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The Brewers came within one game of the 2018 World Series and three years later are in a position to make another playoff run. They have to go for it. They’ve never won a National League pennant and haven’t appeared in a World Series since losing to the Cardinals in 1982.

 

What’s Their Situation?

The Brewers have put some distance between themselves and the rest of the NL Central but still need to close the gap on the top of the NL West if they want to have a chance at home-field advantage. The Brewers currently have the 7th-best odds of winning the World Series, according to Vegas Insider, and their deadline mentality should be “we’re going for it.” 

They may not match up perfectly, but there is no way the Brewers don’t call the Twins and vice versa. There is too much that the Brewers could use that the Twins have for them to not have conversations for at least a few players.

What Do They Need?

If the Brewers intend to go for it, they need to do it at their most significant areas of weakness: First base (-2.0 bWAR, last in NL) and third base (-1.2 bWAR, 13th). Milwaukee needs to do something at these positions to give themselves a shot at postseason success.

The Brewers may also want to improve their bullpen. Don’t get me wrong, the Brewers bullpen, led by Josh Hader, has been terrific in 2021. It ranks 7th in opposing batting average (.221) and is tied for first in strikeouts per nine (11.0). But aside from Hader, who has posted otherworldly numbers (15.6 K/9, 281 ERA+), plus the rebounding Devin Williams, Brad Boxberger, and Brent Suter, there are places to upgrade. 

Which Twins Are the Best Fit?

Josh Donaldson would fill the Brewers’ greatest on-field need. It’s the other stuff - contract and injuries - that give Brewers fans pause. And that doesn’t even get into all the other recent happenings that could potentially make Donaldson not well-liked in other clubhouses. 

Jose Berrios, under control in 2022, is an excellent fit for 29 teams not named the Twins and the Brewers are no exception, but he, like Taylor Rogers, would both be luxuries, and it’s hard to say how much the Brewers want to deplete their farm system.

Nelson Cruz isn’t an obvious fit for a National League team, but Craig Counsell is well known for doing things out of the ordinary. And even Brewers bloggers are sipping that Kool-Aid. At a minimum, could you imagine having that option on the bench every game? Plus, there are DH days available in September with trips to Cleveland and Detroit, not to mention a late August visit to none other than Target Field.

Additionally, Michael Pineda as a #4 starter, Hansel Robles as another mid-innings option, and Miguel Sano getting a change of scenery and opportunities at first and/or third base might all be things the Brewers front office discusses. 

Who Could The Twins Get Back?

Unless the Twins are moving Berrios, I can’t believe any of Garrett Mitchell, Brice Turang, or Hedbert Perez would be available. Ethan Small and Aaron Ashby are probably safe to be included in that group as well.

The strength of the Brewers system is behind the plate. Depending on which ranking outlet you prefer, the club boasts six catchers in their Top 22 prospects, or maybe you want to call it three in the top 10.  

It’s not that the Twins don’t have catching options, but quick, who’s their highest-rated catching prospect? (I’ll give you a hint, when you take Jeffers and Rortvedt out, neither MLB.com nor Baseball America has a catcher listed. TwinsDaily’s midseason rankings go 20-deep… no catchers.)

Nick Kahle, C, 23yo - Kahle is probably the most likely match from a value perspective. He would profile as a backup with a chance to be more, considering he’s still got a few years to up his stock and has only played 76 games since being drafted. Kahle did play in both the American Association and Australia during the 2020 season to work on his development.

Abner Uribe, RHP, 20yo - You’re not going to find Uribe at the top of any prospect lists… unless you sort by mph. He’s a lottery ticket, no doubt, and he’s already spending most of his time coming out of the bullpen, but he’s a flamethrower who’s broken 100 mph.

Zavier Warren, C, 22yo - The Twins would be wise to ask about catcher/utility player Warren, who may have the chops to stick behind the plate, but has the bat and athleticism to play elsewhere.

Antoine Kelly, LHP, 21yo - Kelly projects as one of the higher-ceiling pitchers in the system after being drafted in 2019 and showing off his powerful fastball in rookie league. He impressed during his stint at the alternate training site, but momentum was lost when he underwent Thoracic Outlet Surgery this spring. An already high-risk/high-reward prospect has seen the gap between his floor and ceiling widen even further and is a huge question mark.

But that’s the fun of the trade deadline.


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12 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

The more trade previews I get from TD, the less enthused I am.  I don't want those players, but I am willing to just give them Josh Donaldson and his contract. 

If you look back to 2018 when the Twins made five or six trades, they didn't acquire any big name prospects. Aside from Forsythe, DeJong and Austin, no one even made big league contributions until Smeltzer came up.

Three years later, there have been a bunch more who have debuted. Alcala was probably the best prospect at the time of the trades. Celestino has a chance to be ok. Duran is one of the best prospects in the organization. Luke Raley was used in the Maeda move.

I also think the Twins have enough depth, if - and it's a HUGE if - healthy that they can focus more on the high-risk/high-reward prospects that may payoff in four or five years.

That might be an unpopular opinion, but if you're out of it and can get anything that provides value beyond this season, you do it. 

Donaldson is interesting. I would prefer to keep him.

 

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14 minutes ago, Jeremy Nygaard said:

If you look back to 2018 when the Twins made five or six trades, they didn't acquire any big name prospects. Aside from Forsythe, DeJong and Austin, no one even made big league contributions until Smeltzer came up.

Three years later, there have been a bunch more who have debuted. Alcala was probably the best prospect at the time of the trades. Celestino has a chance to be ok. Duran is one of the best prospects in the organization. Luke Raley was used in the Maeda move.

I also think the Twins have enough depth, if - and it's a HUGE if - healthy that they can focus more on the high-risk/high-reward prospects that may payoff in four or five years.

That might be an unpopular opinion, but if you're out of it and can get anything that provides value beyond this season, you do it. 

Donaldson is interesting. I would prefer to keep him.

 

For perspective we need to look at who left, not just who came.   I like Puckett Pond's ten worst Twin Trades - 10 worst trades as an example or how difficult it is to make these trades work.  To be fair here are the 10 best from him - 10 best trades.  None of these trades are associated with our front office.   If we look at Escobar and Pressly, both have been very productive and we are still waiting for production on our side of the ledger.  Acala has been here two years and we are still waiting to see him turn the corner.   

I am not against trades, but the team really has to have a good scouting report on the prospects that they get.  But even more important we have to know our own depth - Wade, Baddoo, Anderson... we have a lot of productive ex-prospects playing significant time and doing well for other teams.  The nice shiny toy that the neighbors have is not always better than what you already own. 

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25 minutes ago, mikelink45 said:

For perspective we need to look at who left, not just who came.   I like Puckett Pond's ten worst Twin Trades - 10 worst trades as an example or how difficult it is to make these trades work.  To be fair here are the 10 best from him - 10 best trades.  None of these trades are associated with our front office.   If we look at Escobar and Pressly, both have been very productive and we are still waiting for production on our side of the ledger.  Acala has been here two years and we are still waiting to see him turn the corner.   

I am not against trades, but the team really has to have a good scouting report on the prospects that they get.  But even more important we have to know our own depth - Wade, Baddoo, Anderson... we have a lot of productive ex-prospects playing significant time and doing well for other teams.  The nice shiny toy that the neighbors have is not always better than what you already own. 

While I would agree our self scouting failures have been big missed opportunities (Anderson, Wade, etc.) I can hardly fault the team for not protecting Baddoo in the Rule 5 draft. Struggled at High A ball in 2019 and had TJ. No play time last year. Just shrug your shoulders at that one. 

I also hate how much people overrate things like Escobar or Pressly in those trades. Escobar was traded from a non playoff team (with 0 additional years of control!) for what is now one of our global top 100 pitching prospects. Pressly refused to make the changes the Twins asked him to do but did so once Houston traded for him. 1.5 years of him for 6-7 years of Alcala and Celestino. I've would do both of those trades again in a second and so should every other Twins fan. Any production they have AFTER they sign extensions SHOULD NOT be counted as part of their production after they are traded. 

 

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Very interesting Jeremy, thanks.

Agree that the Brewers aren't a great trading partner, except.  And that exception could be a fit for the Twins to move Donaldson.  The Brewers aren't a big spending club so the Twins are gonna have to eat some of that salary.  How much and how long is what this negotiation would be about.  Expect that by taking back most of this year's $$$ and some from the future, the Twins could get back one of those catchers, probably someone not higher than A ball.  But that would be good because they will have three guys  battling for playing time next year and this would add depth for the next group coming up.

The best news, however, is this would open a spot for Miranda to take that final step.  And as said by someone in today's Minor League Report...."Free Miranda"

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1 hour ago, strumdatjag said:

The Twins took three catchers in the draft, so their need for depth at that position is less than you think. 

Maybe one of the three develop into a top 30 prospect. If your best return includes getting a top 25-type prospect catching prospect, you don't pass on that cause you drafted three college catchers.

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1 hour ago, roger said:

Very interesting Jeremy, thanks.

Agree that the Brewers aren't a great trading partner, except.  And that exception could be a fit for the Twins to move Donaldson.  The Brewers aren't a big spending club so the Twins are gonna have to eat some of that salary.  How much and how long is what this negotiation would be about.  Expect that by taking back most of this year's $$$ and some from the future, the Twins could get back one of those catchers, probably someone not higher than A ball.  But that would be good because they will have three guys  battling for playing time next year and this would add depth for the next group coming up.

The best news, however, is this would open a spot for Miranda to take that final step.  And as said by someone in today's Minor League Report...."Free Miranda"

For sure, Donaldson's potential return depends almost exclusively on the money the Twins would send. So it would be extremely difficult to cover that whole scope.

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3 hours ago, Jeremy Nygaard said:

For sure, Donaldson's potential return depends almost exclusively on the money the Twins would send. So it would be extremely difficult to cover that whole scope.

I don't think the Twins will be willing to send much money over with Donaldson in a trade scenario.  I could see them covering the money this year to some degree as he is a sunk cost anyway but the idea of paying 6, 7, or 8 million a year to another team to watch him OPS 850 or so would hurt.  If a team wants Donaldson they are likely going to have to pay for Donaldson IMO.  

It is not like this team is full of guys OPSing 800 or better.  I believe there are exactly two Cruz and Donaldson.  So in many ways the Twins need his bat as well.  Granted he has had his share of calf issues but if he ends up playing the majority of the season I don't think those issues are too bad.  

If a team is willing to take on Donaldson's salary then sure I could see the Twins turning around and investing that money in a Shortstop next year I just don't see them willing to eat money on that deal while watching him play somewhere else.

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5 hours ago, Dman said:

I don't think the Twins will be willing to send much money over with Donaldson in a trade scenario.  I could see them covering the money this year to some degree as he is a sunk cost anyway but the idea of paying 6, 7, or 8 million a year to another team to watch him OPS 850 or so would hurt.  If a team wants Donaldson they are likely going to have to pay for Donaldson IMO.  

It is not like this team is full of guys OPSing 800 or better.  I believe there are exactly two Cruz and Donaldson.  So in many ways the Twins need his bat as well.  Granted he has had his share of calf issues but if he ends up playing the majority of the season I don't think those issues are too bad.  

If a team is willing to take on Donaldson's salary then sure I could see the Twins turning around and investing that money in a Shortstop next year I just don't see them willing to eat money on that deal while watching him play somewhere else.

100% agree.

And you're getting hardly anything - maybe nothing - for someone taking Donaldson's entire contract. (Might have to throw a prospect in with him.)

He's more valuable to the Twins. 

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