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Revisiting the Shaun Anderson Trade



On February 4th of this year the Twins made a relatively minor trade, cashing in some of their fringe outfield depth in LaMonte Wade Jr. for an arm they had identified as having potential in Shaun Anderson from the Giants. It couldn’t have gone more poorly.

 

LaMonte Wade Jr. was an easy player to like. He slowly worked his way up through the minors over five years using his patient plate approach and solid outfield defense and found himself on the back end of a deep outfield rotation in 2019 and 2020. Nobody expected Wade to be a star player, but he seemed like the kind of solid contributor that fills out the edges of a competitive roster. He slashed .211/.336/.388 in a Twins uniform, played decent defense in the outfield, and even filled in at first base on occasion.

It basically came down to a battle between Wade and Jake Cave for a roster spot last winter. To Cave’s and the Twins credit, he was fantastic, especially against righties prior to his disastrous 2020 season in which he was 18% below league average offensively. Cave’s prior play ultimately won him the roster spot as the Twins rightfully were planning on a rebound. Wade was eventually shipped to San Francisco for a high upside arm in Shaun Anderson.

 

 

Now I like Shaun Anderson despite his struggles in a Twins uniform and I liked the trade at the time. He’s a high octane righty with a nasty slider that he struggles to locate. Plenty of adjustments that can be made. Unfortunately Anderson never figured it out in his brief time with the Twins, as he was claimed off waivers by Texas after posting a 9.35 ERA and 4.90 FIP in 8.2 innings. Meanwhile LaMonte Wade Jr. is slashing .257/.350/.443 with the Giants. No explanation is needed on Jake Cave’s performance.

 

 

This wasn’t a noteworthy outcome in a vacuum, mistakes happen. I find it significant for two reasons however. 

First of all, this move symbolizes the entire offseason in my eyes. Was it an exciting move? No. You could make out what the Twins were trying to do however and it didn’t take much to get excited over someone they handpicked that was so under the radar. The same could be said for the signings of Robles, Happ, Shoemaker, Simmons and Colomé. Much like all of these but Robles however, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where the outcome could’ve been worse.

Second, for whatever reason for all of the mistakes that were made this offseason, Shaun Anderson (who has minor league options and is 26 years old) is the first addition the front office has admitted failure on by placing him on waivers. Meanwhile J.A. Happ, Matt Shoemaker and Alexander Colomé continue to “eat innings” with absolutely zero chance of having any future on this team beyond 2021. It’s simply baffling.

This move didn’t change the course of the Twins success in 2021, but it’s incredibly frustrating because it embodies the offseason perfectly. The majority of this winters acquisitions were sensible at the time but look absolutely horrible in retrospect as pretty much anything that could have gone wrong did.

The result of such a string of lame duck acquisitions leaves Twins fans’ faith wavering, as all of the good will built up throughout 2019 and 2020 was undone in one fell swoop of atrocious pitching additions.

The Twins will enter the 2021 offseason with ample money to spend and plenty of holes to fill. Can so many disastrous moves be chalked up to bad luck? Can Twins fans feel good about an upcoming offseason of acquisitions that will surely be relied upon to get back on track in 2022?

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I don't know, I may be a majority of one here, but I haven't been impressed since the day the boy wonder computer kids showed up at Target Field.  The first thing they did was sell the farm the first two years, for "prospects", screwing Molitor the most, then firing him the first year they can get away with it so they can bring in another computer junkie.  They sign a group of free agents in 2019 and virtually all of them over achieve, resulting in a record for home runs.  They juggle free agent pickups and drop offs for 2 years, thinking they have all the makings of a roster in their own image.  Well I, for one, have seen the image and I have no idea to this day what it is.  I have said one other time, we have 7 outfielders (counting all the injured), 4 catchers (counting Austidillo) and have switched around our infield every which way you can looking for something that fits.  And don't get me even thinking of the pitching staff (uuggggg).  There is too much talent on this roster for it to be looking this bad.  Quit juggling free agents, lineups, positions, and relief rotations and play your best players where they perform the best.  In the meantime, you have more than enough talent to trade for holes we need filled......NOT "prospects".

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Second, for whatever reason for all of the mistakes that were made this offseason, Shaun Anderson (who has minor league options and is 26 years old) is the first addition the front office has admitted failure on by placing him on waivers. Meanwhile J.A. Happ, Matt Shoemaker and Alexander Colomé continue to “eat innings” with absolutely zero chance of having any future on this team beyond 2021. It’s simply baffling.

I think it's more than fair to ask what the rationale behind this decision is.

The FO took a fringe 40 man player, whose ceiling is a utility OFer and swapped him for a position of need that they thought they could straighten out. It failed, but I'm ok with that swap. I don't think the Twins have been hurt in either the short or long term by playing who they have in the OF. I don't think the move is worthy of much hand wringing. Congrats to Wade on a good month. 

 

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Wasn't Wade yet another Left handed corner outfielder buried on the depth chart with 2 other LH corner outfield rookies waiting in the wings?  Sure - in hindsight (and maybe even earlier) we could have predicted he'd be better than Cave - but ya never know.  Pretty sure the Giants would have passed on Cave in that trade.  Had depth for that role - threw a dart and missed.  Sometime you hit, sometime you don't.

 

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27 minutes ago, farmerguychris said:

Wasn't Wade yet another Left handed corner outfielder buried on the depth chart with 2 other LH corner outfield rookies waiting in the wings?  Sure - in hindsight (and maybe even earlier) we could have predicted he'd be better than Cave - but ya never know.  Pretty sure the Giants would have passed on Cave in that trade.  Had depth for that role - threw a dart and missed.  Sometime you hit, sometime you don't.

 

Exactly this.

Missed on Anderson...but if the Twins still had Wade and someone was willing to offer someone/something with a chance, the Twins would still be right to pull that trigger in a New York minute.

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Pick the right guy to trade away... Grade: A.  Pick a reasonable guy to try to develop... Grade: C-, based on results this year.  Then punt it away by gambling that no bottom-feeder team would desire a guy with minor league options for 2021 and 2022, a guy you yourself had thought was promising?  Grade: F.   Shaking my head.

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My only problem was choosing to give up on Anderson so soon. I liked a lot of things about Wade and if he was a little better in CF and RH I might have been upset about the trade. But really, with Kirilloff and Larnach joining the ML club now, where would Wade have fit?

I just think the 40 man roster game hasn't been played nearly as well as it's been played before and should have found some way to keep Anderson for at least the rest of the season. It does seem like the Hamilton kid has supplanted him in the Twins mind.

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I really liked this short essay.  Yes we can say it is one of the first signs of throwing up our arms and admitting mistakes.  But we have also had Tzu-Wei Lin DFA'd April 29 and everyone said - who cares, April 29 we also DFA'd Mr Riddle and got a league wide yawn again.  May 7 we had a DFA for Brandon Waddell now with the one team worst than us - Baltimore.  Derek Law was DFA'd May 18 and now he is a star in St Paul - leave him there.  He was outrighted there May 20.  Dakota Chalmers DFA May 29, a minor leaguer we could not develop.  June 5 Minaya DFA and once again, no one cares.    We have a lot of chaff.  We need quality. 

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Disgraceful. Why are Happ/Colome/Shoemaker still around? I dont care if Anderson or Chalmers sucks, but give them the whole year to show us if they have anything or not. Now you lost them both for nothing and the team is still terrible. They're gonna lose if Happ or Shoemaker pitch anyway, miswell give some youngsters a run.

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I don’t have an opinion on Anderson but it doesn’t make sense to me to continue giving preference to a half dozen guys who are middle relievers, tops. Anderson might turn into something more than that? Who knows.

Another aspect of the Wade Jr. story I did not like: leaving Wade off the 2020 postseason roster and activating Kirilloff, which necessitated adding Kirilloff to the 40-man roster and dropping another player from it, and that player was Sean Poppen, another young relief pitcher who had options and a ceiling higher than middle inning mop-up reliever. Now, I’m not saying Poppen will become the next Mariano Rivera, or even make it back to the show, but he does have a live arm, is pitching well in Tampa Bay’s system, and all the Twins had to do to keep him was to keep Wade on the postseason roster. 

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7 hours ago, yeahyabetcha said:

Wade vrs Anderson???  Should anyone really care?

.270 .357 .486 .844 

 That is LaMonte Wade's line with 0.6 WAR for first place SF.

 Shaun Anderson has -0.5 WAR and a 9.35 era for the Last Place Twins. 

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8 hours ago, mikelink45 said:

I really liked this short essay.  Yes we can say it is one of the first signs of throwing up our arms and admitting mistakes.  But we have also had Tzu-Wei Lin DFA'd April 29 and everyone said - who cares, April 29 we also DFA'd Mr Riddle and got a league wide yawn again.  May 7 we had a DFA for Brandon Waddell now with the one team worst than us - Baltimore.  Derek Law was DFA'd May 18 and now he is a star in St Paul - leave him there.  He was outrighted there May 20.  Dakota Chalmers DFA May 29, a minor leaguer we could not develop.  June 5 Minaya DFA and once again, no one cares.    We have a lot of chaff.  We need quality. 

With the exception of Chalmers, none of those guys were on the 40-man to begin the year — all minor league free agents with zero option years left. I think the first 3 were direct COVID-IL replacements. Every team adds and DFAs a few of these types, every year (and especially this year).

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1 hour ago, spycake said:

With the exception of Chalmers, none of those guys were on the 40-man to begin the year — all minor league free agents with zero option years left. I think the first 3 were direct COVID-IL replacements. Every team adds and DFAs a few of these types, every year (and especially this year).

I understand that, but I could go on with mediocre arms still in the system.  They can sign all of these that they want if they would just sign some really quality arms too. 

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Every team needs pitching , pitching and more pitching ...

Since taking over the FO has released or dfa'd alot of potential prospects pitchers and got nothing in return ...

This is irritating because if pitchers are so valuable  , why not trade for a younger class A player that doesn't need protection  ....

 

Its a long list twins fans ,,, some of the players released at the end of the year have played on mlb baseball the next year ....

,,, their decisions are the focus here for disaster and disaster  followed

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Twins front office and coaching staff is void of any real baseball men. Combing the waiver wire and scrap heap looking for ‘high-upside’ arms, then asking a former college pitching coach to tweak their mechanics to add 4 mph to their fastballs is a foolish plan. Newsflash: the bigger, faster guys don’t always  win, but that’s how you bet! Rocco gets outmaneuvered regularly, and he has absolutely no feel for a pitching staff or defensive alignments late in games, and his record in close games and especially extra inning games proves it. The roster is completely dysfunctional, with several guys playing out of position most nights. The hitting coaches have accomplished nothing, and they’ve done irreparable damage to Sano. Falvines “we don’t care how they used to play the game, we know more than anyone throughout the history of MLB” attitude has become a major irritant with me. 

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We supposedly thought we had a lot of outfield depth, and Larnach wasn't even on the 40-man yet. And, guess what, we do., Which is why Baddoo wasn't protected (who knew someone would take a gamble on an oft-injured guy who has only limited AA at bats). It was Wade or Cave. I would've gone with Wade in the end as a potential fourth outfielder, although I wonder how spring training would've panned out for him where a bunch of minor league free agents were high in the pecking order.

 

I felt Anderson was a good pickup. My question here is WHY? Why was he removed from the 40-man? Who are the Twins replacing him with? If they need a 40-man spot, you can get rid of Colombe or Shoemaker. Right now, I would rather see Jax and Anderson on the team pitching equally as bad as either of those two guys. And, at some point, you will have a 40-man spot open up when Buxton returns and the Twins have to make a decision on Garlick and Refsnyder..

 

Plus, I totally expect Happ and Simmons to be gone sooner rather than later. And the Twins best trading chips that some other team MIGHT want are Pineda, Robles and Cruz. Robles ahs been fine, but I don't trust the need to bring him back in 2022 (or you just might like to resign him, or Pineda, when the players search out a free agent contract).

I hate the thought of trading Cruz. I think he is a fine bench and clubhouse presence, but at some point the Twins will have a crowded outfield and have to figure out where to play Larnach, Kirilloff, Buxton and Kepler, along with Sano. So Sano to DH might be in the offering for the remainder of this season.

 

Yep, Wade was a loss, but doubt he would be an outfield starter in the future and the Twins are still looking at a prospect logjam depending on what becomes of signing Buxton.

 

But nice the Twins are giving away players other teams want. At least the front office is spending mon ey at the Dollar Store signing such minor league guys as: Juan Minaya, J.T. Riddle, Tsu-Wei Lin, Jordan Milbrath, Justin Washington, Ryan Horstman, B.J.Boyd, Matt Mullenbach, Erik Manoah, Adam Lau, Sherman Johnson, Rob Whalen, Andrew Albers, Brandon Koch, Daniel Descalso, Nick Anderson (no, not the pitcher), Jason Garcia, Wilbis Santiago, Bobby Milacki. Robinson Leyer, Kevin Broxton, Chandler Shepherd, Drew Maggi. Wow, talk about prospect blocking!

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The trade hasn't worked out, but it was understandable, given the depth the Twins seemed to have at outfield, and their need for pitching. Trying to slip Anderson through waivers instead of Shoemaker was stupid. And it was the level of stupid that makes you think the front office is either on drugs or incapable of admitting they've made a mistake. I hope it's the drugs, but seems more likely that they want so strongly to believe in their own genius that they've invested themselves in Shoemaker's future value, which everyone who is not them can see is below-gum-wrapper-on-the-sidewalk level.

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Entering the season the Twins were in need of a backup outfielder who could play a serviceable CF because of Buxton’s injury history. The Twins had Cave, Kepler, Celestino, Wade, and Baddoo. Wade was traded, Baddoo lost to rule 5, both Cave and Kepler were hurt, Celestino look very unprepared when given the opportunity. 
 

Both Wade and Baddoo have outplayed the others on this list. Although injuries  to both Kepler and Cave could not have been predicted, they both struggled in 2020. One of Wade or Baddoo should have been retained.  The Twins don’t have the luxury of making to many mistakes in personnel decisions.  I get that the Twins have too many outfielders, especially if you include Rooker, Lewis, and Arraez. 

Maybe the best option would have been to sign a Jarrod Dyson type of player to have an a legit CF to backup Buxton.  

Fortunately for the Twins, Gordon looks to be decent CFer (albeit with a below average arm). 

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I've been monitoring Cave vs Wade since that trade....the mistake here , by in large isn't Shaun Anderson ...its the decision to keep Cave over Wave that is absolutely a mistake  Wade in CF is STILL better than Cave in the lineup at all.

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Mistake 1

Luis Gill for Jake Cave

Mistake 1.5

Huscuar Ynoa to the Braves

Mistake 2

Nick Anderson for Brian Schales

Mistake 3

JAIME Garcia for ty Austin and Zach Littell

Mistake 4

Compounding off #1 Lamonte Wade for S. Anderson

Mistake #5 

The decision to sign Alexander Colome over Brad Hand , when hand wanted to be a Twin

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Also Ryan Pressly for Celestino and Alcala is still more or less up in the air 

I think that is the one good trade Falvine has done.  

 

There HAS to be another , right!?!?

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15 hours ago, Shs_2 said:

Also Ryan Pressly for Celestino and Alcala is still more or less up in the air 

I think that is the one good trade Falvine has done.  

 

There HAS to be another , right!?!?

The best trade they did was Odorizzi for Polacios, Especially given they resigned Polacios and he is doing well.  You could argue the Maeda trade was their best trade but that one could still go the way of great for us or bad for us. The one with the most upside is probably Duran given he was traded for a rental but it's also possible he could bust.  Of course, they got DeLa Trinidad   in that deal.  He has not looked like much until this year but he is hitting 319.  We also did not give up much for Valimont or Rijo.  They may not ever see the big leagues but those trades could also be very positive in our favor.

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Agreed about the boneheaded moves by Falvine, especially this last off-season. What worries me now is that they will be unable to retain Berrios and Buxton when they become free agents.

Our rotation isn't deep enough to thrive if Berrios leaves. And knowing that Buxton is in CF chasing down fly balls might help make the Twins more attractive to veteran pitchers.  Hopefully pitchers with more talent than desperation moves like Happ and Shoemaker.

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