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We are just weeks from the 2021 Major League Baseball trade deadline, and there is no denying the Minnesota Twins are destined to be sellers. To what extent, though, will highlight just how bad the front office sees the fall.

Coming into 2021 this was supposed to be a good Major League roster. Rocco Baldelli was piloting a club coming off two-straight AL Central division titles, and there was no reason to believe they wouldn’t contend with the rival Chicago White Sox. Fast forward to where we are now, and the reality couldn’t be further from that promise.

Minnesota has dealt with a plethora of injuries. Byron Buxton leads the team with 2.7 fWAR yet has played just 27 games. Kenta Maeda took massive steps backwards, Josh Donaldson has been good not great, and injuries have crushed the roster all over. Ineffectiveness first from the bullpen, and then sustained by the rotation, have worked wonders to sink an already bludgeoned ship.

So, it’s not about if pieces move; that’s a certainty. Now, we’re going to find out if the front office sees a way forward, or if they’re admitting a massive miscalculation in what they have.

As Nick Nelson pointed out yesterday, the Twins most desirable talents are a duo (trio?) of players they shouldn’t want to trade. Jose Berrios and Taylor Rogers (along with the unmentioned Buxton) are worthy of the biggest haul. For a team that should be in a position to retool and reset before 2022 kicks off, moving any of them would suggest a disbelief in that being a workable process.

There’s no doubt that signing Jose Berrios and Byron Buxton to long term deals makes sense from a talent perspective. They aren’t players you can just replace, and without considering alternative ramifications, they are assets you should want on your roster until they leave on their own volition. It also stands to reason that dealing them prior to their final year of team control would increase the return. No matter what prospect capital is brought back, the impact won’t immediately be felt and may never come to fruition.

Maybe Miguel Sano and Max Kepler aren’t the players Derek Falvey and Thad Levine envisioned them to be when offering contract extensions. That’s an unfortunate reality, more so with the tools Kepler should possess, but one that’s ultimately understandable. You’d be trading either at a low point in their value, but there’s a very clear backup plan in each scenario as well. Making deals that involve either of those two wouldn’t necessarily shift the future course for this club.

On the flip side, having to replace the ace of a staff on a bad rotation, the lockdown arm in a bad bullpen, or arguably the most athletically-gifted player in the sport is going to be a catastrophic hurdle in the near future. If that’s what’s deemed necessary, then the ultimate direction envisioned by this front office has been incredibly poorly executed, and we’re starting over from the prospect level.

Give it to Falvey and Levine; their infrastructure has seemed sound. There’s been decent development on the farm, and while injuries have hurt that progression plenty in 2021, it doesn’t take away from what appears to be coming. If a complete rebuild of the Major League roster needs to take place at this point though, it looks as if the last two division titles and supplementation of that core may have been more about timely circumstances than well designed execution. The duo doesn’t have a great free agency track record, and while they’ve made a few shrewd deals, largely they’ve failed to evaluate their own near-ready and currently available big league talent.

When the calendar flips on July the Twins should have a vastly different looking roster. That’s expected. If even one of three key names move, well then, this front office has much less going for it than was originally thought.

 

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It depends on what you can get as far as close to major league ready talent.  As stated only Buxton, Berrios, and rogers can bring more than a minimal amount of talent back or lottery tickets.  

Buxton being injured will be selling low and probably has to wait until the offseason or sign and extension.  Berrios they should already know what he wants for an extension and if they are not going to sign him, he must be traded for the biggest haul in the next two weeks. 

Rogers depends on the return, if it will help next year trade him.  Twins need to open spots and see what the young pitchers have.  Then you can act on next year.

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Buxton isn't worth the move at the moment, but I don't mind moving him in the off season.  Career .247 hitter and lucky/unlucky injury upon injury doesn't give me the warm and fuzzy he can last 100 games per year.  I can't justify $20MM a year for 60% game action.  Rogers would be interesting move to bring something in return that is close to be ready, what that would be, not my job.  Could you get a SS on the rise, SP or RP to make us for a 2 for 1 deal? Maybe.  Berrios is the prize but is he a true ace on a staff?  This year yes on Twins, but other contenders he would most likely be a solid #2 or #3 rotation guy, maybe #4 depending on the staff.  So his haul in return fluctuates on perception and trade partner.  Here I would demand back in return 4 for 1 deal:  SS, SP, SP & RP.  3 out of the 4 top 100 prospects from said team we partner with and 2 have to be in top 20 in their system.  

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I have not seen the trades or FA signings of this FO that give me confidence.  Two years we win the division and then we drop to the scrap heap.  That is not right.  Do not trade our only two really reliable pitchers.  I do not want to wait 3 years for the prospects to get here and find out they are not as good as the original.  Keep developing out minor league arms.   Figure out what happened when we had a good staff - just a year or two ago.  

I put Berrios and Rogers in my untouchable list and defy the other teams to give me an offer that would put them back on the marker.  We all love Buxton, but we have paid him as a full time player and he has averaged 65 games over seven years.  

Sano, Donaldson, Simmons, Cave, Garver, Cruz, Maeda, Happ, Thielbar, Dobnak, Smeltzer, Thorpe, Robles and the movable parts.  We also have some give-aways like Colome, 

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43 minutes ago, umterp23 said:

Buxton isn't worth the move at the moment, but I don't mind moving him in the off season.  Career .247 hitter and lucky/unlucky injury upon injury doesn't give me the warm and fuzzy he can last 100 games per year.  I can't justify $20MM a year for 60% game action.  Rogers would be interesting move to bring something in return that is close to be ready, what that would be, not my job.  Could you get a SS on the rise, SP or RP to make us for a 2 for 1 deal? Maybe.  Berrios is the prize but is he a true ace on a staff?  This year yes on Twins, but other contenders he would most likely be a solid #2 or #3 rotation guy, maybe #4 depending on the staff.  So his haul in return fluctuates on perception and trade partner.  Here I would demand back in return 4 for 1 deal:  SS, SP, SP & RP.  3 out of the 4 top 100 prospects from said team we partner with and 2 have to be in top 20 in their system.  

You are only likely to get one top 100 prospect for Berrios.  And you had better be right.  Problem is a couple of them are injured (Pearson) or ineffective (Gore).  There may be others, but you have the pick the right one.  San Diego and Toronto are the only 2 (Dodgers will not) maybe trade a high level pitching prospect in return.  Do not think the Giants have one that close.  Rogers may get you a decent prospect, but not likely to be a pitcher, not many clubs will move a pitcher close to the majors.  We shall see.  If I took a lower level prospect, I had better be right

 

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I can see the Twins going either way.  If a team steps up with an overpay for Berrios they will likely take it and if they lose Berrios then 2022 isn't happening anyway so trading more guys would make sense.  If they can't find a deal for Berrios that they like then if they can somehow fix the rotation and pen in the offseason and with guys coming up then they have the hitters to make 2022 at least competitive.

Hard to say what they will do but Berrios is the lynch pin IMO. They have a lot of tough decisions to make.  I hope they make good ones.

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"Lockdown Arm"? Huh? Who evaluated that term- Falvey? Even Taylors outs are hard hit.

Dynamic Duo needs to stop with the "Hope we can get Pitchers off the scrap heap" routine and get an Authentic Pitcher to help Berrios! They act like Vikes saving money on the O-Line! Results prove being stingy won't get you to or deep into playoffs. But since Club is profitable winning comes 2nd.

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Based on our offensive numbers against the rest of the league, we should keep the band together.

Twins rank in the top 10 in BA, OPS, and HR, top 15 in nearly every other offensive category - 21st in SO though, which surprised me. The team has hit very well considering all the young guys we've had to play due to injuries and other circumstances.

This season is once again a result not investing into quality pitching. We try too hard to fill our rotation and BP with bounce-back candidates or possible diamonds in the rough.

My thought is to work hard to extend Berrios and Buxton. We won't get enough in return (IMO) to make it worthwhile. Invest heavily into quality FA arms in the off-season. Overpay if we have to, it's just money (easy for me to say). We are a much better team than our record reflects at the moment. I see no reason to sell now. If we're in the same position one year from now, become sellers then.

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Excellent comments by all and a well written article.  Great insight into Buxton.  I've said all along he's a great defensive center fielder.  However his .247 career batting average in 7 seasons is not so great.  He's only played in more than 100 games only once.  He had a great month in April of this year and everyone calls him a superstar.  He cannot and should not be given a multi-year contract until he proves he can stay on the field and be consistently productive!!

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Anyone have a list of pending FA SPs for 2022?

2 hours ago, NapoleonComplex said:

Based on our offensive numbers against the rest of the league, we should keep the band together.

Twins rank in the top 10 in BA, OPS, and HR, top 15 in nearly every other offensive category - 21st in SO though, which surprised me. The team has hit very well considering all the young guys we've had to play due to injuries and other circumstances.

This season is once again a result not investing into quality pitching. We try too hard to fill our rotation and BP with bounce-back candidates or possible diamonds in the rough.

My thought is to work hard to extend Berrios and Buxton. We won't get enough in return (IMO) to make it worthwhile. Invest heavily into quality FA arms in the off-season. Overpay if we have to, it's just money (easy for me to say). We are a much better team than our record reflects at the moment. I see no reason to sell now. If we're in the same position one year from now, become sellers then.

 

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1 hour ago, Whitey333 said:

Excellent comments by all and a well written article.  Great insight into Buxton.  I've said all along he's a great defensive center fielder.  However his .247 career batting average in 7 seasons is not so great.  He's only played in more than 100 games only once.  He had a great month in April of this year and everyone calls him a superstar.  He cannot and should not be given a multi-year contract until he proves he can stay on the field and be consistently productive!!

I really think you have to almost throw out the first five years. For whatever reason it just took Buxton a longer time to develop his hitting. Because of injuries it is a SSS but he appears to have it finally put it together. Trading him now would be selling very low. If the owners statement is true that they have the money to sign Buxton and Berrios, then do it and move on. If he continues to get hurt he is still worth more than Donaldson IMO.

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It’s a tough call. I think Berrios is going to test FA no matter what from the sounds of where extension talks have run. So I think the twins will have to massively overpay him for an extension. If that’s the case you ask one question. If Pearson or Gore are on the table would you prefer 6-7 years of either one of them? Or would you like 6-8 years of Berrios at $25-$30M? Also, if we take the latter we’re talking about a smaller pitcher who’s never really had an ACE season venturing into his 30’s at the back end of that contract. Personally I’d take my chances on trying to overachieve next year with an eye toward 2023 and beyond with what hopefully amounts to a stud pitcher rather than holding the bag after 2022 and hoping to stay competitive past that. If we sell high on these guys now and get back some really good pieces there’s no reason we can’t surprise teams next year and have a really solid team going forward. There’s pieces in place. This team is not like the ‘11-‘15 clubs that were destined for 100 losses every year. This is a crossroads for sure!

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20 minutes ago, USNMCPO said:

I really think you have to almost throw out the first five years. For whatever reason it just took Buxton a longer time to develop his hitting. Because of injuries it is a SSS but he appears to have it finally put it together. Trading him now would be selling very low. If the owners statement is true that they have the money to sign Buxton and Berrios, then do it and move on. If he continues to get hurt he is still worth more than Donaldson IMO.

I'd take healthy Donaldson over injured Buxton. If we're ever going to do anything in playoffs, how is Buxton going to help from the IL? He can't make it through a full season, and I would bet that he gets more brittle as he ages. 

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With a solid pitching staff......this team would be up there with the White Sox. That has been illustrated enough on this site...so I'll skip that.

So....it is being suggested they need to trade Berrios, Buxton, and Rogers because the pitching wasn't upgraded properly??? WTF??? Sounds like an excuse to go cheap [yet again].....and call it a rebuild. 

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24 minutes ago, FritzDahmus said:

With a solid pitching staff......this team would be up there with the White Sox. That has been illustrated enough on this site...so I'll skip that.

So....it is being suggested they need to trade Berrios, Buxton, and Rogers because the pitching wasn't upgraded properly??? WTF??? Sounds like an excuse to go cheap [yet again].....and call it a rebuild. 

I'm curious, do you think anyone here wants them to be cheap? Or, maybe, some here think the Twins and some of those players won't come to an agreement, so they should deal them and get something in return? 

If I had to guess, 100% of the people here would rather they find a way to sign Buxton, Berrios, and Rogers, and another FA SP, and another SS and a RP or two......but that a good number think that isn't realistic at all. 

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3 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

Great infrastructure?

Which league average pitcher, reliever or starter, have they developed?

We don't have much at the major league level to show for the pitching development infrastructure that Falvey and Levine and put in place yet, but we do have more legitimate pitching prospects in A+ or higher this year than TR had in all of his last ten years combined. It's really easy, I think, to forget how absolutely pathetic our pitcher development program was before Falvey and Levine showed up, and how very little they had to work with on day one from a coaching and tooling perspective. We have to remember to play the long game with our pitching pipeline.

If you ask this question again this time next year, I think it's pretty likely that we'll be able to point to at least several of Winder, Alcala, Duran, Barnes, Sands, Balazovic, Ober, Jax, and Colina. If Canterino comes back relatively soon, or if Enlow's return from TJS goes according to plan, we'll probably be able to point to them as headed toward league average or better in the near future, too. Perhaps Hajjer and/or Macleod (assuming they both sign), as well.

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2 minutes ago, RonCoomersOPS said:

We don't have much at the major league level to show for the pitching development infrastructure that Falvey and Levine and put in place yet, but we do have more legitimate pitching prospects in A+ or higher this year than TR had in all of his last ten years combined. It's really easy, I think, to forget how absolutely pathetic our pitcher development program was before Falvey and Levine showed up, and how very little they had to work with on day one from a coaching and tooling perspective. We have to remember to play the long game with our pitching pipeline.

If you ask this question again this time next year, I think it's pretty likely that we'll be able to point to at least several of Winder, Alcala, Duran, Barnes, Sands, Balazovic, Ober, Jax, and Colina. If Canterino comes back relatively soon, or if Enlow's return from TJS goes according to plan, we'll probably be able to point to them as headed toward league average or better in the near future, too. Perhaps Hajjer and/or Macleod (assuming they both sign), as well.

I'm not interested in them being better than TR, but better than teams good at this. I agree, we might see a much different picture next year, but we don't this year, or any previous year.....so, until they actually do develop good pitching, I'm holding off on saying they can. Which seems reasonable to me.....

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4 minutes ago, Mike Sixel said:

I'm not interested in them being better than TR, but better than teams good at this. I agree, we might see a much different picture next year, but we don't this year, or any previous year.....so, until they actually do develop good pitching, I'm holding off on saying they can. Which seems reasonable to me.....

I think this is a situation of both sides being right. They haven't developed a difference making pitcher yet (for the record Dobnak has been basically a league average pitcher they signed and developed). But they have a quite enviable stable of prospects on the cusp of the bigs, with a few of the low end prospects having debuted or set to debut tomorrow. And they've only been here 4 years. Year 1 is a lot of assessing and planning. Years 2 and 3 were about accumulating talent and beginning their march to the bigs. Year 4 had the minor league world go dark. Not a total excuse for things, but certainly isn't nothing. And now Year 5 is starting to see guys arrive. That's a pretty reasonable timeline I'd think. But the question of whether or not the guys arriving will succeed is still legit. So they've developed a more than solid MiLB prospects, but all they are are prospects until they prove themselves in the bigs. I think the next year will be the deciding time.

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14 minutes ago, chpettit19 said:

I think this is a situation of both sides being right. They haven't developed a difference making pitcher yet (for the record Dobnak has been basically a league average pitcher they signed and developed). But they have a quite enviable stable of prospects on the cusp of the bigs, with a few of the low end prospects having debuted or set to debut tomorrow. And they've only been here 4 years. Year 1 is a lot of assessing and planning. Years 2 and 3 were about accumulating talent and beginning their march to the bigs. Year 4 had the minor league world go dark. Not a total excuse for things, but certainly isn't nothing. And now Year 5 is starting to see guys arrive. That's a pretty reasonable timeline I'd think. But the question of whether or not the guys arriving will succeed is still legit. So they've developed a more than solid MiLB prospects, but all they are are prospects until they prove themselves in the bigs. I think the next year will be the deciding time.

Agreed. I've said over and over on this site that I'll really begin judging their pitching acumen next year.

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1 hour ago, chpettit19 said:

I think this is a situation of both sides being right. They haven't developed a difference making pitcher yet (for the record Dobnak has been basically a league average pitcher they signed and developed). But they have a quite enviable stable of prospects on the cusp of the bigs, with a few of the low end prospects having debuted or set to debut tomorrow. And they've only been here 4 years. Year 1 is a lot of assessing and planning. Years 2 and 3 were about accumulating talent and beginning their march to the bigs. Year 4 had the minor league world go dark. Not a total excuse for things, but certainly isn't nothing. And now Year 5 is starting to see guys arrive. That's a pretty reasonable timeline I'd think. But the question of whether or not the guys arriving will succeed is still legit. So they've developed a more than solid MiLB prospects, but all they are are prospects until they prove themselves in the bigs. I think the next year will be the deciding time.

Exactly!!! Let’s remember what was In place before the Falvine era. Terry Ryan and a bunch of guys still flying off the late 80’s and early 90’s way of doing things as the league was undergoing a massive shift. I remember a quote from a front office guy from another team saying the twins were far behind in the analytics/modern way of baseball scouting and development. It showed!!! I’m surprised they’ve changed the culture as fast as they have. I think we forget how bad the twenty teens were. A Pohlad fired a Ryan and a Gardenhire. Guys who were immortals in the day. 

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11 hours ago, RonCoomersOPS said:

We don't have much at the major league level to show for the pitching development infrastructure that Falvey and Levine and put in place yet, but we do have more legitimate pitching prospects in A+ or higher this year than TR had in all of his last ten years combined. It's really easy, I think, to forget how absolutely pathetic our pitcher development program was before Falvey and Levine showed up, and how very little they had to work with on day one from a coaching and tooling perspective. We have to remember to play the long game with our pitching pipeline.

If you ask this question again this time next year, I think it's pretty likely that we'll be able to point to at least several of Winder, Alcala, Duran, Barnes, Sands, Balazovic, Ober, Jax, and Colina. If Canterino comes back relatively soon, or if Enlow's return from TJS goes according to plan, we'll probably be able to point to them as headed toward league average or better in the near future, too. Perhaps Hajjer and/or Macleod (assuming they both sign), as well.

2014. Kohl Stewart was a hot prospect along with Alex Meyer and Berrios, Thorpe, May, and Felix Jorge were well thought of, also Gonsalves, Tonkin, Eades, Fernando Romero, Melotakis and another name that escapes me also had buzz about them. I di believe Graterol was still a signed 16 year old then. Any year you want you can throw out 12 names. A couple will make it. 

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I do feel they have 8 - 10 possibilities for starting pitchers in the Twins system (somewhat close).  Of these 2 or 3 will maybe make it, but we don't know to what degree they will preform at.  

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In some ways I admire the support on Twins Daily for our Falvine/Baldelli leadership, but I do not understand it. Ryan, Smith, Gardenhire, and Molitor were all much more experienced and the Twins won against some tough Detroit, Cleveland, and Chicago teams. The Twins had lower payrolls and competed for a decade before a confluence of difficult injuries and failed prospects cost them. When a change was made it was natural and I was happy to see the Twins win the AL Central in 2019 and 2020 but it was against very poor teams in their division. The Twins had some clear opportunities to make favorable deals after 2019 and made a decision to stand pat with players who struggle with their gloves and now are fighting contact with the bats too. Nevertheless, I do agree that the current management needs another year to make their case as capable in their jobs. 2021 has been a tough year with so many problems. It does feel to some extent like the 1964 team, which was a considerable letdown from the previous season. I'm hopeful for a bounce back in 2022. Moving Buxton, Berrios, and Rogers would create significant holes, yet any superior offer does need to be mulled over by the braintrust. I would argue that the Twins have enough minor league depth and we can accept risks for Simmons and others, but not for our top players.

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On 7/15/2021 at 11:14 AM, TNTwinsFan said:

Anyone have a list of pending FA SPs for 2022?

 

MLB Trade Rumors has a list they update though it hasn’t been in a week or so. 
 

Names I remember: Scherzer, Kershaw, Gausman, Stroman, Ray, Rodon, Wood, Hill. There are probably close to 10 names I wouldn’t mind the Twins signing when it’s usually just 2-3 any other offseason 

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