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The Ryan Pressly trade is starting to look pretty good


Brock Beauchamp
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The trade was quite controversial - and for good reason - as the Twins could have certainly used Pressly in 2019 (and possibly beyond had they extended him). For those with foggy memories of 2018, the Twins traded Pressly and 1.5 years of control to the Astros for Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino.

It didn't help that over the first couple of years, Celestino had upside but looked more "fourth outfielder" than "starting MLB centerfielder". Even if Celestino came through as a starter, it appeared as if he'd be somewhat light on offense and have to bring most of his value defensively (and he's no Byron Buxton).

As for Alcala, I think we all remember the tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth over his stunted development. We all knew the dude always had the tools, he just couldn't pull it together.

Things are looking up quite a bit.

Jorge Alcala's final 20 appearances in 2021:

Date Tm G GS GF CG Rslt Dec DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA FIP BF BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip Pit Str StL StS GB FB LD PU Unk GSc IR IS SB CS PO AB 2B 3B IBB GDP SF ROE aLI WPA acLI cWPA RE24 DFS(DK) DFS(FD)
Jul 24 to Oct 3, 2021 MIN 21 0 4 0 14-7 W-L:1-2,Sv:1,Hld:7 1.8 23.2 15 6 5 3 27 1 1 1.90 1.94 86 .185 .224 .272 .495 .264 310 69% 17% 15% 0.96   22% 7% 0   8 25% 1 0 1 81 4 0 0 2 0 0 1.29 1.122 .00 0.00% 6.79 89.85 149.00
per 162 games 68 0 13 0     6 77 49 19 16 10 87 3 3     278           1004             23 0   26   3 0 3 262 13 0 0 6 0 0   3.6   0.0% 22.0 291 48

Gilberto Celestino after being demoted to AAA and playing there for the first time:

Date G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS BAbip
Aug 1 to Oct 3, 2021 49 211 183 27 53 13 0 5 24 24 1 43 4 0 0 0 4 0 .290 .384 .443 .827 .356
per 162 games 162 698 605 89 175 43 0 17 79 79 3 142 13 0 0 0 13 0      
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He has 1.05 years service time.  Does that give us 5 more years of control?  2018 was a lost year so was it worth it to give up having Pressly in 2019 for 5 years of Alcala?  There certainly was a lot of complaining over that move but the Twins won 100 games in 2019 and has presence in the BP would not have changed what happened in the 2019 playoffs so YES it looks like a very good trade right now without Celestino.  Whatever value Celestino brings is a bonus.  If Alcala performs at the level we saw at the end of the season and Celestino is a league average player this deal could be end up being extremely good for the Twins.  Let's hope that's how it goes.

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This might be some slight repackaging of the trade to the fanbase in that Alaca was supposed to be a starter and now we're resigned ourselves to hoping he's a 60-70 inning relief pitcher. He did look good at the end of the year. He'll be 26 next year so he's pretty much what he is. Celestino's failures at the majors were expected but he's been impressive at AAA. Looks like a worst case scenario is 4th outfielder. It's a solid return.

But the problem with the trade goes a bit more than that. It was clear that the Twins didn't know what they had in Pressly, he took off in Houston and then he signed a team friendly extension to stay there. He made two all-star teams and closed out a world series. In four years with Houston he's managed over 5 WAR in about 160 innings (not counting 22 post-season games), In 85 innings, Alaca hasn't reached 1 WAR.  The problem was, once again, this FO failed to value the talent they had in the system. 

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18 minutes ago, gunnarthor said:

This might be some slight repackaging of the trade to the fanbase in that Alaca was supposed to be a starter and now we're resigned ourselves to hoping he's a 60-70 inning relief pitcher. He did look good at the end of the year. He'll be 26 next year so he's pretty much what he is. Celestino's failures at the majors were expected but he's been impressive at AAA. Looks like a worst case scenario is 4th outfielder. It's a solid return.

But the problem with the trade goes a bit more than that. It was clear that the Twins didn't know what they had in Pressly, he took off in Houston and then he signed a team friendly extension to stay there. He made two all-star teams and closed out a world series. In four years with Houston he's managed over 5 WAR in about 160 innings (not counting 22 post-season games), In 85 innings, Alaca hasn't reached 1 WAR.  The problem was, once again, this FO failed to value the talent they had in the system. 

Or....they thought they didn't need him as much as a possible starter, likely RP, and a possible starting OF. Sure, they could be wrong about that.....but if you can get a good RP and good OF for 1.5 years of a good RP, why not? Why not do that? 

Sure, Houston unlocked things the Twins did not. Not every team is good at every thing, especially given they'd just begun changing the systems and processes in 2018. Is this part of a pattern? Possibly. But to call this one a bad trade at this point seems off to me. YMMV, of course.

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1 hour ago, Mike Sixel said:

Is this part of a pattern? Possibly. But to call this one a bad trade at this point seems off to me. YMMV, of course.

But I think this is part of the pattern. Ynoa for Garcia? Gil for Cave? Baddoo, Wells, Goodman, Chargois (and others) for nothing? The Escobar and Dozier trades don't look great. 3 lottery tickets for Dyson? Kintzler for Watson? Dumping Hughes and a comp pick to save payroll? Harper for McMahon? Even the Graterol and the comp for Maeda is looking bad. Each of these moves are, individually, defensible. But, man, they aren't great moves.

For me, it's a sign that the Twins FO doesn't evaluate talent correctly and, worse, fails to understand the talent it has. 

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44 minutes ago, gunnarthor said:

For me, it's a sign that the Twins FO doesn't evaluate talent correctly and, worse, fails to understand the talent it has. 

The FO does not evaluate talent. Scouts do. The FO does not work with the talent it has. Player development people, mainly minor league coaches, do. Obviously, it's still on the FO to have good scouts and good player development people in place but that's where trades are won and lost.

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2 hours ago, gunnarthor said:

But I think this is part of the pattern. Ynoa for Garcia? Gil for Cave? Baddoo, Wells, Goodman, Chargois (and others) for nothing? The Escobar and Dozier trades don't look great. 3 lottery tickets for Dyson? Kintzler for Watson? Dumping Hughes and a comp pick to save payroll? Harper for McMahon? Even the Graterol and the comp for Maeda is looking bad. Each of these moves are, individually, defensible. But, man, they aren't great moves.

For me, it's a sign that the Twins FO doesn't evaluate talent correctly and, worse, fails to understand the talent it has. 

You have to trade talent to get it. The Gil trade is bad not for trading Gil, but what they got. Also, Gil was not good his last few starts. Maeda got hurt, but was awesome before that. The Badoo thing is silliness, imo. He was awful, lower in the minors, no one, no one, could have predicted this. They've made a lot of mistakes, but I guess I could list all the great and good moves. 

Do we really think other teams don't get nothing for marginal or good players in trades all the time? Or even let bullpen arms go that are good for a year or two?

They took a terrible team, and won two divisions. Let's see what happens the next two years. I get it. You think the team wins in spite of them. We don't even come close to agreeing.

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Alcala is starting to trend in the right direction, but I will need to see Celestino prove himself in the majors before calling him a success. Hitting well at AAA is nice, but he's got to make the jump at some point next year. 

Houston would 100% do the deal over again, though there is such thing as win-win trades. It's about time we got value from this deal, however.

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I doubt Houston fans have given this trade a second thought. They accelerated Pressly’s development and received 3 years of good to great production before either of the prospects they traded away contributed anything at the MLB. Who’s to say we want all 5 future seasons of Alcala and Celestino’s careers? Many a reliever has flamed out over history.

Celestino has looked promising in AAA, but until there’s real production we’re counting our chickens before they hatch. 

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14 hours ago, Mike Sixel said:

Possibly. But to call this one a bad trade at this point seems off to me. YMMV, of course.

IMO you are correct it does seem off to call it a bad trade at this point, it has been horrible trade to this point.

Alcala has pitched 85.1 innings for the Twins and has .8 WAR, Gilberto Celestino basically has been a minor league player the whole time as a Twin.  Pressly has pitched 162.2 innings and has 5.2 WAR.

That doesn't mean it will be a horrible trade in the end, if Alcala does figure it out, the Twins have him though 2025. And if Gilberto Celestino turns into something more than a 40 man roster filler, the Twins will most definitely win the trade.

This is the kind of trade that can be a win for both teams, I think most team would make the trade either way depending on where they are.

I am more in the camp of regardless how good Alcala or Celestino become of saying the Astros did the correct thing, I will take the bird in the hand is better than two in the bush saying almost anytime.

 

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Great discussion here! But let's get real: Alcala had a 4.00 ERA and averaged a strikeout per inning this season, and Celestino went 8-for-59 (.136) this season in limited MLB action. That's what we got for Pressley so far. Predictions don't count. 

If we cherry picked 2 good months from every MLB player's career (as you're doing with Alcala) and 1 good month from every MLB player's AAA career (as you do with Celestino), every single guy in pro ball would be an All-Star.

While I appreciate the optimism, as I'm fairly optimistic about our Twins in 2022, I think that your view is too homeristic for my taste in this article, Brock.

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11 hours ago, Danchat said:

Houston would 100% do the deal over again, though there is such thing as win-win trades. It's about time we got value from this deal, however.

Oh, for sure, which is why I didn't bring up Houston at all. They're satisfied with the trade and good for them. I'm not really into declaring "winners and losers" in trades unless they're really lop-sided. Oftentimes, both teams received what they needed/wanted because organizations need/want different things depending on their win/loss cycle.

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10 minutes ago, bighat said:

Great discussion here! But let's get real: Alcala had a 4.00 ERA and averaged a strikeout per inning this season, and Celestino went 8-for-59 (.136) this season in limited MLB action. That's what we got for Pressley so far. Predictions don't count. 

If we cherry picked 2 good months from every MLB player's career (as you're doing with Alcala) and 1 good month from every MLB player's AAA career (as you do with Celestino), every single guy in pro ball would be an All-Star.

While I appreciate the optimism, as I'm fairly optimistic about our Twins in 2022, I think that your view is too homeristic for my taste in this article, Brock.

First, Celestino had no business being in the majors. If you want to hold that against him, so be it, but it's rather unreasonable. He wasn't ready. We all knew it, the front office knew it, everyone knew it. What he did in his first stint in AAA is far more telling than rushing a guy multiple levels straight into MLB after a year off of baseball.

As for "homerism"... *eye roll*

Whatever, dude. I didn't even declare anything finalized, just a suggestion that the trade looks different now than it did even three months ago. I guess posting the most recent numbers over a few months for each player without predictions attached is wild-eyed optimism now.

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8 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

Oh, for sure, which is why I didn't bring up Houston at all. They're satisfied with the trade and good for them. I'm not really into declaring "winners and losers" in trades unless they're really lop-sided. Oftentimes, both teams received what they needed/wanted because organizations need/want different things depending on their win/loss cycle.

With the help of hindsight, and the circumstances turning out exactly as it is today, I would rather have Pressly on the Twins during the contention years of 2019 and 2020. He’s on the last year of his extension, so now would have been the time to talk about trading him this winter.

Instead of Alcala and Celestino in 2021 - ? during a potential re-tool/rebuild period in the organization. 

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5 minutes ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

yup, 100 percent

 

You never know the butterfly effect of having Pressly on staff those years vs. Alcala and Celestino in the minors. Perhaps instead of making trades for Romo and Dyson in 2019 to supplement the bullpen, they change course and get the best hitter on the market. We can’t say with any certainty the offense still fails to show up in the playoff games. 

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Numbers aside, Alcala certainly passes the eye test of turning the corner.  He's using three pitches effectively now.  He's dialed the fastball "down" to 96/97 and has more command of it.  He also seems to have more confidence and mound presence than he did before his IL stint.  He only gave up one run after he came back.  

Of course, Houston is going to have more to show for this trade at this juncture.  That's what deadline deals typically are - a sale of the now for a hopeful reward in the future.

I agree with the post above that Celestino may be a bonus.

I'm looking forward to watching Alcala pitch in 2022, and I won't at all be surprised if he ends up finishing the most games for the Twins.

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Just now, Vanimal46 said:

You never know the butterfly effect of having Pressly on staff those years vs. Alcala and Celestino in the minors. Perhaps instead of making trades for Romo and Dyson in 2019 to supplement the bullpen, they change course and get the best hitter on the market. We can’t say with any certainty the offense still fails to show up in the playoff games. 

My view of the 2019 ALDS was that the series was over after the 3rd inning of Game 2 (when they fell behind 7-0).

So, 4 runs in 12 innings isn't that bad, to be honest. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, Thegrin said:

Sign Buxton and trade Celestino for more pitching. :)

I would rather sign Buxton and keep Celestino to play when he is injured.  When Buxton is healthy, Celestino could be a very good corner/4th outfielder.  Other than Kepler, defense in the other corner is so-so to just plain ugly.

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39 minutes ago, Vanimal46 said:

With the help of hindsight, and the circumstances turning out exactly as it is today, I would rather have Pressly on the Twins during the contention years of 2019 and 2020. He’s on the last year of his extension, so now would have been the time to talk about trading him this winter.

Instead of Alcala and Celestino in 2021 - ? during a potential re-tool/rebuild period in the organization. 

That's definitely in play. Over the past two seasons - assuming the Twins could have retained Pressly for the same money - I probably would have preferred him over Alcala/Celestino as well... though it probably wouldn't have mattered, as the Twins' postseason ineptitude in recent years has fallen squarely on the shoulders of the offense (though the bullpen and defense contributed a bit).

Another year from now? It might be harder to say. If Alcala turns into a solid late inning reliever and Celestino becomes an MLB contributor of some sort (and the Twins badly need a legit defensive centerfielder, if only as backup), the trade will look much different for the Twins, it just took a couple of years to get there (as trades for prospects often do).

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The joy of the Pressly deal was that he was a Rule 6 pickup, so the Twins had no draft money or player development time in the guy, and got two decent prospects who fit into the current system. Could Alcala return to the rotation? Injuries aside in 2021, I do wish the Twins had given him a looksee. I think the Twins, other signing besides, might be looking at him as a potential closer material. Just has to watch that consistent home run ball.

 

Celestino may develop into more than a fourth outfielder. But after St. Paul shows he really worked on his game.

 

Pressly was a loss. Like Jesse Crain. Maybe Trevor May. Guys who might've had a great career as a forever Twin. But few players of that caliber become forever players in the game of contracts and free agency and replacement by an almost competent cheaper player.

 

Player management is a tough deal. Looking at who the Twins need to supposedly protect in 2022 and not be raided again by rebuilding teams, plus looking at overall salary towards the future, and expected play of the current veteran field, we realize that figuring out player rosters is an art.

 

I just wish dealing of players wasn't so much like...dealing people.

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12 hours ago, Vanimal46 said:

I doubt Houston fans have given this trade a second thought. They accelerated Pressly’s development and received 3 years of good to great production before either of the prospects they traded away contributed anything at the MLB. Who’s to say we want all 5 future seasons of Alcala and Celestino’s careers? Many a reliever has flamed out over history.

Celestino has looked promising in AAA, but until there’s real production we’re counting our chickens before they hatch. 

I don't think anyone is saying their futures are certain and therefore it's a good trade.  We can only judge in this moment and at this moment the players we got are likely more valuable than 1/2 year of Pressly in a lost year and Pressly for the 2019 season.  We also should not consider what Pressly did after his contract expired.  We have no idea if he would have stayed here.  We also used that money elsewhere, including Nelson Cruz.  Would do the trade today know what we know about Alcala and Celestino in present terms.  Absolutely.  Pressly would have been nice in 2019 but we did win 100 games without him and he would not have changed the results in the 2019 playoffs.  The net effect of having him would have been marginal.  Plus, Alcala and Celestino have a chance to impact us for years compared to 2019 having Pressly.   I am very happy they made this trade.

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5 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

I don't think anyone is saying their futures are certain and therefore it's a good trade.  We can only judge in this moment and at this moment the players we got are likely more valuable than 1/2 year of Pressly in a lost year and Pressly for the 2019 season.  We also should not consider what Pressly did after his contract expired.  We have no idea if he would have stayed here.  We also used that money elsewhere, including Nelson Cruz.  Would do the trade today know what we know about Alcala and Celestino in present terms.  Absolutely.  Pressly would have been nice in 2019 but we did win 100 games without him and he would not have changed the results in the 2019 playoffs.  The net effect of having him would have been marginal.  Plus, Alcala and Celestino have a chance to impact us for years compared to 2019 having Pressly.   I am very happy they made this trade.

Everyone’s going to evaluate this trade differently. The fact remains Pressly is still a member of the Astros and has done very well. We’re finally seeing some production at the MLB level with these guys 3 years later. We can’t say with certainty him on roster wouldn’t have changed the results of 2019 playoffs. As I mentioned before, you never know the butterfly effects of having him on roster. The FO could have changed course and doubled down on the best hitter in July instead of supplementing the bullpen with 2 trades. We’re just talking hypotheticals. 

I was very much against the trade in 2018. Given what we know today, I’m still not sure I would trade 2021 version of Pressly for Alcala and Celestino. Personally I would rather have Pressly’s production over future hope. Now that we’re transitioning to a retool/rebuild situation, hope is all we’re going to talk about vs. proven MLB results. 

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2 hours ago, Hosken Bombo Disco said:

I think this is an underrated comment. Is it really in the best interest of Twins fans for Celestino to develop into a starting center fielder? If not, then you are left to evaluate the trade as Pressly for Alcala. 

Yes. In what world would it not be in their best interest to have Celestino develop into a starting center fielder? Having 2 starting CFers is better than having 1. Having 3 is better than having 2. It is always in a team, and their fan's, best interest to have more talent than less. Having Celestino traded for pitching doesn't make the trade Pressley for Alcala, it makes it Pressley for Alcala and Celestino who they then turned into more pitching. Google "Delmon Young trade tree" and see what a single trade can do for an organization. Unfortunately the Twins were the ones who got that tree growing for the Rays.

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To be clear, I think Houston absolutely gets a W for this trade but the Twins could get a W in a few years as well. That's, frankly, the best kinds of trades because you don't poison the well with other teams. Alcala could easily turn into a dominant bullpen arm and this ends up being us trading 2018 Pressly for the 2022-2024 version of Pressly. That would be a nice result for the Twins.

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I would say the trade is looking better than it did when Alcala was struggling with control and getting hammered by lefties. If the last 20 appearances are the future then I would call it a win win. 
Anybody besides me wonder how Houston magically unlocked Presslys spin potential?  Possibly spidertac?

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