twins probably say no to that change because it compromises their core goals of making the trade in the first place, which is to get pitching.

 

I suspect that's the position Boston is in. Despite trading Betts, they're not in "fire sale" mode -- they still have a lot of good players and a lot of player investments. They're reloading, and they're already getting back a young MLB outfielder from LA, and it's likely non-negotiable that they also get back an MLB ready upside pitcher to complete the deal.

 

Prospects are a bit more interchangeable if it's a team like Detroit selling at the deadline, etc. (Although usually there are more potential bidders in those situations too.)

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41st out of how many? He didn't qualify for the ERA title in 2019, so I'm not sure what criteria you are using. If you set it at 150 innings, Maeda was 44th in ERA -- but out of only 75 pitchers. I admit there's some skill involved throwing enough innings to qualify, but that's not a great case that his overall run prevention is notably better than league average.

 

And of course, his raw ERA has benefitted from playing his home games in a clear pitcher's park, playing in a league without a DH, and also pitching out of the pen. The NL average SP ERA in 2019 was 4.33; Maeda's ERA as a SP in 2019 was 4.14. That's within 5%, even before adjusting for park.

 

Using ERA- to include park adjustments, here are his numbers as a SP the past 3 seasons compared to the MLB average ERA- for SP:

 

2019: Maeda 99, MLB 101

2018: Maeda 100, MLB 101

2017: Maeda 105, MLB 103

 

Admittedly, he was better in 2016 (87 ERA-) but of course that was his rookie season 4 years ago now. It only improves his career mark to 97 (and 2016 weakens his case as a postseason SP too).

 

I appreciate that there are good points to Maeda -- the K rate, the weak contact, etc. -- but his run prevention as a starter has clearly been right around league average. And even if his peripherals suggest that could improve (career FIP- of 90), any potential improvement has to be weighed against potential age decline at this point too.

Spin it any way you want, he's a #3.

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So, what is the scoop on Alex Verdugo? Looks like he hits for some average with low k rates, but also low walk rates and has pretty modest power. His stats remind me a bit of Rosario (with less power). I wonder who in the Twins minor league system is a good comparison. 

 

Boston got Verdugo and Graterol. Could we have ended up with Betts and Price if we had packaged a prospect similar to Verdugo with Graterol? Could we have then traded our extra corner OF (Rosario or Kepler) for Maeda and ended up with Betts, Price, and Maeda?

 

Here's this from fangraphs on Verdugo:

 

For all of Verdugo’s talent, concerns about his makeup have followed him since before he was drafted, with Keith Law (then of ESPN) noting questions about his level of motivation circa 2014, and the Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2018 writing, “Verdugo’s skills are undeniable, but criticism of his effort level and maturity have plagued him since his amateur days and were again prevalent in 2017,” referring, at the very least, to a dressing-down the rookie received from Rich Hill upon showing up to the ballpark late after oversleeping. In their 2019 edition, BA wrote, “Verdugo stays dialed in at the plate, but an indifferent attitude affects the rest of his game,” and noted lapses in his focus afield as well as a “slow motor” that “shows up on the bases, frustrating teammates and coaches alike,” while in their write up of the Dodgers system last year, Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel noted that “part of the reason teams have been asking for other Dodgers prospects in trades is due to some past off-field stuff.”

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I would be much less of a fan if the trade included either of those two over Graterol.  I'd rather see the Twins add another player to the deal, or send cash, comp draft picks, int'l pool.  There's plenty of room to get creative without dealing one of their true starter prospects.

Me too, but I think Boston believed they were getting a true starter prospect in Graterol. I'm sure they're pushing for either Balazovic or Duran. I'm also not sure what leverage, if any, the Twins have right now.

 

If the roles were reversed and MN was parting with a generational talent like Betts, I can't imagine the uproar if their only return was salary relief and a pitching prospect with uncertain medicals + a throw in. 

 

 

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Me too, but I think Boston believed they were getting a true starter prospect in Graterol. I'm sure they're pushing for either Balazovic or Duran. I'm also not sure what leverage, if any, the Twins have right now.

 

If the roles were reversed and MN was parting with a generational talent like Betts, I can't imagine the uproar if their only return was salary relief and a pitching prospect with uncertain medicals + a throw in. 

 

The leverage the Twins have is to back out of the deal if Boston is now insisting on Balazovic or Duran, and I would. Then it's between the Red Sox and the Dodgers to work it out. The two of those teams WANT this, maybe even NEED this, much more than the Twins. Our leverage is to simply back out if asked to give more.

 

 

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The leverage the Twins have is to back out of the deal if Boston is now insisting on Balazovic or Duran, and I would. Then it's between the Red Sox and the Dodgers to work it out. The two of those teams WANT this, maybe even NEED this, much more than the Twins. Our leverage is to simply back out if asked to give more.

Yep, I think the Twins hold most of the cards here. If they back out, the Dodgers and Sox - who are *much* more invested in this trade - lose out on making badly-needed moves. Comparatively speaking, the Twins are the minor player in this deal and can back out without losing much, if anything.

 

I suspect the Dodgers and Sox are working hard to find a way to make this trade work while the Twins are sitting back, saying "you two figure it out and let us know when you do".

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Yep, I think the Twins hold most of the cards here. If they back out, the Dodgers and Sox - who are *much* more invested in this trade - lose out on making badly-needed moves. Comparatively speaking, the Twins are the minor player in this deal and can back out without losing much, if anything.

 

I suspect the Dodgers and Sox are working hard to find a way to make this trade work while the Twins are sitting back, saying "you two figure it out and let us know when you do".

Not to mention, the deal as reported was Graterol to the Dodgers for Maeda. Technically, if that's true, the Dodgers would have to be the one to object to medicals, no? The Red Sox' beef is with the Dodgers, from whom they're getting Graterol.

 

 

 

 

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Not to mention, the deal as reported was Graterol to the Dodgers for Maeda. Technically, if that's true, the Dodgers would have to be the one to object to medicals, no? The Red Sox' beef is with the Dodgers, from whom they're getting Graterol.

I don't think it matters how it was reported. If nothing is official, any team can back out (and the Dodgers-Twins agreement could have been contingent on the Dodgers-Red Sox agreement, and vice-versa, if they're not actually considered part of a single, 3-way trade with the league office).

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The leverage the Twins have is to back out of the deal if Boston is now insisting on Balazovic or Duran, and I would. Then it's between the Red Sox and the Dodgers to work it out. The two of those teams WANT this, maybe even NEED this, much more than the Twins. Our leverage is to simply back out if asked to give more.

I meant leverage in getting a deal done. Of course any of the three teams could back out at any point, nobody is being held hostage in the negotiations. 

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