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Note to Falvine: Please DON'T Make a Trade This Offseason


The Minnesota Twins largely missed the boat on the big time free agents this offseason, as only a few remain after the pre-lockout frenzy. While the trade market could be the next place to look, the front office would be wise to steer clear.

The two areas that the Minnesota Twins had an immense need heading into this offseason were starting pitcher and shortstop. Now, the cupboards are all but bare in each of these areas with 13 of Aaron Gleeman’s top 15 free agent starting pitchers and four of Gleeman’s top six free agent shortstops off the board entirely.

Aside from signing one of the star free agent shortstops (not likely) or Carlos Rodón (possible), the Minnesota Twins will need to utilize the trade market if they want to bring in any difference-making talent this offseason. 

Doing so, though, would not be wise.

I’m not breaking any news here, but the Minnesota Twins were not a good baseball team last year. The Twins just had their worst season since 2016, and did not show at any point in the season that they were on the verge of being a successful team. In only one full month in 2021 did the Minnesota Twins finish with a record above .500, when they went 14-13 in the month of August. On top of that, the Twins traded away their best starting pitcher since Johan Santana and their best power hitter since Jim Thome.

The most likely path for the Minnesota Twins to acquire difference-making talent via the trade market would be by packaging one (or multiple) future prospects to a rebuilding team in exchange for a win-now player. Trade ideas as proposed by Twins Daily writer, JD Cameron, include Trevor Larnach for Chris Bassit or Jordan Balazovic and Ryan Jeffers for Sonny Gray. While the exact prospects that the Twins would need to part with in these trades could be different, the core idea remains the same…the Twins would need to part with key future prospects if they want to acquire top-shelf talent. 

The problem, and why they should avoid making deals this offseason, is that the Twins have not shown that they are close to competing and that adding a starting pitcher like Bassit or Gray (or both, even!) would suddenly turn the Twins into contenders. The Twins finished last in the American League Central last season and got worse, while the White Sox, Tigers and Royals all figure to improve. Trading away future pieces such as a Trevor Larnach or a Jordan Balazovic only to marginally improve a still-bad baseball team could prove catastrophic in terms of rebuilding efforts down the line.

The other option that the Twins could look at on the trade market would be to trade away a non-prospect batter for some top-line pitching talent. Names like Max Kepler or Luis Arraez could potentially be expendable on a team with more hitting depth than pitching. While this type of trade would prove more palatable for an underwhelming Twins team, they are very difficult to come by. The teams that are looking to add MLB-ready bats are typically not the teams that are willing to part with MLB-ready arms. While it’s possible, I don’t see the Twins making this kind of trade.

The best path for the Minnesota Twins to follow in 2022 would be to round out their pitching rotation this offseason with number three or four starting pitchers such as Michael Pineda or Danny Duffy. Then, simply let the season play out. If the Twins’ young arms show that they are the real deal and in turn the Twins prove to be more competitive in 2022 than predicted, Minnesota can then move prospects for win-now arms at the trade deadline. 

Making a trade now, though, could prove extremely costly.

 


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This largely depends on what the goal for the season is.  If they're trying to rebound from last season and be competitive in the division, making a trade is the thing to do since they're clearly not signing free agent talent.  But if they're retooling (or whatever we're calling it), then it probably doesn't make a lot of sense to deal anyone unless the idea is to free up playing time for a guy like Miranda.

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I tend to agree with you but I believe in prospects and their value too much and I don't like risking the future with trades unless my team is player or two away.  Still you never know what might be out there on the trade market.  I never thought Odo could be had for a longshot shortstop prospect, a prospect not even close to the top 100.  While I didn't love trading Graterol for Maeda that trade helped the Twins win the division in 2020.  

That being said I think they likely will role with what they have this year and pick up at least one and likely two bounce back candidates in FA.  They have to feel Winder, Sands and Strotman are close to ready and who knows if Balazovich and SWR figure things out they could be in the mix as well.  If Duran is dealing he could be bullpen help for them.  Canterino could figure into the pen as well.

If a few of those guys work out that could be a lot of years of control and good pitching for years to come.  

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I like your premise, but I do not have a good answer.  I think Larnach would be preferred over Kepler by a trade partner and I would be willing to trade either, not both.  If we really want something good it could be Miranda that is the trade chip - not my preferred either, but teams want players with a future - especially the A's who might be dumping their first and third basemen.  A good trade is always painful, but the risk reward is tough to figure out - sorry sabermetric guys, but you don't really have a good formula for evaluating these situations.   With the lockout we have a lot of time to speculate.  Maybe a series - if we traded ???? what could we get and who would want him?

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A team loses their top slugger and two best pitchers and finishes in last place, yet the suggestion is to stand pat. Ok, that's an option. The question for those who want the team to play the hand they have today is this - Will you support the Twins with your time and dollars towards the 2022 team to the same extent you did to the 2019 team? I cannot quibble with those whose support in games attended, watched, and so forth continues through losing seasons, I'm just wondering how people who do not want any change would react.

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The Twins are in a tough position because does the current Twins player have more value to keep as aTwin or does the “trade for” player have more value. Further “MLB player evaluation organizations” have placed higher trade values on players the Twins may be considering trading. The most important fact do the idealistic views match up in the seller and buyer

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Acquiring a proven, solid starting pitcher with at least two seasons of control for a few prospects is not that risky.

It gives the team a better chance to contend in 2022 and play meaningful games after the All-Star break. Those meaningful games would be hugely important in the development of the prospects still on the Twins. Then in 2023 said starting pitcher holds down a key spot in the rotation for an even better team.

Yes, this presupposes the Twins can score enough runs and pitch out of the pen reasonably well - based mostly on the present roster. (Figuring they will add an arm or two to the pen) If you except this premise as possible the Twins almost have to make at least one big move for a SP.

It would be riskier to do nothing.

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With a FO seemingly content to see how the starter prospects develop this year and apparently focused on building a young, cost controlled position player core which an eye on a multiple year “open window” starting in 2023, I would think the top two possible players to be moved either in the offseason or before the deadline are Donaldson and Kepler. 
 

If we could, I’d move JD in the off-season and utilize the cash to sign Story. Miranda and Arraez man 3rd as Miranda develops into the ‘23 everyday starter.  Kepler gets moved at the deadline based on how Lewis, Martin and Larnach are developing (ideally those three comprise your OF alongside Buxton starting in ‘23).
 

This leaves Buxton, Story, Sano (DH) and Polanco (2B) as essentially our only relatively high priced players - freeing up capital to spend if desired next offseason. 

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Trading away prospects would be a knee jerk reaction to last season. Other teams know we could be acting out of desperation and take advantage of that by asking for too much. Let's finally see how our young guns play out, otherwise we will never know if our FO is any good at what they are supposed to be good at. Sadly, the time to trade was back in 2019 and 2020 when the window was open, but now it is probably closed until at least 2023 or possibly 2024 with the way the FO handles free agency.

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1 hour ago, dgdynasty said:

Sadly, the time to trade was back in 2019 and 2020 when the window was open, but now it is probably closed

The glass is half full and there is never any better time than the present because the best of our youth is the only hope for the future. AAPL is still going just fine - buy.

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6 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

A team loses their top slugger and two best pitchers and finishes in last place, yet the suggestion is to stand pat. Ok, that's an option. The question for those who want the team to play the hand they have today is this - Will you support the Twins with your time and dollars towards the 2022 team to the same extent you did to the 2019 team? I cannot quibble with those whose support in games attended, watched, and so forth continues through losing seasons, I'm just wondering how people who do not want any change would react.

I’ll be much less likely to support them if they trade prospects so they could avoid funding a reasonable payroll.

They had their shot at quality arms and they did nothing. If they now trade prospects so they can cap payroll at 100-110M and pretend they’re actually trying, yeah, I’ll probably lose it.

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These discussions are always interesting, I think the one thing that gets lost though, is that most people are making suggestions one way or the other based on the assumptions that Baldelli and the FO have ANY desire to have a standard pitching program. We think we can outsmart the rest of baseball. We are in the "perfect" situation for Baldelli and Falvine.  We have a TON of pitching prospects all nearing MLB readiness, yet many coming off of injuries or low innings counts from last year.

Balazovic 97 IP Woods Richardson (not super close)53 IP,   Duran  16 IP, Ryan 92 (between minors and bigs) Winder 72 IP Canterino 23 IP Strottman 112 IP, Vallimont 94 IP, etc.

and of course the Twins will eb using the "well they missed an entire season of development in 2020" until 2032 with regards to building up innings...

You combine the number of quality arms that are relatively near being MLB ready, who have very small number of annualized innings, along with the Sabermetric/statcast thinking of our FO and Baldelli, and what you get is a guaranteed "piggy back" approach to our rotation.

 

I absolutely guarantee you what we will see is AT LEAST the #4 & #5 spot in our rotation being used with "piggy back" pitchers.  pick any 4 from above and pair them up.

Balazovic goes 3 innings and gives way to Winder for 3 innings.

Strottman goes 3 innings and gives way to Duran for 3 innings

 

This way they only need 3 true starters, and if they think Bundy is one, and if they think Ober & Ryan can be true starters, then that means we are set... MAYBE resign Pineda. then we have a rotation with  Ryan, Ober, Pineda, Bundy, and then have a Piggy back pair of pitchers on the MLB team, and a paired piggy back tandem together at St. Paul. then call up and demote them in pairs as needed.

 

Im "old school",  dont not want this, I want pitchers to go 7-8 innings with real shot at CG, but this is what will happen.

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I would say there is no chance of the two trades you mentioned, they are not giving Larnach up for 1 year control of 33 year old pitcher. that is the type of trade you do when you are shoring up a rotation for a contending team, not starting a rotation.

The other trade, no way as well on two years of control of a 32 year old for possibly your starting catcher and maybe the best pitching prospect in the system.

If the Twins trade for a pitcher this offseason and I hope they do, it is going to along the lines of a pitcher they believe will end up in the pen (Duran?) or young pitchers years away. That has been their MO the whole time.

 

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12 hours ago, tony&rodney said:

A team loses their top slugger and two best pitchers and finishes in last place, yet the suggestion is to stand pat. Ok, that's an option. The question for those who want the team to play the hand they have today is this - Will you support the Twins with your time and dollars towards the 2022 team to the same extent you did to the 2019 team? I cannot quibble with those whose support in games attended, watched, and so forth continues through losing seasons, I'm just wondering how people who do not want any change would react.

Standing pat would be to run Happ and Shoemaker out there as SPs and Simmons as the SS and whoever in LF.  They are actually going to change a great deal but that change is going to occur over the course of 2022 and into 2023.  That change just does not compute if your sole focus is opening day 2022.  

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I don't think the idea of making a trade should be ruled out. From where I sit, the Twins right now have three players yet to make their MLB debut who would profile to being major league regulars as soon as next season (Martin, Lewis, Miranda) with Miranda looking like he could easily break camp with the big club. Add to that, a player without a defined position (Arraez) and there is redundancy at second, third and perhaps corner outfield. If they can trade redundant players for value at positions of need (pitching, shortstop) they should make a move. 

I don't fault the Twins for making some moves where they traded from perceived oversupply that haven't worked out--Wade for Anderson for example--I do fault them for choosing the wrong players. Hindsight says that they should have traded Cave and kept Wade. 

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Good article.  Points taken.  I just disagree.  You should never rule out trades.  You should never rule out trying to make your team, and your roster, better and more complete.  We need pitching.  Badly.  We need a SS.  Badly.  We have a talented player in Arraez who can be replaced by an up and comer like Miranda.  If a team like the A's valued a player like Miranda MORE than Arraez, I'd consider keeping Arraez and trading Miranda.  But when Baseball Trade Values puts Arraez at a value of 33.3 and Miranda at 4.5 it's kind of a no-brainer who I'm going to trade if I expect to bring back someone like Montas.  I still think the Twins should inquire about Adelberto Mondesi from the Royals.  K.C. has Nicky Lopez and Bobby Witt Jr.  They could very well be willing to part with Mondesi.  So, yeah, I'm never going to close the door on a trade if it is a trade that could help my team.  But if the Twins brain trust REALLY thinks they can run multiple pitchers out for 3 innings at a time to pitch the hundreds of innings they need to cover the 2022 season, well, then we're doomed,  and it might be better to find other things to occupy your time instead of watching or attending Twins games.

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I've said all along that 2022 will be a rebuilding year. The Twins have never been aggressive in the FA market even tho that is what Target Field was built for, (and to keep our top players) which we did do by resigning Buck but didn't do by trading away Berrios.The end of 2021 showed what the rotation would look like at the start of 2022. Ober, Ryan, Jax, minus Pineda however I think there is still a good chance he will be brought back, and then Dobnak. There are your 5 guys. Good luck filling Target Field.

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1 hour ago, TopGunn#22 said:

Good article.  Points taken.  I just disagree.  You should never rule out trades.  You should never rule out trying to make your team, and your roster, better and more complete.  We need pitching.  Badly.  We need a SS.  Badly.  We have a talented player in Arraez who can be replaced by an up and comer like Miranda.  If a team like the A's valued a player like Miranda MORE than Arraez, I'd consider keeping Arraez and trading Miranda.  But when Baseball Trade Values puts Arraez at a value of 33.3 and Miranda at 4.5 it's kind of a no-brainer who I'm going to trade if I expect to bring back someone like Montas.  I still think the Twins should inquire about Adelberto Mondesi from the Royals.  K.C. has Nicky Lopez and Bobby Witt Jr.  They could very well be willing to part with Mondesi.  So, yeah, I'm never going to close the door on a trade if it is a trade that could help my team.  But if the Twins brain trust REALLY thinks they can run multiple pitchers out for 3 innings at a time to pitch the hundreds of innings they need to cover the 2022 season, well, then we're doomed,  and it might be better to find other things to occupy your time instead of watching or attending Twins games.

I agree when the trades give you a good shot at contention.  However,  trading away significant assets to get to 500 or slightly above is a really good way to stay mediocre or worse.  Oakland and Cleveland have by far the most 90 win seasons among below ave revenue teams over the past 20 years.  Is Oakland making trades to supplement their 86 win team last year?  No.  They are trading away the players many think we should be acquiring.  Why?  Because they understand being a little better short term will hurt them long-term.

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Well thought out article.  I'm old school as well and absolutely hate the direction baseball is going.  Pitching 7-8 strong starting innings would be great, like it used to be.  Now we ask starting pitchers to pitch much less, 5 -6 innings considered good.  Yet starting pitchers are commanding Ever higher salaries.  Pay more work less seems good for players.  The prospects are just that, a prospect.  We need starting pitching, a shortstop, and so much more. Our pitching and defense was amongst the worst in all of baseball.  To stand pat means another season of terrible baseball.  To those who support having a starting staff bereft of much major league experience will you still be supportive after 90+ losses?

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1 hour ago, Major League Ready said:

I agree when the trades give you a good shot at contention.  However,  trading away significant assets to get to 500 or slightly above is a really good way to stay mediocre or worse.  Oakland and Cleveland have by far the most 90 win seasons among below ave revenue teams over the past 20 years.  Is Oakland making trades to supplement their 86 win team last year?  No.  They are trading away the players many think we should be acquiring.  Why?  Because they understand being a little better short term will hurt them long-term.

solid logic, but trading away assets to get other assets that may help in the short and long term works as well. Look at the Odo and Maeda trades, neither were made with one year in mind. That is why IMO they aren't trading significant assets for one or two year players. They may trade an asset like Gil for them, but in no way are they giving up any top prospects.

The big difference with MN and Oak, is Oak either figures out how to develop pitching or go out and get pitching that mostly works out and they can get all they can while under control and trade them before they walk away for more money. MN has shown no ability to develop pitchers, yet?

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I'm as big a prospect guy as most, and the idea of trading away a prospect who "could" turn into the next perennial all-star is hard to stomach for those of us that love to watch these guys develop.  That being said, the great majority of these prospects never develop into all-stars, or even major league regulars. The hope is that one or two of Balazovic, Duran, Winder, Canterino, Vallimont, Sands, Woods-Richardson, etc can develop into top of rotation type pitchers at the MLB level.  The best case scenario is that maybe three do.

However, the reality is that there's a much more likely scenario where none of them do. The fact that almost all of the above prospects spent significant time on the IR last year shows how fragile their "potential" is. If we could flip four of these guys for two all-star candidate caliber pitchers, who wouldn't prefer that outcome? 

 

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The comments are an interesting take on prospects versus experienced players. Would any one here be willing to trade Fernando Romero, Stephen Gonsalves, and Nick Gordon for Frankie Montas? What about a trade of Wander Javier for Chris Bassitt? Those were four of the Twins top five prospects in 2018. No, I am not advocating a trade of a host of prospects. The players are assets and need to be evaluated and moved occasionally, sometimes with risks.

I am excited to see how a few of our prospects pan out this coming year.  In fact, in numerous comments on posts, my protective tendencies with the Twins prospects has me holding back the vast number of young players I am willing to let go of via trades. Last season I found myself watching every pitch when Bailey Ober was on the mound because he seemed to be making adjustments from start to start and even within the games. Ryan was fun to watch as well.

I get the interest in prospects but established players gained via trade(s) must be a part of any solution that hopes to see the Twins be a competitive team both in 2022 and through the remainder of this decade. Trades may be risky but they seem less risky than free agents. The 40 person roster as presently constituted does not present a reasonable team for 2022 and adding just a Michael Pineda and a Danny Duffy will not materially improve the team. There have been numerous solid trade suggestions from writers (Nash) and many members on this site, although we are in the dark as to what other teams are requiring for their players. Falvey will be the one who makes it happen. Trades are the best option at this time for the Twins.

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1 hour ago, TwinsDr2021 said:

solid logic, but trading away assets to get other assets that may help in the short and long term works as well. Look at the Odo and Maeda trades, neither were made with one year in mind. That is why IMO they aren't trading significant assets for one or two year players. They may trade an asset like Gil for them, but in no way are they giving up any top prospects.

The big difference with MN and Oak, is Oak either figures out how to develop pitching or go out and get pitching that mostly works out and they can get all they can while under control and trade them before they walk away for more money. MN has shown no ability to develop pitchers, yet?

Most of the talk here has been about SPs with 1-2 years of control.  I am sure we would all welcome another Maeda or Odorizzi deal.  The only way they are getting 3+ year players is to trade away multiple top prospects.  

I have said it before and will say it again the logic that we have not succeeded in the past at best practices (developing pitching) means we should pursue inferior strategies just drives me crazy.  The solution is not to follow bad practice.  That's a horrible plan.  History is very clear that developing pitching is crucial to success so get better at it.  Change the people.  Change the practices.  Change things until you are at the top of the industry at what matters most.  BTW ... it looks like they have improved.  We are about to find out and trading away those assets right now is about as ill-advised as it gets.

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13 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

Most of the talk here has been about SPs with 1-2 years of control.

Well that talk is silly, Now maybe if they would signed a couple Ray, Gausman, Stroman or Rodríguez for example, then sure go out and trade for another starter with a year or two of control and give up a prospect like Larnach/Jeffers or somebody else to make a real run at a title.

Trying to build a rotation out of FA's and trading prospects for pitchers with a little control is no way to have continued success.

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This is a genuinely horrible article. There’s no reason to be happy that the twins decided to stay pat. Mediocrity leads to more mediocrity, mid round draft picks, etc. We should not be celebrating or encouraging having a .450 season and following it up with signing a couple of 4th pitchers. Just trade Buxton and go into a rebuild if that’s what you want.

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The idea of not making a trade at all is too broad. If you can do another Odo or Maeda deal (or 2 or 3) absolutely go for it. Those were great deals for the Twins (even with Maeda getting hurt). But I agree that trading future value for a shot at a worst to first season in 2022 is ill-advised. Even if they made a trade for one of the Reds or As pitchers so many people are talking about, they'd still be relying heavily on young players playing big roles.

It doesn't make sense to me to trade away from the pool of young players you need to play big roles to not be able to fill enough spots to not have to rely on the young players. If you're going to have to rely on young players anyways just rely on the young players. If one deal would be a "put you over the top" move it'd be a different story. And if they signed Story I would be more interested in that story. But as currently constituted I'd be more upset with them trading a slew of young guys for 1 pitcher with 1 or 2 years of control. At that point you're not making the 2022 team good enough to matter while also lowering the assets you have for future years.

I'm more supportive of the "out getters" philosophy of pitching than most (even if it's not as enjoyable to watch). I'm good with a Pineda type signing or 2 and going with a whole cavalcade of guys going once or twice through the order and just having a flood of arms coming through Minneapolis. It's where the league seems to be going anyways. Why not have the Twins be the first to dive in and get the slight advantage of nobody being quite used to it yet?

Trades should never be off the table completely as a talent acquisition option, but I agree with the article in the sense that I don't want them doing the trades likely necessary for the Reds or As pitchers people want. The Twins are in a bad spot of their offense being ready and their pitching not. It's really hard to find someone willing to give up major league pitching for major league hitting. Twins best trade options are major league hitters for AAA arms just about ready to debut (Cruz for Ryan/Strotman) or Odo/Maeda type deals.

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