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  • 5 Players the Twins Can Deal Before the Trade Deadline

    Cody Christie

    It’s looking more like the Twins won’t find themselves in contention this season, especially with a difficult part of their upcoming schedule. That means, the team will be looking to deal away players, so here are five possible trade candidates.

    Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

    Nelson Cruz
    Cruz is on an expiring deal and he hasn’t been back to the World Series since his time in Texas. He is going to have few opportunities left to make a playoff run. It helps that he continues to be ageless as he is one of baseball’s best hitters even in his age-40 season. Unfortunately, the National League didn’t adopt the DH for the 2021 season, so this cuts out half the teams in the market for Cruz’s services. That being said, his leadership is something any contending team would be lucky to have for a playoff run.

    Michael Pineda
    Like Cruz, Pineda is on an expiring contract and he’s performing well in 2021. He’s been one of the team’s most reliable starters this year with a 2.43 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. In fact, his number have been strong throughout his Twins tenure when he has been on the field. Injuries seem to be striking teams across baseball at a high rate, so there will likely be a contending team with a starter that is injured. If Pineda can stay healthy, multiple suitors should emerge for Pineda’s services down the stretch.

    Taylor Rogers
    Minnesota’s bullpen has been a mess, but Rogers has provided a little stability. There are also some benefits for a potential Roger’s trade suitor. He’s under team control through the end of 2022, he’s left-handed, and he comes with the “proven closer” label. Every contending team needs more pitching depth and Rogers can provide an immediate impact. After agreeing to a $6 million deal this year, he is only going to be more expensive in his final arbitration season. This might be another reason the Twins are willing to part ways with him.

    Jose Berrios
    After 2021, Berrios is only under team control for one more season. Minnesota seems out of the running this year and there are no guarantees about 2022. So far in 2021, he has posted a career bests in SO/9 (10.0), WHIP (1.138), HR/9 (0.7), and H/9 (7.0). He seems destined to hit the free agent market and the Twins might not be willing to meet his contract demands since he is like to ask for over $100 million.  The front office might be able to get more now for Berrios since he isn’t on an expiring contract.

    Byron Buxton
    Twins’ fans saw how great Buxton can be during the first month of 2021, but now he is sidelined with another injury. For him to be a tradeable asset, he’d need to comeback from injury and continue to play well in the weeks leading into the deadline. Like Berrios, Buxton is under team control through the end of 2022, so this control might make more team’s willing to pull the trigger. Gilberto Celestino, one of the organization’s top prospects, is someone that can take over for Buxton in the years ahead. 

    What player do you think is the most likely to be dealt? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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    2 hours ago, Richard Swerdlick said:

    Too soon to get serious about trades. Nevertheless I think with Berrios you are on the right track. I think we may need to send Sano to the minors or try and trade him if he doesn't improve, which given his, once again oversized self, seems unlikely. 

    If Sano gets sent down and doesn't improve....who's going to want to trade for him? Nobody wants to buy a 1991 Mitsubishi Mirage on Craigslist if the transmission needs to be replaced, even if the owner thinks it's a good vehicle and has fond memories of his road trip to Cedar Rapids.

    Nobody wants to trade for a .150 hitter who strikes out 50% of the time. Twins have to fix him first, and even then his value is almost as low as its ever been.

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    What 5 players could not be traded is more appropriate to any conversation about trades. Any player can be dealt for a price. The question is what is the price?


    Buxton on a trade list. Last week it was the FO were idiots for not extending him

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    I do think it is a bit early to start talking about this.  While the team has dug itself into a hole, it's not an insurmountable one.  This could be a different conversation this time next week.  The team is not without it's warts.  Very serious ones in some cases.

    As for any conversation on Sano, he's probably worked himself into no man's land regarding a trade.  He doesn't provide a lot of value unless he improves, but if he improves, then why trade him now?

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    I am not ready to trade yet.  Most trades are at the or near the deadline.  Lets see where we are and how they are playing in June.  The article made me think about a lot of different issues.  Buxton and Berrios not extended but Polanco, Kepler, Sano were.  Seems like we missed the boat in the sea of extensions.

    With Buxton you pointed out a possible replacement.  We cannot trade him until we get Celestino knocking down the doors.   With Berrios there is no possible replacement.  No one is close and no one with his quality and age will be affordable on the FA market to replace him.  We can argue Ace status all we want, but Berrios is our number one pitcher and we cannot afford to lose him.  Maeda has shown that one short year can be a SSS.  Pineda is a FA after this year.  Shoemaker will be gone, Happ - ???  Duran and Balazovic are not pitching yet - injuries.  Dobnak will be back, but never above a #4.  

    Cruz gets traded only if we find we are totally out of it and we want to do him a favor - but where does he go? 

    Taylor Rogers subtracted from a bad bull pen?  Who do we get for him?  How does it help the team?

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    A few people making comments about the Twins screwing up by not extending Buxton like it's just them saying "now you're with us for X number of years at Y amount of money." and he has no say in it. He's showing exactly why an extension wasn't reached when the two sides discussed it this spring. His team has to be pushing for astronomical numbers as he puts up insane numbers, but the team has to be pushing for big, but not outrageous, money as he sits on the IL again. If it were as simple as saying "we'll pay you X dollars for Y performance numbers" it'd be done, but he's possibly the most complex extension candidate in baseball history. In the conversation for the best player on the planet when healthy, but is never healthy for long periods of time. Can't blame either side for there not being an extension for him in place. 

    That also makes him one of the most complicated trade candidates ever. Any team would love to have him, but at what price? There's no equal return for a healthy Buxton (in prospect terms), but he's not worth anything on the IL. He's an even more painful Ortiz if he's traded and stays healthy the rest of his career, and the front office is run out of town for trading Mike Trout 2.0. But the front office is run out of town if there's reports this summer that they turned down a trade for 10 top 20 prospects from some team and he continues to be hurt the rest of his career.

    Until Buxton can stay healthy there's no easy answer on him and I don't think it's fair to criticize anyone involved in trade or contract negotiations as he's the most polarizing player you could possibly think of in terms of value.

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    I agree with your observation @chpettit19 that Buxton is a hard player to place a value on. 

    Thats why I think the easiest answer is also the best answer in this case: let Buxton play out his contract through 2022. This assumes as I do that this is still a very good team having a very bad year, and that next year they will rebound (assuming bullpen improvements are made, and so on).

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    I agree that it's too early to start talking trades.  This team has more talent than it has displayed so far.  7 games back in mid-May is not an insurmountable deficit, especially since the White Sox and Cleveland are also flawed and unlikely to post much above 90 wins.  The 2009 Twins were 5.5 back and under .500 in late May, and they came back to win the division.  Just like the 2021 team, the 2009 Twins had a similar roster to other playoff seasons.  The 2009 team underachieved in the early months, but then the true talent revealed itself and they righted the ship.  The 2021 Twins can do the same.  

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    i also believe this conversation, though entertaining, is premature. Happ is on his way out anyways so trading him will get you a bag of balls. trading kepler will get you a player of equal value so that's a deal that makes no sense. unless sano improves he's destined to be non-tendered at the end of his contract and will go from team to team for a few years before he's just gone.

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    I can't think of a time the Twins ever got a good prospect by selling players at the trade deadline.  Does anyone have any examples?

    If this is just about shedding salary, meh.  I don't care about how fat the owner's wallets are, I care about the team's ability to compete in the future, and yes that includes finishing out the year respectably.  I get it that when a team is doing poorly, for some people their minds automatically go into sell mode.  But what kind of player return would the Twins get?  I honestly can't remember a good return the Twins got in one of these trades, though I admit I don't keep track of how every player came to the club.

    It just simply never happens where a team sheds 20% of their salary one year and adds that to the budget in the next year, so I admit I don't see the point unless a good player comes back to the team in the trade. 

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    3 hours ago, wsnydes said:

    These are related.  He's on a trade list BECAUSE the FO didn't extend him.

    Theron lies the delegation. You don’t sign an oft injured player to a large deal. Buxton was not going to sign a team friendly deal. The same applies to trading him. You are not going to get an amazing return for a less than full time player.  It isn’t on the FO in this case.

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    2 hours ago, wsnydes said:

    Those guys don't provide a lot of value.  So, if the object is to improve this team, they'll need to deal guys that other teams actually want.


    They don't have to bring a lot of value. There's an argument for addition by subtraction, especially with Sano. Free up money to throw at Berrios/Buxton, make room for Kirilloff, Arraez, Larnach, Rooker, etc.

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