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Twins Trade Graterol to Dodgers for Kenta Maeda in Blockbuster Deal


Seth Stohs
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You were able to determine Graterol is a dominant back end reliever in a sample size of 14 innings? That's impressive, man. I realize there are a lot of prospect lovers on this site, and I'm sorry for your loss. I hope y'all can forgive Falvine by opening day. 

 

100% with you, man.

 

Rubbing your hands together and cackling while looking at an overflowing bag of prospects is fun when the team is BAD. And I understand that after many years, it's a hard habit to break for some.

 

When your team's going for a World Series Championship and signs guys like Josh Donaldson, you have to refocus on the major league squad. Step away from the Pensacola Wahoos everyone, and look at the guys in Minneapolis for a change!

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It never ceases to amaze me when people speak with such certainty about a situation that they either are only guessing at (Maeda’s ERA) or that they can’t possibly know about (Graterol could’ve gotten so much more than Maeda).

 

Oh really? You really think that the Twins FO just got a call last night from Boston about Graterol and they accepted the deal on the spot? You don’t think they have been getting an idea of Graterol’s trade value for the last 18 months?

 

Do people like this a) just think they are so much smarter than everyone else, or b.) have a crippling distrust of anyone in a position of authority. I feel like it’s always one of these two things that make them talk the way they do.

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So, for what it’s worth, among pitchers with at least 100 innings last year, the Twins now have 5 of the top 51 in fWAR (plus Hill).

 

Talent isn’t spread out evenly, but if the top 30 guys are the No. 1s and the next 30 are the No. 2s, etc., they have basically an average No. 1 (Berrios, 17th) at No. 1, a slightly below-average No. 1 at No. 2 (Odorizzi, 20th), average No. 2s at No. 3 and No. 4) (Bailey, 44th; Pineda, 48th), and a slightly below average No. 2 at No. 5 (Maeda, 54th).

 

To that,

  • add Hill, who many folks are very high on,
  • consider that Bailey was dramatically improved in the second half, 
  • know that the time Pineda misses is at the beginning of the season rather than the end,
  • Maeda got those numbers despite about 30 percent of his outings coming in relief. He didn’t go to the pen because he was hurting. Rather, the Dodgers had great depth and knew from prior history that Maeda is the rare starter who can transition smoothly to the pen and who gives them excellent length there. It didn’t hurt that the Dodgers saved a little money in doing so. Who’s to say the Twins can’t also lengthen their bullpen in August/September iif others pitch as well as we hope.
  • add a lottery pick in Chacin, who is one year removed from having an ERA+ of 112 over two years in which he averaged 186 innings. 
  • and Dobnak, Smeltzer, and Thorpe. And Duran, etc.

I highly doubt we have two bullpen games in the playoffs, folks. And for that we gave up cash and Graterol.

 

No, we don’t have Cole or Verlander, but in eyeballing depth charts, I’m not sure I see anyone who has a deeper rotation. Games 3 and 4 count as wins too.

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I will say, I never really bought into the "Twins pen is really good" theory that is accepted around here, and taking Graterol out of that mix is disappointing. 

 

I'm a big believer that a strong and deep bullpen is way more valuable than the sum of it's parts.

 

"Just a reliever" is a little overblown, IMO. Consistently owning the final three or four innings wins a lot of games.

 

Still...I will say this is a good trade. That it has me conflicted probably means its fair, as others have pointed out.

 

I’m with you on liking the strong and deep pen and it being more valuable that the sum of its parts. Have been ever since Ward, Henke, et al. And some combination of Nathan/Crain/Neshak/Romero and more.

 

But I think the Twins pen may have just gotten a little longer. One of the more impressive outings of last year, in my mind, was the game in which Dobnak came in down 6-1 against the Indians and threw four innings of shutout relief, effectively resetting the bullpen. In an earlier post, someone quoted Earl Weaver as saying the best place for development is long relief. I’d not be surprised to see Dobnak or Smeltzer slot into that role. And if the rotation is going well, they could do with Maeda what the Dodgers did, slide him to the pen for the stretch run and playoffs.  

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I've been digesting this one a bit and the more I think about it the more I'm pleased. It's not a sexy or exciting trade for us but it's a solid one. This now makes our playoff rotation Berrios, Odorizzi, Maeda, and Pineda with Bailey, Hill, Dobnak, Smeltzer, and Thorpe all as #5s or fall back plans in case of injury. That's a really deep rotation to go along with a deep bullpen. With a top 3 line up in all of baseball to go along with really deep pitching we are going to make some noise. Is it this a dominant, scary rotation? nope, but it's one that's solid with promise. I've also openly questioned Graterol's long term viability as a starter as well as his injury risk on this board, the Twins just confirmed my concern with this trade

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Do you know why he has an incentives based contract? Because, there were real concerns about his health after his physical.

The Dodgers are probably relieved. Why would they trade him for 1 year of Betts and a huge contract of another injury proned pitcher in David Price if Maeda was or is a great starter?

They were going to win the division anyways. Boston could have taken him at this cheap salary and flipped him during the season.

 

I had the same question myself last night.  Why didn't Boston just take Maeda from LA.  He is a good value for starting pitcher and with Price gone they needed someone decent in the rotation.  They still have a shot a world series why go for the prospect?  The only thing I could come up with is they really wanted to clear salary more than they let on.  The other thought is they don't think Maeda is a needle mover in the AL.  It is that aspect of the trade that worries me some.

 

Graterol is only 21 and he makes throwing 100 look incredibly easy.  The shoulder impingment last year is worrisome  (brings back Alex Meyer anxiety) but hard to say if that means he can't start.  At any rate it seems like a good gamble for Boston.  His floor is elite reliever and being so young he should be around a good long time in Boston.

 

I was OK with the Twins starting the year with Dobnak, Thorpe and Smeltzer filling in but as many have pointed out that left very little depth if the team encountered injuries and banking on Rich Hills perfect recovery doesn't seem like a leap of faith you take with the kind of team we have right now.  Adding Maeda seems like it raises the bar for the rotation and adds depth to the rotation so we should all breath a little easier to start the season.

 

Is this the ace type needle mover we all felt was needed?  I don't think so.  Was it worth trading Graterol for Meada? If Graterol turns out to only be reliever then I think this is an OK move if he is more than that we lose this trade big time.

 

One last thought.  We still have Duran, Balazovic and maybe Colina who are hard throwers with plenty of wild cards in Canterino, Sands, Rijo and Vallimont who could have pretty good stuff.  Still plenty of pitching in the system so not the end of the world.  I hate losing that big arm (a true 100 mph dream arm) and I hope this works in our favor but I have my doubts.

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Time will tell how this works out. I will say this.(nobody can say I'm a straight up Falvine Hater). That was a ball-Z move by our F.O. Finally they have shown me that they can walk the walk instead of tell us about it. No more excuses. This move tells everyone that.. we are accountable, and we are about winning Now. I loved Brusdar but this is going to be a really interesting rotation with the likes of Bailey, Hill, Maeda, Piñeda(hopefully) Walker, and Chacin fighting it out for three spots. lest i forget Thorpe, Dobnak, and Smeltzer as well..I for one am pleased with the whole situation...

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I have always really liked Graterol, but my red flags about him have been up all off season when Lavine were interviewed by Park discussing the internal options for the #5 rotation spot and the candidates listed were only Dobnak, Thorpe and Smeltzer.

 

Good luck to him, but I had already moved Balazovic ahead of him on my internal pitching rankings as I'd already begun to think the organization doesn't see Graterol in the same light that I had.

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If you actually believe this, I've got an ocean-front timeshare in Vegas that we need to talk about

 

 

Check back at the end of the year. The move from the NL to AL will not work well for Maeda with full-time DHs, and he will be pitching in more hittters parks regularly than LA. I expect you to be here for some humble pie at years-end, as I will be ready to serve it.

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I am disappointed about giving up a live arm like Graterol, but trust that this is Falvey's "pitching guru" gene kicking in finding us the next Corey Kluber. Plus, it opens up a role in the pen for Fernando Romero to come in and prove his 100-mph fastball can be effective in the role we expected for Graterol.

 

So in the end, I'll trust that this is a move by the FO to "go for it" in 2020.

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Hate to lose the Buffalo but this address a need and Maeda has flexibility as well. A more complete team for sure. For about 10m a year the Twins get an established starter. Not bad. I've heard it mentioned that he has a lot of miles on his arm but the Dodgers used him uniquely and he averaged about 140 innings a year the last four years. With the depth the Twins now have in the rotation our arms can now be coddled a bit saving bullets for the fall. This is an unforeseen opportunity for Romero let's hope he can hit his spots. Might go a ways in easing the pain of losing the Buffalo.

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I don`t like how they`ve handled Graterol. Moved him to BP reducing his value & then trading him for someone that doesn`t move the needle for us. They could`ve said we`ll use him as an opener W/ the impression of him still as a starter. If they really like Maeda they should have used a lower prospect & save Graterol for a pitcher that would be a #1 or #2 w/ potential of being an ace. I see Maeda equal to Archer in trading value, the difference is that Archer has more upside & Maeda is cheaper

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Check back at the end of the year. The move from the NL to AL will not work well for Maeda with full-time DHs, and he will be pitching in more hittters parks regularly than LA. I expect you to be here for some humble pie at years-end, as I will be ready to serve it.

Moving from one league to another just isnt very significant. Average ERA difference between leagues is down to around 1/5 of a run.

 

What matters is the quality of pitcher, not which league.

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See cardsfans post above. Maeda is going to struggle AWAY (bandboxes like NY, Boston, etc come to mind and in the playoffs) and at HOME in MN (versus pitching half the season in LA - one of the best pitchers parks). As indicated above, LA did not start him in playoffs (indicating he was NOT a top 1-4 SP in the weaker hitting league). For the Twins, he will be expected to start in Yankee stadium at some point - no thanks - I would rather have Graterol, or have included more prospects for a better pitcher. We don’t need all these 30 somethings that have surpassed their best years and are now merely adequate placeholders.

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I love how there is always a chorus of posters demanding trades to bolster the club, and then when the Twins make a trade, complaining loudly about it (i.e., why didn't the Twins trade a few C prospects and get an ace!!).

 

The difference is easy to explain. They are not the same people flipping back and forth.

 

To my knowledge, the Twinsdaily forum has never had a unified position on any topic.

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See cardsfans post above. Maeda is going to struggle AWAY (bandboxes like NY, Boston, etc come to mind and in the playoffs) and at HOME in MN (versus pitching half the season in LA - one of the best pitchers parks). As indicated above, LA did not start him in playoffs (indicating he was NOT a top 1-4 SP in the weaker hitting league). For the Twins, he will be expected to start in Yankee stadium at some point - no thanks - I would rather have Graterol, or have included more prospects for a better pitcher. We don’t need all these 30 somethings that have surpassed their best years and are now merely adequate placeholders.

 

Maeda was put in the bullpen because the Dodgers had more starters than than they had spots for and Maeda's wipeout slider will play up in a relief roll.

 

I like Maeda as I'm a big proponent of strikeouts. If others more fancy ERA, I'd ask, would you trade Fernando Romero or Stephen Gonsavles for Maeda?

 

 

 

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100% with you, man.

 

Rubbing your hands together and cackling while looking at an overflowing bag of prospects is fun when the team is BAD. And I understand that after many years, it's a hard habit to break for some.

 

When your team's going for a World Series Championship and signs guys like Josh Donaldson, you have to refocus on the major league squad. Step away from the Pensacola Wahoos everyone, and look at the guys in Minneapolis for a change!

 

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Here is an interesting   comparison.

 

Kenta Maeda: 31 G / 26 GS, 10-8 with 4.04 ERA, 153.2 IP, 114 Hits, 70 Runs, 3.95 FIP, 1.074 WHIP, 9.9 K/9

 

Zack Wheeler: 31 G / 31 GS, 11-8 with 3.96 ERA, 195.1 IP, 196 Hits, 93 Runs, 3.48 FIP, 1.259 WHIP, 9.0 K/9

 

 

Maeda, although he did not pitch as many innings, has similar comps to Zack Wheeler and even has a better WHIP and K/9.

 

Maeda costs $3.125M a year through 2023.   Zack Wheeler just signed a 5yr/$118M contract (who every Twins fan coveted in free agency).   This is a great move by the Twins! Graterol COULD be elite, yes. But, there are major concerns about his ability to be a starting pitcher that gives you 180-200 IP a year. The Twins just got a solid #2-3 pitcher and are clearly saying that we are in a "Win Now" window.   Let's be excited!

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Based on his contract, there is no doubt why he wants to be a starter. I believe that the Dodgers may have pitched him in relief some to save them money paying for some of the incentives.

I'm not so sure -- that would surely have invited a grievance.

 

The Dodgers first shifted Maeda to the pen in June 2017, after he had a stint on the IL and a bad start to the season -- 5.21 ERA at that point. He improved over the next few months, but sputtered in August/September again and finished with a 4.22 ERA, which ranked last among the top 7 Dodgers by games started that season. Pretty clearly justified moving him to the pen.

 

More of the same in 2018 -- 3.80 ERA when he shifted to the pen on August 10th, again ranking last among Dodgers top 7 starters. And in 2019 -- 4.11 ERA on August 28th, ranking last among the Dodgers top 9 starters.

 

And in terms of financial impact, his incentives wouldn't have made much difference in 2017 because they were so far over the top luxury tax threshold. Would have been closer in 2018 and 2019 but I'm not quite sure if they would have had luxury tax implications (Maeda missed time both seasons anyway on the IL and the paternity list).

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This trade is going to bite us in 2 years, and Maeda will produce 4.25-4.50 in ERA in AL at best. Graterol will hold his own in year 1 and have a more productive year 2-4 than Maeda. This seems a desperate move, and is largely due to the other 3 meh/putrid signings of bailey, hill, and Chacín. I hate these moves, and we are kicking the can down the road in blocking our other young starters with all these #4 and #5s. Maeda will be a low 3 to high 4 only during year 1 and part of year 2, while Bailey won’t make it through this year and will perform like a 5, and I think hill will be with us for 1-2 weeks max (Chacín will never make mlb roster this year)

So Bailey, Hill, and Chacin are blocking our young guys and also not making it through the year on the roster? Not sure how you can have both of those things be the case. Did you actually mean to say the Twins have signed veteran guys to compete with the young guys and provide much needed depth since it is a 100% certainty that they will actually need more than 5 starters for the year and now they have 8-10 guys that have at least a decent chance of being average or better arms? That must have been it.

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