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Should the Twins Trade for Athletics Starter Sean Manaea?


The Oakland Athletics have three starters who’re reportedly available in trades. Does left-hander Sean Manaea offer the best value of the group?

THE PLAYER
The Royals picked Manaea out of Indiana State in the first round of the 2013 draft. MLB Pipeline ranked him as the 66th-best prospect in baseball following a solid 2014 season. Manaea, 29, is listed at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, an imposing presence on the mound. 

The Royals traded Manaea to Oakland midway through 2015 for eventual World Series Champion Ben Zobrist, who went 20-for-66 with eight doubles and two homers in the playoffs. It was a win-win trade.

Manaea made an immediate impact upon his arrival to the majors in 2016. He’s been a regular mid-rotation starter for over 700 innings, posting a 3.86 ERA (107 ERA+) with a 21% strikeout rate. Manaea’s ERA+ of 113 since 2018 tops free agents Kevin Gausman (111), Robbie Ray (111), and Jon Gray (104). 

The lefty works with three pitches, a low-90s sinker, a plus changeup, and a slurvy curveball. Manaea’s changeup was a top-six changeup in baseball in 2021, per Statcast’s run value. 

Like potential pitch mix adjustments with Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas, a bump on Manaea’s current 24% changeup usage could help him miss more bats and get more outs. 

THE COST
Maybe the most appealing factor in a Manaea trade is the cost, at least compared to Bassitt and Montas. Manaea is a lesser pitcher and projects to make the most in arbitration ($10.2 million). He’s a free agent after 2022. 

He’s not a frontline starter, but Manaea would become the Twins’ best pitcher and provide stability at a reasonable price. MLB Trade Simulator curiously values Manaea over Bassitt, but it’s close enough. The tool says the Twins would need to send RHP Jhoan Duran, SS Keoni Cavaco, OF Misael Urbina, RHP Drew Strotman, or trade of similar value. 

There’s an argument to be made that the Twins should not be seeking one-year stopgaps at the expense of high-upside prospects. They don’t have a competitive roster, and keeping as much young talent as possible is vital. 

On the flip side, the Twins still have plenty of solid position players, and they should receive help from top pitching prospects in 2022. A deal for Manaea (and subsequent moves) would give them a fighting chance in 2022. 

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I agree Dr. Gast.  that's how I value them as well.  It depends on what the ownership and the FO have assed as the Twins "chances" in the division for 2022.  If they want to challenge for the division, they should go for a blockbuster and swing this trade:   

Arraez  33.3  Rooker 1.7  Varland  .50  =  35.5  for Manaea  18.5 and Bassitt 17.0  = 35.0  I'd probably throw in another prospect and make it a slight overpay.  This trade is to add both QUALITY and QUANTITY (because the Twins need BOTH).  Then I would re-sign one or both depending on how well they pitch and how the young SP's in the system are developing.

If I'm aiming more for 2023 I do a different blockbuster:  Arraez  33.3  Canterino  9.6 and Strotman 4.5 1.7 = 47.7  for Frankie Montas  44.1.  Montas is the best of the bunch and he's controlled for a few years so no stress to resign him immediately after the 2022 season.  Adding Montas to Maeda and whatever SP we aquire this off season as well as the continued development of our young SP's could prove to be a very competitive rotation in 2023.  

But is Buxton in Minnesota or somewhere else ???

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Sure, we like the player, but it is not happening unless an extension is included or we send a player back to the A’s who is absolutely not part of our ‘23 and beyond plan and, ideally, dumps salary. 
 

So, if we sent JD to the A’s with a bunch of his salary, then maybe. (Of course, the A’s will not want him). Otherwise, this FO is not trading for a one year rental this off season. Moves like this happen when the team is a player or two away and the window is open. That is not now.

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I absolutely support this idea, Manea would improve this rotation immensely. Giving up that package of players would require the FO to extend Manea, but a bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush. Just like free agency, trades like this are not available every offseason. Next year the As won't be trying to offload so much quality pitching. Twins need to capitalize while they can.

Acquiring 2 good starting pitchers gives this team a chance in 2022 and they can afford to give up some future assets to improve the present.

I'd personally prefer Montas, but flexibility is required in making an agreement.

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For me any trade comes down to costs.  What would he be worth for a 1 season, and if he walks what would you get back.  Any trade to me needs to wait until a new CBA is agreed to because I expect the QO to be changed, and if you will not be getting anything back for Manaea if he does not resign, we should give up even less.  

Also, if this is the only move we make then I would want even less to be given up, because without more pitching we do not know where the team will end up and giving up assets for 1 year of a little better record to me is not worth it either.  

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2 hours ago, rv78 said:

If it would take the 4 prospects you list to get him then it's an absolute NO. 4 prospects for a 1 year stop-gap pitcher? NEVER.

I agree.  In fact you could trade one starting positional player for Manea.

According to the Trade Simulator, you could swap Jeffers for Manea.

But you would need a good sense if you could sign him.

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Strikes me that this is the kind of pitcher (one year and no clue if we can extend him, or if we will even want to extend him) we would seek out in free agency, not trade for.  If we have learned anything about short term pitchers in the last few years, it seems it should be pay for them in payroll, not in talent.  Not to say we shouldn't trade with Oakland; we should have interest in Montas, for instance.  And a package deal might work for Oakland, seeing they are revamping again.  But as has been said here already, upper tier prospects, or even middle tier, for a 1 year pitcher is something contenders would do.  So the question is:  do we consider ourselves contenders?  2022 contenders?  If not, look longer term.  Trades are probably the way to go, but not for rental players.  

Maybe we should see if Oakland will do a sign and trade?

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"On the flip side, the Twins still have plenty of solid position players, and they should receive help from top pitching prospects in 2022. A deal for Manaea (and subsequent moves) would give them a fighting chance in 2022."

The conversations on TD divide between using the current core with additions and other options. Bassitt, Manaea, Montas, and hopefully a few others offer an opportunity to bridge the gap for prospects. When you look around baseball you can see many examples of prospects who were traded, developed, and contributed positively for their new team. Manaea is just one example. The Twins cannot compete if they are risk adverse. My position mirrors others, such as Doctor Gast and TopGun#22, who want the team to target mostly right-handed pitchers in trade to support the current core.

We might be seeing a Falvey strategy play out right now. The Twins are on the sidelines as mid-level pitchers and relievers are signed. Additionally, the Twins have not made an appearance, to my knowledge, in any rumors. Writers have suggested the Twins may see opportunities to trade for a number of pitchers. Oakland and Miami are the best fits. Means from Baltimore ... not so much.

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Manaea would be great to get, but ONLY if he can be signed to at least a 2-3 year type deal past 2022. Otherwise, the cost is way too much for a one year mid rotation rental for a team that is unlikely to be a true contender next year. I'd rather pay more in prospects/players if we need to and get Montas, Bassitt, or one of the controllable starters from Miami. I think a good scenario for next year is to turn over the roster a bit, get younger, and be an up and coming team in 2022 who we hope makes the playoffs but isn't a WS contender on their way to true contention in 2022-2025. That means only getting youngerish pitchers with at least 2-3 year contracts or control, and being willing to trade Sano, Kepler, Garver, and Donaldson. Oh yeah, by the way, and SIGNING BUXTON to a longer term deal.   

I agree that we may be seeing the FO strategy in the Twins' lack of involvement on free agent pitching to date. It looks like either (1) the team is going to try to get pitching in trades and maybe signs a #3/4 type as a FA, or (2) we are going to add Pineda and maybe one other Pineda type and then roll with our own young guys in 2022. I hope it's number 1 but we may be looking at number 2, so to speak. 

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5 hours ago, Nashvilletwin said:

Sure, we like the player, but it is not happening unless an extension is included or we send a player back to the A’s who is absolutely not part of our ‘23 and beyond plan and, ideally, dumps salary. 
 

So, if we sent JD to the A’s with a bunch of his salary, then maybe. (Of course, the A’s will not want him). Otherwise, this FO is not trading for a one year rental this off season. Moves like this happen when the team is a player or two away and the window is open. That is not now.

Oakland would not want JD primarily because they have Matt Chapman. Also, they are looking to shed salary, not add it.

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4 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

"On the flip side, the Twins still have plenty of solid position players, and they should receive help from top pitching prospects in 2022. A deal for Manaea (and subsequent moves) would give them a fighting chance in 2022."

The conversations on TD divide between using the current core with additions and other options. Bassitt, Manaea, Montas, and hopefully a few others offer an opportunity to bridge the gap for prospects. When you look around baseball you can see many examples of prospects who were traded, developed, and contributed positively for their new team. Manaea is just one example. The Twins cannot compete if they are risk adverse. My position mirrors others, such as Doctor Gast and TopGun#22, who want the team to target mostly right-handed pitchers in trade to support the current core.

We might be seeing a Falvey strategy play out right now. The Twins are on the sidelines as mid-level pitchers and relievers are signed. Additionally, the Twins have not made an appearance, to my knowledge, in any rumors. Writers have suggested the Twins may see opportunities to trade for a number of pitchers. Oakland and Miami are the best fits. Means from Baltimore ... not so much.

I concur.  I do have a question:  what is the reasoning behind the desire for right handed pitching?  Posts that talk about it being better in this division in particular, or your thought that it would support the current core; what is the thought process behind the belief that right is preferred over left?  Do we want to lean right, be mostly right, or be all right?  What about lineups we may face that lean heavily left?  Is this a new analytics tool that I haven't heard of?  Just wondering what the main philosophy is and where it derives from. 

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23 minutes ago, jorgenswest said:

This team is not close to a contender.

San Francisco was not considered a remote possibility to be competitive in 2021. They just won in one of the most competitive division races in recent memory, winning 107 games. The path to amazing seasons begins with collecting a semblance of talented players, belief, and the drive and leadership to win.

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Nope. Don't start emptying the farm. Not for a 1 year #3 pitcher with major injury issues for a Twins team that so far doesn't appear to be in contention. Montas would be a better get.

I'd rather see how our supposed stud farm pitchers fare. 

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5 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

San Francisco was not considered a remote possibility to be competitive in 2021. They just won in one of the most competitive division races in recent memory, winning 107 games. The path to amazing seasons begins with collecting a semblance of talented players, belief, and the drive and leadership to win.

The Giants added 7 free agents to the 2021 team according to Spotrac. The largest AAV was LaStella at 6.25 million. His was a three year contract. McGee signed a 2 year contract at 2.5 million per year. DeSclafani signed a one year 6 million dollar contract. Alex Wood signed for 1 year a 3 million. The other three Casali, Wisler and Brebbia were around a million. Jose Alvarez was also signed in March for about 1 million. Zac Littell was not in Spotrac but maybe he was a minor league free agent.

They also made some trade prior to the 2021 season.

Sam Conrood for Carson Ragsdale.

Shaun Anderson for LaMonte Wade

Did I miss any other additions to the 2021 team?

I would love for the Twins to follow this same path. The Giants retained all of their prospects and did not commit to any significant contracts. Instead their talented staff made great decisions. I think this is the path I would advocate for given the current outlook. Sign Buxton. Take a flyer on some inexpensive free agents. If they do trade prospects they need to get multiple years of control. 

It really comes down to the Twins staff making great decisions. I wish I were more confident.

 

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If the Twins trade with the A's I wonder if they would take Elvis Andrus as part of the deal to lessen the prospect costs. Twins need a stop gap shortstop and I think he is owed about $7 million after Texas pays half the salary. I would imagine Oakland would like to unload that contract

 

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I'd definitely trade for Manaea, especially if we could get Frankie Montas back as well. The Baseball Trade Simulator says that Arraez, Kepler, and Canterino for Manaea and Montas would be a bit of an overpay from our side, but I would do that trade 11 times out of 10 if I were Levine.

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