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Twins Trade Graterol to Dodgers for Kenta Maeda in Blockbuster Deal


Seth Stohs
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I do appreciate trying to factor in Donaldson somehow, but there's still a cost/value gap there. Ryu is still notably cheaper than Maeda + Donaldson - Graterol.

you cant just isolate Ryu + Graterol, which was your point.

 

I'd probably have preferred Ryu, too, but these things dont happen in a vacuum. If they'd signed Ryu, Donaldson doesnt happen.

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This is not a good take based on actual data.

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.

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Maybe. But I see it as Boston just really wanted Graterol, and that was the driver. Price was a salary dump, and the Dodgers had to find a way to get Graterol for Boston to get the deal done, and the Twins needed a starter. Since Kershaw was off the table (ha) and the Twins couldn't get Beuhler - already had passed on him in the 2015 draft (24) for Tyler Jay (6) - the Twins had to settle for Maeda, and that is the best they could get. The prize was Graterol, and Boston's keen and savvy fleecing of the Twins.

 

I have no idea but if my mind tries to follow the string... this would be my guess. 

 

The Dodgers didn't want to part with prospects and the Red Sox didn't want to add any salary. 

 

They were probably at an impasse over this conflict so a third team (Twins) and 4th team (Angels) would be needed to break the impasse. The Twins provide the prospect that satisfies the Red Sox and the Angels take the salary that satisfies the Dodgers. 

 

The catalyst behind all of this.

The Dodgers really wanted Betts and the Red Sox really wanted to get something for Betts before he leaves as a free agent while getting under the luxury tax this year. 

 

The Twins want to add a pitcher for this year and next economically. 

 

The Angels... they just want to keep adding payroll cost until they are forced to tear it down.   :)

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you cant just isolate Ryu + Graterol, which was your point.

I'd probably have preferred Ryu, too, but these things dont happen in a vacuum. If they'd signed Ryu, Donaldson doesnt happen.

That's fair, although it's close -- the 2020 salary difference between Ryu + Donaldson and Donaldson + Maeda (with likely incentives) may only be in the ~$10 mil range. That's not insurmountable if you're willing to convert Graterol into other assets. There'd be more work beyond 2020, of course. 

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Why not package Graterol along with other prospects for a SP with higher upside? Even if there isn't one available right now, there will be during the season. They can still make that trade, but they have one less prospect to do it with.

 

I just don't see how Maeda significantly moves the needle. I already had faith we had enough of a rotation to win the division. I don't think we have the rotation to compete with the Yankees in the playoffs and we still don't. 

 

Mostly why I hate it.

 

This is a move that didn't need to be made now. You very likely could have gotten more in July for Graterol as well if he was performing, or you know, because he was performing you don't move him.

 

I would much rather trade a Graterol + Larnach + Gordon + Baddoo type package for an ace at the deadline that's a clear attempt to help the team win a title, than Graterol for Maeda right now for what I see as a an attempt to help win the regular season.

 

I don't think they needed that help, and they paid a high price for it.

 

Also, in general, I don't think Maeda is as good as everyone is trying to make him out to be. Otherwise, there wouldn't be any questions about why he wasn't starting. I could argue he was the 7th best starter on the Dodgers out of anyone they had start games. Moving from NL to AL, 32 years old...I just don't see the thinking here, it doesn't match a need.

 

 

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Mostly why I hate it.

 

This is a move that didn't need to be made now. You very likely could have gotten more in July for Graterol as well if he was performing, or you know, because he was performing you don't move him.

 

I would much rather trade a Graterol + Larnach + Gordon + Baddoo type package for an ace at the deadline that's a clear attempt to help the team win a title, than Graterol for Maeda right now for what I see as a an attempt to help win the regular season.

 

I don't think they needed that help, and they paid a high price for it.

 

Also, in general, I don't think Maeda is as good as everyone is trying to make him out to be. Otherwise, there wouldn't be any questions about why he wasn't starting. I could argue he was the 7th best starter on the Dodgers out of anyone they had start games. Moving from NL to AL, 32 years old...I just don't see the thinking here, it doesn't match a need.

 

I don't mind the deal, but I think this is a fair take too.

 

Looking at this deal, and the Rich Hill contract, and it seems like they are really trying to avoid paying for an ace in trade or FA. Which is fine, if you can still actually get ace-type performance, but I suspect these two moves might fall more on the "value" side of the ledger than the performance side.

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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. 

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. 

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Tough to give up an arm like Graterol, but Maedas floor/ceiling and price tag is a pretty solid get for a 21 year old unproven flamethrower who's already been moved to the bullpen.

 

Tells me they had little interest in Graterol starting in 2020 and probably 2021, and also have concerns about relying 2-3 SP spots to the rookies.

 

I would have loved to see someone with a higher upside. But it seems like they are just going to throw enough mud at the middle of the rotation hoping something sticks.

 

I hope something sticks, too.

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Reading the MLB Trade Rumors writeup, it appears that Maeda could earn an additional $10M in incentives based on starts and innings. $13M per year is hefty, but it also provides protection in the event of injury or ineffectiveness. $13M is not too much to pay for a reliable 1-3 starter. He is under contract through his age 35 season. I really hope this trade pans out as the Twins could be looking to restock their rotation in 2021 no matter what the results for 2020 are. 

 

 

I believe the incentives bring the total to $10M not and additional $10M

 

If he were to reach all the incentives he'd be well worth $10M/year

 

I sit corrected...my evening math was missing the Games Started Incentive

 

Apologies Stringer Bell and enjoy your time in Houston with The Beard

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Lucas Giolito, Tyler Glasnow, Alex Reyes, Berrios, Jose De Leon, Jon Gray, Robert Stephenson, Archie Bradley, Carson Fulmer, Mark Appel, Anderson Espinoza, Francis Martes, Michael Kopech, Jeff Hoffman, Reynaldo Lopez, Riley Pint, Walker Buehler, Brent Honeywell, Hunter Greene, Mitch Keller, Triston McKenzie, Kyle Wright, Mike Soroka, Forrest Whitley, Casey Mize, Sixto Sanchez, Dylan Cease, Nate Pearson, Matt Manning, Luis Patino, Ian Anderson, Dustin May. 

 

Those are most, didn't go to every rating site out there, of the RHP prospects who have rated higher than Graterol as a prospect in the last 5 years (That doesn't include the lefties so you could probably add another 15-20 to that list if you wanted to do overall pitching prospects). As in Top 50 overall prospects during the last 5 years. So many people in here acting like they just traded away the next Pedro with 100% certainty. I think some folks need to reassess what Graterol is and quit acting like he's already an established MLB arm let alone established MLB starter. He's thrown 15 innings above AA for goodness sakes.

 

I listed 32 guys who have been rated better than he ever has and only a handful of them have shown they are any better than Maeda. Another handful aren't completely out of baseball, but aren't seen as viable ML arms. In less than 5 years Mark Appel went from the best young arm to out of the game completely. Lets get a grip on what any of the Twins prospects are and quit acting like they just traded Greg Maddux for Boof Bonser.

 

Prospects are exciting and it is fun to dream on potential, but the certainty with which some of you speak about what Graterol will become is absurd. Maeda is not a sexy name and he is not an ace. But he is a proven ML talent. The Twins didn't "win" this trade, but they didn't get fleeced. Quite frankly, even if Maeda falls apart and Graterol does become the next Pedro this isn't a bad trade. It's not exciting or overwhelming, but it is a logically sound trade. Lets all chill and at least let the season start. A month ago these boards were blowing up about how the team isn't doing anything and are cheap and are just going to run a bunch of rookies out to the mound every day. Things can change quickly.

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Kenta Maeda has only 33 quality starts out of 103 total starts over four seasons - a 32% rate. (The MLB average is 42%.)

 

Maeda's W-L record in games started is 42-32 with 20 of the 42 being "Cheap wins" (A non-quality start) while only 4 of his losses were "Tough" losses. (Quality starts)

 

Seems like Vance Worley logic being applied here. Certainly not worth giving up Graterol. 

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Agree completely with this statement. Don't care if it's as a reliever.

I saw him as a guy that could either open for 2 innings or relieve a guy like Odo for 2. He also ought to be able to pitch 1 inning in between. That gives his team 90-95 IP of high 90's heat. He showed end of last season that he was ML ready. Maeda is not a better win now player.

 

Again I have no problem with acquiring Maeda. It's the cost.

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Mostly why I hate it.

 

This is a move that didn't need to be made now. You very likely could have gotten more in July for Graterol as well if he was performing, or you know, because he was performing you don't move him.

 

I would much rather trade a Graterol + Larnach + Gordon + Baddoo type package for an ace at the deadline that's a clear attempt to help the team win a title, than Graterol for Maeda right now for what I see as a an attempt to help win the regular season.

 

I don't think they needed that help, and they paid a high price for it.

 

Also, in general, I don't think Maeda is as good as everyone is trying to make him out to be. Otherwise, there wouldn't be any questions about why he wasn't starting. I could argue he was the 7th best starter on the Dodgers out of anyone they had start games. Moving from NL to AL, 32 years old...I just don't see the thinking here, it doesn't match a need.

I agree with each of you to a point. 

 

I would've rather seen a big package for a big return too. Maybe that wasn't possible right now, maybe it was and MN wasn't willing to pay that price. I've expressed concern that this move is a half measure, and I 100% see it as a move that solidifies a division title but doesn't get them out of a postseason series. 

 

That said, I've bitched nonstop about the risk of handing 2 rotation spots to Dobnak/Thorpe/Smeltzer, relying on Baily, Hill, and Pineda to all be healthy and effective, and crossing your fingers that nothing happens to Odorizzi and Berrios. I think MN probably could've made it to July too, even with a poor starting rotation, but I understand why the Twins pulled the trigger here. I just don't think it's a move anybody should love. 

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That said, I've bitched nonstop about the risk of handing 2 rotation spots to Dobnak/Thorpe/Smeltzer, relying on Baily, Hill, and Pineda to all be healthy and effective, and crossing your fingers that nothing happens to Odorizzi and Berrios. I think MN probably could've made it to July too, even with a poor starting rotation, but I understand why the Twins pulled the trigger here. I just don't think it's a move anybody should love. 

 

If your standard for making a trade is whether you fleece the other team, you won't make many trades.

 

TD posters demand that the Twins make trades that are not actually possible - for players that aren't available, with prospects that aren't good enough, etc. Those fantasy trades are really awesome compared to what happens in an actual trade. But they are just make believe.

 

I'm glad the Twins aren't taking the division for granted. The simple fact, which many TD posters either cannot grasp or choose to ignore, is that teams can get hot in the post-season even without an ace starter. If the Twins win the division and go into the playoffs with an elite lineup, competent starters 1-4, and a good bullpen, they will absolutely have a solid chance to advance.

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If your standard for making a trade is whether you fleece the other team, you won't make many trades.

 

TD posters demand that the Twins make trades that are not actually possible - for players that aren't available, with prospects that aren't good enough, etc. Those fantasy trades are really awesome compared to what happens in an actual trade. But they are just make believe.

 

I'm glad the Twins aren't taking the division for granted. The simple fact, which many TD posters either cannot grasp or choose to ignore, is that teams can get hot in the post-season even without an ace starter. If the Twins win the division and go into the playoffs with an elite lineup, competent starters 1-4, and a good bullpen, they will absolutely have a solid chance to advance.

Where did I even imply that was the standard? They gave up a top pitching prospect for an average pitcher. As I said in OP you quoted, it's an understandable move. I agree with Steve though, in regards to where their season ends, I don't think the addition of Maeda moves the needle much. 

 

This strawman has popped up a few times in this thread. I've seen posters suggest they aren't happy with the trade based on value lost/gained, but I haven't seen any "fantasy," proposals, so I'm not sure why this is even being brought up. 

 

Count me amongst the feeble minded then. This organization hasn't won a single playoff game since 2004, and they haven't won a single series in nearly 20 years. This isn't the only team in the last two decades to possess elite talent. The results of choosing not to supplement it, and "hoping to get hot," speak for themselves. I'd rather not see a repeat....

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The Twins were in the other end of a similar deal trading a good but not elite CF in Denard Span for a top pitching prospect. Span also had a friendly contract and control.

 

There was concern about Meyer’s delivery and mechanics just as there are concerns about Graterol’s high effort delivery and shoulder.

 

The team receiving the solid major leaguer is going to win these deals more often but when that prospect beats the odds and is a number 1 starter you lose big.

 

The Twins needed a good starter. They traded Graterol at a relative high. How much is he worth at the trade deadline if he is shut down for his shoulder again? It could happen.

 

I don’t know what other opportunities were presented to the Twins but this opportunity was short term. The Dodgers and Red Sox were going to get this deal done and there is no guarantee a better deal would present itself with just a week before spring training.

 

I don’t think the Twins can take the next step if they are reluctant to trade prospects.

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I love how we are going for it! Havnt been this excited for spring training in awhile and I go to Fort Myers every year for 9 years. I dont understand how a poster compared acquiring him to how the Indians acquired Kluber at a much younger age...shaking my head on some of these posts. That being said, the writers/authors are amaizing. My opinion, nothing more...our FO is trying to put us in a position to make it to the series while securing us the chance to be really good over next few years. Sooo excited!

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Curious how you peg Maeda as #4 starter. Which numbers are you using?

 

 

I disagree with this assessment. I think there’s a pretty convincing argument that Graterol is (er, was) their second or third best pitching prospect. Personally, I like Duran a lot better. There’s also quite a bit to like about Maeda. He’s probably the best strike out pitcher on the team now other than Rogers. His counting stats are suppressed over the last year or two from pitching mostly out of the bullpen. Conversely, his rate stats might be a bit inflated. He’s a good pitcher—in my opinion clearly better than a fourth starter. Way too early to say who “wins,” but the thinking seems to make sense. It’s definitely a win now move.

 

I was a little sloppy, I should have quoted the source. It is from a Jay Jaffe's write-up on Fangraphs (about 1/3 of the way down the article).  Jay wrote the article before the details of the Betts trade were known.

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/david-price-would-offer-dodgers-more-name-recognition-than-certainty/

 

I have done an analysis comparing our starters from last year to Maeda.  On the Twins rotation, based on 2019 numbers he is the 3rd or 4th best starter depending on which stats you wish to use.

                  ERA         ERA+      FIP         WHIP        WAR/100IP

Berrios        3.68         124         3.85        1.223         1.65

Odorizzi      3.51         131         3.36        1.208          2.26
Pineda        4.01         114         4.02        1.158          1.71
Gibson        4.84          95          4.26        1.444          0.19
Maeda        4.04         102         3.95        1.074           0.85

 

Maeda by ERA is tied for 3rd with Pineda, ERA+ is 4th, FIP is 3rd, WHIP is 1st, WAR/100IP is 4th, $/WAR he is 2nd behind Berrios at 2.4 million.  Note I used WAR/100 innings pitch because Maeda pitched in relief about 10 times.

 

Edit.  The data is taken from Baseball reference.

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Mostly why I hate it.

 

This is a move that didn't need to be made now. You very likely could have gotten more in July for Graterol as well if he was performing, or you know, because he was performing you don't move him.

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.

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In terms of risk on this deal if Maeda pitches the same the next 4 years as the last he should win around 50-60 games.  and he will make around 40 million give or take from his incentive package.  

 

Graterol could be anything from a good to great reliever or any level starter good, bad, injured, great.  I think the most likely outcomes have both players with similar results and pay over the next 4 and 6 years.  beyond 6 Boston would have to sign an extention and there is no guarentee Graterol will.  same as if he was in Minnesota.  

 

from that view the trade is fine.  

 

also if we have a rotation of 5 starters with average to better than average era and a bullpen that is one of the best will = a pitching staff that is capable of an above average ERA or one that is lower than the average.... How will that not win in the playoffs if we have a rotation that can pitch 5 innings giving up 2 or 3 runs and turning over to a pen that doesn't give up much?  Especially with our offense.  to me we have a 50/50 fighting chance going into the playoffs with our team as is.  

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I do appreciate trying to factor in Donaldson somehow, but there's still a cost/value gap there. Ryu is still notably cheaper than Maeda + Donaldson - Graterol.

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.

 

Outside of Ryu’s standout 2019, Maeda and Ryu aren’t really that different (Ryu being slightly better but the gap isn’t large), except Ryu is older and goes down with an injury almost every season.

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