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  • 3 Michael Pineda Trades the Twins Should Target


    Jamie Cameron

    With the Twins out of playoff contention, Michael Pineda is a candidate for a strong return at the trade deadline. Here are 3 destinations and 3 trade packages Pineda could net the Twins.

    Image courtesy of Image Courtesy of Jesse Johnson - USA Today Sports

    I recently wrote about the Twins’ conundrum in dealing with Michael Pineda. The Twins rotation faces uncertainty beyond 2021. Kenta Maeda has regressed significantly since his Cy Young contention in a shortened 2020. José Berríos is only under team control through 2022. Randy Dobnak, recently, has looked like no sure thing to be a major league staple. This leaves Pineda. Opinion was fairly divided about exactly what to do with Pineda in the comments of my previous piece, less so now. Today, I’ll look at 3 possible destinations and packages for Pineda if the Twins decide to trade him.

    The Good

    Pineda has been a standout for the Twins since he joined them in 2017. In that time, he has accrued their highest ever winning percentage by a starting pitcher, ahead of Johan Santana. Pineda has been a model of consistency in a rotation which has not typically been a strength of the Twins. He has the stuff to start a playoff game for a team with a poorer rotation, heightening his value and worth.

    The Bad

    Pineda is a free agent after the 2021 season, diminishing his value. Additionally, he missed time due to a PED suspension in 2020 and has an extensive injury history. With all that in mind, what are some potential destinations and packages for Pineda? 

    A note on trades: I made each of these hypothetical trades a 1:1 swap. As opposed to going into the minutiae of exact prospects and packages, I picked a prospect the Twins might be interested in who is part of each organization. Think of each trade as ‘Pineda plus’ and each return as ‘listed prospect plus’.

    Destination 1 - Toronto Blue Jays

    After an aggressive offseason, the Blue Jays sit tantalizingly at 31-29 in a tough AL East (albeit in 4th). The Blue Jays starting pitching has been rancid in 2021, ranking 26th in fWAR (one spot ahead of the Twins), with a combined output of 1.7 fWAR. After Hyun-Jin Ryu (1.1 fWAR) and Steven Matz (0.7 fWAR) their rotation has offered little. Pineda would slot in as their #3 starter after the return of Nate Pearson, who has been shelved all year due to injury.

    The Trade:

    Jays receive RHP Michael Pineda

    Twins receive: SS Orelvis Martinez

    With the injury to Royce Lewis, the Twins farm system is short on solid upside infield prospects. Martinez is the Jays #6 prospect and signed for $3.5 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2018. Martinez's primary tool is power, with a stocky frame and solid defensive skills which should allow him to stick at SS. Martinez has slugged .449 in 2021 at High A Dunedin but could take a leap forward in his first full season in pro ball. 

    Destination 2 - Atlanta

    Atlanta has struggled in 2021. They currently sit 3rd in a weak AL East at 29-31. They worked aggressively and early to address their rotation in the offseason, to no avail. Atlanta currently has the 19th best rotation in MLB at 3.3 fWAR. Atlanta has a strong 1-2 punch between Ian Anderson and Charlie Morton, but little beyond that with Huascar Ynoa on the 60 day IL and Max Fried having an inconsistent year. Pineda would give Atlanta another solid starter to help them make a run at a highly winnable division.

    The Trade:

    Atlanta receive: RHP Michael Pineda

    Twins receive: LHP Jasseel De La Cruz

    This package would likely be De La Cruz plus for the Twins. Signed for just $55,000 in 2015. De La Cruz has the questionable distinction of two MLB call ups without making an appearance. De La Cruz may be headed for a relief role long term. His fastball sits 97-98 mph and tops out at 100 mph. His 55 grade slider may be enough for him to be a devastating weapon at the back of the bullpen if he can continue to reduce his BB%. The Twins bullpen needs a major retooling after a horrendous 2021. De La Cruz would give them a high upside bullpen arm for the next several years.

    Destination 3 - Chicago Cubs

    After being lambasted for doing literally nothing in the offseason, the Cubs find themselves in a strong position in a poor NL Central. The Cubs starting pitching has been worse than the Twins in 2021, wow. Chicago ranks 29th in MLB with a 0.9 fWAR contribution from their starting pitching group. Woof. Pineda would slot right into the 2nd or 3rd behind Kyle Hendricks.

    The Trade:

    Cubs receive: RHP Michael Pineda

    Twins receive: RHP Kohl Franklin

    Franklin is the nephew of former All-Star Ryan Franklin and was a 6th round pick out of Oklahoma in 2018. Franklin is developing quickly, adding velocity which will have him eventually sitting 93-96 mph with an excellent changeup. Franklin projects as a solid mid rotation starter for an organization which, like the Twins, has struggled to develop its own starting pitching.

    Honorable mention destinations: New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox.

    What do you think are the best team fits for a Pineda trade? What type of prospects and return would you be aiming for?

     

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    I like the Toronto trade deal you have the best.  He doesn't run real well so I doubt he sticks at short but the hit tool and power would be hard to pass up for second or third.  Betting he could play left if asked as well.  It would be a good get for half a year of Pineda and Toronto could afford to pay the price if they wanted to and it wouldn't cost them pitching in their system so seems like it might work out.  Twins could possibly throw in a reliever or C level guy to balance it if needed.

    Your Atlanta deal is OK but I would go for one of the left handers as the Twins are short on left handed pitchers and Atlanta has three of them right in the same range as Del La Cruz.  They all seem to have control problems and none of them have great stats this year.  So seems a bit risky trade to me but if it was the best deal I might take it.

    I don't think the Cubs would give up one their best and only solid pitching prospects for half a year of Pineda unless they felt they could sign Pineda for a few more years because they don't have much for pitching at the MLB level or on the farm. They just don't seem like a great match in general to me.  If they were willing to part with Franklin that would be the best deal IMO as he looks like a pretty rock solid pitcher.  Good control, good fastball good secondary's. It would be hard to beat that deal which is why I don't think the Cubs would make it.  

     

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    Thanks for this article.

    Martinez is ranked 93rd overall at Fangraphs and 96th by BA. He's #6 in Toronto's system at MLB.com but the first 5 guys are all top 100 overall, so he's likely just outside it himself.

    Here are the median value estimates from BaseballTradeValues.com:

    Pineda: 2.3

    TOR SS Orelvis Martinez: 26.6

    ATL LHP Jasseel De La Cruz: 2.9

    CHC RHP Kohl Franklin: 3.6

    The Atlanta and Chicago returns seem pretty accurate. There may not be any elite players traded this summer but there should be a decent quantity of guys available similar to Pineda, so I can't imagine he'd draw a bid like Martinez.

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    While in a Twins uniform, Johan Santana was 93 and 44 which is 67.9%  than 16 and 8 which is 66.7%.

    Pineda may have signed his contract in 2017.  I suspect he actually signed the contract with the twins in 2018. But because of his Tommy John surgery, his first year of experience with the Twins was 2019.

    For a pitcher to be 16 and 8 and what would equivalate to be two seasons or if I'll be nice two and a half seasons never should be a comparison to Santana.

    I seriously suspect Berrois and Maeda have more trade value than Pineda.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Nice writeup, but can't understand this urge to trade Pineda.  He is easily the Twins 2nd or 3rd best starter, depending on how Maeda reemerges.  If a retool rather than rebuild is the way to go in '22, the rotation is a key component.  Right now, this team has no one to depend on in the #4 & 5 slots.  Yes, maybe one or two of the prospects might step up(sorry, not ready to annoint Ober just yet), but this FO has given no reason to believe that any of their pitching prospects are more than just that - prospects.  I'd rather wait and bring them up sooner rather than later and see how they fare at the major league level.   And we haven't even touched on the putrid bullpen situation.

    It very well could be that over the next 100 games we see what this team's potential is for next year.  Perhaps the prospects will prove they belong in the majors.  If not, then a total rebuild is in order.  My only concern is that the Wonder Boys have not shown the smarts to do the rebuild correctly.   Perhaps this is a situation that also has to be revisited in October?

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    We do not need a shortstop so the Toronto trade is out. The Cubs trade is interesting but I would want an additional player. Same with the Atlanta deal you proposed. If we don't extend Pineda (which I would choose) before the deadline, it makes sense to trade him. I still would like to explore a trade of Kepler to the Yankees for a couple of players or maybe Andujar and a prospect. The Yanks need a lefty hitter and might bite at that one.

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    I think I agree Mike! I wrote previously about whether to trade or extend him. I think there’s a really compelling case for a 2 year $24 million extension to help lengthen the rotation and retool next year. This article was more predicated on a more extensive rebuild if the organization came to the conclusion that they won’t be good in 2022. Thanks for reading and commenting as always.

    1 hour ago, mike8791 said:

    Nice writeup, but can't understand this urge to trade Pineda.  He is easily the Twins 2nd or 3rd best starter, depending on how Maeda reemerges.  If a retool rather than rebuild is the way to go in '22, the rotation is a key component.  Right now, this team has no one to depend on in the #4 & 5 slots.  Yes, maybe one or two of the prospects might step up(sorry, not ready to annoint Ober just yet), but this FO has given no reason to believe that any of their pitching prospects are more than just that - prospects.  I'd rather wait and bring them up sooner rather than later and see how they fare at the major league level.   And we haven't even touched on the putrid bullpen situation.

    It very well could be that over the next 100 games we see what this team's potential is for next year.  Perhaps the prospects will prove they belong in the majors.  If not, then a total rebuild is in order.  My only concern is that the Wonder Boys have not shown the smarts to do the rebuild correctly.   Perhaps this is a situation that also has to be revisited in October?

     

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    37 minutes ago, twinfan said:

    We do not need a shortstop so the Toronto trade is out. The Cubs trade is interesting but I would want an additional player. Same with the Atlanta deal you proposed. If we don't extend Pineda (which I would choose) before the deadline, it makes sense to trade him. I still would like to explore a trade of Kepler to the Yankees for a couple of players or maybe Andujar and a prospect. The Yanks need a lefty hitter and might bite at that one.

    I agree with most of your points. However, if this year has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t have enough depth (now that the Twins are on their 7th CF). I specifically targeted a INF because the Twins have very little depth in that department prospect wise.

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    2 hours ago, twinfan said:

    We do not need a shortstop so the Toronto trade is out. The Cubs trade is interesting but I would want an additional player. Same with the Atlanta deal you proposed. If we don't extend Pineda (which I would choose) before the deadline, it makes sense to trade him. I still would like to explore a trade of Kepler to the Yankees for a couple of players or maybe Andujar and a prospect. The Yanks need a lefty hitter and might bite at that one.

    ? Who is at short past this year?

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    I finally got done laughing at the idea of getting Orelvis Martinez for Pineda.  I've had a rough day...I needed that.  Orelvis would bring a young pitcher with lots of team control left and who is better than Pineda.  Like one of Miami's young studs.  The good news is: there aren't a lot of teams trading good starters who are out of it.  Throw in Balazovic with Pineda, and you might get Orelvis and garbage the Twins hope you think is good.

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    4 hours ago, twinstalker said:

    I finally got done laughing at the idea of getting Orelvis Martinez for Pineda.  I've had a rough day...I needed that.  Orelvis would bring a young pitcher with lots of team control left and who is better than Pineda.  Like one of Miami's young studs.  The good news is: there aren't a lot of teams trading good starters who are out of it.  Throw in Balazovic with Pineda, and you might get Orelvis and garbage the Twins hope you think is good.

    I guess I don't see it as laughable.  It depends on what outcome you see for Martinez.  If he sticks at short and is a plus defender there then sure I'd go with laughable but he doesn't have great speed and is likely to only get slower not faster at this point.  If he is a second or third baseman then his value is Miranda which has a value of 1 on baseball trade values.  So prospects are a bit like playing the stock market he has high value right now because the numbers are solid and he projects at short right now.  On the site they say they value SS higher because of position flexibility and yet if you look at Miranda's numbers and Martinez's they look pretty much the same at the same age and level. Value is about projection but players are not always going to make those projections.

    FWIW they have Arraez's value at 54 and Buxton's at 37. Which player do you feel has more value going forward?  For me it would be Buxton but not Trade Values.  I am sure they are taking his injury history into account but again trading is all about perception and projection.  I don't see Martinez having much more value than Miranda obviously others disagree I guess time will tell who ends up being more right.

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    Toronto sure treats Martinez strangely for a 19 year-old they think is going to stick at short...let alone stick as a plus defender. He DH’s and plays 3 rd a fair amount and speed doesn’t show up in his numbers, either. As Dman noted, he’s not going to be faster or more agile, with more range in 2-3 years when he arrives.

    His bat seems far ahead of Palacios and Javier...but he doesn’t seem closer than either of those two as a major-league shortstop. Maybe his bat projects so well, he’s a good 3B prospect? We need those too.

    Anyone else find it weird that Franklin hasn’t appeared in the minors yet this year when he had already dipped a toe into A+ ball in 2019? Red flag?

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