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The Potential Cost of Acquiring Pitching in Trades


Twins Daily Contributor

Thursday night, we watched as the Twins imploded late in the game against the Yankees. The depleted pitching staff struggled to keep the Yankees off the board and ultimately cost the Twins a win. The offense is on a trajectory for postseason action, but the pitching rotation and bullpen aren't even close. With the trade deadline coming in just under two months, the Twins need to capitalize on trades for available starting and back-end bullpen help. 

 

 

With several recent graduations, the Twins’ farm system is middle of the pack in the league. Sitting at 15 on Bleacher Report’s organizational, the Twins' depth has three top 100 players and more with the capability to get there. The Twins have acquired a lot of talent through the draft but also in some quality trades. 

Last year's Jose Berrios trade with the Blue Jays left many in the Twins community unhappy. He was an All-Star caliber pitcher for the Twins, the best one they had at the time. Berrios pitched one of his best games against the Twins last week reminding fans how much his arm is missed.  At that time, many fans thought that was the most painful trade and left a sinking hole in people's hearts, but not as much as the trade with Tampa sending the fan and clubhouse favorite Nelson Cruz to the Rays. 

Those trades brought pitchers Joe Ryan, Drew Strotman, and Simeon Woods Richardson, as well as consensus Top 100 prospect, Austin Martin. To this point, only Joe Ryan has made a significant impact on the big-league club and bolstered them to where they are now. The Twins have an above .500 record, first place in the division, and three games ahead of the second-place Guardians. If it weren't for the trades, the team may not be stacked like it is. 

The only place the Twins seem to be struggling is the pitching, which is a nice change for the club, which seemed to struggle in all aspects of the game last year. This season though, it’s starting rotation has taken a huge hit. Even with the extra few roster spots and time to stretch out, we have seen several pitchers lose time due to injury. Josh Winder is out with a shoulder impingement, Sonny Gray is on the IL with a pectoral strain after making a comeback from a previous trip to the IL with a leg injury. Bailey Ober is back on the IL with the groin injury that cost him three weeks earlier this season. Joe Ryan is rehabbing after missing time on the COVID-IL. Chris Paddack had Tommy John surgery last month, and Cody Stashak needs season-ending biceps/shoulder surgery. Even if they get healthy, having another starting pitcher makes all the sense. 

At the end of the lockout, the Twins started by making some strong trades to bolster their roster, but at the end of all of the amazing acquisitions, the fan base was left wondering one question: "Where Frankie?”

Frankie Montas, the right-handed starter from Oakland, is still there, beefing up his trade value and becoming one of the most significant assets at the trade deadline. To make this deal, the Twins would have to give the A's several players that would bolster their talent base and, hopefully, their fan base. 

Last week, Montas had a strong appearance, a win against the Astros, something the Twins lacked early on in the season. Montas has been doing his work to keep his trade value up. He has posted a 3.20 ERA and a 0.99 WHiP in his 64 2/3 innings entering Friday, striking out 71 batters with 15 walks. The Athletics know that he is a substantial piece of everyone's puzzle and will be looking for the best trade pieces to deal him. 

The A's spent the offseason cutting payroll, again. They traded Matt Chapman to the Blue Jays, Matt Olson to Atlanta, and Sean Manaea to the Padres. First-year manager Mark Kotsay has done a nice job working with the team in what is clearly a rebuilding phase. They acquired a lot of talent for those players, and will expect a ton in return for Montas. 

Keeping in mind that the Twins also need to acquire at least two relief pitchers without giving away the farm for Montas, the best trade pieces for the right-hander are Alex Kirilloff, José Miranda and Jovani Moran

Kirilloff and Miranda have quickly settled into the majors. Kirilloff struggled at the beginning of the season with an injury, but the outfielder has been cleaning up in St. Paul. He could be a home run hitter for the West Coast team. He has a good trade value. With all the depth in the Minnesota outfield with players like Trevor Larnach, Kyle Garlick, Gilberto Celestino, Nick Gordon, and Max Kepler, to name a few.  

Miranda, who looked a little shaky early in his big-league time, has grown into his swing. The corner infielder has been a surprising member of the home run club that the Twins have this season, and while it's not all the time, his batting certainly has come in clutch several times.

Because the Athletics are struggling this season with pitching, giving them a player like Jovani Moran would give them another arm to fall back on. While The Twins are seemingly struggling with their bullpen, the pitchers there, given the ability to rest, can be effective for the team. Moran has a low ERA, and 13 strikeouts in his eight innings pitched. He hasn't been a massive contributor to the Twins’ bullpen and could easily be part of a package deal. 

Adding one more starting pitcher to the rotation, along with getting their starters healthy, would be good for the Twins. Another option might come from Cincinnati, like Sonny Gray did. Or, maybe both?

Tyler Mahle has had a tough season for the Reds. He is 2-5 with a 5.07 ERA in 13 starts. The starting pitcher has not impacted the Reds' losses or wins, and they are several years from competing, so Mahle (and Luis Castillo) should be available. The Twins could easily trade for Montas and Mahle and still have a solid chance at making the postseason. Mahle has gone strong in six innings in his most recent appearances with a .193 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 18 innings. Most of the Twins pitching staff are just now working up to pitching six innings, Chris Archer just recently pitched five. While the trade with the Reds would not be as costly as the trade with the Athletics, Mahle would still carry a high enough price that Twins fans would have to understand another significant asset from the organization would be a part of a trade. 

Austin Martin is a great piece to make a trade. When acquired in the trade of Berríos, Martin was a top prospect and looked promising coming into the organization. Since arriving at the Twins, however, Martin’s trade value has declined some as his power has not yet developed in-game. He is not a bad player and is hitting .244 with a .366 OBP at Double-A Wichita. Like Gary Sánchez, a change of scenery may do him well. The Twins have plenty of depth at shortstop and can afford to part with Martin as part of a package deal with Noah Miller

Noah Miller, a shortstop with the Ft. Myers Mighty Mussels, was a 2021 draftee in the first round (36th overall) from Ozaukee High School in Fredonia, Wisconsin. With a similar batting average to Martin, and since the Twins have Carlos Correa and Jermaine Palacios and hopefully Royce Lewis, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear will bounce back and get healthy. There wouldn't be any logistical reasoning to keep Miller and Martin as players in the system.

Making these two pitching acquisitions would allow the Twins to bring on at least one or two more bullpen acquisitions or give a player like Jharel Cotton more growth opportunities. The bullpen would be more successful with a solid, healthy starting rotation. Forcing the bullpen to pitch as much as they have will end their season sooner than fans and the team want. With the offense as solid as it is, the organization and the fans deserve pitching that is just as solid.  Everyone is looking at Mahle and Montas, so the Twins and the fans need to be ready to wheel and deal. 

What do you think the Twins should do about pitching? Are you willing to trade your favorite player? Who are other pitchers you think the Twins should look at getting before the deadline? 

 

 


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Great summary of the situation, Sherry.  I would be open to trading prospects for the right pitcher, but I would not trade Kirilloff as I think he, like Lewis, is a special talent.  I don't think the FO is going to trade away the farm for Montas, and if the A's demand Kirilloff, I think the deal will not happen.  We do have an abundance of position players ready for the majors, so I suspect they will be willing to part with one of them and others farther away if the A's are open to that.  My guess is the A's will ask everyone for their best offer and take their pick.  If Gray, Ober and Ryan return and are healthy in the next few weeks, and with Smeltzer showing well, I think they may focus on bullpen additions.  This might be a year to make additions as this team has shown incredible grit, and looks like it is ready to play with the big boys in the East.

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Good speculation, but I just cannot get excited by these options.  Montas would be a great addition, but what is the subtraction?  Projecting the future roster is difficult, as is anticipating injury.  Gray, Ryan, Winder, Smeltzer, Archer would be nice to see if we can bring back all the parts.  I do not know if that is good enough.

The trade name I would be concentrating on if I were the trade partner would be Steer - this is a rising star. 

 

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 Do not include Kiriloff in any trades. I agree that he is going to be a special player. The Twins need to develop a legitimate number one starter since I don’t think an ace can be acquired in a trade.

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I don’t want to give up big future pieces for a starter.  
 

wonder what Kyle Hendricks would cost?

 

I feel the bullpen need more help then the starting staff, like 3 additional.  Bullpen has been taxed with a lot of inning thus far.

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I had posted a Montas trade on TD yesterday in which Steer was part of a deal for Montas.  I think Steer's 3.30 "value" as currently rendered is too low and I would think the A's would be interested in him.  I don't think the Twins need to acquire TWO SP's.  One of Montas/Castillo/Mahle would be sufficient for this year/future years for me.  With the emergence of Smeltzer and the eventual return of Maeda, Paddock etc...I think the Twins have plenty of good SP options for 2022 and beyond.  What is needed is a STUD #1 which Montas or Castillo could provide.

They also could really use TWO bullpen pieces to lengthen out the pen.  I'm advocating for Jose Lopez (Baltimore) and AJ Puk (as part of a Montas trade).  There are certainly interesting options elsewhere, but those are the two I've put forth as being good fits and reasonable assets that wouldn't be prohibitively expensive. 

The Twins have a number of young players that look like they are ready to contribute at the major league level right now or very soon.  It's time leverage this into some acquisitions to help the team this year as well as future years.  I'm not into one-year rentals THIS year.  Maybe in the future I would be.  But for this team, in 2022, I'm looking for this year benefits as well as the future.    

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10 hours ago, High heat said:

I don’t want to give up big future pieces for a starter.  
 

wonder what Kyle Hendricks would cost?

 

I feel the bullpen need more help then the starting staff, like 3 additional.  Bullpen has been taxed with a lot of inning thus far.

This is the way. Load up on bullpen arms. Much cheaper to acquire, and lockdown bullpens are how teams win in the playoffs anyway. 

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I would not trade for another starter unless Ober looks like he cannot make it back onto the team and be a consistant starter the rest of the season. A groin strain can be a reoccuring injury that may take the rest of the season to completely get over. Winder's injury may take longer to recover from than hoped as well. That leaves Gray, Ryan, Archer, Smeltzer, and Bundy as the starters. Not enthused that Bundy is part of the group and if Winder or Ober cannot displace him in the rotation then I'd make a move for a starter or work Jax into the rotation and DFA Bundy. Then go out and get 2 or 3 quality bullpen guys which will be a lot cheaper than the starters you mention. 

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Looking at next year we already have Gray, Ryan, Maeda, Padack, Over, Winder and Smeltzer, 

 we have current minor league guys like Jordon B, Catering, Garland, Festa, Enlow.

 

I don't think we need controlable SP and controlable dependable RP is a oxymoron Bednar from Pit is great but RP can fall off cliff in hurry

 

 

 

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We all worried that the rotation would implode as we had rookies (Ryan, Ober, Winder) and projects (Bundy, Archer) who would ALL be hard-pressed to give us 30 starts and 150 innings for the season.

Happily, we have suffered little because of the rotating injured list, and looks like we can feel comfortable with at least five current arms entering playoff land, if they stay healthy.

I'm all for adding a rotation arm, but two factors work into the mix - how long and what price.

We still MAY have Maeda coming back this season, which would be a shot-in-the-rotation if he comes back strong. He's also back next season, as is Gray.

The Twins do have some depth, msot notably in the outfield and knowing Buxton, Kepler, Larnach, possibly Kirilloff, Wallner, Celestino are givens, with Martin as a possible. And then folks like Rodriguez will be in-line (hopes) when we part ways with, say, Kepler.

The Twins are fine at catcher, but need to address this bigtime.

The bullpen is a veteran wreck, or future possibility (Moran, Cano, Duran, maybe Schulfer as anchors). Need a real closer. Pagan is okay and around for another season...but...

Arraez isn't the first baseman longterm, or is he (where else would we play him). We have another season of Urshela. Is Miranda expendable? Does Miranda play 1st or 3rd? Kirilloff at first? Is Steer for real?

Suddenly you start looking at the homegrown talent and there may not be any spots at the table for anyone excelling at A ball and below in this organization if we have a current crop of prospects ready to play 6-7 years. Encarcion-Strand is available. Do you go as far down as Miller (we gave away Petty) as a trade chip.

Again, we can dream. Other teams will be doing the same. You deal from depth and also deal those players you won't be able to protect come this off-season, or the following off-season...and by protect give a 40-man spot that they will occupy that keeps you from adding 40-man people for the current season. An example being, say, Balazovic goes on the long-term injured list. He eats a spot with no productivity. We can't waiver him because someone with spots will claim him because of potential. But at some point, non-60-day guys eat up roster spots bigtime.

Ultiamtely, management will play it close, waiting to see where theya re closer to the trade deadline (when it could be really expensive) to get a piece. Or maybe just wait out until August where teams may be dumping expensive pieces when they fall out of competition that could also give the Twins pause.

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4 minutes ago, Rosterman said:

We still MAY have Maeda coming back this season, which would be a shot-in-the-rotation if he comes back strong. He's also back next season, as is Gray

If Maeda is back, I’m not relying on him to be a starter this year. But, if he’s strong, that would be a shot to the BP, a role he is not unfamiliar with.

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Trading from a position of strength, leads me to offer up Kirilloff, Steer, Varland and any other pitching prospect on the 40-man for Pirates Henry Davis and David Bednar.  I doubt Pirates will trade Davis but will do need a quality catcher for '23' and beyond and Bednar is a quality stopper. Kirilloff is from the Pittsburgh area so maybe just maybe the Twins could work a trade.     

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Great summary, including some realistic costs. My position is there is little reason to move in the next few weeks unless a golden deal drops out of nowhere (like the Correa signing).

The base-level truth for me is that the Twins have a good enough team right now to compete for the division title in a low-bar season for divisional success. Settling for that doesn't wow me (probably like most reading this), but my next level 'truth' is that this team can only compete for success beyond the division by getting at least three of Gray, Ryan, Ober, and Winder back sustainably healthy and successful. Only at that point is it worth pushing serious chips into play for a very good starter.

Relievers, unless dirt cheap, are pointless. Our 'pen isn't burnt out because we don't have relievers, it is fried because we don't have enough starters going 6, and seemingly have a Sands/Gonzalez bullpen game every third day. Adding a good pitcher to healthy returnees will push Bundy off the roster, alleviate the innings issue for the 'pen, and push a very good arm or two like Winder/Archer/Ober into relief, and that should push some of the bullpen deadwood like Duffey, Thielbar, and sadly Joe Smith off the roster.

Kirilloff should be essentially untouchable. Lest we forget last week's offensive abyss against the Tigers, this team's offense is still super-streaky, and an elite high average power bat that plays solid defense (and who looked like a veteran when making his MLB debut in the playoffs), isn't something this team should give up for a part-time limited run pitcher. Especially with Lewis gone now. I'd also guess Miranda is probably the plan at 3B next year. But there are plenty other chips out there as many have pointed out. (Don't get the talk of dealing Moran now, though, by some people who say we need to ADD to the 'pen.)

My guess is Montas will be too expensive (he has been up for sale since the end of last season with zero takers across the league), and frankly I'm not sure Mahle could even make our rotation if all four Twins SPs come back healthy (and, nope, a cherry-picked outing against a bad Arizona team doesn't excite me any more than did Martin Perez's "hot" start). But it's a big league, and there are good arms we don't even know are available yet (any more than we knew Carlos would be our SS).

 

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If we trade for Montas, I doubt we trade anyone on the current roster who is contributing.  I think a package of Steer, Martin, and Balazovich would be a good start.  
Steer and Martin are good prospects that don’t have a spot on our team.  And Balazovich is a good prospect but struggling this season.  We might add another prospect and get Trevino in the trade.  

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32 minutes ago, Brandon said:

If we trade for Montas, I doubt we trade anyone on the current roster who is contributing.  I think a package of Steer, Martin, and Balazovich would be a good start.  
Steer and Martin are good prospects that don’t have a spot on our team.  And Balazovich is a good prospect but struggling this season.  We might add another prospect and get Trevino in the trade.  

Concur with the general logic.  Perhaps a corner outfield prospect can be part of the mix in place of either batter, depending on Oakland's taste.  You won't be able to trade for a starting pitcher without giving up at least one young starter to compensate, and Jordy Blaze might have to be that arm - I view it as Montas is what we hope Balazovic becomes, so we have to provide more value on top of him to compensate. Have to trust the Twins FO talent evaluators and negotiators to decide which of our pitching prospects is destined to burn us the least when we trade them, while still submitting a winning offer.

Although, dang it, Montas's most recent start was a clunker.  Oh well, by the trading deadline, one start in June won't be remembered.

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3 hours ago, Ryan_K said:

Looking at next year we already have Gray, Ryan, Maeda, Padack, Ober, Winder and Smeltzer, 

 we have current minor league guys like Jordon B, Canterino, Varland, Festa, Enlow.

I don't think we need controlable SP and controlable dependable RP is a oxymoron Bednar from Pit is great but RP can fall off cliff in hurry

I look at that same list and appreciate the depth. I don’t think an Archer or Bundy type addition will be as necessary. I also believe an addition at the top like Montas would be really improve that group.

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I think the A’s will want some MLB ready pitching in return for Montas, someone like Winder or Sands. I don’t think a package built around a position player, particularly one with Kirilloff’s  injury history or a recent breakout like Steer, will work. I think it’s more likely they will want a winder or Sands PLUS a Miranda or Steer PLUS a non–40 man young pitching prospect. I just think the cost is too high for Montas given that I don’t think this team is one starter away from World Series contention. Maybe next year with more development and if Correa stays, but not this year.

Mahle or Castillo are more realistic starting picture targets in my humble opinion,  We probably will have to give up young pitching To get either of them since they both have a year and a half left before free agency, but they might realistically be had for a Winder or Sands type plus lesser position players or younger pitching. That’s the way I would go if we go for a starting pitcher at all.


We do need at least one more bullpen piece but I’m hopeful that Maeda can be the second piece come August. He was a very good reliever for the Dodgers who would typically start him for the first 100 games and then put him in the bullpen. I think if we can get one more quality reliever and Mazda can be that second reliever come mid August through the end of the season, That probably does as much for us as anything else. Bottom line, I think this is a fun team but not one starter away from contending for the World Series so I would not trade away the farm to get that starter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Brandon said:

If we trade for Montas, I doubt we trade anyone on the current roster who is contributing.  I think a package of Steer, Martin, and Balazovich would be a good start.  
Steer and Martin are good prospects that don’t have a spot on our team.  And Balazovich is a good prospect but struggling this season.  We might add another prospect and get Trevino in the trade.  

Agree. The A's will need to make it clear but I doubt they can do much better than getting Martin, Balazovic, and some combo added that also brings back Puk. Maybe two of Steer, Sabato, Wallner, Sands, Miller .... something like that would work. That would potentially be a trade of four of the Twins top ten prospects for a starter and a reliever, a pretty steep price. However, 1B has Arraez, 2B is Polanco, 3B has Urshela, SS is Correa, additional infielders are Miranda, Kirilloff, Lewis, Palacios, Gordon, OF has Larnach, Celestino, Buxton, Kepler, and Garlick. A trade is possible and may help in a big way. Falvey gets that call and by the All Star break a decision will be made whether to get aggressive or go with the roster.

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Scherzer, Bassett, Berrios, Gray, and Manaea all had pitching prospects come back for their former teams. What starting pitchers in the minors would the FO give up? I would not bet this FO makes a trade for a SP unless it is yet another of what the people here call a back of rotation type..

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I would not trade Miller.  I know he is a long way away, but if CC opts out after this year and with Lewis's injury history we only have Palacios remaining for true SS's.

I also agree with a few others that we should beef up the bullpen this year to help the current starters.  Let those young starters develop and see what we have next year for a rotation.

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1 hour ago, nicksaviking said:

I know folks can find outliers, but for about the 20th season in a row, I don’t want a pitcher coming from Oakland. It’s just not a club or ballpark I think typically shows pitcher output representative of their performance in 29 other ballparks.

You are correct on Montas 

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.fcgi?id=montafr02&year=Career&t=p

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I also like Pirate's Bednar, would offer Gordon or Celestino, Duffy and Moran, not sure this gets Pirates attention.  Challenge is Bednar is having terrific year and is under team control until 2027.  Might require Kiriloff or Larnach as the position player in the deal.  

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Just now, Lefty61 said:

I also like Pirate's Bednar, would offer Gordon or Celestino, Duffy and Moran, not sure this gets Pirates attention.  Challenge is Bednar is having terrific year and is under team control until 2027.  Might require Kiriloff or Larnach as the position player in the deal.  

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10 minutes ago, Lefty61 said:

I also like Pirate's Bednar, would offer Gordon or Celestino, Duffy and Moran, not sure this gets Pirates attention.  Challenge is Bednar is having terrific year and is under team control until 2027.  Might require Kiriloff or Larnach as the position player in the deal.  

Kiriloff plus Balazovic might do it. I would not want to give up Larnach.

Gordon/Moran/Duffey would not be of much value to the Pirates, Duffey would probably be negative value

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27 minutes ago, Richie the Rally Goat said:

Kiriloff plus Balazovic might do it. I would not want to give up Larnach.

Gordon/Moran/Duffey would not be of much value to the Pirates, Duffey would probably be negative value

I wouldn't trade AK or Laranch for a relief pitcher, I wouldn't give up a major league player for a relief pitcher either. I would try to win them over with minor league pitchers, starting with Sands.

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5 hours ago, LA VIkes Fan said:

I think the A’s will want some MLB ready pitching in return for Montas, someone like Winder or Sands. I don’t think a package built around a position player, particularly one with Kirilloff’s  injury history or a recent breakout like Steer, will work. I think it’s more likely they will want a winder or Sands PLUS a Miranda or Steer PLUS a non–40 man young pitching prospect. I just think the cost is too high for Montas given that I don’t think this team is one starter away from World Series contention. Maybe next year with more development and if Correa stays, but not this year.

 

If Oakland would take Sands, Steer and some non-40 man young prospect and the Twins haven't done that, the FO should be fired.  I don't believe the A's would take that deal, I think they would laugh and hang up.

The Twins got Martin and SWR for basically the same pitcher, so I would assume the Twins would have to give up something close, do the twins have anything close? Besides those two guys? I don't think so. So IMO the Twins would have to Offer a Winder/Ober/SWR and Martin.

So basically to get Montas they Twins will have had to trade Berrios last year and not have any major league play from the guys for the first 60 plus games this year,  can't in a 100 years see this front office doing that, and they shouldn't.

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This isn't a good time to trade Kiriloff. After his struggles with his wrists his trade value has nose dived. Kiriloff will come back and his value  will jump right back where they should be. Martin, Balazovich, Miranda are good players with good trade value, any 2 of these plus a lesser prospect  should get it done for Montas. I think we couldn't get enough for Steer, Miller, E Rod and maybe SWR, so I wouldn't consider them for a trade.

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